Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Caller Herrin'

Three-hundred sixty-four days ago, I started this project-- one-hundred thirty-eight days ago, I started this hat:

Ahoy, there!

A seafaring hat must be photographed at the sea.

These were taken at Reid State Park-- one of my favoritest places.

Photos courtesy, as usual, my enormously talented husband...

... who never passes up the opportunity to catch me acting silly.

Project Notes

Yarn: Harrisville New England Shetland-- first purchased 257 days ago on a knitting field trip to Harrisville, NH. I brought home eight colors that day, to which I added four more back in July. The final color scheme: Loden Blue, Peacock, Woodsmoke, Tundra, Jade, and Pebble. This is great yarn for Fair Isle knitting-- the stitches loft up and cling to one another quite cohesively. I used just a smidge of Malabrigo Lace-- held doubled-- for the hem facing.

Pattern: Caller Herrin' by Kate Davies. I love pretty much everything about this pattern. The charts are beautiful and the instructions impeccable-- and the small motif is easy to memorize and easy to knit. Highly, highly recommended. I am in fact thinking about knitting another one in undyed Shetland wool... which is a clear indication of either devotion or dementia. I also loved reading about Kate's design process-- what an amazing talent!

Modifications: I did a sewn-shut hem rather than the knitted-shut hem called for by the pattern. I will let TECHKnitter explain the difference.

Etc: This hat was a labor of love. The actual knitting only took a few days, but I thought I would never be finished with the FINISHING. Making the Mother of All Swatches also added time to the proceedings, but was well worth it-- I was concerned that I would not be able to attain the same depth and subtlety of color substituting the New England Shetland for the Alice Starmore yarn called for in the pattern, but it ended up working out well. And I'm quite enchanted with the result-- the only thing I might do further is felt it slightly to fit my tiny head better. I could go so far as to say that this is my favorite hat-- which may be why I saved it to post on the final day of my year of hat-making. There is still one more hat to share, but this is really the crowning achievement.

One last look...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blue Beret

I didn't know what to call this hat, but the folder in which my husband put his (lovely) pictures of it is titled "Blue Beret"-- so there you have it. It's pretty:

It was a bit cold for my coordinating outfit-- hence the red nose.

But what else does one wear with a beret?

It's the perfect size for me-- I'm tempted to keep it!

I really do have enough hats at the moment...

Project Notes

Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend. This was a random purchase long before the hat project, and I was never sure what to do with it-- apart from gaze longingly at it.

Pattern: Improvised, based on a stitch pattern stolen from this gorgeous thing -- I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview at knitting. The stitch pattern stuck in my head and would not leave until I had turned it into a hat-- this is pretty much what I imagined. I finished it in August, but I waited to post it until Leah's pattern was published.

Techniques: You can barely tell, but I used the Channel Island Cast-On-- one of my favorite things I've learned during this project.

Etc: My 52nd hat is drying in the guest bedroom. I'm not sure how I feel about this. There are so many other things I can knit now-- but last night I kind of panicked and started another hat. Well, restarted actually-- I need to redo the 1840 Nightcap before Christmas. I wonder what will happen when that is done. It's a new world...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turn A Square-- for the last time, I promise!

It's baaaaaack:

In pink this time... because it's for a girl. Obviously.


Project Notes

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed, courtesy of the Stitchy Witch*. This yarn plays very well with Noro-like substances, AKA Plymouth Boku-- last seen in Tam C. I love the contrast between the rustic texture, the wild colors, and the rigid geometry of the stripes.

Pattern: Turn a Square by Jared Flood-- a classic. I did the decreases correctly this time, which makes me love the pattern even more. I would recommend you knit yourself a dozen or so, but I think everyone already has...

Etc: Will I ever tire of the self-striping stripes? There is such childlike glee in knitting them. My husband wants one for himself now, and I kinda do too-- hats 53 and 54, maybe? Ha!

this post for details-- knitting with this sort of feels like dancing on someone's grave, in a good way
... well, kinda.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rap Swap Hat

One night at work-- a long, loooong time ago, April I think-- one of my coworkers was boasting about her rapping prowess. I believe she said she could freestyle on any subject, including my knitting. So I proposed a swap-- one knitting themed rap for one hand-knit hat. I think she thought I was kidding:

'Sup DJ CJ?

Project Notes

Yarn: Berroco Sundae-- one of the few yarns I have ever bought without a purpose in mind. It just looked so plump and fuzzy. I don't knit much with bulky yarns, but there is something to be said for a two hour hat.

Pattern: Lifestyle Top-Down Hats, No Swatch Needed by Charisa Martin Cairn-- more a recipe than a pattern, but very, very useful nonetheless.

Etc: Now, I don't want to accuse anyone of fronting-- if that is the correct term-- but it's been a few months and there's still no sign of the knitting rap. Miss J, now that the hat is yours as promised, it's time to deliver the goods. I prefer the stylings of Dr. Dre. Represent.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hoopin' at the Craft Fair

I couldn't resist posting these outtakes from Saturday's photoshoot. Leah and I planned to meet at the Waynflete School craft fair-- I didn't expect to find her hanging out with the hula hoop vendor. By the time I arrived, she had been there for fifteen minutes and was already an expert:

Having conquered the single hoop, she quickly moved on to bigger things:

I didn't quite get the hang of it on the first try:

But persistence soon paid off:

Well, that was fun. Your regularly scheduled knitting content will resume tomorrow-- though I if you look closely, you may glimpse the elusive Caller Herrin'... it's finally done!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Saturday was the first properly cold day of the year, a perfect day for wooly hats and taking pictures of them. After wandering all over the West End, Leah and I ended up on the Western Prom-- with its majestic views of the Dollar Tree and the Cumberland County Jail. We found a nice bench, anyway:

Project Notes

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed-- I picked out three colors of this yarn, and this one just begged to be made into a hat for Leah. I love the dark blue and green tweedy bits.

Pattern: Sarah by Ariane Caron-Lacoste. I removed a pattern repeat because it was getting huge-- and I wish I'd knit the ribbing on needles one or two sizes smaller. But the pattern stitch is very pretty and works well with the rustic, irregular texture of the yarn.

Etc: The hats I have made for my knitting friends have caused me the most anxiety-- they can make themselves whatever they want, after all. Leah's hat made me especially nervous because she has such a distinctive style. I think she likes it-- and she has at least one outfit to wear it with!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

We Call Them Pirates, Part Trois

The bright side: my brother-in-law* wears the hats I have made him a lot... which is why the first one ended up destroyed and the second one got tangled up in some clothes headed for the washing machine. So, here we go again:


Project Notes

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash Sport. Let it not be said that I can't take a hint.

Pattern: We Call Them Pirates by Adrian Bizilia. I love this pattern-- and I know I was just arguing against large motifs in colorwork two days ago. The difference between these skulls and those (damn) whales: fewer rounds with long floats. MUCH less tedious.

Etc: I was thinking about adding an inscription to the inside of the brim-- something like "Don't #$^& This One Up!" I think Josh might actually find that funny-- but the truth is, I didn't mind making it, even for the third time. Handknits should be worn and loved-- there is no better way to return the affection with which they were made. Though I do hope that this one will stand up to a bit more love than the last...

*Whom I previously referred to as "a famous destroyer of knitwear"-- he remains a credible threat, I guess.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Whale Watch Hat

Today's installment of 52 hats is an illustration of a nearly universal principle: If a hat looks ridiculously huge on me, it will probably fit someone with a normal-sized head pretty well.

Hmmm... maybe if I was a Rastafarian?

It kind of oozes down the back of my neck

That's a lotta extra brim...

Yeah, I give up.

Now let's see it on someone with a less freakishly tiny head:

Well... it fits anyway.

No comment.

Project Notes

Yarn: Harrisville New England Shetland. I purchased a you-know-what load of this yarn to make Caller Herrin'-- evidence of which has not appeared here since August. In the meantime, I discovered I had the colors needed for Whale Watch. After completing both hats, I still have LOADS leftover. No complaints-- I'm looking forward to a few pairs of colorwork mittens.

Pattern: Whale Watch Hat by Kate Gagnon Osborn.* I was smitten from the moment I saw this in New England Knits, but I can't really say I had fun knitting it. I love colorwork when the patterns are small. I fairly flew through the Setesdal Love Hat-- both times I knit it... These whales are a different story. I had to continually re-tension my yarn to deal with the long floats-- tedious, in a word. This isn't really the fault of the pattern, just the reality of stranded knitting.

Etc: If only I could convincingly swear off knitting these kinds of patterns, I would probably cut my profanity usage by a significant percentage... but I can't deny that the result is adorable. I just need to find a head to put it on!

*I apparently love her designs-- this is the fourth I've knit for this project!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Waffel Hat

Yes, I checked the spelling-- since this pattern is from a Norwegian designer, I'm guessing that's Norwegian for... waffle? I could be wrong. In any event, here is my latest victim, fresh off a three night stretch:

And she still has a smile on her face after a two hour quality meeting...

Maybe it's the hat... or maybe it's the short distance to the elevator?

Project Notes

Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Geranio-- not an exact match for Nicole's winter jacket, but I think it's lovely with her complexion.

Pattern: Waffel Hat by Anna & Heidi Pickles. Like I said, I think the pattern was originally written in Norwegian, but the stitch pattern and instructions were too simple to be defeated by a less-than-perfect translation. The gathers in the ribbing are created by wrapping the yarn around groups of stitches and then knitting them-- I'm not going to lie, I found this part to be quite tedious, but I love the result!

Etc: Nicole works nearly every weekend and I do not, so it's always a treat when our paths cross. She has invented many ways to liven up the night shift, particularly the weekly narcotics count, which used to be a dreaded task. She also appreciates it when I make up songs about Sugar Free Popsicles, which makes her instantly hat-worthy in my book.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pup Tent

It's been a few days since Hat 47 left my clutches, and I kind of miss having it around-- it spent a couple of weeks just sitting around my house looking gorgeous. Pardon me while I fetishize:

Project Notes

Yarn: Shelter-- my love for this yarn shows no sign of diminishing. The folks at Brooklyn Tweed were kind enough to let me come to the warehouse and pick up the single skein of Sap I needed... turns out, the recipient now works at said warehouse and has the opportunity to roll around in giant piles of Shelter* on an almost daily basis. Damn her.

Pattern: Pup Tent by Catherine Gamroth. The simple texture stitch pattern only looks like cables-- tricky, tricky!

Etc: I'm happy to report that Bristol is not yet too jaded to enjoy her hat-- though I think that perhaps the color has something to do with it. And I may or may not have acquired my own small pile of Shelter to roll around in... I mean, to make this! That's right, folks, there is a light at the end of this tunnel of hats, and it's getting brighter every day.

*AND now Loft!! I'm looking for a very flimsy excuse to start hoarding this yarn.


I can't remember if this was a September or October hat. My Ravelry projects page tells me it was number 43... in any case, the backlog continues to shrink, and I think Tillie here looks pretty cute on her new owner:

Project Notes:

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed-- purchased at the closing sale of the yarn store that I used to be able to walk to. Even though the owner earned her nickname (The Stitchy Witch) many times over with appalling rudeness to customers, it's still sad when a yarn store closes.

Pattern: Matilda and Tillie by MK Carroll-- an adorable and clever pattern, if a bit hard to follow at times. I had a hard time figuring out the brim instructions-- there are multiple variations and it seems there have been multiple revisions to the pattern. Human error also played a recurring role, as it almost always does-- I made multiple attempts to join the brim to the crown before figuring out that I had made the brim way too long. The end result justified the effort, anyway.

Etc: I love how this turned out and I think it suits Chris very well-- which is a relief because I wasn't sure what kind of hat she might like. Once again I am grateful for Ravelry. Where else can you (harmlessly) stalk fellow knitters' projects and favorite patterns? Not that I spend hours doing it or anything... as a side note, this is my 100th post!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

1840 Nightcap

I had a productive, fun-filled, and restful weekend, so I think I'm ready to face hat 47:

So pretty! Let's just try it on...


I know I have a tiny head, but this is ridiculous.

Reading the pattern, I had my suspicions that it would be too big-- the suspicions were confirmed when I finished the brim section. But... rather than start over immediately and risk delaying production on my final five hats, I decided to keep knitting. On and on and on and on... there's enough time in one week to knit a huge hat that you know will not fit, but not half of a huge hat plus one whole normal sized one. Not in lace weight yarn on size zero needles, anyway.

SO, for the purposes of 52 hats, I'm going to consider this done. Come December 1st, I'm ripping it out to start anew-- should have plenty of time to finish before Christmas... right?

Project Notes

Yarn: Malabrigo Sock, which, in my opinion, is lace weight. It is soft and lovely, but I can't imagine making socks from it-- I don't think it would stand up to that kind of abuse.

Pattern: 1840 Nightcap by Franklin Habit-- a scrumptious pattern adapted from a vintage knitting book. My only quarrel is with the math-- 208 stitches at 8 stitches/inch does not yield a 22 inch circumference, at least not in my universe. For my redo, I'm going to cast on 169 for the lace border, then increase to 171 for the brim and crown-- and instead of 4 decreases every 3 rounds I'll do 3, so the length remains the same.

Etc: This was fun to knit, so I don't think I'll mind making it again-- that is, if I can face another hat after November 30th...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bill's Beanie

This morning I reluctantly released hat 48 into the wild-- I just didn't think it was as good as I could have made it. This guy, however, has no complaints:

Look out woodland creatures-- he'll be wearing this hunting tomorrow!

I was also somewhat reluctant to leave work this morning-- it's hard to leave unfinished business when you've been practically glued to a patient's bedside for an hour. So I had a real exercise in letting go-- it helps that Bill is super-competent AND thinks his hat is great as is. Still, I couldn't stop myself from assuring him that I had plenty of yarn in case the hat was too short...

Project Notes

Yarn: Knit Picks City Tweed HW. Near the outset of this project, I bought four balls of City Tweed and it's nice yarn for hats because it's very very soft. I don't love it, though-- it lacks body. I wish I had gone down a needle size or two more for the ribbing. I seem to always have this problem with yarns that have high alpaca content-- but awareness has not yet stopped me from buying them.

Pattern: Just yer basic top-down beanie. I used the increase instructions from Matilda and Tillie by MK Carroll-- another forthcoming project!

Etc: My coworkers are caring, funny, capable, hardworking, and generally awesome-- knitting hats feels like the least I can do to show them my appreciation. I can't help wishing that I had made the ribbing just one inch longer, but as my work schedule doesn't always coincide with Bill's, it would have delayed the gift by a week or more. And it's starting to get downright wintry out there-- not the sort of weather to go about hatless.