Friday, January 14, 2011

Floating Spiral Hat

Today I'm going to try something relatively new: sleep-deprivation blogging! Since Tuesday, I have slept a grand total of... 15 hours? Delirium hasn't set in yet, but, hoo boy, I can see it coming. I figure I have about two or three hours until all but life-sustaining brain functions go on critical override, so I'd better roll out my new hat before it's too late.

For those of you counting, this is #6-- 52 hats is more than 10% done!

Sleep-deprivation modeling is also somewhat dodgy.

I love the texture and the slightly pointy crown-- hope the recipient does too.

Project Notes

Yarn: KnitPicks City Tweed HW. When I purchased this, I didn't have a specific purpose in mind-- shocking, I know. One of my reasons for starting 52 hats was to give myself permission to try lots of different yarns. You know, for fun. Well, I got wild and crazy one day and ordered FOUR different colors of this, so you will be seeing it again. Tweed yarns often seem crunchy and itchy to me. Not this one-- it's almost huggable and has a lovely, fuzzy halo. It's spun very loosely, so the cables don't stand out dramatically-- I actually like the effect with this pattern, but if you want your texture stitches to really POP, you might be disappointed. As a side note, I had to restrain myself from plucking out all the different-colored fluffy bits as I was knitting. Maybe it's the loose texture of the yarn-- or maybe it's just a personal problem. In which case I'm probably not cut out for tweed knitting.

Pattern: Floating Spiral Hat by Owen Wiesel-- from Interweave Knits Winter 2009. Yeah, this one's not a freebie. Another shocker. While I'm a shameless free-pattern slut-- yeah, I said it-- there are plenty of designs for which I would willingly pay. In fact, I am sometimes shocked (and delighted) by some of the amazing stuff people give away. Now that I have started writing up my first original design, I realize how much work goes into even a fairly simple pattern. But I digress. This is an extremely clever design-- as you work, the beginning of the round migrates, and the cables create a spiral around the circumference of the hat. The effect is beautiful, but it does make it difficult to "read" your knitting if you lose your place. Definitely not the kind of thing you can zone out with in front of the tube.

Techniques: Tubular cast-on-- I love the clean, finished look of this cast-on, and nothing stretches quite like it. As I mentioned in my WIP Wednesday post last week, I figured out how to work it in the round-- I say figured out because I really didn't find any good tutorials out there. In fact, many of the tutorials I did find seemed to suggest that it wasn't possible to do a tubular cast on for knitting in the round. That is nonsense. I'm not going to bore you with the details here because I'm going to try to write a tutorial on the subject... someday. I also tried cabling without a cable needle for the first time, and I think it's a great technique to learn. If you have cabled the "normal" way, I think you'll find it pretty easy, if a bit heart-stopping the first time you leave live stitches dangling in mid air! Here's a tutorial from Knitty-- you'll have to scroll down for the "without a cable needle" instructions.

The Bottom Line: I love the design, and I'm proud of myself (I think) for taking a chance on the yarn. I can officially cross a name off my Christmas list-- and it's only January!-- though I'm very tempted to give this to the recipient now. We'll see how long I can resist.

Winter has-- finally!-- arrived in Maine. I'm going skiing tomorrow-- I love gliding through the woods on new-fallen snow. Right now, I'm off to gawk at some FOs while I still have the attention span-- I apologize in advance for any nonsensical comments...


  1. I love this hat! I might be in one of my favorites that you've made so far! What are you going to do with so many hats? Have you started to gift them? I think the 52 hat thing is a great way to try yarn, as you said.

  2. I love that all-over texture of your newest hat. It is nice to know that the City Tweed is soft too. I would love to use it for a cardigan sometime.
    Wow! 10% of your hats done! I'm impressed. Have fun skiing. : )

  3. What a great pattern and choice of yarn!

  4. It looks SO cozy! Perfect for the weather outside. And thanks for knitting with the city tweed -- I have it in mind for a sweater, but haven't taken the plunge yet. Hope you get some good sleep soon!!

  5. Interesting pattern - and the designer is a grad student at Princeton. Nice to see other academic types designing.

  6. Gorgeous. I love the slightly-pointy crown, too, and the woven look of the cables is lovely. Definitely a pattern worth paying for. And the little fluffy bits on the yarn look great on the finished product, but I can understand your impulse to pluck them off while you were working with it!

  7. @Tami-- what I'm going to do with all the hats seems to be the BIG question. Most of them will go to specific people (including myself!) and I'll probably donate some to charity. We'll see if I run out of recipients.

    Thanks everyone for reading!

  8. Wow, that is a GORGEOUS hat. I love cables and when they're designed in such a cunning way, I am smitten. The hat fits and looks great!

  9. Hey, I just came across this post (almost 5 years too late?) and just wanted to say Thanks! It makes me really happy to see how much you enjoyed the pattern.

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