Friday, April 29, 2011

Baroness Beret

In honor of Royal Wedding Day-- a marvelous day for hats, incidentally-- I give you a titled hat:

Is a Baroness the wife of an Earl? Or is that a Countess? These things confuse me so...

It so happens that I was awake* when the festivities began at 4AM EST... and I shall soon retire, so I'll be brief.

Project Notes

Yarn: Fibre Company Khroma

Pattern: Baroness Beret (Rav link) by Susan Power

Techniques: Tubular cast on... in the round for extra credit!

The Bottom Line: 18 down, 34 to go...

*I was at work!**

**Not that there's anything wrong with staying up all night to watch the wedding of the century***

***Be that as it may, I didn't really watch-- how was it?!****

****Oh, who am I kidding-- I was glued to it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Three Things

1) I had a smashing weekend with four of my favorite people on earth-- should you care to see pictures, they are here. Sarah is a far better (and more ruthless) documentarian than I.

2) If you do end up taking a look, you'll notice first off that I got some knitting done.* Citron is a mere five rows away from FO status:

3) My blogging mojo is still MIA. I had grand plans for a tutorial post on hemmed edges... but that shall have to wait until next week. Right now, I prefer to contemplate my upcoming vacation and what to do with all of this:

Purchased in anticipation of my first dyeing class!

*Including, ahem, a few of Vickie's outsourced tasks...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Neck Warmer Hat

I have been semi-deliberately AWOL from blogging for over a week* and it is with dread and loathing that I now drag myself back to the keyboard... because, friends, the hat-knitting continues-- relentlessly-- and there is nothing worse when you are sick of something (blogging, at the moment) than letting it slide to the point that you have to do it non-stop to catch up. So, without further ado, hat 17:

This one's kind of a cheater, because it's also... a cowl!

Project Notes

Pattern: Neck Warmer Hat by Elissa Sugishita-- from the book Knitted Gifts. I have flipped through this book numerous times, but for some reason this "hat" never jumped out at me before. Maybe it's my subconscious brain trying to tell me "Enough with the hats already!" Sorry, subconscious brain, we still have 35 to go! Anyway, the pattern is very simple-- just the thing for showing off a special yarn...

Yarn: Diakeito Diarufuran. Discontinued. Japanese. Absolutely gorgeous. It was a gift from Vickie that I have been treasuring for several years now-- and lamenting that purple just isn't my color. I was nervous about finally using it... and I'm not going to lie, it was bittersweet. There's enough left over for a pair of matching wrist-warmers-- though I will be sorry indeed to see the end of it.

The Bottom Line: I was hoping to savor the experience of knitting this a bit more-- one of the drawbacks of a frantic knitting agenda, I suppose. But now that it's finished, I just want to stare at it all day long.

Those colors... sigh.

I'm shall be deliberately AWOL from blogging until next week... this weekend I have a reunion with four lovely ladies I went to college with, and I'm not going to allow myself to get into a bad mood to spoil the anticipation. Perhaps a bit of girly fun will recharge my creative battery...

*Okay, nearly two weeks... !

Friday, April 8, 2011

Setesdal Love Hat

I finally finished my fourth Quince hat yesterday. It's been a WIP since February 28th, and to call it a huge pain in the ass is only a slight overstatement. Luckily, the final product justifies the effort:

Sadly, it's still cold enough outside to require a hat...

I've actually made this hat twice-- the first time it was unreasonably large. That's right, I knitted an entire stranded colorwork hat-- in fingering weight yarn, on size 3 needles-- without, at any point, checking my gauge-- what can I say, I like to live dangerously. And since I don't know anyone who wants a hat that looks like the Swedish Chef's toque, I started over.

I know at least one person who wants this hat- me!

Project Notes

Yarn: Quince and Co. Chickadee-- oh, how I love this yarn! Chickadee is Quince's fingering weight offering, and I thought it would be a pretty good substitute for the (very expensive and hard to find) yarn called for in the pattern. I was a bit worried that it wasn't going to have the appropriate amount of drape, but I needn't have-- it blocks beautifully. The Quince color selection makes this such a fun yarn for colorwork-- I used Petal, Apricot, and Rosa Rugosa, but there are a ton of other combinations that I can envision for this hat.

Pattern: Setesdal Love Hat by Kate Gagnon Osbourne. I knew I had to make this hat the moment I saw it in Knitscene. My only beef with the pattern is that the pictures in the magazine do not accurately represent the degree of slouchiness-- this is definitely a floppy hat.

The Bottom Line: I couldn't be happier with how this turned out, and I love having a springy hat to wear while Mother Nature takes her time waking up from winter. Up until now, I haven't done colorwork in more than two colors, and as I knitted this, I really loved watching the wonders worked by adding a third color to the mix. However... I feel that I may soon take a longish break from colorwork hats. I almost inevitably have gauge and fit issues that necessitate ripping back or starting over-- both of which activities aren't exactly compatible with knitting a hat every week. The hat I'm currently working on is on its third reboot... so far. So there shall definitely be some simpler hats coming in the immediate future!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sure signs of Spring

The snow is gone-- for good, I hope!-- and things are re-emerging:

These guys survived six inches of wet, heavy April snow-- way to go, crocuses!

Lost mittens and gloves-- Fort Williams has a bumper crop.

Perhaps it's finally safe to put away the winter coats and boots...

Friday, April 1, 2011


Mother Nature is playing a rather cruel-- and not at all funny-- April Fool's joke on all of us here in Maine. I do not in any way condone this, nor do I wish to encourage further hijinks, but I must have a backdrop for my third Quince hat:

Snow in April-- so unkind.

But that is ALMOST the actual color-- way to go, camera!

I must confess, I really love this one. To the point that I'm thinking of keeping it for myself... Alicia, consider yourself warned. I made this for your birthday, but you may have to arm-wrestle me for it.

Project Notes

Yarn: Quince and Co. Lark. This is an unassuming yarn-- and I didn't think I was going to like it at first. It has a very sturdy-- even stiff-- feel in the skein and before blocking the hat, I was able to get it to stand up straight on my head, much to the amusement of onlookers. But it was lovely to work with, and blocking really transforms it-- now it is soft, dense, smooshy, and has just enough drape. At $5.50 for a 134-yard skein, I'll be back for more.

Pattern: Empire by Kirsten Kapur. I have only recently discovered Kirsten's designs-- and her blog, Through the Loops-- but I already have a huge crush. Her designs are so cool and clever-- and this hat was really fun to make. I love how the shifting rib pattern resembles cables-- the brim also features another variety of fake cable. Now, don't imagine for a moment that I don't enjoy cables, but when you can get the effect for half the effort, everyone wins, right?

Techniques: I have never made a tassel before-- it's a straightforward process, but I somehow had a mental block when it came to attaching it to the hat. I couldn't find any online tutorials, so in the end I just threaded the ends of the tie securing the top of the tassel through the hole at the top of the hat and weaving them in using duplicate stitch. I found that it was important to occasionally stitch through the tassel itself in order to properly secure it.

The Bottom Line: Empire may or may not be on my head as I'm writing this. I may or may not be planning to "accidentally" "lose" it before I get a chance to deliver it to its new owner... who, I have a hunch, is going to love it. My infatuation with simple stitch patterns is growing-- and, as I've mentioned before, I think the Quince yarns really shine in simple texture stitches. Also cause for celebration: I met my goal of posting all of my backlogged hats! In spite of Mother Nature's childish pranks, I feel like April is starting off on the right foot.