Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Completing The Trio

Hat number three,  off the needles. 
This is so much fun.  I'm sure I will get bored with it eventually - completing a FO every few days, frequently  having to search for new pattern, new yarn. Sigh!  But for now, after a season of several sweaters,  these quick and easy knits are so  much fun.

Today I have the 1898 Hat.  This one has often caught my eye on ravelry for its seemingly great fit.  And it did not disappoint. Although not as quick a knit as the 1920 Stripes, and not, perhaps, as stylish as either the Downton or the 1920s, it is nonetheless an excellent, warm hat that exudes pioneer practicality.

The unique construction begins with a garter stitch headband with built-in ear flaps.
 This piece is knit twice as wide as needed and folded in half to provide  double thickness over the ears.  The fold occurs along  a three-stitch, slip-stitch, line of stockinet stitches in the centre of the garter-stitch width.  Those three stitches, knit on the right side, slipped on the wrong side, form a  fold line  that is a bit tighter than the rest of the head band and therefore  rolls  inwards to hug the head when worn.  Great design.

Once the headband portion is complete, stitches are picked up around the edge and knit upwards to form the crown. Mine was knit with  Patons Classic Wool, left over from My Valentine and with 4.5mm needles.

It might not be the most fashionable but I love its no-nonsense, hats-are-meant- to- keep-your- head-warm style. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

1920 Stripes

Wow.  This   'year of the small'   is certainly motivating with its several-per-week FOs.

Sticking  with the same era as the Downtown Hat   I knit a 1920 Stripes.
A fairly new, Cabin Fever pattern, that  was such fun to knit.  Knit with chunky yarn on size 6mm needles, it flew by.  For me, fast almost always  equals  fun.

I used stash yarn for the entire hat.  The white for the stripes was leftover from my Moose Eh? sweater.  (You never saw that sweater as I ruined it so completely by thinking  I could design it better than the designer that I tossed it upon completion.) The yarn was a lovely, soft, chunky weight and its leftovers look great in this hat.  For the main colour, I used a doubled strand of Shelridge Yarns DK in blue.

With most Cabin Fever  designs, at first glance, a knitter might think - 'Oh yea.  Another sweater/hat/mitten pattern.'  Often though, there is  a technique or two of technical genius that makes the design a teaching tool within a pattern.  1920s Stripes is no exception.  Basically a toque it seems.  There are  some reverse stockinet ribs and short rows that create a longer-in-front-than-back style.
Reverse stockinet?? Short rows?? Been there done that, one might say.

BUT - the short rows are done with CF's latest, easy-peasy method - the Twinned Stitch Short Row.  Such an improvement  - easier to do and better results - than the wrap&turn type.Then there is the crown of this hat.  Four decrease points, two at the centre front and two at the centre back. When the stitches are decreased by 50% the opening is closed with a three needle bind off.  It looks like this.

 How cool is that?

Again, I say, Wow!   A big WOW! for the pattern - thanks, Deb.  And a lesser Wow! for my already growning list of FOs.  As of January 8, I have three pieces, all started and finished in the new year.  At this rate, I should see the end of my stash in 2016. Not many knitters can say that.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Fast Finish

Wow.  What a difference size makes.  Knitting small means finishing fast.  My second small project of the new year is finished.

This is Downtown Hat.

Knit with Shelridge Yarn DK weight for the body and a no-name bit of mohair grabbed at one of Sandy's Sister Sue's Great Yarn Give-Aways. All done on 3.25 mm needles.

This hat has been in my queue since one of my Ladies With Balls knit one for the 2014 Olympic Challenge.
You can see her in the photo above - well, not really. You can see the hat but not her as her hat turned out way too big. 

Knowing that,  I chose the teen size and it fits just right.  Also, seeing the droopy brim, which even the designer comments on, I tacked my folded brim to the hat to avoid the droops.

 I found the pattern a bit lacking.  The knitting starts with a top rectangle.  Stitches are then picked up around the edges of the rectangle and knit down forming the sides of the hat.  The patterns calls for a gauge of 40 rows to 4 inches.  OR 10 rows to the inch.  When the sides are started the pattern states to continue until 24 rows have been knit but gives no measurement for cross referencing.  At 24 rows, the hat would be less than two and a half inches deep.  Nowhere close to covering my ears.  SO I just kept knitting until the hat was about 5 - 5 1/2 inches.  It fits perfectly.

I like a hat that has form to it, as mine appears  to have when photographed atop my hat box.  Sitting there, mine  looks like the one in the pattern.  But on the head, the form is lost.  It sits like a fancy toque.  Like  this one.   Nonetheless, with its doubled mohair brim covering the ears, it is very warm and cozy and would have been a great hat for the winter of 2014 or 2015.  This year, not so much.  But this is Canada.  Cold will come again.

I feel very au courant with my year of small.  Across the nation, tiny houses are replacing the McMansions.  Here at the Harris household, tiny knits are replacing full size pieces.  Cheaper, faster, funner.   My motto for 2016.