Tuesday, 23 August 2016

KNIT: All the hats!

 Facebook/Instagram has just notified me that exactly 104 weeks, or 2 years ago, I posted this:
It's still the best feeling! My mumma is still awesome, knitting and crocheting away for charity and new great grandchildren, inspiring all of us with her independence and enthusiasm.

My very first hat attempts are still works-in-progress. It was spring and I tried knitting hats in cotton and bamboo, on double pointed needles.... it wasn't pretty. Since then I've reached out to the knitters amongst you, fondled your MadTosh cowls, hand-knit socks and snuggly cardigans, soaked up your thoughts and opinions, passed my mistakes over to be ripped and learnt to put life-lines in. 

My very first hat and my penultimate one (for this post).

I've moved from cloche style hats in 2015 to slouchy versions in 2016, I've even ventured back into the non-woollen with a self-drafted version that is simply perfect for days when it's a tad warm for wool.

Hat #1. Escargot by Veronica Parsons May-June 2015
Invigorated with my new found knitting experience on circular needles - the sleeves on my Liathite cardigan - I decided to try knitting a hat again, this time on circular needles.

It worked.

I had to draw/chart the instructions, as I couldn't visualise what I was knitting, the brim, or the snail. It otherwise came together easily enough in 8ply Bendigo Woollen Mills Rustic (feltable Australian wool) with accents of my 12ply BWM Stellar (50:50 Australian wool:bamboo)

I'll always be proud of my first hat, even thought it came out a bit wide and far too shallow, I wanted it felted and in hindsight, should have left it alone - it sits a bit high over my curls, so I don't reach for it much.

Hat #2. Sprig Cloche by Alana Dakos in Malabrigo Arroyo - 045 Circas colurway.
Oh how I adore this hat! I love all of the Botanical Knits designs, proper foliage decorating hats, mitts, scarves, cardigans and jumpers. The leafy brim was delightfully addictive knitting, I couldn't put it down and had to knit 'just one more' leaf. I was attempting to make a set of mitts to match and got worried about yardage, so I ordered a 2nd ball online - those following along on Instagram may recall my bewilderment during my first introduction to widely different colours in the same colourway. I knit the body of the hat from the 2nd skein.

Hat #3. Betsy by Jane Richmond in Malabrigo Twist in Grapes

Close on it's heels was my first attempts at lace. Yes, this is supposed to be a lacy pattern. I've since realised that I was knitting into the back of my yarn overs and closing them up - I learn something new with every pattern. I had an absolute ball knitting this up as well, it took me 5 days in August 2015. It's been a surprise hit in my hat wardrobe, super snuggly and is long enough to pull down over my ears and forehead, perfect for this Melbourne winter.

I know I'm not alone when I declare that one of the most rewarding things to knit are hats.

Fortunately I wear hats. I like a woollen hat in winter, they keep my ears warm and best of all, hide a mess of unruly curls during early morning school runs...

Hat #4. Man Hat by Haven Ashley in RedRidingHood yarns Belle 8ply

I have a wonderful DH, who deserved a hat of his very own for those cold mornings and afternoons. He gave me ideas of what he liked, then I let him loose on Ravelry with a tailored search. He chose the free Man Hat by Haven Ashley and it only took me a few rounds to remember how much I detest 1:1 rib. Lucky I love him. It's a broken rib with rest knit rows, which made it go faster - and I enlisted his mum to knit a few rows. That was a fascinating study into tension, our gauges were several needle sizes off and his hat has a lovely demarcation row where I hadn't realised. It's visible if you look for it ;)
The wool is lovely, and possibly started my fascination with shaded greys. It's the Incognito colourway in Red Riding Hood yarn's 8ply Belle Superwash and it was a gift from NZ by the lovely Stitchseekers who run the monthly Men in Knitwear calendar, check it out if you're ever in need of some eye candy paired with masculine knitwear ;)
Yes Maci, it smells like him ;)

Hat #5: My raspberry (non)beret, the Houzuki Hat (free) by Yoko Johnston in indie-dyed bluefaced leicester wool by Little Dipper Yarns

I had a lovely morning at the Handknitters Guild market in Coburg in June. I carried a swatch of my pink Liberty sweatshirting and held it up to the masses of gorgeous hand dyed yarns on offer - it actually made my choice easier by trying to complement it rather than being torn between so many desirable shades. That this Flamenco pink was on a non-merino base sealed the deal, I've been wanting to try different sheep breeds since I realised I could!

Needless to say, I converted my hank to a cake asap and cast on! The wool is a delight to knit with and the subtleties in the colour way are beautiful. The Houzuki hat pattern was clear and easy to follow, such a delight. I carried it around everywhere and found myself knitting 'just one more round' - simply the best feeling.

My modification was a rolled stockinette brim (as I was still scarred and couldn't face a ribbed band), as described on WoollyWormheads blog.

Hat #6. Self drafted Rustic Summer Tam - aka, lets have some fun and see what I've learnt!
In the string-like Shibui Twig - a blend of only 12% wool, with 46% linen and 42% recycled silk. I bought this at Sunspun Fine Yarn's sale, a completely spontaneous purchase based on how unexpectedly soft Jenny's was when we wound it into cakes, and a little bit of fascination with it. It's described as a sport or DK weight to knit with, yet is clearly barely a 4ply/fingering in thickness. It's designed to be used for airy summer garments, so, it's perfect for this.
I held the sock yarn Acorny by Blue moon fibre arts Socks that Rock lightweight doubled with the Twig for the brim as I worried about the lack of intrinsic elasticity in the Twig. And yes, it's a 1:1 rib that I didn't mind knitting, phew! Aren't the colours gorgeous? I have matching pair of fingerless mitts that are almost complete.
I had an absolute blast knitting this and making it up as I went. I have rows of purl/garter ridges and rows of eyelets, and a really cute spiralling decrease for the crown. It's the perfect non-hot hat for warm messy hair days - I love it!

It's been a wild ride! I've had a delightful time, I've met so many fabulous people and patted so many glorious skeins, hanks and balls of wool. I do rather like this knitting caper.
why yes, this is a gratuitous Maci photo!


  1. Wow, what a wonderful knitting journey, and such a lovely collection of hats! Very impressive!

    1. Thanks Dianne ;) I enjoyed revisiting the construction of each of them, I've learnt a lot over the 2 years!

  2. Great hats! I really like the DK yarn you used - pretty color and fun appearance.

    1. Isn't the pink beautiful! Ursula is a talented indie dyer, I adore the orange I nabbed at the same time. And the pattern was SO much fun too!

  3. This is ALL THE HATS! And they are all amazing!!!! What fabulous knitting adventures you have had :D

    1. ALL the hats!! It's been a wild ride! And now I can't help myself, maybe I need a black beret of my own, and a cream one, and ... and ... and... - so many pretty designs and new challenges out there ...
      Thanks Amanda ;)


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