Knitting Has Occurred

Yes, people, I have been knitting, and what follows is a round-up of my most recent FOs and WiP.

A hat I knitted to match a pair of fingerless mitts I made last fall. The picture captures the color of the yarn pretty closely. Yes, the yarn is my very own handspun, the fiber being Falkland dyed by Dana of Unwind Yarn in the coloway Flirt.

Here’s that hat along side the mitts. The yarn is more reddish than pink. The pattern is Woodside Mitts by Paula McKeever. It’s a lot of fun to knit and is very stretchy.

I started the hat not knowing whether I had enough yarn left to finish it. I just kept knitting until I was out of yarn. I had a little mini-skein set aside for the pompon. Originally I was going to just graft the ends together, but I decided when I was nearly finished to do a few rounds of crown decreases. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down how I did the decreases, but it turned out way better than I was expecting.

Another project knitted from Unwind Yarns fiber, Falkland in the colorway Viola, that I spun. These are the Nalu Mitts, and I made them for one of my nieces. I need to get them in the mail. I came down with the crud shortly after I finished them and am only just now starting to feel human again.

This is closer to the real-life color, but still not quite there. The pattern looks complicated, but it really isn’t. The only tricky part is working the seed stitch on the outside “curve” but in all honesty, even that isn’t particularly tricky. I love this pattern, but since the mitt is mostly stocking stitch, which isn’t very stretchy, it’s best to make these just a little on the snug side so that they don’t droop and bunch up.

Here’s a close-up shot of a strand of the yarn on top of the knitted fabric. This yarn is a 2×2 cabled yarn which, when unknitted, looks like a chain. But when it is knitted up, it looks like the 4-ply yarn it is. The color in this picture is pretty close to the RL color, too. If you can picture something in between this picture and the one above it, you’ve got it.

For those not in the know, a cabled yarn is a yarn that consists of two or more plied yarns that have been plied together. A 2×2 cabled yarn is made by plying 2 singles together to make a 2-ply yarn, then plying two strands of the 2-ply yarn together to make a cabled 4-ply yarn. For this yarn, I spun the singles Z-twist (clockwise), plied them together S-twist (counter-clockwise), then plied the 2-ply together Z-twist (clockwise). This makes a very round yarn that has great stitch definition and is a lot of fun to knit.

I currently have only one project OTN and I plan to stay monogamous until this project is completed because it’s a baby blanket for a baby who has already made her appearance. I was a little late getting this project started, so I would like to get it done as quickly as I can.

The baby blanket, which is being knitted in the round using Knit Picks Bare Stroll Fingering Sock yarn. The turquoise bit is the Rosemarie’s Belly Button Start. (I linked to the URL for the BBS, but I don’t think the link works anymore.)

The pattern is a MMario design called Templeton, and I plan to finished the blanket with a knitted-on edging from a baby blanket pattern called Star Light Star Bright by Anna Dillenberg Rachap. I got the inspiration for combining these two patterns from a fellow Raveler, suespins. I love to peruse the finished projects of patterns I plan to knit.

I have been practicing a left-handed knitting technique commonly referred to as Portuguese-style knitting on the baby blanket, and I have rapidly become very comfortable with this style of knitting. It is especially handy for doing stranded colorwork which is why I wanted to learn to do it. I currently do stranded colorwork two-handed, throwing with my right hand (English/American) and picking with my left (Continental). This works well and is comfortable for me, but I have tension issues because my tensioning when knitting Continental is rubbish. With Portuguese-style knitting, my tension is remarkably even and consistent, and because you can purl rather than knit (and the purl side is the side that faces the knitter), there’s far less chance of having floats that are too tight or too loose. I wish I had known about this technique for colorwork a long time ago.

I’ve been doing some spinning, and even a little experimenting with different drive systems, but I haven’t been keeping very good records. I haven’t even recorded my last couple of projects on Ravelry. Bad spinner. Bad! But I will do my best to reconstruct what I did and I’ll share my finished skeins soon.



















This Is What Happens…

Okay, so I want to knit something spectacular, maybe a big lace shawl or a fancy sweater. But I just can’t figure out which pattern, what yarn. So instead, I have a zillion small projects OTN.

I am knitting this Skyp Rib Hat based on the Skyp Rib Socks pattern to match a pair of mitts I knitted as part of my participation in the 16-Point Club in the Ravelry group Fingerless Glove Fanatics.

These are the Skyp Rib Mitts which I knitted for the 16-Point Club. I converted the Skyp Rib Socks pattern into a pattern for fingerless mitts. They yarn is an Opal handpainted sock yarn (color #17, Multi), and it probably wasn’t the best choice for the pattern, but the pattern was a good choice for the yarn. Capisce?

More fingerless mitts, these doing double duty for both the FGF 16-Point Club and the April 2016 MKAL (Mystery Knit-A-Long). This is clue #1 of the pattern, which is called Shadowplay. It’s corrugated ribbing, not my favorite thing to knit, but it looks great. I’m using complementary colors, which is one of the challenged of the 16-Point Club. The yarn is some Sisu sock yarn I had in my stash. It’s a nice, soft yarn, but it is splitty, so I don’t recommend it.

Yes, another pair of fingerless mitts, and yes, these are part of the 16-Poin Club. The stitch pattern is a waffle stitch, and I designed the mitts myself. I call them the Orange You Glad Waffle Mitts because they are mitts in a waffle pattern knitted in stash yarn, a ball of Brown Sheep Naturespun Worsted in the color Orange You Glad. Clever, aren’t I?

This is what happens when I cannot decided what to knit next. ::SIGH::







Woo-Hoo! FO Friday!

I actually have some knitting FOs to share today. All are knitted from my very own handspun. Here are pictures and descriptions.

Two hats knitted from the Andraste color way from Into The Whirled.

Two hats knitted from the Andraste color way from Into The Whirled.

On the left is the Andraste Turns A Square hat, which is Jared Flood’s Turn a Square pattern, a simple but fun beanie that I enjoy knitting. The pattern is written for using two colors of yarn, but it works really well with self-striping yarn, and you don’t end up with color jogs.

On the right is my A Head for Andraste hat, which is the Barley Hat from Tin Can Knits. It was a lot of fun to knit. I understand why it is such a popular pattern.

The hat and mitts below were knitted from yarn I spun using Bee Mice Elf fiber in the Fall 2014 Club colorway, which I call Rustle.


Rustling Leaves Slouchy Hat and Braided Cable Mitts were made to go together.

I didn’t use a pattern for the hat, and the pattern for the mitts is one of my own devising.

I had a lot of the “Rustle” yarn, about 8 ounces total, so I made this set of matching mitts and hat, too.

The mitts are the Braided Mitts by Tara Johnson (free download on Ravelry) which I modified for a better look and fit. I then “designed” the hat myself using the same cable as in the Braided Mitts pattern.

There are also two pairs of mitts knitted from Andraste, but I’m not quite ready to share those with you yet.

I have gotten a lot of pleasure out of Andraste and “Rustle.” First, I spun them up into beautiful yarn, then I knitted that yarn into lovely and useful articles of clothing. What comes next is the pleasure of wearing and/or gifting these handspun handknits.



Best Birthday Ever

I recently turned 60. 60? Really? How did that happen?

I happen to have an excellent husband; he’s loving, kind, generous, and thoughtful. He set out to make my 60th birthday the best birthday ever.

<Begin historic present tense>

It all starts a few weeks before the big day. The DH asks me if I’d like to go to a Pittsburgh Penguins game for my birthday.  The only NHL game I’ve ever seen in person was a preseason game–the Pens vs the Washington Capitals in the Giant Center in Hershey, PA–in which none of the “star” players participated. So, DUH!!! Of course I’d like to go to a hockey game in Pittsburgh for my birthday. He gets on the Internet and finds four seats together in the lower level of the Consol Energy Center for the night of October 15. The Pens vs the Buffalo Sabres. I like the Sabres. I love the Pens. Four tickets so we could bring the boy and his sock-worthy GF along. The excitement is building!

Next, the DH says to me, Let’s go to Bleacher Bums and I’ll buy you a hockey sweater for your birthday.

What? say I. You already bought tickets for a hockey game.

That’s as much for me as for you, says he. Let me buy you a hockey sweater to wear to the game.

Okay, say I.

I mean, it’s a no-brainer, right? So, we go to bleacher bums, and as soon as we walk in the door, I spy the hockey sweater I want.

Yep, a #87 Sidney Crosby dark blue alternate jersey, aka a Winter Classic jersey. Best birthday ever. But, believe it or not, it gets even better.

Gameday arrives. We leave Carlisle in the morning and hit the PA Turnpike headed west. It’s a glorious, sunny day, and the autumn leaves have set the hillsides ablaze. I have my knitting along and work on another Winter’s Coming hat, this one in two shades of pink, one of which is very purplish. The yarn is Brown Sheep Nature Spun worsted weight wool in Peruvian Pink and Victorian Pink.

Winter's Coming Again Hat

Knitting in the car makes trips go much faster. We have an uneventful trip and arrive safely at our hotel in Monroeville. We couldn’t get a room in the city; the hotels are filled because both the Pens and the Steelers have home games. After checking in and getting everything stowed away, we drive to the GF’s place in Shadyside where we visit, watch college football, and eat Chinese take-out until it is time to leave for the game.

We leave the house and walk to the corner to catch the bus that will take us to the CEC. It’s been along time since I’ve ridden public transportation, so I’m enjoying myself immensely. I have a lot of really good memories growing up of riding the bus with my Grandma B, and this bus ride is bringing them back. The bus stops right smack in front of the CEC, which is an amazingly beautiful building. We walk around to the other side because that is where the will-call window is, and we have to pick up our tickets at will-call.

The will-call entrance is across the street from The Igloo, aka Mellon Arena, but for me it will forever be the Civic Arena. The old arena is in the process of being demolished, but the demolition is barely underway, so there it stands in all its glory. I never attended a hockey game in the Civic Arena, but I have been there for a political rally, dog shows, and a jazz festival. It’s kind of sad to see it go because it is definitely a Pittsburgh landmark, but the building has outlived its usefulness.

We enter the CEC, pick up our tickets, go to our seats, and soak up the atmosphere. The CEC was built to be a hockey arena.

It is very well designed. When you sit down in your seat, you realize that you are seated high enough that you can easily see over the heads of the folks in the row in front of you. You can look to the sides and see the action on the ice without having to lean forward and obstruct the view of the people beside you. The seats themselves are wide and well-padded and surprisingly comfortable. And there is plenty of leg room, even for the 6’4″ DS.

Our seats have a perfect view of the face-off circle and goal net in what will be the Pens offensive zone in Periods 1 and 3. That means that during the warm ups, I get some really good looks at the Sabres goalie, Ryan Miller, who is one of my favorite hockey players.

You may remember him as the USA goalie in the last Winter Olympics. He looked so sad after the OT loss. If you don’t remember him from the Olympics, you might recognize him from the Comcast  Xfinity commercials where he’s playing air hockey with Shaquille O’Neal and says to Shaq, “You’re in MY world now.” I love that commercial. Miller isn’t in goal this game, but I have a nice unobstructed view of him in the goalie’s corner of the Sabres bench.

The hockey game is really exciting.

It’s a little disappointing that the Pens fall behind, but they keep scrapping and get within one point of the Sabres in the third period when Jordan Staal scores a goal in the net right in front of us. The ending of the game is very exciting, but the Pens fall short and lose 3-2.

Under normal circumstances I might be a little disappointed because the Pens lost, but nothing could put a damper on this day.

Greg and me enjoying the game.

On a day when I get to spend the day with my husband, son, and son’s GF; when I get to eat Chinese take-out; when I get to see an NHL game live and in person; when I get to wear my #87 hockey sweater to the game; on a day when I get to do so many wonderful things, something even better happened. I got to meet, live and in person, Michelle The Knitting Lady and her DH Mike. I have followed Michelle and Mike’s Pittsburgh Penguinss hockey adventures on Ravelry and Mike’s blog for a while now, and finally meeting them in person was a real thrill. I actually had a pretty nice view of Mike and Michelle from my seat at the opposite end of the arena thanks to the telephoto lens on my camera.

Knitting Lady Says Do It!

Yep, Michelle is knitting! She’s able to knit and watch hockey at the same time because she can knit without looking at her knitting. I can knit when I watch hockey on TV, but not when I’m at an actual game, so I didn’t bring my knitting to the game.

The day finally has to come to an end. We hop on the bus and make our way back to Shadyside. We look at our pictures, finish our Chinese take-out, drink a little coffee, watch a little college football, and do a lot of chatting. And the icing on the top of the cake? Alma the Cat makes up with me. Perfect ending to a perfect day. We drive back to Monroeville, get a good night’s sleep, and hit the road headed east. When we arrive home and walk in the door, we are greeted by a couple of kitties who are very happy to see us. You’re in MY world now. ☺

Best. Birthday. Ever.

Where To Begin?

Time has a way of getting away from me. I cannot believe that so much time has passed since my last blog entry. And now I have so much to report that one entry simply won’t do. If I report everything that has happened since my last entry in just one post, you will quickly become bored with reading me yammering on about hockey, knitting, birthdays, etc., etc., etc. So I shall break it down into smaller parts in order to keep your interest, dear reader of mine.

In answer to the title question, I think I will begin with my nemesis, Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Adult Surprise Jacket, or ASJ for short. The ASJ is back in time-out. It has been behaving very badly and doesn’t deserve my attention. I have tried to seam up the sleeves and shoulders using umpteen different methods, and everything I have tried comes out looking like hell. I hate this project more than any other knitting project I have ever done. I’d rather knit a 4ft x 7ft afghan with Red Heart yarn than make an ASJ with pure cashmere. As much as I love EZ, I have to say that this design is a big stinker.

Warning! Hockey Metaphor Ahead!

I consider the Adult Surpise Jacket to be the Alexander Ovechkin of knitting.

Ugly and obnoxious, it plays dirty. People talk like it’s the greatest player in the world of knitting projects, but when you shine the light of day on it, not only are you dumbstruck by how ugly it is, you realize that it is little more than an attention whore disguised as a knitting project.

I haven’t packed the ASJ away, yet, but I think I will do so soon because just looking at it lying on top of my knitting pile makes me queasy, kind of like seeing Alexander Ovechkin’s ugly mug.

End of hockey metaphor.

Sorry about that.☺

I bet you are asking yourself, Well, if Pinko Knitter isn’t working on her ASJ any more, just how is she spending her knitting time? I’m so glad you asked. I’ve worked some on my reworked Froot Loop Socks. Sock #1 is close to completion.

This is a fun pattern to work on, but it doesn’t go well with watching hockey on TV. Hockey takes a lot of concentration, so my hockey knitting must be totally mindless.

Mindless Knitting Project 1

Mindless Knitting Project 2

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. I made two, count ’em, two hats in “Blaze Orange,” also known as hunter safety orange. I supposed it isn’t surprising that one can purchase hand knitting wool yarn in such a bright orange. After all, hunters need to keep their heads warm just like everyone else. My older sister hunts deer and she subtly hinted that she would like a hat in orange. I Googled to find a source for blaze orange yarn and, violá! Bartlett Yarns in Harmony, Maine, offers a nice worsted-weight, woolen-spun, 2-ply wool in “bright orange.” Bright orange? That’s something of an understatement. I swear this yarn glows in the dark☺.

The Bartlett yarn is similar to Briggs and Little Regal, with lots of VM (vegetable matter, that is, vegetation that got caught in the sheep’s wool as it was out grazing and doing whatever it is that sheep do) that I picked out as I knit. I don’t mind VM in yarn because it is an indication that the wool has not be over-processed. The yarn from Bartlett is pretty scratchy before it is washed, but it softens a lot after washing. It also blooms a lot when washed. The beanie I knitted on 3.5mm needles looks almost felted since it was washed. I’m glad I used 4.0mm needles for the ribbed hat.

Preview of upcoming features: another hat, another sweater, more hockey, and a very special birthday. Stay tuned. You don’t want to miss a single episode.

In The Pink

I had an urge to knit some girly-girl hats, and there’s nothing more girly-girl than pink. I had Knit Picks Wool of the Andes on hand in two shades of pink, Rouge and Blossom Heather, as well as some WotA in White, so I went to work.

The Candy Stripes Rolled Brim Hat is my own design, which you can download by clicking here or clicking the Patterns link. It’s worked in Blossom Heather and White.

Next came the Sixteen Hearts Hat. This hat was inspired by the Loving Hearts Hat , but I completely redesigned the hat, changing even the colorwork chart. While the Loving Hearts Hat is knitted from the top down, I knitted my hat from the bottom up. I changed the heart pattern from a 12-stitch repeat to a 14-stitch repeat. This gave the hearts a little more space so they don’t look so jammed together. I used K-P WotA in Rouge and White, and to great effect, if I do say so myself.

If you like this hat, the pattern can be found here, or click on the Patterns link.

While I was working on these two hats, I couldn’t help but think about making a hat that used both shades of pink. The design that kept calling to me was Winter’s Coming (, which I had knitted in red and white a while back. I thought it would look lovely in Rouge with Blossom Heather as the contrasting color. I have named it Double Pink Diamonds Hat and here’s a picture of it for your viewing pleasure so that you, dear reader, can judge the result for yourself.

Which Came First, The Button Or The Hat?

I have fallen hard for button-tab hats. Buttons are a great way to embellish knitted hats, and the variety of buttons that are available is astounding. One can spend hours looking through buttons at the local fabric shop, not to mention spending lots of money. Buttons come in myriad designs, sizes, and materials, and the selection seems almost endless. So what comes first, the button or the hat?

Sometimes it’s the button that serves as inspiration. I made a trip to JoAnn Fabrics one day for the sole purpose of buying buttons to use as hat embellishments. I saw this big gold button and thought, Wow! That button would look great on a hat. But the hat would have to be all about the button; the button had to be the star. I had to select just the right yarn to show off this button, and I had to come up with a brim pattern that was proportional to the button.

I used Nature Spun worsted-weight wool in Navy Nite, which is a dark blue that is slightly purplish. This jewel-tone color provides a really nice backdrop for the big gold button, don’t you think?

I cast on 110 stitches on 3.75mm needles and because the button is 1-5/8s inches, I worked a 2-inch band using the garter rib pattern: row 1 (WS) k2, p2; row 2 (RS) k across. Then I bound off the first 10 stitches purl-wise and purled across, joined the knitting and knit the body of the hat in stocking stitch in the round. I did my standard crown decreases starting with k8, k2tog. After weaving in all the ends, I attached the button. I had my sister-in-law in mind when I made this hat, and when I showed it to her, sure enough, she loved it! The winters are cold where she lives, and the Big Gold Button Hat is sure to get a good work-out this winter.

Sometimes button-tab hats are built around a button, but sometimes the inspiration comes from elsewhere.

I joined Facebook a while back at the urging of my younger sister. I’ve reconnected with some childhood friends, and it has been fun catching up. I’ve been posting pictures of my knitting to Facebook and have gotten some very nice comments from my old friends. One of them, who now lives in Florida, rides a motorcycle. A burnt-orange colored motocycle. She admired my hats and jokingly said that I should knit her one in burnt orange to match her bike. I have a lot of good memories of this friend and have thought of her often through the years. I remember how much fun we had dancing in the old gym. Certain songs always bring her to mind. I can picture her so clearly in my mind’s eye dancing to those tunes.

Well, I just happened to have a ball of burnt-orange wool in my stash (Lion Brand Lion Wool in Pumpkin). So I thought about what sort of hat would suit this fun-loving and adventurous old friend who rides a burnt-orange motorcycle. What popped into my head was a button-tab hat, but I had to find the perfect button. I went through my stash of “extra buttons” and found a heart-shaped button that was exactly what this hat was calling for. And that’s how Button-Down Heart Hat was born.

I started with 3.5mm needles and a cast-on of 120 stitches. The rest is the same as the Big Gold Button Hat. After the hat had been washed and had dried thoroughly, I packed it up and sent it on its way to Florida. It arrived safely and now has a happy home with its new owner.

Who’da thunk buttons could do so much?

No Baby Knitting

Many years ago, when my older sister was expecting her third child, I knitted a couple of baby layettes–hat, sweater, and matching blanket. I still have the pattern book somewhere. The next time I run across it, I’ll set it aside so I can post pictures of the patterns I made. I know yinz are just dying to see them. 🙂

One of the sets was in a lace pattern, but at the time I didn’t know it was “lace,” and I certainly didn’t know that knitting lace is “supposed” to be hard. (It isn’t, but that’s an argument for another day.) I just followed the directions. Anyway, the layettes turned out well, although to this day I don’t know whether my sister ever got any use out of them. I lived far away from her at the time and didn’t get to see her and the kiddos very often.

Since that time, I haven’t done any baby knitting to speak of. I didn’t knit anything for my son when he was a baby, although I’ve knitted quite a lot for him as an adult. I did start a baby sweater for him, but I never finished it because he grew at a pace that far outstripped my knitting speed. I’ve knitted a few baby afghans over the years, but otherwise, there’s been no baby knitting in my life since the mid-1970s.

Then in early June, my younger sister asked a favor of me. A co-worker of hers had just had his first child, a boy, and because she thinks very highly of him, she wanted to give him something special to commemorate the event. She asked me to knit a baby hat as a gift for her co-worker. OMG! What a compliment! She thought that one of my hats would be a really special gift! How could I refuse.

The first step was choosing the right color. Her co-worker lives in India and is Hindu, and we wanted to make certain that we were using an appropriate color. We settled on blue, which is associated with manliness and courage and thus is a good color for a boy. 🙂 I had a lot of blue sock yarn in my stash, so I dug through it until I found just the right shade, Gjestal Silja Sock Yarn in color 307.

I had the perfect pattern, too, a spiral pattern used in Cathi’s Coast Cap. But because it has been so many years since I knit anything baby-sized except blankets, I had no idea about how many stitches to cast on or how big or small to make the hat. Google to the rescue! I found a pattern for baby hats that included multiple sizes, picked an appropriate size, and went to work. I had the hat finished in no time and sent it on its way to my sister so that she could mail it to her co-worker.

I don’t know how useful a wool hat is in India, but I’m certain that my sister’s co-worker appreciates so unique a gift. And I appreciate my sister’s high opinion of my hand-knitted hat.

Red Is The Color

Red is my favorite color. Red. Any shade of red. Crimson, scarlet, cardinal, maroon, burgundy, cerise, flame, auburn, garnet, ruby, vermillion, rose red, lipstick red, fire engine red, apple red, brick red… You get the idea. I love red. And it shows in my knitting. Here’s a sampling of some of my red hats.

Yes, it’s the Joe Cool pattern again, this time worked in Brown Sheep Nature Spun worsted weight in Scarlet (which is a gorgeous deep crimson color) and Natural. There’s nothing quite like white to make red really pop.

While I was working with these lovely colors of Nature Spun, I couldn’t help but think how well they match Oklahoma University’s crimson and cream. Although I am by no means an Oklahoma fan–OU is among my least favorite college footbal teams– my brother-in-law is a rabid OU fan, so I decided to bite the bullet and knit him an OU hat. Hey, at least I was knitting with colors I loved. LOL Anyway, I designed a simple OU logo chart and cast on 120 stitches, knitted a fold-up 2 x 2 ribbing, did the stranded colorwork, and finished up with the crown increases. And, voilà! The Boomer Sooner Hat is born.

The pattern for the Boomer Sooner Hat can be downloaded for free from the Patterns section of All Kinds Of Knitting.

Red is definitely a superstar color, but it doesn’t always have to hog the limelight. Sometimes is it quite happy to take a supporting role. In the Red Hearts Hat, the lovely orangy-red Nature Spun (Husker Red) shares the stage with some adorable little red heart-shaped buttons on a backdrop of black. This is a button-tab hat with a little stranded colorwork added; simple to make, stunning to wear. 🙂

Years ago, I bought some Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride worsted-weight wool in a dark red called Spice. I purchased the yarn specifically to knit a sweater that I gave to my younger sister. When the sweater was finished, I had nearly three balls of yarn left over. Well before my hat-knitting frenzy began, I saw a hat pattern that I thought would be perfect for the left-over yarn, and I planned to make my sister a hat to match her nice, warm, cozy sweater. But, meh! Hats? Who wants to knit hats? The yarn and pattern sat in my project cue for months and months. Then the Stanley Cup Playoffs Hat Trick began. I discovered the joy of knitting hats. So, finally, this hat got made.

The pattern is called Lock Gate, and I found it in the British knitting magazine Yarn Forward, No. 8, January 2009. Since that time, it has also become available on Ravelry under the name Redundancy by Sarah Wilson. The pattern is written for Brown Sheep Nature Spun, but because I was using Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride, which is more of an Aran-weight than a worsted weight, so I cast on fewer stitches (101), but otherwise I followed the directions. The cable may look complicated, but it is actually a very simple 1/1 that can easily be done without using a cable needle. I apologize for the not-so-great quality of the picture. The hat is no longer in my possession, so I can make another stab at getting a decent picture.

Whew! That was a hat whirlwind! Thanks for sticking with me to the end. 🙂

Hat Report I

I absolutely must get caught up on my hat blogging. The hats are still coming, and I’m falling farther and farther behind in sharing them with you, dear reader. So, here goes:

While surfing Ravelry for hat patterns, I found a hat that was decorated with big, dirty pints of porter. The pattern was offered for sale, with the proceeds going to the USO, but I’m too cheap to pay for a pattern I can reverse engineer with ease. So I made my own chart for the big, dirty pints, designed a hat, and knitted it with yarn from my stash. I call it the “Slainte! Hat” because slainte! is Irish for Cheers!

I would have preferred to use a darker brown, since Guinness is nearly black, but I had to make do with what I had, which was some Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Chestnut that has been in my stash for years. For the lucious, creamy head, Snickerdoodle, also K-P WotA from my stash, is the perfect color. The main color of the hat is a medium bluish-gray WotA called Mist. When I decided to knit this hat, I had a recipient in mind. The DH and I go out to eat once a week with two other couples. I’m not the only Guinness quaffer in the group, and one of the members of the group who is also a Guinness drinker was about to have major surgery. The hat was knitted especially for him.

Stranded colorwork patterns are fun to play with. The entire look of a pattern can be changed simply by reversing the colors. Normally the darker colors recede and the lighter colors come to the fore. I mention on my old blog how much I enjoy knitting the hats designed by Amy E. Anderson. I bought two of her hat patterns a couple of years ago and have knitted them numerous times, often adding my own touches, but keeping the colorwork patterns intact. Recently, after finding an old cache of K-P WotA in my stash, I thought that two of the colors, Snickerdoodle and Blueberry, would make a nice color combination in a hat. What better way to show of this color combination that knitting one of Amy’s patterns! I chose the Alberta Clipper pattern, but I didn’t want to make an earflap hat, so I used my standard hat pattern and incorporated the Alberta Clipper colorwork chart.

I used Blueberry as the main color and Snickerdoodle as the contrasting color. The resulting hat is really gorgeous, if I do say so myself.

In fact, I liked the Blueberry Clipper Hat so much that I decided to knit another one, only this time I reversed the colors, using Snickerdoodle as the main color and Blueberry as the contrasting color. Once again, the results were quite spectacular.

Here are the two hats side by side. It always amazes me how much different a colorwork pattern can look when you simply reverse the light and dark colors.

Nice, huh?

Keeping to the theme of stranded colorwork, I have one more hat to share in this post. This one is called Penguins and Snowflakes, and it is a pattern that I found on Ravelry.

I’m not in love with this hat or the pattern. The snowflakes are lovely and the penguins are cute, but there are places where the yarn floats are very long. I wove them in as I knitted, but I made the mistake of weaving them in at the same stitch each time and ended up with unsightly ridges, and the black yarn shows through the white.

If I had it to do over again, I would stagger where I caught the floats–And, really, there’s no excuse for my having made such a rookie mistake. I know better.–or else I would add a little diamond or heart in those long spaces in order to eliminate the long floats. Live and learn, eh? I’ve been considering ripping this hat out and reknitting it, but I’m not enough in love with the pattern to bother. LOL

Well, that’s four hats down and 10 or 12 to go. Maybe I should declare a hat moratorium until I get caught up. Nah!