Hats for charity

Since releasing my first and only pattern the Cosmonaut chunky hat, I have had big dreams of knitting it up in other yarn combos and adjusting it with tweaks… it is now nearly a year later and the yarn has sat in my craft room.

However inspired by my yarn diet – ie. knitting from stash, and the fact that at work we are collecting money and hats for the antifreeze project by off the fence, I decided to knit as many hats as I could in a few evenings.

I present you 5 hats made following my pattern with some modifications.

The first two follow the pattern as designed and add a pom pom. One notable thing is that the red pattern uses 2 yarns, as I ran out of the main dark red colour.

K3P1 brim – 

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This version just uses a different rib and only for 2.5 inches instead of 5 inches. The rest of the steps I follow just like in the pattern,

K2P2 hat 

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This version uses the pattern K2P2 throughout. Instead of knitting up to 8 inches I only knit up to 7 inches and then I fudged the decreases a little bit to stay sort of in pattern until done.

Stripey beanie version

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This one has been on my mind a lot. I had some of the dark red yarn and yarn from my original pattern version and thought they would look interesting striped together.

for this version I used 9mm needle throughout and cast on 52 stitches. I then striped the colours together every two rows using a jog-less method. As described below:

  • Begin a new stripe by knitting one round as you normally would in the new colour yarn.
  • Lift a stitch. Before starting the next round, use your right needle to lift the stitch below the first stitch of the left needle up onto the left needle.
  • Knit these two stitches together.

For images go to the source here.

 

 

Designing: What comes first for you?

I was wondering the other day about my own design process and other peoples. I am currently attending a “Design Masterclass” at my local yarn store and the format means we meet once a month for 4 months and explore designing our own garment or accessory based on some sort of inspiration.

During the process I got very blocked for the first 6 weeks. I was swatching and blocking swatch after swatch but never settling on anything to actually make. This got me thinking about other items I have made in the past and how I made them.

 

Fringe and Friends Knitalong 2016

This was a knit along hosted by Karen Templer of Fringe Association and she even provided a pattern for calculating your own raglan design. I kinda of knew what yarn I wanted to use, as I had just fallen in love with Brooklyn tweed shelter and wanted a marled jumper but with some black accents.

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So I knew it was going to be a top down raglan jumper and I wanted it to be simple to let the yarn sing. Hence you could say my main inspiration came from the yarn.

Wingit Top Down jumper

My Wingit top down jumper was started in a class with Anna Maltz at the lovely Wild and Wooly shop. I loved this class. I feel so free. For me this was mostly about designing something and getting good at 2 colour work. I grabbed a stitch dictionary for simple 2 colour charts and some yarn that was roughly the same weight and played with colours and shapes. It was such a freeing experience.

After each section was done I would think about what colours to use next and which sort of shape they should use. I used a variegated yarn I may not have used otherwise and it really pulls the whole design together.

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So this one was more of a process inspiration.

 

Cosmonaut Hat

My first ever design that I then wrote down as a pattern was my Cosmonaut Hat. This was purely inspired by Countess Ablaze’s amazing Space Cadet yarn. It sparkles! I wanted something simple to let her dye work be really shown off and ideally a massive pom pom.

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So inspired by the yarn I can up with a really simple chunky hat.

 

Current design

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My current design I am working on as part of a class started with a yarn again. I knew that I wanted to use Foxen meets merino to make a jumper or cardigan that has some lovely texture in it. When I started swatching the yarn though I felt it was a bit thin in terms of weight for my liking. It is kind of sport weight maybe even a light sport weight.

So I then went through my stash and found some Madelintosh merino light that I had a similar amount of. In an attempt to not buy anything extra and make use of my stash I started swatching.

Now I dislike purling but I really did like the purl side of my swatches. But I was determined to find a different textured stitch that I liked. But I couldn’t. I did think i’d be happy with the effect of stockinette and started making my jumper. However when I turned it inside out I really liked it. So I continuing to knit this in stockinette but the end result will be turned inside out.

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This one started with yarn and I got creative by just using my stash and my knitting preferences. 🙂

I guess I like winging it and experimenting as I go. This alongside some creative chaos provides me my happy place. 🙂

 

 

Pattern: Cosmonaut the Chunky Pom Pom Hat

As you know I fell hard for the super chunky yarn by Countess Ablaze called Space Cadet. I wrote a little love letter here.

A couple of friends saw my original hat I made and wanted one for themselves so I tweaked my pattern a bit and now have written it up and added it to Ravelry as a free pattern. It is super basic, but what I love is that it is perfect for showing off these amazing variegated yarns by the Countess and they are super quick to knit.

Making pom-poms from the yarn is really fun. I have made the hat with medium and large pom-poms and all work.

The ribbing is very deep so you can fold it. That is how I like to wear it but you could make it less deep to not have to fold it or wear it super slouchy.

It takes barely 2 hours to make, is great TV knitting and makes awesome presents as well.

I hope you enjoy making it and do let me know of any pattern feedback. I want to learn. 🙂

Review: Yarn Space Cadet – Countess Ablaze

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I am not sure if I will regularly post yarn reviews but I fell hard for this one and just wanted to share my infatuation.

Since I started knitting and building a bit of a yarn stash, I have spent a lot at Countess Ablaze. I love her style and yarn bases. Particular favourites are anything using Blue Faced Leicester. Love it.

Her most recent addition to her yarn bases is this Super Bulky, squishy, soft and above all sparkly Merino yarn named Space Cadet. I kind of knew I was sold on it when it was bulkier weight than DK and named something with Space in it! I have a weird soft spot (or you may call it weakness) for heavy weight yarns. Only recently have I found a love for finer yarns but I still crave a big squishy yarn.

 

Not only is this one Super bulky but it also comes in a massive 200g skein!! It is massive! See this comparison shot with a Fingering yarn skein. My yarn winder could not fit a whole skein on it. I had to cake the rest myself without tools.

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What is it like to knit? Well I abandoned all of my current projects (4 in total) to give this a go. I used 8mm and 9mm needles with a simple hat design in mind.

Above you can see the swatch and a medium to large pompom I made and I still have yarn left after completing the hat. It isn’t plied so you can get into some yarn splitting moments but I used my lykke wooden needles and it was pleasant to knit.

Post blocking I got 10 stitches per 4 inches in stockinette knitted flat using 9 mm needles and 10.5 stitches per 4 inches using 8mm needles.

I hence went forth and made a hat. I started a few times getting guidance from some free hat designs from purls soho such as: Snowy Day hat.

You can find the details on my Ravelry page. It is written in a really basic way as it is a basic hat with ribbing and then stockinette and a pom pom!

When you block your garment or swatch you will feel just how soft the yarn is. It kinda feels like it would dissolve, but don’t worry it is quite strong. It does however really bloom and become rather drapey for a super bulky yarn making it perfect for accessories against the skin in my opinion.

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And how have I not mentioned that it sparkles! It has 10% Manufactured Fibers – Stellina in it which is the sparkle! I love it. It may not be for everyone but it made the yarn for me.

Thanks Countess, this base is genius and I can’t wait to see more colours in it. This yarn takes quite a while to properly dry out after blocking so be patient. 🙂

Note: This is my personal opinion, I bought the yarn last week and loved it so much I wanted to share its awesomeness. 

Friday Favourites: Reversible hats

I hadn’t ever even considered this concept of a reversible hat but how genius is it? I love the combinations that are popping up all over the place.

The first that caught my attention was Femte by Sari Nordlund. I love the idea of the two different textures. It is subtle but really effective.

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© Sari Nordlund

For something involving colour work instead, how about this clever design Hiddenite by Kiyomi Burgin.

Hiddenite is a double layered, and fully reversible hat that can be worn with either side facing outwards. Knit as a sort of tube that is closed on both ends, your ears will essentially be covered by four layers (five layers if you count the colour work stranding) of fingering weight wool, which creates a super snug and cozy hat for the coldest of winter days.

Considering the horrible windy weather we have been having by the coast, this description sounds amazing.

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© Kiyomi Burgin

FO: Galloway Cardigan

In 2017 I wanted to try to knit some different garments such as socks and cardigans and I had my mind set on trying a few new techniques such as a tubular cast on (I love it) and possibly steeking.

Here enters the Galloway Cardigan release in the lead up to winter knitting by Brooklyn Tweed. I fell in love immediately and knew I had to have a version if not two. But the pattern was advanced and after buying and reading it I got a bit worried if I could actually accomplish this. My local yarn shop came to the rescue with their perfectly timed “Christmas Jumper Along”. You get to knit in a group with a teacher of a period of time and it’s a great safe environment to try new things.

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Excuse the wonky button band. It needs re-blocking and maybe fixing! ha!

I started the project with some Stone Wool Cormo that I got in a sale from Loop in London. The yardage should have been perfect and even though more sticky yarn is recommended for steeking, I learned that using a sewn reinforced steek you could technically steek most if not all yarns. So off I go.

Now as I mentioned above this pattern is classed as Advanced and it really was, in terms of how it was layed out. You need to read and re-read the pattern ahead of time, to make sure you do not miss any decreases or increases that are meant to happen at the same time as something else. I completely misread part of the body section and my rows did not match up. After doing the maths several times, I contacted the Brooklyn tweed team on Ravelry and they helped me discover my mistake. Now all it really did was make the body about 36 rows longer and being tall I wanted to add some lengths anyways and had done so unknowingly. Win!

However this win had an annoying side effect. I would run out of grey yarn before reaching the yoke and also would not have any yarn for the button band. I tried to buy some more but there was none left unless I ordered it from the US which for 1 skein did not seem worth it. So into the stash I went and found some Brooklyn tweed shelter in a marled grey called Narwhal. It actually went quite well with the cardigan and I love the outcome. It truly is mine now.

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The scariest part for me was picking up the button band after steeking the cardigan. I had done neither technique before and did loads of research and found some great tips for steeking.

  1. If you have lose ends then tape them to one side with normal cellophane before sewing your lines of stitching
  2. Place a piece of cardboard or thin wood between your cardigan layers to avoid cutting the other side.
  3. Use sharp small scissors
  4. Go slow.

I am so glad I saw the tip about the lose ends. They so would have gotten in the way in my sewing machine when I reinforced the steek.

Steeking itself was actually fine and mesmerising. I want to do it again, as soon as I can. But picking up the stitches, was really difficult and I maybe should have waited for some help. I will definitely get some more advise on this topic. I think I need to improve how to read my knitting.

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I’ve been wearing this with a brown belt cinched at the waist. It makes it less dressing gown like. LOL

Here are my few modifications/ maker’s marks on this project:

  1. I did not size down for the lice pattern but used a 5mm needle throughout the main body which added volume and more positive ease.
  2. I made a slight colour-work error in the yoke.
  3. Substituted background yarn near the yoke.
  4. The button band was doubled in length and then folded to create a thicker edging more in line with the Stone Wool thickness.
  5. I whip stitched the folded button band down to cover the steeked edge.

 

And because we all love lists, my thumbs up on this pattern:

  1. Attention to detail – tubular cast on finishes the edges beautifully (there is a tubular cast off included but I did not try it).
  2. The chart included a dominant colour guide.
  3. Notes on different types of steeks are included. This was really helpful.
  4. The unusual shape makes for a one of a kind item.

 

In terms of criticism, I only have a couple of things:

  1. The layout of the pattern. It used way more pages than you needed to and it was hard to find your place sometimes.
  2. I found the decreases that had to happen at the same time a bit overwhelming and I recommend spending the time to chart this out or make a list or whatever works for you.
  3. And the other part that was new to me was that the section where the underarms join was bound off instead of kept live. I think next time I would keep those stitches live as I like doing the effect of grafting live stitched together mere.

 

Overall I am super happy with this project and my yarn choices worked well and were a dream to knit with.