Sunday, November 19, 2006

Hats, hats, Xmas hats

My once-tidy knitting corner (actually, about half the bedroom) is covered in odd skeins of chunky and super-chunky yarn. So pleased was I with my first attempts at hat knitting, that I have decided that everyone is getting knitted hats from me this Xmas. This inevitably led to a massive splurge of yarn shopping. I think I'll need to make about 15 hats in total so naturally I went nuts and bought enough yarn for 25. Even though I'm incredibly busy at work, I'll have to knit fairly consistently to get them all done by Xmas. So far I've completed a black fez-like woman's hat with a black crown & band, deep pink rise and an outrageous thick black tassel on top; a thick and chunky blue hat for a man, simple stocking stitch with a ribbed band at the edge; and a completely frou-frou woman's hat in pink, enhanced with eyelash yarn that boasts both soft pink fronds & frivolous bursts of gold tinsel. Pictures are coming soon.


Hat knitting makes me think:

- How there can be such big discrepancies in yarn estimates for such a small item as a hat. I am happily knitting up patterns from the excellent 2006 book Hip Knit Hats but they mostly suggest that you will need about 110m of yarn to make one hat. Now, I am finding that I can get a hat out of a single ball of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky, which the ball band says is a good 40m shorter than the pattern recommends - and yet I still have yarn left over at the end of the hat. Not that I'm complaining, you understand. Am just puzzling over how I'm getting a hat-per-ball when I have 30% less yarn to work with than the pattern suggests? It must be one of those knitting mysteries that Stephanie Pearl-McPhee talks about.

- What a shame it is that most men restrict themselves so in terms of what they will wear. I obviously want to make amazing, unusual, creative hats, but most men don't want to go out with something amazing, unusual AND creative on their heads. So I will have to think hard about what patterns are fun to knit yet robustly masculine. I am trying to think of it as a design challenge but there are times when it just seems that my lovely experiments with fun'n'frivolous hats for girls are just going to be rudely punctuated with lots of plain old hats in black, grey and brown. I will have to see what I can do to liven them up. Maybe a button here and there, something like that.

I have some very sexy yarn waiting to be sacrificed at the altar of Xmas Hats, including:
- Gorgeous gold sari ribbon from Louisa Harding; might be good knitted in with another shade, maybe beige or olive green.
- Bright blue & green, thick, feathery eyelast yarn bought on impulse on Friday, might end up as a trim for a bucket hat in my remaining green Ribbon Twist.
- Debbie Bliss Pure Silk, some in mint green, some in raspberry pink. A very fine ply. One of these colours will make a lovely hat for Cal's baby, Clara.
- Soft, coffee-coloured 'furry' eyelash yarn, will make a nice trim for a coffee-coloured hat
- several balls of Rowan Spray in different shades
All I want to do is stay home and knit hats.

Other breaking news: I have finally finished a pair of red, toe-up socks from SKS for my friend Justine. I have been making them for months now, it was very very slow as I only worked on them when out of the house: on trains, at the bus stop, etc. I thought they would never be done but they are - hooray! Now I have 'sock time' which can be spent on an exciting new yarn, maybe one of the new Opal Hundertwasser yarns, four of which are nestling in my desk at work.

Talking of work, I'd better do some. Until next time, folks.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hat for Joe




Here's my son Josef modelling a green & white winter hat which I knit for him just the other day. New to hats, I was thrilled and amazed to discover how quick they are, and that there's no need for sewing. Even better than socks!

The yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky in white and olive green. The pattern is from the book Hip Knit Hats (Cathy Carron, Lark Books, 2006). I was so pleased with the pattern that I plan to make lots more hats (that's Xmas solved, then) and I now have a big stash of nice thick yarn waiting to be knitted up.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Willow jacket


'Willow' is the latest FO, started & finished October 2006. It was fun to knit & as you can see, I'm enjoying wearing it. The blue furry collar & cuffs are kitsch enough to tickle my sense of humour. Oversized glass buttons add to the overall cheer. Plus, as I recently discovered on a cold weekend in Austria, it's as warm as a coat. Hurrah!

The main yarn is green Ribbon Twist & trimmed in blue Big Wool Tuft (both Rowan). I liked Ribbon Twist a lot, it looks decorative & knits up incredibly quickly - the recommended gauge is 8sts/10cm. The pattern is Willow, in Rowan's Ribbon Twist Collection.

I knit Willow in flat pieces on 10 & 12mm Addi circular needles - smooth & glossy, lovely to work with. The yarn is so huge it's difficult not to throw it, which for me resulted in gauge that was a little bit tight, but I think I got away with it. Next time I'll use larger needles.