WIPWed #107: Hat Land

Both of my active WIPs at the moment are hats, and I kind of love it. It’s easy to forget how delightfully quick and deliciously simple hats are to knit, even the ones with a bit of patterning. There were years when I knit hat after hat after hat for holiday gifts, as they really make perfect gifts. This year, I feel like knitting hat after hat after hat for me. #selfishknitter

Norby & Pease:

WIPWed 107: Hat Land | Woolen Diversions

Brooklyn Tweed Loft in Sweatshirt and Black Trillium Fibres Pebble Sock in Pease. Click for project page.

Even though Katy’s idea was a grand one, I decided to just stick with repeating the lightest color in the gradient to solve my dilemma. I think if I incorporate a couple of rows of the color into the crown decreases, too, it’ll look totally intentional. I’m glad I didn’t rip all the way back to the brim, but I’m having a wee bit of nervousness that the hat might be too tight. I removed a repeat of stitches because the brim seemed huge when I originally cast on, and I fear that I might in fact regret that. Only time and a good blocking will tell…

Antlers for Dad:

WIPWed #107: Hat Land

Madelinetosh Vintage, colorway Charcoal. Click for project page.

My dad is not very big on knitwear. He’s always hot, perpetually wears short sleeves, and would totally feel like he was being choked if he wore a scarf or a cowl, he cannot even handle crew-necked shirts. He’s missing some hair up top, though, so he does wear the one hat I knit for him 5 years ago. Recently he mentioned in an offhand way, “You know, I could use another hat”, so another hat he is getting. The problem is that I’m trying to hurry up and finish ASAP since his birthday is Friday and I think it would make a nice surprise. The pattern is Antler Hat by TinCanKnits and the yarn is Madelinetosh Vintage in Charcoal. Would you believe this is only my second time using a Madelinetosh yarn, and my first time using this worsted weight Merino? I LOVE IT. It’s such a nice base! I wasn’t super duper impressed with the sock yarn I’ve used in the past (I like a bouncy 3-ply for socks, theirs is a standard, drapey 2-ply) but this base is really nice. I’m hoping the hat blocks out a bit as I’ve also become worried that it’s going to be too small… stupid cables pulling in the fabric. We’ll see, my dad’s head is pretty small, so it could all work out fine.

Other hat patterns I’m deluding myself that I will knit soon (a.k.a. lusting after):

So many hats, so little time, amIright?!

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Current reading.

As for reading, I’m enjoying Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. I like these memoir-style stories about motherhood and parenting in general. I think there’s a lot to be learned from other people’s experiences and styles of thinking, even if it’s learning what not to do or how not to be a neurotic mess. Whenever I become a parent, I feel like it’ll be these kinds of personal stories that will prove more useful and comforting than trying to follow a specific school of thought on parenting styles. Do you have any favorite books on motherhood or parenting that you found particularly enlightening?

Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

Housekeeping Friday

So many things to tell you about today, I’ve had to put them in a numbered list!

  1. Remember my Blue Sky Alpacas giveaway? Well, we have a winner! Congrats, Naomi, and thanks for liking my blog page on Facebook! (I’ve emailed you for your address and will ship your prize out straightaway.) Thanks to everyone who participated, I loved reading your comments about your favorite travel destinations. Now you have me itching to visit places like the Pacific Northwest, Canada, and The Grand Canyon (I could hit those up in one weekend, right?). Also Norway, France, Italy, Australia… sigh. Too many places to see!
  2. Hunter Hammersen has very graciously agreed to review my Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe lotion bars and is hosting a giveaway, as well! Head on over to Violently Domestic to check out what she thinks and enter to win a lotion bar and lip balm of your choice.
  3. Sweet Sheep is proud to be one of this month’s sponsors over at the Knitted Bliss blog! I’ve been a long-time reader of Julie’s blog, and especially enjoy her Pin Up (Pinterest roundups) and Modification Monday series.
  4. October means it’s time for the annual October Stockpile event in the Malabrigo Junkies group on Ravelry, which means my Malabrigo-specific patterns (Dissipative & Syrinx Shells) are both on sale for 20% off with the code ‘MalQuick’ through the end of October! Get your quick and colorful cowls on the needles, the holidays approacheth!
  5. Have I told you that I’ve added some autumn scents to the shop? I don’t think I have! If you’ve been itching to get your fix of seasonal sensory delights like Pumpkin Spice, Autumn Harvest, and Apple Butter, I can hook you up. And if we ever get a sunny day in New England again, I’ll post photos for new Kumquat, Honey Oatmeal, and Frosted Cranberry scents, too (like my shop on Facebook to be the first to know as soon as new fragrances go up!).

Happy Friday, all!

IS #75: Under the Sea

My apologies for missing my Inspiration Saturday posts over the last couple of weeks, I finally have a moment to breathe today! Let’s dive right into it, shall we?

I don’t know how it’s possible that I got to my 75th IS post without featuring Hunter Hammersen. I’ve mentioned her designs plenty of times on this blog but have apparently failed to write a comprehensive post about her work, which is ridiculous since I instantly purchase every book of patterns she publishes. I love her design sense and in particular I love the inspiration behind her Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet series.

“Curiosity cabinets were collections of wonderful objects brought together to inspire, delight, and inform. I loved the idea of assembling a knitter’s curiosity cabinet—one full of fancy edgings and captivating stitch patterns and fabulous shapes instead of shells and fossils and seeds. These books are the result.” – H.H.

Curiosity cabinets (full of shells, bones, plant specimens, fossils, preserved animals, etc.) have always appealed to me… they encapsulate everything I love about museums, science, natural history, and the sense of wonder with which insightful people view their world. Marrying that idea with knitting patterns was a stroke of genius. Hunter has designed 2 patterns — one sock and one accessory — based on each vintage illustration in her books of either plants (volume I), butterflies (volume II), or marine life (volume III).

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My copy of volume III.

When I read that the third volume would be based on marine illustrations, I was particularly excited (my job involves researching marine organisms). I confess that after flipping through, I was a teensy bit disappointed with how some of the prints were interpreted into knitwear — but perhaps I had particularly high expectations. Some of the sock designs feel a little bit repetitive (many have a similar look) and there were a few designs for which I couldn’t really see the relationship to the print. I think some of the gorgeous prints could’ve been interpreted in different ways that might have made for more interesting designs. That said, the book is and admirable piece of work and is full of lovely things that I have already queued to knit someday. Here are some of my favorites.

Copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

The cover sock, Zostera marina, is absolutely wonderful. I want it in my sock drawer right now. The color, the wavy lines, the BFL sock yarn it is knit from… sigh. I want it. The difficulty with a pattern like this (for me) is finding the right sock yarn. A vast majority of my stash consists of variegated colorways, which just won’t work well with all the vertical lines and stitch details in this sock. Looks like someone will need to enhance her semi-solid sock yarn stash! (Aw, shucks.)

Copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

In truth, the stitch pattern used in this Padina pavonia sock is nothing new (it’s a variation of the Old Shale or Feather-and-Fan stitch) but it still looks really great in this sock and I think it’s one of the few patterns in the book that would actually play really nicely with variegated or stripey yarn.

Copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

I really dig the funky stitch used in these Planorbis corneus socks. This is one where I don’t quite see how the pattern was inspired by the print, perhaps because the stitch used reminds me so much of rotifers (microscopic aquatic organisms) and that’s all I see when I look at it, not shells. However, it’s still a fine-looking sock with a basically simple pattern and really fun detail, so I’m bound to make it someday. It’s also available free on Knitty.

Copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

I have nothing really to say about this Fucus asparagoides socks except that I am a sucker for lacy socks, thus, I love them.

Copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

Finally, I am a big fan of this Pelagia noctiluca hat. It’s lacy, slightly slouchy, does an excellent job of evoking its inspiration print, has great crown decreases, and is knit with DK weight yarn which is a perfect weight for stylish hats. This one is very likely to happen.

Do you have a favorite Hunter Hammersen pattern? What’s been inspiring you, lately? Leave a comment and/or share your blog post with us below!

IS

Lit Knits – Review and Giveaway!

I began reading Audry Nicklin’s blog, Bear Ears, when she was well into the middle of working on her first book of patterns, Lit Knits. I was dying with curiosity to know what this book would be! Whatever it was, I knew it would be great, because she has fun and interesting designs and a beautiful photography aesthetic. But enough anticipation, let’s get to the book! (The copyright for all photos in this post belongs to Audry Nicklin.)

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Being a major book nerd, I was so psyched when I saw that the book was inspired by beloved children’s stories. (The cover design is the Robin Hoodie, gotta love that name!) I appreciated the theme even more after reading the back story behind each design on Audry’s blog. The amount of thought she gave to each element in her designs is really inspiring and makes them even cooler than they seem at first glance. For instance:

BehindTheGardenWall1_LitKnitsWe have here a perfectly lovely pair of colorwork socks (Behind the Garden Wall), a design which very nicely captures the feel of its inspiration, The Secret Garden. But wait!

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KAPOW! A secret colorwork key on the sole makes this design even more awesome. It’s those kinds of details that we knitters (or at least this knitter) geek out over, and this book is chock full of them.

SailToTreasureIsland3_LitKnitsLike in Sail To Treasure Island, not only is it a big, gorgeous blanket, it’s also a map of the island with different stitches representing different parts: ocean, beach, forest, mountains. Plus it includes a literal X (marking the spot) formed by the converging yarnover lines. Clever!

DeepSeaWanderer3_LitKnitsAnd many of the designs are just plain handsome. I loved this cowl, Deep Sea Wanderer, instantly and it will likely be the first thing I knit from the book. I love the color, the size, the flowing lace, and the tasteful use of bobbles (which isn’t easy to pull off).

Besides the designs, the book itself is very beautiful. The layout is clean and easy to read, the photos are fabulous, and the props and posing of the models give such charm to the whole thing. I was really impressed that the last several pages contain hand-drawn diagrams of any techniques you might need to execute the patterns. Hand-drawn technique diagrams! The thoroughness amazes me.

In sum, I think Lit Knits is a carefully-detailed collection of beautiful and whimsical designs and I hope Audry is really proud of it, because she should be. The physical books will ship mid-November but if you pre-order your copy by September 25th you will receive the e-book for free (after which point you would need to purchase it separately).

GIVEAWAY, YAY!!! Audry has kindly offered a free copy of the e-book to one of you! Leave a comment on this post telling me which design is your favorite by 11:59 pm (Eastern time) on Friday September 20th to be entered to win. I will announce the winner on the next day’s Inspiration Saturday post. Please include your Ravelry name or e-mail so I can contact you and check out the rest of the blog tour for more details and chances to win!