FOFri #46: All I Finish Are Hats

I seem to have finished knitting hats, and only hats (ok, except for one pair of gift socks), since November. Eight hats in five months, two of which you can find here, one here (which I knit twice), one more here, and the remaining three in this post.

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Speckles for baby and me.

Happily, all the plain stockinette that’s involved in knitting a Sockhead Slouch Hat (designed by Kelly McClure) is totally worth it, because I adore the finished product. The colors are my favorite, the speckles make me happy, the ribbing is super cozy, and the length is just right for a good amount of slouch. I modified a few things in my version: I used a sport-weight yarn (BMFA Socks That Rock Mediumweight), cast on fewer stitches (136), and knit to a shorter length (10.5″ total) before the crown  decreases. This removed some slouch and is just right for my head. I will update my project page with measurements later, as I did not get a chance to do so yet.

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For the wee one.

Because I COULD NOT RESIST, I knit a wee baby hat for Hatchling so that we could be all matchy-matchy. I really should have done longer ribbing for the rolled-up brim, but alas I did not. I used the same yarn and needles (2.75 mm) and cast on 88 stitches in a gauge of 7 sts/inch, for a hat that should be approximately 12.5″ around after blocking, unstretched. Newborn heads are typically 13″ or so, but with the stretchiness of the fabric and the fact that I can roll the brim down as the kid grows, I’m hoping the hat will continue to fit for a while, because that little i-cord loop at the top is just too damn precious.

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Frida for a friend.

I had intended to make this hat (Fidra, designed by Gudrun Johnston) for my friend’s December birthday. However, it’s March, and it’s still sitting in my house. It went through a failed iteration with inappropriate yarn, and then waited weeks for a pom-pom, and now I just haven’t gotten around to mailing it. Despite that, the finished product is pretty fabulous. Knit with the called-for yarn (BT Quarry) and needles, it’s actually a little snug, so I hope she likes it as I know she likes her hats on the bigger side. If you’re finding the Quarry yarn difficult to work with (it’s basically unplied pencil roving) I’d recommend going up a needle size or using metal instead of bamboo. Going up a size would give everything a bit more room to move around and the size would probably still work out fine.

So there are my hats! Sorry none of them are modeled, I haven’t had time for proper photoshoots lately. When the kiddo arrives I’ll be sure to take a mommy-and-me shot in matching hats, middle-of-summer heat waves be damned. 😉

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FOFri #45: This Did Not Take 2 Weeks

Friends, I have been in a knitting-blogging-creative rut. I finished the hat I will show you below over 2 weeks ago, and am just now getting a chance to blog about it. All my other knitting feels ‘stuck’ for one reason or another. I seem to have lost my crafting mojo and so have been majorly procrastinating the following:

  • making the pom-pom for my Fidra hat,
  • knitting my current socks because I lost the index card on which I drew the chart and I can’t be bothered to draw another,
  • knitting my sockhead hat because I need to look up how long to make it before decreasing and I feel like I’m almost there,
  • knitting my baby sweater because I need to wind yarn for the trim color
  • winding yarn because I lost an integral piece of my swift when I moved a couple of moths ago and have yet to locate it,
  • organizing my yarn bins, in hopes of finding that piece of my swift, which would also clean up my room, and
  • spinning, because I’m too lazy to not sit on the couch in the evenings.

There are things I want to do, and the impulses to do them are there, but by the time I get home from work, I would just rather curl up on the couch and read or watch TV or sleep. This is not normal for me. Prior to pregnancy, that sort of blatant inactivity wouldn’t happen before 10 pm, and TV-watching was ALWAYS accompanied by crafting. Now it’s happening at 7 pm and I’m feeling too physically tired to do anything crafty, so I’m losing all of my productive evening hours, and going to bed early to boot. I’m just going to go ahead and blame the fetus, but still. I feel like I’m wasting away my last few child-free months of crafting time!

Anywho, onto the hat.

 

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Malabrigo Mecha in Vaa, click for project page.

I started this simple, waffle-stitch hat when my coworker announced that he was moving on to bigger and better things. And since he was my science buddy at work, he got a hat. I used Malabrigo Mecha in Vaa, one of my favorite thicker-weight yarns for gift knitting (the other is Malabrigo Chunky). Mecha is a single-ply, superwash Merino wool that is (in my opinion) thinner than the bulky weight  at which it’s listed (and definitely thinner than Mal Chunky). I cast on 72 stitches and used size 9 needles, which gave me a nice tension and a perfect size, and the hat took me about .

I’m particularly enamored with the way the decreases worked out. Since I couldn’t be bothered to write down what I did, I will probably never be able to replicate it, but I know that I decreased later than I typically would and more often per round in order to get a very fast, concentric-looking decrease.

And that’s all I’ve accomplished lately! My Fidra hat is nearly there, though (just one pom-pom away…) and I’m hoping I can find that swift piece soon so I can wind yarn more easily and get moving on some other projects I have in mind.

What do you do when you’ve lost your crafting mojo? How do you get your groove back?

 

WIPWed #112: That’s More Like It

Things are starting to settle in at the new apartment, and I had a wild burst of activity earlier in the week that allowed me to both 1) knit stuff and 2) make stuff for Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe. Hooray!

Speckled Sockhead:

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BMFA Socks That Rock MW in a speckled mill end that I love. Click for project page.

My sockhead hat is progressing slowly but surely. Just about the start the stockinette portion now.

Hot Pink Galicia:

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Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts Big Squeeze in Cherry Blossom. Click for project page.

As you can see, I abandoned my mitten plan for this lovely yarn and cast on a gratifyingly-quick hat instead. I realized that I might be a bit short on yardage for the mittens, and I was definitely short on brain power for them. I wanted something to knit for which I wouldn’t have to stress about sizing, and for some reason mittens always stress me out, so hat it was. I’ll post a review of this yarn after I finish and block the hat (still searching for darning needles…).

Sweet Sheep Updates!

I’ve been hard at work trying to get a few last-minute holiday scents up in the shop. Our ever-popular sheep-shaped goat milk soap is now available in sweet-and-decadent Peppermint Cocoa, elegant-minty-floral Winter Gardenia, and bright-and-herbal Orange Rosemary.

A few other favorite scents have just been added to the lotion bar inventory, including Gingersnap, Sweet Almond, Fresh Snow, and Jingleberry. I’ve also added a READY-TO-SHIP custom gift set option, where you can choose three sample sized lotion bars from the list of available fragrances to be packaged in a cotton-muslin bag, perfect for gift-giving. Order this week to ship in time for Christmas! (Last day to order will be Friday 12/18.)

And as for reading this week, I’m back into the second of the Lord John Grey sub-series of Outlander. Not as good as the main series, but entertaining nonetheless.

Wishing you a merry and un-hectic last week before the holidays! Linking up with Yarnalong and Stitch Along Wednesday.

FOFri #44: Two Hats, Plus Tassels

Two FO Friday posts in a row?! I think it’s fair to say that I’m on a roll, especially because this post contains two FOs. The speediness of hat knitting is one of my favorite things.

Antlers for Dad:

I busted this project out in just 5 days. FIVE DAYS, WOOT! Then it took forever to dry, so it arrived well past my Dad’s birthday, but still… I made the effort? The pattern is the free Antler Hat by TinCanKnits and it’s a really fun, zippy little project. I knit it in the Madelinetosh Vintage called for and absolutely, 100% love that yarn. It’s a dense, tightly-twisted worsted weight superwash Merino with a nice, smooth hand that is perfect for cables (though it takes a while to dry).

FOFri #43: Two Hats | Woolen Diversions

Tidy hat crowns make me unabashedly happy, blurriness and all.

I knit the adult small, but be warned that the cables make the hat quite snug. Anyone with a head bigger than my 20.5″ one will likely prefer the large. Also, if you’re aiming to wear it slouchy style, you’ll want a larger size and to knit an extra couple of repeats. This size only looks good worn as a beanie with a folded brim, otherwise it’s an awkward length. Knit as written, highly recommended.

Norby & Pease:

And next, I finished my Norby hat, designed by Gudrun Johnston. I’m really pleased with the way the colors worked out, despite my prior indecision. I think repeating the final gradient color throughout the crown of the hat was the most harmonious way to go, and I really love how well this hat coordinates with my Kelp-y Kelpie shawl. In order to add the colorful garter ridges, I had to add a plain knit row into each pattern repeat before the first purl row. This allowed the contrast color to show up properly. This probably lengthened my hat a bit. I had also modified the width to remove one pattern repeat, as it was far too big for my head otherwise. As it is, it’s so lightweight in the woolen-spun Loft yarn that it feels like it could slip right off my head, so I’m glad I made it more snug.

FOFri #43: Two Hats | Woolen Diversions

Tassels!

I wasn’t sure I would add the tassels, a friend of mine basically said they make the hat look like a sleeping cap, but I admit I’m rather fond of them. They were pretty easy/fun to make, too. There is a decent photo tutorial in the pattern, but I took some pics of my own, as well.

  1. Wind yarn around two pieces of cardboard separated by a pen. Thread additional yarn onto a needle, looped on itself twice. Tie a knot.
  2. Secure knotted end of yarn to something sturdy and twist, twist, twist.
  3. Thread twisted yarn through the cardboard under the wrapped yarn, being careful to hold on to both ends of the twisted pieces of yarn so you don’t lose the twist (this is the tricksy bit, especially while attempting to take a photo).
  4. Allow the twisted pieces to twist back on themselves, forming the tassel strand. Then carefully cut the end of the wrapped pieces of yarn that’s furthest from the tassel strand. Use another piece of yarn to wrap around the top of the tassel.

Securing the tassels to the inside of the hat was a bit of a crapshoot, I’m not sure there’s an easy way to explain what I did but it was basically something like “thread the multiple ends of each tassel strand into the fabric of the hat on the inside, then knot them together”. Not neat or tidy, but it did the trick.

I love these hats, tassels and all. Have you made any tasseled accessories?

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.

Late for Tea

Is it just me, or is time really speeding along lately? Either way, I completely failed to post my finished hat last Friday as promised, so I’ll chat about it now, instead.

Late for Tea

Behold the glorious cashmere halo!

This hat was a delightful knit after a slightly rough beginning. The pattern is Black Tea, designed by Thea Coleman, and when I handled her sample at a class she taught at Slater Mill, I knew I wanted the exact same hat in the exact same yarn. The yarn is Bello by The Plucky Knitter, a 55% cashmere / 45% Merino wool yarn that I got from a destash on Ravelry because my goodness, I have no idea how to actually catch a Plucky update on the site and I’m not motivated enough to try. If you are, though, the yarn is totally yummy. I didn’t record what colorway I bought but it’s an interesting shade of grey that reads with blue/green/purple undertones.

Knitting the hat with the yarn held double was a little bit frustrating, but I really love the final product. I finally got tired of detangling every five seconds and just unwound the whole cake of yarn and re-wound it into a new ball with the yarn held double, rather than knitting from the center and outside of the cake simultaneously. The sizing of this hat was a little tricky, too. The pattern called for 120 stitches cast on with a 5 sts/inch gauge, which would’ve resulted in a 24″ circumference hat. Since I know that cashmere is an inelastic fiber and I don’t like my hats to be super loose in the brim, I decided to knit the hat at a tighter gauge (7 sts/inch) and adjusted the cast on / brim to 100 sts instead (on size 4 needles) by removing some of the knit stitches, which I then increased to 120 sts when I reached the body (on size 6 needles).

Late for Tea | Woolen Diversions

Hat, relaxed.

I was only able to knit 2.5 repeats of the pattern before beginning the crown decreases and had just 8 grams of yarn left at the end. After blocking, this size worked out perfectly for me. The hat has about a 20″ circumference unstretched and is 9″ deep. I wouldn’t have minded being able to finish another repeat before decreasing, but I think the hat has a nice enough level of slouch as it is. Other than my sizing indecision, the cabling was simple and the whole project felt like it went pretty quickly (despite having to tink back multiple times for miscrossed cables).

I think what really makes the hat, though, is the yarn. In a different yarn with less cashmere content, my sizing changes wouldn’t have worked out so well. The fabric would’ve had too much bounce and not enough drape. But cashmere is so lovely, and held double, it is doubly lovely and extra drapey and dense. So good. I will be living in this hat come fall.

Photo copyright Expression Fiber Arts, click for webpage.

In other news, Sweet Sheep lotion bars (in Lavender) are now available as part of a Self Love crochet cowl pattern kit sold by Expression Fiber Arts. The yarn in the kit (2 skeins of yak/silk laceweight) sounds absolutely divine and I love the idea of giving yourself a luxurious treat.

And finally, I’ve done a little bit of blog housekeeping. I’ve changed the home page to go directly to the blog, updated the About Me page, and added an Around the Web page where I am keeping a list of all of the product reviews I’ve done here, guest posts I’ve written elsewhere, and Sweet Sheep product reviews that other bloggers have done. I figured it would be a good way to keep some really great content in one easy-to-find place!

That’s all from me this week! Even though this is more of an FO post than a WIP post, I’m still linking up with Yarnalong (I’m reading Cider House Rules by John Irving) and Stitch Along Wednesday. I hope you’re all having a good week!

FOFri #41 : Socks & Swatches

After a couple of busy weeks, I’ve finally had time to sit down and wrap up the toes of not one but TWO pairs of socks!

FOFri #41: Socks & Swatches | Woolen Diversions

We sort of match, and it’s adorable.

I think it’s safe to say that my sock mojo is officially back. I’ve finished 6 pairs of socks thus far this year! That’s almost a pair a month, which is way faster than my sock finishing rate of the last few years. Plus, I knit the exact same pattern, twice, simultaneously. If that’s not fortitude, I don’t know what is. It probably helps that I adore both of the colorways and the slipped stitch patterning feels like it flies by.

My Favorite Socks Ever:

These are, indeed, my favorite socks ever. The pattern is Dalekanium by Dena Stelly. In truth, I didn’t actually follow the pattern (which is toe-up). I just borrowed the stitch pattern and stuck it on my typical 64-stitch cuff-down sock and tapered away the slipped stitch patterning just before I began the toe decreases. The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight (my faaaaaaaavorite) in the club colorway Gran’s Kitchen.

Stealth Socks:

And while I got brand new socks, the Fiasco did, too (so he can’t complain of neglect). His birthday socks were just about a week late, which isn’t too bad by my standards. The nice thing about his is that they went just as quickly as mine, despite his larger feet. That’s because I used BMFA Socks That Rock Heavyweight on size 2.75 mm needles to size up the socks instead of casting on more stitches. (Good thing he likes his socks cushy!) This is the Grimm colorway, and it’s fabulous.

Now that those socks are off the needles and I have a few trips in the near future, I’m itching to cast on some small, quick-but-interesting, portable projects. Which to me, means HATS.

FOFri #41: Socks & Swatches | Woolen Diversions

Swatches, all wet and wonky.

I’ve had two skeins of yarn begging to become hats that I want in my wardrobe like right now since mid-winter, but I just didn’t get a chance to knit them last season. Knitting them in August should give me a solid jump-start on accessories for fall, though!

Black Tea:

Photo copyright BabyCocktails. Click for pattern page.

I’ve been completely in love with this slouchy Black Tea hat pattern since I handled the sample during a class with the designer, Thea Colman, at a knitting event in January. I loved the sample so much that I even hunted down the exact yarn used in the pattern through a destash because I want to replicate the look and feel of the luxurious fabric. The yarn is Bello fingering by the Plucky Knitter (55% Merino wool, 45% cashmere), held double while knitting. Once dry, the swatch will help me determine if I want to use 6’s or 7’s for the main body of the hat. While I could’ve just followed the pattern, my head is a little smaller than most and I’ve never worked with this yarn before so I wanted to get a feel for it and my gauge before I jumped right in.

Paravel Hat:

Photo copyright Megan Goodacre. Click for pattern page.

The other hat will be made with a skein of BMFA BFL Superwash in their fun Sadie Sue Tipsy colorway. The blue in that colorway is the exact same shade of blue as my jacket (and my glasses, and my lampshade, and my wristwarmers…) which makes the color-coordination-lover in me very happy. I knew it wanted to become a hat, but I was debating between the Norby and Sockhead patterns until last night, when I found Paravel (designed by Megan Goodacre) and thought that the simple texture with the interesting lace panel would work well with the specks of color and keep my interest while knitting. Plus, I love the tidy decreases at the top of the hat and appreciate that kind of attention to detail in the patterns I buy.

Photo copyright Megan Goodacre.

So that’s my trip knitting all sorted out! Two hats (and let’s be honest, probably a new pair of socks) should hold me over for a 3-day Cape Cod trip and a week-long conference, right?

(And in case you missed it, check out my Indie Business Interview on the Knitted Bliss blog! There you’ll find a coupon code for free shipping on all domestic AND international Sweet Sheep orders over $10 through August 7th.)

IS #65: Lightweight Hats

Spring has officially sprung! The slight break in weather that makes it not quite warm yet but not freezing anymore, either, has arrived in the northeast and it makes me want to knit a veritable army of lightweight, slouchy, spring-appropriate, one-to-go-with-every-outift hats.

Photo copyright Kelly McClure. Click for pattern page.

I think the slouchiest of all slouchy, lightweight hats has to be this Sockhead Hat pattern by Kelly McClure. It’s free and utterly simple but really effective, too, knit with a great stripey skein of sock yarn. Quite frankly, 4500+ Ravelers can’t be wrong — this is a great hat. I’m planning to knit one in a skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Fingering in one of Tina’s nifty Tipsy Clan colorways.

Photo copyright Hunter Hammersen. Click for pattern page.

Not surprisingly, one of my must-knit-someday hat patterns was designed by Hunter (I just love everything she does). I knit a couple of pairs of her Fracas Cuffs a while back (oh dear, a year ago already?!) and really like how the lace pattern translates to the brim of this Fracas Hat. It’s sweet, simple, and brimming (pun accidental but I like it) with springtime freshness.

Photo copyright Brooklyn Tweed / Jared Flood. Click for pattern page.

This hat — Norby designed by Gudrun Johnson — is so texture-iffic, I love it. The sample shown is knit with Brooklyn Tweed Loft, which we’ve talked about before. I bet it feels velvety, fuzzy, and cohesive and is probably plenty warm for those days when March might behave more like the lion than the lamb. I can absolutely picture this knit with handspun and check out this great striped version, too.

Photo copyright Coop Knits. Click for pattern page.

Confession time: this is the hat that inspired this entire post. It’s the Bedale pattern from Rachel Coopey’s new book Toasty Knits Volume 1. I love the color choices and the classic yet geometric shapes created by the all-over colorwork. On the pattern page you’ll see it with a big ol’ pom pom on the top, which is kind of irresistible. The yarn used in the collection sounds really interesting, too: Titus by baa ram ewe. It’s a blend of wool from two British breeds (Wensleydale and BFL) with some UK-raised alpaca added for softness. It sounds delightful and I’m itching to get my hands on some…

Photo copyright Kelbourne Woolens. Click for pattern page.

I couldn’t resist showing you one more hat! This is another lovely little colorwork number, Selbu Modern designed by Kate Gagnon Osborn. This one is knit with an alpaca, merino, bamboo blend which is likely providing that great drape. It has such a gorgeous, romantic feel to it that I think is really enhanced by the light, neutral colors.All of the hats in this post were knit with fingering or light fingering yarns, so I’m definitely going to be inventorying my sock yarn stash to see what I can delegate to headwear instead of footwear! How about you? Have you a favorite springtime hat pattern? What’s been inspiring you, lately? Let us know in the comments below!