flowergirl knits

flowers, cats and knitting

Category: Hats

Ooh-la-la

Despite it’s best efforts, the newly finished Meret Beret is not fooling anyone into thinking I’m French. Not that there was much chance of that…

not French

Pattern: Meret Beret by Wooly Wormhead

Yarn: Malabrigo worsted, colorway “Purple Mystery”

Notes: This was a super fast to project (taking about a day) that was fun and interesting to knit. The pattern is extremely customizable – you simply add more lace repeats to make a more or less slouchy beret (I added one lace repeat but many people on Ravelry are adding two repeats) and you can change up the brim to make a rolled edge. It also has directions for three sizes and is clear and easy to follow. Highly recommended! (Also – free!)

purple star

The lace pattern used in this hat is identical (or nearly identical) to the lace pattern in the Crofter’s Cowl which I’ve already knit, also in “Purple Mystery”, so now I have a matched set. The color is gorgeous – deep royal purple and lapis blue – but very hard to photograph (at least it is with my simple camera and minimal photo skills!) Take my word for it – it’s a beautiful color.

The Malabrigo is lovely with this pattern, creating a soft and cozy hat, perfect for the next Midwestern cold snap, with or without a French accent!

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Love is All Around

Remember the “Mary Tyler Moore Show”? A relatively simple story about a single, career woman who was not dependent on a man or obsessed with “getting” one that became one of the best loved tv shows ever. Remember the opening title sequence with shots of Mary going about her daily life, while that familiar theme song plays? Then, at the end, the most famous shot of all – Mary tossing her tam into the air, her face full of life and joy. Great show.

it's not Minneapolis but it sure is starting to feel like it here

This beret/tam isn’t the right color (Mary’s was navy blue or black), but otherwise it’s  pretty close – and a great hat for a Minneapolis winter, no matter where you’re at.

Pattern: Tweed Beret by Kristen TenDyke, from the Winter 2006 Interweave Knits magazine

Yarn: Tahki Donegal Tweed, red

Notes: This was one of those last-minute “I should quick knit so-and-so a gift” which usually ends badly. However, this was a great pattern that holds up under this kind of pressure – very quick to knit, straightforward but interesting with good results. I like the way the ribbing, which builds gradually after you’ve finished all of the increases, gently draws in the hat and creates a gentle poof. The rolled brim creates a nice, firm edge that should help it stay on the head. I like it so much, in fact, that I might make another for myself (I have plenty of yarn left)

tweed and snow still life

I have mixed feelings about the yarn; it’s a beautiful color – a nice cranberry red that’s just right for the winter with generous flecks of black and grey and light red to give it great character. But it’s also stiff and scratchy; a wash helped soften it considerably and I think for a hat it’ll be fine (and very warm) but I certainly wouldn’t want it for a next-to-the-skin sweater. It was also hard on the hands while knitting; the final product made the work worthwhile though.

I am also concerned about the sizing. I went down a needle size from the suggested in the pattern and knit the smallest size but it still seems a little large. It’s a gift for my Mom and she has a more normal size head then my giant noggin. It fits me fine, but not so sure how it’ll work for her (Plus, I’m not sure she even wants a hat! This is just me thinking she should have a hat!) I may resort to that old Loose Knitters trick and try shrinking it a bit in the dryer. We’ll have to wait for Christmas for the final verdict on this hat!

Hats are the New Cowls

This was one of those patterns that you fall in love with the minute you see it – and in this case, the love was absolutely justified. I’m not even a big fan of hat-wearing and yet look – I knit a hat! A really cool hat.

the lovely star pattern

Pattern: Selbu Modern by Kate Gagnon (Ravelry link)

Yarn: Knitpicks Palette, colorways “Fog” and “Eggplant”

Notes: This is a brilliant pattern with clear and simple instructions. Inspired by the beautiful Selbuvotter patterns frequently seen in mittens,  the pattern emerges almost by magic with the decreases creating the distinctive star outline on the top. This is an excellent pattern to try  if you’re new to Fair Isle (like me) with only two colors to think about and little shaping required. And – get this – the pattern is free!

beauty is in the details

A certified Yarn Snob, I was pleasantly surprised by the Knitpicks Palette. It’s very soft yet sturdy (although it is a bit splitty) and comes in a nice range of colors (51). And you simply cannot beat the price at $2.19 -1.99 per ball (I used most of the ball of  “Eggplant” and half of the ball of “Fog”) I’m not convinced that I made the right color choice – I thought the purple would be brighter – but I’m coming around to it.

I did run into one problem with this project, but it had nothing to do with the pattern or yarn. In her notes on Ravelry, Kate had noted that she is a loose knitter and recommended that most people would want to go up one or two needle sizes from her recommendations. I’m a loose knitter too so I stuck with the needle sizes given, skipping that pesky gauge swatch. Even so, the hat turned out too large.  I actually (brace yourself) put it in the dryer – on hot – for about half an hour after soaking it. This worked a treat (although it could be shrunk a bit more yet), making it much closer to human head size. The yarn held up beautifully with no felting and the pattern remained distinct. It also evened out my stitches which were lumpy (typical of stranded knitting pre-blocking)

Best of all, this was so much fun to knit! I got quite addicted to it, working on it when I should have been knitting Christmas gifts or going to bed. I’m thinking about making another one as a gift (but I’ll have to go down to 00 for the ribbing – yikes!) And – bonus – it doesn’t cause hat hair.

Looks like I may be taking up hat-wearing after all!