Archive for the ‘Hat’ Category

Emergency Beanie

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Long Beanie by Woolly Wormhead
75g Jo Sharp DK, navy
4.00mm needles
Started: July 2012
Finished: July 2012
Modifications: Used lighter-weight yarn, cast on more stitches, knit the ‘body’ longer
Ravelryed: here

It was recently suggested that my Poppa might want a handknit beanie to tame his unruly hair. My first thought, which may result in me being disowned by the knitting community, was that a beanie might exacerbate the unruly hair situation by giving him hat hair. Very shortly after thinking that, I started looking for a basic beanie pattern.

There’s not too much to say about this beanie as it’s simply 1×1 rib paired with plain ol’ stockinette. However, I did like the alternate cable cast on used in the pattern. The first cast on I learnt was the cable cast on, and as versatile as it is, it does end up being a bit tight at times. The alternate cable cast on is much stretchier and I think I’ll be using it in the future for other beanies and top down socks.

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The modifications I made to the beanie were fairly minor; I cast on more stitches because I used an 8ply yarn rather than the suggested 12 ply. I also knitted an extra 1 or 2cm before beginning the crown decreases. I wasn’t sure how long Poppa likes his hats to be, but in this instance I thought it better for the beanie to be too long than too short. A long beanie can be remedied by rolling the cuff up higher, a too-short beanie generally means cold ears and annoyance.

The Jo Sharp 8ply has been lurking in my stash for longer than I can remember. I don’t really remember when I bought it, besides it being during my university years, but I do remember the act of buying it. There was an op shop that I used to often visit after classes, and I always sought out the craft section first. Usually the yarn selection was abysmal, but on this day there was a grab bag of yarn which included four balls of Jo Sharp DK. The grab bag cost less than the retail price of one ball of Jo Sharp DK at the time. I remember trying very hard to not show any outward sign of the adrenaline rush that I get (then and now) when I’ve found something in an op shop that I’ve wanted for a long time. At the time, Jo Sharp was one of those desirable yarn brands (Rowan was another) that I really wanted to try but could never justify the expense. It was a real find. It’s funny thinking back on that now, because as it sat in my stash for years, it went from being ‘that great yarn that I bought really cheaply at an op shop’ to ‘another 200 grams of navy 8ply I need to find a use for’.

As far as navy 8ply yarn that I needed to find a use for goes, I think it worked well as a beanie. The fabric had a slightly rough hand before blocking, and it softened slightly after giving it a soak in wool wash. I think it’s also going to be quite hard wearing and I’m hopeful that it has good hair taming attributes. Initial reports suggest that it fits well, the colour is aesthetically pleasing, and that it covers Poppa’s unruly mane well. Who needs Brylcreem when you’ve got a hand knit beanie?

Bendigo bonnet

Thank you everyone for your thoughts on how to deal with The Pickadilly Situation. You (and Matt) were all right of course. It would be kind of silly to abandon a project when it’s pretty much done. So while I will sew on some buttons and call it done, I probably won’t do that for a little while. I just need to not think about Pickadilly for a bit, and putting it aside is the easiest way for me to do that.

While contemplating Pickadilly’s future, I started and finished a project to wear to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show last weekend.

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Neon Ski Bonnet by Lacey Volk
200g Ms Gusset Ton of Wool Ten, Undyed
4.50mm needles
Started: July 2012
Finished: July 2012
Ravelryed: here

Since it first popped up in my friend activity on Ravelry, I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it. The cables! The twisted ties! The pompom! It didn’t take long to knit, but it would have been quicker had I not embarked on a trial-and-error odyssey. If you wish to make this bonnet without the odyssey, these are the things I found out that might be helpful to others:

  • It’s not absolutely necessary to use magic loop to make the cabled band. If you’re more comfortable with double pointed needles, use those.
  • When finished, the cabled band needs to be long enough to sit between your ear and chin. I had some trouble working this out from the photos in the pattern.
  • Don’t be concerned if one edge column of stocking stitch on the cabled band is uneven. If you pick up stitches for the smocked stitch on that side, it will become more even.
  • The wraps on my wrapped stitches became tighter when working in the round. Altough this is more an issue with my knitting technique, keep an eye on it because tinking wrapped stitches is unfun.
  • In contrast to tinking wrapped stitches, making twists was quite a lot of fun.
  • The pattern describes the pompom as ‘giant’, which wasn’t specific enough for me. My version of ‘giant’ was to use an 85mm Clover pompom maker. Incidentally, if you want your pompom to look poodle-like, like mine, used frogged yarn. I didn’t necessarily intend to have a poodle-like pompom, but I didn’t want to start a new skein of yarn to have a non-poodle pompom.

Ignoring most of those dot points, it was quite a fun knit, and just the antidote I needed for the frustration felt towards Pickadilly.

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This was my first experience working with Cormo, and I have mixed feelings about it. It stood up well to being frogged multiple times, and the stitch definition was very good for the most part. Stockinette and cables look really good in it, but I wasn’t impressed with how the twisted stitches came out. That said, there may be some issues with my technique which contributed to their lack of definition.

The biggest concern I have about Cormo is its durability. Before using it, I was aware that it had a tendency to felt and had been treating it with more care than normal. However, after the cabled band was wet blocked, it tried its very hardest to pill, making it look untidy before I wore it once. This is it before depilling:


And after:

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The depiller cleaned it up pretty well, but I can’t help but feel that it’s going to be an ongoing battle. I will see how the fabric goes after I start wearing it a bit more regularly. It does make me wonder what I should do with my remaining Cormo.

As for the show itself, it was a glorious winter morning and a bit too warm for a thick cabled bonnet with a preposterously large pompom. The show seemed quieter this year, with more ‘as seen on TV’-style products. My purchases, as always, were fairly modest. There’s only one purchase I can mention at the moment, and that’s the darning mushroom I forgot to buy last year.

super mushroom.jpg

It’s a simple thing, but I can’t stop marvelling at it. It sits just nicely in my hand, and I really like the colour of the wood used for ‘cap’ of the mushroom. Luckily I’ve not got a use for it yet, but I’m sure that time will come sooner rather than later.

Once, twice, three times a beanie (aka Goldilocks and the three beanies)

A little while ago, I decided to knit a beanie as a gift for a friend. I had a hat’s worth of yarn in stash in a colour that suits her very well, so it seemed that fate had intervened and the project was obviously meant to be.

Initially I cast on for Porom. The twists looked a bit puffy, but mostly it looked good. That is, until I finished it and blocked it. What was once a nicely-sized slouchy beanie had turned into a perfectly good shopping bag, without handles.

Slightly disillusioned but as stubborn as ever, I ripped it back and reused the yarn in an Icing Swirl Hat. It soon became apparent that it was far too small. So again I ripped the hat back, and soaked the kinks out of yarn. The yarn was starting to lose its structural integrity by this stage, and my disillusionment was starting to grow. As was my stubbornness, for that matter.

I don’t have photographic evidence of either of those mishaps, which is quite fortunate as it means I’ll most likely remember that yarn as this beanie:


Anna Karenina by Veruschka Babuschka
Not very much Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 8ply, Cream
2.75mm and 3.25mm needles
Start: August 2010
Finish: August 2010
Modifications: different yarn
Ravelryed: here

The pattern hadn’t been long published when I knit this beanie up. It was a nice easy knit, with just enough variation to make it interesting. Having two beanie failures ended up being a blessing in disguise — of the three patterns, I think this one turned out the best and I’m really pleased with it.

Anna close up

This isn’t the first time I’ve used Luxury, but I must admit I’m a bit frustrated with it. While it’s a lovely soft yarn and comes in quite a few nice colours, it drops quite a lot after its first watch (see Porom). Sadly, I don’t think this is an uncommon problem. I had been planning to make a few bigger things using Luxury 4ply, but I am now a bit Luxury-shy.

Who would have thought all of this was down to not swatching? I tend to swatch for larger garments, but take for granted that for something relatively small, like a hat, would be ok without a test swatch. I have learnt my lesson.

Claudia, or Claudius?

Thanks everyone for your lovely comments about the Tyrolean Cardigan. Vintage and vintage-esque knits is really the direction I’ve been wanting to go down for quite some time and it’s lovely to get some affirmation that it was a good move (for this project anyway). Ultimately it’s been myself, and myself only, that’s prevented me knitting the things I really want to knit and wear. In a classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees, it’s been short term things, such as being put off by the fine gauge or the extra effort required for yarn substitutions, that had been my focus, rather than knowing that I’ll be creating a garment that I will enjoy and wear a lot. It’s funny how there’s such a difference between the projects you would like to work on and the projects you would actually use, once all those hours of labour (and love) have gone in.

Although not vintage, this is a project, finished at around the same time as the cardigan, that ticked both of those boxes:


Claudia by MJ Kim
1.1 balls of Balmoral Tweed (not 100 per cent sure of how much yarn was used, as I just used scraps leftover from Dad’s vest. It wouldn’t have been much more than 50 grams though)
3.50 and 4.00 mm needles
Start: June 2009
Finish: June 2009
Ravelryed here

Despite its feminine name, I think Claudia makes for a good unisex beanie. The only modifications came about by pure accident; I crossed the wrong way on the first row of trellis stitch, so the other crosses have also been reversed, and the post-trellis stitch ribbing was meant to be knit through the back of the stitch. It was a little while before these mistakes were realised, but the recipient doesn’t seem to mind, and I don’t mind, so we’re all good as far as I’m concerned. Something that bothers me a little is that it’s currently unblocked, and I think the ribbing would settle a little if it was. Given it’s current amount of use, I might have to wait until after winter before I can block it.

The next couple of weeks are going to be fairly busy in the Pransell household, as we are planning an interstate move in about a week and a half. While I’ll be at home during this time, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to post much more before we head off. The intention to post a little more frequently is there, but how this reconciles with reality is an entirely different matter.

Madness, part two

It’s cooled down a bit since my last post, but it’s still a bit warm to be even thinking about, let alone knitting, beanies. However, I wanted a break from Christmas knitting and I knew this would be a quick project, so I went ahead and did it anyway.


Star Crossed Slouchy Beanie by Natalie Larson
0.75 skein of Malabrigo Worsted, American Beauty
8.00 mm Addi circulars
Start: December 2008
Finish: January 2009


This is also an unusual project for me, as I knit this for myself and I don’t see myself as a hat person at all (even though sometimes I would like to be). This seemed like a good way to ease myself into maybe wearing hats in the future.

This project was a good way to revisit cabling without a needle, which I learnt to do a couple of months ago. The cables in this were a little more fiddly, as I needed to drop three stitches off the needle as opposed to one stitch last time, but it still worked fine and it still seems to be less fiddly and quicker than using a cable needle.

It’s the first time I’ve used Malabrigo, and it’s really a lovely yarn to knit with, and creates a lovely soft fabric. My only fear is that the attributes that make it so lovely will also cause it to pill a lot. Only time will tell.

Next up, the girl who knit a scarf in the middle of summer!

two square

The descent into gift knitting season has commenced over here. A couple of birthdays are on the horizon, and I needed to whip up something quicksmart.

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Turn a Square
a smidge of blue Lincraft cosy wool, a smidge of Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic 8ply in Raven and Anthracite and a smidge of Bendigo Woollen Mills Rustic 8ply in Graphite
3.75 and 4.5 mm dpns
Start: September 2008
Finish: September 2008

The hats are for are typical boys, so I wasn’t very adventurous with the colours, but that’s ok, because they were scraps of yarn that weren’t doing anything anyway.

Even though the recommended yarn is worsted weight, 8 ply seemed to work fine without any modification to the number of stitches cast on. I opted for a 3.75mm needle for the ribbing, as I wanted to make sure it fit snuggly around the band. I had a bit of trouble getting used to the jogless stripe technique, but once I got the hang of that, the hats were done in no time at all. In fact, I highly recommend this pattern if you need to whip up a present quickly, and the giftee is a skull cap wearer.

Because it is the gift knitting season, and I don’t know who reads this blog, I won’t be posting about projects much until they’re done and they are in the recipients’ possession. Don’t want to be ruining any surprises!