Rustling Leaves

This project has been done for a while.  I just, sort of, forgot that it was blocking on the table and left it there for two weeks neglected to show you.  It’s Rustling Leaves Beret by Alana Dakos from the book Coastal Knits.  There are some seriously beautiful patterns in this book.  Peter, lucky dude that he is actually did some of the test knitting so he got an early sneak peak.  This cute little beret was the February knit-a-long at my LYS.


This is the hat pre-blocking when it had more of a beanie shape.
I used some yarn that I had spun from an Abstract Fiber roving.  The fiber was an alpaca/silk blend that spun very smoothly.  The colorway is called Mt. Hood Rose.  It really wanted to be a fingering weight yarn even though my original spinning plan was for it to be sport.  All for the good since this pattern calls for fingering.
I made one tiny modification to the pattern based on the project notes of other people on Ravelry.  Many had complained that the brim of the hat was loose.  Since alpaca is known for stretching out, I really wanted to combat the possibility of a too-loose brim.  I used a smaller needle than called for for the brim ribbing a US 1 instead of a 2 and did a 1×1 twisted ribbing rather than a standard ribbing since twisting stitches tightens them up.
I was stretching when my brother snapped this picture, it’s not very flattering for me, but it shows the hat nicely.  Notice the beret-y shape now that it’s been blocked.
As soon as I finished knitting I snapped a few quick pre-blocking photos then gave it a quick soak and stretched it around a dinner plate to block it into proper beret shape.  I set it out of the way where the cats wouldn’t bother it then forgot about it became very busy.  When I rediscovered it a few weeks later  it was like getting a new hat for free.  I was happy.
So happy I put it on and took pictures right away, not even caring that it clearly did not match my shirt at all.


Wanderer Cap

This week I knit a hat in 2 days.  Really, I could have easily done it in one day but I didn’t have my dpns on hand the first day to finish the crown.  I love instant gratification projects.

I love the book Weekend Hats that was released in the fall.  It’s got some amazing hats in it, and this one is no exception.  This is Wanderer Cap by Jared Flood.  It’s pretty simple.  Mostly garter stitch with 6 slip stitch cables that twist around the crown in a spiral.  The pattern is only charted, not written.  I found that after a few rounds I could “see” where the pattern was going and didn’t have to refer to it every row.
The yarn I used was amazing.  It was Elsebeth Lavold Baby Llama, 100% llama, colorway dark brown.  (Sometimes I like it when colors have obvious names rather than fanciful ones.)  It’s amazingly soft.  Ryan loves Alpaca and this has the same silky smooth texture.
Since I know that other camelid fibers like alpaca can lose shape I knit this hat entirely on size 6 needles rather than the 7s and 8s called for.  It looked very small coming off the needles, but after washing and blocking over a balloon it ended up the perfect size.
Man do I love that smile!
Ryan says it is the best beanie I have made for him yet.  This sounds like a challenge.

Picky Hat

My latest design is available on Ravelry now!  I’ve been meaning to get this hat design down on paper for a long time.  I decided to hustle and get it out to test knitters before school started at the end of August.  I’ve gotten some great feedback and I’m finally confident enough that the errors have all been caught to release the pattern.

Ryan is picky about what knits he will wear.  He has very strict ideas about what is manly.  I’ve combed the ravelry database of men’s patterns over and over having him reject 95% of the hats I propose.  Finally I decided to get as much info from him about what he wanted and come up with something on my own.  This is the end result:

This is not Ryan modeling, this is my brother Adam.  He’s 6’10”, that’s why the photo is taken looking up at him, I can’t get far enough away from him to get a picture that looks like it’s taken straight-on and still shows off the hat. 

I call the pattern Picky because it was designed because of Ryan’s rejection of most other patterns.  It’s knit on size 6 needles using worsted weight yarn.  When knit to gauge, the fabric produced is nice and dense without being stiff, perfect for a winter hat.

The yarn I used for this hat is Lion Brand Superwash Merino Cashmere–72% merino, 15% nylon, 13% cashmere.  It’s very very soft and I have absolutely no complaints about the yarn itself.  (It looks like it might pill under abrasive use, but hats aren’t usually treated that roughly and I hate it when people use merino yarn then complain when it pills… that’s like cooking with real butter then complaining that your food is fattening… um duh, take the good with the bad.)  My only complaint is the put up of the yarn.  There are only 87 yards per ball.  At $8/ball it makes for a pretty expensive project, even for smaller items.  It also means weaving in more ends than usual which annoys me greatly.


My brother deserves some major props for modeling in these pictures.  It’s about 90 degrees outside in those photos and I had him modeling this and the Habitat I finished during the same “photo shoot.”  He was a pretty good sport about it.  I told him to pose as manly as possible, this is what he came up with:


I wouldn’t want to mess with that.

And August is gone…

What happened?  Didn’t I just get back from Sock Summit?  I feel like that was yesterday, but the calendar is telling me that it is already the end of August.  School starts on monday.  Incontrovertible evidence that fall is right around the corner is staring me in the face even thought it feels like summer is just kicking off.  I worked my last full-time day yesterday before switching over to my part-time “school schedule”–fall is here.  What better way to (grudgingly) welcome it than with an offering of wool?


That is my brother being blackmailed into modeling the Habitat by Jared Flood that I just finished.  If he looks a bit sweaty, that’s because it’s 88 degrees out and he’s modeling a wool hat.

This pattern is one of those “looks-super-complex-but-really-just-takes-a-little-focus” types that makes you feel like you worked out something really clever when you’re done.  It’s for my dad’s 60th birthday (which was the 11th…)  Really though, he only told me he wanted a hat on the 4th, so I think it’s OK that it was finished a bit late.  Plus, it’s still super hot in New Mexico where my parents live so it’s not like he “needs” it right now.


The yarn is the handspun Corriedale that I made on my new Ashford Joy spinning wheel a few weeks ago.  The handspun nature of the yarn plus the heathered color means the cables are a bit subdued, but I think it gives the hat a well-worn rustic look that makes me think of those pictures of knitwear taken on a farm when it’s drizzling out… you know the ones.


Extremely fun hat to knit.  I’m sure I will knit it again.  However, as much as I love buying things local it’s over a dollar more to buy a paper copy from the LYS than to buy it online–since I prefer digital copies anyway, I don’t think I’ll be buying any more of Jared Flood’s patterns as a paper version.  It’d be different if they were the same price, but one dollar added to a five dollar pattern is a 20% mark-up…  not cool.


This past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I went camping with Ryan down in Southern Oregon in between Grants Pass (where I grew up) and Medford (where most of my dad’s family is).  It was so nice to escape the miserable Portland weather!  It’s been hovering in the high 50s here with rain almost every day.  Down south it was mid 70s and clear blue skies every day.


This is me looking to see if the rustling noises in the grass is a snake… I hate snakes…  We did all the fun camping things like campfire with marshmallows, cooking on a little propane grill, sleeping in a tent, etc.  We also drove into Ashland, Oregon to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to see Measure for Measure.  Last year I begged and begged Ryan to go with me because they were doing Hamlet, Twelfth Night, and Henry V.  Sadly, we couldn’t get our schedules to line up since I was working weekends and we didn’t make it down.  This year, with two free weeks before starting our summer jobs we managed to make it work.  Of course, after the stellar list of plays last year, this year was more of a “B” year–Measure for Measure, Julius Caesar, Henry IV Part II, and Loves Labor Lost.  This is likely why we were able to get cheap tickets just one week before the show.  Last year the cheap tickets were selling out almost a month in advance.  Even though it’s not one of Shakespeare’s best, Measure for Measure was very fun to see and the theater did some interesting things with the show setting it in an inner-city Latino slum.

When I got back from camping I finished up a hat for my brother.


Why is it PINK?  Adam is a very manly man, he would never wear a pink hat, not even if his life depended on it!  That is of course… Unless it was a Zoidberg Hat.

For those of you Futurama fans screaming at your computer “You idiot!  You did it wrong! Zoidberg has FOUR mouth tentacles, not THREE!!!!”  Rest assured, there are 4 there, Adam just has his head turned weird and it’s hiding.  You try telling a 21-yearold man he needs to pose for accurate knitting pictures…

The pattern I based this on is the Jackyll & Hide pattern from the Fall 2007 Knitty.  I knit the pattern as written to the crown.  Then, instead of adding the skeleton mouth, I picked up 48 stitches (24 on top, 24 on bottom) and knit in the round for about an inch.  Then I took six stitches of the top needle and six stitches of the bottom needle and knit 15 rounds followed by two rounds of K2tog then fastened off.  I repeated this 3 more times.  Wove in the ends and voila a Zoidberg hat.

Adam has been asking me for this hat for a long time, so when I called to tell him it was finished he was understandably excited.  I told him that I accepted gratitude in the form of Chocolate.  He brought me Coco Puffs, Coco Pebbles, Chocolate granola bars, Chocolate graham cracker Goldfish, and…


I think he liked the hat…

Love/Hate Hat

First off, what do you think of the new look?  I’m still deciding.  It’s a much happier look than the old brown.  It makes me smile, but doesn’t that sort of counteract the grump-theme that is my blog/life?  Weigh in.

Second, Spring Breeze, which I introduced to you last time, is live on Ravelry!  I debated whether or not to charge for it.  Part of me thinks that no one will want such a simple project designed by me, a totally unknown loser-hack.  The other part of me got all indignant at those thoughts and told myself that I worked hard to put it together, spent time considering each element, carefully wrote out the instructions, tried to lay them out in a way that would be accessible to any knitter (as opposed to the indecipherable scribbles I knit my test version from), organized a test-knit, charted, graphed, and did math… that’s got to be worth something.  I settled on $2.



Even if you don’t have a Ravelry account, you can buy it by clicking this link and using paypal.

Third, the love/hate hat.


This is my second Jacques Cousteau Hat, the first is here.  I hate knitting this hat.  The pattern is totally fine, there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s easy to follow, it’s exactly what you’d expect to find from a ribbed hat pattern.  The hatred is entirely personal.  Also, possibly my fault.  Both times I’ve knit this pattern, which calls for DK weight yarn, I’ve used worsted weight but continued to use the recommended size 4 needles because I wanted a “dense” fabric… Read “dense” and finger-numbing, wrist-pain inducing, impossibly tight stitches of death.  I know, I did it to myself, but it still created an intense feeling of hate.

I knit this one holding two strands of Pattons Kroy Sock held together.  The colorway is called “Gentry Grey.”  I would call it “Nothing-Speical Grey” but maybe that’s just the hate from the project carrying over.

The reason this hat holds such sway over more than 2,000 knitters is probably the way the decreases spiral at the top.  (That, and it qualifies as “manly.”)


The decreases are worked by knitting two stitches then passing one stitch over the other.  The stitch that has been passed over then strangles the other stitch making it nearly impossible to knit on the next row.  Normally I love doing increases/decreases because they break up the monotony of straight knitting, but I dreaded each of these.

Where is the love? you ask.  The hat is for Ryan.  He’s even modeling it, which is why you get so much hat and so little model in the picture… camera-shy that one.  Ryan loves this pattern.  I knit it for him once before.  He wore it non-stop during the end of winter/beginning of spring last year, then sadly lost it just as fall was turning to winter this year.  (Yes, I totally still measure my time in school years.  I can’t comprehend the beginning of the year being in January, my new years start in September thank you very much.  Such is the life of a perpetual student.)  He was very sad about the loss.  To cheer him up I went to the stash, dug out some more gray yarn and cast on.  There’s the love.  I hate this pattern, but Ryan’s a pretty wonderful dude and I’d knit it for him again and again. (With a bit of under-breath muttering.)

New Beanie

Not too long ago I ordered a skein of hand-painted sock yarn that I thought looked pretty awesome online. When I got it, it was much less impressive in person than it had looked online. Ravelry to the rescue, I just went to the Knit Picks board (it was one of the Knit Picks handpainted colorways) and offered up my skein for a comparable amount of sock yarn in a different color. I was offered one of the discontinued kettle-dyed colors and made the swap.

Ryan was around when the new skein arrived and fell instantly in love with the color. Basically as soon as it was out of the envelope he was asking me if I could make a beanie for him using it. This is the result.


Ryan is blog-shy so only his forehead is appearing today. The pattern is Ski Beanie by Terra Jamieson and it’s in the Son of Stitch ‘n Bitch book. The yarn is Knit Picks Essential Kettle-Dyed (discontinued) in color Jay.

Ryan flips the bottom of the hat up to have a folded brim. I would wear this type of hat like this to get maximum ear coverage:

Photo on 2011-02-21 at 00.59 #2

Please excuse the crappy webcam photo, the angle makes my head look huge, and the lighting is terrible, but the point is, the hat also works as a no-brim beanie as well.

I altered the patter quite a bit since it’s written to be knit flat and in DK weight and I wanted it to be knit in the round in fingering weight. I cast on enough stitches for 5 extra pattern repeats (as the hat is decreased in 5 sections) and dropped my needle down to a size 1 for the 1×1 ribbing and 1.5 for the body of the hat. (Side note: it takes FOREVER to knit a hat out of fingering weight yarn on size 1 needles. At least it feels like forever when you’re used to the speed of a worsted weight beanie that can be worked up in an evening.)

Since this is a super simple two-row pattern is was easy to change the rows that originally would have been wrong-side rows into right-side rows for knitting in the round. I followed the decrease directions as written except that I had one extra pattern repeat between each marker so I had to do more decrease rounds.


This in-progress picture really shows off the kettle-dyed nature of the yarn. I was worried at first because it looked like I hadn’t made it wide enough, but I blocked it over a balloon (the BEST way to block hats!) and it loosened up nicely and fits wonderfully now. Ryan has confessed that on the 1-10 scale of warmness it’s only about a 3 (um yeah, it’s fingering weight) but on the 1-10 scale of looking-good it’s an 8. I know most of the credit goes to the awesome color of the yarn, but as the knitter I’m claiming that 8 for myself.


I have recently been expanding my hat wardrobe. I have decided that hats go with most of my casual day to day wear and are a great way to 1) stay warm and 2) cover up a bad hair day. My newest addition to my hat wardrobe is this.

Lotus Hat

It’s the Lotus Hat by UptownPurl and it can be found free on her blog. It’s a very simple 8 row zig-zag lace repeat that makes beautiful vine-like motifs running up the hat.

I made a few changes to the pattern as written but they were so minor and mostly based on other ravelers’ suggestions. I did the 1×1 ribbing as twisted rib instead of normal. I did the ribbing for 10 rows instead of 6. I knit 4 repeats of the pattern before decreasing instead of 3 to make it come down over my ears. That’s all. Not minor changes, but worth mentioning if you want your hat to look “just” like this one.


This is the hat blocking over a balloon… my new favorite way to block hats. A bag of balloons was less that $2 at Target (in the area with the birthday wrapping paper) and it’s so much faster than blocking by laying flat. I just blew up a balloon to 21″ circumference and put the hat on it. No having to constantly flip the hat to make sure both sides are drying, no having to rotate how the hat is laying so that it doesn’t dry with a crease, AND it drys 3x as fast because the wet layers aren’t sitting on top of each other keeping the moisture in.


The best part of the hat is the crown where the decreases make the vines spiral together beautifully.

I used Malabrigo Merino Worsted in colorway Black Forest. According to my yarn scale, this took 50.5 g of yarn, so just a bit over half a skein. This was leftover from my earlier Botanic hat, where I used it as the secondary color, and even after both hats I still have 33 g left. I’m thinking I will just be able to squeeze a short pair of fingerless mitts out of it.


Action shot! Also, a picture of my fuzzy mitts from last post where they can be seen in actual use… and in sunlight no less. Much thanks to the Portland weather gods for sending a bit of sunshine our way.

Adam’s Hat, part 2

Before Christmas, I showed you the hat that I was working on to give to my brother Adam, but it wasn’t very far along. I managed to finish it, even with law school finals happening all the way up until December 23rd and my family arriving and needing entertainment on the 23rd… (that is a rant in itself that you’re likely uninterested in.) The 24th I finished the last of the seaming, and voila:


One silly hat for Adam. The hat was a kit from Knit Picks called “Into the Woods” and it’s still available as of this post, but is “last chance.” The yarn used is Red and Bittersweet Heather Wool of the Andes for the main colors and Oyster Heather Wool of the Andes and Natural Suri Dream for the inner ear flap. The Suri Dream is carried along with the Wool of the Andes to make the ear flap fuzzy and soft.


Like most of the Knit Picks patterns I’ve encountered this one has, what I would consider, too many spelling, grammar, and technical errors for a pattern that is paid for. Also, for the earflap, the pattern is completely unhelpful. The ear flap has to be knit back and fourth. Rather than cutting the yarn and moving it I just used it from where it was. Sometimes this meant knitting a row with the red, then needing to do a bittersweet heather row but the yarn wasn’t on the end of the fabric to set up a purl row… in these cases I just went back to where I started (you must have a circular needle to do this) and knit a second row rather than cutting the yarn and moving it to the other side to do a purl row.


The pattern makes a huge hat (I knit to pattern gauge) that sits up really high, sort of like Elmer Fudd’s hat. I could never see wearing this hat for anything other than using it as some sort of prop, or trying to win a silly hat contest… Adam is all dressed up in these pictures because they were taken Christmas day and we’re about to go to a dinner party. He wore the hat through most of the party.


Adam’s Christmas present

My brother Adam does not read my blog, so it’s totally safe to show you this. My brother is 20 and loves ridiculous hats. I’ve made him some pretty great ones over the years. This is the progress on the one I’m working up for Christmas this year.

Into the Woods

This came as a kit called “In to the Woods” from Knit Picks. The kit creates a Elmer Fudd type hunting hat with brim and ear flaps as well as a matching pair of convertible mittens. The kit comes with 4 balls of Wool of the Andes (100% Peruvian Wool) in Red, 2 balls of Wool of the Andes in Bittersweet Heather, 1 ball of Wool of the Andes in Oyster Heather, and 1 ball of Suri Dream (74% Alpaca, 22% Wool, 4% Nylon) in Natural. The Suri Dream is a halo-y yarn that is super soft and it is carried along with a strand of the Wool of the Andes to line the earflap of the hat and the hoods of the mittens.

I don’t think this kit sold very well (I got it on sale) because I can’t see many people wearing this in any serious fashion-y sort of way. It works really well for my silly hat needs though, so I’m glad it was offered. I’ll make sure to post a pic of it being modeled after Christmas.