Can you believe it? Two projects on my Fall list complete! I am on a roll. I have decided that I officially like knitting hats- they are such quick, satisfying projects and I am learning so much from them. The one thing I dislike is that they need a person's head in them to be shown to best advantage so I've become my own model. Though I am on the upper end the selfie generation, I DO NOT like attempting selfies. Gives me the bad kind of goosebumps just thinking about it; but the hat deserves to be shown at its best, so I am trying my best to do it justice.
I love the feminine flair this hat has. It is a retro-style cloche, with one side of the brim folded up and sewn in place. The contrasting color band is worked in a subtle woven stitch, which is a nice detail. I call this one the "Lady Detective Hat." I do not know why, I just feel like it would be a good hat for sleuthing. I do not sleuth, nor do I know any sleuths, but that's what popped in to my random little head when I put it on.
This is a great pattern for anyone wanting some practice with short rows. The folded flap is worked in short rows, but the directions are easy to follow and it is not complicated shaping. It would be a great way to get one's feet wet in the world of wrap and turn. I have a tutorial on the method here. I used a sport weight yarn, which is ever so slightly smaller than the DK weight yarn in the pattern. To compensate, I kept with the size 6 needles but made the larger size hat with a 22" circumference, even though the smaller hat would be my sister's size with a 20" circumference. I think this might have been unnecessary, as my hat landed somewhere in the middle. The hat is a little loose, not having the negative ease that I feel the designer had created in her cloche. However, it still fits on my head without feeling too big, so I think it is okay.
The pattern is very concise. It is easy to follow and short. It employs a k2tog decrease at the crown, so you get a swirly star shape as the hat comes together at the top. You can work using 16" circular needles comfortably until the decreases, then you need to switch to the double points. This hat took hardly any time to finish, it's a great quick gift to knit while watching your favorite show. You would probably be able to get it done within a week without stressing yourself over it.
I enjoyed working with the Lambs Pride. It is a superwash wool, so it can be machine washed and there is not a worry of felting. I did not machine wash it to block it, however. After soaking the hat, I rolled it in a towel and then moved it to a mat to lay flat to dry. I shaped it while it was flat, keeping the short row flap down. After the hat was dry, I turned the flap up and stitched it in place using the main color yarn. I am very happy with how the hat turned out. Time to tackle my third and final hat on the Fall Project list.
Summary: This was a quick knit with a lovely result. It has a little more flair than a traditional beanie, but is not overly complicated. With the contrasting color band, you can have a lot of fun making a hat with a little punch. The pattern instruction is clear and concise. This project is a great way to practice short rows, too.
by Carina Spencer
Free pattern available on Ravelry
Skills needed: Slip stitch, knit, purl, increase, decrease, working in the round, i-chord, pick up stitches
Ladies and gentlemen, I have done it! I have completed one of the projects on my fall project list! Are you surprised, because I am. If I hope to get through them all, I need to keep up the pace, though. I am feeling pumped right now, so I will ride this knitting adrenaline wave as far as it will take me- hopefully knocking out at least three more projects in the process.
Now, about the hat...which is the point of this post. This hat is part of my sister's Christmas present. My goal is to make her two sets of outdoor accessories. There is this hat and the cloche, also by Carina Spencer. I am hoping to find some gloves with a similar art deco feel to make for this hat and then I have a pattern for a shawl to go with the cloche. I am feeling optimistic I might actually get this present done on time. More often than I would like, I aim to make a present and then, after hours of toiling, the realization I am not going to finish in time hits me and I have to go out and buy something. It's a very defeating feeling. (And my sister's birthday is in the summer, so it's hard to just kick this idea down the road and make it a birthday present. Nobody wants winter apparel in the summer.)
This pattern was free, which was awesome. I purchased some DK Simplicity by HiKoo in yellow and sage green. One skein of each was plenty. I have a lot of the green leftover but used almost all of the yellow. Now, I am going to try to explain my feelings regarding this yarn as it relates to this project. Try being the key word there. I wish the stitches blended more for this project. Not in a felted kind way. I find that some yarns allow stitches to sort of exist together, creating almost a painterly, unified aesthetic. Don't get me wrong, you can still see all the stitches, but they look a little more linked together. Sometimes, and this is complete conjecture based on my limited experience, the more synthetic material there is in a yarn, the more "individual" the stitches tend to look to me. That is really wonderful for some projects, but I do not think it served this project well. The Simplicity is a merino wool, acrylic, nylon blend. The upside of this is that it will be stronger and the hat will likely last longer without a lot of the ailments all natural yarns suffer from (like warping, shrinking, pilling, etc.). Plus, you can wash this hat, so that's great. See, there is a silver lining to everything.
The pattern is really nice as it allows you to use any weight yarn you might have laying around. It's the first time I've seen a size-as-you-go pattern. It was very straightforward, though, and by the looks of all the project photos on Ravelry, many people have had a lot of success with this pattern. I really love the use of the slipped stitches along the edges of the green band. It made where you pick of the stitches look more polished because it almost created a small border that hid where the colors actually meet. You immediately increase after you pick up the stitches and then you creat a slip stitch ribbing that is a nice detail. The hat is worked inside out, so even though it is a purl stitch, you actually just knit the whole time in the round and then flip the hat inside out when you're done. That's clever if you dislike purling. I don't mind the purl stitch, I feel like sometimes it is unfairly vilified, but I still think it is a clever idea. I did get these small, wonky little lines next to the slipped stitch rib as you move up the hat. You can best see them in the photos at the bottom of the page. I am not sure how to avoid that problem in the future, but it annoys me a little bit when I look closely at my project.
I blocked the hat using a glass bowl until it was almost dry and then I laid it flat to shape the fan. The pictures in the pattern suggest leaving the edges of the fan straight, but I rather liked the look of a curl on the one side. I basted the whole fan down using a needle and thread by loosely stitching around the edge. You cannot see the stitches. All in all, I am happy with the way the hat turned out and I think my sister will like it. Now I just have to keep my eyes peeled for some gloves or mittens that would match.
Summary: This is a great, quick, unique hat. The pattern is free, which makes it even better. If you have some yarn in your stash that needs using, this is a perfect project. Or, you can be like me and just use it as an excuse to buy more yarn...any yarn you'd like to try...since you size as you go and the gauge does not matter.
by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence
Available for $4.99 on
Also part of the "Worsted Basics Collection" on Knit Picks.
Featured in Wool of the Andes Worsted, opal heather.
Skills needed: v-neck, button holes, increasing, decreasing, knitting in the round (sleeves), set-in sleeves, whip stitch, extended color
First, I apologize for the lack of a decent picture of the whole sweater. It has not rained all summer, and since I finished this sweater, it will not stopped raining for me to take some pictures. I will take the rain over sweater pictures any day, though. I will call these pictures "good enough" and move on.
I started this sweater about a year ago. It was hard for me to finish not because it is a difficult project, but because it hasn't been cold! I thought I'd work it up in the fall for the winter, but the fall never seemed to end here. Last winter was unusually warm, hardly dropping below freezing. With the warm, drizzly winter, it was hard to stay motivated to knit a sweater. Now it's the end of September, and the heat still hasn't let up! I'm ready for some cooler weather, so I bit the bullet and finished this sweater, hoping perhaps its completion would herald in a chill for the start of fall.
Surprisingly, this is my first full-sized sweater I've tackled. It had a lot of elements I was interested in learning. These included set in arms, pockets, shaping, an extended collar and a button band worked as you go. So, without frills, this seemed to be a great learning project. Also, I love grumpy old men sweaters. Sure, it's call a "boyfriend" cardigan, but if your boyfriend is wearing a cardigan such as this, you're dating a grumpy old man. There's nothing wrong with that, but let's not kid ourselves.
The end product turned out well. I choose the same yarn as recommended in the pattern. In real life, the opal heather has blue, grey, and red all mixed together for an overall blue/grey color. (The flecks of red can only be seen when you do a close inspection.) It feels like a wooly sweater, but not scratchy, so I think it's a nice yarn choice if you want an economical option but still quality wool. The fit of the sweater is interesting. If you do the shaping (there are instructions for shaping as well as no shaping) in the waist, the body of the sweater is fitted. It's not snug, but there is not a lot of ease for me and I am a thin woman. However, the arms are big, meaning they have quite a bit of positive ease. It's not a bad thing, it makes the sweater great for throwing on around the house, no matter what clothes you already have on. However, the fitted nature of the body makes me feel like it looks a little more natural left open. Either way, it is comfy and actually looks better on than as shown here. Lastly, I love the length. As you can imagine, a sweater for a man would naturally be longer and the designer of this sweater showed respect to that fact. Both the body and the sleeves are long, and I love that.
The pattern was complete but a little frustrating. If you do choose to make this sweater, you need to read all the way through the pattern a number of times. Of course, before you start it is always a good idea to read through any pattern in its entirety. However, this pattern is broken down into sections, some of which need to be worked simultaneously...so if you think you can just chug along and do the sections sequentially, you will be disappointed with the results. As long as you always look a little ahead, things knit up smoothly.
Summary: While the pattern is a little confusing, it does include a lot of useful skills and is a great basic pattern for a larger sized cardigan. I would recommend buying the pattern collection, as it is much more economical than buying only this pattern. A bonus is all of the patterns in the collection are great basics and would be an arsenal of resources for anyone who wanted to branch out but needed a good, solid place to start. If you already know how to knit sweaters and are not looking to bolster basic skills, there are better looking "boyfriend" cardigans out there.