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.