Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Knitted hats

I decided at a very late stage to knit hats for my parents as Christmas presents.  My original plans had fallen through, and I was at a loss for what to do.  It was a challenge, to finish two projects in a few days and to find patterns that I liked and could follow.

I took this as an opportunity to buy expensive wool that I would not normally allow myself, since it was for presents and because not much is needed for a hat.  For my father I found the pattern in the Rowan Colourscape Folk brochure because I wanted to use Rowan's Colourscape yarn with colours chosen by Kaffe Fassett.  I bought the mainly navy shade as suitable for my father, and with luck and some planning I managed to avoid the pink and burgundy sections.

The pattern called for 7 mm needles, but I thought it produced very loose knitting, so I used 5.5 mm, and I preferred to knit on double pointed needles.  To compensate, and because I wanted a largish hat - as the ribbing would pull it together - I added an extra pattern repeat.  After a few cms I thought it was still too loose so I added a strand of Rowan Kidsilk Haze Stripe - also with Kaffe Fassett colours.  The colours in the two yarns were roughly similar, and I really liked the result.  It made the hat softer and the colours more interesting.  I decided to knit it on the wrong side so that I could knit instead of purl the k1p3 pattern.  It worked well until I got to the decreases in the crown, where I had to be inventive. 

The pattern was an easy rib pattern, with decreases at the crown.  I made it longer than the pattern, so that the edge could be folded up.  I knitted it in two days, and I am very happy with the result.  It fits, and it is snug and warm, and looks OK.

The second hat, for my mother, was more complicated and more interesting to knit.  I found the pattern in Vogue Knitting Fall 2009, Norah Gaughan's Blossom hat.  That issue has a number of interesting hat patterns.  For this I chose another Rowan yarn, Creative Focus Worsted.  The most difficult thing with this yarn is the name.  What is wrong with a snappy name like Tapestry, Lima, Savannah?  I knew the yarn was thin for this pattern, so it was for this that I bought the Kidsilk Haze Stripe, and together they produced the right tension.  Not that I knitted a tension square.

The pattern has bobbles at the crown - not so visible in the pictures -  and then four leaves leading down to the ribbed brim.  It was fun knitting it, ticking off the rows as I knitted each.  This one took me three days, but the result is lovely.  The two yarns produced a soft fabric.  I was not that happy with the colours.  Kidsilk Haze Stripe has very long colour runs, and I was surprised to see the dark purple emerge when it came to the ribbing, but I had no choice but to continue.  I am very happy with this hat, and I would gladly have kept it for myself.

Now that I was on a hat run, I cast on a third for myself after Christmas, but I have yet to photograph it.

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