Monday, January 12, 2015

A warm handknit hat

Oh, how coveted is the soft, warm handknit hat - at least by me.  I also enjoy a good storebought hat, but it's hard to find those as soft or as dense or as warm as what I'm after.  Not that this gorgeous thing didn't give me a ton of trouble.

I really love this light pink snaily swirl, don't you?

Seriously: I knit this hat four times.  On the upside, I did that while listening to Martin Short talk about his life.  This is a very pleasant thing to do with or without the knitting, especially if,immediately after you've finished it, you find yourself at two funerals over three days.  He has a lot of insights that will help you with that.

The colourway is 'Princess and the Pea' from a recent Twisted Fiber Art club. I knew right away I wasn't giving this stuff to anybody else, and I spun it bulky for a warm hat, somehow messing up so completely that I didn't get the yardage I needed.  No idea how that happened.

So there I am knitting the hat instead of the Ferdy socks somebody with cold toes is still waiting for, and I run out of yarn!  And that was after I'd ripped it out and started again with bigger needles and fewer stitches, because on my first attempt I got only about 2.5" out of the first half of my supply.

After the second time I ripped back again, cast on with fewer stitches, and tried anew.

No dice.

So in the end I cast on 36 stitches - yes, THIRTY SIX - and hoped very hard.  It is the teensiest bit snug around the bottom as you can imagine, owing to my not having used a stretchy enough cast on.  But had I done so, I would have been knitting a fifth time: I had exactly six inches of yarn left when I ran the end through the last of remaining stitches post-crown, and I needed them all for the bow on the top.

Here's an interesting item.  After a short amount of ribbing I decided to splurge a bit and make my increases every other row straight out from the band, leading to this shape:

instead of making them every fourth row after a more generous band, which looks like this.

The other interesting thing is that my orange hat is made from less yardage than the pinky green one.  Needle size makes such a difference, doesn't it?  I needed a bigger size for the pink hat and just didn't have it.  I should soon though because Online Shopping.

As it is the gauge is pretty loose and airy, and the yarn over increases are huge.

Also: the hat overall is very short and pixie-like.

And yet, I can vouch for its being warm.  This hat went through one of the most rigorous of testing operations last week when I wore it to my cousin's funeral and then on to his graveside service.  The day was sunny but the cold and wind extreme; our cluster of mourners did nothing to produce body heat and I still don't understand why because that side of the family is very, very big and we were very, very close together.  My toes were freezing, my hands barely speaking to me, my core - in spite of two wool sweaters under a down coat - trembling to bring up my body temperature, but my head was warm thanks to this hat.  I am so grateful I grabbed it at the last minute instead of the lighter one that looks more sombre, and could concentrate on what we were doing instead of willing my hair to bulk up for insulation.

Yep: it's a good hat.

But not so good that I don't kinda want another.  Sometimes I wish I weren't so greedy about knitting but then I think, I should just love myself the way I am and keep knitting the cosy.

What about you?  Have you knit something for yourself lately?  Think maybe you should?

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