Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A winter hat I knit

Hello again, all - I found pictures I took of the hat I knit before I broke my fingers and then forgot to post. Yay, pantry knitting!

Two days ago I was on the subway, looking for a seat with protection on the left side so no one would hit my cast or brush my fingers with a coat or something, and the only candidate was directly across from a man who sat down, put his backpack on the ground, opened it, and PULLED OUT A SCARF ON KNITTING NEEDLES.  I mean, it was torture. Also, a really nice scarf. He looked like a beginning knitter, and was very intent on getting each stitch right, so I did not strike up a conversation to tell him how much I liked the two shades of blue he'd chosen. Anyway I probably would've drooled over the yarn and that would've been embarrassing for us both.

But I digress. I made my hat with very warm, very hairy yarn.

I've had it in my stash for years… I also bought it in blue and used that yarn for my Railyard Scarf, but I never used the red. It's like it was waiting for me to own a giant red parka that doesn't go with anything else!

Technically, there was enough yarn to make the entire hat from it alone. But this yarn is not elastic at all. In a scarf you want yarn that's going to hold its shape without necessarily stretching to a length of six miles... but the ribbing around the end of a hat is different. That's where you want some give, something that will stretch to hold the hat on your head and cling to keep the wind out. And the only yarn I could find with the same red in it was a very small scrap of "Ember" from Twisted Fiber Art.

Twisted specializes in this sort of striped graduation from one colour to another and as it turned out the deep grey and blue grey are perfect for the scarf I like best with the parka.

Unfortunately it also has this funny orange and the graduation is so short between the red and the orange that I have ended up with a seemingly unrelated colour in the most obvious spot on the hat, right at the edge above my eyebrows. I was not really happy about this.

There is another problem too. I shouldn't have been surprised, as I did completely wing this design, but still – the basic beret style ended up being very unflattering on me this time. My Instant Love hat is a beret shape and it's fine. It's also a pattern that uses a very chunky yarn and that may be the issue.

Okay - I have to make an opinionated style comment here about hats.

A few years ago, I noticed that all the pictures of the very pretty actors and actresses at the Sundance film festival showed them wearing slouchy ribbed hats. It took me a while to accept that that was a good look for a hat, let alone good finish for seriously pretty hair and makeup, and by that time it was out again. What's in now, at least around here, is a sort of giant, heavily cabled woolly cone that sticks up as far as 6 inches from the top of the wearer's head and ends with a fur pom-pom. I am really having trouble with this hat design because it cries out for really beautiful chunky wool yarn, handknit with love, and is usually machine knit from a cheap acrylic instead. I mean, not even a nice acrylic! I keep seeing them in posh stores and all the effort goes into the quality of the fur or faux fur pom-pom. It is so frustrating.

Not least because once you're used to seeing this giant cone hat everywhere, any hats that are shorter or knit with finer yarn look a little dumpy. Like, you know, my new red hat. So in desperation, I added a pom-pom, seen here without the twin distractions of rabbit and scarf:

It doesn't really save the hat. Maybe in a few years it will look great, when berets have their turn in the fashion cycle, but right now right here it's a bit silly. On the upside, when I was wearing it all the time before Christmas because it was so incredibly cold out, people were calling out on the street how festive I looked. (In my defence, they were usually people I knew.)

I had trouble taking a picture of the hat on me… This is as good as it gets:

It's slightly more flattering on my new rabbit, Cookie:

Cookie has been a great comfort to me while I'm stuck sitting and not knitting… she is yet another Jellycat but was made with a new fabric that is even softer than the usual, and I find the feel of the fiber in my hands is a big part of what I love about knitting.

In hand news, I saw my doctor yesterday and he told me to come back next Tuesday. I'll have another x-ray, meet with him again and also a physical therapist, and get a different cast which I think he said will be made of plastic. I am hoping that this new cast will be the removable kind he had mentioned to me as an option I could have chosen at first, if I were willing to have a little less functionality when my fingers are healed. He confirmed that I still won't have full functionality but that what I will have will be acceptable.

Lucky I have never dreamed of being a concert pianist, huh?

I wrote this post using voice recognition software (Dragon Speaks) and it does make it easier to compose while one-handed. It gets certain words wrong though, or will until I get it fully trained… for a while it insisted that the word 'knitting' was actually the word 'maintain', which I found alarming as though even the word was unavailable to me in this time of injury, sigh. It is recognizing the word sigh now though, and that is a big step up.

Hope you have been having a good week! I might do a house update to tide us over the weekend… I have some pretty pictures of the kitchen cabinets, and I know how we all love to look at cabinet doors…

(Yeah, my one-handed life is making me a bit squirelly.)

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