This past weekend, a holiday weekend here in the US, I decided rather last minute to join the KAL with Andrea Mowry and knit the Old Port Hat. Since it was too late to shop, I had to shop my stash for the yarns to make this hat. It calls for a sport/DK weight (Cashmere People Cashgora Sport and Harrisville Nightshades DK were used for the pattern).
I was lucky to find a combination of yarns in my stash that I was happy with. I had a leftover partial ball of Classic Alpaca by the Alpaca Yarn Company in the hot pink colorway that I had used for a lining on my Northman Mittens (this reminds me that I still have to fix the lining because it’s a little bit too long). I thought this would make a good hat lining and I should have enough to do that much. I also found a full ball of Rowan Felted Tweed in a light grey-ish color with tweedy bits of blue and black. It was a full 50 gram/191 yard ball. And then I had a leftover ball of Patagonia Organic Merino yarn from my Emsworth Vest (that I adore!) in the charcoal grey colorway. I weighed it and it’s more than 50 grams so I figured that it was at least half a skein (half of 382 yards should also be enough for the second color.
I cast on the largest size because I have a big head. No fooling. My head measures 23 1/2 inches. I love the pink yarn so much – 2023 must be the year of pink for me. Or maybe it’s just having a granddaughter … who knows.
The hat is knit on US 3 & 4 needles. The lining is knit on US 3 needles and it’s slow going because it’s tiny stitches butI got it done and then joined the main color on the decrease round. If I sew the lining just right, I hope there will be a tiny glimpse of the pink at the rim. Then the fun begins with two-color brioche also using the smaller needles so it grips your head. I haven’t knitted anything in Brioche stitch for a while but it’s fun and rhythmic once you get going -and that doesn’t mean that I didn’t make a few mistakes that I had to fix. I did forget a few yarn-overs and I got distracted and brioche purled when I should have brioche knitted but I got it all fixed and kept on moving forward. Two-color brioche has two rounds of knitting for every “row” making one color “ribbing” on one side and the reverse color “ribbing” on the other side. Because of this, the fabric is thicker and so squishy and it’s will be warm despite being a finer yarn used.
The pattern asks you to place markers and change the colors of the ribbing as you go around and that keeps the knitting more interesting and it’s fun to watch the ribs grow. The pink will be folded under and sewn in place inside the hat to make a soft and thick “ear warmer” lining. I really hope this hat looks somewhat decent on me. I don’t like me in hats at all but there are days up here in Maine when you have to wear one. I’ve yet to find one that I love to wear.
Anyway, at some point after about 3 inches of brioche-ing on the US 3 needles, you change to a US 4 and keep on knitting. There is some fun increasing and decreasing to make the lines move a bit and Andrea includes some excellent video support for those places. I didn’t remember or I didn’t know that you always increase or decrease in Brioche by 2 stitches but it totally makes sense. Believe me. It does.
See how cool the increases and decreases make the hat look? I’ve really enjoyed the knitting and practicing Brioche again. I found I could “repair” a few of my mistakes and when I forgot an increase, due to the two rounds per “row” I could frog back with the prior color to just where I forgot the increase and then finish color 1 and knit on in color two to fix the problem. Yay, me!
The yarns aren’t going to get a huge mention but I wanted to be sure to at least tell you that I am loving knitting with them. The alpaca liner is going to be so soft against my face and the Felted Tweed and Patagonia are “picky” yarns because they’re not superwash but they are so soft as I work them and they soften more with every stitch. Felted Tweed is a wool/silk/viscose blend. The silk gives the relatively untwisted yarn some strength. The Patagonia is an organic merino. Merino is a short staple wool and will pill like heck if it’s not twisted. In this yarn it is and it’s wonderful to knit with. My Emsworth vest has been worn a lot and it’s not pilling yet. Woo! Hoo! These yarns are magnificent and I will knit with them over and over again over a superwash, plastic-coated yarn. Hand washing isn’t a chore for me and the wool washes that need not be rinsed out make washing hand-knits a breeze!
As of last night, I’ve crept up the hat and am nearing the end of the body of the hat. I have enough fabric now to try the hat on and it does fit my head well. I didn’t have a mirror to decide if I love it on but that will happen soon enough. So far, so good.
PS – you can find the FOs that I talk about here on my Ravelry project page. (My Ravelry name is “lindar”.)