1898 Hat – A different construction

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1898 Hat in Cascade Eco Duo

The 1898 Hat by Kristine Byrnes is a free pattern on Ravelry. We sell a lot of yarn for them at my LYS, Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine. It may help that we have a great sample, in hat and headband form, right near the cash register!

I’ve been in Maine now for three winters. Winters are cold here. Hats are a must for my husband, in particular, because he has no hair. I almost always wear a coat with a hood which is enough for me but I have been known to wear a hat, too. All of this is to say that I am shocked that I haven’t knitted this hat before now.

A few weeks ago, a woman came into the shop when I was working and she wanted to have someone knit a 1898 hat for her out of some lovely Cascade Eco Duo alpaca yarn that she had bought. I’ve never seen this hat in alpaca before. I offered to knit it for her. When I called her to have her come pick it up, she asked me to make another in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride.

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1898 Hat in Lamb’s Pride Worsted

Both hats are wonderful. The alpaca was so soft and the Lamb’s Pride Worsted is so squishy. AND the knit was fun for me, too!

IMG_2313The headband is knit flat in garter stitch with increases for the ear flaps. It has a provisional cast on – I used a crochet cast on. It’s knit in garter stitch on either side of three slipped stitches on the wrong side (they’re knit on the right side) which makes it fold in half to make the headband double thickness and really, really warm! You graft the ends of the headband together with Kitchener Stitch (if you do it properly it’s completely invisible!) and then pick up the stitches from both sides of the headband to make the rest of the hat in the round like any “normal” hat.

One hank/skein/ball of worsted weight yarn worked for each hat. I KNOW my sweet hubby needs one of these hats. He works outside. In Maine. In the winter. It’s really, really cold. He has no hair. Did I mention that he has no hair?

Gone Knitting!

 

 

Laughing All the Way

I have had a wonderful experience teaching three wonderful students a stranded knitting class. We made “my” Four Needle Snowflake Mittens. These are my favorite mittens to date. I love knitting them. The pattern came from my colleague and teacher, Bette. It’s an old and often-copied pattern but it’s a great one!

At our last class, I was explaining the difference between mittens that are the same (can be worn on either hand) and mittens that are knitted specifically for either the left or right hand. I pulled out my finished pair of mittens to show the ladies what I was talking about  and …img_7658

Do you see the problem?

How about now?

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Ha! Ha! Ha! It’s so good that I have learned how to laugh at myself! I realized that I had knitted TWO LEFT MITTENS!!! What a teachable moment! Even the teacher can make mistakes!

I’ve shared this story with everyone at work, my other classes and just about everyone that I have spoken to and every single time I laugh. Out loud! I still find it hilarious!

Since these were to be a Christmas gift for a very special person who happens to have a left and a right hand, I have had to finish a third mitten … this one is for the other hand! LOL. My students continue to teach me as much as I teach them!

Now, I’ve got them fixed – and the fourth mitten will be finished after I complete another pair. Wait until you see them!

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Today’s lesson learned – never take yourself too seriously!

Gone knitting.

Just So Bag by Andrea Babb

Lace Panel in ProcessLast summer I bought the yarn and pattern to make a Just So Bag. The bag was published in Interweave Knits, Winter 2012. (Back copies can be purchased on Ravelry.)

My knitting “teacher” in Maine had one in a light gray and it was very, very pretty. I wanted to make one for me. They didn’t have the yarn called for in the pattern in a dark gray (Rowan Pure Wool Aran) so we substituted Lambs Pride Worsted. Mine is in the Charcoal Heather color way. Theoretically, a good call. Practically, however, the mohair content … at least in my skeins … was very “fuzzy” and the beautiful stitches in the lace panels are somewhat lost.

If I were to make this pattern again, and I think I probably will, I would be very certain to use a yarn that was NOT fuzzy and in a lighter color. Both will show off the lovely lace in the end panels. And if you’re going to do all the work, you want to choose yarn that accentuates your stitches.

The pattern itself is very straight forward and, done with yarn held doubled, it’s a quick knit. My friend said it was difficult on her hands. It’s a very dense fabric that is constructed on relatively small needles. I had no trouble but someone who has arthritis may find this difficult to knit. One knitter on Ravelry was wise enough to do the body in one piece. Starting with a crochet cast on, she knitted the “front”, picked up the live stitches, knitted a row of reverse stockinette, the base of the bag, another row of reverse stockinette and finally the “back”. Smart thinking! I still don’t love seaming … do you? I’ll try this next time.

The lace panels on each end are gorgeous. They’re (thankfully) knit with a single yarn and much easier on your hands. I struggled with the chart, as did several of the others who have knitted the bag. If you’re not comfortable with carts, take the time to write out the entire chart. Save yourself! I chose not to. I battled the chart … it was a valiant effort and I won in the end.

The first time, I was working with dark gray yarn and dark gray needles. Not a good start. But like any good knitter, after several false starts (and frogging yarn with a lot of mohair “fuzz”), I tossed all the parts in the “naughty” closet and left it for almost a year while I worked on other projects. I wanted to finish it this summer and at the start I found it challenging but as soon as I changed my needles, I got it. I had to be mindful and watch the right side and wrong side of the panel. (I worked at home, alone, in a bubble and did a lot of talking to myself.) Once I got the rhythm of the lace chart, I was fine … except when I got to socializing and I consistently forgot the last yarn over. Oops!

I’ll post a picture of my bag when it’s completed. I still have to purchase supplies and manufacture my handles (or ask my better half to do so) but I’m eager to use the bag and I may even have my friend help me figure out how to sew pockets into it. Her bag, knitted with the same yarn, turned out beautifully and it’s not as fuzzy as mine. Go figure! I think the double-stranded sides will be stiff enough to give it some structure. One Raveler said she added a hard plastic bottom on her bag. That’s also a good idea. Once filled, the bottom sags a lot.

Gone knitting.

Sleepless and Blogging

I can’t believe that I haven’t blogged for so long. I apologize to those of you (all two or three of you) who want to read something of substance about knitting and were looking to me to blog about something. I’ve failed you. (Ha! Ha!)

I’ve been knitting a bunch and have been having fun while doing it. I have my new scarf on the needles with some pretty beads. The pattern is a free one from my LYS called “Beaded Scarf” and it’s a skein of fingering weight yarn – I chose Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock Yarn (Color 5630/ Lot 075) in a light turquoise blue with beads that are the same color and lined in silver (Deanna’s 6/0 beads). I have seen it on the counter in a different yarn and decided that I liked the simplicity of the yarn I picked and it’s simple and understated and I really liked it. The only “difficult” part was figuring out how to get the beads onto the yarn easily. Thankfully, I have knitting friends who are helpful (thanks to Beverly) and got the job done. I did have to buy some straight needles to knit this project. I haven’t knitted on straight needles forever but you have to have them for the beading … or you’ll be moving beads around which is a tedious job.

The beginning ... after stringing on three strands of beads.

The beginning … after stringing on three strands of beads.

These beads needed more light!

These beads needed more light!

I found out today that my brother’s feet are not a size 13 but a size 14 which means that I have a bit more knitting to do before I can finish the toe and deliver the gift. Did you know that a man’s size 14 shoe converts to a 12 inch foot? It’s like knitting for a giant’s foot! 😉 I hope he’ll love them and I am going to work on them tomorrow because I’m ready to cast on another new project and promised myself that I would finish the socks first. I will keep this promise to myself … better than the no buying any new yarn promise.

Keep knitting! Keep Knitting! Socks for "giant" feet!

Keep knitting! Keep Knitting! Socks for “giant” feet!

I have about 11 inches of the knitted bag finished. Knitting this project is hard on my hands. It’s double worsted weight yarn held together and the pattern asks for a size US 6 needle. The fabric is very stiff and, of course, being stockinette stitch, it rolls up and is fairly unforgiving. I can only do a few rows of this before my arms are tired. A strange “complaint” for a knitter (but you’d understand if you tried it!) I am loving the colorway that I chose which is a dark gray but not quite charcoal gray. I think the bag is going to be pretty and I am eager to get to the two lace panels which are what I think will make the bag!

Dark Grey Purse Fabric ... getting there!

Dark Grey Purse Fabric … getting there!

I haven’t touched my DROPS tunic. So be it. Other projects are taking precedence now and that has to be OK. My new yarn awaits and I have a new order for a baby blanket so I have to find some yarn and get moving on that, too.

Meanwhile, our house is full of family tonight and it’s such fun to have my brothers and their families in our house. We had a fabulous dinner of lobster (caught by my brother) and fresh Striped Bass. Life is good and I feel so blessed.

Gone knitting!