In Which the Pirate Makes Another Hat.

On Saturday afternoon I cast on for the Hurricane Hat while sitting in the airport waiting for my flight home, and knit fairly steadily on it through the afternoon and the rest of the weekend. By Sunday night I thought I had gotten far enough to do the decreases, but when I’d broken the yarn and tried on the hat, it was about two inches too short. I guess I’d misinterpreted the pattern where it said “five inches” to mean from the cast on, and not just the patterned part of the hat. Since the brim of this hat isn’t meant to turn up, it needs to be exactly the right height, so I ripped back to just before the decreases. At least the width of the hat was right! I had been a little worried, since I’d done no swatching or anything, that it might have been a little on the small side, but it fits really well. Hopefully it doesn’t stretch out too much with wear.

After work on Monday I got back to it and in an hour or so had re-finished the top of the hat. When I had to join yarn ends, I untwisted the single, split it in two and broke off one piece on either end, then intertwined the two halves and rubbed them together until they stuck. I didn’t bother using any water to felt the ends together as it didn’t seem like the ends would wriggle out at all when they were knitted together. On the other hand, when I wove my final end in I was probably more careful than necessary to make sure that it wouldn’t ever come loose.

The Hurricane Hat pattern is available for free at String in Motion. It is a quick cute knit, definitely suited for the soft stripes of this yarn. It would work nicely with a semi-solid or tweedy yarn as well, but the texture might be lost in a wildly variegated colourway.

I really like the way the purl stitches spiral up into the top of the hat to make the eye of the hurricane, and could see doing a similar swirl motif with twisted stitches or traveling decreases and hidden increases. I get more and more design ideas from nearly every project I knit! Now, if only I had the time to work them all up… though I do seem to be getting faster at this knitting thing. One hat in two days, another hat in three days? (And it would have been another two day hat, if I hadn’t had to re-do the top.) Pretty fast indeed!

I’m happy with the finished hat, but not thrilled. On the plus sides, the swirly pattern is appealing and the colour of the yarn matches my eyes. I think this hat will go perfectly with my gray coat. On the minus side, the yarn was fairly expensive for its quality and it seems like the hat will last only a few seasons before it gets covered in pills. While that does give me an excuse to knit yet another hat in a year or two, I’d rather have clothing that lasts a little longer, especially if I’m going to the effort to make it myself.

The Tonalita yarn was interesting to work with – not awful, but not great either. It’s half wool and half acrylic, spun up into a loose soft singles yarn which is quite soft, but it splits easily and so I had to be a little more careful with it than usual. In some places it was significantly thicker than others, but the differences are almost imperceptible in the finished product. It’s a little thick for the US 6 needles I used, especially when it came time to do the decreases, but I like the way the fabric turned out for this kind of hat. The label suggests a US 9 needle, which would give a fabric with a lot more drape. I barely had to dip into the second ball of yarn to finish the hat, and I’m considering using the leftovers to make armwarmers, maybe with a light neutral yarn for contrast colourwork. There is certainly enough remaining. I just wonder if armwarmers wouldn’t pill up so fast in this yarn, due to the extra wear that they’d see on my hands and wrists as opposed to on my head.

The outside of the ball of yarn is even and smoothly wound, with each strand laid comfortably against the next, but the inside has this fascinating star shape to it. I found myself wondering about the yarn-winding machine, and what sort of movements it would need to make to create this loose star on the inside but a rounded ball on the outside.

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3 Responses

  1. Pirate Husband says:

    Wow! Fast turnaround on the hat, nice work. I like the view from the top down.

  2. Ninja says:

    Love it! It’s uncanny how it matches your eyes.

    This yarn reminds me of the yarn I used to knit my slouchy cabled hat (Lang Mille Colori) and as much as I love that hat, it’s pilled to kingdom come. :( Sucks, because the yarn is delicious and soft and pretty.

  1. February 14, 2012

    […] I decided to save weaving in all the ends until I was done with both, and as it later turned out, that was the best decision I could have made, because I ended up using every single inch of this yarn. The full ball of Tonalita would have been enough for both armwarmers if I hadn’t taken a dozen yards out of it for the top of the Hurricane Hat. […]

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