Archive for the “hurricane hat” Category

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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On Saturday, Pirate-Husband and I stopped at Knit and Stitch = Bliss in Bethesda. He was in search of a bulky-weight yarn for weaving his utility strap, and I was looking for a skein of superwash Cascade 220. Neither of us found what we were looking for, but I did find this Trendsetter Tonalita that just called out to me and demanded to be my first yarn purchase of the year. The colours are very 'me' and I love gradients in yarn. The Tonalita is an aran-weight singles yarn, 52% wool and 48% acrylic. It's supposedly non-feltable but I still wouldn't want to toss it into the washing machine, as it seems a little on the delicate side. At first I was thinking of making armwarmers with it, but then I decided that a new hat would be even better. My Manos hats are showing their age and the Winterlude Hat(tm) is too warm for anything but the coldest weather, so I thought a wool blend would be just right for a medium-warm hat. After some searching I settled on the Hurricane Hat pattern, which can be found free at String in Motion. A more complicated pattern wouldn't show up well against the colour changes, and I really like the purl swirls of a Hurricane, especially the way they come together at the crown of the hat to form the eye.

Sometimes it's difficult to take pictures of yarn without a cat getting involved. Fortunately for him, Kipling was more interested in the wrist strap dangling from the camera than the yarn! I spent a good amount of time over the weekend playing with the new camera and learning the ins and outs, and I'm quite pleased with it and the quality of pictures. I had fun trying all the different settings, and I think I took more than a hundred pictures. For the first time ever, I even got some good shots of Floyd! I'll post them later this week for Feline Friday.

I suggested that Pirate-Husband might have more luck finding a reasonably-priced bulky washable yarn at a crafts store. The first place we tried didn't have anything, but I did get a replacement pocket measuring tape for the one that died last week. Then we went to Michaels and found Lion Brand super bulky Wool-Ease in burgundy, black and gray. We knew that one ball of burgundy and one of gray would be plenty but we weren't sure how much black he would need, so we bought a few extra knowing that it could be returned. While we were at the store, I bought a small hole punch that's exactly what I need for making the right-size holes for jump rings in stitch marker charms. That's going to be my next non-knitting project! Now I just need two pair of tiny pliers, and I'll be ready to go.

On Saturday night Pirate-Husband followed the advice from Eadwyn's comment last week to make new heddles and warp the loom, and by Sunday evening he had finished his new strap. It came out to be almost exactly ten feet long, and used up almost a full ball of the black yarn, since it was the majority of the warp and all of the weft, but there's plenty of the burgundy and gray left over. The yarn was a learning experience for him. Since it's not smooth like the crochet thread he used for the first project, it was much harder to get it to slide through the heddles. On the other hand, the super bulky yarn weaves up super quickly, and the finished product is exactly what he wanted! Sometimes yarn is like that, I told him. Sometimes you just dislike the yarn but love the finished product (like everything I've ever knit in cotton). That's a lot better than loving the yarn but hating your finished product...

Maybe I will ask him to make a matching or coordinating strap for me. Hmmm!

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