Tag Archives: hat

Pom-pom Mania

I’ve always liked pom-poms in theory, but have had problems producing one. Twice I’ve tried to make a pom-pom maker from cardboard and failed miserably. This year however I have accumulated such a large pile of yarn scraps that something had to be done. I don’t do a lot of stripes or colourwork, so pom-poms seemed like the perfect answer.

So I bought a plastic Clover pom-pom maker from the Tampere crafts fair.

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Well, obviously I had to first try pom-poms on hats. This one’s in Madelinetosh Tosh DK in “Maple Leaf”. The pattern is Helios from Pipo on pääasia.

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Malabrigo Twist in “Ravelry Red”. The pattern is Bobba by Woolly Wormhead. One skein was just barely enough for my (huge) noggin.

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And then I had The Idea. We never get a real big tree here since we won’t be at home for Christmas, but I still love to decorate as much as possible. So that’s our small plastic tree with pom-poms and sock yarn miniskeins. 

I have to admit that I also considered adding a pom-pom to the green beret I showed in the last post. But I’m trying to resist the urge for now.

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a very particular shade of green

Know how you often buy yarn in the same colour that you’re wearing? Well, I went to the Tampere craft fair like this:

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And bought this:

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Which became this:

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The sweater is a basic bottom-up raglan, knit using Elizabeth Zimmermann’s percentage system. I bought the yarn (Cascade 220) from Tampere two years ago, from the booth that’s in the background in the photo. (The sweater made a brief appearance in a post in March, so it’s been in the works for quite some time. Also, I am obviously obsessed with bright green.)

The yarn I bought this time is from Villavyyhti‘s booth, sparkly sock yarn by Lanitium ex Machina. I know they currently carry another sock yarn by the same dyer, but not this sparkly version. (You could always ask, though -at the Villavyyhti Ravelry group, for instance.)

I knew pretty much at once that I wanted to knit a fancy beret out of my green skein, but struggled with the particulars at first. My first attempt didn’t work and got ripped. I then decided to go top-down and to use two yarns. I got the idea to use a mohair/silk laceweight from the Simple Pleasures pattern (available for free). Mine isn’t Alchemy’s Haiku, though -it’s a very old stash yarn and probably another yarn company’s version of Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze.

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(Neither of the pictures shows the crown, but I used yarnovers for the increases.)

I am awfully pleased with the brim. The picot cast off took about 1.5 hours (or two episodes of Pushing Daisies, which might be the best show ever) but I like the result. Very fancy and girly.

And in case you’re wondering, the pictures of me modelling the beret were taken in Turku. We went there for a mini-holiday last weekend.

For a lunch in Turku, I would highly recommend the cafe Turun kirjakahvila. It’s all vegan and near the Turku Cathedral. 

 

It Is the Time (for Hat Knitting)

This fall has been great for knitting hats. First Woolly Wormhead’s pattern collection Classic Woolly Toppers came out, then the Finnish hat book Pipo on Pääasia, and, finally, Vogue Knitting The Ultimate Hat Book was published in November. Interweave’s hat book Weekend Hats is still on the shelves, too.

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Classic Woolly Toppers is the smallest collection with 10 patterns. The Vogue book is at the other end of the spectrum with 50 patterns. Weekend Hats and Pipo on pääasia hold the middle ground with 20-something patterns.

I have already written a review on Weekend Hats, which you can find here. But what about the others?

Classic Woolly Toppers is part of a series, in a way: the previous ones have focused on sideways construction, kids’ hats and cables. CWT has mostly knit-and-purl patterns but offers many hat styles, from newsboy cap to cloche.

Woolly Wormhead’s collection is self-published and available both as an ebook and a printed version. I do sometimes feel that she is overly fond of purling, but her patterns always include multiple sizes and are constructed in a knitter-friendly way. The pictures show the hats well and in this particular collection some hats are shown on more than one model.

Pipo on pääasia is a collaboration of four designers who have previously contributed to the Finnish online magazine Ulla. The book includes a wide variety of hat styles in many weights and has a highly useful technique section as well. The pictures triumph over those in the Vogue Knitting in every way: they are clear and beautiful yet keep the hats as the main thing.

My biggest peeve is of course again the lack of sizes. However, each pattern does also tell you the model’s head circumference, which helps me when I’m deciding how many modifications I need.

Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Hat Book is divided into 5 sections: basic shapes, cables, lace, colour and embellishments. Out of the 50 patterns maybe 20 have been previously published in the Vogue Knitting magazine. The designers range from the famous (Norah Gaughan, Deborah Newton) to never-heard-of.

Again, most patterns are written for one size only. This does not surprise at this point -what is far more puzzling is the lack of charts in some patterns that I think could have benefited from them. There are also huge pictures of many of the hats, but that does not guarantee that any of them shows the crown (I strongly dislike sloppy decreases, and lack of pictures always makes me suspicious). Yet I can’t say I regret buying the book: with 50 patterns, the price per pattern is very small, even if I knit only some of them. I also often find the fashion-conscious pictures very inspiring, if not always that useful.

Fall in Pictures

August-September 

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Walking in Vanhakaupunki (literally “Oldtown”).

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The Girl Hat That Was On Fire (Slable by Woolly Wormhead)

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Even though I dislike Juha Tapio and have seen Kaksi vanhaa puuta lyrics used in way too many wedding invitations, the song still makes me cry every fricking time.

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My mother insisted on celebrating my graduation somehow. Because I threatened not to show up if I didn’t get to do the planning, the guests very few and all food vegan. The menu was:

Mushroom Focaccia (recipe from Chocochili)

My father’s Waldorf Salad, recipe for vegan dressing from Papu, porkkana ja hillopulla by Marianne Kiskola

Rachel Ray’s quinoa salad with roasted bell peppers (shown in the photo)

Soyballs from Veganissimo (shown)

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Dessert: modified version of the cake in Puputyttö ja vohvelisankari (featuring Airy & Creamy soycream) and banana-lingonberry cake (Chocochili)

October

More walking:

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Featuring yet another hat! This one I testknit for Stefanie Bold. The cardigan is also a handknit, but was made by my mother at least 20 years ago.

More eating:

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Vegan cupcakes from Niia’s Cupcakes. They have a stand in Forum Shopping Center and I’m pretty sure also do catering and stuff. The strawberry cupcake=piece of heaven.

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(Yep, more hats. Also featuring the Essayist Sweater.)

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We’ve been really enjoying the Great Outdoors this fall: mushroom picking with my father, walking in Keskuspuisto…It probably helped that temperatures were pretty high for most of September and October. However, it snowed last night so this weekend doesn’t look that promising. But I’m very happy I enjoyed it while it lasted!

(Un)selfish Knitting

I usually knit just for myself. Being able to wear things I’ve made is part of the fun, and I believe I will always appreciate my handknits more than anyone else would. When I do knit for others, it’s always small items that I then give as gifts. 

I’ve gotten used to thinking of myself as a selfish knitter because I keep most of the things I’ve made. But lately I’ve been wondering…Isn’t knitting something you have absolutely no use for, and because of that giving it to someone, just as selfish?

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Some weeks ago, I was thinking about how fun knitting sweaters is in theory: they have many parts (providing the knitter with some variation in the work), can be made so that all the yarn is used (especially easy if knitting top-down), and are eminently very useful and can be admired by other people (not hidden in your shoe like socks). In practise, however, a sweater for me takes a long time and a lot of yarn. So when my mother told me that a family friend had just had a baby girl, it felt like a Sign. A baby sweater! Of course!

Pattern: “Sock” It to Me (for Girls) from Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight, colourway “sweet pea”

Thoughts: I really had fun knitting this. It’s not too plain to be boring to knit, but not too complicated either. It’s an incredibly fast knit, too (took me a week, even with sewing the sleeves and getting buttons!). 

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Pattern: Gwynedd from Knitscene Fall 2010

Yarn: Leftovers from my Wondertunic -Le Fibre Nobili Super Tajmahal

Thoughts: The model in the magazine has a similar head shape than a friend of mine, who also celebrated her birthday recently, so I made the hat for her. I still think the hat’s cute, although I’m not sure whether she plans to ever wear it…

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Pattern: Pavone by Woolly Wormhead

Yarn: Artesano Superwash Merino DK

Thoughts: I wanted very much to knit this pattern in this yarn, but didn’t have enough yardage to make it in my size. I decided that I’d rather make it in a smaller size and give it to someone than try to make the bigger size and run out of yarn. Luckily I found someone who accepted it 🙂

But even among this sort-of-selfish knitting, I have managed to finish one true labour of love:

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Pattern: Cauchy from Sock Innovation

 Yarn: Wollmeise Twin (80% merino, 20% nylon), colourway “maus alt”

Thoughts: These socks took f o r e v e r. Really! I started them in July 2010 and finished in August this year. Mostly it was because of my decision to use 1.75mm needles for superdense fabric, but also because that damn pattern isn’t as easy to memorize as one might expect. While both socks have the same number of rounds, they are not identical because I sort of made up my own zigzags. I also changed the stitch count, did a different cast-on and my usual short-row heel. So very little of Cookie A’s pattern remains, really.

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beauty is twice beauty

and what is good is doubly good

when it is a matter of two socks

made of wool in winter. 

Pablo Neruda

 

Trials and Triumphs

I have a lot of knitting to write about, but first a little FYI: Posterous is annoying the hell out of me. For example, it says on my “manage” page that the last post has two comments -Alarwyn’s and then my response- but the web view only shows Alarwyn’s comment.

(I have also twice lost a draft because Posterous got completely stuck once I hit the “save” button. I’ve since learned to copy-paste all drafts to gmail. But onto other things!)

Ever since I got back from my holiday in Germany, I’ve had some problems in my knitting. Patterns I expected to be fool-proof successes end up the wrong size, or I mess them up; I lose enthusiasm halfway through; the softest yarn in the world turns out to be supersplitty and annoying. So far I think that I have frogged:

– 4 hat projects (3 barely started, 1 mostly done)

– at least 2 separate sock attempts

– a shawl

– a glove (visible in a photograph in the last entry)

– a mitten

While this has been really frustrating, I’ve also learned some things about both myself as a knitter (no linen stitch on small needles for me, thank you!) and the yarns I have. I’ve become especially acutely aware of the fact that as long as I enjoy the process of knitting something, it doesn’t matter if I realize halfway through it won’t fit me (it will fit someone).

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So Exhibit A: gorgeous yarn (Araucania Botany Lace), easy pattern (Truffle by Susanna IC, free on ravelry), too small for me -really suits dear BF, though!

This hat was the first thing I finished after I got home from Germany. I had been planning to take it with me, but was so close to finishing it that it wouldn’t have kept me entertained very long.

After the hat, I couldn’t get anything done for a while. Finally I decided that the only solution was the ultimate instant-gratification-project, a bulky hat:

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The yarn is Madelinetosh Vintage in “hickory”, the pattern is from my head. Done in two days, and turned out exactly the way I envisioned it!

Then, before the Olympics started, I was struggling again. I think it was because I had been expecting the Knitting Olympics or Ravellenics for so long, and with such excitement, that my olympic project had to be just perfect. (I hurt my arm during the winter olympics and couldn’t knit then, so I was really eager to take part this year.)

Finally I settled upon The Bayret hat pattern, to be knit in the yarn I bought from Berlin:

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I wanted a challenge, but there are cable twists on e v e r y round. It’s super slow, and I am really worried that I won’t finish in time.

Then inspiration struck. Another raveller needed a few yards of a sock yarn that I had a full skein of, so I went diving in my stash to mail some to her. And once I had the yarn in my hands I got an idea…

gloves knit in Handmaiden Casbah

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…And my idea worked! There’s more info on my project page, but I was inspired by two patterns and also used LarisDesign’s Knotty Gloves for guidance. I was worried that the fingers would just seem really fiddly, but it was actually pretty fun to knit them. All in all, the project went really fast -I was ready in 4 days! The Usain Bolt -equivalent of the knitting world, isn’t it? 😉

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This cute cupcake I got from a friend as a gift when I turned in my thesis for official review. Another personal triumph!

A surprise, a blue ensemble, and socks

Surprise: I have a pattern in Ulla!

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Pattern: in Finnish, here

Yarn: Wollmeise 80/20 twin, leftover from a shawl I knit two summers ago

Thoughts: Not the most spectacular hat nor pattern, but pretty exciting nontheless 🙂

The blue shawl I showed last time did also get finished in time.

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For some reason I look extremely white and annoyed. Oh, the mysteries of photography.

Pattern: Evi by Stricklust, available for free through Ravelry

Yarn: Wollmeise 100% merino, in WD Blue Curacao

Thoughts: Easy pattern, a relatively quick knit (I started on June 1st and finished last Saturday, June 16th). In the end I actually ran out of yarn while binding off, and had to finish with some random Finnish sock yarn.

The pattern is very easy to memorize, and looks impressive although it’s just knits and purls. I got less repeats than the pattern specified, so my gauge was probably off. I always use size 3.5mm needles for knitting lace with Wollmeise. For this shawl I used my new Chiagoo Lace needles that are pure love -pointy tips and a strong cord. I got mine from Villavyyhti in Helsinki.

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Despite my morose expression, I can assure you that the party was fabulous.

Finally, I have a pair of very sweet socks:

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Pattern: just my basic sock -72 sts, short-row heel. 

Yarn: Ladybug Fiber Company 400yards/100g sock yarn. This is the softest, squishiest sock yarn you can imagine! Knitting it was pure joy -it’s a very round 2-ply, a blend of 80% merino and 20% nylon. I imagine it would also be perfect for cables (this self-striping version of course is best in stockinette). 

The colourway is named “Johnny Jump Up” (google tells me it’s a flower) but I think of these as my Cupcake Socks. The colours make me think of sprinkles and frosting and all things sweet. And of course yarn this nice feels like a treat.

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