Tag Archives: november

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.


From Grey to Red

I find myself today in a very red state of mind. I’ve just put up some Christmas decorations, drunk Christmas coffee (it’s very good, get it from Caffi) out of a red cup and am knitting a red shawlette.


Red is, of course, impossible to photograph so the colour in the picture is not quite right -although I have to say, I was surprised by how very nearly right it is. The yarn is one of my first online purchases, Araucania Ranco, and the pattern is Roses are red (available for purchase on Ravelry; I won my copy in a giveaway).

Although the shawl is nice, I’m still rather tempted to cast on yet another hat. So no, the Hat Knitting Madness is far from being over.


This is the gift hat I mentioned earlier. It turned out quite nice, although it might take a while before I can handle another item with so much reverse stockinette.


And this -this hat is most definitely for ME. I love it. The yarn is vegan handspun from MaidinEngland who is currently my Etsy-addiction no. 1.  I had only about 100m, so I started from the top and switched to leftover cotton when I ran out of the handspun.

I have also knit another gift hat and another handspun hat. Maybe I should always make Christmas present with a “one for you, one for me” -principle? I’m just too selfish to make four things in a row for other people.

Today might be my unofficial beginning of the Christmas season, but it’s also the end of Project Spectrum. I’m not sure whether I even mentioned what the November colours were (black & grey) but at least I did manage to knit something to fit the theme.

I’m rather surprised that I’ve kept this blog alive all through PS, although looking back now I can see that Project Spectrum was only a very vague source of inspiration…So it should be easy to just keep writing even after PS. It’s obviously going to be very whenever-the-mood-strikes-me, write-what-I-want-to-write-about, but that’s hardly news, right? 😉

New links + a mystery hat

I added lots of links to the sidebar -shops, blogs, podcasts etc. Probably nothing new to most people, and yet…I still keep meeting knitters who have not heard of Ravelry. Shocking, I know. 

Also, if you’re one of the three people in the world who have to buy me a Christmas present -anything from these shops will do 😉

Speaking of Christmas presents, I’m knitting one right now. The recipient is not very internet-savvy, so I think I can post a picture here once I’ve finished it. But I still have a fair bit of knitting to do before that.

The pattern is Woolly Wormhead’s Mystery Hat Pattern (B) that can be bought here. I’m using my new HiyaHiya 40cm circular needles and I just love them. They are really lightweight and have nice, not-too-sharp tips. I got mine from Villavyyhti.

I (again) have many finished but un-blogged knits but I’ve decided that it’s just going to be unavoidable. All of my pictures suck as well, because it’s always dark when I get home. Boo. Once the current hat is finished, I might pile them all up and snap pictures.

To keep this from being another pictureless post, here’s some pumpkin-chocolate cupcakes I made a while ago from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World:




Weekend Hats

A (knitting) book review, as promised. I hardly ever write these but that’s because I usually can’t think of anything useful to say. This time I can.

Cecily Glowik MacDonald & Melissa LaBarre (+ contributing designers): Weekend Hats

Interview Press, October 2011

The book on Amazon and on Ravelry.

As someone might have noticed, I’ve been on a hat kick for quite some time now. And while there are lots of patterns available online, I’ve come across very few hat collections in book-form (the only one I actually can think of is Cathy Carron’s Hattitude). So I could hardly wait to get my hands on this book and bought it as fast as possible.

So far I’ve knit 4 patterns from Weekend Hats and have plans to knit many more. So yes, it has been a useful book. There are some patterns that I don’t think I’ll ever knit -but since you get 25 patterns for $15-25 the price per pattern is still very reasonable.

The book is lightweight enough to carry around but still big enough to have a readable font-size and good pictures. Interview Press books generally have really nice photography, and Weekend Hats is no exception. There are multiple pictures of each pattern, usually one or two from the side and a view of the crown decreases. The Greenery Beret is probably my favourite, or possibly The Leaves Long Beanie

I do, however, have some quibbles.

Firstly, I’m disappointed with some of the crown decreases used. In some of the patterns, the stitches are decreased very abruptly by simply knitting 2tog all around. This produces a bunched-up crown, which is rather annoying in a hat that otherwise would be very pretty. Luckily the majority of the patterns do have the decreases arranged better, so this isn’t a reason to abandon the book altogether.

My second complaint might not affect others but it’s my continual pet peeve: hat sizing. My head is approximately 59cm (or 23.2″), which, I’ve come to realize over the years, means that most store-bought hats won’t fit, headbands are just a dream and (most disappointingly) a lot of the knitting hat patterns have to be tweaked to fit me. So I was not surprised to find that none of the patterns as written would fit me, but I was hoping that they would have at least two (or possibly even three) sizes offered. Many independent designers do this (eg Woolly Wormhead) after all, and it’s becoming quite common in sock patterns as well. But the vast majority of the patterns (by my quick count 21 to be exact) have only one size. And one of the four that do have multiple sizes is the Brier Toque that I have already knit: while it does indeed have two sizes, they are for head circumference 45.5-53.5cm and 51-58.5cm. In a very manly pattern, I would have hoped for bigger sizes.

Obviously re-sizing most of the hats is not too difficult (and if you’re a woman with a head circumference of 56cm…I envy you) and I have, after all, already knit four patterns from Weekend Hats. So a nice pattern book, definitely. Just slightly less spectacular than what I hoped.

The Fine Art of Condensing (part 2)

This time: our tip to Tallinn, Estonia!

A few weeks ago, I had the whole weekend off work so we decided to make the most of it. We left on Friday around noon from the Helsinki harbour (with the fastest ferries the trip’s only a few hours), had most of the Friday and all of Saturday there before coming back in the late evening. Turns out you can do a lot in day and a half.


We were just passing through the bus station to get to the Viru (Shopping) Center and noticed these knit graffitis! Pretty cool. Also, I’m wearing the Anastasia hat I wrote about in the last entry.

For knitters, there is a place in Tallinn that ranks no 1 on the must-visit-list. I am of course referring to Karnaluks, the huge store where I have bought yarn for two of the sweaters I’ve knit. It’s the place to go for cheap 10-skein packs of yarn, including some of the discontinued variety. For more information (if you are planning a visit), it’s best to check the Ravelry forums (or this blog, if you understand Finnish). I bought Rowan bamboo and organic cotton dk. Now I’m of course kicking myself for not checking whether they had Rowan Calmer, as I’ve just heard it’s been discontinued! I still haven’t knit with it (and have only seen it once, in Amsterdam) and I really want to try it before it disappears.

In addition to yarn, I also did quite a bit of just general shopping. I found a nice sweater for myself, a birthday present for my mom and a new oven mitt that has cute sheep all over it.

Food-wise, Tallinn is not the best vacation destination for a vegan but since it was such a short trip, I could manage. The Italian restaurant Vapiano (a chain that also has restaurants in Finland) had multiple pasta options – I just had to say no to the parmesan, which wasn’t difficult since they asked about it. The breakfast at our hotel was also surprisingly good -beans, mushrooms and toast plus fresh fruit. They didn’t have soy milk, but there’s at least one Robert’s Coffee in the city centre so we stopped there after shopping.

The real highlight of the trip, however, was the restaurant Aed. I had read good things about it, so when the place was full around eight we decided to get drinks elsewhere and come back -I sure am happy we did that since the place was awesome. It’s located in the Old Town, but not in the most tourist-y part of it, which means that the prices are very reasonable. I had a salad, red beet cutlets and chocolate cake as well as bread, wine and tea. All this cost about 18€.

The next day we went back to Aed for lunch since sometimes you really can’t have too much of a good thing. I had a vegetable pasta and sorbet for dessert as well as coffee with soy milk.


I would definitely recommend Aed for everyone -it’s not all-vegan so it’s not perfect, but on the other hand I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so good vegan food at a mainstream restaurant.

So that’s about it 🙂 Next time: a book review!



The Fine Art of Condensing (part 1)

Someone has been a slacker, and now has way too much stuff to post about. Therefore: the abridged version of what should have been three separate entries.

1. Knitting (=hats)


Pattern: Anna Karenina, a paid-for pattern on Ravelry

Yarn: Berroco Comfort DK (a little over one 50g skein)

Thoughts: Looks very pretty, but I’m not overly fond of this much purling. Pattern has multiple sizes and decent decreases, so worth the money. Knitting this made Tori Amos’ song Yes, Anastasia ring in my head because, apparently, my brain confuses fictional Russian women with real historical ones.

Also, this was my Project Spectrum project for October (minus points to me for not posting it until November!)


Pattern: Wanderer Cap by Jared Flood, published in the book Weekend Hats

Yarn: Cascade 220 

Thoughts: This is actually the first Jared Flood pattern I’ve knit. Kinda nice, but the pattern was a bit vague about one thing and the finished hat looks small in the photos (I added one pattern repeat to make my version bigger). I’m not the only knitter to suspect that the sizing runs rather small in order to make it a one-skein project for (Jared Flood’s own yarn brand) Shelter.


Pattern: Brier Toque by Cecily Glowik MacDonald, also from Weekend Hats

Yarn: MaidinEngland vegan sock yarn (Etsy shop here), took less than one 50g skein

Thoughts: Pattern sort of meh (had to re-size and shorten) but I love the yarn. The colours are insane and the yarn feels very pleasant to knit, not at all squeaky like some acrylics. The shop also had very fast shipping and the prettiest packaging I’ve seen.