Monthly Archives: February 2014

What to do when your muse is “over” your medium…

My daughter Heather has just declared herself “over” hats.  I guess that means I am getting no more feedback.  I guess after your mother has asked you to approve of too many hats, that is what she should expect.

I looked back over the blog the other day and counted up 96 different hats.  Some were, admittedly, variations on a theme.  In any case, that is a lot of hats I think.  I am going to slow down on posting new hats for now and I am going to try to figure out how to write up and publish some patterns.  I am not sure yet how difficult this process will be.  I have notes on most of them and I have all of them in the freezer (they are almost all made of pure wool and this precaution guarantees moth proofing until I am certain I have another foolproof method).  I can analyze any of them to supplement the notes, which were admittedly sketchy early on in my designing days.

Kicking off Scout/Guide week

Well, it is Scout/Guide week, at least in Canada, this week (February 16-23, 2014), so it is time to show the Scout hats.  A while ago I posted a couple of flag hats, one of them a Union Jack, the other the Quebec fleur-de-lis.  When I made those, I had planned to do more including a Maple Leaf and probably a Stars and Stripes, but these are the hats that got in the way of that.  Heather saw the Quebec fleur-de-lis and said “too bad you didn’t do it in purple for the Scouts”.  She has been very active in her Scout troop for several years.  She has been to England and on a service trip in Peru with them, as well as on countless hikes and camping trips.  Needless to say, by the time I had made these two hats, I was off on another tangent and I never got back to flags.

I made the Union Jack flag during the London Olympics.  For those of you that have been following me for a while, you have probably noticed that I am a slave to popular cultural events around me when it comes to design ideas.  Whenever a holiday or major sporting event starts impinging on the zeitgeist, I get taken in and go along for the ride.

Now that I am doing the blog, I am often swept into a frenzy of “having” to finish the hat I have thought of because it will only be relevant for the next 24 hours or so…case in point I thought of and cast on the Valentine hat on Thursday, finished it on Friday (Valentine’s day) afternoon.  As I was casting off the Valentine’s Day hat, the broken heart hat popped into my head….it would only work the next day… I suck in this way.  My friend Ruth said I should pretend I work for a magazine so I can live a few months ahead and do them at my leisure, but I am pretty sure I wouldn’t bother.


Oops  I may have lost my voice…or maybe I haven’t found it yet.

I am not actually new to blogging.  My first experience with a blog was of the family trip when the kids (now 17 and 19) were 10 and 12. We took them out of school for 6 months and went travelling.  We started in Singapore for Christmas then flew to India and continued on to Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, New Zealand, China and Japan.  The purpose of this blog was twofold. The main purpose was to keep friends and family informed of our progress, so they wouldn’t worry about us.  The second was so that anyone who cared to know about our trip could read about it as we went along and we didn’t have to explain endlessly about what we had done upon our return.  Alan and I had gone on a year long cycling trip 15 years before the family trip and I was up to the back teeth with endless explanations when we got back.  I don’t mind talking about travel in a blog while I am there, but if I am in Canada, travel is a long way away…both literally and figuratively.

My second blog was when I went travelling with my brother Charles.  He is on a mission to visit pretty much every country on earth.  I went on his Central America leg with him a couple of years ago.  It had been a few years since the family trip and I was feeling the need to travel…and travel I got… mostly by ancient school bus, which is the predominant local transportation throughout Central America.  8 countries in 30 days. For both of these trips, blogging fit in nicely with the desires of my fellow travelers.  My then 12 year son Jacob needed his internet fix, as did my news and politics addicted brother on the respective trips so every day or two we found an internet cafe and I blogged then played freecell (an obsession of mine that shows no signs of abating after almost a decade) until it was time to leave.

These two blogs were each followed by about 10 people.  My mother, a couple of sisters (not even all 6 of them) and a couple of people from work.  No one I didn’t know ever found either blog, nor did i ever expect they might.

I am not sure what I expected when I started this blog.  It was a way of getting people off my back about what I was going to do with the ever growing mountain of my hats/hat patterns.  I would start a blog and show my hats there (here) until I had enough courage to write the book… or publish the patterns… or whatever.  I knew how to blog…or I knew how to go to the internet every day or two and post something anyway.  I had done that before and it was easy and familiar for me.  And my public (i.e. my husband, my mum, my sister Phil and Barb from work) had all liked my blogging before.

This blog is slightly different in that I now have a handful of people I don’t even know who follow my blog.  Also, I am not sure how one goes about liking a post on my blog, but people do that sometimes too.  My husband and I “visited” my blog and didn’t find anywhere to do that, but every so often, I get an email telling me so and so liked a post of mine.  When this happens, I go and see who they are and try to figure out what they might possibly see in my postings.  One thing that keeps coming into my consciousness as I visit these blogs is there is a lot of  talk about voice…hence the post name, laryngitis.

This talk of voice reminds me of things I have dreaded and avoided in the past, like artists statements.  I have looked back over the last while and realized that I seem to have lost any voice I may have had.   Lately I have resorted to posting pictures with one or two lines of text. It may be that it is Oscar season and I have spent so much time in movie theaters that I just haven’t had time to think about thinking about my process.  I have just been trying to either finish stuff or grab old photos and post stuff with little or no context.  Because I was told it is important to keep posting regularly.  I am not entirely sure why. Note to self:  Find your voice

Happy Valentines Day

This is actually the third iteration of this hat.  It is a version of the skull hat that I started the blog with back before Halloween.  After I made the skull hat, Heather commissioned an alien hat.  She wore it a lot and I always meant to photograph it properly but sadly it has gone AWOL at this point.  I only have a pretty ropey picture of her in it…

A couple of valentine hats

These are two hats I did quite a long time ago that work with valentines coming this week.  I made the one on the left first and was not happy with the result.  I tweaked things a bit and made the other one, which I was happier with and have shown in two views.

Back to basics…felting again

I decided to work out how to do a bit of a brim on a basic felted hat shape.

Basic felted hat with brim

Basic felted hat with brim

This hat could probably be used as a base for decoration like the pillbox, but I am showing it plain first.

Do it yourself: Patons Classic Wool size 4 1/2mm needles

Brim:  Cast on 200 stitches,  I worked the brim in garter stitch…knit one round, purl one round, decreasing was done on every other knit round (4th, 8th, 12th,16th and 20th rounds). There were 10 stitches decreased evenly around on each of the 5 decrease rounds, and the decreases were staggered each time.

Body: When you down to 150 stitches, continue in stocking stitch (knit every round) until work measures 9 1/2″ (24 cm) from the beginning.

Top: Next round *knit 27, slip 1, k2 tog, psso* repeat around (this will dec 10 stitches around).  Knit 2 rounds plain.  *knit 25, slip 1, k2 tog, psso* repeat around.  Knit 2 rounds plain….continue in this manner doing the decreases with two plain rounds between until after the row with *knit 15, slip 1 k2 tog, psso* at this point start putting only one plain round between until the round with *knit 3, slip 1 k2 tog, psso* after this round, keep knitting 2 together constantly until you have 7 stitches left.  Break your yarn and pull it through.

Run a string round the point at which the brim meets the body of the hat.  Pull it to the correct diameter for your head and tie with a reef knot.  Send the hat through the washer, dryer, and washer with laundry.  Dry on a form.

Another novel graphic

I was showing some of my old hats to another knitter a couple of weeks ago, including the one I showed the other day.  Her immediate reaction was “you should do this one again in black and white with a big fuchsia pom-pom”.  There were only two things wrong with that.  I rarely do any hat more than once, and I don’t really like pom-poms per se.  I did however love her idea for the colour scheme.  This is one of two hats ideas her comment gave me.  The other one is still on the needles.  I put a big one of my i-cord roses on top because I do like making them.  I couldn’t decide whether to turn the brim up or not, I have photographed it both ways.

I am actually considering breaking into publishing a pattern (say it ain’t so).  I thought I might try to put this one on ravelry.  I have never actually been to ravelry, although I have been told to go there many times.  I guess I will have to if I am actually going to do this.

I got that graphic feelin’…

…at least I must have when I made this hat.  I remember someone saying that their wife would have trouble looking at it for any length of time.

I made this hat quite a while ago, I am not sure exactly when.  It has been kicking around for a long time.  I made it back before I was a real ripper outer because I remember thinking at the time that I should have started the decrease later but it was “too late”.  I wouldn’t do that nowadays…it would be redone within the hour (or whatever length of time the redo took).  Actually I don’t think it is too bad because looking around in the world at large, I see that people have all sorts of preferences for how low hats come, and this would probably be in the wheelhouse of many people that weren’t me.

I started with knit 1 purl 1 rib in maroon and knit for 1 1/2″ (3cm) then increased the number of stitches by 50% and did the larger chequerboard pattern.  I did four repeats then joined back into the cast on row with a rolled rim.  I then decreased back to the original number of stitches and continued up.  I used four double decrease points at the top.