Tag Archives: Christmas hat

Merry Christmas, Barbara.

gillianknits.comMerry Christmas from Maitland.  Jacob came home from California for two weeks, so I had him model today’s hat.gillianknits.com

We opened the presents, then my siblings posed for me in my Christmas hats.

Merry Christmas from the Sutcliffe siblings!

Merry Christmas from the Sutcliffe siblings!

And some people took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to go for a polar bear swim in the mighty St. Lawrence.

Polar bear swimmers

Polar bear swimmers

Can’t really see the shadow boxes without blocking, Barbara

gillianknits.comAlthough Alan claims they do add something to the appearance.  You have to look upward from the bottom to see them.  gillianknits.comThis hat uses Shadow Box Pattern, pg 71 and Bulky Double Cable, pg 243.  The shadow box pattern tends to scrunch up because of the slip stitches which are being pulled up three rows.  You do wrap twice around and drop the wrap, but it still pulls up.  The knitting would have to be blocked to expose the red.  I am not sure I want to do that because for me, blocking tends to flatten things out so you lose the elasticity.  This is fine for a lace shawl or something, but i am often not a fan of blocking.  Serious knitters feel free to gasp.  I put the i-cord rose on the top to bring the red (which had basically disappeared in the shadow boxes) back into the hat to make it at least a little bit Christmasy.gillianknits.com

I cheated a bit, Barbara

gillianknits.comI decided to skip ahead in the book to Christmas Trees, pg 203 for two reasons.  First, I thought they would work on this hat, and second, I am not sure what time of year it will be when I get to them legitimately, so I might as well use them at a seasonally appropriate time i.e. now.  I have not done anything else in the lace chapter yet.  I am actually thinking of making a subsidiary set of arbitrary rules to cover that chapter anyway.  It starts with umpteen variations of faggoting, so I think skip ahead and then use the faggoting as filler in the projects as I go through the rest of the lace stitches.  I have to do something with lace soon because I am going to the Chesterville Spin-In in February and the theme this year is lace.  gillianknits.com

I also used Wave Cable, pg 245.gillianknits.com


My, but doesn’t that Santa have a richly patterned hat, Barbara?

gillianknits.comMillie has been very helpful with my knitting lately.  She is a very active cat and as it gets colder out, she goes out less and less.  That leaves me to entertain her.  She likes to walk over my keyboard until the sounds stop, then lie down to purr.  She often grabs at the yarn as it comes out of the ball.  Today she decided to help me with my photography.


We had a great day yesterday at Hilary’s place.  Hilary is one of the horse drivers at the village and yesterday she hosted the monthly get together of the Ladies’ Benevolent Society, which is what the women of the village call ourselves these days when we gather in the off season.  We used be called Heritage Hands and meet to learn historic crafts, but nowadays it has mostly devolved into a potluck and gabfest kind of deal.  Equally enjoyable if a tad less educational, and with a whole lot less prep work. Hilary owns her own horse and wagon.  You can also see Marjorie, Janice and Mary who Hilary had just brought down the lane.  It was 11 degrees (C) and beautiful for the 9th of December.  Her attempt to host the same gathering at this time last year apparently happened in a blizzard.  I myself was on my way to Bhutan.gillianknits.com

I saw the Puff Stitch, pg150 and thought it would give a nice bulky appearance instead of fur for the bottom of Santa’s hat.  Barbara told me it had plenty of horizontal elastity so I only cast on 96 stitches.  I increased to 120 sts for the Wheat Ear Cable and Reverse Wheat Ear Cable, pg 244.  To get rid of the stitches, I reduced the cables from 3 x 3 to 2 x 2, then 1 x 1.  I spread this out over 8 pattern repeats so that the top was elongated for Santa, then put a bobble made of Puff Stitch on the top.  I made enough aborted runs at the top of the hat that I put in a lifeline to rip back to, but I think it ended up ok finally.gillianknits.com

If I do say so myself, Barbara

gillianknits.comI am looking forward to Christmas and so I guess I am happy to be doing some Christmas hats.  I started this blog when I was on a run of Halloween hats. It seems like a lifetime ago, and I guess it is for some toddlers I know.  Who are coming to my Mum’s for Christmas. Yeah.  As well as my own grown up babies.  Yeah.  And all 6 of my sisters.  Yeah.  And my brother.  Yeah. Speaking of my grown up babies, we skyped Jacob the other day and he has a moustache.   He still had his movember moustache.  He has been wanting to grow one since movember started, and now he is old enough.  Sigh.  He will be coming home on Christmas eve, then we will head for Mum’s.  He is working in silicon valley down in the states for a year as an intern.  He has been gone since May and it is a long time.  He hasn’t lived at home since he started his engineering degree three years ago, I had gotten used to this, but out of the country is another ball of emotional wax.gillianknits.com

I think this is a cool hat.  I am constantly amazed by how the next stitch works out.  At least I am often pleased with the results.  I am never quite sure in my mind if I am what one would call a designer or not.  I just go to the next stitch, cast on what seems like a reasonable number of stitches and go from there. If I run into problems, I wing it.  I have done enough hats now that I can usually turn things around.  I tend to cast off and pick back up rather haphazardly in working things out.gillianknits.com

I had to use a multiple of 24 for the Zebra Chevron, pg 69, so it was either 96 or 120.  I switched to a new yarn for this hat, Cascade 220 superwash.  I went to my favourite all time wool store, Romni Wools, when I was in Toronto and the helpful young woman suggested it. I read the ball band and it said you could use 4 or 4.5 mm needles, so I went with 4 mm and cast on 120 stitches, like I had been doing for the alpaca. I thought this was going to be the main body of the hat when I cast on.  Again, swatching may have helped, but in this case I am not sure I would have ended up with as good a hat.  It became apparent after one and a half of the 12 row repeats that this was probably going to be too tight.  It had already been quite a bit of effort, so rather than start again, I decided to make it the crown of the hat instead and got rid of the stitches at five points of decrease (slip one k2tog, psso at the top of each chevron every other row).  Because this was pretty aggressive decreasing, it gave me a lovely sculptural top.  And graphic as all get out to boot.  Like a red an white mountain range.gilliankntis.com

I felt at this point that the 4 mm needles were making it too tight for my liking, so when I picked up from the original cast on edge, I did so with a 4.5 mm needle.  I did 6 rows of garter stitch before switching to green for the pattern band.  These are pretty much the same Santa hats as I put on the ho ho ho! hat.  They work better on the green ground, which I knew they would, but then again, I didn’t own green alpaca.  They also work better when knitted upside down like this because the bobbles sit in a better position on the top of the hats.  I finished off with 8 rows of garter stitch, then used the Elastic Bind Off from Cast on, Bind off by Leslie Ann Bestor.  Which, by the way, i am going to ask for for Christmas.  I must say, I am totally sold on the strategic use of different cast on/offs.  I am less thrilled with this yarn.  It is 100% wool, but it does not seem to be made from particularly fine wool and feels almost synthetic to me.  Maybe it is just that the last dozen hats i made were with lovely soft alpaca.  I had become less enamored with my Patons Classic Wool because I felt it was becoming more harsh, but I feel like I may have fallen out of the proverbial frying pan here.gillianknits.com

Guess who’s coming to town, Barbara

gillianknits.comLook at the fabulous new hat form my friend Jen gave me!  Her brother found it in her grandmother’s basement.  Apparently, Jen’s great grandmother was a milliner and this may have been hers.  Anyway, it is shiny and ceramic and I love it, no matter who owned it before, but I do hope it was a historic milliner.  I have decided to go Christmas, so I am only going to knit with red, white and green until then. I saved the last balls of red and white alpaca for this hat and have purchased some Cascade 220 Superwash in each of the colours to continue with.  I am going to put the rest of the alpaca on hold until after Christmas.gillianknits.com

Everyone at the knitting guild seems hepped up on fancy cast on and offs these days so I got a book from the library by Leslie Ann Bestor called Cast On Bind Off and used her two-color braided cast on.  I think the alpaca may be too fine to show this cast on to full advantage, but I had already cast on twice so I left it.  I cast on 120 stitches again then did four rows of red garter stitch followed by two plain white rows before starting the pattern.  I used Two-Color Cable Rib, pg 70 for the main part of the hat.  This pattern has an 8 stitch repeat, so there were 15 cables.  I got rid of 5 of them first, did two full repeats, then got rid of 5 more, did two and got rid of the rest. gillianknits.com

I had knitted the Santa hats into the decorative band, but I felt that they weren’t standing out as much as I would like, so I outlined them in red.gillianknits.com

A reversible Christmas hat

For this hat, I knitted “Bah! Humbug” upside down, then did several rows plain before knitting  “Peace on Earth” upright.  I knitted another two rows, then rejoined to the cast on row to make a rolled brim.  After rejoining the brim, the main body of the hat was then knitted with a reversible stitch.

Heather came up as I was finishing the second set of letters to ask what it said.   I explained the concept of the reversible hat with a saying on each side of the brim, which could be turned inside out depending on the wearers mood.  In her capacity as provider of constructive criticism, she only had two simple words: “Oh, dear!”

The actual idea for the two sayings came from a reversible Christmas ornament I found in a magazine in my brief phase as a crafter of plastic canvas.  When Jacob was a baby, I discovered plastic canvas and, after doing the ornaments from the magazine, I did a whole series of baby blocks with rattly stuff inside and 3-d crocheted animals and holes on the faces so a baby could grab on easily to the toys.  This phase scared Alan.  He had seen me as a potter, doing a two year college diploma in ceramics.  He had seen me designing knitted sweaters (Heather discovered a few in the attic and wears them regularly now).  He had seen me dabble with weaving and hand spinning.  He kept coming home in the plastic canvas phase to me excitedly showing him my new creations.  After a couple of weeks, he looked at me quizzically and said “are you sure this is actually a real craft?”.

If I had it to do over again, I would definitely leave more space between the words in the two sayings. Or I may use smaller lettering so that you can see a whole saying at once.  In designing hats, as in many other things, hindsight is 20/20.