Tag Archives: hat

We’re dicing with death, Barbara

Black hats really are the devil to photograph, I must say.

I have always liked the phrase dicing with death. My husband Alan uses it to tease me when I am going overboard with my anxiety. I have explored the skull theme off and on for a few years now. Jax Teller and all that, I suppose. As a matter of fact, the first post of this blog was done because I got very positive response from my original skull hat and thought the hat blog idea may be ok.

I was in an airport lounge on my way to Peru in October 2015 and texted my kids for something to put on a hat. Heather responded with #YOLO. I thought then that skulls went with the theme of “you only live once”. When I was recently asked for skull hats by my son and a brother in law, I speculated I could give one of them the #YOLO hat I already have. Shot down immediately. Apparently, according to the same daughter who originally proposed the idea 15 months ago, no one would be caught dead in a #YOLO hat now…it’s so last year. But wait, what happened to wearing outdated things ironically…I guess that is SO last week. Or maybe things have to be at least a decade out of date to qualify for ironic wearing? Kids these days, I swear. Hard to keep up for us oldsters. Wait, whare have I heard THAT before? Oh, well…good thing I made that hat reversible, just in case something like this outdating thing happened. For these new hats, I decided to go with the skulls and dice idea. How could that possibly go out of style after all? I was originally going to use Barbara Walker’s eyelet dice patterns, but after two days of futile trying, I gave up on the concept and just went with dice that I drew.
For the knitters
Jake’s hat: I cast on 100 stitches and did 4 rows of garter stitch to try (unsuccessfully) to stop the stockinette curl before increasing to 110 and doing the skull/dice band. After the colour work I decreased back to 100 stitches. Also, because of the terrible curl, I went back and picked up a set of stiches from the back of the garter stitch and brought some k1 p1 ribbing up the back of the headband and rejoined just before doing 4 rows of garter stitch. I increased again to 112 for the Slipped Hourglass from pg 110. I have found that if you don’t increase/decrease between plain stockinette and/or garter stitch bands and bands of patterning/colour work which draw in, you get rippling, so I do it automatically now. Jake liked the hat with the double layer brim. He has to walk around in the cold on his way to classes and whatnot so the double layer on his forehead and ears works well.
Chris’s hat: I cast on 112 stitches on straight needles and did two repeats of the Banded Rib Pattern, pg 123, then I decided I liked the “wrong” side better at this point which was handy as I could do it on round needles this way. There is only one pattern row which has to be worked and I wasn’t sure if I could work it from the “right” side in the round. I went to a round needle at this point and did the skull/dice band. I went with 4 skulls and 4 sets of dice, where I had used 5 on Jake’s. I had felt the colour work a bit crowded on his. I also changed (improved?) the skulls a bit, adding a nose and a row of black between the teeth rows. I went back to banded rib and decreased by getting rid of every 7th four stitch repeat, then every 6th, then every 5th. I originally finished it this way (every 4th, 3rd, etc) but got a weird cone on the top, so I ripped back and got rid of every other repeat instead of every 4th, then, after a pattern row just did ssk, k2tog around, then one row plain and k2tog around once before finishing it off. I decided not to do a double brim because Chris is more of a car to building guy, and the double brim would be too hot.

For the knitters…Cotton lined brims, Barbara

Heather can happily wear the cotton lined brim for hours

Heather can happily wear the cotton lined brim for hours

Heather was itchy and unhappy the first day she wore her Santa hat to work, so I picked up stitches off the back of the cast off edge with Bernat Handicrafter cotton and did a k1 p1 rib on the inside of the brim which I reconnected and simultaneously cast off at the top of the white. This was easy because the purl bumps at the transition of the colours were easy to follow.
retrofit with cotton inside the brim

retrofit with cotton inside the brim

It did the trick for her. I guess for anyone who is not sensitive to wool, or has bangs, or wears their hats pushed back above the hairline, it is not an issue, but it was pretty simple to retrofit the hat in this way for anyone who is sensitive. It worked ok to use the handicrafter stitch for stitch because it is close enough in weight to the Cascade 220. Its not a precision deal.
I was doing this green and white hat for her to wear at work after Christmas, so I picked up from the back of the cast on edge with cotton and built in the cotton ribbing as I changed to green at the top of the brim. I knit my first row of green through the brim and the corresponding cotton stitches together. This hat uses Swiss Check, pg 90 which FINISHES THE COLOR-CHANGE PATTERNS CHAPTER…YEAH!!!! and Travelling Cable, pg 280. You would have to know the travel is there to see it. It moves over one stitch per repeat. It may be more obvious on a longer item like a scarf or something. I topped it off with one of my i-cord roses. Follow the link for detailed instructions.
Cotton lined headband

Cotton lined headband

Mum needed a headband, so I made one for her with a cotton lining too. I did it the same as the brim of Heather’s hat but I ended the hat early. It uses Round Cable, pg 247 and Triple Gull-Stitch Cable, pg 248.

Merry Christmas, Barbara

Heather is working on the minature train for Alight at Night at Upper Canada Village. We took Jacob down on Thursday and hung out. Al and I had gone a week or so ago and Santa Dave was not too busy so we visited him.img_20161211_190640
I have been going to town on Santa hats lately and here is the result:

From left Jake, me, Mum, Alan and Heather

From left Jake, me, Mum, Alan and Heather

Individual hats:

A Canadian Christmas hat, eh Barbara

I have been giving the red and white yarns a run for their money this past couple of weeks. I decided after making the rude/not rude hat for Jake last week that I would make a Canadian Christmas hat. This just says Merry Christmas in our two official languages. I decided not to bother with any negative sayings on this one as I am feeling quite good about Christmas right about now. I have been making a family set of Santa hats which I will show when our little family is finally together next week. Jake is finishing his exams and coming home on Wednesday.
Last year we got in heck from Heather because we had no Christmas tree. This year we made sure we had one when she came home last week. This week, I suggested we should decorate it because it was pretty minimal i.e. just a tree in a stand. She put an angel on top and declared it sufficiently decorated. Fine by me. It smells nice anyway. If I get inspired I may make some decoration sized hats this coming week, but only if I get inspired…
This hat uses two Barbara Walker stitches, Seeded Chevron from page 27 for the reversible red crown and Banded Crescent Pattern, pg 110 for the inside brim.

An ode to Stan Wawrinka’s shirt

2015 Australian Open - Day 2

A while ago I was watching the Australian Open tennis and there was a match between Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovik. The courts were blue, and both men were wearing blue shirts, a symphony of blue. Being big on colour, I loved the look of the whole thing, but was especially captivated by Stan Wawrinka’s shirt. As you can see, it is deep blue at the bottom, transitions through a light blue in the middle, and into white at the top. Since that day, three of the hats I have made have been trying to capture the feeling of this colour shift.

ribbing folded under

ribbing folded under

These three views show my first attempt. I was just going on the impression I had in my memory of the shirt.

BTW, I will show you more of these sculptural hats I have been doing over the next few weeks. I have been on quite a knitting binge and have a lot of hats in the back of my car getting frozen in case moths may lurk in the house. Did I mention the freezer I bought to keep the hats in…lets just call the car the overflow catcher…freezer is getting full. |I guess I should have bought a bigger one.

This is attempt number 2. I googled Stan (aka my good buddy at this point) and found a picture of the shirt. I thought that while I was happy with the first hat as a hat, I wasn’t sure I captured the colour change. On this hat I got quite literal. I analyzed the colour changes in the shirt from the internet images and recreated them as best I could on the hat. It is hard to get a good impression of the hat because it looks very different from different angles, but it is not really worth looking at too much, because, in my opinion, it doesn’t work. Which brings me to the one I finished yesterday. I put the second hat on the hat form on my coffee table for a couple of days and thought of how I might capture the the colour changes but make it work as a hat. This is what I came up with:

sampler hat

sampler hat

This is the last hat in my ode to Stan Wawrinka series, but my first in the tribute to Barbara Walker series. I have decided to do a kind of Julie/Julia thing with Barbara G. Walkers first book, A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. It has over 500 patterns in it, so I decided to put a whole bunch in the first one. This hat is actually a stitch sampler. From the bottom it covers garter stitch, stockinette stitch (three variations-plain, twited and crossed), seed stitch, moss stitch, double seed stitch, dot stitch, sand stitch and knit 1 purl 1 ribbing. I thought the hat might be a good way to get a lot of the boring stitches over with in one fell swoop. And I am even happy with it as a hat…bonus points!

The rules of the challenge will be that any project must use the next pattern that appears in the book, the caveat being that I can use the next one in any one chapter or several chapters together. This will hopefully give me a modicum of artistic discretion.




If I mention felting again…just shoot me and get it over with…there is sooo much more knitting in a felted hat.  I have done 4 of them in a little over a week…I do love how they stand up and hold their shape though.

As you may have gathered in previous posts, Heather is NOT happy with my ‘artistic’ direction.  The other day she said the blog has ruined my hat making ability.  In her opinion, I am trying too hard to be creative for my fans.  I did point out that 20 friends and family and 5 other people following me does not constitute much in the way of fame, but she was having none of that.

I think she just likes plain hats, no bells or whistles, just some pattern stitches and maybe a bobble on top.  None of this wacky stuff.  And I think she has a point.  I do like making the hats with novelty yarn and frills  but I am not sure many would wear them, holidays notwithstanding.

For today’s hat, I didn’t want any of the Bernat Boa left over, so I made the topper first.  I just kept crocheting chains 8 stitches long and returning to the base with 6 single crochet.  I kept this until I thought it had enough spikes. I then cast on 100 stitches and knit until I ran out.  I then switched to Patons Classic wool and increased to 150 stitches.  After 8 rows, I decreased to 144 then lost 8 stitches every 6 rows.

Party hat number two

New Years Party

New Years hat with Bernat Truffles and Patons Classic Wool

This is the second of (hopefully by tomorrow) three felted New Years party hats.

For this one I used Patons Classic Wool as the felting yarn and I combined it with Bernat Truffles as the accent.  I decreased more aggressively (10 stitches every 6 rows all the way up) on this hat than the one yesterday and I don’t think it was such a great idea.

I am going back to a less aggressive decrease for tomorrows hat.

Happy (American) Thanksgiving

oops...there's a turkey on my head

oops…there’s a turkey on my head

We had ours six weeks ago, but I have often thought it must be good to have a holiday to slow down the advance of Christmas.  We are already starting to have Christmas music in the stores.

Heather was trying to stop me from making this hat for ages… ‘It is going to be DUMB, it is the WORST idea you have EVER had…’  She finally decided she wanted to model it so she could instagram a picture of it with ‘my mother has finally gone crazy’ as the caption.

I assembled the bits then put it together.  So far the pieces are only pinned into place because the base hat is too flimsy.  I have decided to make a felted base so it will be more solid.  I didn’t have time to finish it yet.

crocheting the tail onto a coat hanger

crocheting the tail onto a coat hanger

I knitted the tail then crocheted it onto a cut and bent coat hanger.

For the head, I started with 30 stitches for the base, then reduced to 15 for the neck.  I increased to 22 stitches for the head.  To turn the corner, I did 3 sets of 8 short rows across the back of the head which took me up and around.  I finished the head with the beak, which was only 6 stitches.  I then crocheted a waddle under the chin.

make 2 wings and put quilt batting between

make 2 wings and put quilt batting between

For the wing, I made two wings then stuffed them with quilt batting and sewed them together.

I will retake the picture of the finished hat when I have the felted base ready.

Another frilly one

picot edged frill and lots of colour

picot edged frill and lots of colour

from the back

from the back

I thought this one wasn’t turning out well at all, but I was finishing it at lunch with a friend who said it is her favourite of all the hats she’s seen of mine.  I guess there is something for everyone, and as they say, variety is the spice of life, etc.  Maybe it was the juxtaposition of the pretty picot frill with the Sons of Anarchy marathon I was watching while knitting it that caused me to think it wasn’t working out.  It doesn’t exactly scream biker mayhem, does it?

It would be good for using up lots of ends of balls, because there are only 8 rows total of each colour.  I just kept pulling out colours I thought would work, then repeated them each once.  Some of the colours would not work together if you only had a few, but with more colours, they blend together and its all good.