I don’t know if it is just me, but I think that there are many more possibilities when designing hats for women. Women can get away with any kind of colour or any amount of frilliness they want, although it still takes a certain personality to pull some more outlandish things off. I can see most of the hats I make being worn by women, but a small subset can also be worn by men. When I look at the hats around me (which of course I do constantly), I think most men tend to wear simple watch caps or ski hats. Of my hats, more of the ones that men might wear are either off white, dark colours or shades of grey.
Unless you are my wonderful nephew Ben, for whom everything in life has always been possible.
My family met at my sister Jane’s for the August long weekend. Another sister, Penny, told me to bring my accumulated hats for a photo shoot, so I could start this blog. We also co-opted my brother in law, Will, who has a nice camera with a portrait lens. We threw all the hats down together and ended up with a big pile of hats to deal with, so things got busy.
Watchcaps with three ply handspun combined with plain commercial yarn
We actually had a lot of fun. Here is my son Jacob (centre top) sharing a laugh with (clockwise) his cousins, Jeremy and Jay and his uncles Will and Surya. They are wearing a set of watch caps I did featuring handspun (the 3-ply blue/turquoise/black) and King Cole Antitickle DK. I made these when I was flirting with the idea of selling this kind of hat. The relationship floundered.
These are two of the hats I made when I was taking my Ontario Handspinners Certificate. The one on the left was made with practice yarn for the ‘Snarl Yarn’ in the novelty yarn unit. The other hat is made with a 4-ply from the fictitious line of yarns I made for my final project. The plain pink yarn in this case was my then favourite yarn, King Cole antitickle DK. My concept was to use a commercial yarn to showcase the handspun. This serves a second purpose of stretching the handspun, which is, of course, pretty labour intensive.
I hate doing thrums…I can’t say why but it is the only thing (besides sewing up) that I really hate to do in knitting. The hatred is completely irrational but completely real. Which proves how much I love my husband because I have made him not just one, but two pairs of thrummed mittens. For those that don’t know, he is a rampant cyclist and he commutes an hour each way on his bicycle on all but a handful of days a year. Unfortunately for him, he also suffers from Reyes syndrome (poor circulation in the hands). This used to lead to his fingertips cracking in the winters. It was painful and also meant months where he legitimately could not do any dishes (from a purely selfish viewpoint). ANYWAY…his first pair of thrummed mittens solved the problem, at least until, sadly, he lost one of them in a downtown meeting, never to be seen again.
Alan in his ‘thrummed’ hat
So, feeling sorry for him and not looking forward to a winter of solo dish washing, I made him a pair of thrummed mittens for Christmas. I liked the way they looked so I made a fake thrummed hat to go with them. No fleece inside this baby.
As I was leaving the Ottawa Knitters Guild meeting one night, someone was knitting with the fuchsia yarn in this hat. I commented that I thought it was nice. She said something like ‘here take it…I don’t like it and I was going to throw it out’. I came home and started making this hat. The next day my oldest sister, Jane, came to visit. She watched the hat grow and when it was finished, she said (in a surprised voice)…’that’s actually not an unpleasant hat’….high praise, indeed..be still my heart!
from left, Jay, Megan, David, Sarah, Heather, Sam and Laura
Heather read my blog the other day and said that I was probably giving the impression that most of my hats are weird and made out of novelty yarn. That is why I finished the top down hat for yesterday and I have decided to show a series of Aran hats today. I worked on these back when I had aspirations to writing a hat design book, The challenge I gave myself in this exercise was to make up a basic Aran pattern for a hat, then change the appearance of the hat by making different brims and tops. These are what I came up with, 6 worsted weight hats and one hatband out of Patons Classic Wool, and a stripped down chunky wool version (can’t remember what it was)–okay, I admit, some of them may be weird.
rolled and stuffed rim, banjo cables disappear first
I had fun making these hats but I am not sure they are for everyone! I had long been looking at these novelties but the scarves didn’t really do it for me. I am not sure if my hats will do it for anyone else.
I was recently with my mum in Brockville, Ontario, where I grew up. I desperately needed some yarn to work out an idea I was percolating. We visited a wool store called the Woolly Lamb (at 56 Louis St just north of the train station). It was my kind of wool store with lots of stock and a woman sitting in a big comfy chair knitting happily. I got the wool I was looking for and saw the dollar bin of yarn. I consider these bins to be a personal challenge so I bought some balls of furry yarn. You know the stuff–all the rage about 3 incarnations of novelty yarn ago. I first knitted some hats with vaguely similar stuff on the magic bus when I was in New Zealand with my family on our big trip 6 years ago…
I was taken by the richness of these colours together…I am a sucker for pure hues. I used a 5 stitch cable variation for the black body of the hat, which I knitted in worsted weight yarn (Patons classic wool). After 16 rows I switched to the novelty yarn and knit 4 rows of each colour separated by one row of black between colours. I then returned to the black cabling and put a rose on the top. I will be posting instructions for the rose in a day or so.