The Tamalpais Hats

Here are the four different versions of the Tamalpais Hat, named in honor of our local mountain.
All four Tamalpais Hats
Upper left: v. 1.0. Upper right: v. 3.0. Bottom right: v. 2.0. Bottom Left: v. 4.0. (I realize that the pattern is hard to see in 1.0, but look below for an additional shot of Melissa in the second hat I knit with this pattern.)

As you can see, they vary a bit in size and guage. Since I’m often knitting just to see “what if?,” rather than knitting for a particular person, I don’t worry too much about these when I start a project—just so long as the finished piece falls in a range so that it fits some sort of humanoid. Feel free to adjust yarn weights and needle size to achieve the results you want.

This hat has its genesis in a scarf I knit last fall for my mother that used a pattern from the Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns, which alternated 10-row bands of moss stitch with small, interlocking stockingette “teeth.” Version 1.0 remained true to the stitch as written, using one full pattern repeat and then enough moss stitch to build a hat around it. I cast on with a thick-and-thin rib intended to echo and emphasize the “teeth.” Here you see individual shots of the two hats I knit using this pattern:
Multi Tamalpais Hat.
V. 1.0 worked in Louisa Harding Kimono Angora. (I slipped a bit of paper towel inside the hat, so the eyelets show up as white dots if you look closely.)

The Tamalpais Hat looks good in green!
V. 1.1 worked in Rowanspun Aran.

V. 2.0 came about as a result of some making-the-best-of-an-unfortunate-circumstance knitting.
Two-tone brown Tamalpais Hat.
V. 2.0 in KnitPicks Wool of the Andes and KnitPicks Merino Style.

I’d started this hat in Wool of the Andes, but the single skein I had in my chosen color wasn’t quite enough to work up the whole hat. So I frogged it back to the last row before the decreases and changed to Merino Style as I began the decreases. I figured that the best way to make the change look deliberate would be to emphasize it, so I switched to stockingette as well.

By the time I’d finished these hats, I’d decided I wanted to make three changes: first, I wanted to make the “teeth” bigger, so they’d really seem like “mountains”; because I was planning this change, I also wanted to rework the thick-and-thin rib to match the new mountains; finally, I wanted to work the mountains in moss, rather than leaving them in stockingette. And while I was at it, I decided to try reducing the number of moss stich rows I worked before beginning the mountains. This led to v. 3.0
Green Tamalpais Hat.
V. 3.0 worked in Debbie Bliss Merino DK.

Now, this new version pleased me in some ways, but I didn’t like how the mountains looked moved down so close to the ribbing, and, while I liked the moss stitch on the mountains, I started to think the “sky” above the mountains was looking a bit too bumpy. I wanted more contrast between “earth” and “air.” So, I came up with v. 4.0, which moved the mountains back up and switched to stockingette for the top half of the hat. Because Melissa had requested a shorter hat that wouldn’t completely cover her ears and would work for warm-weather wear, I also changed the dimensions to make this hat more of a beanie.
Blue Tamalpais Hat.
V. 4.0 worked in KnitPicks Shine Sport.

This last version of the hat pleased me enough that I was finally able to move on to other projects.

And now for the patterns. In my next post, I’ll include some remarks on the various yarns I used working these up. I’ll also include photos of these hats being modeled by actual human beings when I get the chance.

Abbreviations that Apply to All Patterns
**: Stitch sequences between two asterisks should be repeated until a full round is completed.
K2tog: Knit two stitches together, resulting in a one-stitch decrease.
K3tog: Knit three stitches together, resulting in a two-stitch decrease.
P3tog: Purl three stitches together, resulting in a two-stitch decrease.
Sl 1 K-wise, K2tog, PSSO: Slip one stitch as if knitting. Knit the next two stitches together, then pass the slipped stitch to the left over this stitch, dropping it from the right hand needle, resulting in a two-stitch decrease.
SSK: One at a time, slip two stitches knit-wise onto the right-hand needle. Leaving these stitches on the right-hand needle, insert the left-hand needle into them as well from the opposite side, then knit the two stitches together through the back, resulting in a one-stitch decrease. If you prefer, you can simply K2tog through the back, which will look slightly different, but will work equally well.
YO: Yarn over needle to form a new stitch.

Tamalpais Hat V. 1.0 Pattern
Yarn: One ball of either Louisa Harding Kimono Angora (70% angora, 25% wool, 5% nylon, 124 yards per 25 gram ball) or Rowanspun Aran (100% wool, 219 yards per 100 gram ball) or equivalent.
Needles: 16″ circular U.S. size 7 and five U.S. size 7 double points.
Finished Measurements: Approx. 19″ diameter flat, stretches comfortably to 24″; approx. 9″ from edge to crown following the curve.

Cast on 88 stitches, place marker and close circle.
Work 7 rounds of *P2, K3, P2, K1* rib.

Work ten rounds of moss stitch as follows:
Odds: *K1, P1*
Evens: *P1, K1*

Work one full set of the six-round pattern stitch as follows:
Round 1: *YO, ssk, K3, K2tog, YO, K1*
Rounds 2, 4, and 6: K around
Round 3: *K1, YO, SSK, K1, K2tog, YO, K2*
Round 5: *K2, YO, Sl1 K-wise, K2tog, PSSO, YO, K3*

Continue working in moss stitch, beginning with a *P1, K1* round until the piece measures approx. 6″. End with a *K1, P1* round.

Work decreases as follows, swtiching to double points and starting with 22 stitches each on 4 needles:
Round 1: *(P1, K1) 9 times, P1, K3 tog* (20 stitches remain on each needle)
All even rounds: *K1, P1*
Round 3: *(P1, K1) 4 tims, P3tog, (K1, P1) 4 times, K1* (18 stitches per needle)
Round 5: *(P1, K1) 7 times, P1, K3tog* (16 stitches per needle)
Round 7: *(P1, K1) 3 times, P3tog, (K1, P1) 3 times, K1* (14 stitches per needle)
Round 9: *(P1, K1) 5 times, P1, K3tog* (12 stitches per needle)
Round 11: *(P1, K1) 2 times, P3tog, (K1, P1) 2 times, K1* (10 stitches per needle)
Round 13: *(P1, K1) 3 times, P1, K3tog* (8 stitches per needle)
Round 15: *P1, K1, P3tog, K1, P1, K1* (6 stitches per needle)
Round 17: *P1, K1, P1, K3tog* (4 stitches per needle)
Round 19: *P3tog, K1* (2 stitches per needle)

Cut working end of yarn to 6″ and run counter-clockwise through remaining stitches on needles using yarn needle. Pull tight and draw yarn end to inside of hat. Weave in ends.

Tamalpais Hat v. 2.0 Pattern
Yarn: One ball each KnitPicks Wool of the Andes and KnitPicks Merino Style or equivalents.
Needles: 16″ circular U.S. size 7 and five U.S. size 7 double points.
Size: Approx. 16″ diameter flat, stretches comfortably to 25″ as this is a very elastic rib; approx.9.5″ edge to crown following the curve.

Follow directions for V. 1.0 using wool of the Andes until you are ready to work decreases, then work as follows, changing to Merino Style. Switch to double points when necessary.
Round 1 and all odd rounds through round 17: K around
Round 2: *K9, K2tog*
Round 4: *K8, K2tog*
Round 6: *K7, K2tog*
Round 8: *K6, K2tog*
Round 10: *K5, K2tog*
Round 12: *K4, K2tog*
Round 14: *K3, K2 tog*
Round 16: *K2, K2tog*
Round 18: *K1, K2tog*
Round 19: *K2tog*

Cut working end of yarn to 6″ and run counter-clockwise through remaining stitches on needles using yarn needle. Pull tight and draw yarn end to inside of hat. Weave in ends.

Tamalpais Hat V. 3.0 Pattern
Yarn: One ball Debbie Bliss Merino DK (100% merino wool, 110 meters per 50 gram ball) or equivalent.
Needles: U.S. #6 16″ circular and set of five U.S. size 6 double points.
Size: Approx. 19″ diameter flat, stetches comfortably to 26″ as this is a very elastic rib; approx. 10″ edge to crown following the curve.

Cast on 112 stitches, place marker and close circle.
Work 7 rounds of *P2, K1, P2, K3, P2, K1, P2, K1* rib.

Work six rounds of moss stitch as follows:
Odds: *P1, K1*
Evens: *K1, P1*

Work one full set of the eleven-round pattern stitch as follows:
Round 1: *YO, SSK, (P1, K1) 4 times), P1, K2tog, YO, K1*
Round 2: *K3, (P1, K1) 4 times, K2, P1*
Round 3: *K1, YO, SSK, (K1, P1) 3 times, K1, K2tog, YO, K2*
Round 4: as round 2
Round 5: *P1, K1, YO, (P1, K1) 2 times, P1, K2tog, YO, K1, P1, K1*
Round 6: *K1, P1, K3, P1, K1, P1, K3, P1, K1, P1*
Round 7: *P1, K2, YO, SSK, K1, P1, K1, K2tog, YO, K2, P1, K1*
Round 8: as round 6
Round 9: *(P1, K1) 2 times, YO, SSK, P1, K2tog, YO, (K1, P1) 2 times, P1*
Round 10: *K1, P1) 2 times, K5, (P1, K1) 2 times, P1*
Round 11: *P1, K1, P1, K2, YO, Sl 1 K-wise, K2tog, PSSO, YO, K2, (P1, K1) 2 times*

Work in moss stitch beginning with a *K1, P1* round, until piece measures approx. 6″. End with a *K1, P1* row.

Work decreases as follows, switching to double points when necessary and evenly dividing stitches among four double pointed needles:
Round 1: *(P1, K1) 12 times, P1, K3tog*
Round 2 and all even rounds: *K1, P1*
Round 3: *(P1, K1) 5 times), P1, K3tog, (P1, K1) 6 times*
Round 5: *(P1, K1) 10 times, P1, K3tog*
Round 7: *(P1, K1) 4 times, P1, K3tog, (P1, K1) 5 times*
Round 9: *(P1, K1) 8 times, P1, K3tog*
Round 11: *(P1, K1) 3 times, P1, K3tog, (P1, K1) 4 times*
Round 13: *(P1, K1) 6 times, P1, K3tog*
Round 15: *(P1, K1) 2 times, P1, K3tog, (P1, K1) 3 times*
Round 17: *(P1, K1) 4 times, P1, K3tog*
Round 19: *P1, K1, P1, K3tog, (P1, K1) 2 times*
Round 21: *(P1, K1) 2 times, P1, K3tog*
Round 23: *P1, K3tog, P1, K1*
Round 25: *P1, K3tog*

Cut working end of yarn to 6″ and run counter-clockwise through remaining stitches on needles using yarn needle. Pull tight and draw yarn end to inside of hat. Weave in ends.

Tamalpais Hat V. 4.0 Pattern
Yarn: One ball KnitPicks Shine Sport (60% pima cotton, 40% modal, 110 yards per 50 gram ball) or equivalent.
Needles: U.S. #6 16″ circular and set of five U.S. size 6 double points.
Size: Approx. 19″ diameter flat, stretches comfortable to 24″; approx. 8.5″ edge to crown following the curve.

Cast on 112 stitches, place marker and close circle.
Work 7 rounds of *P2, K1, P2, K3, P2, K1, P2, K1* rib.

Work ten rounds of moss stitch as follows:
Odds: *P1, K1*
Evens: *K1, P1*

Work one full set of the eleven-round pattern stitch as follows:
Round 1: *YO, SSK, (P1, K1) 4 times), P1, K2tog, YO, K1*
Round 2: *K3, (P1, K1) 4 times, K3*
Round 3: *K1, YO, SSK, (K1, P1) 3 times, K1, K2tog, YO, K2*
Round 4: as round 2
Round 5: *K2, YO, SSK, (P1, K1) 2 times, P1, K2tog, YO, K3*
Round 6: *K5, P1, K1, P1, K6*
Round 7: *K3, YO, SSK, K1, P1, K1, K2tog, YO, K4*
Round 8: as round 6
Round 9: *K4, YO, SSK, P1, K2tog, YO, K5*
Round 10: K around
Round 11: *K5, YO, Sl 1 K-wise, K2tog, PSSO, YO, K6*

Knit one round, stopping when seven stitches remain before the marker on the left-hand needle. Place a new marker here, then work decreases as follows, dropping original marker when you reach it. Switch to double points when necessary, dividing stitches evenly among four needles.
Round 1: *K12, K2tog*
Round 2 and all even rounds through round 22: K around
Round 3: *K11, K2tog*
Round 5: *K10, K2tog*
Round 7: *K9, K2tog*
Round 9: *K8, K2tog*
Round 11: *K7, K2tog*
Round 13: *K6, K2tog*
Round 15: *K5, K2tog*
Round 17: *K4, K2tog*
Round 19: *K3, K2tog*
Round 21: *K2, K2tog*
Round 23: *K1, K2tog*
Round 24: *K2tog*

Cut working end of yarn to 6″ and run counter-clockwise through remaining stitches on needles using yarn needle. Pull tight and draw yarn end to inside of hat. Weave in ends.

Shout Out: Props to Mimi for helping me take these pics, then reducing them and emailing them to Melissa, and to Mimi and Dana for long-term loaning me their spare digital camera! Props, too, to Melissa, who does all uploading of pics to this site and povides innumerable support services.

K to J to M

Ok—this time instead of telling the knitting purists to go to the end of the entry, I’ll start with some quick knit news and then ramble.

This weekend I got two more splint covers knit up for my niece in lacier patterns. The one that worked best began with four rows of K2, P2 rib, then switched to alternating rows of K2, YO, K2tog and YO, K2tog, K2, ending with four more rows of rib. This produced a sturdy, but lacey diagonal mesh.

I knit most of another face cloth as well, this time using Rhonda K. White’s Lacey Round Cloth pattern. It’s quite pretty with its mix of garter and eyelets. I’m also delighted with the zig-zag border. This business of connected wedges turning into circles interests me. I want to keep knitting up patterns like this until I get to the point that I can design my own. (The “what if” questions: What if I adapted this technique to a shawl? To a hat? Could I maintain the laciness while working on a larger scale or would everything just go all clunky?)

By the way—if you’re like me and can only find Sugar ‘n Cream, but not Peaches & Creme in local shops, you can order this yarn directly from the maufacturer. Peaches & Creme has a much wider color range and is reasonably priced, even with postage, if you order one-pound cones.

And that is all the knitting.

This morning when I woke up, Sparky and Woody lay curled in one another’s arms at the foot of the bed. Sparky was completely zonked, and Woody had his eyes open the littlest squinty bit and was giving Sparky’s left ear a very thorough washing. They used to sleep together like this all the time, but have grown more independent now that they’re “big boys.” (Big is right—each of them looks as if he’s swallowed a small cannon ball.)

Then Woody woke up a bit more, decided to groom himself, and—to facilitate grooming, no doubt—sat down right on top of Sparky and got to work on his own hind foot. This brought Sparky out of his stupor, and we had a few minutes of “Woody must die! No!—Sparky must die! No!—Woody must die!” before things settled down again.

This little skirmish made me think of my favorite columnist, Jon Carroll, who not only writes great political and thought pieces, but also can conjure up a cat column extraordinaire. (See here and here and here for a few examples.)

And thinking of Jon Carroll cat columns made me think of my mother, who brings great joy to my life by providing me with a custom clipping service. (This, of course, is only one the myriad ways she brings joy to my life, but it’s the way I’m focusing on at the moment.) I don’t get a paper daily paper. Instead, I subscribe to the New York Times on line, which provides good general news coverage, runs twenty automatic, customized searches a day for topics of interest (my choices range from Church and State to Supreme Court to Patriot Act to Lemurs), and allows me to create my own database of materials in areas of interest, which comes in handy for my teaching.

So, by using the NY Times and other sources (particularly NPR), I get my daily news, but I don’t get a daily paper. This is where my mom comes in. Every single day, she goes through both of the newspapers she and my father receive and clips every item that might be of interest to me. (She actually does this times three, as she also sends clippings to my brother and sister.)

Articles on new dinosaur species? Check.
Articles on any kind of fossil at all? Check.
Pieces on educational innovation? Check.
All things knitting, quilting, embroidery, and sewing related? Check.
Geology? Check.
Astronomy? Check.
Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary? Check.
Retirement planning? Check.
Political cartoons on education? Check.
Cat Care? Check.
Crossword puzzles? Check.
Mutts? Check.
Get Fuzzy? Check.
Rhymes with Orange when it’s got cats in it? Check.

and

Every single column Jon Carroll writes? Check.

Once or twice a week, I get a wonderul, fat envelope full of these clippings. They make for great just-before-bed or soaking-in-the-tub or sitting-in-the-yard-on-a-beautiful-day reading. Kittens to Jon Carroll to Mom. It’s a perfectly logical chain of thought.

Splint Covers: The “Pattern”

If I’m reading the hand-signs right, my niece loves her splint cover.
I love my splint cover!
The pictured splint cover is knit in Lion Brand Yarn’s Jiffy, the Denver colorway. Another splint cover should be arriving today, in Crystal Palace’s Trio, the discontinued Kiwi-Celery colorway. (Let’s hear it for the LYS’s odd skeins and discontinueds sale bin!) I’m afraid the Trio will snag easily, but it was fun to knit with (I started fantasizing about a knitted tee for myself) and made a dense, stretchy fabric that should be comfortable to wear. And the splint covers only have to last six weeks or so.

Nice stripes.
I’m working on a lacier version now, based on the stitch I used for the Santa Cruz Hat. The weather’s starting to change in the midwest, and the girl needs to have options.

Meanwhile, here is the “pattern.”

Take three measurements (while the recipient is wearing the splint):
1. Circumference, which should be pretty much the same along the length of the splint
2. Distance from the “notch” of the of the thumb-forefinger L up the arm to the end of the splint.
3. Distance from the “notch” of the thumb-forfinger L down the hand to the other end of the splint.

For my niece, these measurements were 10″, 8.5″, and 2″.

Using the gauge information on the yarn band and appropriate double-point needles, cast on a number of stitches that is a multiple of four and that will be approximately equal to the splinted-arm circumferance (measurement #1). (I used U.S. 10.5 needles and cast on 40 stitches.)

Close the circle, place marker, and work in K2, P2 rib until you have a length equal to measurement #2. At some point on the following round, cast off four stitches as you continue working in K2, P2 rib. Then, on the subsequent round use a backwards loop cast-on to restore those four stitches. This will be the thumb hole.

Continue working in K2, P2 rib until the distance from the thumb hole to the end of the piece equals measurement #3.

Cast off.

Voila—a splint cover. It’s still not as glamorous as a cast, but it’s way more glam than an unadorned, clunky brown splint.

Coming next: a veritable cavalcade of washcloths with pattern information and links.

P.S. Last night Melissa and I went to a performance by Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble (on-line recordings here). Tonight we’re going to hear John Holloway with Philharmonia Baroque (on-line recordings here and here). Heaven!

P.P.S. We just found out today that Melissa has a neighbor with a pomeranian named—get this—Lobo.

Stripes and Strands Hat Pattern (and One More Hat to Look At)

Behold my “Stripes and Strands” hat, knit from two skeins of sock yarn, one solid, one self-striping. This hat was inspired by my first foray into stranded knitting, the Semi-Norwegian Oak Leaf Hat (see below). I wanted to try a) mixing stranded and plain knitting and b) using a self-striping yarn as both “background” and “featured yarn” in the same project. The hat has a solid navy background with two bands of stranded work and a central band of the self-striping yarn in a simple knit stitch.
Blue hat, strands and bands
I’m including the pattern here, along with some of my thoughts about possible variations. I’d love to hear from you and to see the results if you try this pattern.

Stripes and Strands Hat

Yarn: One skein each of a solid and a self-striping sock yarn (a single-sock sized skein in each color will be more than sufficient). I used KnitPicks Essential in navy for the solid and Plymoth Sockotta in color 507 (45% cotton, 40% wool, 15% nylon) for the stripes. You can also, of course, use two solid color yarns—or, heck, two self-striping yarns if you really want to live dangerously.
Needles: 16″ circulars and double points in U.S. size 2.
Other Necessities: stitch marker, yarn needle.
(Note that I’ve used a paragraph break at each spot where you will be changing yarns.)

Chart A, Stripes and Strands Hat

Chart B, Stripes and Strands Hat

Using the solid color yarn, cast on 128 stitches, place marker, and close circle.
Work 6 rounds of K1, P1 rib.
Work one round K.

Switch to self-striping yarn and K one round.

Switch to solid yarn and K two rounds.

Switch to self-striping yarn and K one round.

Using Chart A, work eight repeats of pattern stitch in stranded knitting, being careful to always pass yarn changes under the previous yarn and to stretch the work as you knit to keep tension loose.

Switch to self-striping yarn and K one round.

Switch to solid yarn and K two rounds.

Switch to self-striping yarn and K until piece measures 4.75 inches.

Switch to solid yarn and K two rounds.

Switch to self-striping yarn and K one round.

Using Chart B, work sixteen repeats of pattern stitch in stranded knitting, being careful to always pass yarn changes under the previous yarn and to stretch the work as you knit to keep tension loose.

Switch to self-striping yarn and K one round.

Switch to solid yarn and K two rounds.

Switch to self-striping yarn and K one round.

Switch to solid yarn and K one round.
Work decreases as follows, continuing to use solid yarn and switching to double-points when necessary.
Round 1: K14, K2tog around.
All even numbered rounds:K around.
Round 3: K13, K2tog around.
Round 5: K12, K2tog around.
Continue working decreases in this way until
Round 27: K1, K2tog around.
Round 28: K2tog around.

Using yarn needle, run working thread through remaining stitches and remove these from needles. Weave ends in on wrong side of hat.

Thoughts and Variations
I was a bit disappointed that my stranded knitting design didn’t “pop” as much as I would have liked it to. It does show up, but it’s subtle—something a knitter would appreciate, but that others might not notice. To emphasize the design, choose a solid-colored yarn in a dark/rich color that does not appear in your self-striping yarn: for example, black with pastels would be ideal or you might choose a deep blue with an orange and yellow self-striping yarn. If your self striping yarn comes in deep colors and does not include white, then white or cream would also work well for the solid-colored yarn. Or, skip the self-striping yarn altogether and use two solids.

You might also enjoy playing with the two charts, substituting different designs or even words. As long as you keep the same number of columns and rows, the hat proportions will remain the same. Just remember that with stranded knitting you don’t want long runs of a single color.

This is the hat that started it all, my “Semi-Norwegian” Oak Leaf Hat.
Semi-Norwegian oak leaf hat
I’m still playing with both this pattern and the idea of Norwegian hats in general. My current mini-binge of washcloths is actually helping with this process because it’s giving me lots of opportunities to play with different combinations of variegated and solid yarns.

And then there are slip stitches and mosaic knitting. And socks—I musn’t forget about socks. The possibilities are deliciously endless!

Free Point Lobos Hat Pattern Packs

I have some leftover sets of 25 of the Point Lobos Hat pattern printed up on nice postcard stock to give away. If you know of a knitting guild or a LYS that would like a set to share with knitters, please let me know by dropping me a line me at shparmetATucscDOTedu with the appropriate mailing info. I don’t want to send out individual cards because the postage will quickly get prohibitive, but I’ll be glad to share full sets with people who can distribute them.

Bulky Tam Pattern (and Bad Kittens)

Here is the bulky tam pattern I designed, based on Kathryn Connelly’s beret pattern in One-Skein Wonders. She’s generously allowed me to publish this version of the pattern. There’s now (or will be at any moment) a One-Skein Wonders web site. The link is here. Though I haven’t had luck getting there yet, I expect it will be working soon (and I’m looking forward to seeing all the patterns it offers). Kathryn works at Hilltop Yarn, which has both a web site and a blog.

Three wonderful tams!
Bulky Tams in Chache by Moda Dea

Bulky Tam
Yarn: Moda Dea Cachet or similar bulky weight yarn, approx. 110 yards
Needles: 16″ US 10.5 circular and double points

Note: This pattern produces a small woman’s size hat. If you would like a larger or floppier/more dramatic hat, simply add 1 or more additional decrease/increase sets and knit the body to 4.5″ inches before beginning decreases.

Abbreviations:
Kf&b: Knit into stitch twice, first from the front, then from the back
K2tog: Knit two stitches together

Cast on on 72 stitches, place marker, and close circle to work in the round.

Work three rounds of K2, P1 rib.

Work increases as follows:
Round 1 (and all odd rounds): K
Round 2: *Knit 7, Kf&b*
Round 4: *Knit 8, Kf&b*
Round 6: *Knit 9, Kf&b*
Round 8: *Knit 10, Kf&b*

Continue knitting around until piece measures 4″.

Work Decreases as follows, switching to double points when needed:
Round 1: *K10, K2tog*
Round 2: K
Round 3:*K9, K2tog*
Round 4: K
Round 5: *K8, K2tog*
Round 6: K
Round 7: *K7, K2tog*
Round 8: K
Round 9: *K6, K2tog*
Round 10: K
Round 11: *K5, K2tog*
Round 12: K
Round 13: *K4, K2tog*
Round 14: *K3, K2tog*
Round 15: *K2, K2tog*
Round 16: *K1, K2tog*
Round 17: K2tog around

Trim working end of yarn to 6″ or so, run it through the remaining stitches on needles and remove needles. Weave in ends.

On a completely different note, Sparky and Woody, the kittens, had an unfortunate breakthrough in the middle of the night. They are both quite interested in Bea, the adult cat who shares their home and who finds them both inconvenient at best and more often loathsome. Bea had worked out a sort of a truce with Woody, but was having a more difficult time with Sparky who’d become enamoured of her and followed her about chirping and rolling and waving his paws.

Well, last night the boys realized they could approach her as a pair, rather than individually. Horrors! We had any number of rounds of Bea backed into various corners or under different chairs, growling louldly while Sparky and Woody approached her from opposite sides. They played the innocents: “We’re not touching her. We’re just sitting here… and here. Why shouldn’t we be able to sit?”

At one point I put them out into the rain—which is not as cruel as it seems, as they have their own entrance and could just run around the corner and back in again—but this did nothing to cool their furry little jets. This morning when Melissa and I headed off to breakfast Bea was hiding under a nightstand and the boys were watching her from up on the bed. I’m afraid the boys won’t tire of this game for quite some while.

Santa Cruz Hat Pattern on MagKnits

Whee! My Santa Cruz Hat Pattern is out on this month’s issue of MagKnits! I hadn’t expected it until next month, so this comes as a lovely surprise. I expect I’ll be doing a little happy dance for the rest of the day—perhaps the rest of the week.

I went on a hat-pattern-writing binge last summer and the Santa Cruz Hat is one of the results. At the time, I wanted to play with different lace stitches to make hats that would be suitable for the weather here where I live on the central California coast—that would add a touch of warmth and keep the wind from blowing one’s hair in one’s eyes, but without bringing on hyperthermia.

I’d love to hear what you think of it—and to see photos of any version of it you knit up. Please do share!

P.S. The model is my former student, Maryam, who’s now preparing for law school.

3 Free Patterns

Let me begin by saying that none of these are mine—oh, how I wish they were. I found them while poking about the net in between finalizing tomorrow’s class plan and (it’s endless, I tell you) reading student essays.

Dipsy’s Cable Lace Scarf The small photo doesn’t do this piece justice. Click on it to get the larger view, then swoon. The blog featuring this pattern is a fun read with lots of details about actual knitting, as well as chattier entries.

Sleepytime Wrapper I wish the pattern for this baby robe came in my size. (Of course, I can always start “what-iffing” about the possibilities of designing my own adult version.) It’s knit on US 2 needles with sport weight yarn. (I bet I could get it up to a child’s size just by using knitting worsted and US 7 needles, hmm?) This is one of many patterns avaiable at Free Vintage Knitting, a site that posts older patterns that have entered the public domain.

Dr. Monttville’s Double Helix Seaman Scarf is an offering from Twosheep, which presents a very eclectic mix of topics, knitting and non. (The latest entry describes a Charo concert.) I will be knitting many of these scarves between now and next December to give as gifts to the various scientists in my life.

I finished the Urban Trekker hat last night and added my own finishing touches to it—twisted cords and tassels, rather than braids and pom-pons. Now I’m playing with Shine, Knit Picks‘ cotton/modal sport-weight blend and thinking about colorful summer wear for kids. While admittedly stiff to knit with, as many cottons are, boy does Shine ever make a soft, tempting-to-touch fabric.

Forbidden Love

I know it’s not the sort of thing we talk about in polite society, but I’ve fallen in love with an acrylic yarn—a cheap acrylic yarn ($3.99 for a 218-yard skein). Soft Delight Extremes by Yarn Bee, which is the house brand for Hobby Lobby. I picked it up when I was in the midwest last summer visiting my sister. It looked like any number of other yarns on the skein: kind of hairy, but definitely not an eyelash, some color variegation, but nothing that cried out “I will be your new obsession! You will succumb to my powers and become helpless like a child!” Still, the price was right, so I bought a skein.

This winter, when I was experimenting with tam patterns, I pulled it out, figuring it might make a rawther interesting tam. The tam itself came out rawther more interesting than I’d planned. I was following a pattern, which I rarely do (see my previous entry), but I failed to notice that at one point the decreases increased from every other row to every row. As a result of my lapse, I wound up with a hat that began something like a tam, but then collapsed a bit in the middle, and finally rose up to an odd little point. Sort of like the fancier kind of mathematical bracket { or an onion dome. I convinced myself the hat had “flair” and left it as it was, naming it “Czarina”—though it did not have enough flair for me to knit another like it.

But my point here is the yarn, not the hat suitable for smuggling large gourds and other oddly-shaped vegetables. I immediately phoned my (non-knitting) sister and begged her to get me another six skeins, which she did. (I have THE BEST sister in the world. Don’t even try telling me that many other sisters are just as wonderful. I will not believe you.)

Soft Delights yarn
The yarn was gorgeous: gorgeous to touch, gorgeous to look at. It’s actually two separate strands twisted together. The main one is a fuzzy, acrylic-as-mohair ranging from a sweet, sweet cream to an almost-black brown and back again, with longer sojourns at the darker end of the run. The second strand is thin and shiny, with very fine threads coming off it every quarter inch or so, and this is variegated in a spring green to pink to bright red-violet range. When it knits up, it’s positively Noro-esque—if it’s not blasphemy to say that about a $3.99 acrylic.

So Wednesday, when I was crabby as all get-out because I’d been knitting the same darn hat (subject of a future posting) repeatedly for the better part of two weeks, I dramatically swore off kniiting, at least briefly. “I can’t knit another stitch,” I told Melissa. “That hat has frozen my brain to the point that I’m incapable of thinking an original thought. I’ll just have to stop for twenty-four hours to clear my mind, then start a completely new project.”

That resolution, of course, lasted long enough for me to walk upstairs and see the winter issue of Interweave Knits on the bedroom floor. I’d been lusting after the Wine and Roses mitts since I’d seen them worked up in a lovely rose (what else) shade on All Tangled Up. I looked at the pattern and lusted some more, but knew I wasn’t ready to take on something quite that fiddley given my tenuous state.

So then I asked myself a what-if question. What if I knit up some simpler wrist warmers using some of that nice yarn from my sister?

I knit a quick swatch to figure out what my gauge was, measured my forearm and hand and cast on. The crabbiness fled, contentment set in. I was knitting. I was knitting something that was not a hat. In three hours I had wrist warmer #1. The next evening I knit wrist warmer #2. Joy! Right now I’m only taking them off to eat and bathe.

Basic wrist warmers and a cup of tea
See what I mean about Noro-esque? (And the identical color variation on each one—complete luck.)

If you like them, you’re welcome to knit your own pair:

Yarn: Yarn Bee Soft Delights Extreme or ~175 yards of any heavy worsted-weight yarn that gets ~4.5 stitches to the inch.
Needles: U.S. #8 double points.
[Note that I originally omitted two lines of the pattern. They have been added here in bold.]

Cast on 45 stitches, distributing them evenly among three double-points. Place a marker and close the circle.

Work 4 rounds of k2, p1 rib.
Knit 6 rounds.
(K1, K2tog, K12) 3 times. (=42 stitches)
Knit 6 rounds.

(K1, k2tog, k11) 3 times. (=39 stitches)
Knit 6 rounds.
(K1, k2tog, k10) 3 times. (=36 stitches)
Knit 12 rounds.
(K1, k2tog, k9) 3 times. (= 33 stitches)
Knit 15 rounds.
K 1, bind off 4, k28.
K1, cast on 4, k28.
Knit 8 rounds.
Work 4 rounds k2, p1 rib.
Cast off and weave in ends.