2.12.2014

two very different hats

I usually try to avoid grand, sweeping, generalizations. However, in this instance, I feel pretty safe in saying that for the continent of North America this winter has been one mean mother f*cker! Okay, okay... I actually have no idea what's going on in the Pacific Northwest, and I'm pretty sure California is making out okay... but for the rest of us this has been a brutal one! Usually February is the month that I try to coax my northern friends into visiting me, since they're typically just recovering from their third flu of the season, and our weather tends to be perfect for talking about every aspect of your life while sitting at an outdoor cafe. But this year, forget it! Ya'll just stay put! Don't let the sunshine, greenery, or my lipstick in these pictures fool you. It's cold!

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Also... the heat in my apartment is broken.  This means that I've been spending every evening curled up into the same corner of the couch with a heating pad, Netflix, and something warm to put in my tummy (hot tea, curry... a stiff shot of whiskey... just kidding. I don't drink whiskey. It turns me into a weepy drunk.)  And if this nighttime ritual sounds familiar to you than perhaps you know what else these wintery evenings are perfect for...

Knitting. Yeah, I've been bit hard by the knitting bug! It's the perfect thing to do with your hands while you're listening to Game of Thrones on audio book! What? You don't do that? Well maybe you should try! 

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To recap - my amazing, and knitting wiz of a sister taught me how to knit while I was home for the holidays this year.  I immediately started on this first hat - Wiksten's Jul Hat pattern, using the recommended Blue Sky Alpaca Suri Merino yarn in fog (a gift from my Mom and Pop - thanks guys!) It was a great pattern for an utter newbie like me. I found the directions easy enough to follow, I learned a lot while working on it, and I think it delivered a really spectacular finished product! I wear it alot

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Right after finishing my Jul hat I swung into this Chunky Cable hat - a free pattern from the Purl Bee. I once again used the recommended yarn (I'm not nearly confident enough with this stuff to diverge from the directions) Purl Soho's Super Soft Merino in red zinnia.  I thought this would be a great project to teach myself how to do cables, and I'm pretty happy with the result! I mean, granted, it's kind of a crazy hat, so it doesn't get as much wear as my Jul hat, but it also makes me smile every time I don it.  It definitely turned out huge, despite the fact that I double checked my gauge, but I also think I might have a smaller-than-average-head.  If I were to knit this again I would maybe size down my needles to a size 11 (rather than the suggested 13 - which felt disconcertingly like knitting with baby carrots...) and I might use a smaller needle to knit the first couple rounds of the rib pattern, since it has a tendency to flare at the bottom after several wears.

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Neither of these hats are perfect, but, honestly, I'm kind of stupidly proud of them! After these two hats I decided it was time to jump into the deep end, because... you know... sink or swim, right? And as of right now I'm about 6 inches into Brooklyn Tweed's Bedford sweater pattern.  So... at that rate... I should be finished by the time summer arrives, right?

How about you guys? Are you finding the cold weather conducive to knitting? Any big projects on your table?

xx

52 comments:

  1. Blue sky is my favorite, I used cheap crap for my first project. Yours is the way to go.

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  2. These are both such lovely hats, I especially love the cable knit one! I haven't tried knitting in years but will bookmark these patterns, maybe for next winter. I'm currently working on curtains for my baby's nursery - so big in terms of space for cutting & sewing, but not particularly complicated!

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  3. Well done you! Cables on your second knit! I haven't even been there yet, they terrify me. And who needs winter to knit? It's the deadset middle of summer here and I just finished a pair of fingerless mitts trying to keep my fingers nimble for winter knitting. Well that's my excuse, but really the knitting bug hit me last winter and my fingers were itching to pick up sticks again and a small project is perfect. Good luck with the sweater. I adore my first. Swoon.

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  4. Those are adorable! I love beanies for winter but I rarely wear mine... you look so cute you're inspiring me to dig them out, for when winter rocks around here again :)

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  5. LOVE the hats, the jul hat especially is gorgeous! That knitting bug...don't ever get started on socks and sweaters, you'll never stop ;)

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  6. You look great in both of them!

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  7. Those hats look great! Congratulations on catching the knitting bug with such style. I have knit my way through the entire series of Game of Thrones and many, many more audiobooks. It's the only way to go. I recommend the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo audiobooks too.

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  8. I have some big projects on my table, but they're not knitting related. As much as I can handle a sewing machine, I cannot knit to save my life!

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  9. I made a bright yellow Jul hat this year and I'm working on my second with a modefication to the brim. I cast on 80, work the rib to the length and thenbefore I start the knit rows I do this: M1,*k3, m1; rep from * to last 2 sts, k1, m1, k1. 108 sts. Great if the rib is WAY too big for your head :)

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  10. I just learned to knit this winter too, and I've been hit hard with the knitting bug as well! I've made a series of hats for me and for my husband (4 so far) and am working on a neck kerchief now (Brooklyn Tweed's Guernsey Triangle). I think I'm also going to jump into the deep end with a sweater NEXT!

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  11. You could have fooled me - they look perfect to my eyes! I love the colors. I've been avoiding knitting, knowing that it would probably hit me just as hard as sewing, but I know that one of these days I'll cave in. And whisky I avoid because it makes me a punchy drunk...

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  12. I'm so impressed that those are your first projects! My first knitting projects were... well, let's just say they definitely looked like somebody's "learn-to-knit" projects. Can't wait to see your sweater!

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  13. Both hats are so flawless, you should be proud!


    It has been so hot in California. It's in the mid seventies today, but I always feel guilty enjoying the nice weather because we need rain SO bad :(

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  14. I recognized the Wiksten hat right away because I was just looking at that pattern last week! I really like how yours turned out (how both hats turned out actually!) and now I really want to make one for myself. I just learned how to knit in the round this month and I'm currently working on a hat with simple cables but there's definitely room for improvement on them haha! But whatever. It's my first attempt. You're doing so well!!

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  15. I just learned to knit a couple of year ago after trying and failing in the past. I'm the slowest knitter ever and that is kind of discouraging to me. I have a lovely scarf that I've been working on and hope to finish before this hellish Texas winter is over!

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  16. love your new hats! and i like the red one being oversized and all.. i'm actually trying to find the courage to start working on my first ever sweater (that is more a coat than a sweater, and i'm a bit intimidated with how huge that project is.. but i'm still going to give it a try.. eventually)

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  17. Your hats are wonderful! I have never felt the urge to knit, but this alerts me to the fact that knitting is a thing and it should be done. By other people. To entertain me, ha ha. My mom knits beautifully so I have a few hats and scarves that I already don't wear enough. Maybe that is why ... anyway .... I know what you mean about winter, it has been a very hard one this year.

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  18. these are both super cute ! I got bit by the knitting bug a copule of years ago and I love it! It's such a good complement to sewing! And since you're into dyes and stuff, dying yarn is pretty cool too! My friend dyed some raw yarn out of lobster mushroom and it came out really nice.

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  19. Ahh, so lovely. You had me laughing--palm trees and big cozy layers definitely appear at odds--but I can testify (to the Netflix binging), this was definitely the winter to hunker down on projects like this! We joked that Austin turned into a Portland scene for a month. (Where did all those chunky sweaters and fur collared anoraks come from?) The red hat is such a gorgeous color on you, just so pretty. Are you tempted to collect beautiful yarns now? That's what would get me! I hope you complete your sweater, even if by summer.

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  20. Oooohhhh!!! You just opened up so many possibilities for me!! I never even THOUGHT of dyeing my own yarn!!!

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  21. Beautiful hats! I'm loving your scarf too.. I'm seaming my Happy Triangles sweater now, trying to figure out the right needles for my Crash sweater and I've got yarn already for my Brooklyn Tweed Alloy sweater, so enough big projects to keep my occupied throughout the year probably.. Good luck with your sweater, I really love that pattern too!

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  22. These hats are both so gorgeous! I only knit in the winter, although it's hot in my apartment (temp is controlled by my Greek neighbors, so we're at a sweaty 79 degrees all winter long). I think I need to make that Jul hat next- it's so cute! I love the red hat, too. If the ribbing is too loose for comfort, you can buy some elastic thread (like you would use for shirring) and weave it into the ribbing from the inside to help it maintain its shape a little better. I like to do that after I've stretched out my hand-knitted hats.

    ALSO. What is this wrap you're wearing?!?!?! I LOVE IT and SUPER want it!

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  23. So you've just joined the group of elites that sew AND knit. And do it well both ways. Ah dear Sallie, I may have to start hating you. Just kidding.
    Love the new beanies! They look gorgeous. And if you guys in the north have been having the winter to end all winters... we've been having the exact opposite. About 2 weeks back we were all suffering from lack of sleep due to the heatwave continuing through the night for over a week that the number of car accidents went through the roof. You win some, you loose some ;) I shall look forward to seeing your finished jumper!

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  24. Aw! Thanks Melanie!! And I can't really believe I'm complaining about the cold, when most of the year it's like a sauna! I guess I just like to complain about the weather no matter what!

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  25. you. are. a. GENIUS!!! Elastic thread?!?! What an awesome solution!!


    And my crazy wrap is essentially my "winter coat" (i know, i know) - it predates my sewing craze... I think I got it from Spotted Moth..? Or some other online, cheap n' trendy boutique? It's actually a poncho, but I like to wrap myself up in it so I look like someone's crazy aunt (wait... I am an aunt....)

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  26. Thanks Kim! I definitely like the idea of having a few big knitting projects that you can work on throughout the year!

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  27. Ha!! Yes! I know! I always laugh at all the Houston Society ladies who come out with their ankle length furs... like, where do they hide those things the rest of the year!?!? Do they only have them so they can pull them out for the odd, freak, cold winter day?
    And yes! Beautiful yarns are too tempting. And petitejosette down there just informed me that I can dye yarn! I really don't need any more hobbies... but doesn't that just sound too dreamy to pass by??

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  28. Ha!!! We would make such a good whiskey drinking team! We'd be like cartoon drunks!

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  29. Oh this is so smart!! I will definitely have to come back to this - because I'm realizing that most "fits most" size hats are going to be WAY to big on me!

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  30. Thanks Robin! I definitely think that knitting is a good partner with sewing - but since you've gotten into quilting I think that might serve the same purpose! I think both can be very meditative.

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  31. Go for it!! Plus, you have your knitting genius of a grandmother to help you out if you need it (obviously I'm still drooling of those socks she made you!)

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  32. This is my second attempt at knitting, too! The first attempt was... well... truly awful!

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  33. Thanks Rochelle! I only have good things to say about that Wiksten pattern - you should definitely give it a go!

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  34. Aw, thanks!! I AM proud :)


    I know in, like, a week I'll be changing my tune and complaining that it's hot already! Ha!

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  35. Oh thanks Nicole! I should definitely clarify that this is my second attempt to learn how to knit. I tried to learn while I was in high school and it was a terrible TERRIBLE experience! But something told me I was ready for it now, and I think that made all the difference!

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  36. I'm really a huge fan of the 'dive right in' approach to learning just about anything. I think it might be because I learn WAY more from my mistakes than I would having my hand held and taking baby steps.
    And this is another reason why we should live closer - we could have little sewing/knitting get togethers, because hanging out with your bestie and making gorgeous stuff with your hands has GOT to be way more productive than slogging it alone!

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  37. Well this is also my second attempt at learning to knit - the first go was... hideous. Just a miserable experience all around! So I totally get your aversion to knitting needles! Definitely been there!

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  38. Thanks Kelly!! And you should definitely go for it!! So far, my experience with knitting a sweater is just that it takes much longer! It's not really all that harder than a hat (at this point... I'll let you know how I feel about it when I start having to work decreases and increases!)

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  39. Thanks Cyrena! I'll tell ya, audiobooks having been saving my life this winter! Thanks for the recommendation!

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  40. Thanks Marta :)

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  41. I'm loving working on my sweater right now! It's much slower, but I also love knowing that I ALWAYS have some knitting to pick up... none of that dreaded wait in between projects that happens so quickly with smaller knits!

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  42. Thanks Carolyn! They have been a life saver on my daily bike commute this winter!

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  43. Oh thanks Jillian!! I have to say, I was expecting cables to be WAY harder! Obviously this was a very simple cable pattern, but that's why I thought it would be great to demystify the whole process for me. And I love the idea of knitting year round. It's such a slow, meditative process.

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  44. Thanks Kathryn! They are both great, easy patterns! And you are reminding me that I really need to give my house some love... I've been meaning to make curtains for AGES!

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  45. It's a gorgeous yarn! I have such a soft spot for the good stuff - it's one of the main reasons I decided to jump into knitting in the first place!

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  46. Yeah, it was on another pattern I tried this year ( Tiny Owl's orchids and fairy lights hat) Never casting on big to start again!

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  47. The hats are fantastic, and I never would guess you just learned to knit. Would you mind sharing what your lipstick is?

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  48. Yay!! Three cheers for knitting!! Ever since I started up I've been carrying knitting in my purse everywhere like an old lady LOL. I work two jobs right now so sometimes I can't muster up the energy to sew late at night when I'm finished for the day... but I always have time to knit, somehow LOL.


    I really love both these hats on you - the Jul is a beautiful basic that I'm sure just goes with everything and that beautiful red makes you look like a fairy tale heroine - so lovely :)


    Me, I'm just finishing up two chunky sweaters (I almost called them "beefy" LOL) - both Jane Richmond patterns: Oatmeal and Sedum. Really fun, gratifying knits - highly recommend them both!! ^__^

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  49. Here you go I just saw this post on Wool and the Gang:

    http://blog.woolandthegang.com/post/77808661910/learn-how-to-dye-our-wool-with-rebekka-seale

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