Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hat City

It's still August and I refuse, simply refuse, to join the chorus of "Where did the summer go?" Summer's still here, and I intend to cling to it until I'm ankle-deep in snow. Here in Chicago, that won't be for at least another two weeks.

Making the most of summer does not, however, mean greeting winter unprepared. I'm tired of such hats as I've got, so I'm preparing three new ones. (Yes, three. Chalk it up to the typical male fear of commitment.)

Hat the First: Dubbelmossa

Last time I blogged about the Dubbelmossa Hat from Handknitting with Meg SwansenI was afraid the blue and oatmeal yarns were too similar to show off the pattern properly. Several inches later, I take it back.

Dubbelmossa Progress

The pattern doesn't jump out, no; but in this case I like that. There's a patina of age about it–as though it had been worn out in the sun and snow. It reminds me of a much-loved pair of jeans, or a fisherman's gansey that has actually been out to sea on the back of a fisherman.

That sounds like gushy yarn catalogue copy, doesn't it? I'll stop now, before I accidentally write something about the gentle, salty kiss of the Atlantic mist at dawn.


Hat the Second: Bavarian Twisted Stitch

We have a history, this hat and I. The pattern is another gem by Meg Swansen, distributed on a handout at Knitting Camp.

I fell in love with Bavarian twisted stitch two years ago on my first day of camp. As the name suggests, it has no plain knit stitches. The clever little designs are drawn by lines of twisted knitting (worked through the back loop) traveling across a purl ground. At times the stitches leap over and under one another like tiny cables. At a firm gauge in a tightly spun yarn, they stand out as through they'd been carved. Yum.

Bavarian Twisted Stitch

I decided I had to learn how to do it or I'd stop breathing. I cast on the hat five times and ripped back five times. The idiosyncratic charts and the fiddly little right and left twists were more than I could handle, surrounded as I was by a passel of rowdy knitters and a carnival of yarn.

Flash forward to this year. There was camp, there was the handout, and there was Tricky Tricot. The sonofabitch blithely cast on and worked the whole thing in a day, and that got my dander up. I decided that as soon as space opened up in my queue, this hat and I were going to have a re-match.

This time around, probably because I've got more experience and improved powers of concentration, Bavarian twisted stitch and I are playing a nice duet with only occasional discordant notes.

Bavarian Twisted Stitch Hat

This yarn, Shepherd Classic Wool, isn't absolutely ideal for the technique–it has a bit more halo and a smidge less twist than I would like–but it'll be warm and it's working well enough to suit me.

Hat the Third: Handspun Plus Noro

I was rooting around in the stash cupboard and found something I'd forgotten: a small ball of handspun merino–the biggest batch of finished yarn I've produced to date. Rabbitch sent me the fiber a long time ago, and I've decided I am an ungrateful wretch for not at least attempting to turn her gift into something handsome. Or at least something other than a ball.

Yarn for Striped Beanie

So I'm pairing it with the Noro Silk Garden, to make what I dearly hope will be a successful striped beanie. My homemade yarn looks like yarn. We'll see if it acts like yarn.


Angie said...

I love the Dubbelossa hat. I like that the colors are faded. I also like the Bavarian Twisted hat. The pattern really pops and the color is great. It'll be nice to wear that in the dead of a dreary winter.

Yarnhog said...

I think that handspun/Noro combo will be awesome. There is a whole new dimension to knitting when you use your own handspun.

Kristen said...

Summer doesn't end this year until September 21. Therefore, you have every right to hold on to summer. I, on the other hand, am counting the minutes until snow. Your hats give me hope that it will be soon!

Patti said...

I think I'm in love with Bavarian Twisted Stitch... how is it I have never heard of this before?

meezermeowmy said...

Never mind lack of commitment. To me, it appears that you have 3 hats for 3 very different moods/occasions. That's just what the well-dressed Chicagoan needs. (What we, in Louisiana, would call a life-time of hats.)

StarSpry said...

Both hats look great so far! I really like how the pattern detail looks in the blue & oatmeal yarn!

angelina (in oakland) said...

I LOVE the hats-in-progress... I have a question, though, won't the handspun/Noro be almost exactly the same colors (or at least the same shade/intensity) as the first hat? Just sayin'...... :)

Kyle Kunnecke said...

handouts at camp?! yet another thing to look forward to for the Fall Men's Knitting Retreat :)

I'd love to learn how to do that Bavarian Twisted Stitch... it's delicious!~

Shan said...

Beautiful hat. I wouldn't think misty dawn on the Atlantic would be gentle, though...unless you mean it is kind enough to numb your nibs before it freezes them off.

Joy said...

Both hats look great, and I can't wait to see Hat the Third when it grows up - go Franklin!

KHM said...

oooh! Twisted Bavarian stitch! And nicely done!

Jennifer Lori said...

Oh that Dubbelmossa pattern and colors would make a gorgeous weekend sweater!!!

Alwen said...

The Dutch like to do that leaning stitch on a purl background thing, too. We did a couple of patterns in the Sampler M Yahoo group.

(The group is still there, just very quiet. So if anyone wants a bunch of 19th c. Dutch knitting sampler patterns, go to Yahoo and search for Sampler M - the patterns are all still up in the Files area.)

Mel said...

I love subtle. The colors are suspiciously like those of the homespun/Noro pairing. Coincidence?

Anyway, I've had some yarn dyed in a colorway I think would be a good middle ground between your tendency towards earthy and interest in branching out into bright. There hasn't been a reveal yet, so I'll take some pics and send along once it makes its way back to me.

Heidi said...

Ah, but does it TASTE like yarn?

Knitting Painter Woman said...

Always glad to discover more FH versatility. You CAN be subtle! Reallyu subtle. But on the other hand, I just ordered that CafePress Bumper Sticker of yours. Can't wait for it to arrive. The locals will be stunned. And that's a good thing.

Mollie said...

the Noro and handspun look like it would be perfect for Jared Flood's (of brooklyntweed.bogspot.com) Turn a Square Hat. It is a free pattern, if you aren't sure exactly how you want to knit up your hat. Beautiful work by the way.

Oh, and I too am really tired of the summer is almost gone thing. It may be cloudy today, but three days ago we were in the triple digits here in Oregon!

Lynn said...

Franklin, I'm IN Chicago as we speak! Coming from Tucson, THIS is what summer should be about! This city is stunning. The flowers are stunning. The weather is stunning. I'm never going home.

But I hear you have this thing called "winter...."

dianna rubidge said...

Those would be lovely hats for you to wear on your next trip up to Canada...January is a good time to test them. Minus forty is the same in Celsius and Fahrenheit. See you then.

charlene.knits said...

Thank you so much for 'fessing to your frustration. Ive been reading your blog and everything seems to be just perfect. I think I average about 5 froggs on EVERY project but it did make me feel a bit better to know that even you have to try, try again (sometimes)

FiberQat said...

The hat choices are great. I'd like to see the dubbelmossa in outdoor light in the winter when it's grey and dull. The colors should pop out more. I'm glad you're persevering on the Bavarian too. Nothing like another skill.

I have some gifted handspun fingering yarn I need to knit up. It started out as a Rose of England but ended up being tinked because it didn't look right. I'm thinking socks.

Seanna Lea said...

I love the twisted stitches hat. I love the sculpted look of the little cables.

Suzanne said...

Were it not for that Bavarian Twisted Stitch hat, I think we would need to stage an intervention, Franklin.

Two hats! Nearly the same colors! Oh no!

Jeanne said...

Oh, Franklin, you make me LOL sometimes! The blue and tan hat is gorgeous.

Rabbitch said...

Ooh, and soon my roving will be hugging your little bald noggin.

I am well pleased. Carry on.

trickytricot said...

I love how my name and the word "blithely" appear in the same sentence. I can't help it if I'm a fast knitter.. hope yours fits better tho. Not familiar with the Shepherd's Wool, but if it's a Worsted or DK you should be in better shape. Then again, I think your head is wee-er than mine....

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