Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hat Jam

It's very frustrating that more than half of what I'm knitting right now has to be kept secret. But I can tell you I've finished two hats for the Dulaan Project, because so far as I know I only have one Mongolian reader and neither of these is for him.

Dulaan Hats

The yarn for both is Patons worsted, which I bought in Indiana from the woman who thought I wanted to rob her. (Not to be confused with the lady from Indiana who wanted to know if I learned to knit in prison. Do I really look that rough?)

I've had a heck of a good time with these because they're completely improvised. All I knew when I started them was:
  1. I wanted to work in Fair Isle so the hats would be double-thick; and
  2. I would rip back and re-knit anything that I wouldn't put on my own head.
So I cast on, then made design decisions on the fly. No stitch dictionaries, no sketches, no measuring, no net. Yeeeeeeehaaaaaw.

This the first one, sized for a small child, was started the day after Thanksgiving and finished just after coming home.

Minor Dulaan Hat

I kept the floats as loose as possible, and yet the checkerboard section still puckered. Go figure. But the hat is still comfortable and looks good when worn.

The second, larger hat began on the trip to Los Angeles and was completed last night.

Major Dulaan Hat

Originally the top was to be all white, but that made for dull knitting. Rip, rip, rip. I decided instead to divide the space into eight parts, alternate the colors, and run the decreases along the left edge of each section. I had no idea what would happen.

Turns out I knit a propeller beanie. Look!


I absolutely have to do this again on a hat for me. Why should Mongolians have all the fun?


Hannah said...

They are great! They sort of remind me of the hat in Beyond Stitch and Bitch.

Anonymous said...

Very cool! Some lucky Mongolian is going to be so very happy to have such a swanky hat... good job!

Michael said...

*high-five* for fair isle toques! Except I need to rip mine out, as it is something not quite wearable (but it looked pretty, and I figured something neat out with those decreases as well). Also, I hear wasing and bocking really even out fair isle! (can we see the guts?)

Anonymous said...

Great hats! I especially love the propeller beanie :)

Anonymous said...

the second hat reminds me of a beanie copter from the "beanie & cecil" cartoon show. I'm comin' beanie boy!

the first hat patter I would like to try on my next sweater. only my colors would be light and dark purple.

such inspiration from a simple photograph!

PS - your new ornament arrived last week - it's super keen-a-reeno on my tree! it hangs next to last year's elf. thanks!

Nana Sadie said...


Anonymous said...

Ooh - the child's one is great, but I love the propeller beanie motifs! Good going there. So, you gonna start writing up patterns now? I hear this is how the disease starts, with hats 'n such on the fly.

As to rough-looking - oh, meesh. Hell, no. Maybe the cool, sexy a-little-rough in shots you've posted where you're dressed down. ;) But never in the oh-god-I-hope-he-doesn't-sit-next-to-me-on-the-bus-late-at-night kind of way. Some people are apparently just... uh... too sheltered. Of course, this is coming from someone who in her younger days dressed kinda like a wanna-be biker chick after she moved from the childhood home, and owned a vintage WW2 leather flight jacket. So, y'know, I could be out of touch on that kinda thing. [g] I stayed at a hotel in Boystown on my one and only ever trip to Chicago this summer, and hardly saw anyone on the streets that'd make me nearly as nervous as plenty of the street people we have in Old Town Portland. So maybe it's a big city vs. smaller kinda thing?

Anonymous said...

So awesome. I could have used one today - it's friggin' 16F here today. Brrrr.

Anonymous said...

Very cool hats. I like them!

Anonymous said...

The hats look great! I love your criteria for a new design. More people should subscribe to Rick M..oh wait, he DOES wear even the most obnoxious items. Oops, bad example.
The puckers will disappear once the hat is blocked. That's just part of the nature of colorwork. I bet D just LOVES Puckers. She'll be sad to see them go. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Damn, I am going to have to move to Mongolia now. Well, just for as long as it takes to stand in line and snatch a great hat and come back home to Indiana. I love both hats and would also, wear either of them. I have to have a pattern when I knit, because I am so new at it. Someday, just someday, maybe I'll be making gorgeous hats instead of these felted purses for Christmas that I've got going now. I strive to be more like you everyday. (Now everyone, don't get scared, there is only one Franklin!)

Anonymous said...

I love these hats! Both the colors and the patterns. I would wear them! Excellent job!

Anonymous said...

Dear Franklin,
your hats are outstanding.
Lucy Neatby says to turn fair isle knitting inside out (knit on the inside, have floats on the outside of your circle) to help against puckering.
All the Best!

Julie said...

If you haven't washed and dried your checkerboard hat yet, you might want to try it. It SHOULD smooth out the puckering. Most, if not all, stranded color puckers a little bit before it's blocked.

I really like the propeller. Haha.

dpaste said...

Why indeed.

Anonymous said...

You have time to knit gifts and whip out a few hats for charity too? Lucky family and friends you have. I decided not to knit any gifts this year, but I've done a few charity projects.

Whose busts are the hats on?

Anonymous said...


as to the checkers puckering - do you catch the floats at all? if you do, try catching them at different points on every round. it helps a bit. and so does blocking.

Anonymous said...

Duuude, the propeller beanie is the oyster's icecakes! Pardon the bizarre compliment, but I felt it deserved a bit of retro-laced approbation. It is seriously fly (pun semi-intended).

mathaphobic said...

These are cool. You are a big smartie. I love your blog. You crack me up.

dragon knitter said...

the checkerboard might come flat with some blocking. give it a shot.

and no, franklin, dear, you do not look that rough, people are that ignorant. i have a friend that wears "bitch" boots with everything. and i do mean EVERYTHING. she wears them to work, and she works at the local state college. and she's not "rough" either (ever heard of lime & violet? she's lime)

Carol said...

They both look awesome! I thought the "puckered" hat was ribbed and checked. Looks like a difficult pattern!

Lucia said...

Now I gotta do a beanie... but in the most neon colors I can find.

Anonymous said...

Everyone keeps saying these hats are cool. They are not cool at all. They are warm. :-)

Anonymous said...

Propeller beanies rule!

brewerburns said...

I love the hats. They're going to make some mongolian heads very warm next winter.

beadlizard said...

Magnificent! And the puckering will likely ease with time.

Anonymous said...

I love the graphic look of those hats, Franklin. Via another knit blog, here's a link to an article by Aristophanes, about what he thinks of comedy these days:

Anonymous said...

This is just the sort of knitting that the Dulaan Project invites--a win-win for all.

The knitter, if he or she is paying attention (and obviously, Franklin, you are!) gets to play with colors, yarns, patterns, techniques to the upteenth degree. It's a great learning exercise if you let it be one!!!

The recipient gets a thoughtful, fun, enjoyable and WARM garment.

Thanks for sharing your hats--I know you will inspire other Dulaaners!! Mary B

Anonymous said...

Please please please, figure out the pattern for these. They are too cool for words! Hell, I'd pay $10 for that pattern, proceeds to Dulann, if you'd write it up!

Unknown said...

Great hats but you're right. The patterning bunched up. I love the designs though.

Knit to the inside circumference and stretch out your stitches along the shank of the needle. Give yourself some slack in the yarn too. Do you knit with a color in each hand? That's the best way, in my opinion. Sweetie, you haven't been reading my blog lately--I wrote about this last week. Also, never switch your colors to the other hand. If you start out with black in your left and white in your right, keep it that way throughout.

Anonymous said...

I have fainted dead away with amazement.

Now, if you can only explain how it is that I'm typing while at the same time having succumbed to the vapors...

But, seriously, those hats are the perfect example of how a hat for Dulaan can be simple yet beautiful yet warm.

I owe you, dude. (Phew! When I first typed that, I typed "I owe you, dud." Thank God I didn't click "Publish." We know how you ex-cons have trouble controlling your tempers.)

Beth said...

Hat Jam...Is that anything like toe jam?

Anonymous said...

That Fair Isle checkerboard always puckers, no matter how smoothed out your floats along the way. I've made several hats and two sweaters with that type of design and they always pucker seriously. Blocking does the trick. The hats look really great, Franklin!

La Cabeza Grande said...

They're super toppers, Franklin! Warm, fun, and certainly to be appreciated.

I'm with you on the no-pattern method of knitting: visualize what you want in your mind's eye, cast on and let 'er rip!

Doesn't always work, but oh what a trip getting there.

Elizabeth said...

Wowie zowie! Great hats!

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm not exactly Mongolian and those aren't my colors anyway. However, I do live in Mongo and can tell you those'll be a hit. Adults tend toward the more conservative colors.

And who knows? Maybe one of these hats'll end up in the place you learned to knit them. Though all this talk of pucker and prison has made my inexplicably queasy.

Thanks for the love, dude. Right back atcha.

Pink said...

Fantabulouslygorgeous hats...did you right the patterns down...please say you did 'cause they should be in the kinitting pattern a day calendar, at least, imnsho :)

Anonymous said...

Propeller beanie reminds me of Calvin & Hobbes ;-)

swan/dragon said...

Love the hats. And I just finished a Fair Isle hat with Patons myself; the puckering doesn't come out with blocking, but oddly enough, smoothes out on the head. It just looks better worn than displayed. Fortunately for you, I hear it's really cold in Mongolia, so your fabulous hats will always be displayed to their best advantage. Because that's what it's really all about, isn't it?
I also love the new shirt. Way to stick it to 'em.

Carrie said...

absolutely wonderful hats! I'm knitting one of those babies. I'm also linking you in my blog. Great site!

Bev in TN said...

Love the propeller beanie! Care to share your pattern? Non sequitur: What's on Delores' Christmas list?

Lynn said...

Hmm. I think I need a propeller shawl. Although, since it's finally decided to be winter here (thank you, Mr. No-Global-Warming-Here Bush), I do need a warm winter propeller hat for me. Maybe a propeller pillow to lean my weary head against. If I were truly nuts (why, yes, I am), I would knit a propeller bedspread - think of it, swirls and swirls in little modules, twirling across my bed.

No wonder I don't sleep well any more. It's all (well, some of) your fault, Mr. Habit. Keep up the good work; I can sleep when I'm dead.

Anonymous said...

My latest charity hat had some checked stripes but they puckered too badly so are now history, replaced with some slipped stitch pattern that I made up. It does my little heart good to see that even a pro like you occasionally has trouble with puckering in the fair isle, too. Gorgeous hats.

Anonymous said...

Great hats! When is the book coming out?

junior_goddess said...

Hey! Those look remarkabley UN-prison like.

Before you go to work on YOUR hat, go look at the Philosopher's wool website, where they have a tutorial on how to fair-isle WITHOUT floats. Once you get it, it goes pretty quickly. You'll feel like Madonna in the VOGUE video. And impress the shit out of everyone who doesn't know how to do it. The link is

It DOES NOT work with Firefox, who knows why?


Anonymous said...

Beautiful Hats. You are very brave to try out a fly by the seat of your pants fair isle without any net. You Rock.


Anonymous said...

So that first one is The Hat You Learned To Knit In Prison, right?

Renee said...

Oh man, the propeller beanie is just freakin' great! Love it!

Anonymous said...

Well done!!! I'm feeling a sudden need for a propeller beanie in my life...

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Every day I check this blog, and nothing shows up. Then suddenly 5 posts appear, all dated different days. Am I going blind? Great on-the-fly hats! Has blocking changed the puckering on the squares at all?

Anonymous said...


I'm new to your blog, but hear about it all the time.

Your hats are GREAT!


Anonymous said...

Nothing is permanent (patterns happen).
creativity (prances ) moves us along.

Anonymous said...

I am sad to hear about another LYS in Indiana thinking a male knitter was nothing but a thief. That seems to happen more than it should around here. It makes me mad and if I find out who they are, I won't ever shop there.

Anonymous said...

I am sad to hear about another LYS in Indiana thinking a male knitter was nothing but a thief. That seems to happen more than it should around here. It makes me mad and if I find out who they are, I won't ever shop there.

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Anonymous said...

a guess at the propeller beanie patt:
For 4-M worsted yarn (16-20st = 4” on 7-9 US needle), maybe CO 103 or 105st.
For 3-LT DK yarn (21-24st =4” on 5-7 US), maybe CO 119 or 121.

In main color, CO multiple of (8 + 1) or (8 – 1) st; join, PM (place marker).
1 - 1 ½” 1x1 or 2x2 rib.
K 2-3 rows.

Knit 3 grey, 1 white, across rows, shifting color 1 st ea row for 5 rows (the direction of the shift depends on whether u did 8 plus or minus 1 st for the caston).
Continue but reversing direction of the shift for the next 8 rows; then reverse shift direction again for next 5 rows.
(Assume where joined, ea reverse of shift direction will look odd.)

Change to all white.
To make num stitches divisible by 8, either (K2tog or M1) once only.
(104/8=13) (120/8=15).

Knit 4 white rows, then knit 3 grey rows, PM num stitches divided by 8.

Decreasing rows:

K2tog just before ea marker & change colors ea marker, k (reduces 8 st each row). Continue til only white stitches remain.
Leave 6” tail, thread thru all remaining st & snug together. Weave ends.
Love this hat; havent made it yet, so this guess is just that, a guess, but hope this helps - or is at least a starting point to making u own.
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