Malabrigo Vermonter

Hats. They are taking over my world.

vermonter-sitting

In truth, this hat should have taken me an evening to knit, but the combination of a too-loose gauge and lack of a 16″ circular needle made this project slightly maddening.  I chose the Vermonter pattern (free on Ravelry) by Abi Gregorio for its simplicity.  Initially I attempted the Amelia Slouch Beanie, but the yarn was so heavy I scrapped that idea halfway through and tried again with this pattern.

vermonter-detail

The yarn is Malabrigo Rasta, a superbulky yarn that seems to even outdo other superbulkies.  It’s almost like knitting with pencil roving (not that I’ve tried that, but I’m using my active imagination here), and ultimately I had to take out 4 stitches from the written pattern so that the hat would fit my head without toppling off.  I probably knit this hat about four times trying to find the right stitch count, and all of that knitting time was spent on US 11 and US 13 double-pointed needles, so I can’t say I particularly enjoyed myself during the process, but at least I finally found the magic number (40 stitches around). It is worth mentioning that I have a smaller head and a looser gauge, so that might not be necessary for others.  The slightly altered stitch count meant that I had to improvise my decreases at the crown, but it seemed to work out fine (sorry, I don’t entirely remember what I did!).

vermonter-on

Making the pom-pom was hilarious; it started out crazy gigantic and I kept giving it haircuts and trimming as evenly as I could, aiming for a reasonable size that was close to uniform, but it’s still pretty enormous.  The first time I wore this my husband pointed at the pom-pom and asked “what is that for?”  I told him it served no particular purpose and was just for fun, which only encouraged him to bat at it like a tennis ball.  Boys.

Having said that, this hat has already gotten a lot of compliments and I love wearing it, especially in the middle of this brutally cold winter (please, can we have some more degrees out here? more than 10 F? also, are you serious with this freezing rain?).  Malabrigo colorways, particularly the variegated ones, never disappoint, and this hat screams “handmade” in the best possible way.

More hats to come.  Specifically, pink hats.

 

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Cashmere Cocoon

cashmere-hat

Meet my new go-to hat.  I finished it over the holiday break while visiting my family in California (oh glorious CA weather, how I miss thee!), but it was started at least a year ago, maybe two.  While doing a spirited clean-up of my knitting basket, which is essentially a messy pile of yarn, abandoned projects and random objects, I came across two inches of ribbing on a circular needle and remembered starting this hat in the long-forgotten past.  

*Also, I really have hyphens on the brain, since I just used them three times in the last paragraph.  Mr. A has been doing a lot of work-related writing (hyphen alert!!) and has been obsessing about proper use of hyphens recently.*

cashmere-front

The pattern is Cocoon, provided free on Ravelry by the designer, who has many other wonderful patterns here.  It’s an absolutely perfect pattern, just the right amount of slouch, knit with chunky yarn, very cool and clever decreases, and excellent for gifts.  Sometimes it’s a struggle for me to find knits that toe the line between being stylish in a simple enough way that you aren’t screaming “this is handknit!” but is still enjoyable to make.  Not that I’m against screaming “handknit” at everyone who walks down the street, but I think you get my point.

Unsurprisingly, the yarn is quite glorious. I used a skein of handspun 100% cashmere from Lotus Yarns – someday the label will probably resurface, but until it does, I’m pretty sure it’s this one.  It’s buttery soft, incredibly warm, and the black/white marl is on point.  It was a total beast to do a tubular cast-on with, since the marl and the thick/thin nature of the yarn makes it difficult to see, but it was worth the hassle.  I also had quite a bit of trouble getting it to knit densely enough for my taste (again, the thick/thin aspect was to blame, in addition to my reputation as a loose knitter) and I have a smallish head and I like my hats to fit firmly at the brim, so I went down to US 6 and 7 (the pattern calls for US 8 and 9).  

I realize now that I have no shots of the hat in detail, but honestly, with the marl it’s pretty impossible to see the cleverness of the pattern.  

cashmere-slouch

These photos are all pre-work selfies on my iPhone, and I although I figured the light was good enough to warrant skipping the fancy camera, the quality is definitely not the same.  I’m not entirely sure, but I assume that the selfie side of the camera is lower quality than the other side, but I wasn’t about to set up a tripod to take pictures of myself while students were walking to campus.  I mean, I’m ok being a weirdo in general, but that crosses the the line.  I’ll be back with higher quality photos next time.  

 

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Quadrillion in Progress

It’s been a long fall, and I’ve spent much of it knitting through anger, sadness, and frustration, but on the plus side, I’m partway through this sweater.

front-panel-edit

The pattern is Quadrillion by Meghan Fernandes from Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 6, published way back in Autumn 2013.  Something about that particular edition is magical – this is the third project I’ve knit from Issue 6 (I’ve also knit a Vermeil scarf and an Ardvasar hat), and I may keep forging ahead, because it’s that good.

I had a few setbacks, the main one being that I did not check the errata before starting, and that turned out to be a major learning experience.  When you purchase a paper copy of the magazine (which is completely worthwhile, as it’s beautiful and collectible) a digital download copy is included.  However, I had already used this code once to download the digital copy to my now-ancient Kindle Fire, and couldn’t download it a second time to my newer iPad mini.  Had I been working with an updated digital copy I think the errata would have been included in the pattern itself, but as it was, I had a paper copy in front of me which was not corrected.  So….I established the cable panel below incorrectly (without purl stitches in-between each cable) and proceeded to laboriously knit 40 rows that way.

Ugh.

After posing the question of “rip or fix?” to the Instagram knitting community, I decided to ladder all the way down to the ribbing to turn the columns of knit stitches into purls.  This was easier than I thought (although tedious) since most of the cables could be left alone.  I did have to fix one cable that had gone awry since the SSK and K2tog signs had been flipped in the original chart, but the rest of the repair was fairly straightforward.

quadrillion-edit

I’ll admit to feeling like the back of this sweater will take forever, but by moving my locking stitch marker up every few nights, I do feel like I can see progress.  Onward and upward.

(By the way, I’m currently trying to learn Photoshop, so apologies as I continue to post photos that are a bit, ahem, clumsily edited.  Gotta start somewhere, I say.)