Tag Archives: aran

Take Heart in Neon

I just realized that this blog title is something of a double entendre.  Take Heart is a pattern by Fiona Alice, published in both Pom Pom Quarterly: Issue 7 (Winter 2013) and Fiona’s book, Take Heart: A Transatlantic Knitting Journey, but if you’re in the same mood I’m in these days, you could also interpret the the title as a positive, motivational announcement, as in “take heart in these difficult times by enjoying some hot pink!”  I’ll take it.

supercat

While this color (Ella Rae Superwash Classic in Maroon Flush, a worsted weight) encapsulates the #pussyhatproject, it’s also a favorite color of mine.  At some point in my life I discovered that certain shades of bright pink and raspberry can be flattering to my pale olive skintone, and since that moment I’ve been in love with all varieties of pink.  There’s also something really fun and empowering about wearing a typically masculine garment (a blazer, or silk button-down shirt, for instance) in a typically feminine color.  While I wouldn’t exactly call this a masculine-style hat, the foldover brim is very classic and reminiscent of a casual beanie, so I thought that aspect kept it from being too “precious” in the pink, and hopefully wearable in the future.

supercat1

The pattern does call for aran weight yarn, so I held this worsted-weight yarn double, threw caution to the wind, and cast on without checking gauge.  While I’m pretty happy with the finished object, it did turn out a bit big, mostly lengthwise, although again, my small head-size comes into the discussion here, since it’s a little bit loose around the brim.  I added the cat ears specifically for the Women’s March by picking up 13 stitches, knitting in garter stitch on smaller needles (a US 6, I think), decreasing every other row at the edges, then finishing it off with a centered double decrease (CDD) once I had three stitches remaining, and binding off the final stitch.  If I’d had a little more time I probably would have reinforced them with pipe cleaner or felt, but I’m planning on pulling these out and replacing them with a pom pom anyway, so it wasn’t worth the trouble.

Despite my use of photoshop, these are clearly iPhone photos and not quite up to par with my nicer camera.  They’ll do for now – I just wanted to share while I remember all the details.  Ravelry Project Page here.

 

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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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