As you likely know, the Brooklyn Tweed Fall ’17 collection hit the airwaves yesterday, and there are several nice garments in there that could make their way into my queue someday. But the standout — the design that made me leap out of my chair a little — is Norah Gaughan’s hat pattern, Huck. I’ve been missing that raspberry/blackberry/trinity stitch from my fisherman sweater and planning to knit a funny little hat pattern from the same 1967 booklet (which partially inspired my teaching pattern, Debutant) that uses the same stitch. But Norah has hit this one well out of the park. The way the cables nestle into the raspberries is flat-out stunning, and looks like it would be so fun to knit … that I already printed the pattern!* I look at so many hat patterns every week of my life, and this one was such a jolt of originality. I was about to say now I can’t decide between this one and the vintage one, but they’re hats! No need to choose.
*I feel compelled to note here, by way of a little PSA, that if you’re printing this (or any) pattern, please only print the pages you need! This one is hilariously 11 pages long, but you actually only need a few of them.
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Massaman set
In the realm of hats, Purl Soho’s pattern collection (mainly free patterns, a few not) has most of the basics bases covered. Their Basic Hats for Everyone pattern alone (top) covers myriad expressions of the worsted-weight stocking cap: with or without ribbing, a pompom, earflaps; mix and match as you please. Knit 4″ of ribbing instead of 1″, fold it up, and you’ve got your classic Watch Cap. Purl also has a cabled gem in their Traveling Cable Hat (bottom), the aran sweater of beanies. For a timeless bit of 2×2 ribbing, might I suggest my own Stadium Hat (middle left, free pattern), with or without the marl and/or stripe. And if you’re more of a beret person, try Churchmouse’s Cashmere Beret (middle right) or Felted Shetland Beret.
PREVIOUSLY in Make Your Own Basics: The shirt dress
Brioche, fisherman’s rib, half-brioche, English rib … these are all names for what looks a lot like the same super-squishy ribbed fabric, except the method of getting there is slightly different. Or maybe they’re all different names for the same fabric and the methods of achieving it are interchangeable? I can’t figure it out — some people use the names interchangeably and others seem to have fixed ideas about underlying distinctions thereof. I don’t know! As far as I can tell, the latter three are all some version of a knit-1-below technique whereas brioche involves working paired yarnovers together with adjacent stitches. (Am I right about that much, anyone?) Whether that leads to a molecularly different fabric or is just an alternate path to the same fabric, I’ve never done it and would love to try it someday. (I have done the knit-1-below version, and love it.) I’m into this little Lang sweater pattern, 242-41, but if it is in fact brioche — as I’m defining it here —I’d want to try the technique on a smaller canvas before diving into a whole sweater. Kirsten Johnstone’s Shinko Hat is a gem, with shifting bands of brioche. And then there’s Purl Soho’s wildly appealing Fluffy Brioche Hat (free pattern), which is sort of a seed-stitch equivalent in brioche.
PREVIOUSLY in Someday vs. Right Away: A spot of colorwork
Every single time I buy yarn for a sweater, I buy a little more than I think I might need plus one more skein — out of extreme caution heightened by my compact-row-gauge affliction — and every time I think, “If there’s enough left over, I’ll knit a matching hat.” I’m apparently wild about the idea of a matching hat. And yet, thus far, I have never once done that. Which means I have a lot of leftovers, which is why you’re always hearing me speculate about a leftovers blanket or even a leftovers sweater. But the fact is, I do really love the idea of using them to make myself an array of very plain but perfectly coordinated hats — hats that hopefully meet my exacting requirements for a hat, since I don’t have a super hat-friendly head and won’t wear one if it isn’t just right. Enter Whitney Hayward’s Holcomb Hat, an ultra-basic top-down hat pattern written to work for any gauge and intended size. She describes it as ideal for using up handspun (unpredictable gauge) and those mysterious no-longer-labeled stash yarns we all have rolling around, but I love this specifically for project leftovers because you’ve already established your gauge, thereby negating the need to commit any of your yarn to a swatch while simultaneously increasing the likelihood of nailing the fit.
The thing about a top-down hat is it’s the same as a top-down sweater: Trying it on as you go is all well and good, but you need to know how blocking will affect the finished fabric. As long as you remember to count, not measure, you should be good. And a fold-up brim always gives you wiggle room on the length.
I’m hereby swearing to do this when I’m done with my current sweater, leftover yardage permitting.
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Goose Eye
A variety of conversations and previews and proximity to experts lately has me itching to get some colorwork into my knittin queue, and I’m particularly smitten with these two patterns with just a little spot of something extra:
TOP: Hoopla by Dianna Walla (from the powerhouse new issue of Pom Pom) is a characteristically appealing 2-color job but with the subtle flair of a Latvian braid at the transition from ribbing to stockinette.
BOTTOM: Inlet Scarf by Inese Sang is mosaic, for starters (which I’m still dying to try), but I also really love the simple black border setting the mosaic section apart from the staggered rib texture along both ends — really lovely combination of elements
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Whelk
My latest finished object is actually a pair of them: the sample hats for my class at Squam this week. (Modeled by the lovely Silbia Ro.) I’m teaching (for the first time!) a beginner class in knitting cables and wanted to design a hat that met several criteria for that. 1) I want everyone to have a fair chance of leaving with a finished hat. 2) I want it to function as a good cable teaching tool while also being knittable in the social setting of a class, where there is all sorts of discussion going on the whole time. And of course, 3) I want it to be cute. I’m really happy with it on the third count, and will have to let you know how the other two work out! I’m calling it Debutant because it’s inspired by some vintage patterns in my old booklets, and because “debutant” is French for “beginner.” I hope my students will love it!
I haven’t decided yet whether or when I’ll be publishing the pattern — another thing I’ll have to let you know about. But for the moment, I’m at the lake, in the woods, in the classroom (and I’ll also be on Instagram) and taking the next two days off from the blog. If you’ve never seen my post about attending Squam in 2014, it’s full of lots of pretty pictures and might make a good stand-in if you need one. I’ll see a bunch of you at Squam — and at the Squam Art Fair; don’t forget about this little treat! — and will see the rest of you back here on Monday. Have a great weekend!
PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Sloper as a linen V-neck
Easily one of my favorite knitting patterns I’ve seen lately is a lovely little cable hat called The Adrian, by Armenuhi Khachatryan, so I was really excited when it showed up in the starting brackets for MDK March Mayhem and sad it didn’t make it any farther in the competition. I just think it’s so striking and unusual how the cables are deployed here, and if you sit and follow the path of those cables with your eyeballs, your fingers will start twitching with the urge to knit them. Irresistible, this one.
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: from The Artisan