Sunday, December 28, 2008

A bird on the hat is worth two in the moss

A duo of hats today, 'cause one was a repeater and dude, I just need to catch up already. First up, MIL's Little Birds Hat!
Little Birds Hat 1
Fussy but worth it!

Stranding a hat outta my butt
Now, I'm not a big fan of colorwork. In fact, it's one of my least favorite knitting techniques. But when MIL requested a hat with earflaps, the words "fair isle" popped into my head. Much as I tried to beat 'em out of my mind, they weren't budging. Dammit.

After obsessively searching on Rav pondering which pattern to go with, I suddenly remembered the fab Little Birds sweater knottygnome made a few months ago. Since MIL is a serious birdwatching fanatic, that seemed perfect (I think I actually heard a little "ding" above my head)!

The hat actually went through a couple of incarnations, including a COMPLETE frog of the first pass, which turned out much too long. I rebooted with a few modifications and was much, much happier with the results.

Little Birds Hat 2
Worth the frog.

Here's the recipe:
  • CO 80
  • Seed stitch for 6 rows
  • Knit for 2 rows
  • Vine/bird/vine with 2 knit rows in between
  • Knit for 1 row
  • Eight sets of decreases (starting with k8/k2tog) every other row, down to 8 stitches
  • PU 18 stitches for earflaps (first and last 3 stitches in seed, stockinette in between), knit for 11 rows then inward-leaning decreases every other row down to 4 stitches
  • Cut 32" strands of each color for the ties, loop through and braid doubled strands of each color, leaving 1.5" tassels at the ends
Turned out pretty neat, huh! Except for this:
Little Birds Hat Flap
One of these birds is not like the others...

Notice something off? That bird in the center there has a higher beak than the others. Not quite sure how that happened. Aaaand didn't realize until just now that that same bird is apparently trying to mount the bird in front of it. See kids? That's what happens when you're knitting in a hurry. Ah well, these little design features are what give it that authentic, handmade look. ;)

All in all, though, I'm happy with how it turned out. As did MIL - she tried it on right away, the fit was spot on, and she kept remarking how she was going to be the envy of all her birdwatching friends. Yay! But suffice to say, I won't be doing any stranding again anytime soon.

P.S. Dontcha love my fancy hat form? Niiiice, ain't it.

Bullseye! I'm cheap!

Next up is FIL's second Moss Stitch Beret!
Moss Stitch Beret 2a
Heh heh ho ho, I am so chic a deux.

Second verse, same as the first (well, mostly)
According to MIL and Hubster, FIL wore the one I made him last year all the time. You know what they say - if it ain't broke, knit it again!

For this go-round, I used a different yarn and subbed in ssks/k2togs for the decreases instead of the fussier pssos in pattern (turned out just fine, and went a lot faster than switching stitches from needle to needle). Otherwise, pretty much the same mods as last time. And just like last time, FIL loved it!

Yarn thoughts
Both hats were knit with Lorna's Laces Green Line Worsted, which is made from 100% organic merino. Not quite as lofty as their Shepherd Worsted (which I LOVE), but it is soft and nice to knit with. Since it's non-superwash, the extra grip worked well for stranding, and gave the beret a little more structure and less drape than the Berroco Pure Merino used last year.

Should hold up well, too - very little tint in the soak
(although the lightness of the color might've lent to that) with minimal pilling afterwards. That being said, I definitely prefer the Shepherd Worsted for both its superwash qualities and overall feel.

Wrap it up
Both hats turned out well and were very well received, whew! As for me, I'm just glad the holiday knits are finally out of the way. Now I can put my hands over my ears and go "lalalalala" until next year!
Moss Stitch Beret 2b
Beau-pere Beret a Deux

Pattern: Moss Stitch Beret by Kent's Craft
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Green Line Worsted, 1 skein in Solitude
Needle: Addi Turbo, Size 7, 16"
Mods: Subbed ssk/k2tog for decreases, otherwise same as last time Little Birds Hat 3
Little Birds Hat

Pattern: Chart from Little Birds by Ysolda Teague, the rest my own
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Green Line Worsted, 1 skein in Solitude + Berroco Pure Merino, bits in Brown and Tyrolean Alps
Needle: Holz & Stein Ebony, Size 7, 16"
Mods: Er, all of it


Blogger IrishgirlieKnits said...

I too don't love doing colorwork! But your hat came out fabulously! Both are great gifts!

7:27 PM  
Blogger Beverly said...

For someone who doesn't like colorwork, you did a fab job. I dig the braided cords.

9:14 PM  
Blogger GinkgoKnits said...

Is the out of synch bird not from the jog from knitting in the round? The vines are also slightly out of synch in that spot too. It's a great hat regardless!

1:09 AM  
Blogger Bezzie said...

If only I had seen this earlier I would have knit it for my sister Birdie! Maybe next year!

4:48 AM  
Blogger JellyDonut said...

I do colorwork with a gun pointed to my head, but if my results were as good as yours (naughty bird and all) I wouldn't need the gun. Very nice! I'm also seriously thinking about a beret for moi. Thanks for the inspiration.

7:39 AM  
Blogger knottygnome said...

very cool idea! both hats turn out great. :-)

you know you want to come to the colorwork darkside. it's really not so bad.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Jodi said...

The Little Birds Hat is too darn cute! What a perfect project to give a birdwatcher. I'm not a huge fan of doing colorwork, but I sure love the finished product.

12:20 PM  
Blogger SJ said...

I believe you may be one of those rare people who is immune to the colorwork bug. (Personally I'm impervious to the intarsia virus, but I've completely succumbed to the stranded colorwork sickness.)

Both hats are adorable. The bird issue? Well, it's on the side of the head when it's worn. Who looks at the side of someone's head when admiring their hat?

7:46 PM  
Blogger Sourire11 said...

the bird mounting his friend totally makes the hat.

6:49 AM  
Blogger chemgrrl said...

Yes, I have to agree. Love the Boinking Birds hat. :)

The other is very nice too. You are a magnificent DIL. Truly.

7:07 AM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Love the hats! Hehe..boinking birds ;)

7:36 PM  

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