For Winter

Hat knitting season tends to come upon me a bit later on, after winter has already gotten started. I think my first impulse is always towards sweaters, once fall gets going, and then by late December and early January it eventually occurs to me that, hang on a second, there are three more months of cold weather still ahead. I might need some hats.

Happily enough for these purposes, earlier in the fall the folks at Lorna’s Laces sent me some single skeins to work with, and after a bit of brainstorming and stitch perusal and playing around, I came up with the two hat designs you see here. Both yarns were a joy to work with.

Dec18-Beret6

A bright cranberry red skein of Shepherd Worsted – a wonderfully soft yet wooly 100% wool worsted yarn – became the Union Station beret. (Available here in my Ravelry store, and here on Patternfish.) I confess this might be my favourite recent design, and I may have trouble holding myself back from making another one in a different colour. A cabled beret is one of my favourite winter accessories.

Dec18-Beret2

The Union Station beret is written in one size, to comfortably fit a head circumference of 20-22 ins. It uses a single skein of worsted wool yarn, worked in the round on 4.5mm needles for the main portion of the hat, changing to double-points as the crown becomes smaller. The magical part, of course, comes when you wash and block the final product over a dinner plate (usually the nearest circular, flat object), and then once dried the little thing transforms into a stylish cabled thing that makes you feel suddenly extremely elegant even if you’re just waiting in an interminable Starbucks queue. I love it, and hope you will too.

Dec18-Beret3

As a companion, I wanted to work up a relatively simple, slouchy hat pattern to accompany the lovely, drapey skein of Lorna’s Laces Honor (an alpaca/silk blend that is soft like kittens), which lends itself very easily to less structured knits. The Steeltown Slouch here, is the result – it uses a simple knit-and-purl pattern and works up relatively quickly in the round. (Also available here on Ravelry, and here on Patternfish.)

Dec18-Slouch5

The colour here is ‘Blackberry’, which often appears quite a bit darker in the woolier lines of Lorna’s Laces. The colours in the alpaca/silk have a paler, shinier quality to it, leading me to the Steeltown moniker. It’s also a small homage to my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario.

Dec18-Slouch2

It is seen here in the larger of two sizes, which may also be easily modified by adding or subtracting pattern repeats from the main portion of the hat. Peggy, who models both hats here wonderfully, is quite a petite gal, so you may use that as a basis for comparison and size estimates.

HatPhotosBTS

I am grateful to Peggy for the impromptu modelling near the Purple Purl earlier this month, and to Dan Petre (a knitter himself, as well as a knitter’s husband) for the beautiful photographs. (I learned after the fact that Dan spent 2 hours browsing hat patterns on Ravelry to get a good sense of good hat photography. That is dedication, man.)

I think I could get into hats – i’m so sorry, hats, for the neglect I’ve shown you in the past. You were right all along, the socks and sweaters don’t need all the attention!. It impresses me not just how relatively quick hats are to work up, but also how fully a person can transform their look just by changing the style of hat they toss on when heading out the door. That is darned cool.

Happy knitting! And stay warm and cozy, where ever you are as the year winds down.
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12 Comments

Filed under design, finished object: accessories, hats

12 responses to “For Winter

  1. The Union Station Beret is just lovely! What a wonderful mixture of cables. Now I want to knit myself a beret and stop at Starbucks for a coffee — much better than sitting in my office working… Happy New Year!

  2. Both of those hats are beautiful. I love how you tried to pair them with the characteristics of the yarn. After designing a little bit myself, I’m trying to work on that when I sub yarns for written patterns (which pretty much always happens)!

  3. Serenova

    I agree with you about hats, hats are wonderful and I love them…. I should make more of them. I think I’ll be adding at least on of yours to my Ravelry queue.

  4. Love them both! It’s Summer here in South Africa so I’ll definitely make these before Winter comes…. Thanks for posting! x

  5. Come to think of it, it’s about time to make MYSELF a hat, after making about 4 Christmas gift hats….

  6. Both are beautiful! I love the dedication of your photographer. Well done!

  7. Your hats are lovely! Nicely done. Especially the cables on the Union Station. Happy New Year!

  8. Lydia

    Your Union Station Beret is just so striking. The other is great too. a winner if it hadn’t had to compete with ole Union! You are a talented woman and thanks for your efforts.. I WILL find some one to wear it so I can knit it. It’s too hot here most of the time.
    Cheers.

  9. Nancy

    I love the cables in the Union Station Hat, but I am not a fan of berets. Could you write a modified version for a regular toque shaped hat?

  10. I think I’d wear my beret standing in line at Second Cup. And my toque at Tim Horton’s!

  11. Beautiful!!! I just recently started learning how to knit and hopefully I’ll get better at it the more I practice.. Have a safe and Happy New Year!!

  12. love that steeltown slouch, the drapiness (is that a word?) looks wonderful. Also fabulous on those windy days in the north to help avoid bad hair days!