Tag: hats

Pompom Hat! 22

Pompom hats are everywhere, and I finally decided, “enough drooling,” and made myself one. It’s absolutely as fun to wear as it looks!

The pattern is Howard’s Tam. This is my fourth one, and it’s a great go-to cable hat pattern. The directions call for the brim to be knit closed, but I like the flexibility of an adjustable brim, so I left mine open. I also added one cable repeat for an extra snuggly, ear-covering version.

The yarn is Malabrigo Rios in “English Rose.” Mmmmm!

There are two notable things about this knit. First, I’d just seen this post on the SpinFoolish blog (hey, Dorothea!!!) about the cable cast on. I am terrible about always defaulting to the long tail cast on, but Dorothea’s post inspired me to shake things up. I’m so glad I did! The cable cast on is perfect for a hat–just the right amount of stretch and not an inch of wasted yarn.

The other notable thing was how I attached the pompom. Someone (if you’re reading this and know who it was, please remind me) posted about  this VeryPink Knits video tip for using a button as a stabilizer and making the pompom removable. This is the first time I’ve tried this, and I’m hooked. It’s amazing the difference that bit of stability provided by the button makes in how the pompom sits and feels.

Now, I must finish my lesson prep for next week’s classes as fast as humanly possible so that I can cast on this! The pattern came out today and instantly blew every other knitting thing off my radar. The nerdiness kills me.

Hope you’re having a great weekend and getting lots of knitting done wherever you are! Be well, my friends.

Things I’m Loving On This Monday 8

Since the ability to write meaningfully about ideas, even knitting ones, has apparently left me, here are some miscellaneous things I’m loving on this Monday.

These Chilean Men taking their needles to the streets:



The February #yarnlovechallenge happening on Instagram. I blogged about Lola’s short-lived sweater here:




Meryl Streep’s comment about knitting:

Streep admits that she spends much of her time on set knitting and finds the hobby to be therapeutic: “For me it was a place to gather my thoughts and understand the contemplative (life) … it’s a sort of clearing out place.”


This leftover Beef(less) Bourguignon I had for breakfast:



And most of all, my pink pussy hat, made with love by my wonderful Cari:



Wishing you peace, love, and lots of knitting, my friends!


My People 6

I’m lucky enough to call all of the people interviewed and mentioned in this article friends. During these days when counting blessings is essential, I consider this a big one.

Protests bringing yarn back to forefront

Knit Potion 4

I don’t seem to be able to language lately, but knitting goes on.

Exhibit A (etc.): Cabled Fingerless Mitts for Cari . . . That’s actually Cari’s hand wearing the mitt, which just happens to match her mug with knitted cables on it. AND she’s knitting! In other words, this picture equals a whole bunch of happy for me.


Fetching Mitts for Liz:


Annual Christmas dishcloths for my Dad:


Double Knit Cap for my godson Finn:



Elevation Hat for my cousin Randy (modeled by Paul):

Solidarity, my knitters!

Yarn Along: Can’t Go Wrong with JK and MJ 10

I’m joining in for another week of the Yarn Along with detective fiction by J.K. Rowling (a.k.a. Robert Galbraith) and a stranded hat by Mary Jane Mucklestone.


The Cuckoo’s Calling is the first of J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike novels, the series she writes under the Robert Galbraith pseudonym. I was in the mood for something especially readable and engaging, and since this had been on my list for awhile, I thought I’d give it a try.  It’s definitely fitting the bill. There are tons of reviews online if you haven’t read it and are interested, so I’ll just say that at a hundred pages in, I’ve already got a soft spot in my heart for Cormoran Strike and his trusty assistant, Robin Ellacott.

The hat is Mary Jane Mucklestone’s Weston Beanie. It’s like a drug, absolutely hypnotic knitting. What else can I say?

Be sure to stop by Ginny Sheller’s Small Things blog for links to what lots of other people are knitting and reading this week.

Junebug Farms Yarn 18


If you’ve read even a little bit of my blog, you know about my friend Cari. We met online back when Paul and I were planning our move to Tennessee. I had questions about chickens, so of course I turned to Ravelry. I searched for someone in NE Tennessee who’d posted about chickens, found Cari’s blog, and the rest is some of my happiest history ever.

Over the years that Cari and I have been friends, Cari’s fiber genius has exploded. She knits, spins, crochets, dyes like a crazy color savant, and along with her hubby, Jay, has started a small fiber farm. With goats!

Here’s a picture of Cari and Jay that ran in the local paper.


They started out with two female angora goats and early this year added two boys. This is when they were bringing the boys home in their car!


It’s all been big fun to be part of and watch develop. And now! Oh, my gosh! The yarn!!!

This Spring, Junebug Farms got their first batch of processed fiber back from the mill. It is crazy gorgeous. Cari gave me a skein of the natural color that I’ve been saving instead of knitting with (I know, I know), and then she started turning out these glorious colors. I had to jump in.


I’ve had the Fetching pattern in my queue for ages. It seemed good for trying out a new yarn since, with a little cabling, some stockinette, and a picot edge, I’d get to see how it behaved with a number of different techniques.


So I can’t figure out how to photograph the squish (which is OUTRAGEOUS), but hopefully the photos at least show how beautifully the yarn knits up. The stitch definition in the cabled areas is nice and crisp, yet there’s still this lovely bit of mohair haze that just kills me.

I couldn’t stop with the mitts. I mean it. I just had to keep going. So I came up with a matching hat.


This hat and these mitts make me so happy! I’d love them even if the yarn weren’t from Cari and Jay’s precious goats and dyed by Cari herself, but those things make them extra super special.


I knit the first mitt the night the Cubs won the World Series (!!!!), and I’ve been wearing them ever since,  even though this is the most un-winterlike November I can remember. Now, all I can think about is what I want to make next with Junebug Farms yarn!

Randomly, on a Thursday 8

Finns Hat

This has been a banner week for communication. Sometimes it seems impossible to accomplish anything when it involves appealing to far-away people I don’t know for a response. It can feel like my phone calls and emails are just wafting off into the void. The last few days have been different, though.

One communication success didn’t have anything to do with knitting, but I’ll tell you about it anyway. I wanted to express my views on a particular situation to the mayor’s office. I couldn’t find an email address and so resorted to calling, thinking I’d either reach an administrative assistant who’d just mark down my position on a list or, worse, that my call would be routed into voicemail hell. As it turned out, I did have to leave a message, but to my huge surprise, the mayor himself called me back not twenty minutes later! Can you believe it? I was blown away. We talked for about ten minutes. He gave me some suggestions about additional people to contact, and I walked away a happy citizen. Imagine that.

There have been a number of other minor communication successes, but the really fun one you might actually be interested in has to do with knitting. I’m teaching a class on double knitting at the upcoming Knotty Ladies Fiber Retreat on Roan Mountain. I’ve been enjoying poking around trying to figure out how the popularity of the process evolved in recent times, and I kept running into a significant gap.

Double Knitting

There aren’t a ton of resources available on double knitting, but up until the late 80’s, it seems like everything out there proceeded on the assumption that the technique must be accomplished in a particular way. If you know about double knitting, the “way” is with the knit or purl one and then slip one method. This allows you to do things like work a tube with two straight needles or to make a piece of flat knitting that has two layers. It gets the job done, but because it takes two passes to complete each round, it’s slow.

The modern way of doing things is to knit each side (of the tube or of the double-thick flat piece) simultaneously. It’s much quicker and more efficient. I learned this method from Alasdair Post-Quinn. His book and his Craftsy class are amazing resources.

DK Books

Anyway, as I perused some of the earlier explanations of double knitting, I started wondering if Alasdair was the first to use this modern method. Before his book, the most comprehensive examination of the topic was Beverly Royce’s book, Notes on Double Knitting, and she does things the old way.

So I sent Alasdair an email last night via his website and figured, not that that was the end of it, but that it would be at least a week or maybe even a month or more before I heard back. The man has a full-time, non-knitting job, plus he writes and travels all over the place to teach classes.

Well, guess what. First thing this morning, I had an information packed response from him that was just as helpful and nice as you could ever hope to get. It absolutely made my day.

In case you’re still following along with the technical end of this and are interested, the short version of the answer he gave me was that he wasn’t the first to use the modern method, but that the earliest source to which he could trace it didn’t present it with the sort of fanfare you’d expect to accompany a true innovation. This makes him think that someone, somewhere must have introduced this technique before. The other things published around the same time as the article Alasdair mentions and those that immediately precede it all seem to teach the old method, though, so it appears we’ve still got a missing link. But thanks to Alasdair’s terrific response, it’s a little gap in my understanding of the timeline now rather than a massive, gnarly one.

If you’re not interested in double knitting, this is probably a pretty boring blog post. But maybe the take-away can be that, every now and then, reaching out to someone in the public sphere for direction or information can actually produce real results.

Checks and Balances

In other news, I’m still working like a maniac and just getting my knitting in where I can. I’m almost finished with the front of Paul’s Checks and Balances sweater, and then I’ll just need to do the sleeves and join everything together.

I also started a double knit hat for my godson who left for his freshman year at TCU this week. That’s it in the photo at the top of this post. Since there’s about a 101% chance Finn doesn’t read the blog, I’m not at all worried about spoiling the surprise.

Poor Alice is moulting.


Augie is pretty much living in this blanket pile because of the crazy thunderstorms we’ve been having . . .


Everyone thinks they’d feel better about the weather if they could mooch some homemade ice cream.

Ice Cream

The garden is winding down.


And there were peanut butter cookies.

PB Cookies

That’s it for now. Knit on, my friends!

Knitting Love 6


The Ribbed Watchman’s Hat has got to be the most basic hat ever conceived, but I love it, especially when I’m knitting for someone whose head size I don’t exactly know. Between the fold-over brim and the ribbing, it fits just about everyone.

Someone who is very important in my life is going through chemotherapy right now and has just begun to lose his hair. I don’t get to spend as much time with him as I’d like, so I knit him this hat hoping it would carry my love and concern for him and give him a way to keep those feelings close even when I can’t be there myself.

IDF Hat in progress 2

The yarn I chose was Berroco Comfort in the Finnian’s Rainbow colorway.

In the past when I’ve needed something super soft and washable, I’ve used Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo. I also really like Tahki Yarns Calypso for softness, but it’s not machine washable, plus it’s been discontinued (it’s on sale at Webs right now if you want to grab a skein or two for half price).

Do you have a go-to soft, washable yarn that has enough spring to let whatever you’re making hold its shape? It seems like I’m forever looking for something like this, so I’d love to hear about anything you’ve tried and liked.

Back to the Berroco Comfort . . .

IDF-Hat-2-webThis yarn is super soft. I can’t imagine its causing irritation to even the most sensitive skin. And it does have a bit of elasticity. The thing I’ve been wondering is how it will wear, but guess what! Dana over at Yards of Happiness just posted about using it for a sweater, so I’m encouraged!

In other news I’m sorry for the lack of posts over the past week. It’s just been hard, ya know? The world is too much with us. . .


Knitting Miscellany 2



So blogging takes a minute. And with every day so full of things that must be done, who has a minute (or thirty) to write a blog entry? It seems like the answer to that question, increasingly, tends to be those with a financial interest in being heard or promoting their brand or selling their stuff. I could be imagining it, but that’s how it feels.

Stalwart Jean Miles continues to be her dependable, entertaining, always knitting, blog self. And thank goodness for that. I check in daily, and I’m up to 2007 in the archives. I notice as I read through the archives, though, that she regularly refers to blogs that, if they are available at all, stopped being updated a year ago, four years ago, six years ago . . . sometimes even longer ago than that. Like hers, these blogs chronicle the lives and projects of knitters. No more, no less. They’re wonderful. And I want more of that. I love Kate Davies and Mason-Dixon Knitting and Knitty and so many other business-of-knitting type sites, but I especially enjoy the blogs that connect me with real knitters—not people selling books or patterns or lessons or yarn as they offer their thoughts and advice—just knitters knitting and living their lives.

When I started this blog, I kind of thought that was what I was doing. But then a new day would come around and I wouldn’t have a new technique or any breaking knitting news to share, and I’d wimp out. Instead of posting to say that, yeah, work was insane, and the grocery store was crowded, and I started the arm on my charity sweater, I’d not post. That happened even though I promised I wouldn’t let it. Well . . . for what it’s worth,  I’m promising anew. I don’t blame you if that very thing makes you suspicious (protesting too much, and all of that), but there it is. There won’t be a post every day, and there might not always be pictures, but there will be something.


Knitting and Reading

So . . . since the last time we talked, I’ve discovered that Betsan Corkhill (who started Stitchlinks) has published a book! Her story and what she’s done with her personal discovery that knitting has been repeatedly used to transform people’s lives are beyond fascinating. If you are interested in how the brain works and develops and how knitting can help your brain, this book is a great read. It’s also interesting from a cultural perspective to hear about how, in order to get her foot in the door with neuroscientists and other medical professionals, Corkhill had to begin referring to knitting as “a bilateral, rhythmic, psychosocial intervention”! I wonder how many opportunities we miss because of the things we think we know.

In the knitting and reading realm, I can also recommend Ann Hood’s The Knitting Circle. I’m kind of surprised I read this one, actually. I tend to avoid books about loss and sadness. I think I’m afraid they might lead to some kind of emotional point of no return. Or something. Anyway, If this book hadn’t been about knitting, I’m sure I wouldn’t have read it. But it was, and I did, and it was good. It’s simple, and the story is forced in some ways, but it does something important in telling how the central characters move through grief, how they knit, and how they help each other.

Knitting Projects

A couple of weeks ago, I finished my version of the “Thin Edge of the Wedge” shawl. I used almost two full skeins of Hazel Knits “Entice” yarn, so it’s all kinds of long and drapey—perfect for fall, when sometimes you need lots of wraps around the neck and shoulders and sometimes you just need a light cover.
Thin Edge of the Wedge FO 4
I’ve also been on a bit of a hat kick, having knit three of the hats at the top of this post in various permutations over the last couple of weeks. The pattern is “Howard’s Tam,” and it’s a fun, quick knit that produces a super comfy hat.
So I’m thinking that’s about enough for today. Catch you on the flip side, my knitters. It’s good to be back.