I'm trying to fix that.
(and I'm trying to distract you so you won't notice that I haven't woven in the ends on my Autumn Arbor Stole yet...)
I'm not a hat wearer. I just don't think I look good in hats and I'm not a big fan of hat hair. But my ears have been cold this winter. I'm starting to simply accept the functionality of a hat in my battle with winter weather and I've discovered something.
Hats keep you warm.
This hat is Quincy from Jared Flood's Made in Brooklyn booklet. I knit mine last May using Cascade 220 doubled and it turned out wonderfully.
I think the fiddly-est part about this hat was trying to figure out how to wear it! The only problem with the way I'm wearing it above is that it limits visibility and, well, one of my ears is still cold. I still wear this hat most frequently, though.
Back in August when I moved to Pittsburgh, I was in a strange place with my knitting. I wasn't blogging, I didn't want to document projects on Ravelry, and I didn't want to use patterns. I wanted to knit from my stash and create practical items that still maintained a bit of personality. You know, like back when knitting wasn't just a hobby.
I made another hat, again using Cascade 220 (the main color is the same yarn I used for Quincy).
(As an aside, that apartment building behind me is where Mr. Rogers lived. Yes, THE Mr. Rogers. I'm totally in his neighborhood...)
I threw in some 2-color horizontal braids I borrowed from Folk Knitting in Estonia and the stranded pattern came from the cuff of a mitten in Sata Kansanomaista Kuviokudinmallia. (Nope, no idea what that means). I chose that design because it reminded me of a lot of motifs I saw in Bali.
The hat is lined up to the second braid with the main color, which makes it extra thick and warm. I added a tassel because I thought it needed one. I even slipped a little piece of fabric between the lining and the outside before closing it up so that in 100 years when the lining wears out and someone is studying this hat, they'll know that I made it in Pittsburgh in August of 2010 at the age of 22.
Because my knitting will be studied in 100 years.
Then I decided that I needed a pair of mittens to match my coat. This was the plan: Knit an outer shell out of Cascade 220 (notice a trend?) on tiny needles (I don't know what size because I was still on my "no documentation" kick) to make them tough as iron. Then I would line the mittens with alpaca to make them super soft and warm.
Well, I knit the shells over the summer and lined half of one of the mittens. The lining was too big, it made the thumb too constricted, and the alpaca wasn't as soft as I had hoped.
I finally ripped out that lining, picked up the stitches from the provisional cast-ons, bound them off, and called the mittens done.
They match my coat, however they don't actually keep my hands very warm. A worsted spun yarn knit at a dense gauge does create a pretty solid fabric, but the fabric itself doesn't really hold much warmth because the worsted spinning and tight knitting sort of squeezes any air out of the yarn that would otherwise be warm and insulating. That's my theory, anyway. My other theory is that because my hands are always freezing, there's no warmth to trap inside the mitten to begin with.
I was clearly still into making sure that future generations will know exactly who wore these mittens, and when. They need to be lined though. Against my hopes, they're just not warm enough without it. I have some light blue malabrigo lace that I just remembered about last night that I could use held doubled for the hand and single for the thumb (so it doesn't become too tight). That might work.
...if I ever get around to it.