Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I do this weird thing over on Ravelry in which I don't actually call a project "finished" until I've taken pictures of the completed object.  Right now I have 8 projects that are "100% completed", but not "finished" because they haven't been photographed.

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.

::rolls eyes::

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.


  1. all the pieces you have featured in this post are beautiful, quincy is just stunning.

    love that you personalized the mitten with your name - at least no one can try to steal the left one. of course, unless their name is peter.

  2. 1) I thought you were Thomas in your first picture.
    2) Quincy looks the more girly of the two turquoise hats, so I think you should just wear them both. (Because really, they don't even look that girly.)
    3) I've always told you that you look good in hats and I wish you would start listening to me so your ears don't freeze off.
    4) Impressive knitting, dude.

  3. awesome! love that two-color hat.

  4. Very cute hats!

    I suspect the issue with the mittens is more that your hands don't stay warm well. I have lined mittens and mittens that are stranded and thrummed, and neither keep my hands warm for long when it's really cold out. Yesterday, it looked like I had corpse fingers and they hurt like hell until my car warmed up enough.

    I never knew where Mr. Rogers lived, except that he was in Squirrel Hill. He passed away not long after I moved to Pgh, though, so I never had a sighting. Speaking of sightings, I also see the Cathedral of Learning in that photo.

  5. Also, I ran the Finnish title through Google Translate. Apparently, it means roughly "One Hundred Folk Knitting Patterns". Possibly a Finnish stitch dictionary?

  6. You're more of a hat person than you think, my friend. Both hats are great, and I LOVE your Peter scrawl on the mitten. So cute!

    Also, Mr Rogers??? Are you kidding me? That's awesome. I loved that show so much when I was little.

  7. Why is it lining mittens seems ridiculously daunting? I have a pair of Fiddleheads that need to be lined and I just can't make myself...

    Both hats are lovely and the mittens are grand - I particularly love the stitching.

  8. Mr. Rogers? I have no idea who you're talking about. **Looks off to the side**

    Your Mr. Rogers hat is beautiful.

    I love the Quincy hat on you, and I think you pull it off well. Especially when you're brooding.

    Personalizing these items is part of what makes them special. Now no one will 'compliment' you by asking where you bought them.

    Overall, I'm delighted by this foray into marking off those projects as finished. It makes the waiting worth the while. Keep it up!

  9. Are you kidding? You look awesome in hats!! Hat hair, schmat hair, who cares when it's cold outside and you have popsicles for ears?

    I have knit the Quincy and it's my favorite hat to wear. Note to self: make another in a neutral color next time, so you can wear it everytime you need a hat. Doh.

    The other (possibly Finnish?) hat...gorgeous! I love the two colors you chose for it!!!

    Keep up the awesome work, Peter. I love it!!!

  10. Fabulous hats! People will look back at them and think 'oh, that was early in his PGH period'. It'll be brilliant.

  11. I need mittens with my name on them....think I'll steal.....ummmmm......borrow the idea

  12. Hi Peter. You are very cute. Also your boyfriend is too. Are you into knitting cardigans now, in a nod to Mr. Rogers?

  13. She Shoots Sheep Shots clued me in to her way of easy lined mittens... wear two pair. I totally want to make some thin little mohair mitts to wear under other mittens. Bonus, the liner can go in multiple pairs!

  14. Quincy looks very good on you.

    Hey, are you inserting tiny mistakes into your knitting to confuse those future archeologists that will be studying your knitting 100 years from now? ;)

  15. Knit really large mittens out of Cascade 220, then felt them -- warmest mittens ever!! No lining necessary.

  16. I have already mentioned my love of your Quincy over on Ravelry. It is wonderful and looks good on you.

    The mittens are also awesome. I know how hellish linings can be... All I can say is that they make a big difference and aren't as difficult or time consuming as we originally make them out to be. Good luck!

    I think the documenting of biographical info in your knitting is fantastic!