I just realized that this blog title is something of a double entendre. Take Heart is a pattern by Fiona Alice, published in both Pom Pom Quarterly: Issue 7 (Winter 2013) and Fiona’s book, Take Heart: A Transatlantic Knitting Journey, but if you’re in the same mood I’m in these days, you could also interpret the the title as a positive, motivational announcement, as in “take heart in these difficult times by enjoying some hot pink!” I’ll take it.
While this color (Ella Rae Superwash Classic in Maroon Flush, a worsted weight) encapsulates the #pussyhatproject, it’s also a favorite color of mine. At some point in my life I discovered that certain shades of bright pink and raspberry can be flattering to my pale olive skintone, and since that moment I’ve been in love with all varieties of pink. There’s also something really fun and empowering about wearing a typically masculine garment (a blazer, or silk button-down shirt, for instance) in a typically feminine color. While I wouldn’t exactly call this a masculine-style hat, the foldover brim is very classic and reminiscent of a casual beanie, so I thought that aspect kept it from being too “precious” in the pink, and hopefully wearable in the future.
The pattern does call for aran weight yarn, so I held this worsted-weight yarn double, threw caution to the wind, and cast on without checking gauge. While I’m pretty happy with the finished object, it did turn out a bit big, mostly lengthwise, although again, my small head-size comes into the discussion here, since it’s a little bit loose around the brim. I added the cat ears specifically for the Women’s March by picking up 13 stitches, knitting in garter stitch on smaller needles (a US 6, I think), decreasing every other row at the edges, then finishing it off with a centered double decrease (CDD) once I had three stitches remaining, and binding off the final stitch. If I’d had a little more time I probably would have reinforced them with pipe cleaner or felt, but I’m planning on pulling these out and replacing them with a pom pom anyway, so it wasn’t worth the trouble.
Despite my use of photoshop, these are clearly iPhone photos and not quite up to par with my nicer camera. They’ll do for now – I just wanted to share while I remember all the details. Ravelry Project Page here.
Hats. They are taking over my world.
In truth, this hat should have taken me an evening to knit, but the combination of a too-loose gauge and lack of a 16″ circular needle made this project slightly maddening. I chose the Vermonter pattern (free on Ravelry) by Abi Gregorio for its simplicity. Initially I attempted the Amelia Slouch Beanie, but the yarn was so heavy I scrapped that idea halfway through and tried again with this pattern.
The yarn is Malabrigo Rasta, a superbulky yarn that seems to even outdo other superbulkies. It’s almost like knitting with pencil roving (not that I’ve tried that, but I’m using my active imagination here), and ultimately I had to take out 4 stitches from the written pattern so that the hat would fit my head without toppling off. I probably knit this hat about four times trying to find the right stitch count, and all of that knitting time was spent on US 11 and US 13 double-pointed needles, so I can’t say I particularly enjoyed myself during the process, but at least I finally found the magic number (40 stitches around). It is worth mentioning that I have a smaller head and a looser gauge, so that might not be necessary for others. The slightly altered stitch count meant that I had to improvise my decreases at the crown, but it seemed to work out fine (sorry, I don’t entirely remember what I did!).
Making the pom-pom was hilarious; it started out crazy gigantic and I kept giving it haircuts and trimming as evenly as I could, aiming for a reasonable size that was close to uniform, but it’s still pretty enormous. The first time I wore this my husband pointed at the pom-pom and asked “what is that for?” I told him it served no particular purpose and was just for fun, which only encouraged him to bat at it like a tennis ball. Boys.
Having said that, this hat has already gotten a lot of compliments and I love wearing it, especially in the middle of this brutally cold winter (please, can we have some more degrees out here? more than 10 F? also, are you serious with this freezing rain?). Malabrigo colorways, particularly the variegated ones, never disappoint, and this hat screams “handmade” in the best possible way.
More hats to come. Specifically, pink hats.
Ravelry tells me that I started this scarf in October of 2013. Eek. If I knew how to put in an “embarrassed” emoji, it would be here. Vermeil, by Wencke Lucas, is a pattern from the absolutely glorious Fall 2013 edition of PomPom Quarterly. I’ve already knit a hat from the same collection, called Ardvasar, which you all have to look at constantly, since it’s been my avatar since I finished it in 2013. (Perhaps another embarrassed emoji should be here, since it’s probably about time I updated that, huh?)
This scarf called for a gargantuan amount of Quince & Co.’s Puffin, but I subbed in Malabrigo Worsted in the Azul Profundo colorway. I would say I used around three skeins, although you can’t hold me to that, since I haven’t actually weighed the finished product. The project was pretty easy knitting, but it did take a few minutes to get started again, since I let the thing hibernate in my closet for about two years. Also, if you use the original print version of the magazine, there is a bit of errata, which you won’t be dealing with if you just download the ebook. I love the charm of a printed book, but I DO NOT love errata.
Just another small victory in my attempts to clean out all my languishing WIPs for 2016. If you’re feeling similarly motivated, you can join in the #cleanslatekal chatter here in the Ravelry Group.