Preparations are underway…

This is another one of those super super early patterns that has been gone for ages and ages and ages but that I just couldn’t let languish in durance vile for even a moment longer. It deserves to be back out there. You want it on your head.⁠

Or at least you will, once I get my act together and get it knit.⁠ Duper duper secret bonus points to whoever guesses which one it is first!

Plans and schemes, plans and schemes…

Step one, drag all the even vaguely suitable yarns out of the closet.

Step two, which is alas shamefully unpictured, is swatch a bunch of little plain rectangles to see what gauge we’re working with, so you can imagine a bunch of little rectangles here if you want.

Step three is to pick one, do a bit of math and cast on.

Then alas, in this case, step four was to realize it wasn’t the best fit and rip.  Under ideal conditions, this step should be skipped.

Step five is try again, and this time…this time I think we’ve got it!

Plicate

So I have a confession to make.  I love slouchy hats, but I am not at all confident in my ability to put the damn things on without the help of a three way mirror and about four minutes of fussing with it.  Which is not precisely practical when you’re yanking a hat out of your coat pocket and shoving it on your head half a dozen times a day. So I decided to see if I couldn’t just find a way to sort out the slouch once and then lock it in and be done with it.  And it turns out I could!

Plicate starts out like every other hat.  But when you’re ready to block, you add a couple of secret drawstrings and get the back crinkled up just so.  Then, once you’ve got everything set up just how you like it, you lock in the One True Slouch and it’s set forever (or at least until you block it again).  Then, when you put it on, all you have to do is make sure the crumpled bit is in the back, which is much closer to the level of hat management I can be expected to accomplish on the fly (I know my limitations).

And I mean of course you don’t have to do it this way.  If you’re more confident in your hat application skills than I am, you can absolutely skip it and just let your hat do its own thing every time you put it on.  It’s a lovely hat and will absolutely be adorable either way.

But if you share my general ability to be slightly intimidated by slouch hats, this may well give you some extra peace of mind!

Plicate is available on both ravelry and payhip.  And you can use the code SLOUCHY in either place to take 10% off through the end of the day (eastern time) on Friday April 9.

 

If I were only knitting for myself…

No, really, I was very much not kidding about the parade of swatches. There are So Very Many. I’m going to take pictures of them and then just randomly inflict them on you when the mood strikes.⁠

This, by the way, is an actual delight, but so wildly impractical that I would not inflict it on anyone else. I’m pretty sure if I tried to talk people into a project that needed three yarns, people would revolt.⁠

But…but I shall be borrowing bits of it and working them into something else. Which is yet another reason I staunchly maintain swatches are NOT a waste of time (or yarn…the yarn rips right back out, yes even the mohair). Swatches are yarn doodles and they teach you things and give you ideas and make your knitting better. If you let them.

Of course not

No, I am not making hats for easter eggs. I am making hats for something else tiny and absurd and blocking them on easter eggs.

Though whether that is better or worse I truly cannot tell at this point.

But yeah…yeah tiny hats for another project you’ll be seeing more of later in the year. I just had to share this bit right now since it was extra funny.

I really did mean it

I told you I was surgically implanting the perfect amount of slouch. I really really really meant it too (I generally do mean the things I say, at least I try to).⁠

Some answers to some questions I imagine someone out there has…⁠

Nope, you don’t have to do this, you can totally just knit the hat and let it slouch naturally. And if you’re the sort of person who is confident in their hat slouch adjustment skills, you should totally do that. I find I always need to fuss with my hat for quite some time to get it just so, and doing it once and locking it in feels somehow more efficient to me. But you can totally do it either way.⁠

Nope, you should not do it with wildly contrasting yarn (gah, especially not THIS yarn, which bled all over the damn place). But I did it with this yarn because I wanted it to be highly visible in the pictures. But when you do it with matching yarn (and trim your ends), you won’t see the magical implant bits at all.⁠

Nope, the pattern isn’t back out quite yet. But it should be in just a few more days! And you can do the mailing list thing if you want me to tell you when it comes out.⁠

Nope, you don’t have to use mohair held alongside your yarn. But I do think using a fuzzy yarn lets you get a fabric that is loose enough to be drapey and still dense enough to look like fabric (not open space with the occasional piece of yarn in the middle of it), so I do recommend something at least a bit fuzzy if you can manage it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to wear this around for a few minutes so I can make sure I have achieved my perfect level of slouch before I secure those ends. ⁠

Here a swatch, there a swatch, everywhere a swatch swatch

I’m not sure why, but I’m right in the middle of a massive ‘swatch, make a face, rip it out, repeat’ dance right now. I’ve got literally dozens of swatches that are Really Quite Close But Not Exactly Right littered all over the house right now. ⁠

I think what I need to do is collect them all in one spot, take pictures of the ones that are close enough to good to at least show off on here (because yes, yes I totally WILL mine my unsuccessful swatches for instagram/blog content, and if anyone gets snarky about that, I cordially invite them to find something to post day after day after day after day for years on end), unravel them, tidy up all my needles, and start fresh.⁠

I mean what I REALLY want is for it to be safe to go to a yarn shop or better yet a yarn festival. Because I have just SUCH an itch to put solid colored yarns together with yarns that use that same solid color in a speckle. But that is shockingly hard to do over the internet and much much much easier to do in person.⁠

But we can’t do that quite yet. Soon, but not quite yet.⁠

So for now, I swatch and rip and dig through the stash and swatch and rip and order yarn and swatch and rip and dig through the stash again and tidy my needles and swear and count down the days until my state opens registration to folks in my age group.⁠ Because when this is all over? When this is all over I’m going to wander around pairing yarn, in person, with My Own Two Hands And My Very Own Eyes and my goodness but that sounds lovely.

Surgically implanted slouch

Ok so this hat? This hat is a bit tall. That’s because it’s meant to be the perfect slouch hat. By which I mean “I shall be surgically implanting the perfect amount of slouch as part of the finishing such that I am never ever ever relying on my own abilities to artfully arrange it on the fly when I yank it out of my coat pocket.”

Because I don’t know about you, but sometimes I do not feel confident in my ability to effortlessly arrange my hats on the fly. I sometimes worry it will look like I accidentally shoved a potato sack on my head.

But this…this I’ll lock in place just so when i finish the hat and then all I have to be able to do when I pull it from my coat pocket is put the crumpled part in the back. And that I think I can manage (most days at least).

For anyone following along at home, this is a reknit of Plicate, one of my very earliest hats (ten years ago…how is that even possible). It’s been unavailable for several years, but folks have continued to ask for it to come back (and I kind of want one of my own!), so here we are.

If you had the original version, don’t worry, you’ll get the new one when it comes out (it’s not out yet, so please don’t fret that you don’t have it now). And if you don’t have it and want me to send you an email when it comes out (likely early in April), you can make that happen over here.

Because really, I cannot be the only one who likes the look of a perfectly arranged, slightly slouchy hat but has limited confidence in their ability to arrange it just so every time they put their hat on.

Options

I think I’ve figured out what I like about holding mohair along with another yarn (cough, or at least one of the things…it would be silly to pretend there’s only one).⁠ It gives you a much wider range of practical gauges. Let me explain.⁠

The base yarn here is Seven Sisters Arts Meridian, which is a lovely classic sock yarn. Smooth, merino/nylon mix, 400something yards in a skein. Delightful stuff. Knit it up at 8-9 stitches to the inch and you’ll have marvelous socks. Go more to that 7-8 stitches per inch range and you’ll have a delightful fabric for fingerless mitts or lightweight hats.⁠

But…with the mohair held alongside there, I’m getting 5 stitches to the inch and it’s a gorgeous fabric.⁠

If I did 5 stitches per inch with just the base yarn by itself, it would be so loose it would look almost a bit sloppy. Like the stitches wouldn’t be held firmly enough in place and they’d shift around and get snagged and the fabric would just be much more open than I actually want. (This is in NO WAY a criticism of the yarn itself, it’s just that sock yarn, knit that loosely, makes a fabric that is very very open. It’s a grand yarn and it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to do…it’s just generally supposed to be knit at more than 5 stitches per inch if you want a solid fabric).⁠

But…but you sneak the mohair in there, and all of a sudden the halo on the mohair gives each stitch just a bit more heft. You don’t have big open spaces between your stitches. And the fuzzy little tendrils lock together and give the fabric a tiny bit more structure and stability.⁠

The result is a fabric that behaves like a more densely knit fabric, but still crumples and drapes and moves like a wafty, floaty, whisper light bit of nonsense. And that’s really rather lovely!⁠

Somehow

I would like someone to knit me a giant, snuggly sweater out of these two yarns held together. Seriously, they make a fabric that is downright slinky. Actually it’s better than that. It’s somehow slinky and cozy at the same time. And you’d think those would be opposite ends on some sort of spectrum, but somehow this manages to do both and do them well.

I am unspeakably in love with it.

I realize it may look like a bit plain and a bit rumpled to the outside observer, but I promise, it is going to be the most amazingly light, amazingly wearable hat ever.

For those following along at home, this is for the rerelease of Plicate, aka the hat I’ve had the most requests to bring back. I’ll link to the rav page for it if you want to see the original one. This one is getting a few tweaks to make it even better, and it should, if all goes according to plan, be out some time in April.

And then I think I’m just going to knit basically everything with a strand of mohair held alongside my regular yarn, because this is clearly magic.