The pattern for the Coruscate hat and mitt set is (finally) out.  This was my first slouchy hat, and you watched it grow and watched me figure out how to block it to achieve proper levels of pouf (it turns out that the secret to blocking success was a giant but short bowl).

I finished these way back at the end of November, and have been using them ever since.  But it was only yesterday that I had my lovely friend Lauren over to model them for me.  They look much more stylish on her (on me, they look warm and snugly, on her, they look awesome).  I’ll admit I’m jealous!

If you want to make your own, head over here and check them out.

We also took some pictures of the magical, sanity restoring purple hats, so that pattern should be out soon too.  I’ve also got the pattern for one of The Boy’s hats all ready to go.  My delay is just shameful.  If I don’t show up here with a new pattern next week and the week after, poke me with a sharp stick and tell me to get a move on.

Up next, some lacy green mitts to go with the cowl.

Testing Call

Another hat and mitt set up for testing over on ravelry.

These are going to be called Coruscate (to give off or reflect light in bright beams or flashes, to be brilliant or showy in technique or style).

I really do need to start coming up with names when I cast on.  I keep naming them only once they’re done, and then I have to go back and add the tags onto all the old posts.  It’s not terribly efficient.

Remember, you’ve got till tomorrow morning to leave a comment on the previous post to be entered to win the yarn for Petiole.

Not A Jellyfish

I think I (scandalously) neglected to show you an on-the-head pic for the blue poufy hat.  Bowl shots more or less work for round hats, not so much for poufy hats.  We took a little stroll through a local park on Christmas and got pictures of the red hat and the blue hat and The Boy’s hat. Apparently my hair is pretty much exactly the same color as leafless willow branches.  Who knew?  I’m still having some internal qualms about how to wear a poufy hat…my inclination is to send it off to the side, but the proper way seems to be to send it straight back.  I will likely decide I don’t care and just wear it however it happens to fall (my general approach for hair, so why wouldn’t it work for hats).

We did not, alas, get pictures of Truckle.  I’m trying to wimp out and find a way to take those inside.  It’s cold here and taking the pictures takes a surprisingly long time.  I foresee cannibalizing all the lamps in the house and seeing if I can pull it off in a warmer location.

And now for a brief scheduling note.  The pattern for the red hat and mitts should be out right at the beginning of January.  A week or so later (depending on the success of that lamp plan) Truckle should be out.  Then, in February, The Boy’s hat and mitts and the blue hat and mitts seen here will be out too.  And then?  Then?  I’m gonna make some more socks.  Wouldn’t want to forget how!

Uncharacteristically Productive

Finished things have just been falling off my needles.  I blame the hats.  They themselves are quick and easy, and they lead to mitts which are also quick and easy.  The basket that usually holds the half dozen or so projects in various stages of completion currently holds a mere two works in progress and a stack of things awaiting a photo day.  (Having a knitting site and selling patterns means that you don’t just have to finish a knitted item before you can use it, you have to finish it and photograph it.  This can be very taxing if you’re a fan of immediate gratification.)

Truckle, the red hat and wrist warmers (henceforth to be called Involute), and the as-of-yet-unnamed-jellyfish-turned-hat are all awaiting photos.  Jellyfish hat now has matching…hmm, what do we call these?  Mitts?  Or do you need a thumb to be a mitt?  Wristlets?  Gauntlets?  Whatever…decorative bits of yarn based fluff intended to adorn and warm your wrists.  Some time real soon now I need to get hands, heads, knitting, daylight, a reasonably picturesque backdrop, and a camera together at the same place at the same time and take some photos done so I can start using all of these goodies.

Unreasonably Helpful

I went ahead and added the elastic, and it made a huge difference.  I used Dritz Thin Beading Cord Elastic which I found at my local Joann store for all of $1.59.  I ran four strands of it through the knit stitches on the inside of the hat’s ribbing at the brim, one each at the first, third, fifth, and seventh round of stitches.  It took all of five minutes and it has totally improved the hat beyond all reason.  It is now just the right kind of snug…not tight enough to leave marks on my forehead, but not loose enough to slip off my (unreasonably straight and slippery) hair.

If you’re considering doing something similar to one of your hats, I have a few small suggestions.  First, cut the elastic several inches longer than your actual head circumference.  In this case, the cord came in three yard lengths, so I cut it into four pieces of twenty seven inches each.  Run the elastic through the ribbing.  Line up all the ends on one side and tie them in a loose overhand knot, leaving a bit of a tail.  Tug and stretch the hat till you think the elastic is the length you’re going to want, tie the other ends in another loose overhand knot, and do not cut off the extra length.  Wear the hat for a while.  There’s a good  chance you’ll decide the first length wasn’t quite right and you’ll want to adjust things a bit.  I ended up loosening mine twice before I found the perfect size, and I was glad of the extra length.

If you look closely you can also see one of my dirty little knitting secrets.  When I knit in the round, all my purls are twisted.  Please do not explain to me why this is wrong and bad and terrible and how it is likely to cause the world to end.  I understand why it happens.  I know how to do them so they don’t come out twisted if I want to.  I just like them this way.  I find it easier and faster to do, and I knit so loosely that the extra bit of snugging up that the twists provides is helpful.

Much Better

So it turns out the secret to pouf success (or at least to less obvious pouf failure) is rather extreme blocking.  I first blocked the hat on a plate.  This led to the aforementioned jellyfish incident.  The crease or line made by the edge of the plate was too close to the top of the hat, which made the band at the brim far too thick.  It was not flattering.  I think the theory was sound, and it might have worked with a larger plate, but I didn’t have one handy.

The second attempt involved a giant mixing bowl, much larger than any human head.  This got me closer to the desired result, but it was still not quite right.  The brim was too stretched out and tended to slip down over my eyes after a minute or two.  The third attempt involved another bowl, this one even bigger around but much shallower.  That was apparently the way to go.  The top of the hat got thoroughly stretched, but the brim didn’t, resulting in a much more secure fit.  I may still run a few rows of elastic through the inside of the brim just to give it a tiny bit more grip, but the overall project may now be declared a success.

Oh, and for those who are worried about it, the leg of the second zombie sock (henceforth to be known as Truckle) is just about done and the first draft of the pattern is written.  I’ll likely be putting out a request for testers for it some time later this week.  I know folks like it, so I didn’t want it to slip by anyone who’s been waiting for it.

Let’s Try That Again

Over the last few days I made what I hoped would be a poufy hat.  Before doing this I analyzed patterns for several other poufy hats to determine the general methods for creating pouf and to get a sense of acceptable pouf proportions.  Following these guidelines, I knit the hat.  Somewhere along the way something went horribly horribly awry.  Either I was wrong about the potential for me to look reasonably non-dorky in poufy hats, or I totally forgot how to make shapes from knitted fabric, or (and I’m hoping it’s this last one) blocking poufy hats is a bit of an art form and takes some practice.  I’m going to try reblocking this today and see if I can end up with something that looks more like a dashing hat and less like a vicious jellyfish attack.  I have my doubts, but I will report back with the verdict at some point.