Saturday, August 20, 2011

Matilda

I've been wanting to knit this hat for some time.  The pattern, by M.K. Carroll, was written with Peace Fleece yarn in mind and I just happened to buy a few skeins when I was in Belfast Maine, what? two years ago.

(Here I am awkwardly holding the camera for myself in a felted wool hat in 103 degree heat.)
 (Now I'm smiling, musing to myself about how I'm going to get even with my children for being unwilling to take a quick photo of my hat, day 231)
("Ah, yes," I think as I take the umpteenth weird or blurry photo, "I will make them weed the garden, then they'll know what hot really is. "  Actually I just went inside and sulked.)
More musing and punishment on my Flickr and Ravelry

I tend to use directions really well, up to a point,  But in the end I usually just have to eyeball things until I get them right.  In this case the crown was really easy to knit following the size small directions, but modifying by adding a few rows so it would reach the tops of my ears.  (Probably a mistake since the looseness in this area was the main reason i had to felt the hat. )  Customizing like this is a snap with the instructions and the fact that the hat is worked form the crown downward and can be tried on as you knit.  I love that.

I did have some trouble with the brim, though.  This is where my "fiddling" comes in handy.  I finally figured out that if I knit the outer edge of the brim loosely, it would sew together more evenly.   As far as how to attach it to the crown- I never really did understand how to do it without the purled edge looking messy, so I folded the edge of the brim over, curling it outward where it attached to the crown.  It gave the look of an I- cord band or something and hid the sewing yarn, which I didn't particularly like.

Speaking of eyeballing things, this is never more useful than in blocking a piece.  I tried a new method recommended by a knitter named Allison in which I placed a wet towel over my hat and ironed it until it quit steaming.  It did even out my stitches, but I needed to felt it a little to shrink the crown a bit and give the brim the perfect amount of stiffness.  To felt it, I put it in a pillowcase and washed on hot with lots of agitation (the washer, not me) for 15 minutes, checking it every 5 minutes.  Perfect.

The nubby, tweedy yarn does work perfectly for a hat brim.   I love the little flecks of orange.  I may add to it by sewing something to the side (some of my mother's buttons or an applique of some sort) but I don't even think it's necessary.   This is a cool little hat without any embellishment.  Now I just need to decide which scarf pattern I want to use for the rest of this yarn.   

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