Call for Testers: Shawn’s Hat

Men's hat knitting pattern
Double knitting in progress! Dark grey on the outside, light grey inside 🙂

 

Men’s hats … does anyone else struggle? My husband Shawn is a plain kind of guy, and I love that about him, but boy, does it make hat knitting for him boring! I much prefer playing around with techniques, colours, and stitch patterns 😉 So when he asked me for a new hat, I figured it was a good time to try something new: double knitting!

Double knitting (unrelated to DK or double knitting weight yarn) is a technique in which you create two layers of fabric at the same time – one to the front of the work, and one on the back/inside, depending on whether you are knitting flat or in the round! This results in a project that is completely reversible and is also extra thick and warm.

So, with a new technique to practice, I set off to make my husband a new hat. I snuck in a tiny bit of colorwork, but it still passed the “simple” test 😉

9-inch circulars – Yay or Nay?

I tried something new recently. I’ve done bits of colorwork before, and even designed a few intarsia patterns for myself, but I’ve never attempted anything I would consider “real” Fair Isle knitting before. Then a friend requested some mittens, and not just any mittens. The “How Cold Is It?” mittens by Drunk Girl Designs on Ravelry.

How awesome are these mittens? Really, really f’in awesome 😉 They bring a smile to my face every time I work on them. Plus the pattern is easy to follow! I was worried they were going to be a bit small, but with a bit of blocking, which the colorwork needed anyway, they fit great!

The designer used 9-inch circular needles for these mittens. It was another new thing for me, but I thought they would be worth a try. Anything to play with a new knitting gadget 😉 Have you used 9-inch circs before? I picked up some ChiaoGoo needles from my LYS, found some squishy yarn, and headed home to play.

OK, for the first three rows, I nearly lost my mind. Working in the round on such tiny little needles, with tiny fine yarn, and alternating colors for the ribbing? It was awful. I pressed on (only because I didn’t have any appropriately sized DPNs). I think my husband may have learned a few new curse words as I attempted to pick up the numerous stitches that I dropped.

But then an amazing thing happened.

The farther I got, the faster I got! Pretty soon I was done the ribbing (thank goodness) and I moved onto the colorwork section. And I was hooked. There was something quite satisfying about slowly and carefully creating the f-word in such a ladylike and “proper” medium. (I had a tough start to the week, so that might have contributed to the joy of swearing! 😉 )

Even more amazing, when I got to the tip of the mitten, where I had to switch to DPNs, I was disappointed! I had grown to love my tiny 9-inch circs. I dropped a stitch with them, and my tension is all over the place, especially carrying floats between two needles. If anyone has any advice on doing that, I’d love to hear it!

 

Have you used 9-inch circulars before? I have to say I’d recommend them for sure – just don’t give up when you first start. I’m about to cast on for the second mitten, so I’ll find out if it was just inexperience, or if the first three rows always suck (I’m expecting the latter).  I’d love to hear whether you enjoy using them or not! 🙂

The story behind the Barents Hat and cowl set

Barents Hat and Cowl

You may have recently read about my disappointment when I realized the cowl I designed had already been invented. However I really loved it, and I loved the stitch pattern, too, so I figured a hat with the same stitch was in order!

Barents Hat & Cowl knitting pattern

When I received this yarn from The Fibre Co. … well, first I couldn’t stop petting it 😉 But when I stopped and read the colorway names (Blue Lagoon and Barents Sea), I totally pictured a cowl with icy waves and whitecaps, and jaggedy, unforgiving landscapes. I tried a two-color cowl, but I wasn’t entirely happy with how that turned out. The hat, however … I LOVE how the hat turned out in both colors!!! I might love it even more than the cowl! It totally reminds me of the icy Barents sea:

Icy Barents sea
Source: BarentsPortal.com

 

I’ve got to write up the hat, then decide if I’ll do anything with the cowl … so keep your eyes out for another call for test knitters!

 

 

PS, do you love this hat? I’ll be looking for test knitters soon! Join my Test Knitter mailing list to be the first to hear the call for testers 💙

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Yarn review of Tundra by Knit a Bit of Whimsy

On My Needles …

Today I’ve got some super squishy Tundra yarn from The Fibre Co on my needles.  It’s a mix of baby alpaca, merino and silk, and oh my goodness, is it soft and awesome! Note: I received 4 skeins of yarn in return for sharing  photos on social media; my opinions are entirely my own. 

Photo of Tundra Yarn

What I love even more than the luxury feel of this yarn, is the story behind it. The Fibre Co uses natural fibres in all their yarns, they don’t use superwash processes, and they focus on sustainability. They know where their raw materials come from, and work closely with everyone through the yarn-making process from shepherds and mills to the yarn shops that sell their yarns and designers who use their yarns.

Kitten with Yarn
Mittens the Kitten approves of this yarn!

I’ve done a little swatching with the yarn I received, and I’m very pleased with how it works up. It holds its shape nicely, shows both cables and lace well (as much as you can create lace with Bulky yarn!), and might be even softer after knitting than it was in the skein! I think I’ve got an idea for a cowl using some of this squishy goodness 🙂

Overall, I’m completely sold on this yarn! It’s soft and lofty, sustainably produced, and it comes in a range of 20 colours (including the brand new Berents Sea and Blue Lagoon that they sent me). And I’ve always been partial to bulky yarns – they work up so quickly!

You can learn more about the Fibre Co. here: www.thefibreco.com/ 

And check out all their new colours on their instagram page: www.instagram.com/thefibrecompany/ or browse the hashtags #tfcbrights and #tfcneutrals. I was one of 12 yarn ambassadors chosen to share photos of their new colours! There are some beautiful things happening ❤

And while you’re at it, check out their contest – you could win 3 skeins of yarn in one of the new colours! www.thefibreco.com/competition/