Although I knit rather a lot (!!!) I don’t put my projects on Ravelry. There are several reasons for this, mainly that I am usually knitting for some kind of publication and I don’t want stuff on line before it is finished and published. In addition, time is precious and I prefer to be knitting or spinning than being on the computer more than is essential! But I now have one…
For the same reasons I rarely buy patterns. But when I saw that Theresa Silver was doing a KAL alongside her Cooperative Press book Hat Couture I couldn’t resist. So I bought the KAL and downloaded my first Ravelry pattern. The pattern was for a hat, starting in the centre of the crown. After the first few rows there were options about the exact shape right through to the type of brim.
The pattern called for an aran weight yarn of a ‘rustic’ natural which would be firm. I was on North Ronaldsay at the time, and I had a couple of braids of fibre from Katie at Hilltop Cloud with me. I spun this up on my old Louet S10, working in the conservatory overlooking Nouster Bay, to give me the right tension. I deliberately spun it fast, giving a not-quite-even thread, spun fairly tight.
My first choice was a flat top (rather than rounded) followed by oversized (rather than snug to the head). Then I went for shorter, rather than longer, sides, and a full brim.
Before I started the brim the hat fitted perfectly. But changing to garter stitch for the brim pulled the bottom few rows of the sides out, making it too big. The shape was brilliant and I felt that pulling the bottom of the sides in with, say, petersham on the inside would spoil the shape.
As the fibre was mainly Shetland and merino, I decided to felt it in the washing machine. That worked perfectly, and the hat was exactly the right size.
The texture of the surface was also perfect!
My next problem was how to trim it. As the fabric was thick, it needed something substantial. And the many colours in the original fibre braid gave an almost tweedy effect. I tried a couple of Nichols brooches I had with me. One was too big and the other too small! I finally settled on a length of yarn, again spun on the Louet. The first I tried wasn’t right, and this second is quite right either, but it is working for now!
I have worn the hat several times. It fits snugly, and stays on in most weathers. It can be scrunched into a bag and comes out exactly the right shape again.
I am well pleased!