Saturday, March 8, 2008

Hats and More Hats

I mentioned in my last post that I hadn't met my Mission Possible 2008 goal of finishing a charity item each month. In reaction, this has been Hat Week; I've finished 4. Gotta love the fast gratification!! I made 2 versions of the extremely popular Binary Cables Hat (#1 at Ravelry right now), another Binary Hat from a different pattern, and the 'Toddler' version of the Republic Hat.

The Republic Hat may have been made from the 'Toddler' version, but that's written for worsted rather than chunky/bulky yarn, and although it's a bit shallow, it is 19in in circumference, plenty big enough for me (and Edith Head, lol). I used bits and pieces for this, starting out with the band using some Dale Free Style in white and a bit of teal acrylic mohair I had. Then I realized I didn't have enough Free Style and switched to Patons Classic in a nearly-white, along with some authentic mohair, for the rest of the hat. The pattern calls for a really big button, but all I had were two small ones.

I made the first version of the Binary Cables Hat with Nashua Creative Focus Worsted, following the pattern, and I found it to be a bit shallow, too. I really like the yarn, though for a rather-basic yarn it's a bit pricey (at least at my LYS; MSRP is $8) compared to say, Patons Classic. Since this was TV knitting, I found that putting a marker every 28 stitches (total is 112), really helped to make sure I had all the cables in the right place; the cable rows are generally written for 4 repeats .

Since both of these are for A4A or Dulaan, I realized I needed one for my seniors' group, which sends a lot of hats to Operation Gratitude for the troops. So I pulled out some Caron's Simply Soft in Dark Country Blue and made another Binary Cables hat. For this one, I added 4 rows before starting the pattern as written, just to add a bit of depth, and it worked very well. Simply Soft is a nice acrylic, not scratchy or squeaky on the needles, with a bit of a silky feel.

And yesterday I finished a different sort of Binary Hat, this one supposedly 'spelling out' "hat" in Binary. Regardless, it's a nice easy stockinette hat, and the stripes are narrow enough that I was able to strand the color changes, and the 'jogs' are nearly invisible. Love it! This is also done in Creative Focus, in two shades of green.

And I finally decided on a pattern for my lovely Sea Silk gift yarn. I don't have enough in the one skein for Eunny Jang's lovely Print o' the Wave stole, but I found this variation at the Posh Yarn website, Sea & Shells, via Ravelry. At the moment there are only 6 or 7 rows, so showing it to you is going to present a narrow band of pretty much nothing. But the pattern is pretty straight-forward and I have great hopes for success. The Sea Silk is, IMO, a very fine version of fingering weight yarn, so this is another step in my plan to 'work down' to laceweight. Cross your fingers for me!

Off the topic of knitting, I wanted to pass along a recommendation for a couple of books. Among the many that I've read in the last couple of weeks is 'The Other Boleyn Girl', a novel by Philippa Gregory. The movie is recently out, starring Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman. I found the premise quite interesting, and apparently Ms Gregory is one of the first to explore the part that Mary Boleyn played in Henry VIII's love life. Having several biographies about Henry VIII, I found myself digging into them to get another perspective. Note that, in all of the other books I have, Mary Boleyn gets barely a sentence or two, in spite of the fact that she was Henry's mistress for 2 or 3 years. Alison Weir has written several books about this period, and I find that her writing style is very easy to read and seemingly well-balanced; she's quite meticulous about noting those conclusions that are suppositions rather than based on documentary evidence. I just finished her 'The Children of Henry VIII', which stops at Queen Mary's death.


smariek said...

I like the blue Binary Cables Hat where the cables are up higher, it looks a bit more balanced.

I've read several Alison Weir books and like them. Haven't read Philippa Gregory though will have to take a look someday.

I have to get myself one of those heads. Where did you find yours?

Cindy G said...

Oh, I'll be eager to see pics of the "Sea and Shells". I think Print O' The Wave is one of the prettiest lace patterns around.

Joan said...

I have been tapping my foot big time waiting for that film to hit VT. We get everything good much later than the rest of the world. Slasher flicks get here pronto but not the good films.

lunadog said...

I just love the Republic Hat. It looks great in 2 colours and I will add it to my a4A to-do list. And add me to the list of Print O' The Wave admirers. Please post a picture soon.

Hey, smariek, I got my styrofoam head at Value Village for about $4 but I know there are nicer ones around.

Grace Yaskovic said...

love the hats, did the Republic Hat for a child with chemo looming,

Have read Phillipa Gregory, and years ago I read another book that really played up the Mary Boleyn relationship, if I can find out who it was I will let you know. It was someone named Robin, also wrote the Queen's Son The Tudors are particular favorites of mine. Hence Tom's back tattoo of me as Queen Elizabeth the First