Monday, October 24, 2011

A Woman of Many (Ridiculous) Hats

As I may have mentioned before on this blog, my absolute favorite thing to knit are hats. You see, you can make them so FAST. Each one is just a little noggin warmer, after all--a couple hundred yards of yarn, give or take--and if you get real compulsive, you can knock one out in a night. In fact, the first hat I ever made was a pink and red crocheted cap that I started making at around 9pm and finished at 4 o'clock in the morning...I was so enthralled by what I was doing, I don't even think I got up to pee. When I was finally done with the hat, I plopped it on top of my head with the tail still hanging down from the middle and ran to the bathroom, realizing somewhere along the way that I had probably done permanent wrist damage....but no matter! I had made a HAT! A glorious girly hat! (And because I'm sure you're distracted by the giant beard in the photo above, I will tell you that this beard belongs to my lovely friend and former bandmate, Marc...he just happens to be in one of the only photos I have of this illustrious hat, circa 2004, San Francisco. Lucky Marc!)
It was just this last week, however--when I sold the Big Kiss Blue Hat (shown above) to a dear friend--that I realized my choice in hats might verge on the ridiculous. And that it maybe wasn't just an isolated incident or two. It seems that, more often than not, my hats turn out a little crazy!
Case in point: the hat shown above is probably the most normal hat I've ever made. I literally call this pattern my "One-Hour Hat" because you can make it so quickly (btw, it's more like two hours...I like to lie to myself when knitting). I made it with bulky Blue Sky Alpacas yarn that I had left over, and while it's a wee bit sporty with the stripes, it's cute, warm, and not too freaky-deeky. A couple months after I made this hat, I went to make another one in the blue yarn I used for the Big Kiss hat. I "thought" I was creating a crown just like I did in the One-Hour Hat, but as it turns out, I was making a spiral. A biiiiiig spiral. One that started out nice and wide and just kept on going. By the time I figured out I was making a wizard hat, it was too late to turn back. (I mean, you can always turn back, but honestly, I was kind of thrilled by what I had done!) I quickly realized that I loved the hat, but it was not "for me," so I put it up in my Etsy shop, where Sara snatched it up like the smart girl she is and wears it proudly!
Now, the reason why I think the elfin cone incident happened is because between the One-Hour Hat and the Big Kiss hat, I made this hat above, which DOES utilize a nifty swirl decrease to shape the top. However, in a beret-like situation, you CAN start out with a zillion stitches and do a slow spiral decrease and not create a "point." (Just in case you're wondering, and I know you are, this "slow spiral" I speak of is where you decide to decrease and you, say, *knit 9 stitches, knit 2 together* all the way around, then knit a plain round; then on the next round you *knit 8 stitches, knit 2 together* all the way around, then knit a plain round; and you keep decreasing like this until you have only a few stitches left.) OK, but do you notice something funny about this grey beret? It's huge. HUGE! And that's after I felted it to make it smaller.

Which leads me to my next problem: I hate making gauge swatches when I make hats.
Which is what happened with this hat. This was supposed to be a BERET. Let this be a lesson to all of us about the importance of gauge.
There have also been hats that I just knit too long, like this one from Modern Top-Down Knitting which was supposed to be a cute hip hat (like it is in the book!), but somehow turned into more of a flying nun type of situation. (Or, if I knit it in yellow and unrolled the brim, I could look like a Gorton's Fisherman ad.) 
(Total sidenote: doesn't this guy also look a lot like the Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man in the World"? Could it BE?)
Believe it or not, the Flying Nun/Gorton's Fisherman hat is not even the weirdest bonnet I've made. The question is not "why did I make a bonnet with bear ears"--oh no, the pattern itself is cute (it's from Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation). The question is "why did I make it using that gross pubic-looking yarn?" Needless to say, this one hasn't been worn out a lot in Brooklyn. Not even on Halloween. And yet...I can't seem to part with it.
Ok, ok, there have been a few winners, too. Like this Sunflower Beret that I made from Knitting Nature. It was a mother of a stitch pattern on the top, but it FITS and it is hands down one of my favorite winter staples and it really does keep me warm and goes with everything.
(Here it is from the back...look at all that fancy stuff!)
And then there's the "suit of armor" hat. Knit up in a yummy natural-colored alpaca, it is soft as can be and drapes beautifully, though it also sort of drapes into my eyes every now and then too.
And so I added a giant pom-pom, which keeps the hat sliding down the back instead of down the front.

But I swear to you, I am still searching for the perfect handmade hat. Even with so many hat patterns available and so many hats already in my collection, I still feel like I could make fifteen more and not be done. Knitters: if you have a favorite hat pattern that you love to make, please do share in the comments! I will love you forever. Non-knitters: you may proceed to make fun of me and my hats now.


  1. I sort of love them all.
    I think hats should have a subtle sense of humor -and yours do!

  2. OMG the bear pubes hat. How did I not know that existed before now?

  3. Erin, I know! Well, I have not exactly flaunted the bear pubes hat.