Sunday, October 9, 2011

The hats just keep coming

The hat thing hasn't lifted yet although it is starting to slow down, I think.  That's because I'm almost finished with the first skein of red merino so I can start swatching for my Bohus sweater.  But while I"m at it...

I had some gray alpaca left over from the hat for my friend's aunt and I had some blue left over from my blue hat.
Bam!  How cool is that?!  I love this hat.  I adore this hat.  Alpaca and Blue faced leicester, 2 of the softest, coziest fibers in the known universe.  The electric blue against the gray.  I love this hat so much that I've been wearing it around the house.  I have to take off from time to time because, of course, it's not cool enough yet to wear this hat for real and my head gets too hot.  So I take it off until I'm cooled off and then it goes right back on.

Then, for something different, I decided I would make a hat from the Entre to Entrelac book by Gwen Bortner.  She's got some cool stuff in the book which I think is worth the effort to understand the patterns and techniques.  It is an effort to follow the shorthand used and you will need to refer to 2 or 3 sections of the book at once so keep some sticky notes handy so you don't lose your place but what you get out of it will entertain, intrigue and delight you.

For me, it was the hat pattern that I wanted to try. 
 The brown is alpaca/merino/silk that I got from Kickapoo Creek Farms that no longer exists.  It was such a lovely preparation.  Wish I could find more of it.  The black was supposed to be alpaca but wasn't.  Alpaca would have been better - this isn't nearly as soft. 

For the first part of the hat, I used each of the yarns double since it was such a large needle size (for me - US size 7).  I don't like it and wish I hadn't done it but by the time I'd decided that, it was too late and I wasn't up for undoing it.  So for the entrelac section, although I used the basics of the pattern in the book, I did my own thing and did it with single strands.  The pattern called for decreasing stitches down to make six entrelac panels.  I didn't decrease; I made eight.  The pattern called for just 3 sections, I made 4, repeating the brown for the final section. 
To me, that kept the poofy quality of the entrelac and made it a better fit for me.  I obviously have a way bigger head than most hats patterns are written for.  One really clever thing the pattern did was calling for the sections to be stitches together at the top.  I love that feature of the hat.  The only thing I decided it needed, though, was the little black section to close up the hole and to finish the hat off.  Having just the brown there looked too unfinished.  All I did was crochet some stitches around for a couple of rounds and then closed it up.  That helped a lot.

I think this is a hugely creative use of entrelac and I will definitely want to do this hat again.  Next time, though, I may just go for a solid color all the way through.  I think first, though, I need to hit the fiber stash and spin a little more because I've used up almost all my handspun.  Mon Dieu, what shall I do?

I know, next Saturday is Bishop Hill Spin-In.  Maybe I need some more fiber....