Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A New Hat

This evening, while allowing myself the luxury of rewatching The Blind Side, I exercised a rare moment of self-discipline and made myself sew the lining into this hat. I haven't been good at self-discipline the last little while and find that the only thing I can make myself do even if I really don't want to is to go to work. But that takes up all of my will power most days.

The very fact that the one thing my will power is strong enough to make me do is sewing a lining into a hat should say something about my life, but I'm not going to think about it too long.

In any case, I have a wonderful hat to show you. I don't think I've talked about it here before. And I didn't really have much chance. One evening I was struck with the inspiration to make a hat I've been eyeing in Kristina McGowan's Modern Top-Down Knitting. (I was probably avoiding other knitting I didn't feel like doing at the time.) By the next day I had the hat knit:
It looks a little odd, I know; but wait, it gets better.

The hat is finished with a sturdy
two rounds of single crochet.
The pattern tells you to line it with fleece, but to me that is the devil's fabric. Staticky, squeekie and not even warm--just clammy. Plus, even the superficial softness wears off in short order. It is like fingers on chaulkboard to me. Blech!

Cashmere, on the other hand, I rather enjoy. And I have some second hand sweaters just waiting to be felted and used for such a noble project as this. I pulled out my many sweaters which had already been felted or were waiting to be:
(And I've since realized that's not all of them!)
You can see that I have the green ones pulled up on the couch. They were the ones I was after, for two projects, actually. I'll write about the other one later.

So I tried out a few, and picked this lime-ish green:
I like the contrast. And although the purple (mulberry) colour is nice, I find it a little too soft. No punch.

So after felting, I laid the hat on the sweater, lining up the front edge with the edge of the ribbing, and cut around it leaving enough excess for a seam allowance.
It turns out you really don't need a seam allowance because the lining is to fit inside the knitted hat and needs to be smaller anyway. Even after cutting it down to a smaller size, mine still turned out a little long. It worked out ok though, as you will see. (You, of course, may or may not agree with me.)

The final step, then, is to hand stitch the lining in.
I didn't have the exact right colour of thread, but with all the fluffy fuzziness of the felted cashmere, it didn't really matter. I made sure to keep just inside of the final chain stitches so there is a nice border around the knitting.

And so I give you the "subway hat": (Long story about the name; you'll have to get the book to read it.)
I have to say it frames the face beautifully. (When my sister saw it, she commented that I'll have to always were makeup when wearing the hat!) The too-long lining is what is making it flare out slightly, revealing more of the lining. As I said, I like it.

The other big benefit of this hat design is that it lets you wear glasses without looking like doob, and it covers the ears without muffling them. (Plus you don't look like an undergrad with earflaps and the obligatory tassels.)

The one weakness of the pattern is that it pouches out too much at the back.
Project Stats
: 8 Oct '11
Finished: 18 Oct '11
Pattern: Subway Hat by Kristina McGowan
Materials: Raveled Rowan Big Wool (Mulberry) 96 g; cashmere sweater to felt
Mine isn't too bad, but some of the pictures on Ravelry are just awful. It's like you have an extra 3 inches of hat at the back of your head. Next time I will increase a little faster so that part is flatter. Also, the slit in the bottom should start sooner because the way it is, the hat tends to ride up and then forward over your eyes.

All in all, though, I love the hat. Everyone that's seen it says it reminds them of a traditional Dutch hat. Since I'm Dutch, I don't mind. For those of you who don't know what I mean, here is a picture of some fans at last year's World Cup who put on some "traditional garb" for the Netherlands' match up with Brazil:
These ones are pointier up top, but you can see the resemblance with the pointy parts around the ears. (Go Oranje!)

With this hat in the arsenal, I can look forward to colder weather without worrying about a cold head. With the extra layer of the lining, the hat is extremely warm. Can't wait to put it to the test!

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