I Brioched and I Loved It

Photo of two-color brioche knitting

I made my dad a hat for his birthday.  He is not into bright colors and energetic motifs.  I could have knit him a very plain watch cap, but I settled on an idea to spice it up, for my own sanity (?).  What might appear to the untrained eye, a very simple hat, is, in fact, two color brioche in the round.  Wheeeeee!

Photo of two-color brioche knitting

I knit it in two colors of Happy Fuzzy Yarn American Worsted, “Shadow” and “Moss.”

Dad is not a cold-weather kind of person so gifts of warm clothes are always appreciated.

Picture of a man in a hat

OMG, I love this hat so much!

I need to make one for myself.  Doncha think?

Picture of a brioche hat

I used the Brioche Hat pattern from Weekend Knitting and sadly the directions for the crown decreases are confusing.  And this is NOT a reversible pattern, although you will be tempted to think it is until near the end.  That, I can live with, but I want to find a pattern with clearer directions for the crown.

So what’s a girl to do?  Nancy Marchant, the living expert, doesn’t appear to have a published pattern for a straight-forward two-color brioche watch cap.  Anyone have a pattern they’ve used to recommend?

What do you have a craving to cast on?

Pat on the Head

Look what I did!  (Finally!)

Lisa’s Beret from Through the Loops knit in Yarns of Distinction Licorice Twist. My first knit beret.  How come it took this long?  Love the stitch pattern, love the yarn.  My only complaint – because there’s always something – is that the 1×1 twisted rib on the brim has no grip so this hat is constantly sliding around on my head – and I am not wearing it for fashion.  We walk two blocks to and from school every day, even in winter.

This hat may get some elastic eventually, but given my enthusiasm for doing things to my knitting that are not knitting, I’ve moved on to planning other hat projects.  I will probably knit a new hat sooner than I will figure out how to elegantly attach elastic.

Did I tell you about this yarn yet?  I got it in October at the Ann Arbor Fiber Expo from the Weavers Loft / Yarns of Distinction booth.  I drooled over the Licorice Twist in the Meadows colorway in my mind for a year before I bought it.  Why do I do that to myself?  I have been so scrupulous with my yarn purchases for years (and nevertheless have more in the stash than I could knit in a year at my current rate) but now I am loosening the reins.  Which is not the same as going on a spree, but will spare me perhaps from passing up perfectly beautiful and affordable knitting treats. (Like that $5 package of yarn shaped stitch markers I bought on a lark at Knit-a-Round two days before Christmas – they were all gone when I went back after New Years!)

Speaking of affordable. This hunk of a hank of yarn I bought was no less than half a pound of merino wool, 560 yards for $29.  It wound up into a massive ball and even after knitting the hat, it is still massive.

You can see the ball in comparison to a fill size hardcover novel, as well as the flacid brim in progress, in this photo:

I have a lot of this yarn left.  What else should I make?  I’m thinking a scarf, maybe mittens.  Then I will be matchy-matchy, just like all the other people who buy winter sets at the store.

Snow Day

The Orphan Foundation of America Red Scarf Project is wrapping up in the next month.  The deadline on the OFA is December 15 (two more days!) but the Ravelry group lists in bold letters that the deadline has been extended until the first week of January.

I am going with the extended deadline, otherwise there is no hope for me.

I am making a moss stitch scarf in a heathery burgundy shade of Patons Classic Wool.  This is actually a picture from October – the scarf is now about a foot and a half long. I had hoped to make more than one scarf but so far this looks to be it, even with the extended deadline.  Too many chilly heads and hands and feet in my house need attention also (I am on fire to knit myself seventeen different hats and five cowls).  I might churn out a garter stitch red scarf if fancy strikes me after Christmas, which is also after my last work deadline for a while.  I know, I KNOW a real vacation at the end of the year for once.

To my surprise, all schools in our county were cancelled today.  The snowfall yesterday was not tremendous compared to what we have seen (4-6 inches in our neighborhood) but the temperature dropped quickly in the past 48 hours to just above zero degrees F (-10 windchill).  Sadly, we still had to pry ourselves out of the house to go to the dentist today.  Dentists don’t have snow days, far as I can tell.

Neither do stay-at-home parents.  Or freelancers.

Back to working on my hat (Lisa’s Beret in Yarns of Distinction Licorice Twist “Meadow”).  Toddlers don’t sleep for long and tomorrow morning will be a bitter walk to school in the morning.  Maybe I should drive.  For my daughter’s sake.  Yeah, that’s it.

Bits and Pieces

I’ve reached that point of the holiday season when there is so much to do, holiday or otherwise, that I can’t keep track of it all and I know some things are time-sensitive and I end up so turned around that I don’t know what to do first and thus do nothing.  Thankfully, I’ve learned not to stress about it (too much).  Instead, I am bewildered, I suppose.  I called Matt this afternoon after dropping Z off at preschool just in case he knew something I forgot.  He suggested I do some shopping downtown.  I am burned out on shopping, whether it is for gifts or groceries, so I just went home and played with the baby until it was pick up time.

Now for the randomness:

*It’s so windy!  And wet!  I should make myself a cup of tea.  But I forget to before I make it to the kitchen.  Or I don’t hear the electric kettle.  I’ve heated it twice.

*Finished a small Thorpe for Zander last week.  It took me only three days–what a thrill to finish something so quickly.  I knit the small size using Cascade 220 doubled, and this is a good size for a child.  It’s a little loose on my preschooler but not so it will fall off his head.  I skipped the braided ties because I thought that would be safer on the playground–and they’re easy enough to add later if I change my mind.

*Elinor makes kissy noises with her lips.  And gives open-mouth, wet, baby kisses.  You know it’s love when you don’t care!

*Hanukkah starts on Friday.  We are ready with the gifts but not the food.  Someone needs to go to a grocery store with a real produce section so we can get a heaping mound of onions and potatoes for latkes.  And it’s windy, rainy, cold, and gross outside.  So far…I can live without latkes on the first night.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings (I hear it’s going to be very cold).

*I have had a crisis of coat buying for the children.  It has nothing to do with the holidays but has worn me out on shopping.  It involved going to the mall, in December, which I never do.  The best part, though, is that I found a coat for Elinor in her closet this morning, a coat her cousin passed down.  Hallelujah.  Crisis over.

*I/Zander inherited a UFO from Charlotte–a pair of half-finished socks–which her children outgrew before they ever got to wear.  I finished the first this afternoon.  Here it is yesterday.  The yarn is Plymouth Jelli Beenz, a fun and colorful acyrlic/wool blend.  Zander, my biggest fan when it comes to knitting, is very excited.  We’ve already had one serious discussion about his socks and the dog.  Ahem.

*My freelance work is ramping up again.  I have two projects right now, although one is in three pieces so it’s really more like four projects.  I must pace myself to avoid stressing out because I can only do one piece at a time and if I get behind it will be a vicious domino effect complete with loss of sleep.

*I am knitting Elinor a stocking to go with our other three.  The pattern is Christmas in Tallinn by Nancy Bush from Knitting on the Road.  I’ve made several patterns from this book.  I had to substitute the yarn because no one locally now carries the Dalegarn Heilo I used for the first three, but I am happy with the substitute, Rauma Strikkegarn.  It comes in lots of colors and is sticky, which is great for colorwork.  I may actually like this yarn better than the Heilo.

*The seed catalogs are starting to arrive.  I am thinking of planting more quantity of fewer types of plants next year in the vegetable garden.  Partly to get better at growing the things we love the most and partly because we really need to focus on the flower beds, get them organized.  They were empty when we moved in.  Now they’re kinda weedy.

Good night!

A hat is a hat by any other name

I started Toasty Topper last night and knit away until my hands were sore and creaky.  No good.  I only made it past the the crown shaping.  Turns out that Cascade 220 is not a good substitute for me for this pattern.  It’s made on US 8 with yarn held doubled.  I can control my tension somewhat, but even with an effort at knitting more loosely, the fabric was stiff and my hands hurt.  There was much indecision and denial but I finally faced the music and ripped it out.

Part of my indecision stemmed from the question: “If not Toasty Topper, then what?”  Because my kid needs a hat.  Knit by me.  That wasn’t one of the other hats we already had in the closet.  I bought this lovely yarn last December for HIM and it was going to go on his head, OKAY?

Okay then.  I switched to making a small Thorpe.

(It is more blue that this picture shows.  I played with all my camera settings but it is a cold, gray day so what’s a gal to do?)

It was in the forefront of my brain for various reasons and I had to laugh when I started because it is incredibly similar in the beginning to Toasty Topper.  (I am holding the yarn doubled instead of using a chunky weight yarn.)  There was one crucial difference: it is knit on a US 9.  So the fabric is now dense and I am still consciously knitting loosely but my hands don’t hurt and it’s smiles all around.

I still hope to have enough leftovers for mittens, for which I will probably use Anne Budd’s Handy Book of Patterns.  And I wonder if I can finish it all before school on Monday (today’s school day has already begun and Friday is a field trip to an indoor destination). . . . because it is not like I don’t have, oh at least four other projects on the needles/hooks.