Hat knitting season tends to come upon me a bit later on, after winter has already gotten started. I think my first impulse is always towards sweaters, once fall gets going, and then by late December and early January it eventually occurs to me that, hang on a second, there are three more months of cold weather still ahead. I might need some hats.
Happily enough for these purposes, earlier in the fall the folks at Lorna’s Laces sent me some single skeins to work with, and after a bit of brainstorming and stitch perusal and playing around, I came up with the two hat designs you see here. Both yarns were a joy to work with.
A bright cranberry red skein of Shepherd Worsted – a wonderfully soft yet wooly 100% wool worsted yarn – became the Union Station beret. (Available here in my Ravelry store, and here on Patternfish.) I confess this might be my favourite recent design, and I may have trouble holding myself back from making another one in a different colour. A cabled beret is one of my favourite winter accessories.
The Union Station beret is written in one size, to comfortably fit a head circumference of 20-22 ins. It uses a single skein of worsted wool yarn, worked in the round on 4.5mm needles for the main portion of the hat, changing to double-points as the crown becomes smaller. The magical part, of course, comes when you wash and block the final product over a dinner plate (usually the nearest circular, flat object), and then once dried the little thing transforms into a stylish cabled thing that makes you feel suddenly extremely elegant even if you’re just waiting in an interminable Starbucks queue. I love it, and hope you will too.
As a companion, I wanted to work up a relatively simple, slouchy hat pattern to accompany the lovely, drapey skein of Lorna’s Laces Honor (an alpaca/silk blend that is soft like kittens), which lends itself very easily to less structured knits. The Steeltown Slouch here, is the result – it uses a simple knit-and-purl pattern and works up relatively quickly in the round. (Also available here on Ravelry, and here on Patternfish.)
The colour here is ‘Blackberry’, which often appears quite a bit darker in the woolier lines of Lorna’s Laces. The colours in the alpaca/silk have a paler, shinier quality to it, leading me to the Steeltown moniker. It’s also a small homage to my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario.
It is seen here in the larger of two sizes, which may also be easily modified by adding or subtracting pattern repeats from the main portion of the hat. Peggy, who models both hats here wonderfully, is quite a petite gal, so you may use that as a basis for comparison and size estimates.
I am grateful to Peggy for the impromptu modelling near the Purple Purl earlier this month, and to Dan Petre (a knitter himself, as well as a knitter’s husband) for the beautiful photographs. (I learned after the fact that Dan spent 2 hours browsing hat patterns on Ravelry to get a good sense of good hat photography. That is dedication, man.)
I think I could get into hats – i’m so sorry, hats, for the neglect I’ve shown you in the past. You were right all along, the socks and sweaters don’t need all the attention!. It impresses me not just how relatively quick hats are to work up, but also how fully a person can transform their look just by changing the style of hat they toss on when heading out the door. That is darned cool.
Happy knitting! And stay warm and cozy, where ever you are as the year winds down.