You’d be right in thinking I spent most of this summer knitting hats. I tend to knit all year round, and hats are so much easier to manage when a full jumper swelters in your lap and even the thought of wearing wool makes you feel overheated.
This hat is another Knitworthy pattern – Ljós. Ysolda Teague has published four Knitworthy collections (1, 2, 3 & 4) and I’ve knit or have a project queued from them all. The collections of accessories and toys are based on the idea of “knitworthiness”, that is, someone who loves your creations enough you deem them worthy of your handknits. As no recipient can fully appreciate the hard work that goes into knitting, I make them for myself!
I initially knit this hat to have about 1-2″ of negative ease (less than the 2.5″ suggested in the pattern). As cute as it looks in the pattern pictures, the tight fitted skullcap was uncomfortable as well as unflattering on me. So, I ripped it all out and reknit for about 1″ positive ease.
My other lesson learnt during this project was that I really don’t enjoy knitting with woollen spun yarns. I know, they’re in vogue now, but I just can’t stand having yarn that falls apart in my hands and needs to be spit spliced every few cms,* or that lacks the natural “sproinginess” of worsted spun yarns. But what shits me the most is the fact that the ribbing flattens down to nothing after a wash, and becomes basically useless at keeping things in place (hence the fact that this hat is pulled down to my eyebrows).
I also find that woollen spun yarns need a lot of work to be held in place to create even floats, whereas worsted spun yarns naturally feed through my hands and create an even tension almost by themselves. (See my Jamieson & Smith Jumper Weight vs a worsted crepe swatch.) Finally, more processed, worsted spun yarns don’t aggravate my eczema, which can flare up quite badly if I’m using a particularly rustic yarn.
So, I’ll wear this hat this winter then carry on being a knitting heathen and knit these beautiful designs in cheap, mass-produced, worsted-spun yarn. (I had a few more thoughts on this yarn which you can read on my Ravelry project page if so inclined.)
Do you have a preference for woollen vs worsted spun yarn? Homespun vs mass produced? Or am I such a yarn newbie that I’ve completely misunderstood the nature of these yarns and am drawing ill-informed conclusions? Let me know in the comments.
Pattern: Ljós Hat by Ysolda Teague (my Ravelry notes)
Pattern details: “I’ve often thought that it would make sense to take inspiration from our Northern neighbours when it comes to making yarn from the fibre of our ancient sheep breeds. This yarn from Irish producer S Twist does just that, blending naturally coloured Galway, Jacob and Shetland fibres into a loose single ply that will be familiar to anyone who has worked with Icelandic lopi. It seemed only fitting to design a pattern inspired by the geometric colourwork yokes of Icelandic Lopapeysas. The hat is worked from the bottom up with decreases incorporated into the colourwork pattern, as it is on those yokes, creating a particularly appealing crown pattern. There are a few rounds using three colours, which can be tricky, but take them slowly and I think you’ll find the resulting blending of shades is worth it.” Available as an individual PDF download or from Knitworthy 3.
Yarn: “From Galway to Shetland” kit from Ysolda.com, featuring S Twist Wool in natural shades white, dark grey, light grey and brown.
Needles: 3mm for ribbing, 3.25mm for body.
Mods: Different gauge (24 sts & 28 rounds / 4”). Changed dimensions so hat had 1″ positive ease (pattern image shown with 2″ negative ease).
*This really happened during this project. The lightest grey yarn was the worst culprit and I never want to knit with it again. Ripping back and it being single ply probably didn’t help matters.