Field Guide Hat 8916

You can leave your hat on

I know a lot people that find that they lose interest with knitting a jumper – they start out with good intentions, but then realise that constructing a sweater stitch by stitch is actually quite a time-consuming process and they get bored, and the sweater never gets finished ๐Ÿ˜” (or it gets palmed off to a friend or family member to finish off ๐Ÿ˜‚)

I’m not one of those people, and I actually really enjoy knitting sweaters – but one thing that’s sometimes recommended to those quitters (๐Ÿ˜‚) is to make smaller things like hats and gloves instead. A quick win, if you will. Not quite instant gratification, but certainly possible within a weekend. I like knitting winter accessories not just because they’re quick(er), but actually because winter in England can be fierce and my hands are always cold. And just like you should never be without your towel (if you don’t understand the reference – what have you been doing with your life? Go and watch/read The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy nowwwwww), in winter you should never be without your hat. Even if it’s just to keep your hair under control on a windy day (which is what the husbeast uses them for ๐Ÿ˜‚).

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Despite actually having a fair few hats already, I seem unable to stop knitting them. You can never have too many hats, and they are very much like all those other things that you have loads of but can never seem to find one when you need one – they get shoved into coat pockets, or lost at the bottom of the shoe storage crate, or simply vanish into hat oblivion – or the same place that odd socks go to. Knitting a hat is super portable too – for flights or other travelling – and if you fall in love with a super-expensive yarn, you can just buy the one skein of it and make a hat rather than bankrupting yourself for a whole sweater. See, hats even support good financial decisions ๐Ÿค‘

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I am particularly fussy with hat patterns though –ย  I can (and do) spend hours on Ravelry, only to pass up on the vast majority of them. I like cables, and I like a good ribbed brim. Although I like theย look of lace patterns, I don’t want them on a hat because what’s the point in wearing a winter accessory that has holes in it? The wind is gonna bite at your scalp and your hair’s gonna get wet. I also don’t really like the look of reverse stocking stitch, or garter stitch – don’t ask me why, but I just don’t find them visually pleasing. So that rules out hats that have cables which are thin on the ground, because usually the rest of the hat is reverse stocking stitch and that just looks a bit ick to me.

LoveCrafts – a brand that I have bought from many times in the past, including to buy the yarn for my Volt Sweater – kindly reached out to me with a ยฃ20 yarn voucher to spend on their site which I, of course, said yes please and thank you very much to! I was planning on knitting replacement hats for me and the husbeast anyway (the ones I made last year have bobbled a fair bit, plus who doesn’t like a new hat?) so the ยฃ20 would go most of the way to covering the yarn for those. There was no requirement to write a blog post, but you’re gonna get one anyway!

What I actually really like about the LoveCrafts website – and is one of the main reasons that I tend to buy from them – is the ability to filter your search results.

Screenshot 2020 02 18 at 13.01.12

It’s all well and good browsing, say, the DK or worsted yarns, but when you’re substituting the recommended yarn for a pattern – which I do, like, 99% of the time because they don’t produce the colour I want or it’s just ridiculously expensive – it helps to be able to filter all those yarns down to ones that have a similar gauge (so you don’t have to faff about with needle sizes) or the same length of yarn per 100g (so that you know how heavy the yarn is in relation to the suggested yarn). I also use Yarnsub to help me identify good alternatives (which also highlights ones that LoveCrafts UK stock, as most of the yarns tend to be US made and therefore expensive/difficult to find), but then you’re left trying to source places in your country that stock it. So between these two tools, you’ve got a much easier job on your hands than back in the day when I first started knitting and t’internet wasn’t yet a thing ๐Ÿค“

Anyhoo. The hat’s journeys started on Ravelry, as always. I’m quite happy to scroll through page after page, looking at hundreds of cabled hats, trying to find the right one. The husbeast is another matter – heย hatesย it when there’s an overwhelming choice in anything so I have to shortlist options that I think he will like and then he picks from those. That process applies to yarn too – I have to show him the suitable individual yarns that I’ve found, and he will make his choice. To be fair, I’m pretty good at choosing patterns and colours that he likes, so we don’t tend to have to go back to the drawing board too many times, and I kinda like browsing all the pretty things ๐Ÿคฉ

Yarn-wise, I settled on two different shades of the Yarn Collective Hudson Worsted, a range which is curated by Michele Wang – a designer that I first stumbled across through her designs for Brooklyn Tweed.

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Pretty, huh? You can check out all of her designs here on Ravelry. A word of warning though: a lot of her designs use the Shelter yarn, which although gorgeous, is VERY expensive.

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I bought one hank of pumpkin (pictured) and one hank of Amorino – luckily there was a 30% promotion on at the time, but in all honesty, this yarn is TOTALLY worth the full price tag. You can tell that it’s really high quality, and it feels gorgeous. It’s 85% merino and 15% yak – I’m not completely sure of the yak qualities, but the yarn is not hairy or itchy. It’s squishily soft and a nice plump yarn.

In a way, I wish I’d never bought it because now all I can think about is having a sweater made out of it. The burnt orange colour is just *so* me (although very similar to the Brooklyn Tweed Shelter yarn I used for my Peabody Sweater – note to self, try other colours or you’ll have a wardrobe full of orange jumpers), and I don’t mind the burgundy one I got for the husbeast either. It would look good on him as a sweater. A lot of the other colours are a bit too ‘cool’ for me (as in tone-wise, not popularity-wise ๐Ÿ˜‚), so it would be good to see some warmer shades – DK, sport, 4ply and lace weights are also available, but they seem to be variegated yarns rather than solid, which isn’t really my thing.

With the yarn bought, it was time to decide on patterns – we (and by we, I meanย I) whittled down some options for the husbeast’s hat, and a choice was made – the Field Guide Hat and Mitts set by Plucky Knitter.

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Mine, however, was taking a little more effort to find something I liked the look of – but then I stumbled across THE ONE. The Vanns Tavern hat by Rebecca Kerstin which I realised, slightly later when I fell in love with and immediately bought the Sorrel sweater, that both those patterns lookย remarkablyย similar.ย  Which is probably a good sign, because it confirms that I really like the stitch design.

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3B00DA9A 2A10 402A 8E3A 5CC91E17B962 medium2

I made the husbeast’s hat first because I’m nice like that ๐Ÿ˜‚ As there’s no gauge listed on Ravelry for the recommended yarn for his design, I just had to assume that the yarn I’d got would be fine. It sort of was, but I did less rows than instructed and it’s still a little on the large side. It’s more of a slouchy hat than a fitted beanie – and he prefers a fitted beanie. But meh. It’s still a cool hat, and the yarn isn’t itchy at all – and he’sย proper sensitive to itchy yarns.

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Lunch break knitting!

It was a pretty quick knit – admittedly I didn’t measure the time spent on it, but it felt quick.ย I love the way the design tapers down into a cool little star at the top of the hat ๐Ÿ˜

Field Guide Hat 8916

The edges of the diamonds are somewhat pointy, so a yarn with a smidge more drape (a silk or bamboo blend, perhaps) might not have been a bad idea ๐Ÿค”ย But, I’m pleased with it, and it gets a lot of wear. I’d like to make him the matching mitts at some point as well, but… well, join the queue mate.

My hat is also a firm fave – the colour is just YAS ๐Ÿงก

(and the stitch definition is ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป)

Vanns Tavern Hat 8925

I used the Chinese Waitress cast on (tutorial on that method here), which I almost gave up on because after a few attempts I still hadn’t quite got the hang of it. But – I persevered, and eventually nailed it (or, nailed something that resembled an acceptable cast on edge).

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I thought that getting the tension correct on those dipped stitches might have been rocky ground – but I soon found out that so long as you’re not pulling the yarnย too tight, you’re likely to be okay. I’m pretty sure that the variations in tension across the hat are enormous, but you can’t tell ๐Ÿ‘€ (thankfully!)

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The pom on mine looks a little malnourished – I blame the husbeast for that, because he made it ๐Ÿคจ I did think about leaving the pom off, but it looked a little plain without it.

Vanns Tavern Hat 8948

So, this yarn threw up an interesting scenario for me. When I knitted my Volt Sweater (and indeed the Camaro sweater that I’ve just finished as well), one half of each stitch is nice and plump (the right-hand side, ALWAYS) and the left side is more tightly twisted – I have absolutely ZERO clue why this is, but it didn’t happen with this yarn.

Check out how even the stitches are on the rib of the hat:

Vanns Tavern Hat 8955

And now look at how the left-hand side of each knit stitch was twisted on my Volt sweater (it’s slightly easier to see on the stocking stitch as that’s such a tiny little rib band):

Volt Sweater 7686

Weird, huh? I’m totally open to thoughts and opinions on why this happens, btw. The Volt (and Camaro which has the same issue) were DK weight, the hat is worsted. The hat and the Camaro were knitted in the round, the Volt wasn’t, but they all used the same interchangeable needle set. Is it the squishiness of the yarn which plays a part? ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

Anyway, the hats were a success, and I’ve since bought a few more hanks of the orange colour (with a discount code ๐Ÿค‘) to make the Migration cardigan by Stacey Gerbman, which – as fate would have it – is designed for the Shelter yarn that I love so much but can’t afford. Howeverrrrrrr,ย we’re off to NYC in a few weeks, and the yarn is (slightly) cheaper there, so I might treat myself ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ


In other knitting news, I’m currently blocking the body of a sweater for the husbeast (sleeves are still in progress) and I’m unsure about how it’s going to turn out – it’s been on the blocking board for dayyyyzzzz and it’s still not dry. The yarn is seriously heavy when wet, which I worry is going to make the sweater grow out of control. It’s already a little big, because I couldn’t get it small enough to fit the recommended blocking dimensions. The yarn was used up from stash so it’s no biggie if it gets designated as a ‘comfy house sweater’, but it is making me pay more attention to how heavy the yarns are that I choose.

So yeah, watch this space on that one – you might be seeing the husbeast in an oversized sweater soon ๐Ÿ‘€ ๐Ÿ˜‚

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That’s it from me… happy Sunday guys, over and out โœŒ๐Ÿป

Field Guide Hat 8907

Vanns Tavern Hat 8931

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Vanns Tavern Hat 8942

Field Guide Hat 8916

Vanns Tavern Hat 8937

Field Guide Hat 8902

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On the blog next week – I’m shamelessly stealing the ‘one year sewn’ idea from Vicky at Sewstainability, reviewing my makes from a year ago and seeing how many worked out and are still in rotation ๐Ÿ‘€ Subscribe below to have the post drop straight into your inbox ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป

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24 thoughts on “You can leave your hat on

  1. Very nice hats! Agreed that itโ€™s hard to choose one that satisfies completely. The slouchiness of your Husbeastโ€™s hat would annoy me too. Lovely design, though. I saw the cast on of your hat & was very glad when it was the first thing you referred to after the picture! Iโ€™ve never heard of that one, I mostly now use the long-tail cast on which a friend taught me.

    I have some BT yarn (Arbor not Shelter) and I made a fab cowl by Donna Smith designs from it – iโ€™ve made a few accessories by her & always found them straightforward and striking.

    Knitting is somehow less faff than getting the sewing machine out, for me, plus my weight went down then up again (my own fault) and a knitted thing is always going to fit better than a cotton shirt, etc, if that happens!

    Itโ€™s interesting to have so much variety in your posts – loving that!


    1. Thanks Fiona! ๐Ÿ’œ
      Yeah, he wanted more of a fitted beanie, but that didn’t seem to be it’s destiny ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ
      That cast on took me bloody AGES to get the hang of – like you, I just use the long tail cast on for everything!
      Ooh I actually have some Arbor set aside for a different hat – I hope it’s as nice as Shelter! I haven’t (to my knowledge) seen Donna’s designs so I’m gonna check them out, thanks for the tip!
      Agree that knitting is just so much less effort – even if you only want to pick it up for five minutes to do a couple of rows, you can ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป
      And it makes me so happy to hear that you’re enjoying the variety in posts – I’ll try to keep that coming! ๐Ÿ’œ


  2. Hats are great. The stitch on yours looks like it makes a really cosy fabric. I like the slightly looser looking fit on hubby’s and the diamond pattern.
    The difference on your stitches on the Volt sweater is likely because it looks like it’s a cotton yarn. (Am I right?) It has less give and springiness but thats part of different look and textures you get from different yarn compositions. Nothing to do with your technique.
    Looking forward to seeing the next thing! x


    1. Hi Theresa!
      Thanks so much for your thoughts – the Volt yarn is actually 100% merino wool, and the hat is 85% merino/15% yak. So they are *almost* the same. I just couldn’t figure out why it was happening – it’s the same on my Camaro, which is again 100% merino DK. Maybe it’s the way the yarn is spun? I guess it doesn’t bother me *too* much… but I’d really rather that it was nice and even!
      You don’t have to wait too long for the next knitted thing ๐Ÿ’œ


    1. Ahh thank you Helen! So glad you like the patterns ๐Ÿ’œ
      Definitely do try knitting in the round – you’ll never go back once you’re used to it!


  3. Great hats! I always laugh when people say a hat is quick, I once spent 2 months (actually 3, but I had a break in the middle), knitting a kate davies hat, its great now its done, but I nearly went crosseyed looking at the pattern (it almost resembles a houndstooth pattern). Woolly wormhead hats are worth investigating, she has a few which are knit sideways so you don’t have to worry about casting on/off too tightly.


    1. Oh wow, I’m sure the hat was worth the time! I haven’t heard of Kate Davies or Woolly Wormhead so will check those out, thank yo! Sounds interesting that it’s knitted sideways… ๐Ÿค”


  4. I love knitting hats. As you point out it allows me to splurge on pricey yarn without breaking the bank. And my family is always thatโ€™s have a warm hat, cold here in Western New York! Both hats are so toasty looking.


    1. Yay for families with a steady supply of hats! Hats are so fun to knit aren’t they! And they are soooo comfy and warm ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Hi,
    I made the dog food mats, and was so so happy , I loved sewing them, may not look as designer as yours as I used bits and Bob’s I had, but lauren said it was funny because they took a lot of encouragement to eat their meals on the first use as ” what’s going on, if we stand on mums clothes in the bedroom she moans at us, now our food is on her clothes…what’s going on chaps…..” but now no problem, as well used and now in the wash , as our rescues are used to having their scraps left from the kitchen bins thrown at them to eat, so they take their dinner out of the bowl , place on the floor then eat,, one of them puts a heavy paw on his bowl to empty it completely then he eats his dinner off the floor and my mats… do we care no, they are safe and loved, they can eat from wherever they feel safe and loved, it will stop in time as they become secure in love. I know I use the word love a lot, but…its just what we all need to thrive , 2 or 4 legs alike, just be kind .xxx


    1. That’s so good to hear Cindy! I’m glad that they were well received (even if there was some confusion to start with!).
      You’re so right – I think if more of the world lived by the motto ‘be kind’, the planet would be a much better place ๐Ÿ’œ


  6. Hats have long been my favorite things to knit and to crochet, both because I get them done fairly quickly AND as you point out, the yarn expense is much smaller than it is for a sweater. I have a couple of hats that I knitted and crocheted aboard the USS KEARSARGE, a US Navy warship that I was stationed on in 2014. When you’re at sea and not at work, there really isn’t much to do but eat, sleep, work out, or read. OR make stuff, if you’re handy and brought a project or two. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The patterns you used are awesome, and I definitely want to check out that yarn; I agree that the stitch definition is outstanding. If you have any interest in picking up crochet (or if you already know how) and making a few hats, I highly recommend Alyse’s patterns:

    I’ve made several of her designs and the patterns are both unique and well-written. She’s got over 100, too, so there’s plenty to choose from! My knitted hats are mostly Woolly Wormhead, Jane Richmond, and a few random designers with one or two patterns out.


    1. Ah now you’re the second person to mention the Woolly Wormhead patterns – I NEED to go and check these out!
      Crochet is a fickle beast… I *can* crochet, as in, like a blanket or similar, but when it comes to things that actually need to be of a certain size (like, clothing), the tension is all over the place. Though, to be fair, the last time I actually tried to crochet something was about ten years ago, so perhaps I’m older and wiser and I’d have more success now. I’m gonna check out the Etsy shop you sent, to see if anything takes my fancy… perhaps I’ll give it another shot ๐Ÿค”
      I think I’d go a bit stir crazy being aboard a ship for any length of time – I like my freedom, which is probably also why the idea of cruise holidays doesn’t appeal to me either. I’d probably end up like Jack Nicholson in the Shining ๐Ÿ˜‚


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