Sunday, February 7, 2010

Caught someone's ear with the puppy dog hat

I was working on Hat 33 (The puppy dog mosaic hat) at the pool yesterday while the kids took swim lessons. A young girl and an older gentleman (perhaps her grandfather) came up to me. The young girl said, "Nice knitting! Who's the hat for?" I didn't think she would really want to hear the whole 310 Hats story so I simply said "It's for a Kindergarten student in a Head Start program." The older gentleman's ear caught this and he genuinely, enthusiastically exclaimed "Oh COOL!" I'm serious. This wasn't your average "oh. cool. (let's get going I'm hot and hungry after sitting poolside during your lessons.)". No, this was a genuine, hearty, hardy "Oh COOL!" It made me wonder:
- Is he an educator?
- Is he involved in Head Start?
- What makes him find the idea of gift knitting for a Kindergarten student in a Head Start program to be particularly noteworthy?

Perhaps I'll see him again on a future swim Saturday. Perhaps I'll have the nerve to ask him. Perhaps I won't and I'll never know the answers to my questions.

The puppy dog hat is a mosaic pattern from Barbara Walker's MOSAIC KNITTING book. It is done in Wool-Ease (Lion Brand) yarn on #9 needles. I couldn't find a short #9 needle so I did the hat on magic loop.

It was a different experience doing mosaic on magic loop. I got to appreciate all the more the magic of the pattern's continuing from edge to edge. This is hard to explain if you haven't done mosaic knitting (or magic loop), but I'll try to explain. When you do mosaic knitting from these patterns, and you're doing them in the round, you skip the edge stitches that the pattern calls for in the book. (If you're knitting the mosaic flat, the pattern will call for "repeat of 24 stitches plus 3", for instance. The +3 is the edge stitching. You skip those edge stitches when working in the round.) The mosaic pattern ends at stitch 24 and starts again at stitch 1. The picture continues!! Now, that amazed me when I was working on short needles for the previous three hats. But it didn't amaze me too much; I took it for granted and didn't think about it too much.* When I was working on the magic loop, I had two puppy dog repeats on one side of the magic loop and the third repeat on the other side of the magic loop. So I really and truly got to see that there is no break of design between stitches 48 and 49, and again between stitches 72 and 1. Yes, I saw that there was no break in design on the previous three mosaics, but it was brought home all the more by having two repeats on one side of the needle and the third repeat on the other side of the needle. Perhaps if I worked with DPNs and had one repeat on each of three needles that I would have been equally astounded. (But first I'd have to overcome my loathing of DPNs!)

I did a double hem for extra warmth, softness and thickness about the ears.

* I did note that you do not get the "beginning of row jog" from color changes when you do mosaic knitting. That little issue just disappears. I can't explain why. It just does. It makes me happy. :-)

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Crochet Basic Roll-Brimmed Hat

From 310 Hats

Worsted weight yarn
I hook (5 mm)

  • Chain 2
  • 6 sc in 2nd chain from hook. Place marker in last stitch.
  • 2 sc in each sc (12). Move marker.
  • (1 sc in first stitch, 2 sc in next stitch), repeat around (18 sc). Move marker.
  • (2 sc in each of first 2 sts, 2 sc in next stitch), repeat around (24 sc). Move marker.
  • (3 sc in ea of first 3 sts, 2 sc in next stitch), repeat around (30 sc). Move marker.
  • Continue in this manner for 13 or 14 rounds (increasing the number of scs before the increase by 1 each round) until your radius is about 3", diameter about 6", and circumference about 18". (78 scs or 84 scs). This should make a nice flat disc, which is the hat top.
  • Work even without increasing. It will start making a bowl shape. Continue even until the depth is about 6". It needs to be long enough and and big enough around to cover a Kindergarten-age child's head and ears.
  • To create a rolled brim, increase the stitches by 50%: (1 sc, 2 sc in next stitch) repeat around.
  • Work a few rounds even.
  • Slip stitch around to give a nice tight, neat edge.
  • Cut yarn. Work in ends.
  • If the hat is too "airy", you can weave colored yarns through the stitch spaces. Colored yarns will be very decorative.