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Pat's Knitting and Quilting

June 11, 2010
His and Hers Handspun Stained Glass Hats

I used the beautiful Polwarth Roving from April's Fat Cat's Mixed Blessings Club (scroll down a little) to make us 2 nice warm winter hats.

Stained Glass Purple Yarn Version

Mine is made using the purplish Polwarth along with some light gray corriedale that I spun for the contrast color. I made a picot edging to add a little girly factor and lined it with some Aubergine Baby Silk left over from my Swallowtail Shawl.

Stained Glass Hat Purple Version

Dave wanted less contrast for his hat, so I chose to spin some wonderful Spinderella Thrums in "Medium Naturals" for his background color. The Thrums were a beautiful mixture of natural browns/grays in soft wool, alpaca, mohair, llama.

Stained Glass Hat Red Yarn

He was not home during the only moment of sunlight we've had in the past few days, so I am modeling his hat and taking pictures with one hand. Hmmmmm - this one fits me perfectly too :-)
For Dave's I used a garter edging and lined it with cashmere left over from Ivy Vines - talk about a soft warm hat!!

Stained Glass Hat Red Version

Pattern: Stained Glass Hat from Green Mountain Spinnery.
Yarn: For each hat used - 30 grams Fat Cat Knits Polwarth in Mixed Blessings April Club Colors and 34 grams of Spinderella Thrums / Foxglove Light Gray Corriedale. All fiber spun regular 3 ply /approx. worsted weight (I never remember to check WPI - just go by how it looks). Lined with 10 grams of lovely soft cashmere and alpaca/silk left over from other projects.
Needles: 16" Circular US #4 for the facing/lining and US #6 for the hat. (Switch to magic loop on 40" circular for decreases on top)
Size: Cast on 112 stitches - knit on size 6 needles for a 20" circumference
Mods: Added facing and different edging stitches, did a "fake" corrugated rib, and used US 6 needle for main hat, added and changed a few rows in the colorwork pattern, but otherwise followed directions as written.

Stained Glass Hat Lining

I think I will line every hat I make from here on out. It is a wonderful way to use up those little bits of extra luxury yarn/fiber and you never have to worry about an itchy hat again!
My method:Using a smaller needle, do a knitted cast on (sometimes called a chain cast-on) which is nice and loose and makes beautiful loops to pick up later. Knit for about 3" or until you use up your leftover yarn. At this point I change to my "regular" hat yarn and knit 2 rows before the turning round. For the picot edge, the turning round is *yo, K2tog*, repeat around; and for the "man" hat I just did 2 purl rows for turning. Now switch to larger needle and knit your hat as long as the lining and then pick up those nice loopy cast-on stitches and knit them around with the corresponding live stitches. ( knit through both the live stitch and the cast on loop at the same time treating it like one stitch). The join is invisible from the front and there is no finishing/hemming. Here's a close-up from the inside.

Stained Glass Hat Lining

I forgot to get a picture of the fun top decreases, but you can sort of see it in the pictures below.

Stained Glass Hat Stained Glass Hat

I'm leaving next week to visit my oldest son in Fairbanks, Alaska and doubt I'll get another post in before I go...so see you in July :-)

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June 2, 2010
A Walk in the Woods

I had planned on a "finished hat" post today, but after my natural dyeing frenzy this weekend, I had to show you this instead. I have always had a strong "gatherer" instinct - can find and pick berries all day long! So it follows that I've recently been drawn to the idea of dyeing from nature and am at the last minute planting a dye garden which probably won't be usable until next summer....SOOOOO in the meantime, I couldn't wait to at least give it a try and while on a walk in the woods this weekend, I gathered one bag full of bark, acorns, pinecones, mushrooms and another bag full of every type of leaf, fern, and flower that I came upon.

bark and acorns leaves and flowers

To extract the dye from these plants I simmered them in water for about an hour then just let them sit and steep until they cooled off. Our house was filled with the sweet rich woodsy odor for hours!

steeping steeping

I then strained out most of the dye material and put the pots back on the stove to heat up, while soaking some Knit Picks Bare sock yarn in warm water. Bark/acorns have natural tannins and do not need a mordant for dye uptake so I just plunked half of the yarn right into that dye pot. Leaves and flowers need a mordant so that the dyestuff bites into the yarn and it remains light and wash fast, so I dissolved 1 -2 tsp. of alum and 1/2 tsp cream of tarter in boiling water and added it to that dyepot and dropped in the other half skein.

KP Bare

natural dyeing

These pots gently simmered for about an hour or 2 and then sat to cool overnight. In the morning I washed and rinsed the yarn and hung it out to dry.

woods yarn drying

The finished yarn is beautiful and still has a wonderful woodsy scent...

woods yarn

I dropped all my other projects and cast on socks - I'm making up the pattern as I go (starting the cuff with Quill Eyelet stitch pattern from Knitting on the Edge) and will somehow incorporate both 50 gram skeins into it so I have enough for a pair of socks.

start socks

Finished hats next time :)

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