Posts Tagged ‘hat’

And so it snowed. We received 7 inches (18 cm) last night into this morning. I am a snow lover so I don’t mind at all that our first snow fall was this early. Today it is melting.

Since the weather is this chilly, I thought it might be a good time to explain the references I’ve made to my haircut. I razored the back and the sides, leaving just a small very short amount on top. I did this for a number of reasons, not the least of which are the hot flashes I get from my breast cancer medication. The hot flashes are the worse right where I shaved off most of my hair. It does help not having a lot of hair in that area of my head. I also did it because I am tired of good hair days and bad hair days and having to spend time drying and styling it. I wanted to be free of all that. Finally, at 62, I feel the freedom and the power that comes from wearing what I want and not being dictated to by fashion magazines.

Because I am the shy type (painfully so), the pictures of my hair cut are not my face. The two pictures represent what my hair looks like as I had my stylist put together a detail from each picture.

The back and sides of my head look like this picture.

hair cut 2

Yes, shaved very close like that.

The top of my head looks like this:

haircut 1

Basically the cut is wash and wear. It’s cut so that it falls right into place. But because a good portion of the head is shaved, I do need to wear hats in the colder weather. So I added to my hat collection.

The recent hat I just finished knitting is called Shear by Brooklyn Tweed knit in Arbor colorway Sashiko.

shear hat brooklyn tweed knit hat

It was a fun hat to knit and I am enjoying wearing it. Arbor is Targhee wool, not neck soft, but I really like it for this hat. The pattern and suggested wool go together perfectly.

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It’s been rather crazy here. First up in my insane world, the Train To Maine hat is complete.

train to maine knit hat

This is only the second hat I’ve knit for myself. One, I’m not a hat person. Two, they rarely fit my head even though I get gauge. Three, I hate it when it comes down to knitting the top of the hat. By the last row of decreases I feel like I’ve been in a cage match and I resent whoever invented double-pointed needles. Then I run the yarn through the remaining stitches pulling tight, just like the pattern says, and snap goes the yarn.

The Train to Maine pattern was blessedly knit flat and sewn together. The seam is truly invisible with this pattern. I loved knitting it and I enjoyed finishing it. But I haven’t gotten a chance to wear it. Since I knit the hat the weather has been a balmy 60 degrees (15.5 C). That’s a good 30 degrees warmer than normal. It’s really not hat weather at all.

The two yarns I used are Miss Babbs Yummy 3 ply in Oyster and Dream in Color Smooshy in Peacock Shadow. I can’t say enough nice things about the Miss Babbs yarn. So I will just say it is beautiful to work with and turns out lovely items. While Smooshy is one of my go to yarns, I had a problem with it this time. The deep indigo dye stained my wooden needles. Normally when I have deep colored yarns I put the whole skein in for a hand wash to see how much it bleeds and clear most of the bleeding out. I didn’t this time. My bad. So yes, that is an unblocked hat in the picture above. I hope the entire winter stays warm so I don’t have to wash it.

In my endless pursuit of a serene life I have failed miserably. The car I had for 13 years and grown very attached to is in the car lot in the sky. The snowstorms and bad driving conditions it got me through with ease made this car specially dear to my heart. But it had lived its life. The new car arrived this weekend. The most I have done is walk around it once and eye it suspiciously. I haven’t gotten behind the wheel. Heck, I haven’t even sat in it. I don’t resent it, I just don’t trust it. The Skipper says I have to get over this. I know I need to build a relationship with this car, it’s just that…I want my old one back. I never realized all the places I go to are not in walking distance.

Next up this week is major oral surgery. As my phobia of all things connected with dentists continues unabated, more things go wrong with my mouth thanks to the breast cancer, the radiation and the cancer medicine.

With all this going on, I decided to cast on a shawl with a lace pattern that I have failed over and over to get right. I thought it might take my mind off all the other things. This time around I only started over three times while I ripped back five. As added help, I’m not using a life line. I feel I should be able to read the knitting and know where I am. Yes, even my knitting is not relaxing at the moment.

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A Little Update

I am writing this on the infernal computer, which I named Finn. Naming things is not a good sign for me. It means I am becoming attached to them. Finn is certainly not my kind of computer, so why the growing attachment I am not certain. I say turn on, it says shut down. I say open Word, it says no, no, no.

In between fighting interfacing with Finn I’ve been chasing Hank the Heron. I know Great Blues don’t migrate, but for a spell there he wasn’t showing up. I love animals, but it was nice not to see him. Then his royal featherness reappeared. After much debate with The Skipper and a lot of searching on my part, I opted for two Great Blue Heron statues that I hope will deter Hank. Deep down in my soul, the place where the little voice of reason and truth resides, I believe the bird is too smart to fall for the statutes no matter how life-like they appear. The place Where I purchased the heron statues also sells an assortment of alligator replicas in a variety of sizes and poses. Just what I want to look at, a fake alligator decorating the lawn.

Amid all this, my oncologist gave me until May to drop about 20 pounds. So I am now enrolled in work-out boot camp with my very own drill sergeant. It’s a two hour round trip drive so I can be annoyed for 75 minutes. At first I thought I will either die or get in shape, but it’s not what I eat that is putting on the weight, it’s the cancer medication. So the truth is I can die and still not be in shape. Then why do it? If I live, I need to off-set not only the medication but the negative effects of radiation on my left lung and heart. Aerobics (such a nasty word) will help delay the ongoing radiation damage. I could just weep when I think of how nicely I was slowing down as I approached 60. The doctor claims it isn’t my age slowing me down it’s the medication. I said even Olympic athletes retire.

Despite all this, knitting has occurred. The First Point of Libra Shawl is complete. Picture forth coming, Finn didn’t feel like opening the picture software today. I also completed the hat. Again, picture forth coming. I am almost done with the front of my sweater that I am knitting off the top of my head. Patterns go so much faster when I don’t need to write everything down. Just a few numbers jotted down here and there on random scraps of paper. Of course it does take time to find the pieces of paper with the jottings and time is taken to puzzle over what the hieroglyphs mean, but still it’s faster than writing it all out.

I’ve gained an new appreciation for just sitting quietly and knitting. Nothing moving but my hands and the yarn.

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My Doctor Gets It

My doctor gets it. I collapse into a mess if I can’t knit, whereas when I am knitting I think all things are possible. The first question he asked my sad sorry self was whether I was knitting. I sneezed twice and replied that I couldn’t knit because the yarn touched the rash which made it more itchy. He emphatically said, “I want you knitting.” I lit up with hope.

The rash is hives. A generic response to an allergen. Precisely what that allergen is, we don’t know, but we know it’s not the yarn and my knitting. He prescribed 10 days worth of medicine to reduce the allergic response and suggested I knit with long sleeves on for now. He said that 90% of the time doctors can’t pinpoint the exact cause of hives.

As for the head cold, I will live, which means I can buy the hat pattern I saw on Ravelry and order the yarn for it. I really need a hat for this winter and I am very bad at hat making but I think this pattern might work.

train to maine hat

The Train to Maine hat by Carolyn Noyes. The pattern is here. There is hope.

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In Robert Frost’s poem Mending Wall a partial line reads “Something there is that doesn’t like a wall,…” and the poem goes on to ponder the “something.”  Change the word wall to hat and that’s my experience with hat knitting.

I wanted to knit two hats using a stranded design. One for me and one for The Skipper. The pattern could not have been better written. Everything was perfectly clear. I got the yarns, I got the needles. And so I knitted.

It was the first time using the yarn I chose. The weight matched what the design called for and the needle sizes matched too. And so I knitted.

The stranded design was lovely and the designer had worked it out so the jog that usually occurs between the end and beginning of a round was part of the pattern. And so I knitted.

The first hat looked a little big on the needles. I ignored the voice that kept saying “It’s a bit big, don’t ya think? Better try it on his head.” And on I knitted.

I blocked the hat while the voice said, “That hat is larger than a watermelon.” When it dried I tried it on The Skipper’s head. The hat was too big. I could slap a big bowl over his head and get the same effect.

Take two: Same yarn, same pattern, smaller needle size. I knit. Then I blocked. The second hat was smaller, but it was still too large. Naturally, my knitter’s response to this was to ask The Skipper what he had done to his head. In my eyes it wasn’t that this second hat was too big, it was that his head had suddenly become too small. “Stop messing with your head,” I told him.

Take three: Different yarn as I had run out of the original, same pattern, same size needles. Smaller needles wouldn’t work with the yarn weight I was using. I knit. I blocked. The Skipper tried it on. It wasn’t as large as the first, nor was it as big as the second, but he had room to grow.I suggested he stop cutting his hair and let it fill out a bit, the hat would fit better.

He’s wearing the third hat, convinced that his head is such that a knitted hat fitting properly can never be.

Yes, there is something that doesn’t like a hat nor me knitting it.

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Problem? Buy Yarn

The weather is grey, wet and cool. Perfect, actually for a walk. I find a slow walk in weather like this refreshing. For some reason it releases me from what is troubling me. The bothersome bits I carry around fall away and I can breathe again.

The doctor I saw yesterday says the pain on the mastectomy side is probably nothing more than muscle strain. This is the same doctor who said the cancerous lump in my breast was nothing to be concerned about. So I don’t necessarily believe what he says.

On Tuesday I will check in with the surgeon who performed the mastectomy and see what she says.

In truth, the pain is much less than it was. I see my cancer doctor this week and I see my radiation doctor at the beginning of November. I vote for walks in the rain and let’s see what these two doctors have to say.

In the meantime, I had a small hair-on-fire moment where I full out panicked about not having any yarn. Trust me, the panic is not rooted in fact. I have yarn vaults into which Yarn Rascal and I could fall and lose ourselves for hours. The news week was heavy on the “world as we know it is ending” stories, combined with my own health issues and my response is, naturally, buy more yarn. Yes, catastrophe equals yarn purchases in my mind.

Instead of buying yarn, I cast on for The Skipper’s winter hat. If I chain myself to the chair and knit 5 hours a day for the next two days, I can have it finished by Sunday night providing I don’t make a mistake that needs ripping back. The hat should use about 4 skeins of yarn, which means I will have to purchase 4 skeins of yarn to keep the stash numbers up. Yes, it all keeps coming back to buying yarn, doesn’t it?

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Yarn Rascal and I each had a fun filled productive weekend in our own dysfunctional special ways. I finished knitting another stranded hat and the 3 year socks. Yarn Rascal held his 3 favorite toys hostage and methodically destroyed customized them one by one in front of me while I was knitting. The Skipper ignored both of us and watched every sports event on television. It’s his way of dealing with our madness. But the Golden Paw Award goes to Yarn Rascal, who truly outdid himself.


Saturday found me determined to finish the hat.

another hat

I used Cascade 220 in Silver Grey and Sapphire. I had been eyeing those colors along with five others for a blanket design and wanted to see how they played together. I like the muted look, which is what I’m looking for in the blanket design and I like it in the hat too. The hat is from Charlene Schurch’s book Hats On. It’s really a great book and if you’re into making hats you should check it out.

Yarn Rascal did his best to derail the finishing. Since it was stranded I was working from two balls of yarn at once and this seemed to push him over the edge. He has an uncanny knack of identifying the worst moment to jump in my lap. Maybe it’s the slight hesitation I make with the yarn, maybe it’s the worried expression on my face when I realize the stranded pattern I’m knitting is not the stranded pattern in the directions for that round, which then makes me wonder what round am I really on and the next thing I know Yarn Rascal is in my lap, bamboo dpns in his mouth and all four paws and body are miraculously entangled in the yarn. The more I try to untangle him the more snarled he becomes, so I have to proceed slowly.

First it’s best to beg coax him into letting go of the needles tightly clamped in his jaw while secretly and slowly untangling the yarn from one paw. If I am lucky, he’ll let me continue in my failure to release the needles from his mouth and I may get a second leg separated from the yarn. Rarely do we get farther than this. A squiggle and a scramble and he’s enmeshed himself in the yarn once again. Only now he’s laying on his back in my arms like a baby, staring up at me with those soft, dewy eyes that say “I know I’m wrong, I just can’t help it.” I coo at him. I am putty in his paws. I am a total sucker for that little face.

One of his favorite toys is by my foot. Clumps of white fluff litter the floor. Mr. Care Bear has had it’s stomach ripped open and the stuffing pulled out of him. End of putty in his paws. Now I am all business because I am hoping he didn’t eat any of the stuffing. Thirty minutes later, the dog is separated from the yarn, live stitches have slipped off the needles and are freely hanging in the air, the yarn is tangled up on itself, the stuffing from Mr. Care Bear has been picked up and trashed.

This is Mr. Care Bear after his emergency appendectomy.

Mr. Care Bear after the operation. Notice his ears have been chewed off. Rascal did that while I was working on the baby carrier.

Mr. Care Bear after the operation. Notice his ears have been chewed off. Rascal did that while I was working on the baby carrier.

Sunday morning finds me knitting the final decreasing rounds on the hat. It’s a moment in the project when I really must pay attention to what I am doing. I cannot be disturbed. However, I don’t make this announcement. My strategy is to fly under Yarn Rascal’s radar. If I don’t project angst and worry, if I don’t make any sudden moves, if I don’t breath for the next 20 minutes I will finish the hat without interference. Yarn Rascal has Mr. Dragon in his mouth and is watching me. I pretend that I am not sitting on a keg of dynamite that is about to explode.

Twenty minutes later the hat is finished and so is Mr. Dragon.

Notice all the spiny things have been eaten away.  This is part of Rascal customization process. It also gets him a visit to the vet for stomach troubles.

Notice all the spiny things have been eaten away. This is part of Rascal customization process. It also gets him a visit to the vet for stomach troubles.

Mr. Dragon’s wings are partially detached from his body. Mr. Dragon is Yarn Rascal’s absolute favorite toy so I take it to the toy hospital (the kitchen table) and sew the wings back on. Yarn Rascal stares at the procedure the whole time, worried that his best friend might not make it. His little face, so filled with concern, just kills me.

Sunday evening, I finished the socks. Yes, the three-years-in-the-making socks are finally done. The yarn I used was Jill Draper Makes Stuff Splendor in the amethyst colorway. She has since changed her sock yarn. I loved the Splendor, but haven’t had the chance to try her new stuff. It wasn’t a smooth dash to the finish line.

Three years later these socks are done. Unblocked, hastily photographed, but done.

Three years later these socks are done. Unblocked, hastily photographed, but done.

Mr. Platypus was the sacrificial toy for finishing the socks.

He ate the mouth away from Mr. Platypus.

He ate the mouth away from Mr. Platypus.

Eating away Mr. Platypus’ mouth may or may not mean a trip to the vet today. We are on stomach watch.

rascal watching toys

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