Finished project – Festive family hat – plus thoughts about life and everything else

I managed a quick FO over Christmas! It is the product of a collaboration between me and Mum, and is based on Tin Can Knits’ Strange Brew swatch hat pattern. I’ve been meaning to try it for ages – I had several odd skeins which I wanted to use up (which I neglected to photograph in skein form, sorry) and a colourwork hat seemed the way to go. These are a real mish-mash of fibres and weights, and yet it has all come together kind of beautifully.

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How about hat

Mum is an artist so, when we had a quiet moment a couple of days before Christmas, we both sat down with some graph paper and some felt tips which approximated (very approximately) the colour of my yarns, and did some doodling. I stuck to classic, rigid, fair-isle shapes, while Mum free-styled. Turns out, she is a colourwork natural (I am not at all surprised at this).

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I love the contrast of the retro colours paired with these geometric shapes. I think it’s gorgeous. (Also I can see little Christmas trees in it.) We had a bit of fun trying to avoid having any floats longer than five stitches (Mum did some clever work with sellotape and tiny bits of white paper to cut out a few stitches here and there), and then I found out when I was knitting it that we’d still managed to miss one line which has six (can you see it?).

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Two of these yarns are freebies from events I’ve been to over the last year. The oatmeal yarn I’ve used as the base colour was in my goody bag at this year’s Great London Yarn Crawl. It is Luma from The Fibre Co, which is a DK wool/cotton/linen/silk blend, and it is really nice to knit with. Like, properly nice – it’s soft but strong, you can’t feel the linen crispiness at all and it gives fantastic stitch definition.

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The green in the colourwork section is a worsted weight alpaca/wool/silk yarn – Terra, also from The Fibre Co – which I got thanks to being an early arrival at the 2016 Pompom Christmas party. It is very similar in feel to the Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend DK yarn I’m using for my Shinobi jumper (well, ‘using’, as it’s been languishing in a bag for over a year) so I decided to use some odds and ends of that too (instead of a different blue fingering weight freebie also from the GLYC) – the colour works perfectly, with that blue giving a proper pop and jewel tone. And the final yarn is some charcoal Jarol Heritage DK leftovers from the bespoke mitts I made for my beloved Dad last Christmas, which seems very appropriate.

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Just hatting about

I’m completely in love with the end result. The colourwork is unique and super pleasing. I like the fact that I used up some random skeins and ends from my stash to make it. And more importantly I will think of my beautiful Mum, and this Christmas, every time I wear it. I worked on it from the 23rd to the 26th while my family were staying with us so they all saw it develop.

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Hatting the big time

Pattern: Tin Can Knits’ Strange Brew swatch hat (included as part of sweater pattern), with colourwork pattern by Mum
Yarn/needles: Luma (wool/cotton/linen/silk DK) from The Fibre Co in ‘Flax’, Terra (baby alpaca/wool/silk worsted) from The Fibre Co in ‘Blue Spruce’, Silk Blend (merino wool/silk DK) from Manos del Uruguay in ‘Orinoco’, Heritage DK (wool/acrylic/nylon DK) from Jarol in Charcoal – on 3.5mm (for the brim) and 4mm circular and double-pointed needles
More details: Ravelry project page

And then there is life beyond Christmas

Because of everything that is going on with my family at the moment, in amongst the happy times this Christmas I have had quite a few melancholy moments (particularly after everyone went home again and the house became very quiet, though the cat at least came out of hiding then). Knitting has helped, a bit. It doesn’t make the immense sadness go away. But at least you have something a mindful to focus on even when you don’t feel like doing anything much, plus you end up with a new bit of fabric.

Which brings me onto hat number two. Didn’t quite finish this one in 2017 but I’m not far off. Hilariously I broke my yarn ban for this without even thinking about it – I had been so good! But I got a bit of cash for Christmas and we were in John Lewis, and I had seen Stephanie Pearl-McPhee knitting a baby hat that I really fancied improvising in an adult size, and suddenly I was walking out with three balls of John Lewis ‘merino blend Knit DK’. I only remembered about the ban on the way home. Oh well. It’s being put to good use.

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Not all hat… yet

It’s very much their workhorse range – 50/50 wool/acrylic and only £3 a ball. And it’s perfectly good for an improvised hat and I only feel slightly guilty about breaking the ban – £9 on non-sock-yarn for the first time in five months is still pretty abstemious. Plus I can splurge a tiny bit in Jan guilt-free – one of my leaving presents from my lovely former colleagues was a gift voucher for my local yarn shop (clever people! they were paying attention!).

OH YES, that brings me to my big personal 2018 news – as of today I am officially self-employed! Should you be looking for a communications consultant, I am your woman (also working on ways of bringing knitting and paid comms work together, though that’s on the long list). I am extremely excited, a little bit nervous, and generally optimistic about what it might mean for my 2018 (including, albeit not limited to, a bit more time for blog updates). First task of course is to finish this hat (well, there is the odd other thing to do, like registering my company and sorting out a business bank account, but priorities, y’know).

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Both hats are absolutely beautiful; however what a special memory to have collaborated with your Mom! I truly miss doing creative things with my Mom. Congratulations on your personal news! I wish you much success in 2018 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, on all counts! The memory with Mum is definitely the highlight, and something I will always cherish.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Stefanie says:

    Ho’omaka’i on venturing out on your own. Good luck. What a terrific beanie to and your mum created. The colorwork is terrific.

    Liked by 1 person

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