Friends, it’s been awhile since I’ve completed a knitting project, and I have sewing to blame. While I’ve been busy filling out my wardrobe, my knitting has suffered, which is unusual for me and a side effect of sewing I don’t like! So I may cool down the sewing a slight bit so I can focus on my (new) current knitting project. After I wipe a couple of projects off my plate that involve tutorials, that is… stay tuned!
That aside, I knew I wanted to knit my friend Elisa something for her birthday. She’s an extremely generous person, a talented knitter and masterful quilter. And by masterful, we’re talking she once sewed a quilt of the London Tube system that is accurate. I know!
I knew I wanted it to be a hat, but it couldn’t be any old hat.
(Do I look like a lumberjill in this hat and the plaid shirt or what? Try taking photos for a winter hat when it’s summer and the outdoors are all lush and full. So we’ll pretend it’s actually too cold to take photos outside, deal? This one’s for my Australian readers who are dipping into winter!)
Now, I said this wasn’t any old hat, so here’s the story. Elisa isn’t a huge fan of squirrels. She and her husband live a neighborhood over from us, and their street is much more tree-lined than ours, so they have a lot more squirrels than us. When I saw the new Squirrels hat pattern on Knitty, I knew that’s what I was going to knit… with a twist.
Two out of seven squirrels say, “Ouch! Who dropped that &*^&%#$! acorn on my head?!”
And squirrel #2:
How did I do it? I transferred the chart into Excel, and made a few tweaks. I turned the hands down, the ears down, and lowered the acorn. I wanted the eyes of the ‘bonked’ squirrels to be Xs instead of one knit stitch, so I omitted their eyes and stitched them on later. The hat is knit in the round but because of the two lowered acorns, I did those in intarsia. They’re small, so I just twisted the yarn and carried it back to the beginning of the acorn in each successive row. That just took a little extra flattening when blocking.
When knitting a hat in the round, many people use a 16″ circular needle. I hate small diameter circulars though, they make my hands cramp up. So I opt to split my stitches between two circular needles, as I’ve probably mentioned before. There are lots of tutorials online, but I think this is the one I used back in the day. It’s an easy technique—a bit fiddly for the first couple of rows, so if you find it all flopping around, try putting a pillow on your lap.
This pattern uses fingering weight at 6.25 stitches an inch, well looser than I generally knit fingering weight at, but I kept true to the pattern (fighting the urge to re-work it at a tighter gauge, ha). The result is nice and springy and light. No complaints on the pattern either, it was very straightforward.
Now if you knit with two circulars at a looser gauge and with two colors, you may find the stitches between your two needles get loose and crazy looking. That’s okay, because you don’t want them super tight or you’ll end up with a tight float between the needles and that can’t be fixed. You can totally fix it if they’re too loose, though.
Take a look at the difference blocking made below!
|(Note: I realized the before and after were actually the opposite sides of the needles once I examined the photo,
but both sides looked the same, trust me.)
Moral of the story: block your knitting. It really does make a difference.
Anyway, I’m wildly thrilled with this hat. Oh, how I love novelty patterns!
And I also discovered I’ve been missing out on something. I’ve avoided beanie or toque style hats as I almost always have some sort of curl or roll in my bangs. What never occurred to me until this photoshoot was I could wear this style behind my bangs like I sometimes do with berets, especially if the hat isn’t too tight as to crush my hair. This opens up a whole new world of hats for me in winter! There are plenty of cute vintage and modern winter ski cap patterns!
Worthy of an après-ski moment, no?
This hat has now gone on to live with its new owner, Elisa, but you better believe you’ll be seeing more novelty hats from me in the future!
So cute! This was one of the two patterns I liked in the new Knitty, and I love your twist on it!
Cute! I love the little squirrels! I’ve become so obsessed with sewing that I never knit anymore, but I should pick up the needles again. 🙂
Molly M. says
That is so darling! I wish I knew how to knit better than the basic stitch so I could do fun things like you and Solanah.
GOD BLESS, that hat is cute! I really love the squirrels that are getting hit by nuts, freaking hilarious! I hate squirrels, nasty little rats with tails, ughhh.
Your hair looks really really good in these pictures! I was just thinking how perfect your bangs look with that style hat.
Oh dearie this is so cute! The the two dropped acorns are the best.
I didn’t realize what jerks city squirrels are until I was dog-sitting. The squirrels were really taunting the poor dog and now I have no sympathy for them. heh YAY for city living. 🙂
Your friend is very lucky…
Super cute hat! I have another pattern saved to my Ravelry account that involves squirrels. I just need to get the right colors of wool. Love the knocked out squirrels.
I just finished making the Top Notcher bonnet you posted a while ago. I like never bloc any of the beret patterns I’ve made in the past. I’m glad I did with this project because it made sewing it together a lot easier.
Living Vintage says
So adorable I really love it. I haven’t knit since last summer as both sewing work and family tend to get in the way but you are giving me a bug.
That is so cool! What a clever idea. I am just about to cast of my very first colour work knitting. I used your tutorial posts so a massive thank you for helping me get through this project. Mine is only 2 colours so nowhere near as amazing as this. But I’m working up to one day doing something awesome like this.
Bunny Moreno says
Oh what a sweet gift! You are so talented and sweet! I am sure she adored it!!! xox
Super cute! What a fun twist 🙂
You’re a lovely gifter! So much thought and fun in it. I still really want to learn colorwork like this, but have no one to coach me through it 🙁
Rachel Proffitt says
As far as I am concerned, the squirrels deserve it! Lol great twist to a really cute hat!
Rachel Proffitt says
As far as I am concerned, the squirrels deserve it 😉 Great twist to a really cute hat!
P.S. if this posts three times, I apologize. Trying to comment from an ipad doesn’t always work!
Oh my God, it’s times like this I wish I could knit! This is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! It must have been so difficult giving this gem away!
i LOVE the acorn dropping detail!
Aww, so sweet. I think I may have to start blocking, your before and after pictures are a lesson to us all 🙂
Cutest hat ever!!!
Lady, you are such a genius! The way you did it is totally alien to me as I’m such a novice knitter, but WOW…what a result! So, so clever! I wish we were neighbours so I could pop over and learn some knitting tricks!
Eartha Kitsch says
Loooooove it! Hopefully your friend will learn to love squirrels. They’re good guys.
Nina Pitkäranta says
What a great hat!
Love the hat, and love your squirrel-y modifications to it! And pre- and post-blocking pictures never get old…
Helen Le Caplain says
What a gorgeous little number that is!
Miss Crayola Creepy says
Your friend is a very lucky gal!!
Jessica Cangiano says
This is so fabulously fun, sweet and cute! The fact that some of the squirrels are getting bonked on their noggins with acorns is all the more awesome (I love squirrels, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that there’s a certain Super Mario Brothers-esque feel to that which made me smile big time).
Gorgeous gorgeous squirrels! I love this so much! What a fun little project 🙂
ADORABLE! Love it (and not just because I’m a Jill haha).
Rochelle New says
I can’t remember if I commented already, or if I sent you a text instead lol. But OMG YOU ARE AMAZING!!!! SQUIRRELS!!!
I can’t wait for it to be cold again so I can wear it everywhere!
How very clever transferring to excel and changing the pattern, wonderful job. Looking forward to more.
Oh my GOddess, you look so pretty with this squirrel’s family !!!!
Love it, it’s supercute!!! 😀
Danielle Hinton says
AAAHHH!! I’m totally, TOTALLY in love with this hat! So cute <3
Adrianne B says
Cute hat. Knitty’s patterns are always fun to work up. Any way to see a picture of this London Tube quilt?