When a Hat Isn’t Just a Hat

I never blogged about this hat last year. I counted it in my 2016 round-up and mentioned it in my March 2016 FO Monthly Round-up.
Ribbed Hat
I didn’t think of it as a major FO but it was made for my ‘little brother’ Travis because he has repeatedly been a guest lecturer for my class. Ten years ago Travis was my graduate assistant when I worked at American University. I left higher ed for a new job in the association world a few months into him working for me but he told me that I was going to be his big sister and I couldn’t get rid of him. Many Thanksgivings together, dinners, happy hours and guest lectures later Travis has solidified himself as a member of my family. He’s the little brother I never knew I needed but love so dearly. So the thing about the hat…he kind of loves it.
Travis and his hat
Every time I see him on Instagram he’s wearing the hat and you guys know whenever someone wears something you make it makes your heart feel good. When I asked him what kind of hat he’d like he sent me a picture of a slouchy ribbed beanie and asked for in a deep red/burgundy shade. I chose the Graham hat pattern (it’s a free one) and used the Mighty Stitch Worsted in Pomegranate so he could wash and dry it without any issue. In January I got a text ‘Can I get this same hat but in black and in gray?‘ Seeing as how he’s my little brother and I ask so much of him and he asks so little of me I said sure, ordered 2 more balls of yarn but just never got the chance to put them on my needles. And then last month he told me he’s moving to NYC for his dream job.
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I quickly picked up the yarn and said I’ve got to get moving. I’m halfway through his gray one. I’m cooking him one last meal on Thursday and I hope to finish it and maybe even a black version too. And every time I pick this hat up I get a wave of sadness at the thought of not meeting him for dinner on a random Tuesday because it’s gorgeous out and we were in his neighborhood. I realize more and more how much knitting is a labor of love for me. I put myself in each stitch. I try to make things with purpose, that I’ve thought of all the details to make sure this knit thing will fit into someone’s life and when they wear it they will think of me. So even though I won’t see Travis as often, I know I’ll still see a little bit of me in his Instagram feed whenever it’s a bit chilly and he needs a hat. It’s kind of like his big sister will always be there to protect him because isn’t that what big sisters are for?

So a hat isn’t always a hat. Sometimes it’s a lot of love. Have a great weekend.

FO: Storm Tracker Test Knit

I signed up last month to do a test knit for knitwear designer Alicia Plummer. I agreed for a couple of reasons:

  1. It was a worsted weight sweater, so I knew I could finish it fairly quickly (11 days)
  2. The mock neck turtleneck style was one my sister would love and I still hadn’t knit her a new sweater.
  3. It was a top down knit with textured sleeves and I’d been interested in that kind of design.
  4. I had the yarn.
  5. She didn’t have a crazy rigid timeline.

So I made the Storm Tracker sweater.
Textured sleeve sweater
Here’s the finished product. I modeled it myself because I knew I needed pictures for the test knit and my sister hates almost any photo you take of her.
Textured sleeve sweater
In my version you can see I made only a few modifications. I went with 3/4 length sleeves because in the DC/MD/VA area we don’t always need full on wool sweaters. This sleeve length makes it a little less hot. Also the pattern called for 5 inches of neck ribbing and I only went with 3.
Textured sleeve sweater
It has a little bit of ease built into it so it doesn’t just cling to the body and the hardest part for me was reading the cables once you work the sleeves in the round after you’ve separated them from the body.¬†It’s a simple 1/1 cable but I had to pull my cabling needle out and I hadn’t done that in a while. I definitely love the texture and I can see myself making it with just an inch of ribbing at the neckline for myself. Oh and the yarn was Knit Picks Swish Worsted, their superwash worsted weight yarn. I had a bunch in a lovely heathered indigo color that I knew my sister would love. It washed up beautifully and was super soft when I wore it. I’d definitely use this one again.
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Added bonus, I thought with all of our warm weather my sister wasn’t going to get to wear her sweater until next fall/winter but I was surprised at brunch by her and my Mom wearing their knit goods. I’m currently swatching to make a spring sweater for my sister Anne, so she’s not being left out.

FO: A Baby Girl Blanket

Happy Wednesday! How about a sweet finished object to get your day going?
Baby girl Croxton's blanket
My girlfriend is having her second baby, a little girl in March and her baby shower was last weekend. Her favorite color is purple and she told me a while ago that she loved the combination of lavender and mint so I knew that would be the color palette for this blanket. So I ordered up some Knit Picks Mighty Stitch Bulky in Wisteria and Mint and I used the white I had in my stash from my striped Bermondsey cardigan and decided to make a chevron striped baby blanket from the free Purl Soho pattern.
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I knit her son a blanket a few years ago. For him her color palette was navy and green BUT she and her husband are from Baltimore and are Ravens season ticket holders so I asked her if she wanted his color scheme or if she wanted a Ravens blanket for him…she chose the Ravens color palette. Whey they brought him home from the hospital he had on a Ravens onesie, this blanket and a hat I knit to match. I love getting pics of babies wrapped up in my knits. It’s the absolute best.
Ryan's Ravens sweater
I also made him a Ravens inspired varsity sweater when he was one. So I already ordered the worsted weight of the same colors in baby sister’s blanket to make sure she gets a cardigan in the fall in her colors. Although I’m sure I’ll do some matching big brother baby sister sweaters again. I love those. Now back to her blanket.
Baby girl Croxton's blanket
I never measure my blankets, I always just knit until I think they’re a good length and can at least be folded over or draped over a shoulder. I knew I wanted this to be a quick knit so I purposefully picked bulky weight yarn and a pattern that I didn’t have to do any purling. I really hate purling. The Purl Soho pattern has some variations in how they do their chevrons but for me it’s more about how I lay out the pattern and the color. I wanted alternating blocks of mint and lavender.
Baby girl Croxton's blanket
And the best thing about a garter stitch blanket is that it’s super squishy and this yarn is super soft so it’s like wrapping a baby in a cloud. My girlfriend was so excited when she was opening her bag and she knew it was mine I thought she was going to toss out all the other stuff just to get to the bottom of the bag. LOL She was dying to see what pattern I chose and in the end, she was super happy with the finished blanket. I don’t have time to make baby blankets for everyone but for those that I do I always know they’re cherished.