Thursday, 4 August 2011

FO: Chutes and Ladders Hat

A couple weeks ago it was sofrigginhot out and it felt as though winter has never existed anywhere ever. How could these waves of oven-like heat come from the same planetary weather system that did this to my car just a few months ago?

New Nikon 245

I spent the heat-wave week working from home in my little office with no air conditioning. That's how dire my work life has gotten- I would rather spend 8 hours in an airless sauna then make my way into the city with a crush of humanity to sit in a chilly icebox for the day. It actually ended up bring quite entertaining- just when I couldn't bear the heat another second, I would run into the kitchen and cook a big dinner. Corn on the cob, wonton soup, stewed chicken thighs over fresh pasta. Basically, standing in front of the oven and cooking made it so much easier to bear the oppressive heat and humidity because as soon as I stepped away, it magically felt 10 degrees colder. Also, because I couldn't drink water fast enough to stay hydrated, when I drank something with alcohol in it, i was tipsy and having a riotous good time right away. The fact that I spent several occasions over the winter dishing out huge amounts of cash to sit in a sauna or steam room, I had to embrace the heatwave as a way to cleanse my pores. My's fabulous.

It got so hot in the kitchen, a bottle of homemade beer exploded and shattered into a million pieces. I was kind of proud of the fact that I was tougher than the beer, but cleaning up all those sticky shards was not how I wanted to spend my morning.

The other thing I thought would make me feel nice and cool was to whip up some handspun hats. Oodles of them. As many as I could find odd balls of handspun in my stash. I've been spinning for, oh, 6 or 7 years now, which equates to a whole lot of 2-4oz skeins of oddballs of yarn. I'm on a lot of conference calls and webexes all day, and I find if I don't knit to keep my hands busy, I'll just start click-clicking away on the internet or tap-tapping away on the keyboard, answering emails and stressing about all the tasks that I could be doing. So I knit, and try to pay attention to the call. It's nice.

Here's the first one I spun up:

spinning stash

It started as a 2oz bump of Merino/Silk fiber from Capistrano Fiber Arts in the "Etoille" colorway. It was as soft as anything and the 20% silk content made this just a little shiny. I had acquired this at the Yarn Tree in Brooklyn ages ago...I actually bought two bumps and made a scarf out of the first one I spun up. I love the color on this so much- the combination of the moody dark purples and blues with yellow really made my heart pitter-pat.

I spun this up on my Kromski Minstrel into a big, bulky thick-and thin single.

october2010 157

october2010 155

I tried to keep it as lofty as possible. I had some thin spots where a whole lot of twist accumulated, but for the most part, I was happy with my non-lace spinning. It was fun, and making a bulky yarn takes a fraction of the time than cobweb lace. I got about 70 yards.

I found a hat pattern that I wanted to try.

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It's called the Chutes and Ladders hat from the "Handspun Handknit" book. It's a perfect fun little hat to eat up a skein of handspun. It's just a ribbed brim, cables with double yarn overs that you drop on the next row. Or, at least that's how I did mine. The pattern had some ambiguous instructions, so I chose to ignore them and just knit on. It was probably just the heat messing with my head. I don't see any scary killer clown faces in this, so I think I'm okay.

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It's not the most tidy hat, but I had a lot of fun making this. Also- it took maybe an hour and a half, and that was even with a good chunk of multi-tasking thrown in. I keep meaning to pick up some round balloons at the dollar store. I've been blocking hats over a mixing bowl for years and they all kind of have a flatter top that what I'd like.

Size 11 needles.

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