January 18, 2011

Sad Hat, Happy Hat

For the past four, no, almost five years, my go-to it's-freaking-cold-out-there hat has been an Irish Tam that Will's coworkers gave him as a going away gift when we moved back home from Dublin. Yes, you read that, they gave him the hat, but I claimed it. I couldn't help it! It's soft and warm and honestly, it looked better on me anyway. I dont wear it all the time. When the weather is not super cold, I have a whole array of hats that I like to rotate though. But once mid December hits and the house starts getting drafty so that I want a hat on all day, this is my work-a-day hat.
This winter though, I've noticed that my beloved hat has become a little, sad. For one thing, it's stretched out and so I spend an inordinate amount of time pushing it up out of my eyes. Which isn't very condusive to getting work done, but whatever, I can deal. But then there are the holes. Although I've lived a lot of my life in Oregon where moths are prevelant and wool is worn for a good chuck of the year (Will wore thick wool socks every day for the first two years he lived there, no joke, even in the summer!) I have never had anything end up with mothholes before now. There's something about Virginia I guess, but I'm finding little chewed through holes in a lot of my favorite wool things, this hat included.

After numerous comments from my husband, my mother in law, and my friends about the sorry state of my hat, I decided it was time to replace it. (Although I'll still have to keep the tam, sentimental value and all) I've been wandering around Ravelry for a few weeks looking for something that was just right, not the same kind of hat, but something warm and fun like it, and finally settled on a this pattern. Unfortunately when I knit it up it turned out to be too big and not very warm. Which led to the creation of the happy hat. It's warm and thick and I love the texture and it knit up in about two short sessions, which was good because my head was getting cold.
I used Tahki Montana for this hat. It's fast becoming my favorite yarn and I've already knit two pairs of mittens and Briton's Elf Hat out of it. This hat takes less than one full skein, including making the bobbles. If you can find it I highly recommend it, if not, I think any super bulky weight yarn would do.

So, once again, I'm no knitting designer, so forgive any mistakes or oddities. It's a pretty simple hat, though, so just go with it and see how it comes out.

Moss Stitch Bobble Hat (or The Happy Hat)

Yarn - Tahki Montana
Needles - US 10 1/2 straights or circulars, US 10 DPN's
Gauge - 2 1/4 sts per inch

Cast on 60 sts on size 10 1/2 needles. Work in double vertical moss stitch* until the piece measures 6 inches. Cast off and block to square up the corners and make sure the sides are straight.

*The best description I've heard of this is to knit the front in K1P1, then knit what you "see" when you flip it over (so P1 K1) then when you flip over again, switch it up and do the opposite of what you "see". So if you had 6 sts on your needle it would go
row 1 k1p1k1p1k1p1
row 2 p1k1p1k1p1k1
row 3 p1k1p1k1p1k1

This makes a double stitch going up but keeps the seed/moss look going across*

Wrap the band around you head so that it covers your ears and comes up over your eyebrows. It should overlap by about 1 inch and be fitted, but not tight. Pin it in place and remove. stitch the back side of the overlap together, using a yarn needle and scrap yarn, leave the rest of the flap pinned in place or tack down with a stitch or two.


Using the DPN's, pick up 40 sts around the top of the band and divide them evenly onto four needles.

Round 1 *K1P1* repeat to end
Round 2 *K1P1* repeat to end
Round 3 *K2tog, P1,K1,P1,K1,P1,K1,P2tog* repeat to end (each needle will have the same pattern)-32 sts
Round 4 *K1P1* repeat to end
Round 5 *K2tog, P1, K1, P1, K1 P2tog* repeat to end - 24 sts
Round 6 *K1P1* repeat to end
Round 7 *K2tog, P1, K1, P2tog* - 16 sts
Round 8 *K1, P1* repeat to end
Round 9 *P1, K1* repeat to end
Round 10 *K2tog* repeat to end - 8 sts
Round 11 *K2tog* repeat to end - 4 sts

Break yarn and pull through remaining sts to close. Tie off and weave in ends.


This yarn basically halfway between yarn and roving, it's very loose. So I decided to make bobbles out of it just as you would make felted beads.

Cut two 40 inch long pieces of yarn and pull each apart into smaller, open pieces. Wad them up into two roughly ball shaped lumps and get them a little wet. Now, squirt a little dish or hand soap into your hands and start rolling it gently. You have to use a very soft touch here or you'll end up with lumpy beads. And who wants lumpy beads, right? Keep on a rolling until the bead becomes fairly solid in your hand and doesn't soak up water when you run it under the tap. Once it's felted, pop it in a colander and pour boiling water over it to shock them into submission and allow them to dry before attaching to the hat. (Hint- I made the beads while the band was drying after being blocked so they were dry by the time the hat was ready for them!)

So there you go, the happy hat. If anyoen out there trys this, please email me photos of yours!