Thanks for your lovely comments on the hat post. For all those who wanted it, here is the recipe for How To Make One:
I used Katia Sfera Mega Chunky Wool and 12mm needles and got through just over a ball in making the hat.
It really is a very simple template- you count out the number of casting on stitches you need (youtube has several excellent 'how to cast on' videos if you've not done it before, and likewise 'how to knit' and 'how to cast off' as well). I did 30 cast on stitches for the hat and that seemed to work for me, M and L in terms of fitting all our heads so I would suggest using about that number. The first hat I made I cast on 40 stitches and it was way too big. Then you simply knit the first row and purl the second. HERE is a really good simple explanation of knit and purl stitches and how to do them.
I had intended to carry on with the knit one row, purl another for the entire hat but got distracted watching Ruth, Peter and Tom on the excellent How To Make A Medieval Castle prog which is currently on TV and muddled my stitches, so some rows were two knits together instead of one. I didn't unpick the stitches (mainly because I can't, not without getting in an unravelling muddle, losing my temper and throwing the knitting at the wall :o) ) but decided to keep them because the emerging pattern created a thicker band around the base of the hat which I think worked well. So basically, whenever you want to create a ridge effect you knit 2 or 3 lines together without purling any, and then go back to alternating knit one row with purl the other for the chain-stitch effect which is smoother. Does that make sense?
Here's the hat again which will hopefully demonstrate what I mean:
When you do follow the knit one row and purl the next, knit the next and purl the next and so on, you get a chain-stitch effect that looks like this. It's called a Stocking Stitch:
The green one is my Second Hat! (which I wore while out coppicing in the woods yesterday amid the damp and chill and it kept me so toasty warm I had to take it off to cool down). This one was knitted on 20mm needles which gave a slightly looser knit to the stitches and I left it longer in terms of height too so it is more slouchy when it's on.
Carry on knitting until you've got sufficient depth to wrap it around your head with a few cms left over at the top, then sew the two ends together (I used a wool sewing needle and some slightly thinner wool) so you make a sort-of cylinder or tube shape. Then you just gather the bit that's left over above your head and tie it tightly with some spare wool, making the bobble-type shape you can see in the pics above.
It really is that simple, and each hat took me about an hour to make so they aren't time consuming and fiddly in any way. Honestly, if I can make one anyone can, so give it a go :o)
I took it to college and everyone was suitably impressed. M likes them so much he has asked me to do one for him. I've got some nice deep brown wool which I'm going to use for his. I suggested to L he might like a pink one- he just grinned and said if I paid him he would wear it. They are super-warm so perfect for this cold weather.
In other Wool News, L's blanket is nearing completion, as amply demonstrated by my Lovely Assistant Poppy....
It looks a Rag Tag and Bobtail affair at present (THIS is a great little sight about the origins of such phrases, in case you were interested), but this will vanish once the squares are sewn together and then it comes out all neat and shiny.
L's blanket is a single blanket; I've got a few more squares left to do as well as runners for the sides to neaten them up. Any stray wool tails from ball ends can be tucked through to the underside of the blanket so they aren't visible when it's on the bed.
I like all the squares to be different shapes and sizes; some of them I do standard knit, and some I use the knit one row, purl one row theme to create a slightly different effect. I'm going to give some of the patterns on the link at the top of the post a go as well- I quite like the 2x2 rib - and if I can remember how to crochet I might stick some of those in too.
This blanket is going to be a Christmas Present for L as he's been casting covetous eyes on the double blanket I made for M and my bed last Christmas. He knows it's in progress but doesn't know when it will be ready so I hope he will be pleased and like it. Occasionally I show him bits of wool and ask if he like the colours so he has sort-of chosen some of the squares :o)
I found some really cheerful wool on ebay t'other day which I bought and have already started knitting with. It's going to go in L's blanket too. It's from the Cygnet Seriously Chunky Range and I use 12mm needles for this one too....
I love this time of year for knitting in front of the fire. It feels very traditional and always makes me think of my ancestors, who of course would have made their own clothing and blankets to keep them warm in the winter. My father's grandfather was a clothier in Hawick in the 19th century so maybe a bit of his love of fabrics has rubbed off?
There is something about creating an item yourself that makes a significant difference to your well being when the weather is cold. I love the fact that these things are originals- no one else has a hat like it, or a blanket like it. In this world where most of us buy things from shops instead of making them ourselves it's a nice feeling to know you have something from your own effort that isn't availabl anywhere else.
Hope everyone's well?