Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hipster Hat and on the Trail with Simcha

Winter is a time to embrace the quiet that comes with the colder weather and shorter days.  Everything slows down after the holidays and winter takes hold.  There are also hot cups of coffee in the morning that taste better when it's cold outside; the getting bundled up for walks and returning to a warm cozy house; and the long evenings to spend reading or knitting. All of these activities lend themselves to quiet contemplation and being at peace with silence which is when we are best able to apprehend and know our true self.  And all these activities are even more fun when wearing a new hat!

In this post I'm wearing my new Ripley hat which is a cute hipster style hat designed by the very talented Ysolda.  Because I did not use the same gauge yarn that she did I had to modify the pattern to work with a worsted weight yarn (versus heavy worsted weight yarn) and smaller needles (US 8 versus US 10). I found the most challenging part of adjusting this pattern for a different weight yarn was figuring out how many stitches to work for the hat band because the hat band is knit length wise instead of the traditional in the round method.  To adjust the pattern what I did was find a hat that fits me the way I like it for my 21 inch noggin.  I then measured the hat band of that hat "relaxed" (i.e. laying on a flat surface) and found it was 9 inches across the base (i.e. 18 inches circumference).  I therefore proceeded to knit my band until it was 18 inches long without regard to how many slipped stitches there were.  Once I reached 18 inches in length I resumed following the pattern instructions and ended up with 85 stitches on my needles (after the (k1, kfb) round. The next round I increased (evenly) an extra 8 stitches with a M1 stitch for a total of 93 stitches on which to knit the hat body.
I also made other adjustments to make it a less slouchy hat style and I've explained those modifications below.

I'm really happy with this hat and it's a great example of how a simple but well thought out pattern with the right yarn will combine to make a very wearable accessory.

Project Particulars: Ripley from Whimsical Little Knits (Ysolda); US 8 needles; 2 skeins Road to China by The Fiber Company.  Due to using a different gauge yarn (worsted weight) I made the following modifications: I knit the band on 8 stitches versus 7; I knit the hat band as described above; I worked the first set of pleats over 16 stitches and the second set of pleats over 14 stitches and eliminated the final pleats; instead (after completing the second set of pleats) I worked the pattern instructions for the slouchier hat and then proceeded to the decreases; to account for my additional stitches my decreases were made every 15 stitches a total of 6 times (i.e. 15 x 6 = 90 stitches) (and I also on the first decreases used a K3TOG stitch (3 times) to reduce my stitches by an additional 3 stitches as I began with 93 stitches).       Previously I knit a toy elephant designed by Ysolda which is found in the post entitled Miss Elly, a Toy Elephant.

N. B. The above pictures are taken at the beach in San Clemente, California where we always spend a quiet week without TV or computers the week between Christmas and New Years.  It's one of the nicest times of the year for me.

Taking Pictures With Simcha ~

Over the past year photography has become an increasingly enjoyable hobby for me and the daily hikes I take with Simcha give me plenty of opportunities to practice taking pictures of nature and the wonderful scenery around us.  These pictures were taken in Topanga and are a few of my favorites from this past year.

The fun part of hiking with Simcha is that he is not just a fantastic model he's also a helpful photography assistant!  For example, I never would have caught these quail posed like this without his assistance.  He obligingly chased a covey of quail up onto a rock and then held their attention transfixed while I snapped away.  So helpful.  I really don't think I could have gotten this shot with out him. Incidentally, quail are California's state bird and we have a lot of them here in Topanga although I don't often see as many of the colorful males together as there were in this covey.

And finally a peaceful sunrise overlooking the Los Angeles basin before the morning fog lifts and floats away.

Until next time be well and love well and may these winter days bring a sense of peace, quiet and a better understanding of who you are and where you are going on your sojourn in this world. Hopefully wearing a new hat.