20 Jan 2009


I finished a sweater this week. A simple top down raglan that may, or may not become a Today’s Sweater, as it was supremely uninteresting to knit. (Actually, that’s not quite true. Every sweater has its interesting bits. This sweater had fewer of them than most but, as my first successful top down raglan, I learned a fair bit about the process. I’ll talk about that in the next Today’s Sweater installment.)

Looking for an instant gratification project, before embarking on my next sweater, I chose a fat skein of Rowan Colourscape, in the Heath colourway, and the Trinity hat pattern from Woolly Wormhead’s book, Going Straight. Freeing the chunky yarn from my To Be Knit Next basket had the added bonus of having the appearance, if not the actual fact, of serious stash busting. One skein of this chunky yarn takes up a fair bit of room. Without it my basket looks practically empty; a measure of progress that I find oddly satisfying.

The yarn is quite simply gorgeous, with long, Noro-like swathes of super intense color. (Isn’t it funny how all yarns of this type seemed to be judged next to the Noro yardstick? Did Noro set the standard, or did we? More importantly, can we make it a verb? If we can, then this Rowan yarn has definitely been Noro-ed.) Neither the camera, nor the camera woman’s skills, do the color justice, but I do think the photo attests that slouchy is one of those hat shapes that’s flattering to many.

The luscious color of the yarn, and the quick-to-knit hat pattern provided a couple of evenings in front of the telly worth of enjoyable knitting, and I was really pleased with the finished project. I happily kitchnered (Is that a verb yet? It should be.) the final row together with the provisionally cast on edge last night, and couldn’t wait to try the finished hat on. It’s a quirky hat. Squishy, and slouchy, you can pull it into a variety of face-flattering shapes. I love it. Or rather, I did, until Tonia laughed at it.

Let me say for the record that we pull no punches in this household when it comes to the work of our hands, and that’s a good thing. Ours is a creative life, and it’s a given that neither of us hits the artistic high-water mark one hundred percent of the time. Many of Tonia’s successful paintings line the walls of our home; many more are relegated to the garage. Many of my sweaters have become comfortable old friends, many more are worn once or twice, and consigned to the attic. Some of Tonia’s pots live in the house, others live in the garden. We routinely swap criticism of our individual work, and we don’t always agree on the success or failure of a given piece, and that’s okay. What a boring life we’d have if we always agreed with each other.

My feelings aren’t hurt by the fact that Tonia thinks my latest hat is ugly. She agrees that the yarn is beautiful. It’s the texture ((Although it looks like a bobble hat, the texture is actually due to the YO, K2tog stitch pattern, worked every fourth row. The chunky yarn was worked on 5.5mm needles, which made the fabric quite dense and thick, and resulted in the sculptural texture. Upon reflection, the yarn was possibly not the best choice for this pattern, though I stand by my decision to turn the single skein on hand into a hat.)) and shape of the hat she takes issue with; the mental comparisons of it with Marge Simpson’s upswept bright blue hairdo which made her laugh.

Tonia’s response has not dampened my enthusiasm for this hat, though it has sparked a small crisis of confidence in my ability to wear it in public, and with aplomb. I do like the hat, but would rather not look ridiculous. In the words of Nigel Tufnel, “There’s a fine line between clever and stupid,” and I prefer to stay on the clever side of that line. So knitsibs, what do you think? On which side of that line does this hat fall?

Posted on January 20, in Blog


  1. Cathy wrote:

    I would still wear it–but maybe not with the blue in front.

    Posted on 1.20.09 ·
  2. Hrm. I probably wouldn’t wear the hat the way shown in the last picture (except in order to embarass my friends at the pub) but the other pictures look quite nice. It’s mostly that blue colour that brings on the comparison- can the hat be turned around so that the blue is on the sides or back, or does this hat have a definite front and back?

    I love the colours. 🙂

    Posted on 1.20.09 ·
  3. Ricky wrote:

    I’m probably alone in this but Tonia’s choice made me think of an archbishops’ hat, not Marge Simpson. LOL

    Posted on 1.20.09 ·
  4. Wear it!

    I’d agree with previous posters, the first shots do look very flattering and show a preferable way to wear it. And even if you do wear it as per the last photo, you’re bound to make someone smile and that’s never a bad thing.

    Posted on 1.20.09 ·
  5. And yes, Kitcherned should be a verb. Hey, let’s see if I can make it so with the next book…

    Posted on 1.20.09 ·
  6. Audrey wrote:

    I think it’s a lovely hat and I would wear it. Of course any hat will look ridiculous if worn on the top of the head as in the last picture of your post (it looks like a pope’s hat), but worn lower over the brow and covering the ears, I think it’s very pretty. If you like it and wearing it makes you feel pretty, it can only look nice in it. I agree with the others too that the blue being the most lively color, it should be worn in the back. My two cents 🙂

    Posted on 1.20.09 ·
  7. Hi Tonia! Good to see you getting some press. 🙂 Turn that baby around, pull it down, and hit the town!

    Posted on 1.21.09 ·
  8. Renee wrote:

    Hmmm…no, I wouldn’t wear it. It is a delightful delectable splash of color, but the combination of the shape and the color don’t work together. Each one of these characteristics on their own are wonderful, but together, for me, it’s a meh.

    BUT, I say, if you decide to wear this hand-knit-with-love item, then do so proudly with no excuses!

    Posted on 1.22.09 ·
  9. Nancy Ingram wrote:

    I love the hat! Colors are the greatest. I like it worn any way that you like wearing it.


    Posted on 1.22.09 ·
  10. carlarey wrote:

    Wear it proudly while doing your best Marge Simpson impression.

    Posted on 1.22.09 ·
  11. Taj wrote:

    I think Tonia looks positively adorable in this hat, though she probably thinks it’s silly. I really like her little textured side bits of hair showcased in the side view. I didn’t even consider the Marge reference. I’m a hairdresser so I’m unable to turn off my ingrained head/face/color appraisals. I’ve looked at pictures of you both and I think that you could totally rock the hat with the burgundy/reddish part in front to compliment your dark hair. No one would think Marge. I love the bumpy texture. Please don’t bury this beauty. If anything, it could go to Dulan, but please give it a go first.

    Posted on 1.25.09 ·
  12. Carolyn wrote:

    Poppycock. Its a wonderful hat. I’d wear it without thinking twice, but I live in the Pacific Northwest not England, where all must be brown or black.

    Posted on 1.25.09 ·
  13. katrog wrote:

    Love the hat, even in full Marge mode. My husband often laughs at my handknit headgear, but since I laugh at the “pancake hats” (flat driving caps) he favors, we are even. We also live in the Boston area, not tradtionally known for fashion forwardism, but in winter anything goes even with full business drag and your hat is definitely not on the weird end of the continuum by those standards.

    I agree also that the slouch is a very flattering style. I knit one of Ruth’s Strudels and it is my favorite and most flattering hat. That woman is a genius hat designer.

    Posted on 1.25.09 ·
  14. Barb wrote:

    I love it. Since I finally learned to use dpn this fall I have been hat crazed. Everyone got one for Christmas. I love the colors, didn’t know about Rowan having those great colors and the pattern is great. Knit on. I may make it.

    Posted on 1.25.09 ·
  15. Eileen Duffy wrote:

    Colors are gorgeous but I think the pattern suffers from not being slouchy enough. I think it needs more girth not length – more like a beret type width. That said could anyone ever put this on without the hysterical Marge visual popping into mind?

    Posted on 1.25.09 ·
  16. Ruth Templeq wrote:

    Oh that’s way to gorgeous not to wear!
    Though if one wanted to do the Marge Simpson schtick, the hat would need to be twice as tall, twice at LEAST, and all blue…
    So as others have said, turn your best color forward, scrunch it down and wear that hat with pride!

    Posted on 1.26.09 ·
  17. Ruth Templeq wrote:

    I can’t believe I typoed too.

    Posted on 1.26.09 ·
  18. Deborah Gudger wrote:

    Slouch that hat over one ear in a beret-like attitude and go for it. To up the quirky factor, I might make three corkscrew tassels-to make sure everyone gets the message you know what you’re doing and you are quite pleased with the hat, thank you very much!

    Posted on 2.4.09 ·

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