Monday, March 3, 2008

eating my hat

Just in time for spring, we've been experiencing the first really cold weather of the year in NYC this week, and as I walk around the city with numb ears, I've had the opportunity to reflect on all my slightly failed hat projects.

This one is pretty warm and it covers my ears, but it's also a little too Groverskin-esque to really pass muster on the streets of Manhattan. A hat, shall we say, from a more innocent time.

And then there' s this one, knit using guidelines from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns out of some lovely Noro that a friend gave me on the occasion of my dissertation defense. I cranked it out on a particularly rocking new year's eve two years ago - it was the year that Todd and I really tried to boycott the whole despair-inducing vomit-fest, but then at midnight there was a virtuoso illegal fireworks show in our neighborhood and, drawn by the explosions and generally festive noise of sirens, we scuttled around the streets for a bit, me wearing my new hat. This one is both lovely and capable of covering my ears (making it the ice skating hat of choice), but it's pure wool, and more than a little itchy. The scarf is, of course, the Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf, a wonder of a pattern with a refreshingly or disappointingly prosaic name, depending on your perspective.

This one is knit from totally gorgeous soft hand-spun alpaca that I picked up in a town outside of Boulder whilst on vacation with friends a few years ago. Actually, it was vacation for me - they were in the thick of research for this excellent book. Anyway, we went to the alpaca ranch, met the very adorable alpacas, and I came home with enough yarn for a scarf and hat and also a deep desire to become an alpaca farmer. Seriously. Especially after teaching days like today.

Note the subtle silver thread. It's brilliant yarn, truly. Alas, I loved Grumperina's Odessa pattern too much to let petty gauge concerns keep me from knitting it in this alpaca, and the result is a very warm hat that doesn't quite make it over my ears and that also gives me a deeply ferocious case of hathead (not pictured).

And the matching scarf I knit from the rest of it is really warm and lovely but I did learn the hard way that a 3x4 ribbing will in fact roll. I actually figured this out when I was knitting it, but mostly I knit the scarf while waiting for Todd to come out of surgery during that truly excellent period of our lives when he got attacked in Georgia and his jaw was shattered and then wired shut for six weeks. So anyway, it was the only knitting I had in the hospital and I just decided to go with it despite the rolling. I toy with the idea of unraveling both the hat and the scarf and starting over. Maybe someday. After those wedding stoles are done.

And this one, knit with fuzzy slightly itchy mystery yarn purchased in the old bazaar of Shimla during my first trip to India - very cool design (Todd's, actually) and the height of hipster fashion a few years ago in the city. While it does cover my ears, let's just say that India is not the place to buy really warm yarn (I have this whole idea about opening high-end yarn stores in India, actually. After I start the alpaca farm.)

The beret was the star of my very first blog post, and I do love it, but it's actually a bit too large for my small head - no fault of the pattern - and so, while it covers the ears, it doesn't exactly keep the wind out. On the bright side, the hathead factor is minimal, which is what inspired me to knit a beret in the first place. Plus, Ksar's Bouton d'Or is brilliantly soft.

So: dorky but warm; warm but itchy; soft but cold ears and terminal hathead; formerly stylish and cold; and soft with no hathead but cold ears.

But it will be spring soon.


chelle said...

The hats are so artfully time you complain about being pressed for time I'll remind you of the hour you spent draping scarves over bushes in the park. Though your point at dinner was indeed valid, if we didn't have creative outlets, we'd all go insane.

I hate to do this to you, but it's a blogger rite of passage. In the tradition of pyramid schemes and chain letters, because someone tagged me, I have to tag you:

The rules are as follows:
# Link to the person who tagged you
# Post the rules on your blog.
# Share seven random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
# Tag seven random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
# Leave a comment on their blogs so that they know they have been tagged.

Full disclosure, you're the only person I'm actually tagging.

Anonymous said...

your hats are gorgeous. Being from land of north, I've learned a few things about hats. they should cover ears and if they're too long, you can roll them up and they still look pretty good. However, Alaska is unique in that fashion and warmth are two very separate and different things. If you're fashionable, you're going to freeze because fashionable does not mean warm. warm isn't always pretty or comfy because wool is itchy and warm usually entails some bulk and lord knows the yarn stores only carry brown in bulky and not itchy. Being allergic to wool as I am, I've casually avoided these inconveniences simply by buying silk which is surprisingly warm. I highly recommend it. :) If you don't have a wool allergy, just start saying you do. You're bound to create one for yourself. :) Then you'll be forced to buy the nice stuff.