Friday, June 30, 2006

Swirling Around

Last year when I saw Penny's hat on Annie Modesitt's blog, I immediately coveted it. And last week when I saw Risa's orangey good Pinwheel Sweater in progress at SnB, I immediately coveted it, too. Add in everything else swirling around – all the recent spinning, flooding along the Delaware River (which, among other things, has shut down the state capital), Katherine's spiral rib sock, musings about stars and spiral galaxies, fireworks, Independence Day, Tanabata, Tour de France doping stories, and the result is – ?!! – a swirl hat, in progress.

Swirl hat in progress

The hat is shown draped over another hat to give it some shape as it's not yet blocked. The crown and hatband eyelets are finished, so it seemed a good time to take some photos while I ponder the intricacies of the brim. There are lifelines in place, in case I need to frog back to adjust the fit. Kindly notice the hat has Z-twist [grin].

The basic inspiration for the hat is the Picture Hat in Annie's brilliant Confessions of a Knitting Heretic, which gives excellent directions for designing, fitting, and blocking knit millinery. Except I'm knitting the hat in one piece and one color from the top down, using a modification of my favorite swirl medallion from Knitting Counterpanes by Mary Walker Phillips. The yarn is Louet Sales Euroflax Linen, which I like much better than comparable weight cotton.

Swirl counterpane medallion

I find it's very helpful – liberating, even – to think of the crown as a modified counterpane medallion. A brimmed hat seems complex, formal, and vaguely intimidating, something that oughta take a long time. By contrast, I expect to crank out several counterpane medallions a day and feel free to make modifications. Having seen Katie's pretty cap, I briefly thought about adding beads à la Odessa – maybe next time.

Now it's on to the brim. Annie's pattern calls for brim wire, preferably plastic monofilament Brimlock, to shape the brim. Must order some. Not to mention the secret plan is to wear the hat to a Fourth of July barbecue, which means I need an appropriate hatband ribbon... something with a dusting of stars, don't you think?

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