It did take a little bit longer than I expected, but this has been a busy time of the year... Christmas caroling, Christmas shopping and, well, Christmas generally have been getting in the way of spinning and knitting.
Here's mum modeling it beautifully - it suits her much more than it does me!
It did surprise me just how much material there is in the main part of the hat - like cardy sleeves, you don't appreciate the area you've got to knit until you see them opened out flat. I moved to circular needles once the increases started to pack the stitches very tightly onto the straight needles! As with all hats, though, once you start on the reductions, it all starts to move much more quickly.
I've learned a great new stitch with this hat. 'k1b' is sometimes 'knit one into the back of the stitch', but in this case it's 'knit one into stitch below'. *k1b p* produces a very chunky and surprisingly elastic rib. As I mentioned in a previous post, when you slip the stitch off the needle, you hold your breath for a second expecting a run to start, because you don't feel you've knitted into the stitch, but somehow it works.
This was also the first time I've had to p3tog - purl 3 stitches together! It produces the mother of all stitches, but very effectively reduces these massive ribs. The pattern doesn't say so, but on the row following p3tog reductions, I couldn't easily knit into the stitch below those large reducing stitches, and so I resorted to an ordinary knit into those particular ones. I don't know whether that was what the designer intended, but it seems to have worked well.
The size is just about perfect. For the required chunkiness, I plied the wool using Navajo method (3 ply) - for speed I just plied it straight off the spinning wheel using a drop-spindle.
Because the wool came from Mum's friend's sheep (again see earlier post), I used it 'neat'. It's very coarse, the resulting yarn is a bit harsh and hairy, and so the hat doesn't feel very soft. I do like the the fact that it's a beautiful colour undyed though (very dark brown, almost black), and so if using the same wool in future, I think I'd blend it with something similar in colour but softer, such as alpaca. I think I'd like to make another of these hats using pure alpaca.