Finito: Hat for a Trip to Iceland

No, no, not for me. I teach yoga for a living, which is incompatible with discretionary funds. Plus, I don’t like to fly, and it’s my understanding that you can’t get to Iceland by motor coach.

One of my yoga students, Q we’ll call her, is traveling to Iceland in July and she asked me to knit her a warm hat with earflaps. I figured she would want it to be yellow because that’s one of her favorite colors (or so I assume from the predominance of yellow t-shirts she wears to class).

Yellow looks great on Q, but when I wear it, anyone brave enough to make eye contact with me asks if they should call an ambulance. Ergo, I have very little yellow yarn in my stash, so I was happy when she asked for a black hat. (I love black.) But then not so happy, and fairly surprised, when my Ravelry stash records showed that I have even less black yarn in my stash than I do yellow.

My choice of yarn colors warrants its own post that will, of course, include a rhyming ode to brown.

I don’t like to knit earflap hats for no other reason than they require casting on twice, turning two pieces into three by casting on twice more, and weaving in more than two ends. (It’s like a cardigan with all those pieces.) But I like Q, and she deserves my best.

After I dragged my feet for a couple of weeks (doing my best didn’t mean I wouldn’t procrastinate), I remembered that I’ve been wanting to make Elizabeth Zimmermann‘s Maltese Fisherman’s Hat since forever, but never did because, hola, it’s an earflap hat. But now I finally had a good reason to.

The pattern calls for bulky yarn—well, it doesn’t actually call for it because EZ rarely told you what yarn weight to use (or needle size for that matter), only the gauge you should get—which meant that the hat would knit up fast despite the multiple pieces. I have some bulky black yarn, but it was propping open the door to Narnia in my stash closet, so I used some worsted weight that was easy to get to. (No, you can’t substitute worsted for bulky, but held double, it’s close enough.)

The yarn I used is my beloved Bernat Lana, a 100% merino wool that is so soft and so saturated and so lovely to work with and to wear that it has, of course, been discontinued. I bought it years ago from online closeout seller Smiley’s Yarns, and had I known how much I was going to love it, I would have bought every skein they had for sale.

The hat has a pointy crown, which I didn’t like and didn’t think Q would either (and doubt even Maltese fishermen are crazy about), but it would be easy to de-pixiefy.

Points are for debates, not hats.

I cast on and started reading the pattern*, realized that EZ uses short rows to shape the earflaps in a single piece, once again felt in awe of her mad knitting skillz, congratulated myself on my luck foresight in choosing this now easy hat pattern, changed the spread and rate of the crown decreases to produce a rounded crown, and wove in two ends. Four hours later**, I had this:

The last of the Lana, bound for Iceland.

I blocked it*** overnight, then presented it to Q in class the next day as an early birthday present. She loved it.


*Never do this. Always read the pattern all the way through before casting on.

**After I had to rip back because my gauge was off and the brim was too shallow, but it would have been a four-hour knit had that not happened.

***Always do this. Blocking your handknits will get you into heaven.

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