This post is part of the Semester in the West Hat Series. Catch up on the latest hats and free patterns below.
The story behind Nina's Hat is deeper than just the hat. It is a tale of sincere friendship between two intensely curious and unapologetically true-to-self individuals, if I do say so myself. In other words, a seastar-loving, birder extraordinaire, almost-dairy science major finds a tree-hugging, sustainable urban planning-obsessed, knitwear nerd walk in a bar. When they find each other, they run out immediately, because one thing they agree on is that almost every other place is more interesting than a bar. Okay, bad joke, but let me continue...
Nina is one of those overwhelmingly inspirational humans that one can only expect to run into a few times over a lifetime. Though I happened to be directly behind Nina when we were in line to get our Whitman ID cards on the first day of first year orientation waaayyy back in August 2014, we didn't actually interact enough for her to remember my name until we were in the same WFR course last January. And while I knew a little about her, our friendship didn't begin until she took Willa and me birding at Bennington Lake on our day off during the WFR course after all three of us found out we would be in Semester in the West together. While I continue to struggle to be interested in birding, I was mesmerized by her patience, ability to teach the bare-bones basic, and unapologetic enthusiasm for the muddy, rainy trudge around an oversized puddle in the dead of winter with few birds in sight.
I could write and write and edit and rewrite many pages about Nina's awesomeness, but I'm afraid even that would fail to accurately portray her incessant curiosity for the natural world and unwavering embodiment of her true self 24/7 and highly impressive accomplishments. During our mini-photoshoot, I figured it would fit Nina's character if she pretended to be interested in the moss on the tree, but--what was I thinking--she didn't have feign interest in one of nature's underrated wonders! She's went off on a Watson year exploring the world under a lens of disease ecology last week, and I can't wait to keep up with all her adventures on her blog, Natural Selections.
|Nina teaching me to spin with wool from her 4-H sheep last December!|
Nina's creativity in her hat design rivals Thomas's Hat. Nina was quite active in 4-H in her youth and has a more developed appreciation for woolly fiber than I--that is, from raising the sheep to shearing, skirting, and spinning--but her interest stops when it's time for the knitting and design process. So, even considering a background of sorts in fiber arts, she requested "gills" on her hat--like the underside of a mushroom #duh--instead of knowing it's called ribbing, and proposed design ideas completely outside of the typical knitwear approach. But that is why I love this project so much! Fresh ideas, like combining sheep with lightning, have been energizing for me as a knitter to mix up techniques and keep things interesting. It also pushes me to experiment, such as adding mock-bobble (baaahble?) texture to the sheep, which I think adds quite a bit of pizzazz to the already-zany hat design.
The specs: Yarn is Drops Karisma in Dark Olive, Dark Grey, Light Grey, Navy, and White. I used US 2 and US 7 needles. I started knitting the hat during our week in Mexico and finished it when we were in the Death Valley area.
And it appears the hat is getting some use--the easiest way to make my day! The pictures below are from her blog post, "Humans Who Love Birds Who Love Cacti," documenting some her ecology adventures in the Tuscon, Arizona area.
Well, Nina, your life is just one adventure on top of another. I'm glad the hat I made you gets to join in the fun sometimes, too! 💖
Nina’s Hat Pattern
Difficulty: Intermediate. Recommended experience with three-color stranding color work.
Yarn: Drops Karisma in the following colorways: 0.3 skeins Dark Olive 47 (A), 0.1 skeins Dark Grey 53 (B), 0.3 skeins Light Grey 44 (C), 1 skein Navy 17 (D), 0.2 skeins White 19 (E)
Gauge: 21 stitches and 28 rows = 4 in (10 cm) with US 6 in stockinette stitch
Finished Size: Fits adult-sized head, approx. 7.5 in (19 cm) long
Needles: US 2 (2.75 mm) dp needles, US 7 (4.5 mm) circular (9 in/23 cm) and dp needles
Other Materials Needed: stitch marker, ruler, yarn needle
CO 120 sts with US 2 in A. Connect in the round and pm. Work *k2, p2* ribbing for 1.5 in (4 cm).
Still with A, switch to US 7 and reduce to 90 sts (*k2, k2tog* across round).
Begin working Color Chart 1, repeating each row three time per round.
To work a mock-bobble (baaahble): knit five stitches into a single stitch. Knit the first stitch without slipping the loop on the left needle off, then slip needle into the back of the same stitch and knit a stitch, again without slipping left loop off. Then knit the third stitch into the front of the stitch, the fourth in the back, and the fifth in the front, finally slipping stitch off the left needle.
During the next row, the five stitches created from the mock-bobble will be consolidated into a single stitch via knit five together (k5tog).
Once piece measures 7-7.5 in (18-19 cm) or desired length or when you reach Row 35, continue onto to decreases as written in the chart and elaborated below. All decreases are worked with Navy (D).
Round 35: *k3, k2tog,* repeat * to * across round = 72 sts.
Rounds 36, 38, 40, & 42: k across round.
Round 37: *k2, k2tog,* repeat * to * across round = 54 sts.
Round 39: *k1, k2tog,* repeat * to * across round = 36 sts.
Round 41: k2tog across round = 18 sts.
Round 43: k2tog across round = 9 sts.
Color Chart 1
***Note: Complete all mock-bobbles with Light Grey (C). Complete each k5tog with Light Grey (C), except for the first k5tog of each repetition of the color chart in Row 12 and every k5tog in Row 13, which are to be knitted in Navy (D). Complete each k2tog (the hat decreases) with Navy (D).
Cut yarn end, leaving an 8 in (20 cm) tail. Thread yarn needle and pass through remaining sts and pull tight. Weave in yarn ends. Block if desired and enjoy!
CO – cast on
pm – place stitch marker
k – knit
p – purl
yo – yarn over
k2tog – knit two sts together in the back loops
st(s) – stich(es)
Until next time,