You know how much I adore Countess Ablaze yarns, so when this gem of a skein arrived, I itched to knit something with it. Isn't it pretty?
This is my favourite base of yarn, Countcashmerino High Twist, which is a Fingering/4 ply weight yarn and made up of 80% Merino, 10% Nylon, 10% Cashmere and is 400 yds/365m, weighing 100g. It is soft and bouncy and feels tremendously decadent when I knit with it, and when I wear it. I wanted to knit something that would show off this gorgeous yarn and not hide it. I wanted this yarn front and centre when I wore it because I couldn't countenance the glorious colours being muted by a contrasting yarn. I have rather a lot of shawls (as you might have guessed if you have read this blog before) and I knew it shouldn't be put on my feet, so that only left a small selection of accessories. I knew putting it on my hands would be wonderful, but it might cause the yarn to pill before it's time if it was put on my hands. I seem to be on a bit of a hat kick at the moment, so I decided what I needed, was of course, another hat! I even had the pattern in mind, the Sockhead Hat, which I have knit recently and wear all the time.
I knit this hat in 24 hours. I couldn't stop myself, because the little pops of colour drew me on as I knit it. This hat grew quite a bit in the blocking. This is the fabric before soaking.
You can see how defined the stitches are in the above photo. It actually made the fabric quite bumpy. I soaked the hat and left it to lay flat, without pinning, as it dried, until it was just slightly damp. At this point I stretched the crown over my polystyrene head to dry completely to get a nice rounded top. The rest of the hat was not stretched at all at this stage.
This is the fabric after blocking:
You can see how much smoother the stitches are. It made the fabric supple and soft. It was quite a transformation. Because the hat grew in blocking, this hat is much slouchier than the last one I knit, so I usually wear it with the brim folded back.
Folding back the brim, not only shortens the slouch, but also makes your ears much warmer. I wear this hat such a lot at the moment. It is getting a bit chillier in the UK, and this hat is the perfect way of keeping my ears and the back of my neck warm. One thing about shorter hair is you get a colder neck in Winter!
As you can see in the above photo, this hat does hug the nape of the neck nicely, so there is no gap between the hat and scarf.
I love wearing this hat. It is soft and decadent but it is also fun and cheerful. It goes with a surprising amount of neck accessories, because there are so many flashes of colour in the finished hat. I thought it would be hard to match it up with anything, whereas it actually seems to go with everything. I really don't think this will be the last time I knit this hat or buy this yarn, but if I were to pair the two together again, I would knit the stocking stitch portion a little shorter to take into account the growth in blocking.
So, in conclusion, I love this hat and I love this yarn. Try them both!