After three months of knitting Christmas gifts for other people, it was really exciting to knit something for myself. A while back I bought a copy of Interweave Knits: Holiday Gifts 2013, because I fell in love with the Beekeeper Slouch hat pattern.

Aside from socks, hats are my favorite thing to make. They are quick and you can do some really beautiful detail work that isn’t completely overwhelming. Ever since I learned how to do cables, I’d been looking for a project where I could practice a repeating cable pattern in a small space, (rather than a huge sweater). The Beekeeper Slouch turned out to be just what I was looking for. Not only do I get to make a hat, but I get to whip out that cable needle!

The recommended yarn was a beautiful shade of yellow, but it was a little too expensive, so I opted for Paton’s Classic Wool, Worsted in Jade Heather. This shade of green reminds me of pine trees and it goes well with the scarf I made last year.

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Beekeeper Slouch
Knitted by: c.b.w. 2013

Once again, I used mismatched vintage buttons. I bought them at a flea market in St. Germain Wisconsin over the summer. The wood has such a warm tone, which works well with the green.

The cables were a challenge, but not because of the stitches themselves. Rather, it was a question of attention span. With the cables attached to one another and traveling across the entire brim, I had to make sure I was mindful of where I was in the pattern chart at all times. One backwards facing twist would blow the whole thing!

Even though the pattern was very well written and easy to follow, I ended up making a few adjustments. I chose a bigger needle for the ribbing (size 6 instead of 5) and I decided to skip the buttonhole row, (the “holes” within the cable pattern suited the buttons I used perfectly). The fact that I made any changes at all made me realize I’ve come a long way as a knitter. I’m no longer afraid to alter patterns or construct elements in a different way.

I have to send a huge thanks to my aunt for a little piece of advice that made this hat so much easier. Over the summer she taught me a trick that helps in picking up a large number of stitches, (we all know how easy it is to lose count or run out of space to pick up stitches). For this hat, the pattern called for picking up and knitting 100 stitches around the brim (to attach the body of the hat). The trick is to divide the pick-up area into four quadrants. In my case, I folded the brim into quarters and placed a plastic pin on each fold. With the quadrants marked, I knew I needed to pick up 25 stitches in each section.  This simple technique makes it a snap to evenly space picked-up stitches and maintain an accurate count.

The best part? Just as I finished my new hat, a cold snap hit. I’ve already worn it three times and I love it!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2013

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