Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Experimenting - a pixie hat, first attempt

For the girls and I, one of our favorite routines is our trips to the library.  We try to go at least once a week, though we've been known to go considerably more often some weeks, not at all on others.  It's an enjoyable walk of a few blocks to the main branch.  Part of our routine includes seeing what's new in the small art gallery with its rotating display from local artists and craft guilds.  We usually finish up by visiting the Second Cup, just off the gallery.

This place is filled with some of the most interesting people, including the employees.  I often bring my project bag and do a bit of crochet while the girls and I have our drinks and chat.  I've even left the odd cup cozie behind for the staff.  One of our favorite staff members has a unique style all her own, with awesome dreadlocks and funky clothes.  I discovered she was interesting in learning how to crochet flowers, like what I made here.  So when I had the chance, I caught her before her shift and chatted with her about what she was looking to learn.  I couldn't help but notice the fascinating crocheted peak hat with floppy brim she was wearing at the time.

The hats I usually make are a basic form with variations.  Whether I work top-down or bottom-up, crown is usually flat or nearly flat, the sides are straight, and I would add either some sort of ribbing or a brim around the forehead.  Any manner of stitch variations can be used on the basic form to make it unique an interesting, but every now and then, I want to experiment with different shapes.

I wasn't quite going to try and recreate the peaked hat I was inspired by, but it did get me to thinking about the shape.  In visiting Ravelry and seeing some of the patterns there, I've recently seen quite a few new hats showing up, and that they were called pixie hats.

How appropriate.  It turns out the lovely young lady who's hat inspired me is named Pixie!

So here is my first experiment in a pixie hat.  While having a Star Trek marathon with my younger daughter, I dug out an incomplete skein of worsted weight yarn I had no plans for. I knew there wasn't enough yarn to finish what I had in mind, so I dug out a couple of small balls in pink and purple I had left over from who knows where.  This being a total experiment, with rather garish colours, I had no real thought of it actually being worn by anyone.  I finished this hat in a single evening - it took about 3 1/2 episodes of Star Trek.

Pixie hat

My daughter insisted I get a shot with the tail sticking up! 

Pixie hat

I worked the hat in rounds - the seam is just to the left of centre in this photo - and using a larger hook to start with.  A 6.50mm hook, if I remember correctly.  I started with a magic circle of 6 dc.  (All but the very last round are done in dc.)  I increased the next round by 3 stitches, then, then did 2 rounds without any increases.  I repeated that pattern of working one increase round (increasing by 3 stitches to the round) followed by two rounds without any increases for a while, then started doing the increases every second round until I got it to a length where I wanted to make the head portion.  There I evenly worked in more increases in each round until I eventually got it to 70 stitches.  As the variegated yarn was running low, I started adding in rounds in pink, then eventually added in rounds in purple as I worked the 70 stitch rounds for the head portion.

When I got the head portion deep enough, I switched to a smaller hook (a 5.00mm, if I believe - as you can tell, I wasn't too interested in recreating this exactly) for the brim portion.  I added enough increases evenly around the hat to create a bit of a ruffle and kept that up for a few more rounds.  The very last round was done in sc with no increases at all.

Pixie hat

Personally, I think it's the ugliest hat I've ever made! LOL  My daughter, however, loves it.  Yes, she wears this in public! LOL  The next day, she wore it when we took her guitar in to get the neck adjusted.  The guy who worked on it complimented her on the hat.  When she mentioned I'd made it while we watched a Star Trek marathon, he ended up telling us about the Toy and Comic Show that was happening the next day.  We even ended up exchanging names so we could add each other to our facebook friends lists, but it turns out we both have our security settings too high - he couldn't find me when he tried to look me up on their computer in the store, and I couldn't find him when I got home and looked him up.  Ah, well!  I'll just have to meet up with him again at the store.

After getting her guitar fixed, my daughter and I went for lunch in the mall this store was at.  Walking back through the mall later on, she heard someone going by in the other direction call out "stupid hat!"

She just laughed at him and proudly kept wearing it!

Y'know, when I was her age, I wouldn't have had the guts to wear this (and I did wear some pretty unusual things back then - usually involving chains).  If I did manage to wear something this outlandish and someone said something like that, I would have been humiliated.  My daughter is a lot stronger and more self-assured than I was at her age!

So this is my first experiment with a pixie hat.  I think it looks a lot like a trumpet shaped flower - like a Morning Glory - turned upside down.

After finishing it, I could think of a few things I'd change about it (I mean, besides the colours... LOL).  I'd worked in rounds, which left a seam, and I figured working in a spiral would be better.  I thought about different ways to change the shape as well.

My kids are saying I should make another one like this, except with a much longer "tail."  They even want me to use garish, variegated colours again, too!

Well, I didn't make another one quite like this, but I did play around with the idea some more, which I will write about in my next post.

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