Hand Spun Ear Flap

The last time I was in Boise (September?), I was working on a cowl from my own hand spun. Sheep Shed Studio Mill Ends three ply with two strands of black and one strand of white. I spun a ton of this and lost my enthusiasm for whatever I originally had in mind. I gave skein of it to a knitting friend of mine in Oregon and then tried a cowl for myself.

But it wasn't working out. I couldn't find a stitch pattern that worked well with the yarn. I was pretty much limited to stockinette. I ripped it out about 4 times. Then, on the fourth time, knitting in Boise, a friend asked what I was knitting. A friend who doesn't really care to hear about what I'm knitting usually.

I followed up with "Why do you ask? Do you need something."

"Oh no, I don't need anything, but I would wear an ear flap hat."

And we all know how a knitter responds to something like that. It was as if the Knit Signal was thrown into the sky. My brain said, "You hate this cowl, knit a hat. His head is freezing and his ears might fall off if you don't knit this man a hat!"

I told him I would start him a hat, to which he asked if he could pick the colors. My internal monologue flared up with rage.

"Of course you can't, I'm going to knit this with my own handspun, as a gift, for you, something I want to knit and you are going to like it!"

But instead I said, "Depends on what color you choose."

"I was thinking black and white."

"...okay..." So I cast this hat on three times. I think I was knitting it on 5s. I never really measured the gauge of the finished hand spun. Didn't measure the yardage or weight before I started giving it away. But after two tries, I decided I didn't like the tiny little gauge. It was moving much too slowly. So I said to hell with that and cast on doubled up.

I have had problems with ear flap hats in the past, stockinette curls, but there really wasn't a stitch pattern I liked with this yarn, I had tried on the cowl. I didn't really consider double knitting it until after I had finished the flaps (but that is my game plan next ear flap hat, except Jayne which needs to curl a little, just like in the movie).
So in order to fix it, I tried some duplicate stitching on the inside of the ear flaps and it did make it much flatter. I think when I get home I might try to steam block it out a little as well. I added some yarn braids to the ends of the ear flaps and a little one on the top. Because something belonged there and neither the recipient nor I are big on pom poms.
So that's done. I think I want to go on an ear flap hat study. I need to do some research about them. To me, they seem much more like cheek flaps. Or did I start them too low? Or knit the hat too high? Do they really function as anything? Ever? Besides looking sweet? What is the "best" method for knitting ear flaps? I have a feeling double knitting them is gonna be the way to go.

Also, much ado has been made about Joe's brimmed hat. Folks love it. Joe loves it. He went fishing in it. I'm getting knitting requests every day. The thing is, I only have so much yarn with me (and believe me I have way more yarn/wool than I do clothes this trip) and it takes time and work. I don't mind making things for people I know will really appreciate it but I can't just make something for everyone right now. Right this second. Oh well, I suppose saying no a few times can only up the value of my work right? Put it in demand? That's just simple economics right there.

So to all those people I love enough to knit for, to have knit more than once for, I hope you are appreciating it. If you ever don't love something anymore, I will not be offended for it to be returned to me so I can enjoy it, rather than having it languish in a drawer or closet to be hidden. I only want to make things that are loved and it isn't so much about "You don't like what I made for you? You hurt my feelings." It's more about fitting the right knitted item to the right person. You don't have to love something just because I made it; I knit all kinds of things and styles, and I know there is someone else who will, or maybe even I could keep something once in a while. You know, just... sometimes.


JJ said...

Brandi, this is an ear flap hat I knit years and years ago for my brother. It's chunky and fast, and the short row ear flaps are a bit different.


Jason said...

I've always wanted to knit Thorpe for an earflap hat. The garter stitch on the brim and flaps keeps it from curling. Might be easier than double knitting.