Mainly happy things

June noticed. She called it, “a certain level of fetid discontent coursing through the fiber ‘blogosphere lately.” I, too, had the knitting blues last week. BIG time.

June, how about knitting some hats? They seem to have really snapped me out of something vile.


Happiness #1 Sarit’s hat – it’s done! More happy news – it’s scrumptious… delicate, feminine, with every detail accounted for – I’m smitten!

More happy news – in addition to fitting my monster 23” melon, it fits smaller heads, too (and looks great on everyone who’s tried it on so far!). I think little Sarit and her 20.5” head will be very happy.

More happy news – the pattern will be up shortly… a few weeks.

Several of you asked about the beads – are they on securely? How did I even get them on there in the first place? I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here (Googling “knitting with beads” results in 1.8 million hits), but I’ll mention some relevant specifics.

For the particular way the stitches slant in this pattern, I prefer to prestring the beads and actually knit them into the fabric. The bead sits on the right leg of the knit stitch “V.”

(before you say anything, yes, I do know about the non-prestringing crochet method. But I like this way for this pattern).

Happiness #2 Selecting a hat pattern for Ori has been very painless. Sometimes it takes me hours of web surfing and mulling over to decide on stuff like this! But in this case it was simple – Ori’s hat will be Kate Gilbert’s Shining Star. I plan to knit the second-to-largest size using thinner yarn, and I plan to use Emily Ocker’s crochet cast-on.

This is a fancy lil’ technique that’s often mentioned in the context of starting a shawl that’s worked from the center out. It allows one to cast on a very small number of stitches in such a way that when the tail end of the yarn is pulled, whatever hole remains is closed up.

I decided on this even before Kate Gilbert and I started to exchange some e-mails (I had temporary problems downloading the pattern, which is how the exchange began), and that was one of the first things out of her pseudo-mouth – use the E. O. cast-on. Great minds think alike ;).

Happiness #3 I am past HUGE #3. I’m keeping track of the mistakes, as I mentioned. So far, 10% of the rows have mistakes. Some have only one little typo, others are a complete mess, with many stitches incorrect. I just hope the borders go a little better when I get to them.

Speaking of, do you (“you” being experienced lace knitters) recommend that I block the main triangle before knitting on the borders?

Sadness #1 through #460,072 I’m not done grading the lab reports :(.


108 thoughts on “Mainly happy things

  1. CatBookMom

    Oooh, I’m the first commenter!! Love the lilac beaded hat! Want the pattern!! These are not surprises to you, of course! LOL! And your ‘find’ of the Kate Gilbert hat sold me, too. I’ve been looking for something as pretty as Marnie’s had but with more coverage for chemo hat patterns.

    BTW, count me in as one more of the fans of your family stories – the pictures are wonderful! Hugs!

  2. Angelia

    The hat is so beautiful….I had to keep looking at the pictures as I was reading your entry! Wow! And a pattern, too. I can’t wait!

  3. trek

    Nice hat! I’d even like it without the beads but the beads do add that special something. Can’t wait to see the pattern posted.

  4. rustygrass

    I’m itching to knit up your hat pattern already! Which is sort of ironic because technically I have Shining Star (sort of) on the needles right now. Having trouble wrestling with the hat/yarn porcupine for the moment. Sigh.

  5. Carolyn

    Love the hat! I can’t wait to learn to knit with beads. This looks like a great starter project. Not sure about blocking before knitting the border…I’ve never come across this yet.

  6. atu

    love the hat. Beads on hat are so ‘in’ right now. I’m noticing them everywhere this winter.

    About the lace, block when you’re done with the border.

  7. Frida

    hi Grumperina, I am a relatively new reader to your blog, and am enjoying it very much. To answer your question, I am an experienced lace-knitter and I never block before I knit on the border, just block the whole thing once you´re done, it will be fine. Of course that is provided you are knitting loose enough, lace knitting, especially for shawls, doesn´t get fine and airy enough unless you knit with needles at least 2 sizes above the size you would use in “normal” knitting.

    Greetings from Iceland


  8. Martha

    Because lace grows so much when you block it, I believe you should block after the border is complete. I haven’t tried it the other way, because I’m concerned that when you pick up stitches on the already-blocked-and-stretched shawl, it will pucker because one part’s been stretched already and the other hasn’t. I know that doesn’t make rational sense (a stitch is a stitch is a stitch), and I’m sure it would work, but this is just something I’m superstitious about. Besides, you’d need to block the border anyway, and why block twice?

    Love the hat. Just gorgeous!

  9. Kim

    I love the beaded hat! I can’t wait for the pattern. I’ve been wanting a very pretty and feminine beaded hat for so long. It’s perfect! 🙂

    So sorry about the lab reports though. 🙁

  10. Stacy

    The hat is beautiful! I’ve never knitted with beads but have a feeling this may be my first attempt if you post the pattern!

  11. Shannon B

    Oh. My. Gosh. That hat is completely delicious. I don’t wear hats because I have short hair and an irrational and probably groundless fear of pin-headedness, but I am going to knit that and wear it no matter what it makes my head look like. It is just swirly, pearly, dreamy goodness.

    Hanging on breathlessly for the pattern…


  12. Irene

    I’m not being a kiss-up or anything, but your blog has become my absolute favorite. Eye candy every day! I don’t know how you do it? I check out your blog daily just to see what other beautiful things you’ve created. Can’t wait for the pattern!

  13. --Deb

    The hat is absolutely beautiful.

    And? Blocking the shawl before the border. No. Otherwise the knitted-on border would still be scrunchy, unblocked lace, without anywhere to stretch to when you blocked IT. Knit the border onto the unblocked shawl and then block the whole thing all at once–everyone will be much happier that way. (At least, that’s my advice!)

  14. Jewel of Montreal

    Hi Grumperina!

    I too adore that hat and simply cannot wait for the pattern.

    I was thinkin’ that you should probably get paid for being the test knitter for that shawl. It’s pretty outrageous that there are so many mistakes. Has no one ever knit from that pattern before?

    Can’t wait to see it finished though and hope that I guessed right…

  15. Robin

    Love! the hat, Grumperina. You are right in that it would be fantastic for little ones or adults alike. I think I will give knitting with beads a try once you get the pattern up. Keep up the fantastic knitting and entertaining blogs!

  16. marie in florida

    certified knitting genius and generous beyond belief, as soon as you post Sarit’s hat that i’ll be knitting it. i ADORE knitting with strong lines like that hat and jaywalker. thanks for showing and giving.

    marie in florida

  17. Emma

    Kathy – I guess I’m certainly not the first to say this, but the beaded hat is just GORGEOUS. I love everything about it – the ribbed band, the perfectly swirling swirls, the beading, the color — just beautiful. Count me among the many who are anxiously awaiting the pattern!

  18. Stephanie

    Oh, I love the beaded hat. So cute and feminine, but not too girly. Still a hat you could actually wear. And the Kate Gilbert pattern looks great too. You’re making wonderful progress on the shawl. I wouldn’t think you’d need to block before you add the border, but I’m just guessing. No experience to speak of on that front.

  19. Carrie

    Sarit’s hat is totally freaking gorgeous. The idea of knitting with beads used to make me want to jab my eyes with my dpns. Now, I must learn. I must make it. I will dream about this hat. (No kidding – patterns I love this much almost always make it into my dreams – last night I was so excited about trying your JW socks, I dreamt about them, too.)

  20. Barbara

    Sarits hat is beautiful, what a lucky little girl. I am looking forward to the pattern, I think it will be my first attempt at knitting with beads. I am very excited. Thank you in advance.

  21. MaiaPapaya

    Sarit’s hat is so incredibly lovely – can’t wait for the pattern. (Looks like Ori’s hat is gonna be fantastic as well.) Where did you get the beads? Bead shop? Micheals? On line? If you did order them on line, how did you know what size to get? Thanks.

  22. carole

    ooooh, I can’t wait to see the pattern! Are those beads I see? Yum.

    (I have a big noggin, too– extra brain room is my contention!)

  23. Kat

    Sarit’s hat is lovely. Not quite the same as the one I saw on the T and want to try and duplicate. I’ve got to get to the bead shop for more inspiration.

  24. carrie

    My advice is don’t block before you knit on the border, for all the reasons others have already stated. No need for it. Delicious hat! Ditto everyone else, *and* it feels luscious too.

  25. AmyP

    I love the hat! I’ve just had my hair cut and my mum said “Aren’t you going to be cold?”. I will soon be able to re-assure her that I will be both warm and stylish.

  26. Laura

    Yay! I love Sarit’s hat!! Can’t wait to try the pattern! I made “Shining Star” a year ago for my little girl. It was too big then and this year fits just right. It’s a great pattern – gotta love Kate. 🙂

  27. Dianna

    I love Sarit’s hat – it is the first beaded project I’ve seen that actually is beckoning me to try a beaded project! Looking forward to your pattern….

  28. Angela

    I love the hat. I have a three year old who is full in her girly-girl stage and she would love it. Can’t wait for the pattern.

  29. eunny

    You are aware that you are a genius, yes? The hat is beautiful.

    p.s. Knit the whole sucker, border included, and then block.

  30. Jenn

    That hat is GORGEOUS!!!!! You really outdid yourself with that one. I’ll be snatching up that pattern as soon as you post it. YUMM!

    I’m glad it got you out of the knitting funk. That shawl needs you!!! I, too, hope the border goes much better.

  31. janna

    Sarit’s hat is beautiful – I’m looking forward to the pattern.

    Will Ori be jealous that Sarit’s hat has beads and hers doesn’t? Do you need to bead Ori’s, too? Because if I were Ori, I’d be jealous…. the star hat is beautiful, but wouldn’t beads make it just that much more so? Of course, I don’t remember if you said whether Ori is a real girly-girl…

  32. Tania

    Do you think that this would be a good pattern for a first time bead-knitter? It is quite a lovely hat and the beads add a wonderful sparkle! I can just see it in shades of blue and green. I’m a fan of the spiraled rib as well.

  33. Heather

    The hat is beautiful, I can’t wait to see the pattern! I love your designs, I’ve already knit Sharfik and I’m working on Picovoli now. Thanks for posting them for our enjoyment 🙂

  34. Zarah

    The pink hat is soooo cool. I knew it would be when you said you were using your cuff design. You are inspiring me to learning some new finishing techniques.

  35. Melissa

    Oh, the hat is to die for! Can’t wait for the pattern. Re the shawl: no, don’t block before the border. For all the reasons everyone else said.

  36. freecia

    Gorgeous Hat! Also, yay on you for grading all those lab reports. There were jokes from some of my teachers about tossing them down the staircase and the ones which made it the furthest got A’s. Or any the dog decided to nose. Plus, now that I and my cronies are in Grad School, well, there are some mighty amusing grading stories (“Whaaaa. Ok. Evidently some people are that clueless.”)

    K, I gonna go mentally rummage through stash looking for a good hat color. Yours is just too cute.

  37. gail

    so, when do you find time to eat, sleep and work??? The blocking issue–block AFTER knitting on the edge, as everyone else has said.

  38. yahaira

    ok am I the last person to comment on this one? cool! The hat is gorgeous and Sarit is a lucky girl, I’m so jealous (though I won’t be after you make the pattern available). I’m so glad you found a way to escape the blog blues everyone has been having lately, self included. There must be something about January.

    For your next hat, why a crochet cast on? why not a figure 8 cast on or even one with waste yarn where you pull the stitches together after pulling the waste yarn? Can you tell Ive never heard of this crochet cast on and that I fear the hook?

  39. Cindy

    Oh, your hat turned out so beautiful. I can’t wait for the pattern so I can knit one too! I’ve been on a hat knitting kick too. They’re perfect for mid-winter – you can use them right away. Great progress on your shawl too! I’m just blocking my first shawl, and while it looks great, I’ve been wondering if I wanted to add a simple crochet edging to keep it stretched, but thanks to your question and the responses, I think I’ll just leave it alone.

  40. Anneh

    The E.O. cast-on is fabulous! I have made several top-down knit hats using this technique, and they have all snugged up with no problems, leaving no hole at all! The hats end up looking like they were “store-bought” because the finish is so perfect. Definitely one of the most useful techniques I have learned this year…pass it on!

  41. WPGGAL

    This is the first time I’ve read your blog, I’ll be reading it every day from now on!! I LOVE that hat, its sooo feminine.

  42. Alice Twain

    am not a great mind, but I was wondering how to knit a hat top-down this very morning while dipping into the suway on my way to work. I suppose about the same time as you were writing the post, given our respective positions in the world’s geography.

  43. Samantha

    The hat looks wonderful and warm … I love it! Knitting at it’s finest!! The beads are so nice too. I’m going to learn to knit with beads one day if it kills me … they frighten me for some reason.

  44. Deb

    I just started reading your blog a few weeks ago, and wanted to say how much I enjoy it. It’s one of my favorites now and look in on a regular basis to check for your posts. I also wanted to say thanks for such a fun to knit and good looking guy scarf pattern. I’m knitting it up now for the Red Scarf Project and am really enjoying the texture and cables. Now I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on your beautiful hat pattern. Thanks for such a great site!

  45. Jacquie

    I’m really loving this hat. Is it really going to be weeks before the pattern is available? It’s quite beautiful.

  46. jpt

    Just want to second the motion for the EO circular cast-on. It has a reputation for being fiddly, but I don’t find it nearly as hard as a tubular cast-on in the round using sock yarn. Just so you know, the circular cast-on does require yarn with “slide factor”–my mule-spun yarn stuck to itself too much to close the loop (if that makes any sense).

  47. margene

    This hat is wonderful. You have a very creative way of looking at knitting and producing interesting patterns. I’m sorry I didn’t understand the ‘gallery’. It’s very cool that you link right to the entry. I’m honored to be a part of your Jaywalker gang.

  48. April

    Well, this being number 96 in a long line of comments, I hardly expect notice, but I had to say SOMETHING!


  49. April

    OOPS! It was #97! oh well – did you get my finished Jaywalkers picture? I started on what I’m calling BabyJays, too and they are SO precious! (and easy!)

  50. Ayse

    The hat is beyond lovely. I’m waiting (im)patiently for you to put up the pattern, so I can knit it.

    Keep up the bloody amazing work!

  51. niteowl

    Wow! That hat is simply fabulous. I bought the yarn for a hat for my mom Saturday. I planned on starting the Shining hat but after seeing the beaded hat I just know she’d prefer that. I’ll wait….

  52. kelsey

    Yarn is purchased, beads are purchased, big eye needle is purchased, i have the dpns and circs already – can’t wait for the pattern!! Perfect for a friend’s bday coming up.

  53. Shannon

    Wow. I haven’t knit a hat yet, but this one will be the first on my list! My two daughters will LOVE this! The beads are so pretty and the pattern is awesome! I’ll be buying the supplies I need this weekend…. can’t wait to start~

  54. Marianne H

    Hello, denmark is calling!

    I love your webside and your project is very inspiring, I have been reading and looking for hours – and dream about trying to make your beutifull hat “Shining star hat” for my daughter, I have dont have visa or paypal – is it possible to beg on my knees to get the pattern, only for my private use in family in some way???

    Keep well and keep knitting

    love from Marianne, Denmark

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