Several months ago, Rita of Yarn Hollow contacted me about a possible collaboration. Rita has been dyeing up some Pittsburgh-themed colors for my LYS, and she wanted to know if I was interested in designing something with some of those colors to be a special store pattern. Of course I said yes!
After looking at colors and a bit of back and forth, we decided on two shades of her Tor DK: Hot Pour, a deep burnt orange (so named, I presume, because it looks an awful lot like hot steel being poured), and Yinz Guys, a rich cobalt blue. I knew immediately that I wanted to design a stranded colorwork hat, and what followed was a lot of sketching and swatching.
As to what to call the resulting hat, well, that was easy. I've known many of the employees of my LYS for many years, and it's usually the same crowd working on Saturdays when I make my regular trip there to sit and knit. Over the years, they've developed their own terms for things, one of which is a word that they use when they can't remember the actual name of something or when it's a word or term they can't pronounce. It's become a great catch-all term, so I knew that in designing a pattern specifically for my LYS, I just had to use it. So today I'm pleased to introduce you to Schmur, the hat.
This hat is worked from the bottom up, starting with a deep ribbed brim (you can, of course, work more or less ribbing as you like -- I wanted to be able to fold it up for extra warmth!). Then you being the stranded colorwork: a band of the design around the main part of the hat transitioning to lice stitch for the crown. The crown is a bit pointy so as to highlight a pompom, if you should choose to add one (and really, why wouldn't you?).
As far as techniques go, this one isn't too tricky. You will need to know how to work in the round, do stranded colorwork with two colors, work from a colorwork chart (there are no written directions for the charts), and do some basic decreases (k2tog and ssk). There are three sizes for this pattern -- to fit a head circumference of 20 (22, 24) in./51 (56, 61) cm. Because the pompom is optional, I haven't included a tutorial for how to make one in the pattern, but I highly recommend this one if you don't have a pompom maker (the downloadable templates on this page were used to make the pompoms for my hat and Rainbow's hat).
I would be remiss if I did not tell you how much I loved working with this yarn. The colors are gorgeous, obviously, but the yarn itself is also wonderfully soft and bouncy. My kid is a bit of a sensitive flower when it comes to clothing, but there has not been a day since I finished her hat that she has not worn it, and I often find her stroking her cheek with the pompom. Also: yardage -- there's a lot! Two skeins was more than enough to knit my hat (also the pattern sample) with the world's biggest pompom and Rainbow's hat (with the colors reversed), and there's still yarn leftover!
If you are a customer of Natural Stitches, I'm happy to announce that the pattern will be free with the purchase of two skeins of Yarn Hollow Tor DK! If you live elsewhere (or you just want to use stash yarn), the pattern is also available on Ravelry. I hope you have as much fun knitting it as I did!