Colourblocked Skiff: Blackberries and Cherries

Hey makers,

How are you all doing in your individual lockdown / social distancing circumstances? To be honest, on my end I’ve been struggling, and been feeling perpetually tired. I’m trying not to be hard on myself about it, since things as they are are objectively terrible and depressing everywhere, and if you are struggling I hope you aren’t hard on yourself either. Some things that cheered me up in spite of…you know…everything: a video of my brother recreating a scene from our mutual favourite childhood cartoon with my nephew -whose favourite it is now too-, said almost three year old nephew’s interpretation-in-pencil of my sourdough bread, being surrounded by birds doing spring things, and the rain returning with a splash this week after it being a record dry April. I hope you have bits of light in your life now too. One day at the time.

I’m still making, knitting, sewing, baking and planting. I feel it is mostly a going through the motions thing at the moment but I definitely think it is helping. More so than at the start of all things Covid-19 when I had a lot of trouble focussing on anything for longer than a couple of minutes. Today I wanted to write about this cabled skiff hat I showed you here in a previous post when it was still on the needles. This is another of my winter makes to get its turn to make it onto the blog.

I made this hat at the start of the year when I needed a quick in between project. A small thing I could work on before I would throw myself in another Big Thing. While this isn’t actually the quickest of in between projects I could have gone for (that darn ribbing!) but it was still done a lot faster than my usual projects so I’d say it did what it had to do. The pattern is Skiff hat by Jared Flood. I made it once before, in 2016, in a chocolate brown Malabrigo yarn. I wear that first version a lot still and always thought it would be a fun pattern to turn to again at a later point.

I had the idea for a colour blocked cabled hat for a while, possibly since I made that first skiff hat. Since then I’ve seen cabled hats coming in a various area of colour combinations and I’ve also been eyeing some that added colour marls. The idea just didn’t come into fruition before, because I kept distracting myself with bigger garment projects (this is a running theme in my craft life).

The yarn is Brooklyn Tweed Shelter. I was gifted 4 skeins in 4 different colourways a while back. The colours combined beautifully and ever since I had them I had been going back and forth about how to use them; using each skein for a small project, combining part of them together, or using all four of them in one project. When I got the urge of making a smaller project at the start of this year I remembered the idea I had for a colourwork Skiff and made the quick decision to use these two skeins for that. A decision I have not regretted. I think I’ll use the other two in a similar way, though perhaps not with this exact pattern (how many Skiff hats does one knitter need? )

The colours of this yarn are spectacular. While I was knitting with it I couldn’t stop looking at and admiring all the little flecks and shades to be found in the yarn. The yarn was pleasant to knit with as well, and feels great to touch. Now, I haven’t heard great things about the durability of this yarn, which is part of the reason why I hesitated to knit a sweater with this. But this project, because of the brilliance of the colour and the general good experience that was knitting with it makes me doubt whether not giving them a chance for a garment is entirely fair. Perhaps not a seamed sweater though, when I went to attached the pom pom the thread snapped instantly, so I used a different yarn for that.

I made similar modifications to this hat as to my first go at this pattern, with some slight deviations: I left out one pattern repeat, so cast on 20 stitches fewer than the pattern calls for. I did this for my first Skiff as well, as the pattern comes in one size and I read on the project notes on Ravelry of others that it is on the big-ish side. Additionally I shortened the brim to 14 cm, which is slightly shorter than my other skiff. I also did err…an accidental mod. I knitted seed stitch instead of double seed stitch in the diamond pattern. I think I didn’t even look at the pattern at that point any more and just assumed and only noticed when I looked at both of my skiffs together. I mean, it’s not a huge visual difference, but just in case you where wondering why my seeds looked smaller, well it’s because they are.

I’m wearing it with my Grettir Jumper knit in Istex lett lopi. I later realised it’s also a pattern by Jared Flood for Brooklyn Tweed, honestly, the photo session wasn’t intended to be such a brand based affair! I love this jumper, I made it 6 whole years ago, believe it or not (wild passing of time with this one). I still love the colours of it, and think the main colour, Ístex Brick Heather, complements the red of the Shelter Long John colourway so well. It’s not an exact match, as the brick heather is warmer in tone, but they go well together. Also, can you tell I like red?

I’m really happy that I made this. Seeing the colours together makes me happy every time I see it and I’ve worn it plenty around already. I wore it to an international figure skating event at the end of February (this was less than 2 weeks before Covid-19 reached Europe and turned out to be the last event in that and many other sport disciplines). Anyway when I wore it to that event I saw a lady wearing a hat and I’m 95% sure it was a handknit Brooklyn tweed hat of one of their other designs so that was a pretty glorious moment! At the same event there was also a lady who kept looking dubiously at the project I was knitting so I guess any theories about that niche hobby venn diagram go out of the window with that.

Sending much love to all of you and until next time!

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