sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

verb batt roll hats

Not only was I glad to see the line at A Verb for Keeping Warm at Lambtown for what it means to its proprietress, but also because it have me time to think about what to do with that gorgeous, odd "silk batt roll" I was going to buy.

Batt roll by A Verb for Keeping Warm, 50/50 wool (merino?)-natural silk, 2 oz

They're pretty much like nothing I've seen before :) Outside the packaging...


I almost want to say they're like silk hankies, but like 10 trillion times better :)


They're thin, but not as thin as hankies. They also don't make me feel as tomboyish-- they don't catch on every rough patch on my fingers and nails when working with them. Since there is only half the silk, you don't get that resistance in breaking them apart-- I always feel the tearing in my hands when pulling apart hankies and it's totally a personal, textural thing but it creeps me out :) Also on a personal note, I'm just not as into 100% silk since I don't know what I'd do with the finished yarn since I've shied away from knitting lace.

Waiting in line I decided I would tear the batt rolls into strips and knit from them directly, without spinning. I'm guessing you could easily open them up and draft them out like a silk hankie too-- the size would be a bit unwieldy but I don't see why not... but instead I started from one corner and tore them in pieces, resulting in a long spiral strip.


You can get a good idea of what these are like in the pictures-- lots and lots of silk noil that's going to make a super textured finished object. I kept wondering what this would look like felted up, probably pretty neat.


I found it easiest to not pinch the strip I was tearing but to hold it with the side of my thumb. I could grasp more of it that way... it still has a tendency to tear apart super easy and I was really trying to end up with 3 whole, unbroken strips. It worked, even though it took so long I needed a flash to show the giant pile (complete w/ coke can for scale yall ;))


During the strip making, I just tore them off into widths large enough to not fall apart. Then when knitting, I drafted them down to a knittable size and went to town.

US 15 needles

Knitting them wasn't bad at all-- tearing the batt into strips and knitting this hat took a day. I started with a backward loop caston since I didn't want to really tug on the fiber (not super stable caston, worked fine in this app)... cast on 32 sts, joined and k4, p4 around to last 8 sts, k4, p3, slip last st onto LH needle and p2tog. You end up with 31 sts and then can [k4, p4] around-- the multiple of 8 -1 means the pattern shifts left, same idea as rpm but way cooler since you don't have to watch for the new round to shift over, it does it on its own. (Eyes free knitting!)

I chose 31 sts since it was the number of sts that would pretty much stretch uncomfortably around my 24" needle (didn't have a 16"), so it is larger than a hat should be (the problem with ALL the hats I knit!)


verb batt roll hat

I used all of the fiber up-- and where I wanted to knit in one long strip? I didn't... sometimes the strips broke when drafting down, and sometimes I wanted to switch up the colors since one batt was darker. I just joined and knit those ends in together when knitting...

inside out/wrong side with ends knit in together
i like this pic, you can see the streaks of silk

...the hat is so fat and bumpy even knitting 2 strands together to secure the ends can't really be seen from the RS.

All in all it was really a fun, fast odd project. The hat is super bulky and very warm, but isn't heavy feeling-- the texture is weirdly like a chenille! I can't explain why, but it has that resistant feel when squishing it.

It is too large (wide) for a hat, sits rather than fits-- next time I'd go for fewer CO sts. I really didn't want to frog it (I don't know how this would hold up to frogging, probably not well)... Actually a good thing since I know one batt roll ($15) should be enough for any sized head-- mine is 2x" so if this oversized version fits me now a hat with fewer sts CO it'll probably work across 99% of the population.

Kristine's sold out of these batt rolls now, but I know she'll have more soon. Next time I'll buy one and spin it and see what comes of it-- the texture and lightness of the fiber would make for a super light scarf or cowl.

I decided to try and make a hat that fits with the same shifting idea and to see if the backward loop CO was okay in a traditional yarn (yup). A week ago I took some black superwash merino (or, sw merino/seacell... long story) and some plucked tort angora from (gorgeous stuff!)...


...blended it together on my drumcarder. I went for a 75/25 blend, but was more successful in later batts in getting more angora in when I started with angora that I passed once over my handcards-- it helped the fiber not clump as much on the drum and meant I was getting much more on. The resultant yarns were not the same color...

IMG_1229 lighter, one darker. No matter. I fulled the yarn to bring out the angora halo (so nice) and just switched balls every 4 rows (US 10.5 needles, CO 40 - 1 st, knit same shifting pattern as above).


And it FITS! Like a HAT!

Cause for celebration. :)

Til then, miss you.


Gale said...

Very nice hats. What a great idea.

adrienne said...

That was such a cool idea, and the hats are super-cute!

Anonymous said...

Wow! what cool hats!! Terry

Infinitespirals said...

You could try gently felting the first hat down a bit to see if that helps with the size!

madonnaearth said...

Thank you for proving what I knew could happen! I feel so much more secure now that it has been confirmed: I am not crazy for thinking a bat could be broken down into thin strips and knitted like yarn. I feel so much better!

And no, I didn't just post this to comment on my own personal vindication. lol

I cannot believe how absolutely gorgeous that gray hat is. The way you've knit them both up and the slanted sideways look to the rows just work so perfectly with the fiber.

Zonda said...

Wow, I love how you prepared and knit the batt hat! The angora/seacell hat is very pretty and looks warm!

Kristine said...

adorable and ingenious. as always.

Stacey said...

what a great idea! it looks super squishy soft.....that shifting pattern is neat!

olivia said...

wow, your batt hats rock my world. what a great idea!

Marlowe said...

Very cool!

cpurl17 said...

I believe the Batt Hat will be the next great thing....

they're adorable!

wiscjennyann said...

Wow, I never would have thought of doing something like that. Really clever and really cute. Nice work!

xtina / fistful said...

Wow! Wow wow wow.

As always, way cool and inspiring!

Tikabelle said...

Those hats are wicked cute! I'm mentally searching my stash for an appropriate yarn as I type this. Looking forward to seeing you in the next few weeks!

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