Friday, October 18, 2019

"Top This" Hat Kits

When I was teaching at Cindy Schmatz' Princeton, Minnesota seminar last week, she had her shop open after each day.  I bought a few machine knitting tools (her prices are awesome) and I picked up two Top This hat kits from DMC.  Cindy had a wonderful price on them.

I knew I already had one at home, but I also knew that I'd be spending almost a whole day flying home (two flights and a layover) and in need of something to do.  Hand knitting is a wonderful activity for days when you simply have to wait.

The pattern inside only has toddler and small adult sizes, but more sizes are available on a website.  I knitted the Giraffe first, shooting for a size a little larger than toddler for a preschooler great niece (added a few stitches and rows myself, didn't bother to download the pattern).  What I needed to know was, what tools were required?  The wrapper said to buy a size 9 knitting 16" circular needle and a set of size 9 double-point knitting needles.  I would also need stitch markers and a sewing needle.  I had my giveaway yarn sewing needles with me and some stitch markers from the LAMBS sock crank-in I attended for a half day (they gave us a wonderful goody bag).

I have a huge collection of hand knitting supplies at home, and wanted to buy as little hardware as possible.  I don't like knitting on double points, and I thought about knitting back and forth and putting in a neat seam.  I settled on buying two 16" size 9 circular needles and using the (so-called) "magic loop" method for a seamless result.  John and I took a field trip to a Crafts Direct store, which we don't have here, and it was quite fun to look around in there and purchase my needles.

I was lucky and got gauge without trying more needle sizes.  I didn't want to buy more sizes when I have so many at home.  Also, the 16" needle was very comfortable to use with this number of stitches.  I didn't have to stretch or gather the hat too much as I worked.  I knitted the giraffe hat on flying day, and part of the bear hat, which is the toddler size.  After I got home, I knew I already had the lion kit, so I knitted that one up, too, goofing off and watching TV.
I was happy with the quality of the kit.  I like the simple instructions and the easy way to do the smooth spiral crown with stitch markers.  The yarn colors are beautiful and vivid, and the stuffed animal heads are secured with attached ribbon and a disk inside the hat allowing for removal for cleaning.  On the bear, I brought the ribbon back outside to make a neck bow.  They certainly give you plenty of yarn - in fact, when I knitted the lion hat for a larger kid, I decided to double the ribbing rows and make a fold-up brim for extra ear coverage.  If I had this project to do again, I'd have done that on all the hats, but I didn't realize how much extra yarn I would have.  I'm sure there is enough yarn for an adult hat, if you've got a young adult who loves the hats.

I may use the pattern again to hand knit an adult hat.  I have some gorgeous 100% mohair that knits worsted gauge left from a KM project, and I also have one of those fur hat toppers.

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