Recently in Head Bands Category

Combatting the Threat of Store-bought Knitwear

Well, I finally completed a headband that extended around the full circumference of John's head. It took a while, but I offer up as proof, the following:

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A Man and a Handknit Headband

I ask you to ignore for a second that this was an indoor shot. This manly colored headband will soon be entering the chilly Chicago weather and protecting John's ears from wind and cold. And saving me from watching John wander through Target looking for something as a substitute. It has gotten several thumbs up for being warm and pleasant on the ears. And I've even been given "permission" to make him a scarf -- in Lorna's Laces Angel, dyed in the Pewter colorway.

It was a pretty quiet weekend, otherwise. I had a bit of a nostalgic moment going through my links page and realizing how many bloggers on it are no longer actively writing. My Knitting Bloggers blog Id number is 179 -- in other words, when I joined the ring, there still weren't even 200 people in it -- now there are 887. I surfed through it regularly looking for interesting content and trying to help Julie with some basic ring maintenance. Now the ring is too big for me to even contemplate surfing it on a regular basis, and I haven't been a ring checker for quite some time (fortunately Julie has found some more reliable helpers) A real shame from my perspective, because I'm sure that there are many new entries that are creative and interesting to be found. Yet another reason why I've been enjoying watching y'all stick your pins into my Frappr map -- finding new places to browse to on a regular basis.

Simple Things for Cold Weather

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Not Quite Long Enough Yet to Be a Headband

One of the good things that has happened this fall is that John is now working in downtown Chicago. It means that he is much closer to home (in other words, has shorter travel times) and that he can actually take public transportation to work (well, "can" is a relative verb, taking the car would be very expensive because of the cost of daily parking in the Loop). If you've ever worked in a big city area with a bunch of skyscrapers when the weather is cold and windy, you know that it can get pretty cold as the wind gets blocked by the big buildings, but then is incredibly intense in the areas it is diverted to. Thus, my sweetie, who normally just had to go from house to car to work with relatively little exposure to the elements, now has to encounter some pretty chilly weather as we move towards winter here in Chicago. A guy who normally would eschew hats, scarves and gloves is beginning to think that there is a purpose for these garments after all.

To be fair, for the last couple of years he has been asking for a headband to keep his ears warm when he is outdoors shoveling snow (he doesn't like hats very much because he hasn't found one that is flattering to his head shape). I made one small try using some white Cascade Indulgence, an angora blend that I thought would be both soft and warm for him (he is very into soft yarns and textures). One can argue about the wisdom of a white angora headband for a man, but John is actually quite careful with his clothes. The real problem with this project was actually three fold -- one, I made it exactly the right size (I should have made it an inch or two smaller than his head size so that it would stretch and grip properly) and two, angora doesn't really have much elasticity (meaning that once it stretched out, it wasn't going to hang on to his head very well), and three, I knit it circularly (meaning that the only way to fix it's being too big was to rip it out completely and start again).

So I kind of dumped this attempt into my closet of poorly thoughtout knitwear, and began to search for other solutions. While I was at MS&W, I ran across the solution at the Morehouse Merino booth -- a manly colored colorway (dark inky purple, deep burgandy, dark grey) in a yarn I know will be wonderful, soft and stretchy (a DK weight merino) in a pattern that is adjustable -- a ribbed band knit from end to end instead of in the round. Definitely a quick project, and something I thought I would have finished for him before the summer ended.

Heh. Ribbing doesn't always get my attention. But then it got cold downtown this week, and John says to me If I don't get a knitted headband soon, I might have to go out and buy one..... Those are the kind of words that get people in my family motivated. Is there anything worse to a crafter than to know that a recipient is open to a handmade gift, but might have to eschew it because the crafter has not been able to deliver in a time frame necessary to make the gift valuable? So yesterday, while hanging out with Julie (who is recovering nicely), I figured a knitting a little ribbed strip would be the perfect complement to the afternoon. I thought I would probably get the project finished and make sure that John had warm ears this morning.

Turns out his head is a little bigger than the average anticipated for the pattern. Even after knitting 15 rows past the suggested point, I still need an inch or two before he will even be able to get close to getting it around his head (to be fair, it's not big enough for me, either, so I think the pattern is geared to people with slightly smaller heads, or my row gauge is a little different than expected on the needle size recommended). No problem, because I have plenty of yarn. And because now he sees that I am close tot the finished project, he's decided that he can stay away from Target for a little while longer.

And this likely won't be the only winter project for John. He actually mentioned that with all the wind down town, it would probably be good to have a scarf. Lucky for me, I have some Lorna's Laces Angel in the closet all ready for this project (in nice, manly Pewter color). If he can't have an angora headband, at least he can have a warm, snuggly angora scarf (and I get a little farther along my stash reduction goal!).

White Indulgence

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Doesn't Look Like Much, But Feels Like a Dream

It doesn't look like much yet, but it is well on it's way to becoming a small part of John's Christmas present. John got a very big man-toy in advance of Christmas (think four wheels and a hood ornament), and since he is the world's most difficult guy to find presents for, he's getting something simple that he's been asking for for a while now: a head band.

But not just any headband, my sweetie loves soft stuff. His headband is out of Cascade Indulgence. This yarn is 70% alpaca and 30% angora and just as soft as a cloud. I'm getting the stated 5 stitches/inch on US size 7 needles over stockinette. You might think that knitting with such an inelastic yarn would be a chore, but I'm not noticing it. The fabric has pretty good resiliancy when stretched, as well.

So why does it look like a roll brim hat? Well, when I did my test swatch, the intended recipient liked the softness (and deigned to let me include an actual pattern stitch), but he felt the swatch was a little airy. So, my idea is to create a double thickness of angora/alpaca goodness between him and the cold outdoors. The front of the band will contain the pattern stitch (called Diamond Brocade) and the back will be plain stockinette.

The whole thing is knit in the round. I knit two inches of plain stockinette, the 4 inch pattern panel (I'm halfway through it in the picture) is in the center, and then there will be two more inches of stockinette. After I cast off, I will mattress stitch the long edges together and block in such a way that the tube becomes flattened just above and below the seed stitch border around the pattern. John's still a little suspicious about the pattern, but I assured him that if he wanted to have me knit this headband, it had to have some detail that would keep my attention.

I guess you could consider it my first gansey-style garment.

I'm glad now that I ordered an extra stash of Indulgence for myself. I've got three skeins of a nice purplely color awaiting some kind of scarfdom for me. If you're looking for some for yourself, it's on sale at ThreadBear -- only $9/skein for 246 yards! Really an awesome treat!

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