Sneak Peek: Downy Hat

A few years back, when Kate Davies released her DK weight yarn Buachaille, I joined her Seven Skeins Club and had a wonderful time making three different pairs of Pawkies for my sisters. Since then, the leftover yarn has remained in my stash, and every now and again I’d look at it and ponder what it might become.

Watching downy woodpeckers at my bird feeder recently, a lightbulb went off: wouldn’t it be great to design a stranded-color hat inspired by the woodpeckers’ colors and markings? (I especially like the red streak on the male downy’s head.) I weighed my leftover colors of Buachaille and realized I definitely had enough, if I was careful about how I designed it.

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The ends are woven in, the hat’s already blocked, and a pom-pom has been made. Today I sent the pattern off to my tech editor, and I’ve arranged for a photo shoot. So everything’s on track to publish the pattern by year’s end.

There are four sizes, with circumferences of 16 (18, 20, 22) inches/41 (46, 51, 56) cm. You’ll need one skein each of Buachaille in Highland Coo, Haar, Squall, and Ptarmigan (120 yards/110 m per 50 gram skein). The pattern provides exact amounts for each size, should you want to substitute yarns.

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I was undecided about adding a pom-pom, so I took a poll on Instagram and in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group. Knitters voted for a pom-pom by a margin of 2 to 1! You can make your pom-pom in any of the four colors — I went with Highland Coo (the red-orange color) because I had the most left over of that color.

Do you have a favorite method for making pom-poms? I use the Clover pom-pom tools, which work quite well. This time, I also tried something new: steaming my pom-pom. I first read about it at Mason-Dixon Knitting and now I’m a convert. Steaming is easy and adds a little extra poof and polish, taking a pom-pom from pretty nice to pretty perfect. I dangled the pom-pom in front of my Dritz steamer, twirling it this way and that for a couple minutes (watching it carefully because I didn’t want to felt it). If you don’t have a steamer, I imagine steam from a tea kettle would do just fine.

Look for the Downy Hat pattern later this month. In the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying a peaceful and happy holiday season!