A few months ago, a vintage fashion Instagrammer I follow posted a picture of herself in a ear warmer she had made and I decided I had to have one.
I made a search on Ravelry (ear warmer? head warmer? headband?) and managed to stumble on a free pattern by Julie Bierlein for the Portsmouth knitted skating hat.
This is a simple and well designed pattern, with the option to knit in chunky/bulky or super chunky/bulky yarn. I knit two versions and each one took me two evenings, at a relaxed pace.
I really wanted a pink hat, but I thought I’d test the pattern with some stash yarn first, and used Ístex Álafoss Lopi in Golden Heather for my yellow version. I bought this yarn on a whim during a trip to Sweden back in 2015, and I previously used some of the ball in this hat. I still have loads left so no doubt it will show up on the blog again at some point.
Having tested out the pattern, I ordered some pink yarn for version two. Always keen to support British yarn companies, I chose West Yorkshire Spinners Re:treat yarn in the Escape colourway.
Both the yarns I used were chunky weight yarns, but the Alafoss is much firmer, which I think works really well for this pattern. Despite being my test version, my yellow version keeps its shape better and has a crisper silhouette. The soft pink yarn is much softer and has more stretch. I should have compensated for the stretch by knitting the pink hat slightly shorter but I didn’t realise until it was already finished and washed.
I wasn’t sure how often I would wear these ‘hats’, but I wore them daily during a recent trip to New York. From the perspective of someone with long hair, they do a good job of keeping your head warm, and wearing them doesn’t result in a ‘hat hair’ effect.
For a fairly frivolous looking accessory they are actually quite practical, and easy to roll-up and pop in a pocket or bag when not being worn.
I’m currently making a hat which definitely can’t be described as practical, a small pillbox hat to wear to the Dressmakers’ Ball next week, using some leftover fabric from my dress.
This was definitely one time when I was glad to have purchased slightly more fabric than I needed for the dress as I’m also planning to make a matching belt, and maybe a bag. There’s only four days left before the Ball now – wish me luck.