Once upon a time, Andy at Flagstaff Alpacas asked if I would design a beanie/scarf combination pattern for him. He very kindly sent me some pretty yarn to play with for this project so I sat and thought about it, and after a certain amount of swatching this is what I came up with:
This is Flagstaff Alpaca’s multi-dyed 8 ply (DK) 100% alpaca in the Vale colourway. I’ve called this hat/scarf Aviator.
Instinctively at first, I wanted to do a plain 2 x 2 rib beanie with a fold-up brim as this is a dead-easy style that anyone can knit. However, alpaca being that lovely, flowing fibre that it is, isn’t going to cooperate in a fold-up brim, and I imagined people trying to see out of their hat while the brim flopped over their eyes… not so good.
I didn’t want to write a pattern for a plain beanie with narrow rib brim and stocking stitch top either (too boring). There needed to be some kind of interest factor in the brim to keep me engaged for a start! However, the brim also needed to be robust enough to support the weight of attached scarf extensions. The trellis slip-stitch pattern was so pretty when I swatched it. This was the one! When I added the scarf, it seemed to me that this hat looked just like one that an old-fashioned aviator would wear… hence the name “Aviator”. Others may think it reminds them of medieval times…
Unlike the Blue Danube where the scarf can be knitted as a separate piece, in the Aviator you can choose to knit the hat without the scarf.
Sylvia, my daughter, really liked the design, but said it would be even better if she was able to tuck her hair into the hat. Inspired, I knitted another, but this time without the scarf, and adding in a larger and more detailed top:
The trellis pattern on the brim of this hat reminds me of the 50’s, but the slouch brings it into the modern day. I decided to call this pattern “Annabella” in memory of my aunt who was a young adult in the 50’s. She was a bit of a rebel – imagine a striking-looking young woman with flaming red hair, wearing a flowing floral skirt with belted waist, a fitted short-sleeved shirt and riding a Harley-Davidson bare-headed (as they did back then). I’m not certain about the make of motorbike, but it certainly had that look in the photos I’ve seen. Coming from a family of good standing, I understand her free spirit caused my well-bred grandmother a certain amount of distress.
She rode horses bare-back along the beach, kept a possum for a pet (until it met its untimely end after my grandfather found it on the table having afternoon tea meant for guests) and was an aspiring thespian. Sadly, my aunt passed away before I was born but people who knew Annabella in their youth still speak of her in awed tones. I wish I’d known her.
The pattern for the Annabella hat will be released next.
We had a bit of fun with the Aviator:
Someone was none to pleased at me starting to cluck happily about “cute!”
Ah well, at least you get a good view of the rear of the hat!
I think this is actually a nice snuggly design for kids in colder climates where this style would be useful in bundling up against the cold. It will fit 8yrs old up (Eric’s head is 53cm) without having to adjust the pattern.
If you haven’t knitted with alpaca before, I hope these designs give you some inspiration to use this wonderful “fibre of the gods”.
Thanks for this opportunity to play with pretty yarn Andy!