I felt extremely happy to receive the MARLE because I haven’t seen anyone retailing it in New Zealand and so hadn’t been able to get my eager paws on any of this amazing stuff!
For the many who have not seen this yarn yet: it is almost too sumptuous to be believed. It is made from three twisted strands of AIR laceweight – outrageous luxury! (The Zealana AIR range is all comprised of a heavenly 40% cashmere, 40% brushtail possum down and 20% mulberry silk blend). AIR MARLE represents ultimate softness in the extreme, yet there is great strength in the yarn due to the three tightly plied AIR laceweight strands.
I’ve put in a picture so you can see what I mean:
The blue yarn is some Zealana AIR laceweight that I have. You can see how the strand weight and composition is exactly the same as the individual strands within the MARLE.
Because the particular colourway I got is a black/natural marl, it is difficult to do much with it beside something quite simple, as stitch patterns tend to get lost in it. I suspect the softer coloured shades of this yarn are much easier to knit in a stitch pattern though. I’m particularly in love with these three shades (images courtesy of the Zealana website):
Someone needs to stock AIR MARLE!
Anyway, back to the hat: I played around with a couple of swatches, but in the end I decided it wanted to be a simple hat that let the qualities of the yarn be the highlight. The hat got put on the boy to model…
This proved to be a dangerous thing to do because the boy decided he didn’t want to take it off. He came up with other cool ways to wear it…
He is much too engrossed in his game to pay attention to my photographic needs, but you get the idea…
And now it is his. Hmm. Oh well, at least I have enough of the second ball to make into something for me! I decided to knit one more of the same style for me:
I thought I’d demonstrate how a bit more length in the body can create a different look:
It is not in AIR MARLE for obvious reasons. I used a possum/cashmere/merino blend from Mohair Craft.
I did think I would like a shorter hat at first, but when it is winter, and there is a fierce, cold wind blowing, there is nothing more that I like than extra protection for the ears and neck! A longer hat it became!
I have constructed the band/brim of the hat in a tighter tension than the body as I feel this is the best way for hats to be in the windy Wellington climate. This way there is less risk of the hat blowing off in the wind, but you also get a nice slouch happening in the body of the hat with the use of larger needles. The tighter band has also given this hat the added benefit of the ability to shape it as you will without it being overly tight (I was quite surprised he got it to peak like that).
It’s a very simple hat to make, suitable for all levels of knitter, and very quick to knit. The shorter hat was made over a day. The pattern is based on a design I have used a lot over the years. I decided it needed to become a pattern so I don’t have to sit down and think through the math every time I want to knit it!
This pattern will suit any weight of DK yarn you choose to use (another great Zealana yarn that would be perfect for this pattern is RIMU), although you’ll need to bear in mind that the resulting hat’s look will reflect the properties of your chosen yarn (see the two different looks above as an example – that AIR MARLE has certainly given a simple design quite a bit of style!)
I thought this pattern would be a versatile one for Christmas gifts – especially for that fussy male who doesn’t like anything ‘too stylish’, for those days when you just want to wear a simple hat. 🙂
When Audry came over on the day I finished it, the first thing she saw was the hat on the table, and she wanted to wear it too!
Doesn’t she look great! (Thanks Audry for letting me take photos!)
This is my pre-Christmas gift to you, download here for the free pattern: A Simple Hat. It is one size, suitable to be worn by most heads aged 10 – 100, but is easily adapted to make it smaller or larger by subtracting or adding stitches in multiples of four. To make the sizes as shown, you need:
- about 140m/153yd of DK yarn (for the shorter version)
- about 180m/196yd of DK yarn (for the longer version)
- 3.75mm circular needles (60cm/24″ circular)
- 5mm circular needles (80cm/32″ circular for magic loop)
- one stitch marker
I have used the magic loop method to knit the hat, but you can also use DPNs in the same sizes as noted if you prefer this method of knitting hats in the round.