As promised, I posted the pattern for the hat I made Rahul to keep him warm in Madison. It’s not going to win any awards for originality, but here it is: A Very Plain Hat. All the jabber about the pattern is on the page.

A standard 2×2 rib and stockinette watchcap, it’s not an interesting pattern to knit, but it’s fast, easy, and warm, and its very plain and boring nature means that Rahul actually wants to wear it. I’m sure I’m not the only knitter making clothing for men who complain about garments with any unnecessary adornments, such as color or texture.

Rahul didn’t want his picture taken this morning, so I ended up with a lot of photos like this:

And my personal favorite:

Pattern: A Very Plain Hat

Yarn used: Berroco Ultra Alpaca, 6245 Pitch Black, a little less than 1 skein

Needles used: US size 8/5 mm 16″ circular needles

Date started: March 13, 2008

Date finished: March 13, 2008

Notes:This is a watchcap with a 2×2 ribbed brim knit single-stranded and the rest of the hat knit in stockinette, double-stranded. I was thinking about doing the whole thing in ribbing, but decided after finishing the brim that stockinette was faster.

I really like Ultra Alpaca. It has a tighter twist than most worsted yarns I’ve worked with, sort of like a heavier, fuzzier version of Koigu/Louet Gems, and an interesting dry, soft hand. It worked up really nicely double-stranded on 8s, making a thick, warm, cozy fabric without being too hard to knit at that gauge.

It’s pretty affordable, at around $8.50 per 100 g skein, and it comes in some beautiful heathers. I just made one other thing from it (pictures coming soon!) in a lovely lavender heather.

The wool gives it a good amount of memory, so it doesn’t flop and sag like pure alpaca would, and the alpaca gives it a soft, luscious halo, which you may or may not be able to see in the picture below. Despite the halo, it still has pretty good stitch definition.

We’re having a very musical week–we went to see the Fauxges on Monday, we saw an awesome show by our friends Steve and Charlie’s band Aviary Ghost last night, and tonight we’re going to see Islands at Rhino’s. (Their songs “Don’t Call Me Whitney, Bobby” and “Rough Gem” are my favorites.)

Unfortunately, going to the Islands show means we’re going to miss Steve and Charlie playing live tonight on the local radio station, WIUX. You should all tune in at 9 PM and listen… 99.1 FM for Bloomingtonians, or there’s streaming audio at for non-Bloomingtonians. Or just go to the Aviary Ghost website and give their songs a listen (“Somewhere Else” is my favorite). Then buy a CD, because I want them to become rock stars and live off their art. And I want being mentioned on my blog to be the new Colbert Bump.

I’ve read a few interesting blog posts celebrating Messy Tuesday, a reaction against the tyranny of the perfect, clean house featured in housekeeping magazines and domestic-life blogs. I don’t know if I can truly celebrate my messes, because despite my overwhelming messiness I do enjoy it when things around here are clean, but I really appreciate the new ways to look at mess… dirty dishes as memories of pleasure, dust bunnies as choices made to pursue enjoyable (non-cleaning) activities, piles of paper as dynamic workspaces in flux. I’ll think about it a bit more and perhaps I will have something new and interesting to say about cleanliness, and lack thereof, next Messy Tuesday.