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A Quadratic Cap of My Own

Hello again blog, it’s been ages! This is a quick knitting update to get me back into the blogging rhythm. Did you see it’s snowing on wordpress? I love December.

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After borrowing and coveting my father’s Quadratic Cap(s) all last winter, I formed vague plans to make my own (and to stop stealing my father’s, Sorry Dad). My winter coat is now a nice olive green instead of basic black, so my new hat needed to coordinate with the warmer color. Some of my old favorites in the hat department look a bit… odd against an olive coat. Bright magenta and olive green are not natural allies.

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I have a minor obsession with Berocco’s Ultra Alpaca yarn, not only because it is a cozy, well-balanced blend of wool and alpaca, but also because the colors are saturated and gorgeous. Many of the yarns are “mixes” or blends of a number of vibrantly colored fibers to create one richly colored yarn. The two colors I used for my hat were the Tiger’s Eye Mix and Lobster Mix, a caramel gold and a deep, muted purple respectively. I knit the pattern as written, and it is precisely as warm and cozy and complementary-colored as I had planned.

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Of course, now I need matching hand gear…

Topping it Off

There has been quite a lot of sewing around here, but the last day of the year seems like a good time for some season appropriate knitting. Today I am posting a hat pattern that I have been meaning to write up for three years now.

Quadratic Cap Gray 2

Anyone who has waded into the black hole of Ravelry’s pattern search function knows how overwhelming the options can be. The sheer gravitational pull of 41,204 hat patterns rather limits my ability to make sensible knitting decisions. The search functions and the various limiters are all great, but there are just so many. And of course, even though there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to available patterns, once you get an idea in your head and fail to find it perfectly realized in an existing pattern, anything else is unacceptable.

A few years back I was looking for the perfect hat pattern to make for my father. It needed to be fairly simple and reasonably manly. It also needed to be quick to make, interesting to knit, meet Dad’s exacting standards for comfort, and sufficiently unique to merit knitting rather than just buying one. For various reasons, all the patterns that I browsed were not quite right. Too much ribbing, not enough ribbing, or the wrong kind, not enough stripes, too few, etc. I made Goldilocks look easy to please.

Red Quadratic Cap One

But the lovely thing about knitting is how easy it is to design exactly what you are looking for – it’s all math and the materials are infinitely reusable. If the project isn’t coming out quite how you imagined it, just rip it out and start over.

The hat starts off with a 3×1 rib, which I find significantly more attractive than the standard 2×2 rib. The rib section is comfortably wide without overwhelming the rest of the hat. The colorwork section of stranded knitting is deceptively simple, but looks a bit like plaid once it’s completed. I was very, very excited when I first ran into that stitch pattern. The overall length of the hat allows it to be worn slouchy without getting sloppy or with the brim folded back for a more tightly fitting cap. With the ribbing folded back, the colorwork section can be entirely covered if the wearer is going for a completely bland look. I’ve never had cause to travel incognito, but you never know.

Quadratic Cap Red Two

The name for this pattern, Quadratic Cap, comes from the many multiples of four that are involved in the design – the 96 stitches cast-on, the 16 rows of ribbing, the four sets of paired decreases at the crown to name a few. Quadratic, a throwback to algebra class, evokes the fourness of the pattern. Plus, it almost alliterates with “cap.”

It’s a number of years on from the creation of the original Christmas gift. The hat has held up well, and Dad still wears the thing all the time. I’ve made one or two others in different color combinations for variety. I’m more a of a beret or tam o’shanter type hat person, but while writing up this pattern I’ve been hanging out while wearing one of the hats. I am so going to be making one for myself now.

Quadratic Cap Gray 1

The free pattern will be available for download on Ravelry and right here: Quadratic Cap

And yes, I am fully aware of the irony of bemoaning the overwhelming pattern choices on Ravelry only to add to them. You’re welcome.

Many thanks to my Dad for tolerating the picture taking!

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