New pattern: Lake Merritt

I released a new hat pattern the other day! World, meet Lake Merritt:

Lake Merritt
It was Cristina’s first time modeling, so we were still working our way up to not having her hide behind her hair.

Lake Merritt is a real, live lake (well, estuary) right in the middle of my town, Oakland. I’ve lived within a mile of the lake for six of the years I’ve been here, so I’ve had plenty of time to get acquainted with its sights (and smells — it can get sort of brackish sometimes) throughout the year and at different times of day. I’ve climbed its trees, played pétanque near its shores, picnicked on its lawns, jogged its circumference a zillion sweaty times, startled its geese, gawked at a pelican in the bird sanctuary turning his throat pouch inside-out for cleaning, had cocktails on its piers, watched gondoliers pole across its surface, seen jellyfish swim in its waters, stared out at it from a window seat at the restaurants that face it, watched the sun set over it — everything but wade in it. (It’s very shallow and very full of bird poop, so that would be a terrible idea.) Once I even saw someone taking their six-foot albino ball python for a walk its the lawn.

And like a lot of people, my favorite is the look of the Necklace of Lights reflecting on the lake at night. They were installed in 1925, went dark in World War II and have been back up and glowing since the late ’80s. At night when the water is still, its surface throws back light from the Necklace and from the streetlights, traffic lights, headlights and houses surrounding the lake. It’s pretty gorgeous.

Oakland Localwiki: The Necklace of Lights
Photo from the Oakland Localwiki.

Since the hat is based on such a beloved local feature, I wanted to pick out yarns for the samples from my favorite local dyers: A Verb for Keeping Warm and Pigeonroof Studios. (Unfortunately, it took so long for me to get this pattern out, Pigeonroof up and moved to Portland by the time it came out. Ah, well.)  The colorway I chose for the dark version of the hat above, “Railroad Stake,” comes the closest of any yarn I’ve ever seen to the dark but colorful shimmer on the lake at night.

Lake Merritt hat
See what I mean about the colors?

As for the nitty-gritty of the hat: The hat is double-thick, with a lining for the colorwork section and the crown worked with two strands of yarn, so it’s warm for a sock-yarn hat. There are two cast-on options that make the hat either medium-easy or medium-difficult, depending which you choose. The medium-easy one uses a provisional cast-on and is super quick. The more difficult one is a a sideways double i-cord cast-on I came up with; I call it a “centipede” cast-on because it’s got live stitches on either side of it that look like little legs. And I know I’m not exactly subjective, but it is awesome. I’ve spent a really long time trying to find a truly polished-looking hat edge that’s stretchy and won’t flip or curl and doesn’t stick out all funny like a traditional i-cord trim, and this one finally, finally fits the bill.

You can check out Lake Merritt on Ravelry, or for five bucks you can just jump in and buy it now.