Tag Archives: hats

Lake Merritt hat

  • Lake Merritt

Oakland’s Lake Merritt is half urban, half wild: It’s the United States’ first wildlife refuge, right in the center of a busy city. Its birds swim through reflections of office buildings and gnarled oaks. Ringing the lake is a string of iconic fairy lights that throw long, white stripes across the dark surface of the lake at night and mix with the nighttime colors of traffic signals. This “Necklace of Lights” inspired the rippling stripes of this hat, knit in yarns from talented dyers.

Lake Merritt’s easy, eye-catching colorwork uses under 50 yards of contrast color, perfect for one of those eye-catching mini-skeins that always seem to come home with you from the yarn store. It’s warm for its weight, knit from the bottom up with a partial lining and a double-thickness crown, and with careful finishing it’s fully reversible.

The pattern includes a detailed photo tutorial for my “centipede” cast-on, a polished-looking variation on the i-cord cast-on that has tons of stretch but never flips, curls or rolls. A simple alternate cast-on is given if you just want to dive right into the colorwork.

Price: $5 USD
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Check it out on Ravelry!


Skill level

Intermediate knitter or confident beginner. More advanced knitters may want to tackle the custom sideways cast-on.

Skills needed

  1. Working from a colorwork chart
  2. Provisional cast-on
  3. Grafting or three-needle bind-off for optional “centipede” cast-on


XS | S | M/L | XL to fit a head (16-18″ / 40-45 cm) | (18-20″ / 45-50 cm) | (20-22″ / 50-56cm; fits most adults) | (22-24″ / 56cm-62cm) around.


Find links to recommended techniques and tutorials at the Lake Merritt Ravelry page.

New pattern: Temescal hat

I love making hats. They don’t take much yarn, they’re great for using up scraps, I can knock one out in a day — and they’re as wearable as you can get. In winter, I keep a pile of them in a bowl and pick one out without looking as I head out the door. (I don’t really have to worry about matching my outfit, since I always seem to knit and dress in the same three or four colors.) I think in my whole knitting career, I’ve probably made about five scarves, three and a half pairs of mittens, maybe twenty pairs of mitts, two thirds of a glove, and dozens and dozens and dozens of hats.

Yup. Love.


Lately I’ve been making even more than usual, for a damn good reason: they’ve been samples for a pattern I’m re-releasing today as Temescal, the first in a series of hats inspired by Oakland neighborhoods. I made four different versions of the hat and shot photos all over town, from way out by the cranes of West Oakland, to a vivid mural outside a pop-up poutine restaurant 40 blocks north.

One version of the hat is really special, both for the stunning yarn and the way it fits my local theme: it’s made with a gradient set of mini skeins by Pigeonroof Studios, an indie dyer based in Emeryville, just north of Oakland.


(Go check them out. Seriously. Everything’s incredible. The colors, the saturation, the … oh, just go look. It’s my favorite local yarn, hands down.)

It can be hard knitting multiple samples of the same pattern, but I never got bored of knitting this hat. It’s knit on relatively big needles (seriously, I had to break out the size 13’s for the largest gauge, which I almost never use these days) and the stitch pattern has what I call a “popcorn” quality: easy enough I can do it on autopilot, interesting enough to stay hooked, and completely addictive. Each one had a different pattern, from all one color to a variety of stripes. Once I was done with one, I would start thinking right away about making the next.

(It wasn’t just me, either. Some of my test knitters bound off, just to immediately cast on for second — and even third! — versions of the hat. When I heard that, I cackled. That right there means victory to me.)

Anyway. It’s here, and I’m stoked. Check the pattern out on Ravelry or heck, buy it now!