Tag Archives: Patterns

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.

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!