Archive for the ‘finished objects’ Category

(Update: A better picture of the final finally finished object at the bottom!)

There’s kind of a funny story behind this project.

Anna and I have talked about doing no less than three, THREE, knit-a-longs for just the two of us. The first one was Tomato (Ravel It). You may have noticed her Tomato tops (yes, she’s made more than one) while I completed a total of zero. Oh, I cast on with pretty blue yarn with the highest of hopes… and never really got beyond the 12th row. And I heard about that for months.

The second KAL was Green Gable (Ravel It). I said, yes! I need a springy top to knit! It will be perfect! It will go quickly! I will be loyal to this project! And Anna looked askance at me, knowing how not far I got into the Tomato. She started it and finished it within hours (it seemed). I? I worked up two swatches. And nothing more.

After the Green Gable debacle I thought Anna had lost all faith in my ability to actually cast on a project and actually see it through to the finish. I know I ceratinly had. This spring and summer really weren’t good for my knitting mojo, probably because I had bigger things on my mind. Such as the purchasing and moving into of a new house.

So when Anna came over to my house wanting to know how I had cut up t-shirts for my bathmat made many moons ago, I took it as a challenge. I had been collecting old t-shirts for a while and had been wanting to knit new rugs for the laundry room (it’s in the unfinished part of the basement, very concrete-y, very cold floors), and that was the day I started cutting them up to make THE NEW RAG RUG!

On the Needles
Rug in progress. Note the giant-sized needles. Not pictured: my blistered hands.

Of course, Anna finished her rug (Ravelry link) in about 10 seconds, and I took longer because I had to finish the Big Bad Baby Blanket for my friend’s new baby. But finally, FINALLY, here is my rag rug!

Rag Rug w Feet
My feet are very photogenic

I used about 12 t-shirts in a variety of blues and greys and red. It’s loosely based on the log cabin pattern in Mason-Dixon Knitting (Ravelry Link), and it used size 17 needles. My Ravelry notes, including how I cut up the t-shirts, are here.

(I also have pictures of the finished baby blanket, but they’re not the greatest. For instance:

Big Bad Baby Blanket

That pink just sears your eyeballs, doesn’t it? And you can’t even see the whole blanket in that picture. FO picture FAIL.)

B&W Big Bad Baby Blanket
Thank god for friends like Penny. She sent me this b/w version of my picture, so maybe you can see the textures and some of the tonal changes. And not have your retinas burned into the back of your skull.

But that rug is seriously delicious to stand on. I’m working out the color scheme for my next one, which should be done in about 4 years or so.

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First of all, THANK YOU a thousand times to you lovely people who said nice things about my blanket! Oh my gosh, I was totally overwhelmed — I thought the blanket was charming, but I didn’t expect so many of you to find it charming too. Thank you. The word “verklempt” is coming to mind here.

As a result of finishing the blanket (and of reading all your nice words), I’m feeling much more like a real knitter these days. That’s also a result of these:

Decidedly Fall socks

As I mentioned before, I wanted to finish these socks for Socktoberfest. Half of that goal is now accomplished, and I’m kind of proud of myself. It’s amazing what gets knitted when you actually sit down and knit it.

Some fall leaves to go with the fall socks

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock lightweight in Fred Flintstone (purchased at Stitches Midwest 2006)

On the hoof

Needles: Knit Picks dpns in 2.5mm / US 1.5 (don’t believe them when they say that the 2.5mm is just another size 1. It’s not.)


Pattern: Wendy’s Generic Toe-up with some ribbing all down the instep. And all over the leg. All over, really. Makes a really nice plaid-ish pattern. The bind-off is 2 rows of very loose knitting on the 2.5mm needles, then a standard bindoff in rib using a 3.25mm needle. No sock-top-tightness at all. Woohoo!

Yes, that is a bit of a tattoo you see above the sock. I’ll show more of it later.

Time Spent: I started in February 2007, finished October 13th, 2007. I am a pathetically slow sock knitter.


What I Learned:
I learned that despite my best efforts to make it so, socks do not knit themselves;
I learned that knitting small yarn on small needles very quickly can put actual dents in my hands (not just from the needles — from the yarn, too!);
I learned that the short-row toe is the perfect toe for my toes (so far, I mean, it’s the only toe I’ve ever done, but it fits damn well);
and I learned that the short-row heel, though helped in this sock by the stretchy ribbing, is not the perfect heel for my heel. I’m going to have to bite the bullet and make heel-flap-gusset socks, which I’ve been avoiding because the short-row heel is so perfectly easy (it’s just like the toe! Nothing new to worry about!).

I feel pretty strongly about toe-up socks, what with the provisional CO/short-row toe being pretty much an exact copy of my foot. I can probably swing a toe-up heel-flap-gusset sock, right?

What with being a real knitter and all.

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It’s finished! I did it!



The Log Cabin Kureyon Blanket is complete and I am in LOVE! Yesterday was a perfect sunny day to take pictures, and last night was the perfect night to have a nice wool blanket. The temperature dropped to approximately BONE-CHILLINGLY COLD last night, and we had left our windows open while over at our friends’ apartment. The bedroom was freezing when we got in, but I was prepared with my brilliant 100% wool blanket. The strict-vegan husband shivered a good deal longer than I did. There may have been a Schadenfreude-ish cackle in my head as I drifted off to sleep in warm cozy comfort.

The blanket is definitely a one-person blanket, perfectly sized for me at about 68″ long (maybe shorter… I’m about 65″ to 66″ tall) and probably about 45″ wide (?) maybe? I haven’t measured it, I just know it fits.

Pattern: None. I mean, my own. I improvised on the Log Cabin pattern in Mason Dixon Knitting, and came up with this pattern. It’s down at the bottom of this page if you’re interested. (UPDATE on November 1, 2010 — pattern now available in French, courtesy of Tricomondesophie of Ravelry and of Le Tricomonde de Sophie and also available at Penelope’s Sisters)

I took the blanket to the park for a photo shoot, and it wanted to play. It played on the swings…

Inspiration: The Lizard Ridge blanket was my first inspiration, and the reason I bought the first 3 skeins. Then I saw the No-Sew Noro blanket by Yarnerinas and became totally enchanted with the idea of squares with a strong border. The squares on Cinamaknits‘ blog pushed me over the edge.

…it climbed up the curvy ladder…

Yarn: 19 skeins of Noro Kureyon in 19 different colors; 2 skeins of Cascade EcoWool (for the insanely good yardage) in dark brown (8095).

DSCF0324 DSCF0318
…it slid down the slide…

Needles: Many, many circulars in 5.0mm / US 8, because there are lots of stitches on those long edges.

…it steered the ship/playground…

Time Spent: Started Thursday, June 28th 2007 and finished 11:00pm Monday, October 8th 2007. I don’t have a clue how many hours I spent on it, but they were all delightful. Except maybe the brain-eating slog through the long edges on the borders, knitting 18 rows of garter stitch.

…and it beat me in tic-tac-toe, the slyboots…

Money Spent: This is not a topic I want to dwell on, but my husband and a friend were wondering how much it’s worth, with the cost of yarn plus all my time, just to see. Well, if you pay retail for 19 balls of Kureyon (which I didn’t have to, thank gourd), plus the $30 I paid at WEBS for my two skeins of EcoWool… [shudder]. Let us speak no more of it.

…and then it reposed gracefully against a stone couch.

What I Learned:

  • I learned that garter stitch is not boring, and is extremely cushy,
  • that colors other than my usual favorites can be beautiful,
  • that blankets can be knitted (I thought crochet was the only way to go, for the quickness factor),
  • that I will never get tired of smelling this yarn,
  • that 2400 grams of wool is damn warm,
  • that I could actually stick with a huge project and get it completed (I used to be intimidated by bigger projects, including sweaters),
  • that the kniternet is an awesome place to be when you need some extra balls of Kureyon (THANK YOU to Cathi, Heather, Kimberly, and KillerDaisy!!!),
  • and I learned that knitting my own blanket is a completely rewarding experience.
  • I’m including the pattern after the jump (if all goes well and I actually manage to create a jump). If you do decide to make it (or something like it with whatever customizations), drop me a line — I’d love to see what you make! And if you find yourself in need of an extra ball of Kureyon, I’ve got one to give away to the first person to ask for it. Colorway 194.


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    Last week sometime, or perhaps before that (I don’t really know, and I shall blame this not-knowing on the heat and humidity we’ve been having), Femiknitter and I formed a pact to make sure we finished up some stalled projects. Because she’s coming into Chicago this Saturday (!!!) and we’re going to Stitches Midwest together, we decided to force ourselves to finish whatever projects seemed challenging by this coming Friday night (the 10th). If we do that, we get a bonus on our Stitches budget (if my budget is X, finishing my project(s) earns me X+50) (my budget is looking freakishly algebraic).

    After being intimidated by my headband for far too long, I finished it in about 90 minutes. And after puttering around on my warshrag for, again, far too long, I finished that in a day. (Read the specs) (It’s amazing the amount of knitting that gets done when you actually knit, instead of whingeing about it not being done.) And those were my Stitches goals. Those were the projects that were supposed to earn me another fifty dollars. These two projects that took two days total to complete. I didn’t feel like I earned anything.

    So I set myself another goal: Knit four more washrags by Friday, August 10th.

    And I did.

    Test Pattern
    I finished the black&white one last night

    Technicolor Warshrags

    I worked almost exclusively on these 100% cotton washcloths, and now my hands are insisting that I be done with them for a while. Nick’s been rubbing my hands for me after each evening’s knitting for the past week or so (huzzah!), but they’re still a little sore. Strong, though. I feel like I could crimp like a champ at this point. But I won’t.

    In between working on the headband and the cotton, I finished block #10 of the (mercifully wooly and elastic) Noro Kureyon log cabin blanket.

    Kureyon 157
    Kureyon 157, a pretty dark picture… sorry!

    And I’m working on the eleventh

    Kureyon 3
    Kureyon 3, from Kimberly

    I think I can finish it by Friday. Bonus!

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    Today is special. Today, I have things to show you.

    [bounces up and down with the happiness]

    I have finished objects to show you.

    I finished the headband!

    Curly Tail

    In Action

    Pattern: Molly’s Headband (.pdf) by Pam Allen, from Interweave Knits Summer 2006.
    Yarn: South West Trading Company Twize (100% bamboo, 110m to 100g) in colorway Twing. A stash yarn, I’m proud to say. And I used about half of it.
    Needles: 4.0mm (US 6) aluminum 24″ circular. With a blunt tip.
    Time Spent: I don’t know. A lot? I started this maybe in February…? And I finished it this past Monday (July 30) morning at 7:30am. I woke up at 5:45, couldn’t get back to sleep and decided that knitting was better than worrying about it, and I just finished it. Had ends woven in, soaked and blocking by the time I had to get ready for work.
    What I Learned This was my first project with any amount of lace in it, and I learned several methods of throwing my knitting across the room in a fit of pique, as well as many creative ways of swearing at it. (It’s not the pattern; the pattern is very well written, the chart is perfectly clear. It was operator error that caused all the problems.) I did learn that lace — even small, simple, 4-row lace — must be done at home without distractions. I also learned that k3tog really doesn’t work on blunt needles, but that a right-leaning double decrease exists out there that is not quite such a bastard. It is this: k2tog, sl resulting st back to L needle, sl second-in-line st over the new st. I found it in an archived newsletter by Sally Melville (scroll down a bit). I learned that lace, while frustrating when one doesn’t pay proper attention, is beautiful, rewarding, and not really that hard at all.
    Thoughts: Like I said, the pattern is great and I recommend it to anyone wanting to try lace on a bigger scale, or wanting a small project for summer. The Twize is beautiful — shiny, colorful, drapey. It does split easily, and there are several points along my headband that have a stray ply sticking up somewhere. Knitting it on more pointy needles would probably help (KnitPicks Options, Addi lace), but I’m okay with the way it is. I also happened to make the headband exactly the right length (entirely by accident) — when I wear it tied around my head the pointy ends are actually touching. If I made this again I would make it a smidge shorter, but it’s perfect as it is.

    And there’s also this…


    another angle

    Pattern: Ballband Dishcloth from Mason-Dixon Knitting
    Yarn: Lily Sugar’n Cream (100% cotton) in white and pink/orange/yellow multi
    Needles: 4.5mm (US 7) aluminum straights
    Time Spent: I really need to be aware of this. I know I started it this month, but don’t have the date written down. A few weeks.
    What I Learned: Slip-stitch patterns are way fun. Making your own washcloths is way fun. Pink, orange and yellow are clearly my favorite colors. Small cotton squares are ideal in the summer.
    Thoughts: Love!

    I got motivated to finish these projects after a conversation with Femiknitter which came about after my lament about my overwhelming WIPs. We decided to allow ourselves more money at Stitches if we reached certain knitting goals. These two are the beginning. I have one more that I have to tackle by August 10th, and I’ll write more about it later. This post is huge. If you made it this far, you’re a champ.

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    I present to you the culmination of my knitterly efforts…


    I made it, it fits me, and it’s done! Three things that make me unspeakably happy.

    And the back view*

    Pattern: Ballet Camisole by Alexandra Virgiel
    Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport in Orchid
    Needles: Knit Picks Options in US 5 & US 7
    Time Spent: I started swatching on April 20th, and finally cast on on April 29th. I finished on the morning of June 26th. I’m late with pictures because I’m on vacation and therefore much more busy than I was when I was just working.
    What I Learned: I learned more about shaping and directional decreases on this piece than I had before. I tried to outthink myself (sometimes it’s too easy) on the directional decreases and ended up with a kind of funky look, but I’m okay with it. It looks great and is finished. I also learned, thanks to Heather, that even though my cami looked huge when laid out flat on the table, it would still fit me because I am three-dimensional.
    Thoughts: I made the 2nd smallest size, which calls for 5 balls of the KP Shine Sport, but I ended up knitting from 6 balls of yarn because you have to divide and work from two yarn sources for the straps. The cami is perfect — it does cover up my bra straps quite well, and is a nice length, and the gather at the bust gives it an extra kick. I like the pattern a whole lot and might knit it again.

    I love this color of pink. One might say I love it too much — when I put the cami away in my closet, I counted FOUR other tops in that same color. Perhaps it’s time to move on to the navy of my upcoming Tomato top.

    * Sorry about the craptacular pictures. I had to take the pictures after my last knitting class at the library, and the scenery leaves much to be desired.

    See the whole story of the Ballet Cami…
    Other Middle
    (This post being The End)

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    I have completed my Koigu Sherbet-Berry-Sunset socks.

    I couldn’t be prouder. Or more addicted.

    Pattern: None, just Wendy’s Generic Toe-Up sock pattern over 60 stitches. Short-row toe, short-row heel. I added a 2×2 rib for a change (and also because I seem to be held in the thrall of 2×2 rib) at the leg.
    Yarn: 2 balls Koigu KPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPM, in a colorway whose number is lost to the mists of time. I almost snarked up a storm when I found knots and ravelings in one skank, but gracefully moved on without a murmur. Yes.
    Needles: KnitPicks dpn 2.5mm (they’re calling it a US size 1). They are pointy and perfect.
    Time spent: Begun December 2nd, 2006 and finished February 3rd, 2007. (Except I haven’t woven in the ends at the toes yet. I don’t know why.) I started these right after I learned that my grandma had died, and knit on them during the visitation. It was nice to be able to focus on something else.
    What I learned: Short-row toe, short-row heel, provisional cast-on, patience.
    Thoughts: I completely love sock knitting. I love the wee bitty needles and the wee bitty stitches and I adore the way they fit and feel. Does everyone know about sock knitting? Should I be running up and down the street shouting about the benefits of handknit socks? Maybe not?
    Bonus: Hey, this yarn has been in my stash since May of last year, so not only am I knitting from my stash (yes!), but that means that I can buy more sock yarn because I just knit a pair of socks! Or did I say I had to knit two pairs of socks? Dammit, it’s two pairs. Screw it, I want to buy some sock yarn!

    Edit: I forgot to write down what I did for the bind-off. I normally bind off very loosely and don’t tend to have problems with final products (and here I speak as though I have a lot of those) being too tight in that respect. However. I tried binding off in my normal way, very loosely, because I wasn’t sure how to do the sewn bind off (I have never kitchenered, for those who might tell me it’s just like kitchenering). Didn’t work — it was too tight. When did I realize this? After the entire first cuff was bound off, of course. After many tinkings (very frustrating when I wanted to WEAR THE SOCKS IMMEDIATELY and be done), I discovered the perfect bind-off that does not involve sewing: work 1 rnd in pattern in same needles (2.5mm in my case) very loosely, then work bind-off rnd using a needle 2 sizes larger (3.25mm in my case), also very loosely. Put your socks on and dance around your abode.

    All the posts about my first-ever pair of socks:

    (this post being the end)

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    One of Four

    I have finished one of the four promised bridesmaid gifts. This one is Maribeth’s scarf, finished posthaste after a pointed observation about the growing chill in the air.

    It’s the FO I mentioned before, and here it is all pinned out for her block party. Heh.

    Left = before; right = during. I love how the ribs have opened up.

    Here it is all foldy. I’m totally impressed with blocking. It makes the scarf look fantastic and semi-professional. (I’m tooting the horn of Blocking, not my own. My stitches looked fairly squashy and uneven before the voodoo that is Blocking.)

    Even the edge stitches look better. Does everyone know about this? I have the urge to become a blocking evangelist and travel the world telling every knitter about this fabulious (that’s right, I’m keeping that word) technique and how it can save humanity by stunning us with its transformative power and making us speak softly and offer tea and cookies to one another.

    Except I’m probably the last knitter on earth to have found out about the magic of Blocking (I think it deserves to be capitalized, don’t you?). Ah well. I’ll keep my eyes open for the tea and cookies then, shall I?

    And here it is, all wrapped up and on its way to my sister. Hooray!

    Pattern: None, just 3×3 rib over … um… 30 stitches, I think.
    Yarn: Catalina Chunky 100% baby alpaca (109 yds per skank) 2 skanks
    Needles: US 10 (6.0 mm) aluminum circulars, inherited, unknown origin.
    What I Learned: How to wash and block a finished object, which I had never done before.
    Thoughts: I love the softness, but hated the bloomy-ness of this yarn. I kept sneezing all the time, and didn’t like that my shirt fronts looked like I’d been wrestling cats after a knitting session. The yarn was splitty and loosely plied, too, which slowed me down a bit. But the color (natural – 101) is beautiful and will go well with Maribeth’s winter coat (and I have some more natural colored alpaca — Classic Elite — which may be a hat to match later on).

    One down, three to go.

    Oh, and did you remember today?

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    First: Did you go VOTE?

    Warning: This post contains many pictures (but really, you should expect this from me by now). I apologize to anyone using dial-up internet service.

    Credit Where Credit is Due: I followed Nicole’s great tutorial on dyeing yarn in her dorm room. As my kitchen resembles a broom closet, her instructions worked really well for me.

    It all started with some KnitPicks Bare Superwash/nylon sock yarn, and four little jars of dye (also from KnitPicks. Maybe I should just buy stock in that company and reap the benefits of my unstoppable shopping habit? Maybe?). And then we skeined up that yarn into the Giant Loop Of Doom at Heather’s a couple weeks ago, with the help of Tipsy the Cat (who enjoyed trying to kill the yarn every time I walked around the chairs).
    Then (time lapse narration here — there were about 2 weeks between skeining and the “then”), I put the yarn in a pot filled with water and a glug of vinegar and soaked it overnight.

    (I floated a smaller pot lid weighted with a glass jar on top of the yarn, as it had a tendency to pop up out of the water.)

    On Friday (the Day of the Dyed) I took the yarn out of the giant soaking pot (after getting anxious looks from Nick — “That’s my good pasta pot. Are you going to be dyeing in that?” So cute.) and put it in the colander over a bowl to drain…

    … and set up the table for some hot dyeing action. Yes!!

    Lots of layers of Saran wrap all over my table. Like an idiot, I didn’t put anything under the table. Thankfully the dyes didn’t decide to go exploring.

    By this time I had Anna (who had done some dyeing herself the day before) and her boys, Heather, and Beth all over because no one in our group has ever dyed before and the process was intriguing to all of us. At one point I got irrationally nervous because everyone was looking at me and I really had no clue about what I was doing. But then I calmed down, because they had no clue about what I was doing either, so I could totally wing it.

    And the dyeing began. You can see that the Giant Loop of Doom was too big to lay out on my puny little table (but thanks, Mom & Dad, for giving to to me for free!!). I had to make a double-layered “C” out of it, but it worked.

    I started with the yellow/orange (1/4 tsp yellow, 1/8 tsp salmon), moved to the blue (1/4 tsp sky blue), and on to the pink (1/4 tsp pink)

    Bright, isn’t it?

    Then I wrapped the whole thing up in the Saran wrap…

    … and plunked it in a Pyrex baking dish (I spiralled it all up first) and put it in the microwave.

    Now, Nicole’s tutorial says she microwaved her yarn (this sets the dye) for 4 minutes, let it rest, cooked for 4 minutes, let it rest, and cooked for 2 minutes. I followed this exactly, not remembering that sometimes, some microwaves are stronger than others and that my microwave is a big beefy bodybuilder in the land of microwaves.

    I burned my yarn.

    When I took it out of the microwave, I noticed these dark spots on the pink and yellow bits. I thought the blue dye had migrated and I was kind of sad, but thought “Oh well, it’s my first attempt and everything else was going so well and this is just a little bump in the road and it’s not so bad and it’ll be okay and DAMMIT!” When the yarn had cooled and I was rinsing it, I still thought that it was the dye. After a long stint of drying in the shower, I realized what it was.

    I had scorched my yarn. I am the girl who burns yarn.

    Oh my god. I can never show my face to knitters/dyers again (clearly I have moved on since then). But I kept my cheery, can-do, it’s-my-first-attempt-and-I’m-learning spirit about me and said “Whatever. It’s my yarn and I like it!”

    Then I took the Giant Loop of Doom and wound it up into a Much Smaller Loop of Doom, and this is what it looks like now:

    (both pictures remarkably true to color) and I love it. It’s 440 yards of sweet socky goodness. And I think it came out pretty close to the inspiration, too.

    (doing the happy dance!)

    What I learned: Don’t drain out so much water from the yarn! Maybe temper the uber-bright colors with some softer colors next time. Always have friends around with you when you dye yarn, because the process is way more fun. Mixing colors together gets you better colors, and more bang for your dyeing buck. I am now addicted to dyeing yarn.

    And now: I’m off to VOTE!

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    Perhaps you remember my Olympic Hat? It was my first project in-the-round, my first shot at dpns (I’m still not sure if I love them or hate them… it’s a fine line), my first picked-up hem, and my first bout of I-cord. It was many things for me. It was also too big.

    It being my first hat, I had no idea how to size it. I measured my head and got … um, whatever measurement I got. 20 inches? I have no idea now. But I do remember that I thought “X inches, eh? Well then, the hat I am about to make must be precisely X inches itself!! I am a knitting genius! Well done, me!”

    Perhaps you know what happens when you knit a hat precisely the same size as your head. It just sits there on your noggin all loosely, not grabbing, not keeping out the whistling winds of winter. My ears got cold when I wore this hat. Not very much fun.

    So I decided to knit a cuff to my hat. A ribbed cuff, because as I said, I have this huge problem doing any knitting that does not involve ribbing. Thank the gods I had one ball of the yarn left over.

    I started with picking up and knitting the stitches on the edge of the original hem.

    *A-hem!* (hoo boy am I ever funny!) This is where I learned how to pick up stitches (don’t judge — we all learn at different speeds).

    This is the cuff, about 1/3 the way through. Maybe. I can’t be sure. But the ribbing — the ribbing! It sang to me as I knit it! It looks fabulious (Hey Femiknitter!) and I love it with my whole heart.

    This is the cuff, finished and bound off. (And it is also an example of me forgetting to rotate the image clock-wise. Multi-tasking!!!) I wasn’t sure if I wanted to attach the end of the cuff to the inside of the hat, and in the end I decided not to attach it. Partly because I thought non-attachment would improve the fit, but mostly because I couldn’t figure out a lazy way to do it.

    My noggin, as encased in the hat. See the grabbiness? See?

    Now you can see the grabbiness. See it grip my forehead in a firm but snuggly way. See also how I need some sleep.

    And this, my friends, is the final chapter in The Making Of The Olympic Hat. It is now finished for real and is the first hat I reach for in the morning when I walk to work.

    The whistling winds will just have to find someone else’s ears to freeze.

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