August 24, 2015

Appa Catbus Hat

After I made the latest set of Totoro fair isle hats, I thought I would do one more with a few other skeins of yarn I had on hand that I had no idea what to do with. I had though about doing a scarf, or a shawl, but with the three colors I had it might turn out a little odd.

The yarn in question is Cascade Superwash 220 Sport and I have three skeins, one each of Chocolate, White, and Extra Cream Cafe. I got these colors way back in October of 2014. Since it is a lighter weight yarn than I was using before, I knew my existing design grid would most likely be too small, but I tried to hash out a design anyway.

The colors themselves are pretty perfect for representing a few other cartoon characters I like: Appa, from Avatar: the Last Airbender, and Catbus, also from My Neighbor Totoro. These two creatures are many legged modes of transportation in their respective shows, so they have a lot in common in my mind. It was fun to put them together in something finally. These skeins also do not have a lot of yardage so I figured I could use most of them up in this project.
scrapped pattern for 84 stitches
The yarn calls for a 4mm hook, but knowing I work very tightly, I went with one of my old G 4.25mm hooks. I did the foundation row out to where it fit around my head nicely, then did two rows of waistcoat stitch into it. I did not bother with trying color changes or anything just yet, as I wanted to see how many stitches my grid would need to be to fit nicely and if I needed to go up to a larger hook size.
first attempt with 84 sc around. too small. scrapped.
Once I got a few rows into the first pattern for 84 stitches around I knew it would be too small and reworked the pattern for 90 stitches. There are a few small differences between the two. I made the letters a bit more obvious and changed up Appa's face a little. I also moved the heart motif to fill in a little more space. I also moved it so that it was not split up across the seam, which is a good idea in theory, but looks bad in real life.
reworked pattern for 90 stitches around.
I worked on this hat for about three weeks I would say, off and on. My hubby was nice enough to snap a pic of my setup on our flight home from a weekend family reunion.

After getting through the entire design section, I think if I had to do it over I would work in a 5mm H hook just to make sure I don't get too tight. This hat fits, but somewhat tightly through the center where I forget myself and tend to work tight again.
several rows into the new design
Since I pretty much ran out of the cream cafe (tan) after the design section was done, I did one more row solid tan to be like row 4 and then closed off the hat using the dark chocolate brown to mirror the brim. I then finished the hat off with a white pom on top.
design areas done. love the heart detail
As with the very first of these hats I made, I feel like I could have done a lot of things better. This new yarn, was almost like starting this idea from scratch. I think in the future, I will start these hats in the smaller size, then when getting into the design area, move up a hook size to one larger. That might keep it from getting too tight to wear. (So in this case, start with a G hook and move to an H hook at row 4.)

This hat is super cute in my opinion, just needs to go to someone with a smaller head than me. I love the Appa best I think... Maybe next one I put Momo on the other side.

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time to Complete: 15 hours