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Dear Kay, and everyone who’s got that sweet heat index of 108 working for them,

It doesn’t matter, does it? Those doomsaying meteorologists can doomtalk all they want; they cannot stop us. Yeah, it’s hot. Yeah, the humidity is a cement wall when we open the door. It’s fine, it’s fine. We are going to knit through this heat wave the same way we knit every other day: steady, constant, and glad.

It’s all about two things.

Your Setup

Crank up Martha and the Vandellas. “Heat Wave” is just the thing.

Find or make a breeze. This breeze is often air conditioning or a fan, but it can also be the breeze made by Mother Nature. As long as the air is moving, the knitting is fine.

Shade. I don’t think I’ve ever knitted anything in full sun. It’s making me all squinty just thinking about it.

Hydration. A glass of icy something, sweating profusely so you don’t have to.

Your Project

Fiber choice. I’ve thought about this a lot. Maybe it’s offputting to sit with a wool sweater half done in your lap. I don’t disagree with that. But the problem there is a matter of quantity, not fiber. I bow to the linen and cotton prowess of all you plant fiber folk, and I agree that those fibers are pretty much the definition of summery. But it’s just really hard for me to let my love of wool languish during these hot spells.

Size. The trick: make li’l things. A sock. Can be one sock, ideally that second sock you ditched out on back in February. This is how you turn the knitting of one sock into a pair of socks, bipbapboom just like that.

Or a hat.

I just finished a little side project I’ve been beavering away on in idle moments.

This is the Buggiflooer Beanie by Allison Rendell.

It’s one of the many superspecial hat patterns that are part of Shetland Wool Week.

This yarn came from my stupendous stash of 2-ply Shetland wool.

Corrugated ribbing? Hello! You just lowered the temperature ten degrees for me, thanks.

A few weeks ago, I departed for one of my reveries in which I hit the road and end up in Shetland. It is never 108 degrees there. Making this hat transported me utterly, such a delight.

Maybe that’s my ultimate advice when sweating it out these days: think cool. Think of the coldest you’ve ever been, stick your head in the freezer for a bit, and dream of Norway.

How are you keeping cool?



PS Those of you wondering what the colors are in the hat . . . I used random mostly unmarked yarn. I do love a challenge, so I got out my twenty-year-old Jamieson’s shade card (no end to my nerdiness), and came up with this as the closest to whatever the heck yarns I was using in this hat:

Jamieson’s Spindrift:
365 Chartreuse
524 Poppy
235 Grouse
230 Yellow Ochre
144 Turf (the background color)

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  • And just like that I’m feeling inspired to start another project. . .what a gorgeous hat!

    • I’m working on little fingering weight granny squares, about 2″ big. Perfect in the heat!

    • I keep saying that I need to finish before I start another but that hat!!!!

      • Socks! Non matching, but same wooly colors! And the boyfriend’s sweater, knitted in the sweet sweet AC, for our 4 year anniversary, Sept 21!

  • Like you, small projects, fans, mint tea and late in the day bike rides – wishing there was a pool…

    • Also, that hat!

  • Fans, knitting hats, ice water, and memories of winters at -30°. Now I also have Shetland to dream myself to! Beautiful hat!!

  • Living in Northwestern Wisconsin does the trick

    • Ha! Too good!

  • That hat is special. I have two must do projects to finish first, but the hat will be my third. Baby blanket for my great granddaughter coming in September is first, Fair Isle squares for Martin Storey’s knit along, and then the cute hat for my favorite granddaughter.❤️

  • This takes my mind off of hurricane Idalia! Thank you!

    • Our hearts and prayers are with you.

      • Yes Nan, wishing you good luck and safe days ahead.

  • Beautiful hat. I would love to go to Shetland one day. I’ll have to definitely make the hat or one like it.

  • I’ve been knitting hats too. It’s so satisfying to finish something quickly and move on to the next

  • In New Orleans, we all have cabin fever because it”s….well, you know. I’m knitting all the cotton and linen, and also dreaming of Scotland. And sometimes, just lying under the ceiling fan on the cool wood floor…..

  • And that hat has lots of floats. And floating in a pool of cool water in my mind is already lowering the temp! Finished the Buggiflooer at the beach this summer. Waves and ocean breezes in the shade….

  • Is this hat too ambitious for someone who has never done colorwork? I’m just in love with this hat!

    • My first color work was the Shetland Wool Week hat 3 years ago. If you can read a chart, go for it! You typically only use two colors per round and color work is nice because you can almost immediately tell when you’ve not followed the pattern.

    • Another great project for trying out knitting Colorwork is a Christmas Ball, like the the ones Arne and Carlos are famous for. Scandinavian Colorwork tends to just two colors while Fair Isle loves to get more painterly with 4-5, but really, it’s just two colors in any given round when you are knitting. Go for it!

    • Maybe a quick bit of practice on something smaller first? A possibility, free on ravelry, “Fair Isle Wrist Warmers”, from Annette Golonka.

    • There are some technical issues with knitting Fair Isle in the round over a small diameter project like a sock or a hat. You definitely can do it, but you will need to spend extra time and care to ensure your tension is even and the floats are the right length. If you have a knitting group or LYS where you can get some in person attention initially that wouldn’t hurt, but YouTube is a great resource, too. And a hat is a small project so even with extra time spent on tension, it isn’t a long slog. Good luck & enjoy your hat!

    • Alexis, I believe I’m quoting the great Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner: Nothing is too difficult a project if you crave the result enough. You can do it!!!

  • I agree. I just finished 3 wool hats for shop samples for my LYS. I have the first sock of a pair on my needles as well. Little wool things are fun to knit in the summer. It’s time to start Christmas knitting as well.

  • I knitted a free form, make it up as you go shawl with fingering weight merino, mohair/silk and sock leftovers. It was cooling to not have to think about a pattern but just knit and have fun. Only at the end when it was big did it become hot so that part went slower. Or does it always go slower when you’re nearly done and have start-itis?

  • Beautiful hat. It is its own incentive. I agree that size matters in the heat and humidity. Small woolly projects are a yes for me. I’m replacing one mitt of a pair at the moment. The damaged one sat under ice and snow in a heavily used driveway, thoroughly salted, frozen and thawed, for a couple of months, and the road and tire debris ground into it cut a few holes… It was found and returned to me in July! There’s a matching hat, so…

  • I respond to the heat by first complaining (and swearing a lot). Then I cry. Then I pack up my knitting and take it somewhere that has a: air conditioning, b: people who are also complaining, and c: people who will give me a tissue and pat my shoulder when I cry because it’s just too hot!

  • It’s rarely too anything for me not to want to knit — but I find weaving (rigid heddle loom) when knitting is a little too hot is a good alternative for getting my fiber fix. . .

  • Where I am (NE Penna) it hasn’t been unnaturally hot, but man has it been humid. I feel like everything in the house, including me, is covered with a fine patina of mildew. So humid my glasses fog up when I hike. Even the dog is dragging.
    But I’m knitting socks, because I always have a sock going, and I’m also working on a cotton vest. With a palate cleanser last week of a bias knit mohair wrap. I decided humidity actually makes mohair easier to handle, damps down the wayward fluff.

  • Love the hat! I’m staying in the a/c (how did we survive without it, when I was a kid?), and working on an Aran cardigan for one of my sons for Christmas. It’s worked in pieces, my own design, so it’s almost as small as a summer project. If I do go outside, those cooling hats that you wet and shake out, really do help.

  • I’m even having trouble knitting cotton dishcloths right now…actual temperature here was 110 the other day, never mind the heat index!!! I can feel a shift happening though, and wool is starting to call to me (I’m just not going to pay attention just yet)

  • Love the hat. I stay cool by staying in as much as possible. Just like really cold and icy days in winter. More time to knit without feeling I have to be somewhere. I actually welcome those days.

  • It may be hot here but I like to knit in the patio in the afternoon, it’s in full shade. Currently working on a sweater and a hat,

  • Amazing colors in your hat. Just stunning. Mine is just ok. Can I borrow yours? I’m heading to Wool Week with a friend. Definitely a bucket list trip.

    • Oh wow what a great adventure!

  • Shat are the colors you used. They are beautiful.

  • I think our summer just ended on Sunday evening! Monday was drizzly and cool, all day long.

    I finished knitting a new shawl (wool) on Sunday evening. Monday I started my Buggiflooer…cowl! I started as a hat, but I knew I’d never wear it. I decided it was a gauge swatch, and now I’m knitting a cowl, with slightly shorter corrugated ribbing because it will be repeated on the top edge. Symmetry is my goddess…

    Your beanie is beauteous!

    Ann, is there any chance that the shop could make up kits for those of us who are truly jonesing for your hat??? I know I’m not the only one who would purchase a kit.
    I knit every darn day, hot or cold, ac or not, my hands must knit. I’m so sorry for those in harm’s way with the hurricane, and wish you all well. I’m also sad for those who are so bothered by the heat. We are enduring some trying times……that’s why I knit and listen to recorded books!
    Thank you, Ann. I love reading your and Kay’s letters. You both make my day(s)!

    • OK y’all, I do love a challenge, so I got out my twenty-year-old Jamieson’s shade card (no end to my nerdiness), and came up with this as the closest to whatever the heck yarns I was using in this hat:

      Jamieson’s Spindrift:
      365 Chartreuse
      524 Poppy
      235 Grouse
      230 Yellow Ochre
      144 Turf (the background color)

      We don’t carry this yarn though it would sure be fun to have it in the Shop . . .

      • Thank you so much, Ann! You’re the best!

  • Those colors! I don’t suppose you could make a list of the shades you used?
    I am gobsmacked by that combination!

    • Honestly it’s a mishmosh of Jameson’s, Alice Starmore, Rowan 2ply. Lemme see if I can figure it out!

  • That hat is so pretty!

  • This is the first summer I haven’t set the winter sweater aside and tried to work on a summer sweater. It would never be finished in time anyway. Have kept to the wool sweater (often on the lawn at Tanglewood, which helps), placing cotton bag between it and me when needed. I might just finish this before winter ends!
    What great vision to reach into stash and pull out all of those amazing colors for that hat!

  • I’m working on 10″ squares of Galway wool for the Galway Blanket Project with Carol Feller and thinking of the cold winter weather that will come about the time I finish it. But I too have been dreaming of going to Shetland Wool Week someday and feeling inspired to make one of the Wool Week hats… I was going to pass on the Booggiflooer until I saw your colors – it is beautiful! Waiting for a break between squares is Setasdal Hat #5 that I started some while back, before I began the Galway project. (I entered my 4th Setasdal Hat and its matching Cos neckwarmer in the county fair and got blue ribbons for each – Yay!) A wool shawl is standing by until cooler weather, as it’s too big to hold all that warmth in my lap. And ball band dishcloth projects are in the car, for any impromptu waiting time when I’m in town.

    Best wishes to all who are under threat of hurricanes, crazy hot weather, and suffering from the fires in Maui. I hear we will be under a fire watch here in N. California over the next few days, but I will keep knitting on my blanket squares as long as possible.

  • PS: Ann, is there a way to save articles now, after the website redo? I want to save this one as your colors inspire me to search my stash for something similar. Thanks!!

    • Hi Anne! At the top of every post, you’ll see a bookmark icon. Once you’re logged into your MDK account, click the bookmark and it’ll save it. (Be sure to see my comment upthread here re what colors I used for the hat. You may need to add to your stash lol . . .) ; )

      • Thanks Ann – it doesn’t seem to be working for me, so I’ll send an email rather than take up more space here (the little bookmark icon disappears after I click on it, and it doesn’t save the article). We’ll get it figured out. You and Kay and your team are the greatest. And yes, I bought the pattern and I’ve started stash diving.

  • I’m in London in the UK and our summer didn’t come this year. I think everywhere else just got hotter while here the mercury struggled to rise above 70F with occasional sunny spells. So I’m still knitting all things woolly

  • Not to worry, it is 100 here most of this week and last night I finished the not so granny cowl which is Ginormous, getting ready to wear on an upcoming trip to Iceland next year for a couple of weeks. Heat and really cold in one accessory.

  • I’ve almost reached the lower neck edge on the back of a tank I’m knitting from a linen/silk blend. This was begun when I couldn’t face having a whole wool sweater body sitting on my lap while knitting a sleeve. The tank has been a refreshing change. Now onto finishing the back and making the front.

  • This is just gorgeous in every way. No ifs, ands or buts.

  • Love your color choices!

  • I’ve had several non-knitters ask me what I do in the summer “because it must be too hot to knit” – lol! No, I just make sure it’s smaller projects! Mittens, socks, and hats are perfect for the warmer days. And any day that is too warm means a/c and cold drinks. I’ll even start a fingering weight shawl in summer if I want to… I have yet to knit more than one sweater but I can understand why that might be too hot to finish in the summer – the body sure did keep my lap warm when I was working on the sleeves!
    I loved the Bugiflooer Beanie when the pattern came out but since I’m really trying not to buy yarn and didn’t have the yarn to make it in my stash, I wasn’t going to knit it this year. Then my husband took me to a yarn store, pointed out the hat and asked me why I wasn’t knitting it It didn’t help that the yarn store had kits done up in colors I love to wear… Now mine is all ready to wear on cold days!

  • Looking for help to get this started…as daughter returned from Shetland Islands with a pattern and a kit for me. My first attempt with fair isle. Any suggestions where I should go?

  • Do you have a pattern that you can share?
    Lovely colours.

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