After mentioning the Musconetcong Mountain Hat in a previous post, a friend e-mailed to say, “Okay, smartass, the photo was so small, I couldn’t figure out what you were talking about.” So, here is John in his Musconetcong Mountain Hat:
There really is a Musconetcong Mountain, by the way. It is the highest elevation in New Jersey at 955 feet. Hey, what did you expect, the Canadian Rockies? This is New Jersey — beach, sand, Pine Barrens? Not really known for our rugged terrain, you know. But winter on the Musconetcong Mountain can be fearsome windy and cold, so anyone hiking there would need a heavy duty wool hat.
And, for those, now clamoring for one of their own, I am writing up the pattern and will have it posted soon. I invented this pattern several years ago, which was about the last time I ever made one. It took a little figuring out, but I believe I have the right formula.
The best yarn for these is handspun longwool. I love spinning with Lincoln and Cotswold, and when you felt with these breeds, the yarn blooms in a lovely halo. John’s hat was made from natural color Cotswold with two darker stripes of Romney. You can use other wools, but will get a flatter surface. The halo effect gives you not only a softer surface, but seems to shed water and snow better.
I used the Lincoln twist yarn featured in an earlier post. The Lincolns came from Cory Simpson of Cory’s Lincoln Longwools in Montana. These are absolutely the nicest, cleanest Lincoln fleeces I’ve ever used and heartily recommend him for Lincoln wool. The twist was a mix of purple, orange, and lavender processed by Lynn Snell of Spinderella’s. The batch that I spun seem to show orange as the predominant color.
The yarn was double-plied; a finished strand was 12 wraps per inch. I used a size 10 needle to get a nice, loose texture. When knitted, the hat looked like this:
Hey, who turned out the lights!
One way to remedy this. I filled the top-loading washer with hot water, added a small amount of soap, and about a cup of vinegar should the dye decide to try and run. After one regular agitation cycle, the fiber showed signs of beginning to full. By halfway through the second round of agitation, it had felted beautifully so I pulled it, rinsed it, and stretched in on the hat form.
Much better fit this time around:
The texture is nice and fuzzy now, too, the halo having bloomed out during felting.
I will figure out how I want to finish this off and post the final product along with the pattern.