Bucket, oh yeah!

copyright Bonne Marie Burns I really wanted to jazz you all with a photo-filled entry of all my works in progress, but an enormous cloud of fog has descended on the city like something out of a Stephen King novel and I am left with bad lighting for photos. Besides, I haven't worked more than a few rows on my sister's poncho over the last few days. [Giddy-ap!] But, tomorrow is Saturday, which means I'm going a-yarn shopping. What am I going to get? FUR yarn to make a furry Bucket-o-Chic! After I expressed my desire to knit a Bucket-o-Chic, Silvia pointed out Bonne Marie's techno fur version. Hello! I need to make that hat...NOW.

In the fifteen minutes it took me to walk to my son's school today, I saw no less than five different people wearing bucket hats. Two were young guys. One was a woman whose bucket had one single row of faux fur on the edge. I, in my hatless state, felt a twinge of envy as my ears started to shrivel up from the cold. I need to make a swanky bucket hat for this winter in order to avoid going around earless. Plus, I am bouyed by the company of the following (those in italics have finished hats for the knitalong):

Claudia - Hat 1, Hat 2 and Hat 3
Silvia - Hat 1 and Hat 2
Sarah W.
Katherine - Hat 1 and Hat 2
Sarah B.
Rose Hat 1 and Hat 2
Amber - Photo 1 and Photo 2
Carrie W.
Sarah Elizabeth
Alison H.
Lisa G.
Kathleen - Hat 1, Hat 2 and Hat 3

...as they will be making a winter Bucket-o-Chic with me. Anyone else want to bucket with us? Any version, as long as it's for cold weather. Bucket photos for the blogless will be posted on my site, if you desire. And the one who makes the snazziest winter bucket hat will receive some French yarn from me as a prize. (Whack dance shots aren't required, but bonus points will be given to the photos that make me laugh.) Oui, oui! Que j'adore les laines françaises!

[In order to further distract you from the lack of knitting-in-progress photos, I present you with a random spycam shot taken of my kid wearing his tweedy jacket while riding the bus, and a totally gratuitous Nikon shot of him wearing his frog costume. (For obvious reasons, we love all things frog, and that is probably why I tend to rip out my projects half the time simply because I'm not happy with the tension.) Ribbit!]

As mentioned above, I will be giving a prize of French yarn to the person who knits what I deem to be the snazziest Bucket-o-Chic. (Yarn to be determined by me, but I will ask for input re favorite yarn colors from the "winner".) Frankly, action shots and photos that amuse me greatly will get extra points, because there's nothing I like more than someone who is so happy with a knitted project they let it show in a photo. Now, here are the rules to be eligible for my fabby prize of French yaaaaaaaaaaaarn:

1) It must be the Bucket-o-Chic by Bonne Marie Burns. That's the pattern I'm using for my own.

2) Winter version. Plain, furry, felted or any other type as long as it's suitable for cold weather.

3) It must be knit between November 4th and mid-December. (November 4th is the date on which I mentioned I going to knit a Bucket-o-Chic. See here: http://www.skinnyrabbit.com/blog/2003_11.php#003967) Hats knit before that time are not eligible. This is a knitALONG, not knitBEFORE :-)

4) I'll be happy to post a gallery of knitalong photos of all Bucket-o-Chic hats for the blogless.

Please note: These rules apply to the contest ONLY, not to the knitalong.

It's just a whirlwind of activity chez fluffa!

I deserve a gold star for knitting
all that ribbing without falling asleep.

This bubblegum-pink tank I'm knitting for my niece is SO pink, I get a sugar rush just from looking at it. But it's so fun! The back piece is complete, finally. I bound off center stitches at the top using a decrease bind-off to keep the ribbing from flaring out, and I left a few stitches at the sides on holders so I could knit on the straps. The pattern instructs the straps to be knit separately and then sewn on, and while I have nothing against sewing I think that the edges of the tank - which have no finishing - will look cleaner if I knit the straps on instead of sewing them on. With that done, blocking has taken place and I will now proceed to seam, which we all know is something over which I do not procrastinate. Me? Procrastinate at seaming? Never!

While waiting for the pieces of the pink tank to block, I went off and started one of the Bucket-o-Chic hats I plan on doing this winter. The first one is going to be a dark charcoal gray, knit using Plassard Merinos yarn which has to be the among the nicest yarns I have ever knit. 100% wool and a beautiful, even fabric. I also bought some Plassard Louinie, which is a novelty yarn with a bit of fur on it. I don't think I can use it as a carry-along, because it's too thick. I'll probably use it on its own as trim. However, I do want to do a bucket hat all in fur and for that, I'll be using more Plassard Merinos coupled with Phildar's Cygne in black. Phildar Cygne is FURRY. I love it! When I fondled the skeins of Cygne at the shop I expected them to meow at me. Then, when I swatched it with the Plassard Merinos I was immediately reminded of the horrific black wig that Jan Brady wore to a party because she wanted to change her look. (And that episode is, without a doubt, among the best Brady Bunch episodes, ever.)


It's the bee's knees!
[That's the Saône river in the background.]

Bucket-o-Chic número uno is finished! I plan on making several (this one, as it turns out, isn't for me), so I decided to start out tentatively by making a plain version using Plassard 100% merinos wool in a dark color. The color wasn't photographing well inside, so I hobbled* outside where my husband could take a better picture. He said the hat made me look a bit like something out of the Jazz Age. It may not be the truth, but THAT made my day. I'm such a Louise Brooks wannabe.

Up next: A semi-fur version using more Plassard Merinos and Plassard Louinie (50% wool, 50% acrylic) as fur trim. These hats knit up very quickly - I did this one in an evening and took a few hours to block it. (I still want to do some more blocking around the brim, though.) And it was a fun hat to knit! Thanks to Bonne Marie for the clever construction and easy knitting. Wanna bucket, too? Join the Bucket-o-Chic knitalong!

*Yep. I'm HOBBLING around. Wondering why I'm managing to get so much knitting done lately? Well, breaking a toe might do that to you. I broke the little toe on my left foot last Monday, and haven't been able to go out as much as usual. Thankfully, my husband has taken a few afternoons off while I recover, and has been driving me around so I can get out of the house on occasion. As a matter of fact, right after we took the Bucket-o-Chic photo, he took me to the y-a-r-n s-t-o-r-e so I could fondle the yarns. You know, therapy and all. What a guy!

It's magically delicious.

The brim lies flat without blocking!
It must be magical yarn.

[Photo above was taken with flash off.
Click here to see photo taken with flash on.]

Bucket hat número dos is well on its way and I liiiiiiiiiiiike it! Yesterday afternoon my husband took the kid out for a while, so I decided to start the hat, thinking I'd do a few rows of the headband and then finish the rest another time. But I just kept going...I couldn't stop! I was like Edward Scissorhands, only sans pancake makeup and with knitting needles instead of scissors. The hair...well, it was a lazy Sunday.

By the time my husband and the kid came back from their outing, I was on the last round for the brim. I bound off the final round, pulled the yarn through the last loop, hurriedly put the hat over my head thinking I'd look like a total DORK with the ends hanging out and the brim all wonky, then turned to my husband with a goofy grin and said jokingly, "How do I look?" I was surprised when he said seriously, "That's cuuuuuute." Wha??? I took a look in the mirror, and saw that the headband hugged my head nicely and that brim was lying completely flat. The hat looked like it had been blocked already! It must be magical yarn.

Magical yarn!

Okay, I'm kidding. It isn't magical yarn. It's just tightly-spun yarn with a high wool content. I used Plassard Merinos coupled with a strand of Phildar Aurore for the headband, and for the brim I used a strand of Plassard Merinos, a strand of Phildar Aurore and a strand of Plassard Louinie held together. Plassard Merinos is 100% wool, Phildar Aurore is 71% mohair, and Plassard Louinie is 50% wool and 50% acrylic. Together* they create a wonderful fluffy/fur-trimmed fabric that lies flat and does not curl - perfect for a Bucket-o-Chic. I cannot begin to describe how neat it feels to pull the hat right off the needles and see the brim all spiffy and ready-to-wear. Now all my hat needs is a top (tonight, for sure) and it's finished!

P.S. Like my D.I.Y. hat stand? Just my kid's bath toys: A tupperware bowl on top of a plastic funnel. No fancy mannequin here, folks.

*I so love these yarns for the Bucket-o-Chic hat...I think I know what yarn I'm going to be giving for the knitalong prize!

Fuzzy Wuzzy Was a Bucket...

Why, it's a bucket hat near a boules court!
[Click me and I will give you another view.]

Bucket hat número dos, otherwise known as The Fluffy Fur-Trim Version, is officially finished. Temperatures are dropping considerably here, so I got to wear it all weekend: To a boules court and park on Île Barbe by the Saône river (where there was a group of men playing boules just a stone's throw away, but I dared a "dancing" shot where I'm doing an understated twist because I like being silly like that), and to a light show* yesterday evening. The slight furriness of the brim and top of the hat make it so swanky! Sure wish I could take credit for the furry top but Bonne Marie gave me that idea in an e-mail message. [Thanks, Bonne Marie!] This hat is so warm and fluffy that I started another one as a gift for a friend. I'm all about giving chic bucket hats as holiday presents this year. Ho ho ho!

In bucket hat knitalong news, there are a few people who have finished their hats already. Take a look at all the neat hats! At the end of next week I'll be picking my favorite bucket hat photo(s) from among the people listed here and sending over some fabby French yaaaaaaaaarn as a prize. It's like Christmas already, I tell you. Ho ho ho!

*P.S. In December, Lyon has its yearly Fête des Lumières to kick off the holiday season. Many places in the city are illuminated and there are outdoor light shows every evening. This is a major production - artists, light specialists and other experts work together to create it all. The city is truly at its most beautiful during this time, and people from all over the world come to see it. Stands are set up where vendors sell things such as hot waffles and sandwiches, and hot rum or vin chaud d'Alsace (warm wine with fruit) because it's freezing out. I usually take in the light shows feeling like my head has been stuck in a block of ice, but this year I had my bucket hat to keep me warm. The light shows, as always, were impressive. Here's a picture (a bit blurry because the lights were in constant movement) of just one very small scene of a light show I saw. See the horse silhouettes at the top? They were moving speedily across the buildings surrounding the plaza and there was accompanying music that contained sounds of horses galloping. Neat!

Why, it's ANOTHER bucket hat!

Feliz Navidad!

My little sister deserves a bucket hat, so she gets a bucket hat! I would have loved to have gone the fluffy route for this one, but considering the weather where she lives sending a fluffy bucket hat knit in wool is probably not a wise idea. Plassard Grand Large cotton to the rescue! In light blue, as she requested. It's now blocking and as soon as it's dry, it will be sent off to her. Just my little way of saying, "Hey! I love you, sis! And I'm sorry about that time I threw a rotten apple at you and whacked you on the back with an umbrella. Plus, your poncho isn't ready yet." (Sure, we were 7 and 8 when the rotten apple/umbrella incidents occurred, but that's the kind of thing one doesn't forget easily.)

Super furry bucket hat is next, and I've got plans for one or two using some variegated cottons for early spring. I just can't stop knitting these Bucket-o-Chic hats! The pattern lends itself to a whole variety of styles and it's a satisfying small project. I don't even care that I gotta use a set of dpn's, which always makes me feel like I'm playing a game of pick-up sticks.

Fancy a game of pick-up sticks?

Speaking of sticks, drumroll please:

My favorite knitalong bucket hat photos* are:

Maggi's little girl modeling her bucket hat, and

Mariko's super "big and puffy" hat, being modeled with her dog.

I simply cannot decide between them, so it's a tie. And honorable mentions go to:

Wendy's Fat Albert tribute photo.

The super sister duo of Claudia and Sylvia. Claudia, for being the first to offer to knit a bucket hat with me, and Sylvia, for pointing out the furry bucket version. Plus, they're both just a whole lotta fun and churned out some really fabby hats, to boot.

P.S. Prizes will be sent while I'm in the States, as that will make for speedier delivery. [Oui, oui! Que j'adore les laines françaises!] Customs officials will probably think I'm insane with all the yarn I'm taking with me, but it's better than attempting to bring cheese into the country. Hehe.

*Let me just say that all the hats are great, and I'm not kidding. It was a tough choice, but smiley photos get me every time :-)