Saturday, February 16, 2008

FO: Head Hugger

It's cold in Boston. Like, really cold. I usually schlep around in a giant ski parka and a snow hat, but I would like to be slightly more stylish. So, the first step to style is not pulling a hat over your head to ruin your hair-do, right? And I figure the second step to style is wearing something that is semi-stylish (i.e. not a Chococat beanie). Enter the head hugger from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation. I figured this cute little ear warmer would save my hair since it ties in the back and nothing is being pulled over the hair. Also, those flowers are adorable!!

I planned to knit at least two of these - one for myself and one for a gift, but after making the first one, I'm not sure I'm up for a second. We'll see. Just knitting the plain band was a headache, because the pattern isn't as clear as I would like it. Then, the embellishments were like a nightmare! First, I was only going to put the flowers on, but when I finished those I thought maybe the leaves would look cute, so I made those, then I figured I had to embroider the stamen on as well... and it took forever. Then sewing it all on was quite the task. Luckily, I love the finished product! Check it out:

And here is a picture of it on my head (bad face day). You can see how it is completely ponytail-safe and it still covers enough of my head and ears to keep me warm:

yarn details
Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky in Chianti (CC) and Wild Violet (MC).
85% wool, 15% mohair
handwash cold and dry flat

113 grams/125 yds @ $8.00 each

knit picks shine sport in grass (CC2)
sport weight

60% pim
a cotton, 40% modal
50g/110 yd per ball @ $2.49 each

embroidery floss
sewing thread

pattern details
pattern: "Head Huggers" by M.K. Carroll, from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, pg 59.
size: earwarmer, blocked out slightly longer to tie at back instead of chin
gauge: 20 stitches and 28 rows over 4'' (not important)
needles: size 8 DPNs and size 7 straights (for leaves)
yarn used: just under half a skein of the wild violet, and minimal amounts of the chianti and the grass colors.
time: 10 hours (conservative estimate - I made a lot of mistakes)
total cost: $5.50

  • I frogged the thing a couple of times because I kept slipping the stitches wrong and the edges looked wacky. Just keep an eye on slipping that first stitch to make sure you don't wrap the yarn around the stitch (creating an ugly line in random places on the edging).
  • I used a smaller needle than recommended for the leaves - the gauge just looked too loose on the 8's.
  • I made a copy of the little flower schematics in the book and blocked my flowers right onto that piece of paper, I think it helped a lot to get me nice symmetrical flower shapes.
  • It's not a bad idea to write out all of the increase/decrease rows on a piece of paper and calculate how many stitches you should have at the end of each row. This screwed me up a bunch of times.
  • To get the flowers in the right place: First pin them on and check it out in a mirror to make sure they are on the right spot on your head. Second, baste them in place using a needle and thread and remove all the pins (this was immensely helpful for me!) Finally, go back and stitch the flowers on tight using a blind stitch. Keep the stitches small so you are sure everything is on there securely. It is pretty easy to keep the stitches hidden in the bulky thread - I didn't have any purple thread so I used brown and you would never know. After you sew the flowers on, then you can of course go back and rip out the basting stitches.
  • About the yarn: I have never knitted with Lamb's Pride before. When I was about half-way through the band I worried it would be way too itchy for an ear warmer, but it softened up a lot after I blocked it. It is really warm. Excellent stuff for winter accessories.


  1. I just love that head hugger. I am thinking of making one since my daughter absconded with the Quant I just finished.

  2. I love this too and think that it is worth the effort. Could you surface crochet the leaves to save all that sewing on?

  3. I probably could have... maybe next time!