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PROGRESS - my crochet project log

Psuedo Jayne Cobb Hat

Sep 2005crochetacrylic< $10quickno. too small. and I may be a browncoat, but I'm not a pom-pom person.

Okay, so clearly, it's not exactly a faithful recreation of the infamous Jayne Cobb hat. I can't help but notice that the original's charm largely derives from its position atop the head of everyone's favorite loveably unprincipled sci-fi thug, the man they call Jayne. Also, it's obviously knitted, and while I may some day round up the scraps from this project (wool-ease cranberry & butterscotch, plus caron copper kettle) and see if I can indeed figure out how to knit a non-square thing, for this project, I decided some creative interpretation was in order.

So, we have here a hat, with ear flaps, in red, orange and yellow, with a pom-pom on top. I did read through a few patterns, notably the hat patterns from Hip to Crochet and a few Jayne hat knit patterns circulating on the web, but I didn't actually use any of them. A bit too simple of an operation for a pattern really. I just made a chain that fit around my head (forming the brim), connected it into a loop and went around in rounds until it had a good height (just over into the yellow) and then decreased a bit on the next few rows until it caved in a bit. When it was high enough, I looped yarn through the last row and pulled it all the way closed. Then I went back and attached yarn where I wanted the ear flaps to go and added those, decreasing on the last few rows. Then I edged the whole thing and made a pom-pom (cardboard circle method) and there we go.

I really wanted to experiment with mixing colors on this project, since I tend to do things in monochrome, so I thought I would try a few different techniques. I'm in love with the fair isles knitting style, and since my every attempt at that in actual knit has ended badly, I thought I'd try and see what I could come up with crochetwise for the band around the hat. I'm not overly satisfied. I did eventually get the hang of switching the colors, but it took me a while to figure out that the squares for a crochet version of a fair-isles pattern would need to be offset like bricks, not stacked like a graph. Not the end of the world, but the stiffness of the fabric really is a bit off-putting. Along the transition between orange and yellow, I also tried spike-stitching. I'm not really sure how I feel about the result. On the one hand, the splash of color in the orange is nice. On the other hand, the spike itself looks a little... questionable.

I was however very happy with how the yellow part turned out. The stitch is made of two single crochets groups, with subsequent rows offset (anchoring the two SCs between two SC-groups from the previous rows). I like the texture it gave, much more attractive than single SCs.

Because of the stiffness of the patterned band, it's a hair tight on me, and it is just a bit more garish than things I general wear out in public. Not sure how much use this will see. Then again, when it gets cold, it may be any port in a storm. I suspect the earflaps will be very useful, as my ears get chilled and achey very easily.

Update from Feb 2006 - I've learned to knit since making the version above, so naturally, I thought I couldn't really be a new knitter and a browncoat without having another wack at a Jayne hat. So I did. And I've come to the conclusion that anyway you slice it, this is one ugly hat. I mean, look at it there, like some creepy candy-corn version of a jelly-fish ::shudder:: All the patterns I've seen talk about doing a few rows of ribbing and then switching to stockinette, but when I look closely at the caps that's not what I see. I see 1x1 ribbing all the way up, so that what I did. I was running a bit short of yarn (doubled knitpicks pallette in "fawn" plus wool-ease in "cranberry" & "butterscotch"), so I don't think I made it loose/tall enough in relation to my head to get it to sit like it does on AB's head. I also think my ear flaps are a bit skimpy and my pompom a bit big. But browncoat or not, truth is, I just couldn't get excited about working for perfect replica status, because a perfect replica would be ugly. Also a failed replica is still ugly in direct proportion to how much it looks like the original. It's just... so not me. I think I give up! at least I now have one that'll pass. in case of firefly emergency.