In honor of the Captain Marvel movie being announced, I decided I would knit a Carol Danvers’ Lucky Hat for my Facebook friends who wanted one in celebration. (The amazing Kelly Sue DeConnick commissioned a pattern for fans, and I needed an excuse to try it out.) I got six requests and guestimated how much yarn I would need. I actually ended up with way too much red yarn, the right amount of yellow, but way too little blue yarn, so I will be ordering more blue yarn to complete the other five hats.
I’m a fairly experienced knitter. I’ve been knitting for over a decade, and I’ve tried pretty much anything that doesn’t involve sleeves. As such, I felt fairly confident in trying out the pattern and making a few minor modifications. My Carol Danvers’ Lucky Hat started with three modifications:
- The official pattern uses bulky weight yarn and worsted weight, but I ordered all my yarn in worsted because I like the way the smaller knit yarn looks. I wasn’t really thinking about how it’d be more work to convert the pattern due to modification number three (see below).
- I picked brighter colors than the ones suggested by the pattern — royal blue instead of navy, straight red instead of burgundy–because comics are bright, and I like the combination of primary colors.
- The people I was making the hats for all had heads bigger than the standard “women’s one size,” and two of them were men.
Thus, I went into the pattern with a particular challenge: to modify the pattern to fit a larger circumference while working on smaller needles and (one weight) smaller yarn than the written pattern.
Part 1: The Boxy Hat Part
The “hat” portion of the hat is basically a blue box. The pattern likens it to “a deerstalker (without the front bill)” which, since I’ve never knitted a deerstalker (the hat that Sherlock Holmes wears), is not particularly helpful for me. But I was game to dig in, and the instructions seemed straight forward in terms of knitting a center panel and then joining the sides with short row shaping. I’ve knitted probably a hundred socks, so I’m extremely familiar with short row shaping.
This part actually went pretty smoothly. The directions are a little weird. The pattern keeps emphasizing where the yarn should be (with yarn in front or with yarn in back), and my yarn was never where she said it should be. I figured out that she was giving complicated instructions on how to make a slip-stitch edge. Once I figured that out, I stopped worrying about where I was holding the yarn, and mine turned out fine. The second strange bit I ignored was joining the sides. The pattern asks you to make stitches in order to fill the gap, but I skipped that and just did the shaping as if it was a sock, and again, it turned out fine.
Once finished, you have a beautiful blue cube. The top square is about 8 inches by 8 inches, and it’s about 5 ½ inches tall. You will also have used up nearly an entire skein of the Berkshire yarn in royal blue which is why I needed to order more blue yarn.
Sidenote: If anyone wanted to knit a square blue box TARDIS hat, this would be the way to do it.
To give you an even better sense of the size of both the skeins and the final box, I used four of the skeins of yarn to stuff the box in the above pic.
Part 2: The Band
I read the directions for the band.
Then, I read the directions again.
And then, I read them AGAIN, because as mentioned previously, I’ve done short row shaping before, but I do not, for the life of me, understand how this band is supposed to work. So I looked at other earflap hats, and after a little bit of research, I decided the little flare in the front is overrated. A one-piece stockinette band with earflaps would be a thousand times easier and work just as well.
So, I completely scrapped the band and just knitted one in stockinette (a type of stitch), tapering the earflaps down to soft rounded flippy bits. Once the band was finished, it was really flippy, which is not how it looks in the photos. I now understand why there are directions for wet-blocking (where you wet the piece so you can shape it), which I have never done before, but I am sure it will turn out fine. Probably.
Part 3: The Flippy Petal Bits
The flippy petal bits were fun to make. In the artwork, it appears as though one of the flippy petal bits is actually a loop:
But after knitting the flippy petal bits, I decided that I liked the way the petals looked. They are flippy and curled over attractively anyway, and that’s what the pattern calls for — I’m going with the pattern and not with the artwork.
The directions called for the petals to be tacked down using duplicate stitch, which is a great idea, but it does leave the inside with a Frankenstein aesthetic
Oh well, I suppose if you wanted the inside to look as nice as the outside, you’d line it with fleece or something?
Part 4: Wet Blocking
Having never wet-blocked, I set up my station in the laundry room.
The instructions say to utilize plastic bags to form the wet hat, so I did that, and then left it to dry.
It may have just been that Southern California in the winter is not the ideal location to dry wet wool, but the drying time was easily 12 hours if not more like 24 because of the petal bits. Happily, the wet-blocking did un-flip the side earflaps and brim enough that it will now lay smooth.
The Berkshire yarn is nice to work with — not too rough for those who don’t like the way wool generally feels, and the colors are nice and bright. The I-ply “worsted” is at times more like a bulky yarn, and at times more like double knitting yarn, but that’s the nature of this kind of yarn, and other than a tendency to fuzz and twist (which might just be due to the way I knit), it seems to hold up well, even to frogging.
I like the slightly amateurish nature of the way the project turned out. Yes, you could find a way to construct it better without the duplicate stitching showing inside. And maybe if I’d done the band as directed it wouldn’t have been all flippy, but I think the arts & crafts aesthetic is true to DeConnick’s original description in the script:
Carol walking toward camera about to turn a corner, Grandma Rose eating on the park bench behind her. Carol is now wearing a ridiculous knit hat. Something really bright and absurd, maybe with knit flowers all over it like one of those crazy old fashioned bathing caps.
I think I did Grandma Rose proud. One Lucky Hat down: Five more to go.
Also: matching mitts!