trying new things: Jacques Cousteau Hat and Silo Ice Climbing

I tried two new things on Saturday:  the Jacques Cousteau Hat pattern and Silo Ice Climbing.

The Cousteau Hat has a lovely 3×2 rib, a deep fold-over brim, and a lovely four-section crown.  So I set-to with a ball of yarn I wanted to use up: a weird blend of 70% acrylic to 30% merino (‘why waste the merino?’ is my question).  Knowing I had a road trip coming up, I wanted a simple project to keep my hands happy.  I know I could have traveled with one of my pending UFOs, but I wanted something new.

I knit most of the Cousteau Hat on the road to Cedar Falls, IA for a day of ice climbing with the Dirty-Fun Havers.  The Dirty-Fun Havers are a group of girlfriends who like to go camping and canoeing and such like.  We agreed: Silo Ice Climbing seemed like a challenging and fun way to spend a winter’s day.  Masses of ice are frozen to the side of a grain silo, climbers are given crampons, ice axes, and rappelling gear, and then attempt to climb the columns of ice.  Belayers are there to catch you when you fall, so it’s all pretty safe, but it certainly is challenging.

The guys running the place were very friendly and helpful in guiding newbies in climbing.  A couple of our group were really good at it.  It was fun to watch them scramble up the silo, just as if they’d been doing this all their lives.  I didn’t do very well, but I’m glad I tried it.  And, it was a fun day out with the girls.

Meanwhile, back at the hat: since my chosen yarn was a mite bigger than the pattern calls for, I cast on a fewer number of sts (90 instead of 120).  Since I’m not very good at planning, I later had to change the crown-shaping from 4 sections to 3.  Hopefully that all works out OK.  This’ll be the best hat I never made, that’s for sure.

I plan to finish up the hat tonight, while watching Downton Abbey.

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