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Hi all! I hope that, wherever you live, your winter has been passing quickly (and tolerably)!

It still gives me the same thrill every time I’ve got a new pattern to share, and today is no exception. Meet my Sledding Trails Hat!

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This was one of those designs that came to me rather quickly, but only under very specific conditions, if you will. A few months ago, I felt inspired to do another hat design, but I also felt that it needed to be more traditional in style. As we all know, I like a lot of texture in my patterns, and what’s more textured (or traditional) than German twisted stitch patterns? The exact pattern took me a few tries to design. But I eventually settled on what you see here: ribbed panels offset by beautiful, winding cables that reminded me of (you guessed it!) the trails that sleds carve into newly-fallen snow.

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(Aside #1: I have some fond, and not so fond, memories of various sledding adventures as a child, so every once in a while as I was knitting the samples, I found myself giggling at those memories.)

(Aside #2: the more scientifically-minded among you might say that those cables look a lot more like DNA strands than sledding trails in fresh snow. I know, I know.)

In keeping with the feeling of tradition (and maximum use-ability), I wanted a snug beanie fit that hugged the ears and the crown. I’m a big fan of the foldover brim for double the ear coverage! So you’ll find that this pattern is sized with negative ease to fit tightly and perfectly for whatever sledding adventures might come your way. The pattern also includes three sizes for children, small adult heads, and large adult heads, to suit everyone in the family!

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Next, I needed the right yarn to make the texture pop and bring my idea to life. Luckily, I had two great options this time around. The green sample that you see above is knit in the wonderful Spirited Fibers Merino SW, a 100% merino, worsted-weight yarn. I’ve used this yarn before, for my Lakeview Hat, and I love working with it now as much as I did then. It is a high-quality, tightly spun, solid-colored merino yarn that is smooth to knit with and so soft to wear. I particularly love this “Mojito” colorway, but then again, people with green eyes and red hair are probably partial to green yarn!

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(And if you’re in the Pittsburgh area during the weekend of March 4-6, 2016, you can see this sample in person at the 12th Annual Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Show, in Sue Coffrin’s Adirondacks Yarn booth! Sue is the distributor of this lovely yarn, and she has many gorgeous samples to check out.)

I also knit another sample in the hardworking Lion Brand Wool-Ease Yarn, in their rich “Cranberry” colorway. I love this yarn: it holds up beautifully during knitting and loads of wear, it comes in a huge variety of colors, it washes well without losing any quality, and is widely available. Here’s a snapshot of my red hat:

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As you can see, the design translates well across many solid colors. I would definitely recommend staying with more solid-colored yarns, so as not to lose the texture of the stitch pattern. Since red is my mother’s favorite color, I had to send this hat to her. (Besides, she was a co-adventurer on some of those sledding trips and her memories are as vivid as mine haha!)

Finally, any good traditional hat needs a really good pom-pom, and I made one for each of my samples. I used the largest pom-pom maker that I could find from Clover to make that pom really stand out! The pom-pom is completely optional, and you’ll find that the hat pattern spirals nicely into a simple crown closure that is both elegant and easy.

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That’s it! I hope you enjoy this little cutie as much as I do, and I hope that it keeps you warm on the very coldest and most blustery days.

As usual, the pattern is available for purchase on MWD here and is also available on Ravelry here (but you don’t need a Ravelry account to purchase the pattern).

And as always, a hearty thank you to my friend, Elizabeth Green Musselman of Dark Matter Knits, for her keen editing and lovely layout skills. And thank you to Andrew for his great photography skills. In another life, he was a knitwear photographer HA!

Until we chat again, stay warm folks!

xoxo Danielle

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