I went a little crazy and knit up several hats in this Nordic pattern (Pattern #8 from the fall 2011 issue of Vogue Knitting), each in a different yarn, just to see how the various yarns looked in the same style. My apologies for the quality of some of these pictures.
The first, the red & grey, was made out of Blue Sky Alpaca. I can’t rave about this yarn enough, although I would question the wisdom of wearing a baby alpaca blend in truly wintry weather. I’m not sure how well it would wear, especially with any rain, sleet or snow, although it likely would be as warm as anything else.
This hat (like all on this page, of course) comes down below the ears, which is important in chilly weather. It’s hard to find something even remotely stylish that fully serves this purpose, and quality yarn does help. Of course when the temperature drops I find my concern about style does proportionately as well.
The second, the black and pink, was done in Rowan Wool Cotton. Not as much give due to the cotton, but a little denser and therefore will be pretty warm. Will probably have to go to one of my cousin’s kids, though, since the lack of give will make it tighter and I’m not sure it will fit an adult.
The third, the blue & white, was completed in Nature Spun sport weight. It knit to gauge, but is fairly lightweight, appropriate for some climates but not the severe winters I’m used to in the Great Plains states. It should be noted the blue background with white design is a very traditional color combination for Nordic hats, both Swedish and Norwegian.
I also knit two in the Nature Spun worsted weight yarn, a better choice. The first hat I used the same size needles as for the sport weight, which surprisingly was still easy to knit. That hat is very dense, perhaps too stiff. For the second I went up a needle size and it’s still pretty dense, but maybe more appropriate to the weight of the yarn. Like the blue & white hat above, these are traditional Nordic colors, used a little less often than the blue.
And finally, I used Liberty Wool worsted weight for this eggplant and citron colored hat. The yarn is wonderful, but initially I was hesitant about the colors. Some of my friends consider it an updated look for the style, but to me, it takes more than color to update a Nordic hat. Still, the yarn was the right weight and had the traditional look of wool some might like (as opposed to the baby alpaca, for example). Eventually I came around, and my mom, who’ll be wearing it this winter, loves it.
I knit this one needle size up and the hat was a full size larger than the others.
My favorite yarn? It’s a tie between the Liberty Wool and the Blue Sky Alpaca, with the latter being more fun to knit with. It’s much smoother and slides off the needles, making the knitting go more quickly.