I designed this crochet banded hat because many of our readers loved the wool felt hat Tomiko wore when modelling our Giant Snowball Cowl. That one was purchased at Holt Renfrew, but if people liked the look of it, I wanted to create a pattern in crochet.
The crochet banded hat and the decorative flower is made of 100% merino Louet Gems sport-weight yarn from The Purple Purl on Queen St East. I suppose the band would look more like the wool felt hat if I had used a heavier yarn, but I like the look of a finer yarn in this hat.
The banded part of the hat is a double-thickness of crocheted posts, meaning that it is stretchy but also nice and warm around the ears. The double crochet stitches and the turning chains create a small scalloped edge which adds a slight decorative touch. The ornamental flower is crocheted in two parts and then sewn on the finished hat. To decrease, I divided the crown into quarters and added a single crochet 3 stitches together decrease at each quarter. This repeat as the crown decreases adds a line of stitches that looks like a seam.
Traditional tam o’shanters are knitted from wool, but others are made from tartan; this is my version, a crochet tam o’shanter.
I first heard the word ‘tam o’shanter,’ which is named after the hero from one of Robert Burns’ poems, when I watched the animated Beatrix Potter Collection as a kid. The first episode has Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny sneak into Mr. McGregor’s garden to rescue Peter Rabbit’s lost jacket and shoes, and Benjamin Bunny finds and tries on a tam o’shanter that was hung up on a scarecrow.
I adapted my cable beret pattern for this crochet tam o’shanter: I used single crochet instead of double crochet stitches, enlarged it a bit to make it more floppy, and added a pom pom. I used an acrylic yarn, but a wool would work nicely and be quite warm.
The crochet Cross Creek Hat is from this book Cold Weather Crochet by Marlaina “Marly” Bird. There are many lattice pattern crochet hats, but this one caught my eye because of the interesting crown and how the top is finished. The author recommends using one skein (about 230 m) of DK weight yarn, so I used Rowan Extra Fine Merino DK in Tomato from our local yarn shop. I had two skeins of the 125 m DK yarn, which I thought should be fine. Nope, I ran out and had to get another skein to finish off. Also, despite my rather tight gauge, the hat is quite long, especially considering I eliminated two rows in the body lattice pattern! Nevertheless, I love how the lattice really pops and the diamonds and stars of the crown.
Our Oma would make these cake-like dessert waffles in her heart-shaped waffle iron. These are great fresh, or dried out and dunked in coffee or tea. Then, our Mama said she used to quickly whip these up when unexpected guests came to call – company could start eating the first batch while the rest baked in the waffle iron. So this weekend, we made a batch for the Mother’s Day brunch we prepared for our mom!
One of my favourite German food traditions is the afternoon Kaffee und Kuchen, which is coffee and cake taken in the afternoon (tea is for the British). This is a time for simple Kuchen, like Butterkuchen or Bienenstich, not Torten, the luscious over-the-top cakes filled and frosted with whipped cream like Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte.
Although you can dress these dessert waffles up with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, they really need no embellishment. The flavour is rich and buttery, and they are nicely sweetened. I haven’t tried baking these in a regular waffle iron, but please let us know if you do, and how the dessert waffles turn out!
From what we’ve seen on instagram and pinterest, cactus- and unicorn-themed things are all the rage these days. I haven’t been into unicorns since I was about 8 years old, but cacti are a whole different thing.
Tomiko and I first saw cacti when we visited Arizona around 1993, and we were awed by the towering saguaro cactus. Then we moved to Saudi Arabia and our mom grew cacti in our villa garden, and after a year or so she had a bunch of prickly pear cacti. Our mom would also dry our laundry in the yard; once in a while, the wind would blow over laundry onto the prickly pear cactus. The laundry would then pick up those whisper-thin, razor-sharp needles that would prick us when we would put on those clothing items. It took one or two years for all my clothes to be cactus-free after we moved back to Toronto. I love cacti but I do not miss the pricks!
Here are some of our favourite cactus-themed finds: