It all started with this crazy clever hat: Catherine introduced us to the 1898 Hat with her version in Manos del Uruguay’s pure merino Maxima. Everyone who saw it had exactly the same reaction: I have to make this hat. Perhaps the quintessential “man hat,” its double thick brim with earflaps is pure genius, particularly for the bitter cold we’ve had to endure lately. To share this wonderful Kristine Byrnes design with more knitters, GYI is holding an 1898 Hat KAL in March. You will need just 180 yards of worsted weight yarn and US 7 needles. There are a few fussy bits to the construction (picking up stitches and an inch or so of seaming), so we’ll be offering free Q&A sessions on making both the hat and an earwarmer version (see below) every Saturday morning in March at 11:30 a.m. The design comes from The Seamen’s Church Institute, a non-profit serving the men and women working on the world’s oceans and inland rivers, fueling the global economy and making our way of life possible as they spend months away from home aboard commercial ships. The 1898 Hat is just one of several free patterns SCI makes available to knitters and crocheters through their Christmas at Sea program. Here’s a trio of 1898s. Joan’s is “Speeding Ticket” red Maxima. Catherine made a shop sample for us just as soon as her blue hat was done using a rich brown shade of Berroco Ultra Alpaca called “Potting Soil Mix.” Bonnie made her blue on blue (not white and gold) striped hat with Ultra Alpaca, too. Here is Brigid’s black and “Highlighter” Maxima 1898, which she gave leatherhead flair with embroidered Xs on the back. Jane’s in “Slate” Maxima beautifully shows off Manos’ subtle kettle-dyeing. When Joan left the crown off one she was knitting in Rowan Pure Wool, the 1898 Earwarmer was born. Jill models it here. Jane’s and Wanda’s are worked in “Larkspur” Maxima and “Bottle” Pure Wool. We hope you’ll enjoy knitting and wearing (or knitting and giving) the 1898 Hat. And don’t say we didn’t warn you, it’s hard to stop after just one, especially when folks whose ears are still out there in the cold see you in your 1898!