Here is the result of my pompom mania — SNAWHEID!

Snawheid is a seasonal, snowflake-adorned beanie, feauturing a gigantic snowball pompom. It being Wovember and everything, I thought it would be fun to present to you three rather different Snawheids, each made in a different British breed-specific yarn. All are, of course, 100% wool (as is, incidentally, the rest of my outfit, with the exclusion of my boots).

Snawheid #1 is knitted in Shetland Organic 2 ply. As its name would suggest, this yarn comes from certified organic Shetland sheep, and is processed by organic mills. It knits to a standard 4 ply tension, and, as you would imagine, has a lovely woolly, typically Shetland hand. In the ball it has a matt, almost chalky feel to it and it is plied and spun slightly looser than other natural Shetlands I’ve knit with. When blocked, it puffs right up, producing a lovely halo. I gave it a good long soak and the yarn bloomed and relaxed tremendously. Its a really special, totally traditional Shetland yarn, and makes a lovely soft, even fabric. It has lent Snawheid #1 a quintessentially cosy, Wintery feel.

For a rather different look, I present to you Snawheid #2, which has been knitted by Jen in Excelana 4 ply.

I decided not to stick the pompom on Jen’s Snawheid just yet, so that I could show you my crown design — which is shaped to resemble a gigantic snowflake. If one were in any way averse to pompoms, or preferred a sleeker look, the crown ensures that your heid will remain adequately snaw-y, however you decide to knit this hat.

Excelana is a collaboration between Susan Crawford and John Arbon: the former has unparallelled knowledge of vintage yarns, and the latter is the UK’s independent spinning meister. The result is this delicious blend of 70% Exmoor Blueface / 30% Bluefaced Leicester which has an incredibly smooth, soft hand, a lovely sheen, and a good bit of bounce. Being worsted spun, it also has superb stitch definition, making it ideal for showing off some festive colourwork snowflakes.

Without the enormous pompom, and knitted in the monochrome shades of Persian Grey and Alabaster, I think Jen’s hat has a lovely muted, classic feel.

And finally, here is Snawheid #3.

After I finished Snawheid #1, and got my hands on Snawheid #2, I had a sudden desire to make another one using Jamieson and Smith Jumper Weight. Snawheid #3 is knitted in shade FC 34 — the coolest of cool winter blues — and 1A, a natural Shetland white.

I am not quite sure why, but this is my favourite of the three.

Perhaps I am just in a blue-hat mood, or something.

Or perhaps its that the addition of colour makes this hat feel particularly jolly and festive.

Or perhaps it is just that knitting with Jamieson and Smith jumper weight feels like spending time with an old friend.

In any case it is fair to say that I have gone a wee bit Snawheid crazy. These gigantic, happy pompoms certainly chime with my mood right now; I am really pleased with the design and I absolutely love every one of these three hats. And let me tell you that you have got off lightly with the name, as the temptation to call it Bawheid (one of Tom’s dad’s favourite insults) was extremely strong.

Well, now there’s just a bit of pattern-tweaking and checking to do and, all being well, the SNAWHEID pattern will be released on Ravelry tomorrow (19th).

68 thoughts on “snawheid

  1. You mention you gave the Shetland organic a ‘good long soak’. I so happened to be reading ‘Speed Cleaning’ last night (not the normal bedtime read but I found it engrossing and inspiring nonetheless) in which Shannon Lush (the doyenne of cleaning in Australia) says ‘Never soak woollens for more than 20 minutes because the fibres shrink when the water cools’. As the expert, would you agree/disagree with this?


  2. A truly beautiful hat (loving the blue with that huge pom!) and excellent photography from Tom (presumably?) – that first shot with the rainbow hitting your hat …. perfect!


  3. LOVE the hats, love the rainbow, LOVE the dress (woolen? worsted? gabardine? handwoven?) thanks for the fabulous eye candy, and looking forward to all the new fibre-y goodness!


  4. Gorgeous design, love the fair isle, especially the excelana one. Or it may be because that one doesn’t have a pompom. I do not do pompoms. But I do like the snowflake crown.


  5. Wonderful snowheads! I too love the celestial turquoise, but that sharply defined, deep grey Excelana is calling to me as well. Make two?

    And what is a “bawheid”, or is it too rude a term to translate?


  6. Two of my very favorite things WOOL and SNOW! I love the hat! The design is perfect and the top is the fresh snow on a mountain . . . it all makes me smile to the end of spring!


  7. This is a beautiful hat and an awesome design. I love the crown pattern, but the pompom is a must. Although, I don’t think I’ve made a pompom for about 30 years… maybe I need one of them machines/tools you got.


  8. … or maybe it is because the icy blue in #3 looks so perfectly wintery… *sigh*… love that design !
    all three of them are awesome ! … and I already loved that ‘colours of shetland’ heid as well… I might need more heads here… ;)


  9. Love all the hats! Can’t really decide whether I prefer pompom or not… I love pompoms, but that crown you made is so pretty. I also love the way that dress from COS looks at you! I bought it myself because it is so much ME, but I had to return it because it didn’t fit very well over the chest :( I *does* contain some polyester, though, doesn’t it? ;)


  10. I can’t wait to buy this pattern. It’s so beautiful! As fun as that pompom is, I love the snowflake design on the crown so much, I won’t be able to bring myself to cover it up, I’m afraid.
    I love your style. Wonderful work!


  11. Adore the hats, am in awe of the frock. Can’t wait to buy the hat pattern…and would love to hear the origins of the frock and where one might find more info about that as well. It’s just fantastic and looks wonderful on you…as do the snawheids, all three of ’em! : )


  12. I love this. It’s perfect timing for me too since it’s US Thanksgiving this coming week and I love to cut paper snowflakes the day after Thanksgiving to tape to my front windows. Perhaps this year I’ll let the previous years’ paper flakes do and keep my hands busy with woolen snaw-flakes instead.


  13. Me too! I love them all, especially that blue. Gorgeous color. The pompoms are great fun and look darling on top. I can’t wait to knit one. You knit and design so fast.


  14. I am looking forward to the pattern release tomorrow. This is just beautiful, and fits right in with my Christmas gift-knitting plans. Great photos…you look wonderful! Thanks for another great pattern.


  15. Bloody hell, i burned me lunch reading your post………couldn’t get away from it!! Great and the pattern is on the TO DO list from Ravelry tomorrow!! Thank you so much, Bawheid indeed……….haha


  16. Lovely! Also, this might be fun to try: I’ve seen a hat with a pompom on a cord so that one could pull the pompom further out and have it swinging about or pull it snug against the hat. Applied to these hats, you could showcase the pattern (with the pompom dingle dangling) or not.Just sew the pompom onto an i-cord and thread through center of hat, knot on the end.


  17. I loved this post. The hats are wonderful, especially the snowflake crowns! I also learned interesting things, which is one of my favorite things to do. I knew about Bluefaced Leicester sheep and wool, but had not heard of the breed Exmoor Blueface, so it was fun to look that up, and learn about the Excelana wool. Finally, I had to look up “bawheid” as an insult, and incidentally finally learned the correct pronunciation of “heid.” (And bookmarked the Betty Kirkpatrick’s column ‘Useful Scots words’ from the Caledonian Mercury.)


  18. Kate, I not only love your knittings en writings very much, but I’m also begeisterd with your so tasteful and special outfits. Do you sew besides knitting as well?


    1. The beautifully intricate hat that I don’t have a pompom’s chance in hell of ever being able to knit but that, lovely. I could do that!


  19. Gorgeous, all three. I want to cast on right away. Kate did you use a pompom maker and if so what size please? After reading your pompom maker post, a maker is just what I need.


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