My Neighbor Totoro

Even though I’m very settled these days and don’t travel as much as I used to, or go and live in a different country every few years, I still have a lot of international friends. Irish friends of mine also tend to be very mobile…

I follow a pair of my old kayaking friends on their tumblr feed from Barcelona. You may remember I made a Barcelona ball for their daughter when she was born. Well, a while ago I saw a wonderful picture of Riu outside a yarn store, looking at a Totoro, her favorite character, from a 1988 animated Japanese movie, My Neighbor Totoro.

I couldn’t stop thinking “I could make that!”

This pulled all my knitterly strings. I yearned to make something for her! Except of course I have no crochet skillzzzzz. Also, I only had some Cascade 220 in those colors and that just didn’t seem cuddly. And you know how I loooooove to make matching hats, and Riu has a brother now!


Matching hats!!!

I used Kate Oates Cheery Scrap Cap pattern and made the gray Totoro first. This was only my second Fair Isle project and I made the floats too tight. It would have to be for baby Pau. I added umbrellas on that one because in the images I looked at Totoro was often holding an umbrella.

In this next image you can see how the hat physically gathers in along the Totoro part where my floats were too tight.

So for the next hat I cast on the same amount of stitches and vowed to be the loosest knitter ever invented. My knitting friends also showed me the trick where you expand out the stitches on your right needle before bringing your float across. It worked so much better! Take a look at this photo which shows that there is at least an extra inch ease on the second hat, despite it having the same number of stitches and same yarn and needles!

Two hats, different sizes

I made the second hat with the blue Totoro, who seems to be the gray Totoro’s friend. He doesn’t have an umbrella, rather a leaf, so I decided not to show one since I didn’t have a good green.

I used a lot more of the classic Fair Isle patterning from Kate Oates’ pattern on this one, in the absence of an umbrella

I got an email this morning from Rebecca. The package arrived just when the weather turned cold! (I know I know, it felt strange to send these off to a hot country like Spain, but they like to ski, and visit Ireland, so those places definitely need a hat!!!) Also, Pau does not seem to be sweltering so far…


Another bonus was that I did these as part of a tottopper Knit-Along with my Knitting for Boys group on Ravelry. The support from the group for my Fair Isle attempt was amazing. I also won a random drawing from Kate Oates for $10 to use in her tottoppers store! I bought the Gramps collection. I’m so pleased with these hats and this was just the icing on the cake.


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