August 28, 2006

Learning it the hard way

In a transparent attempt to hide my total lack of sock or legwarmer knitting progress, today's theme is lessons learned in hat knitting (clockwise from top left).

Pink pom-pom – my first finished object
Yarn/Pattern: Cascade 128 yarn, generic hat pattern

Lesson 1: If you’ve bunged up drawing together the last few stitches at the top of your hat, a gigantic pink pom-pom on top will cover the hole, but it will be kinda fugly.

Lesson 2: Your head really is just as freakishly large as you always thought it was. Even your knitting class teacher will be surprised by its enormity when you knit the size large hat and the thing practically shrieks in protest when pulled over your head.

Lesson 3: you are an excruciatingly tight knitter. Chilling the f*ck out will make decreasing much, much easier.

Purple seed-stitch brim – my second finished object
Yarn/Pattern: Cascade 128 yarn, same basic hat pattern

Lesson 1: you really hate knitting ribbing, but dig doing seed stitch, which you feel looks silly but is way less boring to knit. This preference will only grow stronger in the intervening year and will be the source of fierce resentment when looking at sock, hat and sweater patterns.

Lesson 2: if you feel like your hat will be too small, you’re probably right. You realize that measuring your project could probably help but wait 6 months to shell out $1.99 for a proper measuring tape.

Turquoise ribbed brim
Yarn/pattern: Cascade 128, same basic hat pattern

Lesson learned: this knitting thing is clearly going to be a problem. You’ve been knitting for all of a month and are already completely obsessed.

Pink ribbed brim
Yarn/pattern: Lamb’s Pride Bulky, hat pattern from The Yarn Girls’ Guide

This was knit flat, then mattress stitched at the seam and made me realize that the top of my hats didn't need to be lame. Instead, I could have awesome, perfectly smooth and spherical tops with lovely spiraling decreases. The thick yarn made the seam kind of clunky, but still a fun pattern to try out.

Pink variegated roll brim
Malabrigos yarn, modified generic hat pattern

I really didn’t like the puckery effect of the basic “knit-two-together around” decrease on my previous hats. So I combined the graduated decreases from the Yarn Girls’ hat with my generic hat pattern. So. Much. Better. I was really proud of my brilliant new pattern until I realized I had recreated the same generic pattern everyone else was already using.

Purple conehead
Yarn/pattern: Cascade 128, pattern of (ahem) my own invention

Huh, if you keep doing a graduated decrease, you really do get a pointy top. This is perfectly logical, but I totally didn’t believe my knitting advisor/coworker when she told me this. I keep it as a cautionary tale about heeding other more knowledgable knitters' advice.

Green fair-isle
Patons Merino, old pattern loaned from knitterly coworker

In my first multi-color knit, I discover I love, love, love this colorwork thing so much that I knit the hat twice in a row in different colors. I also learned (after finishing this hat and countless others) that my lame-looking ribbing problem can be completely fixed by doing the ribbing on smaller needles. As was recommended in the pattern.

Nubbly orange roll-brim
Some Patagonia cotton yarn, modified generic hat pattern

Lesson learned: your friend that is allergic to wool is pretty much SOL in the hat department because you hate knitting with unstretchy yarn. Hate it. And yet, you buy more of this yarn in a different colorway (with no intention of really knitting anything with it) because the colors are so fabulous and because you are a fickle, fickle friend.

Tonight's goal is to make a reasonable amount of progress on the sexually ambiguous sock foot. Otherwise, I'll be reduced to "garter stitch scarf lessons" for tomorrow's post.

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