Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Practice Hat

As I mentioned before, I am going to Sock Summit in August and feeling a bit inadequate for the classes I will be able to take there. So, I asked my ever-wise knitting teacher and she suggested I try knitting this hat from Charlene Schurch's book Hats On! It is a Turkish stitch pattern that uses a different kind of cuff than we're usually used to seeing.

In most hats here in the States we use a ribbed cuff. It's elasticity helps it stretch over the big parts of our noggins, but the keeps the bottom snug against our heads to we're not in as much danger of losing our carefully crafted head gear or heat from our bodies! I've always done ribbing at the bottoms of my hats, as that's all I've ever known, and it has worked well, but boy is it monotonous! Especially with watch cap style hats that have enough ribbing for you to fold up the ribbing. When the pattern says, "Continue in k1, p1 until piece measures 5" from the bottom" I cringe inwardly and know that I will be doing most of that knitting in the car.

The bottom of this hat though taught me a few cool things. First, I learned how to do a 2-color cast-on. It makes so much sense that I wish it had occurred to me before reading about it. And, it looks really cool.

Second, I learned to read directions and follow them. The second line of the pattern begins and ends like this: "Move yarn to the front, ... ... The working yarn will become very twisted after working this round; it will be untwisted as you work round 3." That part about the yarn getting very twisted, she wasn't joking (don't know why she would anyway). And, it's really good she put that bit in there, otherwise I would have spent a bunch of time untwisting it on this round and then untwisting it again, but in the opposite direction for the next round. As it was, even with the disclaimer, my yarn got downright tangled at one point. (I saw a comic once that showed various servants holding single balls of yarn for a queen as she knit an intarsia pattern, helping her keep them all straight instead of a big tangled mess. The thought has occurred to me that this could be a money-making chore for my children. But I don't think I could pay them hourly. Maybe we could turn it into a game... ...)

But, I digress, back to that second row: I read, I brought the strand of color I using to the front, I purled, and then, like a genius, I took it to the back again, then brought the other color to the front, purled, took it back again, and carried on this way through the entire round. So I was purling every stitch like I had been told to, but not carrying the yarn in the front.

At the end I looked at it. "Hmmm..." I thought, "I'm not sure how this is going to work, but I guess it'll make sense after I'm done." Then I got to the next row and started carrying the yarn in the front (not quite sure why I changed at this point) and about 5 stitches into the row it occurred to me that the carried yarn was part of the design. Then it hit me that I was going to have to take out the entire, crazy twisted round I had just finished.

So, after completing 3 twisty rounds and a little bit. I was able to move onto the patterned portion. That went pretty smoothly as long as I maintained my ability to count up to 5 in different patterns. It didn't always work out, but mostly... and I only had to take out a few rows when I reached the end and realized I wasn't where I should have been and had to count backwards to find out that I had only gotten one repeat of the pattern right. Not frustrating in the least, of course...

Then I got the crown. I love the crown on this hat. I think it's clever and pretty. But, the instructions confused me a bit (sound familiar?). The key for the decrease symbol in the chart said, " sl1, k2tog, pass slipped stitch over in CC." So, I read it, understood it, but couldn't do it. The stitches I was dealing with weren't in the contrast color. At least, not the right ones. And, if I just did what it said anyway, I wouldn't be on pattern for the rest of the repeat. So after thinking, and thinking, and listening to the other people at Knit Night talk about other things I finally tried moving my end-of-round marker. And, luckily enough, it worked! Not sure how that one occurred to me. The knitting muses must have been with me! I felt smart and that night finished the hat at home!

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out except for one part. Okay, two, actually. One, I missed a color mistake (well only one that I've found so far anyway). Two, I cast-on for a size small. I cast-on for the small because I didn't think I'd have enough left over yarn for a full-sized adult hat. I had even started thinking of little girls I could pass this on to while I was knitting it. Yep, well, luckily I did have enough yarn. And now I have a pretty good-sized adult hat.


Anonymous said...

Way cool hat. Aren't you glad you knitting a size small.

Northern Lights Fiber Co. said...

I am in LOVE with with how that hat turned out!

Sally said...

It looks like the hat fits you though... You are such a good student. :) See, I go into classes clueless so the teacher can feel like they actually taught me something! :) HA! Anyway, your hat is amazing and I can't believe it is already done... makes me wonder what I do with my time.