Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Knitting Nemesis...


I knit my first hat last winter, a basic beanie for Scott. That poor cap has several comical issues. First of all I didn't really understand yarn properties and Scott's main requirement was that it wasn't itchy. So of course I stayed clear of wool and choose to knit it in sage green cotton. Those with seasoned yarn knowledge will snicker at this point knowing cotton has very little elasticity. I cast on, knit, decreased the crown, wove in the ends and presented Scott with a beanie that was more like a slouchy stocking cap..that grew a little every time he put it on. He proudly wore it around the house for about a week before I took it back, ripped it out and started over by casting on fewer stitches. After the second knitting I ended up with a hat that was an inch too short...a true beanie I guess...but rather dorky looking. Rather than rip it out and knit it AGAIN, I thought I could just pick up stitches around the rib and extend it a bit. Great idea except for the fact that at the time I didn't know a stretchy bind-off method. So while it was longer when I was finished, it leaves a red pressure line across Scott's forehead when he wears it. (Which to his credit he does wear it around the house...what a devoted hubby.)

By this fall I had gotten over the disappointment of hat #1 to cast on for my Button Tab hat.

Before I go on let me just say, I'm sure most of my frustration with hats comes from the fact that:

  1. I think of patterns like recipes...general instructions with room to tweak to fit your style. (Or yarn desires.)
  2. I never knit a swatch to check gauge. (I know, I know...)

So anyway...the button tab hat pattern was well written and easy to follow, I just screwed up...twice...and ended up tinking and knitting a section of it (including all the decreases)...twice.

At this point, having had only a slightly better experience with hat #2 (well, maybe a little better than slightly, it's wearable even if not perfect) and thinking that maybe hat knitting just isn't my bag, I was already committed to hat #3 having ordered the yarn and OK'd the pattern with Scott for a Turn a Square Hat. (Having subscribed to the designer's blog after checking out his website, Brooklyn Tweed, I can honestly say I have not seen a design of Mr. Jared Flood's that I don't love!)

As has been the trend with my hat knitting, I got to knit it twice. Again, a lovely well written pattern, I am apparently just bad at following directions (or counting rounds.) The first time I finished it late one night after Scott had already gone to bed and thought it would be fun to have it stuffed into his coat pocket as a surprise for him to find as he got ready to head to work the next morning. I tried it on myself being as we have very similar sized heads and it seemed pretty big. The next day my hunch was confirmed. So I sat down with my needles, to rip back and shorten things up. The hat is still plenty roomy, I'm sure due to the fact the tweed yarn I used was technically heavy worsted rather than straight worsted weight. But I think it turned out lovely, just like my model...

Even though I find myself checking out lace cap patterns on Ravelry, I think hat knitting is going to move to the back burner for a bit...I have other knitting adventures in queue. Like the Adventures In Lace Knit-A-Long in which I have signed up to participate. Lace knitting, here I come!



Anonymous said...

A true lover of the fact that recipes and patterns are ONLY a guide. GOOD LUCK! MOM

Jen said...

Great job on the hats. I can't wait to see what happens on the lace KAL.

Marie-Jolie said...

Hat perfection! I understand about the desire to tweak and pattern and ignore swatching altogether. I'm the very same way! It does make for some challenging re-knits, but I think it makes you a better knitter when all is said and done. :) I thought of you today when I posted on my blog... it was knitting/yoga related!

ImplausibleYarn said...

Your post cracked me up, it reminded me of the first...5 hats I knit for my mister. Its a good thing he is a patient man. I'm excited to see what you pick for the KAL!

goldenbird said...

Hi Jenn! I'm participating in Kate's lace KAL and checking out everyone's blogs today. Your hat looks great. I'm like you-- I tend to tweak patterns and never do a gauage swatch. Right now I'm learning to knit socks, so I think my project for the KAL will be lace socks.

Jenny said...

Hi Jenn!

I'm Jenny from Sweden, and I'm also doing the Adventures in Lace KAL that Kate is hosting. I have a blog roll on my blog with all the participants, and I thought it would be a good idea to check all the bloggers out to know what I'm plugging!

I knit a lot, and right now my obsession is lace kntting, so this KAL fits me like a glove :)

I really like your blog, een though I haven't had a chance to read much of it yet. I'm also thinking of putting up a reminder on my blog of helping all the poor people on Haiti. Your post was really good, and very compassionate.

See you in the KAL!

/ Jenny

Erin Wallace said...

Hey - I'm Erin, in Ohio, and I have to tell you, the hat is awesome, and your model (your daughter?) is beautiful. Welcome to the KAL! We'll have fun, become awesome lace knitters, and then you can knit your lace hats!