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:
- I think of patterns like recipes...general instructions with room to tweak to fit your style. (Or yarn desires.)
- 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!