Hat as palate cleanser

Following yesterday’s post, I spent a significant amount of time looking for a suitable hat to knit. I had an idea of what I wanted (a hat like what Snoopy wears in winter scenes in the Peanuts comic strip) but not what it might be called. I swear, the worst part of knitting so far is learning all this new jargon.

What I settled on is this hat, which is a longer slouch-style hat that seems to be very flexible. Even though the designer has it laid out in four different stripes, I think I’m going to stick to just two yarns and probably do more than four stripes. I guess that means my final product will be “inspired by” Scoops.

I don’t exactly have much in the way of leftover yarn yet, so I chose one of my favorite colorways of Lily Sugar’n Cream (Over the Rainbow) as well as some solid white. Those will pair nicely, and now it’s just a matter of knitting the stripes to my satisfaction.

Last night, I cast on, knit the 15-row ribbed cuff, and completed the purl row and first three knit rows after that. It’s an incredibly fast knit so far, and I’m pleased to say that it’s actually going to fit my head!

My plan is, once this hat is complete, I will return to the blue wrap. I think my brain just needed a breather from it before I could restart it successfully.

Ribbit, the blue wrap

So I did work on the blue wrap last night, and I felt good about the work. My yarnovers had good tension, the k2togs laid correctly, and the edges were as smooth as that pattern would allow.

And then disaster struck.

I was about 10 rows into last night’s endeavor when I noticed that the holes in the lace (and I use the term loosely–it’s a very basic lace, but it is lace, in that there are planned holes in the knitting) were just not lining up the way the rest of the repeats did. There was a hiccup.. a jog.. a repeat of the two previous holes! Instead of looking like this:

o
-o
–o
—o
–o
-o
o

..it looked like this:

o
-o
–o
—o
–o
—o
–o
-o
o

UGH. It isn’t even something that I could hide or call “a design decision”! My otherwise impeccable tallying at the end of each row had fallen apart last night, so I lost my place and repeated four rows that I’d already knit. I felt nauseated, but I ripped back to the scene of the error and threaded the loops back onto the needle.

And then I counted the loops. I was FIVE short. What?!

I attributed the issues to the lateness of the hour and the fact that I usually knit after I’ve finished working at my real job all day. (To say that my brain isn’t always at its peak when I’m knitting is an understatement, but it is knitting that helps keep me centered.) Wisely, I put the knitting away for the night, got a good night’s sleep, and re-evaluated things this morning.

After really looking at the knitting, I came to the conclusion that it looked like two different people had worked on it, which I suppose is accurate, given that I started it back in February 2014 (a scant couple of months into my great knitting adventure), put it aside in April 2014, and picked it up last week, and my skills have improved greatly over the last year. I did take pictures of the wrap, and I really ought to post them.

And then I did the unthinkable. I ripped the whole wrap apart, rewound the yarn, and put it aside. I need a couple days to get over the error, and then I’ll start over. It’s going to be really lovely, and I’m much faster now than I was a year ago, so it’ll be no time before I’m all caught up and surpass previous progress.

In the meantime, I’m going to find something little and easy to knit first. Maybe a chemo cap? I need some satisfaction.

Reflections on learning to knit

There are several crafts that I enjoy, but each is rather time-consuming, so I tend to pay attention to each in spurts. For the last year-plus, I’ve been fairly focused on knitting. It’s my newest endeavor, and it is the most I have tried to learn in quite some time.

Unlike quilting, where you can get by pretty easily with basic sewing skills and wind up with a really spectacular result later, knitting requires you to be able to wield two sticks while manipulating yards of yarn without turning said yarn into a giant, loopy, knotted mess. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I tried learning to knit on and off over 14 years, and it was only in the last year that I was able to knit successfully. For whatever reason, my hands were uncooperative during those early attempts, but the biggest difference was the time I spent watching knitting videos on YouTube. A great many knitters have excellent videos posted for everything from casting on and binding off to demonstrating the various stitches and other techniques.

I live in a fairly rural area, so getting to my LYS (local yarn shop) means investing time and effort moreso than for someone in a more urban area. For instructional purposes, YouTube has been a very helpful substitute, plus it is available 24/7 and I can replay videos repeatedly without risking annoying anyone. :-)

Even after a year, I feel like I have the basics down pretty well, but I still have quite a lot to learn. I can cast on, knit, purl, increase and decrease, slip stitches, and cast off, and I know how to add a new skein of yarn to a project. I can read patterns, both written and charted. I’ve knit ribs and lace, I’ve knit flat and in the round, and I got saucy a couple of times and learned intarsia and entrelac techniques. I still need to tackle cables, and I need to get better with weaving in ends and with binding off in the round.

I have a few items in progress, and once I finish those off, I am going to try learning cables. I have a pattern for a lovely hooded sweater with exquisite cable detail, which I consider to be one of my goal projects. I might not get to this sweater this year, but once I am feeling confident with my cable skills, you can bet that it’s going on the needles!

***

Yesterday, I knit 8 rows (which constitutes half a repeat) on the blue wrap, which I just picked up last week after putting it aside for most of 2014. I’ll probably work on it some more tonight as well. You can follow my progress and get more details about the pattern and yarn here.