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Knitting Diary: My First Hat
Take what happened when I decided to make the Fresco Simply Slouched Hat that you see on the left.
Now, I do not know why I thought that the "recipe" called for 3 mm needles and fingering weight yarn. My best guess is that I had had two Ravelry search tabs open--one for slouchy hats made with those specifications and the other with all sorts of slouchy hats--and did not double check when I decided to start knitting this one, which calls for 3.5 mm needles and sport weight yarn. And yes, that makes a huge difference.
"Why didn't you check your gauge, Enbrethiliel?" . , , Why don't you like adventures , reader?
I actually discovered early on that the brim was much, much smaller than I needed it to be--which meant that my usual option of unraveling it and starting over was open to me. I had already done that with the same ball of yarn, when the bumpy lace stitch ( I can't remember its name ) that I had been practicing a few weeks earlier had gone terribly wrong, so I was prepared to do it again . . . but then I had that feeling I told you about. Or as The Landlady from Laura Kinsale's My Sweet Folly would say, my hands told me to keep going . So I did.
Here is the "breakdown" of the hat:
The stockinette stitch brim was okay, even perfect . . . if only it weren't half the circumference that I needed it to be. = P
And the ribbing went well: no surprise, as I've been practicing "knitting my knits" and "purling my purls" on another project that I'll tell you about soon.
But after the ribbing came the m1 increases, an unfamiliar technique that I messed up immediately. I remained blissfully ignorant of the fact until after I had made a few more rounds, and noticed that there were tiny eyelets above the ribbing. Then came the second temptation to rip up the work. But my hands assured me that the eyelets were not a mistake, but a design feature, and they got me to keep at it.
For the next two and a half days, I did nothing but basic knitting and enjoyed the way that the striped yarn made a sort-of pattern emerge, although (just for the record) I wasn't crazy about the pastels. I used this yarn because I had got it for free, from my late grandmother's stash, and I really just wanted to practice.
A few nights ago, I got started on the decreases, which turned out to be little devils. No matter what I did, I always had more stitches left on my needles at the end of a round than I had calculated I would have before beginning the round. (Yes, Bat, maths . The practical maths involved in knitting would thrill you to pieces if you ever took it up.) After several frustrating attempts with "stitch markers" (which, in my case, means paper clips, safety pins, and bobby pins), I chose to chuck them all and just "to decrease evenly" until I had the final eight stitches on my needles. Which means, of course, that I ended up with nine stitches. = P
But oh, it was exciting to cut myself a long tail and to draw the last few stitches closed!
I tried it on right away, of course. And I can't say it was the best fit in the world: closer to a beanie than to what I wanted. (Experienced knitters already know why and what I should have done next, but hold on a bit! ) Despite the results, I was feeling good! I mean, I had a hat. And getting so much wrong and having to deal with it taught me a lot. Heck, I wanted to knit a second one immediately, just to apply my new knowledge!
It took a few more days for me to remember this little post-knitting step called blocking, which involves wetting your finished knit and stretching it to the shape that it's supposed to hold. And when I finally got around to it, the long-desired slouch showed itself . . .
You can see how beanie-like it is on the left and how much slouchier it is on the right. When it was still a tight beanie, I had been so focussed on jamming it on that I did not notice, when taking the photo, that the edge had folded up on itself. See how it looks as if it has a ribbed brim? You get a better view of the slightly rolled edge now that it's relaxed.
And yes, if I had known I'd be taking "Before" and "After" photos, I would have used the same pose, but it's too late now. Speaking of too late. . . now that I have my slouchy hat, I kind of miss the beanie. LOL!
Image Source: Fresco Simply Slouchy Hat