17 November 2014

+ JMJ +

Knitting Diary: My First Hat

Did I really say did knitting has made ​​me "methodical"? ROFLMAO! It didn't take me long after I did to revert back to my old self--the self that can't follow recipes without tweaking them a little. For it turns out that you can have a similar approach to a knitting pattern! In my case, it's not because I want to misbehave, but because I discover along the way that I made ​​some unintentional mistakes that mean I will not be able to follow the original design as rigidly as I've committed to. . . and so need to improvise.

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


Itinérante said...

It's impressive! And you are beautiful =)

Sheila said...

Well, that's ironic - I have messed up that exact hat pattern! It just looks so lovely in the picture. But like you, I tweaked, and like you, I made it much too small. Then I realized I didn't have enough yarn to make a beret and made a beanie instead, no slouch at all. It's this hat: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-A3EgBvH_f08/U9KP4G_MJhI/AAAAAAAAEIc/NO0Rbdn_JDo/s1600/DSCF4605.JPG

As you can see, nothing at all like what I set out to do.

Your hat is nice though!

Sullivan McPig said...

I think anyone who can improvise with knitting is a hero! I can do two different stitches and that's it.

Enbrethiliel said...


Itinerante -- You are too kind! Thank you. =)

Sheila -- Oh, wow! I wonder how many other patterns we both have in common already. =D Looking at your rat reminds me of doing crafts in Home Economics class. Everyone would be setting out to make the exact same project . . . and everything would end up looking completely original anyway. LOL!

Sully -- Do you mean the knit stitch and the purl stitch? This hat was mostly knits, with purls for ribbing. K2tog (knit two stitches together) and YO (yarn over) are the "tier two" techniques that it incorporates, and I'm sure that you could pick those up quickly, since you also do crochet! ;-) But don't mind my hard sell. I'm a knitting missionary these days and I insist that if someone as hopeless as I am can do it, then anyone can! LOL!

Sheila said...

Thinking about your explanation ... I think the M1 increase is *supposed* to make holes, isn't it? Many increases are, that's what makes lace so holey.

Enbrethiliel said...


The reason why I think they weren't supposed to make eyelets is that I can't see any on the hat that I was trying to copy, and when I checked an illustrated tutorial (not a video, because I was at work at the time) the technique demonstrated for m1 was different from what I had done. So I figured that I had done something wrong. LOL! I'll check a few videos the next time m1 comes up in a pattern I'm doing, just to be sure there isn't more than one way of doing it!

Until I do that, however, I can review my work . . . and now I see that, having blocked my hat, the eyelets are barely visible! LOL! So perhaps I did it right the first time and the hat in the picture has tiny holes as well. =)

DMS said...

I think the slouchy hat is super cute! Both look great, but the slouch looks cozy. :) Bravo!

Enbrethiliel said...


Thanks, Jess! I'm already planning to knit a few more slouches--for myself and for others. =)