2,4,6,8 – let's see what adaira creates!

my blog for cooking, crafting, thrift store finds, and more!

The Million Stitch Hat

I’ll admit I’m a knitting novice. I can make scarves, or scarves, or… cowls ( as long as their made as rectangles that you stitch together at the end). I wanted to do something in the round. Something different. I looked and looked for a hat pattern that was simple, but nice. I wanted to make it for my guy, so I let him look at the top 5 patterns I found and choose from that. He chose this basic hat. (it’s been so long, the pattern is no longer there, but at least there’s a picture of it.) At any rate, I then asked him to go to the store with me to pick the yarn he’d like me to make it out of . He decided on Caron’s Country in charcoal. Looks good to me!

Ok, we’re all set, right? Sure. I pick up my thrift store double pointed needles and do a test swatch. The gauge is off. I pick up another pair of needles and try again. Lather, rinse, repeat. And repeat. And repeat. I finally found a pair of old circular needles that would give me the right gauge (or so I thought) so I went to the next step; casting on and figuring out how to knit in the round. I found a tutorial for magic loop and started in. It took a couple of re-starts to actually get rolling, but I was still having a hell of  a time. The cord on my needles was so unforgiving it was making it really difficult to work in magic loop. Part of the cord would always be in my way or going in a weird direction. I fought through it, and got past the 2 inch ribbing. I thought the width looked small, but decided it must be right since the pattern told me to cast on that amount of stitches. I figured that I wouldn’t be able to know for sure until I had more done, so  I forged on. A  few inches of stockinette later, and it was undeniable. The hat was for a toddler. Frog, frog, start again. But where? How? I looked at the yarn label again. Nothing said worsted. Holding it up to a skein or worsted yarn I realized that my hat yarn was something less than worsted. 4? Sport weight? I looked for different patterns that called for sport weight or dk, but wasn’t happy. I still wanted to make (and Tim still wanted to wear) that original hat. Never having decreased (or work in the round at all for that matter) i didn’t feel that I should dare re-invent any wheels, since I hadn’t ever created a wheel on my own in the first place. Help!

We stayed at Tim’s mom’s house over Thanksgiving weekend, and I brought my knitting kit along to show her the mess I had gotten myself into. I figured if I could be helped at all, she’d be the person to help me. She told me that part of my problem was that inflexible cord on my needles. She had me try out some of her needles to see which ones I liked. I must have knit swatches on at least half a dozen different needles that weekend, and I let her know what I liked most about each one, and which ones I liked more than others. “I would hold off on that hat project for a little while” is something like what she said to me that weekend.

I had a feeling I might be getting some new needles for Christmas. Sure enough – all the beauties from my last post were from her. I just happened to bring the caron yarn with me to her house Christmas weekend in case I was lucky enough to get some shiny new needles, and I can’t tell you how glad I was to have it in hand. Over the next couple of days, she helped me figure out what needles to use (“try the 8s, now try the 7s. I think you’ll be happier with that stitch size, don’t you?”), and how many stitches I’d need to increase the hat by to fit Tim’s head. The pattern called for multiples of 8. I figured it’d take 104 stitches, but she said that she had never heard of a hat that needed that many, so she suggested that I cast on 96 stitches.

sidenote: at that point I didn’t know how to fix a dropped stitch or frog a project partway and pick it back up again. I was deathly afraid of either. You should have heard the colorful language I’d use if I even almost dropped a stitch. It was not pretty. I would’ve rather start a project all over again than figure out how to fix it. Looking back I realize just how silly this was, but that’s where I was at the time.

Where was I? Oh yes, I cast on and started the hat. About an inch into the rib and I realized that I had made a mistake. I can’t even tell you what I had done – I just knew that something was wrong. Tim’s mom took some time and some dp needles, and she fixed it for me. She knits much more loosely than I do (maybe because she wasn’t afraid to drop a stitch?!), so when she handed the hat in progress back to me, she commented on the fact that I might not be happy with the difference in tension. I thought it looked great, and thanked her so much for working her magic.

When we got home, I continued on. And I dropped a stitch. I wasn’t even done with the 2 inch ribbing yet! After getting all of the expletives I had in me out of the way, I looked for a video tutorial on how to pick up a dropped stitch. then I got a crochet hook and tried it myself. Was it really that easy? Was that all there was to it? After all this time of being afraid, I realized there was never anything to be afraid of at all! With new found confidence, I kept knitting.

progress

I got the 5 inches of stockinette done rather quickly. Then it was time for the decreasing. The first time I tried it I thought if it said to decrease every 8, that it must mean k8, then k2tog. When I ran out of stitches in the row I realized something wasn’t right. What did I do? Continued on. Seriously? Yet another Mensa grade move there. After a few rows I began to understand that the hat wasn’t going to have that pretty decrease swirl a hat gets because my decreases were all over the joint. I set out to tink back the 3 rows I had just knit, but I started to see how much of a pain it was going to be with all the decreases. The dropped stitch wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be, how hard could frogging it be? You know what? Not hard at all! Certainly not as hard as tinking it would have been. Another lesson learned. Before I continued on, I had Tim try the hat on with the needles in it. The fit was great! A little snug, but still comfortable he said. I tried it and agreed.  I took another look at it:

amiss

I know it’s not the best picture and it’s been cropped in a weird way (no, Tim’s eyeball in the corner was not intentional), but it’s the only one I have to show what I saw. Can you see the ribbing? Do you see how wonky it looks? I did. I think I blinked a few times and looked at it again. The whole time I was working on it the ribbing was slack, never stretched, so I must have missed what Tim’s mom had meant at Christmas. Her tension is different than mine. Guess which area she fixed for me. The one where the rib takes a bend. I never thought twice about it. Until now.  I really thought I was getting close to the end on this hat. After a few moments of denial, I knew what I had to do: start again.

Basically, the hat went off without a hitch that time. I finished it a couple weeks ago, and we’ve both been wearing it since.

hat1

hat2

I really must take better pictures. But, there it is! The finished hat! I might have hit a million stitches before I started over that last time, but I’m really glad I never counted. I am really pleased with the way it finally turned out, and I’m thankful for all that I’ve learned along the way. Now, what should I try next?

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I got Knittin’ for Christmas!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas – I know I did! We had a a great time with both sides of the family – lots of great food, awesome presents, and lovely time spent enjoying each other’s company.

Although I received lots of super cool items this year, I’m going to focus on the fiber related things. Tim’s mom knows that I’d like to get more comfortable knitting in the round, and that the second-hand circular needles that I have are less than ideal. She gave me more than a wonderful start into the world of quality needles! The first needles I received were the Knitter’s Pride Cubics in size 9:

knitter’s pride cubics

I had tried a set of square needles at Tim’s mom’s house over Thanksgiving and fell in love. Now I have my own to work with! I gave the Cubics a whirl with some worsted weight acrylic that I had brought with me, and I couldn’t believe how comfortable they were to use! She gave me some magic loop pointers, and off I went making stockinette in the round that I was more than happy with!

The next fiber-related item I received was the Knit picks interchangeable circular needle set. How cool is this?! The set includes one acrylic (sz 6), one nickel-plated (sz 7), and one harmony wood (sz 8) pair of needles, and two cables. I love the knit picks needles! The tips are very pointy, and all of the needle varieties have a really nice feel to them.

knitpicks interchangeable circular set

There is a pattern for a simple hat I’ve wanted to make for Tim, and after knitting some swatches with Tim’s mom we decided to use the size 7 needles for the project. I started in on it while I was with her (thankfully – she was there to fix my first mistakes). I can’t wait to pick it back up again after the holidays are over!

I also got some yarn to work with – Tim’s mom got me two skeins of wool-ease yarn (in case I needed yarn to play with right away, she said – how cute!), and a ball of a very pretty soft plum colored rayon yarn with a pattern for a rick rack knit scarf from Daft Dames. The feel of this yarn is amazing! I can only imagine how soft the scarf will be!

Last, but certainly not least, this little pretty arrived under the tree:

needle felting tool

Tim’s mom has been getting my feet wet in the wonderful world of felting. We made some wet felted sheets over Thanksgiving so that I could make some flower brooches. I had lots of fun with it! She also showed me some items she had made with needle felting. It’s a whole world I never really knew about, and am eager to learn! She cards, dyes, and spins wool and has very graciously given me some wool from her stash to begin felting. I have lots of colors to choose from; I hardly know where to start! She suggested I try needle felting a mouse first. I thinks that’s a great idea. Last night I had some idle time, so I perused Pinterest for felting ideas. You should see my felting board: animals, ornaments, brooches, hats – so much to love!

Needless to say, I think I’ll be happily busy for a while!

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Knit Cowl – done!

Thanks to Tim’s mom Marge, the cowl is done! She not only commented on the last post, but sent me an email of a message board thread where someone else had a similar issue. There were different suggestions to get the piece to lie flat; after reading and thinking about it I decided to run a single crochet border around the top and bottom of the cowl.

Image

Here it is standing tall. As you can see I haven’t even finished it off – I wanted to make sure I liked the way it looked before I made the commitment. I wanted the cowl to be tall enough so mom could tuck her nose behind it when the wind kicked up, and also so that she could fold it over when she didn’t want it in her face. Here’s what it looks like folded over:

Image

I think I’m ready to make the commitment and weave that yarn tail in now! Thanks so much Marge, for all your help!

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Knit Cowl Gone Awry – Help!

Earlier this year I knit myself a cowl using this pattern, and it turned out quite well. I have never knit in the round, so I thought making a rectangle of fabric then stitching it together would be quite easy for me, and it was. It worked out so well, in fact, I thought I’d use it as inspiration for my next project. Here’s the finished product from earlier in the year:

20121215-073249.jpg

I bought a skein of Lion brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick in Sequoia thinking it would go with my mom’s jacket nicely (and it was on sale). I could have just followed the pattern for the one above, but no, not me. I looked at the New Stitch a Day site and found the Downward slipped double cable pattern. I decided that was too cool not to try!

I made a swatch an figured out how many stitches to cast on for the length I wanted the cowl to be, and set out making my rectangle. Everything was going well. The videos on that site are so easy to follow, I felt like I was knitting like a pro! Last night I spent some time knitting, and this is what I got:

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Once I finished the fabric and moved it around a bit it turned into this:

20121215-074726.jpg

I know that knitting curls, but I didn’t think it would curl up completely! All the pretty cabling is hidden! Is there something I can do to prevent this from curling, or is this just the nature of the stitch? Any words of wisdom are appreciated!

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