Knitting on the Brink

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Nobody Knows the Gauges I’ve Seen June 16, 2008

Filed under: hats,mission complida,musings,pattern!,Uncategorized — reichenbachfalls @ 1:52 am
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I have knit my third Fierce Baby Hat, and I think it is the best yet:

Best Hat

In my journey to Hat #3, I learned so many things.

Did you Know?

  • Gauge matters.

    The blue hat and the orange hat were both knit in Malabrigo Chunky. Difference: Blue Hat was knit on size 11 needles at about 3.25 stitches to the inch; Orange Hat was knit on size 10.5 needles at 3.75 stitches to the inch. Orange Hat is the perfect miscellaneous baby-size; Blue Hat fits my ridiculously large head and is even too big for my 8-year-old.

    • Yarn matters.

    The green hat is knit from ShiBui Knits Highland Wool Alpaca, a single-ply alpaca. The orange hat is Malabrigo Chunky, a three-ply merino. The hats both stretched to a similar size. Orange Hat’s stockinette portion is more elastic, “bouncing back” better after being stretched. Orange Hat’s cables are also better-defined, and hold their shape better. It’s not a value judgment — the hats just look different. As a matter of taste, I prefer Orange Hat. For hat #4 (!) I’ll use more Malabrigo Chunky.

    As someone who tends to snap up a skein of Malabrigo Chunky at a time, hoarding the individual colors just because they are pretty, this pattern is a FAT stashbuster. I had forgotten I had this much m.Chunky.

    I need to get back to my regularly-scheduled knitting, but I have been enjoying these 48-hour projects. There are more babies out there who (will eventually) need hats, so I’ll probably make two more Fierce Hats before taking a sweater break.

     

    Everything I Know I Learned Today June 13, 2008

    Filed under: hats,Knitting,mission complida,musings,pattern! — reichenbachfalls @ 11:05 pm
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    Things I learned in the last 24 hours, while casting on and completing my second Fierce Baby Hat (mostly on public transportation):

    1. The total number of double-pointed needles I have in a particular size is usually equal to (n-1), where n= the number of needles I actually need to complete whatever project I am looking for. This rule also applies in cases where I only need a single needle for I-Cord or cabling; (n – 1) will inevitably equal zero.

    2. A different gauge makes a different sized hat. Apparently, making a Fierce Hat with Malabrigo Chunky (color: Indigo) and size 11 needles produces a fabric with a gauge of 13 stitches and 20 rows over 4″, which makes an adult-sized hat that stretches to fit a 23″ head:

    big head woman

    It is too big for the watermelon, but it’s easier to see the cabling here.

    3. I can cable with no cable needle. For some reason I had forgotten this. It makes cabling with fat needles not horrible at all. (I can knit a hat with no cable needle. No cable needle. No cable needle.)

    4. If you are boarding the train late at night, whether or not you also have a stroller with a sleeping toddler in it, three shopping bags, an exhausted eight-year old, and a diaper bag containing diapers, a half-knit hat, but no wipes, always board the front car. There is a Weird Guy on every other car. Always.

    5. I changed to a circular needle after increasing. It hadn’t occurred to me until I casually did it without thinking about it. Then I used a random thing for a stitch marker because there is some other sort of mathematical rule involving stitch markers: where S equals the number of stitch markers I need, S = 0.

    6. If Lime and Violet’s Daily Chum (!!) links to your first ever pattern, you may freak out for 20 minutes. My husband can fill you in on the details.

    7. I like lists.

    Summary: The Fierce Hat for Grownups is born!! Now I need to update the original pattern to include my new knowledge.

    Notes: It takes EXACTLY one skein of Malabrigo Chunky. This is the greatest day of my life.

     

    Fierce Baby Hat “Pattern” June 10, 2008

    Filed under: Knitting,mission complida,musings,pattern! — reichenbachfalls @ 6:19 pm
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    When I first started knitting, I tried to read Elizabeth Zimmermann’s books and got frustrated. She spends more time talking about knitting than handing the reader neat little patterns, and the patterns themselves are very chatty — some might say a little pithy — and rely on the knitter’s experience to get them sorted out properly. If you are an inexperienced knitter you might find this scary or even, as I did, somewhat annoying.

    Fast forward a few years of knitting, and now I’m really enjoying myself. First I read Knitter’s Almanac, now I’m in the middle of Knitting Without Tears. She’s pretty amazing, I’m glad I’ve kept going back because I think now I understand where she’s coming from.In the spirit of Mme. Zimmermann, I started knitting a hat to blow off steam during last-minute wedding preparations. Here is the pattern (!), composed at restaurants, in traffic, and in a hotel room.

    The fierceness

    Fierce Baby Hat

    Gauge: To paraphrase Mme. Zimmermann, babies come in multiple sizes, so this is the rare event where gauge doesn’t matter much (in my opinion.) A perfect rash of babies are appearing in the rarefied circles in which I move, so I assume some baby can wear this hat.
    For the record, according to my calculations, I got about 15 stitches and 20 rows over 4″ on this puppy. This makes a small, chubby hat, stretching to small baby circumference. I’m going to play with bigger gauges (Malabrigo Chunky, of course) when life quiets down.

    Yarn: I bought some ShiBui Knits Highland Wool Alpaca at Knit/Purl in Portland, Oregon two weeks ago. (Did I mention I’ve been pretty busy lately? Also, they were so sweet there, it deserves a separate post.) It used, oh, 100 yards? Maybe? Color is Peacock, and it’s a brilliant blue-green that my picture does not enhance in any way.

    Needles: size 10.5 DPNs and circular.

    Abbreviations:
    KBF: Knit into back and front (embiggens stitch).

    C2RP: Slip two stitches onto cable needle, hold to front. P1, K2, K2 from cable needle. Great acronym, huh?

    Cable Panel:

    I decided I wanted to make a cable-knit hat. I had 66 stitches on the needles, and I liked this 6-part construction thing, so I unvented an 11-stitch cable pattern. It looks like this. I think the hidden purl stitch in the center makes it especially round and pretty, but I can be pretty stubborn about not ripping back and making 11-stitch cable patterns 10-stitch cable patterns.

    Row 1: K1, P2, C2RP, P2, K1.

    Rows 2-6: K1, P2, K2, P1, K2, P2, K1.
    Wordy “Pattern”
    I got the crown construction idea from Hip Knit Hats.

    Cast on 12 stitches using Figure 8 Cast-On.
    Put 4 stitches on each DPN.

    Row 1: (KBF, K1) 6 times (18 stitches total).
    Row 2: Knit.
    Row 3: (KBF, K2) 6 times (24 stitches total).
    Row 4: Knit.
    Row 5: (KBF, K3) 6 times (30 stitches total).
    Row 6: Knit.
    Row 7: (KBF, K4) 6 times (36 stitches total).
    Row 8: Knit.
    Row 9: (KBF, K5) 6 times (42 stitches total).
    Row 10: Knit.
    Row 11: (KBF, K6) 6 times (48 stitches total).
    Row 12: Knit.
    Row 13: (KBF, K7) 6 times (54 stitches total).
    Row 14: Knit.
    Row 15: (KBF, K8 ) 6 times (60 stitches total).
    Row 16: Knit.
    Row 17: (KBF, K9) 6 times (66 stitches total).
    Row 18: Knit.
    No more increasing!

    Row 19 (cable prep): K1, P2, K2, P1, K2, P2, K1.

    Row 20-26: Work cable panel.

    Row 27-33: Work cable panel again.

    Row 34-40: Work cable panel again!

    Work k1, P1 ribbing for 1.5″ or until sick of hat. BIND OFF VERY, VERY LOOSELY in rib.

    Make a fat pom-pom. Attach to hat. Weave in ends.

    Find a fierce baby to wear hat.