Monday, December 11, 2006

Chunky Cable Hat

I was recently gifted a 6-month subscription to the Irish Baby Knits "yarn of the month" club. I received my first yarn on Friday - Riddermark Merino, a chunky 100% wool. The suggested needle size is US11-15 and I got approximately 90 yards. The colorway is called "Campbell" and it's a lovely mix of gold/bronze/copper/silver/white and I love it. It is not my usual style but it is beautiful. I was so taken by it, in fact, that I had to make something RIGHT AWAY. I did a little swatch, figured I was getting about 3sts/inch on sz 9 Clover Takumi DPNs (I am officially in LOVE with these needles! Brittany Birches have *nothing* on these!), and cast on.

I'm not completely satisfied with it - I'm going to have to rip at least half of the hat out - but it's a good start. If I had done a little Googling I'm sure I could have found an existing pattern and not had to mess around making something up, but I was lazy so there you have it. I was a bit concerned about running out of yarn also. After finishing this hat, I have enough yarn left for three more full rows by my count, and the hat is ever so slightly too short and ever so slightly too tight. I could solve this by only cabling every OTHER rib (it's worked in 4x1 rib with a cable every 7th row), but unfortunately I have an odd number of ribs (11) so this would look funny. I think I'm going to rip back a bit and just add in two more rows before I start the crown decreases and hope that that works. I think the "too tight" would be fixed if it were just a smidge longer. Another option is to rip and re-work on sz 10s or 10.5s, and ANOTHER option would be to try it with 10 ribs and cable every other row (might still be too tight) or 12 ribs (I think I would run out of yarn). I think the 10.5's would make the fabric too loose, and I don't have sz 10's, so we'll see. I don't think I have any desire to work this yarn and these cables on Denise Interchangeables...

My other quandary unfortunately is the striping. I love, love, love the way it stripes for the bulk of the hat but after I did the first set of crown decreases I hit the magic row size and the colors started piling up on themselves. Then after the next set of decreases, the colors started migrating the other direction. Oh, well.

I'll probably mess around with it a bit more until I have something I'm really satisfied with but overall I am quite pleased with it. I even worked cables and decreases in the dark (car ride up to Stevens Pass) so I am impressed with myself ;)

A nice bonus is that the hat totally matches my new ski jacket. (Nevermind the fact that I never wear a hat and my ski jacket at the same time.. it still makes me happy.)

This yarn is delicious. It's wonderfully soft, very firm and doesn't get fuzzy after being ripped out a couple dozen times (only about four, really, but it *seemed* like a lot!). It is soft and squishy and just luscious, and the colorway is beautiful as always. There were tiny bits of veggie matter every so often but nothing too unusual for a yarn like this - I've had to pull more junk out of Noro Kureyon before. DEFINITELY a good yarn for a nice cosy sweater and soft enough for baby stuff, too.

Thanks, Rachel!! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Say What?

You could not pay me to work with this yarn.. oh, wait, someone is. Oh well. It's Joann brand Sensations, a super bulky, slightly thick and thin yarn with two plies - one in red, the other variegated (going from olive to yellow to orange to pink). Each ply is not very well spun but they are spun together reasonably well. I'm not a spinner so that's not a very technical explanation but there you have it. This yarn is CHUNKY. The recommended needle size is 17 - say what?? I'm working it with 8's cause I have a death wish, and getting 3.5 sts/inch. These longies are a favor for someone I know online, who bought the yarn so her grandma could crochet some longies, but it was too thick and thus too difficult for her grandma to work with, so she wanted someone to make them for her. She provided the yarn and I'm using a free, ok-to-knit-for-commercial-use pattern (with lots of mods to suit the yarn and my own changes) - and she's paying me.

I charged a reasonable amount, but now I'm wishing I had not been so anxious to finish - I started with measurements that were based on memory, and after finishing the body I questioned it (the body looked disproportionate)- she re-measured and her memory was off. I think I'm going to leave the legs as-is, re-do the body to the gussets and then cut and graft the legs back on. The legs should be fine, just the rise and waist need adjusting. Oh well. She'll still have them in time for Christmas. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Leif's Snowflake Hat

This hat was three attempts in the making. First it was too big (I forgot to account for negative ease), then too small (I used a newborn head measurement instead of 1 year), and finally it was JUST RIGHT. Each version I made had a slightly different pattern on it - this one, with the checkerboard at the bottom, was the final one and luckily, my favorite! The fair isle got easier each time and I am glad in a way that it took me so many tries because now I am quite comfortable with holding both strands of yarn.

I used sz 1 needles for the solid portions and 3 for the fair isle bits which worked really well. There is no weird bulge where I switched to a single color. There are two things I am not 100% satisfied with, which are related. The first is that the snowflake pattern is not centered over the front-center of the hat. This is because, had I centered it, the disconnect at the end of each round would have fallen mid-snowflake. As it was, it fell at the very end of the snowflake near the diamonds - the other thing I didn't like. I am not quite sure how to avoid the little jog at the end of a round with fair isle but I am sure I will figure it out eventually!

This yarn is AMAZING. It is so soft and pretty - 100% alpaca, sportweight.

The earflaps - I forget how many stitches I cast on for those - but I picked up 25 stitches across the top of each one. I seem to think I had 112 stitches in total (7 repeats of a 16-stitch repeat snowflake) which means that the front/back were 31 stitches across. The white border was fewer and then I increased after every 3 stitches. After the snowflakes, I decreased 7 times every other row for awhile and then every row.

It fits the recipient remarkably well - and should hopefully allow for a bit of growth too. The earflaps were a bit long - almost long enough to button under his chin - hmmmmmm.
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