Hat on Top, Coat Below


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Archive for January 20th, 2006

First Hat

January 20, 2006

As promised when I finished my Ravenclaw scarf, I tried knitting a hat to match with the leftover yarn, and darned if I didn’t end up with something very hat-like, shown here. This pattern was my starting point, but I didn’t exactly follow it very well. It calls for starting on 4.0 mm (US 6) double pointed needles (DPNs). I wanted to start on circulars because I almost know how to do that, but I didn’t have any 6s and didn’t want to buy another set, so I just used the size 7s I did the scarf on. I also decided to do knit 1, purl 1 (K1 P1) ribbing intead of the K1 P2 in the pattern, because I’m considering doing a K1 P1 scarf and wanted to try it on something smaller first. I cannot explain why I decided to cast on more stitches than called for even though my big head falls into the range listed for size large in the pattern. I did at least end up with a multiple of 6 stitches so the decreases worked out, but that was an accident. I studied the pictures in Vogue Knitting and successfully managed to do something called a cable cast-on, which is supposed to be good for K1 P1 ribbing. It was a little trickier than the long tail cast-on I did for the scarf, but had the advantage of there being no way I could run out of yarn before I got all the stitches on the needle.

I wanted to leave room for the stripes to show, so I didn’t knit as many rows of ribbing as the pattern called for. When I got to the stripes, I tried out the “jogless jog” technique as discussed here and here. I wasn’t sure I was doing it quite right–I didn’t know exactly which stitch I was supposed to lift onto the left needle or which way it should be oriented–but I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I can hardly see where the jog would have been. (Based on this page, which I just found, it looks like I did it properly, near as I can remember what I did.)

When I got to the decreases, I put a stitch marker after each decrease so I only had to count stitches for that first row. When it came time to switch to the DPNs, I didn’t have as much trouble as I thought I would. The DPNs were long enough that the stitches weren’t close to the non-working end and so weren’t in danger of falling off while I was knitting. When I stopped, I didn’t have enough point protectors to cover all the needle tips, so I used little ponytail elastics to prevent slippage. I did have a problem while working on the DPNs, but it wasn’t their fault. I had knocked the little box of stitch markers onto my lap when reaching for something, so when I saw a stray marker sitting on the inside of the hat, I figured it had fallen out of the box. It wasn’t until later that I saw the odd hole in the knitting and realized the marker had come off the needle. I’m still not sure what I did to mess up–it wasn’t a dropped stitch, because I’ve done that before and this was different–but it was definitely not right. I ripped back and swore a little at my inattentiveness but got going again in the right direction.

An inch or so into the decreases, I tried the proto-hat on and realized if I stuck to the decreases called for in the pattern, I’d end up with something way too long, so I started decreasing every row much sooner than planned. I think that contributed to the waviness in the crown that I don’t like. Next time, I’ll cast on fewer stitches so I won’t have so many to decrease; I’m hoping that will lead to a closer fit. Another change I’d like to make for next time is to get the stripes lower on the crown so they show more from the front. From the side, they’re dandy, but from the front they can hardly be seen. Maybe I’ll go with something without a fold up cuff, like the London Beanie, or maybe I’ll put the stripes on the cuff, like this cap.

I am pleased that there’s not a hole in the top of the hat; I was worried about that. All in all, not a bad effort. I learned a new cast-on; I worked with DPNs for the first time, and I ended up with something wearable. Am I brave enough to try a whole sweater next? I am not so sure about that. I have enough green yarn to make a hat of that, so maybe I’ll give that a go before I try something with sleeves.

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