April 12, 2007
I’m now down to only two projects on the needles, as I finished this little Gryffindor beret last night for the Charmed Knits Knit-along. The knit-along pattern is house hats, with a choice of a beanie or a beret in either wide stripes (Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets style) or trapped bar (as in Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire). Since I’d just done a bunch of trapped bar beanies, I chose to do a wide stripe beret. I’d never made a beret before.
The charity partner for the knit-along is Warm Woolies, whose website requests 100% wool yarn be used for most items, but the knit-along page said blends were acceptable, so that was a bit confusing. I didn’t want to buy more yarn right now, so I settled on using some KnitPicks Andean Silk in yarrow and cranberry leftover from the other house hats. It’s mostly alpaca, which I’ve read is warmer than wool, and since warmth is one of the reasons Warm Woolies requests wool be used, I figured it would be fine.
I intended to follow the pattern exactly as written; that seemed like the thing to do in a knit-along. The pattern calls for two needle sizes–smaller for the rib, larger for the rest. Since I’ve gotten accustomed to using one size and just increasing the number of stitches after the ribbing, I forgot to switch to the bigger needles when the time came but fortunately caught it before I’d gone a whole round so I went back and did it per the pattern. Halfway in to the first stripe after the ribbing I decided to abandon my “exactly as written” approach, because the pattern calls for knitting in front and back of a stitch to increase and I just did not like the look of those purl beads in the middle of my nice stockinette, especially the red ones that bumped up into the yellow stripe. I ripped back and did make one increases instead and that was more pleasing to my eye. If I do this pattern again, I think I’ll do the first set of increases one row later so there’s a cleaner edge between the first color and the second, as even the make ones created a little blip there.
I diverged from the pattern again when it came to the decreases. I did use knit two together as called for, but I inserted some extra plain knit rows between decrease rows because I could see that if I didn’t I’d end up with either just a tiny spot of red at the top of the hat (if I kept following the same stripe repeat) or a big block of yellow (if I didn’t bother to make that last change). as the decreases start at a certain number of inches from the beginning, not a certain number of stripes, so they don’t necessarily work out even. I ended up with a pretty nice bulls-eye effect, though I think it would look even better if I’d been able to fit in another round of red.
In other knitting news, remember my yarn stash? Well, it turns out I had more than I knew. I cleaned out one of the nightstands in the guest bedroom and found some balls I’d completely forgotten about. I bought them at a quilt show several years back, thinking I might decide to try more of the embellishment techniques I’d learned in a class ages ago and used exactly once (on the class project). I didn’t decide to, obviously. So now I’ve got novelty yarn in my stash. I’ve never knit with it and had no plans to, so I have no idea what I’ll do with this stuff.