Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Hat Knitting Spirit Guides were kind to me

Well, when I got my first attempt on this hat off the needles and measured it? Hah! It was well beyond the 28" I'd previously thought. I have a 22-inch head.

This time I decided to do the obvious, and measure. I'd read to make a hat two inches smaller than my head to account for stretch. So now I had something to go by, because while other people can apparently tell by plunking a yamulke-sized start on their heads, obviously I can't.

So I frogged the whole cow-sized thing all the way up to the square. Now, I always have a problem frogging "up to" somewhere, because I can NEVER pick up all the stitches, let alone how they're supposed to be. Sure as shit, I'll get all the stitches onto my needle, and be missing at least one or worse yet, have more than I should. I'm just now getting to the point where I can see what's not right, but even then, I usually don't know how to fix it. Well, this time I not only had the right number of stitches, but they all looked right on the needle. The creepy part though, is that I'd somehow stopped frogging at the exact same square corner where I'd started the increases on in the first place.

That's when I first started thinking, maybe the Hat Knitting Spirit Guides had congregated, because... well, luck like that just doesn't happen to me. And that's not conceited either to think that ANY spirit guides would care about a newbie knitting a hat. I mean, they're called Hat Knitting Spirit Guides for a reason.

I'm figuring it went something like this. Way back when, one of them was floating by, and I caught her attention when I was sitting here at my computer, knitting by the pictures on a website. She'd noticed the unmistakable telltale kink of multi-time frogged yarn heaped into my bowl on the floor, and then noticed me snag the yarn into the wheel of my chair before I did. At that point, she decided to stick around and watch what promised to be a really funny show. So as I was holding two hands worth of very tight knitting in one hand (really tight so those crammed Ocker cast-on stitches wouldn't burst off the needle while I hit the down arrow key to see the next step), she put out the call that summons the other Heavenly Yarnies...

"Hey, Yarnies! If you can break free, you just gotta zap on over here and watch this. I got some idiot who's sitting here, and she has newly spun frogged yarn trailing all over a dirty, dried-mud floor with bits of hay in it. So now she's unwittingly rolling her chair around on it. Back and forth, over and over... Omigod! Now one strand has worked its way up into the wheel, and on top of that, she's doing the whole freaking thing wrong! Arrrrgh, you gotta watch this!"

So always up for a good laugh, the other yarnies checked their own charges, still listening. "Okay, she's done this Ocker cast-on okay so far, but now for some unknown reason, she's trying like all hell to shove her crochet hook through these crammed stitches around the hole. Like Hellllo? There's no room! Wait, WTF??? Eeeyyowwww! Shit, she's trying to dig out the freaking loop itself! Sheeeeeeeee-ut! "

Whereupon, the other Heavenly Yarnies now heard that she'd actually summoned up her earthly energies because she's transmitting. "Hey there! PSSSSST! You don't want the freaking LOOP! The LOOP is what makes the damned circle! Omigod, STOP pulling on that loop!" (Later I found out you're supposed to pull on the tail.)

So at some point, a couple other yarnies flitted on over to watch, whereupon the most recently departed (hence the most earthly-relating) probably said, "Awwwwwwwwww? She's trying so... HARD!" [sniff sniff, snort, chortle]. "You guyyyys, I mean, look at the 24-hour rollback, this is her 4th try. Awwwwwwww."

I'm guessing that after watching me coax the yarn out of the chair's wheel, and gather up all the yarn that had been merrily sweeping the floor and picking out bits of hay among the dried "mud" (okay, prolly some dried horse shit cooties in the mix) and other stuff that you track in from a barn, maybe one of them took pity. Because, fast forwarding to now, when suddenly I was winding up with the original 48 stitches exactly? AND they all looked like they came from the same row? AND finding myself at the exact place where I could just start knitting again??? Well, something was just not normal about that.

So that's what I think happened because the hat went fast from there. I brought it to Jenny's so I could knit it while we talked and though I was planning to do a cuff, when I tried it on after more rows at her place, she said, "Oooo, it looks really cute as it is! I'd stop right there!!"

I went into the bathroom and looked, and it really did look pretty cute! Well, I'd already learned you can't tell with the needles on, or at least I can't, so she showed me some new bind-off that's good for stretch, and assured me that we could undo it if the hat had to be longer. So I did that.

Back into the bathroom only this time sans the needles which really don't let you see what's real. It actually fit! But what I was really interested in seeing was if all the things I'd hoped for in this hat would also be there because (a) this is my first hat, (b) I spun its yarn; and most importantly, (c) having gone from a "guide" and not an actual pattern, I had specific criteria. I wanted it to NOT be so tight that it smashed down my hair. Yet I wanted it tight ENOUGH so it wouldn't slip around. I wanted it NOT to scoop up the bottom of my hair since my cowlicks win out in any kind of scooping. But I especially wanted it not to scoop at the bangs either because that makes me look like the Village Idiot cartoons in Mad Magazine. Last test, I wanted to be able to bend my head waaaaaaay back and not have my collar shove the whole hat forward over my eyes. I just hate that!

So now, really thrilled because it passed all those tests, I was pissed that I hadn't brought my {ta daaaa} "highly pocketable, brand new Canon SD990IS camera that I gave up features for, specifically so I could have it on me all the time." But never do. Jenny had Ken's camera though, so she took a series of bathroom shots of my brand new, multi-frogged, kickass hat. We laughed at most of them because... (okay, Jenny just admits this straight out without trying to say consoling things when you know they're not true)... I photograph horribly. I mean, horribly! I either look like a drunk Mexican hooker or an ugly Arab. {PC explanation called for here}, Arabs aren't ugly, a lot of them are absolutely gorgeous. But photos make me look Arab, and they make me look ugly. That's an ugly Arab, any way you cut it.

So here's the hat, finally, FINALLY finished!

Now, on this next shot, the odd looking placement of a straw was because that's what was holding my half-finished scarf together.

So that's my first hat. And it's the first time everything just kept going right. So I'm convinced the Heavenly Yarnies took pity on all the problems I'd had. I love this hat though. It's actually starting to look a little ratty already because I've been wearing it to do feeding/barn chores. And just the way it works out, I'm often right under Cloud's face when I'm ducking under her strand of fencing, so two things happen. A little hay falls out of her mouth onto my head, and she crowds me so I bang into her chest, head first. So I think I'll have to make another hat like this just for barn chores because should I ever get invited to the Oscars, I'll want to wear this hat. And if they ask me "who" I'm wearing, I can say that it's a Heavenly Yarnies creation.