Monday, March 2, 2009

2nd Hat, 3rd Spin (Will partially frog, but learning!)

Hats go fast once you know what you're doing. (I say that on blind faith because I don't yet.) The way the swatch from this spin knitted up though, I figured I'd get this same distinct striping on the hat, but that was a different part of the spin, it's less distinct on the hat.

First, here's the swatch, it's a BIG swatch, knitted on 10.5, 11 and 13 needles, a couple inches each. So is this kickass yarn or what!! The fiber I spun it from is Printemps colorway, hand-dyed by Erica (Squoosh is her store name on Etsy). LOVE that colorway!!

Okay, as for the hat. Bear in mind that I'm not going off a pattern with my hats, but from a general design-your-own guide that touts it's for "knitting any hat, any yarn, any size needles." Since this guide prescribes knitting from the top down, you really can design and size it as you go. That really appealed to me.

It would help to know what I'm doing, but I don't have the experience for that yet, so I've become very much at peace with serious swatch knitting AND with frogging.

Anyway, the general instructions say that for a pullover Beanie, stop the increases that happen in the top circle at about 5-10% less than your head size. For a Pillbox design, make the circle the same size as your head measurement. And for a Tam a/k/a Beret, make your top circle 2-4 inches bigger.

Beyond that, you're on your own. I'd ORIGINALLY planned on a beret for this spin because that would show off the yarn variations best. However, after 40 Ravelry pattern search pages of "beret," only one looked like I'd like it, and there was no pattern. The rest all hugged around people's foreheads with no hair able to be showing (NOT a look I can wear!) I got the feeling that all berets are going to do that though, so figured, "Pfffffft. Abandon the whole beret idea."

So not knowing which of the other two I'd want to make, I tried to straddle the middle of the two remaining suggested circumferences (beanie calling for 20" and the pillbox calling for 22"). I settled at 21" in hopes of ending up with a "convertible" hat that I could wear as a beanie OR as a pillbox.

First, here's the hat modeled on a 21" tube-shaped bowl. It's to show the 3 rows of garter stitching I threw in after I stopped the increase circle. (This was meant to be a design element if worn as a beanie AND to enhance the pillbox effect if worn as a pillbox hat).

But Voila! I now know how to make a toilet paper roll cover!!

Okay, so here it is as a pillbox hat, with a cuff.

Another Pillbox shot...

And if it gets pulled a LITTLE downward more, it would be a semi-pillbox.

Now for what it would look like with that garter stitch "design element" left in if pulled down more and worn as a beanie...

Another shot...

And a shot that shows the 3 rows of garter stitch (which I'm not yet sure about at all)...

So if I keep this design, I'm going to frog UP TO the decrease row and remove half the decreases because the hat's just a TAD snugger than I like.

I'm also considering two other changes. One is ADDING a single row of garter between the 2" of stockinette and where the ribbing starts. (This "design your own" idea is both a good and a bad thing. Good once you know what you're doing, but frog-prone if you don't. Like me.) The other possibility is to frog all the way up to the 3 rows and just remove them.

I'm waiting for Jenny to get back from their kickass sounding vacation in California to give me her opinion on several questionable elements, which opinions are almost always right. Meanwhile, though, any modifications whatsoever will get parked until I spin the rest of this fiber and make sure I have enough yarn for a cowl because I'm thinking the cowl Peggy found takes priority. If it needs enough yarn so all I can get for a hat is the barest minimum beanie with no cuff, then I'm willing. I want the cowl.

Peggy is a fierce researcher, and she went on a hunt for cowls, I think just because we were emailing about them and they seem like a super neat thing, except so many of them look like the neck pieces of moon walking astronauts! She landed on a blog where not only did she find some neat cowls, but the one that really caught my eye was this woman's own design, and she was nice enough to post her pattern! The one Peggy favors is much more plain, but it very well might be the best one for this yarn, because anything that'll show off its natural variations... that's ideal.

I'm now test-knitting the cowl I liked with a skein of cheapo Walmart acrylic. (Very harsh color changes but at least it shows the general idea.) I'm hoping that the softer color changes in my spin will look better in this design, but it sure is smacking of a pattern that lends itself to a solid color yarn (sob, sob, sob).