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14 November 2007

Proof that I'm Still Crafty

You wouldn't know it from the past few months, but I used to blog about my knitting. Although, to be honest, even when I participated in Secret Pal exchanges, and had a bit more drive to produce, I never really did. Produce much, that is.

Then it was summer, and we moved here. The heat didn't really inspire me to go looking for yarn shops.

Then we moved to town, unpacked all our boxes, and I realized that we hadn't brought the winter hats, scarves, and gloves. To New Hampshire! Land of winter sports!

That was just the nudge I needed to get cracking on finding a yarn shop. My first visit was to a shop in the neighbor chi-chi town to our chi-chi town. I figured I'd pay a little extra to support a local business. After my visit, I figured I might believe in supporting local business, but the local business needs to provide at least a smidgen of customer respect! (Maybe she could smell my non-hipness, despite my attempt at "dressing up" for the visit?)

I did buy three skeins of yarn. And I made the following hats:
We are pretending to be freezing despite the balmy weather.

For Trixie and Impera, I used this pattern as a base. However. When I was finished with the head part of Trixie's she said, "Stop!" No brim, just a stockinette cap. I may just knit the brim anyway, in case once winter comes along, the wind blows it right off her head. She wanted a pompom, and I may make her one, but she looks so cute without it. Impera wanted the brim, but I did not understand completely how the hat was to make a double thickness (I loved the pattern, but I like to be talked through the designer's concept; I don't seem to trust designers very much). This means that the hat is a bit too long, so you see some purling below the brim. I'm tempted to just sew up the top a bit to tighten it up. I don't know.

For the Consort, I "made it up." All he wanted was a stockinette cap with a ribbed brim, enough ribbing that he could fold it over and completely cover his ears with double thickness, to keep those poor ears warm. It mostly worked, but I was worried about making it too tight, so it ended up too loose, and because it is so wiiiiiiiiiide, there wasn't enough yarn left to make it as tall as I wanted, so (a) it may fly off in the winter wind and (b) his ears may not be fully double-covered. Sigh.

I was out of yarn, and it was my turn. You can imagine that I didn't really feel like returning to the fancy schmancy yarn shop. Instead, I went to this drab little building we pass from time to time in the antithesis-of-chi-chi neighboring town. It is called Country Woolens, and its white aluminum siding and very few windows worried me. "You should check that place out," the Consort had said more than once when we passed by. "Yeah, well, mmmbmbmbmmghhhuhunh," I'd reply.

Foolish, foolish me. This place was wonderful! The older woman who is clearly the owner was welcoming, she and her buddy chatted with me, they weren't pushy, nor were they aloof, and I came out with some Noro Kureyon and no loss of self-esteem. I am definitely going back there. (And it's on the [free] bus line!)

I am a pushover for a good blog recommendation, so even though I read that this hat sized small (it comes in only one size, and that is 18 inches [even Trixie has a bigger head circumference than 18 inches!]), I made Veronik Avery's Short Row Hat.

Don't look at the face, look at the hat!

I did one extra 4-section repeat, so it would actually fit around my head. This made it a bit too tall, though. I "fixed" that by doing some strategic sewing up along the crown, and hiding the surgery with a pompom. After I was all done, I realized I shouldn't have done surgery at all, I should just have folded over the ribbing (I am folding the ribbing, but without the sewing, I may have had enough to cover my ears completely. (No, wait, that's not my concern, that's the Consort's!) I had the Consort take a bunch of pictures, and I took some more this morning, but I wasn't happy with any of them. This was the least bad picture. But you can't really see the full pompom, and it is taken from the side I knit first -- I got lots better at knitting the short rows together. Really, I did.

Now that the hats are finished, my fingers are itching for a new project. But I'll have to keep these lessons in mind:

  • Trust the designer. They know what they're doing. (Even if they tell you to knit the cap part 9.5 inches before the decreases -- They've got a reason for doing it that way!)
  • Don't worry so much about tightness. Otherwise, hats (and socks, this happens when you knit socks, too) are too darn loose.
  • A good yarn shop = one run by a down-to-earth older woman. It was that way in Des Moines, and it is that way here, too.
  • Remember to get someone else to model your hat next time. You can't take the photo you want by shouting out things like, "Just get the hat! It doesn't need to have my whole body in it!" "Did you focus in on the color changes?" "Wait! These are taken on the bad side! I need the other side!" "Are you focusing on the hat?"