One Hat and Scarf, Coming Right Up

17 Oct

I’m giving myself points on being a nice sister, since I’m knitting a new hat and scarf for one of my brothers (the other one didn’t have anything he needed knitted when I asked).

I’m so happy that he asked for these things because dude, what could make it clearer that he wants to wear things I’ve knitted? Apart from the fact that he’s worn the last hat and scarf I knitted for him for years. The same goes for my mom, although she seems to feel that some of the things I’ve knitted for her are too nice to be worn. Mostly I think that’s because I have knitted some things for her that she doesn’t really like wearing. She still seems to appreciate those – and definitely wears the heck out of everything that’s actually useful for her.

I’ve also gotten a couple of calls from her about things like a lace shawl that accidentally got felted in the washing machine or a pair of color work socks that got left in a hotel room, but here’s the thing: as  a knitter I cherish the fact that things get lost or worn out. That only means I get to knit more.

So the hat was an interesting knit. There are a lot of criteria that this hat has to fulfill in order to be acceptable. There has to be a lining because it’s windy here, but a lining that covers the whole head can get too hot and tends to pull up the hat. So the hat has to somehow conceal the line where the lining, mostly meant to cover the ears, ends. The horizontal rib stripes of the wurm hat pattern should serve for this purpose, and as an added bonus they make it easy to draw the hat further down if it’s colder, or wear it higher up.

However, my brother didn’t want a slouchy hat, which the wurm is, nor did he want the wrinkles on the top of the hat that are created when the stitches are pulled together. I was also using a thicker yarn – Cashmerino from Debbie Bliss – than the pattern calls for, so I had no idea how high the crown of the hat would be. It’s also always hard to estimate how high a hat should be when the recipient can’t try it on at every turn. All of this was solved by doing the hat top down.

The next problem were the increases: doing eight increases in groups of two in four places created deep creases in the purl rows of the stripe pattern. I tried several different ways of increasing but each had the same problem, some more than others. Finally, after I’d ripped back 5 times or so, my brother suggested doing the increases in a spiral. Changing the place where they are done each row would obscure the line, and what little of it could be seen would be more of a design element.

After that it was easy going, and the dk weight yarn also made it delightfully fast.

The scarf pattern I chose is anything but fast, though. It’s Cerus, a linen stitch scarf knitted length-wise. Or width-wise. Ermh. You cast on 355 stiches, ok? Or in my case you, using the long tail cast on, take a tail that seems long enough, but only turns out to be long enough for 170 stitches. You pull those out and take a tail that’s twice as long and then some, and cast on again. Then you count the stitches and have something like 380 stitches, say frack it, and start knitting.

I’m using Garnstudio Drops Merino, a 100 % merino yarn, and I would say that for this pattern  something with more stitch definition would be better. This is slow going because you slip every other stitch on both sides, so basically you end up knitting two rows to each row. The pattern is totally worth it, and would be even more so if you could make it out more clearly.

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