Not So Smooth

I occasionally get messages complaining that my knitting always looks better than that of the writer.  Seriously folks, this is because I cheat.  I tend to only show you the pretty stuff.  The stuff that isn’t working out?  That gets tossed against the wall and sworn at and then ripped.  But just so you know it happens, here’s an example of something that isn’t working out.

Now this had promise.  The stitch pattern is pleasing, yarn is lovely, the beads are shiiiiiiiiiiny, and the silk thread is interesting to work with.  See?  Far too pretty to throw away.

But this is a case where the whole is so much less than the sum of the parts.  I think its because all the colors are just too similar. The yarn and the beads and the thread all sort of blur together and nothing really pops.  So, I’ll be ripping (which to be honest, is no fun at all with two strands plus beads), separating it, and finding another plan.  And I have a suspicion the plan will involve just that purple yarn because it’s just singing to me and trying to sweet talk me into finding a better use for it.

And just to provide a counterpoint for my beaded failure, tomorrow I’ll introduce you to someone who does all sorts of nifty things with beads (and have a little giveaway to spread the love).

Sometimes Yes, Sometimes No

It seemed like a good plan at the time.  It really did.  The lovely Lauren, she who is kind enough to model for me so often, needs a hat.  We discussed hats and the colors and shapes in which hats can be made.  We measured.  I marveled at the size of her head (really, it’s 2 inches smaller than mine, I’m so jealous).  I swatched.  I cast on.  I knit.

Then…then I realized that the thing on my needles sucked.  It wasn’t ‘a little rough.’  It wouldn’t ‘all come out when blocked.’  It didn’t need ‘just a few more rows to look right.’  It just wasn’t good.  At all.  I was going to just rip and pretend it never happened.  I was, in fact, quite proud of myself for deciding to rip now rather than after doing another five or six rows just to make sure.  Then I remembered that total and complete failure makes fine blog fodder.  Shameless I know, but that’s how it is.  So, without further ado…the first two inches of a really crappy hat.

Don’t worry Lauren, it’s getting ripped, I wouldn’t do that to you!

Now this is actually an instructive example.  There is nothing wrong with the yarn.  There is nothing wrong with that cable.  It’s just that the two together don’t work (at least not on that needle size).  The yarn is a bit too fuzzy and rustic and thick to work with that cable.  It just doesn’t look polished.  It doesn’t have the drape I want.  It’s clunky.

I’m not tossing the yarn.  It’s a perfectly fine yarn and will look good if used with a different stitch.  I actually have a plan for it that I will reveal later.  I’m just ditching this combo.

Actually, I’m not even ditching the cable.  I kind of love the cable.  It just needed a different yarn.  I’m thinking this one.  Isn’t that better?

Apparently I Just Can’t Knit

Yesterday saw the (slightly more vicious than was perhaps strictly necessary) ripping of the two-headed hat.  This morning I cast on for the second version.  Yesterday’s hat used 8 repeats of the stitch pattern.  A bit of measuring and swatching and needle swapping had led me to firmly believe I should remove 2 of those repeats.  Now just to review, 8-2=6.  Do keep that in the back of your mind as we go forward.

This morning bright and early I sat down to cast on the the second version of the hat (the ‘bright and early’ bit may have been part of the problem).  I got some stitches on the needle, joined up, and started knitting.  Now by my count, I’ve cast on and joined for working in the round several hundred times.  It’s second nature.  I just sort of do it on autopilot.  I have never in the last three plus years of knitting had a problem with my stitches being twisted.  I actually always found that ‘join, being careful not to twist’ instruction rather gratuitous.  Really, who has a problem with that?  Ah, hubris.

After about three or four rounds, I realized something odd was going on.  It was twisted.  Great.  Nifty.  Now I know what twisted knitting looks like.  No amount of fiddling seemed able to bring things back to good.  Fine.  Thanks for the learning experience.  Rip number two.

I cast on again, managed not to twist it this time, and got another inch knocked out.  Then I noticed that it looked kinda…small.  I told myself quite firmly that it was supposed to be smaller — that this all started because the first iteration was way too big.  I had checked, I had decided I needed to remove 2 repeats, 6-2 is absolutely and totally 4, so I was going to make this hat over 4 repeats and that was the end of it.

Did you catch that?  Are you smarter than me (admittedly not a very high bar today)?  Now while it’s true that I did want to remove 2 repeats, I somehow seemed to have taken yesterday’s answer (8-2=6) and yesterday’s shrinking plan (remove 2) and combined them into this hat’s third failure.  I have ripped.  Again.  The yarn has been set aside for the moment in the interest of preserving the safety and sanity of all those involved.

I am going to find a cup of tea and cast on a sock.  At least if that’s two times too big, I can pretend it was meant to be a hat.

I Really Should Know Better

You know that little feeling…that subtle nagging feeling that says ‘that might not be quite the right size?’  Yeah.  I should really learn to listen to that feeling.  The hat I was working on?  The one I was three inches into?  The one that seemed to be just eating up yarn?  Yeah.  I tried it on.  It was too big.  I gave it a tiny gentle tug.  It grew and grew and grew.  A second later The Boy came by and stuck his head in there along side my head.  That’s really not a good sign for a hat.  It has, alas, been ripped.  It will be rethought and cast back on tonight or tomorrow.

Let’s Try That Again

Over the last few days I made what I hoped would be a poufy hat.  Before doing this I analyzed patterns for several other poufy hats to determine the general methods for creating pouf and to get a sense of acceptable pouf proportions.  Following these guidelines, I knit the hat.  Somewhere along the way something went horribly horribly awry.  Either I was wrong about the potential for me to look reasonably non-dorky in poufy hats, or I totally forgot how to make shapes from knitted fabric, or (and I’m hoping it’s this last one) blocking poufy hats is a bit of an art form and takes some practice.  I’m going to try reblocking this today and see if I can end up with something that looks more like a dashing hat and less like a vicious jellyfish attack.  I have my doubts, but I will report back with the verdict at some point.