Recently I came across another lovely knitwear designer’s blog, Knit and Tonic
, which features a hilarious review of all the finished objects that didn’t turn out as expected. It may not get as many hits as her gallery of knitting triumphs, but I like the honesty. For a while now I’ve been pretty puffed up about all the knitting I accomplished before Christmas. But, if you could have seen me at work . . . well, I don’t make it look easy. Ester’s hat was cursed with indecision from the very beginning. I was already up to my elbows in my Ruffled Lace Kerchief
pattern when I went browsing for yarn. I spotted a couple skeins of Araucania
Azapa – a tweedy, bulky weight yarn made up of merino, alpaca, silk and a touch of Donegal tweed – on sale at my local yarn store. When I came home empty-handed, regret set in: I kept thinking about the plush, lofty quality of the fiber and the swirling soft blue (#826) flecked with black, tan and white tufts. Of course when I came back to the store the following day it was sold out.
Months later I snatched up a skein for an-arm-and-a-leg and set about looking for a pattern. Initially, I wanted hat pattern designed specifically for a bulky weight yarn. But since I couldn’t find a pattern that showcased the texture of the yarn, I settled on a pattern designed for Noro Silk Garden written by Japanese designer Omura.
Image found on Ravelry. I like the swirls.
It’s a nifty design: a squishy parallelogram made by adding one stitch on the right hand side and decreasing on the left hand side, every other round. Alternating stripes of knits and purls create the wavy, vertical texture, and, since the cast-on edge equals the length of the hat, all you have to do is knit until it fits around your head. The logic of the pattern revealed itself to me only after I began the hat with the wrong number of stitches. After restarting, knitting to the desired width and binding off, it still didn’t seem quite right. It needed a little brim or perpedicular ribbing . . . something to make it look finished. BUT, I didn’t have enough yarn!
For a couple days, I put off starting over because I couldn’t believe I was about to rip it out again. I worked on other neglected projects, researched some quick-fixes, and tried to come up with a use for a hand-knitted, lumpy tube.
Araucania Azapa - not the best yarn for this pattern.
Even if I had enough yarn to finish the hat, I decided that it wasn’t the best use of this delicious yarn. It’s just too much. Too repetitive, too fluffy, too bland. So I undid it and changed my hat criteria. Enter Squirrelly Forest Headband
Image found on Ravelry. I like the squirrels.
The pattern calls for a lighter gauge yarn, but oh no, I wasn’t about to follow a pattern as written. Why would I do that? Rather than sixteen squirrels, I figured if I cut out half the squirrels (knit the chart once instead of twice) I would get a decent hat in bulky weight yarn. After I cast on the correct number of stitches and began the color pattern chart , something was wrong. At that point, in my mind, the fact that this pattern wasn’t coming together could only be explained by some sort of hitch in the space/time continuum. Like some sort of mind-bending House of Leaves knitting scenario. On closer inspection, I just couldn’t count.
At least I learned how to use this gadget.
I had some likely contenders for background colors (CC1 and CC2): Louisa Harding ‘Rosetti’ in a soft blue and oatmeal color. But the colors were too similar. As I knit up the pattern, there wasn’t enough contrast so I started over again.
There were several different points when I could have quit. As you’ve probably noticed, this project was almost as agonizing in the retelling as it was during the re-knitting. This particular hat was one of those situations where you’re surprised, and even a little embarassed, that you can’t get it right the first time. Like stealing the ball and driving down the lane for the lay-up only to bonk it on the rim. Or worse yet – to shoot at your own basket and bonk it on the rim. I was sure that a bulky hat would practically knit itself, I might have even said as much out loud. Anyhoo, I thought it might be nice to archive some of my knitting misadventures. In the end the hat was everything a hat should be: warm, soft and maybe even the right size.
DONE! Time for a toddy.