A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Tale of Two Hats

Two hats... neither of them turned out right! There seems to be a curse upon my hat-making abilities this week; even though I cranked out two completely different hats (different pattern, different yarn), I am not satisfied with either of them. Now, those of you who have been visiting for awhile know that being a perfectionist is not one of the traits friends and family would use to describe me ... in fact I have been labeled a little too laid-back by some. So, it really does come down to the fact that these two hats just didn't quite get it right.

This first hat was started last Sunday, using Rustic, a DK weight Shetland wool yarn from Elemental Affects. I described the pattern earlier this week, and was really enjoying making it, so I was a little dismayed when it seemed to be a bit on the loose side as the construction unfolded. I had measured my head and decided on the large, since for years I have fussed with hats that were just a bit (or maybe a lot) too tight, and wouldn't come down over my ears, choosing to slide up my thick hair and expose my poor little ears to the cold winds of winter. My head measurement was only 1/2 inch short of the pattern's measurement for large, and my gauge was continuing to match the pattern, so what went wrong?

I like this hat a lot. I love the colors and the feel of the yarn. It comes all the way down over my ears, and has a pretty and soft inner band, but should I rip and shred and make it a size smaller?

I stayed up a bit later than usual Thursday night, determined to get the hat off the needles so that I could work on my son's while visiting him and my DD on Friday. I stitched up the top and wove in the tail and went to bed. I put it on when I awoke and wore it around for an hour; my husband admired it but asked if it would blow off in a good wind. I decided to take the hat with me and get my DS's opinion, since he is the beanie king in the family. He liked it too, but my DD pointed out that it was really more a casual hat, and not the kind that would serve me well riding on a lift.... which made me consider that the design was probably intended to be more that of a bucket hat than of a beanie (or skullcap/watch cap). I am holding off from frogging just yet, and am going to make up the same design in a different yarn combo in size medium for my son, and see how it fits me.... and in the meantime, moved right along over lunch to starting my son's hat.

The black was his color choice, and I was trying to duplicate a hat we had found made up in Bling Bling at the Chico LYS for him. He had selected Rowan Cashsoft Aran for his, and I had bought black/silver Berroco Bling Bling for one for my DD... when I was close to completion and had him try it on, it became obvious that the knit was too loose, and it was flopping around on his head. Back to the frog pond, then on to smaller needles. Lucky for me, there is only about three hours of work into this, all while visiting my two adult kiddos at their apartment in Chico Friday night.

Why am I not succeeding with these hats? Hats are a relatively simple knitting assignment, but I am insisting on finding my way with different yarns. With the hat for my kiddos, I had simply measured the hat, counted the decreases, and forgotten that I knit much looser than average. I will redo his, following the directions I "wrote as you go", but dropping down a needle size. With mine, I think I just didn't "see" the pattern's final outcome; in my mind's eye, I was making a snugger-fitting hat than the pattern intended. There is room in my wintertime life for several kinds of hats, and I may just leave this one the way it is....


Blogger margene said...

I bought some buffalo/silk from Elemental and love it. Perhaps it will be gloves and scarf for Smith. Is the hat just way too big!? It sure looks good and warm.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Janis said...

Since the hat is wool... would it be worth trying to do a wee bit of shrinking? Not fulling it completely, but just a little, until you are happy with the size? It's a good looking hat!

8:24 PM  

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