Wednesday, 10 December 2008

This week, I have been mostly knitting ... Thorpe Hats

Five of the little fellows, one after the other. Thorpe is a free pattern by Kristin Kapur, which she has generously made available on her blog
or you can get the pattern at Ravelry. It's an easy knit in the round in chunky yarn.

Hat number one turned out too large - but it didn't matter because it was made in Lopi and Andy asked me not to make another one in Icelandic wool because just trying it on made him itch! Lopi got frogged and missed out on the group photo.

It was interesting making a small item over and over. The first three were pretty numb, but four was OK (in a surprising kind of way - it was meant for Andy, turned out too small, so got a pink trim and became mine) and hat number five was perfect. It's gone off for field testing in the frost today. No plaits - health and safety at work.

What did I learn from the hat exercise?
  • Read the pattern carefully, and then read your knitting - I had missed the instruction to knit a plain row in between the increase rounds on the crown. I kept thinking: the crown doesn't look so puffy in other people's photos. In fact, I thought that four times over four hats before thinking to check and getting number five right.
  • It is worth taking the time to try out new techniques. Hats one and two had pretty messy joins at the garter stitch because in the round you have to purl a round, then knit a round to make garter stitch - and it looked messy at the change. I hunted out the instructions for a jogless join for garter stitch in the round, and it's so easy! All you have to do is take the yarn to the side you will be working on, slip the next stitch, work the round, including the slipped stitch, change the yarn to the side you will be working on, slip the next stitch, work the round including the slipped stitch - that's it! A lovely neat invisible join. If you mark the beginning of the round, you'll see that each time you are moving the start of the round one stitch over as the slipped stitch becomes part of the previous round. Wonderful.
  • It's OK to customise ear flaps - the first couple looked a bit Japanese warrior helmet, so I did the decreases more often to get a pointed flap.
  • A bigger crotchet hook just might be a huge improvement if the original choice didn't look just right - again, I twigged this at hat number five. The original instructions are not set in stone!
  • Different brands of chunky yarn will knit differently - the cream hat was very small, yet it was knit on the same needles and to the same size as the second grey hat, which was an inch or so bigger - just right.
  • That I can get better - but if I have to knit every garment five times to get it right, I'll be dead before I'm a good knitter!

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