Monday, February 27, 2012

There's nothing more therapeutic after a long day at work...

than watching movies and knitting. I'm working on a new fair isle project, using Knitpicks Palette yarn. It's the first time I've ever used Palette, and for the price, I'm very impressed. It has a tendency to split, as it is a bit loosely plied. But for the price, who can argue? And it comes in such great colors! I'm knitting mine up in a deep royal blue and white. I also ordered a fantastic violet and turquoise, which will be for my next colorwork hat. Who can argue with violet, turquoise and white?

I was even good and made a swatch! I don't think it's completely accurate as I finally overcame my tendency to knit fair isle too loosely once I started knitting the hat, but the swatch definitely gave me a general idea of what to expect. I'm a bit worried as I didn't quite meet the gauge of the pattern, and I'm already working on #0's so it's nearly impossible to go any smaller. I'm getting the right gauge for the yarn, but the pattern wants 9 sts to the inch while I'm only getting 7 sts. I think my gauge is a bit different on the hat so far than the swatch, so as soon as I finish the first chart I'm going to measure and do the math to see what I can expect. I have to increase 30 sts after the first chart, so I need to make sure that I can do that without making the hat big enough for an elephant.

I've also finished the Snowflake hat. I had to modify it quite a bit as I was not even close to getting the recommended gauge. Gauge is my enemy, as I hardly ever swatch. I'm so used to doing cabled patterns where I can simply add or omit repeats and cables as necessary that I'm still getting used to knitting a pattern that doesn't have that flexibility. On the Snowflake hat in order to get nice decreases I really should have started decreasing at the middle of the snowflake chart, yet that would have completely ruined the snowflake motif. Colorwork simply doesn't have the same flexibility as other types of knitting, so I think swatches are going to be required from here on.

For some reason, I have been knitting fair isle very loosely. I used Cascade 220 yet used a size 2 needle! Therefore I had to completely omit the third chart. Originally I followed the decreases in the pattern, but because my gauge was so different, following the pattern gave me a hat that ended a good 3 inches above the top of my head! Therefore I had to come up with a way of decreasing in half the number of rows that the pattern required. That's why the top of the hat looks a bit wonky. It's not my tension, which was actually pretty decent on this hat. There are a few slightly puckered areas that would be fixed through wet blocking, but the hat was already so big that I was not going to stretch it out any further.

It's even been tested in the snow when I went skiing.

I lined the hat with fleece, which makes it a great snow hat while simultaneously preventing me from having an allergic reaction to the wool. I hardly ever wear hats outside of winter, so I've decided I'll simply line every hat I make. That way I don't need to spend hours hunting for a nice wool that will not set off my allergies, and at the same time it means that I don't have to spend hours and hours making a hat out of crappy acrylic. I despise the standard acrylic haze that items knitted out of acylic have. It also does not hold up well, and is more scratchy on my hands, even if it doesn't technically set off my allergies.


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