Both of the hats have been delayed to different degrees by not having the right needles.
I decided that working with two sets of dpns for this huge to-be-felted hat was a bit much, and I bought a pair of 10 1/2 circulars. The gauge was so different that I had to undo the entire hat. I’ll probably start on it again soon, now that the sting of having lost all that work is going away.
The Robin’s Egg hat needed a set of dpns, and I bought them but ended up busy the next few days. I sat down with them last night and knit a few inches into the body of the hat, but I really didn’t like the look of the changeover from the hat band, nor did I like the join I made to begin knitting in the round. The pattern said to bind off 12 stiches and knit to the end of the row before joining, but this gave it a very gradual transition to the body, and I really wanted a ridge. I if I purled instead of knit to the end of the row, then it would be fine. I ripped back to the join, painstakingly picked up all the stitches, and began the experiment, but it just didn’t look right at all. I realized that it was because I didn’t need to rip back to the join, I needed to rip back to the bound off stitches, so I undid everything again and once again painstakingly picked up the stitches. The good news is that it worked, and it looks even more awesome than I thought it would.
I can’t wait to show off this hat. I went button shopping for it, and I had a really hard time finding one I liked. I ended up choosing between three: A white button with a pink sheen to it, a natural wood button, and a huge black button with some off-center concentric shimmery gold rings. The pink button was too small, the wood button was too plain, and I just sort of really liked the black button, so it came home.
I came to a conclusion about yarn the other day: I really like novelty yarn. Not to the exclusion of natural fibers, but I will still plan a bunch of projects out of it. I decided to make the Golden Compass hat largely out of natural materials (alpaca, wool, and a tiny bit of metallic something or another.) The alpaca was sinful and deserves it’s own hat, I will give it that. But ultimately? Meh. I’m not jumping up and down. It’s not way better than something I could have knit for a quarter of the cost. In fact, I’m positive that I could knit something I liked way better out of some novelty yarn I saw when I was out buying needles.
I still want to explore natural fibers to a much greater extent, and in fact, I made an appointment to see a woman who has a spinning and weaving studio in her house. I showed up and we chatted for probably an hour and a half. She showed me how to use a drop spindle, how to card clean fleece, and she confirmed that my intended proceedure for washing my fleece using the washing machine was indeed a good move. I left with a fairly heavy drop spindle and some roving to practice on, both of which were scads cheaper than I had been expecting. She sells spools of lace weight yarn, and I will definitely be back when I get brave enough to attempt my first lace shawl. She also sells niddy-noddies, and I really need one of them now, to help unwind my sweaters. I’ll have to decide what skein length I want before I go back for one.
I had heard hand spinners talking about “oh, this is corriedale, oh that is blue-faced leicester, this is shetland, etc etc and despite my familiarity with fabrics that I can name with a look or a feel, I somehow didn’t understand how they could tell what type of roving they had just by feel. I completely understand now, and this changes the whole dimension of choosing sheep to raise. It’s not a question of “oh, these sheep all have fine wool, these sheep all have coarse wool” but it’s truly an exquisite feel, an experience of texture and weight, a sin on the fingertips.
Can you tell I’m hooked?