2008 and Still Knitting

geniuscashmerehat.jpgIt’s a new year and I’m not talking about resolutions.  I brought in the new year with my daughter, watching reruns of America’s Next Top Model.  I never thought that show would become a favorite, but I’m fascinated by any accounting of how someone learns their trade.  Whether someone tells me they wait tables or hand out books at the library, I want to know how they got there.  I’m not sure where this fascination comes from, but I love seeing the building blocks to a particular occupation or craft.  I also like to know how a person in that area is evaluated, what makes one better than another, and how people in associated fields find them. 

It was an unusual midnight celebration for me.  No ball dropping.  No calling around to say “Happy New Year” to random people in the family, relishing the teasing that I would do if I found them sleeping.  Just quiet time with Dayna, who hadn’t opened a new year with me in ages. 

Yesterday, I finished the cashmere hat and took it apart.  It was ugly.  My choice of soft lavender with harsh black was ill-considered.  The shaping of the hat was clumsy and unflattering.  Did I lose my mind?  No, I just tried something.  It didn’t work.  That happens.  The only way to design is to make that last step and try out your idea.  Yarn is not like glass.  It’s not stuck the way you put it.  You can undo anything you knitted.  Um, there are some important caveats to this.  If you split a lot of strands of yarn with your needles, it will look crummy the next time around.  If you knit tighter than a chastity belt and stretch your yarn extensively, it will look crummy the next time around.  If  you weave your ends with a needle and weave them through the body of other strands, you’ll have trouble getting them loose and it will look crummy the next time around.  I started at the end of the lavender and black monstrosity, unweaved my ends, and with Dayna’s help rewound all the yarn into loose balls.  Which we put away.  For a long time. 

Then, I did my thing with some leftover green and muted blue Karabella supercashmere.  I didn’t worry that the green balls were slightly different colors.  I thought the three looked great together and I will advertise it as such.  I got my needles out and I started another hat.  The pattern is below.  If you can make a knit stitch, cast on and bind off you can make this hat.  Ignore the fact that I used two yarns and put in random narrow stripes.  It doesn’t matter a bit.  I call this the Genius Hat.

You need:  About 200 yards of chunky weight yarn, a pair of size 4.5 mm (US 7) straight knitting needles, a yarn needle.  The sample I knit is in Karabella supercashmere.  You may want to use a size larger knitting needles if you knit very tightly. 

Making the hat:  Cast on 32 stitches loosely.  If loosely is a foreign word to you, hold both knitting needles together and cast on your stitches.  Remove one when you are finished and begin to knit.  Knit every stitch of every row.  My gauge was 15 stitches in 4 inches, but don’t obsess about it.  Just try to keep your stitches consistent.  Knit until you have 20 inches completed.  I know it looks like you have started a scarf, but I promise it isn’t a scarf.  Bind off. 

Finishing:  Put the two ends of the rectangle together (the short ends, not the long sides!).  Turn so your right side (if you’ve picked one-that really doesn’t matter, either) is on the inside.  Sew the ends together.  Place your seem in the middle (it’s the midback of the hat), then sew across the top.  Now your piece looks like an inside-out bag.  I promise it isn’t a bag.  Turn it right side out.  Take the upper two corners (the ones that are closed) and bring them together.  Use about six long stitches to sew them together from underneath with their points just touching (see the photos).  Turn up the brim about an inch and a half, or leave it down to cover your ears.  Your hat is finished.  Bringing the points together on top has added an interesting detail and provides some shaping for the crown of the head. 

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I love this hat.  Maybe I will make a zillion more.  After all, I’ve got a whole new year for knitting!

Peace.

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