Things my hat taught me

February 6, 2008

The hat, my hat, is still not done. Should be. Isn’t. But, it is a great teaching tool. I’ve learned things like, “Center pull yarn will not pull when the cat has her paw stuck inside the center of the ball. No matter what she tells you, she is not helping.”

After cat attack

That’s not all I learned. Here are the top five things my hat taught me.

1. If if looks stupid it probably is stupid.
If you read the last post, you saw that I was debating between four decrease sections and eight. I decided to try eight. I got everything all set up with eight stitch markers. All on a 16-inch circular needle. Even the resident non-knitter pointed out that it looked dumb. I thought about taking a photo, but I was too embarassed for anyone with any knitting knowledge to see it. (This should have been a big clue!) I actually knitted eight rows before I realized that even though my hat has more stitches around than the other one, it really isn’t “bigger.” So, adding in four more decrease sections over the same physical diameter just didn’t make sense. Tink back, start again.

2. Avoid row counters. They take up too much time and you don’t trust them anyway.
It’s true. I never actually trust the row counter, so I always end up finding another way to figure out which row I’m on to double check the row counter. This seems redundant and time consuming. Why not just read your knitting to figure out where you are? That’s what I end up doing anyway.

3. Read the pattern before you start knitting.
Not eight rows into the project. OK. I’m not really using a pattern. However, I did want the decreases to look the same way they did on the resident non-knitters hat. I like those. It might have been a good idea to check the pattern I used for his hat to see that the SSK comes after the K1, not before.

4. If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t right.
If it doubt, rip it out.
This is a corallary to Law 1. I sat there and looked at those decreases for eight rows. 192 stitches per row. That took a while on US1 needles. Just as long as it took the first time I knitted those eight rows. Every row looked wrong. And for some reason, I kept thinking it would improve. How could it improve? When I finally got up to look at the pattern, ala Law 3, I realized I what I was doing wrong. Rip out eight rows again. Start all over. Again.

5. Tink hard and you will learn. Eventually.
For the first time, I understand how easy it is to pick up a dropped purl or dropped knit stitch without resorting to a crochet hook. Simple. I learned that it’s not worth the time, sometimes, to try to work back down over a few stitches to correct a mistake–especially when you have the mistake repeating four times around. Just pull that baby off the needles and reknit. Of course, I also learned laws one through four. And I think I might be a little more proficient at knitting now.

So, for try three, I tossed aside the stupid row counter–it’s a hat for pete’s sake with K2P2 ribbing and one decrease per section. How hard is that to figure out which row you are on? I went with four decrease sections. I am doing the decrease in a way that maintains the pattern integrity, and I’m back to where I was with eight rows of the decrease done.

GypsyKnits BFL Fingering purchased from The Loopy Ewe (see link to left) I think. Squish dyed in “Fairy Tree.”


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