Little helpful tip: If you think you might get a Christmas gift from me, don't look at my Ravelry page for a while.
In some ways, I'm as insane about things as ever - 14 gifts between now and Dec. 20, though 3 are already complete. Mind you, this is the year I found hats. And hats, my friends, they're very fun and fast - and practical, and cute. Really, what was I waiting for?? Note: I'm making some hats and some other things. Not all gifts are hats.
The truth is that it's all about me. I have a pin-head, fine hair and a pixie cut: hats tend to look terrible because they're all massively huge on me. It's put a bad taste in my mouth. Happily, though, I finally realizedthat making hats to-fit is a piece of cake by comparison with fitting a sweater or a pair of pants or, let's say, a bra. I won't get too much into it but I'm using drape and yarn tension to my advantage - in addition to accurate measurements of head circumference and crown depth. I don't go from the pattern instructions. Patterns like to make huge hats. I figure out how big I want the thing to be, what drape I'm looking for, and then I do the math. The end result is a hat in the size I want which is to say the size I'm anticipating. It's just key to scale the pattern so that you can divide the number of stitches you use by the stitch repeat and get a whole number.
No, I haven't been knitting size-test gauge swatches and I know that's risky (esp. when I'm unfamiliar with how a yarn will block). The thing is, I measure often as I'm knitting in the round so I know my gauge constantly and I'm willing to do some fancy footwork on the fly. My objective is to knit a hat with about 3 inches of negative ease. That's more than any pattern (I've found) allows for, but I find that yarn can stretch ridiculously. Even if the hat blocks small, there's more than enough room when a person wears it. I'm infinitely more attuned to the likelihood that a hat will be too large than too small.
At any rate, I've been knitting hats for about a week and a half. Don't take my advice on anything!
Here's a hat I knit for my niece:
|Honeycomb Cable Cap by Jennifer Hagan|
The yarn is not cheap. You can do approximately as well with Quince, in terms of the springy nature of the yarn, at much less cost. But it sure is nice to pick up a skein in the store and just start knitting.
I used the smallest pattern size and then sized it down considerably more by cutting out one row repeat and using a smaller needle. Yeah, I realize this looks like a toddler hat, but my nine year-old niece is SO tiny that she still sits in a car seat and a modified high chair. She weighs like 50 pounds. Note: My sister, as a child, was little like this and now she's taller than me.
The proportions of the honeycomb will look better in my next version, to be made for my other niece (who has a slightly larger head). I'll be able to do another cable repeat and the ratio of cables to crown decreases will favour the cables.
I should also say that this design is very simple. The cables are a bit fussy but they happen for 2 out of 12 rows, so it's barely a blip. BTW, the K1P1 rib threw me a bit when I was tired. I somehow managed to flip the work inside out and knit backwards - basically short rowing half the hat circumference. Which means, when I realized this (2 half-rows later) I had to short row on the other side of the hat to restore row equilibrium. OK, I could have ripped back, but my solution seemed more efficient, no?
So, today's questions: Have you knit this cap and, if yes, do you love it? What do you think of Madeline Tosh yarn? Are you Xmas knitting and, if yes, to what extent? BTW, you can see some of my planned projects in my Ravelry queue if you're interested... Let's talk!