Saturday, March 30, 2024

Yarn Substitution

Happy Easter if you celebrate, and happy weekend if not! I am back and have finished my March Knit, as promised. 

This one was tough to complete for so many reasons, but the biggest factor was yarn substitution. I wrote my Hatcowl pattern for a springy sport weight yarn (now discontinued sadly) and was adapting it for a more tightly woven fingering weight. You might be surprised by how many problems this caused, and how easily I could have resolved them in advance with better planning.

Probably I did a test swatch for a ballpark figure on the shift in sizing--otherwise I would never have ended up with the owie lace-tips which have no business in such a tightly woven fabric--but I still cast on waaaay too many stitches. Then I was stuck worrying through the first half of the knit whether I would ever finish, and through the second half, whether I would finish before the yarn cake did. 

In the end I had plenty of yarn left for the drawstring, but followed the pattern when I cut the lengths for each strand. Because this hat was so much wider than the original, I could have used another ten inches. See what I mean? I could only get halfway through the threading-through-eyelets stage and still keep the hat flat.

I had to pull the string just to get the braided lace all the way to the end.


More problems: I followed the pattern for how many inches to knit before the drawstring eyelets, when I should have knit a few extra. Also I knit the eyelet row immediately before the final border of ribbing as written, where I would have benefited more from doing a few rounds in plain knit before starting the final rib. That would have given me a snugger seal before the ribbing fanned out, and the fan would probably have looked less like a woodland mushroom. 

Pete very kindly described the result as 'organic', which is yet another example of what a lovely person he is. 

The upshot of all this is that I have a hat with an excessively ruched body over a longer than typical border band. The band length is something I'm happy about because it provides a snug warm layer over my forehead and ears, but I hadn't considered how a tightly spun yarn knit on very small needles would stiffen the fabric above it. 

See how ridgey the body of the hat remains, even at rest? It's got the same deep folds of a beret, without the shape to justify them.

Despite all that though, it does look nice on. And I love these colours--they'll warm up all my black coat options, and look nice with my hair. The project's a win, even if it was a multifaceted learning experience.

Next time I'll share my choice for April's project-to-complete. For now, many thanks for your patience during my working holiday and I hope you have a lovely weekend!



Saturday, March 9, 2024

The thing I picked to finish this month

It's the hat on doom needles! I'm taking a vacation just to handle this one, but more on that later.

The first step is figuring out how much farther I have to go, because I'm pretty sure I got near the eyelets the last time my fingertips got too sore to go on with this project. And looking at this side-by-side with my existing hat, I'm a little nervous, because I don't exactly have a cardigan's worth of yarn left to go.

But I will not be daunted. The stitches are so squished up on the super pointy doom needles, the length is probably misleading. Time to run some of them onto straight needles to take the pressure off the lace tips, and see where we are.

Phew! Looks like I'm all ready to start the eyelet row, which means the end is near, and not just in the doom way.

Wowza, though. Is this fingering-weight hat ever wider than the sport-weight version I've been wearing! All this extra fabric underneath is overflow.


I'm not measuring it, because I don't really want to know how many too many stitches I cast on at the start. I could've been done by now if I'd gotten it right. Hopefully the end result won't be too enormous for non-ironic use.

And, yes. When I slipped the stitches back onto the lace tips, I discovered I have in fact started the eyelet round for the drawstring to slip through later. I've totally got this.

Okay: on to my vacation plan. This is actually a reverse vacation, in which I step back from fun things like Hugs to catch up with all the work things I have let get out of hand. For the next two Saturdays, there will be no posts, and then at the end of March, on Easter weekend, I'll be back and hopefully showing off how this hat came out. 

I will still be posting at Instagram though. I know, I know, I'm all about books there, but let's face it, if you're still reading Hugs despite the massive drop in new patterns and textile projects, you're here for my voice. And that's the same even if I'm talking about reading instead of knitting. So if you feel like you'll miss me, drop on by... you don't have to sign up for Instagram to read posts there, just to follow and comment. 

Plus, I post some cute photos, like these:



Okay, have a great couple of weeks and I'll see you at the end of the month, if not before at Instagram! Thanks for sharing some of your Saturday with me today. Hope the rest of your weekend is *fabulous*.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Warm hands

It's March now and for long walks I'm transitioning from handspun warmers over gloves to my thinner handwarmers. I've probably shown this pair before in beautiful hand-dyed yarn from Viola but the colour transitions are so gorgeous I can't help myself.

I love Viola yarn but it was out of my budget for sweaters and, I feel, too precious to risk on socks that will wear out, so I don't have near as much in my stash as I'd like. Especially now that I've drifted back over to the site and learned Emily is no longer dyeing yarn. I guess everything has its season and I was lucky to acquire what I do have! 

There's a hat in Viola on my needles, too... maybe that's the longsuffering project I should try to finish this month? It'd be nice to have it in play for next winter. Anyway: nobody else does colourwork like Emily. This colourway still gives me the same thrill now it did when I first bought it.

It was actually a tiny bit too chilly for these mitts today - damp and grey, so that my fingers were cold - but that won't last. And I don't mind getting a little uncomfortable outside. It makes coming in again for tea and a sandwich such a pleasure.

Hope your weekend is lovely, and thank you as always for making me a part of it. See you next Saturday!