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!



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