Tuesday, March 21, 2006

more about the Zilboorg hat

Here's the front view as worn by my little pirate -- he's saying "Aarrr" here. On an adult the brim doesn't roll up.

The pattern calls for boning to hold out the ridge between the sides and the top, but I don't think it's necessary.

Project specs:
Egyptian hat from Anna Zilboorg's 45 Fine & Fanciful Hats to Knit.
126 gms (about 4 1/2 oz) assorted handspun wool & mohair yarns, mostly worsted or heavy worsted weight.
Size 6 needles.
While I corrected the chart for the top of the hat, I knitted the sides as shown in the book, and so I increased quite a bit immediately after the garter stitch band. This is incorrect (as shown in the corrected charts) and makes the hat a little looser than it might be right at the bottom. Also I knitted the sides two rows longer than shown in the charts; I regret that now.

The finished hat is very warm and comfortable. I like the contrast between the muted stripes on the sides and the punchy yellow on the top. I think it's a keeper.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Much better.

Reknitted, with the correct number of decreases, the hat came out flat on top. I love the way it fits. From the front, all you can see is the band --- I'd show more pictures but blogger is not cooperating. This is the first picture I've been able to upload in days, and now I can't seem to add any more -- very annoying.

Lark Books sent me a set of corrected charts for the book (Anna Zilboorg's 45 Fine & Fanciful Hats to Knit). They came in just a few days; if I had waited for them I would have realized that there was an error in the chart for the band, as well. There are 24 corrected charts -- almost everything that looked odd to me in the book turns out to be a mistake. All but two of the corrections are for missing increases or decreases. If you have a copy of the book, you can request corrected charts from Lark .

I'd make another hat from this book right away, but I just got Folk Hats and I am in love. My only problem is deciding which one to make first. 2006 might be the Year of the Hat at my house.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Going backwards.

I've owned Anna Zilboorg's hat book for about 8 or 9 years now, and I decided the time was ripe for me to knit one of the hats. Since the book had been out for quite a while, I even checked the publisher's website to see if any errors were listed. There was no mention of the book at all. So I started knitting one of the hats (Egyptian Hat #3).

A couple of things didn't quite make sense to me, so I emailed the publisher. I got a quick reply, saying, "What's your address -- we'll send you the corrected charts."

In retrospect, perhaps I should have set the hat aside at this point.

But it was going quickly and I needed a travel project, so I just kept knitting. I did wonder about the design -- why on earth would you have all that blank space in a stranded knit project? why did I have to do so much weaving in? -- but hey, I can do that.

And I did wonder about the end of the chart, where it looked like I would suddenly decrease 8 out of 9 stitches, all the way around. Perhaps it was a gather? I hate gathers in the crown of a hat or the tip of a mitten, but I was trying to knit Zilboorg's hat, not my interpretation of what I thought she was getting at, so I'd follow directions (this time at least) and see what I thought when it was done.

Besides, since the directions and the charts are separate from each other, I thought that the finish would all make sense once I sat down and really read the directions.

Four rows from the end (the center of the crown) I did sit down and really read the directions. And look at the chart. And look at the hat. It didn't make sense, and I could no longer deny that something was Really Wrong:

Blocking cures a lot of woes, but this is just not a flat-topped hat.

So I went to bed.

In the shower this morning it all suddenly came together. The chart was wrong. All that tedious blank space wasn't meant to be there. All that tedious weaving in was unnecessary. The decreases on the right hand side of the chart should have been mirrored by decreases on the left hand side. Then the inexplicable instructions about a double decrease would suddenly make total sense. All is clear.

I'm really quite embarrassed that it took me 18 rounds to figure this out. But I'm even more annoyed that the PUBLISHER or perhaps the EDITOR or even the AUTHOR didn't notice that three out of the 5 charts in this chapter of the book are missing half their decreases. If it had been only one, I think I would have figured it out sooner. But I looked at those other erroneous charts and thought, "Well, it looks like she uses that weird ending quite a bit -- I guess it will make sense when I get there." Wrong.

Gotta go -- I have a hat to rip out.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Feet accompli

Well, here they are -- the first socks I've made myself since my feet grew enormously during pregnancy five years ago. See how long the feet are? See how short the cuffs are? See how much yarn I have left over? I think I've just been converted to toe up socks.

The yarn is a mystery to me. It's four plies, two of which are yellow and two of which vary. I bought it in Michigan, which means mid to late 90s; somewhere along the way I lost the ball band. I think it was a 100 gm ball, though I only have about 90 gms --- at some point I must have done some sampling. It's about 17 wpi, and knit up at a hair over 8 stitches to the inch on #1 needles. I think maybe I should have used #0.

I used the basic crew sock pattern from Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' Simple Socks. It certainly was easy. I'm not too worried about durability, since my socks tend to wear out at the ball of the foot rather than anywhere on the heel.

I liked making them. I think I may be back in the sock knitting business.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

What was I thinking?

I've been trying to resurrect a project that I set aside (abandoned) last winter. I've figured out the stitch pattern, but I just cannot remember what sort of garment I was trying to make.

It's one long piece, with a knitted-on edging. I think I was making a vest, or maybe a cardigan, and I'm about to where I would split for the armholes. But this puppy is HUGE. It's a bulky yarn, but I still cannot imagine needing 8+ inches of ease.

So I think I'm going to have to rip the whole thing out. Is it worth starting again? I'm not sure. I don't usually like bulky knits, and I'm not sure why I bought this yarn except that it was a really good deal. But I love the fabric:

It's a simple pattern -- seed stitch interrupted by rows of stockinette -- but it really makes the most of this yarn (Bernat's Scandia, from the last big yarn craze, or maybe the one before that). I've had it sitting around for about 10 years, and I think maybe I should knit it up before we all come to our senses and go back to smaller yarns. But why knit something if I'm not going to wear it.

Clearly I have some thinking to do.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Bucket hat, finished.

Here's the finished hat. Pattern is the bucket hat from Chicknits

-- not a style I've knit before. I think it looks better on the wig stand than on me. I also think it might be a little small for my head. It took me 4 tries (!) to get this size since the yarn is not a consistent size; I'd make it bigger but I'm afraid that it would fall down over my nose then.

Yarn is handspun from the early 90's. The hat weighs 77 grams. The brim was knit on size 4 needles; the stand & crown on size 6's.