Thursday, March 02, 2006

Imperfect?

I was going to title this entry "imperfect" to make a reference to my plans of a perfect little Eddie-along/Olympic knit project. But I'm afraid my Daletta hat isn't just a little imperfect, it's actually a complete failure.

I suspected something was wrong before I had knitted half the rose border, so why did I press on and finish it?

There are several reasons: Because it's cold and I need a hat, because I wanted to know what size it would turn out to be for future reference, because I wanted to know how much I can block a stranded garment (answer: Not enough!), and I wanted to try out some the colour combinations. So I guess the entire hat is a (barely) wearable swatch!

My starting point was that I was thought that my regular loose gauge is even looser when I do stranded knitting. Furthermore I know that I have a problem with keeping my gauge constant throughout a stranded project. So when I said I wanted to try and knit a small and perfect thing, I guess what I really meant was that I wanted to knit a hat where those two particular problems were worked out.

What went wrong, or what did I learn?

1. The first border is actually a lace edge, and I knitted it too loose compared to the stranded pattern. Result: It doesn't lie flat without manipulation.
2. I was way too concerned with the gauge question when I knitted the stranded part. Instead of just letting it flow naturally, I tightened it in a way that is not natural for me. Result: The rose border is uneven, and the hat is too tight, it's literally painful to wear it. I guess the conclusion is that my normal, natural stranding gauge is ok. But my gauge is always loose, and I must take that into consideration.
3. I changed some of the colours, and stupidly ended up with some three colour rows with 16 stitch floats.
4. I didn't study the pattern closely. I thought the rose border was identical to the one on my frogged cardi (which I love), but it turned to be a simplified version for the hat and I don't like it. If you don't actually know that the red dots are suppossed to be roses, you really can't tell.
5. When I went from stranded to one colour and then into the lice pattern, something very surprising happened: My one colour gauge turned out be a lot looser than the in the stranded part. I was sure it would be the other way around. This made the hat's shape mushroom-like.
6. The hat is knit like a tube with no decreases. When you reach the top of the crown you cast of in a way that creates a picot edge (new to me, and not being a technically oriented knitter I won't bother to find out what it's called), and then it's pulled together to create a rosetta. It looks awful, and I hate it, and next time (yes, there will a new try!) I will do a traditional shaping.
7. I was able to block it enough to be able to wear it. But when I wear it there isn't enough stretch in the middle of the rose border, so it looks akward and too stretched out and the pattern is contorted.
8. For future reference: Daletta, 210 stitches, 2.5 mm needle - too little!
9. Instead of getting rid of some leftovers from that frogged cardi, I actually bought two new balls of yarn, thus adding to my stash

Good things:
1. I learnt a new cast-off method
2. When adding to my stash I found a gorgeous red colourway that I will definitely use again, and I also found that it works surprisingly well with a very light peach (that looks awful on its own) instead of off white.
3. I only bought two new balls of yarn, not four
4. I think the crosses pattern I chose for the crown works really well.

3 comments:

KnitYoga said...

Looks very pretty and, as you say, you've learned a lot from it. I always think that, even if you don't get something as perfect as you'd like, it isn't wasted as long as you've learned from it. I'm not exactly a hat expert. The one hat I've made turned out a bit big but, since then, I've discovered Barbara Walker's "Knitting from the Top" so the dpns will be coming out and all hats will be knitted from the top down. That way, they can be tried on as you go! Hopefully fail safe method??? :-)

Tracy said...

Well I really like it...so there!

Beth S. said...

If it won't work for you as a hat, how about as a tea cozy? ;-)

I like the little red scallop at the border between brim and crown. That's a lovely touch.

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