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It’s been a while, but I’m back with stories to tell.
The mission: Yarn for a hat for my older brother to keep his head warm during live broadcasts and playing outside with my adorable niece. It has to be machine washable, warm, and very soft on his shaven head. A dark, neutral colour is preferred, and the hat design should be elegant but casual.
Of course, I started with my LYS – CanvasWorks. While I love the large, airy, naturally-lit store space (the better to entice you to buy, my dear) the staff is a standoffish and less friendly than expected. Except Amy – so when you go, ask for Amy. Their impressively large selection had nothing above worsted in a superwash wool except Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. Soft, yes, but I was hoping for something with more bounce to it. Onward!
Next destination: the Madrona Fiber Festival. Sunday was supposed to be a knit circle field trip, but I ended up driving up alone. I needed to pick up a table from Jazlan, which didn’t happen, and a nostepynne – also didn’t happen. However, I did peruse the vendors and made notes for later. No CanvasWorks, and no surprise there. I liked Acorn Street and Crown Mountain Farms, and sort of whirled through everything else. I was a girl on a mission. Superwash aran weight merino wool! Not too expensive! Black or navy! GO GO GO GO GO!!!
The fiber market didn’t have what I needed, but Fibers Etc. (on Opera Alley, for those Tacoma-bound shoppers) did. Not only is the shop full of knitter’s and spinner’s and weaver’s delights, Roberta (the shop owner) is friendly and knowledgeable. I left with two balls of Lana Grossa Bingo (techically worsted, but on the heavier side) in black, two sets of 7” Brittany DPN’s (US2 and US3), and business cards to hand out.
Mission accomplished, and all for this:
Recognize the beginnings of Shedir? I drew up a few designs of my own, but Shedir won out. Elegant, casual, stretchy, and well served in a dark solid. I decided to knit it in aran weight wool instead of worsted because, well… We grows ‘em big in my family, and Junior has a 24” head. That’s right, I said 24 inches. Shedir as per pattern is 17” unstretched. 24 – 17 = 7. Eek! While it might have worked, I thought it was a bit much to ask a hat to stretch seven inches and still fit comfortably. So up I went to aran weight, still knit on US 3’s to account for my loose gauge.
All was not well in Periscope country, however. To get to the point pictured above, I frogged four times. Four, as in half of eight, as in the number of Shedir insanity. (My apologies for the irresistible pun). Let’s chronicle the symptoms, shall well?
1) I cast on 128 stitches and work merrily up to the point of the second cable twist. But what’s this? The cables look off? How could this be? Well, I started out with a knit stitch instead of a purl on the rib. Yes. A mistake from the very first stitch. No matter. I happily frog and start over.
2) I cast on 128 stitches and work the rib, careful to start with a purl stitch. I work a make 1 increase every eight stitches. Lo and behold, the math doesn’t work. I’m two stitches short! I count and realize that I cast on 126 instead. I frog, less happily this time, and start over.
3) Third verse, same as the second, except I managed to cast on 124. Rip it, rip it, rip it. I am stoic.
4) I still can’t count, and get to round nine before I realize that there are only 120 stitches. My eyes are wild as I rip, and a small, sane part of me is briefly glad that I live alone so no one can hear my screams.
Apparently the fifth time is the charm. Shedir progresses rapidly on the way to and from work, and I have learned the great value of counting out loud. I've neglected my other projects because this is gift knitting. Soon, however! I shall go back to knitting for myself, glorying in tending my personal knitting garden.