Friday, July 6, 2007

This is your brain on knitting

Got Sbodd's hat finished and sewn last night. He wore it home since it was raining (don't ask me, I don't get it either). It looked okay, and it certainly fit better than any other hat I've seen him wear. I think I could do better, though. Someday I will.

Working with yarn that dark was HARD. I didn't really think about it at all when we picked out the color but it was really, really difficult to work with unless the light was very good. I had a hard time sewing the seam yesterday because I just couldn't see the stitches clearly until I got right up by the lamp. So, yeah, lesson for the future. Something to be mindful of.

I wound up and split my skein of Paris Rain yarn last night. I didn't want to do Amy's pedicure socks because I want to get size 8 needles. The last pair, while satisfactory for someone like me with unusually small feet, or someone like DB with unusually skinny legs (and unusually skinny everything else, honestly, but I'm not bitter), might be a little tight on a normal-sized person with normal-sized feet.

Anyway, so I wound the skein into two balls of hopefuly equal size, and I plan to try the technique for doing two socks at once and see how that goes.

But, after I wound the yarn, I paused, reconsidered, and got out the hat I had started knitting for K. I hadn't gotten very far on it last time before getting frustrated, and frustrated I was again last night, but I perservered and got quite a bit farther. I also learned to loosen up my knitting a little bit in the process, which is probably a good thing. I will probably still knit tightly under normal circumstances unless I am really paying attention, but at least I can train myself to loosen up when I need to.

The problem I've been having with this hat is that instead of being knit from the brim up and using decreases to reduce the circumference, this one is knit from the crown down and uses increases to increase the circumference. So you start out with like four stitches, which was kind of a nightmare. Anyway, to do the increase you knit each stitch through the half of the loop that hangs on the front of the needle, which is how you would normally knit, but then also through the half of the loop that hangs on the back of the needle. If your stitches are tight, this is REALLY REALLY HARD. Also, I am knitting this out of cotton, and cotton does not stretch very much at all. Wool and wool blends make strethcy yarn so even if you knit tightly you have a little give. Cotton, not so much. :oP My hands were killing me at the end of the night, but I felt very encouraged because I have a lot more hat finished (granted, it is still not very much, but enough to see progress) and I feel like I have got the hang of it. Also, I am up to something like 80 stitches on the needles total, which is much easier to work with than 4. To put it in cross stitch terms, working with 4 stitches is like trying to work in an area with a lot of three-quarter stitches. There is just so much thread in the way when you are working with three-quarter stitches that it is a lot more work to get the needle through. :oP

Anyway, I feel encouraged, and I may actually be able to finish that project. I was really contemplating pulling it out and just giving up on it for a while there.

One mistake I have made on this is using a circular needle that is much too long. The pattern calls for a 40" cable later on, once you get to the larger part of the hat, so I just got the 40" and whatever other size was handy. However, the 40" is a complete pain to work with at this stage. It's just way too long and it gets in the way.

When my Options set comes in from KnitPicks, I may switch over to those needles for this project. They are supposedly sharper than the Addi needles I am currently using, and while I still generally prefer blunts as I push on my needles, the sharper tips might be a help for this particular project.

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