January 31, 2012 in Juniper Moon Farm Yarns
I finished the hat I was knitting using Juniper Moon Farm Chadwick yarn.
The pattern is the “Cable Brim Cap #25″ from the Winter 2011/12 issue of Vogue Knitting.
Even though I only have one hat now, I actually knit it twice. Which proves that even experienced knitters make mistakes, but also highlights a great thing about knitting: It’s one place in life where you are guaranteed a do-over if you need it!
The problem the first time around is that the hat came out way too small. I could cram it on my head, but it slowly worked its way off. It was so tight I was sure that if I tried to wear it I would get a headache.
This was very disappointing because I liked the look of the hat and I loved the yarn.
I’m sure you’ve heard that before. I know I have, but this is the first time I’m positive it happened to me. I’m really sure I got gauge when I swatched on US 5 needles, but during the course of knitting something went horribly wrong and instead of ending up with 5 sts per inch my finished hat was around 6 sts per inch.
One stitch per inch might not sound like much, but it can make a big difference across an entire hat. It’s even worse across an entire sweater. At least a hat is a small enough project that reknitting it wasn’t a big time investment. If an entire sweater had gone wrong I would be crying right now.
That is why it is important to swatch carefully and stop every so often to remeasure your gauge as you are working on the project. That might sound silly, but your gauge could change. Your mood affects your tension. If you were stressed out when you swatched (or as you’re knitting) your fabric will be tighter than when you are relaxed. Also, as you become familiar with a stitch pattern you’ll be more relaxed and have a different rhythm than when you first start knitting it, which could also affect your gauge.
The rule of thumb I’ve heard is that every step in needle size is equal to half a stitch. So if you are getting 4.5 sts per inch on a US 7 needle you would get 4 sts per inch on a US 8 needle. Since every knitter is different you should test this theory out for yourself.
With that guideline in mind I jumped straight to a US 7 needle (two sizes up to get a whole stitch difference in gauge). The new finished hat fits just right.
As I mentioned in my previous post about this hat, Vogue Knitting has this pattern designated for an experienced knitter. There were a few things I noticed as I worked through it.
First, follow that rule about reading the entire pattern before starting. I noticed a few spots where it said to work X repeats and at the end of the sentence mentioned to place a marker or other instruction on one of the early repeats.
Second, don’t sweat the short row ear flaps. Aside from the cables they were easy short rows to knit. No wraps to worry about picking up! I think the cables made them “self-healing” so there were no holes visible from the turns. Just pay attention to the chart and you’ll be fine.
Third, pay attention to where you place your decreases on the body of the hat after you pick up from the cable band. On my first attempt I thought I had everything placed properly where the pattern directed, but one set of decreases flowed nicely from the center of the ear flap in line with the cables and the other set was in front of the ear flap.
I was willing to let it go, but since I had to reknit the hat anyway I took the opportunity to fix it. Instead of going with the placement the pattern recommends I made sure my markers were between the cables on the ear flaps.
A picture would be helpful here, but this yarn is just confounding my attempts to photograph it. I think it’s vampire yarn. Or maybe it’s just shy.
Finally, I think the wording on the crown shaping isn’t clear. The set up row has you place 7 B markers, but only 6 A markers. Your end of round marker is the 7th A marker.
So Round 3 should read 6 times, knit to 2 sts before end of round, k2tog. (That will make sense when you’re working the pattern.)
The directions tell you to knit to two stitches before marker A and k2tog 7 times, but since there isn’t a 7th marker A I forgot to do that last decrease and ended up with too many stitches at the end of the shaping. At the time I just fudged it by working an extra few decreases. Obviously, it was another error I was able to correct the second time around.
Although my first attempt took me about a week of knitting in the evenings, I blasted through the second hat in one marathon three hour knitting session last night. I think it helped that I didn’t have to rework the cabled band. My focus meant I had a cozy new hat to wear on my morning walk in the snow today.
Chadwick and Willa Design Contest
Chadwick comes in 202 yard balls. This hat took about 3/4 of the ball.
If you are planning to enter the Juniper Moon Farm Design Contest that gives you an idea of the size of the project you can make with one ball of Chadwick.
Just think of the possibilities with two balls!
Remember, the entry deadline has been extended to March 1 so there is still plenty of time to enter.