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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Jayne Hat started

I am really enjoying this journey of creating a Jayne Cobb hat for T. If you haven't been following, and are interested in the process , you can read the series of posts:

Yarn for the Jayne Cobb Hat:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/11/red-orange-and-yellow.html
Jayne Hat started:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/10/jayne-hat-started.html
Jayne Hat earflaps:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/10/jayne-hat-earflaps.html
Jayne Hat earflaps continued:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/11/jayne-hat-earflap-shaping-continued.html
Pom-Pom minor update (scroll down):
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/11/zara.html
Pom-Pom completed:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/11/jayne-cobb-pompom.html
Jayne Cobb Hat completed:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/11/jayne-cobb-hat.html




I had mentioned wanting to try the Long-Tail Cast-On (LTCO) for this hat. So I started with the LTCO -- my very first time doing this! -- and as I was adding stitches I could tell right away that this was a much looser cast-on than my usual Cable Cast-On (CCO). I was aiming for my usual 96 stitches thinking I'd probably add more because this will be a guy's hat and would therefore need to be larger. I knew I would never make it to 96 sts when I thought the hat was plenty large at 84 sts. I increased it to 90 sts just to be safe since the hat needs to fit T.

Now I normally dislike casting on 90 sts for a hat because that precludes using a K2P2 ribbing. I didn't want to do K1P1 ribbing, so I started to do K3P2 ribbing (not sure why I chose K3P2 over K2P1, it all really depends on my mood at the moment I start it). I didn't get very far. Somewhere along the way I discovered my join was twisted. I blame it on the LTCO. I never had this twisting problem when I joined in a round after doing a CCO. So off to the frog pond I went.

My 2nd attempt was made with a CCO. Although the CCO is a much slower process than the LTCO (I can see why the LTCO has so much appeal due to this speed), I enjoyed the familiarity of the CCO motion as I worked my needle between two stitch to create the next. I cast on 104 sts so that I could do a K2P2 ribbing. What you see above is this 2nd attempt, with the ribbing completed and maybe 1 row of stockinette started (although I can't be sure exactly where I was when this photo was taken).

After knitting around and around for a while, I could tell that I would need to frog it again. The fabric felt way too loose using US8 (5mm) needles. I could tell that this version of the hat would have been big enough to fit Jack In The Box. We couldn't have that. If you recall, I am using Highland Wool in these colors, and the label does state needle size US6-7.



So I started over, for my 3rd attempt, with US7 (4.5mm) needles tosee if I would get better results. I thought I might try casting on 102 stitches instead, working K2P1 ribbing, and doing a 6 swirl decrease. But I ended up casting on 104 again, partly to see what the difference would be between US8 and US7 needles, so I had to have the cast-on stitches be the same. I did the K2P2 ribbing and some stockinette. The hat still seemed way too large. Frog pond again.



The photo above shows my 4th attempt at this hat. I cast on less stitches, yet the hat is still on the large side. It would definitely be too large for me (I wear a ladies x-small or small size), so I'm hoping it should be large enough for a guy. I don't have much experience with knitting things to a specific finished size. My first attempt was the 12" square Devon Square, which sounds so simple but was really more challenging to do. And it's not like I see T very often and get to say, "Hey, try this on for size."



I think I'm ready to start decreasing the hat; it's about 7 inches tall here. If I were to do this over, I would knit 2 less rows of orange. I have a problem with stockinette hats, I just lose track of what I'm doing and will knit around and around forever until something is too long. I haven't yet decided what kind of decrease I will do. Quick? Gently tapering off? Peaked? I'll think about it tomorrow...

I'm sure this hat will be on the largish side. I don't think that would be a problem. While watching The Message numerous times, I'm pretty sure this is not one of those tight skull hugging beanie type hats.


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Another thing I've been working on is a chart for my Osiris Scarf. You can see a better photo of the pattern in my Devon square since this yarn has better stitch definition than the Baby Cashmere I used in the scarf. I keep looking at this scarf and wondering whether I should have gone with a 4 stitch chain cable instead of the 8 stitch version. Oh well...

Anyhow, I've been working on a chart -- my very first attempt at creating a chart -- and can't figure out how to add it to my pattern doc. The pattern doc is in portrait mode and the chart stuff is in landscape mode. It does not look right when I try to add the landscape chart pages to the original pattern doc. I think I will have to keep them separate documents.

Creating the chart was an interesting exercise. I still can't knit from a chart, and I will not start by knitting off my own chart. It would have to be an easy peasy chart if I want to get my toes wet in the chart knitting dept. However I understand that many people prefer chart knitting over row-by-row instructions, so this is partly why I am making an attempt to provide a chart for this scarf. I can't promise that it will be perfect (anyone want to test knit from the chart?) and I can already tell you that the chart is already unorthodox for a couple of reasons:

1. There are 4 charts. Two charts for rows 1 to 20. Two charts for rows 21 to 40. Why 2 charts? One is for the left side, and the other for the right side. I could not figure out how to get a Word Table that is 65 squares wide and 41 squares tall to fit on one page. It would always run off the page. I'm not very Word savvy to begin with.

2. The chart is color coded. Yes, that's right. I know, it's not something you normally see in a chart. I used the Aire River knitting font and couldn't figure out how to get the cable instructions to work out in the squares of my Word Table. So cable instructions span 3 or 4 rows. It's kinda confusing to look at! So following Bets' suggestion, I color coded each cable with different background colors to keep them grouped together. Yes, very unorthodox, but it was the workaround to a limitation of the knitting font.

I have to thank Barbara for getting me started with charting, because I would not have considered doing something like this if it weren't for her gentle push.

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Just thought I'd include another photo of something orange to go with the orange hat photo above. This was taken last weekend when we went to the Stanford Shopping Center and were outside waiting for a table at Max's Opera Cafe. Miss M likes that place and it works out well due to the music and noise level.

I have finally found a Jo-Ann and Michael's near my new home. I haven't yet determined which one has a better yarn selection, since I only quickly popped into Jo-Ann to look for something non-knitting related and drove by Michael's without stepping inside. Although 90% of my stash is from Elann (I'm such an Elann slut, but with Miss M around, the online convenience works for me), I do not turn my nose up at yarn from these two stores. I actually like using Lion Brand Wool-Ease and Plymouth Encore, they're great for "machine wash" people. And I have a plethora of Sugar & Cream and Peaches & Creme kitchen cotton.

Let's see, what else have I discovered in my new town? Marie Callender's. They've got pies for $5.99 this month and I am working hard to find a flavor I don't like. So far all the flavors have been hits: Lemon Cream Cheese, Kahlua, Key Lime. What should I try next?


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2 stitch(es):

Joan said...

Don't go into Joann's or Michaels without a disoount coupon. Forget the yarn and go for the knitting supplies.

Looks like you have so many great shops and sights in your new neighborhood!

I hate knitting hats because they NEVER come out the right size for the intended head. I can so relate to the starting & stopping over & over.

My cable CO is loose and ugly. My long tail is perfect. Go figure.
;-}

Becca said...

Trying to get hats the right size drives me nuts! I make a lot of charity hats that way because by the time I'm sure they are the wrong size I don't want to waste my knitting. I like the cable or crochet cast because no matter how long I make my long tail, it's usually 3 inches too short. Loved your Jack in the Box photo creation!

About your color coded cables. Did you end up not using cable symbols at all and just color coding the squares? I've been dealing with this same problem in my charts too. While its a great knitting font, sometimes I just can't make it do what I want.