Word-Hats (Picture-Hats to Follow)

Let me tell you about hats. I can’t show you hats (because they’re in Santa Cruz and the camera is with Melissa in Oakland), but I will eventually post photos.

I finally finished my semi-Norwegian hat. I’d gotten quite comfortable with the whole stranded knitting thing and was zooming along, needing to pause less and less often to untangle my yarn—then the decreases hit, and I found myself switching from circulars to double-points. Ack!

At the same time that I began with the double-points on Friday night at Melissa’s, her cat Damian began a game of “Cannot-Touch-Floor-Evil-Floor-Must-Jump-Climb-Flop” and things went something like this—

Whunk! All 18 pounds of Damian came flying from the floor to my chest, obliviously landing on my work, to which I clung desperately hoping to prevent a needle-dropping, involuntary-frogging catastrophe.

Bamp! Bamp! He whacked his forehead against mine in greeting, giving me a nice rub with his wet nose (wet nose? isn’t that a dog thing?) in the process. Then he pirouetted a time or two, balancing himself on my knees, my shoulders, purring the whole while.

And finally—Oof! He bounced off me onto Melissa or whatever unfortunate person/object lay in his trajectory.

Now, reread the previous three paragraphs several times because Damian never settles for doing something once when he can do it repeatedly. I believe I got exactly one round done before giving up and hiding my work at the back of the closet.

On Sunday in Santa Cruz, I did get those last rounds done. I found it particularly helpful to distribute the stitches among my double points so that the first stripe of the three-stipe divisions between panels ended the stitches on one needle and the remaining two stripes began the stitches on the following needle. This strategy prevented any long bits of yarn jumping the break between needles, allowing me to maintain my tension more easily.

While the hat isn’t perfect (I did the SSKs wrong on the first 2/3 of the rounds, and my two yarns don’t stand out as distinctly from each other as I might like), I’m quite pleased with it as a first attenpt. And, having finished, I came up with a whole new set of “what if?” questions.

1. What if I use the variegated yarn for backgound instead of for the pattern elements?

2. What if I limit the double-stranding to the body of the hat and switch to a single yarn before beginning the decreases?

3. What if I alternate bands of double-stranded knitting with plain knitting?

After digging through my stash to find some appropriate yarns for answering these questions (a skein of navy wool-nylon Knit Picks Essential and a skein of denim-colored self-striping sock yarn in a cotton-wool-nylon blend), I got to work. So far the hat goes like this: navy ribbing; alternating rounds of the two yarns; an eleven-round band of stranded work; more alternating rounds; a nice wide stretch of just the self-striping yarn; more alternating rounds; and a five-round band of double-stranded work. I’m planning to finish up with a few more alternating rounds and will then end the hat using only the solid navy yarn. If you can’t picture this, don’t fret. Like I said, photos are coming.

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