As the weather turns cooler, like so many crafty people, I get the urge to knit. You might not know it, but after college and before sewing became my near-daily practice, I was really into knitting. I teamed up with a friend who was more accomplished than I was, and learned all I could. I loved knitting. But after a few sweaters that didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped (see one example here), and realizing that I was a really slow knitter, I started to knit less.
And then I discovered sewing. I had known how to sew a little, but after finally stumbling out of the fog of motherhood in the baby years, I really discovered sewing, and I never looked back.
Since then I’ve struggled to find just the right knitting projects when I get the urge to dip my toe back in. I want something where my propensity to knit large won’t ruin the project and where I can still talk or watch TV while knitting.
This fall, I had a realization: I don’t want to challenge myself in the knitting arena like I do with sewing.
I want a project I can do without too much thought so I can expend my mental energy on improving my sewing skills, while my knitting, like a good cup of coffee, can be the background pleasure in a shared conversation or a night spent watching something fun on TV.
Add to this that I seem to always want but never find the perfect winter hat and you have this project. I still have quite a lot of yarn from a Yates Farm Yarn sale when knitting was my obsession, and I still really love it. I decided to dig into that stash, find a yarn I wanted to use, and make another attempt at the perfect basic hat. I found that opportunity in the aptly named Basic Hat Pattern by Nerdy Girl Knits. It had the ribbing I wanted at the bottom and the uncomplicated top that would allow me to knit while paying attention to other things.
I decided, since I’ve named myself an ‘elephant knitter’ (by which I mean someone who always knits things that are too large), that I was actually going to do a swatch for this hat. It’s a good thing I did because I had to try smaller and smaller needles to get the required gauge. I finally got the right gauge (‘gauge’ means that by stitching a certain number of stitches in a certain number of rows I had a 4″ x 4″ square, supposedly ensuring that I’ll knit the hat to the right size), and then I was off. I made the ribbing a little bit longer, and then subtracted those rows from the stockinette stitch of the body. It didn’t take me long to finish, despite my slow pace. When I finished, it was good, but just a little bit…off. It was a little longer and wider around than I wanted, but oh well. Large knitting seems to be my fate. 😉
It is a cozy hat, and I love the yarn knit up, even though I wish I had made it slightly smaller. I’ve already been wearing it, and I may wet it just a bit and throw it in the dryer to see what happens, per a more experienced friend’s directions. Maybe that will help it to shrink down just enough.
I recommend this pattern if you are looking for a basic hat with ribbing. It’s a nice pattern and comes in three adult sizes (and it’s free!). I think a beginner could do it, and an expert could easily make several.
- Um…these weird finger hands?
I got them at The White Elephant Antique Shop in Essex, MA. They are weird and way more fun than they should be.
- Toby Mac’s newest album, This is Not a Test, is pretty cool. It’s fun and upbeat, and features a lot of different artists and styles. It’s been getting a lot of play in our house.
- The Maker Style Podcast. This podcast is still pretty new. I’ve really been enjoying it as it focuses on garment sewing, a topic I don’t tend to find a ton of podcasts on.
- And yet another reason to love Project Runway’s Tim Gunn: