Today, let’s talk knitting! After fits and starts over the years, I would now call myself a full-on Knitter. Sewing is still my main love, but I have fallen back down the knitting rabbit hole, much as I did with sewing. Now I always have a project or, more likely two projects, going, and my knitting pattern library is growing exponentially, just as my sewing pattern library has.
One of my favorite things to do is check out craft and cookbooks from the library, page through them, and see how many interesting projects there are. Such was the case when I stumbled upon Small Knits: Casual & Chic Japanese Accessories by Yoko Hatta (translated by Linda Lanz). I had never knitted from a Japanese pattern, although they have a very devoted following, and when I found the Aran Hat pattern in the book, I thought I would give it a try. It was nice that this book had been translated into English, so I didn’t have to try to figure things out through a language barrier.
I had a skein of Lamb’s Pride worsted in a tonal orange that I had found at the thrift store. Orange is a color that, up until recently, I rarely wore, but something about the color shifts and the way the yarn caught the light in this skein really mesmerized me. While I strongly believe that speckled and tonal yarns with a lot of variation look best in a plain stockinette stitch to show off their beauty, I just really wanted to make this hat in this yarn. So I did.
I’m new to reading cable charts, but since I know how to read colorwork charts, I applied my knowledge here. Read right to left, bottom to top. But something didn’t add up. The number of cast on stitches and the number of stitches in the chart sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. I couldn’t find any information online about this particular pattern and whether or not I just didn’t understand something about the chart or if the chart/instructions had an error in them.
What I decided in the end was that if you cast on two fewer stitches than instructed and skip the last decrease in the first round of decreases, everything would work out. Alternately, you could cast on the full number of stitches and add one stitch into the chart. I still have no idea if I’m missing something or if the chart is wrong, but I made it work!
Part way through my orange hat, I realized that one skein was not going to be enough. This color (Creamsicle or Dreamsicle) had been discontinued. I looked at various places online and found someone selling deadstock who had some. It wasn’t the same dye lot, but it was my best option, and I took it.
Upon receiving the skein I was amazed to find that although this was the same general color, it was not nearly as captivating to me as my original skein. Luckily, though, it would allow me to finish my hat, and the tonal nature of this yarn made it hard to distinguish where I changed skeins.
I should mention one cool feature of this pattern. It’s knitted so that when you fold the brim of the hat up, the cabling is on the right side on the brim as well as the main part of the hat. You do that by knitting the brim, and then changing directions, and turning the hat inside out to continue on. It’s pretty cool.
After making this hat and practicing my cabling, I was really excited. I had made a thing of beauty! I loved it! I would make more! I decided to make a hat for my grandfather.
Since this pattern actually calls for a bulky yarn, I went for Berroco Ultra Wool Chunky in a blue-gray (color 43154, “Denim”) that my mom thought he would like. It had to be superwash, unlike my orange hat, and Berroco didn’t fail me. I’m really coming to appreciate this brand. They have lots of options at a reasonable price point, and their yarn is soft and nice to knit with. I bought this yarn, along with some yarn for a future cowl from Yarn on Front in Dowagiac, MI.
I dove headlong into hat number two, but soon realized that a large part of what I had loved about hat number one was the colorful yarn I was using. This yarn was soft and beautiful, but didn’t hold the charm of the first one for me. Still, the cables were so much easier to see. A plain-colored yarn makes them stand out so much better. I knitted away, and finished the hat before it got cold out. Just after finishing, I noticed a mistake I had made (not pictured). Ugh. Oh well, it was done, and I wasn’t going to rip back. I sent it off with my parents when they visited. Luckily, my grandpa said he liked it! Yay!
Despite my huge initial enthusiasm for this pattern, by the end of hat number two, I was ready to move on. Maybe someday I’ll understand what was up with that chart.
I’m happy to have gotten some cable practice. I got used to my cable needle, and maybe someday I’ll be ready to cable without a cable needle, but one step at a time, there! I’m also happy that I got to try some new yarns and that now I have this gorgeous hat!