Knitting for the Leotarded (One Promise Down, One to Go)

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Today, instead of writing up field notes like a good girl, I finished a project that has been hanging over my head since mid-December, when I rather stupidly promised to make someone a hat, in spite of my not having knitted anything in well over a decade. Eternities later, it’s finally finished. It’s imperfect–there are a couple of places where I tried to fix what I thought were dropped stitches, when in fact I hadn’t dropped any stitches in the first place. It is sort of ridiculously long, like the kind of hat someone with dreadlocks would use to stuff their dreads into, but that just gives it some flexibility in the way it is worn. As pictured, the brim is actually three layers thick, great for keeping out the cold.

Being an absolutely leotarded knitter, I went for a pretty fool-proof pattern, the Tea Cozy Hat Pattern from the Knitting Fairy. That pattern is designed for an infant, but since the rows of knitting are actually perpindicular to the bottom edge of the hat, to make the hat for an adult, you just keep up the same KPK KPK pattern until it is suitably large. My sister suggested that I use two balls of yarn at once, since I couldn’t find suitably large and nubbly yarn in the yarn shop here. This trick worked like a dream, and produced a really great varigation in addition to the varigation already present in the yarn. However, if you’re going to do that with reasonably large needles (mine are UK size 7, I think, whatever the hell that means), be careful how much you cast on. I cast on 42 stitches, which made for a kind of ridiculously long hat from the brim to the gather. (Originally I cast on 250, only to have it expand out of control a few rows after casting on. That was complete unravel #2. Then I tried 88, which had a similar problem to a lesser extent. That was complete unravel #3). If I did it over again, I might only do 36, or maybe only 32. Cora pointed out that it was practically a dress, it was so long. And indeed, it could kind of host a whole family of chipmunks, if adjusted properly.

After the hat part was finished, Ilya modeled it for me (pictures to come) and invented a bunch of fun new ways in which to wear it. So its length is not too bad.

While Ilya was modeling the hat, Mark insisted that it needed a pom-pom. Never being one to refuse Mark anything, I set about to make a pom pom. That was when I discovered that I kind of suck at making pom poms. This is supposed to be the easiest part, and there I was, failing miserably at it. I even managed to make a pretty spectacular tangle of yarn while doing it–I felt like a kitten stumbling into a sewing basket. I ended up making three different pom-poms before I got one that is mostly right, and reasonably secure, and the studio floor was littered with the debris of rejected pom-poms. I have no good advice in that regard–if I had it to do over, I would wrap it around my hand a lot (as I did today), pass a ribbon through on one side, tie it off, cut the side not tied with the ribbon, lay it flat, and then sew the living daylights out of it with a sewing machine. Hah! That would keep any of the annoying little threads from going anywhere.

All in all, it was an enlightening experience. I had forgotten how much I love knitting! I still have lots of yarn left, so perhaps I will work on something else! If I thought that I wasn’t too completely leotarded for it, I would knit gloves for Dhruv, as red is his favorite color and today is his birthday. As it is, maybe he’ll get a scarf. It would be nice to make something for someone who seemed happy about it–while I admit that I caught this hat’s recipient at a bad time, the grouchiness and resounding “meh” regarding my creation still kind of devastated me. (I will just hide my devastation under work and behind my teacup.) I had been so excited to gift it, too. Well, I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere, kids. Possibly in keeping with Alicia’s 2004 sentiment, “All dreams are crushed eventually.”

Knitting for the Leotarded (One Promise Down, One to Go)

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