I’ve been asked why I rarely blog about my knitting in progress. It’s not that I want to keep it secret. It’s more that when the ideas are so embryonic, so subject to change from one minute to another, and far from actually being certain of becoming a real pattern, it doesn’t seem worthwhile to talk about them yet. Then, by by the time the design is done and mostly written up, it’s too late because I’m done knitting it and my mind is already playing elsewhere and hatching a new project.
On my recent trip, which took me to The Yarn Boutique in London, ON, the Minnesota Knitter’s Guild in Minneapolis, StevenBe’s remarkable store (also in Minneapolis) and to a retreat, the Minnesota Knitter’s Days in Frontenac, MN, I actually managed to complete a project and start writing the pattern. It was a whirlwind trip: I taught classes on every day that I wasn’t flying (I gave evening talks on the ‘flying’ days). In spite of the dearth of quality ‘thinking’ time, I managed to complete a double-knit hat, now suitably named the Sky Diamond DK Hat. It had been cast on and started in Nova Scotia, but had been stalled for want of ‘thinking’ time. However, once firmly belted in to my seat on the plane and on my way to Ontario, I could at last give it due consideration. The hat was conceived in Mahone Bay at the lovely spacious new premises of Have a Yarn, where Heather and her crew are having a lot of success teaching workshops based on my Pinstripe Sock in and Pinstripe Mittens patterns. They are responsible for a sudden peak in double knitting on the South Shore! A hat would be a welcome addition to their repertoire.
A double-knit hat is an ideal project for a new double-knitter: lots of straightforward rounds before the shapings start. When I thought about it, I had to admit that my two fingering weight hats, the Sizzling Hot Hat and Super Hero Hat, might deter a timid knitter. It’s the injunction to “Cast-on 286 sts” that would do it! So I suggested to my more reasonable self that I should perhaps come up with a speedier hat. Armed with yarn I set out.
The hat was cast on, a mere 160 sts (and much faster growing ones, too). Yes, 160 is considerably fewer sts than 286!
As the hat progressed, it became evident that the stitch numbers and needle size should be adjusted to better accommodate the pattern and to ensure that the hat could be completed using 2 x 50g balls of yarn. So, it was at this very point I was still stalled as I boarded the plane. I began by plugging in to some good music and then unraveling a goodly number of rounds, no doubt to the amusement of my fellow passengers. I ripped back to a point at which I could fudge the stitch numbers and adjust the needles (it ‘ll be fine in the real thing – I get to keep the prototype). I had to do some fancy stitch manoevers to get the hat onto a different flex and new size of needles with only limited equipment in my carry on luggage, but eventually was underway again, and even knitting fresh yarn by the end of the flight. Since then the hat has been finished, and received a warm welcome at the knitting retreat, with many requests for the pattern. Its next stages will include test knitting and then me taking the hat over to Tancook for Hillary to photograph! Good excuse for an island trip, eh? If you’ve never tried double-layer knitting, do give it a whirl sometime. It’s truly fun, especially so once both your hands are trained in the rhythm. Check out my Double Knitting Delight DVD sometime. It’s far easier to learn by watching than reading about it. We hope this disc will be available virtually too soon. (Knitting Essentials 1 and 2 and Sock Knitting Techniques 1 and 2 are now available as downloads from my site).
Mark your calendars now – my annual Christmas Open House Dec 8th 2012, 1300 – 1600. There will be good company, delicious cookies and great stuff.