Saturday, February 17, 2007

I'm square and I'm proud!

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing...the Center Square!

Oh, wait. Not that one. This one!

I was looking to try my hand at Fair Isle and after hearing this was a quick, simple knit, decided to give it a whirl. Not bad, eh?

One of these things is not like the other
Look closely. See anything amiss? My Center Square is a mite different than the one on knitty. Lemme e'splain. No, it's too much. Lemme sum up.

What you see above is actually my second try at this pattern. I actually knitted one up exactly as written first. And um, yeah. That went well.

Oh, the shame.

Apparently, I forgot that I in fact don't live in Mongolia and knitting in double-stranded worsted wool plus floats would turn out a three-layer, mega bulky hat that is not exactly attuned to the generally mild climate of the left coast. I also forgot that I have a big fat head. The result was a FO of conehead proportions. Nice going weez. (Hey ZantiMissKnit, maybe Zelia and I should do a photo shoot together.)

Gotta mod
With plenty of yarn left over, I decided to adjust the pattern to a single-stranded version. I increased the number of stitches, used a smaller needle, upped the length of the ribbing, and added a knit row in between each decrease row. Before closing up the rabbit hole, I padded over to the mirror and tried it on. Close, but no cigar. Now I was on a mission. This. hat. will. fit. Enter froggy.

Adjusted decreases for my big ol' melon.

First, I tinked it back to the start of the decreases and added several more straight rows in the cc. Next, I switched up the first few decrease rows to include a knit stitch before the k2tog and after the ssk. Then it was back to the aforementioned mod of adding a knit row in between the decrease rows. Finally, I decreased down to 16 stitches instead of 8 to avoid the elfin point. Closed er' up, took a deep breath, and voila! Perfect fit!

Fair Isle is fun!
After a run to knittinghelp, I decided to go ambidextrous and do it two-handed, Continental in my left, English in my right. Now THAT was cool, and easier than I expected! It was quite fun, knitting with two colors in two hands and seeing the chart spring to life. Plus, this being my first try at both Fair Isle and English style, I now have not one, but two new skills under my knitting belt! Su-weet!

Not bad for a virgin strander.

Not to say there aren't a few wonky stitches here and there. Every so often, as I was knitting along, that little yarn gnome would come by, tap my shoulder and tell me my stranding was too loose. So I'd tighten it up on the next one. Then that little bastard would tell me that my stranding was too tight. Then I'd slap him away and tell him to leave me alone. If you inspect the hat closely, you can see where these confrontations took place.

Hulkin' bulk.

Here you can see the difference in bulk between the final double- and single-stranded versions. The double is now in the Ziploc prison with the leftovers, destined to be frogged, donated, or reserved as an emergency gift.

My neighborhood lys just started carrying Malabrigo. Then they put it on sale. As we all know, you are required to purchase it at that point. Who am I to argue?

This was my first experience with the stuff and heee, it's fluffy. Like knitting with cotton candy. The fluffiness made it fun to knit with, if not more loosely than usual (I was afraid I'd snap it like a twig with my vise-like grip). While it's not *quite* as soft as LL Shepherd Worsted, it is nice and snuggly.

Bonus - since it's not superwash, I was able to spit splice it when I added those extra rows in the final version rather than joining in. Note to self: use a water glass next time, not your mouth. I was hacking up hair balls for half an hour.

It's not the first time I've had two balls in my hand.

Surprisingly, there was fair amount left over (fair amount, Fair Isle, see what I did there?), I'd guess maybe 1/3 of a ball in each color - and that's after knitting two! As for the colors, the Shocking Pink is gorgeous, very vibrant and girly! Not so sure about the Pale Khaki, though. It looked great skeined up in the lys, but now it kinda resembles white yarn that's been peed on by a cat. We'll have to see if I can get over that visual next time I wear it. (This is why I generally don't knit within the white spectrum.) The color holds in the wash, too - no bleeding whatsover. Time will tell if it's as pilly as they say.

That's a wrap

It took a few tries and a dance with the frog, but in the end, it turned out pretty darn cute! Besides, no one else will notice the random wonkies here and there unless they come and stare at my head. In which case, I'll be flagging down the nearest officer because some freak is staring at my head.

Center Square Hat
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted

Colorways: Shocking Pink and Pale Khaki
Needles: H&S ebony 8, 16"
Mods: Er, all of it. Had to mod like mad to go from double to single strand.
Lesson learned: Sometimes two hands are better than one.


Blogger Swapna said...

Lovely post. Thank you for making me smile, yet again. And I like the colour combination on your hat, not withstanding the er, cat pee.
I just *had* to come out of lurkdom.

3:28 AM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

It's so pretty! Fun colors and Mmmmmalabrigo!

5:16 AM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Nice job! Thanks for taking us through the steps, I had to chuckle a bit, only cause these things happen to me too!

But the hairballs..hehe!

Looks great!!

10:04 AM  
Blogger bradyphrenia said...

what a great post! your hat[s] turned out beautifully and i am ever so jealous that you found malabrigo on sale.

6:42 AM  
Blogger Batty said...

Oh, wow! Beautiful work, and the stranding is so even. It's hard to believe this is your first FI hat ever. Maybe now I'll try it too.

I don't see anything cat pee colored at all. It looks great.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous tasha. said...

Love the Center Square hat and the story! I found it Googling the hat and nearly spit my drink on the computer screen with the Inigo Montoya reference. Great job on the final hat!

12:49 PM  

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