"But, really, why does anyone create? You feel a... a restlessness inside, a need to make something new, something no one has ever seen before. You want to add to the beauty and the richness of the world with a gift, an offering that is uniquely yours. It's an act of selfishness and generosity, all rolled into one."

-- Bruce Coville,
The Last Hunt

Thursday, December 6, 2012


My first hat is almost completed.

I have just a few rows left, but it's getting a little too small for the circular needle, and I want to try double pointed needles. Wouldn't you know, the yarn store had every size of double points in stock except for 7, so I had to order a set online. They should be here tomorrow, and I'll be able to finish.

The yarns are Brae Tweed, a blend of sheep wool, llama wool, and bamboo. This hat is for my sister, and this shade of green will be a near-perfect match for her eyes. The pattern is here; it's very easy for a beginner.

I'm finding that my stitches are much more even in this yarn. The slight elasticity of the wool makes it much  more forgiving than the cotton yarn I'm using for the scarf-- as I'm sure any seasoned knitter could have told me if only I'd asked.

While waiting for the new needles to arrive, I'll go ahead and start on the next hat tonight. That's assuming the gauge works as expected and I can use a size 8 needle; if I have to use a 7, then it will have to wait until the first hat is done.

I had to go back to the yarn store for this next hat; I thought I had all the yarns I needed, but then I remembered the person I'm making it for is vegan, so the wool blend I had chosen wouldn't be appropriate. Naturally, they mostly have wools in stock this time of year, but I did find a nice cotton-poly blend in green, which also happens to be the recipient's favorite color.

The wool blend I had originally chosen is a beautiful shade of blue, so I'll use it to make myself a hat.


  1. Your statement about cotton vs wool and the elasticity of the latter reminded me of my youth, when I was trying to knit with 'Aunt Lydia's Rug Yarn'! It's a wonder I didn't give up knitting because of that! No elasticity whatsoever! And too thick for my size 4 needles (which I still have)!

    Speaking of needles, I'm impressed that you're doing so well with the circular needle! I had difficulty with the metal ones and avoided using them until the wood (bamboo) type came out, after I had been knitting for years. I also prefer the bamboo double pointeds, and bamboo flex needles for straight knitting. You could probably have used size 6 double pointeds, as you don't have that much left to knit and you're decreasing more now. So it might not have made that much of a difference.

    The hat is looking great! And since you gave a link to the pattern, it confirmed that you had to do the 'rolled' stitch by knitting/purling back and forth for a few rows. Then you did the ribbing in the round. It's good to have that rolled stitch because sometimes knitters cast on the ribbing too tightly, and the hat doesn't stretch over the head!

    1. Goodness, you started on size 4 needles! That's impressive!

      I've been trying needles of various materials, but I can't really say that I have a preference yet. I suppose what I should do if I really want to become choosy is to knit the same yarn with different needles for a "scientific" study, but I suppose that I will also figure out my likes and dislikes over time.

      I've found casting on to the circular needle to be a challenge, but the actual knitting has been a breeze. I actually chose to knit those first few rows of stockinette in the round as well; it made more sense to me than seaming, but the end result was the same, a stylish rolled edge to the hat. Apparently, I'm going to be the same kind of knitter as I am a tatter, changing the directions to suit myself. Oh yeah, and that roll is also nice because it hides any unevenness in the cast-on stitches!

      You are very right about casting on too tightly. As a tatter, I always want to "snug" my stitches up as much as I can. So far, I've had to force myself to cast on very slowly to stop myself from doing that. The first few pieces I started, I had to frog the cast-on stitches when I found they were too tight to knit the first row!

      Kathy, you've given me all sorts of helpful advice and inspiration since I started knitting, and I appreciate it very much. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience with a new knitter!

      Amazingly, the UPS driver came late this evening to deliver my new needles, after having missed me earlier in the day. This must have made him late going home, so there's another one who deserves thanks. Now I'll be able to finish this hat tonight.

  2. You're very welcome about the 'advice'. I'm actually a maverick knitter myself, and have not always followed the rules.

    For example, I'm not a strict 'gauge' person. I found that I did a great 4" square, but when I made the garment, my gauge changed! So I just start on the project and if it isn't working out, I simply rip out and change needle size. The Continental method goes so quickly for me that I don't mind re-knitting a few inches.

    I also knit with loose tension, so my size 4's are more equivalent to size 6. I generally have to use needles two sizes below those recommended. (I tat with looser tension, also!) Another break from the norm: I bind off using a crochet hook! Also I use a crochet hook for the 'provisional' cast-on (that's for another day)!

    Glad you started the rolled stitch in the round! I'm sure they did want to make it easier for beginners to use a circular needle! Glad you're needles arrived! You'll have the hat finished in no time!

  3. Wow, I'm impressed! I hope your double pointed needles arrive quickly, you're so close to finishing, it must be annoying to have to stop work.

  4. Reading your lovely story of your hats, I have never thought about Vegans and wool, I would have thought they would have used wool after all you are not eating the sheep simply using a product from the sheep, the sheepskin coat makes wool and the sheep need to be shaved from time to time, you can't leave the coat on the sheep indefinitely. So using a product which would go to waste to keep us warm I would not have thought about vegans not wanting products made from the coat.
    I expect you realise I am not a vegan sorry I like my food and do eat meat, of course just because I eat meat I don't not want my meat killed in an inhuman way.
    I look forward to seeing more of your hats.

    1. That's the difference between vegetarians and vegans. Vegetarians (such as myself) will use animal products that don't involve killing the animal. They will not eat meat, gelatin (it's made from boiled hooves), or cheese made with rennet (the lining of a calf's stomach); but they will eat rennet-free cheese, other dairy products, and eggs (unfertilized). Most vegetarians wouldn't wear leather or fur but would wear wool; however, there are different degrees of this, as some people practice vegetarianism in order to eat healthier, while others do it for animal rights.

      Vegans, on the other hand, use no animal products at all. They eat no dairy products, eggs, or even honey. Most vegans also eschew animal products for non-food uses. Again, there are different degrees of strictness because people do it for different reasons, but in general it's best not to give a vegan anything with wool in it.