Archive for January, 2008

Paying it Forward

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When I was pregnant, one of my secret wishes was to have a baby blanket made by my knitting friends, but that’s not exactly the kind of thing you can register for. Fortunately, my knitting friends are psychics in addition to being crackerjack knitters. They knew what I wanted without me making a peep, and Iris was gifted with a beautiful afghan, knitted with love by a whole gaggle of knitters at the Knit Nook.

I have a soft spot for community based afghan projects, so I’m glad to get the chance to participate in one right at my own LYS. If you’re a knitter in the metro-Louisville area, perhaps you would like to get in on the action as well. Heather is collecting knit or crochet squares to make an afghan for a friend who recently lost her husband. The only requirements are that the squres be:

  • orange
  • measure 8×8 inches

It might also be nice if they were made using yarn somewhere in the ballpark of worsted, to make seaming it up easier. Stitch pattern is all up to you! Go nuts! If you’re interested in contributing, the deadline for squares to be at the Knit Nook is 01/27/2008.

If you’re looking for the easiest possible square to contribute, look no further! A garter stitch square, knit on the diagonal, doesn’t require a gauge swatch. Use any needle that you think matches your yarn! I’m sure there are different ways to make them, but here’s how I knit mine:

CO 1 stitch.

Row 1: KFB. 2 stitches.
Row 2: KFB, knit 1. 3 stitches.
Row 3: KFB, knit 1, KFB. 5 stitches.
Row 4 (and all even rows following this one): Knit straight across.
Row 5 (and all odd rows following this one): KFB, Knit to last stitch, KFB.

You are knitting what should look like a garter stitch triangle. Keep knitting until the two edges of your triangle that aren’t attached to your needle measure 8 inches. Somehow, through the Magic of Garter Stitch, both sides should reach that length at the same time. Finish on an even row. Then instead of increasing two stitches on each side of your next odd row, you’ll be decreasing two stitches. Just replace the KFB on Row 5 with a K2TOG. Keep knitting straight across on all your even rows until you have just 3 stitches left. Then you can K2TOG, turn your square around and K2TOG one last time. Now just pull your yarn through the final stitch and voila! A garter stitch square measuring 8×8 inches. Weave in your ends and you’re done!   

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Finished Object: Great White Pompom Hat

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Cast On: September 2007

Finished: January 13, 2008

Pattern: It started out as the Snowball Hat from the Fall 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. But after completing the ribbing and starting the cabled section of the hat, I decided it looked ugly and frogged the almost completed hat in favor of simple stockinette. The main thing I liked about the Snowball Hat was the enormous pompom sitting on top of it, so the cables weren’t that important to my final product.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky, purchased from Sophie’s Fine Yarn Shoppe. There is so much wrong with this yarn- it’s expensive, it pills terribly, and the balls absolutely disintegrate at the slightest provocation. So why do I keep coming back? Because it’s so deliciously soft! I think of it as the yarn equivalent of melted butter. Which doesn’t make all that much sense, because melted butter is greasy and not really soft at all. But whatever! It’s my metaphor and I’ll have it any way I want!

Metaphors aside, the hat took exactly three balls. At least half of one of those balls went straight to the pompom.

Needles: Brittany wooden DPNs, size 8. Because I was too cheap to buy a 16" size 8 circular needle. It always amazes me that after 6 years of knitting, I am still missing a lot of needles. I guess it’s because I would so much rather spend my yarn budget on… well, yarn! In retrospect, if the hat would have been on a circular, I probably would have finished it a lot sooner because I find DPNs fussy and annoying. Lesson: the right needle is just as important to a project as the yarn. Next time, I will buy the needles I want instead of making due. Needles are an investment anyway, right? (But I’m kind of hoping that someone will buy me the Knit Picks Options needle set for my upcoming birthday (February 5th!!), making situations like this less likely.)

Modifications: None, since after I ditched the Snowball Hat idea I simply used my knowledge of basic hat construction to make it up as I went. I made the ribbing super duper long so that my ears would be doubly covered, and I think it was a great decision. The hat is a tiny bit longer than I would like, but not enough of a problem for me to even think about ripping back.

Final Thoughts: I cast this hat on in September 2007, and now that it’s finished I have no idea why it took me so long. I’m looking forward to rocking my pompom for the rest of this winter, and many winters to come. Now I’m thinking that what I really need is a matching scarf….

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