Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Look at me, ma! No hands!

That was a lie. I totally use my hands to type.

Moving on: When I read fibery parents' blogs, I get so jealous of all those talented children of fibery people . . . soooooo jealous . . . I mean, I did teach myself to spin when I was 12, but I didn’t know how to do anything with yarn except weave, and I didn’t have a loom, and it wasn’t like there was a person in my house who, you know, encouraged me . . . (Prompted by this post. Fun blog, go click.)

But! I am going to catch up with my photos. Especialy since instead of blogging yesterday, I *totally* knit some more. I even finished a project! Wove in the ends! Completed all necessary sewing!

[break to go take a shower 'cause I feel groaty]

And, of course, that "shower break" grew to include lunch, dance class, biking in the heat, close-to-collapsing, knitting, listening to NPR, deciding not to go to SNB, making plans to go to Milwaukee, so on and so forth etc. But! I have returned at long last. And I do need to go to bed early, because I have to leave so early for going to Milwaukee, but first I thought I would honor a request and talk about my alpaca hat. (Also I am Raveling it . . . the Raveling of my projects is woefully--woefully, I say--behind. But, eh.)

So, while I was on vacation, I thought I might prop up the local economy (& so on & so forth etc) and also partake of some retail therapy by finding an LYS. So I asked around on the Western Michigan Ravelry group and was referred to Sit & Knit: A Yarn Café. So one Sunday, I decided I didn't want a long beach day due to the fact that I was still recovering from a sunburn received on Friday. And so I got in the minivan and drove down to New Buffalo, and after accidentally driving to the New Buffalo public beach (why would I want that, when I have semiprivate beach access just a few miles up the lake?), I found the store.

And, well, this store is totally made of awesome. It turns out that on Sundays there is a knitting group (which I didn't go to the next Sunday because I wanted one last beach day), and so there were all these wonderful ladies ranging in age from young mother to retiree, and the owner was really nice, and her husband makes free lattes. And I knew I wanted to make a hat, because the night before some of my friends had had a sleepover on the beach, but being out-of-the-loop as I am, I was unprepared for sleeping and unprepared for how cold that night was going to get, and ended up going up about 2:15. And I was like, in case of any more cold, late nights, I want a hat! (As it turned out, the rest of my late nights that week were fairly balmy. But still, I now have a handknit hat, which is not to be sneezed at.

my cabled alpaca hat

Project: Purple squooshy hat [Ravelry link]
Pattern: Chunky Cabled Beanie
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Chunky, color 2030

me in my cabled alpaca hat

I tried to take pictures of myself in this hat in my backyard. It took a while. I have many pictures that weren't good enough but that I liked enough to put on flikr anyhow. Onward, ever onward . . .

me in my cabled alpaca hat

This hat, by the way, is the first thing I ever knit with cables--I had a pretty good idea how to do it in theory, but it was nice to have the LYS's owner show me how.

me in my cabled alpaca hat

Anyhow, to continue the Saga of the Hat: I at long last settled on the absolutely amazing purple chunky baby alpaca, but being on vacation, I had no patterns with me, and no internet--so the owner (Kim) very nicely used her Magical Powers of Google to find me a pattern. And then I sat down and started to knit! I had several inches done before it was time to leave--I now totally understand the hipster obsession with fat yarns! You finish so quickly! Even if this was just, you know, size-10 needles, and not fatter than my thumb. (I wonder what needle size my thumb is? I could use a caliper to find the diameter in millimeters . . .) Not that this is in any way interfering with my current love affair with sport-weight hemp . . . a topic for a later post or five.

me in my cabled alpaca hat


I wear a large hat size, & so had to knit a few extra inches at the top so I didn't look like an idiot. Actually, I did all the decreases, broke the yarn, wore the hat, realized I looked like a fool, and had to rip out all the decreases. Have you ever tried to rip out decreases in bulky alpaca? Bulky alpaca likes to stay decreased. The fibers all intermingle from the different loops and so on. But I persevered, and now have an awesome warm hat. (Disadvantage: I have an awesome hat that for some reason smells strongly of meat. I really have no idea how this happened. The yarn smelled amazing when I bought it, but I think I'm going to wash it before next time I head to the beach.)

By the way, the reason I rushed to finish was so that it would have taken me only 1 day--which would have been cool, in some way. But then all that ripping-back and redoing of the crown meant it took, um, 3? I think. I never know what day it is when it's a beach day . . .

Also, I changed the k2togs on the cable panels to ssk, & if I were to do the pattern again, I would use ssks for all knit decreases.

Also, due to my inability to count the fact that I like closely-crossed cables, I crossed them every four rows instead of every five. And, ok, I can count. In fact, I'm so good at counting (and knitting-reading) that I get cocky & underemploy stitch markers & row counters & so on--a habit that will get me in trouble once I conquer, you know, knitted garments . . . But I didn't know which row was the cable row. And now I know that the cable row is not in the twist--it is the flat row beyond the twist.

I leave you with a note of caution--when you put your things in the grass, sometimes they get gross things on them.

a gross thing on my hat!

So always remember to check your alpaca for gross things!

me in my cabled alpaca hat

(I can't believe I didn't put makeup on before taking pictures of myself . . .)

Up next: Hemp! (probably)

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