Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Breaking All The Rules

I truly tested my knitting skills, luck and sanity with my latest project. In one single project, I broke ALL of the rules every written about knitting!

Here’s the deal, someone knit “Not Steve” a wool hat several years ago and he loves this hat! He describes this hat as “Perfect”-he really likes the color, the fit and the warmth. He mentions this hat often and I finally got a chance to see the coveted hat about a month ago when we went for a long winter walk. When I saw the hat, “Perfect” was not what came to mind-I envisioned the Sublime Best Guy Hat or the Lima One Skein Hat. I didn’t envision an oversize yarmulke or extra deep knitted Frisbee - but I hid my surprise because I knew that this hat was THE HAT, the standard that all other hats would be compared to.

When “Not Steve” mentioned that he needed a basic black hat for work, it was a bittersweet moment. I would love to knit him something-but do I dare? They say “Never knit your man a sweater.” I don’t know who “they” are and I know a black hat is NOT a sweater-but knitting for a man is tough.

All of my current projects have gotten too large to tote around on a four day trip and still have room for a decent supply of clean clothes. I needed some yarn to keep me entertained for 4 days so I grabbed some yarn from the shop. For "Not Steve's" hat, I took one skein of defective, black Baby Alpaca Grande-this would be warm and cozy and the choices of black yarn are quite limited. It was defective because Jill had been trying to wind it for a customer and it refused to wind in one piece, so we set it aside. I could only locate one set of 16” circular needles before I left on my trip- size unknown but somewhere around a #4 or #5. The Baby Alpaca Grande ball band recommends using a #10 or #10-1/2 needle-oh well. I had no pattern in mind-so I was going to have to wing it and trust my hat knitting experience to guide me. Nothing but the best for Not Steve--defective baby Alpaca Grand, mystery knitting needles that are way too small and no pattern. This should work well!

I cast on 122 stitches to insure a good loose fit. After thinking about it for a minute or two, I took off 2 stitches. It still sounded like too many so I started over with 80. This sounded like too few so I added 8. Eighty-eight was the magic number! Round and round I went. Then, I decided to add a personal little touch and charted out a 2SOAR2, a phrase that he uses. Round and round I went again and again. After about 8 inches, I started my decreases and with about a yard of defective Baby Alpaca Grande left, I was finished! I tried the hat on and it fit me pretty well and looked good! :-)

Knitting for a man with one ball of defective yarn, no swatch, wrong needle size and no pattern--there is no way that this hat should have worked! The knitting police should have arrested me!

I talked to “Not Steve” about this chance knitting endeavor. The analogy I used was driving across the country with no map or GPS and one tank of gas. He was not surprised in the least that I was able to accomplish the nearly impossible when it comes to knitting. (He knows me well enough to know that driving to Ohio without a map, GPS and one tank of gas is NOT possible for me.) He has always been very supportive of my knitting obsession and encourages me to think about taking my knitting to higher levels like possible knitting business opportunities.

Back to the hat. As pleased as I am that I was able to knit a hat while breaking all of the rule of knitting, I think the Defective Baby Alpaca Grande Hat will only serve as a prototype for “Not Steve’s” real work hat. It is probably too fitted and not Frisbee-like enough for his liking. I’ll have him try it on and make adjustments from there.

If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.
Katherine Hepburn

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