Monday, April 18, 2011

Knitting For Winter

I've noticed that we are short of winter hats. Where oh where did they go? I've no idea so this winter our selection was quite small and since Toni, our oldest daughter, was so generous with sharing part of her stash of luxurious yarns, I've been knitting away. Just a simple plain stitch that is quite mindless because it is taxes time. Yes, today was the deadline and I finished some fifteen or so pages of stressful deductions that had to be done because we own a small, and I do mean small, business which requires lots of paperwork. You know, Kirk makes too much to be considered a hobby and not enough to be considered a really serious business. Yet, it requires lots of paperwork for the government wants its share. And when the stress of preparing and figuring it all out became too much to handle, I'd knitted. I admit, our paperwork wasn't kept like it should have been this year. Most of you can probably figure out why. Tonight, I'm beginning to change all that to make next year's taxes a much easier deal. I don't want to do this again.

Some of you might say stress is good for me because I got two hats done but really it isn't, it just means more adrenaline pills that have to be taken. But enough of the negative, I want to show you the simple plain hats I made to calm my nerves. With taxes done and two hats complete, I've decided that I want to start two more hats, another simple one and a complex one so I'll have a stress reliever and a challenge for whichever I'm in the need of at the moment.

Though the stitch was simple and plain, this steel blue hat isn't because the yarn I chose was made from Merino wool and silk. Curtesy of our oldest daughter who shared with me part of her luxery yarn stash. Thanks Toni, for the wonderful soothing project that felt so soft and wonderful as it ran through my fingers. It saved my sanity and your dad is going to love it as I made the double thick ban extra wide for his poorly thatched roof. Yes, he has been going rather bald for years. What remains is such a beautiful silvery white that I just love. When it gets cold outside and the biting wind tries to creep inside our clothes, I'm sure this will be the hat that he's going to choose. It's the kind I always do. Who knows, he might just put it on in the morning. It has been snowing most of the day and is to continue in to the night. The snow hasn't stuck yet but it will as the temperatures drop. No, Old Man Winter hasn't given up yet.
In case some of you haven't done a hat with a double layer before. I'll run you through the process quickly. I had a partial skein of lighter blue yarn of the same manufacturers, same fibers, and same weight so I used it first. But before that I casted on some pink, yucky, cheap, yarn that I don't mind ripping up and throwing away. It is called waste yarn and this is a method I learned on my bulky knitting machine when it was in the kid's room before they arrived. I knitted a couple rows and recommend you not do more than three rows tops for it all has to come out. Since you are ripping from the other direction, it doesn't come out with just a pull of the yarn tail, it has to be picked out stitch by stitch. The more rows, the more you have to pull out. I prefer ripping it out and as I do so I put the exposed stitched on stitch holders. Then I folded the light blue to the inside of the hat so the knit stitch is showing. I'm not so fond of purling but you could choose to have the purl side out. At the beginning of the next row, I placed a light blue stitch in front of the first stitch on the steel blue yarn's needle. I then knit the two stitches together making one steel blue stitch. Repeating this pattern until all the stitches were joined into one row.
And there you have a hat band. Only I continued knitting and then decreasing when I figured the hat was tall enough to start to shrink the top. No, I didn't use a pattern. I knitted a swatch so I could count stitches per inch. Then I decreased the number of stitches it would take to go around Kirk's head by an inch worth. You want the hat to stretch a little when pulling it on to keep it nice and snug. I'm not against patterns, I just didn't need one for such a relaxing project and in this family we have really small heads. When that's not quite true because the grand kids have large heads like their dad. I should say Kirk and I and our children have really small heads. And the fact that I didn't use a pattern was the whole point. I didn't want to have to follow directions which I was doing enough of trying to figure out my taxes and the find the laws that had changed since last year. I also whipped up a hat to go with my scarf during this period of time. This one is only a single thickness and so I put a small 1x1 ribbing stitch on the bottom edge. I've gloves to make now to go with the set. I've never made gloves before so I'll use a pattern but how hard can it be, just a lot of thumbs I figure. I'll save that project for later. Not too much later because this alpaca yarn is heaven to work with . So there you have my latest stress relievers. I bet many of you do the same thing.

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