Sunday, August 27, 2006

Knitting on Circular Needles

I finally did it. I finally got up the courage to try to knit something on circular needles. I haven't tried to knit anything over the past several months, but I have been collecting things knitting related. Books. I just love to look over the possibilites of what a person can do with their hands.

As with any other craft I have tried, I collect all kinds of books on the subject and immerse myself in them, sometimes for months and months at a time before I try even one technique. I guess I learn by reading and then imagine myself doing the technique, eventually just getting the urge to try it out.

I couldn't find 16 inch circular needles in any of the craft shops around here, so I went on the Internet, Googled, "circular needles" and actually bought sizes I thought I could tolerate - nothing smaller than a size 8 for me - with matching double pointed needles, too.

These have sat in a box on my desk for about 3 months. Sigh.

Yesterday, I got a book by Lion Brand Yarns, "Just Hats" and read the one thing I needed to get me going.

Make a swatch. That's my swatch up there. I wrote down how I made it and what I made it with and attached the 3 1/2 x 5 card to it with a pin. Preserved for eternity.

OK, OK every yarn book on the planet says make a swatch before making a knitted article, the exception being scarves I guess, as most scarves will definitely fit most bodies.

Most of the time, I just didn't get started on a project because I didn't have the same yarn used in the pattern and, this put me off so much, I just let all the patterns I've collected off the Internet and from my books just sit and stare at me. I was afraid.

HOWEVER, this little book gives you the pattern based on your swatch. Not the other way around. I don't have to try to find a way to match the gauge the pattern calls for. I don't have to knit 4 or 5 or more swatches hoping to match the designer's gauge.

This backwards thinking in "Just Hats" sent me forward. I made a swatch using yarn I have, the size 11 circular needles I wanted to use and then measured how many stitches per inch I was making.

3.5. Or, about 14 stitches for a 4 inch swatch. I then calculated for a 20 inch head size because the swatch felt kind of stretchy to me and I figured that with my 22 inch head, it'll probably be OK. If not, I'll give it to my petite sister. Or I'll donate it. Or, I'll hang it on the wall as "art".

Anyway, I stayed up late last night getting the first three rows cast on and knit. All the books say, "be careful not to let the first row twist". Another thing that put me off circular needles. I have a hard enough time just casting on and now I have to worry about watching how the stitches line up on this impossibly small hoop in my hands! Oh, the worry for a Type A, first born, perfectionist type!

I got through this first three rows by following a suggestion made by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka, The Yarn Harlot. She said to knit the first row and second row as if you are using straight needles. Go back and forth. Then, on the third row, join the stitches. By then there is enough yarn knitted to keep the stitches straightened out.

I did it. And it worked. Thank you Stepahnie!

Today, after catching up on insurance EOB's (explanation of benefits) for the office, I gathered myself in my favorite chair and knit, knit, knit!

Doesn't it look good? This is actually the inside of the hat, but you can see how I am really using circular needles, for sure.

And, it's rolling nicely, 'cause that's what I want:
A Roll Brim hat, with no back seam. Don't you think the "Fun Fetti" is a nice touch? The white wool has little streams of silver running throughout, and I just love the way it looks.

The Yarn Harlot also said in "Knitting Rules!" that an easy way to measure the length to knit is to measure from the base of the hand to the tip of the middle finger of the person the hat is being made for. Then do the decreases for the crown.

So, letting the roll roll, I'll have to knit 7 inches more and then I will almost have a hat.

I hope this works!

1 comment:

Cindra said...

It looks wonderful! Good for you trying something new. You certainly have put a lot of studying into this hat. I am a "fly by the seat of my pants" type. Middle child.
I need to knit a hat for a friend going through chemo. I was thinking of knitting it in the color of her hair....hmmmm. You've got me thinking now.