I have been on a big patterning kick lately. I think there comes a time in learning where you aren’t satisfied with copying what someone else has done (except in piano, where I’m totally happy playing other folks’ compositions) and want to move on to your own stuff. You learn to paint in different styles by copying other folks’ styles, and then move on to developing your own. You follow the drills your soccer coach gives you until you’ve memorized them and then you use them in your own way (and you decide you don’t want to do those long running and shooting moves so you stick to being a defender for the rest of your short high school soccer careeer). You learn to knit scarves and hats and socks and you painstakingly follow the patterns because you’re afraid to screw up.
And then one day, you don’t. You pick up a pattern and think, “wow, that’s boring. I could do better.” So you look at the pattern, and you apply your knitterly knowledge to the pattern, and you come up with something that started with that basic pattern but is wholly and totally you. That is such a fabulous feeling. This (which I have blogged before, but only in passing) is the first of those things for me:
My dad is balding and his head gets chilly. He had this cap he wore that was wearing out, so I decided to knit him a new one. I found a pattern on ravelry that was one of those free ones that comes with acrylic yarn, and it was basically a simple ribbed stocking cap. All ribbed. I decided that was boring. I could knit a ribbed band and then do something else. So I did. And here’s how you can do the same:
Yarn: any aran weight wool will work. I used an acrylic/wool blend so my dad can just throw it in the washer.
Needles: size 8; one set circular (12-16″ works best) and one set DPN (for the decreasing)
Gauge: um, I didn’t check this. The pattern called for worsted and I used an aran/semi-bulky, so go from there. I’ll try to figure that out and let you know. I hadn’t intended to share this so I didn’t measure, but my hubris has gotten the better of me.
Using the circular needles, cast on 88 stitches with a long-tail cast-on.
Join, being careful not to twist the work (I move the first stitch to the right needle and the last stitch to the left needle and knit the first row)
Knit in k2 p2 rib for 3-4 inches (depending on the size of the wearer’s head; this is a man hat so I measured on my husband)
For the next 4 rows, purl.
After the purl rows, knit plain until your hat measures 7 inches.
Decrease row 1: K2, k2tog*; repeat from * to the end of the row
Decrease row 2: knit
Decrease row 3 & 4: K1, k2tog*; repeat from * to the end of the row
And then Happygoth discovers that she doesn’t have the patten on hand, so she can’t really tell you how to finish it. When you’ve done all your decreases, you should have a number of stitches less than 20. Thread the yarn end through these remaining stitches, secure, and then weave in all the ends. I will make sure to put the actual stitch count in here in the next couple of days.
So. That is the hat.
But! But, you say, I want a nice pattern on the top instead of plain knitting! I’m glad you said that. I am in the midst of making another hat for my brother, and I wanted it to be different. My mom gave me a stitch dictionary for Christmas and there’s a pattern in there I wanted to try. Makes nice little zigzags. So I started to knit it and lo and behold, the pattern is wrong! Totally.
Cue up the scrap wrapping paper and a pen and in about a half an hour I had this:
v v – v – v v –
– v v – v v – v
v – v v v – v v
v v – v – v v –
– v v – v v – v
( v is knit and – is purl)
It works, much to my amazement.
And then, in the same theme but not in knitting, I worked with Lea to pattern a Mughal garment, and she’s promised me photos to post. I will show that off. I know also how to improve it in the future, so there’s that.