He came back to me with this The Shining carpet pattern hat, which is a free pattern you can download for yourself! For those of you who don't know, the pattern is meant to be like the carpet in the hall of the Overlook Hotel, where the move The Shining is set.
I've not done a lot of different coloured knitting, in fact I'm practising for a jumper I want to make by knitting up a cushion cover with a intarsia pattern just now, but as this look more fair isle than intarsia I figured I could probably manage it!
I got Donald to pick some aran weight yarn (a substitute for the worsted yarn listed in the pattern, as Google seems to say this is the closest one) in some colours he was happy with and away I went. I even bought some cute stitch markers with numbers on them for the occasion to help me keep track of the pattern, as I've never used multiple markers in one project, and even then I've only used them for crochet!
Knitting up the hat was actually fine on the whole. The pattern was easy to follow and the carpet effect was knitting up before my eyes. I had a few issues with which needles to use as I didn't have circular needles in the 3.75mm size needed for the rim, so I knitted that part flat, and then swapped to circulars for the rest of the hat when the needles moved to 4mm. I also had to swap my knitting a couple of times as I kept having to swap to a smaller cable size so I was able to knit comfortably. This was a bit of extra stress I didn't need when I was knitting something a bit above my skill level, but I went with it.
Hat version 1 was finished, but it was tiny! Like not even a little bit too small, but ridiculously small. I'm considering saving it for the baby. Here's some photos of what it looked like anyway, as it's still a very fine hat if I do say so, it's just not going to fit Donald's head! I even tried heavy duty blocking it, but that only made it an inch or so wider, at about 7 inches! After measuring Donald's head, I worked out a hat for him should have been about 10 inches wide (about 20 inches the whole way around), so it was definitely insanely small. So anyway, here's hat one.
I wasn't sure what I had done wrong, as I'm usually a bit of a loose knitter, instead of a tight one, and I think I'd have to be knitting super tight to make a hat so much tinier than it was meant to be anyway.
I went to the pattern maker's blog and ask her if I'd converted the needle size right (she listed USA sizes 5 and 6, so I used Google to help me), or what the actual gauge of the pattern was supposed to be (as that wasn't listed either), or even some guidance on what the finished size of her hat had been.
She did get back to me, but just confirmed that her needles were USA size 5 and 6, and that she was a tight knitter but her's fitted an adult head. So I didn't really get any extra information from her, and was still a bit lost. She did suggest however I do an extra repeat or two of the pattern to make it bigger.
After some extra advice from Facebook and Raverly's forum, I decided the best course of action was to go up a couple of needle sizes (to a 4.5mm for the rim and 5mm for the hat's body, and I used a 60cm cable, which the stitches sat comfortably on) and to do an extra repeat of the pattern, giving me 120 stitches instead of 96. I also ordered some different yarn for the brown section, as the stuff I used on the first hat tended to break apart if you pulled it, which wasn't helpful! As it was real wool, it was also quite itchy, which wasn't fun to work with, and I was worried about Donald being comfy wearing it.
I dived right back into hat two, and here is it!
Sneaks of the baby room in these pictures! It's the only room that has amazing daylight for photos!
And a comparison of both hats. Whoops!
The second hat fits an adult head, which I'm very happy with, and the pattern looks awesome. Donald is very happy with it too, as I think he thought I was never going to attempt the pattern again after failing so bad the first time!
I don't however like the shape at the top of the hat where the decreases were. I didn't like them on the small hat, as I felt they were super visible, and I'd had to swap to my tiny sock circular needles to attempt them. On the bigger hat I used a sort of magic-loop technique to get the decreases, which was much easier. It also made the top of the hat quite pointy, which I think might have been less visible if the hat had been a smidge smaller, and therefore tighter on the head, but no way was I knitting this a third time! Mine is definitely a bit more of a slouchy beanie than the one in the pattern, but as I was just guessing on what to do to make it bigger, I don't think I can complain!
So overall there are some things I wasn't happy with when using this pattern:
- No gauge/finished object size, which would have given me an indication of what I was aiming for. I kept trying to pop that hat on throughout the knitting process, but it was hard as it was on circulars, so I just hoped for the best.
- Some indication of which cable size to use would have saved me a lot of swapping about at the beginning too.
- Maybe a definite confirmation of the different needle sizes? Everyone on Raverly said the sizes I used to start with were far too small for Aran weight yarn, but that's what they converted to, so that was what I had to go on.
- Not super keen on the way the decreases looked at the top.
I am very impressed with how the carpet section turned out though, and even more impressed that I actually managed to get it to turn out looking like a hat twice, even if one is tiny tiny!
It's also taught me the importance of knitting to gauge, so while I'm a bit of a lazy knitter usually, if I'm ever knitting an item of clothing again, it will definitely be getting a test square knitting up. This isn't something I've done a lot of as I'm usually crocheting or knitting things for the house, or simply things like gloves where you can see pretty quickly if they're going to fit. However, if I'm going to tackle the jumper I mentioned above, I think I definitely need to get into the habit of making up a gauge square more often.
Raverly Project Page.
- Stylecraft Aran.
- Lopi Lettlopi (brown for smaller hat).
- Chocolate heather.
- Patons Wool Aran.
- Vanna's Choice Lion Brand (brown for larger hat).
Raverly Project Page.