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Brewer Burns

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Wee Dragons

I finished the dragon hat last night. I'm quite pleased with it but a little worried about the fit. Now, I swatched, as you might recall, so the hat is, approximately, the size I intended it to be. It just seems so big! The thing is that my niece has a rather large head, so I'm hoping for the best. If it doesn't fit her now, it will eventually.

Project Stats:

Pattern: My own (cobbled together from other hats I have made)
Yarn: Dale of Norway Baby Ull in green and peach. Funny story. I was in a yarn store last weekend, the one that's organized by color and that I don't go to very often, and I asked one of the sales women whether they carry Dale of Norway and she said, "I don't think so. What kind of his yarn are you looking for?"
Needles: Size 3 dpns. Bamboo. All my needles are bamboo.

About the pattern. Yeah. It's a great pattern (hah! hah!) I crack me up. I love the yarn. Love Baby Ull. Really, what's not to like? It's incredibly soft, reasonably priced, and superwash for those messy toddler accidents. I will say that it is a little limp and therefore stretches a bit when blocked. This was not a problem for me, however, since I had washed my swatch.

The one thing about knitting this hat that made me slightly insane was that there were too many stitches to fit on three dpns until I started decreasing for the crown. This meant that I had to knit the first four inches of the hat on four dpns. That killed me. I hate knitting in a square instead of a triangle. I feel like that extra needle makes my knitting dangle in a dangerous fashion. I constantly worry about stitches popping off the ends of the dangling needles while I'm knitting. That actually did happen a couple of times while I was knitting this and it nearly gave me a heart attack. Seriously. I hate it when the stitches pop off the end of one of my needles. This is one of the reasons why all of my needles are bamboo. They're sticky so the stitches are much less likely to slip off.

The pattern worked out well. I was even able to join the cast on edge to the rest of my knitting to form the picot edge without using a crochet hook. I really like the way the dragons look and all in all it was really a simple pattern. The only hard part was creating the dragon chart, but Stephen really did all the work there.

So, if you want to make one of these yourself (and please feel free) here's the basic recipe:
Cast on as many stitches as needed to fit the intended recipient. I cast on 140,
knit two inches in stockinette in the round,
knit a picot round (yo, knit one, around),
knit six more rows of stockinette*,
knit the ten rows of the dragon chart, evenly spacing the dragons around the hat, Since I had 140 stitches, I knit six dragons total, with three stitches between each dragon, except in two places I knit four stitches between dragons
knit one row stockinette,
knit one row stockinette in the contrasting color,
knit one row in stockinette alternating one stitch in the main color and one stitch in the contrasting color, around,
knit one row stockinette in the contrasting color,
knit two more rows stockinette in the main color,
join the cast on edge to the knitting by knitting one loop from the cast on edge together with one stitch on the current row around to form the picot brim
Start the decreases for the brim. If you have 140 stitches then you should:
knit 18, k2tog, place marker, all the way around. If you have a different number of stitches then you should find some number that your number of stitches is equally divisible by and then decrease equally around.

1. knit one row even
2. Knit to two stitches before marker, k2tog, around

Repeat these two rows until you have 7 stitches between each marker, knit one more row even,
then knit round 2 until you have one stitch between each marker.
At that point you can cut the thread and draw it through to cinch up the top, or do like I did and do a couple more k2tog's and double decreases until you are left with three stitches total, then cut thread and draw through the stitches. Three stitches seems to be the magic number for me. Three stitches leaves basically no hole at the top. Anyway, then you can weave in the ends and block. It's lovely and should fit a three year old with a large head.

*If you're getting a different gauge than me or if you're making your hat bigger or smaller than mine then what you really want to do is place the dragon so it is a roughly equal distance from the picot round and the round where you will join the cast on edge and to the rest of the hat.

Other important information if you want to make this hat:
Gauge: I was getting 7 stitches to the inch and 11 rounds to the inch on size 3 dpn's.
The dragon chart is 20 stitches wide x 10 stitches high.

Really, this is a very basic hat with a picot brim and a fair isle patttern on the brim. It could be changed to make it bigger or smaller. In fact, I'm thinking making one for myself (maybe in pink? with green dragons? Cute!)


At 1:50 PM, Anonymous John Hanscom said...

Fabric-gathering addiction can spill over into relationships

Daily News correspondent

Published: November 14, 2006
Last Modified: November 14, 2006 at 03:11 AM

This time of year there are many opportunities to shop holiday sales and bazaars. I helped with just such a sale Saturday, a yarn and craft "stash" sale and fundraiser for the Alaska State Yarn Council.

I noticed during the day that many families and couples came to sort through the tables piled high with wondrous fibers, findings and handmade gift items. As I watched the couples, I began to see a pattern. Some husbands would go to a corner and sit, waiting, while others would help sort through the piles and actively engage in the "hunt." This was a very interesting observation, and I couldn't help but wonder how the nonknitter felt about this need to become a fiber hunter-gatherer.

At the checkout, I finally talked to one such gentleman. I had noticed that he participated in selecting yarn for his spouse, and I asked how he enjoyed the sale. I also asked whether he practiced one of the needle arts. He stated, very good-naturedly, that he didn't do anything like that; he was just an end-product user. What a smart guy! This man knew that his wife would buy more yarn and knit it up into articles of clothing for him.

Helping her to shop for yarn was one way to encourage her passion for knitting and to ensure he got things he liked to wear out of the deal. I'd have to believe that they must have a good relationship too.

Another gentleman sat by the side of the room, and I commented to him that we needed a "guy's corner" with magazines and reading materials for his long wait. He told me that he considered himself to be an enabler. He clearly saw that his wife was a fiber addict, and by bringing her to this sale, buying her selections and encouraging the whole process he had become an enabler in her addiction. He didn't look happy about it, either.

I thought about these two guys and recalled a similar conversation with someone who had just gotten divorced. The man told me one of the reasons he divorced his wife was her addiction to fabric and yarn. "Why," he sighed, "she had a whole room already filled with this stuff, and then she would buy more!" Didn't he realize that in the event of a national disaster he'd have the only family with new clothes?

During my years of being in relationships and having this same penchant for gathering more fabric and yarn, I have had more than one occasion to discuss this addiction with a partner. Each relationship began at a different time in my life and therefore a different place in the addiction. One isn't born with this addiction, you know. It grows with time.

During the first years of gathering fabrics, I would sew them up instantly. I remember a sewing bench that doubled as a storage trunk. Imagine that: just one small container for fabric. Of course, over the years this fabric was joined by a collection of yarn. I can only work with one medium at a time, but I have learned to keep several projects going. I often discover that the intended end-product user has grown out of the unfinished projects and then the pressure to finish them is off.

The partners in my life have tolerated the piles of fabric, the bins and totes of yarn and sometimes even reaped the rewards of a hand-knitted sweater, scarf or hat. I had one partner who wouldn't let me knit for him, and he is no longer in my life. Recently, the man in my life asked for a sweater, and I got really excited! I began to plan just the right shade of his favorite blue. We looked at knitting patterns like other couples might look at houses or new cars.

Then I remembered the adage that if you knit socks for a boyfriend, he'll walk away. I haven't knitted anything for him yet, but this looks like another very smart guy to me.

Catherine Hollingsworth, interior designer, artist and professional knitwear designer, has lived in Alaska for 18 years. She is interim president of the Alaska State Yarn Council and past president of Knitters of the North. To reach her, e-mail twosticks@adnmail.com.

At 5:43 PM, Blogger Glaistig said...

My last post omitted telling you how fab your Latvian mitten looks! The stitches look so teeny tiny. I really like the color combination too. Hope your fraternal twin is coming along nicely!

Ha, ha, I dislike knitting on just 3 dpns! (Hmm, I wonder if there's a schism between the "triangles" and the "squares" in the knitting world akin to the continental v. English schism.) I do so love bamboo needles too though.

Your niece is lucky to get such an original heirloom, designed just for her. . . .


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