Why this journey?

I've been retired now for over a year. Husband has been sick but is now doing quite well with new pacemaker. I continue to knit and knit and crochet. Recently I became friends again with my sewing machine so you will see some of those projects, too. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Round and round we go -- the Hat

Nobody wants a scratchy seam inside their nice hand-made knitted hat.  Solution?  Knit in the round.  Knitters use a combination of two techniques:  knitting with a set of double pointed needles (sticks) and knitting with circular needles.  Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it.  Circular needles have a knitting needle 'cap' on each end of a long flexible-but-not-floppy cord.  Often the needle 'tips' are interchangeable.  You can tuck away a UFO with stitches remaining on the cord, remove the needle 'tips' and attach to another cord, and the next project is ready for casting on.  Quite clever and they come in handy cases; the ultra special wooden ones have their own box.

Enuf, Becky -- on with the hat, please.

I'm using that yummy raspberry pink, think sherbet.  Per the instructions I'm adding other colors and yes, learning another new technique.  Here's the hat with the beginning pink ribbing and a row or two of cream contrast.
The green needle tips -- upper right corner -- are attached
to the cord running thru the stitches.  You can see part
of the card hiding beneath the ball of cream yarn.

I started this project with sticks -- a set of 5 double pointed needles (a point on each end).  You distribute all the stitches you need around 4 of the needles and use the 5th one to knit.  When it's full, you'll have another empty one and can turn the work counterclockwise to the next needle full of stitches.  
All the stitches -- 104 for this hat -- are distributed
evenly among 4 of the 5 sticks.  Can you see the small blue ring
at the top of the yarn tail?  That's where the 'round' begins.
You knit round and round but like riding the Merry-Go-Round
you gotta know where you got on and where to get off,
even if you are the one left riding the funny looking llama
when you wanted to ride the unicorn.  Thus the marker.
But how does the knitting work?  Here's a pic showing the four needles with the fifth one doing its work.  In the picture you can label the right hand stick in the foreground as number 5.

It's starting to look like a hat.  Well, use your imagination.
At least it's beginning to be round, no square.
Now what?
So after a bit, when you finish the ribbing, the stitches that keep the hat close to your head and ears, you usually switch to a needle that has a slightly larger diameter.  The sticks above are US5, the green needles on the cord are US7.  And you'll see I've added some cream rows.

This is the current condition of the hat.  At least it now looks
round and is gradually becoming more interesting.
More colors next time.

Sticks or circular?  Right up there with boxers or briefs, I reckon.  Totally a matter of personal preference plus what's available.  I could find the US5 sticks (all 5 of them, which was a miracle in itself!) and then no sticks in US7.  So I removed the US7 needle tips from an ignored UFO and attached them to a new cord.

It's not often we get options in knitting.  The people who began the art many moons ago and their followers thru the years have perfected most of the techniques and continue to enhance and add new ones.  I'm glad for these experts who have been enthralled so completely by the prospect of wrapping wool around sticks to create a garment worthy of a king.

This fine group has gifted us a legacy of creativity, enjoyment, and a fine time for friendly chatter or quiet contemplation.  Pick up some sticks and begin.

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