The countdown clock says less than two days until YarnoraMama. I. Cannot. Wait. Life is complicated right now. I. Need. This. Nothing – not rain, nor snow, nor doctor’s attempts to schedule things, will get between me and YarnoraMama.
In the meantime, I really have been knitting. And frogging. And knitting. And frogging.
I believe in swatching. I do. But swatching only gets you so far. Especially with hats.
Case in point: Snapdragon Tam by brilliant genius Ysolda Teague.
Having finished my Ivy Vines cowl in Briar Rose Glory Days – an indescribably delicious dk-weight Blue Face Leicester (see previous post) – I was ready to cast-on for this companion piece as part of our BFL-along on Knitter’s Review. Or so I thought.
There is much anecdotal evidence that this pattern runs HUGE. SO:
Pattern gauge: 20 st/4 in (on a US 6, but that’s irrelevant)
My gauge: 22 st/4 in on US 4. Thus, casting on the medium size would result in ribbing that would be 2 inches smaller than the finish in the pattern. Fine. I will use a US 3, the same needle I knitted with on most of the Glorious Vines. It’s a nice density, so I should be golden. Near the end of a three-hour board meeting, I cast on and start ribbing.
Five rows in, it is clear that this is too loose. The ribbing is not dense enough and surely won’t hold onto my head. In the privacy of the loo, I try it on — still on the needles — to find it is, indeed, waaaaaaay too big. (Make your own mental picture of me doing this with project still live.)
Sadly, I do not have smaller needles. I keep knitting – must have busy hands during meeting.
Mercifully, meeting ends.
I subsequently cast on the small size using US 2 needles. Yarn likes smaller needles. Head is not so sure about smaller size. It does stretch to fit my head and unruly mop, and I imagine some bit of stretching after blocking. Bumped up to US 4 for the cabled part of the hat.
While I like the density, I’m now afraid that the hat is, on the whole, going to be too small.
I’m beginning to feel trapped in Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
This hat will not win. It must be knitted into submission.
- Foregoing the ribbed brim in favor of the same stockinette brim as my Ishbel Beret (another Ysolda pattern), which will allow me to knit any number of stitches I like, then increase as needed to get right size for the rest of the hat. Stockinette will flow into the cables as needed. I can live with this.
- Fudge some more. It’s not like I don’t have most of a 500-yard skein to work with.
The latter wins. I cast on for the Medium size using a US 1 needle. It’s a winner! Ribbing on US 1, body of hat on US 4. Onward in BFL delight.