Monday, December 19, 2011

Gut check time

Less than a week until Christmas. I'm not panicking, but I am planning to sleep a little less this week. I'm sure I can make up for it with 2 long weekends in a row. My shopping is done, but holiday knitting, not so much.

Let me show you the ONE gift I've managed to finish.


This is the Bramble Beret from one of last year's Knitty issues, knit up in DIC Classy (or is it Smooshy? I can never remember which is worsted and which is fingering. It's whichever is worsted weight.). The colorway is emerald . . . something, and I knit the medium size, medium length, with considerably less than 1 skein.

This was a delightfully quick knit, finished in a week with plenty of other projects worked on simultaneously. But more importantly, hidden in the pattern is what I consider to be a gem of a blocking trick:

"To prevent stretching the ribbed hat band, waste yarn was basted in a running stitch along the round between the ribbed band and the hat body. After the hat was soaked and placed over the blocking form, the waste yarn was cinched, to firmly stretch the cabled hat body."

I always block beret-style hats over a plate, and despite trying to be quick quick quick slipping the plate inside, the band always seems to get overstretched in the process, and smoothing it back into place never tightened it up enough. I tried this little trick on the hat above, with excellent results--slouchy hat, close-fitting brim.

I think I'll use some of my holiday break time to test this out on older hats to see if I can work them back into shape.

Work on the guitar strap continues. I'd put it at 75%, not too shabby. Today, though, my brain tried to sabotage my efforts by repeatedly whispering about how I absolutely needed to include a guitar motif. Just a little acoustic guitar, how hard could it be? Ultimately I became convinced that not only did the strap need a guitar, but also my dad's monogram! And if I don't include them, my brain assures me that the whole project will be RUINED.

I puttered around on Excel all morning (fortunately my sole work responsibility today was sending e-seasons greetings to my country contacts, and washing the mug I used for oatmeal last week and forgot about), charting out a final section for the strap.

At first it was fun, kinda like an algebra equation--whatever you do on one side, you also do on the other. It quickly became apparent that this is easier said then done--which also reminded me that I hate math, especially equations.

And you know, it's hard to make curvy letters with square blocks.

But if it all works out as charted, I think Dad will love it.

What are the odds I'll remember to knit it upside down, so that it comes out right side up on the finished strap?

1 comment :

Minding My Own Stitches said...

Gorgeous beret - pattern and colours! Interesting about the blocking; I often read blogs where a beautiful hat is ruined by an ill-fitting band or brim. Glad it worked!