I haven’t stopped by for a while, and there was a reason for that. Somehow a few weeks back I suddenly found that none of the knitting projects I was working on was really turning out as expected. This kind of put me off not only from knitting but also from blogging about knitting… hopefully now I’m back on track!
The Karusellen Hat was of course one of these aforementioned projects. It was especially upsetting, as I had cast on this hat thinking that it would become a carry-around and travel-with project that would provide prompt gratification. Instead, it had turned into an ongoing frustration…luckily, with a happy ending.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had picked Skeinz Heritage – Silver Lining for this project in Clearview Blue and Clifton Stone. The Karusellen pattern had been in the back of my mind for a while, and I needed no better excuse to indulge myself in this NZ merino softness.
The first mistake I made was to cast on for the bigger of the two sizes specified in the pattern. I’m not even exactly sure why I did this, as I do not tend to need large hats. It might be I just somehow misread the measurements, and confused the inches with the centimetres. Also, as is usual, knitting the brim was freaking me out, since it looked like it the circumference was way too small. To make things worse, since I was knitting on 40 cm circulars, I couldn’t quite stretch out the fabric to appreciate the true size until the hat was almost done… i.e. after having crawled my way through the colour work section. At that point I was content with my Karusellen almost ready to go… until I realized it was HUGE. I measured it, and the measurements were spot on, exactly what they were meant to be. Only not for me.
Now I couldn’t help setting the misshapen hat aside for quite a few days, until I managed to gather my courage to frog it all and start from ground zero. But don’t think that was all of it. In the meanwhile, I don’t know what happened to my colour knitting abilities, but on the second attempt I struggled an awful lot to make my stitches look any decent and not too loose. So much so, that by the time I knitted the horses’ ears I could see the need for frogging yet again…
It was painful, but I generally try keep to the idea that it’s better to take more time and try and make the garment you’d proudly wear, instead of being content with a mediocre result. And it was all worth it. By the third iteration, it seemed like I finally had the goddess of Fair Isle on my side. So finally I had a Karusellen Hat in the correct size with reasonably even stitches in the colour work section.
At first I wasn’t entirely convinced about the crown shaping, as when finished, the hat seemed to have a pointy top, but I managed to smooth it out sufficiently through blocking. Actually, I was quite happy with the shape the hat acquired, so I eventually decided to avoid adding the pompom. The other thing I had doubts about upon finishing was the brim, which seemed way to tight, but after a little wear it is all perfect.
As a bonus, out of sheer coincidence, last weekend we travelled to Pukeokahu to participate in the Human v Horse Race. Not only was this small community event a really cool experience, but it was also chilly enough to justify wearing a hat. Can you think of a better way of wearing a hat with horses on it for the first time, than with actual horses around?
Pattern: Karusellen Hat by Erika Smith, Pompom Quarterly Autumn 2015
Yarn: 1.5 skein of Skeinz Heritage – Silver Lining in Clifton Stone and 0.5 skein in Clearview Blue
Needles: 3.5 mm (US 4) for the brim and 4.5 mm (US 7) for the rest of the hat (knitted size 1)