Sunday, January 13, 2008

Le Slouch


Finally, after a long, long wait, I have completed a hat. Now, you may or may not know, but I don't really enjoy making hats. I mean, I love to knit in the round, as we all know, and I love my dpns dearly, which I why I make a whole goat-load of mittens and gloves. However, hats don't fit on typical 7" dpns very well, and when you put three larger-sized 9" dpns, the entire project just gets really bulky. So, even though I really like to have warm ears, and even though a hat is the most obvious knitting piece out there, I don't make them much. Yet, I noticed a year ago while traversing the streets of Wien, or Vienna for all you English-speakers, that everyone had the slouchy hat. The women didn't really wear the tight caps, they wore the over-sized beret-kind. I believe in some circles they are known as a snood, but that always makes me think of the computer game I used to play in the middle of my humanities Paideia class when the professor couldn't see what we were doing. However, I decided I'd try one, as I'm trying to stay moderately fashionable through medical school. I'm sure I'm failing, but I'm trying. By the way, apparently my Russian Mad Bomber hat has come back into style amongst the ladies! I actually bought mine way back when I 1)tried it on and discovered it is the warmest hat available in the world and 2)saw it featured in Vogue magazine.

This was even larger than a typical caps, and hardly fit on my 9" dpsn, but I made it work. At first I finished and put it on, I was horrified, thinking I looked so fugly in it. But now I'm kind of coming to grips with wearing a slouchy hat, and I rather enjoy it. I'm only 1 year behind the rest of the world's fashions!

This is an extremely simple knit, and if you can knit and purl, increase and decrease, and count to 1, you are ready to go. The pattern if free from Knit and Tonic, and called "Le Slouch." I've knit it with four strands of my hand-dyed Henry's Attic Kona Fingering, and probably used about 160 grams or so. I'd originally dyed the yarn single stranded, and while that might have had a ever so slight tendency to pool, when you add four stands together to get accurate gauge, the result is a beautifully added depth to the texture. That's one of the reasons I went with the seed stitch version: it really let's colors pop in the individual purls. The colors that show up are all wrong, and I need to work on figuring out how to make my camera take a picture of the true blue and purple colors, as this is an amalgamation of both: royal blue combined with a deep purple. I'd go so far as to say the entire hat's color is reminiscent of an iris. I followed the pattern exactly up until the decreases at the top, which you can see in the above picture.

I wasn't a huge fan of the way that the all-knit decreases stood out in the seed stitch for other people on Ravelry, so I changed the decreases to "sl1, k2tog, psso" for a knit and "sl1, p2tog, psso" for a purl to give a double decrease. Then I merely added the purl or knit decrease where it naturally would have occurred next in the pattern. An easy way to do this was to get to the decrease site, look at the middle of the three stitches where the decrease would occur, and purl if it was a purl, or knit if it was a knit. The main problem with this is that your stitch marker is constantly moving, and you either have to put it before or after your decreases and continue to move it with your hands in order to line up the decreases correctly.

I threw it in the washing machine to give it a bit of a halo (Kona is superwash) and to even out the stitches, then stuck it on a plate to block. Mine was to large to fit the plate perfectly, but I squished it around to flatten the decreases a bit. Since I did this when Kris was here, he has not taken to calling the hat "Block-head," since I kept calling it a "block-ed hat."

If there was anything I'd change, I think I'd work into the decreases a bit more, like I do with the tops of mittens, so that it's a bit more sloped, and that they don't show up so suddenly in the fabric.

It was a lovely sunset outside the other day. I love Midwest sunsets.


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