Daily Archives: January 6, 2008

Here There Be Pirates

For some reason, that’s what I always want to call the great hat from Hello Yarn, which really goes by We Call Them Pirates.

But since I messed around with the pattern as always, (literally messed around this time), I guess it’s okay that the name’s a little off.

So you saw glimpses of this before:


But what do you call it when you finished a knitted object — for the third time? A Re-FO? Three-FO?

I modified this great pattern for a smaller head, by knitting it in Dale Baby Ull rather than Dale Heilo (fingering weight rather than sport weight), thinking that would be (I hoped and calculated) about right to fit the Gothlet’s smaller head; and also modified it by doing just two repeats of the skull and crossbones pattern, with a couple extra rows in between, then making some stuff up above it to highlight the Jolly Roger pattern more, since the color stranding of the original gave a cool but more visually busy pattern. Well, though I really liked the look of the vertical bars against the black, I wouldn’t do that part of it again. Intarsia in the round was not notably successful. The color-stranded part turned out with good tension overall, but not the vertical bar-against-black part so much:


The green is at the Gothlet’s request; green and black and purple are her current favorite colors. I found two different colors of green Baby Ull at different yarn stores, but neither of them was quite right with the black for what the Gothlet had in mind. I was going to overdye the lighter, mint green yarn to make it more neon-esque (by request), but instead decided to use both colors, and I like how it turned out [other than I think the darker green on the top of the skulls make them look like they’re wearing combat helmets, a bit, see below] and the Gothlet likes it too.  (I offered to overdye the yarn brighter green once done, and she said no, she thought it was great just the way it was.)

By the way, can I mention here how I love these little skull and crossbones?


The pattern uses the v-shape of a knit stitch to advantage to suggest the shape of the nose, and the eyes (the Gothlet said they were Angry Eyes); and I like how the vertical bars contain arrow shapes too, from the shape of the stockinette. Very elegant in its simplicity .

But that’s not the Re-FO story. The hat was turning out smallish. Since I didn’t do a gauge swatch (though I did calculate the expected size with the yarn I had), that was totally to be expected; I had measured gauge on the bottom horizontal bar and it was spot on, but when I got to the color-stranding part, my gauge tightened up; again, totally to be expected, but I didn’t figure it out for a few inches. But I figured that the yarn was superwash wool, which notoriously gets loosey-goosey with washing, and that I could block it bigger; it wasn’t horrendously small.

However, given this fact, I knit the facing in the same Baby Ull instead of cotton, because it’s soft and would block at the same rate as the rest of the hat. The Gothlet, who can be rather princess-and-the-pea-ish when it comes to itchiness, had approved the softness of Baby Ull. I finished the facing and sewed it in, and wove in all the ends. Hmmm; the facing was a tiny bit longer than the hat in the row I sewed it onto, so it made the hat flare out. So I ripped and knit the facing longer and re-sewed it to a higher row (I wanted to sew it into a row that was all black, of which there are only a few). Finished again (finish #2). Not so bad, though. I was just adding on a bit to the facing, and it was my idea to redo it, after all, I could have left it.

So after finishing, sure enough, too small. Washed and put on head damp — now a little too big. Just a bit.


So I put it in the dryer, which I’ve heard you can do to shrink up superwash wool a bit; I meant to do it just for a few minutes, but oops, I forgot about it. So it was thoroughly dry.

Now — of course — it was too small again. Not only that; now the hat was declared Itchy. Annoyingly Itchy. Well, I didn’t put all that work into a project to have it not worn because it was Itchy. So I ripped the entire facing this time, and reknit it in black Panda Cotton, but made the facing a lot longer than the pattern called for, so that there was no wool anywhere against the forehead. And sewed it in again. Black against black on tiny needles (I used 0s for the facing). Somehow, the third time was the most painful. There is just something about thinking you’ve completely finished with a project, and being ready to move on to something else, and then having to retrace your steps. Grrrr.

But now it’s finally done, blocked to a good size pirates-hat-blocking.jpg, (I blew up the balloon to a little smaller than the Gothlet’s head circumference), it has passed the itch test, and the recipient is happy!


It’s been a while since I’ve done color-stranding; it was fun, and my tension was pretty even, so I’m feeling ready to tackle designing an EPS sweater with a patterned yoke in the near future here.

Well, that was a gazillion Gothlet pictures; The Preteen has no new knitting to model, after her big Christmas photo shoot, but she was on stage today at a show choir performance, so here’s some sister time:


Front and center, that would be my girl. One of her friends is just behind her, in the red tie; actually, I think half the choir is her friends, all in action below.


Here’s some photography advice, at absolutely no charge:

I took the above pictures on the “Available Light” setting of my camera, which does semi-weird things to the color balance, and of course doesn’t do well with action shots (I have lots of blurry-arm-and-leg pictures). So I tried a flash shot during a waiting-for-something moment, which I wouldn’t have done during dancing or singing as it’s distracting and potentially dangerous to have flashes going off. (However, the auditorium lights, including stage lights, were having seizures and kept flashing on briefly every 10 or 20 seconds, so I didn’t think the flash would add too much to that.) But when you take a flash picture and you’re a little too far away —


you end up with the Show Choir of the Undead.

Singing and Dancing Zombie Adolescents Plot To Take Over The World and Make It Into One Giant Mall.

Please, make it stop!