This is (a cool) hat.

Confession: I had my doubts about this hat. I didn’t know if it would fit, if I was doing it right, if I’d like it…. Maybe that’s why I powered through it. I did about 50 rows tonight- half were plain purl, so it’s not exactly amazing, but it was enough to finish! Before the three needle bind off:

 

one still wonders, what is this!!??


After the bind off:

cool!

really cool!

  And one mediocre modeled selfie so you get an idea of the fit.

 

it fits! it fits WELL!


I’ll block it, which might help the uneven edge a bit.  Overall, I’m extremely pleased with this hat, considering my rough start and great trepidation with such a mysterious pattern and unusual construction!  

Provocateur 

A knitting friend convinced me to join a leethalknits hat series KAL. I’d never done anything quite like it, and it sounded fun. The first hat was a mystery, which sounded fun since I’d never done a mystery KAL before. But I got caught up in the crochet hats (deadline crafting comes first!), so I started late. After one frustrating false start, I changed yarn from a dark gray to one that’s easy to see, and which I hope will be less frustrating. 

So far so good! I’ve managed to keep the right stitch count and I can see the pattern emerging.

  
I could have used a completely solid color to showcase the cables better, but I think this will be pretty, and it’s using up yarn from our stash exchange, always a bonus. Wish me luck!

Almost French toast!

Yesterday I finished knitting the second sleeve of my French Toast sweater, and tonight I knitted the 1/2 inch of neckline ribbing. The bind off was supposed to be a “sewn tubular” bind off, but I found that it wasn’t that stretchy, it was tedious, and it didn’t look that good, so I frogged back and just bound off loosely in pattern.

  I think it looks fine. I only wish I’d known about continental purling earlier- it would have made the center cable panel much nicer. Oh well. At least my ribbing is snug and neat.

 Speaking of ribbing, the last bit of work on this sweater is to re-knit the hem ribbing. You can see a little in the above photo how the hem flares a bit. I don’t like it! I’ll go down to the needle size I used for the sleeve and neckline ribbing, and do the magical continental purling to neaten it up.

 
I forgot to take a photo before I started frogging, but I bet you excellent crafters can see the difference in the ribbing. If all goes well, this sweater will be washed and blocked within a day or two!

A hat, a sleeve, and Jack London 

Recently I found in my “Hiking in the Bay Area with Kids” book a short hike in the Jack London historic state park. I hadn’t known such a place existed! My husband was as interested as I was (we’d both read London books as children) so we decided to check it out at the next opportunity, which was today!

On the way there and back, I made a non-fussy Magic Coffee Baby hat. I cannot praise this pattern highly enough. If you need a quick, easy, great-fitting, free pattern for a baby hat, look no further!

  
Now, some pics of the park, the ruins of Jack London’s dream house, and the cottage where he lived and wrote books.

  
Wolf House burned down about a month before London and his wife were to move in.    
  

The cottage where London wrote novels and entertained guests.  
 

Apparently he tried raising cacti to feed cattle, unsuccessfully.
  

Back at home, I finished the first sleeve of my French Toast sweater.

  
It fits! I did the “continental purling” that a friend reminded me of. We went to a talk/book signing by Ysolda Teague a few years ago, where she’d mentioned it. Instead of wrapping the yarn as in a normal purl, you wrap it the opposite way. It worked! My purls are neater and much nicer. I’ll be reknitting the hem ribbing this way. 

  

Close!

My French Toast pullover is nearly at the requisite 13″ at which I can start the hem ribbing. I’ll have to try it on before starting the ribbing, though, because it looks like this sweater tends to be short and I really don’t want a short sweater. 

  
Question time! Does anyone else have this issue I have when moving from stockinette to a cable panel which begins with a couple of purled stitches? 

  
(Keep in mind that this is being knit top down, so the right side up photo is the opposite of how its knit.)

So when I move from stockinette to purling (then cable), I have giant ladders that form. From purl to knit no problem. I’ve tried ignoring it, tightening up the stitches involved, tightening up the previous/latter stitches, all with the same resulting uneven cable panel. If I were knitting flat, it would even out on the wrong side, but this is in the round so that’s not an option. Any ideas on how to fix or better yet, avoid this?