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Purple!

I’ve started my niece’s hat.

No, not going to post a picture because that never ends well, and I’ve already cast-on twice for it.  I’ll post a picture when I’m done.

I ordered three skein of Dale of Norway Falk Purple, which is a DK weight superwash wool, which I thought would be ideal for a hat for a 4  year old who loves purple.  I also ordered two 40″ circular needles – one US4 and one US3.  I came home on Wednesday to find the box and chortle “Swatching tonight.”  See, I’d been advised to get a stitch count of 6 or 6.5 st/inch for this hat, to make sure it’s warm enough.

I was barely into the main body of the first swatch, using the size 4, when I realized that it was too loose.  I checked the gauge of what I’d done, and yep 5 st/inch.  So I ripped that out and made a swatch using the size 3.  I didn’t knit a 4″ square, but I did knit about 2 inches in length.  Then, instead of just taking the gauge then, I bound it off and washed it (okay, rinsed it in cold water.) and let it dry.  Meanwhile, I began another tiny swatch for the cable.  I’m using the hugs and kisses cable in Vogue Knitting.  I was worried about seeing the cables, as the color is so dark. 

The next morning, I checked the gauge swatch.  Oh, my goodness. It was soft and stretchy and the slight curling was gone.  It was lovely.  I took gauge – 6 st/inch.  I was good to go.  And the cable pattern shows up just fine after washing, too.

I also did some research that assured me that 20″ makes sense for a tall 4 year old.

I cast on 120 stitches on the US3, to be used magic loop. I put a stitch marker (a tiny hair elastic) every twenty stitches just to keep count, but I’ve discovered another use – just as with marking lace, it makes it all easier.

I also discovered a major benefit to Magic Loop (this was new because until now, I’ve only used it for toe-up socks.  This was my first real attempt to start out knitting in the round. )  One of the first steps in knitting in the round is to make sure all the stitches are facing the same way. You do that by putting your circulars or your dpns on something flat and twist the stitches so that the edge is on the inside all the way around.  It’s fidgetty and when you pick it up to knit, things get twisted and you worry about getting moebius knitting.  Hasn’t happened to me yet, but I know it will.

Except, with magic loop, I could put half the stitches onto one end and half on the other and get everything lined up on something solid, loops on top.  Still fidgetty, but far less so.

Then I ran into math problems.  See, while I knew I was doing twenty stitches per marker, in my head, for some reason, it was ten.  I had the correct count, but, well.  I was doing 2×2 rib, which means the pattern=4 stitches.  120 is divisible by four (and many other numbers), so it would come out right,but ten is not divisible by 4, so in my head, if I start with two knit stitches, I should end with two knit stitches, and the next “repeat” would begin with two purls.  So I had two purls at the end of the first repeat, I made a mistake and would have to correct it.

And I did.

Except that it was actually twenty stitches, and four goes into 20 very nicely.  Each repeat woud therefore begin with two knits and end with two purls.

I figured that out for the second half.

I was actually going to knit the first half again by correcting each incorrect stitch.  And then I realized that it would take less time and be far less frustrating to just frog back and start over.  So, I did. It’s much better now.  And I can still use the stitchmarkers to help – if I only have one stitch left, I’ve made a mistake.  If the last two are knits, I’ve done something wrong.  And it’s easy to tink back less than twenty stitches to correct.  And it’s working!

And it’s so very pretty.  I’m finding the wool a bit splitty, but I’m getting used to it, too.

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