Thursday, September 13, 2007


It wasn't supposed to be a baby hat, I swear... I bought some Misti Alpaca worsted from Little Knits last spring. One of the colors was described as "Copenhagen Blue". It reminded me of a friend of mine who wanted to buy a new outfit for a conference in Copenhagen. We spent the whole day shopping for a "Copenhagen Blue" suit. Her birthday is in September, and so I bought the yarn planning to make her a birthday present with it. I had just knit mittens for another friend of mine, so at first I was planning to make another pair of mittens. Hard to resist after using Latvian Mittens, by Lizbeth Upitis. But my friend has the nasty habit of losing her gloves repeatedly every winter... I suspected the same fate would await any mittens I would knit. I had to come up with a different idea. I started looking for hat patterns and eventually stumbled upon the Red Light Special, on Brooklyn Tweed's blog. I had never heard of Brooklyn Tweed's blog before, but I've been reading it ever since. He's a gifted knitter, and his pictures are inspiring...

So, I decided I would knit a Red Light Special Hat for my friend, printed the pattern, put it in a ziploc bag with the yarn, and put it in the "queue". Since her birthday is in early September, I put aside the baby blanket I was working on (more on that later) to knit the hat. I swatched, and got gauge (I swear!) with US 4 needles. I proceeded to knit the lining with US 2 needles, switched to US4 needles when I got to the main pattern and knitted along, admiring the lovely fair-isle pattern as it appeared under my fingers. When I joined the lining to the outside part of the hat, I began to worry. The hat seemed small. I somehow convinced myself that it was because it was still on the needles, and that it would get bigger once I blocked it... Ah! Denial is a strong thing. The finished product is lovely, but has a circumference of about 50cm (not quite 20 inches). There's no way it would fit an adult-sized head! I gave it to my friend Nora, and it's just the right size for her 9-month old son... He seems to like it, and the color brings out his blue eyes. All's well that ends well: she's happy to have a nice handknit hat for her son, and the product of my hard work doesn't go unused... My mistake seems to be that I swatched in stockinette stitch using only the main color yarn, not in fair-isle pattern. It seems that I knit more tightly in fair-isle. I guess that shouldn't be surprising.

Pattern: Red Light Special Hat, by Brooklyn Tweed
My only modification is 1 row of MC between the "turning row" and the beginning of the pattern chart.
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Worsted (100% Baby Alpaca) in 6309 (MC, described by Little Knits as "Copenhagen Blue", but actually "Ocean Mist Teal"), 3620 (CC1, "Scarlet"), 2915 (CC2, "Tangerine"), and 7238 (CC3, "Chartreuse Melange"). The lining is Classic Elite Premiere (50% Pima Cotton, 50% Tencel) in color 5258 ("Twizzler"), bought at Weaving Works. This cotton/tencel lining is so soft, and not at all itchy!
Needles:Prym US4 (3.5 mm), 16'' for the main body, and Addi Turbo US2 (3.0mm) 16'' for the lining. Crown finished using Susan Bates DPNs size US4 (3.5 mm)
Started: August 16, 2007
Finished: August 30, 2007

I've decide this hat is a "prototype" for the hat I intended to knit. I just need to figure out which needle size to use, and I'll knit an adult-sized hat for my friend's birthday. It will now have to be a belated b-day gift... (The baby blanket is #1 priority right now: my nephew was born last week, and was not expected until the end of September... I have a lot of catching up to do!)

1 comment:

Emily said...

Ah, the truth comes out! You must always swatch in the Fair isle pattern - I made the same mistake with the Endpaper Mitts, but luckily I can still stretch them over my tiny hands!