Friday, July 27, 2007

FO: Fuzzy Sunrise

Back in January, The Lady's mom asked me to knit a hat for a friend of hers who was about to start chemo. She was so happy with the Shedir I sent her that she soon requested another hat, this time for The Lady's dad. Something soft, preferably alpaca, with some kind of patterning, but in "manly colors". I happened to have just stumbled on Elinor's blog, and this seemed just the thing.

Pattern: Winter Sunrise Hat (pdf link), by Elinor Brown
Yarn: Berrocco Ultra Alpaca in Charcoal Mix and Agate Mix -- significantly less than one skein each. I knit the lining in black Calmer (left over from that same Shedir) because the recipient has some mild animal fiber sensitivities.
Needles: US6 bamboo DPNs. Really shoulda used a circ. I don't know if you can spot where my DPN-junction was, but I sure can.
Modifications: The intended head for this hat is fairly large -- about 22" -- and while the pattern says it will stretch to that size, I know I knit pretty tightly in general, and particularly so in colorwork. So I went for a light worsted yarn rather than a sport weight, and went up one needle size. Otherwise this is totally by the book.

Don's head is conveniently similar in size to my own.

I have strongly mixed feelings about the result. On the one hand, the pattern is simple and elegant, and the yarn is soft and beautiful -- can you see the little flecks of purple and red in with the blue? -- and they go quite nicely together.
On the other hand, it's not as crisp as I'd like. Some of that is to be expected, since I'm using a fuzzier, more heathered yarn than Elinor did, and that's fine, but I think some of it is down to my still-not-that-even stranding. I really, really want to get better at this. Of course, a good blocking would help too, and I didn't have time before The Lady's parents arrived. I think I might have to steal it back and block it when they roll through town again this weekend.

Overall though? I'd have to say I'm pleased.

I'm also feeling a bit harried. As of the completion of this hat (Wednesday), I had about two inches of the second palooza sock, and my pal lives overseas so I'm hoping to mail it by Monday. (And unlike the hat, these are certainly not going anywhere without a blocking. You can get away with some things when the recipient is not a knitter, but I've seen the socks my pal knit, and believe me she deserves the best.) Wish me luck!


knicksgrl0917 said...
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Specs said...

I think the hat looks great -- not fuzzy or undefined, but subtle. There's something to be said for subtle patterns.

And I know what you mean about the socks being good. My sockpal knits lovely intricate socks and I'm making her boring 'ol Monkeys. Meh. I hope she's understanding.

Ashley said...

I think it looks great! Thanks for reminding me that that pattern lives on Elinor's sidebar-it's a good'un.

Christy said...

It looks great.
I here you on wanting crisper definition in colorwork knits. I'm still trying to figure out my tension. I want to make more colorwork, but after working with my stag bag, I'm realizing that I need to do some major swatching to figure out the whole dominant color deal.

Grace said...

I think your hat is beautiful, and I really love your yarn choice! I'm definitely adding this to my queue!

nova said...

I think the hat is fantastic. I think the lack of crispness may be more an Alpaca issue (because I am sure your stranding skills are way better than you think, the hat looks really good). I have knit standed hats in wool and alpaca and have found that alpaca tends to "droop a little" with colorwork, but I think the softness is worth it (well Special K does).

Macoco said...

Good luck with the socks!

The hat looks beautiful. I don't think it looks undefined at all. Very nicely done!

Elinor said...

Oh hey, that looks great in the colors you chose!!! My first colorwork was a set of mittens in an alpaca blend and I've always thought they looked sort of floppy and I've never known whether it was the yarn content or my beginner skills but I've never gone back to that yarn to test it. Try your next colorwork in a tightly plied yarn and see if you encounter the same problem. Thanks for knitting up my hat!! :-)