Hello! It’s been a while! Big thanks to all of you who suggested baby patterns — I got a ton of useful information, and I’m truly sorry I haven’t had a chance to thank everybody personally.
I’ve been swamped with the usual mid-semester demands, and just spent a few days out playing shows with the band. But this doesn’t mean I haven’t had time to knit.
A few weeks back, Ashley sent me a skein of the discontinued Rio de la Plata 3-ply as part of a swap. I’d never seen the 3-ply before, and it’s really, really lovely. Squishy and soft and much more hard-wearing than its single-ply sisters.
I immediately cast on for Jared’s fab Koolhaas hat, using a small needle to get gauge. After just a few inches, the hat was stiff and unpleasant, and my gauge was still a bit off.
Then I got this.
The Knitter’s Book of Yarn, by Clara Parkes. It’s brilliant. I read it cover to cover. Not only has it earned an honored place on my shelf next to the meaty knowledge-filled books (Montse, Elizabeth, Barbara), but it’s also got a ton of fabulous patterns by some of your favorite designers.
The book is just what the title says: a guide to yarn. The book jacket says that “The Knitter’s Book of Yarn will teach you everything you need to know about yarn: How it’s made, who makes it, how it gets to you, and what it longs to become.” The “what it longs to become” part is key — you learn all this stuff about yarn so that you can better match yarn + project.
Basically, It explains how different types of fibers and different kinds of constructions determine how a yarn will knit up. (And the patterns are arranged by yarn construction — 2ply, 3ply, chain, etc.) As (practically) a non-spinner, I apparently had a great deal to learn about such things.
And what I learned helped me choose a pattern that would do the Rio justice. According to Parkes, three-ply yarns are like a bar stool — perfectly balanced. And their stability and round shape means that your stitches will be well-defined and plump, and will fill up space generously.
In knitting the Rio on teeny needles, I was trying to stifle that plumpness! I was repressing the natural awesomeness of the yarn! I was a Yarn Fascist, only thinking about the glory of the
state FO, when I should have been a Yarn Marxist working to provide space for the development of its own unique yarniness. (Yes, okay, I’ll be done teaching Political Science 101 very soon, and such comparisons will stop. We hope.) The point is that the first hat might have turned out okay, but it wouldn’t have been showing the yarn to its best advantage.
Armed with that knowledge, I hit Ravelry to check out a few patterns Ashley had suggested (yes, she figures strongly into the story of the hat, all the way through — I mean, she’s pretty much my puppetmaster), and settled on Debi’s Frivol hat.
The construction of the thing makes it great fun: it’s knit sideways, and the crown is shaped with short rows.
In just a couple of days, we had hat.
And see how those cables pop? How plump and well-defined the stitches are?
pattern: Frivol Hat, by Debi Tuttle [pdf]
yarn: Rio de la Plata 3 ply, in Honey Mustard
needles: US8 Addi turbo
I spent an afternoon at Ashley’s house (see? she’s back.) grading and snuggling Bailey, and she was kind enough to take photos of Frivol for me.
And then the neighbor’s puppy came to play.
I ask you, does life get better than this?
Now the only question is this: Pom? or No Pom?