Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Holiday crafting: part 3

At about 15h00 on Christmas Eve, Boyfriend's present looked like this:
Uh-oh... I have a bad habit of giving him fabric or yarn as a gift plus a promise to turn it into something, and then not making good on the promise (yet!), and I was determined to present him with a finished item this year. So I knitted like mad and it was finished in the wee small hours of Christmas morning - when the whole wide world was fast asleep, except, I suspect, for quite a few crafters.

And then, at about 15h00 this afternoon, it looked like this:
Yes, I unravelled it all.

It was knitted in brioche stitch, in the round. I was a bit worried that I was going to have to say that Elizabeth Zimmermann was wrong, but in fact I don't think she said that brioche stitch couldn't be worked in the round, just that it wasn't suited to it. I followed some online instructions and it seemed fine to me (I did get a little twist at the start of each round, not sure if that was my fault or not). It's such an attractive stitch, and only slightly less simple to work in the round than flat. The yarn is lovely too - single-ply organic merino wool (a discontinued Sublime line).

But the hat looked silly on. Possibly the soft fluffiness of the yarn brought a grannyish, tea-cosyish element to the design. Boyfriend has quite a large head and he'd asked for a hat that didn't fit too tightly or look like a swimming cap. I think I went a bit too far the other way - brioche stitch makes a very thick fabric - and it looked enormous. I unravelled it part way to eliminate the turn-up edge, and re-knitted the top, and it did look a bit better. But then the hat kept growing every time it was put on! Is that normal with brioche stitch? Did I knit too loosely? Or was it the yarn? Anyway, now it's just balls of wool again and Boyfriend's search for The Perfect Hat continues.

I tell you all of this mainly in the spirit of the very welcome festive crafting honesty that has been floating around the blogosphere recently. And here is how our kitchen table looked one day last month when the Christmas crafting was at its most frantic:
The camera was mixed in with all of that until I picked it up to take the picture. The sewing machine had not long been put away. Needles, Sellotape, quilting ruler, calculator, raffia, laptop - all at the same time?? Note the bits all over the floor; you can't see the thread but it was there, too. And the mess was by no means confined to the table, I just couldn't get the whole room into the shot!

By the way, I did knit Boyfriend a Maltese fisherman's hat (from EZ's Knitter's Almanac) some years ago, and he says that one is perfect but the world just isn't ready for it yet... In fact, I wore that hat out to do my last minute food shopping on Christmas Eve, and it attracted quite a few looks. I think the world was able to accept and even enjoy it on Christmas Eve, because it looks very elf-like, but it might not be entirely suitable for non-festive wear.