Wednesday 13 July 2011

The mother of invention

As part of my winter preparations, a new hat is in order for yours truly - last year's acrylic crochet ensemble was a little too baggy tea cosy like, a little too garish and not warm enough. A browse of Ravelry led me to conclude that I wasn't going to find a suitable crochet pattern that (a) was big enough for my huge head (b) compatible with any of the stashed yarn I have to work with or (c) wouldn't look ridiculous on me. In the end I bit the bullet and begun to search the knitting patterns - ignoring anything with colourwork, cables, lace, fancy shaping or any other extravagance that could trigger another knitting related mental breakdown in me (though that happened later anyway when I happened across the bag containing the infuriating unfinished jumper that originally triggered it). I finally settled on this Wurm hat in Sublime Extra Fine Merino Wool DK.

Knitting in the round is one form of knitting that still holds some charm for me. I am mesmerised that the humans who came before me worked out how to create the most important extremity-protecting garments - the socks, the hats, the gloves - using just their opposable thumbs, a clutch of double pointed sticks (and particular kudos to the smart-arse that threw away all but two and joined them with a length of string) and some nifty shaping techniques. I like the fact that rows and rows of knit stitches form stocking stitch - no need for any awkward purling or turning or sewing up. I like the fact that thanks to the short needles it can be done, bleary-eyed, with a baby balanced asleep on my lap at 3am should the need arise - and last time around, the need arose fairly frequently. It's not crochet, but it is a beautiful thing nonetheless.

Unfortunately, during the great knitting revolt of 2010 and the great house decluttering of 2011, the DPNs and circular needles have been mislaid, bar a single set of 4.5mm circulars - which having found my pattern and being  itching to get started, is annoying. The cooler weather combined with my being unproductively beached like a whale on the sofa for much of my day just served to remind me that I have lots to do between now and autumn and I shouldn't be wasting more time than I have to. In desperation I remembered a set of kebab skewers that I had saved for use as plant markers and serendipitously they were 4mm in diameter, just the size required - a quick sharpen with a pencil sharpener and I was ready to cast on. They would be better if I could have been bothered to find sand paper; and five would be easier than the four I have, but beggars can't be choosers and they have performed admirably.

As I rarely need DPNs this wide, these will probably become my permanent set, saving me several pounds; I will have to trail the charity shops and eBay for my finer pairs - though I am now tempted to go the DIY route and make my own from dowelling. I hereby offer my apologies to my dearest OH for the rant about the evils of expensive preprepared kebabs I subjected him to when he brought home the offending pack from the shop as we have managed to get our money's worth. Happily, it looks like I will have warm ears this winter.


  1. what a great pattern - I'm a fan of purl soho's simple pleasures hat for a quick winter knit up! We've got another couple months before the winter knitting starts up - oh the plans I have!

  2. I like the Purl Soho hat! That website is lethal however - far too many lovely projects, far too little time (or skill!). As I know that I am a starter of projects and not always a finisher (on time, at least) I thought that I should start early...

  3. A former roommate made all of her DPNs from dowels that she cut to length, pencil sharpened, sanded, and oiled lightly. I have a set myself -- and you wind up feeling far more attached the them when you've made them and then created something with them (which may or may not be a good thing).

  4. I knew I had seen the idea somewhere - you posted a comment about them over at the Co-op, I think? Thank you, you saved me in my hour of need!

    Unfortunately they didn't have any narrow dowels at the DIY store, so will have to search around before I can knit anything else.