Saturday, December 03, 2005

Gaugey gauge gauge. Poo on gauge. Or, why gauge is important, even though you're just knitting a lousy hat.

Yes, I know everyone knows this. I know this. It's in every single knitting book you buy--the author either strikes this conspiratorial tone, like, I know we all hate knitting swatches, but let's just do it for shits and giggles. The other approach: you can hear the crack of the whip as the author lays it down, in no uncertain terms, why you must always do a swatch because you'll be a BAD knitter if you don't and you'll never ever knit anything worthy of her patterns if you don't. She's all, don't even tell people you got that pattern from my book, you lazy knitter, if you're not on gauge.

I didn't work up a swatch for the Chameleon Hat. Silly, naive, gullible me. I had the exact yarn, and the exact needle size, the pattern called for, so wasn't it guaranteed to come out?

Huh. You all know the answer to that. Just because I have the same flour and chocolate chips that Mrs. Field's uses, does not mean that there aren't other variables that are going to make my cookies somewhat less appealing than Mrs. Field's cookies.

Pattern: Chameleon Hat, from Encyclopedia of Knitting
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Superwash Wool, color 21
Needles: size 8 Inox circular, size 8 Boye dpns

This is the hat I knit for my dad's Christmas gift. It is somewhat big on me (hence the aforementioned gauge rant), but there's a good chance that it will be OK on him. And, because there's so much brim to fold up, the hat is thick and weighty, and probably won't fly off at the first strong breeze, even though it's not exactly snug. This Mission Falls is a joy to work with. Which, of course, means that it's being discontinued. (Can we start a letter writing campaign? I've never written a letter to my congressperson, but YARN...well, that's something to get worked up over.)

(Speaking of politics, I feel a rant coming on. I'll save that for the end.)

The pattern is called Chameleon because there's supposedly four or five different ways to wear it. You can roll the brim, or you can fold it twice, or you can pull the brim down in the back to approximate a cloche. You can also wear it like this:

Here's a close-up of the diagonal stitch:

You will notice that the outfit I'm wearing is a tad incongruous, given the headwear. December 3, kids, and it was in the mid-80s today in Austin. Although, later this week, the forecasters promised, promised an Arctic blast. (I do not embellish--these were the weatherman's exact words.) It'll be in the 50s. Get out your snowsuits and your sleds!

Tonight, I started on another Christmas gift, for my SIL. I picked up two skeins of Noro Lotus on sale at the LYS the other day. Isn't it cool? It's got the signature color shifts, but it's also got a hollow core, which is threaded with multicolored rayon.

I think I have just enough for a scarf. I borrowed the rib pattern from the wrist warmers in Last Minute Knitted Gifts (an early holiday present, from me to me!). The rayon thread shows up in the knit like tweedy flecks.

We watched Mad Hot Ballroom tonight--it's my second time watching it, and my friends' first. The film made us laugh out loud, holler and cheer, and bite our knuckles as we waited for the judges' decision. What an awesome film! It's a documentary that follows two groups of New York City kids preparing for a citywide ballroom dance competition.

Some of these kids, who face all kinds of economic and social challenges, find self-esteem and acceptance through the dance program. The girls and boys have such charisma, and a few of them are, quite frankly, amazing dancers. It's wonderful to see the final competition--the parents' faces shine with pride as they watch their children literally growing into themselves onstage.

Lefty Political Rant:

My friends Veronica and Cristina and I were talking today about how our fearless leader has chosen the past week to make some remarks about border security. Regardless of how you feel about immigration, isn't it interesting that our president, who in the past took a decidedly laissez-faire approach to the whole thing, is seizing this particular moment to make a strong statement about this? When your poll numbers are low and you've got all kinds of headaches, ranging from White House leaks to DeLay's misbehavior to the New Orleans cleanup (or lack thereof), to that little mess in the Middle East...what's a better way to regain your country's confidence than to come out against illegal immigration, the one issue that almost everyone can agree on? Weird, because it wasn't a problem before; George is a businessman, after all, and knows what would happen to the economy without that cheap labor. Can anyone say...flip flop? Ha! Wonder what John Kerry's thinking.


At 5:44 AM, Blogger Karen said...

I have to admit, I didn't do a gauge swatch before knitting Pea's hat either. Bad bad bad knitters!! Your hat came out beautuful though, and it looks like the size is perfect. Hats are stretchy, right?? The scarf is so pretty - I love those colors. If you want, I'll send you some of my Artic air - it's snowing here right now. Aaahhh. And thanks for your supportive comment about my hat. :)

At 5:58 AM, Blogger Laura said...

On the hat: LOVE it! That color is great, and I agree, we should start a petition about MF yarn.

On the movie: I almost got that the other day at Blockbuster! Now I will definitely check it out.

On the lefty political rant: Absolutely agree. It's such a cynical ploy on his part to start ranting about illegal immigration. I mean, are we really going to DO anything about it? What CAN we do about it? We don't have the resources or the political will to have an ironclad border. But people rarely recognize these issues (gay marriage, illegal immigration, etc.) as the pathetic attempts at distraction that they are. Sigh.

At 7:25 AM, Blogger Ashley said...

Gauge smauge. The hat looks great, and actually doesn't look too big on you at all. Your dad will love it.

Oh, Austin weather hyperbole. How I miss it. Here, they're all "oh, there may be a moderate chill in the air, perhaps" and then it's like 15 degres with a raging snowstorm.

Re: your rant, I would give up yarn forever if someone would just impeach those bastards.

At 9:33 AM, Blogger msubulldog said...

I think the hat looks great! And since there's a few different ways to fold up the band, I'm sure it will fit your dad just fine. *I swatch for sweaters, but I don't think I've ever swatched for a hat . . . eeek!*

Okay, that hollow core on the Noro is just cool! I love how that other yarn peeks through like light is shining from the inside. Neato.

At 12:52 PM, Blogger candsmom said...

I say poo on gauge. Your hat looks fantastic! Such a beautiful pattern. And I'll bet it fits your dad perfectly, too. I actually had a supposedly "authentic" Mrs. Fields recipe- followed it to the tee, but did they taste Mrs. Fields cookies? I think not. I think designers and bakers purposely mess with writing gauge and recipes to screw with our sense of competence. The noro scarf is beautiful! Love the colorway. Noro and MF, eh? I may have to revoke your ghetto knitter status soon, missy. ;-) And about the movie and your rant- I hear you! Have you ever seen the video "Fear and Learning at Hoover Elementary?" It's about illegal immigration and Prop. 187 in CA. Thought provoking stuff.

At 8:20 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

heh heh. I laughed at the title of your post because I've said pretty much exactly that like a zillion times. your hat looks fab anyway - love the color and the pattern. and can I just say - I KNOW! - about the weather - can't quite get used to that whole 80-degrees-in-December thing. At least now it's cooling off... bust out those woolies while you can.

At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, that George Bush is something else, isn't he?
Who knew he was so evil?
I can't believe I voted for him.
And I can't believe I campaigned for him either.
And called everybody I know to vote for him. Both elections!

P.S. It's hot here too.
'Course, I'm in hell.

At 8:56 AM, Blogger keohinani said...

that is a GREAT hat! i love it!


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