I had this plan for a big finished knit bonanza this week where I laid all of my FOs (of which there are many) out on the floor in perfect light and took a aerial photo then talked about each one.
And the more I thought about it the more excited I got. And I wanted *all* of the FOs, including the ones that are currently works in progress, to feature in this photo. So basically I got too excited and I didn’t do it.
That’s story number one. I’m getting to the tutorial part, but it requires story number two.
Last year (although I didn’t blog about it; blame finals!) I made a hat for my favourite professor, Dr. Josh Neufeld. He was so fantastic and inspiring, that when I saw the Bacteriophage socks by Fillyjonk’s progress, I knew I had to make a hat for him with that pattern in it. For those who are not microbiologists, a bacteriophage is a virus that attacks bacteria. As a budding microbiologist, it seemed right to give my microbiology professor this type of hat. He was, true to form, super enthusiastic.
So this year, I was considering continuing the hat gifting with my newest micro prof, Dr. Barb Butler, who took very well to me barging into her office and having a breakdown quite recently. (University is a stressful place).
She cemented herself as an ideal candidate for knitted gift giving my asking me after class one day what I was making (yes I knit in class, it helps me focus) and being really interested.
So I right away set out to make her a phage hat. I needed a basic pattern to get started with, so I chose the Football Hat by Cascade yarns as my base pattern. I got so exited that I saw size 6 needles and 120 stitches and just cast on right away.
Turns out the ribbing is supposed to be done on size 4 needles and 120 is the number to cast on for a men’s hat. But by the time I figured this out I was already too far in, and by God I was going to finish it before the final exam (on Tuesday, so I had plenty of time really, but I was just lazy). So I powered on full steam ahead and lol and behold, the finished object was too big and floppy to stay in a head very well.
This is where the tutorial starts, because when that exact issue has happened to be before (I need to learn to read patterns and/or do swatches), I developed a method of dealing with it, even after the hat has been cast off.
I have no idea if this is an accepted technique, or if it’s just a thing I do, but it kind of works.
So, before I start. This is what the hat looked like before. And let me assure you, that ribbing was even less tight than it looked.
My first step was to cut a length of yarn in the main colour (in this case grey) that was significantly larger than the perimeter of the hat, so in my case it was maybe a metre long. I just sort of estimated it.
Then, using a tapestry needle, I ran a running stitch through the cast on edge all the way around the hat.
(For those who are not familiar with a running stitch, it’s literally stick your needle in and out in somewhat consistent intervals. I’m not a seamstress, so I’m sorry if I’ve offended anyone saying that :P)
Once I had yarn going all around the hat, I could experiment with the tightness that I wanted. I personally just stuck it on my head and adjusted, on the assumption my professor has approximately the same head size as me.
I also made sure the pull the cuff out a little bit to make sure it wasn’t too tight; it has to be able to come on and off!
Because I had a whole lot of the main colour yarn left I did another row of this tightening at the top of the ribbing, just for extra grip. I didn’t do this for my last hat, and it was fine, so this is an optional step.
Though you should note that this is not a perfect solution, to me it was a lot better than ripping the whole thing out, because I’ve got to actually study for her exam now….