One of our recent snowstorms inspired me to start a new knitting project. I was finally going to get around to knitting a hat for a friend – a task that’s been on my “To Do” list for quite some time. There’s something about making “To Do” lists–drawing little boxes next to each task and then placing a check in that box when the task is all finished–that is just so satisfying. The fact that I’ve now started writing even the smallest job in these lists, like “make coffee” which I do every day, that may suggest I have a slight problem. . .
The short of it is, I can now check “Make hat for Nancy” off my list; but, I should have also written “Make hat for Finn” so I could’ve enjoyed double the satisfaction. These days, it’s as if my fingers will only knit for my nephew Finn. Of course, I think Finn is the cutest baby ever (as I’m sure you do, too) and I love making things for him. But, the real reason Finn got a new hat is due to my doing everything you’re not supposed to do when following a pattern. What’s the use in following a pattern if you’re not going to use the correct needle size and yarn? Of course your adult sized hat will turn into a baby hat! Silly, Julie.
However, is it really an “oops” moment when it turns out that you’ve unintentionally made the sweetest baby hat and you have enough yarn to make a second hat as you originally planned? And, you get to learn about the importance of gauge?!
I knew the “oops” was a possibility when I began knitting because, with most of my craft supplies still packed away, I only had one size circular needle and one DK wool yarn. I had stubbornly latched onto a free online pattern that clearly called for “bulky” yarn, which I obviously did not have, and cast on according to the directions. After the first hat was finished(and it was rightly given to Finn), I modified the pattern so it would accommodate my needle size and yarn and actually fit an adult instead of a baby. It turned out beautifully so I hope Nancy likes it!
Maybe I just have to accept that my knitting is now similar to my Christmas shopping philosophy: one for you, one for me/Finn.
Speaking of Christmas, Finn was also the recpient of the super sweet giraffe I had knit over the summer. Good thing they’ve already become great friends, so Giraffe doesn’t mind his nose being pulled on or his mane being tugged and chewed. The giraffe pattern is from Susan B. Anderson‘s Itty Bitty Toys book. For the giraffe, I followed all instructions exactly as Ms. Anderson intended and obediently used the super soft, hand washable Blue Sky Alpacas organic cotton yarn (which will soon be available to you in Home Made’s shop!). You can see my other cuties, Brandon and his Piggy here.
While I don’t recommend flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants knitting as I did with Nancy & Finn’s hats, I do recommend that you try new techniques and be unafraid to make mistakes. Experimenting helps you learn as long as you have realistic expectations and know that what you make won’t always (and shouldn’t) look exactly as the photo. YOU make it original and perfection lies in your time and effort taken to make it yourself! So, to conclude this little pep talk, I’d like to share with you an online resource offering instructional videos I often use: KnittingHelp.com.
(And, to right my wrong in ignoring gauge, here’s what you really need to know).