Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Tale of the Cunning Hat

Jayne: “How’s it sit? Pretty cunning, don’tchya think?”
Kaylee: “I think it’s the sweetest hat ever.”
Wash: “A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he’s not afraid of anything.”
Jayne: “Damn straight.”

This project was meant to be.  I quite literally purchased the yarn for this project from a gal named Kaylee. KAYLEE!!  It totally made my day!

If you haven't guessed yet, I am attempting to turn this.....

I'm feelin' mighty 'Ma Cobb' right about now!

Now, if there is a level below novice, that's where I am when it comes to knitting.  But.  I am determined!  I read as many knitting patterns* as I could manage, and tried to digest what they were telling me.  (I have the same disease in knitting that I do in crochet - try as I might, I cannot understand a pattern to save my life!)

Unfortunately, my local craft store choice was quite limited RE: circular needles and yarn weights.  I had read that a bulky yarn is preferred, but I could only find 'Super Bulky', and no corresponding sized needles.  I had also read elsewhere that a double strand may work just as well, but, with each skein at $4 a pop, and lack of appropriate needle sizes, I thought better of it, and went with a regular (...whatsit.....worsted??) weight.

I ended up getting (I kid you not!) Vanna White's brand of yarn; "Vanna's Choice" in Cranberry (180), Terracotta (134), Rust (135), and Mustard (158).  You'll notice I got two versions of an orange-y color....I couldn't decide in the store which I liked better, and I ended up using the Rust.  (I think.  I'll double-check that!)

I bought a size 8, and size 10 set of circular needles, because I wasn't quite sure which size would be better, and out of 3 stores I went to, I couldn't find a 9 (which apparently is the correct size to use with this yarn??)  except in hugely expensive knitting kits, but neglected to remember to check the length of the circular  needle.  I ended up doing an emergency needlectomy and shortened the plastic connector-y bit by a good 6" or so, using some pliers, scissors and glue.....and so far so good.  (Which leads me to there such a thing as circular knitting needles with elastic in the middle bit?  If not, it should be invented, stat.)

Holy 'Twisted German' Batman!
One particular set of instructions mentioned that the cast-on technique for the original was probably 'Twisted German' or 'Estonia'.  Huh.  I had no idea that there even was more than one cast on technique!  Second hurdle: Learn new cast on technique.  Enter Youtube!  I watched a few 'how to' videos on Twisted German Cast On, but the one that finally made the 'CLICK!' sound in my brain was this one, from iknitwithcatfur.

I messed around with using the cast on technique, and trying to get it to be a somewhat relatively even tension, and ended up with a pretty acceptable approximation, I believe!

There is certainly room for a whole load of improvement.  However, the Jayne Hat is a bit on the.......rustic side, so I'm not at all worried about making my version look too terribly polished!  (Thank goodness!)

Ribbing accomplished......eventually!
The next hurdle was to remember how to to rib knit.  For some reason, even though I actually was doing it right, it kept looking wrong to me - so I ended up ripping out the first 3 rows + the cast on over and over and over and over.....wasting precious time practicing my new-found and remembered from dusty recesses knitting skillz.
The lesson learned here is to forge ahead and do it even if it looks wrong.  Wait, that is a terrible lesson!  Hah!

I probably could have done the ribbing a couple of rows shorter, (I ended up doing 6 rows in this version) but I think it'll be OK, especially once stretched out over a real noggin'.  :)  Next time I'll probably do 4 and call it good.

Ribbing + knit.
I think I eventually got at least close to a perfect size (if a little bit on the big side) with 100 stitches around.  If I had to take a wild stab, I'd say that 100=XL/XXL, 96=L 92=M 88=S 84=XS.  Ish.

And now on to what I'm comfortable with....straight up knitting for rows and rows and rows and rows.....

I'm a teeny bit nervous about the red ear-flapadoodles (decreases, ZOMG!), but I have a while to go before I tackle that particular beastie!

Oh, and also, remember how I've confessed that I am a terrible gadget junkie? I know how to make pom poms without a special gadget?  Of course.  Have I been making pom poms without a gadget as long as I've been needing to make my own pom poms.  Of course.  But then.  As I was perusing the paltry selection of knitting needles, what did I spy?!  Yes.  Yet another gadget.  It still remains to be seen as to how well it functions, but I now have another doo-dad to add to my ridiculous collection!  I'll post about how well it works when I get to that point!

*A list of of the most helpful patterns and instructions I found on the Jayne Hat:
Keiyla's Blog (This one has particularly helpful; it has a lot of screen caps that I used for visual reference, and some pretty danged detailed observations - most of which are far too detailed for my purposes, but extremely interesting, nonetheless!)
Katydid Knits  (PDF)
The Canny Crafter
Ravelry/Erika Barcott
Geek Crafts
Redshirt Knitting
Knitting Ninja


  1. I made a Jayne Hat!  After doing nothing but scarves, either!  I remember the earflaps being really easy, I think I just found some couple of loops along the bottom edge, stuck my needle in, and started knitting as if those loops were a casting stitch.  I'm suddenly not even sure if that was 'correct' but it worked just fine.  :)

    I should make myself a new one (the first one I made was for a friend)

  2. OMG!  Do you have a pic??  Any more wisdom you want to share with a knitting/Jayne Hat newbie?  lol

    I'll try the loopy-cast-on thing...sounds like I might be able to manage that!

  3. oh goodness no (this was *ages* ago) but maybe I'll pull out the needles and make a new one sometime.

  4. My third knitting project ever was a cunning hat.  That is the beauty of them-- they're supposed to look bad :p  I did a dishcloth, a shawl (a bigger version of half the dishcloth lol) and then the hat.  I'm sure it will be great.