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Old 02-28-2009, 11:10 AM   #1
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Hello All,
I will try to be brief. I am a new knitter. I am basically teaching myself from the internet. I have bought countless needles and yarn, with still no finished product to show for. I don't know how to begin reading a pattern. I am just stuck. I did manage to make about 80% of a hat, only to mess the crown up!!!! UGH! Anyway, I started another hat last night using a medium weight yarn and a pair of 10in circular needles. I think my needles are too short because the yarn seems to be gathering. How do I choose the right yarn, to go with the right needles to finish a darn hat!!!

Thanks for letting me vent!
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:19 AM   #2
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10-inch needles are pretty small for a hat. Usually, 16" (from tip-to-tip) is the length to start with.

However, if you can fit all your stitches on the needle, it doesn't matter if they bunch. Bunching is better than having them stretched out.

When you get to the crown of the hat, though, you'll need to decrease. At that point, most patterns have you switch to double-pointed needles, or magic loop or two circs in order to knit the smaller diameter in the round.

Amy has video on both.

Don't give up!
"Trust the pattern!"

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Old 02-28-2009, 11:49 AM   #3
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The new technique's best friend: a lifeline. My first crown of a hat was also my first experience with DPNs, and I had to redo it a half dozen times. A lifeline saved me from redoing the whole thing or giving up. It makes it so you can rip it out but it stops where the lifeline is.

There is a video here:
Go down to fixing mistakes and lifeline is the last one. =)

Be sure to make a note of where you placed it so you'll know where to begin when you pick it back up. I perdiodicaly reinsert mine after landmarks, such as pattern repeats or before the crown decreasing. Even if it's halfway down the hat, if you make a mistake you still don't have to do that 1st half.

Good luck!!!

Last edited by thepurplegg : 02-28-2009 at 11:49 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 02-28-2009, 01:11 PM   #4
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Here's a little bit of help for reading a pattern -

When asking questions ALWAYS post the name and a link for the pattern if you have it.

NEW! KH knitting video archive

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Old 02-28-2009, 08:41 PM   #5
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Three things:

1. Are you sure the needle is 10"? If so, what is the brand?

2. It might be easier to start with a pattern that is knitted "flat". This is a really good one:
You can still knit flat on your circular needles-- just treat them as 2 separate needles which happen to be connected together.

3. When you get to a point where you're not entirely sure what to do, post a question here and someone will walk you through that exact step.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:59 PM   #6
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I'm crazy. My needles are 16"! Sorry for the mix up.
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Old 03-02-2009, 12:09 AM   #7
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16" is perfect for a hat. I agree with Ingrid that it's far better for the stitches to be bunched up than stretched out.

I use 16" circs for hats and switch to either magic loop or two circs when the top gets too small for a 16".

Knitting is like anything else, it takes time and practice to learn to do it right. The important thing is to just relax, enjoy it, and keep going. Don't worry too much if it comes out perfect, just get it done. You'll learn a little more from each one and eventually it'll seem easy to you.

Trust me, when I first started it all seemed extremely difficult to me and now I design my own sweaters. Ok, they're ugly sweaters, but they're still mine

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Old 03-03-2009, 02:37 AM   #8
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Normally people use 14". You can try with 14"

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Old 03-03-2009, 09:12 AM   #9
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I'm always on the look-out for small circulars-- what brand makes 14" and where did you get them?
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:44 AM   #10
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My craft teacher at school had the perfect recipe for messed up hat tops: add an enormous pom-pom and it'll cover whatever is under it! You still get a wearable item and don't have to go for frustrating ripping but can move one to the next project, for which you've got more experience.
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