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Old 01-18-2013, 04:06 PM   #1
Knitting the Flap
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FO: A Raspberry Beret -- NOT from a secondhand store
I'd kinda forgotten about this one, but it was my first all-original design (or as original as it's possible to be anyway). IT was also my first "solo" because I didn't have my Kninja-Master girlfriend to bail me out if I got in trouble -- 'cos it was for her and that'd spoil the surprise. It was at once exciting and terrifying. And educational. For example, I learned that:
  • It IS possible to increase so much so fast that it becomes impossible to knit in Magic Loop.
  • If you skip an "interval" in your decreases, you won't wind up with the number of stitches you expected to.
  • Plymouth Select Superwash Merino rocks! But knitting two strands of it, you should probably use needles larger than a US 9.
  • If you work two strands together, you can do the easiest increase known to knitdom and it's virtually invisible. Just knit each strand in the stitch and you get a 2:1 increase with the only additional effort being an extra knit stitch. And you can't see it! (No, seriously, look!) Okay, you can see that there is an increase, but it doesn't leave a mark.
Top side:

Like most of my hats, I did this one top down. I was trying to keep the very top part of the crown more or less flat until I had more diameter, and a co-worker (my backup Kninja) explained that if you double the number of stitches each time you double the number of rounds, you'll get something basically flat. My ratios worked out that way, but it was really more of an accident than any kind of plan.

I CO 8 sts, divided for Magic Loop and knit one round even as a "foundation round". Then in increased 8 sts in each of the first 7 rounds (yes, that's every round, and yes it did get pretty tight). Somehow that worked out to doubling the number of stitches each time the number of rounds doubled. But it was an accident. It worked considerably better than my first attempt, however, in which I tried to double the number of stitches in EACH round. Have you ever seen a "dream catcher"? That's basically what I had after about 4 rounds and the work was so tight I literally could not get the needle into the stitches anymore. Don't try this at home.

Once the flat top was done, I started doing my increase every other round which is a little more reasonable. Once I hit 128 sts, I did about 4 rounds even and then started decreasing by 8 every round. (I wanted the line to cut in sharply at the bottom of the crown. I accomplished my goal.)

Now I wanted to do the band in garter stitch, though I don't remember if there was a practical reason why or if I just liked the look. (Probably I liked the look so I invented a practical reason for doing it that way.) But garter stitch is substantially wider than stockinette, and since I didn't want the connection between the crown and the band to look like it was pinched off with a rubber band, I decided that I'd do two rounds worth of decreases in the first round of the band.

Have you ever heard the one that goes "the stories of most of life's great tragedies start with the words 'I decided...'"? Okay, so it wasn't a tragedy in any real sense of the word, but what DID happen was that instead of the 72 stitches I expected to have, I wound up with 74. And I had to knit essentially this same pattern 3 more times before I figured out why. Instead of p8, p2tog (which is where the next progression would have taken me) I did p4, p2tog. Somehow (I've forgotten the math, but it worked) that left me with 74 stitches, when two rounds of decrease would have left me with 72. Eventually I had to quit trying to find where I'd forgotten to decrease, because... I hadn't.

Bottom Side:

In the end, the extra two stitches didn't hurt anything and -- to my amazement (and despite my best efforts to the contrary) -- the beret fit perfectly.
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