I’m going to post this,

I’m going to post this, then I’m going back to bed. Its not going very well for me. Wanna see the hat?
Disappointed? Me too. Here’s what happened. In a fit of absolute brilliance and foresight, I gave the hat some thought before I cast it on. That’s not something I usually do, I’m more of a seat-of-my-pants kinda gal. I like to live on the edge, if I make a hat that isn’t the predicted size, that’s usually ok with me. It’s gonna fit somebody. This time though, I wanted a hat that would fit the gardener, who is a pretty big guy. I’ve got a limited amount of wool, and only have time for one kick at the can. Fine. I’ll do the responsible knitter thing and I’ll give this some thought.
Well look at that. It’s a swatch. It’s a little known fact that swatches are actually magic charms woven by knitters to invoke proper knitting. If you knit one, a magical net is cast about your knitting and many good things happen. If you don’t ….knitting apocalypse. I’m sure you are familiar with this theory, or have at least suffered the wrath of a skipped swatch. Risky business.
So I knit the darned swatch. I did more than that, I actually measured the swatch and worked out how many stitches to the inch I was getting. I didn’t screw around either, I didn’t ignore 1/8th stitches, or stretch it a little bit or squash it. Nope, an honest to goodness non-fudged stitch count. Then, (If you can even believe that I took this much care) I measured Joe’s head, which I figure is about what I’m aiming for. Then I did the math, then I subtracted one inches worth (because you want a hat to fit closely) and cast on the resulting number of stitches. Check me on this….
5 stitches to the inch
Head measurement = 25 inches
5 X 25 = 125 – 5 = 120
Because I failed grade 10 math 4 times, I double checked this theory with Joe (who won prizes for mathematics) and he agreed that this was right. Excellent, I cast on 120 stitches and work merrily around the hat. I’m liking the hat, I’m feeling good about the world, I’ve got some really good looking hat happening…when I sort of notice that the hat looks a little big. Screw it, think I. I don’t have to worry about that. I get to ignore niggling little feelings like that because I am a knitter who knit a good honest swatch. I carry on.
I carry on until the feeling cannot be ignored. I decide to reassure myself by slipping the hat off of the needle (which is clearly distorting the thing somehow) so that I can see with my own eyes that the hat is 24 inches around. I know that the hat is 24 inches around because
120 divided by 5 = 24 (I double checked with a calculator…just in case Joe’s slipping)
Imagine my shock when I measure the hat and it is 28 inches around. Does somebody want to take a minute to explain that to me? Same yarn, same needles, same knitting method, I even knitted the swatch in fair isle. I used a calculator. I give up. I yanked it out. I went back to the swatch. It’s still 5 stitches to the inch. (Lying piece of junk) I’ve cast on 110. Screw swatches.
What’s wrong with this picture?
There’s only one tiger bootee, that’s what. Somewhere in between when I handed the person (who is a very lovely individual with a spotless record, who we are definitely not blaming for this catastrophic event) two bootees to transport to the baby’s mother and when they arrived, one of the bootees disappeared. Gone. Evaporated. Absolutely does not exist any longer. I have to knit another one. I am confident that as soon as I knit the replacement, the one that is without at doubt lost forever will reappear.
I see no reason to continue with this morning. I’m going to have a little lie down now.

20 thoughts on “I’m going to post this,

  1. Boooooo to swatches! They are the biggest jinx! Okay, I have a few ideas. I think that the swatch might be smaller than the knitting because fair isle srinks. so it’s 5 sts per inch on the fair isle part. the ribbing (is that reibbing you started with in that pic there?)would be larger because its not fair isle. also, if it is ribbing, i find that small amounts of it with certain yarns that are non-elastic tend to be QUITE larger than stocking stitch. But all this means BOOOO TO SWATCHES!!! you might want to increase your stitches back up to that original math amount when you get to the fair isle part, though, maybe. (please don’t hold me to that last statement if it doesn’t work 😉

  2. Of course that second tiger bootie is lurking in a dark corner somewhere, waiting to spring. (It’s a _tiger_ bootie, isn’t it?)
    On the hat — I like crystal’s explanation. I was also thinking that perhaps knitting in the round versus the back-and-forth I assume you did for the swatch might tweak things. I’m not so good about following the swatch rule myself, though, so here’s a grain of salt for you to take with the advice.
    Maybe you could start with the fair isle and then add the ribbed border later? Or skip the ribbing entirely?

  3. my entire family has Charlie Brown heads. Every hat I have knit for these people has approximately 80 -90 stitches for the cast on. good luck! ps. I also hate swatching – is it really all it’s cracked up to be or just some evil ploy of the yarn conglomerates to get us to use more of their product??

  4. I’m of the “difference between flat swatch and circular knitting” school of thought. But who the heck would ever knit a big ol’ circular swatch? Only 3 or 4 insane people worldwide (who are, unfortunately, knitting designers).
    BUT – you can knit a pseudo-circular swatch, and get a warm glow for being sneaky and efficient. Knit across your cast on stitches. When you get to the end of your stitches, leave a long loose strand of yarn, go back to the other end, and knit across again. You’re simulating circular knitting, so you’re not including any purling, which’ll screw up your circular gauge. You might have to cast on a few extra stitches, since the edges/selvedges will be utter sloppy crap.
    Your mileage may vary.

  5. Steph-
    I’ve never met anyone with a head 25″ around- is it truly possible? Such a genetic wonder! I usually cast on for 19″ or 20″ max to give it that ultra-snug feeling.
    I agree with the circular/back and forth theory- I knit faster in the round and as a result, my swatches are slighly looser.

  6. I have to second (or fourth?) the circular versus flat theory. My circular is so much looser than my flat knitting. I usually have to go up a needle size to make gauge when using straights, but I have to go down a needle size when using circs. Having said this I also never swatch when knitting in the round. I just kind of jump in, check my progress a
    few rows in and cross my fingers that I don’t have to frog.

  7. Yes, all the other comments are probably correct. But combined with the missing tiger bootie, I suggest a sacrifice to the Knitting Goddess.
    She requires a frivolous project on the needles. So you must look a that project you have been dying to start but were trying to be good and wait until such and such was done. Start it right away! If you don’t have something on standby, a visit to your LYS is in order.
    She may have been angered at your trying to avoid mockery with the spinning group. Knitting sassiness is not tolerated by her. *sigh* as we all know too well…

  8. I agree that a 25″ head seems too big, and that measurement may be off. Ribbing also stretches more than fair isle. Maybe do the ribbing with 10% less stitches and a smaller needle? All of the posts so far have had good ideas, and you are all brilliant. I like the idea of doing the fair isle first and adding ribbing later – very creative!

  9. Well… I was going to post and suggest the circ vs. flat theory. Then, I changed my mind to the fairisle vs. ribbing theory. Then, I remeber that when knitting hats, I figure they’re not so big, and can be their own gauge swatch… right? 20 rows aren’t that painful to rip out… and if you get it right, you’re ahead of the game… (but I’m lazy.)

  10. Some of us who are too lazy to swatch knit socks toe up and hats top down. Start with an itty bitty circle and increase until it fits. Just don’t try to recreate it unless you kept notes.

  11. As someone with a 24” head i think 24” is feasable for a big bloke with lots of brains !
    Never trust a tiger.They growl & pounce ! I know this because I’m owned by a 4 year old who ”is” a tiger,and has added Tiger to his middle name.He pounces. :0)
    A little lie down sounds like a fab idea to me !

  12. Since you have to knit another tiger bootie anyway, how about knitting three? They look so fast and easy, and you’re such a terrific knitter who’s colour work is amazing. The other two should be in a men’s size 8…

  13. Ken – get in line. It starts right behind me.
    (and my feet are small enough that they’d be way easier to knit)
    (or something. I’ll apparently do anything for tiger apparel)

  14. You have just been bitten in the ass by the Swatch. This hurts for a long time. My scars in the butt-al area are throbbing in sympathy.

  15. First time posting, I’m a lurker : ) Just wondering whether you used smaller needles for the ribbing? Seems logical to me.

  16. thank you Chris for the faux circular swatch tip. I swatch fair isle, but only for the colours (I found swatching usually jinxes me) That tip will work way better than the stupid 4 needles thing I have been doing.
    I knit lots of hats (and sell them) If I have a wool without a lot of stretch or bounce or whatever the heck you call it, I just do the whole thing in stocking stitch….about 9 inches then decrease for the top. The bottom rolls up (stocking stitch as you know just Does That)If I’m doing a fairisle pattern I start it at about 5″. My sons and my husband perfer these hats, because they can roll it up or down depending on the weather. I think (IMHO) that it is partly a ribbing problem and partly a swatch Knitting Godess thing. I mean think about it….the swatch that became a shawatch and turned into a shawl. You avoided guilt. The Godess does not like that!

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