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23 March 2009

A tale of three caps

Circles in wool & cotton; the desert (with purple mountain's majesty) and the forest

When I browsed the photos last night, they presented themselves in such a way that making a mosaic was a no-brainer.  I'll admit, I may have let myself be carried away on fd's flickr toys mosaic-making merry-go-round.  Honestly, though, I think I may re-shoot that set up, with a couple of small changes, and order a print.  I just love the colors and the patterning.

What we have here, in terms of knitting, is variations on a theme.

Three caps, all knit using Teva Durham's Afghani Cap pattern from Vogue Knitting: Caps & Hats as the starting point.  Also, my youngest sister has a sewn "Afghani Cap" made from felted wool that is a pretty cool cap and it was my mother's coveting of said cap that initially sparked this little journey.

Afghani hat

I knit the first cap with Mom in mind as the recipient.  I used Handmaiden Fine Yarns "Ottawa" -- the leftovers from my Moebius Cowl -- mainly because it was at-hand and because of the colors.  I knit the hat pretty much as written, though I may have cast on a few more stitches because I wanted a longer brim and also because of differences in gauge.

It turned out okay!  It wasn't quite the shape I was after, but it was a very good hat.  The biggest thing to come from it was that my sister saw it on the blog.

"This doesn't mean that I'm asking you to knit me a hat," she said (or something like that), "but I really like the shape of that hat.  There is some fullness at the top with that style and it's not so close-fitting.  It won't make me look so... bald."

Well, hell, of course that meant I had to knit her a hat!  Besides, those welts were kind of fun to knit!  I could use straight needles and I had more yarn!  I cast on right away!!

I may have increased the needle size for the second cap -- it's a terrible thing, but I really don't remember.  What I need is an internal video recorder (I'm getting a vague memory of a Robin Williams movie having to do with something like that -- I think) so I don't have to stop and write things down.  I'm terrible about writing these things down!

Anyway, I knit the second cap (possibly with a larger needle) just as I did the first, EXCEPT for one slight modification.  My desire was for a cap that flared a bit at the top of the brim where it met the crown.  With this pattern, I decided that short rows would be a good way to achieve the increase in an attractive manner.  I figured that a third of the total stitch count would be a good number to provide the "flare" and also determined that I would work the short rows in the welt areas.  I ended up working a short row on either side of the welt section and also between each welt -- for a total of four added rows in each of those sections (of which there were four, so, in the end, 16 more rows at the top of the brim than at the bottom).

Short rows (small mosaic)

It is very difficult to photograph a "short row."

The second hat turned out okay -- bigger overall -- but, actually, still not as flared as I wanted.  It was definitely not as flared as I was expecting with the addition of the short rows.

I took the first two hats to Madison a couple of weeks ago when we met up with my sister after her radiation appointment.  She tried on and I was able to see her in both hats and get her feedback.

With the onset of spring (though not, apparently, today), we decided that cotton might be nice -- and in a lighter, more neutral color.  I'd used up all the Ottawa on the second cap, anyway.

Afghani Cap

More welts!  I ended up choosing Gedifra Fiorista, a cotton/poly blend, in color 5213-Rose/anthricite -- it's both colorful and subdued (not quite as bright as linked, but perhaps a smidge brighter than my photos), and it knit up beautifully. This time, rather than working short rows, I decided to knit the brim as written but picked up more stitches for the crown and made adjustments to the decreases.  The cotton yarn is a lot sturdier and stood up better to that modification than the floppier wool.

I seamed it on the way to Madison on Saturday and my sister tried it on -- and the third time's the charm!  She loved the color, too.  I brought it back home to weave in ends and block it a little bit, mainly to smooth out the brim/crown juncture, and will get it in the mail this week!

My sister is doing as well as expected, I guess.  The prescribed course of chemo/radiation concluded last week.  She's bald.  She's worn out.  She's lost weight.  She's keepin' on with the keepin' on, though, taking the dog out for walks, feeding the cat, getting some work done.  The surface burn from the radiation is so nasty and uncomfortable, limiting her movement and affecting posture.  Keep those good thoughts and wishes coming!

I still haven't had my fill of knitting welts!  Kinda scary...

Comments

The hats are wonderful in texture, color and shape...perfect mosaic work, too. Sending loads more good wishes and prayers to your sister.

I've never knit a hat. Must be time as Papa Jim was hinting for one last night. Many positive thoughts and prayers are being blown toward your sister. "Tis very windy here today!!

Cute cute hat

Yikes, healing and positive and uplifting thoughts and prayers to your sister! I love love LOVE this hat! What made you do the side band in sideways garter? (you know what I mean, after a long day and a second glass of wine, clear words aren't my forte at the moment). Any burn salves that would help your sister?

Wow, that's a lotta caps! I love them -- that shape is GR-EAT. I am not so fond of hats in general, and chemo caps especially, but these look stylish and something that might not make me look so pin-headed should I ever need it (knock very loudly on wood).

Wishing all the best for your sister. "This kind of hell is just so uncalled for," I shout out there to whatever deity is listening!

Sending all the good wishes possible to your sister! Hmm I wonder if this is a hat for me to try. I've yet to find one that looks good on me!

At some level, we knitters are all "sisters," and we are with you in thought, and sending prayers.

Hugs and healing thoughts to your sister.

Those hats have such great texture- love them!

I LOVE the hats Vicki; the colours, the texture and the shape. They are awesome.

My best thoughts and prayers for your sister during her courageous journey. The treatment is so tough and certainly not for wimps - thank goodness she has you, your kids, your husband and the family.

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