So, in the WIP December post, I mentioned three Christmas knits (numbers 9-11, if you're interested). Well 10 & 11 quickly went down to the flames of reality; there simply wasn't enough time to knit those two gifts. Especially with my failed slipper episode thrown in there. However, Mystery Project #2 was successfully completed. Let me tell you, mystery knitting is hard when you live with the recipient. It's even harder when your knitting group meets in a bookstore, or as partner thinks of it, nirvana. For the second year, the women of my knitting group played sentry and the hat was quickly thrown in open knitting bags when he wandered by. The final stitches were knit in my car at 1:30 p.m., December 24th, outside Bed, Bath and Beyond where I'd gone for another Christmas gift. Success.
So, the ubiquitous Koolhaas (rav):
This was a pretty quick knit. I cast-on December 7th, but really, it was about 4 knitting nights and a couple hours the past few days to finish up - maybe 13-15 hours total. It would have been quicker if 1) I knew how to cast on correctly the first time (more on this below) and 2) I read patterns before I started them and had brought a cable needle to our knitting group - deadline knitting is not the time to substitute a Harmony tip for a cable needle. I knit this without modifications; this is a great pattern, though 52 1/1 cables every 4 rounds were a bit tedious. I was able to do some of the cables without a cable needle, which sped up the knitting, but I didn't quite master cabling without a needle when I was doing cables with a knit-through-the-back-loop followed by a purl stitch; the purl stitch fell out 9/10 times.
When I was in Australia, I found the perfect yarn (all the way to the right) for this hat, but didn't make it back to the store to buy it. Of course, I became obsessed with the yarn which I couldn't find here. Partner likes charcoal colors, and I kept thinking a tweed/heather would be nice. So I ended up picking up some Debbie Bliss Luxury Donegal Tweed. While I was a little worried that the pattern wouldn't show up with the yarn, it ended up showing up nicely. The yarn is very soft, which is always a plus when cabling since you fiddle with the yarn so much.
The one draw back of this yarn was the ease with which is split. I tried a longtailed cast-on but had the stitches wrong and tore it out. Half way through the second cast-on attempt, the yarn split. It split again during the third attempt. I ended up switching balls and doing a knitted cast-on instead. I think this yarn doesn't stand up well to repeated knitting so you had better make sure you get things right the first time. And, I just linked this in Ravelry and nearly every comment was about how much the yarn broke while casting on. So there you are.
This hat also uses A LOT less yarn then the pattern suggests. I was worried that I'd be close because of the yarn lost during the failed cast on, however I didn't need the second ball until the end of the 5th and final repeat before the crown decreases. In fact, I can take a picture of one of my favorite gifts that I received - a scale!*
As you can see, the hat is 62 grams, so my math says 105 meters, or 115 yards, or 1.24 balls. Since the pattern says 164 yards, and I used an equivalent yarn weight, I think they were just lazy when the pattern was published and didn't calculate how much of the skein was used. Ravelry has the Donegal Tweed listed as 96 meters/ball, but the ball band I have says 85 meters. If you did smaller tails than I did, you might be able to pull off a woman's hat with one ball, but it would be tight. To the right in the picture are the bits that split apart; even with a woven join, the yarn split.
Oh, and Partner likes loves it - always worth it:
(I'm sorry Honey for the candid shot, but what knitter doesn't want to share that kind of happy smile?)* If you're interested, the link above is to the scale manufacturer. Awesome Partner went directly to the manufacturer when Knitpicks ran out of scales in the pre-Christmas rush. The scale here is the same sold by Knitpicks, but in my favorite color.