It finally happened. My horrible sister and I were nice to each other for a week, and the day she was scheduled to leave, Indiana got 13 inches of snow.

Which gave me just enough time to publish a new pattern perfect for this kind of weather: a quick-knit super-bulky hat and scarf pattern that will be done before the next snowstorm hits….

The Mistaken Identity Hat & Scarf was finished a few weeks ago, but I didn’t have it test-knit or verified until just a few days ago. But it’s done now, and just in time! Yay!

cover
Look, I’m serious for once!

The pattern in full is available for purchase at Ravelry, here:

Two wrongs–or in this case, four similar wrongs and a screwy cast-on–finally make a right.

The slouchy hat that tortured me last week is, this week, my willing accomplice in knitting success.

A good oops

I struggled with what to do with this bulky yarn and like the results enough that I’ll be putting together a pattern. When I have pictures that do the finished product justice, that is.

Now I just need a camera capable of capturing the saturation of Alchemy’s Koi Pond colorway, because my little guy just can’t handle reds and oranges. There is, however, hope on the horizon. A digital SLR body awaits, though it will be delivered by dog-powered sled from the far reaches of snowy Alaska.

Not really, but saying my mom and sister will have it in their carry-on luggage when they visit from Portland doesn’t quite evoke the same dreamy visions of a young Ethan Hawke frolicking with wolves in White Fang.

This is the story of a hat. A very bad hat. In fact, it might very well be the horror-knitting-story hat-oriented version of that new movie that’s coming out about the teenage girl being haunted by the ghost of her unborn twin brother.

The first version of this hat, now frogged, has come back to haunt the second, third, and now fourth versions of the hat, and the spectre of the First-Hat Haunting will likely continue to hover over all future versions of any hat made with this yarn. Before I present the most flattering of the hat photos (I couldn’t bring myself to post anything less flattering because I look like a misplaced RennFayre court jester mistakenly cast out into the modern world), let me unfold the horror in its full glory before you…..

It began with a slouchy-hat wish spurred on by all of the slouchy-hat goodness going on around me. The problems were compounded by a recently finished scarf in Alchemy’s Lux, a mistake-rib keyhole scarf that is truly a thing of beauty. I wanted mistake-rib-matching slouchy-hat goodness and bulky gauge in the same hat, which led me to Ysolda’s Urchin, a sideways-knit garter stitch hat that was both bulky in gauge and interesting in technique. Good for all of us, right?

Wrong.

The garter stitch was just not the right stitch pattern for the yarn, which is cabled and drew together and create a too-stiff fabric. So, I reasoned, why not knit a stockinette stitch version sideways to solve the compact-fabric problem? Sadly, reason had very little to do with that version of the hat because the band was too loose. Reason also had little to do with version 3, in which I tried a stockinette crown with a knit-on in-the-round brim in mistake rib (to match the scarf). Better, but still unwearable, because picking up stitches in a gauge this bulky just. Did. Not. Work.

Which leads us to Hat #4, a stockinette crown with garter stitch brim, still knit sideways because at that point, I was stubbornly wed to the technique and determined to make it work (thank you, Tim Gunn).

This time, things were promising, except for the odd pointy bit at the short row, which I figured would work itself out in blocking. Given my past blocking experience with this yarn, I had hope. Even after 3 failed hats, I still had hope.

Little did I know that this truly was the denoument of a horror movie, in which our heroine turns around thinking her nemesis is dead only to be attacked one last time before she finally slays the evil incarnate in a gruesome and very permanent way.

Evil incarnate, indeed.

Horns of the Beats

I have horns. Actual horns. Consider briefly that this is the only photo that didn’t make it look as though I’d put on the Statue of Liberty’s crown before donning the hat, and I still have horns.

On the other hand, perhaps this qualifies me to direct the next I Know What You Did Last Summer sequel.

The world is, indeed, topsy turvy. Kinda like this baby set.

Topsy Turvy is comprised of a top-down hat and toe-up baby booties with a forked heel. Babies have pronounced heels and fat feet, so making baby socks that fit can be difficult. The forked heel helps out by creating a longer, wider heel that will stay on.

main-image

A common cast-on technique for toe-up socks also doubles as a cast-on technique for the top-down hat. This adaptation takes the pain out of small-circumference circular cast-ons and might just win you over for your next shawl, too.

Basic 2×2 ribbing is flexible enough for new parents to get squirmy babies into both the socks and the hat.

$5.95

I love my camera. My Canon SD1000 is a tiny thing of limitless wonder, and I have spent the last year finding ways to use the Canon camera hack to make my life as a graduate student better after reading a post about it on Lifehacker.

To wit: A 10″x13″ piece of half-inch thick plexiglas and a bendy tripod coupled with the camera hack that takes automated interval shots gets me an upside-down scanner that can shoot high-quality OCR-able scans of a 250 page book in under 20 minutes. VoilĂ , an electronic book in PDF format that I can use with Skim to double my reading speed and still take good notes. Truly a life saver when I have a big chunk of reading to do.

But the qualities that make my little point-and-shoot darling a fantastic scanner sometimes get in the way of real photography. Unless you’re made of stone, the camera sometimes doesn’t focus properly, and trying to get a nice photo that’s well lit under any circumstances is a near-impossibility. Even with a decent flash and good ISO control, no photo taken in normal lighting will ever be a great photo because the optics aren’t the best.

Lifehacker to the rescue again. This time, they pointed me toward a DIY photo studio in a box designed to create near-professional lighting and backdrops. I still need to get a better camera, but this will tide me over for the time being…

Macro Photo Studio

The subject? A new hapagirl.com pattern, a baby set that’s been turned on its head. The knitting, testing and pattern editing are nearly complete, and it should be out tomorrow. Today. At some point in the next 24 hours. Whatever…. Clearly I need to re-regularize my sleep schedule.