last minute

A few months ago (potentially as early as September) someone asked on their blog what knitting plans we had for Christmas. I commented proudly and confidently that I did not plan to burden myself with any gift knitting, no, I was way above such pressure-inducing goal-setting myself. And I stuck to it. Until December 15th rolled around. On December 15th, I suddenly found that every single one of my lunch breaks was being spent running around shops frantically, trying to a) think up what the people on my list could possibly want and b) trying to find it. Time was running out. Work was crazy, Belgian shops’ opening hours even crazier (read: closed before I get off work), and my weekends taken up by travels in places where it was impossible to shop. Panic was rising. And then I remembered that there is one activity I can do even when the shops are closed, even when I’m on a train, and even when I’m in a countryside cottage chilling with friends – I can knit. And so Christmas knitting happened. Not in September, no. More like on December 20th. Daunting, but you know what – I pulled it off!

The first one was easy – the pattern I already owned for a while. The yarn was in my stash, left-over from other projects. There was a moment of panic when I thought I had run out of the gray, only to find a few more metres (just as much as I needed!) tucked away at the bottom of my knitting bag. The knitting was simple, mostly mindless and quick (it took three days total!). The result was a lovely reversible man hat, with just enough interest and just enough plainness (of the kind that the males prefer). Ok, so my nephew did look at it quite disappointedly and briefly when he opened the package, but then again he’s an 8-year-old boy. He looks at any non-Lego gift disappointedly. I spotted him wearing it a few days later – that’s what counts. (And there was a little something extra for him in the package, of course, more in the Lego direction…)

A few words on the pattern, if you’re interested in making it for your boy or man. The construction is very simple, you start knitting one hat from the top, doing regular increases, and when you reach the point where you would normally bind off, you change colours and continue as if knitting another hat from the brim, decreasing until you reach the top of the head.

The pattern is well written, and I like the fact that you first start off with the solid version, which lets you get used to the whole concept, while the fun striping comes later on, in the second half. Though of course you could switch that around. Or do it all in one colour. Or in some third combo. You can really do whatever you like. The result will always be a waaaaarm and wonderfully fitting reversible hat.

One piece of advice. Don’t forget you are making a reversible hat. Seems kinda obvious? Well, you’d think. But you might get into the situation of reaching the end, having left all the yarn ends loose, because you plan to weave them all in when you’re done with your knitting, as usual. And then you might have to weave them in through a small 8-stitch-wide hole, because you’ve done all your decreases and there’s no other way to do it. Just sayin. Weave your ends in as you go. There is no exposed wrong side on this one when you’re done.

Another thing I wished I had done was look up jogless stripes. If I had, my colour changes probably wouldn’t have looked like this.

I did consider embroidering the mysteriously missing red stitches in the same yarn, but it was Christmas Eve and things needed wrapping. And I didn’t feel like embroidering through an 8-stitch-wide opening (see above). In the end I decided it was ok, 8-year-old boys don’t care anyway. On my next attempt I simply made sure that I held the yarn more loosely when I switched colours and it came out a lot better. But more on that in the next post…

p.s. I’ve been meaning to write a NY resolutions post, but it doesn’t seem to be happening. So let’s just say, I hope 2012 will bring me more time to return to the blog and hang out with you guys! Cheers to that! :)