Eleven Inches of Ribbing

I love my husband very much. Want to know how much?

This is the first handspun ever made on Doris, the sweet spinning wheel that was my Big Present from the parents last year. 100% alpaca, 2-ply, probably about a DK weight (14 wraps-per-inch). The roving was a hand-me-down from Jolene, to whom someone destashed it; apparently gray alpaca is pretty rare.

Wraps per inch is a way to figure out about how thick your yarn is without knitting it up on ten different needle sizes to see what fabric feels right. This is most convenient for handspun, especially when you’re new and don’t know what you’re doing. You wrap it around a ruler (or a cool wraps-per-inch tool that I hope one day to find in a stocking), and squish it up together to see how much fits relaxed-ly in an inch. According to this site, 14 wraps is about a DK weight, and I wanted the fabric to be pretty dense, so I knit on 4’s.

Knit what on 4’s, you ask? A hat. Top down, to ensure that every inch of this precious yarn was utilized. 2×2 rib, for optimum fit and density. I used the pattern for the Timothy Hat (free on ravelry) and added another 1/2 set of increases to make it big enough.

You know I don’t spin much. And ribbed hats are the quintessence of boredom. But it is a measure of our love, I think, that I never once stopped to ask myself if he was worth it.

Though I may have balked a little bit when the hat ended up way too wide, and a bit too short.

Maybe a pattern review would help explain.

Pattern Review: the Timothy Hat is an excellent little pattern for a top-down ribbed hat in DK weight. The top is clever; the instructions are clear and simple. My only gripe? Most of the hat is worked in Knit 2, Purl 3 rib. I might think that’s a little dumb.

Mostly, I think it’s dumb because I can do K2, P2 without thinking, while completely tuned out. K2, P3 I would have to think about, and my needs at that point in the Christmas season did not involve thinking.

So I got clever. I added another half-set of increases, thinking it wouldn’t increase the size of the hat that much, since I wasn’t adding the third purl every five stitches.

Wrong. The finished hat could have fit over both of our heads at once. And the brim wasn’t quite long enough to stay flipped up, and was not helped by the fact that it was hardly required to stretch at all around Jared’s head.

I should say I was crestfallen. Heartbroken. So disappointed that I had to knit the thing over again. But that would be a lie. Want to know why?

I packed the heck out of this trip: I had an enormous lace shawl, a very long scarf I’d just started, and the fair isle sweater of doom. This is like two months worth of knitting 8 hours a day. But after a few days at home, I’d finished the only chart I brought for the lace shawl, I left my scarf pattern with all my notes at a friend’s house, and I left one of the eight different shades of brown in the fair isle sweater at home, so I was completely stalled, thwarted in my efforts to keep knitting. So after Jared wore the hat for a day, loving it but looking a little silly with the brim flopping down on its own, I practically yanked it off his head and mercilessly ripped it back to the crown so i could have something to work on for the last few days of our trip.

The annual stoned-looking husband hat picture. He said I could take his picture if he could keep checking his email.

The hat, if not my psyche, is much more balanced now. The alpaca is sooooo comfortable and warm, and the gentle elastic of K2, P2 rib (I still didn’t budge on that one; in the end I just added one more 2×2 rib for every four ribs) grips the head so gently that you forget you’re wearing it.

Yes, I must love my husband very much to knit this for him. And it has nothing to do with the fact that we happen to live together, making it convenient for me to borrow it from him on occasion.

2 thoughts on “Eleven Inches of Ribbing

  1. What I love about this project is how beautifully the yarn is spun! To me it seems almost magical….I love those first two pictures of the yarn itself. I am amazed at how beautifully you spin.
    The hat is well knit too of course!


    1. Thanks mom! That first picture is one of the favorites I’ve ever taken. Handspun is so special all by itself… even when it’s not very good!


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