Scholar’s hat: My first completed knitting project

Started on 4/8/2018. Finished 4/22/2018.

Technically this is not the first thing I have ever knit. It is the first thing I’ve completed.

About 5 years ago Christian de Holacombe attempted to teach me to knit at a West/An Tir sock wars. I remember doing the stitching.. but I never finished the project and my fingers completely forgot how to do the stitches. This year, for a variety of reason, I find myself wanting to learn to knit. Luckily this urge coincided with a week-long visit from my parents so I asked my mother to teach me to knit. So since this project is now completed I can say that I know how to knit and my mother taught me.

Pattern: Scholar’s Cap by Sally Pointer/ Wicked Woolens US$4 from Ravelry
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Worsted black medium 100% wool US$6.99 from Jo-Anne’s
Needles: Clover 7″ US sz 8 (5 mm) double pointed bamboo needles $8.99 from Jo-Anne’s
Accessories: 3 knitting markers, 1 knitting counter, knitting point protectors (I used 7-8 normally)
Total: $20

Necessary knitting skills: cast on, icord, knit, purl, kfb (Knit front and back), k2tog(knit 2 together), ssk (slip slip knit), bind off

The instructions for this are fairly straight forward. They start by creating the little nipple on top and then begin working in the round to flesh out the crown of the hat. Initially I started on a set of metal in-the-round needles but I quickly found that those were very slippery and because this hat starts tiny it was impractical to work on the in-the-round needles. At that point I changed over to the bamboo double pointed needles. These felt lovely in the hand. They have a slight bit of stickiness to them which helped immensely to keep the stitches on the needles. I did find it awkward to start off working on four needles. While the hat was tiny I think it would have been better to use two of the double pointed needles to hold the work with a stitch marker to mark off where those would eventually get split onto two additional needles. Regardless, this was fairly simple and straight forward.

    There are only two places were I was puzzled about what I was supposed to do.

  1. At one point the instructions say to work the crown increases in two rounds (one with the increase and a second of knit plain) “until you reach 40 stitches per needle”. This confused me since I reached 40 stitches in round 1, was I supposed to complete round 2? I decided not.. but I’m unclear if that was the intended decision.
  2. At another point you knit 4 stitches on one needle and then bind off the face opening stopping 4 stitches before the end of the second needle. The instructions then say to “knit the rest of the round” (the last two needles) with the next instruction being to “work flat to form the ear and back of head flap”. The issue is that the round technically ends right before those last 4 stitches which were left on the first needle. As a newbie knitter I was unclear what exactly I was supposed to do with those four dangling stitches. I finally decided to knit into those 4 stitches but again I wasn’t sure if that was the intention.

Losing my place
I ran into issue figuring out which round I was on. Most of the hat is knitted with alternating rounds(Round one {do this} round two {do that}. Repeat rounds until you get to {##} stitches on each needle). Towards the end of knitting the hat I finally devised a (to me) clever way to keep track of this. I added a stitch marker to designate the end of the round. To this stitch marker I clipped a second stitch marker. When I was on round 1 only one of these two stitch markers were on the needle. When I changed over to round 2 I would move it so that both of these stitch markers were on the needle (they were still hooked together, just both over the needle and none hanging). This made tracking my rounds MUCH easier. I suspect this would work even if there were more than two rounds just by adding addition clip on stitch markers. I’ll try to keep this in mind in the future.

Felting vs. Fulling
Felting is when you take raw fiber (ie, roving) and heat/agitate it to form a felted fabric.
Fulling is when you take woven/knitted item made of spun fibers and use heat/agitation to raise the surface on the item to bind the fibers together.

Fulling the hat
I’ve known that this hat would need to be fulled after it was completed. I’m slightly fuzzy on what this means but Teh Intarwebs assured me that I could just “throw it in the washing machine” and it would magically happen.

Plus side: The wool fulled up beautifully. My washing machine set to hot will full wool most excellently. I can’t see ANY of the stitches on the hat.

Minus side: The hat is now WAY too small for an adult anyone to wear.

I thought my son Erik who is four-year-old would be able to wear it.. but the hat was even way too small for even him.

It turns out the the Tudor Child has a couple of knitting recipes in it and has a nice description of how to full the items in a more controlled manner. I’ll try that out for the next hat.

So, okay, it’s not a failure, it’s a learning experience.

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