WIP: Frostfangs Hat - Knitting Therapy (or, Tiny Yarn is Maddening)
After a bit of a saga involving the second Who scarf (which, again, I was already tired of dealing with) I got a bit of a break on the insane deadline of end of January, and I decided to make proper use of it by doing fun things. Back in June, I saw a post on Tumblr about a super fantastic pseudo-Song of Ice and Fire inspired hat, the Frostfangs hat, and decided I must have it. I paid the very modest $3 fee to download the pattern…and I haven’t touched it since.
The problem is that the background variegated yarn used in the pattern is a hand-dyed Tri’Coterie Sock MCN in Glacial (gradient from white to dark blue) that I can’t get anymore. For many people this wouldn’t be a problem, but as I don’t make socks, I don’t work with fingering weight yarn, and I don’t work with anything self-striping, I didn’t really know where to go about finding alternatives. I did round up the required Knit Picks Palette yarn that I needed (it’s been sitting in my stash bin since sometime in July), but I didn’t have the main colour I needed for the hat, so I had sort of abandoned it. Until the Knit Picks sale in November… While browsing the sale yarns to see if anything caught my fancy (boy howdy, did it), I came across the Knit Picks Chroma fingering yarn in a colourway called Midwinter.
Midwinter! I thought to myself. Why, midwinter seems perfect for a North inspired ASOIF hat! And while you can see that it is not nearly as blue as the yarn used in the original, I do believe that the striping this is producing is going to be an absolute beauty. So, I ordered it. Two skeins, in fact. Despite the fact that I won’t need more than half a skein for a hat. I figured, this deal is pretty good, and what if I want to put them on Etsy? So I bought two. (I have since bought a similar colourway (Wildwood) at yet another Knit Picks sale…bless those people.) And then it sat. Because I was busy making these 4th Doctor scarves and all that business. While I was waiting for yarn to arrive as part of my great yarn saga of 2014 (which seems to have ended a bit more poorly than I hoped it would), I needed an interim project. I had cast on and done 2/3 of another Elvhen Triangle scarf, just to have one around since the other one I have belongs to me and I’m offering them for sale, so I should probably have a stash. The Lion Brand Homespun I’m using for them (what the pattern called for) is making me ANGRY though (knitting with that yarn is a wholly frustrating experience) so I might try to find an equivalent yarn that doesn’t make me want to throw it across the room. That’s a tangent though. Regardless, I had 2/3 of one done and I took a break to cast on for the second scarf before I finished it, so I put it on hiatus in the ottoman. And then I didn’t have the red yarn for the Who scarf. I knew that I needed to start something else while I was waiting because Minneapolis was embroiled in something called a “Polar Vortex” and I was basically housebound for five days without the yarn I needed. But, instead of doing the responsible thing and going back and finishing the ETS, I did the fun thing and looked at my stash and said, “Frostfangs!” So I pulled out the Chroma and I pulled out the Palette and I pulled out my circular needle kit and I set down to get to work. …four hours later I had attempted knitting approximately 8 swatches, decided that I hated tiny needles, reinforced my hatred of this circular needle kit where the needles *unscrew* as you are knitting and then the yarn gets snagged on them (which is, I learned, 4000 times bigger of a problem with tiny yarn), went to the store to get proper circular needles because the damned kit needles made me actually have to cut the yarn off of them, finally cast on and knitted like 20 rows (which is an unsatisfying length of hat when you’re using fingering weight yarn!) realized it was moebiused, tried again, worked very hard not to moebius, moebiused anyway, took a break for the night, started over AGAIN the next day, and managed to make it through the 40 rows of stockinette grey for the lining and a bit of the way into the actual pattern (over the course of 12 hours of knitting…TINY YARNS) before my new red yarn arrived and I had to take a break. But! Despite the setbacks and despite the fact that usually when I think “knit this hat” I’m figuring a one or two evening adventure at most, I couldn’t stop thinking about this project the whole time I was working on the scarf. I just really wanted to finish this thing. Then, yesterday, when there was a lot of fallout and a bit of frustration, all of which ended in me saying I needed to not knit this scarf for a while, I made the decision to take a break on the scarf until I finish my Frostfangs hat. Three more hours of work yesterday and today, and it’s looking pretty fantastic. I just really can’t wait until I get it done. I’m in LOVE with this chroma yarn (it’s making me want to actually knit socks), and the Palette really is the greatest for stranding and fair isle work. The only problems I’ve got are that it sort of takes FOREVER to make a hat out of fingering weight yarn, I feel like I might run out of Palette (despite the fact that the pattern says I shouldn’t even need a whole skein)—that’s my fault, really. I did add quite a bit of extra at the beginning to the bits where you need to fold under to the inside though. I live in Minnesota. One layer of fingering weight wool/nylon between me and the outside world is a bit of a joke—and the NEAR CONSTANT ENTANGLEMENT of my yarn balls. If anyone has any good methods of working Fair Isle without constantly needing to stop and get your yarn balls out of their tangled up knots, please send them my way. Best yet, though…this pattern has inspired me to draft some of my own patterns (alluded to previously). Also in the Knit Picks sales I picked up a bunch of different colorways of Imagination Hand Painted, and I can’t wait to start putting some logos on some hats/scarves/gloves. Problem is, I might need to use a yarn that’s NOT Palette as the base, since Palette takes FOREVER to knit up. Anyway, here’s the WIP as of this morning. Can’t wait to share the finished product with you all!