Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Well, we all know how that line ends, don't we?

We may have a problem. I've actually known this since Monday night, but haven't quite brought myself to face it yet. See, the problems involves UFOs. Not the Unfinished Object kind; in fact, the hat is pretty much finished. No, the UFOs I'm talking about are those big huge things flying around in the sky. And folks, if I were to throw that tam up in the air, that's exactly what we'd have. It's huge. I've been kind of knitting along, concentrating on following the chart, and on getting the tension right so there'd be no puckering and no loose floats, and wondering whether I'd finish in time, and whether I'd be left with enough yarn to make a tam for me (that would be a no), and I just never really noticed that I was making a manta ray sized hat until I got to the plain black bit and had time to stop and breathe for a minute.

I knew it was bad when Rick asked me whether I mightn't be able to decrease a bit faster towards the end. Since I'd already been wondering the same thing myself, I decided to go for it, and decreased three stitches (instead of two) at every decrease point every other row. Of course, this brought its own complications, since it means that the top of the hat is just a titch smaller than the bottom. I had two "solutions" in mind, and if they don't work, then there's always Plan B: frog and reknit the decrease section (this doesn't solve the essential hugeness issue, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it; horrible ideas like "slightly felting" come to mind...).

Solution 1: Block it. I don't know where I've picked up the idea that blocking cures all ills (probably from lace knitting; I've gotten so used to counting on the miracles that occur when blocking lace that I'm starting to assume that blocking will always perform miracles), but that was the first plan. So this morning I duly soaked the tam and laid it out to dry. It is so big that I have neither a plate nor a pot lid big enough to block it on (see why I have this nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach?), so I pinched the edges and flattened it out and am waiting to see what happens.
Don't get me wrong. I truly adore the colorwork in this hat. Doesn't it look like stained glass cathedral windows? The top is beautiful, too (although I don't have any pictures right now). But to give you a sense of scale, check it out with a coffee mug next to it.
Is it just me, or is that big? Maybe it's because I don't wear tams?

So you can see in that picture the other part of my potential solution (part 2), which is to fold the entire ribbed bit under, and to treat the first motif of colorwork as the hat band. This helps to even out the top and bottom, and I'm hoping it will solve at least some of the size issue.
And that motif does look nice as a hat band, no? Look at the pretty colors again; they're the perfect distraction from the general ginormous nature of the whole thing.
I'm starting to formulate alternate plans at this stage. Like, get a pattern and some yarn for another tam and give them to my mom and then take them back. Or, maybe, felting it just slightly? That would work, wouldn't it? Because what would I do with a giant UFO of a tam if I can't make this wearable? I'm not the only one having this problem this week; maybe it's an epidemic. Thoughts?

On another topic entirely, I'm still plying up the Bunny and the Beast fiber on my spindle (the first little bit of it, that is; the batt has plenty left to spin). I've been having so much fun playing with my spindles lately, and reading about spindles, that I may have accidentally gotten myself a supported bead spindle (oops). But seriously, how great is this?
It's from The Bellwether, and it came like that, in a little box, with a bowl for spinning in, and a bit of fiber to play with. Of course, I dove right in to try it out before realizing that I should probably spend some time just spinning it to get the hang of that. What I've found is that it's incredibly soothing to have it next to me as I'm reading (and struggling to write) on the computer, just flicking and spinning, flicking and spinning. I haven't even gone back to the fiber yet (part of that, to be fair, is that I'm still not spinning counter-clockwise as well as I'd like). This may have to come to work with me when I go back next fall.

In other knitting news, I'm working on the shawl. Because it's a bottom-up construction, the rows are currently taking me about a half-hour each, so progress is slow and not very photogenic. I'm about to say something that I know you'll all remind me of next fall when I'm griping, but I kind of miss meetings. I don't knit during the day at all now, and I used to get to knit during at least one, and usually two meetings during the week, which was rather nice. Somehow I don't feel justified in calling for a mid-day "meeting" by myself and knitting, so it's just in the evening, which means less shawl progress than I'd like. I know. I'm going to regret ever documenting this sentiment when I'm back in stressful budget meetings in the fall, so please just remember that I probably don't entirely mean it. I just need another excuse to knit during the day, that's all.


Willow said...

Does the pattern tell you the intended circumference? Maybe it's designed to be that large. Not that I think tams should be large and look good, but some people like them that way and look good in them. Probably MamaMia could pull off ANY hat in the universe and look great in it, but most people can't. So the question is, will the recipient like it large and floppy or does it need to become at purse (ala Woolenough) or felted into a smaller style(I had thought of that at first, too).

I know this is not particularly helpful advice (not being advice at all) and I'm just rambling and avoiding lesson planning. I'll be interested to see your creative solution.

KnitNana said...

I was going to suggest that if all else fails, it will make a wonderful felted bag! (I know, I'm always thinking "BAGS," so sue me)

I will try very hard not to remind you of the knitting during meetings "longing" you're having now next fall...But why don't you schedule some meetings during the day - short ones, two rows long, perhaps? word verification is "diallyin!"


You're on your own with the tam-bag, sorry. The knitting itself is wonderful.

Really like the spindle and bowl. I have a porcelain spindle and bowl that I love if only for the lovely tinkling sound it makes.

Gwen said...

Makes a beautiful placemat/bowl supporter. Hey! Use it as a placement for your supported spindle bowl!

It's beautiful, and I hate that it's too big. It is an epidemic, though I think it's a disease endemic to hats anyway, so there's always some of it around.

Love love love the little spindle! A good thinking spindle!

Alwen said...

I have no idea about the size of tams, but I can say that the knitting itself looks beautiful!

Wool Enough said...

The hat is lovely. I hope your rescue plan (turning the ribbing under) works. One would think that size wouldn't be a big issue with hats, but it seems that when a hat is too small it looks like a silly blob perched on top, and when it's too big, it looks as though you have a growth. It's hard to find the middle ground.

EGunn said...

Oh no! It's too beautiful to be too big! What does it look like on? I think I'd reknit rather than felt, but that's probably just me. I'm always afraid that things will end up too small if I felt (this probably comes from a few unintentional feltings before I began knitting). I like the idea of a bag, though, should felting go awry.

I had to laugh at the "missing meetings" I've never gotten so much knitting done in a week as when I've been able to kniw during meetings. Maybe you can knit while you read? Surely there's something that you need to skim quickly before reading in depth...

Mary Lou said...

Oh that is so sad - it is beautiful. I'm with knitting freestyle, this is a case where I'd rather reknit. I haven't made a tam in ages, and can't remember sizing, but That does look like a dreadlocks bag tam size. Does your mother have big hair?

Anonymous said...

At least it's a gorgeous oversized hat . . . Maybe you should look into the 000 needles too. That would help with the size.

I have no other words of wisdom right now, except to suggest that you mount it in a frame, put glass over it, and display it as art.

Good luck.

Katie said...

1) Tams are supposed to be oversized. So it's a slouchy tam! The better to see the beautiful colorwork. Try it before you panic.

2) If I knit at a meeting at my office, I'd be fired before I finished row 1. Savor your meeting time knitting when it rolls around.

adrienne said...

i am sorry but i don't have a clue. it looks very cute though.


twinsetellen said...

I'm going with the "you need to try it on" crowd. And the "the knitting is beautiful" crowd.

As a diagnosis, have you measured your gauge? If it is strikingly larger than called for, a reknit on smaller (yikes!) needles might be the right idea.

And, in the felting category, this yarn really will felt readily. Perhaps a hand felting so you can readily control the size? I think rather than considering the full felt to bag option that really you should just reknit - it is far to beautiful to turn into a lovely bag when it could be a spectactular tam.

Lynne said...

Is it the right size for the head? If you felt it, would it then be too small?

Do you have a local store you can visit some tams? Or try looking at the 'net.

I knitted a tam from EZ's "Knitting Without Tears" last year and it was enormous! Maybe that's how they're supposed to be?

And, speaking of blocking, have you ever done lace knitting with bamboo?