Monday, November 26, 2007

The Saga of the Calmer

I bought a ball of Rowan Calmer yarn a while back. I got it to knit a hat for a friend's baby-to-be. Her first baby had very sensitive skin so I was directed to this yarn as being quite gentle. It's a cotton microfiber blend, and yes, it feels quite soft and nice.

I knit the umbilical cord hat from Stitch n Bitch on size 7 DPNs (as the pattern calls for). It had lots of uneven stitches and was way too small. I frogged it, thinking I'd try again on 8s like the yarn label calls for. Then the baby was born 11 weeks early and, ironically, I needed a small hat--only smaller than the one I'd already knit. I didn't feel like trying to adjust the umbilical cord pattern, so I went with a preemie hat I'd already knit before in the yarn I'd already knit it in (Encore Dreambaby DK). I still planned to knit a reguluar-sized baby hat for the baby in Calmer.

But, it got cold upon occasion here and my own daughter's head needed covering. I had a supercuteOMG! hat that my SIL had knit for her (complete with bunny ears!) that still fit a little, but it's cotton and I don't want The Pumpkin's big noggin stretching it out too much. So, now the Calmer is being re-purposed for a hat for Pumpkin. I designed a little hat in my head: a long section of double ribbing on the bottom (that will be ultra-stretchy and foldable to accomodate a growing head), then a few inches of stockinette, topped with two strands of i-cord to be tied into a bow (so it looks girly). How adorable!

Calmer, I was told, is a worsted weight yarn and I found an online pattern to base my sizing on using worsted weight. And since the Calmer label suggests size 8 needles, that seemed to make sense. But, the umbilical cord hat had been pretty small, so I cast on a few more stitches to accomodate. After a few inches of ribbing, I realized it was way too small for Pumpkin's head (sense a theme here?) Frog #2. I started over with a LOT more stitches. I knit 4 inches of ribbing and 2 inches of stockinette in denial over the fact that the hat was too big. Finally, I tried it on my head and it fit. *sigh* Frog #3. I cast on less stitches than last time, but more than the time before, and now I think it's right. *sigh of relief*

But the yarn is not all that easy to knit with, at least, not for a relative newbie. I had a big problem with gaps between the DPNs, but I finally got mean with yarn as I turned corners and yanked the fire out of it and fixed that problem.

But now, I'm on the i-cords. I've done i-cords on other yarns without problems. But the Calmer... just does not lend itself to i-cord. I spent my entire evening last night knitting practice i-cords on the other end of the ball trying to make one that looked nice. I yanked the yarn as I brought it back over to the right one time, I yanked the yarn as I made each right-hand stitch another time, I slipped the right-hand stitches off and yanked the yarn then (as suggested on, and I yanked the yarn on the second stitch like I usually do in flat knitting (as suggested in Stitch n Bitch), and finally I tried not yanking the yarn so much because maybe this yarn just doesn't like such violence. The i-cords either aren't tight enough, or they come out with uneven stitches poking out. *sigh* I-cord, you cord, we all scream at the blasted i-cords!

That's where I am now. I doubt I'll ever use Calmer again.

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