Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Bad Hats

Ok! As promised, a crochet post!

As the title would suggest, this post is mostly going to be about hats. And not very good ones. I confess, I haven't mastered the whole hat thing yet. But I'm working on it! And today you're going to see some of my early attempts.

But first, a scarf:

Not a hat, I know, but it does match a hat that will be featured today. This scarf was my first attempt at color changes. I had varying levels of success.

If you look closely at the above picture you can see what I mean. When I first started out I had no idea how to change colors so that your final stitch of Color A wouldn't carry up into your first stitch of Color B. I did work it out by the time I finished, fortunately. Then I promptly forgot what it is I did so that I had to relearn it next time I did a project featuring color changes. (You'll see that one in a later post.)

I'll deliver on the promised hats in a moment, but first I'd like to introduce you to my model, Vena:

I bought her today. She makes a very good hat model, especially since I'm too shy to model the hats myself. As you can see, I forgot to remove her price tag.

She was four dollars! Cheap!

If it seems silly that I bought this dummy head just for the blog, remember that should this blog thing not pan out I can always duct tape a brick to Vena and throw her through wurwolf's window. Vena has many powerful uses.

Don't look at Felix, my cat, who is lurking around in the background where he doesn't belong. I like him and I know from experience that bad things happen to pets featured on this blog.

On to an actual hat:

This is the very first hat I've ever made, and ties with one other hat in this post as the worst hat I've ever made. It doesn't look so bad on the floor, I know, but wait until you see it on:

Poor Vena. She has been blinded. This hat is supposed to be a beanie. I suppose it would be perfect for Charlie Brown or maybe a basketball, but it does not work for real people! Or even fake people with semi-realistic head proportions!

One fun thing about wearing this hat is that if you turn your head quickly the hat does not turn with you. It matches the scarf nicely though, at least.

I did learn one big and very important lesson from my experience with this hat:

Gauge is important.

I did not really get this before, but I do now. So while this hat gets an award for suckulence, it's worth it because now I pay attention when a pattern tells me to use a certain weight yarn and a particular size hook. Rookie mistake, I know, but I was a rookie at the time.

Fortunately, there is one way to almost redeem this hat, and that is by pushing it far back on your head, like so:

Do this and it almost looks like I meant to do that. Of course, the hat will drop off your head at the slightest movement, but that's no big loss. It's not a very good hat anyway.

The next hat was another learning experience. It was my first time using mohair.

Some people recommend beginners use mohair because it's so fluffy you can't see the mistakes you make. Mohair is also bad for beginners for the same reason, I find. Not to mention that it's more difficult to handle than a smoother yarn; the hook likes to catch on mohair.

The finished hat doesn't look so bad, but there are some issues, which I'll get to.

The hat is almost too big, but it works out. It looks looser on Vena because she doesn't have any hair. On me it's comfortably loose, but not so loose that it is in danger of falling off.

I had the most problems with the seam, as you might expect with a beginner. The usual difficulties that come with learning to crochet in the round were compounded by using a yarn where I couldn't see my stitches. You can definitely tell where I had to move from one round to the next. It kind of comes to a point in the back-- most likely because I didn't know where the join was supposed to go and there are too many stitches back there. Of course, I couldn't tell you for certain because I can't see the stitches.

Stupid mohair.

But the hat isn't so bad.

Now for an actually good hat:

The pattern for this hat was the very first real pattern I ever had (though not the first pattern I've ever used). It took a while before I was confident enough in my pattern-following skills to give it a shot. I used two colors of fine yarn (black and blue, obviously) and twisted them together, which was fun until the yarn balls wanted to get all twisted up wrong and I had to unwind them.

But anyway.

This hat is almost too small, but it's supposed to loosen up with wear. If I ever wore hats, that might happen.

It's true. I make all kinds of hats, but I never wear hats. I'm told I have a good head for hats. I keep thinking if I keep making hats I'll want to start wearing them, but it has yet to happen. Oh well.

After finishing that hat I had some yarn left, so I decided to make a second hat with it. Then something went wrong:

Hat number 2 is considerably smaller than hat number 1. I don't know why.

It doesn't look so bad there, but look at it on:

Poor Vena. She didn't expect to make her debut like this.

I still don't know why this hat came out so small. It literally fits neatly inside the other hat. No squishage necessary. I used the same pattern. Same hook. Same yarn. I don't know what went wrong here.

Look at that travesty! She looks like she would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

Yes, I know. As soon as I saw that something was going wrong I should have frogged the whole thing and started over. By the time I noticed, though, it was pretty clear that I was running out of yarn. I wouldn't have had enough yarn to finish the hat correctly anyway, and since I'd bought the yarn while out of town I couldn't just run out and get more.

So we're left with the munchkin hat, which is the hat that is tying with the big hat for worst hat I ever made. It may even be worse because 1, there's no way to make that thing attractive and 2, I learned NOTHING.

So those are my first attempts at hats. My next post, when I get around to writing it, will feature a project that I was a little more successful at. I can't dwell on my blunders all the time!

Read more!

Ok! I know! I'm a slacker!

It's been a while since I posted. I know that. There's a good reason, actually. Only a week after I posted that picture of Pickles on the blog he flew away.

I wasn't there when it happened, and how it happened is something I won't go into right now. But suffice it to say that I felt a bit awkward about coming back in here after I'd just finished talking about the bird. Thinking about it made me feel sad and still does.

But anyway, that's depressing and I don't want to depress you. This blog is supposed to be about crochet, not lost pets. I'm working on a new post which I will put up soon. It will actually be about stuff I've crocheted.

So more cheerful, I'm hoping.

Read more!