Sunday, April 23, 2006


The hat that started it...

I find most lace knitting daunting, and wanted a project which used lace, but not on the scarey scale of a shawl( all of you shawl mavens out there can stop laughing right about now)I figured a nice rectangle of the stuff, with a pretty cast on edge and no shaping was the ticket...I was also trawling through my brain for ideas on how I could bring my old baby hat out of the 80's and into the 21st century - babies certainly love the bold colours, but the Mod phase has passed everyone else by. I remembered changing the style slightly to make a fairisle bonnet for a newborn,and felt the cogs start to whirr...use the basic babyhat shape, knit in lace, and don't sew the back seam...voila! a lace bonnet, no shaping,no dramas.(Now you know that I had to knit it on the knitting machine, the originals were knitted by hand, but this was an idea that I needed to see results from quickly)

Recipe for disaster:
Find a lace pattern already marked on the card - tick
Go straight ahead with the number of needles you THINK you require, knit for the length you IMAGINE should be correct,work the picot hem, decrease on the fly with a cursory nod at the maths, and cast off loosely.You now have semi-wonderful potential bonnet,however it is way to small for a newborn, and not appropriate for a preemie...let's get some organisation here.

(raspberry wool bonnet, needs a seam up the back and ribbon ties)

Knit a tension square and measure - tick
Work out the number of needles required and cast on - tick
Knit the required number of rows, stop knitting lace, pick up a hem,play around with decreases...jeepers it's working!

Cast off, sew a small seam...and it's done.
remind self to write the pattern down quickly.

This is one machine pattern which translates easily to hand knitting, the gauge is the same, the yarn is the same, the lace pattern may differ slightly, but I am sure that armed with a couple of stitch dictionaries I will come close.

The darling model is "Topsy" Charlotte's baby doll, tragic I know, but in the absence of a real live baby, she is the next best thing, she is a size "00" approximately 4-6 months , so handy for trying out ideas, patient, and never cries or needs changing. She has almost become a member of the family - albeit that she is plastic, Flash will come home, and say "hi honey, hi baby" to us sitting on the couch, me knitting, she waiting patiently for the next fitting.

I did have an action-packed daydream while I was trying to get her changed into a sweater while holding her by one arm...I live in an apartment with huge windows, what if someone in the restuarant over the road, or waiting for the traffic lights, or riding the bus, saw me, and reported me to the authorities for child abuse...and a social worker and a police officer turned up at my door, and there am I laughing so hard I can't speak, explaining that I have a life size baby doll to try knitting patterns out I wouldn't look crazy at all.