Sunday, June 12, 2011

Todd's Tri-Force Skull Cap

My intarsia most certainly did not look fine, Peter, though I appreciate you saying so.

The mini-saga that is the Tri-Force Skull cap, a lil' project assumed at the behest of my friend Todd in Chicago. Not a problem, really...just a simple stocking cap with some comparatively simple geometrical colorwork. Though I'm not intimately familiar with all the tricks of the colorwork trade, I have done one or two clever color things in my day:

...and compared to Mario there, some little gold triangles should be a snap, I was thinking to myself. And then, when it came time to knit them into the hat, I realized where I was most short-sided: I was knitting the hat in the round, not flat. For those of you not in the know, knitting in the round in one way of constructing a three-dimensional tube of fabric, like a sock, sleeves or a hat. Normally, it works great and it's normally my preferred choice of techniques. If what you're knitting is round, knit it IN the round.

With intarsia or Fair Ilse knitting, color is added as a separate strand of yarn, twisted and looped together with the main color to pull it all into one solid piece of fabric...which is when knitting flat. The strands can be carried up to the next row as you turn your work and knit back...

But when knitting in the round, the color strand actually has to come up and ALL the way back by itself, with no options otherwise, unless you carry it all the way around the circumferance of the the hat, which would just be madness. Instead, you get a WS that looks like this:

...which doesn't work so hot because the hat needs to be stretchy to fit over someone's head and still be snug. This means those diagonal strands you see need to longer, to accommodate the stretch. Unfortunately, this also means greater risk for snags and such. So, I did the hat over a second time, this time opting to NOT knit with the color, but rather add it after the fact using duplicate stitch, a technique I heretofore thought slight of as cheating, in much the same way I think a lifeline in lace knitting a little bit of a cheat.

But as of this Sunday morning, I admit I am now a convert to the wonders of duplicate stitch. Sure, it's more needlepoint thank knitting, though you are working with your own knitted fabric AND you're following the strands as they knit themselves together...but really the clincher to the whole thing is the finished result: a smoother, flawless graphic with a much cleaner WS:

...all in all, the damn thing turned out splendidly! I'm quite please with myself at the moment...and in a couple of weekends, I'll give this to Todd and pray it fits his head.

What else? I celebrated my thirty-something birthday in May...this little bird was a gift to myself. He just looked so ready for a party, what with his little hat and everything, so I brought him home, where he promptly started hanging out with the Cylon. I told him to be careful but you just can't talk any sense into felted birthday birds these days...

In other news, I recently acquired an iPod Touch and have come to really enjoy the Instagram app, wherein you snap quick shots of stuff, apply a filter and post, not only to the online community that is Instagram (I currently have 52 followers), but I can also simutaneously post to Twitter, Facebook and Flickr! Just like Twitter sapped a little of my blogging juice away when I started it, I find Instagram has sapped some of my Twitter juice...which means actual blog posts like this one might become a rarity (as if they're not already) and I would LOVE for you to follow me elsewhere, too!

Fin me on Flickr HERE and you can find me on Twitter HERE. What will you see? Check it:

That's all for now. My parents are headed into the city. We're going to lunch and then, for my Dad's birthday, he wants to go to Trader Joe's. He's never been there, ever...


  1. Wow! Yep, the duplicate stitch definitely looks better. Mine always looks like crap when I do it and I don't know why. Also, I happened to see an Ani Defranco DVD(?) behind your bird. I just saw her in New Jersey last weekend. It was pretty cool.