Thursday, September 29, 2011

Viking Hood

See, I don't blog and you miss out on all kinds of good things.

One of these days I'm going to snap, write a bunch of blog posts, and back-date them. You'll never know what hit you.

Anyway, while I was ignoring you I knit this adorable hood!

I will be all set for the cold weather when it arrives. I will laugh at the wind!

You'll remember that back in June mom and I went to the Knitting Along the Viking Trail Exhibit when it was it was in Philadelphia.

I then went on a quest to acquire all three of Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Knits books, as well as The Small Thing Matter book, as those were the ones represented in the display.

One of my favorite items was the Skjalf Hood from The Second Viking Knits collection. The picture in the book doesn't do it much justice since it's focused on the sweater, and frankly my picture doesn't either, but trust me it's uber-cute in person.

I was dithering over what yarn to use to make it when a skein of Juniper Moon Farm Chadwick came into my possession. Actually, several skeins did. But it was the Clear Skies (#8) that caught my attention and made me think of the hood.

It was blue. The hood in the book was blue. It was a logical connection. (As an aside, the color #1-Indian Paintbrush is such an awesome shade of red that it fills my heart with greed and makes me want to do bad things to acquire more, but it didn't seem right for the hood.)

The main concern was that Chadwick is 202 yards, which is a little less than the 218 yards technically called for in the pattern. I was taking my life into my own hands and running the risk of running short of yarn.

My plan had been to finish the ribbing around the face in a different color, if need be, and maybe throw a few rows onto the neck ribbing to make it look coordinated. Happily that was not necessary and I think I know why.

Change it? Me?

Skjalf short rowsAs you would expect, I ended up making some modifications as I worked along.

First, I worked the neck ribbing for 3" not the recommended 4". I think I felt the 3" was long enough, but that might have been an early move to conserve yarn.

Then as I was working the main body of the hood I reached the recommended length on row 10 of the second pattern repeat, not row 16.

Fortunately,  or unfortunately, I was in the more or less plain spot between knots. I read the pattern and took a hard look at the cable chart and realized that I wasn't going to reach the knot again in the allotted space. Or if I did it would only be the first few rows.

After considering my options I skipped ahead to row 23 in the cable chart, which is where the knot starts again, and followed the pattern from there.

It's kind of easy to tell what I did since the ribbing connecting the first half knot to the full knot in the middle is considerably longer than the ribbing leading to the knot at the top of the head. By the time I got to that point I wasn't in the mood to rip back and try to balance it.

You, however, can perhaps plan ahead.

Of course, since I sort of shortened the hood, I guess, I ended up picking up fewer stitches around the face opening. But that's a minor change compared to moving the knots around!

Short Row This
The only other tricky part was the short row shaping for the crown of the hood.

Boy howdy, I don't know if the pattern is just vague or I'm dense, but it took me at least three tries to get it right.

Well, the first time it turned out that I'd worked too many decreases at the center back and didn't even have the correct number of stitches to short row. Also, the book doesn't say to wrap and turn, so I didn't and it just looked horrible. That got ripped back.

Then I tried to short stitches at both the center back and the front opening. That was just weird looking and obviously wrong, so that got ripped back.

Then, since I didn't understand what the pattern wanted I thought I'd just do it like a sock heel just over the stockinette stitches at the back. That pooched out unattractively, was obviously wrong, and got ripped back.

Then I went and read the section about short rows in Rhigetti's "Knitting In Plain English" and something finally clicked.

With the correct number of stitches, I worked to the center stitch, wrapped and turned, worked back across to the beginning of the row. And that's how it went. I only shorted on the stockinette stitch portion at the back of the hood, as directed, and worked the rest of the stitches in pattern. Once the stockinette section was eaten up, I worked back across the row, picking up the wraps, and worked out across the second half in pattern.

The process was repeated for the left side of the hood, only I had to work the short rows on the wrong side of the work. It is possible that the left side of the hood has one more row than the right side, but I was too happy to have it done to try to sort out a way to avoid that.

I did, as you might imagine, briefly consider trying to Kitchener the top shut, but in the end I just did a three needle bind of as prescribed in the pattern.

I am very pleased with it and am fighting a burning desire to make another one. In a different color. With a different cable.

But there are so many other projects to knit, I think one Viking Hood is enough for now.

It does, however, fill me with a desire to toss all my other WIPs and skip ahead to the yarn and hood pattern I bought back in June.

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