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October 17, 2008

Help for the hatless, and other Q & As


I love you. I mean you -- the people who emailed me to tell me that my main man Dallas Raines was a Jeopardy question!

Reader Misty writes:

Your beloved Mr. Raines was a Jeopardy clue recently! Just click on this link and scroll down to Double Jeopardy round, under "Nominative Determinism" ...

I feel that my mission here on earth is complete, as people across the country were able to shout "Dallas Raines!!" at their TV set during Jeopardy thanks to me and my love of The Tan One. The Universe may want other people to solve world peace or eliminate visible panty lines or restore confidence in our government, but apparently all I had to do was be slightly enamored of the weather guy. Mission accomplished, Universe!


Also, Dear Fall ... it's me Margaret. I mean me, Laurie. Hi! Are you planning to come to Los Angeles this year? Just checking. Thanks.

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So I did manage to get Frankie off the treadmill yesterday and into the kitchen with the lure of canned food. She loves me but she loves smelly food from a can a whole lot more. Thanks for all the nice notes about personal safety and wow, there sure are a lot of you out there who have had similar experiences like my Thursday creepies! Guess I am not the only woman out there who has had to tune into her instincts. I thought reader Cathryn said it so well:

There have been times my instincts have pinged at me, and I listened. Good thing. It feels like a fingernail pinging a Waterford goblet.


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A few folks have asked how I am coming on my Misti Alpaca scarf -- I will have you know that I have made exactly 0.0000% progress on ripping out the offensive portion. I need some quiet time alone with the yarn and I haven't had that yet. So for my commute-time project this week I switched to another half-completed scarf I've been meaning to finish up for approximately 1,000 years and I should be done with that messy stripey thing by my bus ride home tonight. It's also got alpaca in it and wow, it sheds. But it's so soft!

Anyway, I plan to revisit my Misti Alpaca scarf over the weekend, and next week I will not only be giving away a few sets of those beautiful Knit Picks Harmony wood needles but Allison at SuperCrafty.com will be gifting one lucky reader three fluffy skeins of Misti Alpaca for their very own winter yummy project! Stay tuned. Freebies are good.

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Reader Hailey wrote:

Please, Ms. CrazyAuntPurl, help me! I'm knitting my first hat, and have run into a bit of a pickle. I'm not using a pattern, you see, and I can't find one that matches my yarn. I'm using some Blue Sky Alpaca Dyed Cotton, and my gauge is around 4 stitches per inch. I don't know what to use for the decreasing! Your Roll Brim Hat recipe is quite helpful, but I don't know what to do. Can you help me?

I'm going to have to make some assumptions here, since you didn't mention how big your head is! Let's say you are knitting this for an adult with an average-sized head. I like to guesstimate about 20 or 21 inches in circumference for a regular noggin, let's use 20 inches for this example.

If you gauge is 4 stitches per inch, then you multiply 4 (stitches per inch) by 20 inches (circumference of hat) to get a cast on amount of 80 stitches.

(stitches per inch) X (size of head in inches) = (number of cast-on-stitches.)

If you had a different gauge or circumference measurement and ended up with an odd number for your cast-on amount, just round down to the nearest even number of stitches and cast on that amount. Decreasing works much better on an even number of stitches.

OK, so let's knit.

Cast on your 80 stitches. Knit in the round for about six or maybe seven inches, depending on how long you like your hats to be. Then you would begin decreasing. I wrote a very lengthy soliloquy on decreasing and you can read that here. It explains the reasoning (weird and strange as it may be) behind selecting your decrease number. But the simple answer is you have two options for decreasing on this hat.

Decrease Option 1:
On the first decrease row, decrease every 14 stitches on the first row.

Knit 14, knit two together. Continue for the entire first round.
On the next round, knit 13, knit 2 together. Repeat to end of round.
On the next round, knit 12, knit 2 together. Repeat to end of round.

And on and on.

OR!! Decrease Option 2:
You could decrease every eight stitches, if you want a faster decrease. I do this when I realize, whoopsy, I just knit seven inches of hat and need to decrease rightnow.

So you would knit 8, knit 2 together. Repeat to end of row.
Then knit 7, knit 2 together, repeat to end of row, and on and on.

But how the heck do you know what number to pick?
The math behind all of this decreasing stuff is very simple. Even a mathaphobe like myself can do it.

You need to find ONE number that divides into your cast on amount evenly with no wonky percentages left over. Because how can you decrease 6.7845673635809 stitches per row?

The formula is:
CastOnNumber ÷ SomeNumber(SN) = an even amount
SomeNumber(SN) - 2 = Your Decrease Amount

In the first example for your hat, here is my math:
80 ÷ 16 = 5 (5 is a solid number, that's good.)
Then 16 - 2 = 14. The number 14 is your decrease amount.

Knit 14, knit 2 together, knit 14, knit 2 together for the whole round.

In the second decrease example here is the math:
80 ÷ 10 = 8 (good, 8 is also a solid number).
Then 10 - 2 = 8.
So 8 becomes your first decrease amount.

Knit 8, knit 2 together, knit 8, knit 2 together for the whole round.

That's the math, yo. Now my brain hurts. Good luck and enjoy your roll-brim hat!

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And finally, a photo of my little brother. You KNOW he is up to no good! Somewhere out there a shoe has just been chewed upon with great vigor...

What are YOU looking at?

Posted by laurie at October 17, 2008 9:57 AM