Friday, April 17, 2020

Ilo Hat

Very pleased to announce that I finished this hat today.

Ilo by Ysolda Teague

We have the lamb cam set up in the barn, so I can watch on the sheep on tv, and its the only show ever made that I can bear to sit and watch for hours uninterrupted.  And I don't have to pay close attention, so its perfect for knitting.

Best show on TV by far.  No sound, but just spellbinding.

I've noticed a trend over the past few years, my most complicated, stalled WIP's get completed during lambing.

There was that enormous lace shawl - finished during lambing.

And last year the roadside beanie - all that lovely fair isle, again in front of the tv show I call "Barn".

Makes sense that I completed a hat pattern was begun in November last year with twisty windy cables and fun baubles.  So it is finished.

I need to say a few things about this hat.

I used a butt end skein of my first millspun yarn experiment, color grey.  I normally hand process everything, hand carded batts, spun yarns from the lock, and hand knit accessories to showcase our wool.  Well, a few years ago I was skirting the britch wool off my fleeces and tossing in the trash when I realized that our fleeces have gotten so good due to our careful breeding program that the britch wool from our sheep is actually pretty nice.

That is some pretty nice britch wool!

Not nice enough for me to spend time on hand processing, as I can spend the entire year doing the premium quality wool that we breed for, the wool that sits snugly under the protective coats we use.  But certainly good enough to make a very nice yarn, so I saved the britch, sorted it into the 4 main colors (grey, black, fawn and brown), and sent the ginormous bags of skirtings to the mill.  Some day I'll have white, but we don't have that many white sheep right now to justify a mill run.

Display featuring my millspun yarns last year at Rhinebeck

Same display close to end of day 2.
The result was a very nice yarn, pretty colors and very good acceptance by my fiber patrons.  So, I had one skein from each color that was from the end of the run, they didn't make the cut to sell as they were shorter than the rest of the skeins.  I am making up samples to showcase what you can do with the yarn with the four butt ends resulting from the mill run.

Ends from each color, I'll be knitting with these to make samples.

I chose the grey to do cables because I vaguely recall one of my expert knitting friends (photo below) telling me that she thought my grey wool always sells out first because people like to use it for cable knits as it shows off the textures really well.  Then I asked my social media community which pattern I should use, and someone recommended Ilo.

This girl makes magic with knitting needles.

Downloaded it from Ravelry, read through it and started with the ribbing, cheerfully knitting a simple rib pattern, as I watched Christmas specials with a nice glass of wine by my side.  Blissful in my ignorance of what was to come.

Tra la tra la - happy knitting time.

I got to the cabling and man, things escalated very quickly.  I made a couple Aran cable sweaters when I was in high school, so I figured this would be manageable.  Both those patterns pretty much repeated very consistently, so I was able to get into the rhythm pretty easily.  Plus, I made them while working in a veggie stand in the fall after school, and it wasn't crazy busy, so was able to focus.  Anyways, I was not prepared for the complexity.  Realized after the third frogging that I was going to have to sit at a table in a quiet space with my magnified mirror, a highlighter and DP needles to keep the repeats in order.

The thing is, every row is different, and the begins and ends shift around almost every row!  I felt like I was standing at the bottom of those crazy staircases at Hogwarts, not knowing where I was going to end up once I started on a row.

It was the most challenging part about the pattern.

The bauble instruction was written kind of funky too, and it was my first bauble, so that took a while to get used to.  Lets just say the writer was a little fast and loose with the words "next stitch".

And I just couldn't remember all the different cable methods (I think there were 10 different ways to cable) so I would read the chart on one section which gave me the graphic of the cable.  Then I had to check the code for that cable in another section, and then go to another page to read description of what I actually had to do to create the stitch.  Three spots to check before I could actually knit anything.  By the time I got back to the needles, I'd forget what I was supposed to do!  I wonder if it has anything to do with me being pre-menopausal.  (I blame a lotta stuff on me being pre-menopausal).

Last thing too, I lost the yarn chicken game.  Had to use a totally not matching bit of grey yarn from my bin of scraps in order to bring this baby on home.  So, guess I won't be entering it in the fair.

So close!  Four little rows left, but just not enough yarn.  Arggg!
Don't judge me.  Maybe I'll add a pompom.

This tiny little hat!  It has plagued me, sat in the basket judging me as it gathered dust.  When I would pick it up to work on, I'd discover a mistake generated many rows past which caused what I was being told to do in current row absolutely impossible.  Then I would have to set it down and walk away, give it 24 hours to settle down.  Invented a lot of new curse word combos.

Lets add a few more *&^%ing implements in there shall we?

But I finished it and I think it is correct.  So there you go, if you decide to make this pattern, don't call me for help as I am in recovery from the trauma I experienced while this hat was on the needles.  But I really love it now that its completed!