As you may know, I’ve done a fair amount of knitting in my life. I like to think I’m competent.
Today, however, I write with the tale of a humbling experience. Yes, humility is a good thing, but not really. It totally sucks.
Project: Kos Neckwarmer, star of the current Great Dickie-along now running over in the Lounge. Here’s the sample made for Field Guide No. 23: Glow.
Cute, right? A tasty snack, a bit of knitting, a quick trip to Norway.
I was aiming for a different vibe from the original Arne & Carlos colorway. I went with Rowan Norwegian Wool in Frost Grey, Frost Pink, Gold Nugget, and Wind Chime.
Think Jordan Almonds. Think Easter.
Three Things to Look Out For
Thing No. 1: Think about the pattern. The advice I dole out on the regular did not occur to me as I cranked away on this jolly chart. I knew there were decreases in there, but I didn’t think properly about how often to do the decreases.
Massive pro tip here: Highlight the decreases. Turns out, if you want to make a dickie that gets smaller as you knit toward the neck, you have to decrease with each repeat of the chart—not just one decrease per round. Astounding!
Thing No. 2: Make a gauge swatch. Suppress all cavalier thought along the lines of Oh I just made a hat using the same yarn at the same gauge I’m good lessssss goooooo. This Kos Neckwarmer is not the same as a hat, it’s just not. I cranked this thing, full of bravado, hubris, ego, certainty that I was getting 22 stitches to 4 inches/10 cm, never mind that I hadn’t done a single thing to check how my gauge was looking. How was it looking?
It was looking small. My gauge was more like 25 stitches, enough to cause significant shrinkage in the circumference, making for a somewhat inadequate dickie. I held out the pathetic hope that blocking would embiggen it, even as I knew this never works.
Blocking—just a quick bit of steaming with my faithful Rowenta—made my knitting look fantastic. This Norwegian Wool is really incredible stuff. But blocking did not add three inches to this thing. I can still wear this, definitely. But it would sit better with a bit more fabric in there.
Thing No. 3: Bind off loosely. In that photo of me, you can see that the neck is still on the needle, allowing for all manner of stretchy business as I tried this on. When I bound off, this stretchy business was cut to a mingy minimum, so much so that I had to redo it. Not a big deal, but easily avoided if you remember that this neck hole has to fit over a human head.
I made my collar shorter than in the pattern, not wanting a doubled collar. And I added the Gold Nugget edge because I didn’t want to get into a second ball of Frost Grey, and also: I really like Gold Nugget.
I am about to make another Kos Neckwarmer, because I’ve got the fever now, and I’ve got knowledge—hard-won, humility-rich knowledge.
PS I finished this while watching the Oscars, which I will watch until the end of time no matter how much people bellyache about it. I love movies, period. I thought there were a number of really moving speeches. And the dresses were dreamy confections, with a lot of voluminous looks that had to be a trick to navigate in. What did you think?