perfect pattern

Here’s my new fabric treat for myself. It’s perfect  pattern by alexander henry and I fell deeply in love when I saw it pop up as a new item on Pink Chalk Fabrics. It smacked of one of those sold out, impossible to find, ah prints so I grabbed it. I was thinking quilt for phoebe or jumper and then decided, nope. It’s for me. Maybe the backing to a nice lap quilt for Winter? Because in my imaginary life I make myself nap quilts for Winter. And then I sit under them and knit.

In real life I sign up for ravelry, get all excited about knitting, start and bungle at least three projects and realize, oh yeah, I suck at knitting. Mostly I’m ill prepared. I don’t know any of the fancy stuff and I’ve sort of forgotten all the regular stuff I thought I knew. I never have the right needles or the the right yarn. I can’t follow a chart. I can’t do fancy cast ons. So I winged it. I just started knitting a hat on some circular needles. It was immediately apparent it was way too big for Phoebe’s little head so I thought, oh it’s wool, I’ll felt it! I’m a genius. Yeah, well, it’s in the washing machine on its third run – sorry mother earth – and it’s not getting small enough. It is felting. Somewhat. But I can still see all the stitches. I checked and its 100% virgin wool. Why isn’t it thick and fuzzy and tiny and cute yet. pah.

I refuse to give up though. I’m going to become a competent cheerful knitter, even if it kills me.

35 thoughts on “perfect pattern

  1. Liz Andrsn says:

    Felting needs hot water, cold water (to shock it), a little soap and aggitation (of the item, not the knitter). Did you put Miss P’s hat in something so that the fibers don’t muck up your washer motor? Throw it in with some old jeans, tennis balls, old towels or anything else that will beat it up a bit.
    Remember a nice sweater that felted on its’ own in the washer by mistake? It wasn’t that difficult to do, but try to do it on purpose, and it’s a pain! Hang in there 😉

  2. Sara says:

    Yup you’re gong to need hot water and other stuff – wool needs to be bumped around a bit. If the hat is just having a free flowing swim in the washer then not much will happen :(
    Throw in some jeans – you’ll be fine.

  3. Laura says:

    You are cracking me up because I am the queen of big ideas and then not being able to finish them – as Melanie O put it, I live in an “imaginary world” of being a great knitter! At least you finish lots of other projects! Why is it that I have several things that are 80% completed but I don’t quite seem to have the skill to finish them or to get them to look as they should? Oh well, I just keep telling myself that millions of people can do this, so why can’t I be one of them?!

  4. Jess says:

    I love that fabric too!
    A customer came in to the fabric store where I work and she had a bag made of that fabric. She got it at the British Museum, and I gave up looking for it.
    A friend sent me the link a few days ago, and I must have some!
    Keep at the knitting, it will all work out.

  5. theclevermom says:

    Fulling (it’s felting when you do it with a needle, fulling when you shrink it with water/agitation) also works best when there is some room between the stitches. A nice, firm-ish, tight-ish knit fabric doesn’t felt nearly so well as something knit rather loosely.
    Good luck!
    What’s your Ravelry nick?

  6. Carrie says:

    It took me years to get the three planets of knitting to align. It’s not often talked about, but getting the right pattern, yarn, and needles all together in the same room at the same time to get a project started is more work than I initially thought.
    I think the hat looks pretty good.
    I’m bloglessC on ravelry – check out my notebook.

  7. mary says:

    OK, that EXACT same thing happened to me making what looks like the EXACT same hat (or something frightfully similar! “Bug” hat pattern from “Junior Knits” by Debbie Bliss?) Washed a million times to no great shrinkage. Then, I realized that I did have skills in sewing (as, of course, you do). So… I cut (gasp!) a slice straight up the back and front centers of the hat, turned it inside out, went to my trusty sewing machine and sewed up the cut seams (taking the fabric in a little bit, of course). As long as you line up the stripes, cut excess knit away and give a little zigzag or serge stitch after a straight stitch, it is not that noticeable and, more importantly, makes the hat cozy and wearable. Depending on how much bigger it is now than what you want it to be, you may only need to take some in on the backside, but you need to make sure the earflaps line up to your daughter’s ears and are not somewhere in the back of her neck. I was sooooo frustrated and this seemed to satisfy me as having this garment finally feel complete and wearable. It also opened me up to the possibilities of machine sewing knitted “fabric” or garments… Hope this helps…

  8. Cindy says:

    Everytime I am pregnant I get the need to knit, badly – after 2 bubbas I am still no closer to getting something that even resembles an item of clothing.

  9. Mary-Heather says:

    So glad you are on Ravelry now! :) (am biased, as I work for Ravelry, but it is the best website ever!) 😉
    You do not suck at knitting. What you need are some new lap quilts to help you set the mood!

  10. Michelle W. says:

    I want to knit so badly and I. JUST.CAN’T. I have to watch videos online on how to do whatever stitch every five minutes and my tension is off so that its super tight, then loose and then tight again. I started off with crochet and I am good at it. One needle. No problems. Two needles. Totally new language for me. I suck. But the knitted items are so much nicer (I think). You can only crochet so many blankets you know?? One day….

  11. AmandaMay says:

    oh do I know about the knitting that won’t felt! Been there, my friend! Is it maybe superwash wool? or is that what Virgin Wool doesn’t mean? Did you try the dryer? That was the ticket for my little piece of stubborn knitting. Good luck!

  12. Magda says:

    It’s still better than FINALLY…painfully…completing a knitted baby hat only to find it no longer fits because you took so long to finish it! Then saving it for your next, who has a huge head, so it doesn’t fit her either!

  13. Heidi says:

    I have to laugh with you! I saw that fabric too and its great! I’m sure you’ll find something fun to do with it. As for the knitting, I’ve been knitting for many, many moons, and I completely understand the starting of ideas and not finishing them, or bungling them up. I’ve learned from a wise friend that it’s all ok, and part of the process. Fiddling with seams or a piece of elastic works wonders too, and then there’s always felting, or donating it to a teddy bear who’s head is bare…

  14. aleta says:

    Boil it darling, boil it.
    Still doesn’t fit?
    Open bottle of wine. Quaff two glasses. Smile benignly at your husband and kids. Burn dinner.
    Works for me every time!!!

  15. Jennifer says:

    I have only had success with felting when the water was very hot. Two cycles did it. I stopped knitting for so long because the things I made for myself never got worn. Finishing techniques are so key, and even when I tried hard to take my time and follow instructions, a slip up or two makes the difference between something wear-able and something that gets frogged.

  16. jen says:

    Have you tried crochet? I also began as a knitter, but found I didn’t have the attention span for so many detailed instructions, depending on the project.
    Not to bash knitting/knitters AT ALL, my sister is quite accomplished and also dyes and spins her own, but crochet to me is just so much simpler and free-er, if you know what I mean. And definitely faster! 😉

  17. sarah says:

    that is terrific fabric.
    have you thought of trying cross stitch under that lap quilt? it’s super-cheap, simple, and just as relaxing as knitting.
    it dosen’t have to be country-kitchen, but it also dosen’t have to be in-your-face with the swears.
    i like a lot of the reproduction patterns. they can actually look shockingly modern sometimes.
    or you could always say you’re working on a gift for Mommy.
    best magazine is sampler & antique needlework quarterly.
    on-line mag: gift of stitching
    catalog: nordic needle.
    they all have web sites, and you can use the google.
    unlike my mother, who can’t use google. but, she has been a willing recipient of many cross-stitched pieces over the last 24 years.
    love, sarah
    if you have any questions or need help finding patterns you like, my e-mail address is mrs at ericadamson dot com

  18. shelle says:

    wool is funny that way, i think mary is onto something sew it smaller, felting is just not exact enough. I know i tried to fix something by felting and ended up with a 2 inch thick fabric that would not even bend.
    happy knitting!

  19. hillary says:

    sarah, I love needlepoint! but there again, it’s a chart thing. I got this far on one once. that was it.
    knitting v crochet. I think whichever you learn first is the easy one. I learned to knit first and I find crocheting impossible. wheres the other needle! I’m supposed to just whip my hand around in the air and it makes something?! 😉
    sewing is a good idea! but… I think I’ve got it. I washed it again with jeans and tennis balls and it’s definitely smaller. oddly shaped but about the right size. I’m trying to take a pic now..
    thanks guys!!

  20. Jo Ann says:

    I love that hat! If it doesn’t fit Phoebe, have head tryouts and give it to whoever it fits. (I’ll be right over.)
    If it just has to go down an inch or less, sew a circle of bias tape (a little shorter than the circumference of the hat) along the inside bottom, easing it like when sewing on knits.

  21. Scotti says:

    The fabric store I work at got that fabric in black with cream pattern pieces. I snatched myself 2 yards posthaste. It has nearly sold out in the 10 days we have had it.

  22. sarah says:

    oh, dear.
    you needed to have started in the middle, with the little dudes or the trees. you would have seen your progress move more quickly as you completed each color. if you were doing the border first so you’d have a reference, just stitch the inner most line, maybe even just the bottom part of the x so that the stitches wouldn’t stand out as being stitched from a different direction than the rest of the border.
    love, sarah

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