Ripping a whole stocking hat out...

I was one row away from finishing a stocking hat that was being done with stocking thin (1) and #2 and #3 circular needles. I have never worked with#1 yarn and never such small needles. I'm glad that the folks at Addi had some that I bought most of for the reward money we got when wife purchased my addi click set. Anyway, I was watching a particularly exciting scene when I put the needles in my lap to watch. Then when I picked them up again, half of the live loops were just sitting their waiting for me to go rescue them. I smiled and dug in and realized that working with thin black yarn makes it very difficult to see where the loops are and then catching them becomes a skill in of itself. At that point I just sighed and started ripping out the whole damn hat. And now, boys and girls, Mark has a new project he can do...another stocking hat!

The pattern called for the CO to be a crochet provisional cast on in the round. Working with thin yarn like that really makes for a messy start. I used a different color than black so it was easy to see which was which. I also used the same size yarn #1 sock yarn. Would it be acceptable to make the provisional cast on with a worsted yarn. I know it will make larger holes, but that would better for me so I could actually do something easily. Or would that mess things up.

The pattern calls for a couple inches of 2x2 rib stitch, then a couple inches of stockinette stitch. When I have the same number of rib stitches and stockinette stitch, I am to fold the 2x2 rib to the inside of the hat, match up the cast on row with the 17th row of the stockinette stitch, pick up the stitches from row 1 (CO provisional), then when everything is lined up, do an SSK to join the ribbed flap to the inside of the hat and at the same time continue kinitting the rest of the hat.

In order for me to NOT go blind working with black yarn, might a worsted weight yarn be okay for the casting on? I thought I'd do the chain and then pick up the stitches with the sock yarn.

Any suggestions?



Tom Hart's picture

I wish I could offer you some real help, Mark, but I can't. I'm doing a black glove right now for a friend at work and it's the absolute last time I've ever knitting with black. I'm way too old for it. When I come to the increases on the thumb gusset I knit into the stitch below and it's a total shot in the dark, literally. The next time I have a black project, I'm knitting it in something easy to see and then dyeing it.

Your hat sounds like a really interesting project. I'm looking forward to the pictures. Sorry to hear about all that ripping...

All the best with it, Tom

CLABBERS's picture

I agree!
Black is hard to use. When I showed my brother the hat, he loved it. I thought, "Great! A nice light color would be nice for sunny S. California." Nope...he asked for black. So, I will do this thing. I may go out and buy a new light so I can actually see.


rmbm612's picture

This time of the year, when the sun is low, days are short, and days are overcast, working with black or any dark color can be difficult. Knitting indoors in the evening by incandescent lighting very difficult. Have you invested in an Ott-light, either floor or table top? What a difference that will make. You can save on one by watching for sales at places like Michaels or Joanne's Fabrics. These two options frequently offer sale coupons for up to 50% off the price of the lights and there are many styles to choose from. I have four of them scattered about the house. One floor light and three table top. Some lights have a magnifying glass that can be attached to the arm. Using worsted weight yarn I think would not be a good idea when using sock yarn. I use a smooth cotton yarn for a provisional cast-on in a similar weight. I also use a crocheted cast-on using a smooth cotton yarn then start the project by knitting into the provisional stitches on the needle. Crocheted cast on is 10 times easier to do than fighting with a crochet chain and trying to figure out where to pick up stitches and it 20 times easier to pick up those stitches when unravel the chain stitch by stitch. There are many good videos demonstrating the provisional cast-on technique using the crochet cast-on . Use your browser and type in provisional cast-on,crochet. Good luck in the future with your project.

CLABBERS's picture

Thanks Bill.
I need to cast on 156 stitches using a #2 needle with the sock yarn. I used a smooth cotton yarn but in worsted weight thinking it might be easier to work with the larger live stitches when I need to. I have 75 stitches on the needles using the crochet chain which was very easy to do. I struggle with the crochet cast-on because it's just such an awkward way for me to hold the needles. The 75 stitches fills up the entire 16" cable needle cord, but I think I might be able to squeeze in the rest if I push it together. But I'm not sure. I may have to go to the smaller size waste yarn.

The live stitches that I will need will be folded to the inside of the hat. There is a 2x2 rib then after 17 rounds I change to stockinette stitch. After 17 of those rounds, I am to fold it to the inside and then knit the live stitches from the provisional cast-on to the stockinette stitches for the outside and then just continue knitting the hat as normal. It gives a double layer for about 1.5 inches so it keeps ears warmer than a single layer of the sock yarn. Here is a pic of it .

I have seen the lights at JoAnn's and may invest in one. Thanks!

Thanks for the insight!

Tallguy's picture

Ripping out a whole hat just because you lost a couple of stitches?? There is a good assignment -- try to put your knitting back on the needles after you "accidentally" pulled out the needles.

I knit a huge circular shawl (about 2,000 stitches in the final round) in fine black yarn. Yes, I was punishing myself for something horrible I had done. But I learned that you cannot knit with black at night, at all. There are no lights bright enough. I could knit in daylight, near a window on a cloudy day and I could see the stitches nicely, but never at night. I also learned that one can get carpal tunnel pain from knitting!! So take care.

So have a black project for daytime work, and another colourful one for night work! Hey, twice as much knitting!

AKQGuy's picture

I would not use a worsted weight yarn due to you having to match these stitches up to other stitches later that have been knit on a smaller needle continuously from existing small sock weight stitches. It's going to cause your inside edge to be quite floppy. I would use a smooth cotton of a similar weight such as Bill suggests and pull that provisional cast on slowly picking up your live stitches as you go so as not to want to use those new needles to commit Hari Kari.

CLABBERS's picture

Good idea Quinton. On the second try, I was a good boy and worked very slowly removing the provisional yarn and picking up the stitches. Where I ran into trouble was that last stitch that I picked up. It didn't go well. I have decided that I need to practice provisional stitch pickup more with larger yarn to get the feel for it and the behavior of the yarn. I know you get one less stitch when using the provisional, but also learned how to fix that. Unfortunately, project didn't reveal the same "fix" as what I saw in a few videos. The hat is now back in it's ball state on a shelf. I'll get it though. You know how persistent I am and how anal I am about my stitch work.