Monday, April 21, 2008

A Hat for the Moon

The Rockin' Sock Club had a contest this year--make up an outrageous project and estimate the amount of yarn needed to knit it. something "crazy" like socks for an elephant were suggested. There were many, many very creative entries. I have mine below.

To kill the suspense, I was one of twenty finalists, and one of the ten winners! Let me tell you, I was bouncing about it all week, and then I got to bounce again when my prize arrived... All the winners were lucky enough to receive a skein of Socks That Rock yarn! I selected Mediumweight in a colorway called "Faulty Dyer". It's so hard to capture it here on film, because there are so many beautiful, subtle colors and shades. I purchased a sock pattern for it, but one of my friends commented that it would be a shame to hide it so. Now I'm torn between finding some way to use it in a scarf or other project, or still making those socks! Either way it will be something amazingly beautiful, because it's gorgeous even before I've knit it up.

Without further ado--here is my entry:

My three-year-old daughter and I were discussing just what ‘fun’ things we could knit and she looked up at me and smiled while announcing, “We could make a hat for the moon, mommy!”

And I thought, “Well, goodness. It is Blue MOON Fiber Arts ….”

Then I got to looking through the yarns, considering just what sort of hat I’d make for the moon, and lo-and-behold, I found the perfect color for this craziness–Lunasea!

In such a beautiful yarn, I’d hardly want to detract from the colorway. We opted for a stockinette-stitch hat that would cover half of the moon’s ‘head’, sitting high across the brow and down low across the back, with a brim that curls up happily on its own.

I present to you, a hat for the moon, knit in Leticia weight yarn in the Lunasea colorway…

Yarn needed:
Leticia - LUNASEA colorway
Content: 100% Handspun Merino Wool from Uruguay
Weight: 3.5 oz.
Length: 80 yards = 73.152 meters
Gauge: 2 sts per in. on US 10 (6mm)

2 Size 10 circular needles with a REALLY LONG cable (or needles required to obtain proper gauge)

Numbers are obtained from:

The diameter of the moon is about 2,161 miles or (3,476 kilometers). This makes the circumference about 6,790 miles.

1 mile = 5,280 feet

6,790 mi x 5,280 feet/mi = 35,851,200 feet
35,851,200 feet x 12in/foot = 430,214,400 inches
430,214,400 inches x 2sts/in = 860,428,800 stitches

Let’s knit with 15% Negative ease, which means we only need to cast on 85% of the circumference —
860,428,800 stitches x 85% = 731,364,480 stitches to cast on, join in a circle. I suggest a crochet cast-on to give a nice, looped edge with plenty of elasticity, and because a backwards-loop cast on would be hopelessly twisted.

I want this to be a pretty form-fitting, curve hugging, round, round hat. Just like the moon. It needs to fit over half the ‘head’, so let’s figure out that distance…

5,771.5 widest circumference
2885.75 half-circ. - brim to crown
1442.875 quarter-circ - half brim to crown
721.4375 eighth-circ - quarter distance to crown

Knit in the round until piece measures approximately 1600 miles from cast on (a little more than half the total distance from brim to crown).
Divide stitches into eight equal sections and place markers (91,420,560 between markers).
To decrease:
Row 1: Knit to 2 sts before marker, k2tog
Row 2: Knit

Decrease until 8 sts left. Break yarn. Thread through stitches twice and pull tight.

Now, there may be many methods to calculate total yardage, but I figure the easiest will be to figure out how much total cloth to make. I need the surface area of the moon, adjusted for our negative ease–which I figured on the circumference. So forgive me a moment, but I need to work backwards in math to get our adjusted radius.

Circumference = 2 Pi r
6,790 mi x 85% = 5,771.5 miles of cloth around the cast-on edge in our negative-ease hat…
5,771.5 = 2 Pi r
r = 918.6 miles

Surface area = 4 x Pi x r^2
Adjusted surface area = 4 x Pi x (918.6)^2 = 10,617,525.2

A hat covers half the head so, 5,308,762.6 square miles

If you knit 2 sts/inch and 4 rows/inch I estimate (from a swatch I have in hand)
80 yards = 12in wide and 16in long (1.33 ft)
1 foot x 1.33 foot = 1.33 square foot

Now I know I use 80 yards of Leticia in 1.33 square foot and I need to cover 5,308,762.6 square miles!

5,308,762.6 sq mi x 5280 ft/mi x 5280 ft/mi = 147,999,807,267,840 square feet
147,999,807,267,840 square feet x ( 80 yards / 1.33 square foot ) = 8,902,244,046,185,864.66 yards

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Baby Kimono from Mason-Dixon Knitting

Here's a new finished object. I was still needing a break from the Icosa Ball (I'm back working on it now and enjoying it again!) and I had it in my head to learn Continental-style knitting. Kelley Petkun speaks repeatedly in her Knit Picks Podcast about making a whole bunch of Baby Kimonos out of Mason-Dixon Knitting. It sounded like a great project to try a new style of knitting... very forgiving of mistakes. It is done completely in garter stitch--so no pesky purls to slip you up.

I'm not sure yet Continental will be my favorite. I'm quite good at English style, and my gauge is very sure and even. Clearly on this you can see where I slipped on gauge as I figured out how to keep the yarn in my left hand. Still, it's darn cute and it was a good project.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sometimes, you just need a break

I'd gotten into a funk earlier this week and couldn't figure out what to do. I was plain old tired, and sick of just about everything. Cleaning house certainly wasn't appealing, but neither was working on any of the projects I have in line. The Icosa Ball wasn't going to do it for me, but I still wasn't ready to jump in and knit up my hand-dyed yarn, nor to leap into the March "Leafling" pattern with my Lucky yarn from the BMFA sock club.

So, I dropped the kids off at the daycare for a couple of hours and ran a couple of errands before meeting with a friend. One of those errands landed me in Ben Franklin Crafts--which just happened to have Debbie Bliss Rialto yarn on sale. I'm happy to say I bought some, with the plan of making an Amigurumi bear from a book I bought on a lark.

The Rialto is a lovely, soft yarn. It inspired me. The pattern was adorable, I started working on it before I went to bed that night. As I fell asleep, I actually thought about the project and planned ahead to working on it the next day, feeling energized. In fact, the next day my energy spilled over into getting things cleaned up and working on the laundry and the house.

It went so quickly and it was fun to do a little crochet for a change. In short, in a day-and-a-half, I had a new finished object, and I was well out of my funk.

I'm glad I took a break from my knitting and broke out of my usual patterns. It was worth it!