This all started with the KnitPicks Andean Chullo pattern from their 2008 Winter catalog (I think..it's been a while!). The moment I saw it on the page, I *knew* it was the hat I had been searching for. (Don't look at me like that - I'm sure every knitter, at some point, has had one of those moments.) I thought about it, dreamed about it....and went to order the kit.....but Knitpicks was backordered. So, I saved it to my cart, and went on about my life.
I kept thinking about that hat....and the more I thought about it, the *less* I liked it. The shape wasn't correct - it was basically a multi-colored watch cap. The colors weren't right for me (even the alternate colorway they had was...not me)...but I still wanted it. I even called KnitPicks and asked them if I could create my own kit - but they said no, it ONLY came as the 2 kits, you couldn't (at that time) buy the pattern separate.
Well, OK then....I started looking for an alternative. I looked at a TON of chullo patterns...and finally hit pay dirt with the Blossoms Chullo by Deja Knits. THAT was the perfect hat.......except for the motifs. :lol: I immediately bought the pattern....and started trying to figure out what I was gonna do with it.
My first thought was "make it personal!".....after a lot of brain-storming, I decided I needed a Celtic-themed chullo (I'm of Scots-Irish descent, and am the State Convenor of my Clan Society). I dug out my knotwork books, the colored pencils, and the graph paper, and had a ball fitting knots into the parameters of the pattern (why re-do the shaping when it was already perfect?). I liked the 8-color version of the Blossoms hat, so I started shopping for the yarn......the suggested yarn was out of my budget, so I substituted KnitPicks Palette yarns in similar colors. I placed my order....and began the long wait (they didn't ship it for 2 weeks....which was a blessing!)
While I waited, I dreamed of the hat. But...something wasn't..right. The knots just didn't "do it" for me.....then, one morning, I woke up with the idea of sheep. It all clicked - I needed a Sheep Chullo! It took no time at all to chart out the first 2 motifs - and when the yarn arrived, I was ready to cast on!
I quickly knitted up the sheep, and started the 2nd motif - but something kept nagging at me. You know how it is - there's something not right, and it won't leave you alone. I finally decided to try it on........and the blasted thing was TOO small!! I buried it on the computer desk, and ignored it for 9 months.
Until it got cold again. I picked it back up Dec. 9, pulled the needles out, and took a good, hard look at it. It was about 3" too small. So......OK, I did NOT do a swatch - not at the beginning, and not now. I didn't want to take the time to do a color-work swatch...so I started figuring. (I don't recommend this method - it could have bombed again. I was very, very lucky! Granted, I've knit enough now that I have a feel for things...but still. Swatches are a Good Thing!) The hat was about 3" too small on size 2s (which was the recommended size on the pattern. I'm usually pretty good about getting gauge - now I know that my stranded tension is MUCH tighter than my regular tension!). Size 3s would probably only give me another 1.5" or so....so I grabbed the 4s and cast on (at 4 AM, I might add! :lol:) I quickly fell into the "zone"....
The sheep went pretty quickly (even with 3-colors-per-row...and now I know why "they" say to NOT use 3-colors-per-row! :lol:) I moved on to the 2nd and 3rd motifs:
My son suggested the 3rd one - as I was getting near the end of the 2nd, I realized that what I had planned for the 3rd one just wasn't going to work - I wanted stylized weaving shuttles. I decided that I *really* didn't want to have to explain *what* they were to everyone who noticed this hat......so I had to come up with something else. Enter my 9 year old "Mom - you knit a lot of socks. You should put socks on your hat!" Done!
I cruised on up the hat, gleefully changing colors with abandon. I even took it with me when we did the obligatory family visits this holiday, happily talking and knitting. I finished the hat proper late last night:
The earflaps were finished this morning. I finished the sewing up at 11, right before we left for more family visits. My husband (the darling man!) made the tassels for me (I think he was pretty tired of my obsession! :lol:), and I attached them as we were walking out the door:
Here's a closeup of the earflaps:
I am NOT showing the inside, since I gave up on weaving in the ends in the middle of the sheep. I started tying them together, working the ends in a little, and letting them hang. I'll go back tonight and trim them - I was too excited that it was finished to do it earlier. :lol: The hat was steam-blocked (using my electric tea-kettle...the steam iron would have been a better choice!) and stretched on a bent-into-the-proper-shape plastic covered coat hanger. Most of the unevenness has been smoothed out by this.
The sheep began life as a Maine Line Knitting sweater pattern - I re-charted them to fit the space. The hand spindle is from Sarah Swett's Spin-Off Anniversary sweater - I laid it down (on the sweater, it's standing upright) and again re-charted it to fit the stitch count. The socks were my own design. The earflaps are the only thing knit as the pattern was written - but I changed the colors. (The colors "match" the main motifs...I thought that would be cool. :grin:) The tassels were my husband's contribution - he thought that they should all be different. I convinced him that the 2 earflap ones needed to match.....but he might have been on to something. Still - I LOVE how it turned out!
The pattern itself is well-written, very well thought out, and the charts are clear and easy to read. I can highly recommend it - even if mine doesn't look much like it. (I kept telling everyone yesterday that I kind of took a left turn on the first motif, and never made it back to where I started. :grin:) It would be a good hat for an adventuresome knitter to try color work on - as written, you only use 2 colors per row. And you end up with a way cool hat!
I had to share this with someone - since you really can't go out and accost people on the street to show them your latest project. And my husband was really getting tired of my "Isn't this the coolest hat EVER? I love the earflaps - isn't it *cool*! I'm glad it's cold....." :rotflmao: