Monday, April 30, 2012

Queen's Day

My brother is always happy to say that his birthday is a national holiday in Holland – his birthday is Queen’s Day, April 30th.  And while we are still making our way in a new home and a new land, I can’t forget about his birthday.  When describing my brother, I say that he has hit “the mother-load” of marrying into a very athletic family.  His in-laws swim, cycle, ski, golf … I would say anything relating to sports, they do!  When asked at his wedding by his new in-laws to me what sports I participated in, my response was that “I sprint to the mall for the sales.”  I enjoy running and swimming but not competitively; but I would rather quilt, knit - anything like that.  My mother made most of our clothes growing up including all of mine and my sister’s prom dresses, and my wedding dress.  My mother made things for my brother as well; and because of this, he is always appreciative of whatever is made for him!  He is one of those men who just “get’s it.”  He lives in Colorado with wife, Vodka, who I taught to knit a few years ago; and they don’t live very far from where The Shaker grew up.  So when it came around to his birthday, I was thinking, I can’t make him a hat. It’s springtime.  But The Shaker said, you can ski in Colorado way into May and knowing your brother and his family they will probably ski in May.  Ok, so that was all the reassurance that I needed.  So off to find some yarn ….

As you know I am not a big “superwash” wool fan.  But I did some thinking … My friend Christina said that superwash wool has had the scales removed, this makes it possible to put the garment directly into the washing machine and will, hopefully, avoid shrinkage.  She recommended to me go down 2 needles sizes, may be in even three.  I chose to make my brother Jared Flood’s “Turn a Square” hat using superwash wool.  The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn and US size 7 needles (4.5 mm).  The pattern was very clear in stating that the gauge was very important so choose needles that would get you 20 stitches in 4 inches.  So I knitted up a swatch on US size 5 (3.75 mm) and then I soaked it in water, removed the water by blotting and then left it to dry.  Then I measured the swatch.  I did this because of Christina’s advice:  superwash wool has no scales; therefore, it will grow because the wool’s scales are what grips the yarn together and therefore holds it shape.  So with no scales, there will be growth.  Her advice paid off, and the swatch came out to be 20 stitches to 4 inches, and 24 rows to 4 inches.

I chose red for the hat to embrace our new surroundings and I knew that he would like that idea.  Plus, bright orange (in honor of Queen’s Day in Holland) on my brother’s very tall body might just be too a little too much ...

The Martini Knitter

1 comment:

SwimmerGirl said...

Great hat - that pattern is on my to-do list too!