Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Comedy of (Woollen) Errors



In a last minute sprint to bedeck us all in wintry-hatted goodness (there are now only twenty two sleeps until Spring), I have been knitting up a storm. Selfishly, but mainly because once I’d cast on Brooklyn Tweed’s Porom beret, I couldn’t stop, I concentrated on my own head first. That ended in tears.

The last stitch cast off, I plonked the beret artistically on my head, interrupted the bedtime story and proclaimed “Voila!” Cue peals of laughter. Apparently, and so suspected by my own self for thirty eight and a bit years, I DON’T do beret. Unfairly, the seven year old does. After an all ’round beret try on, with the Mr assuming irritating background artiste-like posings, the eldest kid scored.



My uneasy relationship with wool does not end there. Given the beret was somewhat on the large side for a seven year old, and it still needed to be blocked, I, in my unerring wisdom, spontaneously opted for a shrinkingly hot – not lukewarm – water blocking. Taking great care to avoid stretching or wringing and whatnot, the beret, nonetheless, appeared to grow before my eyes. Still clinging to a dream world, I placed the damp beret over a small salad bowl (as opposed to the medium sized version prescribed by Mr Tweed) and ordered it to make like a Land of The Giants character and shrink.

Voila! The seven year old’s new mushroom costume.*



There’s more. Last night I crocheted two hats for the two year old. With one round remaining on the first version, I realised I’d be lucky to find a newborn for it to fit. Only then did I discover that Vallieskids, the generous supplier of the free pattern, lives in Maine, USA. In Australian language, that would be a hat full of treble, not double crochets. Worse still, the youngest has inherited something of my headgear gene. Even in version two she looks as weirdy as I do in a beret. Had I used a flesh-toned wool she’d look entirely bald and strangely textured.

Snaffled with nary a backward glance by that pesky seven year old...



* any learned wisdom gratefully accepted and heartily appreciated

25 comments:

sushipie said...

i think its impossible to shrink wool. i ruined two sweaters that turned out too big by trying that hot water trick. i learned my lesson though. ;) i try to design my patterns a little more on the smaller side of things because even if it comes out kind of smallish you can block it bigger and it will likely grow over time anyway. i have had good results with that.

craftschmaft said...

Hilarious post! At lease your creations fit someone Tania. I can't even finish a scarf - wool and I always end in tears. And what a beautiful seven year old you have.

Madeline said...

Well, your seven year old can certainly do hats! She's a beauty.

Kylie said...

I have no wisdom at all, I'm afraid... only praise and enjoyment! Great post, and yes, those berets do look incredibly fetching on that gorgeous 7 y.o. of yours! :) K

Sandrine said...

I could do a entire post on woolen errors too :)!I can 't help you with knitting or crochet I hope you find someone that does...Your little lady is gorgeous and wears hats very well! even mushroom ones;))My 7 years old lost all her front teeth so I can not use her as a model at the moment;)Good luck with some more trials?

Jessi said...

your daughter is so beautiful and so too are your hat creations!!!! gorgeous choice of colors too!

Anonymous said...

Tarn, What stunning creations you have made! Wow! Your seven yr old looks beautiful in them also....me thinks she could have a gig modelling knitwear etc!
I have a clever friend who knits and crochets so if you ever want some tips I'm sure she'd be happy to help..
However in saying this I think you do a super job!
Love Jen xo

Kate said...

I had exactely the same issue with that Vallieskids pattern. Stupid American terminology. Yours looks great on your seven year old.

Nikki Cardigan said...

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! Let's look at the positives:
- you got in some knitting practise
- you confirmed suspections about your beret wearing future
- your big girl has a new costume
- you gave your family an endorphin rush
- you know wool will not follow your orders
- your learnt about the differences in US and Aust patterns
- you have a hat ready for a friend who has a premmie baby
And most importantly,
- you created a great story about Mum's funny knitting to add to the M&E history!

One Flew Over said...

Mistakes and disasters aside...these hats are just beautiful! I actually just bought myself a crochet hook so may need to get some tipos!

Your daughter is stunning...that hair ohhh I would give my left arm!

Melanie said...

Oh well, all good practice! Pity the wool for the beret wasn't of the easy-felting variety, a felted beret probably would've looked excellent. I love that butterfly crochet hat - I've had that marked as a must-make for a little while, I think it would rock on my 3 year old. It certainly rocks on your 7 year old :)

Peta @ Pippiwillow said...

These are ACE! The extra large beret will look very funky once clipped into place with long end trailing, the smaller hats are also crackers - they'll fit under the safety helmet eh? and Still keep the hat wearing head warm (and cosy). I'd wear em. Am loving the colour of the beret too . Peta

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Be consoled . You actually knitted two very nice berets , your eldest child is beautiful and looks good in Rasta hats and mushrooms ...and you don't need to rush to cast on stitches for a beret for your youngest in the few days left till Spring .

Gina said...

I have nothing to add or subtract in the wool-department. I must say, though, that your girl is extremely gorgeous and heading for a beret-modelling career. Or one being the face of a big mushroom supplier...

Michelle said...

Oh dear. They do look good though!!

Leonie Guld said...

I'm with michelle, they do look fantastic. Hey her head will grow into it!!

Umatji said...

Oh, now given my recent post about crochet - you are truly doing more than fine! I think the hats look fab and it is just like our offspring to flog our work and look better in it. W flogs all kinds of things from me and makes them work better for him. SOmething about the panache of being under 10 I expect. Well done you I reckon!

PottyMouthMama said...

Oh my, oh my! This post really had me laughing out loud. HOW FUNNY! I am sorry, I can only knit, not anything fancy, just a plain old scarf. So you are miles ahead of me. But man, oh man, thanks for the laugh. I love the beret. The mushroom, it's cute, and it makes me laugh.

mrs smith said...

ohmigod! Your daughter is stunning. She could wear a tea cosy on her head and look like a starlet. Not that the beret/hats looks like a tea cosy - they are completely gorgeous and in beautiful colours.
Love your handiwork in hats and offspring. Well done you!

Marina said...

Knitting is a mystery to me so I can only applaud your efforts and also tell you what a lovely daughter you have.....

Grace said...

Hilarious!!! The 7 yr old SCORED! I especially love the photo of her in the beret - beautiful. I love her 3rd hat too. The mushroom hat is funny!

No offense, but it is nice to see that other people's projects don't always turn out either!

FWOG. A blog. By Fi and Wendy. said...

Well, given that as far as I ever got with knitting, despite my mother's best attempts, was knit one, drop one - I leave the wool to the sheep.

And given I sit with you on the not-being-able-to-wear-a-beret front, well my best laid plans to becoming French are looking decidedly shaky.
siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

dillpickle said...

I think it's impressive that you finished not one, but TWO yarny hats! I have foolishly begun knitting a beret by Ysolda (a very smarty pants knitter/designer/blogger) that involves learning about 17 new knitting skills (I said I was foolish, didn't I?). She says to block it using a dinner plate. Unfortunately I am yet to learn about this blocking business, so I'm not sure what's involved other than wrapping a finished hat around the said plate. Thankfully, it will probably stay on my WIP list for about 3 years, so I've got heaps of time to work it out ;-)

Kylie said...

Love that butterfly hat... as I have no clue whatsoever when it comes to knitting, I'm in awe of anyone who can create a garment of any kind... well done, even if you didn't end up with a hat of your own!

Kate said...

Sigh! i LOVE knitting hats.

Unfortunatly, I am 'not hats'. My sister is, and she ends up with them all - she got Porom, too. If I knit that agian (which I would, I liked the pattern) I wouldn't bother blocking it. Mine stretched a WHOLE LOT, too, and although it looks great now, I think it looked fine before blocking.

My friends tell me I look fine in them. But I am resigned to looking like either a mushroom or a cancer patient. It's one of my knitter's crosses to bear, along with not living somewhere cold enough to wear mittens (thank goodness!).