My knitting history has been filled with Aran pullovers and garter stitch lace, mostly. Recently it's just been a ton of small projects like socks, scarves, and hats. I've done the Starmore tams, but multicolored knitting is still new terrain for me, new enough to be exciting. Plus, I really loved the feeling of lanolin on my fingers again, and the unspun Icelandic wool was a real treat. The hat pattern had a range of gauges that should work, so I just started it on some US 4s, which were within the range given on the pattern, and got a good six inches into the hat in one evening.
Then last night I was knitting away happily on it and found myself gradually getting more and more unhappy with it. Just cranky, grumpy about it and it was a mixture of "the pattern says I can get two hats out of this yarn and I'm not going to be NEAR that" and trying not to be disappointed about that and grumpy about the flaring beginning edge... and... finally I blinked, assessed the feeling, and got out the ruler.
Yeah. I unraveled the whole thing. It was pretty bad, as I was only getting about five stitches per inch, and the pattern called for 6 to 6 and a half per inch. Meep. I really had to think it through, having gotten that far, and knowing that the unspun was going to be a pain to pull out. And I hesitated for a while, but I let myself figure it out and finally started pulling.
It was a pain, the black kept breaking, but being good wool, I could just join the ends with a roll between the hands so it wasn't as much of a pain as it could be, but I figured that rolling it into balls would just stress it more, so I left it in a pile.
I started the hat again, on 3mm 16 inch circulars (kind of between a US 2 and US 3). I'd thought a bit and realized that my gauge for socks is around 6-7 per inch on US 2s, so why I thought US 4s would get me something even close with thicker yarn I don't know.
The interesting thing was that after the pain of deciding to tear it back down, when I finally got knitting again, it felt really good. I was doing it Right, now, and once again I got the reinforcement that ripping is good. :-) I get more knitting time, I get to do it right, and really there was no damage to anything but my own pride and time. Hee. Plus, the "just pile it onto the pile while unraveling" plan seems to be working quite well, as when I'm knitting it back up, it's coming in about the right amounts for each pattern, with gradually more significant slack as I go up. So this will solve my amount of yarn for two hats problem as well as turning out a hat that has some chance of actually fitting me. I ended up finding that box to the right in the picture and gently lifting the whole thing into the box and covering it so that it wouldn't tempt a certain, curious five-year-old in the house.
The best thing is that this project is in preparation for the "Crying Sun/Moon" sweater in Meg Swanson's Knitting. I bought the yarn for it and my husband actually bought me the book because he loved the pattern so much; but I thought I'd try out these hats, first, so I could get a better feel for this multicolored stuff, and now I do, and I think I now have a much better feel for what my gauge is going to do to me when I carry strands in each hand.