[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="The first 20 rounds of the beret! And my keyboard"][/caption]
I am continuously amazed at how good the pictures I take on my iPhone 4 are. If you had told me a few years ago that my phone could take a high-contrast picture like this one and still show the subtle variations in intensely-hued yarn I would have laughed hysterically! It's pretty amazing.
That said, the color above is not really representative of the color in real life. The real thing's way prettier, I promise! In the photo it looks like an intense indigo blue but IRL it's more of a turquoise and not quite as intense. The yarn is Madelinetosh DK in the color Nikko Blue. I'm knitting Ysolda's Snapdragon hat in the medium size and what you see above is the first 20 or so rows, which I mostly knit last night. The pattern is fun and addictive! Every time I start working on a complicated cable pattern I experience the same awe and excitement -- it's like I forget how much fun it is until the next time I try it!
It's particularly fun to knit a complicated cabled pattern that's well-written and well-charted. The chart is beautifully executed and very easy to follow. My only complaint is that the book doesn't stay open on its own, but that's a minor complaint that was easily remedied by making a copy of the chart (which you see above). At this rate I'll have this little hat done tonight!
So far the only change I've made to the original pattern is to twist the single knit stitches in the beginning rib and to knit on a longer circular needle. Both of these changes were necessary to combat my own quirky knitting issues. For the ribbing, when I tried to knit the single knit stitch the regular way, they all gaped open unattractively and it was incredibly distracting. I couldn't stop staring at them! So after about 5 rows I dropped each of those stitches down and picked them back up with a crochet hook, twisting them in the process. That fixed the gaps perfectly of course and now the ribbing looks much neater. As for the needle length, I'm knitting this on a 24" circular instead of the called-for 16". While I do own a 16" circular in size 5, I just hate knitting on such short needles. My hands cramp up after just a few rows! I've found that I'd rather run the risk of stretching my knitting out to fit on a 24" circular than struggle with the "correct" length circular for small projects. Hey whatever works, right?
Speaking of whatever works, I'm also using a cable needle for this project in the hopes of getting really three-dimensional twists and cables. I tend to misplace my cable needle so often than knitting without one is more of a default than a choice, but after cleaning up my knitting tools the other day I now have a stack of cable needles at my disposal . . . and my cables are looking very pretty and poofy indeed. When I wash and block the hat I'll be sure to fluff the cables up even more so that they really POP. I'm really looking forward to wearing this happy little beret!