Monday 11 February 2008

The Tam it did a-swimming go!

I like knitting new things - new patterns, new items, new techniques. Yes, I knit for charity and so knit some items over and over [like beanies and scarves] but every now and then [or more often as the whim might take me], I want to knit something new, something different, something I haven't tried before.

So, there I was, looking for something I could knit for charity from the one-of-a-kind hand-dyed 50g balls/skeins of 8ply/DK acrylic, preferably something in stocking stitch which would best show off those recurring colours, when my eyes, strolling through Knitting Without Tears for the umpteenth time, 'found' the pattern for a tam o'shanter. Seemed straight forward enough, and I had about 75g of yarn that would work together. Surely, a tam wouldn't need more than 225m of acrylic? And. I was right; a tam can be had from a mere 50g [155m] of acrylic.

I cast on 90 stitches, with my never-before-used Knitpicks 3.7mm needles on 60cm of cable. I had to use the magic loop technique for the first few rows but after that everything was fine. I had finished the base and decided that next time I would just do a rib not a folded back double layer for the base [waste of yarn knitting twenty rows when I could settle for ten!] I knitted on, increased to 120 stitches, knit for another 25 rows, and did a beautiful seven-point-star cast off [thank you EZ].

With two dpns still attached to the crown, I tried it on - what a shapeless bag my tam turned out to be!! Now, EZ does warn about this - but she blocks her tams. I have learned from experience that acrylic will not be blocked - not for love or money. It has great memory and goes back to its original shape as soon as it is dry! Perhaps, if I'd known what was coming, I would have done one purl row when I did the increases so the tam knew where it was to fold! But it was too late for that! I was at the end, finished, finito, finis!! [except for “cut the thread, draw it through the last seven stitches, pull it tight, sew in the end”!]

Everything may have been okay, if I was knitting it for myself or if I could be there to explain it to its new recipient. Even so, I still thought that, maybe, I could get away with it … but WM laughed once too often. Now, don’t get me wrong, he’s very supportive and just two days ago, talked me out of frogging the too-narrow scarf [again] but this was the final straw!

Can you imagine some homeless person at the food van late one night, looking at a shapeless blob that looks like a handle-less bag, recognising it as an article of headwear, and choosing it over other offerings [like practical, sensible beanies]? No, neither can I.

So, to save my poor tam from humiliation and the pain of rejection, I did what every good creator does - consigned it to the frog pond. No, not the sometime-in-the-future pond, the right-here-right-now pond. What had taken hours to bring into being was gone in a few minutes, just as if it had never been. But I remember -- adieu, Tam, we knew each other so briefly but I enjoyed the encounter except for your last few moments here.

And no, there won't be another; but I did go to bed re-designing Tam as a beret! Do you think a homeless person would want one? Perhaps someone staying in a women's refuge might appreciate one as a Mothers' Day present!


  1. Oh I wish we had a photo of the Tam!

    Glad you had a good holiday and well done for being brave and frogging

  2. Yay you for froggin - But maybe a redesign would work better - or a beret!

  3. Yes a beret would be appreciated for a refuge.

    Shame about having to frog the Tam though. Best Frogged than not worn, is my theory.

  4. Oh dear. What a lot of knitting to now pull it out. It sounds like there's no way round it and you'll never be quite happy with it, so frogging sounds like the best bet.

  5. Sounds like the right decision!

  6. Brave girl :) Frogging is hard, especially when you've put a lot of loving work into something. But it has to be done sometimes. Good for you for not putting it off!

    I think a beret would go over very well :)


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