Friday, March 8, 2013

Charlotte Tam: Free Knitting Pattern




This hat is made from Malabrigo sport-weight yarn. 


Well, it's Friday.  Wednesday came and went and I did not post another “Works in Progress Wednesday,” but I suppose I have an excuse as I was home sick from work for two days (this has been a long, hard winter) and spent a good deal of that time bundled up on the couch working on designing a hat. 

I am a novice designer and am definitely a slow learner when it comes to mathematical calculations.  I also know that there isn't a void in the marketplace for my creation, as there is certainly no scarcity of wonderful knitted hat patterns to be found.  I undertook this project, however, as more of a personal challenge to increase my skill set.  Ideally, I’d like to be able to look at a person, take a few measurements, do a little sketching and some simple math, and be able to set to work to make a garment.  I know that knitters of old were probably able to work this way; of course, most of them probably had needles in their hands from the time that they were little more than knee high. 


I can recall a scene in a book I read years ago that attests to this type of skill. When I was ten or 11, one of my favorite books was a nonfiction work entitled The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig. This story recounts how a young Jewish girl (10 or 11) and her family are deported to Siberia from Poland during World War II. The adults are put to work in a gypsum mine, and the family begins to endure years of terrible privation. In an attempt to earn some extra money, Esther agrees takes on a project--unraveling a rich Russian woman’s dirty old sweater and using the wool to knit her a new one. After taking measurements and spending hours engaged in painstaking work, Esther delivers her finished garment, only to find that it is too small. The woman indifferently informs the Esther that she has recently purchased a cow, whose milk and cheese have made her gain weight. Quiet and resigned, Esther returns home, and, if I recall correctly, she tears out her work and knits the sweater again. I wasn’t a knitter when I read and reread this book, but each time when I came to this part of the story, I was both awed by Esther’s skill and filled with a young person’s strong sense of injustice at the woman’s callousness. At the time, too, the idea of calculating how to knit a sweater fascinated me, even though, at that time, I’d never knit anything.

I knit one of the eight sections in orange
worsted weight to check the math. 

Anyway, I haven’t tackled a sweater design yet, but HERE is a link to my hat pattern in PDF format.   I would love feedback from anyone who makes this hat. I have proofread and edited and checked the math, but I find that it’s much more difficult to check my own work than that of someone else.  If you find a mistake, I'll try my best to send you some yarn.



I also did another in green. 


This lace chart looks so neat here
and certainly doesn't resemble the pages
and pages and pages of mathematical
scribblings I created before putting my final
results into a chart-making program. 

3 comments:

  1. Your Charlotte Tam looks lovely! You are so clever to design things like this. And that Malabrigo yarn is beautiful. Well done you! Fascinated to read about The Endless Steppe - I felt considerable indignation rise on Esther's behalf just reading your description of what happens with the sweater! It's amazing how dismissive a non-maker can be of hand-made items just because they have absolutely no concept of what has gone into them. But frustrating and saddening though that can be sometimes I'd never ever swap being a maker for a non-maker. Happy weekend! (Only just over four months till you'll be here - weather had better cheer up by then - it's been terrible here today - grey, wet and clammy just for a change!) E x

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  2. Lovely hat :) Thanks for sharing your creation! I will add it to my list, can't promise a time but I will try to knit it soon :)

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  3. I love your tam! It's so hard to get sport weight yarn in the UK though, I love what you used, the colours are gorgeous.

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