ANCIENT LEFTOVERS – WARMED OVER

It’s true I’ve had precious little time for much of anything lately.  Including knitting.  And the last thing I wanted was something challenging.  Since small, soothing, quick to finish, and materials-on-hand were the orders of the day, I did several miniprojects. Most have already ended up as gifts – more booties, a baby hat, and several scarves. 

The scarves were all done from my Kureopatora Snake pattern, some in various variegateds, and one in a solid color.  I even bowed to the begging of Younger Daughter, and finished out the hideous short-repeat white, pink and grey Red Heart scarf for her to wear.  (I may think it’s detestable, but she likes it).

I also went stash diving and came up with the remnant from this vest.

The vest was knit in 1987 or so, and at the time was a Major Investment for which I skimped on lunches, saving up for the purchase.  The yarn is an old Silk City yarn I bought at Washington D.C.’s late, lamented Woolgatherer shop in Dupont Circle.  It is worsted weight, mostly raw silk, with a touch of wool.  The label departed company with the stashed remains years ago so I’m not quite sure which yarn it was.  The stuff itself is soft and spongy, and over time becomes even nicer.  Down sides include an abundance of very sharp chaff – almost thorns; plus the general non-stretchy nature of silk.  The vest was adapted from a commercial pattern, now lost.  I do know that I substituted yarns, messed with a new gauge, introduced the cables and removed some pockets. 

Now for the hat.

 I’ve had a haphazardly wound ball of leftover yarn sitting in my stash, too expensive to fritter away, but not enough with which to do something major.  I grabbed it to work on in my small project frenzy. 

Still riffing on the Snake scarf idea and no particular pattern, I started with a strip of bias-knit ribbing.  I made it large enough to go around my head, earwarmer style and seamed it up.  Then I picked up stitches along one side at a ratio of about three stitches picked up for every four rows of the strip.  I ended up with 84 stitches, divided among four DPNs.  Then I did a couple rows of purl welting and broke back into K1 P1 ribbing.  When the hat was about 5 inches deep, measured from the bottom edge of the earwarmer band, I began my decreases.  Since the thing was on four needles and I was lazy, I settled on four decrease points, and knit the last two stitches on each needle together, doing so every other row.

When I had onl y four stitches left on each needle, I decided to be silly.  I worked about 16 rows of I-Cord using the four stitches on the first needle.  Then I folded it in half, and without breaking the yarn, knit I-Cord from the four stitches on the second needle.  I continued until I’d made four I-Cord loops, then did one row of plain knit to unite them, and one more decrease row.  I drew my end through the remaining 12 stitches to end off the piece.  I also did a little stealth fudging with the dangling end and a tapestry needle to snick up some looseness at the base of the I-Cord loops before darning the remainder in to finish the piece.

The result is a slightly goofy hat, with a finial on the top that looks like a Chuck Jones Instant Martian.  I think I’ll take that tiny bit still left and add a row of knit-on I-Cord around the bottom edge.  That will echo the look of the welts and the deely-bob at the top, plus it will give a nice, strong bit of definition around the bottom.  As usual apologies for the lousy photos.  The tweedy yarn is hard to capture well enough to see details,

One final note – The abalone shell buttons you see here are the third set that’s been on this vest.  Previous sets included embossed black leather, and shiny black plastic.  I’ve updated them several times over the years as styles have changed.  Changing buttons can be an inexpensive way to freshen the look of classic knits, opportunity shop finds, or hand-me-downs.

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