Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Ye Liveliest Awfulness

Certainely, there was Noth’g but ye liveliest Awfulness in that which H. rais’d upp from What he cou’d gather onlie a part of.
H. P. Lovecraft, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, 1927
My latest WIP is a present for my boyfriend. He is (indeed, we both are) rather fond of the Cthulhu Mythos, in particular sharing a love of the board game Arkham Horror, and the occasional desire to run/play in a game of Call of Cthulhu. So naturally, when I’ve been scouring the Ravelry pattern database, I’ve been adding all manner of Cthulhu themed projects to my queue.
I’ve done a lot of projects for other people lately, what with all the baby gifts, and a fair amount of selfish crocheting too. Jamie’s had to put up with my mess, my self-absorption in my projects and the sheer amount of my time Knitting & Crochet Blog week took up. Various busyness has meant we’ve not spent much time together in the last couple of weeks as well, so the poor boy must be feeling a tad neglected!
What better way to make up for it, than by making him his very own Cthulhu balaclava!
Photo by swingkitty007

Isn’t it awesome? It looks great in the pattern photo. However, once you start to delve into the projects, it quickly becomes clear that this is no easy make. It seems that using the yarn and hook in the pattern, you end up with a teeny tiny hat, not the fabulous FO as demonstrated by the designer.
My problems began with yarn choice. I used the Ravelry yarn database to find a suitable alternative to the suggested Bernat Berella 4 Solids & Ragg, as I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get my hands on the Bernat for a decent price. I used the gauge listed on its Ravelry page of 18 – 20 sts = 4” and looked for alternatives. For the most part, I’ve found that worsted and aran can be interchanged, so was pleased to find Sirdar Supersoft Aran came up in my search at 18 – 19 sts = 4”, with the same recommended hook size, same material (they are both acrylic).
So I got Jamie to choose a colour, went off and bought it, and set to work.
I know, you'd think it ought to be green...
Argh! This is where my troubles started. I’m on my third iteration of the hat as it stands. Even with a larger hook (I’m using a 6mm, not the recommended 5mm) it’s coming up way to small for Jamie’s head. Too small even for me, I think. Looking at it again, I can see that although the two yarns I’ve mentioned have the same stitch gauge, that can’t possibly be the case, as 100g of the Bernat gives you 195 yards, but the same weight of the Sirdar is 258 yards. Clearly, then, the Bernat is a heavier weight than the Sirder, despite having the same gauge. I didn’t think this was possible? Surely you’ll get less stitches with the Bernat, using the same size hook?
I'm still not convinced this is working.
I’m currently experimenting with an alternate basic pattern for the hat part, stealing ideas from various crochet beanie patterns I’ve found that use sc stitches. So I’m now testing out using a base ring of 8 stitches, not 6. Hopefully this will result in a larger hat. If not, I guess I can try doubling the yarn and going up to a slightly larger hook again? (I’ve seen 6.5mm touted as being the magic number for this pattern).
But it’s driving me up the wall. I can feel my sanity dribbling out of my ears the further along on this project I go.
Almost as if I had truly seen a glimpse of ye liveliest Awfulness.

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