I finished the hat! And it's not half bad. I spent basically all day yesterday knitting, and finished it before dinner. This time, I used a total of 5 dpns instead of 4, and I think it's actually easier. With 4 needles holding the stitches, you have a square instead of a triangle, and the angle between each segment is less, closer to round. And I have a bit more practice and skill, and was more aware of avoiding ladders at the joins, so it worked out ok. I do have some blurps that I need to tidy up before I send it to Karen, but it's actually kind of cute. It stays down over your ears better than the pink one I made for myself, I think.
So after that bit of triumph, I decided to give that cable pockets a whirl. I found that I have Lion Homespun all over the house, and it's not suitable for cables at all, imo. It's artificially lumpy! Made of two strands to create a fake texture. Fine for crocheting afghans, but how would it show off a lovely cable?
So I tried some Lion Jiffy fake mohair that I also had in the house leftover from an afghan project of long ago. Cast on 39 stitches, and tried to simply purl a row. Couldn't do it! Yarn split and pulling in all sorts of strange directions. Hmmm, maybe this yarn doesn't like bamboo needles. Started over on aluminum needles. Better, but still not good. After a couple of rows, I had all sorts of confusion, stitches that weren't quite stitches, things pulling tight and appearing to be on the needle backwards for no good reason, etc. A mess. Ok, so Jiffy is just bad yarn, not meant to be. So I started yet again, using the aluminum needles and a skein of plain winter-white wool. I know this yarn works because I've knit several things form it already. And I actually got as far as the cabling, almost completed one whole set of 10 rows, but by the last row, I once again had weird stitches happening. I think they were caused by switching from knit to purl or vice versa without moving the yarn to the proper side. But by then it was 11 pm, my eyes were tired, and I felt beaten down by yarn. So I tore it all out.
So now what to do? I think I'll wait a bit on the cables! It looks simple enough, but every row is complex: (k6 p2) twice, k7, (p2 k6) twice. Plenty of opportunities to misplace the yarn in all that. And the next row is the same only opposite, and so on. I will give it another try when I am wide awake and in a well-lit space! But I don't think I have the patience for that right now.
So--another pair of mittens? Or baby sweater? And if I do the mittens, should I do the purled ones again? (I know I can do it, at least, having already made 2. And I know where the potential screw-ups lie, having made all of them!) Or should I try for the more traditionally attractive stockinette pair in Knitting Pretty? But my copy hasn't arrived yet. I could go to Borders and cast on and get started using their copy of the book. And then, if it's knit in the round, would this be the place to try out the two-circular needle method? In that case, I need to buy two new circular needles. (Which cost more than a pair of mittens!) Or should I continue to work on my dpn skills?
The baby sweater has no such technical issues. It's just plain flat knitting. Which is both its beauty and its downfall.
Hmmm, challenge or relaxation, which do I want? Have yarn, but what to knit?