Two things occurred to me as I finished up the final Cap for Connor on Sunday evening:
1. I had enough blue and gold yarn left for another hat.
2. The Army/Navy game was this Saturday.
So, I decided to use up the scraps I had to knit Jeffrey a Navy hat. The colors weren’t quite right, but they were close enough, and I was pretty sure no one would question which team the hat represented…once I added a big N to the front.
I opted to use the same pattern I used for the last 3 Caps for Connor: the House Hats beanie pattern from Charmed Knits (warning: link opens to a .pdf). It’s incredibly simple, and yet makes a good looking hat. Plus, the lack of extraneous patterns would let me insert my N. The N chart came courtesy of KnitPro, a free program that creates needlepoint or knitting charts from any picture. My “picture” was a text N from Paint; I just used the simplest font available.
The only problem I had with my KnitPro generated chart was that no matter how small I made the N, the chart was huge–the N was supposed to be over 30 rows high, and 39 stitches wide. The hat was only 96 stitches around, so that was almost a full half of the hat…and I wasn’t sure I’d get all 30 rows done before it was time to decrease. In retrospect, the problem wasn’t how large the font was. The problem was that I trimmed all the white space around it, and the program was going to give me a chart that had minimal white space around the N. That was exactly what I gave it, and I failed the GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) test.
In the end, I was able to fit the entire N in before I had to start reducing…because the N was so short! For a while, I couldn’t figure out why the N was turning out so squat; everything I’d read said that knit stitch was taller than it was wide…so why was mine wide and short? I finally realized that the problem was that I wasn’t knitting the N in a different color, but in a different texture (purling on a stockinette background). Since the purl stitch is shorter than the knit stitch, it was making my knit stitches shorter than usual. So instead of a tall, commanding N, I ended up with one that was…height challenged and a little silly looking.
Not as funny looking as Jeffrey was wearing it, though.
Still, the hat was a success in the only measure that matters: Jeffrey loved it. He put it on before we left for the restaurant where we were meeting other Navy grads, and refused to take it off for several hours. So I’m perfectly happy with the hat.
I’m also perfectly happy with the outcome of the game: Navy 34, Army 0. After 4 years as a midshipman, watching our team lose each Army/Navy game by a heartbreaking total of less than 10 points, it’s a bit of vindication to watch our team beat Army for the 6th year in a row and earn the Commander-in-Chief trophy for the 5th. And we’re getting Jeffrey and Lexie started early with cheering on the Mids…just in case.