I set aside the socks I was working on to knit a hat for me.
Pattern: Swirls Hat by Fiber Trends
Yarn: Classic Elite Inca Alpaca
Colors: Navy (1124), Gray (1103), Black (1113)
Needles: US 5 & 6 16" circular, US 6 DPNs
What I learned from this project:
1. I learned I like doing color work, though I could use more practice. The stitches I made with the yarn held in my left hand aren't very consistent in tension and I didn't leave enough slack in some of the floats. This is only the second project where I've used color work throughout. The first, a simple pattern with no floats, was in 2005. I don't plan on waiting as long to start the next project.
2. I learned how to knit a braid. It's turns out that it's really easy to do. It's a three round process. I'm glad the pattern explained that the yarns would twist on round two, but untwist on round three. It saved my sanity.
3. I learned to trust the pattern, especially if you're knitting to gauge. I started this hat with the recommended 120 stitches and after knitting the rolled brim and the first braid, I began to think it was too big. I tried it on to check. Sure enough, the ring I had knitted was huge! It fell around my neck like a cowl. I reduced the number of stitches by one pattern repeat and started over. It fit just right...until I finished the lower band of color work.
4. I learned that a mistake in knitting isn't necessarily a bad thing. This hat, though too small for me, will be a perfect fit for someone. A child somewhere will be a little warmer now, because I messed up. And, I'm happy about that.