Finally, after agonizing and drawing and erasing and Excel-ing, I finally created my very own fair-isle hat pattern. Was it complicated? Yes! Ok, maybe not. But, knitting is so far away from engineering that the challenge is almost overwhelming.
(time for an anecdote, more about the hat in a minute)
As I was wrangling with two-handed knitting, trying to keep the floats from bunching and firing off the occasional "unspeakable", I kept thinking of my dad. He spent more than 20 years designing intricate machinery ala Rube Goldberg and Willie Wonka. Everthing required precise measurements - down to the third decimal place. Then, as he got closer to retirement, he took up woodworking. What a nightmare! Wood just couldn't do what metal did! If you so much as BREATHED on it the measurement changed. He had his table saw top lapped to within thousandths of true flatness. He used calipers on his dovetail joints. He was fighting the wood every step of the way - though everything he did make was beautiful. So, there I was. Worrying about needle gauge, stitches per inch, yarn tension and going slowly insane. Then, I gave in to the yarn. What a relief.
So, back to the pattern.
It's a simple cap - knitted in the round using stockinette with a row of purl to stop the curl of the hat. Traditional nordic design using non-traditional colors. Background is black, pattern in bright blue. Yarn is Plymouth Encore worsted-weight acrylic so that it will stand up to use, washing and general mayhem. Picture when I get one. The best part about the cap, it fits! (note to self - pattern repeat is 14 stitches and I cast on 70 using size 9 needles)
At some point I'll go back to my sweater ... though I think I'll be starting over. I hate it when sizing isn't right ...