Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Droid for Whom You are Looking...

Some time back the Hubster found an R2D2 hat on Etsy. Of course he was all up on that, imploring met to divert my knitting skills to this heart's desire. He is one of those jolly young fellows who took time off of work to see Episodes I, II, and III several times on their opening dates.

Sadly for hubby, my love does have limits and my quick answer was a resounding "hell, to the NO!" (Don't forget to envision some Zoro-style finger-snapping slashing with that "Hell, to the NO! I don't do instarsia!"

10 years ago, when I began knitting, I didn't start out knitting garter stitch scarfs. I started out knitting ginormous fair isle socks, instarsia baby sweaters, and a whole host of things I had no business starting out knitting. I was fearless with my Red Heart super saver. Fearless. I may be too timid to truly learn how to parallel park, but with knitting needles I have been foolish enough to try anything, anytime, anywhere.

And, I have always loved color knitting. It is why I knit. I am impelled to express myself with colorful string and wooden sticks. But instarsia, well instarsia was a place I never thought I'd return to. It is just too friggin' fussy. All those colors on bobbins clutter my knitting zen.

Well, never say never:

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My Blackberry Julip may have been a bust in many ways, but it relit a fire I thought was eternally extinguished. I actually enjoyed the instarsia aspect of the Spectra pattern and that joy made me think I would enjoy knitting the R2D2 hat.

And I did enjoy it. (And am technically still enjoying it, as this hat really isn't finished - I have some color to add to sections.)

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It felt hella good to do something challenging well. Hella good.

So, down to the gritty: I began this adventure with the chart generously posted by raveller Clarissa Browning (R2D2 Beanie, rav link). I went with the 96 stitch circumference, as that was the cast on count I used for another hat (rav link) I made the hubster out of the same yarn, Cascade 220.

Using schematics and a couple of comprehensive photos of the real R2D2 the hubster found online, I set about charting the crown. I definitely wanted a more faithful rendition than Clarissa's. I then began knitting the project in the round. I was halfway through the main pattern when I admitted defeat. There was a lot of stitch pulling where I had to carry yarn backwards. So I put the project aside and pondered my options.

Now there really was only one option. I needed to knit the main pattern flat. That's the only proper way to do the instarsia. So I let the project rest for a bit until I really believed I could pull it off.

I then tinked back to where the main instarsia pattern began, and reknit it.

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I then sewed up the section and finished up the rest of the crown in-the-round. With the exception of the first row of the split, the seam is invisible:

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