The twice-failed hat

I’m enjoying the posts from Make & Meaning, a relatively new blog whose contributors are out to “celebrate all the ways making enhances our lives, and all the things it causes us think about.” It rounds out the project-and-tutorial based blogs I read. Last week’s post about the wisdom of mistakes ended with the following quote and call to action: 

“Creative people make a mess, clean it up and make another mess. There are no mistakes in art only happy little accidents.”  ~Timothy Leonard.  So drag out one of your failures (come on, I know you’ve got at least one lurking!) and challenge yourself to see it with fresh enquiring eyes.

Lurking failure, huh? Yup – every knitter has a few of those. Like this black wool hat whose yarn was too thick for the pattern and needle size, resulting in a stiff, heavy, and subsequently itchy piece of winter wear. It’s been sitting at the  bottom of my hat/scarf bin ever since I made it a few years ago. 

A pretty pattern ruined by the wrong yarn

I frogged the whole thing, wound the yarn on my knitting noddy, gave it a bath, and hung it to dry (with a jar of change tied to the bottom to stretch it straight). I experimented with a few different needle sizes and settled on sz. 8, then set out to make another copy of my favorite red hat

knitting on lunch break


Nice drape, nice shape, wrong size


Only I messed up again. The hat was too loose. My coworker walked in just as I was about to frog it all again…

T: “Katie, what are you doing?!”

K: “This hat’s too loose. I have to rip it out and start again.”

T: “Noooo!! You just made it! Don’t rip it out. Let me take it home to D___. I think it will fit him.”

(Why does everyone always try to stop me from ripping out my knitting? Read has to leave the room when I do it.) I made her promise to be truthful about how well the hat fit D__, because I have NO PROBLEM just frogging and re-doing. She came in the next morning saying that he tried it, it fit, and he liked it. So the twice-failed hat became a success by way of finding a new head to fit. Plus it serves as a gift to the person who’s designing our wedding invitations. I suppose that’s solution enough for me. 

What projects do you have lurking in the bottom of your bins?


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