Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Knitting for Troops - Update & Pattern #1

I blew Sunday afternoon knitting a helmet liner.  My son Steven told me at lunch (gosh, we had an awesome Father's Day!) about how the helmet liners sounded like the very best idea.  I had been thinking we'd all knit slippers, scarves, and afghans, but with Steven's encouragement, I decided to try one.

Reading the patterns I could find, I found a number of things I wanted to change, especially if I were going to blog-beg people to knit vast quantities of these.  There were some things I altered before I knitted the item. I moved the seam to the back of the head. I had a few issues with the pattern's math, and I didn't want any hand-knitting to be required, so I had already eliminated the hand-knitting.
After it was knitted, we all tried it on (I have a big head, hubby has a small, and Steven is a medium) and found it a little to long in the cap part.  We all wanted it a half inch shorter, including big-headed me.  Then we all thought it ought to be longer in the ribbed part that covers the lower face and neck.  If it's cold, I'd want mine to tuck right inside my collar.  Stevie wanted it higher over the nose for warmth, and of course, if you pull it up over your nose, it's shorter on the neck.
Most of all, I disliked the way the face ribbing is picked up and knitted.  I found another pattern on the web with mitred corners, but I have something else in mind, and I worked several samples Monday to solve that problem. 
In addition, if we're going to make lots of these, I didn't want folks to do garter bar transfers for an hour or more to shape the crown of the head.  Not that I don't love the garter bar and haven't done my bit to popularize it, but it takes a long time to do ten decrease rows with the garter bar, especially if you leave the ribber on, which I did, because half the project is ribbed.  With the ribber in place, you're fighting gravity unless you have a tilt stand, plus you're having to reach back under the ribber to get your hands on the knit fabric.  I thought I'd come up with a short-row solution like my short-rowed baby cap.
I put the helmet liner pattern on hold now, though - I read on the internet that Operation Helmetliner stopped making and sending them because the army didn't want the troops wearing these anymore, so I have to check with the Colonel Barbara is working with to see whether we should make this item at all!
I'm going to get some other patterns up for the soldiers, starting with a slipper for nice, warm feet at night.  This slipper is a bulky one, fits smooth and close (ideal for bedtime) and goes very fast.  Email me for a .pdf of the pattern at diana_knits "at" sbcglobal "dot" net if you want to knit these for the soldiers. 

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