a tale of 5 hats

Hat 1

Flashback to December 2008, the month where I decided to knit my very first hat. Sounds simple enough, right?  I found a pattern, bought the yarn and started knitting away.  In my rush to finish the hat in time to wear during the winter, I just started knitting.  Who needs to check the gauge?  Who needs to use the write sized needles?  Just knit and purl and it will fit perfectly, right? Right...

The hat began to take shape. The cables were curling just right. I couldn't wait to finish the hat, take it off the needles, and try it on. One night, I was getting close to the end. When the end is in sight, it's like reading a book and having a few chapters left--you have to finish. But it always takes longer than you think it will. Past midnight, I finally finished the last stitch and eagerly took the hat off the needles to try on my head. I was convinced the hat would fit. I had no idea how small the hat actually was until I tried to pull it on in front of the mirror. It was so small that it wouldn't stay on at all. It didn't even come close to touching my ears...or my forehead for that matter. I took the hat off and looked at it again and realized that it was too small for even a toddler. It struck me that it might fit an infant's head and I ould only laugh at myself for truly believing that it would fit me. Then I packed it up and sent it to my friend had a 4 month old baby. Apparently it fit him pretty well...

Hat 2

Right after finishing hat 1, I was determined to learn from my mistake and use the rest of the yarn to knit a hat that would actually fit.  This time I had learned my lesson (or so I thought) and I adjusted the pattern accordingly. I also was resolved to try it on and size it while knitting to make sure it would fit. Again, the hat was forming nicely. It was big enough to fit around my forehead. But this time I misjudged the length. I closed off the hat, took it off the needles and realized it wasn't long enough to cover my ears...or even touch my ears.  So I packed it up and sent it to an 8-year old child that I used to nanny for.  Infant to 8-year old--at least I was making progress.

Hat 3

About a month after hats 1 and 2, I bought new yarn and started knitting hat 3 with the same pattern.  Again, no gauge (do I ever learn?).  The yarn was bulky, but I didn't have a lot of it since it was from the sale bin. The needles I used were way too small for the yarn, so while the stitches looked nice, the bones in my left hand felt like they were cracked and broken when I finished.  As for the size?  It mostly fit.  I would have liked to make it a bit longer, but I ran out of yarn.

Hat 4

Flashback to the present.  I had some leftover yarn from this baby blanket and it was just enough for a hat.  Not remembering my lessons from 2008, I picked a pattern and started knitting.  I deluded myself into believing that the hat was a perfect size.  The hat is lovely and soft and the pattern looks great.  It turned out perfect for about a toddler.  Do you want this hat?  I'm selling it in my Etsy store.

Hat 5

The photo above is proof that I finally got it right.  It fits!!!  This is the same pattern as hat 4, but different yarn.  I love the softness of this yarn (Rowan Cashsoft Aran) made from extra fine merino, microfibre, and cashmere.

For comparison, here are hats 4 and 5 side-by-side.  As you can see, I really really really need to start knitting the gauge...