I had an excellent weekend, although about 12 hours of it was spent on the road, hence the lack of blogging. I met up with my brother-in-law, Keith, in Milwaukee, where we were joined by sister, Michelle, from Omaha, before proceeding to Madison for the 2006 Drum Corps International Finals. (Other sister, Sarah, had class over the weekend, so she had to stay home.)

We had a fabulous time, and we’re psyched that starting in 2008, the finals will be moving to Indianapolis for the following decade or so: much easier to get to, park at, etc.

But did I take any drum corps pictures? No, of course not. I took a knitting picture, instead.

Before I started working on it, I found all kinds of issues online with the Hooded Kaftan from Special Knits by Debbie Bliss. The pattern is not at all clear, so for the good of the cause, I thought I’d try to elucidate here, even though I’m not finished with it yet. I’ll update with in-progress shots once I get further along.

Yes, you do end up binding off the back neck before separately casting on stitches for the hood. This seems silly, but it’s necessary — the hood is nearly twice as wide as the neck; if it weren’t, you wouldn’t be able to pull it up over a big baby head. In the picture above, I’ve already joined the front and back at the shoulder seams. I knit across the held stitches on the right side of the front, cast on the required number of stitches for the hood, and continued onto the left held stitches.

Continuing to follow the hood directions as written, you do end up with a big trapezoid. Points A and B are at the ends of the bound-off hood edge; point C is approximately at the middle of the hood edge. D represents the cast-on bottom of the hood and E is the back neck edge. There are, like, ten words in the finishing instructions that tell you how this is all supposed to become a hood. Here are about 75 words that should do the same thing.

Fold the hood in half along the center back at point C, bringing together points A and B. Join the two halves of the hood edge together.

Join D, the lower edge of the hood, with E, the back neck edge. Because D is longer than E, you’ll have to ease or gather edge D a bit to make it fit. If you’re doing an invisible seam, this means you’ll probably go through two hood stitches for every one neck stitch. To be certain, mark both D and E at the 1/2, 1/4 and 3/4 points, and match them up before you start.

Like I said, I’ll post more pictures as I get further along (and I’ll try not to take them in the half light of 7:00 AM).

Oh, and if I ever say, “I’ll just put in a zipper,” about any knitted garment in the future, remind me how crazy I am. The red sweater came out great, but the process was a big old pain in the ass.