cuffed tychus Here is the completed Tychus hat. It has a cuff, as does the original in the pattern.

It is not supposed to have a cuff. Last year, #1 son told me that cuffed hats were Not Being Worn, and I made it without a cuff and wrote down how I did so.tychus

This year, I went ahead and made it according to the pattern.

The moral of the story is this: make notes on your projects, and then actually look at them when you repeat the project.

On the table by the hat you can see the redo of Tychus. The finished one is in worsted weight on #6 needles. Last year, I used sport weight on #3 needles to decrease the length, and added white rows in between to keep the width the same. For the redo, I am sticking with the worsted weight and going down to #2 needles. So I guess the other moral of the story is, you’d be surprised how much leeway you have with your gauge.

As for the finished hat, #2 son likes it, but #1 son will not hear of his wearing it. They go to the same school, and it would be uncool to be walking around campus in matching hats.

#1 son has his persnickety side.

I gave one of these to Son-in-law last Christmas. #1 son says I may send it to #2 daughter if I like, since she now lives in another state, and that may be what I end up doing.

Formerprincess asked about the soldering iron — are they expensive and so on. That is the question. It is possible to buy a cheap soldering iron, but there seems to be widespread agreement that people who do that just have to turn around and buy a better one anyway, making it false economy. There is a site called Volcano Arts where you can get a basic set for half again as much as a comparable soldering iron bought locally. The set includes a stand, rheostat, flux, solder, and copper tape — I can’t get all those things locally for anywhere near the price of the set. There is also a site called Scrappalatte where you can buy a basic set for a bit more than half the price of Volcano Arts (about the same price as the iron itself at my local shops), but the iron is low wattage and the quantities of materials are tiny.

Part of my mind says, “You might not be any good at this — try it with the cheaper set.” Then the other part of my mind says, “If you like it, you will just have to buy the more expensive one anyway. And the small quantities might not be enough to get good at it. You might just have to go out and buy more supplies before you can even tell whether you would like it.”

Do you know that there is a mental disorder in which people who get this parts-of-the-brains-arguing thing are completely paralyzed with indecision and just stand there for minutes on end until one side of the brain is able to defeat the other?

Anyway, since this is the week in which we followers of the HGP have to make up our minds and buy our materials, I have reviewed the evidence on both sides. I have reminded myself that I have soldered successfully in the past.

When I was in college, I took a job soldering circuit boards for the engineers. The guy who hired me said that he preferred women for the job. We stared at a little diagram and then took wires and soldered them into the pattern on the diagram. The job was unusual in that it was desperately dull and repetitive but also required full attention. This is a rare combination. I lasted at that job for three weeks. I think I left it for the food service job in the cafeteria, where I kind of enjoyed feeling all proletariat. I put on headscarves to reinforce that feeling. Although, admittedly, this was the 1970s, and Jean Muir and John Kloss were in style and headwraps were fashionable.

Anyway, as I recall, it was not at all difficult to solder. Ideally, as #2 daughter suggested, I would just borrow a soldering iron from someone else and try it. There are two obstacles to this. First, I don’t know anyone who owns a soldering iron. Second, when I went to get the copper tape (that was easy and cheap, by the way) I noticed that there are many different types of solder and flux, and no one with the knowledge to help me choose among them. No doubt one kind is more suitable than another, and probably when you pick up the lead-free solder you must have the acid-free flux or something like that.

I am reading a book called The Know-It-All, by A.J. Jacobs, about a man who decided to read the Encyclopedia Britannica. Speaking of boring. This book would make a good blog. It goes in alphabetical order, and offers tidbits of things he learned along with his reactions to them. So far, all the tidbits have been things I already knew, and probably you would also know them. At no point has he mentioned anything useful about solder and flux.