Archive | August 2016

Thomas Hats

I recently received a request for a hat for an almost-2yo. They wanted a striped beanie with a pompom but said I could do whatever colors I wanted. At first I was at a loss, because I want to make it the way they want it, but then as I pondered, I remembered that the boy is a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine and it all fell into place.

My only requirement was that it be soft and washable. For a kid’s hat, that means acrylic, and that meant a trip to my nearest big box craft store for the right blue. Thomas blue is tricky, you know, but I think I found a pretty good one.

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I used Tin Can Knits’ Barley hat for my base pattern and cast on. It grew quickly.

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It wasn’t until I was at the decreases that I realized I’d looked at the wrong number for cast on stitches and had a hat too big for a 2yo. Oops! Rather than frog, though, I decided I would finish it for my Thomas-loving nephew.

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The second, correctly sized hat went even faster. This morning they’re being washed to soften the acrylic a bit more, since to get the right blue I had to use a different brand than I prefer.

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The color is off in that photo, by the way. The first two photos are more true. Anyway, now it’s time to make pompoms. I’m debating between solid gray, solid yellow (which the nephew says would make the hat “more beautifuller”) and a mixture of colors. Personally, I would like to do a solid black to represent the pipe-thingie sticking out of his head (seriously, WHAT is that called?? And why can’t I remember it??) but I’m afraid only die-hard Thomas fans would get that. What would you do?

Buttons and Hats

Oh, hats, how I love making you! I’ve loved my time making shawls but I’ve missed making hats. I finished three chemo caps this week; the aqua one I already showed you, and two more. Here’s a basic gray beanie in Knit Picks Brava Worsted.

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It’s my own recipe based on what I’ve picked up from knitting so many hats the last few years. If you’re interested, you can find my notes on the Ravelry project page. This one is definitely an adult small; cast on more stitches if you want a bigger hat.

The second one is the Shelbi hat. I did this one in white Brava. I did the teen/adult small size and it is definitely small. But that’s what I was going for, and it will probably stretch with use too. My only concern is that it might be a bit short, so when I make more, I’ll probably add a couple of rows somewhere.

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It was just as fast and easy to make as I remembered, so once I get feedback on the fit, I’ll definitely be making more of these. You can find the Ravelry project page here and the pattern here.

This morning I finally took the time to sew buttons on my two Henry Hats.

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I do so love the look of these hats!

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The green came out an adult large. It fits my husband, who has a ginormous head. But aren’t those buttons awesome??

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The blue, done with worsted weight on smaller needles, came out large child/small adult size, depending on stretch. I’m kind of tempted to go down another needle size with the next one to make it a tighter fabric, and a little smaller still. It’s interesting how my gauge is so off on this one pattern; I’m thinking it’s maybe because there’s so much purling? Maybe my purling is a lot looser than my knitting and other people’s purling?

This week I’m shifting gears away from chemo caps for a bit. I have a Thomas-themed hat to make for a little boy, plus I want to get back to my WIPs and see if I can get something finished. Stay tuned, it might be a week before I post again but hopefully I’ll have a FO!

OH! And guess what?? I hit 300 followers on my blog recently! It might not sound like much to some, but to me it’s awesome to think that so many people like what I’m doing enough that they want to follow me. So here’s a big THANK YOU to my friends and readers!!!

Chemo Caps

Well, this sucks. Once again, someone I love got a crappy diagnosis. We’re doing our best to stay optimistic, and for me, dealing with something stressful involves yarn in one way or another. Not only is it stress relief, but it’s a way for me to show I care, and it can be useful in times like this: I’m making a few chemo caps. (I’ve heard bare heads can get cold!) Here’s the first one already done:

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The pattern is Diamond Cap and I love it. Simple without being boring, interesting without being too flashy. I used smaller needles but think I’ll do it again using the next size down to make it even more snug. And I’ll definitely do it again, but first I want to make the Shelbi hat.

It’s my favorite pattern for chemo caps because it’s quick to make, easy enough for an advanced beginner, it fits snugly, and it’s beautiful, with a pretty almost-lace pattern that’s not too open. Here’s one I made a while back, for a friend of a friend.

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It’s really well-written, and she’s got it available for five different sizes, from baby to adult. It fits well too. It’s just a great hat. It is a paid pattern, but for the quality of the writing and the number of sizes, it’s totally worth it. You can find it on The Country Willow’s website here. I used the teen/small adult size. I hope you don’t need it for chemo caps, but if you’re looking for a quick, pretty beanie, check it out!

Henry’s Hat: Take Two

Okay, so I re-knit Henry’s Hat in the smaller size, and it really is darn cute.

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But it’s still nowhere near the size it’s supposed to be.

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This *might* be doable for my nephew, but it’ll still be kind of big. It was supposed to be for Christmas, but I’m thinking I need to try it on him earlier than that so I can make a smaller one if needed. And in the meantime, I’ve started another one on smaller needles, and we’ll see how that turns out.

In other news, today was the first day of school and I forced my kids to take first day photos and I couldn’t believe how grown up they are.

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And just for fun, here’s a couple of puppy photos.

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IMG_6912And here’s my cuddle bug, Grace. She loves to lay on the back of the couch behind my head so she can reach over and sniff my hair and ear.

Hope your week is going well!

Henry’s Hat

It was supposed to be a quick project, an interlude, a break from my big WIPs. A Tangled Yarn blogged about Henry’s Hat, an adorable earflap hat, and it just called to me. I had to make one for my nephew, maybe two nephews, maybe more. I had the right yarn in my stash: Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash Aran in Dusky Green. The pattern was only $3, and we were taking a day trip with about an hour’s drive each way, so I gathered my supplies and cast on as we drove off.

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It started out well. The earflaps and front flap were quick and looked good. I pulled out the circs and knit around, picking up stitches on all the flaps, and started knitting around. Still, it was going fine. The pattern was simple, and despite Tangled’s experience, mine looked like it was going to be tall enough. I made good progress on the way home.

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Last night was gymnastics, so I knit and watched and knit some more. It wasn’t until I hit the crown decreases that it occurred to me I was very close to running out of yarn, and that my hat looked big. Like, BIG. I’d chosen the child 6-8 size, since my almost-4yo nephew has a big head. But after a brief hesitation, I put the hat on my own head. It dropped down easily, the earflaps hanging below my ears.

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This would NOT work. Not at all. It was late and I was frustrated, but I frogged back to the flaps so I would be ready to start anew today.

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I just wasn’t sure how to proceed. I’d followed the pattern exactly, so why did it come out so big? Especially when Tangled’s hat came out small? I could try the smaller size. I could switch to smaller needles (and hope the hat body didn’t look too different from the flaps knit on the bigger needles). I could switch to worsted weight yarn instead of Aran, but I don’t want to waste the flaps that are already knit. So, without thinking about it too much, I started again at lunch today knitting the smaller size. And so far so good, but it’s still too soon to get a good sense of size. If it’s too big for my nephew, well, I guess I’ll find someone else who needs a cute hat and try again.

Have you ever had such a complete gauge fail?

Isabella Lacy Beanie

Finally, the second pattern I test-knit has been released so I can share it with you! It’s called the Isabella Lacy Beanie by Ashlee Lackovic (smashleestitches on Ravelry, WordPress, Twitter etc) and I think it’s super cute. It’s got a garter stitch brim and a fun vertical lace stripe pattern.

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Once again my daughter was willing to be my  model, as long as she got to keep the hat when we were done! (Note: the hat had not been blocked at this point.)

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That was fine, because it came out too big for me. I got a bit carried away and knit it a little longer than I was supposed to, but it looks great on her.

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The pattern calls for two stands of fingering held together, and I’m still not crazy about the colors I chose, but it’s okay. If I make it again, and I probably will because it was a fun knit, I’d choose two colors closer together.

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So if you need a quick late-summer hat, check out the Ravelry page here.

Three WIPs

The new job is going well, and I’m catching on quickly to most things. I think the biggest hurdle has been the Spanish accent of one of my bosses. I struggle a bit with accents, so I’m really hoping that with time, I’ll get more used to it and it’ll be easier. As it is, I’ve had a couple of scary moments where I asked “What?” once and didn’t want to ask again, and then had to ask someone else for help later. Thankfully, he’s a very nice man, so he’d probably be patient with me too. It’s just hard to admit you can’t understand someone, isn’t it?

I’m enjoying bolstering the knitting group at work too. I knit every day, and one day at the cafe, one woman sat with our group because of my knitting. She used to knit, keeps projects handy, but struggles to find time. Of course I told her about the knitting group, so I’m hoping to see her there soon. I go to every lunch meeting I can, and I’ve got the other AA who started with me knitting too. She learned the knit stitch as a child, and I donated a pair of needles she could try again and see if she liked it. She made a mug cozy in about a day, and is now working on a chevron baby blanket! There’s one other woman there who’s a dedicated crocheter/knitter, so she’s always got her yarn too, and we can talk about stash and what to do with leftover yarn and weaving in ends and understand each other perfectly.

But despite my daily lunchtime knitting, I haven’t finished a project in a while. Instead, I thought I’d share what I’ve been working on. I’ve got three biggish WIPs that are moving slowly. First is my KC Royals Crackerjack scarf. I got bored with it a while back and set it aside, but recently realized it makes great lunch break knitting so I made note of all the wins and losses for the last two months (yeah, I neglected it that long) and within a few days I got all caught up. I really like the random look to it, especially if I don’t think about the fact that the big blocks of white and gold mean they lost a lot.

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My Saroyan is progressing nicely too. I’m loving the pattern and the yarn. (How could you not love a hot pink cashmere blend yarn?)

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I just started the second skein last night while watching the Olympics, and I can see a definite difference in color. But it’ll be the middle of the scarf and at the back of my neck when I wear it, so I’m trying to let it go.

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I also have Fractal Danger on my needles, in my newest Manos del Uruguay Alegria.

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This is a Martina Behm pattern, so it’s full of delicious garter stitch. This was my lunch break knitting this week, but I had to keep track of the rows just enough that it was hard to eat and chat at the same time, so I think I’ll cast on for a new hat for this week. I might do Yoda hats, since those are strong sellers on Etsy and I can almost make them without any thought at all.

Yesterday, the husband needed to donate something to the Habitat ReStore, which just *happens* to be next door to a lovely big LYS, so I decided I’d ride along. It’s somehow appropriate, given the location of the Olympics, that I came home with some new Malabrigo Rios.

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I keep buying new yarn despite having less knitting time than before. This might be a problem soon.

On the way home, we saw this:

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Yep, a little chihuahua in a cart on the back of a scooter. I love it.

Now, I’m going to spend the rest of my Sunday baking, knitting, and watching the Olympics. The real question is whether I make myself work out before doing the fun stuff. (I KNOW. Don’t tell me. I KNOW I should. But I don’t WANT to.)

Enjoy your Sunday, friends!