Tag Archive | slouch hats

Marshmallow Cowl Progress

The knit-along has begun!! I couldn’t wait until today so last night I assembled all my tools and prepared to cast on. IMG_5294I hit my first roadblock pretty quickly. I thought I remembered how to do a provisional cast on, but it was coming out wonky. So I pulled out my trusty cast on/bind off reference book and pretty soon I was back on track. I even learned a new way do it: crocheting around the knitting needle, so the stitches are ready to go. Before, I chained and then picked up stitches in the chains. The new way is a lot more efficient.

I confess, I did not read the pattern before selecting it. And when I saw that it was knit flat and seamed, I was disappointed. I LOVE knitting in the round. Not so fond of seaming. But, the pattern was chosen and announced, and I do love the look, so hey, I can seam once in a while.

So, stitches on the needle, time to knit. I hit my second roadblock in the second row of the pattern, when the instructions said to slip one purl wise. Okay, I understand that, except it didn’t specify whether to hold the yarn in front or back, and I’m a new enough knitter that I don’t know which is expected when it’s not specified. I picked to hold the yarn in front and knit away on my huge size 19 needles. I got maybe 10 rows in, and it was looking weird and nothing like the pictures in the pattern, and I was starting to freak out. Had I picked a terrible pattern? Was I a terrible knitter who shouldn’t be in charge of a KAL??

No, of course not. I am a good enough knitter now to step back and assess the situation. First of all, I wasn’t happy with the fabric created with the size 19 needles. Maybe my yarn wasn’t as bulky as the designer’s. I frogged and pulled out my size 15s and started over. It still looked weird. I frogged again and visited Youtube for videos on slipping stitches, and decided to hold the yarn in back. This time, I skipped the provisional cast on and just cast on normally, so I could get a sense of the pattern, and sure enough, the yarn is supposed to be held in back.IMG_5296See?? That’s how it’s supposed to look! I felt much better about myself and about the pattern. I frogged one more time, did the provisional cast on one more time, and started knitting, and this time my progress hasn’t been frogged. Just a note: I did add five stitches to my cast on to account for the smaller needles.IMG_5299Sorry, the lighting is weird in that one, isn’t it? You can see it’s zipping along, and I had to stop myself from doing too much last night, since I said I wouldn’t even cast on until today! Still, it won’t take long to knit up. And I decided I’m going to use Kitchener to graft it together. Partly because I want the practice, and partly because I’m not fond of the seam that the 3-needle bind off leaves. But that’s for another day.

What else have I been working on? I made a quick chunky hat (pattern: Hipster Slouchy Hat) and once I tried it on, I decided I needed to keep this one.IMG_5284

I’ve also been working on my gradient seed stitch cowl. There’s a very slight line where you can see I started knitting with my new purling method, but it doesn’t bother me a bit. This one’s going much more quickly than I remembered. IMG_5287Jack was my photography assistant. He’s very helpful.IMG_5286

There you have it, lots of knitting! Today I’m going to get as much done on my bulky cowl as possible, though I am visiting both my mother and my newest nephew, so I’m not sure how much progress I’ll make. I’ll be sure to share tomorrow!

And if you want to knit along with me and Jenna, the pattern is Marshmallow Fluff and we’re using the hashtag #MarshmallowKAL!

Darkness and Light Cowl

I’m steadily plowing through my WIPs. This morning I finished my mom’s rainbow cowl, and I’m delighted with it. If she doesn’t love it, I’ll keep it for sure! img_5263img_5262 I used one strand of Done Roving Frolicking Feet DK in Pot o’ Gold and one strand of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in black. The pattern is the Hartwell Scarf by Karin Michele. It was a simple pattern, though I did have a bit of trouble with the last round of the repeating pattern and kept ending up with a slipped stitch where it didn’t look right. Not sure if I was supposed to hold the yarn in back maybe? Anyway, it was a minor thing and not noticeable unless you look for it. And I love the diagonal ridge. I’d definitely make this pattern again.  img_5264

I’ve also got one more WIP that became a FO today. The girl requested a gray beanie with just a little slouch, so we chose the Violet Waffles hat with gray Preciosa Tonal. It was ready for decreases, so I had her try it on first to make sure it was the right amount of slouch. Once she deemed it acceptable, it got finished off pretty quickly. This is a nifty pattern too, one I want to make for myself. I’ll make it gray if I have enough left, or I have a lovely raspberry color I could use instead. img_5267

Finally, another WIP left the list via frogging. I’d started some fingerless gloves in August of last year with some Baah Sonoma Chocolate Cherries yarn. Then they got set aside for gift and craft show knitting. Now I’ve decided I want to use the yarn elsewhere. Since I had less than half of one mitt completed, the frogging was quick and painless. The pattern is lovely, but I wear so little red that I wasn’t sure I’d wear them often enough. I have a few black/gray/white shirts, and what I do see myself wearing is a scarf, one with a lovely lacy pattern of some sort. To that end, I’m even considering frogging this Chocolate Cherries shawelette. It’s an awkward length for me, not quite long enough to wear as a scarf, and it ends up hanging in my closet. I do think it’s beautiful, and I enjoyed knitting it, but again, I think I’d rather use the yarn for something I could wear often.

After all that, I’m left with only TWO WIPs! One is a blanket, so I’m content letting that be a long-term project. The other is a gradient cowl that’s simple seed stitch, so I’ll pull that out for my TV knitting, and I might allow myself to cast on something new. I’m working with another blogger on starting a bulky-cowl Knit-along (more details soon). Anyone else want to play??

Finally, yesterday was the anniversary of the day we got Grace! She’s grown up a lot in the last year, and we sure love having her around. She’s a pain in the butt at times, but she’s OUR pain in the butt! img_5258

A New / Old Hat

The other day I was going through our stash of hats/scarves/gloves, and culling things that were too small or missing matches or we never wore, and I found a really awesome hat. I’d made it for my son but he never wore it. I threw it in a Eucalan bath, blocked it, and now it’s ready to wear! IMG_5182IMG_5183The pattern is Odessa, and I knit it in Foxy by Nerd Girl Yarns (color #nofilter). It definitely blocked out bigger; now it’s got the tiniest bit of a slouch to it. I love it. And I love that it could be part of a really bright matched set: IMG_5198The cowl is the Later, Gator! pattern. Now, the question is, do I sell them individually, or as a set??

Oh Yeah, Knitting

I’ve been distracted from my knitting the last few days, but I came back to it yesterday. While in a waiting room, I knit up some Yoda ears and completed another Yoda hat. IMG_5035It looks a little long, doesn’t it? Hmm. I used a different hat pattern this time. I might modify it a bit next time. I’ve got another Yoda waiting for one more ear, and then it’ll go into the For Sale pile too. I also finished the pink and gray hat last night. IMG_5032IMG_5034Now I need to make one in the reverse colors, but I don’t know if it’ll happen before Saturday. You may remember, I have a small craft show on Saturday, and I’m focusing on hats for this one. I’m trying to get a good variety of price points, and acrylic kid hats seem to be popular. Anyway, once I finished this one, it was time to get everything tagged and priced. I turned up Adele and got to work. IMG_5037I added 17 hats and 4 cowls to my inventory! With any luck, I’ll come home from the show with a lot fewer. Now, let’s see how many more hats I can knit before Saturday…

The Snood, and a Hat

The snood is complete and en route to my customer today, so I feel safe in sharing photos. I’m delighted with it! It was much simpler than I expected, and really fun to make. I’m definitely going to make one to add to my Etsy shop. This one is for a girl pup, so she got a cute little pompom on the tail. … Shoot. Nope, accidentally deleted the photos I took yesterday. Here’s all that’s left. IMG_4975Just imagine the pompom. And better lighting. And a puppy inside, while you’re imagining.

I made another hat yesterday. I ran errands all day long and when I finally was able to sit and relax, I picked up my crochet hook and a skein of white cotton. Here’s what happened. IMG_4989IMG_4990IMG_4991I never get tired of this pattern. It’s so fast, and I love the look of the crochet body with the elasticity of the knitted brim. It’s called the Combination Summer Hat.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a manuscript to proofread! Whee! So far I’ve gotten jobs through word of mouth, but I might be ready to set up a simple, basic website. I just need to find the time to sit down with my resident IT genius. That might be the hard part!

Purple Beanie

I worked on a WIP yesterday. It was boring: all gray, all garter stitch. But I made some progress and I have hope that someday I will be able to switch to the third color (teal).IMG_4966I guess this is good TV knitting. I don’t have to think AT ALL. But that’s also why it’s boring. So mostly I worked on a hat, and today it’s done! IMG_4963IMG_4964This is the Purl Swirl Beanie, and I love it. You can make it as slouchy as you want, so I knit to about 7″ before starting the decreases. The pattern is extremely simple but gives the hat a really interesting look and texture. I used Dream in Color Classy, a superwash merino that might be one of my favorite yarns to knit with. It’s not soft in the same way as alpaca; it’s more…crisp. That makes it behave well on the needles and have great stitch definition. The funny thing is that when I went to update the project page on Ravelry, supposedly I had two skeins of the same yarn. This is what I found: IMG_4967They have the same label on them, same color code and everything. But that’s a HUGE difference! I guess this is why they say to make sure you get skeins from the same dye lot! Still, I’m delighted to discover I have more Dream in Color yarn than I realized. Before I can cast on with it, though, I have a new commission: a greyhound snood! It’s a fun pattern, one with a hood, and it’s for one of my daughter’s teachers. (The teacher’s dog, that is.) And of course I don’t have the right yarn, so a trip to Michaels is in store for me today. Might even hop over to Office Max while I’m out there. Yarn AND office supplies? That’s a great day!

New Hat Photos

Yesterday I borrowed my daughter again, this time to model hats. I experimented with the backyard this time and discovered the late-day light is much better in the front. Still, I was pleased enough with the results. IMG_4913IMG_4914This is The Journey Hat. I love the look, but it came out really big. Part of it was me, accidentally knitting it longer than I was supposed to, but part of it was just…it came out big all around. How was my gauge, you ask? No idea. I don’t do that for hats, LOL! It’s still a good adult size, would be perfect for those with big heads or lots of hair, and it’s super slouchy. Plus, the yarn is divine. It’s KnitPicks Preciosa Tonal, two strands held together, and it’s so wonderfully soft and warm.

Here’s the gray newsboy cap, crochet this time!IMG_4962IMG_4964This pattern is called Newsie and it’s super fast. It was a little snug on my big-headed girl but fits me fine. I’ve also made this size for my niece (who’s 7) and it’s great for her too. If you’re interested in hers, find the Ravelry page here.

Another Slouchy Broken Rib Hat, Ravelry notes here.IMG_4957IMG_4952

And here are a couple of better photos of the hat I showed you yesterday. I’m calling it the Snowfall Hat. IMG_4922IMG_4925IMG_4934I’m quite pleased with this pattern, The Hipster Slouchy Hat. I love how it slouches in the back without being too poofy; I think it might be a better style for me to actually wear. I just need to find some appropriately purple bulky yarn.

I’m now down to seven WIPs and my goal is to finish at least one today. I’ve been out to lunch with friends the last two days, and while I had a wonderful time, I need a quiet day to rest and recharge. Knitting is the best way for me to do that. And it just so happens I can hang out in my pajamas and drink tea all day at the same time!

I guess I am a writer

Have you ever heard that saying,”If you’re a writer, you must write”? Like, ‘real’ writers feel compelled to write. I do think there’s a little truth to that. For a very long time, I tried to write fiction. I have two completed novels in my file cabinet, but my fiction writing is very sporadic. It’s HARD, you know? A few months ago, I decided that because I didn’t feel called to work on those books, or to write others, I wasn’t a writer. I often get those little “What if” moments, thinking “Oh, that would be a cool story!” But then I don’t do anything with them. Therefore, my self-deprecating brain decided that meant I wasn’t a writer.

But then I had an epiphany: I have this blog. I’ve been writing here for quite a while now. I’ve lost track of how long, but I’m thinking it’s around two years. Before that, I journaled. I was being too limiting: I AM a writer. I do feel compelled to write. I don’t write every day, though I’m trying, but I write often. And even though I started this blog primarily to talk about my knitting, I’ve written about a lot of different things: dogs, depression, loss, grief, parenting, reading, and now writing.

I AM a writer. I may not be a writer of fiction, but I am a writer. The things I am compelled to write are true, they’re stories of me and my experiences, my thoughts, my opinions. Maybe that’s selfish, or egotistical, to think that people would want to read about me. But maybe it’s also helpful to read about real people. I know I enjoy reading other people’s personal stories. They help me learn about myself, feel better about myself. They inspire me and teach me. They help me feel not so alone in this often-hard world. So why couldn’t my stories do the same? It’s a lofty goal, for sure, and I don’t know if I’m there yet. All I know is that this is what compels me to write, this is what comes out easily and with passion, these are the stories that read true.

Years ago, back in the stone age when a writer used manila envelopes, snail mail, and SASEs, I sent my second novel out to agents. I probably queried fifty agents, and I received a LOT of rejection slips. Those were disheartening, of course. But! I received one “Query me later”, one handwritten “Well written but not right for me” and one request for a full. No, I didn’t get an agent, and the book didn’t get published. But given the number of queries agents receive, I consider those responses as small successes. At least three people saw potential in my writing. Not just people, publishing professionals. Why didn’t I keep going, keep pushing with this book? No idea. Laziness, fear, frustration. I also had a young child at the time, so I could have easily gotten distracted. I’ve thought about going back to this book, but again, I haven’t pushed myself. Both my novels were written on old computers and revising them would mean completely re-typing them into my current laptop. Yep, that would be a good opportunity to revise. And I might still. But my current manuscript is where my heart is right now, my little memoir from my retail life. So that’s where I’ll be pushing. The real work begins now, as I move into the realm of query letters and proposals. I have to convince someone that my book matters. What tricks or tips do you have for writing query letters?

Last night, I handed off a freshly printed manuscript to my husband. Then, to distract myself, I started a new hat. It’s a lovely dark emerald green, and it will grow up to be a slouchy hat. IMG_4822

A Hat and A Scarf

I got some lovely, kind comments to yesterday’s Being a Unicorn post; thank you so much! It felt good to write, and I’m feeling more confident about my choices. On a related note, I’ve been playing around with paid posts on Facebook, and they actually seem to work. I’ve done two $5 boosts, and both times I got lots of clicks, post likes, and two page likes. They haven’t made any money for me yet, but given time, they might. Every bit of exposure could lead to those people who love handmade yarn treasures.

Today’s post will be what I was intending to write yesterday before my unicorn self took over. I have two finished projects to show you! A few days ago I wrote about pulling out some old WIPs, and I frogged one and kept one. I actually finished the one I kept that day, and I have no idea why I set it aside before. It was simpler than I remembered, and the yarn is just so soft. I ran out of yarn and had to omit the last two rows of the pattern, but I don’t think it hurt much. IMG_4747IMG_4746IMG_4749It still needs blocked, and then I’ll try to get a good photo of it actually on a person. It’s called the Gallatin Scarf, and here are my Ravelry notes.

I also made another Summer Combination hat, this time with that silky black pima cotton. The only downside to black yarn, other than actually working with black yarn, is trying to photograph it. I’m seriously considering investing in one of those glass mannequin heads. IMG_4756IMG_4757Yep, that’s a bit of dog hair. Obviously this one hasn’t been washed yet.IMG_4760Yep, that’s my Christmas tree. Still up. Whatever.

Oh! Oh, I almost forgot! I have marvelous news! Look, look at this: IMG_4752Those are MY feet! My feet, and both of them are in real shoes! I went to the orthopedist yesterday for my nine-week followup, and the x-rays showed a bony union and I was released from his care. Woohoo!! I don’t have full pain-free range of motion yet, but I don’t know if that’s because it’s not 100% healed or the muscles just need time and work, but I can walk and I can drive! I think my husband was more relieved than I was. Now I just need to remember how to go down stairs like an adult and not a two year old. So what am I doing with my first day of independent freedom? What any mom would do: go to the grocery store! … which happens to be right across the street from Michaels…

Crafting My Way to a Better Mood

Maybe whining really does help: I ended up having a pretty good day yesterday! I managed to make it up to my craft room, where I spent a lovely hour or so prepping my for craft show. I had a big pile of finished hats with no tags. So I pulled out the Sizzix, made some tags, and got them all ready to sell. IMG_4107I also had a few that needed some finishing details before I could sell them, so I gathered up the supplies I needed and worked my way downstairs. NOT the couch, the dining room, with all the sunshine. I turned on my music (Imagine Dragons. Love them.) and set to work.IMG_4101On the second Yoda hat, I ran into a snag. I’d finished an ear with a new skein of yarn and realized in the harsh light of day that it was the wrong color.IMG_4103Oops! Frogged that. I found a leftover bit of the right color, reknit the ear, and sewed it onto the hat. Bam, another Yoda hat done.IMG_4104I added a button to a hat. I didn’t have matching thread, so I used a contrasting color, and I’m quite pleased with it. As I sewed, I noticed the top of the hat was pretty cool.IMG_4105The color in the photo isn’t great; it’s a greener green than this, but you get the idea. I love it when the yarn does fun stuff like this all by itself.

By then, I’d been up for a few hours and my foot was starting to ache, so I gave in and went back to the couch. But it was good, because I finished the candy cane scarf, a holiday order that’s been hanging over me and preventing me from selfish knitting. Okay, so I messed up and made it 6″ shorter than it was supposed to be, but thankfully my customer didn’t mind. (It probably helped that I offered it at a lower price.) Jack was very happy that I was back at the couch. He needed some cuddle time.IMG_4109I’m also getting close to the end of the mermaid blanket. IMG_4098I’ve joined it to work in the round and I’m ready to decrease, then it’ll just be the fin and it’ll be done! Woohoo! Okay, it’ll be done AFTER I weave in 50 million yarn tails, but still. I’m close.

So yeah, good day yesterday. Thank goodness for yarn and puppies and helpful kids and a loving husband. And thank goodness for encouragement from all of you!