Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hi there!

I have lost my knitting mojo. After nearly two years of non stop knitting, I set my needles down in August and have only completed two projects since then: a micro-preemie hat (for a baby who is now doing very well - yay!!!), and a hat for a friend from church.

I anybody happens to see my inspiration laying around anywhere, feel free to pick it up and toss it back at me!


Monday, August 4, 2008

Running on the hamster wheel....

Pattern for the Nisse Hat will be here soon - life has been a series of busy days over the past few weeks!

Spent a weekend camping with my younger daughter's Brownie troop, followed by another week at the lake cabin.

Had out of town family visiting for a week - two nephews and a niece stayed at grandma's house nearby, but we spent our days together at the Science Museum, Adventure Peak, the Zoo, as well as watching the first three episodes of the Star Wars trilogy and just generally playing and having fun. Phew!

Jumped back into the fray of committee meetings and other church commitments this week - summer hiatus goes by too quickly!

There has been knitting, however. No pics yet, but I've just finished (my third) Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono from Mason Dixon Knitting and also threw together a cabled hat design to teach my sister some new techniques. (Literally sketched it out on the back of a business card while driving to a reunion/picnic - cast on and knit the first couple of inches for her & then sent her off on her own to give it a go. We're reconvening this Wednesday to discuss decreases.....)

I keep casting on and unraveling the Elizabeth Zimmermann Baby Surprise Jacket. I think I finally just read the "golden tip" I've been hunting for that will help me lengthen the sleeves - I'm going to try once more before retiring this project permanently.

More substance, fewer excuses coming soon!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Roll Brim Hat "Recipe", by request

I've had a few requests for the "pattern" for a basic roll brim hat. In fact, I don't use a pattern for this. In reality, it's just a basic tube, knit in the round, either bound off straight across or easily decreased for a rounded top. I saw instructions for a preemie hat many years ago on a knitting website and realized that it could be sized up very easily - baby, child, adult.

I have made close to 200 hats using this formula over the past nine years - even the hat I use in my avatar follows this same formula (knit very large in a roving-type yarn & felted down to toddler size).

Here is an (edited version of a) post I made at the Ravelry website a while ago regarding the basic roll brim hat:

I think of a basic rolled brim hat as more of a “formula” than a pattern. Here’s a quick overview….

You will need a 16" circular needle (I prefer the Addi Turbo brand) and a set of double point needles. For worsted yarns I typically use a size 7 or 8 for this pattern.

Cast on a number of stitches that is divisible by 8 - for worsted yarns I used the following number of stitches:

Preemie: 48
Newborn - 3 months: 56
3 - 12 months: 64
Toddler/small child: 72

For adult sizes about 80 stitches is a good place to start.

So, cast on, join, and knit straight up in stockinette. Again, length depends on size:

Preemie: 3-3 1/2 inches
Newborn: 4 1/2 inches
3-12 months: 5 1/2 inches
Toddler/child: 6 1/2 inches

Begin your decreases. If you cast on with a multiple of 8 stitches, you can just knit 6, knit 2tog all the way around. Alternate each decrease round with a round of plain knitting - this gives the top of the hat a nice shaping. You will need to switch to the double point needles after a few rounds of decreases. When there are too few stitches to slide easily around the needle, it's time to switch to dpn's! When you do switch to dpn's, try to do it at the beginning of a round & divide your stitches as evenly as you can between needles.

When you get down to the last 8 stitches on your needles, cut yourself a tail of 4-6 inches, thread it onto a tapestry needle, and pull it through those last 8 stitches. Pull it firmly closed, pull the yarn through to the inside, and weave in your ends.

Bing, bang, boom, done.

You can embellish this kind of hat in a zillion different ways. Weave a ribbon between a couple of stitches & tie a bow - easy as pie and you are done. Or you can make pom poms, tassels, a row of eyelets for weaving ribbons through, etc. etc. One thing I really like to do is add i-cord at the top for loops, knots, etc. Once you really get the swing of it you can make just about any kind of hat you want.

Here are a few pics of different hats I have made using this recipe:

A very small preemie version, I added stripes and double i-cord knot at the top:

Very basic, with an i-cord at the top doubled over into a circle:

This hat is completely basic, following the recipe in a small child size. The loops at the top were simple crocheted chains (the kind you don't even need a crochet hook to make if you want) doubled back over and attached to the hat:

And this one is simply as easy as it gets. It's just knit without any variations or embellishments. I simply took a 1/4" grosgrain ribbon and threaded it between two stitches & tied it into a bow. That's it!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Homeless Hats

When I tossed the "Speckled Hen" into my basket of FO's, I realized that I was building up quite a pile of hats:

(And a lone bootie....)

Some of these are left over from a charity sale I participated in last year. Some are knit from various patterns I found at Ravelry or in books. And some are my own (very amateurish) designs.

Some have a fun backstory: see that fisherman's wool square hat with the seed stitch brim and pom pom's? That was knit entirely in the movie theater while watching Pirates of the Caribbean 3 with my kids. :-) That slightly unfinished Marley hat from Itty Bitty Hats in the lower corner? That was knit in the smallest newborn size - I had to give it a wash before finishing it because my neice had spilled on it, and it grew large enough to fit my six year old! It's acrylic - who knew acrylic could grow in the wash?

Anyway, one hat I really like is the red Christmas hat(s) right in the middle of the photo. My sister had asked if I could knit a Christmas-y hat for a friend of hers who was due with a new baby last December. I pulled out some scrap yarn and was very pleased with the final result:

Nisse Hat
Nisse Hat - Pattern coming soon....

I'll post the pattern next week (although even an extremely new knitter can clearly see this is not really a pattern, per se, as much as it is a simple tube with tassels sewed onto the corners, LOL).

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bawk bawk

Speckled Hen Hat

Speckled Hen Hat
From: "Itty Bitty Hats" by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Almond, Snow, and Charcoal
Feathers: from a craft store feather boa
Cast on: 7/11/08
Cast off: 7/11/08

Speckled Hen

Friday, July 11, 2008

Random Cuteness

The only model I could find for my February sweater:

Well, not quite, but I don't think it's designed to be a bolero:

Glass dragonfly ornament in pink geraniums:

Future knitter:

Toad - pet for an afternoon:

(Released back to nature later that afternoon - no toads were harmed in the making of this post)

Monday, July 7, 2008

.....and, done!

Baby Sweater on Two Needles (aka February Baby Sweater), Gift for Juniper Olivia. Final version - cast on July 1, cast off July 6.

Yarn: Elle Pure Gold DK, Rare Ruby colorway

Mods: None that were done intentionally. I mis-interpreted EZ's "pithy directions" and divided for the sleeves after 4.5 inches of the lace pattern rather than 4.5 inches from the cast on edge. I lengthened the rest of the body to accomodate. It doesn't look perfect, but it is not horrible.....

Overall I'm fairly satisfied with the finished product.

Chunky Log Cabin Baby Blanket (aka Moderne Baby Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting), Gift for Abram Eugene. Cast on June 11, cast off June 25.

I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. I'm not a huge fan of the Bernat Softee Chunky yarn (100% acrylic), but it's baby friendly and I already had it in my stash so it was a quick and inexpensive gift. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for a chunky superwash wool or wool-blend yarn that I could use for this project next time!

Now I need to head out to the post office to get them mailed to the new parents!