Sunday, September 25, 2016

Some Problems

Last Angry Bird hat
There is knitting--not that there's much to share (Actually, I'm farther along than picutred above--almost ready to start decreases with an inch to go).  At least I'm on my last Christmas gift.  I decided to work a black Angry Bird rather than a yellow one.  It'll be interesting to modify the facial features.  Hope this fits my oldest nephew.
School books with binder

Anyways I'm currently facing  a couple of problems with regard to lack of time for knitting.  The first problem is school--specifically homework.  There's lots of reading, especially since I'm enrolled in 2 courses.  Free time is limited.  After supper and the dishes, I'm doing homework.  When I'm done with that, I have little brain power or energy to knit.
Smartphone with Candy Crush Soda app

My other problem is my new phone.  My previous phone was a small flip one.  Very old school in size and function: small and no real internet access.  Now I have a smartphone--with apps! Oh the apps!  Specifically Candy Crush Soda.  That is my downfall.  At naptime, I used knit and now I "crush candy".  See the problem?  Welcome to my world.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Good Ol' Stash!

Nothing like rummaging through one's stash to get the mojo flowin'!  
Leftover bits of yarn
Over the long weekend, I decided to clean out my two yarn baskets--full of used patterns, misplaced (or "lost") needles, leftover yarn and almost finished items.  Do you have one too?  A bin, basket or other suitable receptacle where all the leftovers or WIPs collect?

Yarn, socks and lacy scarf

In re-organizing all those bits and pieces, I had to rummage through my stash containers.  Lo and behold, there was my mojo!  Hidden away in a plastic drawer filled with special yarns in pretty colours.  Funny how one's stash can inspire . . . .  
 
Almost there . . .

So I finally got back to ripping out and finishing one of those Angry Bird hats.  Some of those itty-bitty face parts got made too. Excited to sew all those bits in place 'cuz then I'll be almost done (although I have to confess that I'm eyeing a special project for a family member, but it will require some "designing". . . ).
Yarn for last Angry Bird hat
Happy to report there's just one more hat to make!  This last Angry Bird will have to be a different colour.  There's not much red left.  So one of my nephews will get either a yellow or black Angry Bird--not sure which colour to use yet.  I promise to keep you posted. :)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Almost Over . . . .

Pretty cone flowers
The days are getting shorter and the nights a little cooler . . .  In a few weeks, the fall fair comes to town and then school will start up.  Summer will officially be over. 

Tomatoes are getting big
Meanwhile I've been busy doing nothing.   That's right.  Nothing.  No crochet.  No knitting (hence no blogging).  Actually, there has been some knitting, but I've been distracted by family events, outings to the big city, games and technology.  Truthfully my knittin' mojo had been waning and now it's MIA!  I'm gonna have to find it if I want to finish those Christmas hats.
The beans that survived . . .
Hanging basket

Meanwhile I've been putterin' 'round in the garden: watering my flowers and veggies, pulling weeds and trimming over-grown bushes and trees.  There's something very primal 'bout planting seeds and watching them grow . . . 

Tomorrow I step back into the mundane ordinary life, and I'll have to re-focus my energies and prioritize my time. I'll keep you posted. ;)

Monday, August 1, 2016

While on Vacation . . .

Vacations are for sleeping in, relaxing and taking it slow.  And knitting.  On the downside, sometimes blogs fall by the wayside . . . 
One hat and a second almost done . . .

But there is progress!  I've got one Zeebad hat finished and the second one is almost done.  I should be further along, but there was ripping--followed by cursing (or maybe it was the other way around?  Expletives were shouted and there might even have been some growling).  In a fit of exasperation over size, missed yarn overs and dropped stitches I ripped it all out and started again.  Twice.  Once for each hat.
First hat awaiting ribbon and pompom

The hats have to be perfect 'cuz they're gifts.  So when I was done cursin', I knocked some sense into those stitches.  And I promised myself to only work on the hats when I am well-rested and have time to concentrate.  (Don't rest and time go hand-in-hand with vacations?).   
Second hat in progress

In any case, my goal: finish the second hat within the week and then look for ribbons.  These will get threaded through the eyelets.  There are pompoms to be made too!  Haven't made those in a long time.  I might have to peruse some how-to videos.  I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

About the Boys' Hats

Since I'd shared details about the girls' hats, I thought it only fair that I also share more about the boys' hats.  There were lots of options, but I decided on something related to Angry Birds (my older nephews really love Angry Birds).

I decided to use Red Bird with Attitude by Heidi Yates (free download at Ravelry) because the facial features looked great and didn't protrude from the hat (Also, I wanted my older nephews to wear their hats. Y'all know how older kids get about hand knits if they think it looks silly).
Finished hats before facial details are added
Here's the thing:  I needed to make some mods.  First off, the hat sizes tended to run on the small side.  I started with the child size, but that looked more like toddler size.  So I knit the next size up (teen size) to get something in a child size (sounds confusing, right?).  Also, I really didn't like the "tail" as written in the pattern.  I wasn't sure my older nephews would go for it.  What do you think (see version #1 pictured below)?
Hat version following pattern exactly as written

So for version #2, I made some mods:
1) Used 3.75mm circulars to work the brim for a more snug fit
2) Used K2P2 instead of K1P1.  That's just a personal preference.  Besides, I think my choice looks better.
3) Switched to 4.5mm circulars for body.
4) For decreases, worked them as written until row 16 where I made some minor changes in how the decreases are worked:
Row 16: K1 K2tog (18 sts for teen size)
Row 17-18: Knit
Row 19: K2tog (9 sts for teen size)
Row 20: Knit
Row 21:  K2tog till last st, K1 (5 sts teen size)
Row 22-24: Knit each round as I-cord
Row 25: K2tog K1 K2tog (3 sts teen size)
Rows 26-28: Knit each round as I-cord
Leave long tail and thread through last 3 stitches.  Fasten off.
Version #2 following modifications to "tail"
I think the modified version looks so much better than the first--so much better that I may rip out the first version and re-do.  Hey, I've got time. ;)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

About the Girls' Hats

So here are the details on Christmas for my nieces.
Finished beret--aka Meret #2
First off, the beret.  The yarn was bulky (it's James Brett Marble Chunky--which incidentally is a bulky yarn, similar to Bernat's vintage Softee); so I settled on Bernat's beret from their Urban Weekend booklet.  Having made this pattern before (here and also here), I remembered that the brim was a little shallow.  I referenced another pattern I had recently made in which the brim was less shallow, the Meret (aka Mystery Beret) and lo and behold, it had the same number of cast-on stitches!  So I switched gears and worked the Meret instead (by the way, I just love my own Meret !).  
Under side of beret

Is this a recipe for disaster?  No, I say.  A thousand times no!!  First off, the yarn I used for the original Meret was on the aran side--thicker than most worsted weight.  The marble chunky yarn is listed as bulky but it's more on the thinner side--close to an aran weight.  See the confusion?  I also used smaller needles than would normally be used for the yarn weight (4.5mm and 5.5mm).  Finally I worked the smallest size listed in the pattern directions.  My oldest niece is 9 and rather tall for her age, so a child-sized hat was probably not gonna work for her anyways.  I figure better it be a wee bit bigger than too small.
Leftovers
If there's enough yardage, I'm hoping to make a matching beret (with purse and shawl) for my niece's 18" doll.  Won't that be cute?  I'm certain she'll love all of it. :) 
Yarn and pattern are ready to go . . .
For my younger nieces, I'm hoping to get them some storybooks along with some pretty hats.  How does Zeebad look?  Cute, right?  I've got some lovely Patons Classic Wool in orchid (more like a lovely raspberry, in my opinion) for one niece.  There's lots more pink in my stash, so if I run out of orchid, I can use a different colour for the second girl.

Very excited about getting started . . . 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Makin' Christmas in July?

Yup, that's right!  I'm makin' Christmas in July.  Hoping to make hats for my 3 nephews and 3 nieces just like last year--except this time I'm getting an early start.
In progress beret
The plan is to make angry bird type hats for the boys, a beret for my older niece, and eyelet- ribbon hats for the younger girls.  I've got plenty of yarn in my stash (it really is nice to go "shopping" in the stash, especially when funds are tight).
In-progress hats for nephews

Hoping to get most of the gift knitting done by the end of the summer.  If I can stick to "my plan", I may have time to make a scrapbook for the grandparents.  Haven't really scrapped in a while, but I've got lots of paper and it would be nice to use it.

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