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.
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.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Canada Day

Happy Canada Day!! :D
Photo credit: Nick Kenrick. via Source / CC BY
It's been a long week for me, especially since I've been fighting a bad head cold (I know: who gets a cold in the middle of summer?  Personally I blame my wee toddlers--many of whom have been sick over the past few weeks).  Happy to be able to rest and drink lots of tea.

Wherever you are in this fine country, I hope you are surrounded with family and good friends.  Enjoy the long weekend! :)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Lovin' It!

After finishing my Keyhole Bow-tie Scarf, I cast-on for another bow-tie type scarf.  With only 109 yards in the one skein of's Peruvian Alpaca, I needed something small.  Problem: not happy.  The yarn is just lovely, but not loving the curl which is intregal to the pattern.  What now?  Rip out?  What else to make with such a small amount of yarn?  The yardage got me thinking about different types of small projects, which in turn got me thinking about dolls.  That's right: dolls.
Not loving the curl
Flipping through Ravelry's search engine, I found loads of cute patterns for 18" dolls (if you don't already know about Ravelry, get thee to the website post-haste 'cuz it is awesome!!).  Perusing patterns always gets me looking through the stash.  And I found a nice pattern to marry with some DK weight leftovers.
Top/dress in progress
The pattern is a little ensemble (Ravelry link), but I only made the top.  The top length is perfect as a dress, especially as my doll has leggings and pink booties.  Pattern is straight-forward, but I tweaked parts of it because of personal preference and because I couldn't get gauge.
Front view of dress

Back view

What do you think?  Pretty?  I love it, especially the bright colours.  Also love that I used leftovers.  And my doll finally gets a nice outfit.  Think she needs a matching cardigan?  Maybe in green?  I'll keep you posted. ;)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day of Sorts . . .

Over at my place, all the fellas in our household are sick.  To be fair, it has been a cool June and feels more like autumn than spring.  So I'm playing nurse-maid today, making sure everyone has hot tea, vitamin C, blankets and fluffy pillows.  And of course Netflix is playing non-stop (animated flicks aren't a cure-all, but it sure helps pass the time when you can't do much else).
Sick teddy courtesy of

So hope you all enjoy happy times with the fathers in your life.  Be well.
Later  ;)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Life Is Like . . .

Fragrant lilacs in bloom
. . . . Knitting.  N'est pas?  Yes, life is very much like knitting.  You think you've found the most wonderful yarn or the best pattern.  Full of enthusiasm, you cast on and soon realize something is amiss.  Gauge?  Dropped stitch?  Wrong size?  Ignoring the nagging doubts, you continue working on the piece until you realize the "mistake" needs addressing.  Your options?  Well, some of us will throw the whole mess in a cupboard and try to forget; others try something entirely different, while others just give up altogether and declare knitting (or crochet) to be too difficult.  Then there are those of us that either tink back or frog the entire thing, but they do not give up.  Maybe you need a different pattern for the yarn or different size needles.  Maybe you modify the pattern.  Maybe you ask for help and continue forth.  Either way, you persevere.

Dainty bleeding hearts in bloom
Life is like that.  Stuff happens that shake you to the core.  You wanna give up.  But you don't.  You persevere.  You find a way.
Detail of pretty lungwort
And truthfully, thank heavens for the knitting (or crochet).  It can ease the stress and give your mind a place to focus when you feel like crumbling into a small ball in the corner.  So while my absence has been much too long, my thoughts and heart were not far.  Complete immersion in all things crafty (and all things garden-wise and plant-like) kept me sane and functional.
Finished keyhole scarf
By the way, I finished that keyhole scarf.  What a lovely quick knit--and satisfying too.  Then I cast-on something else, but before I finished that, I cast on a second project.  Then I had this crazy idea to start making Christmas early . . . but that's for another post.
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