Wednesday, December 30, 2015

And Last--But Not Least . . .

And for my final gift wrap up: part of this gift was completed early one, while the rest was a last minute add-on 'cuz I had enough yarn left over.
Almost finished hat

First off, the kitty-kat hat. I started this one early on in September (remember my complaints posted here? ). It took a little longer than the bulky and worsted hats because it was DK.  Then I waited to weave in all those ends (ugh, hate that necessary part of "finishing").
In-progress "pom-pom"

I also dragged my feet on making pom-poms 'cuz my experience with the process has not been positive.  However, I did find a couple of interesting links to modified pom-poms--or acceptable alternatives (check out this link from Repeat Crafter Me on how secure your traditional pom-pom).  I chose the alternative option which was a small crochet ball using this pattern (crocheted pom-pom, a free pattern on  Well actually, my first one was a HUGE ball that was much too heavy.  I re-worked the pattern to make it smaller.  These are my mods (somewhat following the pattern, except with different stitch counts):

Round 1: chain 4, slip stitch & then work only 4 sc.  
Round 2: 2 sc in each sc (8 st)
Round 3: sc in each sc (8 st)
Round 4: sc in first stitch and then 2 sc in next stitch (12 st)
Rounds 5-7: sc in each stitch
Round 8: sc in 1st stitch, then draw loop through 2 sc to decrease (8 st)
Round 9: sc in each sc
Round 10: stuff ball with filling & then decrease by drawing loop through 2 sc (4 st)
Cut long piece & then draw yarn through last 4 sc. Pull tight & secure.
Finished hat complete with faux pom-poms

What do you think of the finished hat?  The balls actually look like pom-poms 'cuz the yarn is so fuzzy.  Bonus: my niece loves it so much, she's been wearing it non-stop (she loves hats anyways, so this gift was a no-brainer).
My niece in her hat
I wasn't sure she would like the wrist-warmers, but she loved them too.  Sadly I have NO photos of these--not even in-progress shots. 
Poor substitute for finished photo of wrist-warmers
So I'll share a lovely photo of the yarn used.  I really liked the pattern, Cleckheaton Country Silk Fingerless Gloves (which is a free download at  It's an easy-to-follow pattern and the gloves fit well (I think it's the ribbing).  For the striping, I worked a plain knit row when adding a new colour.  No real mods, but I'd recommend changing thumb placement:  I wish I had knit the first 2 stitches BEFORE binding off the 6 stitches for the thumb opening. For the second mitt, I worked the round till the last 8 stitches, bound off 6 stitches and then continued in ribbing for last 2 stitches.

Now I can get back to knitting for l'il ol' me. ;)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

More Knitting Stuff . . .

Yup, there's more.  I don't think I shared any of the finished Batman hats (although I did write about the pattern and intarsia here back in October) .  Essentially I followed the instructions as written with no mods.
Two Batman hats for two brothers
I was initially leery of the pointy ears on the hat (and truthfully I was a little unsure about how to proceed), but I carefully followed the instructions.  And they look fine (although  I thought that maybe next time I would use the intarsia design on a regular stocking hat).
Batman pixie hat with earflaps
In fact, I did just that for the baby hat.  This baby Batman hat uses a cute pixie earflap pattern from Yarnspirations (written by Vicky Howell).  Since intarsia needs to be worked flat, I started the hat in the round, but worked it flat when doing the colourwork. Once completed, I returned to working in the round and added a couple of extra rounds in plain gray before starting the decreases (approx 4” total from edge of garter brim).

And my nephews were pleased with their gifts.  Guess how I can tell?  Somebody didn't wanna take off his hat . . .  ;)
My nephew being goofy for the camera
More to share later . . .

Saturday, December 26, 2015

About All the Knitting . . .

There is much to share!

First off, all gifts were sent off and/or dropped off in time for the holidays.  That was a bit of a challenge.  You'd think a few hats would be easy to whip up, but I got distracted by work, school and family life in general--and of course I had to re-do one set of mittens and hat (remember this post ?).  And honestly, I wish I could have made more . . .  

Of course, when you knit for someone else, you never know if the recipient will appreciate the effort or even the item, especially if the recipient is a child.  It can be hit or miss (but I needn't have worried).
First Berry Hat with matching mittens
My sister and her kids loved their hats--and everything fit which is a double bonus, especially when the recipients are so far away.  Distance can make measuring next to impossible (although I suppose I could have asked my sister to measure the kids' heads, but that would have spoiled the surprise).
Second Berry Hat with matching mittens

Remember the  Pixie Earflap Hat with matching mittens?  As you may recall, the hat was the Iceland Earflap Hat  from Crystal Palace Yarns.  I made a few mods because the original was adult-sized and written for super-bulky yarn (I was working with bulky and needed toddler size).
Modifications included:
1) bulky yarn on 6.0 mm needles
2) brim worked in garter stitch instead of ribbing so it would blend into garter flaps
3) stitch count adjusted to accommodate toddler size:  when connecting flaps & joining in round, knit across 1st flap (15 st), cast on 9 st (instead of 12), knit across 2nd flap (15 st) and then cast on 15 stitches (instead of 18)--54 stitches total.
4) second hat had no I-cord ties, but was otherwise constructed in the same way

Last Minute Mittens
The mittens were an amalgam of two patterns:  mostly used Last Minute Mittens  from Valley Yarns, but used measurements from  Bernat's Family Mittens to help achieve appropriate size (and it helped to be working with toddlers who willingly tried on the mitts as I worked on them).

Modifications included:

1) used 5.0 mm needles instead of 6.5 mm
2) using women's size small, worked cuff in K2P1 for 1 1/2" (instead of 2").  Then worked 1 plain row in knit before working thumb gusset as written
3) after round 9 of thumb gusset,, worked 1 plain knit round before putting aside 6 thumb stitches on holder
4) worked body as written, but only until length was 5" (instead of 6-7").  Decreases worked as written
5) For thumb only worked 5 rows on 9 st (approx 1") before decreasing/casting off

I'm so pleased with the final results that I'd like to make more mittens.  Hard to find toddler-sized mittens that fit easily and stay on.  I tested these on toddlers in my classroom, so the pattern works.  I think I'll start by finishing the rust mitts I couldn't use for my niece.

More to come later  . . .

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Happy, Merry Merry

Even though I've been MIA these past few weeks, you were never far from my thoughts.  So many times I had photos, but no time OR time but no photos--what with work and school and lots of Christmas knitting . . . Rest assured, we'll be catching up soon.
Photo courtesy of Stock Photos
Meanwhile, thank you for your patience.  Hope your day is filled with joy and happiness as you celebrate the season with family and friends.  Have a great Christmas! 

Lots of love,
DinaPurls :)
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