Friday, December 30, 2011

December 2011 hat #2 - Licorice

After noticing that I haven't posted a crocheted hat since August, I was determined that I would do so this month. What I didn't count on was the fact that all the crocheted hats I like seem to be more suited for warmer weather. Now I realize it doesn't matter since my hats have the potential to travel to any state, and there are still some states experience warm weather year round, but I just couldn't get "into" any of these hats. Thankfully a few clicks of a mouse in Ravelry's pattern search and I came upon one I felt I could "warm" up to. Off I went. I selected, what I thought was a reasonable yarn substitute for the yarn used by the designer, and began crocheting what turned into a massive blob. OK. I'll make changes to account for the obvious difference in fiber and started over, I got another not so massive, yet ugly blob. I needed a new course of action. I chucked that idea and went back to the pattern search where I quickly found a pattern I liked even more. Fate.

I found the Ribbed-wrapped Kid Cap. I used Hobby Lobby's I Love This Cotton in black. The hat is crocheted with a size I hook. Stitches used are chain, double crochet, front post double crochet, back post double crochet, and slip stitch. The pattern offers directions for toddler and child, but there is also a preemie and newborn version. I did have to work at the pattern a bit, but that's just my non-crochet brain at work. The pattern once started is very easy to follow and make. I hadn't realize the photo was so bad.  I had planned on taking another photo before I donated it, but then forgot to do so, so I apologize for the bad lightening.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December 2011 hat #1 - Candy Cane

Here it is yet again at the end of the month and yet again I am posting my first hat of the month. Just what has happened to my hat making ability? At least I have an excuse his month - gift knitting. Given the Christmas holiday I was busy making a few items to give as presents to those I love. All of them took far more time than planned, which is always way it seems to work out. I actually did start and finish a hat early on in the month, a fun little hat adorned with a tangle of Christmas lights. Unfortunately I struggled with the crocheted version of the lights, came up with my own knitted version, but needed to put it aside in order to complete my holiday gifts on time (which I might add I finished with only two days to spare).

Instead I decided on another appropriate holiday themed hat by Susan B. Anderson, from her Itty-Bitty Hats book - Candy Cane. Of course I used Berroco Comfort in Wild Cherry and Pearl. I used 16" size 7 circular needles and 1 set of size 7 dpn. Stitches used are knit and K2tog. If you need help with jogless stripes, see the links in my previous post. I think my pom could have been a little fuller, but then I've never been that adept at making poms. I need to get me one of those little tools, perhaps that will help. Otherwise making a hat doesn't get easier than this, and look at how cute this is.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 2011 hat #2 - A Striped Square

Jared Flood designed this simple striped hat that offers endless possibilities for customization. I hadn't fully realized this until writing this post I actually looked over at Ravelry and saw almost 10,000 projects to view. Other than the obvious customization of striping color, knitters have also changed width of the stripes, number and/or quantity of stripes, width of the ribbing, and the actual size of the hat (think baby hats). There are even some very talented knitters that have added fair isle colorwork or knitted motifs into their work.

I on the other hand, this actually being my second Turn A Square hat, stayed true to the pattern. Or so I thought. According to the pattern & pictures, this should be fitted hat. Well, that’s only going to happen if the young man who chooses this hat has a head the size of a gorilla. For some reason I didn’t use the smaller needles for the ribbing. Perhaps I remembered my first attempt being on the snug side? I'm also not overly thrilled with the squared corners on this particular hat as I feel they are a bit on the loose side. I checked the gauge of my finished hat (and I rarely check gauge) to find that I was indeed a bit looser than the intended 5 stitches per inch target. I came in at 4.5 per inch. However, I have yet another hat I completed immediately after this one (which I'm giving away as a gift) and when I checked that gauge, I was spot on. Same yarn combo, so who the heck knows?

The pattern is available for free as a Ravelry download. I used Kraemer Perfection in Granite for the main hat with the stripes in Classic Elite Liberty Wool color #7802. I used 16" size 5 and 7 circular needles and 1 set of size 7 dpn. Stitches used are knit, purl, and K2tog. If you need help with stripes in-the-round view one of these instructional videos, either Knitting Daily TV Episode 311 or Knit Purl Hunter.  Good Luck and happy stripes.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November 2011 hat #1 - Softly Swedish

How is everyone coming along on their happiest hats? I'm looking forward to seeing what my needle friends come up with (really I'm just looking for some new design ideas to borrow). That's my favorite thing about being on Ravelry, seeing how everyone adapts a pattern with their choice of color and/or yarn. I have so many hats in my favorites that I'm set for several years with new patterns.

Speaking of which, my favorite hat designer, Susan B. Anderson, came out with a new pattern that I just had to try. Beluga and Firefly is available as a free pdf download on the Spud and Chloe website. For my version I used Berroco Comfort in Chambray with the stripes in Lidfors, (This is how I came up with the name for the hat, since Lidfors is a Swedish name). I used 16" size 7 circular needle and 1 set of size 7 dpn. Stitches used are knit, purl, and K2tog (although you also need to know how to make a stitch and how to slip a stitch). The bumpy stripe is created over a couple of rows and is written out in the pattern in easy to follow steps.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Happiest Hat Contest

Comments on the Ravelry group got me to thinking, I make hats for the simple reason that I'd like to brighten someone's day. God gave me a talent, I should use this talent to help others. No, I'm not changing the world, but hopefully making someone feel better about themselves at a time when perhaps they might not be feeling so good otherwise. It's simple, its a small contribution, but if each person did something simple and small, think of how much better our world would be.

Anyway, the comment on Ravelry gave me the idea to have a simple contest with simple rules.
  1. You must be a member of the Ravelry group 12 months = 24 hats.
  2. Select what you think is your happiest looking hat (or make your happiest hat) and post a picture. One hat entry per person. (If you are unsure how to post a picture, post a link to your project page, although I’d prefer a picture so that all hats would be in one easy to see place).
That's it. Two rules. The contest will end on December 31st at 11:59pm. A panel of judges (my husband and adult children, as I will remove myself from judging in case I’m biased) will determine the winner sometime shortly thereafter and the winner will be notified both here and on Ravelry.

Prizes will include some yummy yarn and other goodies, but I won’t be specific so that it’s a surprise.

Have fun!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

October 2011 hat #2 - Pumpkin

Pathetically posting my second October hat after the fact. Plus I've not posted almost the entire month, YIKES! You would have thought I'd have something to say, and indeed I did. I just didn't have the energy to sit at my computer to actually type it. Well, I was sitting here, typing. But it was work/school related. I got so little yarn time that I've become quite the grouchy person. My husband has remarked that I seem "angry". Perhaps stressful might be a more accurate description, since time spent knitting and crocheting relaxes me and, while I can not scientifically prove it, I do feel it de-stresses me and allows me accept those events in life I can not change. Perhaps it is because I'm creating change elsewhere. I'm not moving mountains, but I truly believe I'm bringing about change in someone's life when they choose one of my handcrafted hats to wear home from treatment. Hopefully the hat makes them feel warmer, or prettier, or perhaps just that they know someone out there cares.

The pattern is available in Susan B. Anderson's Itty Bitty Hats book. I used Berroco Comfort in Pumpkin (oh so original) for the main hat with the leaf and stem in Seedling. I used 16" size 7 circular needle and 1 set of size 7 dpn. Stitches used are knit, purl, K2tog, P2tog, knit in the front and back of the same stitch. Very easy hat, but very seasonally appropriate.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

October 2011 hat #1 - Chunky Pink Cables

Isn't that the most original name for a hat? This was actually the third time I've made this pattern, but the other two had been gifts, this is the first for donation. The color choice is obvious since it's Pinktober and the yarn was a donation. I typically do not work with wool. Not only am I allergic to it, but I also work under the assumption that the recipient of one of my hats may want to wash it, so I just stay away from wool. Since I have made the hat a few times I have a few observations to share about the pattern. The k2p2 ribbing works better than the other brim choice. Apparently my stitching is too tight so I do not use a smaller needle when stitching the brim. You are left with a bit of a peak at the top of the hat when finished, but it stretches out when put on the head so don’t worry about it.

The pattern, Chunky Dean Street Hat, is available for free as a Ravelry download. I used Bouton d'Or Laika yarn in Flamingo. I used 16" size 10 circular needle and 1 set of size 10 dpn. Stitches used are knit, purl, K2tog, and right front cross (RFC). The RFC stitch was a new stitch for me and was a bit tricky to figure out at first, but there is a nice photo-tutorial along with detailed written instructions included with the pattern that I found helpful. I like the end result of the cable look, and obviously I like making it (since this is the third), I wish it knit up just a bit faster, but that could just be me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

September 2011 hat #2 - Bears Fan

Even though I'm finally getting this written after September is over, I actually did get this hat finished during September. The last day mind you, but it was still September. It was a super simple hat to make so I was able to start and finish in two evenings. What I love about this pattern is that there is a chart that details every NFL team's color combination so no matter which team is your special fan's favorite, you can easily figure out the stripe sequence. The pattern is written for Cascade 220, but I was easily able to figure out the colors in my yarn of choice.

The pattern, NFL Superfan Hat, is available for free as a Ravelry download. I used Berroco Comfort in Navy Blue with the main stripe in Pumpkin and the secondary stripe in Pearl. I used 16" size 7 circular needle and 1 set of size 7 dpn. Stitches used are knit, purl, and K2tog. A super hat for any superfan.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

September 2011 hat #1 - A Little Pigskin

First, let me apologize for my lack of posting. Even though I hadn't gotten any hats finished, I should have posted another time during the month, about something. A great hat collection effort I heard of, a new pattern available, something. Oh well, too late now, a good lesson learned. As I mentioned in my last post, September is a typically a tough month for me, how I ever made four hats last year is beyond me.

I finally got this little number finished on the 29th. It is a bit hard for me to accept that my first hat for the month was completed two days before the end of the month. Really? I have lots to say about the timing, but then I'd be whining, and no one wants to listen to a whiner, at least I wouldn't. I found this cute pattern on Ravelry, realizing that I was going to "lace-up" the football at the end I thought I'd add a couple of yarn overs (yeah, I know, me and yarn overs) and then appropriate decreases into the pattern, at appropriate intervals. I thought this would eliminate any bunching of yarn. I didn't like the row decreasing that the pattern called for so I ripped it back to the brim and started again, this time hiding the row decreasing on either side of the laces. Well, the whole yarn-over idea was stupid. While yes, the yarn didn't bunch, the holes were too big and looked out of place. I ripped it out, again. I knew I didn't like the decreases in every other row so I decided to just knit a typically hat and deal with the decreases in a couple of rows towards the top. I also then changed the tip of the hat above the white stripe to four sections to mimic the end of a football. The decreases don't really work out evenly, but it isn't noticeable. The laces were more difficult than I thought, only because I'm so picky and I wanted them to lay just so.

The pattern is available on my pattern page. I used Berroco Comfort in Falseberry Heather and Pearl. I used 16" size 7 circular needle and 1 set of size 7 dpn. Stitches used are knit, purl, and K2tog. Anyone ready for a little football?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Help from others

It's back to school for me in August and my thoughts of catching up by September are fading quickly. I should have had this post written over a week ago. Just where has the month gone?

In previous posts (April 16th and February 21st) I've mentioned my participation in my Ravelry group, Itty Bitty Knits, monthly charity projects. Last month I had the honor of being the August host. My chosen charity was of course, Halos of Hope. Our wonderful group knit and crocheted a wonderful collection of 31 colorful hats that I proudly donated to Halos of Hope when they were at Stitches Midwest. It was great fun receiving the many packages, even the rather battered one all the way from Northern Ireland. I truly appreciated how each of the women embraced my charity as their own for the month.

And the help from others keeps on coming. Last week my husband had a meeting at his office in Grand Rapids and was talking to a co-worker about my project and all the hats I make. I'm always pleased to hear him sharing since that means he doesn't mind me buying more yarn. :-) A wonderful thing happened. The young lady he was speaking to happened to be a knitter, and just happened to have a bag of hats at home. She loved what I was doing and wanted to donate her hats too. How awesome was that? And her hats are simply beautiful.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August 2011 hat #3 - Roseberry

Have I ever mentioned (other than my last post) how much I like Susan B. Anderson's designs? Especially...her hats. Not that I don't also love her toys and her new stunning Seeing Stars Blanket, but obviously I have a thing for hats. I have made a few of her hats previously, but this is my first for Halos of Hope. I was looking for a pattern that I could stitch up quickly and this delightful number fit my needs perfectly. That was until I got to the picot trim. Try as I might I couldn't figure it out and I stitched a few, tinked it back, tried again, tinked it back. This pattern repeated itself for about thirty minutes or so. At which point I suddenly had a "boy am I stupid" moment. Susan posts tutorial videos on her blog. With a quick trip to my computer I saw how EASY the picot trim really was. Thank you Susan.

The pattern is available in Susan's Itty Bitty Hats book. I used Berroco Comfort in Rose and Pimpernel for the main hat with the trim and edging in Ivory. I used 16" size 7 circular needle and 1 set of size 7 dpn. Stitches used are knit, purl, K2tog, yarn over, i-cord, and picot edging. I love this little hat and I imagine lots of color combinations in my future.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August 2011 hat #2 - Sweet Stripes

Back in June I was fortunate enough to attend a book signing at a Chicago yarn shop, Nina: a well-knit shop, by Susan B. Anderson, author of many knitting books. Susan's work is so adorable, but of course my favorite book is Itty Bitty Hats. (I'll write more about Susan in another posting) Imagine my surprise when I received an email informing me I'd won a prize. Woohoo for me! Well, life intervened and I hadn't picked up my prize until recently when I finally made my way back to Nina (and yes there's another story there too) and yes, I bought some yarn. I had previously had my eye on this swirled bamboo by BeSweet, but passed thinking it was a bit pricey for a baby hat I'd give away. However on my return visit I was again drawn to the yarn but this time decided to splurge, and I'm glad I did as the yarn is soft and yummy.

Then I heard there is a story behind the yarn and I wanted to know more. I visited the Be Sweet website and am impressed with their company story. Created in 2003 on the premise of being kind to others, Be Sweet promotes education and career opportunities in South Africa. The women's stories are inspirational and touching and they make me want to spend the extra money to buy the wonderful yarn they create.

The pattern comes free on the ball band of Bambino Taffy but can also be purchased as a Ravelry download. I used 16" size 6 circular needle and 1 set of size 6 dpn. Stitches used are knit, purl, K2tog, slip slip knit, yarn over, and a bobble stitch. The hat also uses a provisional cast-on (a new method for me), which caused me a bit of issue until I got it figured out. I found a good video from Knitting Essentials that helped. I really like the way the hat came out and am now on the look-out for some new yarn to make another.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 2011 hat #1 - Black Beauty

Over the past year of locating pattern I typically find a pattern I really want to make and then look in my stash for the perfect yarn. If I haven't any, I go make a purchase. While this has been good for the economy, it hasn't always been good for my bottom line. I'm also have a mild addiction to yarn. At least I think its mild, since I can only imagine that there are some knitters who must have more stash than I have. Anyway, my point is, I need to change my ways and try to find patterns that work with my stash.

For the hot days of August I looked around for a quick and easy hat pattern that would utilize a nice soft black cotton I had. I found McKinley's Springtime Hat, available for free as a Ravelry download. I used I Love This Cotton! The hat is crocheted with a size H hook. Stitches used are chain, single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet and slip stitch. The pattern offers directions for two sizes, newborn and toddler, but can easily be adapted for a larger adult version. I added a simple flower embellishment that I wish were a bit larger, but I'm willing to live with (mainly because it doesn't really bother me enough to re-do it).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 2011 hat #3 - Sailor Hat

So after writing my last post I really got to thinking about that sailor hat and how I could make it. I was waiting for my daughter to come home, had some free time, so I got started. A couple hours later and, voila.  I haven't written a post practically all month and I write two in one day.  Oh well....

I used Lily Sugar'n Cream in White and an H hook. I used a basic hat pattern of single crochet increases for 12 rounds and then continued single crochets in each stitch until it looked tall enough. I then did a front post single crochet around, slip stitched closed, chained one and turned. For the brim, I did six rounds of sc, another round of sc with four extra stitches evenly spaced throughout the round and then one more round of sc. Done. Super simple nothing fancy. Not quite what I had in mind, but it works.

July 2011 hat #2 - Sassy Summer Hat

I have to ask, does this look like a sailor's hat to you? No? Well that's what it started out as, and what the yarn spent most of the month trying to be. I finally became so completely frustrated I decided I needed to just give up and move on, and it wasn't an easy decision. I really, really wanted to make a sailor hat this month, in honor of my daughter's Navy Commissioning ceremony. But I guess with all the difficulty with the pattern in addition to the sudden change in my daughter's orders (she was originally scheduled to report in October, but was moved up to August) the sailor's hat just wasn't meant to happen this month. The version I was trying to make was knitted and I have seen another that is crocheted which has given me an idea....

So instead I made Karen's Summer Hat pattern, available for free as a Ravelry download. I used Lily Sugar'n Cream in White. The hat is crocheted with a size H hook. Stitches used are chain, single crochet, front post single crochet, and back post single crochet. A stitch marker is essential because the hat is worked is continuous rounds without joining. This pattern can be custom made to fit any sized head. Since I was making mine to donate I simple choose to stop at 12 rows and made what turned into an adorable child’s hat. Instead of crocheting the ribbon I purchased grosgrain ribbon and sewed it onto the hat to keep it secure. I then deconstructed a silk flower, removing the plastic center and adding floss french silk knots. I put the flower onto a barrette so that it could be removable and thus the hat washable.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 2011 hat #1 - My Danish Hat

 my first hat in my new year of challenge isn't even a child's hat. But, it is one that I had started in June and I wanted to finish. I had actually made one earlier, but I gave it away as a gift, so I wasn't able to count it as a chemo cap. I really liked the cap and was particularly proud of the fact that the pattern was originally in Danish (and I don't speak Danish), so I wanted to write about it. I found the hat by chance when I was trolling through the hundreds of Ravelry patterns looking for something cute to make for a friends daughter. I was disappointed to find that the pattern wasn't in English, but decided that it couldn't be that hard to figure it out. I've learned enough about hat construction over the past year, I figured, why not give it a go. So...with the help of an on-line translator and a bit of time, viola. A successful, and might I add, very cute hat.

If you must have the original pattern, it is available in Danish from Filcolana. I've translated the pattern and written it up in an pdf on my pattern page to make things a bit easier for those who'd like to give it a try. I used Berroco Comfort in Wild Raspberry Heather on a 16" size 7 circular needle and 1 set of size 7 dpn. Stitches used are knit, purl, K2tog, and a bobble stitch. has a nice video that shows how to make a bobble if you've never made one before.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy Birthday

A year ago I came up with the idea of challenging myself to make more hats for my favorite charity Halos of Hope. I had made a few already, and wanted to step up my contribution. I would push myself to make two per month, thinking this was a reasonable goal. I was then inspired by a movie I had just seen, Julie & Julia, and I decided to create this blog to document my progress. Originally I had intended to begin the project in an orderly fashion on January 1st, collecting patterns and planning in the meantime. Obviously I'm not good at waiting since I decided one year ago today to just get on with it. I wasn't going to stop making hats just because I wasn't blogging. Did it really matter when I actually started?  Certainly not to anyone else., July 5th, is my blogs birthday.

I suppose I should explain that I didn't want to just make two hats, I wanted to use patterns I had never made before. Just a little extra challenge. As a reader I would find it boring to read about the same hat over, and over. Plus there are so many pretty hat patterns why not experience the variety.

Now comes the fun part. In the past year I've used 28 new patterns, some of them requiring me to learn a new stitch or technique. So as far as my goal of using new patterns - check. I've not been the most consistent blogger, especially lately, with a total of 46 blog posts. There have been 2,887 page views (although I don't know how many of those are regular readers) from readers in 10 different countries. And...although I've not blogged about every hat made, my "official" count in my first year is....49. I'm pretty excited about it, especially given my time constraints, arthritis issues, actually making an occasional non-hat project or two, and a few other hats donated to other causes.

What's next? I think I need a bit of break. But I won't stop making hats, I'll just just not make as many...maybe. I've been stashing so much yarn for other projects I need to actually make a few of them. I've also decided Year 2 will be all about children's hats, just to be different. I'm sure I'll still make adult hats, but my new patterns (or most of them), will be focused on all the adorable hat patterns I've been collecting.

Here's to another year. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June #2 - Campy Crown

So time is running out on finishing hats for the Camp Happy Times challenge and I felt like I needed to do at least another one, or two or three. Trying to be a good girl I used wanted to use some yarn I found in my stash that I’d forgotten about. Not my favorite yarn to work with (just because its a bit stiff), but I'll go out on a limb here and guess that the campers will be more excited about the type of hat it is as opposed to the type of yarn the hat is made of. Call me crazy, I know. Several other needle friends I have had already made several of this pattern so I know it worked up quickly, I figured it was the perfect hat to try.

The pattern is available for purchase as a Ravelry download. I used Red Heart Super Saver in Delft Blue and White. I used an I hook (the size actually called for in the pattern, gasp!). Stitches used are chain, single crochet, half double crochet, slip stitch, and a picot. The picot is is simply a single crochet, 3 chains and a slip stitch into the single crochet. Yep, another new stitch for me. The hat crocheted up very quickly, although I'm not a big fan of working in the round because you have to keep moving the stitch marker. I’m also pretty sure I did something wrong on the crown because the points want to lean to the left and I had to adjust my stitches to make the pattern come out. But its finished and it looks OK. Not as cute as others I’ve seen, but acceptable. I'm hoping to have enough time to work up another before the deadline. I'll let you know if I improve.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June #1 - Jolly Jester

Continuing on with the medieval theme for Camp Happy Times for my first June hat I wanted to make one that didn't have so many little bits to sew on and I was also ready for a bit of knitting again. The hat took me longer than I wished for, reminiscent of my December Santa Hat. But instead of one long point there were three smaller points to knit. Although if I were to do the hat again, I'd want the points longer. I just don't think the hat has a jovial enough feel to that comes from a really floppy hat.

The pattern is available for free from Coats & Clark. I used Berroco Comfort in Goldenrod on a 16" size 8 circular needle and 1 set of size 8 dpn. Stitches used are knit, purl, and K2tog. Stitch markers are needed as are three jingle bells. I choose bells that were 2.22 cm in silver so that they would help weigh the points down. When I went to buy the bells I found them available in purple, blue, red and green. If I had know I would have used a different color yarn and created a funkier looking hat. Oh, well...who knew?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

May #2 - Puffy

With the gloomy month of May finally past and sunny June upon us I finally had the opportunity to take pictures of my final May hat. A cute little novelty hat created for Camp Happy Times as part of a Halos of Hope challenge. Camp Happy Times is operated by The Valerie Fund and is a free one-week camp experience for children who have either have or have had cancer. Each year the camp selects a theme. This year's theme - Medieval, think of the creative hat possibilities...

The pattern is available for free from Coats & Clark. I used a Lily Sugar'n Cream in Mod Blue for the main cap with Hot green for the scales and Yellow for the spots. As always I went up in hook size, and choose to use an I hook. Stitches used are chain, single crochet, double crochet, slip stitch, and sc2tog. The sc2tog is used on the scales to create the decreases. Yet another new stitch for me. The hat crocheted up very quickly, but took some time sewing all the bits together. As I was sewing the first set of scales onto the hat my husband asked me why I made a blue and green chicken hat. I guess it just wasn't a dragon without its tail.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

May #1 - Blue Bonnet

Here we are at nearly the end of the month and I'm sadly posting my first hat of May. The month has been filled with preparations for my daughter's graduation from college, moving my son home from his first year of college, and the end of school (which means inventory) for me. Needless to say it's been busy around our house. Leaving not of needle time and selfishly what time I have I want to spend working on a project and not blogging. Shame on me, I know.

The pattern is available for free from Caron. I used a Cotton Ease by Lion Brand in Violet. I went up in hook size to an H hook. Stitches used are chain, single crochet, slip stitch, and reverse single crochet. The hat is worked in the round so a stitch marker is essential. The reverse single crochet creates the band and was a new stitch for me. I'm not so sure I worked it correctly, but I think it looks OK. I'm not real happy with the brim however since it doesn't seem to be as "brimmy" as I think it should be. The hat looks much better on me than on Mrs. White (my hat dummy), but then I couldn't take a picture of it. Even going up a hook size the hat is on the small size, which is why it fits me better than Mrs. White. Oh well... I'm keeping all those small headed chemo patients well turned out.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

April #3 - Bunny Hat : donations accepted

Would you believe that April's hat #3 was actually being posted on May 15th? Well, given that I posted hat #2 on May 1st and then Blogger was having issues, makes it not so hard to believe at all. Needless to say, May hats will get posted rather quickly, because they're already done! Well at least two of them anyway. But I digress... back to the Bunny Hat.

This cute little Bunny Hat was not originally intended to be a challenge hat. It was created for my LYS's mascot, Fuzzy Bear. Apparently there was a request or two for the pattern and I was asked to write it up. Thus began a very short lived debate of whether I should just give it away or charge for it. Would anyone really purchase it? But...perhaps they would consider a donation. So...I set up my Ravelry store account to "sell" the pattern for $1.00. I'll then donate any purchases to Halos of Hope. We'll see what happens. If it actually happens, I might try a few more.

The pattern, Durango, is available as a Ravelry download . I used Berroco Comfort yarn in Chalk with Raspberry Sorbet for the inner ears . The hat is crocheted with a size I hook. Stitches used are chain, single crochet, double crochet, and slip stitch. The finished circumference is about 17" and would probably fit a small baby. If a larger hat size is desired a simple continuation of the increase pattern will make the hat large enough to fit the intended recipient.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April #2 - Misty Taupe Star

This was supposed to be written and posted last weekend, but my kids were home for Easter weekend.  My son was looking to earn some money and for some bizarre reason I had him paint my laundry room/office.  I'm just now getting everything back into place.  I mean, really, what was I thinking?

I found this pattern on Ravelry and really liked the star it made on the top. So even though it had dreaded yarn overs (which it seems a lot of patterns I like do) I thought I'd tackle it anyway. I also thought I'd try the new Caron Spa yarn that had been recommended a good chemo yarn. As we supposedly moving into nicer weather (non-Illinois states that is) I need to move away from my beloved Comfort for a few months. I wasn't totally thrilled with the yarn since it wasn't as twisted as I'd like and, as least for me, kept splitting while I was knitting. It was however uber soft which I absolutely loved. The other issue the softness created for me, cause I'm sure I was doing something weird, is that the pattern calls for an i-cord bind-off. This created a very tight binding and made the hat completely un-wearable. I ripped that out and then tried simply knitting two rows and then purling five rows with a purl bind-off. Again the binding made the hat too tight and unwearable, so.... I ripped that out and tried a knit bind-off. Better, but still too tight. On a friends suggestion I used a sewn bind-off. I not only learned a new bind-off technique I achieved exactly the loose edge I wanted to match the loose fit of the overall hat. Fourth times a charm? I added a simple crocheted flower with a button center for embellishment.

The pattern, Tähdellinen, is available for free as a Ravelry download. I used almost a full skein of Naturally Caron Spa yarn in Misty Taupe with a bit of Naturally for the trim and flower. The hat is knit on a 16" size 6 circular needle and 1 set of size 6 dpn. Stitches used are knit, yo, and K2tog. And yes, I did use stitch markers to keep me focused on those darn yarn overs.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Extending care to others

As I explained in my Feburary 21st post, I belong to the Ravelry fan group - Itty bitty knits.  After working my first few baby hats I quickly realized the need for 12" circular needles and ordered both size 5 and size 7 from my LYS, Fuzzy Wuzzy Yarns.  Wow, what a difference a set a needles make.  Being able to fly around the hat in a constant circle allows me to knit faster than when I work with double points.  Plus these wonderful new needles are Addi Turbos, enough said.  

So, what do my new needles have to do with "Extending care to others"? Two words - baby hats. They have become my new favorite thing to knit. The only problem is that while it is very satisfying to crank them out I'm feeling rather guilty that I'm not finishing enough adult hats.

The March recipient was a Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, CA. This pink ruffled hat was knit using both size 9 and size 10.5 dpn needles using Berroco Comfort in Raspberry Sorbet. The pattern is available for free from Stitch Marker.  In addition to this adorable little hat I also sent along two additional items, a hat and a blanket.  The second hat was a blue, Berroco Comfort Chambray, for which I used the basic pattern of the ruffled hat (without the ruffle) and then added a small sprout at the top for interest.  The blanket was very basic 12"x12" stockinette using a Bernat Softee Baby that I had in my stash.

These cute little hats are currently making their way to Australia for the Caroline Chisholm Society.  There is one crocheted hat using a pattern published on the Gardener's Ramblings.  I used a size H hook and Berroco Comfort in Security Blanket.  The blue and green stripped hat is a simple rolled brim adapted from several adult patterns.  I used my new size 7 circulars and dpns and Berroco Comfort in Robin's Egg and Seedling.  The soft blue hat is another adapted pattern casting on 60 stitches, four rows of seed stitching, stockinette and then beginning decrease when I had four inches of work.  Nothing fancy.  I used a new skein of Benat Softee Baby in His Jeans Ombre.

I'm thoroughly enjoying making these tiny little hats and plan to keep sneaking them in between my bigger projects.  However, it is now time to get back to my main task of keeping the baskets filled at Halos of Hope.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April #1 - Foolish Friday Fiber

It's April 1st and silly pranks were rampant on the Internet today. It got to the point I wasn't sure I'd believe anything I was reading. So foolish had the posts become that I myself got into a foolish mood and thought I'd come home and make a foolish hat. I had seen this pattern recently and thought it fit the bill. Not that the hat itself looks foolish, but you need to be a bit nuts to want to have so many yarn changes. Yarn changes leave lots of yarn ends that need to be woven in. I swear it takes sometimes just as long to weave in all the yarn end as it does to make the hat itself.

The pattern as a free Ravelry download, designed by Sharon Maher. I tried to be a little bolder with my color choice (this is still a bit of a challenge for me) and used a variety of Berroco Comfort yarns in Pimpernel, Raspberry Sorbet, Rose, Seedling, and Wild Raspberry Sorbet. I also added in some stash yarn Sensations Bellezza Smania in some pastel bluish/pink color and some really old Moda-Dea fun fur in a bluish purple. The hat is crocheted with a size I hook. Stitches used are chain, single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet, and slip stitch. The pattern is based on the concept of a granny-square concept so it works up very easily.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

March #2 - Crazy Nights

While it would seem that the title implies that the hat itself is crazy to make, it was actually the time frame in which the hat was created that was crazy. This past week was a challenging one for my husband's family as his mother became ill and needed hospitalization. This in turn required that someone from the family be with her 24 hours a day. Since I happened to be on break for the week I volunteered for the task of sitting with her through the wee hours of the night. I choose to crochet rather than knit as it is quicker to put aside and easier to rip out when fatigue sets in and mistakes begin. As I sat and worked I often felt this weird "this feels like a movie" moment, and wondered when life would return to normal. This in turn made me think of cancer patients and how often they must ask that same question, when will their life return to normal. Obviously I don't have any answers (wouldn't it be nice if I did) so instead I just made more hats.

The pattern is available for free from the Playin' Hooky Designs. Although the hat can be made up in a wide range of colors, I choose the relatively calm color choice of Berroco Comfort yarn in Goldenrod and Seedling with a bit of Chalk. The hat is crocheted with a size I hook. Stitches used are chain, single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet, and slip stitch. As always I felt my hat was a bit small so I added a couple of extra rows of single crochets to lengthen it. The pattern often instructs you to "Count your stitches". My advice - count. It does actually save you time. It was a fun and easy pattern I hope to make again wilder colors. (I'll have someone else help me pick them out)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March #1 - Gilda Green

Given that it's March and all, I felt compelled to create a 'green' hat. I had finished a little leprechaun hat for Fuzzy Bear which didn't quite fit and started to make another larger one. However, I wasn't really thrilled with the way it was coming out and I started to think that I was using up a lot of good yarn for something a bear would wear for only a couple of weeks and then what? So, I started frogging away. Searched Ravelry for a pattern that used Comfort (as if I didn't already have a bunch to choose from), and found this one. I started it up on Friday while watching the horrific scenes coming from Japan and finished it up today.

The pattern is available for free from Gilda's Club Twin Cities. I used a partial skein of Berroco Comfort Gooseberry Heather yarn. I went up in needle size knitting the hat on 16" size 6 and 8 circular needles and 1 set of size 8 dp. Stitches used are knit, purl, P2tog, and K2tog. I did use stitch markers to keep track of the pattern repeats (to help keep me focused). When I started I didn't plan on making the bow flap, but once the hat was completed I felt the band needed a bit of embellishment.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

February #2 - Chocolate Sundae

Yes, I know it is not February and that I'm a bit slow getting this hat posted, but the darn sun was never out on a weekend for me to take a picture.  I ended up taking my hat (with head) and camera to school to take a picture during the week.  It was quite funny when a colleague walked around the corner and here I was holding up Mrs. White (yes I've named my head).
The pattern is available in the Chemo Caps & Wraps book by Annie's Attic.  I originally planned on making the entire cap out of a skein of Bernat Cottontots that I had in my stash.  After making the band I realized there was no way I had enough for a whole cap so I went back to my stash and pulled out a skein of Berroco Comfort in Bitter Sweet.  Since I am typically a tight crocheter I went up in hook size to use a size I hook. Stitches used are chain, dc, fpdc, bpdc, fpdc dec, bpdc dec and slip stitch. Since I moved up in hook size I felt as if the cap was coming out way too big so I skipped rounds 13 & 14.  Also on rounds 18 & 19 the pattern should note that the fpdc repeats. I’m a slow crocheter and working the double crochets in the back post took more time than I’d like so I’ll probably not make this hat any time in the near future. It’s cute though.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

February #1 - Petunia

Other than the fact my son was born in February, I really dislike the month.  It may be our shortest in length, but it seems to just go on forever.  The days are short and the skies are gray.  I actually finished this hat over a week ago but I've been waiting for a sunny day in order to take a picture.

The pattern, Durango, is available for free from Catherine Lindsey. I used almost a full skein of Berroco Comfort yarn in Wild Raspberry Heather (purple) with a bit of Chalk Comfort for the band. The hat is crocheted with a size I hook.  Stitches used are chain, single crochet, double crochet, front post double crochet, half double crochet, single crochet decrease and slip stitch.  I've never crocheted a hat from the brim up so this was a new experience for me.  Both the fpdc and dec stitches were new and took some time learning.  The original flower I made came out HUGE.  It took about as long to make as the hat itself, but was much to overpowering.  I started over and like these results much better.  I used Comfort, again, in Goldenrod for the center and Pimpernel for the petals.  I will most definitely be making this hat again.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Helping others

This will take a minute, but bear with me a minute while I explain... Several months ago I purchased Susan B. Anderson's Itty-Bitty Hats to make a football helmut for my great nephew. Loved the pattern and the book, which of course led to me learning more about Susan and her wonderful designs.  Which led me to her "I Just Want to Knit" blog, which led me to her "Spud and Chloëblog, which then led me to a Ravelry fan group - Itty bitty knits.  Still with me?  Of course, I joined the group, enjoyed the discussion and wouldn't you know it, there was a charity knitting thread asking for members to sponsor a month.  I read the guidelines and asked to sign up to host July for Halos of Hope.  That being said, I feel compelled to contribute to all the other months as well, only fair right?

February's recipient is the Regina General Hospital Neonatal Unit in Saskatchewan, Canada.  Not being familiar with our friends to the North I google mapped Regina and found it to be about half-way between Calgary and Winnipeg.  Basically it just sounds cold.  They need hats.

For the orange hat I used a partial skein of Berroco Comfort in, wait for it....Pumpkin (really, that's the colorway name). The pattern is available for free from Through the Looking Glass.  The hat is knit with size 6 dpns.  Stitches used are knit, purl, and k2tog.  The stem at the top is a knotted i-cord.

For the blue hat I used a partial skein of Sirdar Snuggly Kisses DK in Skippy.  My first time using this wonderfully soft yarn.  It's yummy.  The pattern is available for free from Blue Sky Alpacas.    The hat is knit with size 5 dpns, but I've ordered some circulars to use next time.  I do not like the ladder effect I end up when using double points (no matter how hard I try).  Stitches used are knit and k2tog.  This hat could not be simpler.

For the pink hat I used another color of the Snuggly Kisses, Princess Pink.  The hat is knit on size 5 dpns.  I originally started out using the Fresh-Picked Baby Hat by Leslie Clarkson, but could not make sense of the decreases. So, I frogged it back to the stockinette and simply divided the total by six, and did a standard crown decrease. When I had six stitches on my needles I returned to the pattern to create the little stem.  Stitches used are knit, purl, and k2tog.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

No two alike

I was able to finish five sock monkey hats for the Halos of Hope January challenge.  As noted in my previous post I like the crocheted version so much I created a knitted version (my first hat design).  The hat part is sooo easy, but those ears!  Not the ears themselves, those were easy enough.  It was attaching them.  I had the darnedest time keeping them straight when sewing them on. As much as I think the hat is adorable and I know some kids will love them (I'd so love to see a picture of a group of kids wearing them), I can't say I'm sorry to see the end of the challenge.  I'm looking forward to making some pretty hats for February.  Although there is this cute Dr. Seuss hat I might try, just can't help myself!

Monday, January 24, 2011

January #3 - Da Bears

I love watching football, especially at the end of the season. In Chicago, it is all about the Bears (except for those who love the Green Bay Packers). This past weekend there was such an incredible amount of hype generated for the big game that I just felt compelled to create a hat in honor of the home team. Since I didn't find any patterns, I decided to just knit what I knew. I used my favorite Comfort yarns casted on 90 stitches and then knit 4 rows of 2k2p ribbing. And I just started knitting, for about 5 inches adding the appropriate stripes and ended with a basic decrease pattern. Presto. A hat for any die-hard Bears fan. As for the game... it ended just as I predicted, with a Packers win. Perhaps I'll need to go find some green and gold yarn.

I used Berrocco Comfort in Chalk, Pumpkin, and Navy Blue. The hat is knit on a 16" size 8 circular needle and 1 set of size 8 dp. Stitches used are knit, purl, and K2tog. If I were to make this hat again, I think it would look better to have only one set of stripes, making the white/orange/white combo a bit thicker (the bonus here is not so many ends to weave in) I also think it would be better with a wider folded brim instead of the ribbed edge.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

January #1 & #2 - Sock Monkey Hat Challenge

For my January hats I decided to take up the challenge offered by Halos of Hope. Not that it took much convincing, new hat pattern, I'm in.  And just how is this hat?  Of course I forgot to move up in hook size so my hat came out way too small (it fits Fuzzy Bear), but I'll remedy that when I make a second one.  

I liked the hat so much I wanted everyone to be able to participate in this challenge.  But not everyone crochets, so I thought a knitted version would be could to have posted.  Well, there are a few knitted styles, but none that match the crocheted version.  So...I decided, what could be so hard about this, I'll just whip one up.  Yes, I know.  Not that easy.  Well, the hat was, the ears took several different tries before I got them the way I liked them.  It is my first attempt at writing a pattern, so if there are errors, or if you can not understand any of the directions, please let me know.

For both hats I used a partial skeins of Berroco Comfort Hummus, Wild Cherry, and Chalk. The crochet pattern is available for free from Red Heart. The knitted version is available as a PDF on my pattern page. 

Hat #1: The hat is crocheted with a G hook.  Stitches used are chain, hdc, hdc increase, sc and sl st.  I added a single row of sc to the edge of the hat for a more finished edge.  Ear placement was determined by simply folding the hat in half and then sewing the ears on at each fold.

Hat #2:  The hat is knit on a 16" size 8 circular needle and 1 set of size 8 dpn. The outside ears are knit on a set of 6 dpn using a double strand of yarn. Stitches used are knit, purl, p2tog, and K2tog.  The placement of the ears are probably the hardest part of the finishing.