Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - Year in Review

For the first time since taking on this project I failed to make my goal of 24 hats. Although I do feel that I have a good reason given that I started the new year out wearing a cast on my left hand. The reconstructive surgery of my left thumb that I had in November of 2013 kept me in physical therapy for five months before requiring an additional surgery in late June. Thankfully I didn't require another cast, but did have a metal pin holding my thumb in a stationary position, and of course, more weeks after of physical therapy. This unfortunately left me with little mobility to work with my yarn. I have found that knitting gauge has changed and I am unable to hold dpns or cable needles in my left hand like I once did. I've made accommodations to my knitting habits, but it certainly slows down my speed.

All this aside, I did manage to create several hats I was happy with and would like to showcase once more in my year-in-review.

The #5 favorite hat: Green Drizzle
My most recently finished hat I like the way the darker band contrasts with the brightness of the overall green. The added lacework gives the hat a touch of pretty.

The #4 favorite hat: Autumn Meadow
A new colorway of Simpliworsted yarn that made this super easy pattern look really good. This hat only took one skein of this nice soft comfy yarn.

The #3 favorite hat: Bluebell
Super silky yarn made into a crocheted hat designed by my friend Laura Krzak. I'm not the best at crochet, but I enjoyed making this pattern and I liked the results.

The #2 favorite hat: French Country Aqua
Another crocheted pattern with a fun embellished silk flower. It looks very dressed up. I think its the flower.

And my #1 favorite hat for 2014: Fluff - 
both Marshmallow and Toasted (I couldn't decide)
Another original design that I'm quite happy with now that I have the directions written in such a way that the bobble section makes sense to others. (I'm still figuring out how to communicate with others, LOL) The two versions look very different, but I like them both equally.

So that's my selections for this year. I'm a couple of hats short of my goal of two hats per month but I did still manage to give away some hats, so I should be happy. I think of all the hats still needed every time I go with my dad to his oncology appointments, so I know I'll keep making hats, but I also know I need to take a bit of time and actually knit for myself. I never have. Not once. So I'll be changing things a bit for 2015. Although I'll still be looking for new patterns to share, 2015 will be all about using my stash yarn and if the pattern is new and different. Perhaps in doing so I'll have a few minutes to spare for personal knitting. 
I hope your New Year is healthy and happy. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December #1 2014 - Green Drizzle

This was probably the longest I have ever taken to finish a hat. Not because the hat itself was difficult, it was actually not bad (even if it was in a DK weight yarn), but because the process was interrupted by my second hand surgery back in June. Yes, June. Which of course meant no knitting again for several months. By the time I was able to hold my needles again, I was getting ready to head back to school and all the craziness that that brings with it. I simply did not spend the usual amount of time knitting.

Unfortunately when I put the hat down I also did not make any notes as to where I left off. I'm certain I thought I'd remember (what the heck was I thinking?). Therefore, I was confused and honestly I didn't want to take the time to figure it out, I just wanted to finish (and could you blame me?). So, instead I opted to modify the pattern, omit the lace work at the crown, do one even decrease round so that I could start my  basic decrease pattern at 88 stitches. Simply and effective. If you didn't know the pattern you wouldn't realize anything was missing.

Catching up

Yes, I'm catching up on back posts. It seems rather silly to post an October hat after I posted one for November and since it is already December. Honestly. I have been rather bad these past months, haven't I?

So instead of having a series of oddly dated/named posts, I'm just having this one with a bunch of hat updates. Don't get too excited, I think I kept putting off posting about this particular hat because I'm not very happy with the end result.

You know how it is when you get something in your head and you can't let it go? Well it doesn't always work out. I saw this Ski Bunny Headband by Drops Design in the September 2010 Creative Knitting and I thought it was very cute, but obviously I wanted it to be a hat. So I decided to adapt the pattern. I followed the pattern as written through casting off and then went back and picked-up 88 stitches along the top side of the headband, knit two rows and started a basic decrease pattern. I used Berroco Comfort in Grape Jelly on a size 7 16" circular needle and a set of 7 dpns. Stitches used are knit, purl, k2tog and pf/b.

I'm fairly certain the reason I'm not happy with the outcome is my yarn choice. Because the hat is intended for chemo patients I like to use non-wool yarns, but then the yarn often doesn't keep its shape and tends to be a bit floppy in some patterns. The finished hat doesn't look bad once you put it on, I'm just just that sold on the final look.

Work has been excessively busy for me this fall and I find myself working from home instead of knitting. I miss the stress relieve that knitting provides, but I haven't found a solution just yet. I did manage to quickly knit up some simple hats for November. Nothing special, nothing new.

Dream is the Button-tab hat pattern that I've made before and is knit with Berroco Comfort in Chalk and Barley on a 16" size 7 circular needle and a set of size 7 dpns. Stitches used are knit, purl, and K2tog. 

Fall Folliage is knit with Cascade 220 Superwash in Ruby for the band and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Glenwood for the body on a 16" size 7 circular needle and a set of size 7 dpns. Stitches used are knit, purl, and K2tog. I simple c/o 88 stitches of the Cascade in a 1x1 ribbing for 1.5 inches and then knit another round since I think it makes for a smoother color change. I then added two rounds of a mystery yellow yarn before switching to the Shepherd Worsted for the remainder of the hat. I knit in stockinette for six inches before beginning a basic decrease pattern.

I have some changes in mind for both my project and this blog. Hopefully they will result in more hats and more postings.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

November 2014 #1 - Toasted Fluff

After several months and many attempts at wording, I've finally published the pattern I designed back in June. Not being a designer by trade I struggle with many aspects of creating patterns and I have great respect for those designers that are creative on a daily basis. This year I have also struggled with being able to physically knit and then when able, finding the time due to work commitments. Which both contributed to the tardiness of getting this pattern to print. My personal goal of supporting Halos of Hope with two hats a month are falling woefully behind. To help bridge the gap I'll be adding to my yearly cash donation this year.

From now until the end of November, I'm giving thanks for Halos of Hope, I'm offering $1.00 off the purchase price of Fluff (coupon code "fluff") and encouraging you to donate your hat to your favorite cancer charity. In addition, for every coupon code used I will donate $1.00 to Halos of Hope. That $1.00 helps Halos of Hope send 3 hats. Add up a few purchases, a few coupon codes redeemed and we'll all help send more hats.

Fluff is available for purchase on my Ravelry site. I used Simpliworsted in Golden Meadow on a size 7 16" circular needle and a set of 7 dpns. Stitches used are knit, purl, and k2tog. The bobbles are not really bobbles, but are really a faux bobble created by picking up a stitch and purling it.

I have a lot to be thankful for; by ability to still knit (which after two hand surgeries is no longer taken for granted), my ability to afford purchasing yarn, and my ability to give back to my favorite charities. I hope you like the pattern and consider it worthy of purchase. Remember, we can do more together.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

October 2014 #1 - Autumn Meadow

Are you wondering what happened to September? One word. School. Or actually work, which happens to be at a school. I was totally crazy busy, working too many long days and then was much too tired to pick up my yarn after I finished all my evening chores. I did manage a lovely weekend knitting retreat with some wonderful Ravelry friends early in the month. I had such fun meeting these women in person, sitting, relaxing, talking, and just knitting. Think of how many hats I could crank out if I could do that every weekend.

This hat was super easy. The pattern, Bubble Wrap Cap, is available as a free. I used Simpliworsted in Golden Meadow on a size 7 16" circular needle and a set of 7 dpns. Stitches used are knit, purl, and k2tog. I'm not thrilled with the way the crown looks since it appears off in some way. But when I put it on the head form it looks fine, so I’ll get over it. I’m not sure if I made a mistake during the decreases or if there is an error in the pattern. Overall I like the hat and since it looks fine being worn, I'm not going to take the hat apart to find out what the problem is.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

August 2014 #2 - French Country Aqua

There is a wonderful group on Ravelry that I belong to, Itty Bitty Knits, for fans of designer Susan B. Anderson. It is by far my favorite group of people. They are warm and inviting, and over the past several years I have had the several opportunities to meet many of them in real life. We participate in fun and interesting swaps, send along unexpected RAKs, listen to problems and acknowledge accomplishments. We also celebrate each other's birthdays. This past July I received many lovely patterns, many of them hat patterns. (imagine that!)

This lovely pattern, French Country, was gifted to me by my friend Mary Rose. The hat is crocheted with two strands held together of I Love This Cotton on a size K hook. Stitches used are chain, single crochet, double crochet, slip stitch and a 2-dc cluster stitch. It took me a bit to understand the cluster stitch, but took my time and re-read it a few times and the light bulb went on. The remainder of the pattern was easy to follow and I like the finished look. I didn't have quite two skeins of yarn so I was one row short of single crochets, but I don't believe it is noticeable.

I won't go into my struggles with trying to crochet a flower to put on the hat. It was a time consuming disaster. Instead I opted for using a deconstructed silk flower like I did for my Sassy Summer Hat. It takes a bit of time itself, but I love the final look. A bit unexpected and since it is removable the hat remains washable.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

August 2014 #1 - Bluebell

Time flies. Or so they say. But when you can not work with yarn it feels like the calendar days drag on. Shortly after my last post (hours in fact), I had a second surgery on my left thumb to tighten up a ligament It is typical in 50% of the people who have reconstructive surgery such as mine. Since my thumb was so deteriorated to begin with I feel into the lucky half that required a second surgery. Luckily I didn't need to wear a cast. Unluckily I couldn't knit or crochet for the past six weeks. But not any more, because...I can crochet again! I still can't hold knitting needles, but heck. I can crochet!

My comeback pattern is designed by my good friend Laura Krzak for Cascade Yarns. The pattern, Arches Hat, is available for free on the Cascade Yarns website. I used a new yarn Sateen Worsted in Powder Blue. The yarn was just a bit splity, but I totally forgave it because of its smooth texture. The hat is so soft and dream like in feel I know the final recipient will love wearing it.

The hat is crocheted with a size G hook. Stitches used are chain, single crochet, double crochet and slip stitch. There are also multiple special stitches (of which I needed to learn or relearn) fsc, fpdc, dc2tog, fpdc2tog and dc/fpdctog. I really struggled with the foundation single crochet, but knew there was a reason it was used, so I kept at it and finally figured it out. (I'll say it yet again, I really need to take a class on how to crochet, it would eliminate sooo many of my problems) The special stitches were clearly explained, the pattern was easy to remember and the results lovely. The hat will clearly become one of my favorites, because even at my slower pace I finished it quickly. I also see this hat in a variety of yarns and colors, for both men and women. Well done Laura!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 2014 #4 - Funny Bunny

Let me pull a rabbit out of my hat. No need, I made a rabbit hat instead. I know, bad joke. But in my head it sounded funny. This very cute little rabbit's hat was made on request for sweet Emily, who also named the hat. I didn't speak to her personally as she was having a bad day yesterday, but I understand she liked the hat and it brought a smile to her face. So job accomplished.

This pattern is another Darleen Hopkins' original. Bunny Rabbit Costume Hat is available for free on Darleen's website. I used Lily Sugar n'Cream yarn in White and Pink Rose. As with all my crochet projects I have some modifications to note. (really, at some point you'd think I'd actually learn how to crochet properly) The hat is crocheted with a size H hook. Stitches used are chain, single crochet, and half double crochet. I felt the hat was a bit too snug so I added an extra round of increases, but I didn't want it too long either so I stopped the length at round 19. Stitches used for the ear include the same as the hat plus sc2tog. My first ear looked very small so I thought I'd be clever and add a few extra rows of length before adding the edging. It looked fine, but then I wasn't certain I could replicate what I did (because of course I wrote nothing down), so I went up to an I hook and stuck to the pattern achieving a better proportioned ear. I really didn't want to make another since I was tight on time so I decided to just go with what I had. I knew that ear placement would take time, and it did, because I'm overly picky about these things. But the end result was worth it. Cute hat. Happy recipient.

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 2014 #3 - Amazing Lava

Looking for a quick and easy hat? This one certainly fits that description. I believe it took me only two, maybe three evenings (I don't remember), to finish this up. I like using a cotton for summer, but worry that the stiff worsted weight of this particular brand might be to hot unless there is a bit of airiness to the hat in some respect. I'm sure its just me, and I'm probably over thinking it, but that's what I do. LOL

The pattern, Amazing Grace Hat, is available as a free. I used Lily Sugar'n Cream in two colors, the solid is Hot Pink and the variegated is Lava Lamp with a H hook. Stitches used are chain, single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet and slip stitch. The pattern calls for decreases in the single crochet bands (the Hot Pink section), but I decided that the hat was already a bit on the snug side (yes, I did not do a swatch before starting) and choose to omit those. There was also supposed to be a reverse sc stitch around on the last round that I also omitted. (I'm not real sure how to do that, LOL). As usual, when it comes to crochet, when in doubt, I just make up what I want. Hopefully the hat designer will understand it has nothing to do with the way they write their patterns, its all me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

June 2014 #2 - Marshmallow Fluff

My neighbor, dear sweet Emily, choose the colors of this hat. She requested a beanie style hat in an openwork fashion so that her head wouldn't get too hot. I browsed for several days looking for just the right pattern, but found nothing to match the image I had in my head. So instead I decided to just start knitting and see what happened. The ribbing was easy, as it always is. But I restarted the main part of the hat a couple of times because I wasn't happy with yarn over work stitch patterns I was trying. I finally came upon a stitch that I liked and it worked with the number of stitches I had. Bonus! Thankfully Emily and I have about the same sized head so I was able to try the hat on to determine when to start the simple decreases.

I used I Love This Cotton in Turquoise and White on a size 7 16" circular needle and a set of 7 dpns. Stitches used are knit, purl, and k2tog. The pattern is currently being test knit and will be available shortly.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June 2014 #1 - Green Bucket

Does this hat look familiar to you? Well it should. Apparently I have a thing for posting about this particular hat in June. It first appeared in 2012 as the Carmel Bucket and then again with an added felt embellishment as the Flower Bucket in 2013. So why am I posting about it again when I have nothing new to add? Well, I had originally intended to add a felt sunflower pin (and I probably will still make one), but this post is more about the hat's journey than the hat itself.

The hat was made a bit too large. I followed the pattern and knit in the round until the hat measured 6.5 inches from brim's edge before starting the decrease rounds. However, that just makes the hat just a bit too big (for both me and the intended recipient). So I was going to add the pin, pop this one into the bag to donate, and start another. Unfortunately, the young lady receiving the hat started her chemo last week and began loosing her hair this morning. It was a rough day and she needed a quick pick-me-up. She loved the hat. Big as it is. She'll wear it on the hammock to keep the sun off her eyes. I then had her choose from any of the other hats awaiting donation. She was excited. Running to the mirror to see what she looked like. And she looks so cute in hats! She choose Spring Stripes, Robin's Egg, and Blue Honey.

I've been donating hats for over four years now and this is the first time I have personally seen the joy that they can bring to someone. Its a wonderful and blessed feeling. I need to knit faster.

Please forgive the bad photograph, I quickly took it before I delivered it. Indoors, bad light. Sorry.

Monday, May 26, 2014

May 2014 #1 - Spring Stripes

I've had this hat finished since the middle of the month, and the pictures taken almost as long. So why has it taken me till the last day of the month to post it on the blog? It's May, its the end of school and I'm simply too tired when I get home to start up the computer. Only a few more weeks and still so much to accomplish before the start of summer. And I refuse to call it a summer break since I have such a long "to do" list that I find it hard to think of it as a break at all. Perhaps this year I'll actually finish a piece of personal knitting? Yes, I'm not holding my breath either.

This month's hat is designed Darleen Hopkins. She is a big supporter of Halos of Hope and has created some adorable designs for the various past campaigns. We've met online, but someday, hopefully, I'll get to meet Darleen in person. The pattern, Candy Corn Cap, is available for purchase on Ravelry. I used Lily Sugar n'Cream yarn in Yellow, Soft Ecru, Blue and Hot Green. You'll notice I chose not to make it in Halloween colors (for obvious reasons) and I'm pleased with the stripe look. Which can be easily adapted to any of a variety of color combinations. The hat is crocheted with a size I hook. Stitches used are chain, single crochet, double crochet and slip stitch. There are multiple sizes for the pattern and each comes with well written directions for beginning with an adjustable ring/magic loop and was easy to follow (even for me). The stitch pattern is easy to remember, even if I struggled with doing so, and I think the experienced crocheter would find the pattern very easy. Me, being me, of course, had to look at the pattern constantly which just slowed me down until I finished the increases.  I do however really like the look for the stitch pattern, so I'll most likely give the hat another go at some other time.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

April 2014 #2 - Violet, Flower Power and Blue Brim

Not exactly super original names, but there are times it becomes more important to get the hats posted about as opposed to named. If you know what I mean. This particular trio has been sitting on my desk for about three weeks or so as I've been overly busy at work and more than a bit tired in the evenings and playing catch-up on the weekends. So I either gave up on some creativity and went with what I had, or let them languish on. I choose to post, especially since I'm late in my April posting. Again.

All three hats were originally intended to be baby gifts. All three hats fit me, so obviously they are a bit too large to fit a newborn. Oh well, I just made new gifts and had a couple of bonus hats for the monthly count. Violet is from one of my favorite designers, Susan B. Anderson. It appears in her book Itty-Bitty Hats. Susan is a very warm and friendly person who is both an accomplished designer and wonderful blogger & photographer. If you not already familiar with her, you can find links to her various Craftsy classes, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Ravelry accounts from her blog site.

Violet is the Felted Flower Child pattern and is made with HiKoo Simpliworsted in Grape Jelly with the Flower in Ella Rae Cozy Soft Prints in Purple/Pink on a size 7 16" circular needle and a set of 7 dpns. Stitches used are knit, purl, k2tog, and p2tog. The first two rows are knit flat and then joined in the round for the remainder of the pattern. The flower is crocheted and because I had the hat sitting about for so long I've lost track of what pattern I used. I apologize for that.

Flower Power is basic hat pattern with a picot edge. I used the same two yarns as before, the HiKoo Simpliworsted in Grape Jelly as the brim with the body in Ella Rae Cozy Soft Prints in Purple/Pink on a size 7 16" circular needle and a set of 7 dpns. Stitches used are knit, purl, and k2tog. The flower is in Berroco Comfort in Rosebud and is crocheted with a size G hook. Stitches used are sc, dc, and slip stitch. I found the pattern on Pinterest (Love that site!) at I added the little purple bit to the center because I just thought it needed a little something more. I don't really remember what I did, but I think its simply single crochets around. I will admit that after paging through the Itty-Bitty Knits book again, I realize Susan B. Anderson has a much better way to do a picot edge (on page 74) that I used and I believe I will have to try that method on one of my future hats. The way I do them is very cumbersome and awkward.

The last hat is another basic hat with simple 2x2 ribbing and stockinette. I used HiKoo Simpliworsted in Silver Blue for the brim and Ella Rae Cozy Soft Prints in Cornflower/Silver/Off White for the body on size 7 16" circular needle and a set of 7 dpns. Stitches used are knit, purl, and k2tog.

A longer than normal post, but then I usually don't have three hats in one. Thanks for indulging me.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 2014 #1 - Robin's Egg

After what has seemed like the winter that has not wanted to end, spring has finally arrived. I have seen my first robin of the season and I can only imagine that their nests are being readied to accept the distinctive blue eggs. The pattern called for a chunky yarn and larger sized needle. However, warmer weather, calls for a lighter weight cotton so I simply adjusted my needles accordingly. What I didn't do was adjust the number of stitches to cast on since I was using a lighter weight yarn. I thought about it, actually did cast on more, but then it just looked like so many that I ripped it back and started over casting on the 60 the pattern called for. What was I thinking? Apparently I had been making too many baby hats recently so the adult sized cast on looked huge in comparison.

The pattern, Bargello Hat, is available as a free. I used two cottons, the solid is I Love This Cotton in Aqua and the variegated is Universal Yarn Inc. Cotton Supremem Batik in Watermelon on a size 8 16" circular needle and a set of 8 dpns. Stitches used are knit, purl, and k2tog. The pattern is written to be knit flat and seamed but I prefer knitting in-the-round. The necessarily adjustments were easy enough to make as the hat is simple four rounds knit, four rounds purl. I usually work from my iPad, but instead printed a copy of the pattern and then made note of the round changes when shaping the top.

The pattern worked up quickly,even with all the yarn changes, and I plan to make another, adult sized in the near future.

Friday, March 28, 2014

March 2014 #2 - Alex & Joe

Last month at a monthly knitting gathering I asked my friend Alex if she happened to have any chunky yarn in the Halos of Hope stash she kept. Apparently there wasn't, but that didn't deter Alex from retrieving several skeins of her personal stash, which she explained had purchased specifically to make hats for Halos of Hope, so she was happy to give the yarn to me since that was my intent as well. Thus I thought it only fitting that the two hats be named after Alex and her husband Joe. Both warm, caring and generous people who I am very grateful to have met and consider my friends.

The pattern, Starving Musician, is available as a free Ravelry download. I used Cascade Pacific Chunky in Hyacinth and Fire & Smoke on a size 10.5 16" circular needle and a set of 10.5 dpns. Stitches used are purl, p2tog, Ktbl, Pf&b and K2togtbl. The pattern explains each stitch term used with the Ktbl creating a twisted rib effect. I again used the crocheted (or chained) cast-on, which I'm actually quite liking. The hat works up pretty quick since the pattern is very easy to follow. Depending on how many rows are knit before the decrease rounds, the hat can be either worn as a beanie or longer allowing the hat have a cuffed brim or worn in a slouch style.

This was my first photo taken outside since winter began and I hope this means that we are finally moving onto Spring and some warmer weather. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 2014 #1 - Swirl

Just like the wind, or so it seems. It appears as if the wind is continually swirling the snow back again for another go around and that winter just will never end. Thankfully Spring break is only a few weeks away and I'll be able to spend a few days doing projects around the house and hopefully getting a few extra hours of knitting time.

This particular pattern, HeSaid She Said is available for purchase on the Chic Knits website. (I actually bought it almost two years ago. Yikes!) It calls for a bulky weight yarn, which of course I didn't have, so I substituted Berroco Comfort in Chambray (worsted) and Berroco Comfort DK in Purple. Together they created a pretty variegated color that I quite liked although in doing so I lost some of the stitch definition. Oh well. I used a size 8 16" circular needle from the CO through the rib section and then switched to a 10-1/2" 16" circular needle and a set of 10-1/2 dpns for the remainder of the hat. Stitches used are knit, purl and k2tog. I again used the chained (or crocheted) cast-on which I must say I'm actually liking quite a bit. I found that the stockinette portion of my brim ended up rolling up and not lying flat as in the pattern photo. If I make this hat again I would add a bit of length to this portion so as to make sure I achieve that flat look. The rolled brim works well with this particular hat, but I think the flatter brim would like better with a solid yarn.

I should also probably apologize for the weird photo. It looks like my hat is floating. #1, I need a better mannequin and #2, I need a better place to take indoor photos. Of course, there probably is a #3, I need to actually know how to take good photos. LOL.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

February 2014 #2 - Bob's Blue Stripes

The second of my February men's hat and unfortunately lacking in a unique name. I have this thing about naming all my hats, not really sure why, or even where it came from. But they each get a name. Some of them are more creative than others. At times the names are very apparent and I know from the moment I begin creating the hat what I would like to name it. At other times, I struggle with deciding what to do and then end up just naming the poor hat something really lame. The weird part is, Other than the hats that get featured on the blog, no one other than me even know what I name them. Wow, am I a dork or what?

The pattern, Beanies for the Brave, is available as a Ravelry download. I used Berroco Comfort in Blueberry Heather with stripes in Goldenrod, Kidz Orange, and Aster on a size 7 16" circular needle and a set of 7 dpns. Stitches used are knit, purl and k2tog. Since my surgery it appears I'm not quite ready to cast-on as I normally do so I needed a new method for this hat. In Cast On, Bind Off: 54 Step-by-Step Methods by Leslie Ann Bestor I found a chained (or crocheted) cast-on that worked perfectly. I used a size 7 hook and feel this method gave me a very nice finished edge. The pattern allows you to choose your preference of hat construction; top-down, bottom-up, or worked-flat and seamed. Of course, I selected to work in the round, from the bottom up. I also needed to learn the twisted rib stitch. I found a good tutorial video by Knitting Daily that was very helpful (after watching it several times). Similar to other hat this month, I think this one is a bit short and would think it should be a bit longer to cover the ears. Perhaps it's just me, I'm tired of the cold and looking forward to warmer weather.

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 2014 #1 - Bob's Blue Beanie

Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile are most likely aware that I have a special fondness for, and donate all the hats featured here to, Halos of Hope. After meeting the Halos of Hope founder and President, Pam Haschke, I became inspired to knit hats. Which in turn led me to challenge myself to make at least two per month. New patterns I haven't yet tried and to share my experiences in this blog. I've been at this now for almost four year and although I've known friends and relatives who have had cancer, and I have been touched by many stories over the past four years, I have always felt that I was disconnected from the those that I make hats for. I have never had to experience that roller coaster of emotions. That is until now. 

Last month, my father had a CT scan and while I stood next to the doctor reading the report, my eyes locked on that dreaded six letter word. He had surgery on Valentine's Day to remove his tumor, along with his kidney. His prognosis is very good and we believe he will not need chemo or radiation. We are thankful for so many reasons.

So, February is all about Bob, and making hats in his honor. Not that my dad would wear a hat, but I thought of him with every stitch I made. The pattern, A Very Simple Skateboarder Beanie, is available for free from Chie Crochets (Knits too!). I used Berroco Comfort yarn in Navy Blue with the edging in Smokestack. The hat is crocheted with a size I hook. Stitches used are chain, single crochet and slip stitch. The pattern calls for starting with an adjustable loop. Of course I've never used that before so I found this tutorial on YouTube. I would have liked to have the hat a bit longer to cover the ears, but perhaps skaters prefer their hats more skull like? I also need to apologize for the deceptive picture. The hat is actually much larger than it looks but since I do not have a male mannequin I used a bit of retail visual merchandiser magic to make the hat fit for the photos.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 2104 #1 - Success!

I did it! I finished my first hat. For those that know me, and for those who routinely read this blog, that may not appear to be significant. But, if you have been following along, you will remember I had reconstructive surgery on my left thumb in late November. I have yet to pick up my knitting needles, but I was able to slowly crochet an old favorite. It was not easy, very slow going at first. I had to frog my first two attempts since they were VERY small. However, I simply considered them therapeutic practice and started over.

The pattern is Shells and Trellis Cap by Melody Hamor and is available for free from the Halos of Hope website. It was the first pattern ever donated to the charity and known to be a popular choice among chemo patients. I used Berroco Comfort in Mixed Nuts with a size J hook. Stitches used are chain, single crochet, double crochet and slip stitch. Although the pattern doesn't call for the last round of single crochets, I always like to add them, just to give the bottom edge a nice clean finish.

The flower is the Flower Accent pattern by Mimi Alelis. I used Berroco Comfort in Dried Plum with a size 7 hook. Stitches used are chain, single crochet, half double, double, and slip stitch. I'll be honest, I haven't a clue if I made it correctly since there were some directions I didn't understand, but as always, I just sort of interpreted it my own way. It looks like a flower, so I think its okay. I added the orange button and then attached the entire flower to the hat for stability. I must say though, maneuvering the flower around was a bit hard on my hand so I'll not be making any of these again for bit. Best to make sure I've gained a bit more flexibility and strength before I tackle another.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Year in Review

Goodbye 2013...Hello 2014! I can't say I'm sorry to see the new year arrive as I always feel as though I've been given a clean slate, a fresh start, a "do over". Enough cliches, you get the idea. Last year held some personal challenges for me, both mentally and physically. As many other people, I have arthritis. For me, in my left hand. However the deterioration of bone had become so painful it began to effect my knitting and eventually resulted in surgery. Thus, I did not create as many hats this year, but I still do have some favorites and highlights from the year I'd like to revisit. I'll do a countdown of sorts.

The #5 favorite hat: McPurple
This hat has not been featured on the blog before but this super soft McTwist Hat in Kollage Lofty was sent to a friend of my niece's. Her friend was going through chemo and needed a little bit of pretty. Although I will admit when I read her thank you card I don't think she made the connection between my niece and I. Oh well.

I loved the stitch of this hat and would like to make it again although I'll probably use another yarn, only because my wool allergies drove me crazy.

The #4 favorite hat: Yoda Hat, This Is
My March #1 Hat and part of a series of "star" hats for Halos of Hope's Camp Happy Times Campaign. It was by far my favorite for this year's theme. I mean, what kid wouldn't feel happy wearing a set of green ears? I mean really...

The #3 favorite hat: Flower Bucket
You might remember seeing this hat previously in 2012, but I like the pattern. A LOT. Not the cast on, that is incredibly slow, but the hat, yes. The hat, I love. And the flower I added, how cute is that? Plus its on a pin to make it easy to wash the hat. Love!

The #2 favorite hat: Slouch This!
Although not widely unique, this is an original design available as a free Ravelry download. Apparently people like it since there have been over 800 downloads. That's encouraging.

And my #1 favorite hat of 2013: Mixed-Up May
Also an original design and the first design I have for sale. A fun quick way to use up scrap yarn. I've had lots of positive feedback and wonderful comments about the design. Look for more of this style of hats from me in 2014.

Thats it. Not quite the two hats per month as per my plan but I did still manage to give away almost 50 hats in 2013, so I should be happy. But as long as that nasty six-letter word continues to touch lives, I'll continue to keep thinking I need to do more. I need to make more hats. Thanks for stopping by.