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Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Warm Pumpkin Hat for a Wee Noggin

I'm sharing a recycled post with you today because it's about pumpkin hats.  Who doesn't love a good post about pumpkin hats!?  I made this Pumpkin Hat from Warm Hats for Wee Noggins and it's just so cute I had to show it to you again. Enjoy!

Okay, I held off for as long as I could.  But we're nearly halfway through September, Arkansas's heat wave is nearly gone, and it is just plain time to start talking about pumpkin things.  Actual pumpkins, pumpkin-flavored drinks, pumpkin recipes--I love them all.  But it wasn't until I had my daughter a couple of years ago that I learned of the wonderful world of pumpkin hats.

I love a good theme hat, obviously.  But a pumpkin hat?  Oh man.  Knock me over with a skein of sock yarn.  I cannot handle that kind of cute.  One of the very first times I successfully followed a hat pattern was when I made my little girl a pumpkin hat.  I was super motivated because there was no way I was going to take her to the pumpkin patch without a hand knitted pumpkin hat.

Oh look, it's all my dreams coming true in one chilly afternoon.  Also, holy crappy decrease stitches, Batman!

My little girl's hat still fits her, but I wanted to try out the Punkin' Patch hat from Warm Hats for Wee Noggins because this pattern has a leaf AND a tendril.  Besides, I rationalized to myself, I have a friend at work who loves pumpkins and this would be really precious on her granddaughter.  And you guys, this little hat did not disappoint.

I love it! 

As always, I went down a needle size (to a Size 7) because of my gauge, but that's it.  And that's not even really a mod.  Everything about this adorable little creation is perfect.  It calls for your standard worsted weight yarn, and I used some Red Heart and Vanna's Choice along with scraps for the leaf and tendril. 

Oh, and that stem?  It involves just the tiniest bit of stranded knitting.

It doesn't hurt a bit, I swear!  Since there's only three rows of knitting with two colors, and the hat itself is so small, this would be an excellent introduction to stranded knitting for a beginner.  And, it's adorable.  Just stinking adorable.

As you can tell, this hat will fit a head slightly larger than a pie pumpkin.

Well, probably a lot larger than a pie pumpkin.

I knit this in the 12 months size, but Warm Hats for Wee Noggins includes instructions for 3 preemie sizes and 3 full-term sizes with each pattern.  This could be a lovely little hat for any small person--especially those little folks who need warmth the most!

I really love this hat.  I love the way you knit the stem.  I love that the leaf is lighter than the stem.  I love that the tendril ..... exists.  Seriously, even if you don't have the yarn to make the leaf a lighter green than the stem, please find a tiny bit of scrap yarn to make this tendril.  It's an itty bitty amount of knitting and it's all curly and adorable and the perfect thing to add to a perfect hat for a perfectly adorable baby.  You just have to.  Promise me.

I realize I sound a bit silly but I take my silly hats very seriously. It's nearly fall and the pumpkins are here.

More importantly, so are the pumpkin hats!

This post was first published on September 12, 2013.  And if you were wondering: my friend at work was thrilled with this hat and said it was her granddaughter's favorite hat.  She emailed me a few cute pictures of her little punkin wearing the hat.  I'm hoping it fits her this year as well!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Garter Stitch, Daydreams, and General Tomfoolery

I'm knitting a Tomten Jacket for my daughter.  I pulled out her old one out last week and put it on her, only to discover that it's getting a bit short.  I made this a couple of years ago and it seemed like she could wear it until she was five.  Um, nope.  I don't mind, though.  I love this pattern, and I love garter stitch.  I haven't gotten super far on it yet, but I've already had plenty of time to zone out and make plans for other garter stitch projects.  I mean, there's Garter Stitch for Baby, and Projects for Baby, and a bunch of the hats in Warm Hats for Wee Noggins.  So much garter stitch!

And I'm realizing that these are all baby patterns.  I do love garter stitch for babies.  There's just something about it.  Maybe because it grows with its wearer.  Maybe because I just love knit stitches so much.  Garter stitch fabric lays flat and looks all cute and bumpy.

I love it so much I've made several hats for my daughter and my nephew that use garter stitch.  Several of the hats in Warm Hats for Wee Noggins are just garter stitch knitted flat and then seamed up with some embellishments.  Like this Valentine's Day hat!  I love this one.

And there's the Baby Hat from Garter Stitch for Baby.

And the booties.

It works for bibs in Knit in a Day for Baby.

I just....ugh, I love garter stitch so much.  If I had to pick a favorite pattern from these, I don't even know if I could.  Which reminds me!  Well, I'm reminded of two things.  Firstly, if you have a Ravelry account (seriously, go get one. You can lose hours of your life looking through patterns!  Doesn't that sound like so much fun!?) you need to join the group Fans of Leisure Arts Patterns.  It's run by friend of the blog Debbie and it's a fun place where people share their project photos of Leisure Arts patterns they've made. I'm snoopy and love it so dang much.

And! Secondly, there's a thread in the group's discussion board right now for a giveaway!  All you have to do is link to your favorite Leisure Arts pattern to be eligible for the chance to win a $10 coupon code for Leisure Arts.  Get over there and check it out!  Even if you don't win, you'll probably come away with a few more patterns to list in your queue. I love seeing what other people love, and I've had a nice time lurking.  The thread will be closed on October 12, so hurry on over and talk about what you like because I've got a lot of garter stitch to work through, and I'm dying of nosiness. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Weekly Dishcloth: Now With Slant Stitches!

Hello, I have crocheted slant stitches!  I had been seeing tutorials for this look on Pinterest lately, and was thinking about trying it out.  When I realized that Dishcloth #34 in The Big Book of Dishcloths used it, I had to do it!
I say this a lot, but I feel like it's okay to preach this like it's my religion: if you want to try out something new, find a dishcloth pattern that incorporates it.  It's perfect practice, it's a small project, and you have a useful and beautiful dishcloth to show for your trouble when you're finished. 

So.  The slant stitch.  You're crocheting your double crochet stitches, and then you skip a stitch.  Then you crochet three crochet stitches (or however many your pattern tells you to).

I'm really bad at using my camera with my left hand, y'all.  Sorry for what you're about to see.
Then!  You yarn over like you're about to make another double crochet stitch.  But!  You insert your hook into the skipped stitch three stitches back.  I know, plot twist!

You work a yarnover and pull that yarn wayyyy out and pull it through two loops, yarnover, and pull it through your last two loops--you know, regular double crochet stuff.

Except that you worked it a few stitches backwards.

Then you skip a stitch and work three double crochet stitches and repeat the whole thing over again until you have this cool-looking dishcloth to show for it.

This was fun!  I apparently should have worked another row or two, but once I decided to use orange yarn for my border I guess I got a little impatient.  I like the bright orange with the red, but I do wish I'd used the single crochet stitch border instead of this double crochet stitch border.  Oh well.

I really like the slant stitch!  I'm pretty pumped that I learned it, and I hope I find another pattern that calls for it soon.  The dishcloth was great practice and I'm happy to have it in my gift stash.  Win win!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Crocheting a Sweet Little Bear Hat

I love bear hats.  Actually, I'm a sucker for any kind of animal hat.  But bear hats seem to be my favorite.  The fact that I've made three of them in the past year probably proves it.  My most recent one is the Bear Hat from Baby Hats.

I made this in the 3 month size with worsted weight yarn and an I hook.  I also added another row to the body because it looked just a tad short to me.  Or maybe that's because I also think hats should be a little bit longer than the pattern calls for--seriously, I do this nearly every time.  I'm sure it would have been fine perched on some baby's head for a few seconds before getting pulled off and chewed on, but now I feel a little more secure about the height.  There was a little bit of overthinking for a little hat, but that extra row took literally another minute.  I feel like I've talked about the height of this hat too much.

Let's talk about the ears, though, because I think I've found my favorite ear method.  You just crochet a circle and fold it in half.  Having a flat bottom that's made of two layers of crochet helps it sit flat when you stitch to the sides of the body.  And the ears are kind of big.  I think that's adorable.  I love big ears on babies, and on their hats.  So precious.

This is for my husband's cousin, and I made sure to use acrylic (good ol' Red Heart) so this could be washed and dried with regular baby clothes.  Sometimes I want to use super nice yarn and make heirloom-type projects.  But other times, well, I'm a sucker for an adorable animal hat and I want to give a gift that non-yarny first-time parents can use to keep their baby warm without a lot of extra fuss.  This is such a sweet little hat.

I had made another pattern from Baby Hats--the Pixie Bonnet--and remembered it being simple and quick, but this project may have been simpler and quicker!  All of the patterns are listed as "Easy", and would be excellent projects for newer crocheters or anyone who's a little short on time.  You could crochet up a bear hat in less than an hour and no one would ever know you were unprepared for that baby shower!  No judgement from me.  Babies (and sometimes their parties) can really sneak up on you.  No one has to know this didn't take forever, and you can feel really good about how stinking cute this is.  Let me show you the ears again.

This might just be my favorite bear hat! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

4 Things You Subconsciously Do When You Are Crafting

It has happened to all of us. You sit down to knit or crochet and suddenly 4+ hours have passed. You were really in the zone! While in the zone, sometimes you develop habits that you don’t even realize what you are doing.

This happened to me recently and it got me thinking. What do I do when I’m crafting?

So I came up with this list:
4 Things Crafters Do While Crafting

1. Think about your to-do list.
We often think of other things we should do while crafting. Don’t get me wrong. I think it is important to schedule for craft time. However, life does go on around you. You think: “I should do the dishes, take out the trash, my friend’s birthday is coming up (I love birthdays), take the dog for a walk…” The list goes on.

2. Solve problems.
I don’t just mean problems related to your craft; I mean problems like world hunger. You overheard an opinion earlier that day. Even though you didn’t give your opinion, crafting time is a good time to figure out what that opinion would be if someone had asked you.

3. Watch television.
Or Netflix. At one point I thought it would be fun to name each project after what TV show I was watching while working on it. There is a joke about crafters getting through half a season and still not knowing what the characters look like. It’s the easiest thing to multitask with crafting!

4. Not realize someone is talking to you.
So there you are in the crafting zone. You slowly realize someone is talking to you. You have, however, realized this too late and don’t know the context. You are forced to decide whether to nod and smile, or acknowledge that you weren't paying attention. Happens to me all the time! I usually go with the nod unless I sense distress.

Thanks for reading! I hope you get a laugh when you find yourself doing any one of these things! 

Stay Crafty!


Friday, September 12, 2014

Weekly Dishcloth: Pumpkin Party!

Well, now I don't want to stop with the holiday crafts.  I've started decorating my home for fall and now I'm making Halloween crafts.  The first completed one? The Pumpkin dishcloth from Dishcloths for Special Days!

This is a sweet little dishcloth.  And I do mean little.  You only cast on 35 stitches for each of these patterns, and you get a sweet little dishcloth that measures about 7" X 9" square. I like it. And I love these designs where you you draw a picture with purl stitches, and I love this grinning jack o'lantern. 

If you make one for yourself, I suggest you use the orangest yarn you can find.  I tried a pumpkin dishcloth with yarn that was a little more peachy than orange once.  It looked like I made a dishcloth with some weird peach on it.  You know, if someone carved a face into a peach.  Go with orange.  Anything that looks like a hunter's vest or a traffic cone will do beautifully.  I used Sugar'n Cream yarn in the Hot Orange color.  It is bright.

This dishcloth is fun and festive and cheerful.  I got a craving for 'fun-size' chocolate bars while I was knitting it.  And it's marked as an easy pattern.  Like all the patterns in Dishcloths for Special Days, the pattern has written instructions and a chart.  This is a great pattern for a beginning knitter, or a knitter who's new to charts, or someone who gets excited about holiday projects.  I think you can guess which one I am! 

Happy weekend crafting!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

In Praise of Yarnbombing Your Own Home

It's September.  I have already enjoyed a pumpkin spice latte, gone hiking, placed the fall wreath on my front door, and decorated my balcony with a banner made from Square 3 from 99 Granny Squares to Crochet.

I'm really in the swing of things this fall!

I recently took down the banner I made from Square 49 from 99 Granny Squares to Crochet.   I loved that banner.  With cotton yarn and a slightly nautical look, this was a perfect summery banner for my balcony. 


But we're slipping slowly out of summer weather, and the banner has been starting to show some wear and tear.  It needs a good trip through the washing machine, and some squares are a little faded from the sun.  It was time for a new look.

When I made my fall banner last year, I didn't think about the length of the banner.  I don't know why I wasn't thinking, but I definitely wasn't!  Maybe I got excited about the fall colors, or the fact that I was crocheting granny triangles instead of granny squares. 

Something went a little haywire in my excitement and I made quite a few granny triangles and when I strung them up I had a banner longer than any space in my home.  The balcony is a good place for this!

 Sometimes I feel a little weird about tossing my handmade items out into the elements.  I worry that having a bunch of things out on the balcony will look a little trashy.  I almost worry about some yarnbomb-hating person reading this and getting all huffy (I've seen it happen before. Did you know people on the Internet have really strong opinions?!), but not quite because I'm an adult and don't care.  If I had made someone a blanket and they left it out in the rain, I'd be in a huff to end all huffs.  But these are a few squares that I enjoyed making and now I've out where I can enjoy them.  I can't think of a more fun way to declare "A crafter lives here!" than doing silly things like this every once in a while.

We live in an apartment and since we're stuck with Apartment Beige walls we can't change and ugly carpet we can't change and a really ineffective dishwasher we can't change, decorating our little home is a big change we can make to make this space truly ours.  We have family photos and my daughter's drawings on the wall, my husband's posters and cookbooks spread everywhere, and I've covered every major piece of furniture with an afghan.  Banners and blankets make our home cheerful and inviting.  I think adding a little yarn to our balcony keeps it looking festive and homey.

I'm starting to wonder about Christmas decorations.

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