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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Knitting Bright Baby Mittens!

I knitted the Mitts pattern from Garter Stitch for Baby!

Why?  Because it's garter stitch.  For a baby.
I promise they're the same size in real life.

Garter stitch and baby projects are two of my favorite things and I sat down last night and thought the cute little mittens pattern would be a fun little project.  I love these little mittens!  They kept me up a little late (that's why the lighting in these pictures isn't so great. I have ugly florescent lights), but they're worth it.


The pattern calls for about 60 yards of yarn, so this is a fantastic way to use up scraps.  I thought the crazy variegated yarn would look pretty with the bright blue.  The picture in the book shows a lovely soft white yarn with light green.  Also lovely, especially for a spring-time baby.

I made these for a friend who's due in the fall, and I thought these would be a great way to keep a little person's hands warm while the bright colors would catch his or her eyes.  And I used Red Heart scraps so that these acrylic creations can be washed and dried if they're chewed on, spit up on, or thrown down in an unfortunate setting at an inopportune time.  Babies are good about throwing things on disgusting surfaces.  And then wanting to chew on the thing that has just come into contact with the disgusting surface.  Man, I'm getting so excited just thinking about this adventure my friend is starting.  I should knit her something else out of this book.  Garter stitch is my favorite way to show love and support.

I think it's a good thing.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things: Easter Projects!

It's Easter Week!  I thought it would be fun to post a quick roundup of my favorite Easter patterns that I made this year.  There's still time left to make a few quick Easter projects and these are the projects I'm recommending!

First up: crocheted Easter Eggs from the Treasury of Holiday Crochet.  They're quick, they're cute, and they're a fantastic way to use up scrap yarn.  There's also a pattern for an Easter basket!

My favorite way to make something quickly is to also make it small.  It doesn't get much quicker than a baby hat.  The Bunny hat pattern from Hats & Diaper Covers is just too adorable.

This is what the pattern is supposed to look like, if you want to get a little extra festive and fancy by putting a cute little bunny face on your hat.  It's so stinking adorable!

But! You know what's faster to crochet than a baby hat?  A baby hat crocheted in super bulky weight yarn.  The Fluffy Lamb Hat  from Hats & Diaper Covers 2 is just about one of my favorite hats to ever make or see on my little girl's head.  I made this in about an hour with less than a skein of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick.

It's a simple little pattern, and it's a simple-looking hat.  I think the best part is the ears.  These sweet fluffy ears just tickle me to no end.  I don't know why I didn't make a dozen of these.  I could surely find a dozen babies to outfit in these hats and they would be the sweetest-looking babies ever. 

I still have time.

I haven't actually made the Easter Egg hat from Knit Hat for Babies, but I wish I had.  Somebody should!  Look at it!  There are little dots and they are adorable!  Look at it again!

I don't know what the weather will be like next weekend, or if I could even wrestle my daughter or my nephew into this hat long enough to make the frenzied holiday knitting worth it, but I have to repeat myself:

I still have time.

I hope you do, too.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Knitting the Tempting Texture Cowl Pattern

I made the Tempting Texture cowl from Knit Cowls and it's just so lovely! 

I tend to call it the Waves of Texture pattern in my head because the wiggly lines of purl stitches made me think of waves on the ocean.  This took a couple of months to make, with plenty of breaks in between knitting sessions.  It's not an especially difficult pattern--there were just lots of stitches making up lots and lots of rows. Okay, really it was only 136 stitches.  But it felt like so many more stitches making up so many rows.
Knit rows and purl rows and knit rows with increases and decreases that made up all these lovely waves!

Speaking of waves, I threw in the two rows of gray because I thought I would run out of blue yarn and because I thought it would create an effect of caps on waves.  I'm not quite sure it worked how I wanted, but it's still a very pretty cowl and I don't think the color changes look too out-of-place.

I used Cascade's Alpaca Lana D'Oro, and this pattern used up one skein and probably half of another one in the blue.  That's around 330 yards of worsted weight yarn. And I only used a negligible amount of the gray.  That's pretty great for a cowl so large and squishy!  The yarn is a 50/50 mix of alpaca and wool.  It's warm.  It's soft.  It's super springy.....and stretchy.

This cowl practically bounces when you put it on and arrange it around.  It's almost bulky because of its size, but it drapes up against you really well.  It's not super-scrunched up, but it doesn't quite lay flat either.  It will keep you warm, and it will look beautiful as an accessory.

I gave this to my mother as a gift and she loved it.  It looks nice with just a shirt, but can still be tucked into a coat for practical warmth.  If you're as focused as I am (meaning that you and I are not all that focused sometimes), now would be a great time to cast on this project if you want to wear the cowl this fall.  But!  If you're an actual focused person, you could probably make one of these in time to wear this for the last few chilly days of spring.  Anything's possible.

This post was originally published on July 30, 2013.  I wanted to repost it because I just love this cowl and wanted another chance to show it off and talk about it a bit more.  Happy weekend!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Weekly Dishcloth: I See Sea Shells

I made the Shells pattern from Dishcloths.  I love it!

This dishcloth is one of the first patterns I made from Dishcloths.  Well, one of the first dishcloths I crocheted ever.   I remember enjoying making it, and that my mom was happy to get it as a Christmas present, and I know I must have blogged about it.  But it was so long ago that I don't think I'll bother going back into the archives to find the post.  And while I remember liking the pattern, and how it looks, I don't really remember making it.  So I made it again.  I wanted to see what it would look like in a variegated yarn, and I just like crocheting shells.

This took about half of a skein of Sugar n' Cream Super Size in Creamsicle, and a G hook.  I like how the colors wound up striping a little and I was happy to get gauge with the recommended hook.  I left off one pattern repeat (of two rows) because I had already reached the recommended size of 8.5" x 9.5", and that's my favorite size of dishcloth.

I couldn't be more pleased with this.  There's no real reason why.  It's just a pleasantly simple pattern that looks nice and is easy to crochet without being boring.  I worked on it for a couple of episodes of television after my daughter went to bed one night and I repeatedly held it up so that my husband would feel obligated to say nice things about it.  It's so pretty!

I might have even said something about liking the edges. He tried to go along with my enthusiasm, bless him.
My husband said it looked like something his grandma would have in her kitchen, folded up next to her plates with peaches painted onto them.  He meant it as a compliment, and I knew it.  Homey dishcloths are my favorite kind of dishcloths and this one seems especially summery.  Our spring here in Arkansas is still a little colder than we'd expected for this time of year, and it was fun to work with yarn that featured bright and warm tones.  I thought the crocheted shells even looked a bit like sea shells.

I still have half a skein of that Dreamsicle yarn left.  I could make another one, and I just might do that sometime soon.  One for my gift stash, and one for me.  I like this enough to keep it!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Crocheting a Christmas Stocking. Why Not?

Hello, friends.  It is April 9, we are ten days away from Easter, and I am crocheting the Basic Stocking Pattern from Crochet Christmas Stockings.

I mean, why not?  I know plenty of smart people who begin their Christmas crafting some time in June or July, but I tend to get taken by surprise even when I do plan ahead.  So this year, I'm getting a jump start on my holiday crafting by starting now.  I don't know why I didn't think about this back around Valentine's Day.  Valentine's Day is probably a perfect time to start Christmas crafting because January is devoted to recovering from Christmas crafting-related burnout/selfish knitting and crocheting.  I bet that's what I'll do next year.

But for now, I'm feeling pretty good about starting my crocheting in April.  I don't even know who this stocking is for!  But when Christmas comes, I'll be ready.

This is the first pattern I've tried out of Crocheted Christmas Stockings, and I thought the Basic Stocking Pattern would be a good place to start.  Most of the patterns specify a yarn weight and hook size, but are based on the Basic Stocking Pattern.  So I just started this with a G hook and worsted weight Red Heart yarn.  I think this will be an excellent container for a hostess gift.  Or it would be a great decoration.  Or .... something.  I like how this simple little stocking looks, so I think it's going to be great regardless of what its use is.

There are no instructions on where to stop working for the cuff on this version of the pattern, so I just started working with red yarn when this looked 'right' to me. 

It's fairly mindless single crochet stitches worked in the round, with a few decreases here and there.  I've plenty of time to think about how sweet an initial would look on the cuff if I sewed some buttons into the shape of a letter.  Or about how I'll probably use a different color for the heel and the toe because I may run out of scraps for this.

I was enjoying the excitement of feeling like I was productive and an efficient planner, but now I have that extra thrill of terror that comes from trying to figure out if the yarn will outlast my pattern.  Really and truly, this is where I think the project gets exciting. It doesn't take much for me, and that's okay.

I hope you're enjoying your own projects!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Crocheting a Bunny Hat!

I crocheted the Bunny Hat from Hats & Diaper Covers because I am on an eternal quest to be The World's Best Crafting Aunt.  I'm pretty sure I've got this!

I can understand why you might be looking at this bunny hat and wondering why I even try to compete for this imaginary title when this hat is clearly not white. Or gray.  Or even brown.

I had fanciful notions of more natural yarn color options.  I really did.  But the more I thought of my sweet-faced nephew, with his dark eyebrows and his big ol' cheeks and his wide eyes that are already turning from blue to...something else that hasn't been determined yet, I had a thought.  And then I sent my sister a text and asked "Very Important Question: If [nephew] was a bunny rabbit, would he be white, gray, brown, or tan?  Or would he look like the Blue Bell bunny (like I am picture for some reason)?"

She immediately asked if this was a hat question.

She knows me too well.

We decided that if this three-month-old infant (four months old on Easter Sunday!) was going to be any kind of rabbit, he would apparently be a cartoon one and then I got to work with some Caron Simply Soft that I already had.  I think I was supposed to choose a more pastel blue, because it's Easter time and this is a small baby but 1) I didn't have any worsted weight light blue yarn around and 2) this just seems right.

The patterns in Hats & Diaper Covers are for babies around six months old, so I left a row or two off of the main body of this hat.  Also, I crocheted the two ear pieces for each ear together, rather than seaming them because I dislike seaming.  I used a G hook, which is a size smaller than what I typically need when crocheting worsted weight yarn, but I think those measures will make the hat fit my nephew a little bit better.

Or it means he's already outgrown this because babies can go from practically swimming in their clothes to completely outgrowing them in just a few months in the first year.

But that's fine.  That just means that my favorite little guy is healthy and growing.

It also means I can make a larger version of this next year.

The Bunny Hat and Diaper Cover set is also available as a standalone pattern, but I would recommend buying the whole book.  There are plenty of adorable patterns and every last one of them would look amazing on some small person you love.  You can trust me on this for two reasons:

1. I have made nearly all of them--the Puppy Hat, the Ladybug Hat, and the Giraffe Hat were all quick, easy, and super-cute patterns.

2. I am The World's Best Crafting Aunt.  My word is bond.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Learn to Arm Knit: A Video Tutorial

So.  Arm knitting.  You might have heard of it, but if you haven't I'm telling you about it now and I'm telling you that it's officially a thing because there are books for it now like Learn to Arm Knit.  And!  There are video tutorials!  This one is fantastically comprehensive.


I watched this video faithfully, with some pausing and rewinding in certain places, when I made pattern #14 from Learn to Arm Knit.  The booklet has very detailed and clear instructions with illustrations, but I'm more of a video-learner and this particular one was a life-saver.

Big thanks to my husband for taking these pictures of me....without letting me know I look like a slob. The knitting looks good, though!
Arm knitting is simple and pretty easy once you get the hang of it.  But before you get the hang of it, it can be a little daunting.  As an intermediate-level knitter and lifelong arm-haver, I thought this couldn't possibly be any easier.  But then I realized that both arms have to act like the active needle at different times, and that there's a right side and wrong side for arm knitting.  Enter this handy little video tutorial.  It was so great!

If you're even a tiny bit interested in arm knitting, I suggest that you try it out because it is the quickest stash-buster I know of.  It's fast even than swapping your yarn, or bagging it up and donating it.  There are over 30 yarn combination suggestions in Learn to Arm Knit (with details on the yarn brand, colorway, and how many strands or skeins you'll need for each project) and they are gloriously quick projects that can use up your bulky and super bulky yarn. 


I'm already eying some more of the yarns in my stash a little differently.  With some substitutions for brand or color, I could have a fantastic little gift stash of cowls all knitted up in an afternoon or so!

I might have already started.....

#29 with Lion Brand Homespun.

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