Happy Halloween

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Halloween is such a fabulous holiday; any excuse to dress up and eat candy gets my wholehearted support! This year was baby’s first Halloween and I really wanted to do a family costume.  I spent weeks brainstorming and offering ideas but just  couldn’t get her Daddy on board. While my husband has been talked into his fair share of crazy stunts in the past, I couldn’t sell him on the idea until I offered to knit our little lady her very own Yoda Hat.

DSC02824A quick trip to Ravelry and I found the most awesome pattern by Sunshyne Leland – the Felted Baby Yoda Hat  a fabulous pattern and it’s free!   I knit mine with some old Lion Brand Wool (my favorite felting yarn) and followed Sunshyne’s instructions for starching the ears.  I knit the coat while I was expecting and never planned to use it as a Jedi cloak, but it really completed the ensemble.  It’s the Snug by Hinke, also free! knitted with Lion Brand Fisherman’s wool.  I hadn’t sewn buttons on it yet so I used a wooden shawl pin to close it and bless her heart, the girl left her hat and coat on all evening.

ll3All in all, it was a fabulous first holiday, and I imagine, the last one that I’ll be able to dress my little girl up like a 900 year old alien instead of a princess or a fairy.  She’ll probably groan at these pictures someday but I couldn’t be happier at how it all turned out.  Cutest little alien I know.

 

 

Birthday Hats

20130829-134641.jpgIt won’t surprise my friends or family when I admit to being a bit of a control freak. I like to plan ahead and make lists and have every last little detail taken care of ahead of time.

But, I recognized that parenthood was likely to change all of that.  I really wanted to be more of a ‘go with the flow’ kind of mom and since we had no idea what to expect when Sprout (our baby nickname during pregnancy) came into the world, we decided to keep the gender a surprise.  Crazy, I know!  What to knit? Pink or Blue?  The answer, both.

Naturally, I wanted one of my knits to be the first thing placed on little Sprout’s head, so I knitted two of these simple newborn Birthday Hats.  FYI:  The mitts are Susan B Anderson’s Baby Mitts.

Here’s my pattern for the hats.

Yarn:  Worsted weight blend.

I used Martha Stewart’s extra soft wool blend.  Anything with a bit of acrylic so it will stretch to fit.

Needle:  Size 5 circulars (12″) or Size 5 Double Pointed Needles.

Cast on 56 stitches and place a marker at the end of the first row.

Knit in 1×1 rib (K1, P1) for 1.5″

Switch to stockinette and knit every row until the hat measures 4.5″ from cast on edge.

Start decreasing.

Decrease row 1: *Knit 6, K2tog* Repeat ** to end of row.

Decrease row 2 (and every even # row):  Knit

Decrease row 3: *Knit 4, K2tog* Repeat ** to end of row.

Decrease row 5: *Knit 3, K2tog*  Repeat ** to end of row.

Decrease row 7: *Knit 2, K2tog*  Repeat ** to end of row.

Decrease row 9: *Knit 1, K2tog* Repeat ** to end of row.

Decrease row 10:  K2tog until you have 8 stitches remaining and cut yarn leaving a long tail to cinch the remaining 8 stitches.  Weave in the loose ends and you’re ready for a baby!  (Ha!  like anyone was ever ready for a newborn baby)

Well, at 12:34 AM on April 10th,  I had the pleasure of putting one of these little hats on my

Pink Newborn knit hat

BABY GIRL!!!!

Meet Miss Margot Louise.  7lbs 2 oz of pure joy.  Talk about a muse – we couldn’t be any happier!  She is an absolute delight.  Being her mom is the best thing ever.

 

Hello World!

Yikes,  it’s been a while hasn’t it?  Sorry for dropping the blogging ball for so long.  I guess I’ve been a little busy!  I managed to swallow a watermelon seed.

Big 'ol belly

Yep,  I managed to grow a whole new human!  As you can imagine, there’s been lots and lots of baby knitting going on.  So, my apologies right now to anyone opposed to itty bitty baby knits, birth stories and an abundance of baby pictures of my offspring.  I’m bound and determined to get back into the groove of blogging and there’s sure to be plenty of baby talk – so don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Here’s to new patterns, new posts and a new little person!

 

Year In Review

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Dearest blog followers – Despite what my recent blogging habits would indicate, I am still alive and well.  This has been a crazy year filled with new original patterns, failed projects, knitting dry spells, and unrequited dreams of an organized knitting stash.  Here are a couple of the highlights:

ImageMy beloved niece keeps getting cuter and cuter.  Here, she proves that horizontal stripes really DO make you chubby!  The pattern is from Amanda Keyes Baby Beanies – Stripes and Pom Poms.  It’s knit is Red Hearth’s Debbie Stoller Alpaca Love. Image

In this shot,she models the ever popular free pattern Baby Berry Hat by Michele Sabatier.  Knit in Lion Brand Cotton Ease yarn with Lily’s sugar and cream cotton for the stem.  She really makes a statement here by wearing it au’ natural.  Image

This one is probably my favorite shot from her first year.  My sister managed to lovingly design and knit this bonnet and diaper cover ensemble in all her free time as a working mom to a 6 month old.  She is my hero.  We’ll try to get her to share her pattern and yarn selections in an upcoming post.

We’re trying to start her early and she shows some real natural talent.  If only those needles weren’t so delicious!

IMG953778 IMG956659IMG954688IMG959173IMG957775

 

 

Also this year, a lovable beagle mix puppy was abandoned in our neighborhood.  We had the best intentions of fostering him until a suitable family could be found.  That lasted all of a few hours before we named him Buckley and made him our own.

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ImageAnyone who shares my geeky love for the Wes Anderson film ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ will recognize the original Buckley (in the lower right corner) and his family in red Adidas track suits.  It seemed only fitting that my new family member have a matching hand-knitted version.  I made up the pattern and failed to write any good notes so unfortunately I can’t share it, but I have to admit it turned out pretty cute.  He doesn’t even seem to mind that I make him wear it every time I watch the movie.

All in all, it was a great year and I’m looking forward to all the new and exciting things to come next year.  Keep your eyes peeled for new patterns and inspiration for 2013.  Here’s to new projects and finishing the old.  This year, may your needles be busy and your yarn basket ever full.  Happy New Year!

Yo Adrian

Every year my husband and I throw an all out Oscar Awards watch party.   Last year it was red carpet/black tie formal.  This year, we went with a costume party.  All of our friends came dressed as their favorite character from any Oscar nominated movie, past or present.  James and I decided to pay homage the oft-under appreciated Oscar Award winner for Best Picture in 1976 – ‘Rocky’.

Pulling together our costumes for this beloved movie couple was surprisingly easy.  We had all the clothes we needed in our own closets. The only thing I was missing was Adrian’s iconic red beret.

Big, fuzzy and felted , This hat is 70s chic and timelessly modern. Here’s the pattern for how I made it.

Yarn: 1 skein of worsted weight yarn – 100% wool.  I used Paton’s classic wool.

Needles: 12-16″ Size 8 circular needles and set of size 8 Double pointed Needles

Cast on 88 stitches.

Join to knit in the round and place a marker to mark the end of the row.

Knit in a 1×1 rib (k1, p1) until the brim measures 1 1/2″ long.

Next row: *K2, M1*,  Repeat ** to the end of the row.  (132 stitches)

Knit every row for 6″  (the hat is now 7.5″ from cast on)

Start decreasing, switching to double pointed needles when necessary.

Decrease Row 1 = *SSK, Knit 22, K2tog*  Repeat  ** until end of row

Decrease Row 2 (and all even numbered rows) = knit

Decrease Row 3 = *SSK, Knit 20, K2tog*  Repeat  ** until end of row

Decrease Row 5 = *SSK, Knit 18, K2tog*  Repeat  ** until end of row

Decrease Row 7 = *SSK, Knit 16, K2tog*  Repeat  ** until end of row

Decrease Row 9 = *SSK, Knit 14, K2tog*  Repeat  ** until end of row

Decrease Row 11 = *SSK, Knit 12, K2tog*  Repeat  ** until end of row

Decrease Row 13 = *SSK, Knit 10, K2tog*  Repeat  ** until end of row

Decrease Row 15 = *SSK, Knit 8, K2tog*  Repeat  ** until end of row

Decrease Row 17 = *SSK, Knit 6, K2tog*  Repeat  ** until end of row

Decrease Row 19 = *SSK, Knit 4, K2tog*  Repeat  ** until end of row

Decrease Row 21 = *SSK, Knit 2, K2tog*  Repeat  ** until end of row

Decrease Row 23 = *SSK, K2tog*  Repeat  ** until end of row

Decrease Row 24 = Knit

Decrease Row 25 = K2tog until 3 stitches remain.

Put the remaining 3 stitches on one needle and pull them through to the opposite (right side) of the hat.

Knit an i-cord for 3 inches and bind off leaving a 6 inch tail.

Use the tail to sew the i-cord into a loop on top of the beret.

Trim the edges and felt the hat on the warmest washing machine setting.

Pull out the beret immediately after felting and shape it to your head tucking the brim under so it rolls on itself.  You’ll want to keep it shaped while it’s drying – at least 24 hours.  My drying rack of choice is a tightly rolled towel on it’s end, but get creative – almost anything will do the trick. And now comes the hard part – waiting for it to dry enough to wear it!

‘cue Gotta Fly Now for the closing credits’

Costume or not, this hat – like Rocky,  is sure to become a classic.

 

 

Baby Love

I’m dedicating this Valentine’s Day to my tiniest love. There’s not a girl in the world I love more than my sister and my beautiful niece ‘Sunny’.   My sister is the one who taught me to knit, so she appreciates (and photographs!) each and every hand made knit for her little miss.

This sweet little bib is a free pattern that’s appropriately named for Valentines day:

the I Love Stockinette Baby Bib – by Laura Treadway

I knit a solid colored bib that came out so beautifully that I decided to dress it up a little with my first attempt at intarsia – or color blocking.  It’s not tricky, but by reading up on it first you can avoid some unsightly holes at the color transitions by wrapping the yarn as you switch colors.  Here is a link to the directions I used at the Purl Bee – Intarsia Tutorial.

So you’ve figured out the whole intarsia technique, here’s the fun part.  Read the pattern instructions for the project you’re planning to add intarsia to carefully and determine how many columns and rows of stitches you’ll have available for the design, then get out your graph paper and start designing.

Here is the heart pattern I used for this bib. It’s knit in Lily Sugar ‘N Cream cotton so it’s super washable.  I also went down a needle size from the first bib I made since I can be a bit of a loosey Goosey when it comes to gauge.

Not up for designing your own chart? Just do a quick google search for all the free knitting charts available.  There’s a fun bib pattern out there for everybody:  the seafood lover, the flower child, even the ever-cuddly Darth Vader.

So let your imagination run wild and knit something  for the little ones you love.

Okay, just one more.  I can’t help myself.

Happy Valentines Day and Happy Knitting!

One of those knitters…

This cute little painting by Robin’s Egg Studio made me smile. Yes, I’ll admit it – I’m one of those knitters and I’d suspect you are too  If you’re like me, you’re downright proud of it.  If you don’t want to become one of those knitters: here are the warning signs.

1. Your friends ask “did you make that?” when you wear anything knitted.

It’s flattering that they think that much of your knitting prowess, but at some point it’s just embarrassing to have to admit “no…I bought it at the GAP”.

2. You hit the yarn store in the face of emergency.

Most people would consider groceries, firewood or batteries the essentials in the face of an oncoming weather disaster.  All you can think about is all the free time you’ll have to catch up on your knitting.

3. You improvise knitting tools when you’re without.

You know that feeling, you’re just getting rolling on an exciting new project and realize you don’t have a stitch marker.  A wedding band is shaped just like a stitch marker…. your spouse will never notice right?

4. All your friends ask for knitting lessons.

Yep, it’s like Jr. High all over again except that now you’re one of the cool kids.  Plus, knitting is a much better life skill than spit-wads.

5. You carry a camera to the mall.

Because you’ll never know when inspiration will hit you.  Don’t tell me you’ve never seen a cute little cowl or wrap on a mannequin and thought…”I could totally make that”.

6. You stop strangers to talk knitting.

We all expect to find kindred spirits in the yarn aisle, but there’s nothing better than connecting with a total stranger who shares your passion.  Whenever I spot someone wearing what looks like a hand-knit, I always pay them a compliment.  It never fails to spark a fruitful conversation.

7.  You spend more time on Ravelry than Facebook.

And who could blame you?  There’s no Farmville, no annoying personality quiz requests, and no ex-boyfriends!

8. You get your book club books on CD.

There are only so many hours in a week for knitting, right?  Why waste two hands holding a book when you can listen and knit at the same time!

9. You knit in  your sleep.

Well, dreams that is, all my best designs happen in my sleep.  But how much more knitting would I get done if I could figure out how to do it in my sleep!

10.  You read knitting blogs!.

And I love you for it. Seriously, Thank You so much for dorking out with me over how cool we all know knitting is.

 

Happy Knit Year!

It’s a new year, and I have plenty of the same old resolutions we all do:  Organize my yarn stash, clear some projects out of my ravelry queue, blog more often, post those patterns I’ve made and never written down, finish that hat I promised my husband 3 years ago, blah, blah, blah.

Well I  hate the idea of starting a new year with a glorified to-do list.  I’d rather think of 2012 as an opportunity to try new things and learn some new skills. And I’ll admit it – I’m a procrastinator;  I’d much rather start something new than finish something already started.

So, to kick off the new year the right way….Here are a few of the new knitting tricks I look forward to mastering in the year to come!

Double Knitting

A seemingly magical process by which two sides of knitted fabric are created using one needle.  Sure, the directions make it sound simple, but from the outside looking in, this technique  looks downright miraculous.  From what I understand,  you can use it to create open pockets or to do blocked colorwork like this piano scarf where the reverse side is finished as well.  I have been dying to do a two color houndstooth pattern, and I think double knitting will be just the ticket.

Entrelac

I’m currently enchanted by this chunky textured basket weave stitch.  It lends itself to some interesting color options and despite it’s hypnotic cabled appearance, it’s just a series of knits, purls, and simple decreases.  In most of the projects where I’ve seen it used, it can look a little dowdy, but I’d love to find a fresh, modern use for it

Brioche Rib

Another great way to do two color knitting.  I’m  in love with all of the brioche rib hats I’m seeing in department stores this year.  Supposedly just a matter of slipping stitches back and forth to create that great textured rib look.  I’m anxious to give this technique a try.

So here’s to a New Year, new projects, and new skills.  In 2012 may your heart, your stomach, and your needles always be full.   Blessings!

Cable Vision Wreath

Maybe you’re one of those people who have already decked your halls, cut your own fresh tree, baked your gingerbread house from scratch, and crossed every last friend off your handmade gift list.  If so, you can disregard the following 5 words that strike fear into the heart of procrastinators everywhere, especially me…..CHRISTMAS IS TWO WEEKS AWAY!

Never fear fellow slackers.  I whipped up this super festive cabled wreath in no time. Hung on my front door, it greets visitors with such holiday dazzle they overlook the fact that the rest of my house is a ‘work in progress’.

This super chunky horseshoe cable is surprisingly simple and knits up fast on size 17 needles.  Here’s how I did it…step by step.

What You’ll Need

Yarn:  2 skeins of super bulky yarn – this one is Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick but any super bulky will work. About 108 yards per skein

Size 17 straight needles and one large (size 11-17) double pointed needle needle for the cables.

Tapestry needle

Sewing needle and green thread

12″ boxed wire wreath form

The wreath construction is basically a short scarf seamed together at the ends. The horseshoe cable is a simple 8 row pattern repeat. If you’ve never knit cables before, just remember: be patient and don’t worry if if feels like you’re stretching the stitches too far or there are weird holes when you complete the cable row.  Just wait until you’ve finished a few repeats of the pattern and it will start making sense.  Ready to go?

With yarn held doubled, cast on 16 stitches.

Start the horseshoe cable pattern:

Repeat this cable pattern a total of 12 times – you can do fewer for a smaller wreath or add more for a larger circumference.  My gauge came out to about 1 inch per cable so 12 repeats fit nicely on a 12 inch wreath form.

Confused by the cable row? – here’s the step by step photos of how I did it:

Slip the first 4 stitches onto a double pointed needle.  This is my favorite cabling trick because unlike cable needles, you can knit these stitches straight from the double points instead of trying to push them back onto the left needle.  It makes a big difference with these super bulky cables.

With the first 4 stitches on the double pointed needle, hold the needle to the back, bring the working yarn in front of those stitches and use your straight needle to knit the first 4 stitches on the left needle.

Now you’ll knit the 4 stitches you had on the back double pointed needle (DPN).  Make sure the back needle hasn’t twisted, and push the 4 stitches on the right needle as far down to the tip as possible.  Now starting with the far right stitch on the DPN, knit the 4 stitches you’ve been holding in the back.

See, that wasn’t so bad.  You’re halfway there!

There should be 8 stitches remaining on the left needle.

Using the DPN, pick up the next 4 remaining stitches and hold them to the front.

Knit the four stitches remaining on the left needle.

And finally, squish all your stitches down to the end of the right needle and knit the 4 stitches you’ve been holding to the front on the DPN.

Here’s what it should look like when you finish the cable row.  Like I said, it will feel a little strange to have those stitches pulled as taut they are, but as you knit the next 6 rows they will loosen up and start to look right.

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Repeat the horseshoe cable 11 more times then bind off.  The wreath can be a little tricky to seam considering you’re in the middle of a thick cable, but don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect – you can always put a bow there.

Once you’ve seamed it into a wreath.  Use a needle and sewing thread (yarn is too bulky to hide the stitches) to attach the wreath to a wire form.

Add a bow and your front door will be ready for everything the holidays can throw at it.  Get creative and try adding red felted balls for berries or adding pine cone for some texture.  Now sit back with a nice cup of hot cider and enjoy your creative prowess. Happy Holidays!

 

The Organic Shrug

Fall is finally here! The season of chai tea, pumpkin carving, and harvest festivals means the return of all things cozy and knitted.  I’m celebrating my favorite time of year and keeping the first chill away with this super simple organic shrug.

Basic shrug construction updated with my favorite lace pattern from the holy cowl.  Quick, simple, and best of all – it’s organic.  Here’s the pattern written up as a .pdf  for you:

Happy Fall and Happy Knitting!

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