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.

 

The Beach Bum Bag

A new pattern from the show – a recycled cotton purse with bamboo handles that belongs at the beach.  Perfect for a summer vacation project, it knits up quickly and the cotton blend makes it strong and easy to care for. 

This bag is made with Red Heart’s eco cotton yarn.  The cotton is reclaimed from the t-shirt manufacturing process and recycled into this soft, tweedy yarn. Paired with bamboo handles, this purse is pure eco-chic.

——————————————————

Here’s the pattern link – The Beach Bum Bag.  Pick a color, pick up your sticks, and get knitting.  And be prepared to make multiples, your friends are bound to want one too.  Happy summer knitting!

Happy Birthday America

Independence Day comes once a year, so you’d better dress for it.  This year America turned 234 and this sweater, hand knit by my grandmother, turned 50. (though it doesn’t look a day over 39)  During my last visit we found not only the sweater, but the original pattern from the April 1959 issue of Women’s Day magazine.  This was it’s description:

Crisp-looking sweaters designed in Europe and exclusive to America for Woman’s Day readers.  V-Necked Cardigan with a soft, feminine look is knitted with Fleisher’s De Luxe Sock and Sport Yarn.  Sleeves are three-quarter length. 

Pictures don’t do justice to the fine knitting in this sweater.  I’ve been inspired to put ‘knit an heirloom sweater’ on my list of things to do.   It’s nice to know that knitting is not a lost art, and sharing that art with my grandmother has been one of my favorite things about learning to knit.  So Happy Birthday America.  Thank you for freedom and for 99 cent red lipstick. 

T-Shirt Scarf

I saw this scarf online for $28 and thought, “hey – I could make that for nothing”.  So, I did.  The only thing it cost me was one of my husbands old T-shirts.

Here’s how I did it:

Cut the top off an old t-shirt just below the arm holes.  The older the t-shirt, the better – and use one that doesn’t have any text.

Next, fold it over with the right side facing out.  Cut off the bottom hem and cut 3/4″ strips from the bottom.  If you like the thinner fringe, cut them about 1/2″ wide.

Finally, stretch each one of the fringes until the fabric curls back on itself and voila!  You’ve got yourself a fun 80’s throwback that will be as comfy as  your favorite old t-shirt.  So hit the thrift stores or start your spring closet cleaning and get fringin’.

Racing Stripe wallet

My first felted pattern!  A new camera calls for a new camera wallet – and this one is a workhorse.  It’s been beating around in my purse for weeks and it still looks like new.  It would also work great as a credit card case, a pouch for your sewing needles and buttons, or a little cosmetic bag for your lip gloss and powder.  Here are a few more pics of the finished product:

This is a great project to use up extra wool.  I made this one entirely from my scrap drawer – and in one night.  It’s a great project for the first time felter.  The finished size is 4″ wide by 3″ high and about 3/4″ deep.

Here’s what you’ll need:  2 colors of 100% wool – way less than one skein.  I used Paton’s classic wool because it  felts so easily.  But, any worsted weight wool will work.

Size 15 straight needles; 2 velcro dots; needle and thread.

Here is the pattern written out in a .pdf Racing Stripe Wallet

This is the before picture.

And after.  Once it was felted, I decided I really liked the way the ‘wrong side’ came out, with the dotted lines along the strip.  So, I stitched it up with the wrong side out.

Sew on your velcro dots (sorry, no sticky back shortcuts) and you’re ready to go.  Try knitting it with some wild colors or fun buttons and make it your own.  Happy Felting!

make it happen.. Pillowcase Dresses

Ok,  these aren’t really a knitting project.  But these cute little dresses require no more sewing skills than seaming a sweater.  And, because they are easy to make and transport, they’re perfect to send on humanitarian aid missions – these are headed to Haiti next month.  I had such fun making them I’m including a how to:

Materials:

1 standard sized pillow case – the brighter the better.  Gently used is ok too, what better way to recycle?

1/4″ -1/2″ Elastic – about 7″ per dress.

3/4″ – 1″  Ribbon  – about 1 yard per dress.

Needle, thread, straight pins and 1 safety pin.

Ric-Rac & other decorations (optional).

Step One:  Lay out the pillow case so that the pillow opening will become the bottom hem of the dress.  Next, you’re ready to cut the armholes.  Here is the .pdf template for the armholes.  Be sure you print it at 100% scale so the dimensions are correct.

pillowcase dress template

Once the armholes and the top seam are cut, double fold a 1/4″ seam along the arm holes (fold 1/4″ , iron, fold over 1/4″ again) and a 1 1/2″ seam at the top.

Now, stitch up those armholes and then the top seam.  You’ll need the 1 1/2″ seam to thread the ribbons through.

Here’s where you can have a little fun.  Add ric-rac, buttons, fringe or any other trimmings your heart desires.  Then, select a matching ribbon and cut two 16″ lengths of ribbon.  You may want to burn the edges of the ribbon to keep them from unraveling.

Attach the ribbons to a 7″ piece of elastic with straight pins and thread the first ribbon through the top sleeve.  A good trick:  attach a safety pin to the end of the ribbon you’re pulling through.  It gives you something to hold onto while you’re pulling it.

Last step:  stitch along the open edge of the top sleeve to attach the ribbon and the elastic to the dress.  I learned the hard way to keep the straight pin in until you’ve got it all sewed together – that elastic will try to escape.

Now,trim any loose threads, take out your pins, tie up those ribbons and admire your finished product.

These make a great service project and they’re simple enough that even kids can help make them.  Try forming an assembly line with a cutting station, an ironing station, a sewing station, and a ribbon cutting and threading station. You’ll be amazed how quickly they go.  I’m glad to know these dresses are going to girls who really need them and I hope they’ll enjoy wearing them as much and I enjoyed making them.

Holy Cuffs

All finished making the holy cowl and scratching your head as to what to make with the leftover yarn?  Look no further.

Grab that skein of Lion Brand Natural Choice Organic yarn (these are in mustard),   Size 10 straight needles, and a darning needle.  They’ll be finished before you can say “Did I really just watch back to back episodes of America’s Next Top Model?”

Cast on 20 stitches (with a single strand) and follow this stitch pattern:

Row 1:  K1 ( yo, k3tog, yo, k3).  continue () to last 7 stitches. yo, k3tog, yo, k4.

Row 2: Purl

Row 3:  K4 (yo, k3tog, yo, k3).  Continue () to last 4 stitches.  yo, k3tog, yo, k1.

Row 4:  Purl

Continue rows 1-4 until the cuffs measure 7 inches long.  End with a Row 1 or Row 3.  Bind off.

Fold the cuffs in half with the right side facing in and stitch a seam from the bind off edge for 4 1/2″.  Leave about 1 1/4″ opening in the seam for a thumb hole.  Then stitch the rest of the seam.

I wore mine last night with the cowl and a friend told me I looked like a knitting super hero.  I’ve been called worse so I’m taking it as a compliment.  While they may not be the most practical accessory,  they’re a perfect use for leftovers and I think every good knit should be part of a matched set.

Holy Cowl!

An oversized organic cowl for the unexpected spring cold snap.  Ours conveniently fell this weekend.

“a cowl”           “a what?”        “a cowl.”       This seems to be the beginning of every conversation I have  when I wear a one.  Apparently the term is unique to the knitting world.  Either way,  I think they’re one of the best accessories ever invented.  I usually tell people ‘it’s like the best part of a scarf’.  And it’s true – all the neck warming with no loose end to keep track of.   And even better, this one’s organic.   It knits up in just a few hours and I like the big size and chunky pattern.

Click here for a downloadable .pdf file –   Holy Cowl

I had just enough left over to knit a pair of wristlets to match.  I’ll get those posted soon.  Enjoy!

The Weekender

Perfect for weekend getaways or carrying around a knitting project in progress.  Here’s how I did it:

Materials:   Size 13 straight needles and Size 13 circular needle (approx. 16″)

2 – 3 skeins Lion Brand Thick and Quick yarn,  Citron.  I used two here.

Gauge isn’t too important – any super bulky yarn would work.  The size just may vary a little.

Here’s the pattern in a .pdf     The Weekender

Cast on 27 Stitches onto the straight needles.  Knit in garter stitch (knit every row)  until the piece is 4″ long.  Bind off.

Using the circular needles, pick up 72 stitches (27 each long side, 9 each short side).

Knit the 72 stitches and place a marker after the last stitch is knit.  This will be the row marker. Start a new row every time you pass the marker.    After you’ve placed the marker, join to knit in the round and start this pattern:

Row 1:  Knit two together, yarn over. – repeat until you hit the row marker.

Row 2: Knit.

Continue this pattern until the bag measures 16″ from the base.  End with a knit row.

Take out the marker and start a rib.  K2 P2  until the rib measures 1 inch.  Bind off in pattern.

Add handles and start planning a weekend getaway.

the micro scarf

Is it a scarf, is it a necklace?   Either way, its a quick, easy, stylish knit that’s a lot of fun to wear.  Here’s how to make one yourself:

Materials:  less than one skein of mercerized cotton  (I used Sinfonia from Hobby Lobby)

Set of size 3 straight needles.

Cast on 14 stitches and knit in stockinette stitch (knit first row, purl second row, then keep repeating)  until the scarf is the length you want it and bind off.  Mine is 52″ long so it can be doubled, but you may like it longer or shorter. Just stitch the two ends together to make it a big loop.

I’m planning to make more in some new colors and I think two scarves together will look great.  Use the leftover yarn to make one for a good friend.  Enjoy!