Sunday, February 26, 2012

Shamrock Headband

While I certainly didn't intend to have a St. Patrick's Day filled Saturday, that's exactly how yesterday turned out. First of all, I bought the new Chieftain's album, Voice of Ages, and blared it on the ol' stereo  system all morning long. Then a trip to the local Dollarama was filled with Patty's Day purchases (beaded necklaces, earrings, decals for my front window). But I couldn't find a decent headband.

So when I got home and started trawling through the patterns on Ravelry, I came across this beautiful pattern for an adjustable, two-strand headband by Rachel Bishop (Pattern here). It's the first time I've made an I-Cord, and the whole thing turned out amazing. I made two cords in Kelly Green and thought I might leave it at that. But when I finished the cords, I wanted to add more to it. Hence the Shamrocks. I YouTubed a tutorial on crocheting (which has hated me up until now) and I made these two different crocheted shamrocks and attached them to the strands.

The best part of the headband is that it's adjustable. Most headbands like this on Ravelry are tied together in the back or joined by a series of knit stitches. This one, however, is joined by a hair elastic. Both strands are attached to the elastic and thus it will stretch to fit whoever it's made for. And it's comfortable! No pesky plastic digging into the back of your ears.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fair Isles Hat

I've been making hats for almost a month now. I have made berets, beanies and toques so far. And they were all solid colours. They are fun to make, don't get me wrong, but it's gotten a bit repetitive. So I decided it was time to try out some color work techniques (using two or more colours in a piece) using the Fair Isles Hat pattern by Bernat. 

This was a challenging project. It was the first pattern I've tried that uses a chart to designate the pattern and what colour to be used. This particular pattern isn't written very clearly (for a beginner in colour work at least) so I spent a good bit of my afternoon yesterday translating the chart into a workable row pattern.

When I get around to it, I will post this to Ravelry for anyone who wants to tackle the hat but is scared of  charts.

A few tips for fellow knitters though:

  1. This pattern is written as a straight needle method project. I worked in the round (on US 8 - 24") and just ignored the abbreviations for WS and purl. Anywhere it says to purl, I just knit. 
  2. In the last row of your ribbing, I used the k1fb stitch every 16th stitch in order to increase by 5 stitches evenly. I'm terrible at the M1 stitch and always get small holes in my work when I use that method of increasing.
  3. It's very useful to place stitch markers between each pattern repeat once you start chart work. It kept me on track and it was easier to notice if I made any mistakes in my stitches.
  4. Once you start Chart II, be very careful of the tension of your Contrasting Colour (the Mosaic yarn). I was using US 8 dpns by this point and my tension became very tight and the top started to pucker.
  5. I also used another method of making the pom-pom for the top of the hat. The hand method used in this pattern made a very large and loose pom-pom. I made two small circles out of cardboard and followed that technique.

I must say though, this hat makes me happy just looking at it. All the colours are just brilliant and it was a great first colour work project. I really want to make another now!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Most Bespeckled Hat!

What a fun hat to knit! It was my first attempt at colour work (knitting with two colours) and it was relatively easy -- but a tad tedious. The whole project was tedious actually. The ribbing took almost two days to complete as it's meant to be doubled-up or folded over. Then I had to knit the actually hat part. Then make the pom-pom. Blah. The moral of the story is that it took a lot of work to finish but boy is it ever nice! Fits great and looks super cute. One of those hats you wear if you're going to play out in the snow... or in my case, shovel it. 

So that one is finished and I'm planning on starting a different hat today. The hat Hermione wore in The Deathly Hallows to be exact. Updates on that soon. 

And on a happy note, my friend Elizabeth over at The Elizabeth Files just received her hat in the mail today! She loves it and I couldn't be happier. I'm glad to see a hat find a head to call home :-)

That's all for me today. Until next time!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Snowday Fridays

It's Friday and of course we have a snowday. It wouldn't be February without a snowstorm every Friday. Seriously. Last year we didn't have school once on a Friday in February. It's a thing. But I am prepared! 

I also have to share a shot of the beautiful little Thank-You cards I came across at the store yesterday. Perfect for including with my hats when I package them up!

That's it for now. I'm off to start a new hat for a friend. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Seed Beret and More Hats!

I'm officially obsessed with knitting hats. Since buying my Boye Interchangeable Needle set, I've made 5 hats and I don't intend on stopping. My first men's hat (the Regular Man's Beanie found on has even been sold to a friend. My first sale! Needless to say I'm excited about that. I love to knit these hats, but getting paid for them is an amazing feeling.

I know I should post these pictures chronologically, I really want to showcase my latest knit first. I followed the Seed Beret pattern by Diane Serviss and I'm totally in love. I used the US size 11 and 15 needles as indicated in the pattern and Wool-Ease Thick and Quick (Super Bulky) in Fisherman. Mind you, it didn't come out as slouchy as the pictures indicate, I think I prefer this beanie style. Have a look see.

It's strange that my porch is the only part of my house with good lighting. 

I made the regular ribbed brim and star-crossed cap version of this hat  (it's the prettiest way to finish the cap of a hat, isn't it?!) but added brass buttons to the ribbing because I thought it added a lot to the look of the final product. Steps up the classiness really. And you can't have too much class. Ok, here's another picture of the ribbing detail and the buttons for good measure.

I really couldn't be happier with the result. Now I have a lovely hat to wear with my brand new Spring coat that I probably won't get to wear until June (did I mention that I hate winter in Newfoundland?).

But I digress. I have made other hats before this seed stitch beauty. I'll spare you pictures and a huge diatribe as they are just colour variations on the Slouchy Beret that I wrote about earlier this week. However, while I was bored this weekend, I knitted up my first men's hat from the Regular Guy's Beanie pattern

I used Red Heart's Super Saver worsted weight yarn in Aran Fleck and US 8 needles for this particular hat. While I love the colour of the yarn, a different yarn might have been more stretchy. When I make this hat again, I think I will add a few more rows of the knit repeat to make it a bit longer, but otherwise I'm pleased with the results. This is also my first sale as a knitter! A friend of mine tried it on at my Super Bowl Party and fell in love with it, so I was very pleased when he said he wanted to buy it. 

This knitting business is exciting. Can you believe I've only been knitting for a little over 1 month? I certainly can't. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Star-Crossed Slouchy Beret

It's been a few days since my last post. Apologies for anyone checking in and finding nothing new. I was very sad to lose my amazing grandfather this week, so blogging certainly wasn't a priority. However, I kept knitting. Knitting has quickly become a hobby that I can lose myself in and calm down, so when I've had a moment to myself, I've been able to work on my first 'knitting in the round' project: a Star Crossed Slouchy Beret.

Now this is a hat I am proud of. I had tried a "cloche" style hat before, one that was knitted back-and-forth and then sewn together, but the result was somewhat lack lustre. It was very tight and wasn't really a style I'd wear. But this is a hat I'd wear everywhere.

And it was fairly easy to make. I followed a pattern written by Natalie Larson found HERE. Material wise, my sister bought a skein of Loops & Threads Impeccable (worsted) in Kelly Green for the hat (it was her first knitted gift from me) and I used a US 10 circular needle for the rim and US 11 for the body of the hat. Suggestion: have a set of US 10 or 11 DPNs on hand for the end of the hat. After 4-5 decrease repeats, you'll need to transfer the remaining stitched onto the DPNs to finish the hat. I also didn't pay attention to my gauge. I think if you knit moderately loose, it'll turn out lovely.