Lilia

I have been knitting hats.  I have been knitting them flat (as opposed to in the round), and I have been having a great time learning a new stitch.  It all began with a message from an Etsy seller named Lilia.

Lilia lives in Italy, and she messaged me a little over a month ago.  She told me that she’d read my blog, and she wanted to offer me a couple of free patterns.  She said that if I enjoyed them, I could share my experience and also offer a 15% discount on anything in her shop!  (Just enter the code HAPPYKNITTING when you check out!)

I went to her etsy site – Lilia Craft Party, and I started looking at her patterns.  She has a large variety of both crochet and knitting patterns.  She has cowls, hats, cup cosies, handbags, headbands, scarves – there is a lot to choose from.

I looked through the patterns, and there was a stitch pattern that caught my eye.  I chose a slouch hat with this pattern stitch, and then I chose a newsboy hat pattern.  I’ve never worn a hat with that style of a brim so I wanted to try it out.

The stitch pattern that was on both hats is called the almond stitch.  I had never encountered it before, and when I googled it, I couldn’t find any information.  This made me all the more interested in the stitch.  I asked Lilia where she had learned it, and she said she’d learned it in South America.

Knitting this stitch involves periodically dropping a stitch down three rows.  This sounded scary to me, but it really wasn’t. After you drop it, you pick it up and knit it again.  You only do this every other stitch on every 4th row, so the knitting still goes pretty quickly. You can get an idea of how the stitch looks in the following pictures.  I had so much fun with these hats that I made three of them!

Liliana-hats

When I started the hat, I just made the assumption that it would be knit in the round.  I did this because I almost always knit hats in the round. The pattern clearly said that I should knit in rows, but I was just not paying attention. So I was knitting along, but my stitch just wasn’t looking right.  Finally, I realized, “hey I should be knitting this flat”.  I started over, and then found that I really enjoyed knitting it flat.  There is not much of a seam required, and so that went really quickly.  I used mattress stitch, and it took me maybe five minutes to seam up.

I initially was just curious about the almond stitch, and I wanted to give that a try.  But these turned out to be some of the best fitting hats that I’ve ever made.

me-red-hat

David worked hard to take pictures for me.  He got some great ones of my little model Davey.  I had him try on the newsboy hat.  This picture is a little silly, but it shows off the side of the hat nicely.  I really like the shape (and Lilia sells the plastic brim that you insert into the folded hem at the front – very easy to do!).

davey-brim

I just really like this picture of my sweet kid a lot.

brim-davey-2

David took a picture of me in the hat as well, but I like Davey’s pictures better!

me-brim

I made the newsboy hat and the hat below with Rowan worsted superwash.  It’s a really pretty yarn that I had not seen before.  It has an almost tweedy look to it.

blue-me

That’s really more pictures of me then I need to see, but I just wanted to show how beautifully these hats knit up in different yarns and colors.  The first burgundy hat was done in a Lion brand acrylic.  I like it a lot as well.

When Lilia contacted me, I thought – “How neat.  This nice person somehow found my blog and wants to share some patterns with me.”   I am so glad she did.  I learned a new stitch, and I learned that I can make awesome hats which are knitted flat.  But most of all, I have really enjoyed talking to Lilia.  She has been so helpful and friendly, and I have enjoyed getting to know her.  She has been crocheting since she was seven years old.  I love that she has a passion for knitting and crocheting.  She says that she knits or crochets every single day – no matter what kind of day she has had.  I am with her.  I find the process very relaxing and therapeutic.

Lilia includes great photographs with her patterns so you can see exactly how to do the almond stitch.  It is important to her that she creates patterns that are beginner friendly, so her patterns include an explanation of how to do every stitch and technique required.

I really enjoyed knitting her patterns, but I am really going to enjoy even more wearing the resulting hats!

Check out Lilia craft party.  You won’t meet a nicer more helpful designer.  She is offering everyone who reads this post a 15% discount on everything in her shop.  Again, just use the code HAPPYKNITTING at checkout!

Wonder Woman!!!

I came across what I thought was the cutest hat pattern a couple of weeks ago.   It was a pattern for a Wonder Woman hat!  I am pretty much of the mind that everyone needs a Wonder Woman hat, so I decided to make one.

This was a great fun pattern.  It would be a good pattern for someone new to colorwork.  I was excited because I was able to go to my yarn stash for all the colors I needed.  It’s kind of a mish mash of yarns as a result, but I very much like the result.

wonder-woman-hat

 

The red is some leftover Lion yarn.  The white is some baby dk.  The blue is Cascade 220 Superwash, and the gold is some alpaca that I got back in Arkansas at Knit Unto Others!

I should probably have included pictures of me wearing the hat, but I couldn’t get a picture that I liked very much (no offense to my photography assistants), so I convinced my little Wonder Kid to pose.

goofy-wonder-woman

 

He got goofy with me, but he let me take a few nice pictures.

wonder-woman-side

 

The pattern is for a beanie, but I made it longer.  I wanted good coverage in the winter cold.

I also had never done a cast on with two different colors.  This was just a long-tail basically, but I held one color in one hand, and the second in the other.  The result was the red edging.  I liked that effect, and it was really easy to do!  I also used worsted weight, so I followed the instructions of another knitter (they are copied onto my ravelry project page).  Basically I cast on 100 stitches and began my decreases at 7 inches instead of 5.

It’s such a fun hat!

davey-wonder-woman-1

Stripes

I’ve been knitting stripes.

stripes

I love these stripes knit in two of my favorite colors.

These stripes are calling little Lila’s name.  I am hoping that I succeed in making a cute little dress for her. The yarn is  Cascade 220 Sport Superwash.  Cascade is a practical yarn, but I always really enjoy knitting with it.  It has great colors and feels great on the needles.

Back to the stripes!

 

 

7.5

Yesterday this sweet kid turned 7.5.

1010054 (1)

 

Davey just keeps on growing in so many ways.  Of course, he keeps getting taller and taller, but his little brain has grown so much too.  I love to listen to him read.  His curiosity continues to grow.  His questions surprise me and often send me to google.  Yesterday, he was teaching me about biomes and deciduous forests or something like that.  His sense of humor continues to grow as well.  I love that.

He is also not afraid to take on new challenges.  This last week has been very challenging as he tries to figure out this whole batting in baseball thing.  He’s a beginning baseball player, and it’s been tough on him trying to break through the beginner wall. He has worked diligently each day with David though, and he is really getting it.  I am proud of his determination.

Happy 1/2 birthday sweet Davey!

The Alaska Poncho!

I finished my Alaska Poncho the other day.  I love it.  I almost can’t wait until winter so I can wear the heck out of it.  Almost.  I am too thankful for Spring at this point!

David agreed to help me take some pictures of the poncho.  When David takes pictures of me it seems to result in expressions like this:

wool-gang-3

 

and this:

wool-gang-4But isn’t the poncho pretty?  It is so soft and warm.  I love the blend of colors.

I tried the stand to one side foot posed picture.

wool-gang-5

 

Hmmm.

I got him to take a close up.  I really love the colors and how the pattern had blended the yarns.

wool-gang-1I decided to try to get David and Davey to model for me.  David was willing.

wool-gang-6

 

Davey wanted to get in on the “posing” action as well.

wool-gang-9

and this:

wool-gang-8

 

Two sillies.

wool-gang-10

 

Thanks so much to Wool and the Gang for the kit.  I appreciate it so much, and I had so much fun knitting it.  Now I will really enjoy wearing it!

 

 

 

Alaska Poncho and a Mishap

I received my Wool and the Gang package a couple of days ago!

wool-and-the-gang-1

 

I loved the packaging.  Kits are just so fun!

The yarn is beautiful and so soft.  I’m not sure I’ve knit with baby alpaca before or if I have, I’d forgotten just how soft it is.

Wool-and-the-gang-yarnThe kit came with a nice pair of knitting needles as well.

wool-and-the-gang-needles

 

They were so comfortable to knit with.  Notice the use of past tense.  This is where the story gets a little sad.  Somehow I was running around yesterday getting ready to leave.  I’d put my knitting project into a bag, and I am still not sure what I did, but I managed to break not one but both needles.  Somehow when I went to pick them up, I heard a snap.

wool-and-the-gang-better-br

I’ve been knitting for about 7 years now, and in that time, I think I have broken maybe one or two needles in all that time.  I’ve never broken two at once!  I was so disappointed and still feel very dumb that I was careless enough to let this happen.

So I had to switch to some 10.5 circulars that I have.

To make myself feel a little better about writing about the needles, I took a picture of Davey holding my project.  His smile certainly helps!

Can’t really see the work in process too well, but I’ve gotten a good start.

wool-and-the-gang-daveyThis is a great pattern for a beginner!   They provide great instructions which include not just the pattern but also clearly written guidance that would be very helpful to a new knitter!

Wool and the Gang!

A couple of weeks ago, I got a comment on my blog from someone saying “they were trying to get in contact with me”.  I review all my comments before I let them post to make sure that they are first of all “nice” (I don’t get that many comments, but so far they have always been nice!) and second that some spam hasn’t slipped through.

I occasionally read through my spam because I get to see and am always amused by comments like “That’s art in my book, Jake. Tasty art! Did you hear Hormel is out as the hot dog supplier for the Twins?”  Or “Mary, your site has blessed me in many ways”  – I’m often addressed by a name that’s not mine.

So anyway, I am always a little skeptical about comments. But this comment was spelled correctly (Spam comments are always littered with errors), it was brief, and had a website attached.  So I checked it out and discovered a really interesting company that is dedicated to fiber and promoting knitting.

It’s called Wool and the Gang, and they have such an interesting story. This is a company in London that sells yarn. But it’s much more than that.  They sell these amazing yarn kits as well.  Or if you find something you like, but you don’t knit, you can instead buy handknit items that they have made. I really like too that they are also committed to buying only sustainably sourced wool.  They pledge that they are committed to reducing environmental impact.

So I emailed them and got a very nice response from a lady named Ali.  She told me that they enjoyed my blog, and that they’d like to send me a kit to try out.

Having looked at their very creative and energetic website, I just thought this was the coolest, and I emailed back to tell her so.

She emailed again to ask me if I would be interested in a kit to make this really cool poncho.  She also said that it would keep my “lovely little Davey warm” as well.  So of course I agreed that I would love to try a kit out!

The kit is on its way now, and I am very excited to receive the pattern and yarn. I will post pictures of my progress soon!

Knitting for Babies

This week a friend asked me if I would knit her some baby booties for a friend of hers who is expecting a baby.  She gave me the yarn she wanted me to knit with, and I said sure!

I wasn’t sure what pattern I wanted to use, so I started looking around on ravelry and pinterest.  This had led to a fun week of knitting.  I keep coming across little baby patterns that I want to try out.  For the booties, I found a pattern called “Easiest and Fastest Baby Booties Ever!”.  These were definitely very quick to knit up.  I decided to add some of my own yarn and give them stripes.

baby-yellow-gray

I took the picture the other day when it was sunny, so I especially like looking at it since we are under gray skies once again.

These booties are knit flat and seamed up.  They are garter stitch and have just a little bit of increasing and decreasing.  They would be a great first project.  The seaming can be done with just a whip stitch with the right sides facing.  Some people don’t like seaming, but it doesn’t bother me.  I prefer it to working with dpns with small numbers of stitches.  That’s a little fiddly for me.

In the process of looking for this pattern, I found another sweet little shoe that I just had to make.  The idea here is to use up yarn that I already have.  I am diligently trying to knit away at my stash. I had some silver metallic yarn and some pink which I thought would be pretty together.   The pattern is called “Bows before Bros” and it’s a free one too.

silver-pink-baby-booty-2This was also a quick and easy knit.  I knit the shoe and then made the bow separately and attached it.

silver-and-pink-baby-bootie

This is another great beginner pattern!

Davey was sick a couple of days this week so I had some downtime with him.  We did lots of resting which means I had time for some extra knitting.  I came across another pattern that I was fascinated by mainly because it included an interesting schematic.

elephant-martha-stewart-sch

 

It was a pattern for an elephant knit all in one piece (except for the ears and tail).  It looked tricky to me, so I wanted to try it out.  It was a little tricky, but I realized that I needed to just follow the written instructions and not over think it.  It was actually all really easy going except the trunk confused me a little.

Here’s a not very great picture of how it looked flat.

Elephant-Martha-Stewart

This also requires seaming up.  I used mattress stitch though and it went quickly.

martha-stewart-elephant

I think he’s the cutest.  If I had it to do again, I’d stuff the trunk a little more to give it a little more curve.  I made him with some leftover Kraemer cotton tweed.  He was really very fun to knit.  I’d happily make him again.

Back to baby knitting!

 

 

Broomstick Lace Infinity Cowl: A little “how-to”

A few weeks ago, I discovered Broomstick Lace.

broomstick-lace-shed

I had never heard of it before so I had to try it.  It involves these two tools:

broomstick-tools

My “broomstick” was the 35 mm knitting needle, and I used a size I crochet hook. Next, I followed a great free tutorial from craftsy.com:  How to Crochet Broomstick Lace.  After I played with the stitch a little, I decided it might be a great stitch for infinity cowl.

The tutorial provides very clear instructions, but here’s just a brief introduction: I made a chain and then single crocheted across.  Next I pulled up stitches onto the “broomstick”.  This is a little awkward and unwieldy at first.  I wasn’t sure how to hold the giant knitting needle and the hook, but with some practice I got it.  The tutorial has great photos which explain in detail how to do this.

After I put all the loops onto the needle, I got to slide them all off!  Then I crocheted them in groups of 5 (at least this is what I did for my pattern).  The end result looks like this:

broomstick-close-2

I didn’t have an exact pattern to make a cowl in this stitch, so I had to play with width.  I made a chain of 40 stitches for the black cowl, and this made a width of 8 “clusters” (about 9 inches wide).  I wanted to try a more narrow cowl, so I made the red one by making a chain of 30 stitches, and this cowl was 6 “clusters” wide (about 7 inches).

I love the way this stitch looks.  It made for a very squishy and warm cowl.

I made the cowls about 64 inches long.  I used mattress stitch to sew the ends together, but I think whip stitch would work fine as well.

So the basic pattern is:

Supplies:  35mm Knitting needle. Size I Crochet hook.  Worsted Weight yarn.  I used some Lion’s Brand Heartland that I had in my stash.  (You could of course play with different weights too.)

Follow Craftsy.com Broomstick Lace tutorial to learn the stitch.

Wide cowl:  Begin with a 40 stitch chain.  There will be 8 clusters of 5 stitches.  Repeat the row to desired length.  I made mine 64 inches long.  Sew ends together.

Not Quite as Wide Cowl:  Begin with a 30 stitch chain.  There will be 6 clusters of 5 stitches.  Repeat the row to desired length.  I made the red one 64 inches long as well.  Sew ends together.

I couldn’t get any great pictures of me modeling the cowl so I asked Davey to help me. He was being silly because I asked him for a big grin.  I got it.

photo (7)

I highly recommend trying out broomstick lace.  It’s a fun variation of crochet, and I really love the look of the stitch.  It works great for an infinity cowl as well!

Knitting: Sometimes it’s all good and then there’s Grandpa Davey

I had a chance to knit quite a bit over the break.  I came across a fair isle pattern for a Seahawk hat, and I knew I had to make it for a friend who is a major devoted fan.

It was so fun to knit, and it turned out nice.  The pattern is called the ‘Hawks Hat, and it is a free pattern on Ravelry.

I got Davey to model it for me.

seahawks3

 

Unfortunately, now I notice that the above picture shows the end of the round part of the hat so that the nice jog line is visible where I made the color changes.

I also got the chance to catch some different Davey expressions.  It’s funny how varied they are.

seahawks2

 

It’s pretty obvious that Davey’s eyes are brown, but I swear that I didn’t know what color they were for the first four years of his life.  They were a mix of blue and brown and sometimes green.  I think they are done changing now.

seahawks1

 

I am also in the midst of knitting some socks.  I went through a phase where I knitted a whole bunch of socks, and I grew weary of them.  About three years ago, I got some awesome Signature needles.  I love them, but for some reason the sock project I’d started with them languished in the basement.  I’m kind of on a mission to finish some of these projects (I say kinda because my knitting moods change like the wind, and because of that, I don’t want to commit too strongly) so I got the socks going again.  I think this yarn is a wool nylon mix that I bought at some point somewhere.  I can’t remember.

socks2015

The yarn is fun, and the needles are a joy.

So then I was working on another project. It began with mini-me.  I thought she turned out pretty nice.

mini-cp-1

 

So I decided to make a mini – Davey next. It was all going well.  I even made him some little cargo pants, because Davey pretty much lives in cargo pants.

cargo1

 

But then I finished knitting his head, and I started working on the face and hair.  That’s when it all went wrong.

gpadavey

 

Davey took one look at the eyebrows and said, “Mama, those eyebrows are for an old person.  Not for me!”  I disregarded his advice, because they really pretty closely matched the color of his eyebrows.

But then, I didn’t stuff the head enough which left him with a rather shrunken appearance.  I could also not get Davey hair going to save my life.  The way I did his eyes also contributed to him having a rather elderly appearance.

gpadavey2

 

He’s a cute little guy, but he is definitely not too youthful.  I have kinda lost my gumption to continue with this project, so I am moving on for awhile.  Maybe I will come back and redo his head, and then maybe make David.  But if I don’t, that’s ok too.  I hold myself to no rules in my knitting world.  🙂