Welcome to Yarn Project Week! All three of my posts this week are going to be about recently-completed knit or crochet projects. This is a scarf and earwarmer set I made for Dorothy and me to share. I purchased fantastic yellow polka-dot rain boots at Costco last fall, but somehow I never know quite what to wear with fantastic yellow polka-dot rain boots. I decided I needed a scarf that would tie in some of my more sedately-hued shirts with the bright boots. This wool-acrylic blend yarn fit the bill perfectly. I began knitting a scarf using a rather fussy wave pattern, then realized I was totally wasting my time with such detail when the focus would be on the colorway–and the boots–anyway. So I unraveled it and crocheted the whole scarf on a great big size K hook in the time it took to knit about four wavy inches. (I crocheted in front loops only, which gives a sort of ribbed look.) When the scarf was done and it was clear that Dorothy was even more into than I was I decided to add an earwarmer to make it a set she could wear. I didn’t use a pattern, just knitted (knooked) each row until I had a head-sized band, sewed it up, and added a crocheted flower. It’s a soft, warm, happy set. We’ve each worn it and enjoyed it, me just the scarf with my now-coordinated boots, and she the complete set.
New hat from the front…
…and new hat from the back. I knitted (knooked) this same basic hat last year, this pattern, in this yarn. I really liked it but it was just too big. When I finished it I think I pretended I would wear it anyway but it flopped in my face. So I gave it so someone with a bigger head and I started over. Sigh. Finally I finished this second one and sewed the little faux fur pom-pom (sliced off an inexpensive trinket from Claire’s purchased just for this purpose) just as I’d dreamed of…over a year ago. But good things take time, right? I love this color because it goes with everything.
Before I knew how to knit or crochet I only owned two hats. If the weather necessitated a hat, I wore things that matched my two hats. End of story. And that seemed to work just fine. But somehow, once the power of creating hats was in my power the “need” in my wardrobe for hats increased exponentially. Sounds like funny math. But why not? Hats are fun and they keep your head warm. I recently picked up a sweet little boiled wool brown jacket at TJ Maxx and before I could wear it I had to make the hat that was always meant to go with it. I never considered not making the hat, or not buying the jacket just because the required corresponding hat didn’t exist yet. I used the French Country crocheted hat pattern for sale on Ravelry and decked it out with the pretty corsage flower pattern. I love that flower pattern because the flower is crocheted in a row and then sewn up in a spiral, which requires much less counting and right side/wrong side nonsense than crocheting a flower the usual way. I like a pattern I can follow with only one tiny part of my brain while the rest focuses on keeping my kids from setting the house on fire. The hat pattern was nice too. Quick and cute. Because I have a small head I used a smaller size crochet hook, but then as I neared the brim I was afraid it wouldn’t be long enough so I added an extra row of cluster stitches. That was a mistake because it really didn’t need the additional length, but it didn’t end up so long that I felt like I needed to unravel the brim and re-do. I used natural, un-dyed wool for the hat but mixed some strong tea in with my water when I blocked it to darken up the color just a tad, to make it match the jacket better. I just pinned on the flower so that I can opt to wear the hat without it, and so that I can wash the hat more easily if necessary. Now if I can just squeeze this new project into my overflowing hat drawer…
I knitted (knooked) a coffee cozy to keep in my purse so I don’t have to feel guilty when the baristas at my frequent coffee spot act like they aren’t really supposed to be giving out paper sleeves anymore. What’s up with that anyway? But now that I’ve got my sweet woolen one I’d never go back. The coffee heats up the wool and it feels so cozy and nice in my hands; it definitely enhances an afternoon coffee-on-the-run experience. I used this pattern and wool left over from my Bonita hat. I followed the pattern and had the correct gauge but I think I could have gotten away with skipping the last set of rows. I usually order smalls and this fits mediums or larges a bit better. This is one of those frivolous projects that you don’t really need but can really make you feel pampered when you use it. It would make a great gift for someone, especially paired with a special bag of coffee beans or a reusable mug. Every time I’ve pulled it out and slipped it over my coffee someone has smiled at it or told me how pretty it is. Why not have nice little things that elevate small moments in a typical day?
I don’t even know how many times I’ve made this pattern but I continue to love it. These booties are my go-to baby gift. I don’t usually photograph them but I felt like it had been a while since I’ve blogged about them. (They’ve probably appeared here a few times since Worth wore a pair home from the hospital–I’ve even made them bigger and felted them.) Sometimes I change the look of the booties a bit by crocheting in the backs of rows the pattern says to crochet into the front of, and sometimes I do the ankle bands differently. I think doing a nice high ankle with some ribbing helps them stay on. I usually embellish them with buttons or bows or something to make them unique. They really help little baby socks stay on. This pair is for a friend whose baby is due any day now. Homemade baby gifts are so nice for being able to take a little time to think about the new little person who will wear them. I hope the wee girl getting these little booties feels snug in her community of family and friends as well as her warm feet.
I can’t seem to get one great photo of this wolf hat so I’m trying to make up for it in quantity. Worth is so fond of the hat that for a couple days he even wore it at breakfast. (Aside: Every time I see Worth in this hat inside the house I have to think: “The night that Worth wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another…”) I got inspired by this hat in Crochet Today but decided I liked the shape of this knitted one a bit better. For some reason I was never able to just sit and work on this project for a long stretch so it seemed to take forever in starts and stops for me to actually finish it (and I knitted one row that should have been purled–don’t look too close). I went back to the original crocheted pattern to make the ears but then the hat looked so cute and Worth was already so fond of it that I just stopped. I can’t remember exactly which yarn I used but I think it was a bulky washable merino from Knitpicks. It’s very soft and warm and should fit him next year too–good, since winter seems to have exited early and I finished the hat rather late.
My daughter told me this hat looks silly on me (kids say the darndest things!) but I kind of like it. It’s this free pattern, scrap yarn in four different shades of red and green, and it was quick and easy. This was my first knooking project with a lot of color changes and that is clearly a skill I need to work on as the back seam (not shown) looks a bit scraggly. Still, I’m picking up confidence with the knooking and I like my cheerful holiday hat no matter what my five-year-old thinks of it. I did the stripes in a completely random pattern, which got difficult in and of itself after some time. Like wait, if I use three rows of green here does that still look random? I’m not accidentally making a pattern here with two light reds and a dark, am I? Intentionally randomness will drive you nuts after a while–I’m sure there is a lesson in there somewhere.
This is a hinged shoe box Dorothy painted. I could get revenge and say I think it looks silly, but really I don’t. I think it looks cute. This is the sort of out-of-the-recycle bin project that can be so satisfying. I needed to keep her entertained in the kitchen at some point a few weeks back so I gave her an empty shoe box and some latex paint. She painted the box quite happily and then forgot about it until I needed to keep her out of the way again a few days ago, so I set her up again with her now dry, painted box and my private stash of Sharpies. (Permanent markers are only for grown-ups around here, except under rarest circumstances.) She was once again happily entertained while she decorated it and now she has a cute treasure box to fill with childhood ephemera and stash on her shelf until it gets stepped on or broken or chewed on by the dog–at which point it will land back in the recycle bin, full circle. That’s really not a bad life cycle for a shoe box.
It has been my goal to have the unfinished, storage part of our basement clean and organized before the time came to put out Halloween decorations this year. I adore Halloween decorations and have blogged about a couple of my favorites in the past. We moved right before Christmas last year, which was nuts, and unpacking and reorganizing for this house has been a long and gradual task. The basement had finally climbed up on my priority list and I was making good progress on it right before Rob’s injury, but now it has taken a back seat. I think I’m going to mostly let the Halloween decorating go this year because I just can’t stomach the task of locating and dragging up boxes of decorations from a messy, disorganized space and plopping them back down there the same way. But I still can’t let my favorite season go by without a little festively spooky fun. I made cushions for my front porch chairs over the summer but the floral fabric no longer seemed appropriate to the season. I sewed these new Halloween pillow covers (only one is pictured) in a neutral fabric, then used fabric glue to attach a black felt bat cutout to the front and made stitching around the bat with white embroidery floss. The shams were a quick but satisfying project made with inexpensive materials and a design that is strong enough to be noticed from the street. Now all I have to do after Halloween is launder them and tuck them into the right box downstairs–not such a bad job.Rob’s injury has increased the time I’ve been able to spend knooking and crocheting. Waiting rooms are really the perfect spots for yarn crafts. I knooked this hat, but modified to have a fold-up brim like this one. I love the classic look of the Irish cable pattern and it was surprisingly simple to do. In my head knitted cables have always been swathed in some sort of unapproachable crafty mystic, but some basic internet instructions explained the process quite clearly and it didn’t end up being any more difficult than regular ribbing. I think this hat might want to be finished off with a faux-fur pom-pom kind of like this one but I’m not sure where to buy one. Maybe I will just make a trip to Claire’s and purchase an inexpensive accessory that includes a fur pom-pom and use that. Seems kind of wasteful but I’ve not seen them for sale on their own. I used this yarn from Joann and it’s okay. Soft but unexciting. The hat turned out a bit big, either because my gauge was off with such lofty yarn (I didn’t check) or because I have a small head, but I kind of like it that way–it won’t squish my curls.
And my knooking set came in! I’m thrilled. It was totally worth the wait to order this set from China via eBay. The price was terrific and I now have all the basic sizes. The quality seems good, the holes are just the right width and the sizes all clearly labeled. Plus it was just fun to get a parcel sent directly from China. Dorothy studied all the unfamiliar characters on the customs sheet and we traced the path the package traveled around the globe.
My dog is clearly jealous of my hat, don’t you think?
This latest knooking project almost met a sad fate but I rescued it. I was doing some online shopping and came across this hat, which I felt like I needed, but in brighter colors. So I got some yarn (for less than $28!) and picked this pattern, which is similar to the Boden hat but has an awesome little button tab. I knooked the ribbed section in a cranberry color, more red than the purplish shade of the ribbing in my photo. The end result, unfortunately, looked awful. Somehow my ribbing was of a larger gauge than the rest of the hat (I think I should have gone down a needle size after the ribbing, although the pattern doesn’t require it) and the color, which had looked rainbowy and fun next to the other colors in my knit bag just looked weird and clashy on the hat itself. The hat also turned out just a wee bit too tall, which is sometimes a problem with me and hats because I have a small head. I hated to trash the project but I really didn’t like it, so I decided to snip off the ribbed section and knit it again in the purplish color with a smaller hook. I snipped, but then I realized that the knitting would a) be going the wrong direction and b) that I don’t yet own a smaller hook. Oops. And unlike crochet, when you’ve snipped off a section of knitting you have a project with all these little loose loops that want to be sucked up into your project–you can’t just knit right onto them like you can in crochet. So my solution ended up being just to crochet the ribbed section. I didn’t bother with the little button tab section again, but I did grab a smaller crochet hook and slip stitch into each loose loop all around, then made ribbing by alternating front-post double crochets and back-post double crochets into a row of double crochets. Three rounds of the front and back-post stitches made a nice ribbed section and I was able to make it smaller than the first, thus also solving the problem of the hat being a bit big.
In non-crafty news, being a member of my household this week is a bit rough. My husband ruptured his Achilles tendon playing basketball and all craftiness (and fall camping, alas) is on hold until he gets surgery next week and moves on with his recovery. Having their usually-active father on crutches is hard on my kids and don’t get me started on how much fun it is to be the sole partner in charge of toddler-chasing, garbage duty, kitty-litter cleaning, laundry, and pretty much everything else requiring feet. While rescuing knitting projects is within my realm of competency, stepping in to take on my husband’s household duties while remaining reasonably cheerful and living with a high-energy wounded attorney on crutches is really not. The baby is reacting to our household chaos by refusing to sleep (so helpful!), the dog is vomiting, my daughter bursts into tears at every opportunity, and I’m doing things like leaving yeast (a very essential ingredient!) out of bread dough. Fortunately, our collective sense of humor is intact and we’re pretty good at stepping back to see our problems as transient and still small compared to some of the issues other families face all the time. And we have a well-stocked liquor cabinet, which really helps the grown-ups.