Autumn Ombre Hat

March 28, 2016

Pattern: Autumn Ombre Hat, by Country Pine Designs
Yarn: Loops & Threads Cozy Wool
Needles: size US 15 / 10.0mm

I might have a problem, and that problem may be an obsession with Country Pine Designs patterns.

But seriously. Yes, I know I've been making some of Kathleen's patterns in partnership with her brand, but seriously. The patterns are AMAZING. She's got the super bulky hat decreases figured OUT, which is something I've never been satisfied with on my own patterns even! Plus, how cute is this hat?!?

I used about 1/4 of each skein of Cozy Wool I picked out for this hat - you could use a bit more of the darkest color and make a pom, but I opted against a pom for this hat as I'll be donating it, and am unsure of who will end up with it. With this small amount of yarn used from each skein, this pattern is perfect for using up stray bits of super bulky you have from other projects, or for making several hats from the same skeins.

I whipped this hat up in a matter of hours, even! Let's be real - it took me a few days to get the hat made, thanks to the sickies that have been passing through our house lately, but if you add up all the total time I spent with this hat on the needles, it adds up to maybe 2 hours. SO AWESOME!

I've already purchased another one of Kathleen's patterns so I can knock out another hat, even though our partnership is over. That's how much I love her patterns. Totally worth it, especially for charity knitters.

If you don't have any super bulky on hand, don't think you can't make this hat, either! Just hold some worsted weight yarn triple, and you're good to go!

Grab the pattern on Ravelry and/or Etsy.

This post was sponsored by Country Pine Designs. All opinions are my own, amazing design props go to Kathleen!

Monte Rosa

March 14, 2016


Pattern: Monte Rosa Hat, by Isabell Kraemer
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool (1/2 skein between the main color and the accent, including pom)
Needles: size US 6 / 4.0mm 16" and US 8 / 5.0mm 16", and US 8 / 5.0mm dpns

I've had Monte Rosa in my Ravelry queue for a few years now. In fact, I'm pretty sure I added it to my queue with the intention of knitting this hat for Lou once she got big enough to fit the smallest size, which she is now. This version of the hat, however, is meant for me to wear to Husker football games this coming fall season!

I didn't adjust hardly anything when I made this hat. I did not do the tubular cast on, because I have never had luck with that one, but otherwise I worked the pattern as written.

I wasn't sure how I'd manage to keep the cables and the lace separate in my brain, but Isabell writes such a good pattern, I never had to think about it! I downloaded the PDF to my iPad, and then used the annotation tools to mark off each row as I finished it, which made it super simple! I'm trying to use less paper, and while for most patterns I don't even have to think about it, with something a bit more complicated I was worried that this method would work. Thankfully, it worked like a charm, and I'm excited to work more difficult hats now!

I made the M2 size, which says it fits a medium adult head, and the hat fits me perfectly! It's the size I'd make for most women, and I already know I'll be making many more of these, in most cases minus the pom, to donate to refugees. It was truly a fast pattern, and made in wool it's super warm, even with the lace panels all over. The small stripe area is perfect for using up even the tiniest bits of wool, and I figure having one of these on the needles every fourth or fifth hat, I won't get bored of the pattern and will have bunches of gorgeous hats to donate!

Breckenridge Fair Isle Hat

March 11, 2016




Pattern: Breckenridge Fair Isle Hat, by Country Pine Designs
Yarn: unknown (wool roving-like super bulky that was given to me to use for charity knitting)
Needles: US 15 / 10mm 16" circulars

The photos? That's what happens when you ask your husband to take one fast hat picture, and he starts acting like a high fashion photographer. "Strike a pose! You know you love the camera! Make them want it!" ... I swear, he's the best!

I've long been an admirer of Country Pine Designs. In a world that can sometimes feel oversaturated with super bulky items (I'm guilty of this myself), Kathleen stands out with her original designs and gorgeous photography. When she started selling patterns along with her finished knits, I knew I had to start knitting!

First on my list was the Breckenridge Fair Isle Hat. You can pick up the pattern both on Ravelry and on Etsy, and trust me when I tell you it's worth every penny. I've always struggled with just how long to make my super bulky hats, how to work the decreases, and just how much pattern is too much (or not enough) pattern for a hat made from yarn this thick

Kathleen takes all the guesswork out of it, and I ended up with a hat so perfect I've already got Zach convinced the two of us need to have matching red and white versions for Husker football this fall! And if I play my cards right, our friends (who we go to all the games with) will have some, also.

I'd like to say I've already earmarked all my super bulky stash for more of these hats, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to run out and buy more yarn as well ... my stash isn't going to last long with this pattern now in my possession!

This post was sponsored by Country Pine Designs. All opinions are my own, amazing design props go to Kathleen!

Renfrew

March 9, 2016

Pattern: Renfrew, by Jane Richmond
Yarn: Cascade 220 (I used xx yards for this hat)
Needles: US 8 / 5.0mm 16" circulars and dpns

I loved knitting this hat! In fact, I loved knitting it so much, I knit straight through to the decreases in about one day of knitting time. Getting from the body of the hat to the decreases took a few weeks, unfortunately, but that wasn't due to pattern issues, rather it was all due to user error. I found myself stalled out, and so I set the hat down and got busy with other things.

I will fully admit I love knitting everything Jane Richmond writes. I followed the pattern in every way, not deviating one little bit - a rarity for me, as I find I at least change up the cast on or the needle size. But Renfrew was such perfection I did not change a bit as I knit my way through it.

A reminder to those who would take up this hat pattern as I have - you need to weave in your ends on the side you've been thinking is the right side! One of the genius parts of this pattern is that it is knit entirely inside out so as to minimize the number of purl stitches one needs to perform. However, you must remember that at the end, so you don't make the mistake I made and weave in the ends on what is to end up being the right side of the hat!

I didn't realize my mistake until after the hat had been washed and was blocking, and so I turned the hat right side out, sought out the ends of yarn that were peeking out, and tucked them in. Not perfection, but I'm not sure anyone but myself will ever notice.

This hat will kick off my newest refugee hat pile. I keep them all in an ottoman we got for Owen's bedroom, but that he no longer uses. When it's full up, I know it's time to stuff a shipping bag full!

(Of note: Jane was kind enough to send me a free copy of this hat pattern when she heard I was in a knitting slump and was hoping to kick it by using one of her patterns. She did not, however, ask me to write about it after making the hat, and all opinions are my own)

While Knitting, February 2016

March 7, 2016

I've been reading books by the handful again recently, thanks in large part to being a middle school teacher now! I've been reading lots of ya fiction, and have been loving all the words bumping around in my brain again.

I decided to pick back up with my reading reviews, after so many months of not writing them. Hopefully I'll keep it up more steadily this time, as I've been reading so many I want to share!

Chicks with Sticks (Knitwise), by Elizabeth Lenhard. Our school librarian found out I'm a knitter, and immediately went to the shelves and found this book for me! The story of a high school girl who discovers knitting, and gains a few friends in the process, after a family tragedy, I loved this book to the moon and back! At the end, there are a few patterns for beginner knitters even!

El Deafo, by Cece Bell. We have a decent selection of graphic novels in the classroom, but this one is from the public library. The students love it, so I'm going to pick up a copy for the room. El Deafo is the story of a girl who loses her hearing at a young age, and must navigate learning to use hearing aides, being different at school, challenges with friends, and even a potential super power!

Chicken, by Chase Night. I've read this book at least three times now, and I'm sure I'll read it at least once a year for the rest of my life. If you haven't read it yet, comment below - I've got a few copies to give out to those who want them!

The Maze Runner (Book 1), by James Dashner. I actually wasn't sure about this one for about the first third of the book. It felt excessively violent to me, for whatever reason. As I continued to read, I changed my mind, and got excited to read the second book in the series.

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, Book 2), by James Dashner. The second book in the Maze Runner series, I found myself liking this book better than the first. It picks up right where the first book left off, with teenagers running for their lives in the midst of a wold in peril. I flew through the book, and as soon as my students are done with the third in the series, I'm going to hop onto it!

I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives, by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda. Such a great book! The memoir of two middle school students, living halfway around the world from one another, who become pen pals and change each others' lives. I'll fully admit I was in love with this book from the first chapter, and have already recommended it to several of my honors kids.

Counting by 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan. The story of a biracial girl who is navigating her way through the foster care system, this book tore at my heart on multiple occasions, and I cried at least three times. Perfection from the first page to the last, I would recommend this book to every single person I know!

The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion. Oh man, this book. So sad, such a perfect snapshot of grief. Didion is one of my favorites, and this book will stay on my shelves forever.

Evil Genius, by Catherine Jinks. I wasn't super impressed with this book. I just couldn't empathize with any of the characters, and while I knew this was the first book in a series that had been recommended to me, I couldn't do it. I finished the book, reluctantly, and then opted out of the rest of the series.

(Note: Links in this post are Amazon affiliate links)

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