Golden Pear Hat

September 1, 2014



pattern: Golden Pear, by Melissa Thomson (free)
yarn: remnants from my stash
needles: size US 9 / 5.5mm 16" circs and dpns

For the next three months I will be making the Golden Pear hat pattern on repeat. It's the start of a new term over in the HPKCHC, and this term I'm working on my Potions OWL.

For the non-cuppers, HPKCHC stands for Harry Potter Knit And Crochet House Cup, and it's where super Potter fans like myself gather to be sorted into houses and complete knit and crochet projects for classes, Quidditch, OWLs, and more, all in an effort to win the House Cup, along with eternal glory.

I win the nerdiest person in my family award, hands down.

I love the Cup (as it's affectionately called); I've made some phenomenal friends thanks to this game, I've stepped up my hat making game by leaps and bounds, and I've managed to convert about a dozen ladies to charity hat-making with as much (and more!) passion as I've got.

I've been looking for a way to knit through my ridiculously large stash of worsted weight acrylic remnants, and while I could make striped hat after striped hat, I wanted something with a bit more interest. After another Cupper started sharing bunches of newborn hats made with the Golden Pear pattern, I knew it was just what I was looking for.

The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn, but just size 7 needles, so I went up in needle size to 9's, where I'm most comfortable with worsted weight acrylics. I knit the pattern according to the directions, and ended up with a hat that fits Lou's head almost perfectly. There's a bit of room for her to grow into it, so the hat is perfect for donation for babies from 6-12 months!

My plan is to knit 40 of these, hopefully making a HUGE dent in my remnants stash, and adding them to the pile of donation hats I've got growing in the closet. These will be taken to the Med Center for donation to their pediatric oncology center, and I know they'll go to good use there.

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll be seeing so many more of these in the coming months, and I'll be sure to share at least one or two updates on my progress here on the blog in the next 60 or so days! For now, I'm definitely in love with this easy pattern, and can't wait to cast on another hat!

My Knitting Story: Barbara of Wildflower 57

August 29, 2014

I recently had the pleasure of receiving an e-mail from Barbara of Wildflower57.  We started chatting knitting, charity, and hats, and had a great several-days-long conversation. She's agreed to letting me share this part of our conversation because her story is phenomenal.


I came to knitting late in life. I had started many times before, attempting a sweater each time I had a baby. In my top drawer were 5 unfinished baby sweaters. I've been a sewer all my life so I just figured I didn't have the knitters patience or gene that my grandmother and mother possessed. My girlfriend had started knitting and I loved her sweaters but just kept remembering the 5 unfinished sweaters...And then my dad got sick, super sick and he died shortly after. He made me promise that I wouldn't fall to pieces which was a stupid promise, but I still had two sons at home to raise and they needed me to be present. So my knitting girlfriend sent me some yarn, a circular needle and the pattern for Blue Sky Alpacas Cropped Cardigan...and I cast on....


I spent that first summer floating in the pool and knitting...that's all I could manage..Knitting saved me from a dark place and I fell deeply in love. I made the cardigan and then another one. Then I tried bulky socks and hats, mostly hats. When I found a job at an elementary school running the computer lab, I found that there were kids who wanted to see what project I had in my bag so I started teaching a few girls to knit at lunch..And then more, and then other teachers wanted to help. We ended up with 78 knitters that year who made blocks for charity blankets. All over the school, kids were sitting in groups at recess knitting and it was amazing. Troubled students became better students and we made blankets. I sent out a request for yarn through the local RAvelry knitting groups and we were swamped with gifted needles and yarns. So you see knitting saved more people.


And then we moved to a new town. My husband is in construction and in California, Construction fell apart in 2009. We were going broke. I had a stack of old sheets, a basket of yarn and a computer. I jumped in with my big dream of my own business, opened a Facebook page and an Etsy shop and started working that page like it was my job. I made aprons and bags from the sheets and knit hats and headbands. And they sold. And then more sold and then I did a show and another show...and here I am...A girl who makes stuff for a living. Knitting and sewing...saved me and still does every single day.

So that is my story and I love that you started with 100 hats and I am committed to 100 hats this fall... this is the stuff that makes me giddy...Thank you again for allowing your patterns and story be a part of this project.

//

Thank you Barbara. For letting me share your story, and for being the amazing you that you are!!

I'd love to share other people's knitting stories - if you'd like me to share yours, e-mail me at shemakeshats@gmail.com

Peaks and Valleys Hat

August 26, 2014



I've been slowly but surely working through all my notes, scattered across several notebooks and a few computer folders, and working the fragments of patterns into completed designs. This one is so fun and simple to work off the needles, and it's about to become a donation staple for me!

A simple stockinette stitch, broken up by purl ridges creates a ribbed and slouchy hat.

YARN

90-120 yards Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice (100% acrylic; 170y/155m per 100 grams)

NEEDLES

US 9 / 5.5 mm 16" circular needle
US 9 / 5.5 mm double pointed needles

NOTIONS

One stitch marker
Darning needle for weaving in ends

GAUGE

16 sts x 20 rows = 4" in stockinette

SIZES

baby (toddler, child, adult)

ABBREVIATIONS 

CO = cast on
DRnd = decrease round
K = knit
K2TOG = knit two stitches together
P = purl
RND = round
STS = stitches

DIRECTIONS 

Using long tail method, CO 56 (64, 72, 80) sts.
Place marker to join, being careful not to twist.

Rnd 1-8: [K 2, P 2] around.

Rnd 9-11: K all sts.
Rnd 12: P all sts.

Repeat Rnds 9-12 a total of 6 (7, 8, 9) times

SHAPE CROWN 

(switch to DPNs when necessary)

DRnd 1: (k6, K2tog) around.
DRnd 2 (and all even rows): K all sts around.
DRnd 3: (k5, k2tog) around.
DRnd 5: (k4, k2tog) around.
DRnd 7: (k3, k2tog) around.
DRnd 9: (k2, k2tog) around.
DRnd 11: (k1, k2tog) around.
DRnd 13: K2tog around.

FINISHING 

Break yarn, leaving a long tail. Use darning needle to thread yarn through remaining sts. Pull yarn tight and secure. Weave in all ends.

SHARE 

I’d love to see your finished hats! Tag your projects #shemakeshats on Instagram to share

Zig Zag Cowl

August 25, 2014



pattern: 1-Skein Zig Zag Cowl, by Heather Walpole
yarn: Ewe Ewe Yarn Ewe So Sporty (145y/133m per 50g) - one full skein used
needles: size US 6 / 4.25 mm

My darling friend Casie takes the most amazing photos for me - of my hats, of hand knits in general, and even of my gorgeous family. A phenomenal photographer, she is also amazingly generous, and won't let me pay her a penny for all the photos she takes. So I'm trying to get sneaky, making her things on occasion as a way to pay her at least a bit for all she does.

The Zig Zag Cowl is one such "payment", and it worked out more perfectly than I could have imagined. Heather of Ewe Ewe Yarns had sent me a kit for the cowl not that long ago, but I am not much of a cowl wearer. So I wasn't sure who to make this for, when Casie tagged me on an Instagram photo of a white cowl with a very similar texture to this one. Lightbulb!

The cowl itself was a quick and fun knit. You work the directions two full times to get the zig zag shape, and it is truly a one-skein project. In truth, I was only able to get within four rows of the full two repeats of the pattern, but you literally cannot tell I left two rows off.

My gauge was a slight bit different from the pattern's instructions, because my size 6 needles are 4.25mm instead of the typical 4.0mm. I  have no idea how I managed that one, but because of the miniscule needle size difference, which I thought wouldn't matter in the least, I ran out of yarn a wee bit early. I could have squeezed one more row out of the yarn, but didn't have enough to do the bind-off in a non-yarn over row, so I had to leave some yarn wasted, which was a huge bummer. But like I said, you can't tell in the least that the last zig zag set is shorter, so I'm cool with it.

Casie is in love with her cowl, and grabbed her niece to model for a few photos the other day. I love how happy McKenna is all the time (and gorgeous to boot!), and how much she loves modeling for knitting photos. Almost all my friends have relinquished their hat modeling duties to her, and I'm totally fine with it! Although it does add another person to my "pay with hand knits" list ...

a family of sweaters for winter

August 19, 2014


With my desire to ditch the sweatshop clothes this fall, and dress my family in ethically-made items, I've decided that maybe it's time I branch out a bit from hat making, and make a few family sweaters.

I've shied away from sweater-making in the past, thanks to two horrible experiences in a row attempting to make a sweater for my husband. And while I hope to make him a sweater this fall/winter as well, I'm starting a bit smaller, with sweaters for the kiddos and me. Dip my toes in, figure a few things out on some smaller pieces before I move on to his sweater.

With each of our sweaters, I already know I'm going to have to make a few modifications, but each should be easy enough that the sweaters shouldn't cause me too much stress.

First, there's Owlet for Lou. The smallest size has an 18" chest, which is just about where she's at right now, so I'm going to size it up one I think. That way she should be able to wear it a bit longer into the winter before I have to make her a new one. I plan to make this one with short sleeves, so she can wear it over a long sleeve onesie and not have the arm bulk get in her way as she learns to crawl soon (too soon for my liking, I think).

Then I'll make a Fisherman's Pullover for Owen. This little man is so skinny I'm going to make the smallest size for him, and then add length until it fits. Unless he decides to start eating like a linebacker anytime soon, this sweater should fit him all fall and winter long, which will be nice! I might make the ribbing on the sleeves start a bit sooner, so it's a bit longer. That way the sleeves won't droop on him, and will stay out of his way!

Finally (for now, at least), I want to make myself an Oatmeal Pullover. So many folks have already shared modification notes for this sweater, I'm just going to follow their suggestions and hopefully breeze right through this one! I love that it's made using a bit chunkier yarn, and that the millions of miles of ribbing should help it stay in place as I chase after my kiddos - both of whom will be mobile very soon, if Lou has her way!

I'll share as I knit each sweater, along with when each is done. And of course I'll still be knitting tons of hats this fall and winter, have no fear! What do you have on your needles for fall?
 

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