May 31, 2012

eleven hats for the Chicago Food Pantry!

Slouch hats

When I finished up my May Charity Challenge hats with about a week left in May, I knew I still wanted to make hats for the Chicago Food Pantry. I also knew I needed to be working with a pattern (or patterns) that I could cast on and just run with - nothing that would take brain power or written instructions.

And so I cast on, with chunky yarn in most cases, and on sizes 11 or 15 needles. I worked variations of rib patterns, one Invisible Children Hat and one striped cap. I didn't once have to think about pattern or look anything up, and I managed to knock out eleven hats!


These hats were added to a box I'd been filling this month - a box I will be excitedly placing into the hands of my friend Kathie, who collects the hats for the Food Pantry. I'm super excited that I've managed to make another box full of hats for her, and know they'll be used and loved this coming winter!

And here's me wearing all eleven hats, thanks to Instagram photos:
Collage 1
Collage 2


I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. These are hats 093 through 103.

May 30, 2012

Bella's Eclipse Hat

pattern: Bella's Eclipse Hat, by Rachel Bearse (Ravelry link, website link)
yarn: stash green and white wool
needles: size US 9 / 5.5 mm circs and dpns

I love knitting this hat pattern, based off the hat Bella Swan wears in the Twighlight Saga: Eclipse movie. I've knit it in the past for charity, given it as a gift at least once, and have it set permanently in my queue.

It helps that I have a metric ton of both the white and green wool in my stash thanks to some lovely donations in the past!

I usually knit the hat on size US 8 / 5.0 mm needles, which produces a nice fitted beanie. This time I wanted sometihng with a bunch of slouch to it (I'm going through a slouchy hat phase, to be sure) and so I simply sized up the needles one and followed the pattern directions perfectly.

The results? A hat with just the right amount of slouch, in super warm wool, ready to be sent off to the Chicago Food Pantry!

I've already got my Ravelry queue brimming over with more hats from movies and television, and I can't wait to cast on the next Screen Cap!


I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. This is hat 092!

May 29, 2012

hats on people // The Minimalists

Have I mentioned yet how much I love knitting has for guys? Forget the fact that they tend towards simpler hats in neutral colors - if you make a hat for a guy that he loves, he'll wear it until it wears out. When I contacted Joshua and Ryan of The Minimalists about making hats, they were specific about what they wanted (grey for Joshua, blue for Ryan, wool for both) and not shy about the fact that they weren't always hat people. So when they got their hats, Joshua's tweet said it all:
I'm generally not a hat person (can't mess up the hair), but I just got the nicest wool hat I've ever owned from @SheMakesHats. It's great.
Boom. Shaka. Laka. I used Jane Richmond's Joe Hat pattern, minus the turned over brim, for both hats. I love the simplicity of this hat pattern, the gorgeous decreases, and how perfectly it fits. Much love to these two men for modeling wool hats in the midst of warm May weather - that's commitment to your hats, guys! If you're interested, I've got hats just like these listed in the She Makes Hats Shop - they're knit in a wool/acrylic blend for the shop, and you can order one in a wide variety of colors! If Joshua's glowing testimony is any indication, this would be a great gift for Father's Day, a birthday, or just because!

May 28, 2012

reading: $100 Start-Up

100startupI've read almost everything Chris Guillebeau has written. His three manifestos; his blog. His first book, The Art of Non-Conformity , got several read-throughs.
When Chris toured around for his first book, I helped host the Omaha meet-up and was pleased when we innundated him with treats!
And I am proud to call Chris my friend.
So when he started talking up his latest book, The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future, I knew I had to get a copy and read it as well.
People, this book DOES NOT DISAPPOINT. If you've ever wondered if you could take that idea of yours and turn it into a business, this book will give you the step by step instructions for doing so. If you've never thought of yourself as an entrepreneur but love the thought of making a little extra money off your passion, this is the book for you.
If you just like reading case studies of folks who are living their dreams, this is the book for you.
If you are like me, someone who has no desire to be an entrepreneur and yet wants to spread a message, this book can also help you!
Chapter by chapter, Chris lays out how he believes anyone and everyone can find security, passion and excitement in doing what they love, and for very little start-up cash. He profiles hundreds of folks doing this very thing (including Megan Hunt of Princess Laserton fame, and a fellow Omaha gal), and gets them to share intimate details about what makes their businesses click.
I filled half a notebook with thoughts and ideas while reading this book - it's that good. Some of those ideas have already been put into play here on the blog (and in my shop), and many more will be given space in the coming months.
Pick up a copy at your local bookstore, for your e-reader, or through Amazon - you won't be disappointed!
*note: Some of the links in this post are Amazon Associate links. I make a small profit off purchases made through these links, which I use to buy books!

May 27, 2012


Owen 1
Owen 2
Owen 3
Owen 4
I wrote you a letter when you turned nine months old. And it feels like as soon as I hit publish, you changed.
You are no longer a baby; you are now somehow a toddler.
You are sitting up in your crib - we got the mattress moved down JUST in time for that one!
You can go from any position to sitting, and love to do so!
You crawl three or four steps before sliding back to sitting, and shimmy your way backwards and sideways all over the place.
You scoot to, and then pull yourself up onto just about anything you can find.
>> >> >> >>
I know everyone says the days are long, but the years are short. That I will blink and you will be an adult. But I never realized they meant one day to the next you would be all but unrecognizable to me.
No longer my baby, that's for sure. My little man now.
And I love it!

birthday wish-list

My birthday is coming up in just a few short weeks! I've had a few folks ask me what I'd like for my big day - I'll be 35! - and where I normally have a hard time coming up with things, this year I was able to head to my Wish List board on Pinterest and point a few things out with ease.
Birthday collage
01 // Maasai Cuff in white.
02 // Star Wars tee (similar).
03 // Five-Second Baby Book.
04 // 12 month daily planner from Moleskine.
05 // Silver Glitter Toms, size 6.5.
06 // Karma Necklace in sterling silver.
07 // Blue color-bomb wristlet from Gussy Sews.
08 // address embosser!
09 // Black Leather Toms Ballet Flats, size 6.

May 26, 2012

test knit // Coppe

Coppe 2
pattern: Coppe, by Kylie McDonnell-Wade (Ravelry link)
yarn: Red Heart Acrylic in tan
needles: sizes US 6 / 4.0 mm and US 8 / 5.0 mm circs and dpns
What's this? Posting on a Saturday?!
I've got so many fun hats to share with you in the next week (in preparation for the 100th Hat Celebration!) and I just couldn't fit them all in on week days, so Saturday it is!
I had the pleasure of test knitting Coppe a few weeks ago for Kylie, and have fallen in love with it! I knit it up using acrylic yarn - meaning I couldn't really block it all that well - and got a fabulous slouchy hat. When knit in wool yarn, this hat blossoms into a gorgeous beret style hat as well!
Test knitting is such a fun way to experience a new designer's patterns (new to the designing world, or just new to me as in this case) - I'm excited to do more of it in the coming weeks and months, and to share the finished results with you!
I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. This is hat 089.

May 24, 2012

test knit // Miska

Recently, I had the pleasure of test knitting Miska for Kydel Makes. And adorable little hat, I love the poms for ears and the interesting construction!
pattern: Miska, by Kydel Makes
yarn: Crucci Luxury Crepe (less than one skein, 50g)
needles: size US 8 / 5.0 mm and US 10 / 6.0 mm
I knit the hat in a smaller size than offered currently in the pattern, but Miska (meaning mouse in Slovenian) is a ridiculously cute hat either way! Owen loves to play with the poms, and I love how the brim of the hat is knit on two needles, with the body stitches picked up later!
I've not been much of a test knitter in the past; not for lack of desire, I just never really found a way to let other designers know I'd test knit for them. Thanks to Ravelry though, I found a group for designers looking for test knitters - sold!
I'll definitely test knit again, and will for sure test knit anything Kydel comes up with next - her pattern writing skills are top notch!

I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. This is hat 087.

May 23, 2012

nine months with Owen

Oh my amazing little man, I cannot believe you are already nine months old! This past month has been full of so much joy and so many changes, I simply can't believe you've packed it all into just 31 days!
This month has bee full of expression and vocalization for you. Trying to get a photo of you in a hat is an exercise in futility - all the photos look something like the one above! (That onesie no longer fits, by the way).
You've moved up a size in clothes, solidly in nine month sizing now. Of course, your waist is so skinny that all your shorts slide right off your butt - thank goodness for adorable onesie outfits!
Favorites this month include:
  • your toes
  • your binkie
  • blowing bubbles
  • both your grandmas
  • when daddy comes home from work
  • the first 30 minutes of Jimmy Neutron
  • snuggles in the morning
Owen tub 1
Owen tub 2
This month also marks your move from the baby tub to the regular bath tub. We decided it was time when you started to pull yourself to standing using the side of the big tub, and leaning completely out of your baby tub to watch the water drain out and down the big tub drain.
I guess some kids have a hard time with this transition? You seem to have taken to it without much fuss, playing with your toys like nothing has changed!
This month has also brought about a bit of temper. You are approximately 30 seconds away from crawling, and you know it. You want to be on the move worse than anything else, and the fact that you are still stuck sitting around makes you so mad it's almost funny. You get yourself up on your haunches and rock back and forth, scooting backwards a bit even before flopping onto your tummy and freaking out.
Oh little man, I wish for your sake that you learn to crawl soon. I know you'll be everywhere, and into everything, and I'll spend my days chasing after you and growing more and more tired - but oh how you long for mobility and I want that for you so bad!
Nine month collage
Out and about is your favorite place to be. On the way to the park, at the mall, in restaurants and always moving.
You love to lounge with dad and play with yarn, and you are warming up to the idea of grass. Slowly.
We have to give you your own spoon now when we feed you, as you want to do it yourself. Even if you can't actually get any food in your mouth yet, you fling that spoon around like you're the boss. We've started giving you little bits of whatever we're eating, and you enjoy being able to try new things and feed yourself.
You have been part of this world as long as you were growing inside me, and it feels strange to know that. these nine months have been so amazing, and I can't wait to see what happens next!

May 22, 2012

hats on people // Elisa of Ophelia's Webb

When I got in touch with Elisa of Ophelia's Webb about being part of my Hats On People project, she loved the idea with one twist - she lives in Bali, and wondered if I could make her a headband! But of course! After going through a few headband ideas, we settled on a simple and gorgeous one in a sage green. Judging by the photo above, I'd say Elisa loves it!

May 21, 2012

May Charity Challenge // The Final Tally

May challenge hats

Well folks, I'm calling it. A bout of strep has been running rampant through out house of late and the next few weeks are going to be super full as we get ready for my youngest brother's high school graduation. While I'll surely be making hats, I don't know that striped crochet beanies will be on the agenda (I need something that calls for just one ball of yarn, I think!) so I'm wrapping up this month's challenge a bit early.

All in all, I think May's challenge turned out well. Sixteen hats in total will be taken with as we travel to Chicago and hand-delivered for the Chicago Food Pantry - I can't wait!

I've already got June's challenge picked out, and it's one I'm super excited for! I'm actually planning to knit from the same pattern for both June and July - but you'll hear more about that on the first!

For now, I'd love to know how your charity knitting for the month has been going!


I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. These are hats 082 through 085.

May 18, 2012

a few for nest: Maine

Nest hats
In the past few weeks I've knit up a few hats for nest: Maine in between the other knitting and crochet I've been doing. I love to have a simple stockinette hat (on the left) or 2x2 ribbing hat (the two on the right) on the needles for when I'm at the movies, riding in the car, or just don't want to have to think about the pattern I'm working on.

For the stockinette hat, I used a skein of Noro Kureyon I snagged from our local yarn shop. I'd never worked with the stuff before but knew knitters far and wide love every minute of it. And they aren't wrong - the color changes are just perfection! Apparently no two skeins are exactly alike, and I loved all the colors I saw when I was deciding which skein to buy. I'll definitely pick up more!

As for the ribbed hats, I used the basic format of the Waffle Hat pattern I love so much, with one exception. Instead of waffles I just did the ribbing on every row, decreasing when I had around 11 or 12 inches of hat. This leaves a huge brim to be folded, perfect decreases, and a hat anyone can feel cozy in!

Yarn for the ribbed hats was from a few skeins of Patons wool generously gifted to me by Marie, a gal who contacted me about some yarn she didn't want to take with her when she moved from Canada to Germany. I will ALWAYS take the yarn other folks don't want, and she sent some amazing stuff over - I can't wait to dig into the rest of it!

Details for both hats can be found on Ravelry (stockinette hat, ribbed hat) for those interested.


I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. These are hats 079, 080 and 081.

May 17, 2012

hats on people // Amy and Jared

One of my favorite parts of the Hats On People project is getting to make hats for couples. It's so much fun seeing folks posing together, showing off hand knits with a loving twinkle in their eyes! I know Amy Palmer of The Blank Pages thanks to the internet. Her blog is amazing, and one of the few I make a point to check in on every single day, no matter what. And while she and her man Jared live in Florida, I never pass on the opportunity to make folks hats - if she was game, so was I!
Amy's Hat
pattern: Viscose, by Drops Design (free pattern!)  
yarn: Mary Maxim Starlette in soft coral (purchased locally)  
needles: sizes US 8 / 5.0 mm and US 10 / 6.0 mm

Deceptively simple in design, this hat was a treat to knit! While the pattern calls for cotton viscose yarn (hence the name) I whipped Amy's up in an acrylic yarn. I'm not the biggest fan of working with cotton, and have found that whenever I use it I hate the project so much I never finish it! The coral color (picked by Amy) looks AMAZING on her, and the hat seems to fit like a dream! I've spied her sporting it in several Instagram photos, so I know she didn't just toss it on for this photo shoot and then hide it away in the back of her closet!

Jared's Hat

pattern: Traveller's Hat, by Sue Jackson (Ravelry link, free pattern!)
yarn: stashed white and grey acrylic  
needles: size US 9 / 5.5 mm

 Jared's hat came with a very specific request. While he loved the look of the Traveller's Hat, he didn't want something so slouchy. So I borrowed a different set of decreases from another hat pattern, shortened up the number of stripes, and hoped for the best. The hat still slouches a teensie bit, but looks amazing on Jared (and slouches far less than the original pattern) - and rumor has it he loves it, so that's good!

To view more photos of these hats in action during Amy and Jared's adorable couple's photo shoot, head on over to Amy's blog The Blank Pages. All photos shared in this post were snagged from that post with Amy's permission!

May 16, 2012

a few baby hats for Katie

Frogs and bears
patterns: bear hat is my own pattern, frog hat via Sweet Kiwi Crochet (ravelry link)
yarn: stash I Heart This Yarn
hook: size US I / 5.5 mm
My friend Katie is having a little boy! And in just a few short weeks! After her shower (where I didn't give her anything handmade ... bad crafter!) I squeezed a few ideas for hats out of her, and the other day I brought them over to her house.
I can't wait to meet her little man, and thanks to her tremendous photography skills I also can't wait to see tons of shots of the little man in his hats!
Side note: she also received an orange and blue striped Bears hat for the guy, but I totally forgot to snap a photo! Katie, can you snap me one so I can add it here, and my 10,000 hats tally will have the right number of photos to it?!

I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. These are hats 074, 075 and 076.

a few baby hats for Katie

Frogs and bears
patterns: bear hat is my own pattern, frog hat via Sweet Kiwi Crochet (ravelry link)
yarn: stash I Heart This Yarn
hook: size US I / 5.5 mm
My friend Katie is having a little boy! And in just a few short weeks! After her shower (where I didn't give her anything handmade ... bad crafter!) I squeezed a few ideas for hats out of her, and the other day I brought them over to her house.
I can't wait to meet her little man, and thanks to her tremendous photography skills I also can't wait to see tons of shots of the little man in his hats!
Side note: she also received an orange and blue striped Bears hat for the guy, but I totally forgot to snap a photo! Katie, can you snap me one so I can add it here, and my 10,000 hats tally will have the right number of photos to it?!

I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. These are hats 074, 075 and 076.

May 14, 2012

earflap hats // week two

Week 2 hats

Week two of my May hat challenge did not see as many hats finished as week one. You can see above week one hats on the left and week two hats on the right.

That's right, there's only three.

Some weeks mean more hats and some mean less. This past week was a hard week, full of a crabby baby, some test knitting, a few visits with friends and an extended family get-together. All this coupled together to mean less hats made for the Chicago Food Pantry.

But! The month isn't even half over and I've already finished up 12 hats - pretty good if I do say so myself. I'm loving that I've moved from only striping colors with white to browns and greys, and I even pulled a large skein of black yarn from my stash to use with several skeins of neon yarn I've got.

How did your week of charity crafting go?


I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. This are hats 071, 072, and 073.

* Read more about the May Crochet hat challenge here, including the pattern I'm using for all these hats.

May 11, 2012

hats on people // Gina of Contemplating Beauty

pattern: Chunky Cloche Hat by Diane Servis (Ravelry purchase)
yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick N Quick in navy  
needles: size US 11 / 8.0 mm

After seeing the hat I made for Saturated Canary's little man, Gina of Contemplating Beauty commented asking if I took special orders. We bonded over her daughter and my brother both loving show choir, and of course I had to make her a hat! I LOVED knitting this hat! Thanks to the chunky yarn, it whipped up super fast; I was a bit worried it wouldn't be as feminine as Gina wanted, but I was happily proven wrong.

 I think if I knit it again, I'll do one (or two) more rows before decreasing. While it looks like it fits her well, I think it might be a bit nicer with a little more room and slouch. I'm so glad I got connected with Gina via my blog, that we connected like we did, and that I was able to knit her this fun hat!

May 10, 2012

washington hancock community agency

I recently came into contact with Sarah, a woman who works with the Washington Hancock Community Agency in Maine. She knew how much I like to knit for nest:Maine, and wnated to make me aware of her organiation, and how they are providing both handmade items and new coats to folks in their community!

 From her e-mail:

Winterwear is a new program at the Washington Hancock Community Agency, serving Washington and Hancock counties, in eastern Maine. These counties are rural but big, by eastern standards. They cover an area about the size of Connecticut, but only have about 70,000 people. Over 700 used coats and 500 new coats were donated and distributed to children and adults in the two counties. Most of these coats were delivered with hats and mittens, while supplies lasted.

In addition to this, people who had coats but needed hats and mittens were able to get them. Up to 1000 hats and pairs of mittens were distributed. Because demand was so high, we put up two mitten trees for local residents to donate. Several individuals knitted hats and mittens for the program, including a local nursing home resident. Agency employees were encouraged to make hats for the program (one employee offered a batch of no-bake cookies to everyone who donated a half dozen hats.)  

Distribution points:
  • Local schools Down East YMCA day care (Hancock County)
  • The Next Step domestic violence prevention project (serves both counties)
  • Local food pantries (serving both counties)
  • WHCA (clients walked in or were referred from our other programs, serving both counties)
  • Names came in from churches, schools, head start, and other agencies for individual coat requests.
By request, new hats and mittens were included in our Christmas packages to low income children in the two counties, in addition to all of these other distributions. The good news is that we have already had a donation of 500 coats for next year.  

The bad news is we are out of hats and mittens and scarves! I have a bag I am working on filling, and hope I can encourage others to do the same, it’s a stash buster!) All sizes, shapes and colors are welcome, fiber content doesn’t matter, although warmer is better – this is Maine! Anything that is donated will be much appreciated. If name and address are included in shipment, acknowledgement will be made.

I've already added this amazing group to my list of places to send hand knits - it sounds like they've got a huge need for hats and mittens for the cold months to come this year!

If you're interested in sending handmade items (or coats!), simply mail your items to the address below:

Sarah Nugent
PO Box 299
Ellsworth, ME 04605

May 9, 2012

baby gadgets we're loving

Not that long ago, I posted a few baby shower gifts I love to give on repeat. Meredith commented that she'd love to know some of the gadgets and products we're using now that Owen's a bit bigger - great idea!

Aside from the items on that baby shower list (we still use most of them daily!) a few of the products we're loving include:

one. Netflix Instant. You can stream movies and television shows direct through your gaming system (or television!), and now they've got a special "kids-only" section!

two and three. Cell phone with a good quality camera and Instagram. Now that Instagram is on Android phones as well, I've been loving documenting much of our time together during the day via this handy little app.

four. Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo. Owen rocks out in this bad boy while we eat, as well as whenever he's got some extra energy to expend.

five. Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby's First Blocks. Owen loves to dump the blocks out of this bucket, toss them all around, and knock over any towers I try to build! He hasn't decided to fit any back into the slots yet, but that's not far off!

six. Mini Roller Coaster (we have a similar one).

What are some of the products you love/d using with your baby?

May 7, 2012

earflap hats, week one

May hats week one
Week one of the hat challenge for May went pretty well, if I do say so myself! I managed to crochet up nine hats (all pictured above) for the Chicago Food Pantry!

Eight of these hats are made to fit children between 1 and 4 years old, with one hat fitting a child 4 years and older. I also managed to use up three balls of white yarn and a few balls of colored yarn!

Working through hats like this really drive home just how much yarn I actually have - while I see all the hats I made and am super excited at how many I'll get done this month, I also know how little a dent these made in my stash ... you wouldn't even know any yarn was used!

I'm hopeful I'll make at least some dent in my stash this month as I make more and more hats ... this week I'm going to focus on the largest size (4 years plus) to use up a bit more yarn and make hats that will fit a wider variety of kiddos. I'm also going to mix it up color-wise, using grey and black yarn for the neutral stripes as well as white!

How did your charity crafting go this past week? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!


I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. These are hats 061 through 069.

May 4, 2012

in the grass

We went outside the other day to blow bubbles in the back yard. I set Owen down in the grass so he could grab at the bubbles while I sat in front of him ...
And this happened.
Apparently he doesn't like the feel of grass on his legs!
Have a great weekend!

May 3, 2012

hats on people // Melanie of Mad Passions

(image from Melanie's blog)

The other winner of the Humpty Dance challenge from awhile back was Melanie - she picked out this super fun hat pattern from Pickles and requested it in cream with pink hearts!

pattern: From Norway, With Love by Pickles
yarn: stash DK weight yarn!
needles: size US 7 / 4.5 mm

I didn't make any modifications to this hat pattern other than not making the hearts different colors. I used acrylic yarn so the hat would be washer/dryer safe, and while I normally don't do colorwork with acrylic, this hat turned out perfectly!

I'll definitely be making this hat more often going forward - the pattern is easy to remember after one heart repeat, and I can see this being a fun charity knit!


I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. This is hat 060.

May 2, 2012

reading lately // with Owen

In the last few weeks, Owen has decided he LOVES books. He loves to flip through them, he loves to have them read over and over again, he loves to pick out which one he wants read to him next.

Below are a few of the books we've been reading on repeat lately:

one. A Cuddle for Little Duck
two. Pat the Bunny
three. I Love You Through And Through
four. Goodnight Moon
five. Kiss Kiss!
six. Star Wars: Heroes

What are some of the books you love reading with your little ones?

* All links are affiliate links through Amazon. If you click on one, and then purchase that book (or anything else for that matter) through the link, I earn a small portion of the sale.

May 1, 2012

The May Hat: Earflap hats For Kids!

I'm super excited about this month's hat - it's an adorable striped ear flap hat!

I've knit up a few of these for my Etsy shop, and they're so much fun I knew I wanted to make as many as I could for the Chicago Food Pantry!

If you want to crochet along with me, you can pick up your copy of the pattern from Sweet Kiwi Crochet - it's the "basic beanie" pattern she sells.

My plan is to use up as many of the bright colored skeins of yarn in my stash as I can, striping them up with white, black, cream or grey yarn depending on the color. I'm super excited - the color choice possibilities are almost endless!

Last month I didn't share where I was at with the challenge as I the month went on, so this month I'm going to share my progress each Monday, and ask you to share right along with me in comments!