Jun 27, 2012

Christmas In July - Hats To Knit For The Holidays

While it may not even be July, many knitters are already filling out their "to knit for the holidays" list (myself included)! I love to gift at least one hand-knit hat per person on my list; a hat is a quick knit, everyone wears hats, and you don't have to worry about sizing in most cases - simply knowing if an adult or kid-sized hat is needed will do! Here are some hat patterns that will be making their way onto my holiday knit list this year:

I love the simplicity of the DK Eco Slouch Hat! It can easily be made in just about any color, and I'm sure I'll whip up bunches in wool blends!

I just discovered Isa's blog Owl Sisters, and I'm head over heels in love. I know several men who would wear this hat (minus the puff) and can't wait to see how it'll work up!

This one-cable hat has been on my needles on repeat lately! I've already had a few folks mention they'd like one of these for the holidays, and I'm more than happy to oblige!

Oh flecks of contrasting color, how I love you! Between this hat and the Bespeckled Hat I've been knitting lately, I'm sure to use up almost all my remnants by the end of the year!

A feminine hat, perfect for the "proper ladies" on my list - bwahahhah! A gorgeous hat to be sure, I know several women who will be receiving the Casteil Hat this year if I can pull it off!

I've never given a Cousteau hat to a man and had them complain!

With comments like "I'm not usually a hat knitter but this hat is perfect" under this hat's belt (and mine), you know I will be making this Joe Hat on repeat! Have you started making up your holiday "to knit" lists yet? What patterns will you be adding?

Jun 26, 2012

hats on people // Shannon Drake

Every bit of this project here made me happy, I must admit! Shannon Drake RULES social media - she's the founder of Justfab.com's social media department (with a community over one million members) and a freelance consultant at shantastical.com. How she finds time to do all this and still respond to personal e-mails (much less style herself so amazingly!) is beyond me, but there she is - a rock star!

When I contacted Shannon about knitting her a hat, she reminded me that in So Cal there isn't much need for actual warm weather attire. But as a fashionista, she had MUCH NEED for a to-the-minute turban to keep her stylish even when her hair wouldn't cooperate. Sorting through a few patterns, we settled on one we both hoped would work, and I got busy with some peachy yarn. Oh, to be this fashionable!!  

pattern: Winter Turban by Pickles  
yarn: Reynolds Kids Giggles, 2 skeins in burnt orange (which is actually perfectly peachy)  
needles: size US 9 / 5.5 mm straight needles

I will fully admit I was a bit leery of this pattern once I began to knit. Worked in a long straight piece, the turban is then sewn together around the shape of your head. As Shannon's head is half a country away from mine, I could only hope we were similar enough in size for the turban to fit. Thankfully, the turban is also made of a super forgiving stitch - it looks perfect on Shannon, as though I'd had a mold of her head available! I've loved working with Shannon!

Jun 25, 2012

bespeckled hats, weeks 2 and 3

i haven't forgotten my June/July challenge hats - i've just been having a harder time getting them off the needles than i thought i would! truth be told, i love this pattern. i love how the speckles look, especially now that i've branched away from just white speckles and on that light pink hat made black ones! i can't wait to add even more colors to the pile!

i've noticed one thing, however. i whip through the body of the hat at record speed, and then stall out at the decreases. i know exactly why - i'm used to knitting hats where the decreases are super simple and mindless. with this hat pattern, you have to focus on the decreases line by line, and every specked row has a different number of stitches between speckles. this means i can't mindlessly knit the decreases while watching television at the end of the day, or while reading a book. i have to actually look at the pattern, which apparently i want to do less than i'd realized! that knowledge in the bank, i've got renewed vigor with this pattern. this weekend alone i finished (finally!) the black hat with white speckles and both cast on for and finished the light pink hat with black speckles! i think that's a good trend, no?

Jun 20, 2012


radio silence over the last few days has been a nice change of pace. we've been playing like crazy, trying to forget that at least seventy teeth are currently coming in, and in the midst of all the fun to be had with Owen during the day I've been knitting up a storm.

a shop update is set to go live tomorrow at some point (depending on when Owen naps and i can get at the computer) and i'll post here as soon as it does!

summer is such a lazy time, yes? i'm hoping to curb that laziness with weekly shop updates as we all gear up for fall and hat weather (which i can't wait for personally)!

Jun 15, 2012


6.15 1
6.15 2
6.15 3
6.15 4
6.15 5
6.15 6
i love to use instagram (i'm "shemakeshats") - it's the perfect way to capture little moments of life. some days i take tons of shots, some days i totally ignore it, but i always love to peek back at my feed and glance at those bits of life that would go unnoticed otherwise.
like after-bath hair, or Bon Jovi's car at the zoo. playing trivia with dad or some of the many Toms i saw strolling around Chicago.
my hope is to continue to take photos like these, and at the end of the year turn them into a photo book via Blurb - they've got a way to slurp your photos and make it super user-friendly and simple to create a book of your little memories!

Jun 14, 2012

in love with goats

A few weeks ago, we took Owen to the zoo for the first time! He loved just about everything there was to see and do at the zoo - the carosel, the train, all the animals, and mostly people watching!

Our zoo has a little petting zoo area inside it, full of teenie goats for little kids to brush and feed and learn about. Owen took particular interest in one goat, and Zach got it all caputured with our camera!


Ridiculous! We're headed back soon with Owen's friend Jack, and we'll be sure to visit the goats again!

Jun 13, 2012

A Birthday List

Today I am 35!

Every year, I like to spend my birthday with as little fan fare as possible. Not a fan of surprises or being the center of attention, this means my birthday wishes tend towards pizza with my husband (and now our son, too!) and an action movie (current favorites include District B-13 and District B-13 Part Two: Electric Boogaloo - not it's real name).

However, 35 seems momentous somehow, and so even if I'm not going to paint the town varying shades of neon with 100 of my friends, dancing the night away, riding a party bus, or even playing lazer tag, I do want to celebrate it somehow.

In fact, I want to celebrate it by doing large, amazing, and crazy things.

 35 things:

  1. Get to hat #400.
  2. Read 10 new books. Start with the books already on my Kindle.
  3. Knit myself a cardigan.
  4. Knit Owen a sweater.
  5. Finish Zach's sweater, already!
  6. Bears hats (red hat in top photo) for Spencer and little Mr. Pace.
  7. Husker hats (blue hat in second photo) for Owen and Jack.
  8. Watch the 25 movies of Christmas (as listed out by Zach and I).
  9. Finish the pair of socks I currently have on the needles. I ended up ripping the sock out and using the yarn to make a hat.
  10. A hat a month for Screen Caps.
  12. Sparklers with Owen on NYE.
  13. Farmers Market. Seriously, it's far beyond time.
  14. Sledding with Owen.
  15. Durham Western Heritage Museum. Because seriously, it's time.
  16. Dress-up date.
  17. Camp out in the family room together during the Olympics again. (no pics, but we slept downstairs during the entire first week)
  18. Finish Lego Harry Potter 1 to 100%.
  19. Finish Lego Harry Potter 2 to 100%.
  20. Own a new winter coat.
  21. Get to 40 hats for Hats On People.
  22. Knit every hat pattern written by Jane Richmond. Finished: Aesderina | Amelia | Autumn | Autumn Leftovers | Bailey | Begbie | Christopher | Earflap Hat | Elizabeth | Jane | Joe | Kathleen | Pasha | Renfrew
  23. Ridiculously large granny square blanket for the bed.
  24. Fill the bedroom with balloons for his birthday.
  25. Fall Husker game.
  26. Spring Game with Owen.
  27. Burger tour through Omaha.
  28. Attend a fiber festival.
  29. Knit myself two pair of socks.
  30. Complete 26 crafty projects (from my Get Crafty board on Pinterest for starters).
  31. 34 charity: Water hats!
  32. Plant something that doesn't die a week later.
  33. House a home.
  34. 25 more hats for Hats For Sailors.
  35. Xmas ornaments for each family in our family.
As I accomplish each of these things I'll be heading back here and crossing them off. Oh, and I'll be blogging about them too, I'd imagine. Let the fun begin!

Jun 12, 2012

tee shirts from onesies

It's such a crazy thing to realize how big your kid is getting! Recently Owen started growing out of all of his summer pj's ... before summer is even here!

We didn't want to just run out and pick up new jammies though. He's got tons of sweat pants and pj-pants that still fit him, and all he really needed were some short sleeved jammie shirts to make it all work.

What we lacked in shirts we more than made up for with white onesies, though. Perfect for layering in colder months, we don't put him in plain white tees very often when the weather gets super warm. I unpacked the sewing machine (I can't believe how long it's been since I've used it!) and in less than 30 minutes Owen had five new pajama tees in his collection!

Step 1 // Start with your onesies. Mine came in a five-pack.

Step 2 // Cut the bottoms off each, and iron the ends up. I folded the bottoms up twice, so there wasn't a rough edge inside the onesie.

Step 3 // Before sewing, I double-checked the length against one of Owen's long-sleeve pajama shirts.

Step 4 // Sew, sew sew! I only ran one straight line around each onesie - looking back, I should have done two straight seams, but no big deal!

Step 5 // Snip all your ends! I like to wait until the end to do this, as I'd rather just take one trip to the trash can than five!

Step 6 // I ironed the seams down one last time, just because I was so excited they turned out so well!
While I can't wait for Owen to reach the age when we can just purchase white tees for him to sleep in with  his pj pants (just like dad), I'm super proud that these turned out. It's been years since I sewed anything, and this simple project definitely got me excited to sew more, and soon!

Jun 11, 2012

a most bespeckled hat // week one

Oh, how I am loving working on these Bespeckeld Hats! I cast on for the first hat while on the road between Omaha and Chicago. Yes, I was a few days early, but I knew I had to get one on the needles fast, so I'd have something to work with in between family functions. There wasn't as much time to knit as I thought there was, and so I've only gotten these two hats done so far. I love knitting this hat however, and I can't wait to whip up a few more in the next week! In addition to sharing these hats I've made in the last week or so, I also have the pleasure of sharing an interview I did with Alex, the designer of A Most Bespeckled Hat!  

You've been a knitwear designer since 2006. At what point did you realize this could be a full-time gig?

Hmm... that's a good question. I started off selling finished hats and scarves on etsy, and it rapidly became apparently that the profit margin on that kind of thing is pretty...sad. So I started selling the patterns as well. I don't think it was until Ravelry came along that I realized there could actually be a big enough market to make it a career- Ravelry really changed the game for indie designers. But it's always been iffy whether or not it could truly be a full-time gig- even now, I'm not sure it's sustainable. I keep my cost of living really low at the moment, but at some point I'm going to need things like "my own health insurance" or "a new car because the old one died", haha.  

What's your favorite type of pattern to design? Favorite type of yarn to use?

It's probably obvious, but I gravitate towards hats. They're generally one size and take one or two skeins (which is fortunate, since most of my impulse buys are just a skein or two.) There's no "second sock syndrome" like with socks or mittens, and I can use heavier weight yarns than I would with most shawls. Cowls are fun too, but I wear hats more often. Favorite type of yarn... I like squooshy, soft, worsted weight wools, preferably with some good, subtle color depth. I use a lot of Malabrigo, obviously, and I love Madelinetosh's colors as well.

 If you weren't designing knitwear, what would you love to be doing?

That's something I've been thinking over a lot, actually. I don't think I'll ever stop knitting, but I think I'll probably follow up on another passion or two at some point- the trouble is that I have too many completely unrelated interests. I'm toying with the idea of proper fashion design, or maybe doing more writing or blogging. I've considered going back to school for marketing or to get a further psychology degree, but I don't like the idea of being saddled with major loans and having to take a job I don't love to pay them off. Some days all I want to do is live in the wilderness and have a herd of goats and make cheese... others I want to live in NYC and take photos of people's outfits. It's a problem.  

When you knit for others, what do you like to make? Do you have any go-to patterns?

Heh, I'm afraid I don't knit for others, much- usually just a few hats each Christmas. Generally I'll make something really basic and relaxing, like a plain old stockinette hat in some handspun yarn (which is tough to use in designs, so I save it for non-work knitting) with some buttons or a giant pom pom. Occasionally I'll use it as a test run for design ideas- Catacomb's prototype was a hat for my father-in-law. I don't often use other people's patterns, though I have a list a mile long of ones I'd like to find time for. Someday, someday...  

Your CAF blog looks like so much fun! What's your favorite non-knitting crafty outlet?!

Well, judging by the blog, it's "gluing glitter to things", haha! I haven't done that in awhile but now that it's warm and I can glue outside again, it'll be back, I'm sure. I recently took an online painting class, and that's been fun, though it's always a little frustrating for me to be at a "beginner" level with something. I need to learn to push through and put in the practice to actually get good at it. I've also gotten way into the nail polish trend, though I don't know if that really counts as crafty.

Don't forget, you can get 10% off the A Most Bespeckled Hat pattern when you purchase it using the code "IMAKEHATSTOO"!

Jun 7, 2012

force of nature

Crawling owen
Owen on the stairs
Oh, child of mine. You are, without a doubt, a force of nature.
In five days you learned to sit up while laying down, crawl, pull up to standing, cruise along furniture, clap, and got your second tooth.
Then you decided to tackle stairs, aiming directly for daddy's drill.
Now you are climbing up the baby gate, and pulling yourself over the edge of your crib to play with the curtains.
I had no idea three weeks ago what this would be like, following you around the house for hours at a time while you pull yourself up on everything, play with your toys, pause to eat, and then repeat. It's exhausting, quite honestly - but in the best way!
I spend my days in awe of you ... and my nights playing catchup with all the things I used to do while you sat quietly(ish) and played with toys. Now I can't turn around for two seconds or you're in the trash can trying to find treasure.
We have placed bets as to when you'll start walking. I think by mid-July you'll be toddling all over and my days will get even more crazy.
I am in awe of mothers with more than one child. How do they do it? You are all I can handle, that's for sure!
Child of mine, foce of nature.

Jun 4, 2012

owen and the drums


Drums collage
We just got back from five days in Chicago, visiting my family. So much fun, and so many photos!
I'll be sharing bits of our trip over the next week or two (amidst giveaways, hats, and more!) but for now, I had to share these.
Grandpa C took it upon himself to teach Owen how to play the drums, and he loved it! He's been wielding his drum sticks as weapons ever since, and we couldn't be happier. Seriously - we love that he loves to make music, and love how much he loves his family and everything they do with him.
Already missing our Chicago family bunches!

Jun 1, 2012

the June and July hat: A Most Bespeckled Hat!

I'm super excited to share the hat I'll be working on for June and July ... A Most Bespeckled Hat by Alexandra Tinsley! While I managed to work through bunches of my smaller bits of yarn in May, I've got bunches of remnants hanging out in a fun clear glass jar in our dining room - not enough to make even a baby hat, the colors don't go together enough to make a striped hat, and so I'm going to use them up making as many Bespeckled Hats as I can!

The Most Bespeckled Hat pattern is super customizable, but I'll be doing my best to stick with the pattern as written. I love that it comes with a fold-over brim for extra warmth, and that the pom is made in the contrasting color. Because we've got big plans to lounge by the pool at my mom's apartment complex as much as possible this summer, I'm combining June and July as far as charity knitting goes.

I still aim to knit at least 10 hats per month towards my charity goals, but by giving myself two months to knit up this hat instead of just one, I'm hoping to work through more of my stash, build up a big box of hats for the Chicago Food Pantry and still have plenty of lazy days. Yep, the charity we'll be making hats for in June and July is again the Chicago Food Pantry. I'm just blown away at all the need, and so I'm focusing my efforts for a few more months in the hopes that I can get as many hats for those kids as possible!  


Because last year, over 1,000 kids used the services of this specific Chicago Food Pantry, the need is super great for hats again this year. I'd love to have you join in with me and knit some hats for these kids! To entice you to join in on the fun, I'll be offering up a few fun surprises throughout the month - think giveaways, incentives, and more!

Even more exciting, Alexandra is offering up a 10% discount on the Most Bespeckled Hat pattern for folks who will be joining me in knitting it up for charity during June and July! Simply head to Ravelry and the A Most Bespeckled Hat pattern page, and when you purchase the pattern use the code "IMAKEHATSTOO" to receive 10% off on the pattern. The coupon code will be good until June 14th, so you've got some time to decide if you want to join in on the fun!