Jan 30, 2015

Out And About

Earlier this week, I put pig-tails in Lou's hair, and suddenly she looked like a teenager to me. At the very least, like a toddler or a pre-schooler. It's still hard to believe this little nugget, barely 5 pounds when she was born, is about to be a year old!

Next month will be full of birthday party planning, and hopefully more learning to walk; she's "this close" to running around after Owen, and while I can't wait for her to reach that milestone, I know that once she does I won't be sitting down for at least a month.

We plan to spend our weekend acting like gorillas (Lou loves to pound on her chest like a primate!) and building train tracks around the entire house. While we do that, here's some fun links from around the internet for you to read! Have a great weekend!

Humans Of New York proves time and again there is so much good in the world. But this? This takes the cake!! They are helping change the lives of some amazing scholars and their educators, in one of the hardest neighborhoods in New York City.

I have serious googly eyes for the scarf half of the Freckles Scarf and Hat set from Ewe Ewe!

I love that Natalie is so in love with her city; I especially love Huck's hat in this post!

Speaking of Natalie, her openness in talking about her fertility journey is so inspiring. I feel you, sister.

Perennial is gorgeous!

I love Rebecca's honesty and openness about her marriage after ten years.

Once again, Kelli's feminist Christian take is spot-on.

Another capsule closet project. But this one has a list of where you can donate your unwanted clothes, one place for each state! Well done, Erin!

Oh my gosh, Karen managed to get some Hole and Sons yarn!!!

Jan 29, 2015

some time at the park





I know, I know. It's sort of douchey to be posting photos of kids in light coats with no hats in January, when so much of the East Coast is covered in snow. Here in Omaha, we've had a few days with near-record highs, and so we've been taking full advantage.

We've been trying our hardest to go out and about as much as possible the last few days, because our temps are supposed to drop dramatically this weekend. So of course we went to the park.

Lou got to go on the slides for the first time, and clearly she was not impressed. She did, however, squeal and giggle the entire time she was on the swings, especially when Owen would shout "WHEE!!!" at the top of his lungs in an effort to make her giggle even harder.

And yes, I know he's over 3. And we're working on pumping our legs.

While he may still prefer to be pushed on the swings, Owen is a huge fan of climbing all the things on the slides, giving me minor heart attacks at every turn. He befriended a boy a year older than him, and that boy's dad and I chatted about the fear we parents have.

I watch him climb and jump, and part of me thinks this next time will be the one where he falls and breaks something. But I let him go, standing farther and farther away until I'm nowhere near him, and he makes it up just fine every time. Because of course he does. Because that's what he's built for right now, to climb and jump and give me minor heart attacks. And then he stands at the top, looks for me, and shouts, "I DID IT  MAMA! DID YOU SEE?!"

And my heart melts, and I shout back, "I DID SEE! YOU DID IT!! I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!" Because I did see, and I am so proud. I've never been prouder of him, of us, of this life we live.

Jan 28, 2015

the first box for Syrian refugees

A few weeks ago I shared about the Salaam Cultural Museum, and how they are collecting items to send to Syrian refugees. My plan was to knit up bunches of hats and send them over, a box at a time. And then I got all busy making other hats, and didn't get a single hat into the box I'd set up.

Then last week, I decided it was time to do some clearing out; specifically, clearing out the stash of baby hats I'd been holding onto from when I made and sold baby hats on Etsy. It's been long enough now, it's time to let those hats go to some babies who can use them.

This photo contains 47 baby hats (and one pair of newborn baby pants) that I boxed up and sent. While these aren't newly made hats, they are handmade, and are donations, so I counted them towards my 10k goal. It definitely felt good to get them out of the house and on their way to some babies who will need them.

The next box I fill (and there will be more!) will contain hats of all sizes, shapes, and colors. But this box was just newborn sized hats. It makes me so sad that there's babies being born every day in refugee camps, so far from the homes of their families, with so little to help keep them safe and warm. These hats won't change the state of life for the babies, but it might give a bit of much needed warmth, and that's at least something.

I've already started adding Tiny Hearts Hats to the second box, and may need to re-think my "always ship priority mail because it's easier" approach this year; things could get expensive!

Jan 27, 2015

Flat Knit Hats For Babies And Kids


One of the questions I find I'm asked most often in the comments of my free patterns is how to make my hats knit flat instead of in the round. I haven't written any of my hat patterns with instructions for knitting flat because I am fully in love with my circular needles, but because so many knitters knit flat, I've got it on my list to re-write some of my patterns with instructions for both ways of knitting.

Because that's not probably going to happen any time soon, I'm going to share some flat knit patterns that should fit the bill while you wait! First up, flat knit hats for babies and kids.

Top Left: Aviatrix, by Justine Turner. (free Ravelry download) I've made bundles of these in the past, although I haven't made one in what feels like years. Might have to get back to it, as Lou is in the "rip all hats off my head" stage. It truly is one of the best baby hats I've ever used or gifted!

Top Right: Cool Wool, by Ekaterina Blanchard. (purchase through Ravelry) This pattern comes with instructions for both the cowl and the hat, with sizes to fit toddlers, children, teens and adults.

Bottom Left: Split Brim Toddler Hat, by Stranded Knitter. (free Ravelry download) I love that this hat is made using super bulky yarn; I can see it whipping off my needles, both for the toddlers in my life, and for charity donation! With just one size, it seems like this hat will actually fit a wide variety of kiddos, stretching from 17" to 20".

Bottom Right: Pilot Cap, by Theresa Belville. (for purchase pattern) This pattern features four sizes, from newborn through child, and is meant to give complete coverage for cold winter days. I've got this pattern saved in Ravelry and on my computer, but I'll admit I haven't knit it yet. 

Visit my Flat Knit Hats board on Pinterest for even more inspiration!

Jan 25, 2015

State Of The Blog, and An Informal Survey

(some hats I've knit recently)

Is January already almost over? I feel like I'm still trying to get myself out of 2014 with some semblance of my sanity intact! The past few weeks have been a blur of figuring out if I want to set goals for the next 12 months, scrambling around picking everything up off the floor before Lou puts it in her mouth, and trying desperately to keep my yarn stash from creeping downstairs bag by bag.

Over the weekend I had what feels, looking back on it, like some sort of manic episode, and I decided that I wanted to sell my hat patterns again instead of giving them away. And so I went ahead and undid weeks of work to make the patterns for free. Bad move. Almost immediately it felt like the wrong decision, and so all patterns are back to free, although they are available for download now instead of being shared in their entirety in the posts. I may go back and change that again, but for now all past patterns are download only.

All of this to say ... well, I don't know what exactly. I've been struggling these past few months as I try to think about where this blog sits in the bigger picture of everyday life. What started as a way to document my quest to give away 10,000 hats has become a dumping ground for so many other things as I've used Instagram to track my hats. It's so much more immediate and easy to just snap a photo and share it to that social media space, not having to think about crafting yet another post about the same hat I've made on repeat for three weeks straight.

And yet.

And yet, I miss this space, and what it used to be. I love sharing patterns here, and I toy with starting so many other fun projects in this space, but always pulling the plug at the last minute. Right now it feels like my time is best spent chasing after my kiddos, practicing our letters and slowly learning to walk and playing with trains and eating all the food in the house.

Hats get knit, they get photographed, and I work ever closer to my goal of 10,000. I've got a notebook full of patterns (or variations on patterns in some cases) that I plan to keep sharing here, one at a time, and for free.

But other than that, I'm not sure what to add to this space. So I'm turning it over to you. What would you like to see show up in this space? I know some folks like the link lists, and some don't. Some folks want me to share hat patterns knit flat (which I'm working on!) and some folks want less pattens all together. And I can guess at what all everyone would like to see and read and know, but I'd rather just hear it from you!

So please, I'd love to know! Comment to this post with your post ideas, or if you read this via e-mail, hit reply and share your thoughts! In the coming days, while I sift through all your comments and thoughts, hopefully I get bit by the writing bug again, and you'll see me back here more often with more than just patterns!

Jan 23, 2015

Valentine's Day Hats!

Left to right: Heart Hat for Baby, From Norway With Love, Hearts On Repeat, Not Your Valentine

Valentine's Day is just a few weeks away, which means it's the perfect time to wear hats full of hearts! I've got a few hat patterns I've been working on in anticipation for this fun day, and I'll be sharing those in the next few weeks. While I get those finished up, however, I can't help but share these great hats!

Visit my Valentine's Day Hats board on Pinterest for even more inspiration and patterns!

Jan 20, 2015

Out And About And My Facebook Page

EDITED TO ADD...

Thank you so much to Harper, who reminded me there's bunches of folks out there who don't use Facebook! I'd hate for all of you folks to not get the linky love because of your very amazing choice to stick off this type of social media, and so I'm revising this post.

While I will continue to share all my favorite links on Facebook, I think I will continue to share Out and About posts every Friday. I will be culling the links for these posts directly from the She Makes Hats Facebook page, so as to share the same links with everyone.



Over the last six months or so, I've irregularly shared some of my favorite links from around the internet via my Out and About column. I love sharing links in support of the people and things I love, but I'm realizing these lists have become only half-full. In truth, I'm pulling the links right out of my BlogLovin' feed, which is great except that's not always where I save the links I love.

I also have a Facebook page for She Makes Hats. One I've neglected off and on over the past few years, and when I have shown up I've used it for a wide variety of things. I've used it to promote my shop and  my newborn hats, and I've used it to promote charities I love. And I've totally ignored it for months at a time.

Until yesterday, when I realized it could be the perfect place for community, for sharing, and for all those links I love! I'm usually on my computer when I find something fun, and I always think I'll remember to mark it down for OAA columns, but I never seem to remember. Instead, I've been experimenting with simply sharing it to the She Makes Hats Facebook page, and so far it's been working like a charm!

So, while I love having the blog for sharing patterns as well as for yammering on (and on, and on) ... (and on) about hats and life, I love the immediacy and community that can happen on Facebook. So I'm going to give this a good try. I'll be posting here regularly still, of course, but I'll be sharing more over on Facebook. If you've got a Facebook profile, I'd love for you to head on over and "like" my page. I promise to only occasionally over-share links, though my goal is to share every blog post, as well as two to three links a day over there. So there will be sharing, hopefully just the right amount.

Like I said, I've only recently started to share, but I'm already loving the conversation that's happening. As an example, I've learned that UK and Australia knitters have totally different ways of classifying their yarn, so when I say I use worsted weight they're all WHAT THE??? Good to know, and now I can share a link that explains the differences! See, fun AND learning ..

Jan 12, 2015

While Knitting | Volume IV

Knitting doesn't happen in a vacuum here in SMH-land. Instead, I'm always reading something (thanks to my Kindle) or watching something (thanks to Netflix). Here's a short list of what I've been reading and watching lately.

So, I started this list before Christmas, and then the reading portion of my life got away from me as Lou got an ear infection that wouldn't quit. So I'm sharing these now.

READING
A Tale of More: The Complete Series, by Colin Wright. A young man stuck in a small town with a voice narrating his life (none too nicely, I might add) begins to see his life change as a film crew comes to town. Whisked off to LA, Cain finds life very different as he navigates not only the voices in his head, but the strange array of characters that begin to surround him. A bit sci-fi, this series of ten novellas looks at what might happen to the world if humans made a technological leap towards bettering ourselves by ... bettering our actual selves. Loved it!

WATCHING
Snowpiercer. Fueling my inappropriate obsession with Chris Evans, this dark movie tells the story of the haves and have-nots, riding a train around the world on repeat as the only survivors after environmental disaster. Good movie, hated the ending though.

Dr. Who. We're back to watching episodes, but are STILL only on season 4, so DON'T TELL ME ANYTHING. Love it, as always.

Gone Girl. Finally, Zach and I got to watch this! Now he's as much like WHAT THE WHAT?!?! as I am!

The Unknown Known. Interesting documentary about Donald Rumsfeld's time in politics.

Also, I'm almost done with Gilmore Girls. So there's that.

Jan 9, 2015

Out And About

Welcome to the first Out and About of the new year! After what felt like an incredibly slow start, we're finally starting to turn things around here in Casa SMH, and I couldn't be happier! Granted, Lou still has an ear infection (I fear she'll end up with the same issues Owen had), but we're powering through thanks to tons of pizza and snuggles.

This week's edition is packed full of fun links from around the knitting-verse, including a link to a new blog I started on a whim the other week - Harry Potter Knits! I'm obsessed with the Potter movies and books, and love how many knitting patterns people have written that nod to the clothes worn in the movies. My goal is to get screen captures of all those hand knit items from the movies, and link to patterns where I can find them. That way other Potter loving knitters can find the perfect pattern for their Potter knitting needs, and where there isn't a pattern already written, maybe someone will get inspired!

See you all Monday!

Super post on burning the candles.

Rebecca spent December re-posting some gems from the year, and this one, titled Sisterhood and Skateboards, is a favorite.

Once again, my brother Nick kills it with his reviews - Selma and American Sniper.

I love Joanna's Beauty Uniform series, and Audrey's might be my favorite yet!

I love the way the Yarn Harlot knits gifts as she goes, and tells us all about it!

Karen spent some time talking about her to-knit list, and I love it!

Elise shared all her small business resources on her blog this week!

Muhammad wept.

Do you screw up which direction to make your cables like I do? This little saying might help!

Jane Richmond shared her go-to hot chocolate recipe.

Jan 8, 2015

Baby Hat A Day 2015

For a very long time, I knit baby hats on repeat. I donated them to the hospital the entire time I was pregnant with Lou, I sold them in my Etsy shop (which is now on hiatus), and I made them for just about every person I know who had a new baby.

And then I had Lou, and I set down my needles almost completely for about six months. When I began to pick them back up again in earnest this past fall, I found myself knitting hats of all shapes and sizes, but for some reason those adorable newborn beanies just weren't making their way off my needles.

Enter a one leftover bit of Deborah Norville Everyday Worsted (seen in the hat above) and a plan I didn't think about for more than five seconds. I love using this yarn to make baby hats, as it does all the heavy lifting for you. Each hat ends up just a bit different, thanks to the self-patterning nature of the yarn, and because it's acrylic I can donate without worry!

For the past few days I've been working up baby hats - the first two with the leftover bits of the first skein, and now the one full skein I have in my stash of Deborah's amazing yarn.

My plan is to make one baby hat every day, or as close to that as I can get. Sometimes life gets in the way, of course, but if I can get a hat off the needles most days, the project will be a success! I was planning on using stash yarn for this, but as I watch the hats form from this gorgeous yarn, I'm wondering if I don't want to make them all from this self-patterning gorgeousness?! We shall see what my wallet says about that. Thankfully, baby hats use up such a small amount of a skein, I won't be hitting the yarn store too hard ...

I plan to share each hat on Instagram (hastag #babyhats2015) of course, and then will show up once a month with a round-up of the hats that made it off my needles that month. This means, look for an update in early February with all the January hats featured!

A few folks have asked if they can join in, and of course my answer is YES! Share your baby hats with the hashtag, and donate them to your local hospital! Between this project and making as many hats as I can for Syrian Refugees, I'm hoping to make several hundred hats this year, a new personal best for me and a great way to get myself closer to my goal of 10,000 hats for 10,000 people!

Jan 7, 2015

hats and more for war-torn Syria

You guys, I just can't even anymore. I feel like our world is in a constant state of violence and death, and it makes me ridiculously sad. This latest shooting, at a satirical magazine in France, reminds me once again that people focus on the wrong things. My friend Kelli said it best:

While men in black stormed the offices of this magazine with their weapons, shooting and killing with abandon — an actual storm is ravaging Syria, leaving millions of mostly Islamic refugees in peril. The news wires are full of photos of dead children — those who have frozen to death in the latest weather while hiding in icy refugee tents with their parents.

Healing the sick. Feeding the hungry. Housing the homeless. Loving the orphans and the widows and those who feel cast aside. Letting others you disagree with speak and trying to understand, rather than silence — this is how we should express our faith. This is how we should evangelize.

Love is how we show our character — regardless of who or what you worship.

There is a group on Ravelry, Hats And More For War-Torn Syria (see their Facebook page, as well) that aims to do something different. The group formed in 2013 with the goal to send a few packs of hats to Syrian refugees, and there was so much interest (and need) the group has continued to accept donations.

If you are in the US, you can send your items to:

Salaam Cultural Museum
℅ Rita
3806 Whitman Ave N
Seattle. WA 98103

Those outside of the US can send their items to:

Hats for Syria
C/O
Big Yellow Self Storage
Hand In Hand For Syria
20 Lenton Lane
Nottingham
NG7 2NR

Wool is preferred for all items, but the group says to use whatever you have available. I would suggest tagging your items for fiber content, so they know what your handmade items are made from.

Items are needed for everyone from infants through adults, and if you don't knit, you can also send purchased items. We've got a few winter coats Owen has grown out of, and I plan to include those in my package.

Whatever your religion, whatever your stance on the fighting going on, I ask you to stand with me for displaced people, who have lost everything. People who are dying from cold after having to flee their homes. I may not be able to change any of these things, but I can knit. And I can knit. And I can knit some more.

Jan 6, 2015

a slow start to 2015

I've loved seeing everyone jump headfirst into the new year. Over here, we're still sort of on vacation (vacation from what? not sure), which means staying in our pajamas as long as possible, watching too much television, and knitting away.

And of course, not blogging, it would seem. I'd finally gotten a bit of a groove with this old blog in December, and then Christmas hit, and I took a break before 2015 hit, and now it seems I'm having a hard time coming back from it all.

Not in real life, at least as much. The dishes are getting done, we took an impromptu trip to IKEA the other day with both kids, and we have clean clothes. I just can't seem to be bothered to hop on the computer and pound out some thoughts.

Rather than be concerned, I'm choosing to not think about it.

I have been knitting and crocheting like a mad thing, in the spare pockets of time I've found. I'm making some real progress on a crochet remnants blanket I'll be gifting a friend (more on that once it's done, I think), and sent off two belated holiday gifts to some lovelies in Montana.

I also decided to take on a daily project in 2015, even if I did decide it five days into the new year! I'm planning on making a baby hat each day in 2015, and documenting them on Instagram (hashtag #babyhats2015). I'll be donating all the hats to maternity wards here in Omaha, and will share a round-up post each month with photos of each of the hats I complete.

It's been snowing on and off, we're not super happy about the super cold temperatures, but then, we do live in a state that gets winter, so what else should we expect?! And how is your January going?

Jan 1, 2015

2015 is for giving

Man, 2014 sure did kick everyone's butts, didn't it?! I feel like half the people in my Instagram feed gave 2014 the middle finger on its way out the door - so much heartache, struggle, and strife fell during those 365 days.

But now it's 2015, and today is for looking forwards, for making plans, and for kicking off our goals right! For me, this means getting my first hat off the needles and for sharing a super fun thing.

Last year was all about simple for me, and while I think I did a decent job of letting simple seep into every stitch of my life, I also know there's still so much more to do. And so, for 2015, I'll be continuing my simple journey by focusing on GIVING. Giving of my time, giving hugs, giving away hats, and giving away patterns.

Last night, I started going through all the patterns on my blog (you can see most of them in the sidebar) and sharing them in full here on the blog. My goal is to have every single one of my patterns available for free by the end of the weekend.

You read that right, EVERY SINGLE PATTERN FREE.

I'll be working on some pattern collaborations in 2015, and I'm excited for some of those patterns to be available for purchase, but I decided about a month ago that I wanted the patterns I shared here on the blog to be free. And then I sat with the idea for as long as I could stand, to see if it was a fleeting thing, or if it was something that I truly wanted to do. And it definitely is something I truly want to do.

All those years ago in 2009, when I started knitting hats and giving them away like crazy, I shared everything for free. And then, a few years ago, I got caught up in the idea that I could not only make hats and give them away, but that it could become my job. I could make a living doing this! And while it's been fun exploring that, I've realized this last year that what I truly want to do is give things away. I don't have to earn money with my hats - in fact, I prefer not to!

So I'm going back to the way it was, to the original feel and theory behind all this hat business. Make hats, give them away, repeat. When I write a pattern, share it so others can make hats and give them away as well!

I'm shutting down the Etsy shop today (well, putting it on vacation, not closing it forever ...) so you can't buy patterns there anymore. And if you see a pattern you'd like to use, but it still has a price tag on it, wait a week. It will take time to go through and share all the patterns, so please be patient - I promise they will all be free soon enough!

For now, it's time to get out of these jammies, get our football game faces on, and watch the play off games with loved ones. Here's to a new year, new ideas, and new hats!!