A Hare Pair (Rabbit Hat by Jane Terrza)

IMG_4456I have had this ball of white-ish yarn (Oasis Farm Fiber Mill “Bunny Yarn”) in my stash for years. It’s tried to be a scarf a couple of times and, subsequently, frogged. I had set it aside because I didn’t know what it wanted to be. Until I saw the Rabbit Hat by Jane Terrza on Facebook one morning a couple of weeks ago.

I have two adorable nieces in northern California and I just HAD to make the Rabbit Hats for them for Easter!

I used the following yarns from my stash for the hats: Oasis Farm Fiber Mill Classic Bunny in white. I had two skeins that I wound into one huge cake. I used about half of the two skein cake for both hats. (Don’t you love knitting for children and babies?) I needed something pink for the inside of the ears in a similar weight. I had a skein of Lorna’s Laces Sportweight wool in a very pale pink (pale pink colorway, I think) that I won in a contest for a soapbox package. It was perfect!

First Hat

First Hat

The first hat was the larger of the two and I made it as the pattern was written with a kitchener stitch graft at the top of the hat and reverse stockinette on the inside of the ears (the pink part).

Reverse stockinette inside the ears

Reverse stockinette inside the ears

The pattern was easy to follow and the hat is adorable. The hat is knit in the round and the ears are knit in two pieces each from stitches placed on stitch holders. Once knitted, the ears are seamed. Easy enough.

What I found “awkward” was that all of the decreases for the ears were all done as K2tog. It seemed to me that the top of the hat could be more easily seamed with a 3 needle bind off rather than kitchener stitch and be nearly as pretty (and take a lot less time to seam). I guess it will be up to you to decide what you want to do but I wanted to share with you what I did with the second little hat for the baby sister!

Hat 2

Hat 2

I knit the hat just as the pattern was written. (I happen to love a little rolled brim on a hat!)

The changes that I made came in the top seam and the ears.

For the top of the hat, I did a 3 needle bind off. Next time I would turn the hat inside out first but I am not unhappy with the little seam on the top of the hat. I took a bit of time to adjust the stitches onto holders … I had to knit the first six stitches to get the yarn into the right place to bind off the top of the hat but otherwise, it was a cinch!

I knit the ears with a K2tog (knit two together) decrease for a right-leaning decrease on the left sides of the ear pieces and a SSK (slip slip knit) decrease for a left-leaning decrease on the right sides of the ear pieces rather than always using a K2tog decrease as written in the pattern. I think this looks a little bit prettier.  I also was thinking about treating the ear as one piece circularly and carrying the contrasting yarn across. I decided to seam them instead to save the yarn. (Hey! I am a Yankee at heart!)

Stockinette inside the ears … by mistake but it still looks cute.

Stockinette inside the ears … by mistake but it still looks cute.

Because it was the second hat, I wasn’t paying attention to the pattern directions and totally forgot about the reverse stockinette on the inside of the ears. As a result, they are stockinette stitch. And it’s fine. Bonus! I find the seaming easier this way.

Since I was using natural fibers, I steam blocked both hats and made sure the pink insides of the ears were “hugged” by the creamy white backs of the ears all around. I think they are adorable and can’t wait to see my little nieces wearing them!

A Pair of Hare Hats … blocked and heading to California!

A Pair of Hare Hats … blocked and heading to California!

Which one do you like best? The pattern can be found on Ravelry and is a minimal charge … buy the pattern and support the designer!

Gone knitting!

Button, Button. Who’s Got the Button

Basic Baby Raglan Cardigan Sweater

Basic Baby Raglan Cardigan Sweater

The adorable baby sweater is finished except for the buttons.

The pattern used a yarn over (YO) to make a small button hole and it’s a bit odd … thus, it’s going to be a challenge to find an adorable girly-not-too-girly button (times seven). I’ve tried several that I thought would work and they don’t.

Again. The pattern calls for a 3/4 inch button … they seem a little bit to big. And anything other than a smooth circular or near-circular button gets caught in the button hole. Grrrrr!

I am sure that I’ll win at this battle. I can always make my own buttons but I’d like to find something sweet for my niece-to-be.

I chose to use a Knit Picks yarn, Comfy Sport, which was wonderful to work with. I love the way it feels and the colors are great. Price point is very reasonable at and it’s washable. I think that knitted gifts for babies have got to be washable. You can check out the colors that I used on my Ravelry projects page.

This pattern was free on Ravelry and it’s a very simple knit. A beginner could certainly make it … especially if one made it in a single color. Stripes are not difficult but carry the yarn as you go because there would be a ton of ends to weave in if you don’t. With my three colors there were enough ends and I carried the yarn as much as I possibly could. I made the 3 – 6 month size. It required one ball of each color and there isn’t much yarn left. Once it’s blocked and buttons are sewn on, I’ll post another picture. I just need those buttons.

Anybody got any ideas?

Gone knitting.

 

Twin Baby Socks

One of each is a real blessing. I’ve decided to knit something for the babies and started with my favorite baby wash cloths … baby feet. I found some wonderful cotton yarn in Maine last summer. Ta! Da!

Lov this green!

Lov this green!

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And this salmon is fabulous!

To go with the wash cloths, I decided to make a couple pairs of booties but the pattern annoyed me (not sure if it was the pattern or me but it simply wasn’t working for me) so I went with the basic sock in baby size. I love the gray Cascade Eco Alpaca (100% baby alpaca) yarn. It’s a little bit “splitty” but so soft and will be so warm on those baby toes!

I wanted to have a little bit of “color” for the socks so I used an eyelet row to embellish the plain socks and allow me to add a bit of ribbon for the color (I went traditional this time but the new mom can change out ribbons if she wants). The eyelet row was simply a purl row, a row with a few yarn over, K2togs as evenly spaced as I could get it, and then another purl row. I’m really happy with the way that they turned out.

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They’re all wrapped and ready to be sent! I can’t wait to see pictures of the little ones wearing these socks!

Gone knitting!

 

 

Knitting and Miracles

My daughter wanted a pair of leg warmer for Christmas. Finding a pattern was easy. Finding yarn was easy. And when the sticks and string combined, magic was happening at my fingertips. At least until I realized that I had mis-read the pattern and hadn’t started the decreases early enough and the top of the leg fit me! (She is just a bit smaller than I am!)

So, I photographed them (because I liked the way the pattern was looking – and so did she!), frogged them and started again. The second time’s a charm, in this case.

With filter – Kate’s leg warmers

The pattern is Drops Designs leg warmers/yoga socks. For any of you who’ve knitted these patterns, they are not always easy to read. And this pattern is no exception. It’s important to read the pattern through a couple of times and knit mindfully. I “should” know better but raced into the pattern and realized that I had mis-read it too late! Anyway, iteration 2 went more smoothly and I have finished the first one! Yay!

Getting to the foot means that you’re almost half way done!

The yarn that my daughter chose is lovely colors and it’s wonderful to knit with … Madeline Tosh Sport in two colorways (I’ve posted about these before here). The colors are warm tones and the yarn has a wonderfully soft hand. Anyway – the first is done and the second is on the needles. This one will be copied from the first one – and will hopefully knit up more quickly that the first one (and I hope it’s only knit once!)

Meanwhile, we’ve had a couple of great miracles in the family. My younger brother and his wife welcomed a new little girl to the family on December 8. She’s beautiful. Perfect. A blessing.

Faye

I can hardly wait to kiss her and hold her. Her mom and papa are doing well and they’re bonding as a family. Faye joins four fur siblings. Guess I’ll be heading to California with my pups in the New Year!

With Papa! Happy Birthday!

Gone knitting!

We’re Growing! It’s a … ?

In late December I will become an aunt again. My younger brother (my nearly-Irish-twin brother, sixteen months my junior brother) and his wife are having a baby! Their first.

The last time one of my brothers’ had a new baby, it was my youngest brother who has not quite hit the big 5-0 yet … and his youngest is into the double digits!

My brother and sister-in-law have waited a long time for this baby (relative to their chronological ages) and it’s going to be a great occasion when he/she is born.

So what does that mean for our family?

Joy! Growth. Gratitude. A reminder of what is really important!

While we have had our relationship ups and downs, we’re all “older” enough that we realize how lucky we are to have each other. We all have friends who have lost family members. We have all lost our parents. We cherish every minute together and we make time to be together. As you may remember, we’ve added a new brother and sister and their respective families into the fold in early 2009 and we’re still reveling in that new addition. We’ve added two great-nephews, too. And now, again, we’re growing!

Family means the world to me. In a perfect world (at least in MY perfect world), we’d all live within a short walk of each other. But the world is far from perfect and we’re spread all over the map (U.S. map, anyway!) California, Louisiana, Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Florida … none particularly close to the other but today we’re closer than ever. Because I’ve not been working for someone else, I’ve been privileged to travel to each of my brothers’ homes and to my children’s’ homes, too, in the last year. Last summer all the brothers and their wives and some of the kids and one of my kids and their dogs all took part in the Messalonskee “Camp Smedley” R&R week. 13 people, 8 dogs. And we hardly ever left the campus!

This new baby will join aunts, uncles, cousins, fur-family, grandparents … a couple of generations of family who love him or her already. Just because his/her parents love each other and because we all love them. That’s what family is about, isn’t it? Loving each other as we are and holding each other up when we’re down. Leaning on each other. Accepting, sharing, laughing, making time to be together.

Gone knitting!

 

Lost & Found

I lost my 40″ circular needle wire (with some points on it) and was having difficulty knitting the booties that I wanted to start. wanting to make I’m not sure I’ve ever made booties before and wasn’t sure how the process went … consequently, my super long cord was essential to the project. I searched my entire Atelier to no avail. But yesterday after my Michael’s knitting demo, I searched for a third time and voila! I found the needle! An Easter miracle the day before Easter?

I got the first bootie cast on and finished now. It’s cute. I’ve used a pattern that I found on Ravelry but I’ve changed it up a bit – as a knitter has a tendency to do. So, one little bootie is finished. Three to go! (And I have to make a couple of pompoms for the matching hats, too.)

Haven’t moved much on the first of three (or more) baby blankets but those aren’t “due” until summer. And I have all the days of driving north … it’s almost time again!

It’s a beautiful day here in Florida. Great Easter egg-hunt weather and I’m sure kids all over are having a joyous day. I have such fond memories of the egg hunts at our house when the kids were little (and not so little) and one failed hunt when I decided to fill the kids’ baskets and hide the baskets. That never happened again (though the baskets were a success!)

Gone knitting!

Free Knitting Pattern (and a little lesson)

You may (or may not) know that I had my French daughter, her husband and baby boy here for a visit. We’d not seen each other for more than ten years and it was a wonderful reunion. I am continually amazed by how you can reconnect with people with whom you’ve lost touch over the years and, if they’re also willing, can start over where you left off!

It was as if no time had passed. (Well, except for the fact that she found a husband and has a baby!) We laughed and cried, ate, talked, shopped … a trip to TJ Maxx, Walmart and Wendy’s were some highlights. At Wendy’s N taught “la boulette” to dip his fries in ketchup! To watch a really cute short video, click here: bouletteatw

Happy Boulette bathes in the kitchen sink!

When it came time to put them on the airplane, the tears were just like those shed in years past. I’d “forgotten” how much I love “my kids” and how much it hurts to say “good bye”. But at the same time, how wonderful is it that I have this little family that isn’t really mine but feels like it!? And I know we’ll be together again (hopefully, soon!)

Bet you thought that I’d forgotten the free knitting pattern, didn’t you?

Nope! Here it is! This is perhaps an ugly blanket because I had to use yarn that I had here and it was very last minute when I realized that a warm blanket was going to be needed – badly needed!

“La Boulette” Blanket (an Original Queen Bee Knits design)

Needles: size 15 circular needle (or larger or smaller to fit your yarn)

Yarn: Vanna’s Choice by Lion Brand 4 skeins, knitted with yarn doubled throughout. (Note: this is a very simple blanket, knitted on the bias. It will make a square blanket and could be knit with ANY yarn and needles appropriate to the yarn weight. Just knit as in the pattern directions until it’s the width that you want and then start the decreases! Easy!)

Blanket Directions:

Cast on 4 sts.
K2, YO, K to end
Turn and K2, YO, K to end of row
Repeat these two rows (which are actually identical) until the blanket is the width that you want.

Middle

K2, YO, K2tog, K to end of row
Turn
Repeat the last row three times more (total of four rows)

now it’s decrease time!

K2, YO, K2tog, knit to 4 sts before end of row, K2tog, K2
Turn
Repeat the last row until there are 4 sts on the needles (decreasing one stitch in each row)
Cast off 4 sts
Weave in all ends

And here’s the little lesson …

How do you count rows when you’re knitting all rows (otherwise known as stockinette stitch)?

Counting Rows for Stockinette Stitch

Each “pair” of bumps, one looks like it arches up like the letter “u” and the other arches down, is a row. In this photo, there are five bump pairs which means that you’ve knitted ten rows … hunh? you say? Yes, you’ve knitted ten rows because there is a corresponding bump on the back of the fabric, too. For each row you see on one side of the fabric, there is a bump on the other side of the fabric when you knit “back”. See what I mean?

Try knitting a few rows. Yup, take out your needles and a single strand of yarn (the sample above is a double strand of yarn). Cast on about 20 stitches and knit across them. Then knit back again. Now … look at what you have. You’ve knitted two rows and there are two “pairs of bumps” one on the right side and one on the wrong side.

If you don’t get it, comment on this post and I’ll illustrate further!

But for now, I’ve gone knitting!