Knitting, crafting, cooking, and motherhood… trying to do it all!

Posts tagged ‘hat’

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Crochet the Day Away

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A few weeks ago, I was approached by a local photographer.  She offered an exchange of services.  If I helped her create some newborn baby props (hats, bows, etc.) for her studio, she would offer me a photo credit toward a newborn photo session.  I agreed and took a break from the knitting to crochet some items for her.  One of the pixie hats is knit, along with the strand of the bow.  Two of my sons agreed to “model” the pink pixie hat.  All the rest of the items are crocheted, so I thought I’d share some pictures.   I can’t wait to see them appear on some babies in her studio! These are only a few of the items, so you may see another post in the future!ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Jogless Stripes and More Baby Accessories

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I finished the blue ribbed hat, but wanted something a little cuter for my new little guy, and also wanted to challenge myself with stripes.  I had learned through one of the YouTube videos I watched that you had to do something special to create stripes while knitting in the round.  I did not remember the technique, but did remember that it wasn’t too complicated.  I found a pattern through ravelry that had some of the basic shaping of the hat I wanted, but it used a needle size that I didn’t have and I wanted to make changes to the pattern anyway.

I used my previous knowledge of hat making (from both knit and crochet– I have crocheted over 100 hats in the past couple years) and the ideas in the ravelry pattern to design my own knit hat pattern.  I once again utilized the Magic Loop, which has become one of my favorite knitting techniques.  I also utilized YouTube videos to create jogless stripes on this little boy’s hat.  While I can’t explain how to do a jogless stripe, I can tell you that it’s not hard.  In fact, the hardest part is remembering to do it when you start the second row of a new color.  This pattern also used PSSO, which is a techinque involving Passing Slipped Stitch(es) Over a knit stitch.  I slipped the stitches purlwise, but learned in subsequent hats that it worked better to slip them knitwise.  The PSSO technique can be seen in the raised stitches in the picture below.

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The pattern I created ended up with an adorable little star pattern on the top.  I made some adjustments to my own pattern, and in the next few weeks created hats for two different friends’ baby showers.  One couple is Jamaican, so I used the colors of the Jamaican flag.  The other couple are both professors at Indiana University, so I used the IU Hoosier colors of crimson and cream.  Once again, I need to write up my version of the pattern because I plan to use this for many baby showers to come!

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After creating the jogless stripes of the baby hat and creating my own newborn hat pattern, I decided to try it with socks.  I had already made a few adjustments to the baby sock pattern I had previously used, but now I wanted to change it completely and make it my own.  I still used the worsted weight yarn and the size four DPNs, but now I wanted to continue the ribbed pattern all the way down the heel and use my newly-learned skill to add jogless stripes and colored toes to the socks.  It took a little bit of work to figure out the right number of rows/stitches to achieve what I wanted, but I was SO happy with the results.

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As you can see, one of the colored toes ended up longer than the other, and there are a few other minor differences.  This is because I was more focused on improving my own pattern rather than making them identical.  I love the green and blue cotton yarns, and look forward to mixing and matching these socks with the blue baby sweater and the two different baby hats.  Now to make another baby sweater in the green…

Newborn Hat and the Magic Loop Method

To complete a “going home from the hospital” ensemble for my newborn, I wanted to make a knit hat to match the sweater and socks.  For my last baby born (Jonathan), I had brought along an adorable crocheted hat for him to wear instead of the standard pink and blue striped hat they put on the babies (see pic below with Adrian holding Jonathan).  One of the nurses commented that, “these hats that Grandma makes are cute, but they’re just not warm enough for these new babies,” and promptly switched out my handmade creation for the hospital hat.  At the time, I was too worried about the fact that I was letting my baby’s head freeze to be offended.  This time, however, I decided to come to the hospital with a snug little KNIT hat.  Hopefully it’s acceptable to the nursing staff!

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I kept the same worsted weight cotton yarn and found a perfectly simple newborn hat pattern through ravelry.  The Little Boy Blue Ribbed Baby Hat was just what I wanted.  I could use the same blue yarn as I had used for the hat and sweater and by being created with lots of ribbing, it would be warm, stretchy, and comfortable.  Because you never know how big the baby’s head will be, it’s important for the hat to be very stretchy and the extended length could easily be folded into any size brim.

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The one problem with this pattern was that it called for size 7 needles.  I had size 8 and didn’t want to invest in the 7s, so I did some math and adjusted the pattern.  I basically just reduced the pattern by 12 stitches and skipped “Rnd 11” in the pattern.  I started this pattern using the DPNs.  While these are perfectly fine for knitting a newborn hat, the pointy needles kept poking my big, pregnant belly.  I watched a YouTube video on the Magic Loop method, and I was sold!  (Side note: I have found that VeryPinkKnits makes some consistently easy to follow YouTube tutorials.)  The Magic Loop method allows you to knit in the round without filling up the entire circular needle.  In fact, you start with very large circular needles (32″ or greater) and then shift the stitches back and forth along the needles.  This was a much more comfortable method for small-circumference knitting, and learning how to do it helped me in many future projects.

The project went rather quickly, and I ended up with an adorable (and very versatile) WARM hat for my newborn son!

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Learning to Knit

As I mentioned in my previous post, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to learn how to knit.  Having been an avid crocheter for 20+ years, the idea of using two straight needles completely baffled me.

I started by looking through some various books and kits my mom gave me for Christmas.  I looked at all the beautiful hand-knit clothing and made a goal to knit myself a sweater by next winter.  I started watching YouTube videos.  I watched quite a few tutorials before even picking up the needles, just so I could see the variety of styles and explanations.  There was one tutorial in particular that made the connection for me… a knitter who used the same left-handed tension hold that I use while crocheting.

After seeing the techniques used by several different people, I read through the “Learning to Knit” booklet I had received as a present.  I picked up my needles and started.  After trying a few rows (which involved restarting a couple times), I posted a picture of my garter stitch on facebook and asked for encouragement and comments from fellow knitters.  This was extremely helpful.  It allowed me to find a number of friends who had a variety of experiences knitting.  It also gave me confidence to keep going.  Here is the pic I posted:

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When I decided I was fairly comfortable with the knit stitch, I watched several videos and read my knitter’s manual to learn how to cast/bind off.  This was tricky (and is still one of my least favorite parts of knitting), but I managed to do it.

Next, I did my video-watching/manual-checking and moved onto the purl stitch.  This one was not as fun as the knit stitch and certainly took more practice.  The exciting thing, though, was once I had purled a swatch and cast off, I got to try STOCKINETTE stitch.  For all of you non-knitters, this is the beautiful v-shaped pattern that you think of when you think about knitting.  I have always been mesmerized by it and wanted so badly to be able to do this.  Now that I was somewhat comfortable with both knit and purl stitches, all it took was a row of each to make that beautiful pattern!  This was definitely the most exciting thing I accomplished on day 1 of knitting.  From here, I could go anywhere!

The next day, I decided to try out a pattern.  I wanted to make something small so I could avoid frustration if I had to start over and so that any mistakes I had made (and had not learned how to undo) would not be a big deal.  I scoured the internet for free patterns using a google search and found a newborn hat pattern.  It was perfect!  It was knit flat and then seamed, so I wouldn’t need to know how to knit in the round.  It utilized ribbing, which was new to me (but seemed easy enough).  It was mostly comprised of stockinette stitch (my favorite!).  I would also have to learn how to do a mattress seam to put it together.  This was important because it would not only use skills I already had (sort of), but I would have to learn something new as well.  Also, on a more practical note, I was six months pregnant so having a newborn hat ready for my new little one would be perfect!

So… I began.  I spent the day working on the hat in my spare time.  Luckily, my two older boys like to watch me knit and I could tell them about the process.  In fact, they took turns sitting next to me learning to crochet while I worked on this particular pattern (neither of them made it past the chain stitch, FYI).  They also spent a lot of time entertaining themselves while my littlest one took a nap.

By the end of the day, I had a hat.  More importantly, I had completed my first knitting project and had an adorable little hat for baby boy #4!  I posted the picture on facebook, to the amazement of all my knitting friends who had just seen me asking for knitting advice the day before.  I was excited that I learned so fast (which I mostly attribute to all my crochet experience) and was proud that I had created something by being a “knitter” (as opposed to being “just” a mom).

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For all of you out there learning to knit, I would not expect it to come quite as easily (although I really hope it does!).  My advice is to do your research before you start.  YouTube videos and knitting manuals can be invaluable before you even pick up your needles.  Start with cheap yarn and medium sized needles.  I used “I Love this Yarn” brand yarn from Hobby Lobby and size 8 needles.  The yarn is cheap (especially with that 40% off coupon), washable, easy to manage, and does not split as you are knitting.  Set small goals for yourself, but try to make every goal include learning experiences!  Most of all: good luck, have fun, and don’t give up!  It’s not always easy and it definitely takes some determination, but in the end you will be so proud of what you have accomplished!

I’d love to hear about your experiences, so feel free to leave me a comment!