Sunday, February 22, 2015

Preemie Hats

So my best friend's youngest brother and his wife are having twins, who will (of course) be a bit premature. Me being me, I decided to whip up a few hats and of course couldn't find a simple pattern I liked, so it was time to wing it. Courtesy of a wonderful chart, I came up with the following:

Hats for the twins

1 skein Red Heart Gumdrop - Grape colorway (1 skein will make 6 hats with a bit leftover)
H hook
Gauge is unimportant because measurements are what matters
Special stitch: Linked DC

Note: ch 2 does not count as a stitch. Do not turn at the end of each round.

Row 1: Chain 3, 12 dc into the 3rd chain from hook. Sl st to the first dc, ch 2. (12 dc)
Row 2: 2 dc in each stitch around, sl st into the first dc, ch 2. (24 dc)
Row 3: *1 dc in the first stitch, 2 dc in the next; repeat from * around. Sl st to the first dc, ch 2 (36 dc)

Measure across the circle. It should be about 3" - 3.5". If it's smaller than 3", rip it out and try again using an I hook. If it's bigger than 3.5", rip it out and try a G (4mm) hook unless you're making a hat for a newborn.

Row 4: dc in each stitch around, sl st in first dc, ch 2. (36 dc)
Rows 5 - 8: Repeat row 4
Row 9: if you don't feel comfortable doing the linked dc, just do a dc in each stitch around, sl st to first dc and Fasten off. Otherwise, do a linked dc in each stitch around, sl st to the first linked dc and fasten off.

The hat measure about 4" - 4.5" from crown to brim.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Once again

I really don't know why I bother with blogs. I never keep up with them and they just sit there collecting dust in cyberspace.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Taking a chance

I did a "scary" thing today. I applied for a job that is dependant on my writing and organizational skills.

First let me say, I love crochet sites that have oodles of information and patterns on them. To me they're the "one stop shop" of the crafting world.'s crochet site has just that. I've been using that site on and off (generally at least once or twice a month if not more) since the days when it was "the mining company"... I think that url was or I just know they've always been one of the main resources in my crafting life.

So today when I went there to glance at a granny square pattern as a refresh for a project I'm working on, I saw something surprising. The guide evidently resigned and they're looking for a new one. I read through the qualifications and have to admit, I'm under qualified in some ways. I've never been published, I've only taught a handful of people on a one to one basis, I've never done anything quite like the guide job before. However, there's a couple places where (not to brag) my qualifications soar. I've been crocheting most of my life and that now equals a respectable 33 years of crocheting. I've also gotten very good at being able to look at a pattern and "translate" it into a different size.

There's a crafter who designed these wonderful double-thick reversible winter hats. However, her pattern is only sized for adults. 99% of what I make anymore is made for children, so an adult sized hat wasn't going to work. By doing a bit of math and finessing with hook sizes, I was able to come up with a toddler sized version of her pattern. The kids who've gotten the hats love them, as do their parents.

So, now it's a matter of waiting to see what the powers that be at are going to say about all this. If I'm lucky, they'll give me a chance. If not? Well, what's the the worst they can say that I don't already realize?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

That time of year again

I can't believe I'm already starting on Christmas crafts... it's not even November yet!! However, when one has 7 stockings to complete before an undetermined date in December, then I probably should have been working on them weeks ago.

This all started last year. A dear friend, who is too familiar with my penchant for yarn and hook, gave me one of those quizzical looks and said "If I hand you something crocheted, do you think you could recreate it?" Well, I'm always game for a challenge so I said I'd try. She hands me a Christmas stocking that her grandmother had made for her 20 some years ago. It's been washed a multiude of times and has fallen prey to felting a bit over the years but one thing was screamingly obvious about it, it was made of granny squares. Piece of cake! She'd asked someone else a couple years ago if they could deconstruct it and come up with a pattern that she could then follow. She handed me the card. Ugh. You know you're dealing with someone unused to granny squares when they have as the first line "chain 12, join with slip stitch to first chain to make a loop". The directions were fine, the problem was the number of chains. Making the loop you'd be crocheting into 12 chains long and then only wanting to put 11 - 12 dc in it is just asking for huge gaping trouble. ...not to mention that there was no way the center portion of the original granny square design was that big.

So, being me, I set aside the "pattern" this person had come up with, grabbed hook and christmasy yarn and went to town. 5 stockings later, Steph was thrilled! Of course, the new stockings were HUGE compared to the old... so much so she was able to put her 2 month old son IN one and take his picture! It's adorable, he looks like a little pea in a pod. She understood how the original had shrunk/felted and that with how she prefers to wash them (hot water!!! eeek!) these would too... eventually.

Well. In the course of making the stockings for Steph, my acquired sister's mother and mother-in-law saw the end results of my handiwork and wanted some. Beth only really wanted one for her front door, so I whipped that up while I was making Steph's 5. Sue on the other hand, wanted to replace all the stockings she'd currently had for her three kids, their spouses and me. Yep, seven stockings. Wheeeeeee... so here I sit with skeins of "victorian" christmas colors and have to order the colors for mine... I want the "christmas" blue. ;) Yeah, I gotta be different.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Knit one, save one

I have a confession to make. I'm addicted to crocheting baby hats.

They're small, they crochet up quick (I made three tonight while watching TV and talking to my acquired sister), I have an excuse to buy pretty, soft yarn and most importantly of all, they're useful. Every mommy I know wants at least one if not several of them for the kidlet(s). The acquired neiceling's mother has always been more than happy to take as many as I'm willing to make because neiceling and now her baby brother love wearing them. Neiceling used to wear hers to bed at night which made her mother happy because she knew kiddo slept warmer that way.

This brings me to tonight. First, a quick trip on the wayback machine. A couple years ago in one of their early editions that I picked up after the fact, my all time favorite crafting magazine, Crochet Today, had done a blurb on a charity effort called "Knit one, Save one" which partners with "Save the Children", an initiative to provide education on basic parenting skills to mothers in third world countries. They also provide kits that include baby hats. In order to come up with those hats, they've put a call out to crafters to make and donate them. Going from the name, I'd say they focused on knitters originally, but recently have seen the light and included crocheters as well.

With something akin to fortuitous timing, they've once again put out the call for hats and I've been trying, heavy emphasis on the word try, to de-stash a bit. Considering I have an entire corner of a storage unit filled with bins that are filled with yarn, it's not a bad idea. When the bin tower is over your head, or would be if you stacked them all properly, then it is well past being simply a good idea and quickly approaching a moral imperitive.

Mind you, I still want to do the scarves for the special olympics, that involves buying more yarn which does NOT help the de-stash process and the deadline for mailing the KOSO hats is before the SO scarves deadline. I also have a list of Christmas projects as long as my arm so this is going to be a delicate juggling act. Can I do it? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Zen of Crochet

I've seen books about the "The Zen of Knitting", "The Zen of Eating", "The Zen of CSS Design" and even "The Zen of Blogging" but I've never seen one about the Zen of Crochet.

This is going to highlight my crochet/knit bias. I'm very pro crochet and don't quite understand the appeal of knitting. Don't get me wrong, I can knit, and believe that in the hands of experienced knitters, you get some absolutely wonderful items out of it. However, it's always seemed so cumbersome to me with having to juggle two needles, the yarn and your pattern. The way you wrap the yarn and then bring it through the stitch always seems somewhat counterintuitive to me. I know it's a block I have and not a fault with the craft, but I haven't figured out how to get around it. My one true abiding obsession with knitting however is knitting with double pointed needles. I taught myself to knit that way and love it. I can rock out on that much easier than I can if I have to knit with regular, straight single point needles.

Knitting isn't zen for me, even when it's a "mindless" or easy pattern. I have to pay too much attention to my tension or what I'm doing with the needles. Dropped stitches are the penalty when I don't. I know it's possible to not have to frog the whole bloody project if you drop a stitch... or the horror of ALL stitches being dropped because the needle decided to be slippery and fall. ...yes, that happens to me regularly but I'm the girl that can accidentally flip a pen ninja throwing star style at someone when I only mean to hand it to them. It's a weird dexterity glitch ever since I tore the ligament sheath in my right hand. But I digress. Even knitting socks, which I love to do now, isn't relaxing for me because I have to pay attention to pattern, increases, decreases, etc. It's an enjoyable craft but not one I can have a soft focus "in the moment" mindfulness with.

Crochet. Now there's an entirely different kettle of fish. I find a stitch that my fingers memorized years ago, that's now the equivalent of muscle memory to do and I can just flow. Scarves become an exercise in Zen, or as the DBT therapists here at work would say, an exercise in mindfulness. I can just sit and enjoy the way the yarn flows through my fingers, the growing soft texture of the scarf as it slips down to puddle in my lap, the silken slide of the hook darting through stitches to catch the yarn and "tangle" it into something that will be both pretty and useful. Time stops, becomes unimportant, my breathing slows, tension melts out of my neck, back and shoulders, relaxation sets in almost in spite of myself. I can truly be still and not have to think about things. Crochet is my meditation and some days, my salvation.

That being said, there are some caveats to it. The stitch can't be boring. There needs to be a softness and texture to it or I get frustrated. An item made up almost entirely of single crochet will not work. Between the inflexibility of the stitch and the lack of interesting detail in the fabric it creates, frustration would be a given. The yarn needs to have an appealing feel or again, frustration sets in. The color of the yarn is generally the least important item, but it does play a factor. If I'm working on something with a varigated yarn and discover that I absolutely hate the way the colors are pooling, the project gets frogged. I had a scarf 3/4 completed yesterday, took a look at the way the stitch and the colors mixed, hated it, frogged it and restarted. The new version is much more appealing to me. :)

Complex patterns are not good for a day I need zen crocheting. If I have to be focused and pay attention to stitch counts, there will be no relaxation that day. Well, not unless I set the complicated pattern down and pick up something ... simpler. The project also needs to be something that produces fairly instant gratification. While I could come up with a stitch for an afghan that would be "zen", the length of the project would lead to boredom which kills the whole meditative factor for me. This is why I have my little "stash buster" patterns. They could just as easily be called "boredom busters" or "meditative tools, it really does equal the same basic thing. In the end, I have a quick, cute something that is useful, be it for one of the littles in my life or a charity donation item. The "ata'girl" from either is simply icing on the cake. :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Stash-Buster Scarves #2

This is another favorite zen-type pattern for me. This makes a 3 1/2" scarf so it's good if you like skinny scarves or if you're making one for smaller kids.


Leftover yarn (I have tons of Bernat Softee)
I hook (makes for a very soft, loose scarf)

Ch 14

Row 1. Sc in second ch from hook and in each ch across, ch 2, turn - 13 sc

Row 2. Hdc in the back loop of the first stitch, *hdc in the front loop of the next stitch, hdc in the back loop of the next stitch, repeat from *, ch 2, turn

Continue row 2 until scarf is desired length.

Last row: sc in each hdc across, finish off

Add fringe if you'd like.