Wednesday, January 30, 2013 1 comments

"C is for Cookie" Charity Hat

I used up acrylic odds and ends for this hat, thanks to the great thrift store yarn haul in December.

If you want to make one (see link below), please be aware that I think there’s a typo for the earflaps. I don’t think they’re supposed to be done in black.

I did change a few things from what the pattern calls for.

For starters, the cookies are cute, but I decided to just make a plain Cookie Monster hat.

Secondly, I did round balls for the eyes instead of pompoms. I have had bad experiences with pompoms falling off. (Not to mention the difficulty of sewing something into the middle of them.)

Here’s what I did instead:
Rnd 1: Using black, make a magic loop and 6 sc inside. Sl st to first sc. Change to white.
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each sc around; join with sl st. (12 sc)
Rnd 3: 2 sc in each sc around; join with sl st. (24 sc)
Rnd 4: sc around; join with sl st. (24 sc)
Rnd 5: sc dec around; join with sl st (12 sc)
Rnd 6: sc around; join with sl st (12 sc)
Rnd 7: sc dec around; join with sl st (6 sc)
Finish off and use tail to draw through the remaining 6 sts. Stuff and pull tight.

Want to make your own? Find it for free on Ravelry: C is for Cookie by Tara Hawkins.
Monday, January 28, 2013 3 comments

Hello Little Kitty Hats for Charity (and my dd)

I'm using up yarn from my recent thrift store haul: bulky white and worsted pink acrylic with no ballbands. Since the white yarn is bulky, I only used one strand. (The pattern calls for the yarn to be held double.)

When I first started this special stitch, I thought I wasn’t going to like it. It adds quite a bit of bulk. But after working a few rows, I really do like it because of the bulk. Most crocheted hats aren’t as warm as this one because the stitching is more open. This special stitch helps to keep things nice and tight and warm.

I used a smaller hook (H) than the pattern recommends, since my I and J hooks have gone AWOL ... but I shouldn’t have. I made the size 7-10 (years), but my petite 7-year-old daughter ccouldn’t get it on her head. Oh well, some younger girl will love this!

Take Two: My daughter is absolutely in love with this hat! She wears it almost everywhere we go, and she didn't take it off the entire day when I first gave it to her.

I used remnants of Hobby Lobby’s I Love This! yarn in white and black (so soft!), with yellow and pink unknown acrylic scraps.

I changed the hat size and hook size this time in hopes that it would fit. That means I went up to the teen/adult hat size. It fits!

I only used one strand of yarn this time because I was afraid it would get too tight again. I think I’ll try another one (for charity) with two strands to see how it comes out.

Want to make your own? It's a free pattern on Ravelry: Hello Little Kitty by Jennifer Pionk.
Friday, January 25, 2013 1 comments

Monkey Hat for Charity

I found another (free) cute hat pattern to use with my newly-acquired stash of thrift store yarn. This one is called, quite obviously, Monkey Hat. It's crocheted, so if you're not a knitter, this one might interest you.

As I was crocheting, I thought it was turning out pretty big, but I wasn’t able to try it on one of my kids until I had finished it. Well, it’s huge on my 7-year-old and 9-year-old. It covers their eyebrows. Hopefully there will be a kid with a huge head where this gets donated ... :)

I got perfect gauge according to the pattern, so next time I'll only do rows 6-10 instead of rows 6-15 before starting the earflaps. That would make a lot more sense, making it the same size as the other hats I’ve made for kids recently.

Other than the sizing issue, I absolutely adore the pattern. The facial details aren’t fussy to embroider - I only “embroidered” the smile, and the spaces around the crocheting made that a cinch. I’ll definitely be making more of these!

If you've ever thought these hats were too fussy with too much sewing-on, you might want to rethink that. I'm not a patient person by nature, but this was certainly within my comfort zone of "fussiness".

P.S. Yes, I've been distracted with my knitting and crocheting this week, in case you missed me. The upside to that is that I have gobs of projects to share with you!
Friday, January 18, 2013 4 comments

Dishcloths: In Support of Hobby Lobby (and Mother's Day)

During the first week of the new year, Hobby Lobby had their dishcloth cotton yarn on sale for $2.66 a skein. One of my crafting resolutions this year is to shop mostly at Hobby Lobby and support them all I can, so this was the perfect way to start 2013.
I can't say enough good things about this yarn. It's wonderfully soft - so much nicer to work with than the Sugar 'n Cream yarn I've always used before!
And wow - the colors!! They have the perfect shades to match my Pfaltzgraff Tea Rose kitchen, and their variegated colors work up beautifully with the most amazing effects (check out the one on the right below) and no ugly pooling.

I mentioned earlier that I love round dishcloths, and this is a pattern I've been wanting to make for awhile now. It's a free one, and it's quite addicting. Check it out: The Cotton Dishcloth (once removed or dressed up)

I didn't have to change and cut my yarn to get that fantastic pinwheel effect on the righthand one. It's actually the pink and green variegated yarn (all from the very same skein and in the order it came off the skein) that worked perfectly with this pattern (thanks to short rows). I can't wait to try it in different variegations!

I mentioned the colors this yarn comes in, but you really need to check them out for yourself. They are so nice and bright and cheerful! This is the first of many dishcloths I'm making to go with our church's Mother's Day gifts this year. I'll have some more dishcloths to share in the coming months.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 1 comments

Owl Hats for Charity (and my own kids)

A few weeks ago, my husband found gobs of yarn at our local Salvation Army for $5. Being the fantastic husband that he is, he picked it all up for me. It's enough to fill the top of my guest bed, which is a full-size bed -- and it's stacked several skeins high at that! I've since been using it like crazy. :)

One of my goals is to do a lot of charity knitting with it, so this was my first charity project. There was a lot of yellow, brown and orange. Fortunately for me, I found an adorable free pattern called Crochet Owl Hats.

I've never been a fan of lots of "sewing up" after I knit or crochet anything, so I wasn't so sure about these hats. But after I made one, I realized that it's really quite simple, and I'm not as bad at it as I had feared.

I made a few more, but three of them were immediately claimed by my kids and their friend who was visiting for the day ...

Since those colors turned out so nice, I'm working on more in different colors.

So far I've been able to get another pink one crocheted for my charity project, and I'm hoping to get a few more done soon.
Monday, January 14, 2013 3 comments

Operation Christmas Child 2013 #3

Just the other day, I was (again) in the right place at the right time to get good deals for the Operation Christmas Child boxes. This time it was Wal-Mart, and everything in their $1 Deals section was $0.25 each. I was able to get: 9 packs of hair bows and a headband, 4 color-your-own dinosaur puzzles (with crayons), a dinosaur "magic towel", 2 packs of grow-your-own dinosaurs, and an activity pad.

Then I found these miniature "Barrel of Monkeys" games in the party favors section of Dollar Tree. I was pleased to discover that they aren't too tiny to be practical. They're adorable and functional, so I got three packs of them.

Of course, I got some great after-Christmas deals, too.

  • The small puzzles in the back came from Walgreens ($0.25 each).
  • The peg games came from Michaels ($0.25 each). (I was happy to find some thigs for the older boys' boxes, since I'm going to try to make up some for this harder-to-shop-for age group.)
  • The cups and sip-style cups came from Dollar Tree ($0.50 per pack, which averages out to $0.25 or less per cup).
  • I found the checkers games (incorrectly labeled "chess" - grrr! - $0.50 each) and the mini table tennis sets ($1 each) at Wal-Mart. (Both of these are also for the older boys - yay!)

Here's a slightly better view of a few of those items.

All in all, I was very pleased!

Friday, January 11, 2013 1 comments

Sugar Maple Socks

I started these socks in January of last year and just finished them in October. (Did I mention that I'm late taking and processing pictures??) It's not that they're that difficult. No, the stitch pattern is actually quite easy. It's more that the two-at-a-time method just doesn't work for me. Not at all.

I tried to like it, but it's really hard to like something after it takes you an entire day to cast-on without tangling the yarn, and you're not a new knitter. I hear lots of people rave about doing socks two-at-a-time, so I'm sure it's just me. Honestly, if you want to torture me, just make me try this again.

As you can see, though, I did manage to finish both socks. (My son promptly commandeered them, so these are his feet you're seeing in them.) I did this by taking them off the circular needle and finishing them one-at-a-time.

This is really a lovely stitch pattern, though.

If you'd like to give it a try, you'll have to get your hands on a copy of Melissa Morgan-Oakes's book 2-at-a-Time Socks. (I borrowed mine from the library.) These are the "Sugar Maple" socks. Please don't hold my dislike of this method against the book. It's a really good book, but the method is just not for me.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013 3 comments

Round Dishcloth

I enjoy knitting round things, so I decided to try out a round dishcloth. After I made it and used it, I'm pretty sure that round dishcloths are my new favorite. They just seem to fit my hand better.

This dishcloth uses short rows, which is always good to practice. This first picture is of the back, which is what both sides would look like (minus the curling) if you followed the pattern exactly. However, I changed it a bit to make it stockinette on one side, simply because I prefer the look of stockinette (knit one row, purl the next, etc.).

This is what the front looks like since I changed the pattern to work it in stockinette:

This is a fantastic pattern that I would highly recommend! His instructions for kitchener stitch with garter stitch are absolutely fantastic. Check it out for yourself (for free) on Ravelry: Seamless Circular Cloth by Robert Jenkins.
Monday, January 7, 2013 1 comments

Operation Christmas Child 2013 #2

I took these pictures a few weeks ago and forgot to share them until now.

Do you remember the first post about Operation Christmas Child when I mentioned finding a bunch of Target Dollar Spot items at a Goodwill (still new in the packaging) for $0.10 each? Well, after we left, I got to thinking about what I had left behind. I regretted leaving those toy vehicles for such a great price.

So the next time we went through, my husband agreed to stop and let me pick up what was left. Not only did I find a bunch of wooden vehicles, but I also found two more pairs of Christmas socks that I didn't see the last time, and a pack of boys' Hanes socks (new in the package) for $2.50.

Here's a better close-up of those wooden vehicles:

I bought as many of the train box cars as they had, but there weren't enough for all of the engines. For that  price, I wasn't going to complain, though.

These are great additions to my Operation Christmas Child stash, and it was only $6.50 altogether!
Friday, January 4, 2013 1 comments

Piano Scarf

This is a gift I knit for my children's soon-to-be piano teacher. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it for her.

It's worked in double-knit, so it's nice and thick. I used Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn for the white and Red Heart Soft for the black. I already had the black on hand or I would have bought Hobby Lobby's black, too.

The keys are actually larger than life, so to knit a whole keyboard would yield a scarf so long you'd probably trip over it trying to wear it. As a result, I simply knit it until it was about the right length, ending after a full octave. I ended up with 42 keys.

I discovered that knitting Portuguese-style is very conducive to double knitting. It's probably easier than the other ways.

If you'd like to knit this, too, you can find the free pattern on Ravelry. It's called Piano/Harpsichord Scarf (double knit) by Thomas Duncan.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013 1 comments

Christmas Gifts Preview: Day Nine

I had to wait to share this one because we exchanged gifts with my friend later than the rest, since we both had family gatherings to attend.

Since my friend is a fellow crafter, I gifted her the last of my undecorated round boxes. (It looks like it has a water or oil stain in the picture, but that's just the effect of the flash.) I just know she's going to do something fabulous with it, and it was the perfect way to corral the rest of her gift.

She decorates in the primitive style, and I was thrilled to find several wooden tags and signs that should match her decor perfectly. Also included: a box of decorative envelopes (she does a lot of cardmaking), heart-shaped measuring spoons, a Mary Engelbreit Christmas ornament (she loves M.E.), a homemade linen kitchen scrubbie, and a rooster towel to line it all (her kitchen is decorated in roosters).

Here's a picture of it head-on, but it's a lot harder to see everything:

I used shrink wrap on this gift, too, to help keep everything together. I really like the effect, although it didn't shrink as well this time as it has in the past.