Where the Heart is

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So I have to begin by apologizing for being so terrible about keeping up with my crafting.  I have not have a lot of free time lately, but I’m going to try and get back into it this year.  Part of the issue is that I haven’t had a lot of time to browse and get inspired to make something new.  However, when I see something that I want to try, it drives me to make time for it.  Case and point, I saw this really adorable hat from Portlano and I thought maybe I could try and modify it.

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Portlano Heart Hat

When I saw this, the wheels in my mind started turning and I thought I may be able to figure something out.  I had a perfect opportunity as well since one of my co-workers recently had a sweet little baby girl and we just survived Hurricane Jonas here on the east coast.  Done!

I still have winter white and lavendar yarn leftover from my previous knitting forays with fair isle hats so I just used the same yarn as it is relatively easy to work with, is very lightweight, and makes a very nice finished product.  I did a mash-up of patterns that I got from a great blog here, combining the heart pattern and the stripe pattern.  As always seeing the pattern unfold before my eyes as I’m knitting is always so much fun, especially since I seem to have a serious problem following patterns closely and tend to improvise.  Every project is a new challenge!  One thing I did grapple with was if I wanted to make heart pom-pom for the top, or to try and knit a heart like the original inspiration piece.  I finally opted on a plain pom-pom, but I think that in the future I may try to make an over-sized pom-pom pom.  We’ll see what happens!

I already had the pleasure of seeing my hat on the adorable new owner, which is always such a nice treat!  Welcome to the world sweet baby, and I hope that you are toasty warm with your new hat!

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Knitting Inspiration

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I have been working on knitting a dress for my daughter for quite some time.  I decided that it would be nice to actually try out some patterns and knit something useable, like an article of clothing.  As I have found with knitting, it is a very time-consuming process and I do tend to get bored easily if I am not making something interesting.  Perhaps this is why I like making baby hats or toddler clothes.  They are smaller than adult clothing or accessories so you see results quickly!  Hahaha…. talk about instant gratification!

Anyways above is a photo of the color palette I’m working with.  I love this palette.  It is so soft and feminine without being overtly so.  Also, I love that the colors reflect the softness of the yarn itself.  I’m using the Lion’s Brand angora merino yarn in “Blossom”, “Blue Bonnet”, “Smoked Pearl”, and “Pewter”.  This is probably the nicest yarn that I’ve used to date.  I wanted to be sure if I was going to spend the time on a nicer article of clothing that the materials I used didn’t detract from the final piece.  Sometimes you see a very beautifully executed piece but it had the sad misfortune of being made from a material that didn’t do it justice.  Not to say that I’m an expert at choosing which yarn to use for what product, but I realize that with many clothes, the choice of fabric or material really makes or breaks the success of a piece.  Those items that are beautifully made are only punctuated by the choice of the perfect fabric and color.  This doesn’t only hold true for clothing, but for anything, be it furniture, a painting, a rug, even food.  The finished item is only as good as the quality of the ingredients/ materials you use, don’t you think?

Enough of my observations though…. time to get crafting!

Fairly Fair Again

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If you recall from my previous post, I had knitted a beautiful little fair isle hat, one of my first knit-in-the round projects I’ve taken on.  Unfortunately, due to the gauge of the yarn, the sizing turned out a little smaller than I had anticipated and I was thus not able to give this to my daughter to use in the future.  However, I was determined after my first go, to do it again, but this time to make one that would fit.

I expanded the pattern I found by one additional pattern repeat from the toddler size and I also decided to do an inverse of the colors from the previous project.

IMG_5620I decided to add a pom pom to the top of the hat in lieu of the little loop that the patter calls for.  I just love pom poms and I was trying to make this a little more roomy and “slouchy” so there would be a little extra length should my daughter need it.  I added a little purple into the predominantly white pom pom to give it a little bit of a color balance.

As you can see from the front photo, this hat fits my daughter and seems to be stretchy enough and large enough to allow her to grow into it.  She also, surprisingly, let me put it on her head and take a couple of shots of it before exhibiting her more common behavior of ripping it off her head and throwing it on the floor.  Sigh…. I’ll take what I can get and hopefully she’ll be more amenable when the weather gets colder!

A Foray into Fair Isle

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One of my inspirations in learning how to knit stemmed from my admiration of the fair isle pattern. I’m sure that many of you are familiar with this pattern I knitting. I didn’t know it’s name until I stumbled across a great free pattern for a knit child’s hat with a fair isle pattern. This was one of the many projects I was secretly coveting and wishing I had the skills to accomplish.  Once I got the proper tools and found that knitting in the round isn’t such a terrible mystery, I felt confident enough to try this pattern out.

I didn’t have time to run to my usual yarn shop as I’ve been particularly busy at work, so I was fortunate enough to squeeze a quick run to Michael’s one week-end when we visited the grandparents.  I was a little nervous about the sizing of this hat, not using the yarn that was called for in the pattern.  I’ve found in my crocheting forays that sometimes the gauges of yards, depending on the manufacturers, don’t necessarily align.  Reading the labels on the yarn don’t necessarily yield what you expect, if you would use another manufacturer’s yarn that has the same information.  Well, I decided to give it a go and see what happened.

IMG_5119I ended up using Paton’s Lace Yarn, which was the closest thing I could find to what the pattern called for.  I found the yarn to be light, and easy to work with and the result is a beautifully delicate looking hat.  I slightly modified the beginning edge of the hat to emphasize the ribbing a little more and I couldn’t find enough colors in the Paton’s lace yarn line to provide this effect so I ended up using the pattern in a monochromatic fashion.  I am very pleased with the end result.  I think that it ended up beautifully delicate and that the yarn is light and airy but will still keep a head nice and warm.  The pattern itself was exteremely easy to follow and I found that having a pattern as distinct as this made keeping count of my stitches extremely easy.  I loved watching the pattern unfold as I knit away!

However, as I had originally feared, despite making the “child” size, it ended up being just the perfect fit for my daughter’s 2-year old noggin, and certainly not able to fit my daughter for the next winter season.  Sadly, I guess this just gives me an excuse to make another in a larger size, yes?

Knitting 101

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I recently decided to enter the world of knitting. I had received knitting needles and yarn as a gift from my brother and sister in law so I figured it would be the perfect time to learn something new! Now, when I was younger, my mom taught me how to knit the garter stitch, which is the most common stitch in knitting. (I just learned the name of that stitch!). This time, I got round needles that allow you to knit things like sweaters and hats in one piece, which I had always found a little daunting. In doing a little research and learning more about the needles that I had and the yarn I had, I found that knitting is very constrained to the size and length of the needle you use. For example, I had a US9 5.5mm 16″ length needle. This would be perfect for an infinity scarf or maybe a small sweater. I had originally wanted to make a small hat, but didn’t have the proper tools for this.

It was settled. I was going to learn to knit in the round, and I was going to make a sweater! (I can’t believe how ambitious I am sometimes….. sometimes it comes back to bite me!) Anyways, I did a bunch of research on what kind of sweater I could make and how to do it. I tried following this pattern but had a little issue when it came to joining everything. I didn’t have the proper size double pointed needles to make the sleeves so the arms didn’t fit the way they should have. Live and learn.

IMG_5111I definitely learned a lot. I had started out with a simple stockinette stitch with no ribbing, which I found caused the sweater to curl a lot. I circled back when I discovered this and was able to add on the ribbing at the bottom. Also, I found that once I had put the pieces together without the bottom ribbing, the sweater seemed a little short. This sweater ended up being about a 3T size. I used Lionbrand Homespun yarn in “seafoam”. This is a thick, soft, nubby yarn that, while extremely soft, is probably not the best yarn to start learning to knit with since it is difficult to keep track of the stitches due to the natural texture of the yarn.

This was a great learning piece and youtube became a great staple. I learned all sorts of simple, basic knitting skills such as stockinette stitch, increase and decrease, bind off/ cast off, and picking up stitches. Not bad for a first knitting project! What do you think?