The Hat

I recently was invited to a baby shower and on the invitation it asked guests to help start baby’s library by bringing a book instead of a card.  I loved this idea.  The Mom-to-be is someone who I really got to know through knitting.  She crochets and had started a group at her house to knit chemo caps which she donated to a local hospital. I’m always the only knitter at these gatherings but we all co-exist.  Because of this connection I knew I would also have to knit a hat and I really wanted a book that featured a knit hat so I could make my own gift set.  I asked a few of my librarian friends and browsed the bookstore.  I settled on the book The Hat by Jan Brett.



The story is about a little hedgehog who takes a sock from a child’s clothesline and wears it as a hat.  The hat looks like this:

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What I decided to do was knit a hat loosely based on Hedgie’s sock hat.  I started with a white brim and then did one block of snowflakes around.  To really add the sock idea into the hat I used a standard toe decrease in white (like on Hedgie’s) on the hat instead of a usual hat decrease.  I then did a 3 needle bind off.  I think it turned out pretty good considering I was making it up as I went along!

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Side note to this whole project – I got done with the snowflake pattern and ran out of white.   Sadly, my LYS was out of the true white and the white I bought elsewhere did not exactly match.  I was debating whether of not to put a red stripe in and then start with the other white thinking it would break it up and not be as obvious.  As I was saying this our friend who works at the store walked by and said “No”!  I ended up finding the yarn online and am happy that Jimmy Beans was able to get me the yarn in time to finish the hat.  In the end this was my little gift box (I was able to recycle the box and I used yarn as the bow!)


My First Yarn Club

I’ve never joined a yarn club.  I know there are a number of different clubs out there, especially with the indie dyers I love, and I’m always tempted but I never want to commit to having to buy pre-selected yarn each month when something else might pop up that I want more (my friends will tell you this is just another sign of my deeper commitment issues, but whatever!).  This month I finally broke down and joined a yarn club.  I’m pleased to say I can drop out at anytime so it’s perfect for my commitment issues and I had no reason not to join.

So, what finally made be break down and do it?  Well, I think it was the perfect combination of theme, yarn, oh and that out…  The yarn club is being run by my awesome LYS, River Colors Studio.  The yarn is being dyed by Stephanie at Space Cadet Yarns and the theme is our revitalized city, Cleveland.  Here’s how it is working.  One of the girls who works at the shop is studying textile design.  She is using various neighborhoods and areas of Cleveland as inspiration for a color palette.  That palette is being sent to Space Cadet and she is dying the yarn.  Space Cadet had a great trunk show at the store and everyone loved her yarn so we’re excited to get these specially dyed colors based on the all places we enjoy.

This month was the first month and we got to pick up our yarn.  I could hardly work all day knowing that I was going to stop on my way home!  I was even more excited when I got a box, complete with bow on it to tear open like Christmas morning to see what was inside.  And, here’s what I found:

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This month the colors were inspired by the Edgewater and Shoreway communities and is lovely pink, purple, blue superwash merino.  And, there was even a special treat from a local chocolate shop, Sweet Designs (it was delicious!).

I have not decided what to do with it yet, I may collect them all and see what I have.  I do know that I want to take some of each month and put it into a project that will incorporate all of the Cleveland yarn and be my Cleveland piece.  Still working through those details in my head but I’ve got a whole year to think about.  The information we received about the club told us all the yarn will be of fingering weight but the bases may vary throughout the yarn so that should be interesting as well.

The Edgewater and Shoreway communities sit on Lake Erie’s shores.  There is quite a bit of beach and park land and it is the best place to catch the beautiful Lake Erie sunsets (and I guess sunrises but I’m never up that early…)  The blues, pinks and purples in this yarn really remind me of time spent at the lake.  I can’t wait to see where next month’s inspiration takes us and how that plays out in color!

What’s on My Needles This Weekend

I should narrow this topic and call it “what I’m obsessed with this weekend” because there is always a pile of projects on many, many needles.  Thursday I broke a rule I had managed to stick to all summer – don’t start anything new until I clean out the UFO area of the yarn room.  How did this happen?  To answer we have to go back to Thursday night.

I felt like it was the first day back to school at knit night.  As I mentioned, we took advantage of the summer weather and knit everywhere but inside.  So, even thought it was unseasonably warm on Thursday we headed back to our LYS.  This was prompted mostly by the e-mails and Facebook posts of the all the wonderful fall yarns which were coming in daily.  Not much knitting was going to get done because there was also a plethora of new magazines and books to peruse.  I became obsessed with the Colorblocked Poncho in Vogue Knitting.  This coincided with my obsession with the new chunky MadTosh that had come in.  Now, an entire poncho out of MadTosh would be amazing but completely bank breaking.  Ah, the beauty of color blocking.  I set off to find a more reasonably priced bulky yarn for the two larger portions and decided to then pick out a MadTosh for the center stripe.  I found Encore, a good old stand-by, it’s like the yarn that never lets you down.  It’s a nice, reasonably priced yarn that comes in many colors and weights.  I chose black and gray and then picked out Optic for the center stripe.  If you have not seen it, it is amazing!  A cream base with splotches of gray, black and a few other colors here and there.  It’s perfect!!!

I needed needles so I decided to go ahead and cast on right there.  I was making the comment that I hope I finish it in time to wear it this fall.  Everyone pointed out that it was being knit on size 13s in bulky weight yarn so it should be done by next week.  Still I doubted but now I’m taking it as a personal challenge.  I started Thursday and ended up having to rip out a because I had done the increases correctly.  It looked like this:


I worked on it last night and most of today and am not quite halfway done:


I couldn’t believe I had finally cracked on starting something new when I already have so much that I want to start and keep stopping myself.  But, sometimes when something is just screaming your name I think you have to give in and knit it.  I knew if I just bought the magazine and added it to my library I would never actually make the poncho so I threw caution to the wind and cast it on.  Now, if I can surprise everyone and actually finish before next Thursday I won’t even have the guilt of adding it to the UFO corner!!



I’ve been seeing, hearing and reading more and more about the minimalist movement.  I like it (see any of my rummage sale posts and you’ll know I’m not a hoarder).  This weekend I got two new t-shirts as a result of attending Arena Bowl XXVII.  It prompted to institute a strict one in, one out policy so this morning I went to pick out two old ones to get rid of.  I think I did better than that and got rid of 3 or 4.  From there I went into my yarn room closet where I throw everything I will donate one day.  I bagged up everything in there and even threw in a few sweaters that mock me every time I open the armoire because I never wear them.

From there I turned to my yarn wall.  It’s quite a disaster.  I may have had some type of system when I moved in but that is long gone.  It needs some help and as I stood and stared blankly at it, I realized I need a plan before I tackle this job.  I’m just not sure if I want to go color, fiber type, some other system.  I need to think it through and check around for ideas.  When I get to this, I would also like to add my stash to my Ravelry page.  It took me quite awhile to add all my magazines and books but I’ve been so happy that I did that.  It makes it so much easier to search through what I already own (and, sadly, it gives you an exact count of the number of patterns you own – a very scary number, indeed!)  I also like tracking my needles on Ravelry.  That being said, I still have duplicates and triplicates of needles for no good reason.  Best guess – the needles were on a UFO when I did the inventory.  I’ve not used Ravelry for tracking my stash at all but I’m starting to think it’s a good idea.  I just forget about all the wonderful yarn I have.  I’m thinking this might be a good winter’s day project…

As a side note, while I was doing all this purging in the yarn room I was listening to podcasts which I just love.  This week I discovered the lovely Isabelle from Fluffy Fibers.  She is based in the south of France so I could listen all day.  You can find her blog here.  Her podcast is in English but it got me thinking that maybe I will find a blog and/or podcast in French as I’m always attempting to approve my language skills and I think immersion is the way to go.

Tonight I’ve been focusing on making a few changes to my blog appearance.  The main addition is my Bloglovin follow button.  I’ve seen references to Bloglovin on other sites and on Twitter but I was not really sure what it was or what it did.  When I found the Fluffy Fiber podcast today I looked up her blog and it was on Blogspot.  I’ve found a few other blogs on Blogspot that I would like to keep up with but am not interested in creating an account.  Imagine my delight when I found out that Bloglovin lets you follow blogs from any site and keeps them in a nice, easy feed.  The site made if very easy for me to “claim” my blog and gave excellent directions on adding the follow widget to my blog.  So, I’ve added that, changed a few other appearance items and hopefully corrected the double posting to my Twitter account.  I’d say that’s really productive Sunday!!  Now, I have 6 1/2 rows plus the cast off and I might have a finished project to cap off my Sunday night – how exciting!

If you have any thoughts, suggestions, ideas on organizing stash please leave a comment and let me know!

It’s Knitting Season

It has been unseasonably cool in my little part of the world this week (well, actually, all summer…).  This morning I had to break out the space heater to avoid turning on the furnace.  I knew it would happen – I got central air this year and have used it twice, maybe three times.  All that aside, the chill in the air indicates the start of knitting season!

This got me thinking about the difference between summer and winter knitting.  There are those (my mother included) who believe knitting is a winter activity.  Even she broke out the yarn and needles this week when the temperatures dropped.  Me and my knitting group we knit year round.  This summer we did something a little different.  Instead of meeting up at the yarn store we headed to the great outdoors to soak up some sun and enjoy the season.  We took our knitting to the beach, to the park and to the riverside.  We saw music concerts, dance concerts and an awesome light show/art installation and we ate a lot of food!  We had our knitting and we got a few rows in but it was really more about experiencing summer and we did it this year!  That’s one of the many beauties of knitting – it goes wherever you go.

When I do knit in the summer I tend to work on socks and some hats.  This summer I’ve also been working on few Frozen dolls (more on those in another post…)  All of these are smaller projects that don’t lay all over my lap and make me hot.  It’s a great time of year to use some lovely cottons and other lighter fibers and there are plenty of fun projects that are small and summer friendly.

As the kids start heading back to school and the temperatures drop I first start thinking of Christmas knitting.  I know, I know it’s still months away but I always think if I plan ahead I won’t be knitting at midnight on Christmas eve.  I’m almost always wrong but you never know!  I don’t do a lot of Christmas knitting.  It just becomes too stressful and I put too much pressure on myself.  What I like to do it think of a couple of people I would like to knit for and then focus on those projects.  If I get them done and have some extra time I can add something else to the list.  Last year I knit slippers for my cousin and her daughters and it was really fun.  This year I have a project started that was going to be for me but I think will end up being a gift for someone who really admired it when I shared a picture.  I also have one other project in mind and it is also started so I just need to get it in gear and finish them up!  After I get past the Christmas knitting (and the holiday season, in general) I turn back to some of my heavier, woollier projects.  I reached for my wiggle wrap (Kauni wool) when I left for knitting on Thursday morning.  Many of those projects have been hanging in the UFO corner of my yarn room.  They are really looking forward to January. 

Do the seasons affect the type or amount of knitting you do?  It’s something to ponder.  So, while I sit curled up under a blanket, losing daylight at a rapid pace and seeing a few random leaves starting to change colors I declare knitting season open!


What’s on my Needles This Weekend

I’ve been trying to post once a month what’s on my needles but I think July flew by without a post.  While I have a plethora of projects on my needles, all over my house, I’ve been on a hat kick lately.  It started last week when a friend asked if I could donate a couple of hats to a fundraiser she was planning.  I put a few pictures on Facebook and from that got another request.  A friend wants a hat for her 3 year old son and her only request was that the hat have ear flaps.  I spent time perusing Ravelry last night.  There are so few patterns for cute boy hats.  I then found a pattern for a sock monkey hat, complete with ear flaps!  This pattern is from the amazing Melody’s Makings – she has some wonderful hat patterns!

I gathered some supplies.  I knew I had just the right yarn and it was part of the rummage sale bag that I got this year which was full of some great yarn.  Cascade 220 is great for just about any project and makes for a nice, warm hat.


I made up the hat for the size 1-3 years old and it came out like this:


I think it is probably a little small for a 3 year old so tonight I have another one on my needles, this time the next size up which is for 3-10 years old.  So, this is what lies ahead for me tonight:


I’m hoping to get it done so I can start on the monkey ears, flaps and face.  My plan is to watch a marathon of Naked & Afraid on the DVR, whip out this hat and check out the super moon later tonight.  Happy knitting all!