Saturday, December 31, 2011

a cabled hat {more crochet}

Since I was making a hat for one sister, I crocheted a hat for another sister.  I wanted something a little more elegant for this one, so I purchased a pattern from Holland Designs.  This is the Diamond Slouch Beanie pattern.  I found this pattern through Etsy, but it looks like she sells them on her website, too.  If I would have had the money, I would have bought the whole store!  She has some really neat designs and many of them have a knitted crochet kind of look.

This was my first lesson in yarn weights.  This pattern called for DK weight, but I only had worsted.  I just thought it work up more quickly, but it ended up being huge!  I had to downsize it quite a bit.  The hub asked me at one point who the skirt was for.  I knew at that point that it was too big for a normal size hat.

One of the best things about the yarn medium is how quickly you can fix mistakes.  Just pull out your stitches and you can start over.  No slow, sharp, and frustrating seam ripper to worry about.  So I just pulled the yarn out to the appropriate height and joined the hat at the top.

This hat has some weight to it.  I hope my sister doesn't get neck cramps wearing around.  But it will definitely keep her head warm.  As fussy at this pattern was (or I should probably just say advanced), it did help me understand cables and it's a really elegant and timeless hat.  I would do this one again, just in the correct weight and maybe in a really fun and girly color.

I used Vanna's Choice in Wheat.  I used nearly 2 full skeins.

Friday, December 30, 2011

crochet puff hat

I love crocheting hats for some reason.  I usually don't like making more than one of anything, but hats appear to be the exception.  Good thing it's winter or this would be a useless effort.

I wish I could tell you a nostalgic story about how I learned to crochet, and it would have been possible because my mom has always crocheted.  But I never showed any interest until now and, unfortunately, she lives 6 hours away.  So left to my own devices, I learned to crochet from youtube.  There are a lot of good tutorials that show you exactly what to do.  I learned this puff stitch and the general idea for the hat on various youtube videos.  I made sure the size was right by just trying it on.

I wanted this hat to be a little fuller around the top so it would have little waves.  Most of the tutorials I saw made the hat in the traditional hat shape (like a rounded cone), and I knew I wanted it a little more modern than that.  So I increased the number of puff stitches to start with which made it a little fuller.  It's amazing what you can learn from trial and error. 

I made this hat for my sister for Christmas and the hat actually looks better on her.  I wish I would have gotten a picture of her in it.  I'm sure people get tired of seeing me pose in all my photos.

I would definitely do this hat again.  It worked up really quickly, I think it took me two evenings, maybe 4 hours total and it was only my third hat.

I used Vanna Choice yarn in Grey Marble. I used about 1.25 skeins for this hat.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

a new hobby {and a cozy for the tools}

I've been crocheting . . . a lot.  I got it in my head one day to learn to crochet so I could make a hat.  It's always fun to me to learn something new, but I wasn't sure how it would go.  I taught myself to knit (but not purl) a couple of years ago, and it was fine.  That pretty much means that if knitting was the only way to pass time, I could tolerate it but it certainly wouldn't be my first choice of crafts.

But for some reason, crochet was different for me.  I first made a hat for my 5-year-old that was too big.  After reworking it, it fits now but there is nothing special about it.  I hijacked it back so I improve it even more.  The second hat I made was for my 3-year-old who doesn't appreciate handmade items as much.  But this hat is so cute.  I just can't figure out how to get the photos off my phone.

I have made several other hats that I will share soon, but I first wanted to share the case I made to carry my crochet hooks and knitting needles.  Most of these hooks and needles were extras that my mom gave to me.  I have since purchases a few hooks on sale of sizes that I didn't have.

It rolls up nicely for easy transport.

The only thing I would do differently (and I will have a chance because my mom requested one) is to add some kind of flap so the needles stay in when help upside down.  I try not to carry it upside down, but when I'm in a hurry I can't tell the difference.

Now I just have to remember to put my hooks back in here when I'm done with them.

Monday, December 26, 2011

a lone sock monkey

The monkeys I made for a friend's mission in Israel turned out super cute!  Unfortunately, the amazing photos that the hub took of them hanging in trees and sitting on top of fences before he shipped them were lost forever when my 5-year-old pressed the 'delete all' button on the camera.  Even the are-you-sure-you-want-to-delete-all-photos warning didn't stop him.  So I don't have any photos of my hard work.

But when a friend saw what I was doing, she asked me to make one for her daughter for Christmas.  I almost ran out of time, so I had to settle with these knee high, brown and creme striped socks from Walmart.  I was looking for something a little more colorful (it's not often I get to sew for girls), but I think this monkey looks a little more like a traditional sock monkey with these colors.

I used this tutorial for all the monkeys I made.  I just make the ears a little bigger.

For Pepper here, I gave her yarn eyes in the shape of an X.  I used buttons for the eyes on the other ones I made.  I also thought she could use a modern scarf/cowl to girl her up a little, so I wrapped some extra yarn around loosely around her neck.