Idle Hands and All That…….

My hands are definitely not idle.  I am always doing some crafty thing.  If I don’t keep my hands busy, they tend to want to shovel food into my mouth and my mouth never refuses. So I must keep them busy doing other things, cooking, cleaning, sewing, knitting, crocheting….something.

My latest crafty thing is this shawl.  It is a free pattern on Ravelry.

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Here is the link if you want to make this shawl yourself:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lalas-simple-shawl

Newfie Hat and Mittens

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Recently I came across a pattern for Newfie mittens (pattern on Ravelry)  and made them.  Then I wondered if there was one for a hat.  There were several, but they didn’t seem to meet my needs.  So I winged it and created my own version.  So for those out there who wish to try this hat, here are the instructions:

NEWFIE HAT

This is a simple hat pattern made to fit a 21-23 inch head. These instructions assume that you already know how to knit in the round with both circular and double pointed needles and understand basic knitting terminology

Materials:

1 ball of Knit PIcks Chroma Worsted (multi-color of your choice) MC

1 ball of Vickie Howell Sheep(ish) (solid color of your choice) CC

US 9 circular needles 16 inches long

US 9 double pointed needles

Yarn needle

Pat 1

K4 (CC), S2 (MC) around x 5 rounds

Purl 2 rounds with MC

Pat 2

K1 (CC) S2(MC), then K4(CC) S2(MC)around to last 3 stitches and K3(CC) x 5 rounds

Purl 2 rounds with MC

Instructions:

With MC, c/o 84 stitches onto circular needles.   K2P2 for 1.25 inches.

Join CC and begin Pat 1, alternating with Pat 2.   Repeat Pat 1 and 2 for a total of 4 times each. This will measure approximately 7 inches from cast on edge.

Cut CC yarn

Decrease with MC only:

Change to double pointed needles when necessary.  And any extra stitches at the end of decrease rounds, just knit them.

  1. K8, K2tog around
  2. K7, K2tog around
  3. K6, K2tog around
  4. K5, K2tog around
  5. K4, K2tog around
  6. K3, K2tog around
  7. K2, K2tog around
  8. K2tog around
  9. K2tog around

Cut yarn and slip through remaining stitches. Tighten and secure. Weave in all ends. Block if necessary.

And these are the mittens:

newfie mitts

HANDMADE/HOMEMADE

I am a member of Ravelry, a knit and crochet community of over 4 million members worldwide.  One can keep track of their projects, find patterns, join a community forum of like minded folks.

I am seeing a lot of posts about handmade/homemade items given as gifts being unappreciated by others.

Folks, listen up.

First of all, that hand crocheted or hand knitted item took hours to make.  Evidently, the person who made it thought you were deserving of their time and skills.

Second, this is SKILLED labor.  Try getting your car repaired without paying for the labor.  You will be laughed out of there pretty darn quick.  And this person felt you were deserving of this skilled labor at no charge.

Third, it is NOT cheap.  It seems a lot of folks think others make gifts because it is cheaper than buying them.  That is so NOT the case.  The yarn for that hand crocheted or hand knitted item cost more than the same, mass produced item found in a local boutique.

Fourth, the item your received is unique.  Most likely it is one of a kind and you won’t see a kazillion others like it.

So the next time you receive a handmade/homemade crocheted or knitted gift,  ohhhhh and ahhhhh a lot!  And treat the gift as a priceless artifact and  I guarantee you will remain on the crochet/knit worthy list for a long time.

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Blue Ribbons, YAY!

Every year I enter items in our local Fair.  Usually, it is one or two items in the crafts section and several photos in the photographic arts section.

This year I entered several photos, but didn’t win any ribbons for them.  I didn’t really expect to as I really did not put forth the effort in selecting good photos.

BUT, I did win Blue ribbons on my craft items.  That made me happy.  I entered a sweater in the knitting category and the Headless Horseman in the soft doll sculpture category.  Here are a few pics:

pf 6

pf 7

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The bottom pic shows the sweater better.

Keeping Busy During the Cold

Today I thought I would post a couple of knitting projects for any of you who want to keep busy while it is sub-zero outside.

Dippity Dots Mittens and Bucket Hat
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Materials:
1 skein of Bernat’s Dippity Dots yarn in color of choice
3 skeins of Yarn Treehouse Merino Classic in contrasting color or color a few shades darker than main color
US 4 double pointed needles for mittens
US 5 circular 16″ long and double pointed needes for hat (switch to dpns when it becomes difficult to continue with circular needles)

Terms:
c/o – cast on
CC – contrast color
MC – main color
K – knit
P – purl
BO or CO – bind off, cast off
M1 – make one
K2tog – knit 2 together
PM – place marker
SM – slip marker

Gauge: 5 stitches, 6 rows to the inch on US 4 needles

Mittens:
With US 4 dpns, cast on 40 stitches using CC. Divide evenly over 4 needles and K2P2 for 2 inches.
K one round in CC. Change to MC (dippity dots) and K 2 rounds.

Begin thumb gusset:
1. M1 and place marker. K to end of round
2. K
3. M1, K1, M1, SM, K to end of round.
4. K
5. M1, K3, M1, SM, K to end of round.
6. K
Continue in this manner until you have 13 stitches before marker.
Then, K13, SM, K remainder of stitches on needles. Slip the first 13 stitches before marker to waste yarn or ribbon. Remove marker. Continue knitting around and join .
Continue knitting around until you have 6 – 6 1/4 inches above cuff. Begin decreases.
K2, K2tog around
K three rounds even
K1, K2tog around
K three rounds even
K2tog around. Slip stitches to 2 needles and kitchner stitches together. This will be difficult as you will be pulling the dippity dots yarn thru the loops and it will stick. You will have to be patient and manipulate the yarn thru the loops.

Thumb:
Slip the 13 stitches to 2 needles. Pick up 3 stitches at join and divide stitches as evenly as possible. Join MC yarn and knit for desired length (about 2″ from join).
K1 K2tog around
K one round
K2tog around, slip yarn thru loops on needles and secure. Again this will be difficult as the dippity dots will tend to “catch” on the loops. Be patient and you will succeed.

Repeat for other mitten.

Dippity Dots Bucket Hat

Using US 5 circular needles, CO 120 stitches in CC. PM every 30 stitches. Join and K one round. Then P one round.
Begin pattern:
K13, P2 around until you have knit 1.5 inches from cast on edge.
Decrease: K2tog, K11, P2 around x 1
K 12, P2 around for 6 inches or desired length from beginning.
Decrease for top of hat:
K2tog, K4, K2tog, K4, P2 around.
K10, P2 around X 3
K2tog, K3, K2tog, K3, P2 around.
K8, P2 around x 3
K2tog, K2, K2tog, K2, P2 around
K6, P2 around x 3
K2tog, K1, K2tog, K1, P2 around
K4, P2 around x 3
K2tog, K2tog, P2 around
K2, P2 around x 1
K2tog, P2tog. End by cutting yarn about 10 inches out and run through loops on needles. Secure end. Weave in all loose ends. Block hat as necessary. Add decoration of choice.

I crocheted a flower in the Dippity Dots yarn to match the mittens. You could knit a flower or a band or a strip to tie into a bow or an i-cord. Use your imagination.

Notes: I did not block this hat. I like the curled up edge. If you wish, you can block the hat into a more bell shape.

mc 3

This is a moebius cowl that I did using US 8 circular needles 47″ long and following Cat Bordhi’s moebius cast on method. Her method can be found on YouTube. I began with a cast on of 100 stitches and followed her instructions for round #1. After that, I knt 4 rounds and then purled 4 rounds and continued in this manner until I was almost out of yarn. Then I did a standard bind off.

The yarn I used was Red Heart Boutique Treasure. It is 70% acrylic and 30% wool. Feels really soft.

How to Care for Handknit Wool Items

Christmas is just a couple of days away. Perhaps your sister-in-law, or mother-in-law, granny, mom or aunt thought you were special enough to knit/crochet something for this year.

First, let me say handmade/homemade is NOT cheap. Your relatives/friends are not trying to slide by on the cheap side by knitting/crocheting gifts. A skein of yarn, whether it is acrylic or Merino wool, can cost from $6 to $50+++ per skein and it will take at least 2 skeins to make a gift. Now add in the time spent to create said items and multiply by at least minimum wage. There, got it? Not cheap, is it.

Now, that being said, lets get to the care of said knitted/crocheted item. If it is acrylic, more than likely it is machine washable and dryable. Great for kids’ items.

If it is wool, or any other natural fiber, care is a little more involved. Most will involve washing by hand. This does not mean you take the item and scrub it against an old washboard. That will just cause the item to felt and shrink enough to fit your youngest child. What that means is to SOAK the item in warm, soapy water. Then rinse in cool water. Gently squeeze the water out. Roll item in a towel to remove more water. Then lay the item on a flat surface, shaping as you go, and allow the item to dry. This will take a day or two.

Granted this is a little time consuming, especially in our society where most folks want instant gratification. But keep in mind your relative/friend felt that you were knit/crochet worthy and felt in their hearts that you would take care of the item that took them hours to create.

I can guarantee you if you don’t take care of said item, you will be OFF their knit/crochet worthy list.

Merry Christmas!

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