Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

All Knitted Up: The Republic Hat & Cupcake Hat

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Double pointed needles have terrified me ever since I started knitting. About a year ago, I recorded a couple of episodes of Knitty Gritty that went through the in’s and out’s of double pointed needles. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched those same episodes over and over again.

For some, these are easy to learn. For me, this took a good few weeks of work to finally get the hang of it. I think I was intimidated more than anything. Knitting with three needles is so awkward to me, much like my first days of learning to knit were. For most hats though, they are a necessary evil and one that I was willing to tackle to move on to some fresh new projects.

I wanted to share with you a few of my latest hat creations that I am so proud of. I learned many new techniques through these hat projects and I can’t wait to share them with you!


Pattern: Cupcake Hat (@ Chili Con Yarne)

Needle Size: US 6 Needles

Yarn: Bernat Lemon Berry & Bernat Dark Pink Cotton Tots Yarn (clearance section of Hobby Lobby for $2.81 a ball!)

Notes: This hat took two tries before I figured out the sizing that I needed. There is such a thing as checking gauge, but I had already went two needle sizes down on the pattern so I figured I was safe. It turned out, I was wrong. The first one turned out to be a hat more appropriate for a 7 year old rather than a 4 year old. Lucky for me, my best friend has a daughter who is just that age so I am going to give her the first one.

To make the sizing perfect for my daughter (who must have a very small head or I knit extremely loose), I switched my needle sizing to size 6 (the original pattern called for size 8 needles) needles and decreased the cast on stitches to 72. That turned out to be the perfect size with this yarn and for my sweet little girl’s head.

I learned so much from this pattern. The thing I was extremely proud to have learned was how to make bobbles. I found a fantastic You Tube tutorial and used that to create this hat. I had also never made a pom pom before and that was super fun and easy! Below are the tutorials that I used to create this hat!

We love it so much that now I want to make another one in purple for her. A girl has to have great choices for her winter wardrobe and I absolutely love this cute hat!

Pattern:The Republic Hat (available in the right side bar as a free download in PDF from Nik’s Knits)

Needle Size: US 8 Needles

Yarn: I Love This Cotton! yarn in Vintage Teal & the bronze flower button was found at Hobby Lobby.

Notes: Again, I did not check my gauge (are you seeing a pattern here?) and figured out that I need to go down two needle sizes for every hat pattern I make. It seems the Clark family has small heads or I am a really loose knitter. Thanks to the adjustable button closure though, I just pulled it in tighter to adjust to my head sizing. In my opinion, thanks to this cute adjustable brim, this is an absolutely perfect hat for a beginner because you can tuck it in if you need to.

I loved this pattern so much that I decided to make a second one in winter white in the same I Love This Cotton! yarn (available for $2.99 a skein) at Hobby Lobby.

Here is my second hat made with the size 8 needles (instead of the size 10 above) and I cannot stop wearing it. Every single time I wear it someone asks me where I bought it. For my friends that know me, they ask if I will make them one. I have two more to create before Christmas for a couple of special people in our family. I love this hat to death and can’t say it enough that it is the perfect hat pattern to start with because it is super easy to NOT get those stitches twisted with the garter stitch brim.

3 Things That Helped Me With Making Hats

1. Bamboo 16″ Circular Needles- These are an off-brand of bamboo needles, but had a wider cord than the kind that you buy in the store. This helped me so my stitches didn’t get twisted. Circular needles are expensive in the store ($8.50 per needle set). These were $24.98 for all of the sizes 0-15! What a steal! I applied my Swagbucks towa
rds Amazon gift cards to score these for free.

2. Bamboo 9″ Double Pointed Needles- Again, these are an off-brand needle and they were extremely rough so they held my stitches really well. As a beginner on these, these rough double pointed needles were key for me to get the hang of it without dropping stitches. It was a lot cheaper to buy these as a set and I did apply my Swagbucks towards the Amazon gift cards so I didn’t have to dip in my pocket to pay for them.

3. A Better Ring Marker- I was using the kind that you just slipped over the needles and was finding that I was losing my starting stitch marker for knitting in the round. My mother-in-law gave me the kind that slip onto the yarn and I put that at the beginning of my round. It was key to not losing my place and helped me stay on track with my pattern!

Below are a few tutorials that I used that helped me with these patterns! I hope they will help you as much as they have helped me this last month!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OavaQ3Eeulc]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsbPr0Tn1ZA]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoQ_HHeJM44]

All Knitted Up: Sweet Little Baby Blankets

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Two more blankets made it off the knitting needles this past month. I am still working on a third blanket, but I am finally trying a new pattern on this third one. It is hard to find patterns that I really am in love with for baby blankets. If you have a fun pattern to share, please feel free to leave it in the comments! I am always looking for new patterns and it seems that I have plenty of opportunities to knit baby blankets in my circle of friends!

I know my regular readers have seen these patterns before, but I love the fresh new colors that have been out this season and couldn’t resist sharing the projects that I have been working on. As always, I will try to provide any tutorials you might need at the end of the post. I also highly recommend Knitting Help for beginning knitters!


Robin’s Egg Bon Bon Baby Blanket

Pattern: Sweet Bon Bon Blanket by Suzanne Middlebrooks (available as a free download for Ravelry members)

Needle Size: US 9 Needles

Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Robin’s Egg Blue & discontinued (and not enough) furry yarn for textured rows.

Notes: This is one of my favorite blanket patterns and I loved doing this in the cotton yarn because it was so soft, but not so warm that summer knitting becomes uncomfortable.

I did learn an important lesson in jotting down how much yarn I would need for a project. I thought the four packages of furry yarn I bought would be just enough for my project. I quickly discovered how wrong I was as each row almost took over half the ball. I ended up doing three rows of texture on each end and leaving the center solid since I had more of my solid color. It all turned out, but I was doing some tight knitting to try and get enough for the edges of the blanket!

The furry yarn adds texture between the different pattern rows, but it was difficult to work with and stay on track for the kfbf combination when weaving back into the regular yarn. I still would do it again though because I love the texture that it brings to the blanket.

This pattern is still a great one for a beginning knitter and the only stitch I did not know was the kfbf combination, which I found how to do on You Tube. Because of the width of this blanket (a cast on of only 96 stitches) it comes together very quickly and it makes a beautiful chevron pattern with a garter edge.


Project Linus Security Blanket

Pattern: Project Linus Security Blanket Pattern found in, “Knitting for Peace

Needle Size: US 9

Yarn: Loops & Threads Snuggly Wuggly Baby Yarn (in dark pink)

Notes: This pattern has been highlighted before, but I couldn’t resist sharing another blanket that I made from this pattern. This is my third blanket using this pattern, and I am still in love with it. I wanted to make this pretty deep pink one for a girlfriend who will be having a little girl any day now! I couldn’t wait to mail this off to her for the big day and hope that she will get lots of use out of it!

This is the world’s best pattern for a beginner in teaching how to do yarn overs. Although it looks complex, there is only one row of “pattern” and then it has a row of purling and a row of knitting. It adds a beautiful scalloped edge to the blanket and looks far more impressive than it really is. It is a larger blanket (with a cast on of 144 stitches for the smaller size) so this one does take a bit of time, but it is an easy pattern to do while watching television because of the two basic rows within it.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaHOAxx2hqE]

All Knitted Up: Circle & Chinese Waves Dishcloths

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


Summer is a time for knitting dishcloths for me. They are a perfectly portable project and can be whipped up from all of the scraps of yarn that I have leftover from past projects. They give me an opportunity to play with pattern without being committed to a large project. Best of all, they are completely useful and make a fantastic gift.

My dishcloths are threadbare and looking pretty worse for wear. I decided to replace them with my little homemade ones and it has been a welcome distraction between knitting baby blankets for friends.



Circle Dishcloth

Pattern: Circle Cloth Pattern (this links to the free PDF version)

Needle Size: US 7 Needles

Yarn: Peaches & Creme in various leftover colors

Notes: I don’t know if I will ever knit another type of dishcloth again after making these. This dishcloth is so pretty that I don’t think I even want to use it.

After seeing the pattern on Ravelry, I knew that I had to try it, just to figure out how it was done. The cloth is almost three dimensional and looks as though you are knitting in two layers. It really is just slipped stitches that keeping moving on the needles to make the impressive circles on top.

I almost want to make a scarf out of this and am already thinking what a great little hostess gift these would make for the holidays in festive colors.

I flipped them over so you can see what it looks like on the back. Obviously, the front of the cloth is the pretty side, but I love seeing how smooth the pattern looks on the back despite the intricate front.

This pattern is still easy enough for beginners, you just need to know how to slip stitches and how to switch colors. I will provide a You Tube video below for switching colors below!


Chinese Waves Dishcloth

Pattern: Chinese Waves Dishcloth (this links to the free PDF version)

Needle Size: US 7 Needles

Yarn: Peaches & Creme in various leftover colors

Notes: These little dishcloths knit up so fast and have a cool little wave texture to them. The only stitch that you need to know for this one is how to knit and how to slip stitches. There is no purling so you don’t even need to know that! The slipped stitches make a nubby texture to help get your dishes clean and they also add a little bit of thickness and softness to the dishcloth.

If you are looking for a project that will knit up quickly, these are super fast and fun to make!

How to Switch Color (A Fantastic Tutorial):

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kscakqPUpvc]

All Knitted Up: Violet Ruffled Shawl

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Pattern: Ruffled Shawl by Gail Tanquary

Needle Size: US 10 Needles

Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in Violet (5 skeins)

Notes: I could not wait to show you my latest knitted project. I am so proud of this, in fact, that I carry it around in a tote bag with me to showcase to anyone who will talk to me. This truly is my proudest knitting moment to date and I would like to introduce you to my new summer shawl!

The shawl itself was very easy and straightforward. The shawl started with only two stitches and then increased as you went along and grew from that tiny point into the shawl. You then decreased back down until you had a single stitch left on your needles. At this point, you picked up the edge again and knit back into it to create the bell-shaped ruffle. I had no idea how to “pick up” stitches so this required a great deal of assistance from my sweet mother-in-law.

The ruffled edge was a true challenge for me though and each row, on the ruffle, took approximately an hour to complete. I should have used longer circular needles than I had, as the stitches were so bunched on the needles I had no idea if I was doing anything right at all. The ruffle itself took a full three weeks for me to finish and three hours to cast off.

Once I cast off the ruffle though, I quickly realized that this shawl is not intended for a petite girl. The length of this shawl came to my toes. It was intended to be thrown over your shoulder, but my frame is narrow and I could have easily wrapped it three times. I knew if I left it this way, I would never wear it. After that much work, some modifications had to be made.

Pictured here is my modification to the pattern. I folded each side of the corners of the shawl in sixteen inches on each side and seamed it to the top of the neckline. This created a pocket that I can tuck my hands into when I am cold and created a sizing more appropriate to my body type.

I absolutely am in love with this shawl! I chose cotton yarn so that it could be enjoyed during any season and I wouldn’t get too hot. This shawl will be well-traveled and loved. I have pictured myself in it on so many occasions already.

This project was a true challenge, but I am convinced if I can make this, I can do pretty much anything!

Below is a video that explains the process of picking up stitches that you can use for reference if you haven’t done this before.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF34R6KX-cc]

All Knitted Up: Sweet Baby Blankets

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

All of my girlfriends are pregnant it seems and so my knitting needles have been quite content at clicking away on baby blankets for each of my wonderful friends.

Each gift is lovingly wrapped in tissue paper and tied off with ribbon from my craft supplies. I love finishing these gifts off and giving them all of the work and love I have put into them. It is quite an incredible feeling, particularly because I have only been knitting for a year. I would have never dreamed how much I would be able to do with this little hobby and how much it would enrich my life. Truly, if you have a friend who can teach you such a hobby or a class in town that you can take, I encourage you to give knitting a try.

If you are a knitter, I would love for you to be my friend on Ravelry. My username is momadvice and I try to keep my little notebook updated with the current projects.

Here are a couple of the projects that I have been working on:




Lemony Bon Bon Baby Blanket

Pattern: Sweet Bon Bon Blanket by Suzanne Middlebrooks (available as a free download for Ravelry members)

Needle Size: US 9 Needles

Yarn: Bernat Softee Baby Solids (in Lemon) & Baby Bee Lambie Pie (in Snuggle) for smaller pattern between the solid yellow. Only one skein (455 yards) was needed of the yellow and I used only 1/4 of a skein in the Baby Bee yarn.

Notes: I absolutely love this pattern and am planning to make more blankets with other colors like it. It is very easy to follow and also easy to see where you get off track because of the way it comes together. The furry yarn adds texture between the different pattern rows, but it was difficult to work with and stay on track for the kfbf combination when weaving back into the regular yarn. I still would do it again though because I love the texture that it brings to the blanket.

This pattern is still a great one for a beginning knitter and the only stitch I did not know was the kfbf combination, which I found how to do on You Tube. Because of the width of this blanket (a cast on of only 96 stitches) it comes together very quickly and it makes a beautiful chevron pattern with a garter edge.



Project Linus Security Blanket

Pattern: Project Linus Security Blanket Pattern found in, “Knitting for Peace

Needle Size: US 9

Yarn: Bernat Softee Baby Solids (I don’t have the color name, but it was a baby blue with white mix)

Notes: This pattern has been highlighted before, but I couldn’t resist sharing another blanket that I made from this pattern. My best friend is expecting her third child and specifically requested this pattern after seeing my pink version for another dear friend. This is the world’s best pattern for a beginner in teaching how to do yarn overs. Although it looks complex, there is only one row of “pattern” and then it has a row of purling and a row of knitting. It adds a beautiful scalloped edge to the blanket and looks far more impressive than it really is. It is a larger blanket (with a cast on of 144 stitches for the smaller size) so this one does take a bit of time, but it is an easy pattern to do while watching television because of the two basic rows within it.

Below is the video that I used for figuring out how to do the kfbf combination:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaHOAxx2hqE]

Anthropologie Inspired Knitted Capelet Take Two

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009


Yup, I made it again because I loved the pattern that much. I am, in fact, working on a third one and I am afraid that I will never knit anything BUT these Anthropologie inspired knitted capelets again.

This one was knitted with Lion Brand Homespun yarn in a moss green. It happened to be on sale, right after the holidays, and I bought two packages of it for only $4 each! I was able to knit this pattern using only one of the packages so I am sure I will be able to find a good use for that extra yarn. The button was the second in the package of what I had used from before.

Don’t be surprised if I never knit anything else again. I am working on one in black and was able to pick through my girlfriend’s stash of antique buttons for the next one. You know, because every girl needs a black capelet. It goes with everything.

Details on Pattern: This is the Anthropologie Inspired Capelet from Peony Knits. I used size 11 (8.00 mm) needles and Lion Brand Homespun Yarn in Moss Green, purchased at Michael’s. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it so I bought the inexpensive yarn.

Modifications: I added two inches to the length of the capelet and then added 5 rows of additional ribbing to the sleeves. It is a small pattern. I have a very narrow frame and am petite and this fit me perfectly. I would recommend modifications if you are busty or have a wider frame. This project did require some blocking, but came together quickly with instant gratification.

All Knitted Up: Dulce Neck Cozy

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009



My mother-in-law is a fabulous knitter so it can be a little nerve-wracking to knit something for a really great knitter. She had mentioned to me one day though, that she would love to have a cowl in a really soft yarn. I ran right out and got the supplies to make this beautiful pattern in a cherry red bamboo yarn. The yarn was so incredibly soft that it felt like a warm blanket and I ended up getting two balls of this so I could make one for her and one for myself.

I thought this would make a fabulous birthday gift for her and made this and a big birthday dinner to celebrate her.


Here is the birthday girl with her new neck cozy! She says the girls at work really loved her fancy new neck cozy and how great it was when she was out in the cold on recess duty with the children.

I am planning to take this with me on my next trip since it is a perfectly portable and easy project. I think it will go perfectly with my furry black coat this season.

Details on Pattern: This pattern is no longer available online, but is available for download on Ravelry. It is called the Dulce Neck Cozy.

I completed the Dulce #2 (Browns) Pattern. This took all 148 yards, but I knitted loosely so I would not have to make the buttonhole. I could have probably used another twenty yards to give it a little extra length, but was under a bit of a time crunch. I opted for one button instead of two and chose a black wooden button to bring the cowl together.

This would be a great patten to take on a trip because it has only one row of real pattern and alternates only between two rows one of purling and one of pattern. It has a herringbone type of look to it and looks far more complicated than it is.

Great project for instant gratification! Wonderful pattern for a newbie knitter in understanding yarn overs.

All Knitted Up: The Anthropologie Inspired Capelet

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009


This is a proud, proud knitting moment. As I gaze at this capelet, I feel nothing but happiness that I was able to make something that I could actually wear with great pride.

I printed out this pattern a few weeks ago and read it a dozen times, but would immediately become overwhelmed with anxiety. What if I couldn’t make anything more than a scarf or a dishcloth or a blanket? What if I was destined to make square flat things for the rest of my life? What if I failed?

I began to knit and what happened was that I began to learn. I made a swatch to check my gauge. I made mistakes, but I ripped them out. I learned what 1×1 ribbing was. I placed markers. I moved things to scrap yarn. I created sleeves. I seamed. I became excited as I began to understand what I was doing.

I knitted with wild abandon. I tried my work on. I tried it on again. I modified it to my personal taste. I sewed it up with a button. I blocked. I collapsed at midnight of the same day and felt quite smug that I had done it. If I could knit this, what else could I knit? I held back from spending the night flipping through patterns with my new skill set in mind. Yes, I must rest.

The next day was the other anxiety filled moment. I wore it out in public. And no one laughed or asked if it was what I made in my Home Ec class. And they complimented me. And there was so much pride.

And now, I know I can do so much more than I gave myself credit for… and that was the best feeling of all! A whole new world of patterns have just opened up for me!

I plan to make this in a couple of other colors and play around with the pattern a bit. It is one that can be modified depending on your style and shape.

Details on Pattern: This is the Anthropologie Inspired Capelet from Peony Knits. I used size 11 (8.00 mm) needles and Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Fisherman. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it so I bought the inexpensive yarn.

Modifications: I added two inches to the length of the capelet and then added 5 rows of additional ribbing to the sleeves. It is a small pattern. I have a very narrow frame and am petite and this fit me perfectly. I would recommend modifications if you are busty or have a wider frame. This project did require some blocking, but came together quickly with instant gratification.

The project only took me one day of dedicated knitting and I am a newbie knitter.

My Hostess Gifts This Year

Monday, December 8th, 2008

I have been working on little hostess gifts to give this year for all of our upcoming holiday gatherings. I wanted something that would be quick to make and also economical. Thanks to my new knitting hobby, I am whipping up snowflake dishcloths for a mere $.75 each.


This pattern was easy to do and only required a bit of concentration when making the snowflake in the center. This is all knitting and purling so if you can do those two stitches, you can totally make these! I used Peaches ‘N Cream in red and a robin’s egg blue.

I have to say that my favorite part about these is the little addition of our family Christmas picture (courtesy of Brittani Renee Photography). I had a disc of our pictures and I copied the pictures to my computer. I then took one of our holiday photos and plopped it into a Word document. Right click on your image and click, “Size.” You can then adjust your image to the size for your gift cards. This was reformatted with width and height at 3 inches. You could also do a smaller gift tag by resizing the image to 2 inches. Type your message below and mount it onto cardstock or pretty scrapbooking paper. This was hole punched and then I used a needle to weave in a strand of contrasting yarn with a little raffia.

I hope those who host us in their home will know how much their efforts are appreciated by this tiny gesture of thankfulness.

What is your favorite hostess gift to give? Please feel free to share your recipes or tips/tricks for personalizing those hostess gifts!

All Knitted Up: Project Linus Security Blanket

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008


I am wrapping up my second baby blanket. I think this one is just a tad fancier than the first blanket I did. Although the pattern looks very complex, in actuality the pattern has three rows that just repeat over and over. It is one row of knitting, one row of purling, and then one row of actual pattern. Then you just repeat it until you want to poke your eyes out with your knitting needles.

My favorite part about this blanket is the scalloped edging on it. The blanket looks so beautiful and delicate and it will be going to my best friend’s sweet little baby who is on the way in just a couple of short months. I hope it will be a favorite in their collection and I can’t wait to send this off for the holidays.

If you are interested in making this blanket, I found the pattern in, “Knitting for Peace” which is a really great book with simple patterns for charitable giving.

It has blanket patterns, chemo cap patterns, infant and preemie hat patterns, and prayer shawls- just to name a few! I can’t wait to start doing some charitable knitting and hope to put some really great stuff together in time for next year’s holiday. I would also love to do something with Mama to Mama throughout the year. Is anyone else doing anything with this wonderful project?