Friday, June 29, 2007

An Ugly Hat: A Lesson Learned or FREE PATTERN FRIDAY

Yesterday I was having one of those days where I was frustrated with life for no particular reason. So when Little Man finally took a really good afternoon nap, I knitted. I'd been itching to do some stranded work because it's everywhere right now. In Knitting Daily. On Adam Knits. On beckyknitstoo. I wanted to do some stranded work and I wanted to do it now.

And since I didn't have the yarn or the time to do this:

I decided to make my old favorite: the baby hat. I had been playing around with a few ideas in my head and had to get the ideas out. I wanted to make a "rick rack" hat using this simple geometric pattern from Kate Buller's Style Your Own Kids' Knits:

I've added stranded work to both Barb's Baby Twizzle Hat by Barb Beukema and the Simple Hat pattern from Itty-Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson. This time I wanted a little different design. So I gathered up some yarn from my stash (leftover from Little Man's Halloween costume) and started knitting a Haley-original hat.

The hat pattern turned out okay, but my color choices went slightly astray and I made:

the ugly hat!

The stranded work is not my best. It's a bit wonky in places and as I mentioned the colors are not great... But, on a happy note, I created a new hat pattern with a good shape. To give credit where credit is due: The brim is a pseudo-rolled brim inspired by Barb's Baby Twizzle Hat. It rolls less than the ones used in Itty-Bitty Hats. The top shaping was adapted from the hats in Itty-Bitty Hats. I've posted the pattern below. If you change the colors and use nicer yarn, I think it will be a very nice little baby hat.

(great for using up leftover yarn)

3-6 month size

worsted weight yarn (small amount of as many colors as you want)
Size 7 16" circular needles
Size 7 double point needles
Cast on 70 stitches in blue or your first color. (I perfer to use the long-tail or thumb method, but any method is fine.)
Join carefully, placing a marker at the beginning of the round, and knit in the round for 6 rounds.
Purl for 4 rounds. (This will complete the brim.)
Knit 2 rounds. (These are the first two rows of the body of the hat.)
Complete the body of the hat by knitting 22 more rounds using the chart below for color guidance. Start at the bottom of the chart and work your way up.

Top of Hat Shaping
(Done in the orange or whatever color you used last in the body of the hat.)
(Knit 5, Knit 2 together) 10 times
Knit 2 rounds.
Move to doublepoint needles during this round.
On first needle: (Knit 4, Knit 2 together) 3 times.
On second needle: (Knit 4, Knit 2 together) 3 times.
On third needle: (Knit 4, Knit 2 together) 4 times.
Knit 2 rounds.
(Knit 3, Knit 2 together) 10 times
Knit 1 round
(Knit 2, Knit 2 together) 10 times
(Knit 1, Knit 2 together) 10 times
(Knit 2 together) 10 times
Cut the yarn, leaving a 6 in. tail. Using a yarn needle, thread the yarn through the remaining stitches. Pull the stitches closed and weave the yarn end into the inside of the hat.

This is my first time ever writing my own pattern so please let me know if there are mistakes or if anything is confusing. I'd really appreciate the feedback. Thanks!

So Lesson Learned:

It's probably best to plan before knitting. But if you don't plan, use cheap yarn from your stash and you'll be none the worse for wear.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Just a quick little mostly-pictures post. Little Man has been on a napping strike for several days, but is finally taking a nap. So time is limited and precious and I must go do some work in my house.
Little Man and I have been out weeding the last few mornings. He (looking stylish in his pjs and sunhat) likes to take the weeds back out of the bucket with a stick. Very helpful.

In this picture, Little Man is heading off to play in his playhouse. I love how he looks like a little tiny man in a big big world.

In happy knitting news, my in-laws just got back from a trip to Alaska and they brought me this great knitting pattern book.

I love these sweaters and think I'll try my hand at them. I love stranded work, but unfortunately these are worked on size 0s and 2s. That is going to take a long time. Better plan to make a bigger size than needed.

A few of my favorite things: Little Man pictured with my knitting books and mini-stash (the "current projects" yarn).

And, despite having to head to bed early because of Little Man's nighttime unhappiness, I have gotten this far on my nephew's Wonderful Wallaby. Not bad.

On a happy note, I took Little Man to the doctor and he does NOT have an ear infection. Just a cold and his fourth i-tooth coming through. Off to make myself do some cleaning. Fun, fun! Maybe I'll finish early and get in a little knitting before Little Man gets up. Probably not, but maybe.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Top Ten Things My Refrigerator Junk Says About Me: Some True and Some Not

It's Top Ten Tuesday again.

I have several friends who are trying to sell their houses. I was thinking about trying to sell my house and it made me cringe. How would I possibly keep it clean and neat enough? What would people think when they walked through my house? Would they judge me by my junk? Thus, this week's topic: Top Ten Things My Refrigerator Junk Says About Me (Some True and Some Not).

10. I have children. (Partly true: I have one child, but he's not pictured on my fridge. These are all pictures of my niece and nephews. In fact, they are all OLD pictures of my niece and nephews. Note to self: Must update pictures.)

9. I have a dog. (Partly true: I actually have two dogs. This magnet is made from a picture of my oldest dog Zoe when she was a puppy. She is now 9 and my other dog Pauli is almost 7. I consider them my first two children. My mom gets mad at me because when I talk to Little Man I refer to the dogs as "your sisters.")

8. I like takeout food. (True: I'm not a great cook and I really don't enjoy cooking. Oddly enough I don't get takeout very often, but enjoy it when I do. Buca is a special treat. The New Peking House happens more often.)

Did anyone notice the Winnie the Pooh magnet? It's actually a Shrinky Dink. Remember Shrinky Dinks? When my husband and I were dating, he once gave me Shrinky Dinks and a balloon animal making kit for Valentines. This is one of the Shrinky Dinks I made.

7. I have a toddler and I make sure he eats a balanced diet. (Partly true: I do have a toddler and I wish he ate a balanced diet, but he really doesn't. He eats a good quantity of food, but not a good variety. Little Man is a very picky eater. He will only eat these foods: cereal, banana, pear, apple, yogurt, freeze-dried corn, mac n' cheese, chicken nuggets, string cheese, pretzels, other crunchy snacky food, vanilla ice cream. And last night he discovered ketchup for the first time--does that count as a vegetable? All other foods he touches and deems unworthy of entering his mouth. He's just like me as a child. I hope he grows up to be a healthier eater than I am.)

6. I went to my knit shop in both May and June and used this lovely coupon. (Not True: I only went in June and I didn't have a coupon because the idiot that I am never signed up on the mailing list. However, Jackie at The Knitting Garden was kind enough to give me this coupon that had been undeliverable to someone else. Thanks, Jackie and the 20% off coupon! You are the best!)

5. I am interested in breweries. (True: In fact, this is an article about the brewery that my husband is opening. Very exciting! )

4. I don't get a babysitter very often. (True: As you can see the Babysitter Notes magnet has never been filled in although I did put a contact number on it once in hopes that we would get a sitter. We have since found one and hope to have a date night once a month. Happy Times!)

3. I am a good person and donate blood on a regular basis. (Not True: The good person in our household is my husband. He is so good to donate blood every time he is able. I, on the otherhand, cringe at the sight of blood and needles. My "excuse" is that I don't weigh enough, but even if I did I would probably not do it. I really respect that my husband does.)

By the way, did anyone notice that the calendar is on April? I took this picture yesterday. Oops!

2. I am a highly organized and motivated cleaner and I clean my whole house every week. (Really Not True: I want to be a highly organized and motivated cleaner. I want to clean my whole house every week, but this almost NEVER happens. But I hope that someday making lists like this will help me do it.)

1. I have a sense of humor about my housecleaning skills. (True: "Maybe Today." Maybe Not. Such is life.)

And to end, a Little Man update. He's still extra snotty, but seemed better yesterday. Unfortunately, last night I had to get up with him eight or nine times between 11:30PM and 5:30AM. We'll be checking in with the pediatrician today. Here's a little pic of my sweet little man.

Edited 12/3/08

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Happy Times Are Here Again

Right now Little Man has a yucky cold. The kind that kept him up in the middle of the night because he was so gooky. It was very sad. We were both very grumpy. Not only were we tired, but he felt gross and I was wasting valuable naptime sleeping instead of knitting (remember next week I have to be Super Haley). But although he still has his cold, Little Man is doing better. He's sleeping great at night and at naptime again. We are both a LOT less grumpy! Happy Times!

And last night I got to use this for the first time:

My lovely wristlet from Ashley! I love it. We went to a wedding reception last night (the actual wedding was two weeks ago--a little odd, but strangely nice to have them on different days). It was only the third time we'd gotten a baby-sitter for Little Man. In 15 months, it was only the 4th or 5th time Brian and I had gone out without him. It was lovely! He had a great time with the sitter which made me feel good. Despite Brian's cold (caught from Little Man), we had a great time too. We definitely need to do this more often. Happy Times!

Another first:

My first "real" yarn from my LYS. Blue Sky Alpaca Cotton. I used a gift certificate I got for my birthday and a little money I had set aside. So excited. I know this sounds silly, but I've never bought yarn that had to be "balled" before. I'm going to make a Placket-Neck Pullover from LMKG for Little Man. I've wanted to make one ever since I saw Nikki's on Flickr. Isn't the color beautiful? I know it will look great with Little Man's eyes. Happy Times!

And since Little Man is sleeping better, I've done this:

This is the Wonderful Wallaby I'm making for my oldest nephew. I think he'll really like it. It's not my favorite shade, but my nephew loves red. I'm using Caron Simply Soft yarn and it's really nice to work with--very soft. Next, I'm going to make his younger sister one in a pale blue. I love how quickly the Wallaby knits up and I love the lack of seams to sew up. Happy Times!

And finally we have these:

I'm not a sock knitter (yet), but I didn't want to be totally left out of the trend. They're not as nice as Ashley's or Maritza's or Cheryl's or Nova's, but these are my Monkeys. Happy Times!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Who Gave My Child a Silly Pill?

The afternoon started off quietly enough with a little post-nap snuggle time.

But then dinnertime came and the silliness began.

After dinner, Little Man got even sillier.

Who gave my child a silly pill?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Working Girl

So as I mentioned yesterday, I'm starting a new job. I thought it was starting this week, but I got a reprieve until next week. Can you feel my excitement about working again?

I've been a full-time mom for 15 months now--ever since Little Man was born. I love it! Don't get me wrong, there are times that I miss the adult company that came with work. And I sometimes miss being appreciated for work other than the work required to take care of a small child. And I definitely live on a pretty tight budget in order to stay home--thus I knit from my small stash and with mostly craft store yarn. But I can definitely say that I don't miss working. Well, as I like to say, I'm still working, I just don't get paid anymore.

Anyway, I was recently approached by a former boss to do some work from home. And I decided to do it. I'm not sure why because I'm not all that excited about it. But I really like my old boss so I said yes. I am excited about having a little extra money, I'm just not excited about giving up any of my precious naptime to work. I was ready to make myself jump into the work this week, but my boss told me to wait until after I received an official contract. So I'm waiting. Oh, darn! Instead of working, I'm enjoying a beautiful summer day.

But next week, during naptime, I will begin my new job. I will happily create new word analysis (phonics) materials. I will be motivated and efficient so that I not only get work done on this project, but I also get my house cleaned and dinner cooked. And when Super Haley finishes all these tasks, she will happily sit and do what I did today--sit in the sun barefoot and knit. Now that's heaven and worth more than any salary can pay.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Top Ten Tuesday

I see a lot of people doing Eye Candy Friday, but I thought I'd try something a little different. So here is the first installment of what I plan to be my weekly feature: Top Ten Tuesday.

I'll start with an easy one because I'm starting a new job this week (more on that in a later post) so I don't have a lot of time AND little man was up a lot last night (not sure why) and so I'm tired and don't have a lot of extra brain power.

Top Ten Reasons I Knit

10. I love the many colors and textures of yarn. There are so many beautiful options out there. I just need to do something with them.

9. It supports my TV habit. I feel lazy (guilty?) if I just sit and watch TV at night. BUT if I'm watching TV and knitting then I'm being productive.

8. I love to be productive. I like doing something that results in a finished product.

7. I like being creative. I never knit a pattern with the exact yarn that is suggested. I like to pick my own yarn and recently add my own designs. Next step will be to design a whole sweater from scratch (yes, I am scared that it will be a complete failure).

6. There aren't nearly enough baby hats in this world.

5. It's a social outlet. I've met so many cool people through knitting.

4. I am an awful sewer, painter, drawer and general artist, but I love color and creating things.

3. I'm too young to fall asleep on the couch by 9PM every night, but I totally would if I wasn't busy knitting.

2. Since I'm not currently working (well, I'm just starting to work again), I need some sort of outlet that makes me feel like I'm skilled. I need to feel that I can do more than just entertain a 15 month-old and change diapers. And since I'm an awful housewife and mediocre cook, I get my sense of accomplisment from knitting. I also get to use parts of the brain that would otherwise be neglected (namely the creative and mathematical parts).

1. I love to give people the items that I knit. It seems selfless, but it's really the secret guilty pleasure of appreciation.
See Recently Finished Projects for more details on items pictured in this post.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

It's Father's Day. Little man is napping. He and the dogs gave us a Father's Day gift of sleeping in this morning until 7:30AM. Very nice! Then we all went on a morning doughnut run. My husband loves doughnuts.

As I was trying to decide what to get my husband for Father's Day (since little man is too young to decide for himself), I started feeling guilty that I had never knit anything for my husband. I've knitted gifts for all kinds of babies, friends, family, co-workers, but never for my husband.

He's not a scarf wearer or he definitely would have gotten one when I first started knitting. I must have made almost 50 scarves in that initial knitting period when I was too scared to try anything harder, but was having lots of fun playing with color, yarn, and stitch patterns. I've since moved on to softies, hats and sweaters--but only baby-size ones.

It's definitely time to branch out. I've seen others do it. I can do it, too. Man-size knits here I come. A hat. Some mittens. A sweater. Well, at least a hat. Let's not get too crazy here. Whatever I make, I hope he'll love it and remember how much I love him. I guarantee I'll love making it. That's what I love about knitting. I have fun doing it and when I'm done I have a finished project that I can give to someone for them to enjoy. More fun for me.

So, I'll be adding man-size knits to my "On the Needles/On the Brain" list. Any suggestions on patterns?

And a picture of my dad with little man in honor of Father's Day! Thanks for the inspiration, Minty :).

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Love Affair with a Hat

For Christmas in 2005 (that sounds like so long ago!), I got the 2006 Knitting Pattern-A-Day Calendar. I was thrilled. I had been knitting for over a year, but had only made scarves, blankets and one baby sweater. I was ready to branch out, but still a little unsure if I had the necessary skills. I decided to start small--a hat. I could do a hat! The first few hats I tried were okay, but a bit disappointing. Then I discovered the Twizzle Hat (Barb's Twizzle Baby Hat to be exact).

I immediately went to work on my first hat and it was cute. It was remarkably easy. I was thrilled. I enjoyed the quick (relatively) pattern so much that I made lots and lots of twizzle hats. I had some Bernat Softee Baby left over from earlier blankets which worked perfectly for these hats. I loved trying different color combinations.

I even made one to go with my little man's Halloween costume.

I was hooked. I was soon making twizzle hats for every baby I knew and even selling some to babies I didn't know. I raised enough money to buy a Christmas present for my husband--a very nice feeling for a non-working wife. After a while, I grew tired of making the same hat over and over so I tried my hand at a few others including this one from Helloyarn.

But soon more babies were on the way and I returned to my favorite, the twizzle hat. By this time, I had experimented with stranded work and decided to add some to my next batch of twizzle hats. This worked well with a set of hats I made for my brother's triplets who are due in October. Yes, triplets! Two girls and a boy!

Now I was ready for an even more ambitious twizzle hat. One with multi-colored stranded work. I carefully picked out my yarn.

I chose a pattern for the stranded work.

And I made a hat that is both lovely and not all at the same time. I had such very good intentions, but I'm afraid it may be a bit loud. You see I made this hat for a friend who doesn't go for the traditional pastels for babies. I wanted this hat to be bold. I wanted it to be bright and cheerful. It is. But it's also a bit like a flashback from the 80s. And although I love the 80s and have many fond memories, I'm not sure if I miss the fashion.

If my friend hates the hat, I know she will never tell me. I will recieve the obligatory photo of her child wearing his hat. But hopefully, she will love his twizzle hat. She will embrace it's 80s funkiness. As a knitter herself, she will know it was knitted with love. It's a little, slightly garish, brightly-colored labor of love.