My Search for a Decent Hat

For years I have sought the perfect hat for my head.  I seem to have the same issue with hats on my head as Stephanie and more recently Nancy.  Trust me, they do NOT look good on me.  I used to have a collection of antique, vintage hats – I loved them.  They didn’t look good on me either.  I say I don’t have a a "hat head".  Kandis says I don’t have "hat hair" meaning that I won’t do anything with my thin, limp, fine, straight hair that might actually help the look of a hat on my head.  Maybe, but I am still not doing anything with my hair.  I have recently renewed my effort to find a style that will work.  Dyanne in Raisin Beret I made a cute Raisin Beret from some Gedifra English Tweed and it was a fun knit.  My friend Dyanne is now the proud owner of that hat.  I am not even going to entertain you with an image of me wearing it – it looks really cute on her, see?

My_watchcap I knit a Watch cap out of some Colinette Iona that I picked up in Vermont, really nice, soft yarn, in a lovely soft green color, that may not have been the best color choice for me, but I liked it on the skein.  I wear this hat because it is warm and I have to wear something, but it still does not pass my approval for appearances.  Dyanne says that I look really different in this hat – I suppose my "look" is determined by my hair, since you can see very little of it when I wear this hat.  I realize that I might could benefit from the judicious application of mascara, but let’s tackle one fashion issue at a time, eh? 

I knit the Last Minute Purled Beret, out of some nice Kureyon, and I had to rip it, it was too floppy, I will consider re-knitting it on a smaller needle to get a firmer fabric. 

Pink_bucket I bought Bonne Marie’s pattern for a felted bucket hat – I thought it was cute and was a completely different style.  The only half-way decent color of Patons Classic Merino I had was hot pink, so this is an expermiment – I have other worsted yarns, but I really like the way Patons felts.  This was a super-fast knit.  I could make one of these a day and still have time for other knits.  Stacy at the Knitting Nest kindly allowed me to use her washer for the felting chore.  Now, I know what is wrong with this hat.  First of all, I used my usual stretchy cast-on (cuz I knit so many socks) and I really needed a tighter one.  The brim should not be wavy and floppy like it is – a firmer cast on would have solved that.  I also need to knit the crown about a half inch or so longer to give it more height so it covers at least part of my ears.  And I need to pick a better color for me.  But what I really need to know is…am I getting close?  I know a cowboy hat looks okay on me, but it’s not very warm in winter.  There must be some style that will work on my goofy head shape.

And one last fashion related news bit – Abby’s choir teacher was ambushed by Stacy and Clinton at the Austin Airport on her return to the states from a visit to Israel.  She has been in New York all week and her reveal was last night at a club downtown.  But they want to film her teaching her choir students in her new look so tonight we are having a special extra rehearsal at the church so they can get the last few shots for her episode.  Unfortunately Stacy and Clinton will not be there, but it should be fun anyway.  I can’t wait to see Miss Danielle in her new threads. 

Chilly Days Means the Flow of FO

The bleakest part of the winter tends to be the most productive time for me.  You sure won’t catch me outside if it isn’t absolutely required.  So I stay in and focus.  The firewood is dwindling which means I will eventually have to go outside, but hopefully it will be dry by then.  The last time I cut firewood, the chain jumped off the chainsaw and I haven’t put that back on yet and will need to soon.  We don’t rely on wood for heat, I just like it.  I like the smell and I like the way I can sidle up the the fire to warm my backside or whatever other part of me is chilled. 

Doll_twirl The past weekend, I surprised Abby with a charm pack twirl skirt for her doll. The skirt requires 25 5" charm squares so I used a Moda Blossum collection.  I also finally finshed binding the edge of Cooper’s quilt, which I’ll take to him this weekend.  My first quilting project was quite a learning experience.  I can Quilt piece quickly if I’m not too careful.  Careful piecing takes longer.  My walking foot which works great for making my tote bags, does NOT work very well on quilts – I may have to outsource the quilting part of future quilts – I definitely want to plan them and piece them, but I don’t want to quilt them by hand.  Maybe once I have knitted every lovin’ thing I want to I might feel like hand quilting, but really, there is no great love lost there.  I pieced BptoteCooper’s quilt in one day many months ago and just now got around to the onerous task of adding the binding.  I will do better next time and I already have a pattern in mindBptote_inside.

I  made another backpack tote bag over the weekend – I think I might sell this one.  I have several more ready to be cut out.  I love these bags. 

I finished a pair of mitts while I was sitting around on my ass.

Black_mitts I wanted a simple pair of black ribbed mitts that were not bulky – I found a deal on some fingering in wool/silk at a bargain on Ebay. 

I cast on 60 stitches on size 3 needles and knit in 2×2 rib for 8 inches.  Then started the gusset and knit the body to the base of the fingers.  Just what I wanted.  All my other mitts were short and bulky – just wanted something a little sleeker that might go with more things.  German_sock I also started another pair of socks.  Kandis’ friend Brian brought me back 3 skeins from Heidelberg, Germany.  I gave one away as a prize for my Blogiversary Contest.  It’s not a colorway I would have gotten for myself, but I need to break out of my self-imposed color box anyway – I wonder if Kandis is going to expect a pair out of the last skein?

FO, Prizes, et.

My FO mojo is groovin’ along.  I finished this Vestee for my grandson last night.  This was a very quick knit.  Vestee_hood_3
Just a couple of hours of evening TV knitting and a couple of meetings at work and this puppy was done!  I used a bargain yarn I got at Kid N Ewe this year.  It’s Plymouth Yarn Sundae Swirl, 78% cotton and 22% nylon, so it should hold up to a toddler pretty well.  This yarn was 10 bucks for a bag of 10 skeins and I only used 5 for this project.  If I’m lucky, I might get a photo of Cooper in it tonight.

Blogiversary Contest Winners and Prizes:

Chris, I know you have knit sweaters and socks and wash cloths, but I haven’t seen you knitting any lace.  Yet.  Your prize is a big ol’ wad of burnt orange laceweight.  Now, knit us some lace.  Or you could trade it at the next yarn swap if you aren’t thrilled or a UT alum.


Steph, I know you’ve been practicing your dying and you could dye this if you wanted – you’re getting a big skein of Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool, it only comes in one color so dye it if you want.  There’s 465 yards on it which is enough for a scarf or a couple of hats.  I made a sweater out of this stuff and it’s great.  It still has the natural lanolin in it so if you don’t dry clean it, it’s virtually water-proof.


Nicole, I don’t really know you, but I thought surely you could use a nice skein of German sock yarn in wool and silk.  A friend brought it back to me from Heidelberg, Germany and he brought 3 skeins, so I think I can part with one.  Germans make the very best sock yarn, it wears like iron.


I hope you all enjoy your prizes, Tom drew the names for me.  Send me your addressed and I’ll get them in the mail to you.  Steph, I’ll bet I can just drop yours by the nest in a couple of days, eh?

Now, for all those patient and indulgent readers who said they would like to see some of my sewing, here is what I made Kandis for Christmas this year:


I used a tutorial I found on for inspiration and construction tips.  I used a natural silk noil for the background of the placemats and scraps from the stash for the pieced section.  The cranberry napkins match the reverse side of the mats.  I washed all the fabric before I ever cut it – even the silk – so now she can toss them all in the wash without having to worry if they will shrink.  Some folks think that silk is delicate or fragile, but in reality, it’s one of the strongest natural fibers there is.  Before Nylon was invented, they made parachutes out of it.  Silk was considered precious because it was so strong and lightweight. 

I started two more projects last night. I don’t want to lose my momentum.

First 2008 FO and Blogiversary

Mina_hat_2 Meet Mina.  She is my new niece.  Okay, she’s not all that new, but I just met her for the first time over Christmas.  She lives in Seoul, South Korea with her mom and dad (Tom’s brother) and sister, Xena(equally adorable, but almost 12 years old). I just finished Mina’s Christmas present, I hope she won’t mind that it’s late.  Also a tad too big, but at least she can grow in to it.  Samantha2 So this makes my first FO of the New Year.  I love this sweater – I made one before so it isn’t that new either.  I am pretty sure I will make more. 

Pattern: Samantha by Kate Gilbert
Yarn: Baby Ull in a bubblegum pink – 3 skeins
Size: This one I made in the 6-9 mos. size

Now, for the Contest…January 10th is my 3rd Blogiversary.  I don’t want to make this too hard for anyone – blogiversaries should be fun.  So for three years blogging, three prizes.  I haven’t determined them yet, but I will post them when I do.  To win, just leave a comment between now and January 10th at midnight CDT.  I will draw names of 3 commenters.  If you want you can tell me if you sew or not and/or whether you’re interested in seeing what sewing I’m up to here on this blog.  I don’t think I want to fool with creating another separate space for the sewing stuff.  Besides, I already post about other things like recipes and wildlife and such.  Why not sewing. 

And my sincere thanks to all those who commented for the kind condolences for the loss of my friend and father-in-law.  Things are getting better.

Beginning Again

December 2007 ended pretty much as it started.  The first week of the month I learned of the death of a childhood friend to cancer.  I was heartbroken and am still a little fragile talking about it.  Because Tom’s father was ailing, I sent him to Vermont to spend Christmas with his dad and brother for the last time.  He got back from Vermont on the 29th and his dad passed away on New Year’s Eve day.  I found myself unable to blog during all that sadness.  I couldn’t think of anything to say that didn’t feel insignificant compared to our losses.  I know that some folks can share easily on their blogs, but I couldn’t find the words. 

I can’t remember going so long without posting.  I have made it to a couple of knitting meetups and a couple of yarn sales, and I’m trying to get caught up on everyone’s blog entries from the last month. 

January 10th is my Blogiversary.  Three years (on Typepad).  There will be a contest, but give me a day or so to figure out what it should be.  I need to get back into my routine…with some improvements of course.  That’s what January is all about:  taking stock and re-evaluating priorities.  I don’t like to make resolutions since historically they have been disappointing.  I hate doing that to myself.  But I think there is always room for goal-setting.  A fresh start is nice positive concept.

I have been doing some sewing lately.  I am considering whether to start a separate sewing blog or whether to just include it here at Yarnmaven, even though I know some of my knitting readers don’t really care about sewing projects.  I need some place to organize my thoughts and sewing blogroll.  But I can’t decide.  Is anyone out there, besides Christine, who is managing 2 or more craft blogs who could provide some advice?  I am open to suggestions.

I have one FO blocking and then I’ll try to get a decent photo.  The weather warmed up here enough for us to actually clean out the garage today.  Such a satisfying chore when it’s done.   

Happy Belated New Year’s to everyone!  It simply HAS to  be better than last year.