Faux-Fur Pom-Pom Beanie

2016-02-26 17.06.12

Well it’s almost spring time: the sun was beautifully shining today and the temperatures have been climbing. There’s no more snow to be seen, and although spring is my very favorite season, the end of wintertime also means less occasion for cozy knitwear.

One knit accessory I kept seeing on the subways this winter were hats with faux fur pom-poms. There were pom-poms big and small, all different colored shades of fur, and of varying degrees of fluffiness. I thought, those can’t be hard to find! I’ll just pop one on top of whatever hat I’m knitting at the moment and that will be that!

I trolled Amazon for pom-poms that also shipped Prime (this is how I screen most things I buy…) and settled on this Bernat pick in Brown Muskrat. I thought the brown would best complement the minty green yarn I was working with, but they have other fun fur colored shades I’d love to try too such as Black Mink or White Rabbit. They also have fun colors like Coral, Aubergine, or Bright Green.

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For the hat, I used Bernat Roving yarn in Low Tide, a color I have absolutely fallen in love with. It’s chunky so I used size 10 circular and double pointed needles. I made it slouchy in a seed stitch pattern that cast on without a pattern, but there are a ton of others out there like it (such as this free one or this one already on Ravelry) that I’m sure do a much better job with pattern instructions than I can.

My husband thought the pom-pom a bit large and ridiculous, but I love it and can’t wait to wear it out. It’s perfectly slouchy and fun, with just the right amount of polish.

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The pom pom is also super soft and fuzzy! If the tag didn’t explicitly say “imitation” I would have sworn it was real. It’s such an easy way to spruce up an old knit beanie, or the perfect topper to a fun new one. 

  

 While the forecast calls for sunny and 50 degrees this week, I’ll be ready with this fun bright beanie for any last chilly days before spring comes out swinging! 

 

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Easy Knit Baby Hat and Blanket Set

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I’ve arrived at the age when so many of my friends are taking that amazing next step into parenthood, a journey I myself have not yet undertaken. I’m wishing them all the best and have (I think) very enviable task of churning out baby related knit goodies and other crafty things!

I wanted to make a baby blanket and hat set, but jumping the gun as I usually do, I had no idea of the baby’s gender. Shopping the baby yarn isle, I found this yellow/grey/blue/white skein that I thought would be adorable for either a girl or boy. The yarn is Bernat Softee Baby Chunky in My Sunshine. I absolutely love it. I used four skeins altogether for the blanket and hat, which with a size 11 needle went a lot faster than I expected!

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The blanket and hat are both machine washable, and the blanket is reversible! It is shown blocked, but even before blocking it lays flat and looks great. I’m really happy with how it came out. It has a garter stitch edge and a knit stripe pattern that is plaid inspired. Super easy and quick to knit up.

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It was tight,  but I was able to use the last of the fourth skein after casting off my blanket to make a small baby hat, complete with mini pom-pom!

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The hat is nice and stretchy so it would be pretty roomy on a newborn, but fit the baby up to (I estimate) about 18 months.

Some Abbreviations:

CO= cast on

K= knit

P= purl

K2tog= knit two together

P2tog= purl two together

*Repeat pattern* between the asterisks to end, unless otherwise indicated

Striped Baby Blanket and Hat Set:

  • Size 11 Takumi 24″ Circular and Double Pointed Needles
  • 4 skeins Bernat Chunky Baby Softee in My Sunshine (5 if you are a loose knitter or want to expand your blanket)
  • (optional Pom Pom maker, I didn’t use one)

Blanket: finished size is 44″x 28.5″ blocked.

Note: All stitches are slipped purl-wise.

Cast On 110 stitches on size 11 circular needle. Long tail or provisional cast on methods are both okay, I used provisional cast on. Do not join in the round.

Rows 1-5: Knit

Row 6: Slip 1, K4, P2, K3, P2, K8, *P2, K3, P2, K14* three times, then P2, K3, P2, K8, P2, K3, P2, K5

Row 7: slip 1, K4, purl the purls and knit the knits until last 5 stitches, K5

Work rows 6-7 for a total of 14 rows, then:

Row 19: slip 1, K4, now knit the purls and purl the knits until last 5 stitches, K5

Row 20: slip 1, K4, knit the knits, purl the purls until last 5 stitches, K5

Continue to work a pattern repeat of  rows 6-7 across 14 rows, followed by two rows 19-20 (basically reverse of the pattern to create the stripe) 5 times. This square repeat can be worked as many times as desired for a larger blanket. When ready, end by working rows 6-7 for 14 rows.

Next Row: Knit.

Knit for 4 more rows (garter stitch) and then bind off. Weave in ends and block.

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Hat:

Using Size 14 double pointed needles, Cast on 44 stitches on 4 needles.

Next: K2, P2.

Continue until hat measures approximately 5″ from CO

Decrease:

Row 1: *K2tog, P2, K2, P2* K2 P2

Row 2: *K1, P2tog, K2tog, P2tog*

Row 3: K1, P1

Row 4: *K2tog*

Row 5: Knit (11 stitches)

Break Yarn and draw through remaining stitches. Cinch to tighten and secure, weave in ends. Make a 2″ diameter pom pom to top it off.

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I think these two would look great in any color, solid or a different festive mix of colors like this one. I can’t wait for some cute babies to try on my creations!

Feel free to leave a comment if anything is confusing,

 

Chunky Knit Pillow Cover DIY

I can’t believe it, SO MUCH SNOW! To all my Washington DC and NYC friends, hope you’re warm and cozy! With winter in full force, I sure have the knitting bug. I bought more yarn than I should have in a recent Michael’s trip and on Amazon, and I’m looking for any excuse to whip up something fun. One sale item that I was absolutely ecstatic to find was Ginormous Yarn from Loops and Threads. Beyond super chunky, I bought the largest knitting needles I could find to go along with it, and bought two skeins.

pillow yarn

A project opportunity presented itself when not a hot second after re-covering my couch pillows in a DIY re-fresh, my husband complained that the upholstery fabric I used wasn’t too rough. Pillows, he said, should be exactly that- pillow-y and soft! Immediately I thought about knitting a pillow cover to go over the top, and I was attracted to the chunky knits I’ve been seeing everywhere lately.

First, I tried arm-knitting the ginormous yarn, and played around with how much I should cast-on. I guess I have fat wrists because my arm-knit was pretty loose. So instead I tried my using my fun new Size 50 (25mm) needles, and I found that I liked the chunkiness but more structured look that the needles conveyed a bit more than the slouchy arm knitted version, at least for a pillow cover. Here is the result:

pillow couch

grey pillow

Although I thought the grey color goes well with the upholstered pillows I already have on the couch, I decided to go ahead and knit another one for a second pillow. However, I’d already used 1.5 skeins of the Ginormous yarn out of the 2 skeins I purchased, so I opted to use double strands of another super bulky yarn instead. I cast on 26 stitches using Lion Brand’s Hometown USA Super Bulky yarn in “Washington Denim” for my second pillow.

This time I used a diagonal stripe pattern that transitioned to a stockinette, so that each side (shown is front and back) can be a little different depending on how I’m feeling. For the second pillow, since the yarn was not as bulky, I had to cast on slightly more stitches and used four skeins (working two at a time). I knit it in one large piece that folded over the pillow, then used the yarn to “sew” up the sides.

Together, the pillows make a handsome pair:

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pillow back

Using this chunky yarn and the giant needles, there are so many possibilities! I think I might like to go back and get more Ginormous yarn and knit a chunky blanket, but I envision that I’d need a several skeins, at least 5+ for a decent size blanket. Other options are a chunky cowl or scarf. I thought it might also be fun to make chunky pom-poms out of it to top other knit hats.

As soon these finished up, I couldn’t help but cast on my next project. Spoiler, it’s baby themed!

A Pillow Cover Refresh DIY and Sweater Weather

Last night it snowed three inches, leaving this morning a bright white wonderland. This always puts me in the mood to putter around inside where it’s warm and cozy, and I love me some DIY. Lately I’ve been wanting to re-cover some pillows on my couch that when I first got them, I thought the colors were bright and fun. But the more I decorated the apartment (and especially after we recently got a new couch), the pillows just didn’t quite fit with general feel and overall theme of the room. It seemed like the perfect weekend DIY project.

pillow

There’s a small fabric store steps away from my work, and it’s hard to resist the urge to pop in for a look on my way home some nights, if it’s still open. One day I came across some upholstery fabric on sale, and I couldn’t resist. This fabric was just waiting for this project because it just happened to be a square of the perfect size. Folded in half, the fabric covered both pillows with a little extra on top, perfect for a fold over pillow cover, envelope style.

New Pillow

I just summarized what I did, so it’s not a comprehensive tutorial but you get the idea. I love the look of my new pillows, and I think they play much better with the color of the couch and the other pillows we have. The whole project took only an hour or so, and was perfect for someone like me who barely knows her way around a sewing machine. Some day I’ll figure out how to sew something other than a straight line, but not today!

Pillow on couch

Despite my sewing skills being a little less than noteworthy, I got a chance to work on another project of mine that I’ve been talking about for some time, but never got around to finishing. Well this weekend, it’s done! The sweater I’ve been knitting that I started last spring, is finally complete. It was knit in two pieces (front and back) then sewn together and the sleeves and neckline picked up and knit.  Here is how it looks on the hanger:

sweater

I love the simple striping detail, especially how it goes up into the top shoulder. Also the seam lines up the stripe pattern from the front and back pieces so they join together, giving a neat chevron look:

Sweater2

I highly recommend the pattern, as I said before it’s the Second Story Tee from the Spring 2015 Interweave Knits issue. I used exactly the yarn they recommended and didn’t change the patter much at all in the way of adjustments, it was very straight-forward. Shown in blue below, is the magazine picture of what it should look like, and it’s a little more fitted on me, but I like it that way.

It would have come together quicker if I knit with a little more regularity, but I really did take my time with this one. I think it was worth it though!

sweater3

Looking forward to a lot more knitting, since I just bought a whole boatload of yarn just  waiting to be whipped up into some crafty things! As a preview of what’s to come…

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Yes, that’s Giant yarn!!

Happy MLK Day!

Cheddar Cornmeal Pancakes and Rainy Day Knits

It’s an impossibly rainy dreary winter day, and waking up this morning to hot coffee and complete grey, I wanted nothing more than to cook some hearty savory pancakes and finish off some knitting projects.

In my fridge I had about quarter block of my favorite cheddar cheese that was just dying to be made into something delicious. I’ve turned out some pretty delicious cheddar cornmeal waffles before, so I decided to adapt the recipe into a pancake.

old croc

My all time favorite cheddar cheese!

pancake collage

I was decadently happy with the result, although I have to say these puppies aren’t exactly health food. But I love the flavor of the cheddar and the dense cake-like texture that would be great with some thick gooey maple syrup.

pancakes 2

Eating mine with some thick-cut orange marmalade

Cheddar Pancakes

The recipe is pretty straightforward:

  • 1 cup cornmeal (yellow stoneground)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp melted butter (plus additional for cooking)
  • 1/2 cup grated extra sharp cheddar
  • (optional) 1 tsp chopped dried sage

Mix the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients except the cheese together, this works best if the wet ingredients are at room temperature. If you can’t use room temperature ingredients, mix the wet ingredients without the butter, then combine the wet and the dry together first, then mix in the melted butter. Lastly, stir in the cheese.

Melt some butter in a skillet and cook ’em up! This recipe made about 10 large pancakes.

  • Servings: about 4
  • Calories per serving: 291
    • Total Fat: 11g, Protein: 10g, Carbs: 39g, Sugars: 2g

Hat VernonAfter breakfast, I was finally able to finish the hat I’ve been working on, the Vernon Hat from Interweave Knits Winter 2016 issue.

I thought this hat was the perfect mix of interesting, challenging, and quick, all at the same time. The color combination is a little challenging to match with, I suppose I could have used more neutral colors instead. I initially loved the purple, but when I was looking for a contrasting color for the brim I bought a faint blue instead of the recommended white/ash, just by accident. I think they still work well together. I would definitely make this pattern again!

Vernon2

I really think the two colors make this hat so much cuter than if it were all one color. I would love to do it in a yellow/grey or a navy/ grey as well.

Vernon

Love the slouchy back

I used to subscribe to Interweave Knits magazine through the mail, but now I just get it straight on my iPad. What that means though is I have a lot of old issues lying around containing patterns I wanted to make but never got around to. I was thinking of going through them again and re-evaluating which ones to keep and which ones to toss. I don’t know if it’s better to digitize the ones I like and store them on my computer, or clip them into some kind of scrapbook collection. Any recommendations?

I thought for my next project, I might use a super chunky yarn to arm knit pillow covers, to give my living room a fresh look. We’ll see how that turns out!

Knitting Projects from 2015 and 2016 Plans

Another year gone! It’s hard to believe it’s 2016, and I have to say I didn’t knit much this year and when I did, I mostly tried other people’s patterns rather than trailblazing my own. It doesn’t help that I’ve been knitting the same sweater for what seems like ages, so in addition to finishing it up, I want to work on a few smaller and fast projects in the upcoming year.

I did finish a few other small projects this year. I tried to knit this Archway Hat from Interweave Knits Fall 2014, but somehow my gauge was off and it ended up waaaaay too big for my or anyone’s head! I turned it into a sort of cowl thing instead by mirroring the pattern up to the end. I actually love it, so that was knit mishap with a happy ending!

Cowl Picture

A friend from work gifted me the Harmony Cloche pattern by Heidi May (inset picture), and I made it a full three different times for myself and others. I definitely recommend this pattern! It is so versatile that I can wear it cloche style with the brim flipped up (as intended) or with the brim down so it’s more like a front billed hat. I love it both ways. I made it in blue, purple, and black using the recommended yarn.

harmony cloche

I also whipped up a winter classic for my hubby, a hunter green cable knit pom-pom hat! I did make up this pattern, but here is a similar one on Ravelry that is free and easy. We sported our hats at the airport flying home to Boston, with me in my green Slouchy Knit Beanie and him in this cable hat, and the flight attendant asked us if we were matching on purpose in our green knit beanies. I told her no, I just like to knit hats! So funny and totally unintentional.

cable hat

I have a couple projects in progress, including the Vernon Hat from the latest issue of Interweave Knits. I am loving this issue and want to make absolutely everything, but I’m starting small. I feel like I need at least one new hat for myself every winter!

Vernon hat

Lastly, I’m still working on the Second Story Tee by Debbie O’Neill (below) and with any luck, will finish that up soon. I decided to do it in a deep wine burgundy color, since I have a lot of blue in my closet right now. I’m hoping it turns out okay!

I’m always looking for inspiration and people to make things for. I cast on a new hat and my husband asks, “who is that going to be for?” I gift hats or gloves almost every year, and it gets harder and harder to figure out who to give them away to, so I often end up just keeping them and wearing a different hat every day. What did I do when I lived in sunny California? At least Boston has cold knit-appropriate weather.

I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and productive 2016! I welcome ideas for knitting projects and suggestions, as I dip my toes into writing patterns (pretty roughly) and making new things.

Some projects I have in mind for 2016 include:

  1. Pot holders/trivets
  2. more hats!
  3. An arm-knit blanket or pillow cover
  4. Baby hats and blankets for expecting friends!
  5. Another sweater?

What projects are you casting on in 2016?

 

Cozy 20-minute Arm-Knit Scarf

I can’t believe the holiday season is finally here! I miss all the beautiful fall colors already, and I’m not quite ready for snow. Where did the time go? 2015-10-27 14.05.49

In the meantime there’s been Thanksgiving! I always have a Friendsgiving since I live so far from my family and usually see them at Christmas, so it was fun to see friends again. I never cook the turkey, and only contribute in the form of pie. This year it was the Pecan Pie from Smitten Kitchen.

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While I’ve been meaning to just sit down and brainstorm some knit gifts for the holidays (hats, hats, and more hats!), what I most wanted was a fast and easy project. I’ve heard about arm-knitting before, but I had never learned. I thought it was about time! In less than one episode of Jessica Jones, I whipped up a simple infinity scarf:

arm knit 1

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Starlight.arm knit 2

arm knit4To learn, I used this online tutorial from Simply Maggie, but if you are not in to the videos and prefer pictures only, this blog post about arm knitting from Flax and Twine is also great. You’ll notice that most of these scarves double the yarn to create a thicker scarf, using two skeins at once. I only used one skein (and not even the entire ball) for mine, but I liked the looser look of the knit:

arm knit

Yarn: 1 skein Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Starlight, or another super bulky yarn.

Pattern:

Cast On 8 stitches using long-tail cast on.

Arm-Knit until piece can wrap three times comfortably around your neck, or measures approximately 80 inches.

Cast off, leave about a foot long tail. Use the tail to join the two ends of your scarf (making it an infinity scarf) by sewing the two ends together with the yarn. Weave in remaining ends.

This pattern can be customized to double the yarn or increase the width with the number of stitches. It was a great quick activity and I would totally make it again!

Happy Holidays!!