Sunday, November 30, 2014

Santa Sack Hat free pattern

New free pattern alert! This Santa Sack Hat has a comfortably loose, slouchy fit and no side seams on the crown for a smooth appearance.

I admired Penny’s cute double-tailed Santa hat that she wears in a Christmas episode of the popular American sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.” This hat isn’t an exact replica, but its dual pompoms do provide a touch of whimsy.

I have a large head, 22.5 inches, so to achieve a loose fit, I worked a foundation chain with 88 stitches. To make different sizes, simply work a foundation chain until it’s a length that fits loosely around your intended wearer’s head. The foundation chain needs to have an even number of stitches, so if your foundation has an odd number, either add one or remove one to make an even number of stitches.

Hat is worked from the bottom up.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

1-2-3 Flip-brim Beanie free pattern

Two new free patterns released in two days! Wow!

Like a lot of us, I get busy with day-to-day things as well as just simply spending my time actually WORKING on yarncraft projects rather than blogging about them, so it can sometimes be months between my posts. Sigh. But sorry, there are only so many hours in a day. I'm sure you've been there, too, and can understand.

Today I am releasing this pattern for a 1-2-3 Flip-brim Beanie because in the USA, October has become the single biggest month for cancer-awareness causes in the form of the Pink October breast cancer movement.

Cancer (not specifically breast cancer) has profoundly touched my life and the lives of so many people who are close to me, and because of this, I feel moved to make and donate attractive caps each year to support the patients battling this terrible disease at a nearby cancer treatment center.

I offer this pattern for free, forever, in honor of Pink October and all the men and women who have battled and survived or lost the fight to any form of cancer.

If you download this pattern, please consider making and donating at least one of these hats to the patients at your local cancer center. Thank you so much.

The “1-2-3” portion of the name for this beanie comes from the texture that is achieved by working in repeating rounds of sc, hdc, and dc.

These instructions yield a simple but sophisticated cap with about a 20-22 inch circumference, depending on your yarn and tension, which should comfortably fit the head of an average adult - and particularly adults who have lost their hair to the cruel ravages of chemotherapy. The fit is intentionally a bit oversized (although not slouchy per se) for comfortable ease. The brim flips upward as you work the brim instructions and will remain in place on its own.

If you are making this hat to give to a chemo patient, choose a soft, hypoallergenic fiber by following the guidelines provided by Halos of Hope.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Simple Vertical Stripe Placemat free pattern

Just published on Ravelry: my new free crochet pattern for a Simple Vertical Stripe Placemat.

This super-easy project works up in just a few hours. I hope you will go check it out!

I made this one with Lily Sugar ’n Cream in Country Side Ombre, which gives the fabric almost an argyle plaid effect that I really like.

Monday, September 29, 2014

How crochet hooks and knitting needles are measured for size

This might be something that is blatantly obvious to everyone else but me, but recently I found myself wondering exactly HOW are crochet hooks and knitting needles measured for size?

Hooks and needles are usually presented with their sizes given in millimeters (for example, a 5.5 mm crochet hook or a set of 7 mm knitting needles). But do those millimeters represent the hook's/needle's CIRCUMFERENCE or DIAMETER???

This issue actually came up when I was working the Harmony Shawl free pattern while camping. I didn't pack all my yarncrafting supplies for the trip, but I had a white plastic 6.5 mm K hook on hand. The pattern actually recommends an 8 mm L hook to create a fabric with a relatively large gauge, however, so I improvised by working each stitch way up on the handle of my K hook, at the point where the handle flattens out and gets wider (see photo below).

Working stitch up on the flattened hilt of a K hook to achieve a larger gauge.
But because I was camping without all of my supplies, I had no way to measure just how big of a stitch I was approximating by working them up on the hilt of my K hook. And then I realized that even if I'd had a measuring tape on hand, I actually didn't know whether the hook's size represented its circumference or its diameter. D'oh!

After we returned home, I searched the Internet for information about how crochet hooks and knitting needles are measured. This Wikipedia article had some interesting information, but it didn't fully answer my question because its statement "Hooks come in various sizes (measured in millimetres or fractions of an inch), according to the thickness of the needle" didn't clarify what it meant by "thickness of the needle." One could still interpret that as either the circumference OR the diameter! ARGH!

So, finally, I pulled out my measuring tape and an I hook (5.5 mm size) and tested the measurements out for myself. As best as I could tell, its circumference measured at 19 mm! That's obviously WAY more millimeters than 5.5!

Next I measured the hook's diameter, and as you can see in the photo below, it's fairly close to 5.5 millimeters.

So, at last, I have my answer for how hooks and needles get their size rating, and in the process, I learned something new. Now I won't have to take those size markings for granted anymore!

And if you've ever wondered the same thing about hook and needle sizes, I hope this post helped you as well. Happy yarncrafting!

P.S. And in case you're wondering what crochet hook size I actually was approximating by working up on the hilt of my K hook, according to the diameter sizing rule, as far as I can tell, that spot on the hook measures at about 10 mm, which is the equivalent of a size N hook.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Shawlcowl Pullover pattern is free for a limited time

I released my Shawlcowl Pullover pattern on Ravelry on April 10, and the pattern has been receiving lots of yarn love from Ravelry users. The Shawlcowl Pullover is designed to mimic the trendy look of wearing a shawl as a scarf combined with the comfortable ease of wearing a pullover cowl.

If you use this link, you can download a free copy of the pattern through midnight PDT on May 1. On May 2, the price becomes $3.00 USD, so head over to Ravelry and grab your free copy while you still can using coupon code "spring."

Another reason to grab your copy now is that on May 2, everyone who has added Shawlcowl to their Ravelry library will automatically receive an updated version of the pattern that includes the Shawlcowl 2 variation. Shawlcowl 2 has a different neckline edging and a more open look to the feather-and-fan lace border.

This is my first knitting pattern design, and in the process of creating it, I discovered that developing, then testing, then ripping out and reknitting, then writing, then editing, then shooting photos, then editing some more, then test knitting it again ... was A LOT OF WORK!! Which is why I decided to put a very reasonable price on the finished pattern product.

I have gained a great amount of additional respect for people who develop pattern designs for knitting and crochet. These people WORK HARD at their craft, and they deserve our support. I have always enjoyed finding and sharing free patterns online, and of course I will continue to do that, but I have also paid for a significant portion of the patterns in my personal library. The experience I gained while developing the Shawlcowl Pullover has shown me that indie designers have earned every cent that they charge for their work.

Please respect the copyrights of indie designers!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Working on a new free pullover scarf pattern

I am currently testing new design for a free knit pullover scarf pattern and plan to be releasing it here and on Ravelry within the next week or so.

I'm excited about the design because I have been rather taken with the pullover scarf concept recently. These items are great because they mimic the look of wearing a shawl wrapped around your neck, but with the ease of pullover. My design incorporates a squishy, texture-rich garter stitch front panel with a classic feather-and-fan trim.

The test pieces are looking good, so I believe this will be a piece you will love to knit and love to wear! So stay tuned! Here's a sneak peek at one of the finished test pieces:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hitchhiker - the full mathy

I received a partial skein of sock-weight two-ply self-striping yarn in blue-green-white in a box of yarn given to me by a friend. And I had no idea what to make with it.

After searching for several years for the perfect pattern to go with this yarn, I found it in the Hitchhiker shawlette designed by Martina Behm (on Ravelry at Maltina).

The 8-row repeat is easy to master to produce a delicious-feeling, ready-to-wear neck wrap, which you can make as short or long as you like.

Sock yarn Hitchhiker project after 15 points completed.
The scarf above ended up at 18.5 points long when the yarn ball ran out, but it's just long enough to wear around one's neck to chase away a chill. I plan to add a small button and loop to fasten it closed and donate it to my local cancer center as a small yarn hug for a patient.

But if your goal is to make a full-size, 42-point Hitchhiker scarf, progress feels like it slows down exponentially after one reaches about the 25th point because by then there are more than 100 stitches on the needle (and still growing).

For an impatient knitter like me, that makes achieving the "full" 42-point version of Hitchhiker rather difficult toward the end. However, if you are able to persevere, the rewards of the finished shawlette are definitely worth it.

Full-size Hitchhiker project after 23 points completed.

A recent yarn blog post by humorist Franklin Habit says: "When a non-knitter asks a question about my knitting, that question is most often, 'How long will it take you to finish that?' or the common variation, 'How long would it take you to make me a (type of knitted thing)?'

"So I explain that a hat may require several evenings, particularly if worked in a complicated technique or a fine yarn. I tell them the average number of stitches in a pair of socks (eight million) or a plain sweater (seven hundred trillion) and that completion of the latter may take months.

"The gasps of astonishment are strong enough to suck the stitch markers right out of a raglan."

After I stopped laughing (because I can especially relate to the "seven hundred trillion" feeling), I started wondering just how many stitches are there in a full-size, 42-point Hitchhiker scarf.

The pattern's array of increases and decreases are standardized, so I figured with the help of a spreadsheet, I could calculate the exact number of stitches in each row of the pattern and then add them all up.

My result? 29,579 stitches!!! (And at a minimum average of 3 seconds per stitch, that works out to at least 25 hours to complete.) So, yeah, knitting (particularly for me) takes some determination.