Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Gift For You

The kids have grown and so have their heads (all those math lessons had to go somewhere.) The husband was sick and tired of being called Spiderman whenever he wore his old hat (high school can be so cruel) so I had to make new ones all around this year.  I mad the guys simple (matching) hats using this pattern...They turned out great.

As for the little lady in the house, she's a bit more demanding on the fancy front these days.  I blame Frozen. Everything can, and will be, blamed on Frozen.  First, she needed to pick out the yarn.  This meant a trip for two to the fancy yarn store.  It meant her hemming and hawing over each cranberry red skein she could get her pudgy little hands on (I know the pictures look pumpkin orange, aaarg!)  I also had the requirement of bulky weight yarn and washable (the things she gets on her head would amaze childless people.)  We ended up on settling on Berroco Vintage Chunky in sour cherry (I used the same for the boys' hats except they have charcoal.)

For a pattern I tried to redeem myself from my unfortunate early hat experience.  If you can make a hat look like the pictures using this pattern, let me know...I tried again, it looked like a cupcake/my grandmother's toilet paper cozy.  So I looked up some other patterns, adjusted for size, gauge, yarn, needle size, and pattern repeats.  I mixed, I matched,  I even did math.  I ended up with something she said is even better than the hat above...So I am going to do it...I'm going to write up my pattern...and here is my first attempt at giving out a pattern for a HAT!

A Little Lady Hat (and how to size up)
(simple mock cable hat for a 4-6 year old girly girl)

Size 8 DPN
Size 8 16" circular needle (smaller than what the yarn recommends, but you want a tight warm hat!)
tapestry needle
about half a ball Berroco Vintage Chunky (Shown in sour cherry)
Stitch marker
Gauge 9 stitches and 12 rows equal 2" in mock cable pattern

Cast on 64 stitches using a knitted cast on (links to a youtube video.)
Join in the round and place stitch marker to note the beginning of the round.
Begin following directions for mock cable.  Knit 6 repeats of this (24 rows.)

Row 1: k2p2 all the way around
Row 2: k2tog keep stitches on left needle go back into the first stitch of the pair and knit into it.  (This will give you two stitches on the right needle) then take off the two stitches from the left needle. p2
(to recap...fancy knit two together move and then p2)
Row 3+4: repeat row 1 (k2p2)

Knit until the hat measures 7 inches total.  Then begin the decreases switching to DPN when necessary.
Row 1: k2tog all the way around (32 stitches left)
Row 2: k
Row 3: k2tog (16 stitches left)
Row 4: k
Row 5: k2tog (8 stitches left)
Row 6: k
Row 7: k2tog (4 stitches left)
Row 8: k
break off yarn and using the tapestry needle pull yarn through remaining stitches.  Weave in the ends and there you have it...a hat for a little lady.

To make bigger, increase stitches using multiples of 4.  Since this is chunky yarn, these increases make big changes.  80 stitches makes a hat that fits my head with some room to spare (average sized adult female head) so I wouldn't go above that.  Also, if making an adult sized hat, more mock cable repeats may be in order.  For an adult hat, I would also recommend breaking the yarn and pulling through the remaining stitches after row 6 of decreases as the last two give an impish little peak at the top (unless you like that little peak...then by all means go for it!)

Let me know what you think!  If you make it, let me know and give notes!
Linked to the yarn along

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wishful thinking

A few weekends ago my parents came to visit.  Early one of those mornings, I was up with the kiddos trying to keep them quiet so others could sleep.  What keeps kids quiet better than online seed shopping? It's an odd way to keep them quiet and tame when they are aching to scream and run through the house like banshees, but it works for us.  We ended up ordering tomatoes, peppers, onions, chard, watermelon, pumpkin, cukes, lettuce and zucchini among other items from Baker Creek.  Yesterday, some of these seeds were started inside.  By the end of our planting experience, the kitchen looked like something out of a mud wrestling pit, the recycling bin was empty, and I had some giggly kids.

C. was in charge of cutting a cracker box into little tags, and then copying the names of items onto the tags.

W. was in charge of mixing lots of potting mix and spooning it into...toilet paper tubes, egg cartons, cracker boxes, pots, berry packages, butter boxes, and even a donut box (peace love and little donuts anybody?)

But really, my big question is will it ever be time to actually put them in the ground?

The rest of the seeds were set aside in the seed drawer in the fridge, waiting patiently for the season to change.  Even though most of them can be planted outside directly, I like to give squash and melons a head start inside.  This allows for me to get a definite head count before they head outside.  What is worse than hedging your bets and planting 8 zucchini plants, only to have them all come up?

At the Mother Earth News fair last year, I went to a lecture by Niki Jabbour about growing up and densely. I have often thought about how to grow more in the space that we have.  I also have been thinking about how I often feel as though space is wasted in our garden, so this was an interesting idea for me.  So far I have decided to remove the stone wall around the garden to make stone walls around my hillside garden.  I am then going to build raised beds (see Lasagna Gardening on the sidebar) using the soil mostly from my previously lasagna-ed large, more traditionally set up, garden.  This will allow for more densely planted gardens, and then I was going to build trellises between the beds and make shady bean tunnels and melon/ squash tunnels.

One may ask, but how do you plan to pick these items, if the plants will be growing on the top of the tunnel...won't it be hard and won't you squash the plants/soil?  The answer is a board to walk on when you have to go in and pick...I had always wondered this, and it was great to see pictures of this during the lecture.  It was a big DUH moment for me.

The kids have begun their slow rise out of little kid land.  W. especially has begun to play less with toys and spend more time pretending via acting out and reading.  I think this setup will give him more space to imagine and have a cool relaxing place to read a good book.

That is, if it ever ever ever warms up.