An Awkward Transaction

I was delivering a hat I had knit for my son to a friend of mine as it was a bit big for Ethan, but would fit her little guy better. She actually does my hair and is the owner of the salon I go to, and was generous enough to take $20 off my bill for the hat. It was really my first piece of knitting I’ve ever sold (!). 

While we were talking at a coffee shop a friend of hers came over to say hi. It turns out he’s another small business owner locally. He commented on the hat and once she told him I had knit it, he got all animated and asked if I could knit a bigger one. All you knitters out there know what I was thinking, umm yea…of course 😌. But I just said yes, an adult size isn’t hard at all. He said he can never find a hat that covers his ears for some reason. And to that, I was thinking maybe instead of a 9 inch length he might just need 10 inches and a folded brim so he can customize it. 

He asked if I’d knit him one with white on the brim and a big white pom pom and bright blue for the main color as those are his company colors. I said I’d be happy to do it (and I was). I guess the problem came in when I had to buy the yarn. I got a skein of blue Plymouth Merino and white Cascade 220. $28 😲

It turns out once I looked at what I had in my stash once I got home there was some white Berroco Vintage so I used size 6 needles and did a four inch brim. I feel like this yarn is more aran than worsted as the guage is significantly bigger than the worsted merino on size 7 needles. Anyhoo. Here it is finished, modeled by my husband. 

Plenty big. Happy with the results. Now this guy is really a complete stranger so it was very awkward when we were figuring out when to meet and he asked how much for the hat. I had a $16 investment in the blue yarn and a few hours at least in knitting. I had gotten $20 for the kids hat so I said $25-30 but no pressure. 

He gave me $30 which was generous, but then when I stepped back and thought about it I’m sure that was at least double what he was originally thinking when he first asked for the hat. I was able to return the Cascade, so I made $14. 

Lessons learned:

  1. Set the price ahead of time and explain the cost of the yarn (especially with strangers). 
  2. I won’t make much of a profit without using cheaper, synthetic yarns or buy wholesale. 
  3. Knitting is really something to do as a gift of a part of myself to someone and being compensated for my time knitting is nearly impossible. 
  4. I probably won’t do that again! 😋

Autumn Socks

The leaves are changing in Wisconsin and I’m enjoying the cooler temps and boot weather. I enjoy it by blocking out the fact that winter is coming 😳 ❄️🌨

This ball of Plymouth Happy Feet 100 yarn is perfect for the season. I’m knitting myself a pair of socks with a really basic sock pattern from Churchmouse

I’m just going to do plain stockinette stitch  as I feel like cables or lace would get lost in the dark variegated colors. 

More pictures to come! I know I have several projects on the needles but that’s how I like it, no matter how much I try to limit myself. I’ve spent a lot of time the past few months on Ravelry and accumulating yarn for projects so it’s fun to just knit from what I have in my basket at home. 💕

Top-down Ear Flap Hat

Another hat to keep another head warm! I’ve been looking for a good ear flap pattern for quite some time and hadn’t had any luck, until a few days ago when Purl Soho released their top-down ear flap hat. I don’t have the specific yarn the pattern calls for but I’ve had some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino tonal grey yarn for a few months in my stash and it has the same guage as the pattern. 

I haven’t ever knit a hat from the top down and I’ve knit many hats. The pattern starts by casting on eight stitches then dividing among four needles. What!? I had to do it twice because I had no idea where to join the round because the needles got all jumbled up. 

Somehow the second try did work and I knit a round and placed the markers.  

Once the increases of the crown were complete it was just stockinette stitch until I got to seven inches from the cast on. 

I find the swirl increases to be really interesting and pretty, which was a pleasant surprise. After binding off the front and back stitches to shape the front and back of the hat, I worked the i-cord for a little over an inch. The PS finished hats all had long cords so I was confused, but then realized long cords and babies are probably a safety hazard. 😳 So I kept it short as this is the 3-6 month size for my co-worker’s baby. 

Here’s the finished i-cord and tassel. I plan to add a small pink pom pom at the top so it should go well with the tassels. I’ll update with a finished picture of her wearing her new winter hat! 💕

A note about the yarn: it is very soft and knit up fine, but the “tonal” color just looks camouflage to me with the way its color worked out in stockinette. I’m not a fan and won’t be using it again. At least I only had one 50 gram ball of it so I’ll probably just hold onto it for waste yarn. Oh well! That’s all part of the process 😂. Maybe different colorways are much nicer as a finished product…I will remain open minded. 

Here’s a picture from Jeff of Sedona wearing it 😁

Modern Mukluks

I recently discovered Andrea Mowry of Drea Renee Knits and have become mildly obsessed with her patterns. I haven’t done anything in brioche yet but when I do, it’ll definitely be one of her designs. Since I’m committed to knitting for myself (and loving it!), I decided to try these slippers out. 

The main draw for me is that it’s knit on US8 needles and worsted weight yarn – and so interesting to look at. I would want to buy these if I saw them in the store. So, I got a skein of Malabrigo Rios in the natural colorway (CC) and other in azul profundo (MC). Honestly it has been quite a while since I’ve done colorwork so I was a bit intimidated. And, the afterthought heel is new territory for me so I’ll be sure to add an update if of how it goes. She’s added a really helpful video on her blog. 

After casting on I did what I usually do with socks on DPN’s and divided the stitches evenly between the four needles. Well…this happened in between the needles in the middle of the colorwork 😳. Notice the stretched stitch below  ⬇️

So, I decided to put all the stitches of the charted colorwork on needles one and three and the solid side stripes on needles two and four. This is working out well and I don’t mind as much if there’s a little gap on the sides, better than the main front and back. 

The second chart repeat went much faster and I’m feeling much more confident in this project 😅. 

Also, side note on my color technique that has been very clean and easy – I put the MC blue yarn to my left and hold it continental style as I usually knit with the yarn in my left hand. Then I keep the CC white on my right side and throw it English style. The two balls of yarn never tangle and things move along really smoothly. 💛

Shale Update

I’m now about nine inches away from where I want to be with this baby blanket. 

I’m using the 37″ length of my son’s blanket to estimate final measurements.

I’ve now memorized the four row pattern repeat and go back to this project any time I just want something relaxing and mindless to knit. Though I am still a couple months from the baby’s due date, it would be nice to have this as a completed project! 

Here’s Ethan making another sweet appearance helping me measure 💙

Traveling Cable Hat

I recently completed the Traveling Cable Hat by Purl Soho. This is a free pattern from their website and the first PS patten I’ve done. I felt like the instructions were really clear and I was very excited to use this Frank Ochre colorway from Malabrigo Rios Yarn. 

This is the start of the 4″ 2×2 rib section

I used size US6 circular needles for the rib and US7 Addi circular needles for the main cable pattern. 
This is the first 12 round repeat of the pattern
I felt like this was a really great cable project because it has two different cables, a wide Celtic looking one and a narrow twist one which look really complicated, but they’re not 😅. Very tedious, and not something I could do around a lot of distractions at first. 
Ready for the decrease portion

Another slight modification I did was only repeated the pattern 3 times total instead of 4 as it was written. I wanted a more snug beanie than a slouchy one. Size turned out perfectly and I haven’t blocked it yet but have worn it a couple times. For me it was fun to briefly focus on cabling but I’m good for a while now! I would do this again for a gift for someone else as it does look pretty intricate and impressive 🤗.  

Hat Season

Apparently I have very little self control when it comes to keeping my kids’ (and other people’s kids) heads warm for the fall and winter. Right when I declared this would be a time of knitting for myself, already, the evening and early morning temperatures have dropped to the 40’s and I have begun my 9 month old son’s hat. I decided on a beautiful, almost electric color blue with a heathery grey to stripe his hat. My son Ethan’s buddy Phineas has his first birthday coming up…so it only makes sense to knit Phineas the opposite color variation so the two can match. And yes, this should use up two skeins of yarn perfectly 🤓. 

I decided on a long brim to fold over to keep their ears especially warm. I’ve folded it a few times to make sure I have the right length. I refreshed my memory with how to achieve stripes in the round without jogs and though I tried something new with this approach, I went back to the trusty: knit round with new color and lift the stitch below purlwise, then knit two together on the second round (shown here).

If it looks like I live a life of luxury knitting at Starbucks, you’ve been deceived 😂. I got to a meeting early so I spent it going around and around on Phin’s hat. I should be able to finish it tonight once the kids are in bed. Then make the pom poms, attach in time for the birthday party this Saturday (it’s now Wednesday as I write this so I’m making great time).

I’ve made pom poms with scrap cardboard and they turned out fine. I did want to try this Clover pom pom maker just to compare methods. I have to admit – the Clover method was straightforward, easy and made a big, thick ball. I will be using this for all hats going forward.

Did you happen to get a glimpse of that gorgeous mustardy yellow Malabrigo yarn in my bag? Here’s the thing – I promised myself after knitting these hats for the boys I will knit a hat for MYSELF. I am SO excited about that!!! More to come in another hat post on that project soon.

Here’s a quick pic of the finished product. I’m not nuts about the blue pom pom and I think I have enough yarn to redo it – that one will go to my little guy 😉. Hopefully I’ll add a photo of the two of them wearing them sometime soon!

Project details: basic hat pattern with ten decreases at the crown. I used size 7 needles and Plymouth Select Worsted Merino Superwash in colors 49 blue and 7 light grey, click here for other color ideas. I would definitely use this yarn again. Now time for my hat 😁!!!!

A finished gift

I wonder if there are knitters out there with wicker baskets full of custom made hats, mittens, hand warmers, socks, sweaters, boot cuffs and scarves? I will never be one of them. Everything I knit, I give away. I keep telling myself this will change. This is the year I’m only going to knit for myself and just buy a $5 hat for my kid already! Maybe 2018…that’s my year 🙂

Another note about knitted gifts: I usually finish them just in time for the giving, that same day. I often forget to take a picture of the finished product and then feel strange asking days later, “Can you please send me a pic of that scarf I knit you? I don’t have any pictures of it.” For that reason, my Ravelry account is pretty bare, though I’m trying to improve that!

Here are my mother-in-law’s slippers. Steamed and lightly blocked…the morning of her party 😉

What else is on the needles? Just about finished with the second skein of yarn (2 of 4) on the Shale baby blanket. I love covering my lap with it as I knit along, praying for that little, sweet baby girl growing in her Mama’s belly.

Tonight I begin the swatch for my first sweater. For myself! My parents got me a gift card for my favorite local yarn store with the contingency it had to be used for myself. Normally that gift card would be used up within days. This one was in my knitting bag for FOUR months before I spent it on the yarn for the sweater. Granted, I had just had our third baby and took a bit of a knitting maternity leave, but still. Four months! More to come on the sweater. Maybe it’s a sign that this next year will be my year of the full wicker basket.

Churchmouse Turkish Bed Socks

I am finishing up my third pair of these cute little slippers for my mother-in-law’s birthday on Saturday, using Churchmouse’s Turkish Bed Socks pattern. This pattern is easy to follow and each slipper knits up pretty fast as it isn’t technically a sock with turning the heel and a cuff and all of that good sock stuff. I get about an hour to knit after the kids are asleep!!! Take what you can get, right?

The first pair I gave to my sister, Lindsey, as a birthday present and used Claudia Hand Painted Yarns – Addiction in “Circus Dancer.” The rainbow variegation suits her well, she’s a free spirit and not afraid of some color. I stuck to the pattern size as it was for a smaller foot (I believe she wears a size six). This fingering weight yarn is 100% very fine merino superwashwool and I love knitting with it. They fit her perfectly which is always exciting.

The second pair I knit for my BFF (yes, you can be 32 and still have a best friend) Katie. I chose this beautiful “Indian Turquois” color because if I love it, chances are pretty good Katie will, too. The occasion was her annual visit back to Wisconsin to see friends and family while her husband was deployed with the Navy. Katie is one of the most generous people I know, so knitting her a pair of these slippers felt like the least I could do to gift her some love back. I wish I had a picture of the final result! I forget to take those sometimes 🙂

Project Details: Fingering weight or sock yarn with US 3 double point needles. With this particular Claudia Hand Painted Addiction yarn, a 50 gram ball is all you need for two slippers. If you wanted to knit a pair of actual socks, I would recommend two balls, one for each sock. While the main foot part of the slipper is all stockinette stitch (or knit every round), there is an option to incorporate a pattern on needle 2 which is the top part of the foot but I haven’t done that yet. I like the smooth, classic look of stockinette. Some good skills to know and/or learn for the pattern are picking up stitches (both knit side and purl side) and the Kitchener stitch for the toe closure. These are a wonderful gift to give and all for about $15 for this lovely yarn.

Did you notice I was also listening to the Audible book Knitlandia by Claudia Parkes (2016)? More to come soon on that wonderful book!

Hidden Valley Farm & Woolen Mill

I travel all around Northeast Wisconsin for work and if I get some spare time while on the road, it’s the perfect opportunity to visit a yarn store. In this case, a woolen mill and yarn store. Hidden Valley is true to its title – there’s just a small sign on the side of the road indicating you’re there.

I just happened to arrive on a day when the staff was at a wool festival and took just about every skein of yarn. This did save me some money, but I was disappointed.  The farm has several pastures for the sheep to roam and they sell meat and yarn from their two story barn. Their mill includes this machine from the early 1900’s – it is still running and spins their yarn.

Although I didn’t get to make any purchases, these hides were impressive to touch.  

My drive home was gorgeous. The storm blew over and I got to enjoy the landscape.

Overall, a really great day.