Aug 31, 2012

in the hours before Hat-Tember

I am finishing up hats for charity: Water.

 I am gathering my supplies. (Food scale used to weigh finished hats to calculate yardage; Gussy Sews pouch; two tape measures; dpns for finishing up charity: Water hats; the hook I'll have constantly in hand; my yarn scissors; needle for ends)
 
I am clearing out the old yarn to make way for the new. I am planning on using up full skeins first, larger half skeins second, and if all else fails ...

I am tapping into these remnants! Here's to Hat-Tember!

I'm crocheting a hat a day for Hat-tember 2012! Each hat will be donated to the Chicago Food Pantry's annual holiday kid's party, and I'm attempting to raise $750 for Pencils Of Promise at the same time! Help me reach $750 this month by sponsoring this hat for just $25 - the cost of sending a child to school for a full year through Pencils Of Promise!

Aug 30, 2012

Hat-Tember: The Details

Last week I shared the details of my Hat-tember project. I’m super excited to join Joel Runyon’s Impossible Challenge to raise $25k for Pencils Of Promise. While you already know the basics of the project, I wanted to dig into the bones of the hat making this week - for those of you here who knit and crochet, detailing out exactly how i plan to make 30 hats in 30 days should be fun!

First and foremost, I’ll be using the Basic Beanie Crochet Pattern from Sweet Kiwi Crochet. I love every pattern I’ve used from this shop, and to date have worked this particular pattern up in every single size! For the Hat-tember challenge I’ll be knitting the adult size hat, minus the earflaps. Adding earflaps involves a lot of yarn cutting, weaving in of ends, and extra work I know I won’t have time for if I’m going to knock out a hat a day. For yarn I’m going to stick with what’s already in my stash. My hope is to work through as much of this yarn as possible this month, and make each hat as unique as I can!

Logistically Speaking

The thought of crocheting a hat a day, getting it photographed and posted to the blog seems daunting in and of itself, no? Here’s how I plan to make it happen … My hat making will actually begin in the evening. At some point in the evening I’ll cast on a hat, and work until it’s as close to done as possible. Then in the morning I’ll finish off what I need to get done. When Zach gets home from work and before the sun goes down we’ll head outside to snap a photo or two of the finished hat. Once Owen is in bed I’ll edit the photos and get the post up on the blog. At that point I’ll cast on the next hat. Sounds easy … we’ll see how well I can keep it up! This schedule means I’ll be “officially” starting my first hat on August 31st. This way I can post a hat each day during September, and is the best way I can come up with to stay on track and accomplish my “impossible challenge”.

Spreading the Word!

Over the next month I'll be super busy getting hats made, posting photos and notes on hats each day, and sending shout-outs and thank yous to folks who have helped raise money for Pencils Of Promise. While I'm doing all that, I'm hoping those of you already excited about this project will join in a bit and help me spread the word! Raising $750 in just one short month is a pretty big goal outside of making a hat a day, and I won't be able to do it on my own!

To help you out, I've created a Hat-tember 2012 page with a bunch of buttons you can grab. The buttons were created by Colleen Conger, an amazing freelancer who does everything from writing and transcription to graphic design! If you don't have a blog/website where you can share a button, I'd love it if you could Tweet about the project or post it on your Facebook page!

All month I'll be using the #hattember tag on Google+ as well. // If you have any other questions, feel free to ask them in the comments, and I’ll edit this post with the answers in the next few days.

Aug 23, 2012

birthday boy!

One year ago today, this little boy came into the world ... and we couldn't be happier! To celebrate his life, we took him to his favorite place - the zoo!










150 & 151: Hats for Ev and Gwen


Gwen's Hat specs ...

yarn: Loops & Threads Charisma in purple
needles: size US 15 / 10.0 mm straight needles
pattern: The Signature Pixiebell Pixie Hat (Ravelry link) from Pixiebell Elfinwear


Ev's hat specs ...

yarn: Paton's Classic Wool in granite
needles: sizes US 7 / 4.5 mm and US 9 / 5.5 mm 16" cirs, and size US 9 / 5.5 mm dpns
pattern: Graham (Ravelry link) by Jennifer Adams

//

We worked out a trade ... a book for a few hats. I think I came out the winner here, as I got to read a good book, and also got to knit these two amazing hats!

In love with both patterns. Both were simple to knit, and both will for sure become charity knits in the near future as well.

Love the whimsy in Gwen's request, and the Graham hat seems like the perfect basic hat for men.

//

I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. These are hats 150 and 151.

Aug 22, 2012

untether

Over the last few days I've read through Ev Bogue's living book Untether To Evolve. I've wanted to read this for a few months but haven't for any number of reasons - I was in the middle of other books, I didn't have the money in my account, I knew it would cause a strong reaction I wasn't quite ready for.

I was finally ready, and so I read. As I read, a few things became instantly clear.

* I am tethered to things that no longer serve me.

* It is time to let go.

I've been digging into the physical stuff I own at rapid-fire pace - culling even more yarn from my stash to give away, bagging up clothes I no longer want/need to take to the Good Will this weekend, tossing make-up I haven't used in YEARS.

I've been looking at the mental and emotional tethers I've held onto and started to make some pretty bold decisions there as well. I'm excited to tackle my current behaviors and mental processes one at a time over the next few months and clean house there as well.

And finally, I've been looking at my digital tethers. This is the place I knew would be the most tender, and the biggest reason I avoided reading this book.

Effective immediately,  I am shutting down the Facebook group, closing my Twitter, and taking a break from both Pinterest.

I'll still be posting here, but my posts will be focused on hats, hats, and more hats. No more personal stuff, as I want to focus on my life's calling in this space.

The Hat-tember project will continue as planned, of course!

We'll see how this experiment takes shape. My plan is to shut off all notifications on my phone, and only log on once a day. I'll be checking e-mail, sharing the hats I'm working on, updating my 10,000 hats count, and interacting only as much as is necessary. I'll be reading a few blogs still, hanging out in Ravelry like a mad woman, and otherwise going about my online business.

I am simply, and yet somehow dramatically, pulling away from the majority of that which drains me.

Questions? I'll answer them within the comments.

Aug 20, 2012

A Month Of Impossible Knitting

Back towards the beginning of the month my friend Joel over at The Blog Of Impossible Things introduced a crazy new project he’s undertaking - he’s challenged his vast community of readers to help him raise $25k for Pencils Of Promise by the end of 2012! Reading through his post regarding the impossible challenge, I began to get excited.

Not only is Joel raising a world-changing amount of money ($25k will build a school in Guatemala AND proved quality education for 1,000 kids!), he’s challenging readers to undertake impossible goals. For his own part, he’ll be running an ultra-marathon - readers are committing to a wide variety of projects, and Joel’s got all sorts of incentives along the way, including bringing a group of folks to Guatemala to help build the school!

I immediately knew two things.

One, that I was going to help out.

Two, what my impossible project would be.

 For the last few months, I’ve been knitting faster and faster, producing quite a large number of hats for charity. It’s been so amazing to see just how many hats I can actually get off the needles, but I’ve missed the challenge aspect I had with the One Hundred Hats project I finished two years ago. Quietly I’ve wondered if I could complete a “hat a day” project - knit or crochet one hat every single day for one full month. I’ve been excited about the idea, but quite scared at the amount of time and dedication something like this would mean. And then Joel challenged his readers to do impossible things for the sake of getting some kids a decent education. Sold.

Introducing Hat-tember 2012!!

 
 
During the month of September, I will be crocheting a hat a day! I’ll be donating the hats to the Chicago Food Pantry, and will be asking folks to sponsor the hats as a way to raise money for Pencils Of Promise.
Hat-tember 2012 will be epic to be sure! While I’ll be flushing out more of the pattern details next week, I wanted to share some of the logistical details now.

Hat-tember Details

The basics of this challenge are simple enough - using one crochet pattern, my stash yarn, and a lot of determination, I’ll be crocheting up and sharing on the blog one hat each day in September. Each hat will be sized to fit a teenager through adult so I can wear it for photos, and I’ve enlisted Zach to help me take photos as much as possible. Each day will feature the photo of a hat along with a few details (yarn used, fiber content, etc). Simple posting will be key here, as I’ll be spending much of my free time actually making hats.

Sponsoring A Hat

Each day’s hat will be available for sponsorship - this is my way of raising money for Pencils Of Promise. When each post goes live, there will be the option to sponsor the hat for just $25 - the cost of a year of education for a child! The hat you sponsor will be sent to the Chicago Food Pantry (where I’ve been sending most of my hats this year) to help keep a kid in need warm this winter. Yes, this means you’re giving me money and not getting a hat. I figure the prospect of getting a year of schooling for a child along with helping a kid stay warm this winter will be tempting enough for folks!

All The Rest Of It

I’ll be sharing more information about the hats next week - what pattern I’ll be using, the crochet hook that’ll be my constant companion all September, a few shots of the yarn I hope to use up, and a bit more. Until then, are there any questions you’ve got about the project? Ask them in the comments and I’ll get them answered next week!

Aug 16, 2012

Owen's first political rally







On Monday Zach, Owen and Grandma Mimi headed across the river to Council Bluffs, Iowa to hear President Obama speak.

Apparently Owen charmed everyone around them in line while they waited to get in, flirted with a table full of seniors while they waited for the speech to start, and even squealed and clapped at all the right parts! The whole affair wore him out before he got a chance to plant a wet kiss on President Obama, but I'd still call this one a huge success!

for the Sandoval family

A few weeks ago, I sent a large package of hats off to my friend Steve, his wife Dawn, and their two kids Hope and Esben. I've known Steve since he was 15, and am still flabbergasted that he is old enough to be a grown man, a father, and a husband.

Crazy.

When their daughter Hope was born several years ago, I sent a package of hand-knit love to them, and now that Esben has joined the clan I knew it was time for another round.

I may have gotten carried away. A bit.


Hope and all the hats.


Hope and Esben (and a few animals).


Gorgeous Dawn.










Top three photos taken by Steve on Instagram (@eikondenmark). The remainder from my Instagram feed (@shemakeshats).

As fall hits Copenhagen, I can't wait to share more photos of this gorgeous family in their hats! Plus, based on the snug fit of that bear hat on Esben, a second shipment of hand knits may just have to be sent out!

//

I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. These are hats 138 through 149.

for the Sandoval family

A few weeks ago, I sent a large package of hats off to my friend Steve, his wife Dawn, and their two kids Hope and Esben. I've known Steve since he was 15, and am still flabbergasted that he is old enough to be a grown man, a father, and a husband.

Crazy.

When their daughter Hope was born several years ago, I sent a package of hand-knit love to them, and now that Esben has joined the clan I knew it was time for another round.

I may have gotten carried away. A bit.



Hope and all the hats.



Hope and Esben (and a few animals).



Gorgeous Dawn.




















Top three photos taken by Steve on Instagram (@eikondenmark). The remainder from my Instagram feed (@shemakeshats).

As fall hits Copenhagen, I can't wait to share more photos of this gorgeous family in their hats! Plus, based on the snug fit of that bear hat on Esben, a second shipment of hand knits may just have to be sent out!

//

I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. These are hats 138 through 149.


Aug 13, 2012

small things with great love



pattern: Simple Striped Hat, my free pattern
needles: one size US 10 / 5.5 mm 16" circular needle and one set size US 10 / 5.5 mm DPNs
yarn: leftover bits of Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn! in light grey and purple sparkle. Coral yarn first used here.

//

Over the weekend, I spent more time than I'd care to admit watching television. I cheered as Americans took home gold while running, throwing, and shooting hoops. I marveled as diving came down to the last dive, with David Boudia winning by the smallest of margins. I cheered as I learned more American women brought home gold than American men (yay women!) this Olympics, and I reveled in the wonder that is the Olympic Closing Ceremonies.

I also mourned as more soldiers lost their lives.

I mourned as innocent people across Iran were killed and injured in two large earthquakes.

I mourned for the two women in my own neighborhood who were attacked, one of whom was violently sexually assaulted, and the other less than a block from my front door.

In the midst of all this triumph and sadness, I knit two hats (seen above).

I know you think it, because I think it all the time. What good can a hat really do? Even when put into a large group, ten thousand hats don't begin to touch the need this world has. Need for safety, need for food and water. Need for shelter, and need for love.

One hat will not cure a thing, it is true.

Or is it?

“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” – Blessed Mother Teresa

I fully believe the words that Mother Teresa spoke when she said that we can only do small things with great love. One hat, such a small thing. But what kind of difference can it make?

Will it change the face of the planet? Will it simply keep someone warm who otherwise might not be? Will it spark hope in someone feeling lost? Will it bring love and joy to someone in the throes of loneliness? Will it spread a love of knitting, inspiring someone to take up a set of needles?

I have no idea what these two little hats will have to do with the larger world picture. Chances are, they will warm two people's heads for the winter, and not much else. But the small act of knitting a hat, done with great love and compassion may just change the world.

Of this I am sure.

//

Lindsay joined in on knitting a few striped hats for her son - check them out here!

If you'd like to join me in knitting striped hats during August, link up to this post with your finished hats - I'll be sharing links again next week!

//

I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. These are hats 136 and 137.

small things with great love



pattern: Simple Striped Hat, my free pattern
needles: one size US 10 / 5.5 mm 16" circular needle and one set size US 10 / 5.5 mm DPNs
yarn: leftover bits of Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn! in light grey and purple sparkle. Coral yarn first used here.

//

Over the weekend, I spent more time than I'd care to admit watching television. I cheered as Americans took home gold while running, throwing, and shooting hoops. I marveled as diving came down to the last dive, with David Boudia winning by the smallest of margins. I cheered as I learned more American women brought home gold than American men (yay women!) this Olympics, and I reveled in the wonder that is the Olympic Closing Ceremonies.

I also mourned as more soldiers lost their lives.

I mourned as innocent people across Iran were killed and injured in two large earthquakes.

I mourned for the two women in my own neighborhood who were attacked, one of whom was violently sexually assaulted, and the other less than a block from my front door.

In the midst of all this triumph and sadness, I knit two hats (seen above).

I know you think it, because I think it all the time. What good can a hat really do? Even when put into a large group, ten thousand hats don't begin to touch the need this world has. Need for safety, need for food and water. Need for shelter, and need for love.

One hat will not cure a thing, it is true.

Or is it?

“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” – Blessed Mother Teresa

I fully believe the words that Mother Teresa spoke when she said that we can only do small things with great love. One hat, such a small thing. But what kind of difference can it make?

Will it change the face of the planet? Will it simply keep someone warm who otherwise might not be? Will it spark hope in someone feeling lost? Will it bring love and joy to someone in the throes of loneliness? Will it spread a love of knitting, inspiring someone to take up a set of needles?

I have no idea what these two little hats will have to do with the larger world picture. Chances are, they will warm two people's heads for the winter, and not much else. But the small act of knitting a hat, done with great love and compassion may just change the world.

Of this I am sure.

//

Lindsay joined in on knitting a few striped hats for her son - check them out here!

If you'd like to join me in knitting striped hats during August, link up to this post with your finished hats - I'll be sharing links again next week!

//

I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. These are hats 136 and 137.

Aug 10, 2012

insta-life 8.10





Owen is definitely a ninja-in-training - those pictures above are how we spend our afternoons now!

Not many words ... have a great weekend!

Aug 9, 2012

34 Water Hats, part one

About a month before my birthday I shot a message to the help desk at charity: Water, asking for a bit of advice. I received a wonderful e-mail in return, and exchanged several messages with one of charity: Water's wonderful tech support folks. To say thanks, I shot out an e-mail asking if I could knit the guy a hat. Then about five minutes later I shot out another e-mail, asking how many folks were in their office.

Turns out there are 34 people working in the charity: Water NYC offices - I can totally knit that many hats Thus began a mini-oddesy - a goal to knit 34 Waffle Hats using blue yarn (to represent the water charity: Water brings to folks around the world). One for each person who is giving part of their lives to this amazing project. I added the goal to my birthday list and got to knitting.

As I'm about two months out from starting the first hat, I wanted to do a mini update (and let you all know why I've been sharing so many blue hats to Instagram)! Above you can see, in three batches, the hats I've made so far. Hats 1-21. This leaves 13 hats to go; 12 if you count the hat i just finished (but haven't photographed yet), and 11 if you count the hat that's already on my needles.

 I've got a big September planned (more on that in a few weeks, after I sort out the details!), which means I want to get the remainder of these blue hats knit and out the door before then. I know I can knit a dozen hats in a few weeks, but I also know I can slack and take too long to get a project done when I'm the only one to know about it! So I'm posting here, publicly sharing my progress, and what I need to get done in a short amount of time.

While I know many of you don't knit as fast as I do, I know you'll all join in to make a loud cheering section as I whip up these last dozen hats! (and who knows ... maybe we'll get a shot of the entire charity: Water staff wearing them once they make it to NYC?!)

Aug 6, 2012

striped hats, week 1


pattern: Simple Striped Hat (my pattern)
needles: size US 10 / 6.0 mm 16" circs
yarn: leftover bits of I Love This Yarn! in sage green and grey

Man, do I need to clean that mirror! I also need to find a better way to take these photos! I've been trying to track them using Instagram, but I'm having a hard time finding a good spot in our house where the light is such that I can set up a mirror and get a good photo. They're all starting to look like the photo above - a bit blurry, back-lit instead of side-lit, and just in general a semi-crappy shot.

I also only managed to get one striped hat knocked out so far this month. No big deal, as even one striped hat a month is going to help deplete my remnants stash as well as get some fun hats to some kids in Chicago.

If you've knit up a striped hat already this month, share your link in the comments. I'll be grabbing links and photos for next week's post!

//

I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. This is hat 113.

Aug 2, 2012

Love God. Love People.

Lately, Christians have made me incredibly sad, defensive, and angry enough to not want to be counted as a member of their group. I am generally quiet about my faith - years of watching the Church hurt folks I love, watching Christians turn on one another, and watching a fallible group of people (as all groups of people are) get decidedly too big for its britches one too many times has let me to live my faith on a more … individual level.

That said, I cannot hold my tongue anymore.

For years (decades, centuries …) Christians of all walks used the Bible to condone slavery and then segregation. Folks stood on soap boxes promising they were doing God’s work, that they would be vindicated for their beliefs - if not in this world, then in the next.

Ask almost any Christian today, and they’ll have tons of excuses for why Christians used to believe those things, and why the Christian community no longer believes that slavery is God-sanctioned.

Gay rights is our generation's slavery.

Yes, it’s that dramatic folks.

In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus is asked which of the Old Testament Laws is the greatest commandment. Jesus answers in the most plain and simple terms imaginable.

LOVE GOD. LOVE PEOPLE. “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (NIV translation)

Well-meaning Christians claim they are loving God when they publicly proclaim that a group of folks does not deserve, is not worthy of the same basic American rights (the right to marry and bury the person you love, the right to health care for your family, the right to adopt, etc) as they are, all because of who and how they choose to love.

People, we are not loving God right, and we are definitely not loving God’s people the right way when we damn a group based on their color, creed, ethnicity, or who they choose to love.

But what about this Bible verse condemning homosexuality or that one? (Leviticus, I'm looking at you)

In Matthew 5:17, Jesus said he did not come to abolish the law of the Old Testament, but to fulfill it. He did not come to act as an opponent to that law, but rather to complete it with his life, death and resurrection.

If this is what Christians believe, then the Mosaic law Christ fulfilled must now take a different role in our lives. We cannot say Jesus fulfilled the sacrificial portion of the law but that he did not fulfill the rest of the law, that the Levitical commandments still hold the same weight in our lives as they did before Christ - to do so is to say he did not fulfill the law, that we as humans still have more to do.

In reality, we believe Jesus’ fulfillment of the law was complete. We are no longer bound to laws that say we must bring a physical and literal sacrifice to the temple. We no longer have a list of foods that are “unclean”. We no longer consider women unclean during and immediately following her menstrual cycle. We no longer consider men unclean after they ejaculate.

We still steal, we still cheat on our spouses, we still cheat the folks around us. We spend a good portion of our time with other Christians gossiping in one way or another. Women, we wear gold jewelry, braid our hair, and wear make-up.

The list goes on. And on. And on. In fact, about the only Mosaic law Christians seem to still be hung up on, still seem to believe Jesus’ fulfillment did not cover, is the issue of homosexuality.

If we are meant to fulfill the law and live under it, then we all as Christians must begin living our lives in a VERY different way. If we choose to live under the belief that Christ fulfilled the law - all of the law - with his sacrificial death and resurrection, then we are no longer bound to the law. ANY OF THE LAW.

And so I choose to Love God and to Love People. I choose to stand for gay rights in the same way I would have chosen to stand against segregation. In the same way I choose to stand for women’s rights in the workplace. In the same way I choose to give food to the hungry, clothes to those who are naked, shelter to those without homes, water to the thirsty. (Matthew 25:37-40)

Maybe I’m naive, and setting myself up for disappointment, but I hold hope in my heart for the day Christians can decide collectively to be more concerned with what Jesus did and how to live as he did, rather than with who is sticking what into what part of the person they love. Or likewise, with what color a person’s skin is, what language they speak, what country they’re from ….

We are failing Christ’s example, failing a world in NEED of real Christianity, when we choose to side with hatred, fear, and prejudice. We are failing God.

Autumn



pattern: Autumn, by Jane Richmond (etsy link)
needles: sizes US 11 / 8.0 mm and US 15 / 10.0 mm 16" circulars
yarn: Loops & Threads Charisma (a Michael's brand), approximately 65 yards worth

I've knit Jane's Autumn hat several times now, including once as hat #53 for the One Hundred Hats Project. This simple hat is worked up using chunky yarn and large needles, and I didn't even need dpns to finish the crown!

Jane calls for size US 13 / 9.0 mm needles instead of the size 15's I used - as I don't have any size 13's I just subbed in the larger needles, and I'm happy with the result! I've been on a super loose stitch kick lately, so using as large a needle as I could grab for this hat meant the seed stitch pattern was as loose as could be.

I also love that this hat knits up in just about two hours. Quick and easy, without much concentration once you get the patterning down, I was able to work this up while watching the men's gymnastics team finals (and Great Britain's amazing bronze medal) the other night!

If I'm honest, I've had quite a bit rolling around in my brain that I'd like to share in the coming days and weeks. Having a hat like Autumn (one I've made before, and of an easy-to-memorize pattern) was just what I needed!

//

I'm making 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. This is hat 112.