Mar 27, 2013

Vermonter Challenge 2013 Wrap-Up






pattern: The Vermonter, by Abi Gregorio  
yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick (66 yards, including pom)  
needles: size US 15 / 10.0 mm 16" circs and dpns

The Vermonter Challenge was a roaring success, with 17 hats made from my meager stash of bulky yarn! I'm super happy I managed to make this challenge work, de-stash bunches of yarn I don't normally like to use, and that I was able to add this many hats to the bin for Completely Kids this coming fall!

Vermonter Challenge 2013 Wrap-Up



pattern: The Vermonter, by Abi Gregorio
yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick (66 yards, including pom)
needles: size US 15 / 10.0 mm 16" circs and dpns
The Vermonter Challenge was a roaring success, with 17 hats made from my meager stash of bulky yarn! I'm super happy I managed to make this challenge work, de-stash bunches of yarn I don't normally like to use, and that I was able to add this many hats to the bin for Completely Kids this coming fall!

Mar 21, 2013

500th Hat Celebration!!!


Yesterday I realized something which made me first laugh, then cringe, then tackle a major edit and recount. I realized I hadn’t counted well over 100 hats towards my goal! See, back in late 2009 I decided to challenge myself to make 100 hats and give them away, using different patterns for each hat and making all the hats over the course of a year. At the time this seemed like a wildly ridiculous goal and both Zach and I had quite a laugh at my audacity.

 Of course, you all know by now I finished those first One Hundred Hats and haven’t looked back (for the most part)! But what you may not have known is that, until late last week, those hats weren’t reflected in the total hat count; what’s more, there were dozens more hats I’d made between those first one hundred and my “official start date” of January 1, 2012 that were shared here on the blog but not counted. Silly Robyn! I gave those hats away, they most definitely should be counted!

After spending not as much time as I thought it would take, the hats were counted and I was shocked to see the count – 515 hats!  

FIVE. HUNDRED. AND. FIFTEEN.

You guys, that’s 1/20th of my goal! Huzzah and hooray and all that! I’ve been trying to come up with some ways to celebrate this HUGE milestone. At first I thought GIVEAWAY but then that would mean contacting a bunch of folks and asking them to give stuff to you and moderating comments and … I got tired just thinking about it all.

Then I thought HUGE CHALLENGE! What if I challenged you all to send me hats for Nebraska Hats for Hope Initiative! But is a challenge a good way to celebrate?

So here’s what I’m thinking. The best present for me, the best way to celebrate 515 hats is for more people to know about it. I figure, the more knitters know that I’m making hats and giving them away, the more likely those knitters are to want to give someone a hat as well. And the more this happens, the more hats will be given away, and the better this world will be!

So help me spread the word, won’t you?! Tell your friends to come visit me here, my little online home. Or share this post on Facebook (you can find me there as She Makes Hats!) so all your old high school buddies and distant relatives can get excited with us!

Tweet it, shout it from the street corners, however you let people know something amazing has happened, do it. Because this is amazing folks, and while I’m not usually one for self-promotion, in this instance I’m making an exception.

Mar 20, 2013

Jamie In Her Norby


I shared the details of Jamie's Norby Hat back in February, but then slacked mightily on sending it her way. Thankfully she was understanding, and graciously sent me these photos of her wearing her hat just this week! And because she's such a sweetheart, Jamie is also posting about the hat today on her blog Inconsistency Rang The Horse!

I've been following Jamie's blog since she first contacted me, and I love her openness and gorgeous heart! For those of you visiting from Jamie's blog, welcome! Her hat was number 310 in my quest to make 10,000 hats for 10,000 people! And for those of you who are regulars to my little space, head on over to Jamie's online home and say hello -- she's a gracious host!

//

Also, have you heard the sad news that Google Reader is going away in July? If you haven't already switched your feeds over to Bloglovin', now is the time! I've been there for a few weeks now, and have to say while the switch was hard (creature of habit), I'm in love with how it all works! Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Mar 19, 2013

the flute player by shawn mihalik


The Flute Player by Shawn Mihalik

From my Amazon review:

The tale of a young man tasked with playing the flute every morning and every evening, to keep his entire village from feeling too deeply the trials and tribulations of everyday life, Mihalik's "The Flue Player" takes us into the world of Oliver and his begrudging calling.

Charmed and otherworldly from the first words, this novella is impossible to put down. It reads almost like a parable, with sentences packed so full of meaning I cannot wait to open it back up and dig deeper. Would that I could buy this for every single person I know! 

Mar 18, 2013

something new // i'm writing a book!


I've been trying to figure out how to write this post for several weeks now, but every time I try I have to stop and remind myself that this is all real -- it still feels so unbelievable.

I am writing a book about knitting hats and giving them away. That photo above? That's the screen shot from the Asymmetrical Press "authors page". That's my mug, wearing a handmade hat of course, there on the right!

The guys behind Asymmetrical Press -- Colin Wright, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus -- are friends of mine thanks to the Hats On People project. Colin was one of the first hat recipients and recommended JFM and Ryan to me (who actually thought I was just a prank being pulled on them ... long story) as possible guys to get to know and give hats to.

Several hats later (these boys sure do like their hand knits!) and a few random e-mails, and somehow I was on a Skype call with JFM, talking about the book I should write.

 And so this summer I will put fingers to keyboard and write out my stories. The hats I've given, the people I've given them to, the projects I've completed and the things I've learned along the way. From the littlest hats I've made to the boxes I've mailed off, for every hat that's come off my needles there is a story to be told. And while I may not be able to tell every single story, I'll be attempting to tell many of them.

Much of the process is still undecided -- there is no release date for the book (sometime in October, maybe) and there is still just a tentative title. Much of what will be written is still locked away in my brain, in fact. Which makes the whole thing still seem unreal to me. But real it is, and a book shall be written.

As I sort through all the stories in my head, I'd love to hear from you all -- what stories would you like me to tell? Are there hats you've fallen in love with and would love to hear the back story for, or projects I've completed that you'd love to know more about? Specifics on how to donate you'd love to hear me go on for pages about, humorous anecdotes I've left unsaid? Let me know in the comments, and I'll do my best to include them somehow as the stories are told!

I'd also love to answer any questions you have about the process -- how do the guys at Asymmetrical pick authors (my best guess involves a drinking game somehow), how will I actually write the book .... you ask it, I'll answer it. Guys, I'm writing a book!!!

 //  

For those who love to read as much as I do, you have to check out The Flute Player, by Shawn Mihalik (a fellow Asymm author). The young adult fiction novella tells the tale of Oliver, who plays the flute every morning and every evening for his village. It's books like this that will keep the written word alive folks -- it's that good.

thrush, thrush, hurry hurry lover come to me ...





2013 can suck it. officially.

since the beginning of the year, Owen has had five ear infections. he has been on antibiotics to the point that he's gotten thrush, an over-abundance of yeast that our bodies can normally combat without a thought. unless our immune systems have been compromised because it's been trying to fight infection, or been compromised by too much antibiotics.

the ear infections have been so hard to fight because Owen's allergic to penicillin/amoxycillin. this means we have to treat his ear infections with "lesser" meds, which means they don't go away as easily. which means they come back quickly and are harder to cure each time.

all of this to say, we have an appointment with an ear, nose and throat guy. to start the "let's put tubes in his ears" conversation. i had tubes at his age. so did two of my three brothers (or maybe all three ... Nick, did you have tubes, too?), thanks to chronic ear infections like this. i sort of always knew it was coming, and to be honest i'm relieved.

hopefully, in the next three months these ear infections will be a thing of the past, as will the purple mouth and all the drug cocktails and all this stress and frustration. until then, it's a purple mouth and ten more days of antibiotics, twice a day.

Mar 17, 2013

A Few More Vermonters


pattern: The Vermonter, by Abi Gregorio
yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick (66 yards, including pom)  
needles: size US 15 / 10.0 mm 16" circs and dpns

Adding three more Vermonters to my total!

A Few More Vermonters


pattern: The Vermonter, by Abi Gregorio
yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick (66 yards, including pom)
needles: size US 15 / 10.0 mm 16" circs and dpns
Adding three more Vermonters to my total!

Mar 14, 2013

Bubble Hats in Red and Black


pattern: The Bubble Hat, by Vridd Vrang (free Ravelry download)  
yarn: I Love This Yarn by Hobby Lobby (117 yards for black hat, 138 yards for red hat)  
needles: size US 9 / 5.5mm 16" circulars and dpns

While I don't sell hats very often anymore, I do on occasion make a hat for sale for someone I know. I never charge enough, and I say no more than I say yes. But these two hats made it through the filter, as a friend's mom asked so kindly I couldn't say no!

 Bubble Hats are a fun and fast knit, and with every one I make I know I'll have to make more. They slouch just right, which you can't see this time because I didn't get time to model them before sending them off to the recipient. But trust me when I say they slouch just the perfect amount, keeping your ears warm while not hugging your hair. Love!

Mar 12, 2013

Aurora Hat


pattern: Aurora, by Wooly Wormhead (Ravelry link)  
yarn: I Love This Yarn! in light grey (131 yards)  
needles: sizes US 8 / 5.0mm and US 9 / 5.5mm 16" circs and dpns

I'm not usually a fan of berets. I've never worn one successfully, and much prefer wearing a fitted (even if somewhat slouchy) beanie.That said, when someone requests a hat, I'll make it! And the knitting of a beret is quite fun! This beret had a very simple construction and pattern. And despite the bobbles, the hat didn't take more than a few hours to make.

If I were to make this beret again, I'd give the brim ribbing -- I constantly wonder if garter stitch brims are going to stretch over time, leaving hats too large to fit snug or keep ears warm.

Mar 9, 2013

A Few Striped Vermonters



pattern: The Vermonter, by Abi Gregorio  
yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick (66 yards, including pom)  
needles: size US 15 / 10.0 mm 16" circs and dpns

Two more Vermonters for the March Challenge!

A Few Striped Vermonters


vermonter 3
pattern: The Vermonter, by Abi Gregorio
yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick (66 yards, including pom)
needles: size US 15 / 10.0 mm 16" circs and dpns
Two more Vermonters for the March Challenge!

Mar 7, 2013

Twisting Cables in Turquoise


pattern: Twisting Cables, by Sarah Sacco (Ravelry link)
yarn: I Love This Yarn! in turquoise (146 yards)  
needles: size US 8 / 5.0mm 16" circs and dpns

A young woman named Molly is currently in residence at UNMC’s hospital down the street from my home. She was born with Hirschprung’s disease, a rare congenital disorder. The long and short of it is that, at 24 years old, she needs four organs to live. A liver, a pancreas, a kidney, and a small intestine, and all from a type 0-negative donor.

She and I share a mutual friend - Rebecca Woolf of Girl’s Gone Child. When Rebecca shared Molly’s story, I offered the one thing I know how to do -- to make a hat for her. Something simple, yet something soothing, to comfort her as she waits for a transplant.

Her story is crazy and strange, and breaks my heart. A young woman who has tried to live her life as normal as possible despite circumstances. A young woman who has been fed through a tube since November and is in an isolation room. A young woman who may not even be able to wear the hat I made her until she can miraculously receive her transplant.

Nonetheless, I made her a hat. Something small and simple. Something that won’t change her world, but reminds her that folks know of her story and are wishing her miracles.

Mar 5, 2013

Vermonter in Fisherman


pattern: The Vermonter, by Abi Gregorio  
yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick (66 yards, including pom)  
needles: size US 15 / 10.0 mm 16" circs and dpns

The first Vermonter Hat for March is off the needles, and I couldn't be happier I chose this pattern for this little project! Most of the Thick & Quick I've got in my stash is in small enough balls that these hats will end up striped the remainder of the month. But I had this skein of fisherman (and possibly one other skein of green) that had enough yardage for a solid colored hat, so I used it to test out the pattern exactly as written.

I cast on just 42 stitches -- the hat is meant to fit a pre-teen, and the pattern calls for a decrease to this number before the crown shaping anyhow, so I eliminated the extra stitches from the beginning. And I'm glad I did! The hat fits me perfectly as-is, so I know it'll fit an older child as well. Every other bit of the hat I knit according to pattern; there wan't a need to change any little bit! Although going forward I don't know that I'll make poms. They eat up yarn yardage, and I want to make as many of these hats as possible. And besides, my poms always end up huge and a bit ridiculous looking!

This hat took just less than three hours of knit time, spread out over a weekend day. I love that it worked up so fast -- this means I'll be able to get the entire bulky stash knit up this month for sure! And the pattern is easy to remember, so there's no time wasted looking up instructions once you get the thing memorized! A winner for sure.

Vermonter in Fisherman


pattern: The Vermonter, by Abi Gregorio
yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick (66 yards, including pom)
needles: size US 15 / 10.0 mm 16" circs and dpns

The first Vermonter Hat for March is off the needles, and I couldn't be happier I chose this pattern for this little project!

Most of the Thick & Quick I've got in my stash is in small enough balls that these hats will end up striped the remainder of the month. But I had this skein of fisherman (and possibly one other skein of green) that had enough yardage for a solid colored hat, so I used it to test out the pattern exactly as written.

I cast on just 42 stitches -- the hat is meant to fit a pre-teen, and the pattern calls for a decrease to this number before the crown shaping anyhow, so I eliminated the extra stitches from the beginning. And I'm glad I did! The hat fits me perfectly as-is, so I know it'll fit an older child as well.

Every other bit of the hat I knit according to pattern; there wan't a need to change any little bit! Although going forward I don't know that I'll make poms. They eat up yarn yardage, and I want to make as many of these hats as possible. And besides, my poms always end up huge and a bit ridiculous looking!

This hat took just less than three hours of knit time, spread out over a weekend day. I love that it worked up so fast -- this means I'll be able to get the entire bulky stash knit up this month for sure! And the pattern is easy to remember, so there's no time wasted looking up isntructions once you get the thing memorized! A winner for sure.

Mar 4, 2013

Bear Hats For A Fundraiser


pattern: Basic Beanie pattern, by Sweet Kiwi Crochet (ears are my own)  
yarn: I Love This Yarn! from Hobby Lobby (125 yards per hat)  
hook: size US I / 5.5mm

Days like today I am reminded just how lucky we are. Our entire family is healthy and happy; despite some rough batches with teething, our little man checks out perfectly at every doctor appointment.

Not every family is so lucky. Some babies have serious medical conditions they live with for years, some littles are diagnosed with cancer.

In a few weeks, we’ll be attending a pancake feed for a little boy not much older than our Owen. He recently had one eye removed due to retinoblastoma, a very serious cancer seen in children no older than five. He’s in the throes of treatment, and while things are looking positive the family will have massive debt for most of their lives thanks to our health care system (rant for another day).

To help raise money, at the pancake feed there will also be an auction; how could I not donate a few hats to help? These two bear ears hats are gender neutral but in super fun and bright colors. I love making hats like these for littles (these will fit a kid ages 2 to about 6) – they seem so cheerful and fun to me!

While I love the brown/blue hat the most, Zach is threatening to throw the auction so we can have the grey/green hat for Owen. It would match his coat perfectly, and looks just ridiculous (in the best way) on his little head! Not that you can see that – he refused to wear either hat long enough for a picture!

If you’re in the Omaha area, we’d love to see you at the pancake feed on the 16th. It’s at the Omaha Police Hall from 9am-2pm!

Mar 2, 2013

Striped Little Boy Blue Ribbed Baby Hat


pattern: Little Boy Blue Hat, by Tonya Wagner  
yarn: Baby Bee Sweet Delight Baby (Hobby Lobby brand) in light blue and brown (64 yards total)  
needles: size US 7 / 4.5mm 16" circs and dpns

I love a simple baby hat, and adding in some stripes just sweetens the deal for me. So when the Harry Potter group I'm part of on Ravelry challenged us all to partner up and alter a pattern, my partner and I chose to make baby hats, and we both decided to add different types of stripes.

Originally, this hat was going to be sent (with a similar pink/brown one) to my friend with the newborn twins. But after their first batch of hats turned out so perfectly, I didn't feel they needed another batch of stripey hats for their collection.

This hat then has become the first in a pile of hats I will be making for a local hospital's maternity ward. Creighton Medical Center sees folks from some of the more marginalized parts of town - who better to give hats to than to little babies being born into potentially difficult situations?!

Baby hats are a great way to start donating hats, by the way. Not a whole lot of time commitment, you can use your scraps, and babies aren't all that picky ... whatever you make to keep them warm they'll love! It's a fun way to test out new patterns, pick up crochet (if you only knit), or even make a little pom if you've never done that. And I've never come across a hospital staffer that doesn't squeal with delight at the thought of putting teeny handmade hats on baby heads!

I love making Santa hats in December, candy corn hats for Halloween, and even little Easter egg hats in the spring! Solid colors, stripes, brights and pastels -- any hat you make will be used and loved by both baby and parents!

Mar 1, 2013

The Vermonter Hat Challenge

I don’t normally keep much bulky yarn on-hand – if I’m honest, working with size 15 needles starts to give my hands an ache after too much use. But I was recently given a friend’s entire stash of Lion Brand Thick & Quick after the minimal wool content started to mess with her allergies, and if I don’t use it fast, it’ll languish in my stash for far too long!

It didn’t take long for me to know which pattern to use for this yarn; I’ve been eyeing Abi’s Vermonter Hat pattern for many months now, wishing I had some bulky yarn in my stash so I could finally make one.


Vermonter on Ravelry || Vermonter On Abi's Blog - free download at either site

I plan to knit through the entire box of bulky weight using the Vermonter Hat pattern, making solid hats where I can and using the smaller bits to make up some striped Vermonters as well (I’ll explain how I do that when I’ve got a few done). Because I’m not sure how many hats I’ll be able to make this way, I’m not challenging myself to make a specific number. Once the bin is done, this project will be added to the completed list.
DONATING THE HATS:
The hats will be donated locally through the Nebraska Hats for Hope Initiative to the local Leavenworth Homeowner’s Association (in my neighborhood). Each year at Christmastime they make up backpacks full of food (fruits, snacks and such) and warm gear (hats, scarves, mittens) for the kids at a local elementary school with a high percentage of kids receiving assistance (free lunches, etc) – last year they made up around 300 bags! This year Hats for Hope is teaming up with them to provide hand knit hats for the bags, and so these hats will go into that pile. I’m hoping Hats for Hope can contribute enough hats that each kid gets a handmade one, and in order to get there I’m dedicating a fair bit of my knitting this year to the cause. Learn more about this campaign over at the Hats for Hope Facebook page.
KNITTING ALONG:
For those of you with bulky yarn in your stash, I’d love for you to consider knitting along with me! Abi makes her patterns available for free download, and this is the perfect hat for charity donation – whether you send it to Hats for Hope or donate it locally! If you choose to knit along with me, I'd love it if you share links to your finished hats in the comments of any of the Vermonter hats I share - that way I can see your lovely creations and share them here on the blog as well! And I'd of course love it if you would send your hats to the Nebraska Hats for Hope Initiative for the LNA hat drive!

Here is the address:

Nebraska Hats for Hope Initiative
PO Box 6093
Omaha, NE 68106

Your hats will go to good use, warming up kids in my neighborhood all next winter!

The Vermonter Hat Challenge

I don’t normally keep much bulky yarn on-hand – if I’m honest, working with size 15 needles starts to give my hands an ache after too much use. But I was recently given a friend’s entire stash of Lion Brand Thick & Quick after the minimal wool content started to mess with her allergies, and if I don’t use it fast, it’ll languish in my stash for far too long!

It didn’t take long for me to know which pattern to use for this yarn; I’ve been eyeing Abi’s Vermonter Hat pattern for many months now, wishing I had some bulky yarn in my stash so I could finally make one.
 
Vermonter on Ravelry || Vermonter On Abi's Blog - free download at either site

I plan to knit through the entire box of bulky weight using the Vermonter Hat pattern, making solid hats where I can and using the smaller bits to make up some striped Vermonters as well (I’ll explain how I do that when I’ve got a few done). Because I’m not sure how many hats I’ll be able to make this way, I’m not challenging myself to make a specific number. Once the bin is done, this project will be added to the completed list.
DONATING THE HATS:
The hats will be donated locally through the Nebraska Hats for Hope Initiative to the local Leavenworth Homeowner’s Association (in my neighborhood). Each year at Christmastime they make up backpacks full of food (fruits, snacks and such) and warm gear (hats, scarves, mittens) for the kids at a local elementary school with a high percentage of kids receiving assistance (free lunches, etc) – last year they made up around 300 bags!

This year Hats for Hope is teaming up with them to provide hand knit hats for the bags, and so these hats will go into that pile. I’m hoping Hats for Hope can contribute enough hats that each kid gets a handmade one, and in order to get there I’m dedicating a fair bit of my knitting this year to the cause. Learn more about this campaign over at the Hats for Hope Facebook page.
KNITTING ALONG:
For those of you with bulky yarn in your stash, I’d love for you to consider knitting along with me! Abi makes her patterns available for free download, and this is the perfect hat for charity donation – whether you send it to Hats for Hope or donate it locally!

If you choose to knit along with me, I'd love it if you share links to your finished hats in the comments of any of the Vermonter hats I share - that way I can see your lovely creations and share them here on the blog as well!

And I'd of course love it if you would send your hats to the Nebraska Hats for Hope Initiative for the LNA hat drive! Here is the address:
 
Nebraska Hats for Hope Initiative
PO Box 6093
Omaha, NE 68106

Your hats will go to good use, warming up kids in my neighborhood all next winter!