Nov 9, 2015

Franzia Hat


The Franzia Hat is perfect for working up at a knit night, when you want to spend your time focused on friends and wine, rather than a complicated stitch pattern.

As said by the hat model, Amy, “Quick and dirty, like a box wine.”

NOTE: You should not need double pointed needles for this hat. Simply work the decreases until you can no longer knit them comfortably on the circular needles, and your hat is done! If you prefer, you can work a modified magic loop for the last few decrease stitches to have less to bind off, but this is not necessary.

YARN
80-100 yds super bulky yarn

Suggestions include:
Knit Picks Tuff Puff (100% wool; 44 yds / 40 meters per 100 grams)
Loops & Threads Cozy Wool (50% wool/50% acrylic; 90 yds / 82 meters per 127 grams)

NEEDLES
US 15 / 10.0mm 16” circular needle

NOTIONS
One stitch marker
Darning needle for weaving in ends

GAUGE
2.5 sts = 1" in stockinette on larger needles

SIZES
0-6m (6-12m, 1-2 yrs, 3-5 yrs, 6-10 yrs, teen/adult) = 15 (16, 17, 18, 19, 21)” circumference, un-stretched.

This hat pattern is available for free download! download now

Oct 30, 2015

Updating The Etsy Shop




In the past few weeks I've been slowly updating the She Makes Hats Shop, adding some new items along with old favorites. I'm using the shop as a way to send some much-needed items to the refugee efforts in Greece. I'll be taking $10 from each item sold, and using it to purchase and ship necessities like underwear, socks, sweatpants, sanitary napkins, toothbrushes, and more.

I'll continue to add items to the shop over the next few months, and I'd love for you to check out what I've got available. Hats are sized from newborns through adults, so you can shop for everyone on your holiday gift list!

I've also added the patterns I use for my shop items to the shop for purchase as well. This way, you don't have to purchase a hat from me if you know how to knit, and want to make a few hats yourself to gift this season! With patterns, I'll donate $1 from every sale to the Syrian refugee efforts, so you're still helping others with your purchase!

On top of all this, I've got a coupon code that'll give you 20% off any purchase from the shop all weekend long!! Simply enter the code SPOOKY20 at checkout to receive this discount, whether you're picking up a pattern, a cowl, a hat, or multiple items!!

Oct 22, 2015

Anthologie Scarf


Pattern: Anthologie Scarf, by Ewe Ewe Yarns
Yarn: Ewe So Sporty - five skeins, one each five different colors
Hook: 5.5mm / US I

Oh, hello there blog! I feel like I've forgotten you existed - has it really been a month? Does it make it worse that I shared this scarf on Instagram like three weeks ago? Probably. Let's not talk about it, and just move on.

I found myself with a large selection of Ewe So Sporty yarn in my stash, and I just kept looking at it. I know, it should have become hats. That just makes sense, doesn't it? But I'd just finished 1,000 hats, and wanted a break. (Who knew it would have lasted this long?!)

And so a quick and fun scarf found its way into my project bag - simple crochet stitches with a fun and unique construction means this scarf can be made by a beginner crocheter, but even someone who's been crocheting most of their life will find it a fun project. I whipped it up in just two (three?) days, we snapped some super fast photos in the back yard like two weeks later (I KNOW!), and then the weather warmed up so I couldn't even wear it until .... well, it's still too warm for scarves!

Let's pretend it's cold enough for scarves though, because I'm in love with this one!

Sep 22, 2015

Ripple Effect - The 1,000th Hat!!

Five years ago, at the end of August 2009, without much forethought or fanfare I started knitting hats. I had a goal of making 100 hats, using 100 patterns, in just one year. It felt daunting and totally out of reach to hit that goal, but by August 2010 I had finished my first 100 hats and had set a new goal. Ten thousand hats, for ten thousand people. One woman, some needles and yarn, and a mission to make the world warmer, one hat at a time.

It turns out that while making all these hats (and other knitted items for charity as well, let's be honest), I inadvertently gathered together a wealth of charity knitting knowledge - where to send items, which patterns (both free and for sale) are best for using on repeat, and more. Thanks to the amazing Heather of Ewe Ewe Yarn, I'm slowly pulling all this knowledge out. One post at a time, we're building the site MAKE | GIVE | REPEAT, creating a place for charity knitters to find patterns and places to send finished items, and hopefully also inspiring knitters who've never made something for charity to give it a try!

To celebrate these small, simple acts of kindness, and hitting a pretty big milestone on my way to 10,000, I partnered with Heather and wrote the Ripple Effect pattern. It looks complex, but it's actually just a few repeating rows that you can memorize pretty easily. And with just knit and purl stitches to contend with, this hat is perfect for a beginner knitter to dip their toes into hat making.I hope you'll knit it for yourself, for your friends and for a charity that you feel is worth of your time.

You can download the pattern for free on Ravelry, and you can also find the pattern shared for free on the Ewe Ewe blog!

Sep 21, 2015

1/10TH OF THE WAY THERE ...

I can't even begin to explain what it feels like to be sharing my 1,000th hat tomorrow. Instead, I'm going to just share some of the first 999 hats that have been made here in my little house. Hats made before we had babies. Hats made in the hospital while staring at brand new babies. Hats given to friends and family. Hats sent all around the world.

So.

Many.

Hats.

Sep 11, 2015

nesting || for the love of my deck








I am not by any means a good photographer. I actually have like three images I seem to re-create and post over and again - the "knit wear on my deck" photo being the most prevalent. But here's the deal - I love our little deck. To be clear, I didn't always love our little deck - in fact, I sort of thought it was gross and wished we didn't have it. Then Zach power-washed it.

GAME. CHANGER.

Turns out, the deck actually was pretty gross. Our back yard faces north, and where our deck is there is approximately no direct sunlight. This means that a decade of rain and snow with all that moisture just sitting there, not getting burned away by the sun, left the deck a little less than gorgeous. But a quick wash to get the grime off, and she's looking super amazing!

In fact, I love her so much I've been using the back deck INSTEAD OF the front porch for all my knitting photos lately! No direct sunlight to contend with, a standard look, and it's just right there, out the back door, five seconds and done!

Such a small thing, but I cannot help myself. As I lean into this coming fall season, I've decided to take time to appreciate the little things. Fall is incredibly busy for us, and for a number of reasons this fall even more than others. Rather than let myself get all worked up and stressed out, I'm choosing to lean in to the crazy and the excitement and the busy. I'm fluffing little corners and not worrying about the rest. I'm pulling out tights and getting Lou some bigger socks. I'm throwing open the windows and stocking my knitting bag. And I'm loving on my back deck!!

Sep 9, 2015

Recommended Reading || Chicken

One of the parts of being a mama to two super energetic littles that no one talks about is the lack of time to read. People, I love me some books - good books, bad books, fiction, non-fiction ... my idea of a perfect weekend is reading all the books while knitting all the hats. Which is totally possible thanks to Kindle - no pages to hold down, so your hands are totally free for the knitting.

Anyhow.

I am in a life season where there isn't much time for reading. I've got a stack of books growing on my shelf that people have given me - must-reads that I hope someday to attack with gusto. I look longingly at that shelf, going so far as to pet the books and tell them I love them even if there's not a lot of time for them right now.

Books are magic. I truly believe it, and don't care who knows it. My favorite form of book magic is young adult fiction ... truly some of the best authors are writing books for young people. These are books that help teens and almost-teens realize (for maybe the first time) that they aren't alone. These are books that open up still-forming brains to all the possibilities the world has for them. YA authors are heroes. And damn good at their jobs, too.

My favorite YA author? Well, I'm totally biased because I know him, but it's Chase Night.

People. PEOPLE. Everyone MUST GO OUT RIGHT NOW AND GET CHICKEN.

In truth, if you know me in person, and even remotely like to read, you will probably be given this book for Christmas. That is how much I love it. I cried like three times. And whatever, I'm a crier, but still. THREE. EFFING. TIMES.

Okay, so I've read the book twice now, and it's been out for long enough that I should have told you abut it sooner, I know. Bad blogger! But I haven't known how to write about it. It's too beautiful. Too perfect. I don't want to say the wrong thing and have you not like it because I said something wrong. It's too precious for me to potentially ruin for you. So when Chase wrote an essay about Chicken recently, and it explained everything perfectly? I knew I basically had to just copy the whole thing and share it with you here.

DON'T WORRY, I DIDN'T DO THAT.

I am, however, sharing the best bit, and then linking to the full article so you can read it yourself. And then? GO BUY CHICKEN!!!!

Chicken is the story of a boy who falls in love with another boy. It’s about other stuff too—unpleasable parents and weird religion and the politics of fried chicken—but mostly it’s about love. First love. The first time you want someone so much it makes you sick. The first time their hand lingers on your shoulder a little longer than it should. The first time they make you laugh so hard you forget to be afraid. 

Those strike me as very universal feelings, things to which anyone of any orientation ought to be able to relate. But very early in the writing process, I shared a draft of a chapter in a college workshop class. My professor was enthusiastic, and the majority of my classmates were positive or politely silent, but one student returned their copy with the following note:

“Straight people won’t like this.”

Whoa. I had prepared myself for moral outrage, but this blunt honesty caught me off guard. For days, I was angry, but now, looking back, I can see this comment was my story’s saving grace.

See, up until then I’d been trying to write a window into a brick wall. I wanted to show people who’d never been queer teenagers in the evangelical South what it was like to be a queer teenager in the evangelical South. But those five little words made me realize that as ridiculous as it was for that classmate to believe they could speak for all straight people, it was even more ridiculous for me to believe I could lead a person to a window and make them see.

After that, I stopped planning and started listening. I stopped trying to write the story I thought straight people needed to hear and started writing the story my protagonist wanted to tell. And while that story contains all the things I mentioned—parents and religion and fried chicken—it’s mostly about falling in love. And if straight people don’t like that, it’s really not my concern.

Because the thing is, if you’re heterosexual, then every bookstore and cineplex you walk into is an infinite hall of mirrors. You could live a thousand years and never finish reading every single book and watching every single move about people like you. But if you’re not heterosexual, then those same buildings are made almost entirely of windows. You could roam the halls forever, pressing your forehead against the glass, straining for a glimpse of someone like yourself who isn’t just there to be sassy or get murdered. You might find enough to tide you over for a year or two.

So in the end, I wrote Chicken to be a mirror. I wrote Chicken to show queer teenagers in the evangelical South that they are brave and beautiful and their love for each other is real and joyful. I wrote this book for them and for the adults that used to be them. I wrote this book to say, “I see you and you deserve to be the heroes of romantic star-crossed stories.”
Okay, maybe I shared most of it. Read the rest of the article here. Then GO BUY CHICKEN!!!!

Sep 3, 2015

MAKE | GIVE | REPEAT


I'm so excited to share this fun new website I'm collaborating on with Heather Walpole of Ewe Ewe Yarns!!

MAKE | GIVE | REPEAT is designed to be a hub for charity knitters! We feature charities that accept handmade items for donation, as well as knit and crochet patterns that are perfect for charity making! With so many amazing and generous crafters around the world, Heather and I wanted to have a space dedicated to helping you get the most bang for your charity crafting time - patterns you can use on repeat and donate to a variety of charities, along with charities that not only LOVE receiving handmade items but are always looking for more fill our blog pages!

As the site grows, you'll be able to search for just about anything you want!! Looking for a charity that needs hats? We've got you covered! Looking for the perfect charity-friendly cowl patterns? We've got you covered!


As an added bonus, my darling friend Jen Geigley is offering up a free digital copy of her new book Weekend!! Weekend is full of amazing knits, every single one of which is perfect for charity crafting - I've already got big plans for most of the patterns to be on my needles this winter, and I'm hoping that many of you will join in on crafting from her ridiculously fun book! Visit the blog to enter to win Weekend - the giveaway is open until Friday evening!!

Sep 2, 2015

September Is For Baby Knitting!





Are you feeling the tug towards knitting ALL THE THINGS, like I am?! September always does that to me. I'll be floating along all summer, hit a point where I'm sure I'll never want to pick up yarn again, and then BOOM! It's September, and I've got a list three pages long of everything I want to make before the cold hits!

This year, I'm dividing up my knitting plans by months, and September is all about knitting for babies! Over at MAKE | GIVE | REPEAT (full introduction post on that tomorrow!) Heather and I are working all month on making hats for the Click For Babies campaign, so I'll hopefully pare down some of my rather ... extensive (cough) ... purple acrylic stash this month.

I'm also excited to use Ewe Ewe's Bundle Of Beanies pattern for much of my sport weight yarn this month - just one skein is the perfect amount for a baby hat, and I hope to have a huge pile to send to Syrian refugees at the end of the month.

On top of all that charity knitting, I've got a gaggle of little fall and winter babies to knit for - three boys and two girls, the first of which is coming in just a few short weeks! I've already got plan after plan for every one of them, but nothing will happen if I don't actually get things on the needles, so it's time to get busy!

You can follow the daily knitting adventures on Instagram, and I'll try to share finished projects as often as I can here as well ... especially sine I'm just 20 hats away from hitting my first 1,000 hats given away!! So much goodness planned for that huge milestone as well ... September is going to be a big knitting month indeed!!!

Aug 26, 2015

In Love With Everyday Worsted




So many knitters feel they need to choose between synthetic fibers and natural fibers - the wool versus acrylic debate has divided many a knit group, even if that does sound a bit more dramatic than it needs to be.

As for me, I live somewhere decidedly in the middle - I love all fiber, for the most part. As a charity knitter, I understand the place of acrylic in the knitting pecking order, and use it regularly and happily for many donations. So many folks do not have the luxury of buying yarn that's $10 or $20 a skein, and so many charities do not accept donations of wool for a variety of reasons.

Thankfully, the acrylic yarns being sent into the world lately are amazing - soft, supple, no pilling, and so many gorgeous colors. My one acrylic lament is the lack of self-striping and self-patterning yarns available. I'll happily buy two or three colors and make my own stripes and patterns, but I love it when a yarn company understands my laziness, and does the work for me.

It's with great pleasure that I've been using Deborah Norville's Everyday Worsted yarns lately, and for this very reason. Her solid colors are divine, but I find myself grabbing the self-patterning yarns on repeat. I can make a simple Tyson Hat and have it turn out gorgeous an unique every time, with little to no effort on my part, which is super amazing when I'm busy and only have time to knit five or ten stitches before moving on to the next item on the list.

I've used this yarn in the past for baby hats, and am happy to share that it looks gorgeous when worked at any size - people of all ages will love the hats made from this yarn! I've got half a dozen more skeins in my stash, and I can't wait to use them all up!

(Note: This is not a sponsored post - I'm just this in love with the yarn!)

The hats featured take me to 977 on my way towards 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. I should hit the first 1,000 in the next few weeks, and am excited for the celebrations that will commence. If you're interested in sharing about the virtual party or giving something away, please e-mail me!!

Aug 20, 2015

Fringe Hat-Along - Let's Knit Laurus Together!

(photo used with permission from Fringe Association)

I'm super excited for this installment of the Fringe Association Hat Along series! For this, the fourth go-around, Karen has partnered with her friend Diana Walla, of Paper Tiger Crafts, for a color work hat called Laurus!

Perfect for color work novices, Laurus has just a small amount of color work on the body of the hat, with the decreases happening in just the main color. I'm super excited to dive into my stash and find just the perfect colors to make this hat - I'm actually impatiently waiting for Zach to wake up so I can head into our closet and get busy choosing colors!

I've loved every one of Karen's Fringe Hat Alongs that have happened this year, although I haven't always participated. This go-round, however, Karen did me a huge honor, messaging me to see if I could suggest a charity people may want to donate to when finished with their hats! I shared my passion for the Ravelry group Hats And More For War-Torn Syria, and I'm super excited to share that Karen loved the suggestion and has featured it for the Hat Along!

As with all my charity hat making, I love to encourage folks to donate their finished hats wherever they feel compelled. If you've already got a charity you love and donate to regularly, please donate your finished hat there! For me, I've been filling up a package for this group already, and my finished hat might be the one that finishes the bag off, which makes me so happy!

I'll be sharing pictures of my hat as I make it over on Instagram, so follow me there if you aren't already. Who's going to join me for this Hat Along?! You can download the pattern for free over at Fringe Association and on Ravelry, so if you can stash dive for yarn you can make this hat for free!!

Aug 17, 2015

For The Love Of Babies

This fall there are a large number of babies being added to families I love. Some have been long awaited, and some were complete surprises, but all are about to be showered with knitterly love!

First up to be showered with love is a little lady whose mama and daddy have been waiting for for years. Four years, to be exact. To celebrate her impending arrival, I'm casting on a blanket - hoping to channel a bit of knitting karma, convincing her to arrive just as I weave in the last of the ends.

I love a feather and fan blanket, and the Transatlantic Blanket pattern is perfect for the bulky grey yarn I've had in my stash for longer than I'd care to admit. Four years, perhaps? Maybe I bought it knowing somehow that this little one would be coming someday, and that she would need a blanket? That's what I'll whisper in her ear, at any rate!

Aug 11, 2015

Vacation Baby Hats

Vacation knitting is one of my favorite types of knitting, if I'm totally honest. I love to dream big and pack enough yarn that I've got more skeins than days of vacation - you never know just how much (or little) knitting time you'll end up with, and I'm pretty sure running out of yarn is my worst nightmare.

So for our family week-long vacation, which included several longer car trips, a two-day conference, and plenty of down-time, I packed six skeins of yarn.

SIX.
SKEINS.
OF.
YARN.

What you see above is the sum total of baby hats I made while on vacation, from those six skeins. Four hats. Four BABY hats, not even all that in depth or difficult, as the yarn was self-striping and patterning, so I was simply working a few rows of ribbing and then a few more of stockinette.

Needless to say, I brought home almost as many unused skeins of yarn as I originally packed. And you would think that might make me feel silly, but it definitely didn't. I was able to pull yarn out of my bag at a moment's notice, knit a few stitches (or a few rows) and never have to worry if I'd run out of yarn. I was prepared in case anyone needed something to do with themselves, which proved a perfect conversation starter on several occasions.

And above all, four new little babies will soon be kept warm by these hats - I've added them to the donation pile, and the whole bunch of baby hats I've made recently will soon make their way to a local hospital.

All in all, a good way to spend my vacation, if I do say so myself!

(these are hats 962-965 on my quest to make and give away 10,000 hats in my lifetime)

Jul 30, 2015

While Knitting | July 2015

Knitting doesn't happen in a vacuum here in SMH-land. Instead, I'm always reading something (thanks to my Kindle) or watching something (thanks to Netflix). Here's a short list of what I've been reading and watching lately.

It's been a few months since I've shared one of these round-ups, hasn't it?!

READING

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards, by Jen Hatmaker. Hilarious. I love this woman. She fights for the poor with her everyday life, living what she and her husband preach in ways many do not. I love how reverent she can be, and then turn a page and she's writing an ode to mom jeans. Fave.

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon. We don't get whatever channel the series is airing on, so I decided to pick up the first book in the series to give it a read. Holy mother, I'm in love!! It boggles me this is a series that's been written over the past 15 years - how did I not pick it up before now? How the heck does this woman have this much creativity and story in her brain? How do I find more time to read so I can get through these books faster?!?! Love.

Hey Natalie Jean: Advice, Musings, and Inspiration on Marriage, Motherhood, and Style, by Natalie Holbrook. Full disclosure up front, I love me some Natalie every day, all day, so I knew going into it I was going to love this book. Some people expected something different from it, but how can you expect something ... ANYTHING ... from a book before you've read it? Whatever. I loved it, and have grabbed it off the shelf several times to re-read it in the past few months. It feels like having Natalie over for Diet Coke and a long chat when reading it, which I love.

WATCHING

Orange Is The New Black: Season 3. I cannot even talk about it. Just ... watch. Much darker in many episodes, but just the right amount of girl on girl to keep you coming back for more. (Yeah, I went there.) I loved watching several characters spiral down, loved rooting for a few to get back up off their butts, and couldn't wait for the season ending shocker!!

Mad Men: Season 1. I know I've watched part of this series in the past, but I can't remember where I left off, or many of the details of the show, so I'm starting over. So far, everything I've seen I remember, but I'm just a few episodes in, so we'll see how far I get before I start seeing things I didn't remember happening. Every episode, my feminist flags raise up full force, but I know that's sort of the point, right?!

Jul 22, 2015

Clapo-Ktus


Pattern: Clapo-Ktus by Loredana Gianferri (free Ravelry download!)
Yarn: madelinetosh tosh merino light (420 yards, I used the entire skein)
Needles: size US 7 / 4.5 mm circular

I've been on a shawl knitting kick lately, haven't I?! In truth, this is largely due to my OWL for the HPKCHC group on Ravelry - I committed to finishing two shawls in three months, something I have never done before this summer. This is the second of these two shawls (the first was my Dotted Rays shawl).

I would probably not have knit either of these two shawls if not for the recommendations of fellow knitters, based on a few criteria - the shawls had to NOT be triangular, and they had to be knit on the same size needle.

I saved Clapo-Ktus for second because I wasn't sure how long the Dotted Rays shawl would take, and knew this would be the more simple of the two shawls, which it definitely was! I will openly admit the starting of this shawl had me completely frustrated, but once the pattern was established (maybe 20 rows for me to catch on and not need the pattern any longer), I breezed through it, with visions of all those dropped stitches dancing around in my dreams until I got to the halfway point, when you can actually start dropping stitches and the fun begins.

Fun, that is, until you think you might run out of yarn - then things got dicey. I didn't end up running out of yarn, finishing with just barely enough left to weave in my ends, and I've never been so nervous in my life! The whole point of this shawl is that you increase until you are halfway done with your yarn, which should be easy to figure out with a scale, and then you decrease. I have a scale, and weighed the yarn on repeat, and somehow went from having way more than half a skein left to having enough less than half a skein left that I was worried for the entire second half of the shawl. A smarter knitter would have tinked back a few rows to ensure there would be enough yarn, but I powered into the decreases like a maniac, forgetting that once you start dropping stitches, there's really no turning back.

It all worked out perfectly, but it was a good lesson. I am so used to knitting hats, which hardly ever use up the full skein of yarn, that I got cocky and didn't knit safely. Never again, I say!! NEVER AGAIN!

While I love the finished product of this shawl, I'm also positive it will end up in the almost-full bag I've got going for Syrian refugees. I have the Dotted Rays shawl I know I'll wear this winter, and while this one is wonderful, I also know that I will hardly ever wear a bright red shawl. It's just the truth of me. However, I know someone will surely find it just perfect for them, and I'd rather someone use and love it than it waste away unloved and unused in my closet, or at the bottom of a drawer (which would be its most likely resting place if kept).

I've got a huge list of hats to work up next, so this may well be the last shawl off these needles for some time. However, it was amazingly fun to make a few shawls, so who knows - I just may become an irregular shawl knitter yet!

Jul 17, 2015

Knit List || The Boardwalk Collection


Kettle Yarn Co. released a The Boardwalk Collection this month, a group of patterns designed to feature their Islington DK yarn. I haven't used this wool/silk blend yarn before, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to save my pennies and grab some, because two of the patterns in this collection are calling my name!

On the left is Seaward, a gorgeous hat featuring a bit of gorgeous lace texture on one side. This looks like the perfect pattern for hat gifting, but because the lace panel appears to be on just one side, this hat could easily be used for charity knitting as well. I'd love to work one up and see if you lose any serious warmth with the lace panel, although I'm betting not.

On the right is Pavillion, a gorgeous rectangular wrap featuring a gorgeous line-based design. The pattern notes say it has unique construction, so I'm curious as to what that means. It appears to be knit diagonally, which would definitely make for some fun knitting for an intermediate knitter!!

All six patterns in The Boardwalk Collection are available on Ravelry for purchase individually. All six are truly gorgeous, and any knitter could find one they have to add to their queue!

Jul 15, 2015

The Simple Slouch




Pattern: The Simple Slouch, by Shireen Nadir
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease in Ranch Red (I used 95 yds)
Needles: size 9 / 5.5mm 47" circular needle (I'm using the magic loop method)

For as often I cast on a hat because I fall in love with the pattern, I know the designer, or it's the perfect thing to help me use up a bit of leftover yarn, there are plenty of times I'll pick a pattern specifically because it fulfills a HPKCHC (Harry Potter Knit Crochet House Cup) requirement**.

This hat pattern was picked specifically to fulfill a classroom requirement, but I cannot explain how happy I am to have found it!! Not nearly as simple as the name suggests, The Simple Slouch is full of amazing chevrons that work their way up the hat in a beginner-friendly six row repeat! I printed the pattern for this one (I don't always do this - often I'll simply work from the PDF on my phone or tablet) so I could check off as I finished a row, and the hat basically flew off my needles!

I made two small adjustments to the hat as I made it, and next time I make one I will make one extra adjustment. First, I only knit seven pattern repeats. The hat is slouchy enough this way, and can still fit well as a beanie with the brim folded over - since I am donating this (and almost all my knits) to charity, I need to be sure it is as functional as it is trendy, and one six-round repeat would have made it too long, I feared.

Second, I added one k2tog row at the very end of the decreases. I ended up with too many stitches on the needles for my liking, so I made the executive decision to add one extra decrease row. I didn't bother to figure out the "proper" way to do these to fit with the pattern, because this last row really can't be seen ever. It was absolutely the right decision for me, as I want this hat to be able to be worn as a beanie as well - for those making it for themselves to be worn just as a slouch, this step is absolutely NOT necessary!

The final adjustment I will make next time? I will use smaller needles for the ribbing. I love to make a hat with just one needle used the entire time, but it takes less time for the ribbing to stretch out this way. And yes, the hat could be blocked back to shape, but who in a refugee camp has time for that?! No one is the answer. Adding some tighter ribbing ensures the hat fits snug around the ears for as long as possible, so I will do that next time to give this hat an extended life.

I keep saying "next time" because this is a hat I will be knitting on repeat in the future! It's a very simple hat in that it's perfect for an advanced beginner (chart reading, knits and purls, larger decreases), but it's still basic enough that it's perfect for charity donation as well! It's easy to just donate stockinette beanie after stockinette beanie, but in my everyday life I like my hats to have a bit of interest when I wear them, and I would imagine that whomever receives my donation hats may just feel the same way. This is the perfect hat for this!!

** For those that are newer here, you may not know that I have played in a Harry Potter themed group on Ravelry for many years now. Members are sorted into houses, turn in projects to earn points for classes, OWLs, and quidditch, and each term one team wins the House Cup, and one team wins the Quidditch Cup! I used to tease my husband about his nerd cred, until he finally said, "Whatever babe. You're part of an online, multiplayer, KNITTING THEMED, role playing game."

Clearly, I win the nerd war in our house!!

Jul 13, 2015

GAP-tastic Cowl


Pattern: GAP-tastic Cowl, by Jen Geigley (free Ravelry download!)
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Eco+ Wool. I used 334 yards
Needles: size US 13 / 9.0 mm 24" circular needle

With almost 16,000 of these GAP-tastic Cowls already made on Ravelry, this pattern is one of the favorites amongst knitters. You can use just about any bulky weight yarn (or hold worsted weight double), and once you've got the stitches cast on, you basically knit and purl away until the cowl is long enough.

Why it's taken me so long to get one of these on the needles is mind boggling, really. It's my perfect project - almost completely brainless* once you get the correct number of stitches cast on (I don't want to talk about it), knits up deceptively fast thanks to the bulky yarn, can be made with whatever you have in your stash, AND it's perfect for charity donation!

This is the first of many GAP-tastic Cowls to come off my needles, of this you can be sure! I already have plans to make a few of these with some grey yarn in my stash, all of which will be donated. While my donation habits almost always run towards hats, a cowl is a great donation piece - it can keep someone incredibly warm, and when it can be wrapped multiple times around the neck, and is wide enough to cover the head as well? It's surely going to be used and loved!

This cowl was meant to be donated as well, actually. But that green? The squish? I think it's going to end up staying in house, so I can wear it this winter!

This is the first project in my mini-quest to use up all of my Cascade Eco+ yarn, and was a great way to start things off! I'm excited to pick another pattern and keep right on moving through the yarn!!

*I mean brainless in the most positive and complimentary of ways. I love a pattern I can work while watching a movie or while the kids are playing trains, and that can be set down and picked up again without having to worry about where I am in the pattern. For me, in my life right now, this is what I work with on repeat, and so saying this pattern is brainless means I love it!!

Jul 6, 2015

Using Up My Eco+ Wool


I've had four skeins of Cascade Eco+ wool in my yarn stash for almost a year now. Two grey skeins, one hot pink skein, and one bright green skein. I've used bits of the two grey skeins making a few hats, but each Eco+ skein is almost 500 yards, so there's still SO. MUCH. YARN. left for me to use!

I decided the only way to get this yarn out of my stash and made into wearables for charity was to get myself onto Ravelry and figure out what other people were doing with their Eco+. I found so many amazing patterns, I ended up making a Pinterest board filled with over 30 patterns that would be amazing with this yarn!

Above are a few of the patterns I found that are super wonderful, and would look amazing in this yarn!

1. Sequoia by Alegria DaSilva
2. Quick Cable Slouch Hat by Azure
3. Calorimetry by Kathryn Schoendorf
4. Gale by Alicia Plummer
5. Twenty Ten Cardigan by Veera Välimäki
6. Quincy by Jared Flood

For more yarny inspiration, check out the full Pinterest board! And I'll be sharing my finished Eco+ projects over the next few weeks ... I can't wait!!

Jul 3, 2015

Mandalas For Marinke

Recently, the craft community lost a very bright light. Marinke, known as Wink, lost her battle with depression. People throughout the craft community have been mourning this loss all week, and joining together under the hashtag #mandalasformarinke to do something about it.


Kathryn of Crochet Concupiscence has begun a mandala collection project, asking crafters to use one of Wink's patterns to make a mandala in her memory. These mandalas will all be added to both a book and an art show, discussing both the life and work of Marinke, as well as bringing awareness to the illness that is depression and hopefully helping others who suffer to find solace, community, and support.

Once the art show is done, Kathryn hopes to donate all the mandalas in Wink's honor, and is researching ways to do that!

I made the above mandala earlier in the week. I have never actually made a  mandala before, so I chose the simplest of Wink's patterns - turns out it works just like the top part of a crochet hat!! I will be mailing this out (hopefully Monday) to Kathryn to add to her project, and am hopeful she will get more mandalas than she knows what to do with for this project!

If you'd like to contribute, simply choose one of Wink's mandala designs here (I used her Standard Mandala Pattern), and make a mandala using the yarn you have on-hand. Then head to Kathryn's post about the project (found here) for mailing instructions and an address. She's asking you to provide a bit of information with your mandala, so be sure to read the full post before packing your mandala up!

Whether you make a mandala or not, you should have a look on Instagram at the hashtag #mandalasformarinke. It's beautiful to see so many people already crafting in her memory.

Jul 2, 2015

Knit List || Wowligan



You guys. I know, I just posted a sweater I want to make for Lou for the fall, but COME ON. I love the photos I have of Lou in her Owlet sweater from last year, but there's no way she will fit in it again this winter. She's fully in 2T clothes - at just 16 months - so it's time for a bigger sweater.

For this fall, I'm pretty sure the Wowligan is going to be her go-to cardigan. I love how easy the owls are to work up, and I can't wait to get this sweater on the needles for her! My hope is that, if made in a neutral grey, she'll be able to toss this on with everything, wear it until it falls to pieces, and then request one in a bigger size.

So, not a whole lot of hopes and dreams for this sweater ....

With sizes from 6 months to 10 years, if it works up as fast as the Owlet did last fall, I might even be able to work a few extras off the needles to gift this holiday season! I know a few little girls who would look super cute in this cardigan, and since it's open in the front, minus those few buttons at the neck, there's not as much concern with sizing over a baby belly - always nice when gifting knits to little ones!

Grab a copy of the pattern on Ravelry here!

Jun 25, 2015

Knit List || Hot Chocolate





I cannot begin to explain just how particular Lou is. She loves to have bangs, and will get crazy mad when they get too long and start to hang in her face. She loves to have pig tails or a top knot as well, and picks out which hair bands I should use.


She picks out (and changes frequently) the shoes she is wearing, and will stand in front of her closet with me, helping me decide which shirt to wear. If I should try to just grab a shirt or pair of shoes for her, she will protest QUITE loudly until she can have her say.

At 15 months old, she's got more opinions than her 3 year old brother!

Because of this particularness, I know I cannot simply knit her something and assume she'll wear it in the colder months. She's got enough opinions for our entire house, and so I'm going to have to run future knitting choices by her before I cast on. But boy, do I hope this Hot Chocolate sweater makes the cut! I love the boxy nature, the turtleneck, and the cropped sleeves. It feels very Lou to me, and I hope she sees that as well!

Until it gets colder and she can start helping me pick out some winter knits, it goes on my "here's hoping list"!

Jun 23, 2015

Fringe Hat-Along 3 Is Underway!


Have you participated in the previous Fringe Association Hat Alongs? I keep meaning to grab some yarn and play along, but then .... life, I guess. I was super bummed to miss out on the second one, as I had the yarn ready to go, but just never found the time to sit down and bang the hat out!

This third hat-along features the gorgeous Hermaness Hat from Gudrun Johnston, who is a designer I have loved for years. Her patterns are gorgeous - timeless and still technical, perfect for everyday wear while challenging the knitter in a variety of ways.

For the hat-along Karen is recommending the worsted weight version of this gorgeous lace-weight hat, although a fingering weight version is available as well. And as per Karen's usual amazing style, there is tons of advice and helpful tips in the Hat-Along blog post, so if you're new to hat knitting or lace knitting, check it out before you dive in!!

Jun 22, 2015

Dotted Rays




Pattern: Dotted Rays, from Stephen West
Yarn: Tosh Merino Light, from Madeline Tosh ( yards)
Knitting Time: May 6 2015 - June 20 2015 (six weeks)

I began knitting this shawl in early May, as part of my OWL for the HPKCHC group on Ravelry. I'm not really a shawl knitter, but I knew I wanted to stretch myself this spring/summer to make just a few knitted things that are outside of my normal knit-sphere. That said, I also knew a traditional triangle shawl is something I'll never wear, so I wanted something that I could see myself wrapping around my neck like a scarf this winter.

Something for football games and snow days and going to middle school practicums. Something that would take me from fall to winter to spring. Something I'd actually wear.

Dotted Rays is definitely that shawl! I love looping it loosely around my neck (as seen in the first picture above), but found that when I draped it over my shoulders for pictures, I immediately knew this would be the perfect way to wear this shawl when I need one extra cozy layer. And it also wraps more tightly around my neck like a traditional scarf, for those super cold football games this fall!

Dotted Rays comes with two sizes you can knit, and I chose the smaller size - both because I'm not a natural shawl knitter, and also because I'm super short, so a huge shawl would be a bit unusable. I'm so glad I made the small version, because it's just the right amount of "huge, blanket-like" for me, while still being 100% useable!

I made exactly zero modifications to the pattern as I knit it. And while I could say it's because I didn't feel adept enough to make any changes, in truth I adore this shawl made exactly the way it's designed.

I will say this, however. I worked the first four or five sections just trying to "pay attention" to where the short row turns were, and it was driving me insane! I complained a bit in a private online knitting group I'm a member of, and one lovely friend pointed out that DUH ROBYN, STITCH MARKERS AT THE SHORT ROW TURNS. Because seriously, then you don't have to do anything but pay attention to how many stitches you need to be away from the last marker, and not constantly count the entire section, like I was doing. Game. Changer.

This little tip is actually getting its own post at some point, once I feel like casting on another shawl so I can take pictures of this in-process. Because did I think to take pictures in the moment? NOPE! Oh well. I'm sort of out of practice at this whole blogging thing this spring/summer, so whatever. Next time!!

If you're a seasoned shawl knitter, you could whip this off your needles far faster than I did, I would imagine. But still ... six weeks of intermittent knitting time (when the kids were sleeping, basically) doesn't feel like a very long time to me, so beginner shawl makers shouldn't be scared away by this! The techniques are super fun and easy to master, and it's a piece I'll wear for years to come!!

Jun 10, 2015

COZY, The Collection

I've finally gotten off my duff and put together eight hat patterns, all previously published as individual patterns, into a collection called CozyPerfect for gifting and charity donations, the hats in Cozy work up quickly using super bulky yarn. You can purchase the entire collection for just $15.00 - a huge discount as each pattern is $3.00 individually.

If you've purchased any of these patterns in the past, but would like to have the entire collection, please message me so I can give you a discount dependent on the number of patterns from Cozy you've already purchased. I'd hate for you to spend money twice for a pattern, after all!!

I hope to have more collections like this available, coming this fall and winter. I'm finally getting back to writing patterns, finishing up some of the many patterns I've had half-finished for years along with getting some new patterns out of my head. It feels good to get back to this, for sure!!

You can PURCHASE COZY HERE.

Jun 8, 2015

Hats On People & Impossible Hats Have Merged!!

As part of my goal to make 10,000 hats for 10,000 people, I love sharing hats I've made for folks around the globe as part of my Hats On People Project. I also love to raise money for organizations I believe are doing the most good for our world.

Since October, I had been using my She Makes Hats shop to help raise money for Pencils Of Promise and my friend Joel Runyon's 777 Project. However (and as you already know), I did not find running a shop to fit well with my life or my long-term goals.

That said, I want to get back to making hats for the Hats On People project, and I still want to reach my goal of raising $5,000 for PoP, sending 200 kids to school!

So here's what I'm doing - I'm opening up the Hats On People project to anyone who wants a hat. Everyone who requests one will get an Impossible Hat, and I ask that instead of offering to pay shipping or for materials (as many folks have already offered to do), people instead donate to my Impossible Hats Project goal!

If you'd like to be one of the people in my Hats On People project, simply shoot me an e-mail (shemakeshats@gmail.com) - depending on what's going on in my life, and how long my Hats On People request list is, it may take me a bit to get your hat to you, but I'll definitely make your hat!

As I stated above, currently I'm making only Impossible Hats (seen in the photo above). With my busy life and smaller children, these are hats I can make by memory, don't have to worry about where I'm at in the pattern, and I know they'll fit everyone.

When you e-mail me about your hat, please include the following information:
  • What color you'd like
  • If you're allergic to wool. I default to wool yarns right now, as most of the charities I knit for request wool, but I can make your hat in another fiber if you've got an allergy.
  • If the hat is for a child or an adult. Additionally, if the hat is for a child, please let me know their age, so I can make sure it fits properly.
  • If you would prefer the hat to be slouchy (as pictured) or a beanie. I can make either style.
I love making hats for individuals, families, and even smaller groups of people - don't hesitate to message about getting Impossible Hats for your charity group, extended family reunion, etc.

And don't forget, when you request a hat I'll suggest that you donate to my Impossible Hats Project. I have been helping raise money for Pencils Of Promise, and your donation of $25 would send a child to school for a year!! While this is NOT A REQUIREMENT to ask me for a hat, and will not bump you up on my list any, I would greatly appreciate it!!

Jun 5, 2015

Out And About

That would be Lou, trying to crawl under her crib. Why? I'm not sure. But thank goodness for her giant noggin (which is in the 90th percentile), which kept her from fitting. She wasn't super happy about it, mind you, but at least she didn't get stuck under her crib!

Holy buckets it's been far too long since I've shared the stuff I'm loving online! One would think I've been busy building a mascara empire, taking care of my two littles, and taking a summer class.

Wait ....

Anyhow, here's a few (million) of the things I've been saving to Bloglovin' lately!

Have you seen Jane Richmond's new pattern, the Arika Cowl?! Love.

I love a good book list, even though I don't have much time to read lately. See this one, and this one.

Need to pull your hair back in a fun, new way? This chignon makes me dream of long hair again!

I love Darling Be Brave's shop, instagram, and blog. Check out her thoughts on Etsy and Instagram.

When You're Scrappy .... great article!

The Happy Soul Project had their first Kick It Capes sewing bee, and it was a huge success!

Are you a capsule or uniform person? I'm decidedly uniform - grey tees and jeans, to be exact!

Jun 3, 2015

Scarves In The Round

I'm so excited to be part of the blog tour for the book Scarves in the Round: 25 Knitted Infinity Scarves, Neck Warmers, Cowls, and Double-Warm Tube Scarves, written by my darling friend Heather Walpole of Ewe Ewe Yarns!! Heather's first book is full of gorgeous ways to keep your neck warm, all knit on circular needles!! Her book has everything from beginner-friendly patterns to the most complicated of designs, and the finished items range from capelets to cowls to traditional-looking scarves that are knit as mini tubes!

I literally have only one problem with this book - I want to knit FAR TOO MANY of the patterns!! Which is not really a problem at all, now is it! I've got a few of the patterns earmarked for charity, and a few that I want to make just for me!

I love the Del Mar Derby Wrap, clearly. All that ribbing? That's my wheel house! This is the perfect soft scarf to wear wrapped double for cold nights, and would make for a perfect charity project!

I already have plans to cast on the Date Night Infinity Loop, thanks to some bulky yarn I've had lingering in my stash for far too long. There's enough to make a few cowls, so I'll add one to my wardrobe and then donate the rest!!

Traditionally I've struggled with lace projects, mostly due to most lace projects being shawls, with back and forth knitting happening. I'm excited to try the Changing Tides Cowl, however, because I'm hoping the "in the round" aspect of the lace will make it easier for me to wrap my brain around!!

And these are just three of the 25 patterns you'll find in this gorgeous book! I've got a bunch more favorited on Ravelry, and can't wait to watch as projects start to pop up on Ravelry as folks make every one of these gorgeous items!!

And because Heather and her publishers are so amazing, I've got a copy of the book to give to one reader!! To enter, simply comment below with your favorite pattern from the book (you can view them all on Ravelry here) and I'll choose one winner on Sunday night! If you're reading this via e-mail or reader, please click over to the blog and comment to win.

Congrats on the amazing book, Heather!! I can't wait to get knitting on these scarves ... in the round!!

Grab a copy of Scarves in the Round: 25 Knitted Infinity Scarves, Neck Warmers, Cowls, and Double-Warm Tube Scarves for yourself today from Amazon (using the link), or swing by your local yarn shop or bookstore to see if they've got it available yet!!

Jun 1, 2015

Simple Charity Hat

Back in 2010, I wrote and published The Minimalist Knitter's Handbook. While I am far from being a minimalist knitter right now (something I'm working back towards, though), I love that people still find the e-book on Ravelry and want to not only pare down their knitting lives, but knit from the patterns in the book!

It would appear that one of the original patterns from the book, the Simple Charity Hat, was left out of the update I did about a year ago! To remedy this, I'm going to include the free pattern here, so anyone and everyone can use it.

I do not presume to imagine this is a unique pattern. It is a simple size formula, with a few inches of ribbing followed by knitting until you're ready to bind off. That said, I loved making hats like this for many years, and it is a formula I still recommend to beginning knitters who want to learn to knit in the round, but aren't quite ready for decreases.

YARN

One skein I Love This Yarn! (100% acrylic; 355 yards/325 meters per 198 grams)
 Note: You will need between 50 and 150 yards of yarn for this hat.

NEEDLES

US 9 / 5.5 mm 16" circular needle
TWO size US 9 / 5.5 mm double-pointed needle (for three-needle bind off)

NOTIONS

Darning needle for weaving in ends
Stitch Marker

GAUGE

16 sts = 4" in stockinette (row gauge unimportant)

SIZES

baby (toddler, child, adult) = 14 (16, 18, 20) inches wide, un-stretched.

DOWNLOAD NOW

May 21, 2015

A Quest Update

I got an e-mail today from a lovely fellow quest person, which is when I realized it's been FOREVER since I talked about my quest to make 10,000 hats for 10,000 people. So silly - the whole reason I started this space was to help track that goal!

The hat above, an acrylic Sandoval Hat (my own free pattern), is hat 908 in that quest. I'm learning that life with a toddler and pre-schooler means far less knitting time than I used to have. And that's totally okay because these years are so fleeting! We spend our days at the park, at the play gym, searching for buried treasure (thanks to mama's hand-made map), and doing so many fun things that knitting is more often than not the farthest thing from my mind.

But still, in the evenings, or in the car, or in stolen moments, I knit a row or two. I make hats that will be sent around the world and given to folks in my own neighborhood, and I remember that this is such the perfect quest for me, using sticks and string to make a tangible sign of love.

I may post here less often, and I may knit slower than I used to. It's only temporary, as so much in life is. And I wouldn't have it any other way!

May 14, 2015

Just Two Days Left ...

Just a quick reminder that tomorrow is the VERY LAST DAY EVER to buy a hat from me! I will be selling hats until just before I go to bed tomorrow night, and then I will remove all the listings from the shop. The shop will officially stay "active" until I get all final orders shipped, and then it's going away. PERMANENTLY.

Again, this is a decision that makes me super amazingly happy! I love to knit, and I love especially to knit hats. But most of all, I love to give hats away. The shop was opened, and has continued to stay open, only as a way to help bring a bit of extra income to my family, and I've always felt conflicted about it.

Now, thankfully, I don't have to worry about it anymore. I'm earning an extra income (and far more than I ever did selling hats!) thanks to Younique, and I am able to go back to doing what I love best with my knitting - making hats and giving them away!!

So you've got like 36 hours people. And then the shop is gone ... forever!!!

May 11, 2015

Slip This! Hat





pattern: Slip This! by Meagan Poteete-Johnson (free pattern)
yarn: Bernat Super Value, approximately 100 yards
needles: size 9 / 5.5mm circulars

It feels so good to be sharing a new-to-me hat pattern here in this space again! For so many months I've been knitting in fits and spurts, working from the same patterns on repeat. And while I love using my "old standbys", it felt amazing to get a new hat pattern on the needles.

When my friend Meagan shared a pattern she'd been working on in the Harry Potter Ravelry group I'm part of, I jumped at the chance to make it! Meagan has offered Slip This! up for free, which is such a gift to the charity knitting community.

Just a touch more difficult than a plain stockinette hat, the slipped stitches make this hat unique and a treat to knit. It really felt like it was flying off my needles, and I worked it up in just one day, which is super quick in comparison to how my knitting has been going lately. Life is full to exploding with park dates and play dates and Octonauts and clapping and running after one another, and I couldn't be happier. Of course, this means less knitting than before, but I'll take it. These days are but a blip in our lives, and I want to be present for as many as I can.

So the Slip This! hat is perfect for right now - it's just enough to keep me interested and excited through the entire knitting, while still simple enough to knit in those moments between when the kids go to bed and we crash under the covers, exhausted but excited for another day.

If you're a charity knitter, download this pattern - your needles will thank you, and your charity knitting will explode!!