Hello, March!

(Will this winter ever end?)

cold winter

I think most, if not all, of us living in any of the many crazy-cold parts of the USA right now are more than ready to start “thinking Spring.” Sadly, that’s not the easiest thing to do when the outside temps are STILL below zero (and yes, I’m talking in terms of Fahrenheit in case you were wondering).

{I’ve been writing this post for a few days, and this morning it’s actually above zero for a change…just barely above, but it is!}

Autumn and Spring are such great seasons–I love both (although Summer is still my favorite). Both of the cooler (but not too cold) seasons, provide us knitters with an opportunity to make and frequently wear our hand knits.  Yes, I believe winter could be a knitter’s best friend for the same reasons, but this year it’s gone too far and lasted too long. 

I’m a sunshine-on-my-face, toes-in-the-sand (or grass if no beach is nearby) kind of gal.

And month after month of this weather–with too often the only time spent outdoors is a mad dash to my van or into a store or back into the house–means I’m in desperate need of some warmth and natural vitamin D from being out in the sunshine.

But this is March. I live in Northern Minnesota and that isn’t going to happen any day soon–at least not here.

I guess I’d better keep on knitting, huh?

On My Needles/Off My Needles

During the Olympics, I started a Diving In shawl. It’s slowly growing and taking shape, but I find myself easily bored with such a simple pattern and decided last week that I needed a mini-knitting-vacation from the monotony.

knit shawl

knit shawl

Plus, the yarns from my January Yarnbox were whispering “knit me!” to me every time I walked past the basket where I had stashed them.  So one day I just grabbed them and wound them into balls.  After winding the Pixie Dust Mini into a center-pull ball, I thought about the best way to wind the Stargazer Silk.  Since I’ve never knitted with beads or sequins of any sort, I wasn’t entirely sure what would be best, but I figured the sequins would be likely to catch and make a tangled mess if I tried to wind it into a center-pull ball, so I just wound it into a regular ball instead.

Once I had them wound, I began playing with these yarns–knitting swatches to check gauge and see the texture.  I mostly worked with the Pixie Dust Mini and found it was an interesting mix of thick and thin, a few sparkles here and there, as well wool in gray, natural, and blue. Plus, the mohair give it a little bit of “halo.”  At first, I thought it would make a great cowl, so I started playing around with that idea.  But then I tried to put it around my neck and knew I would never be able to wear it.  I’m not certain whether I have an allergy or am just sensitive to mohair, but it almost always irritates me when it’s right up next to my skin.  And necks are known to be sensitive anyways.  So I browsed Ravelry for more pattern ideas but nothing really stuck out as The Thing I Must Knit.  I started a few ideas of my own, but ripped  each back because I didn’t like how it looked.  Finally, I settled on a hat…indeed, I choose one of the patterns that came with January’s Yarnbox:  Snow Cap Hat by Cheryl Kubat.  Even though I had ideas of something else I wanted to make with the Stargazer Silk, I couldn’t find anything else that I wanted to make that only used one skein of Pixie Dust Mini. I guess I’ll have to do some swatching with my Stargazer Silk leftovers and see if I want to buy another skein for the other project I had in mind.

knit hat knit hat

The hat didn’t take long to knit–I could have probably finished in just a few hours if I hadn’t had to make the following alterations.

1.   I couldn’t find my US11 16″ circular needles.  I’m sure I have one…just no idea where it is.  So I just used my US 13 needles and didn’t switch from 11s to 13s as the pattern says to do.

2.  Because I tend to knit tightly, my gauge wasn’t quite on (2.75 stitches to the inch instead of 3).  I adjusted the number of stitches I cast on based on my gauge and was careful to be able to shape the hat the same as the original (meaning I made sure the number of stitches was divisible by 4).

3. I found my hat wasn’t quite tall enough at first, so I ripped it back to where the decreases started and added a couple more rounds before starting the decreases.  I probably could have added one or two more and still not had it be too big.

4. Adding rounds changed my decreases too.  So my first round of decreases was on the next purl round (keeping the rounds in pattern). I continued the pattern of 3 purl, 4 knit rounds as I decreased every other round.  And it all worked out in the end!

To finish it off, I want to use the few yards I have leftover of the Pixie Dust Mini and make a pom pom for the top.  I think it’s pretty cute though, and I like how the yarns worked up together.  (Although it bugs me that some of the sequins are on the inside of the hat…perfectionist in me wants them all to SHOW! Oh well…I’ve tried pulling them through along the yarn to the front side of the hat, but they don’t all want to cooperate.)

Next on my radar is the lovely yarn from my February Yarnbox.  I have no idea what I’m going to make with it…yet, but I shall have fun with it, I’m sure!  And in just a few weeks I’ll be getting my third (and final–for now) Yarnbox.  I’ll be sure to tell you about it!

Talk to me…What’cha doing?

Do you have a yarn project in progress that you want to talk about?  I love seeing what other knitters (and crocheters) are making!  So leave me a comment below and tell me about it.  If you blog, be sure you check the Comment Luv box when you comment and I’ll be sure to visit your blog too!

As always, happy knitting!

~Steph

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Newly published pattern!

Published pattern: Newborn Bunny Hat

That’s right!  I finished one of my monthly goals and published a new pattern!  This one is for the crocheters out there.  It’s an adorable baby bunny hat!!!  Newborn size, but since babies come in a variety of sizes it might fit smaller babies up to 2 months or so.   {It’s been so long since I’ve had a newborn, that I really can’t say for sure.}

The hat is made with basic single crochet. It’s easy-peasy! Then comes the slightly-more-difficult-but-still-pretty-easy making of the bunny ears.  The hardest part is getting the ears sewn on so they look proper!  But if you take your time (and aren’t afraid to undo stitches if an ear isn’t standing in just the right place) you’ll do fine.

crochet pattern

I’ve decided to set the cost of this hat pattern at the affordable price of just $1.00 since it’s pretty easy to crochet.

To all my hook-loving friends, enjoy and happy hooking! 🙂

Blog Updates

Thanks to the Biannual Blogathon Bash, I’ve gotten some blog-related work done today!

1. New pattern published!  YAY!!!

2. Updated blog pages:  If you check out the menu bar above, you’ll see I’ve updated it to include a page for my Free patterns as well.  And I’ve updated both pattern pages with links to my newest patterns, both free and for purchase.

3. Another blog update that’s probably not as noticeable, but will hopefully help me:  updated categories and tags for my posts. One of the Blogathon’s mini-challenges was to sort out the difference between categories and tags, and then limit the categories to 3-6 and have related tags for each category.  I had *no* idea what I was doing before, but it was getting pretty messy!! So I’ve cleaned it up and re-categorized my posts.  It’s still not perfect, but MUCH better!

Still working on the other goals…plus a few more that I’ve thought of too!  Plus I’d like to try and do a few more mini-challenges before the Blogathon Bash is done.

But for now….I need me some KNITTING!!!

So I’m going to go put the kiddos to bed, find a show to watch with my man, and knit!

Have a nice night!  Happy knitting!

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