Hello, My name is Bethany and I'm a Yarn Addict. I've struggled with/enjoyed my addiction for 20 + years. I'm on about the 12th step of my pattern and I have no intention of kicking the habit. I have a large stash (of yarn) and I've been known to share (knitting) needles. My Fiber of choice is lace. Yes, I am a yarn addict, and this is my story...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cuteness Through Stash Busting

I recently realized I had waaaaaaay too much yarn lying around.  Actually, it wasn't so much me noticing as much as my family.   You see, I'm not one of those people that likes to throw away small bits of leftover yarn from projects, but I also don't have too much use for bits under 100 yards long.  So, I save them in baskets around my house and every so often whip out a bunch of baby hats to donate to local fire departments, woman's shelters and hospitals.

These hats take little to no time whatsoever, maybe 1/2 hour.  They are simple, plain, warm and GREATLY appreciated from the recipients.  They can be made in infant sizes, or preemie sizes according to yarn, needle size or gauge...and it really doesn't matter since babies come in all sizes.

Here's a few pictures from the 40+ hats I recently finished for donation:

Admittedly most of the pictures I selected are the more feminine looking hats...Yes, I make many plain or embellished for boys hats, too...These are just the pictures that turned out the best!

I'll even include my favorite method for making these hats if anyone is interested.  This hat pattern was given to me from a friend some years ago, and it's my favorite for making simple baby beanies.  The brim naturally rolls up, so there's no need to create your own edge, although you can do a few rows in a simple rib if you prefer that look.   I usually end with an I cord coming off the top, but you  can also cast off at the crown, add a pom pom or something, really it's up to you.  

Here's the pattern:
Use size 6 DPNs (or size needed for gauge and or yarn choice...I typically use worsted and size 4-6)

Cast on 68 stitches

divide evenly between 3or 4 DPNs depending on knitting preference, use stitch marker to determine beginning of the row

Knit even rounds for 4-5 inches depending on preference for baby's head

Knit 1 round placing a marker every 8 stitches

decrease 1 stitch (k2tog) before each marker

Continue till 4 sts. remain, cast off or create I-cord for knot

...And that's all there is to it!

Most local hospitals, fire departments and woman's shelters really appreciate appreciate donations of baby hats.  If you'd like to send hats abroad for donation you can inquire about programs like Caps For Good through your local red cross as well.

On a personal note, I for one can say just how much these hats mean to a new mother for their infant.  I received a knit hat donated to my local hospital when my son was born as a 2 month preemie.  Feeling so alone and scared by the whole NICU process, and having a baby so incredibly tiny just having something as simple as a hat knit that would actually fit him from a caring donor made all the difference in my day.  I still have that hat as a memory of how tiny my little angel was

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Needle Solution

A couple weeks ago I raved about my new KnitPicks Harmony interchangeable needle set...And I still love them.  In fact, I have a couple projects going on them right now!  The one thing I did NOT like about this set was the case that came with them:  It was flimsy, clear plastic that had the distinct odor of petrol emitting from it:
What was a girl to do?  Fortunately I had a bit of spare time and a bit of leftover fabric from making ring bearer pillows for my upcoming wedding. (Except for the pink...I had to buy the pink...'cause it was obnoxiously bright and cheery!)  and a bit of fabric interfacing, but other than that, all materials I happened to have on hand!
Let me begin by saying that I am NOT a good seamstress.  The extent of my sewing skills are typically hemming, basic costume making and pillows.  Nothing requiring skill so much as dumb luck. Fortunately I found an excellent interchangeable knitting needle case tutorial HERE for which I am extremely grateful!
And here's my result!
Interchangeable needle case
Close up of button Closure
Pockets for all my things!

Needle and Cable Pockets

Of course, I had to make a few tweaks to the pattern....'cause I NEVER do that, right????
Instead of the zippered invisible pocket on her tutorial I added a contrasting magnetic closure notions pocket on the top flap:

And I put a large open topped pocket across the back of the case to keep my chart keeper in:

Tah Dah!
Not too shabby for someone who doesn't know what she's doing!

The Vampire Phenomenon has "Sucked" Me In!!!!

I think I have unwittingly just supported the whole "Twilight" phenomenon in some way...I tried to avoid it.  I did.  But now I actually own something that sports the words "Team Edward" within it's pages.  And I love it.  What was that sound?  ah, yes, the sound of my own world crashing around me.  After much deliberation and assessing my strong aversion to anything regarding glittery emotionless trust-fund teenage vampires I could no longer resist the adorable patterns in the book Vampire Knits.

I blame the recent cold snap that made me search for a lovely hooded cowl pattern.  The one that spoke to me most was the pattern Under Cover of Midnight .  I was taken by the broad collar appearance and ample hood, not to mention the cables.  And, just as an added bonus, the yardage the pattern required was a mere 440 yards.  Excellent!

I ended up tweaking the pattern a bit, as I am known to do:  I used a worsted weight yarn (Shepherd's Wool) in the color 'Berries', a lovely burgundy shade with flecks of black and deep purple throughout.  This caused the problem of going from a bulky to a worsted and throwing off gauge, so I also went down a needle size.  Figuring from the pictures I saw that the cowl itself was on the larger side I just went with the pattern as far as the cable repeats and final knitted length as written.

I am so thrilled with the result.  I put it on as soon as I bound off.  Didn't even worry about blocking I was so hyped to show it off.  Received many compliments.

It's unfortunate that  as of recent I can't seem to get a decent picture of myself.  I blame being tired and stressed.  I'm starting to resemble Nosferatu.

 I wonder if he has a team?