Category Archives: hats

“In December, drinking horchata
I’d look psychotic in a balaclava…”

-“Horchata” by Vampire Weekend

Okay, he does not look psychotic nor is he drinking horchata, but we love this song and I think of it every time one of the boys puts his balaclava on. Spinner’s is the latest in our collection, although it looks like I need to knit one more since someone (ahem, Knittykid) lost his.

So, Spinner’s many faces in his balaclava?




Enjoy your weekend everyone! Listen to a fun song, knit a balaclava and head outside!


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Filed under hats, knitting

Puddle Season

Don’t you know a toddler who needs a new hat?

A nice cotton hat that is just enough to keep the ears warm?


Something bright and Springy to keep you focused on those tulips which are sure to be popping out at soon as the last piles of snow melt? (Yes, we still have some big piles!)


Something for jumping in puddles? Something you could go grab just two skeins for and cast on right now?

Go for it. All you need are two skeins of Mission Falls Cotton and a child to wear it.

I just put the pattern up:  Springtime Sprouts. No test knitting or tech knitting done here, no sir! This is pattern writing at it’s finest: at my parents’ dining room table while trying to keep three little boys somewhat in tow. But hey, I even made a chart!! So please, give it a whirl and tell me what you think. Any mistakes? Something not quite clear? A different yarn that worked well?

And if you’re for some reason not on Ravelry, leave a comment with your e-mail address and I will send you the PDF.

Hope you enjoy!


Filed under hats, kids, knitting, pattern

Look who’s FIVE!!

My Knittykid……

(Modeling his new Balaclava that he had to have even though it is technically Spring. Because we’re all about spies here these days.)

He’s all sweetness and gentleness with the most generous heart I’ve ever seen in such a little kid. The quiet, thoughtful one,who still has his very loud moments, of course!  My little artist who loves to draw, who has also developed a remote control car obsession lately (so guess what he’ll be opening later today?).  My snuggler, who still needs to have at least one arm wrapped around me when he falls asleep.  He amazes me every single day!

Happy birthday Knittykid!!


Filed under family, finished objects, hats

Every boy in Minnesota…

…needs one of these:

It’s a balaclava, officially the Gusseted Helmet Pattern by Ellen M. Silva. The only mod I made was to knit the head one inch shorter before the decreases. If knitting it again I’d make the neck an inch or so shorter; you can see it’s curling up on him.

I finished this in early October when we were having a bit of  a fall heat wave. He loved so much he wore it to school, even though it was 75F by the afternoon. It’s in his favorite colors, John Deere colors of course. Not only is it very practical for these harsh winters, but it doubles as spy gear, which is extremely important when you are seven. He would not let me get a full on view on the whole project (“I am a spy, mom”) but he did want to show off his second favorite thing, which is the fact that he’s flying through these Harry Potter novels faster than I devoured Little House when I was the same age.  He’s actually on book seven now, and I’m trying to catch up to him with book six (my plans after this post). All I know, is I’m just dying about those brown eyes looking out at me…..

Now if only it would snow. We’re so ready.


Filed under finished objects, hats, kids, knitting


It’s been a knitterly few days. I’m lucky to live in Minneapolis. Not only do we have scads of wonderful LYS’s but we get Yarnover, the Knitter’s Guild Spring knitting extravaganza along with an amazing line up of knitters to bring and share their skills. The list was long but in the last few days I was able to hear both Cat Bordhi and Franklin Habit speak and take classes with Meg Swanson and Cookie A.

Yarnover started with a sweet and funny keynote by Cat Bordhi. She spoke eloquently about knitting and what is was that made it so magical.

After Cat’s speech it was time to take my first class of the day:  two color knitting, taught by Meg Swanson and Amy Detjen. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. Sixty knitters in one room? But I was amazed by the information she shared. Not only did I leave with a mile long list of knitting tips, but the stories she shared about her mother were priceless. The artistry and talent were amazing, and the sweaters she brought…..gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. I feel like I want to spend the entire year knitting nothing but Schoolhouse Patterns. Maybe time to do that intensive EZ study I’ve always wanted to do?

And the best part? I can finally knit with one color in each hand as well as easily trap my stitches. Time for some Armenian knitting, perhaps?

Meg Swanson's 2 color hat

After lunch I had a class with Cookie A on resizing stitch patterns. Unfortunately, half the class thought they were going to learn how to resize actual patterns, not stitch patterns. Poor Cookie! However, she did her best to teach everyone what they wanted to know and I did gain the skills I wanted. The best part was that the class broke up a little early (I think they all wanted to hit the yarn market before it closed) so I had the chance to sit down with Cookie one on one and take a look at how she would resize a complicated pattern from one of her socks. Not only did I learn how to resize but I also learned about the design process, stitch patterns and charting. Talking through it with Cookie was very helpful.


Cookie’s sock and pattern; my attempt at making it bigger. I was waaaaay off track. The trick is to start with the biggest lines in the pattern, not the smallest.

Knowing that Shepherd’s Harvest was coming up in a few weeks, I restrained myself and bought only one thing I’ve always wanted, the Wild Apple Bohus hat kit from Fairy Hare Yarns*. It was quite a splurge ($50 for a hat? really, $50 for a hat? the Skeptic kept saying…) but I did have birthday money I had been saving for the occasion. So yes. $50 for a rare hat kit; totally worth it.

I had two days to soak in all this knitterly goodness before the grand finale of this long weekend, Franklin Habit.

Franklin was the guest speaker at the Knitter’s Guild and he was fantastic. His presentation was all about historical knitting. Now, I knew he had his column on Knitty but had no idea that he’d been doing so much research into how knitting went from something passed on from one person to another to something written down in instruction form. He was funny and extremely knowledgeable about the subject, and made that old and forgotten history major in me perk right up. Considering that written patterns began with absolutely no standardization whatsoever, it’s quite amazing today that somehow we’ve managed to come up with a cohesive language for knitting at all.

Not only did Franklin share the history, but he brought samples of the historical patterns he’s worked up and I had the chance to take a look. He made an excellent point about going back to these historical patterns. We’ve lost some useful things over the years. The baby hood? Padded around the edges for extra warmth and protection. And the nightcap? Why did we stop using nightcaps? I live in an old house and I freeze at night. And the orange? Well, you know how we knitters all like knitting fruit just because we can. That’s always been around.

Franklin was kind enough to let me snag a few photos……






Wow, that’s some wild, escaping hair I’ve got going on there…..can you all tell I barely managed to escape the 3 boy tornado to get out of the house for this event? At least you can’t see the muddy hand print I discovered on my pants during the talk….

You can find the patterns for all of these items on Knitty in his column, Stitches in Time.

Now, it’s 11:43. A wise woman would realize she has to be up in six hours and go to bed. The unwise would head over to Ravelry to dig around in the Historical Knitting group. Or maybe go knit an orange.


Filed under hats, stuff to love

About Hats, Part Three

So I’ve had this little hat series plotted out for the last few months, since it seemed that all I could manage to knit were hats.  Hats with problems. That makes for good blog-fodder. And it’s Minnesota in spring; still too early to put all the hats away. (Although the way this spring has been, it won’t be long…)

I fell in love with Shroom over on Knitty but wanted to keep with my pledge to not buy new yarn. The trouble was that the pattern used a very specific yarn and recommended you stick with it. But my spinning skills were improving so I thought I could take it on. Kind of.

I did end up with a ball of Navajo-plied bulky in the colors I was hoping for (remember the blue coat saga?) But I was short on yardage. Again with the knitting, the tinking, the knitting. Add in a stray ball of bulky white and brown and you get this:




Sadly, I’m not sold on this hat either. I love how it looks when I’m holding it. I love it at certain angles. The side is good. But from the front it’s not quite right. The drape is off and I kind of feel like I have a giant piece of popcorn on my head.


Do I rip it all out? Give up on the Shroom? It might just be that this hat isn’t going to work on my head. Or maybe I do need to buy the right yarn. But this yarn is so pretty, I love it. It needs to be worn, not hidden in the bottom of the woolens basket. What would you do?

You’ll notice that the Baktus is also finished. I am completely, totally in love with it. The fact that I spun the yarn, that it was perfect for this project, feels perfect, drapes beautifully. It makes up for the misguided Shroom.


See how lovely it all looks together?


I’m just not quite sure about it on my head…..

Keep your fingers crossed that About Hats, Part Four will able to be published. Because the hat in question is missing. The perfect spring boys hat, complete with new pattern, is lost. And I know it’s a hat you’ll want  to knit, if only I could find it.

P.S. Little Man, ahem, I mean Math Boy (he settled on that nickname) says thank you for all the birthday wishes! So kind of you to take the time!


Filed under finished objects, handspun, hats, scarf

About Hats, Part Two

Yes, I was still without a hat. And suddenly it hit me. After all that searching I had a pattern, and yarn, in the right color just waiting for me in my closet. A week of knitting and I had this:


Here you see the Argyle Lace Hat from Boutique Knits.  An easy knit, enough stockinette to be mostly mindless with just enough of a lace pattern to keep it interesting. So easy, that I forgot to decrease on time and started the decreases too late. So the shaping on top is a little different but I still like it.

This hat reminded me of how nice it is sometimes to just use the yarn called for in the pattern. No gauge issues, no running out of yarn, no endless swatching. Which makes me wonder, how many of you typically use the yarn called for in a pattern (or something generally similar?) With my first hat, if I had just used the suggested yarn I would have been done in two days, not two weeks. But would I have learned as much? I think there are benefits to both.


Filed under hats, knitting

About Hats, Part One

I’ve had a bit of a hat obsession this winter. Maybe it’s because I splurged on coats in 2009, and when you own a bright blue coat and a moss green jacket, you need wonderful hats to wear with them. I had already accessorized the green jacket last fall, so once the Christmas knitting was complete it was time to move on the the blue coat, which has been crying for nearly a year now for fitting accessories.

It seems a new hat pattern appears on Ravelry about every .078 seconds that I think I must knit. But I’ve also pledged to stick to the stash, and finding the right combination was nearly impossible. My gauge was always wrong. Always. Every pattern, every combination, every yarn I tried. Nothing was working, and the stuff that would work just didn’t fit into my color vision. (When you have a bright blue coat, it does not lend itself to a lot of color options).

Then I thought I’d had it. Ripley by Ysolda Teague,  knit in my own merino/tencel handspun:
Merino/Tencel 50/50

It should have worked. My gauge was close, and I adjusted. But my goof up was that I was also very close on yardage and was afraid I’d run out, so I made it a bit smaller than I should have to save on yarn. Hats always stretch, right? Nope.

I finished and it was beautiful, but tight. It’ll stretch, I thought. I wore it around the house. I put it on and wore it on the 15 minute ride to playgroup. By the time I arrived I had decided that the hat could double as a torture device. The tencel and my tight spinning meant that the hat would not budge. It was stiff as a board and gave me a headache. This was not going to happen.

I complained bitterly to my friends, that a month had gone by and I was still hatless, sitting here with a beautiful hat and three sons, not who would even consider wearing such a girly hat.

Hours later I was still bitter as we packed up and I couldn’t wear my hat. There was no way I was ripping it, it was too pretty, there had to be someone….and then it hit me as I saw my friend’s daughter putting on a hand knit hat. My friends all had daughters! And one of them did not have a hand knit hat.

I mentioned it to my friend; both of us had been thinking the same thing. The hat was totally meant for her daughter. This is a girl after my own heart. I adore her, my boys adore her and she can keep any one of them in line at the park. Plus she loves historical dress up. And this hat, with it’s cloche style and lace edging is just meant for a sweet and spunky little girl in a cloak and a prairie dress.


And I couldn’t be happier with the match…..


Filed under hats

All Matchy-Matchy

Well, I didn’t mean to just fall of the planet there, but I guess I did. I’ve just been too sleepy lately at night to do any computer stuff, or should I say computer stuff that  I need to think about. Random clicking, sure. A thoughtful sentence? Not as long at Spinner keeps up this incredibly slow process of getting his molars and waking up at 4:30 in the morning.

But I DO have some FO’s to report that I’m incredibly happy with. And the best part, I actually planned it all out ahead and I now have winter gear that actually matches. Because if you are like me, you just go ahead and knit a sweet pair of mitts and then realize it clashes with your scarf, your hat, or whatever else you’ve got to wear. Not this time. My new green coat was screaming for purple accessories.

First up, Damson by Ysolda Teague. I want to knit every pattern she has written, I love her stuff that much. This was an easy knit, except for the one inch I didn’t notice my YO’s were on the wrong side of the stitch marker. I noticed two inches past and decided it wasn’t noticeable enough to frog, so I went with it.


Next, my Head Hugger from Stitch and Bitch Nation. This has been waiting in my stash for four years to be completed. Guess I needed the green coat to get it OTN.


Lastly, my garter stitch mitts from Weekend Knitting. There aren’t a lot of patterns I knit over and over again but this is one of them.


I knit with my own handspun from Loop in Earth Goddesss (she’s doing a shop update today and had some of this last night as well, you might be able to snag a batt.)
Knitting these was an education in how to spin for a project:
1. I might want to be more aware of what I might be spinning. The color differences would have been fine with a hat but with mitts they look a bit too different.
2. Same with plying and size. Notice how one mitt is bigger than the other?
3. Density matters. My earlier spinning (this is at least a year or more old) was pretty dense. I really like a lighter yarn, but I think recently I’ve solved that problem.


So there you have it, one very matchy-matchy ensemble. And I’m sad to see I have only close ups, nothing of the whole thing!! But trust me, it’s very cute.

Quick question before I wish you all a happy weekend. Is it okay to just do Ravelry links these days? Do I have any regular readers who aren’t on Ravely who would like regular links? Please let me know and I’ll be sure to post them, otherwise I’m just posting Ravelry links from now on.

Now I can say, have a great weekend! I for one will be playing with my new serger. And working on the start of some new reviews on Monday. If you’ve been wondering which sock books to buy, I think I can help you out!


P.S If you are a local sewer, be sure to stop by and visit Sewtropolis, a sweet little sewing studio in South Minneapolis. She’s got a great line up of classes scheduled!!


Filed under finished objects, handspun, hats, knitting, mittens/gloves, scarf, shawls


I love winter. But I hate the thawing season, the season where a perfectly dry set of steps suddenly becomes the stoop of death as you walk to your car. At 7am in the morning, when you know it’s glare ice and you need to be really careful, but you’re carrying your lunch, breast pump, tote bag, computer, two boxes to get shipped at the PO, and your coffee, it seriously sucks. It sucks even more so when you then fall, pull a muscle so badly that it leaves you in tears on the back steps for a few minutes until you finally realize that no one in the house can hear you, so you drag yourself to the door get helped inside and assess the damage.

The damage seems to be that I’ve pulled or torn the muscle on top of my thigh (what’s that called?) so badly that I can barely walk. Ibuprofen and ice have dampened the pain enough that now I can sit here, bored and hurting, being tweaked that I’ve got to miss a day of work and trying the get the boys to not touch Mommy.

This is what sucks about teaching. I could sit here and type all day long but no way can I teach. And when I only work two and a half days a week, a day out means I’m even more behind on fixing the broken violins, making copies, planning curriculum and the other million things I need to do that I can’t do from home since I don’t have my stuff. Plus my kids now miss music this week, which they already basically missed for nearly four months since the sub I had was not a musician. Needless to say, I am not a happy mama this morning. Because not only is the work issue a pain, but not being able to walk when you have three young boys is not easy. Thank goodness the Skeptic is home on my work days, but still. Not easy.

So anyway, as I sit here bored and hurting I will at least show off a few FO’s in the knitting department. I’ve got lots to update including WIP’s and some cool spinning, but then this post would be a book. So we’ll keep it to FO’s today.

First up:

This is Spinner modeling the handspun hat I gave to my friend Rebecca a few weeks go at her shower. This was some merino, dyed in fours separate rovings that I plied together. The pattern is simply a basic hat with a purl row before I did the decreases. Sadly it was not blocked since I finished it ten minutes before I had to leave, but she’s a knitter so she understood.

Next up, Little Man’s John Deere mittens. He picked the colors himself, because John Deere tractors rule and since he is a farm deprived city kid, he’s got to get his farm fix somehow. So he wears a green uniform most of the time, mittens included.
Checkered Mittens

This pattern was from Kristin Nichols’ book, Kristin Knits and is called Checks and Dots. If you’ve never tried fair isle before this pattern would be a great first project. I used good old Lamb’s Pride for this one. And yes, that is a mistake.

My Ubernatural is done, but awaits buttons, so you’ll have to wait too!

In the meantime I’ll be sitting in this rocker, knitting my newest project and hoping I’ll be on my feet again soon. If anyone has suggestions on healing up, let me know. I’ve never had an injury like this and still can’t get over how much this hurts. Yikes!


Filed under finished objects, handspun, hats, random