Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hats Off to...Hats

I'm the sort of person that needs instant gratification. I can't wait for anything. If you buy me a birthday present I will NEED to know what it is long before my big day. I couldn't have found out soon enough what the gender of my baby was either. If I could have found out the day I took my pregnancy test, I would have done it. Yes, it's a personality flaw, but it's obviously part of the reason why I love these little hats and can't stop making them.

These little beanies provide immediate gratification because in only a few hours you have a completed, adorable treasure. Though there is something to be said for the satisfaction you get from working on a longterm crochet project, these little hats are becoming addictive. This pink and green version was a gift for a friend of my husband's. The original pattern can be found here.

You can customize the pattern in a variety of ways. (This pattern was the foundation of the pumpkin beanie.) Because this was for a little girl, I added the multicolored braid ties. I used a 4 mm hook for the above beanie and that should fit most 3-6 month olds.

In addition to playing with colors, stripes, and decorative stitches, I've been working on some others right now and have also been adding pom poms to the tops.
I've already made Baby C three hats. He's a really great little guy, but my only complaint is that he only has one head.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Oh, Yes It's Ladies Night...Oh What a Night...

A couple years ago my friend, P, got a small group of us girls together for what we originally called "Craft Night" and now refer to as "Girls Night". This was our version of what is popularly known as "Stitch & B*tch". It's a great forum for women to work on something creative, gossip, and eat/ drink. Note: there is a heavy focus on the eating/ gossip. We meet once a month and have made some fun crafts in the past. It's a great opportunity to get out and relax with friends. We rotate hosting and sometimes go somewhere to do something creative instead. For example, meeting at a local bead store to make jewelry, or going to a place that specializes in "make and take" meals.

My friend K hosted this past week and had a cute Halloween idea which she found here.

K was kind enough to spray paint our wreaths black ahead of time, so all we really had to do was glue on googly eyes and paint on glow-in-the-dark paint. That left plenty of time to devour the tasty food spread and hear some juicy conversation.

It was a relaxing and fun night. It does look a little like the Geico commercial...too bad the googly eyes don't come with a stack of bills underneath.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Great Pumpkin

Oh what is it exactly that fills my heart with so much joy when I look at a pumpkin? It's the feeling that maybe little kids feel at the sight of balloons.


Is it because they're a bright obnoxious orange; the color I have always associated with fall fun/ halloween?

Is it because they only make an appearance once a year?

Whatever it is, I love everything about them. How could you not? Can you think of another fruit (it has seeds and is therefore classified as a fruit) that is as versatile? It's an entree , a dessert, and a decoration. We don't carve up apples into Jack o' Lanterns, now do we?

In homage to the glorious pumpkin, I made this little hat. It was inspired by an adorable little beanie cap from Janie and Jack. Theirs is on the feminine side though and, ahem, was originally selling for 20 clams. Like all good crafters I thought, I'll just make one myself. Finding fault with their design (we're all critics, aren't we?) I chose to add the ubiquitous pumpkin stem so that it looked less like an orange than theirs. I also left off the leaves because I liked how it looked without them, but mostly because I have no idea how to make leaves yet.

I will learn how to do it soon and then maybe I'll rethink leaves on a cap. I DID just learn how to highlight weblinks in a blog post. If you want to know how to do that click here. I'll try not to overdo it, but I can't make any promises.

Info about the pattern: I followed a simple beanie pattern, made the stem by sc about 4 stitches in a round, without increasing any stitches, and made the curly vines by single crocheting once in a chain that was probably 20 stitches long for each vine.

Charity in Focus: Completed Helmet Liner

Here is the completed liner. It's basically like a ski mask. Or a sand mask.

It's now ready to be shipped. I hope the soldier wearing it remains safe and returns to his/ her family quickly.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Charity in Focus: Helmet Liner Project

There are a number of reasons to love knitting/ crochet: the therapeautic aspect to it, its practicality, or the simple aesthetic quality. (Let's not forget the lbs it can help you lose either! )But one more reason I love it is because of the charitable opportunities it provides. I can't really think of another craft that lends itself so completely to giving to others. Most knitters/ crocheters are constantly "toiling" away on items that are going to be given away as gifts. And many consistently work on items for different charities. I'd like to spotlight these organizations on this blog and contribute to them as well. If you know someone who might be interested in helping, please pass this information on to them.

The first Charity in Focus project was brought to my attention by my sister whose husband served a year recently in Afghanistan. When my brother-in-law was called to duty I was surprised to learn that he had to purchase his own body armor. I naively assumed that everything a soldier needed was just military-issued. This plea for help is for helmet liners for the soldiers, which cost considerably less than body armor, but do require some hours to make.

I was definitely struck by the fact that only 100% wool can be used because the "Armed Forces are not allowed to wear synthetic fibers outside the wire. Wool is inherently nonflammable and won’t melt against the skin in the event of an accident and is warm even when wet. " This really made me think about the person who will be wearing my helmet liner and the difficulties/ danger he/she may encounter. Lately my crochet stitches have started feeling more like prayer beads and my pattern has begun to look like this:

Round 12: (sc in next 10 sts, 2 Our Fathers, 1 Hail Mary, 1 Prayer to St. Michael for protection, 2 scs in  next st) 6 times (72 stiches, 12 Our Fathers, 6 Hail Marys, 6 prayers to St. Michael)

I'm almost finished crocheting mine and will be mailing it off shortly. For complete crochet and knitting instructions Read More after the jump...

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