Is it lazy to make the same hat twice?

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Sorry for the dark photo…..It’s super rainy and dark today so it was practically impossible to take a good picture…

Some how I have managed to keep the same hat for a couple of years without loosing it – a Vernalis by Woolly Wormhead. This is a minor miracle as hats normally disappear in weeks on tubes, trains and buses…. After surviving so admirably (and keeping my head warm for two winters) the  hat is finally starting to look a bit sad and stretched out so its time for a new one.

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Here’s the old hat when it was shiny and new.

I probably should have scoured Ravelry for hours to try and find a new hat patten that I like. But I’m lazy and I couldn’t be bothered so I just dug out the same Vernalis pattern and made another one! I’m quite fussy about hats. I think it’s quite hard to find hats that look nice on curly hair…. if it’s too much of a beanie then you get a tight hat keeping your hair in and then at the bottom of the hat big hair tying to escape which looks weird……

I used Garnstudio DROPS Alpaca in the same colour as the hand warmers I just made. Mainly because I had some left over  but also because I quite like the idea of being matchy. This isn’t the ideal wool for this pattern as the fluffy texture and variegated wool distract from the pattern. I suspected that would be the case so I don’t mind too much. I think it’s come out really well. It looks much better in real life than it does in the photo at the top.

For some reason this version of the hat has come out quite a bit smaller than the last one.  I’m not entirely sure why. It could be any of the following:

  • I might not have stretched it out enough when I blocked it. I was in a bit of a hurry so I think I just dunked it and then left it on the bed to dry before rushing off somewhere.
  • I might have missed out one of the pattern repeats before the decreases. I was in a hurry to get it finished.
  • It might only look bigger than the old one because the old one has stretched.

I think it would have looked a little bit better if it was a tiny bit bigger. However on the plus side it is less likely to fall of my head when I’m running for the bus (which happened quite a bit with the old one)!

I’m quite looking forward to it getting colder so that I can wear it!

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lace and cable hand warmers for my tiny wrists

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It’s almost impossible to take an attractive picture of hand warmers….They just aren’t very pretty!

Autumn can be a bit rubbish for me as I hate being cold (mainly because it makes my arthritis worse but also because I’m a wimp!).  There are upsides to everything though and for Autumn one of the main ones is that it is knitting season! It’s all about the hats, scarves and gloves! I’m starting with hand warmers. The hand warmers I made last year have felted quite badly and also left bits of rusty fluff all over me (and my poor boyfriend) so I decided to make a new pair for this year.

I opted for Merletto Mitts by Jody McKinley. I liked the lace and the cables plus I preferred the fact that it was 4ply so wouldn’t be too bulky. I used trusty Garnstudio DROPS Alpaca. I spotted an oilve/yellowy mix that I hadn’t seen before.  It’s a bit less bright in the flesh than it is in the pictures. I don’t normally like variegated wool but the shades in this one look great with each other and was too multicoloured and weid.

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Here’s the back

I think that the pattern was a little bit confusing, well, either that or I was being a bit dim….. Once I got going though the lace and cable pattern was easy to remember.

I finished one whole hand warmer before actually trying it on. Once I did I realised that it was HUGE! I think it was a combination of my loose tension and big knitting and my tiny little wrists.

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The HUGE hand warmer before I undid it

I unwound the whole thing and started again with a smaller version. I made the following modifications:

  • I cast on 48 stitches in total, kept the front the same size and reduced the plain bit at the back.
  • I also decided to ignore the ribbing suggested and just do 1×1. It doesn’t look quite as polished but I think it’s fine.
  • When I got to the thumb increases I stopped when I had 16 stitches.
  • As I’d cast on fewer stitches I didn’t need to decrease at the top of the hand warmers.

I’m really pleased with them. They look much better on than in the pictures and the colour is lovely. Hopefully these won’t felt quite as quickly as the last pair! My next knitting task is a new hat……

Toasty warm hands

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Last year I made myself a new pair of hand warmers and then promptly left them at a friend’s house. I couldn’t be doing with making a replacement pair straight away so I went back to a tatty old pair and kept them for the rest of the winter. They have now started to unravel rather a lot and are making me look a bit like Fagin so I finally gave in and started making a new pair.

I treated myself to some lovely Mirasol Tuhn which is a blend of baby llama, merino and angora. It’s super soft and I love the rich red. It came from my lovely friend Maya’s wool shop Knit with Attitude. Maya has just moved into a new shop on Stoke Newington High Street and it’s lovely! If you live in North London you should go along and check it out!

I was feeling a bit lazy so I made up the pattern. It’s a really simple cable with increases for the thumb. I thought I’d be really careful in writing down what I did for the first hand warmer ….. however when I went back to my notes to make the second it turned out that I’d just scribbled down some random numbers which didn’t make much sense…. I tried to guess what I’d done which more or less worked except for the thumb. I’m not entirely sure how I managed it but the second thumb is considerably bigger than the first. Really I should have gone back and re-done it but I was so keen to get them finished and have toasty warm hands that I decided to just ignore it! I don’t think anyone will notice when I have them on!

My little Etsy shop

After much procrastination I have finally decided to dip my toe in the Etsy waters. I’ve been reluctant because a) I’m worried that no-one will want to buy anything and b)everyone else is doing it so I feel a bit like a cliché. As I’m probably already a huge crafty cliché I’ve decided to ignore the potential humiliation of not selling anything and have a go!

I don’t have a master plan to make mega bucks (which is good as it’s unlikely to happen- the profit margins would be terrible!) it’s just something lovely to do when I have less work booked in. I love being freelance but it can be a bit feast or famine sometimes and  making some things to sell will be a lovely  distraction from trying to bring in new clients via wishful thinking (incidentally that doesn’t work).

To make it super low risk I’ve started off with using wool that I already have. I’ve also chosen to make things that I will be able to use myself or give to friends as presents if it doesn’t work out. That way I’m hardly spending any money and get something back if it doesn’t work.

A little while ago I made myself some stirrup leg/ankle/foot warmers for yoga to keep my feet warm in the winter. I enjoyed making them and I’ve had quite a bit of interest in the free pattern I put up so I decided to start with making some of those. I really wanted to make something that I think is good quality and that I think looks pretty rather than fiddling about working out what would be the quickest and cheapest and running the risk of coming out with something rubbish. It’s a bit of a luxury to take that approach I guess as I’m not counting on the money to pay my rent. I’ve changed the pattern slightly to include more cables and made a DK and 4ply version. I’ve also made a really simple ribbed version for a super snug fit.

There are only three things in the shop at the moment so it’s very small. The way that Etsy is set up it looks a bit weird with only three things as it’s in columns of four and the images don’t resize so I have rather a lot of white space…… I’d planned to have quite a bit more done by now but I’ve had a few problems with my arthritis so I’m a slightly behind.

Anyway, if you’ve got 5 minutes have a quick look and see what you think. I’d appreciate any feedback about what I’ve made, how the photos look or pricing www.etsy.com/shop/lizzylikescake Cheers!

Stirrup leg warmers – free pattern

Here’s the pattern for my stirrup leg warmers. Mine are for yoga but you could use them for whatever you want.  You could take out the stirrup and wear them as normal leg warmers or you might want to make them a little shorter and have them as ankle warmers- it’s up to you!

Materials
2.5 balls (245 yards) Garnstudio Drops Lima
4mm circular needle or DPNs (depending on what you prefer)
cable needle

Gauge
4 inches=20 stitches across and 24 stitches up
I’m a very loose knitter so it’s well worth checking that your gauge matches and adapting appropriately.

Pattern

To start:            Cast on 50 stitches.

I used a cable cast on for a firmer edge.  Join and begin working in the round. I prefer to use a long circular needle and the magic loop method but you might prefer either a shorter circular needle or DPNs. It’s up to you.

Rows 1-5:          Knit in 2×2 rib (knit 2 stitches, purl 2 stitches)
Rows: 6-9:        [P3, K4, P3] x 5
Row 10:             [P3, C2B*, P3] x5
Rows 11-60:     Repeat rows 6-10
Row 61:             [P3,K4,P3] x2, K4,P1, cast off 25 stitches
Row 62:            [P3, K4, P3] x2, K4, P1 cast on 25 stitches
Row 63:            [P3, K4, P3] x 5
Row 64:            [P3, K4, P3] x 5
Row 65:            [P3, C2B*,P3] x5
R0w 66-75:     Repeat rows 6-10
Rows 75-78:  Knit in 2×2 rib
Row 79:           Cast off loosely
To finish:        Pick up 44 stitches around ankle hole.

I picked up 20 from the top, 2 from each side and 20 from the bottom.

Knit 3 rows in 2×2 rib then cast off loosely. Weave in ends. Admire your first leg warmer and then make a start on the second!

If you spot any errors in the pattern, or you just want to let me know what you think, get in touch in the comment box below or at lizzylikescake@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you!

*slip next 2 stitches onto your cable needle, as if to knit, and hold at the back of your work, knit the next 2 stitches and then the 2 stitches from your cable needle.

If you don’t fancy making a pair but you want to keep your feet warm when you’re practicing your yoga you can find some similar pairs in my little Etsy shop.

Yoga leg warmers

After the slight disaster of running out of wool on my first try with these leg warmers I’ve finally finished the replacement pair!

I started again with Garnstudio Drops Lima. I’ve been meaning to give this wool a try and this project seemed like a good opportunity. It was lovely to knit with and the colour is lovely (it’s always hard to tell when you’re buying online). I suspect that it might be a little bit felty but I’m hoping that I’m wrong.

I haven’t been able to do any yoga for a while as the current cold weather has been causing me problems with my  joints (I have the joints of a pensioner..) plus I injured my knee quite badly at the start of January and I’ve been frightened to try again. It’s been rubbish not doing any yoga at all so today I used road testing my new leg warmers as an excuse to give it a try. Not only did my knee not play up but I had toasty warm ankles and feet and enough contact between my foot and the mat to be able to grip! A success! They stay up well when they are pulled up. I prefer to have them pushed down a little bit though- I think it looks prettier.

It's very difficult to take a picture of these leg warmers without offending your eyes with my horrible feet

I’ll get some decent photos and put the pattern up in the next couple of days.

Vernalis hat by Wolly Wormhead- finished!

I’ve been wearing the same slouchy copy cat hat for about 2 years now so I thought it was time for a new one.

I didn’t look very closely at the pattern and I thought it was for lace weight wool but it was actually for 4-ply. Luckily I have lots of felted tweed lying about so I didn’t have to buy anything. That meant I had to make it stripy and I’m not sure that it quite works with the pattern…..

Now it’s finished it’s a little on the big side. I guess that’s the felted tweed which is on the big side for 4 ply. I also think it would look better without stripes or at least with wider stripes.

I like the pattern though so I think I’ll try it again in another wool. I quite like it though!