Monday, December 22, 2014

We've got a hot crustacean band

I'm winding down another year of knitting, readers, and I'm planning for a knit-filled 2015.  There are babies in my future (not my future, someone else's future, but this directly impacts me) and little babies need little knits to keep their little bodies warm and cozy.  I've been favouriting baby things like a mad person on Ravelry, and I'm full to the brim with baby knits lust.

More on that shortly, but let's kick this off with a final tally of 2014 knitting projects completed, because it makes my heart feel good to write things down and see my accomplishments:

Nordic Mittens


Polar Bear Earflap Hat

It's a Guy Thing Socks

Octopus Socks

Cat Paw Socks (gifted last week, and very well received)

Rockefeller Shawl

Big Chunky Rib Hat

Northman Mittens

Reindeer Legwarmers

Fall Mystery Socks

Fox Cowl Hood

Ninja Bike Mask

Grey Gardens Headband

Out of Darkness Shawl

Kevin McCallister Moose Hat (my very first published pattern)

Honey Cowl (also gifted last week and very well received)

Phew!  It's quite a pile of knitting when you line it all up like this.  I'm still clicking away at Hermione's Everyday Socks, but they're my go-to car knitting or knit night project.  I'm about halfway done the second sock, and they might be finished by New Years.  We'll see.

You're probably wondering about those One Row Per Day socks, yes?  The one row per day part was an abysmal failure, and I wouldn't recommend it for someone who likes to knit in blocks of time while watching TV (which is essentially the only way I knit).  I found it so difficult to find the motivation to pick up that project, knowing that I would just be putting it down after a row.  The socks will be finished, they are on my list of socks to keep handy after Hermione's socks are done.  They will be a good simple project, and I think Fuzzyhead will definitely appreciate them as a nice boy-appropriate sock.

My list of baby project to come includes making an adorable set with a blanket, hat, and little mitts.  I saw something I love at Chapters, but being a good little knitter, I couldn't justify buying it when I could make my own.  Here's the set:

Warm Knits Gift Set - Heart

It's adorable, and appears to be double knitted??  I've only ever done double knitting once and it turned out terribly (RIP, LOST scarf for Fuzzyhead that will never be...).  However, I really enjoy the clean look on the back of the blanket, and inside the hat and mitts.  I know I don't appreciate catching my thumb on floats inside a colourwork mitten, and I'm sure a little baby doesn't either.  The project seems simple enough, I'm sure I can whip something up using a basic pattern and mapping out a heart chart.  

I also have two other baby blankets in mind, because who doesn't need more baby blankets!

I LOVE the Baby Blanket Snowflakes pattern and think it would be a perfect stroller blanket for a little winter baby.  I also love that it is knitted in the round and then steeked, which would give me the chance to try out steeking.


And then a more traditional looking heirloom piece, which the mother-to-be would appreciate more than the baby would, I think.  The Shale Baby Blanket by Brooklyn Tweed has been on my queue for a long time, waiting for the perfect baby-having opportunity.


As for more adorable outfits, sweaters and little jackets are fun to make, and I've got two such items in mind.

This is Anders by Sorren Kerr, and I love it and want one for myself as well.


There's actually a whole set of pattern for sweet little Noridic style garments, including baby leg warmers, a little jumper dress, and an adorable kerchief.

The jacket I have in mind is the Latte Baby Coat by Lisa Chemery.


And then of course there's the baby sweater I made and finished years ago that's waiting for the gifted to this particular baby-to-be:

This is Jasper Diamond Hoodie by Kristen Rengren, and I finished this sweater almost 5 years ago.  It's been sitting in a Ziploc bag in my stash waiting patiently to be a sweater for a baby.  It still needs buttons, but that's a quick and easy fix.  This sweater is for the 9-12 month old size, so I've got plenty of time to finish it and gift it before the baby finishes baking.

There may be a small knitting field trip in my future, since I don't have anything on hand that would be appropriate for the baby projects I'm going to make.  I'm just about ready to be starved for new projects since I only have socks on the go.  That will just not do, readers.



Saturday, December 13, 2014

Kevin McCallister's Moose Hat

Kevin McCallister’s Moose Hat

Copyright Vrock Knits 2014   |   Pattern is for personal use only.  Please do not reproduce or sell this pattern, or items made from this pattern.  For questions please contact vrockknits AT gmail DOT com 

This pattern is the closest recreation of the hat that Kevin McCallister wears in the Home Alone movie that I could make.  The chart for this pattern was created by staring intently at a screen shot of the hat while I counted stitches and translated it into an Excel spreadsheet. 

The hat is a slouchy, colourwork toque with a large pom pom.  It is worked in the round with two colours, and features sections of long floats.  The pattern calls for knitting a partial lining to tuck up inside the hat for extra warmth, and to provide a smooth edge for the hat.

This hat requires two contrasting colours in a DK weight yarn.  Knitters must be able to confidently knit in the round, cast on with a provisional crochet cast on, and knit two-colour stranded colourwork.

Difficultly Level

Intermediate - not recommended as a first colourwork project, but knitting skill level required is advanced beginner. 

Size and Finished Measurements

Finished item is approximately 21 inches around, to fit a head with a circumference of 22 inches.


Berroco Vintage DK | 52% acrylic, 40% wool, 8% nylon, 290 yards /260 metres| colour 2105 (Main Colour) | 1 skein
Berroco Vintage DK | 52% acrylic, 40% wool, 8% nylon, 290 yards /260 metres| colour 2134 (Contrast Colour) | 1 skein

Recommended needle size
One set of 3.5mm double pointed needles OR one 16 inch 3.5mm circular needle
One set of 3.75mm double pointed needles
One 16 inch 3.75mm circular needle (optional)


22 stitches and 32 rows per 4 inches, in stockinette stitch in the round with 3.5 mm needles
24 stitches and 24 rows per 4 inches, in colourwork in the round with 3.75mm needles

Crochet hook (3.5-4.0mm) and waste yarn for provisional crochet cast on
Stitch markers, 5
Darning needle
Pom pom maker, 3.5” (optional)

Using a crochet hook and waste yarn, provisionally cast on 110 stitches onto smaller needles.  With MC, knit one row, and join for working in the round.  Place marker for beginning of round.

Increase 10 sts evenly around - *k10, m1, repeat from * to end of round (120 sts). 

K 11 rounds, then change to larger needles.

Begin chart.  Repeat the chart five times across each round, placing a marker between each chart repeat.

If working on circular needles, on round 57 of the chart, change to double pointed needles for the crown decreases.

Crown Decreases

Rnd 1 – Using MC, *k2 k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.  30 sts decreased, 90 sts remain.
Rnd 2-5 – k
Rnd 6 - *k1 k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.  30 sts decreased, 60 sts remain.
Rnd 7 – k
Rnd 8 - *k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.  30 sts decreased, 30 sts remain.
Rnd 9 – k
Rnd 10 - *k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.  15 sts remain.

Cut yarn, leaving a 6 inch tail.  Thread tail onto a darning needle and draw through remaining stitches.  Pull tight to cinch remaining stitches, and secure tail, weaving in the end. 


Remove waste yarn from provisional cast on and place sts onto smaller needles – 110 sts. 

K 5 rounds in MC.  Change to CC and k 35 rounds, or until lining reaches desired length.  Bind off.

Pom Pom

Make one 3.5 inch pom pom using both yarn colours.  When securing the pom pom, leave the tails long enough to use for sewing it onto the hat.


Weave in ends. 

Tuck the lining inside the hat, and pin in place evenly around the edge of the hat.  Turn hat inside-out and sew lining in place, using loose stitches.

Block and let air dry.  Sew pom pom to the top of the hat.  Wear and enjoy.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Josephine in her flying machine

It's almost ready to share, readers!  I've been plowing through my Home Alone hat this week to get a pattern produced, because 1) I want to get my feet wet with pattern writing, and 2) I want to wear this hat.

I've taken serious notes while I did my knitting, and I'll be sitting down to write out a formal pattern to share with y'all this week.  The hat is 95% done, and here's what it looks like:

The bottom is quite long, because I plan to tuck it up inside the hat for double warmth.  If you stare long enough at a screen shot of the hat in the movie, you will notice that there is a smooth, unbroken edge of knitting that goes up inside the hat.  I wanted to make my version of the hat as true to the original as possible, so I tried out a few ways to accomplish that.  Originally, I cast on and knit some extra rounds to be tucked inside, then a purl round, then got going with the hat, and I didn't like the little ridge the purl round created at the edge of the hat.  I know this makes for a natural folding line in the world of tucking up a lining inside a hat, but I didn't like the effect.  Also, the way I started it involved knitting the cast on edge together with a round of live stitches (to avoid sewing it in place later), and I hated how obvious that round of stitches became.  So I ripped it out and started again.

The hat you see in the picture above was started with a provisional cast on, so now that the hat is complete, I've gone back to pick up those stitches and make the lining.  I have far more red yarn left than the grey at this point, so after a few rounds, I switched to red to make a fun contrasting lining.  And when I say lining, I actually mean that I'll be going as far as the backs of the reindeer, to fully cover the wearer's ears.  Again, if you stare intently at a screen shot of the hat on Kevin's head, you can see a slight line at the top of the reindeer's back where the lining ends. 

In good progress news, the chart worked out beautifully in the round, as I had only ever done the chart as a test knitted flat, which sucks for colourwork.  I played around with my gauge to fit my mammoth woman head (I'm a solid 22" around, just like a man), and the pattern will be written to fit a larger head size.  My next post will be just the pattern for the hat, and if I can figure it out, I'll link it to Ravelry so others can find the pattern.

And since it's been eons since I posted, let's recap all my knits since July:

I finished Slim Jim's reindeer legwarmers.  For the final chart repeat, I added an extra stitch between each reindeer repeat around to account for the calf (craftily hidden in the white space between the reindeer).  When I got to the ribbing at the top, I snuck in a few extra stitches again, for extra stretchiness.

I made a pair of octopus socks, featuring yarn from Woolverine in downtown Kitchener:

Stash's Christmas socks are complete, in a handsome pattern called It's a Guy Thing.  This puppies are folded up and waiting on my gift wrapping table to be wrapped for Christmas.  Fuzzyhead was the foot model for this picture.

From my trip to the Knitters' Frolic in April, I impulse purchased this skein of purple sock yarn because it had a cat on the label.  I earmarked it for a pair of socks for my non-knitting cat-loving coworker (I know, I know, that's a risky move, but she has said more than once that she LOVES hand knitted socks)

The socks were a great mindless knit over the summer, and I really hammered home the cat thing with a pattern called Paw Tracks.  The gift will be presented with the tag so that the cat connection is very obvious.

My current socks project is Hermione's Everyday Sock, also made from sock yarn I scored at the Frolic.  This Sweet Georgia deeply discounted yarn translates beautifully into fun stripey socks.

These are still a WIP, and they're a perfect thing to bring along to knit night or in the car.

I made use of the last half a ball of heavyweight sock yarn I bought at Rhinebeck in 2013.  I made a pair of fingerless gloves for Fuzzyhead earlier this year, and there was still so much of the yarn left that I needed to do something with it, so I made a hat.  Since the yarn was more like a sock yarn than anything else, I knitted with two strands held together to make Jason's Tweed Hat, as it calls for a chunky weight yarn.  Once I finished the folded over ribbed section to cover the ears, I was running seriously low on yarn, so I cut it back to a single strand and finished the hat.  From a distance, you can't even tell, and all the warmth anyone cares about is around the ears, so no harm done.

I finished Rockefeller, and I love it.  The picture on the left is when it was almost done, and the one on the right is the shawl all blocked and beautiful.  It's such a nice piece to wear all bundled up around your neck and shoulders.  I wear it with a shawl pin to hold the ends in.

I ran out of the blue/green yarn as I was starting the second wing, so I started to taper off the blue and increase the number of orange rows.  Then I started running out of orange, so I said "screw it" and I made the second wing shorter and round than the first (which is long and skinny and goes to a fine point like a triangular shawl wing).  It really makes no difference when I wear it, because I put the shorter end down first and wrap everything over top of it. 

I made a pair of Northman Mittens to replace my tired looking red Olympic mittens from 2010.  I wore those things down to grubby, filthy nubs, and I darned and patched them more times that I care to admit.  These mittens are my new deep winter double-thick mitts.  They are glorious.

I made them with worsted weight yarn knit on 2.25mm needles, which makes for this deliciously thick fabric.  Even without the lining, these would have been fine for cold winter needs, but the lining cleans up the inside and makes for a fun surprise when you peak inside.  I severely modified the lining mitten to make it fit inside.  When I followed the pattern as it was written, it was so cramped and crowded inside the mitten that it gave my hand a headache.  I ended up ripping it back and redoing the lining three times before I got it right.  My inner mitten has a lot fewer stitches, and I began the decreases for the finger tip area a lot sooner.  If you pulled out the inner lining and looked at it, it's quite pointy and ugly, but it fits beautifully inside the mitt.

I hammered out a pair of tweed cabled socks in a delectable golden hue.  These are Fall Mystery Socks, knitted up in my very first tweed yarn purchase from Rhinebeck.

Fuzzyhead's friend had her stomach removed because of cancer this year, so I made her a fox cowl hood so she could keep warm and toasty this winter.  This is an awesome pattern, and a quick knit.  All I want to do is knit these for every small child I know (which is none, I don't know any small children).  I knit this up in Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick, and I used every last scrap of yarn from two balls to make this.  Every.  Last.  Scrap.  I had 10" of yarn left to sew on both foxy ears, and that was a struggle.

 I started and finished a shawl for Slim Jim using the yarn I won at the 2012 Adjudicated Show.  This lovely ombre yarn was calling for a delicate lacy shawl, and that is was I gave her.  Enter, Out of Darkness

I included beads, because why not?  I purchased four little tubes of 6/0 glass seed beads from Michaels and only had to go back once to get more (I needed almost exactly 5 tubes to finish, with less than 20 beads leftover).  I blocked this beauty on the back of my purple couch (even if the day ever comes to get rid of that couch, I'm going to keep it for blocking purposes).

I used almost all of my pins to block all those pointy point points.  I finished the shawl quite late one night, and even though I was pumped to get it blocked and finished, I couldn't bare the idea of pinning all those points when I was anything but perky and well rested.  Slim Jim will likely receive the shawl next year, maybe for her birthday.

I made a Ninja Bike Mask, perfectly fitted to my face shape.  I used worsted weight yarn (in crappy acrylic, because I intend to wash this a lot, because, you know, sweating) and the instructions were clear and easy to follow for modifying.  It was really written more as a set of guidelines than as a formal pattern, which I appreciated for making it with whatever yarn I had lying around.

I got my entrelac on with this quick little knit, which helped me use up some Noro Silk Garden Sock.  This handsome little fellow is Grey Gardens, and it's super cute when my hair is up.

And finally, my other current work in progress is the Honey Cowl, featuring sweet sweet discounted Briar Rose DK yarn from Shall We Knit? in Waterloo.

This will be a gift for my other coworker, and it's also a lovely mindless knit for knits when I don't want to think. 

Up next for this kid, trying my hand at writing a pattern, and asking nicely that a few people try it out and tell me what you think.  Stay tuned!