Hats of All Shapes and Sizes

HatFirstComissionThis winter has been all about hats.

An ear-flap hat as my first commission ever. Another bear earflap hat and mittens when the first one turned out to be too small for the toddler. (I was gutted!) A hat for my Secret Santa to keep her cozy as she walks her English bulldog. A hat for an old friend. Dozens of hats with massive pompoms falling off my loom like snowflakes from the clouds.

There’s no sweeter project when you’re camped in front of the TV watching White Christmas for the millionth-and-a-half time. And since I kept seeing those massive pom-poms all over town in the last couple of months, I figured this was the year for cranial snuggles.

And you know what? It’s nice to do a few projects that aren’t a labour to create, and yet still manage to be crowd-pleasers.

I’m sure a lot of you think this is cheating, but I love the knifty knitter loom. Here’s the way to create perfect hats every time.

On a 36 peg round loom:

-Six rows of alternatingHat1GreenMark *knit 2 stitches, purl two stitches*

-19-25 rows of e-wrapped knit stitches (depending on how long you want your hat and if you want it to be slouchy.)

-Begin decreasing by taking the loop of every fourth peg and putting it on the peg to the right. Knit off all these moved stitches. Then e-wrap all the remaining pegs (this would be three pegs in a row, then a space).

-Continue decreasing by taking the middle stitch of every remaining block of three stitches and moving it to the right. Knit off these stitches. E-wrap all the remaining pegs (this would be every other peg on the loom).

-I’m probably doing a poor job of explaining this. Here’s a great video on decreasing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui8hc5-uT4k

-Take your working yarn and wrap it around the whole loom. Cut it, leaving a long tail. Then use the working yarn and pull it through each stitch. Using you knitting tool take all the stitches off the pegs and pull the yarn to close the top of the hat.

-Tie it off on the inside of the hat.

HatOutdoorStripeHatDetailStripe

So, what have you been working on this week?

xo

Jacquie

Holiday Spending Hang-Ups

Stressed out holiday shoppers are planning to spend less on gifts this year, a new study shows.

And I, for one, couldn’t be more relieved.

After another year of wedding-related events and new baby festivities, I’m strapped for cash. And yet, somehow all my friends are buying up houses all around me. Man, I’ve got to get more money in the bank.

Fortunately, it’s trendy to be cheap this year. A recent study done by the Bank of Montreal indicates that Canadians will spend an average $1,517 on the holiday season in 2014. That’s a more than 16 per cent drop from last year. I can only assume it’ll be the same for our friends south of the border, given the state of the economic recovery.

In that bank’s study, most of the drop came not from travel plans, but from gift costs. No doubt the Pinterest crowd is having some influence here. More upcycling and baking, less mass consumerism.

But the reminder that gift-giving time is around the corner is both exciting and frightening. I’ve gained a lot of new skills with which to make more complicated crocheted and loomed gifts this year, but I’d better start my engine! Time to make a gift list…

Meanwhile, I’m snuggling up in this beauty that I made to go with my new winter coat.

Victorian Cuff 1

It’s just a single panel made on the knitting loom, using the classic loom stitch over 24 pegs — 12 on each side. (Here’s a tutorial on that twisted knit stitch if you need a reminder).

I measured it around my neck as I went and when I figured I could slip my head through, I bound it off and tied a ribbon through it like a shoelace.

I figured the best way to do this was by putting a needle on the end of each end of ribbon and threading it through one side at a time. I cut about four feet or ribbon to let the tails hang extra long, but you could do less. I also secured the ends by melting them close to a candle flame to stop them from fraying. An alternative would be to tie them in knots.

The yarn I used was Loops and Threads Cozy Wool in a kind of mustard colour.

So, what did you do this week?

xo Jacquie