More Headbands

So after making the What’s More Canadian headband with the wee sheepies, I fell in love with the ease and warmth of the design and, at my husband’s request, made the Canada design provided as part of the original design. As is my typical style I modified it by using a yarn over/k2tog to create a picot edge for the rolled edge.

I had chosen some Raspberry Patons Canadiana as my red but in natural light it is a bright pink, not a darker red that it really should be. So this will become mine and I now need to buy some darker red yarn for hubby’s version. (Yay, a hubby-approved visit to the yarn store is in my future!)

This morning, I decided to try making a thrummed version using some merino roving I picked up at Belfast Mini Mills in PEI last fall. I am adding the thrums every sixth stitch, and then knitting three rows and the next row of thrums are being staggered. It means I will only end up with about four rows of thrums but it will still create a lovely thick wind-proof headband for the cold windy days.

Things were going along tickety-boo until the cat decided to get in on the act. When I finally disengage him from the yarn, I will finish the headband, which will probably be tonight. These things work up fast, are excellent stash busters and ways to practise stranded knitting. Not to mention practical.

Even so I suspect a lot of headbands will be given as Christmas presents this year.

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Cast-Off: What’s More Canadian ear warmer

It is almost May and so many feeds of my friends here on WordPress and Instagram are celebrating springs and warm temps. But for Canadians, or at least this Canadian, the end of April doesn’t mean the flowers are out yet. Or at least it doesn’t this year. In fact, it was snowing two days which means we are still having to wear hats and mitts on our walks. Because I have let my hair get waist-length, and wear it in a ponytail most days, I get tired of wrestling with hats. (Yes, even with the messy bun hats I have made.) So I decided to make myself a headband, and after a few hours surfing on Ravelry, I decided upon a double-layer design by a Canadian designer. What’s More Canadian by Athena Forbes includes four different fair isle designs–a plaid design, the word Canada, a snowflake, and the Canadian “double double” stereotypical standard Canadian Tim Horton’s coffee order. Athena also included graphs and info on how to adjust her design for your own fair isle pattern. Which thrilled me because I love playing with designs like that.

Pattern: What’s More Canadian Ear Warmer

Designer: Athena Forbes

Cost: $5.00 Cdn through Ravelry

Yarn I used: Patons North America Canadiana

Colourway: Teal Heather, black and white

Started April 27th

Finished April 30th

I have complained here before about how I am a tight knitter so was worried about it affecting this headband, but for this design, wow, I knit really loosely. I guess I subconsciously was afraid of having the floats pull the pattern out of shape. Ultimately it turned out to not matter.

The pattern is knit in the round, with enough rounds at the top and bottom of the pattern that are rolled over to form a tube and joined with a Kitchener stitch, which makes it a double, almost triple layer because of the floats. So super warm.

For the fair isle part, I deviated from Athena’s designs provided with the pattern and substituted the sheepies and alpaca from the “I’ll Pack a Cowl for Rhinebeck” cowl because it has been on my ‘I want, I want, I want” list for ages. The designer for it made a note that she carried the strands all the way around for the neck and head for the alpaca which is not usually recommended for stranded knitting, or to use smaller strands like for intarsia, and that she recommended using a duplicate stitch or a French knot for the eye. Follow her recommendations. Even switching to intarsia for the neck and head, I am not happy with my results. (That is on my poor skills, not her design.) If I make it again, and I do like it a lot so will make another, I think I will switch the alpaca out for another sheep. Or fiddle with duplicate stitch until I get a result I am happy with.

I love love love ❤️ the final product and will definitely be making more, in the original designers patterns, and more of my own, both for myself and family and friends.

Cast-off: Wee Morrie Bonnet

This was an extremely quick and easy newborn-sized pattern that I started late Saturday night (enough to complete the brim, so about an hour) and bound off before the golf game ended Sunday afternoon. I used the Sirdar Snuggly Spots DK I complained about the other day, but it worked fine for this pattern. It turned out just as cute as I had hoped.

I must admit that I made some modifications. I changed Kelly’s garter stitch brim into a roll-over brim by doing six rows of stockinette stitch, then a row of “k2tog, yo” then another six rows of stockinette stitch. For the fourteenth row I picked up the provisional cast-on, folded the brim over and knitted the two rows together so the yarn overs became a lovely little picot edge. I also changed the garter stitch edges around the neck to a four stitch I-cord edge. There was nothing wrong with Kelly’s original design, I just couldn’t leave well enough alone.


Pattern: Wee Morrie bonnet

Designed by: Kelly Van Niekerk

Yarn used: Sirdar Snuggly Spots DK

Pattern provides instructions so it can be knit flat or in-the-round. I knit the in-the-round option.

Pattern is free.

Modifications were made, as listed above and on my project page on Ravelry.

WIP check-in

I am one of those knitters who keeps several projects on the needles at the same time. I get bored quickly so having multiple projects on the go lets me pick up something different when a WIP gets stale. One down side is when several projects require the same size needles. Thank heavens for interchangeable needles where I can leave the stitches on the wire and borrow the needles for a different project. (My bank account appreciates it too, since I am always tempted to hit up the LYS for more Chiagoo needles 😜.)

At the moment I have two blankets on the go: 1) the Pine Forest Blanket, which is currently about halfway done for the stroller sized blanket I had planned, is the easiest and most likely to be finished before…#2) the Building Blocks Blanket, which is about halfway done too. But I have realized it can only successfully be worked on when the cat is not on my lap, since he loves grabbing the tiny spools of intarsia yarn dangling from the piece. Which means I generally can only pick it up on the weekends when my hubby is sitting in the same room (watching golf). Because yes, when there is a choice between my constant movement to hubby’s lap, the cat chooses hubby every time. Although that doesn’t seem true when we are watching television on weekday evenings. I have no idea why.

Roman Soldier–The body is done, so is the hair, though it needs a lot more clipping and then to be fuzzed. I made a helmet but even over a full head of hair, the helmet is too big so I frogged it and need to try again. I am going to have to do some experimenting and either use a smaller hook or adjust the number of stitches. But my cold was interfering with my thinking ability so I put it down for a couple of days. I still have to do a couple of epaulets, and the sword and scabbard but I suspect they should work up quickly.

Nordic Trail vest. I only have the button bands left to pick up and knit, but for some reason I am intimidated about them. I have made multiple sweaters where I had to pick up for a button band before but this adult sized band worries me. Okay, I admit it, I tried once and had trouble picking up equal number of stitches on each side. I know I need to place markers on each side to break it into parts to help keep track, but still, I find it intimidating on this project for some reason. I think I need a day without any distractions. No family interrupting and no cat or dog climbing over me. That would definitely help.

It isn’t you, it’s me. Again.

Disclaimer: As I noted before when I started this blog, I do not claim to be a knitting expert. Despite my mother’s efforts to teach me to knit when I was a preteen, I never really took to it. It took me over 45 more years before I finally got the hang of it thanks to taking some lessons at my LYS in 2014. So I still consider myself a newbie in the craft.

These days I choose patterns that will further my knitting education, that will teach me a new stitch or technique. Most times I do great. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I fail quite spectacularly. I own my own mistakes, either for not following the pattern properly because I misread something, or my knitting is too tight or…well there are any number of reasons. And sometimes I did everything right, I just don’t like the final product. It happens. Anyway, I want to keep track of some of my failures here too so I can come back later once my knitting improves and try them again.

#1: a pilot-type baby bonnet: I originally chose the “pilot”-type design because it covers little ears and ties beneath the chin so it keeps the tykes warm through our Canadian temps. The particular pattern I chose is designed for newborn, 3/6-9 months, and 9-12/12-18 months, where those size changes are made not by changing the number of stitches but by changing the weight of the yarn and size of the needles. I used the same yarn the pattern called for though I had to size down from US size 2.5/3.mm to US 1/2.25 mm needles to get the 8 stitches per inch gauge the pattern called for for the newborn size but even at that gauge, the swatch is…how do I explain it, stiffer, or more inflexible, than I think a baby bonnet should be. Still I forged ahead and cast on for the newborn size and wow, it is huge. It would fit a 4 year old. Now the designer says it does tend to size on the larger size, and the comments on Ravelry indicated I wasn’t the only one having this problem. But I won’t blame the pattern, which is why I don’t want to name it here, mainly because two similar DROPS patterns call for the same sized needles, and fingering weight yarn and to cast on nearly exactly the same number of stitches. But there are enough other patterns available that I think this one is not going to be attempted again.

#2: the Wave of Light baby bonnet, which is a pretty lacy pattern that was easy enough to knit but halfway through, I looked at it and thought, “it isn’t working” and frogged the whole thing. I have since realized that the problem is not with the pattern, but the yarn choice. I used Sirdar Snuggly DK yarn but while it did fine for the Vertebrae cardi, and would work for blankets and cables, it doesn’t have the memory or the body it needs for this lacy pattern. So I may try again with a different yarn in the future.

#3: Vivid blanket squares, which is definitely a problem with me not the pattern. I adore the projects others have made. They look so beautiful. And I am very disappointed to shelf this project. But I have knitted two squares so far, testing two different yarns, using both DPNs and circular needles, and wow, the cursing that comes out of me while getting through the first few rounds is…scary. Ultimately I decided I prefer to use DPNs over circular needles. Except if I use worsted weight yarn, there are too many stitches to fit on my 9″/23cm DPNs and I don’t want to make it in fingering weight. I checked my LYSs for longer DPNs but none of them carry over 8″ needles. One of the clerks suggested I try two circular needles but I can’t see myself going for that, the pattern is fiddly enough. So it is definitely me that is the problem, not the pattern. But I own it now, so maybe one day in the future I will try it again. If I buy longer needles online.

#4: I tried another Beloved bonnet. Again, it is a project I really want to love. But with the second iteration, I started having problems with the German short row turns. Which is weird because I had no problems with it on the first hat. The stitch where I do the turn is too loose, too uneven, so it looks ugly up that side. Now I have knitted wrap and turns with great success in the dozen or so socks I have made, and plus have knitted this bonnet once already, but never had this problem before. I spent a morning viewing various YouTube videos to try and figure out what I was doing wrong, to no avail. But I am determined to figure it out. So I will try to make another, but I need to practice my German short row technique. Or find an acceptable W&T substitute. So again, it is me, not the pattern. Or now that I think about it, maybe it is the yarn, since this was attempted in the same Sirdar Snuggly. Huh, why didn’t I think of that before?

And I can guarantee you, I will probably try almost all of these patterns again. I am just that stubborn. No, that is too negative. Let’s change stubborn to determined. There, that’s better.