FO: The Turtle Hat

I swear one of these days I’ll catch up on photographing my newer projects and current WIPs so I can share. Until then, have another project from last Christmas. 😉
Today’s project is The Turtle Hat. If you guessed that this hat was a gift for anyone other than my father-in-law, you would be wrong!

To give a little background on this project let’s rewind to Christmas of 2014. My father-in-law saw the crocheted helmet that I made for T and requested a turtle hat. Because y’know… Helmet, turtle hat. They’re almost the same thing.
That’s the short story, but I feel like I should mention that he was very specific about it. He told me in great detail that the hat should be the body of the turtle and it was necessary that it have a cute, floppy head and legs.

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I wasn’t very confident in my crochet skills at the time so for Christmas that year, I made him a hat with a turtle applique on it as a stand-in until I felt like I could pull off the ultimate turtle hat. (Check my entry here for more info on that.)

I let my desire to make a real turtle hat simmer for a few years until I felt confident that I could pull off what was asked of me. The biggest decision I had to make with this project was whether I should make the head and legs in a tube shape and stuff them. I was worried that they would get in the way more than anything, so I ultimately decided to do the cute little flaps instead.

Another design decision that I was unsure about was how to create a turtle shell texture. I almost made individual pentagonal pieces to attach to the hat, but I thought that would make it too heavy and/or stiff. It would also be much more time consuming than I was prepared for. Surface crochet it is!

And that’s how I ended up with this fella.

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I’m really proud of how he came out considering I created this pattern on the fly. There are a few things I might do differently, if I made it again.

  1. I would make the inside lines thicker. I did a double line on the bottom, but I did single lines on the inside. (Or I might even do the idea with the pentagonal pieces sewed on and then surface stitch across the seams.)
  2. I would make double the amount of flaps and stuff them lightly so they would have a little more dimension.
  3. I would make the surface stitches looser. I made them loose enough where the hat would still stretch, but there was a little bit of an issue with the fit being a hair tight around the bottom band.

As with the last project, I still have the pattern notes so if anyone would like to see a pattern written for this, let me know in the comments! 🙂

Thanks for reading! xoxo

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FO: Ravenclaw Pride

Whew, 2017 was a doozy, wasn’t it? Maybe it’s just me, but I was pretty excited at the prospect of starting anew in 2018. And of course I made a couple resolutions for this year; I’ve decided to keep a bullet journal to help keep me focused on tasks that need to be done, including posting regularly in this blog again.

So, for my first post of the New Year, I want to share an FO from the end of 2017 that I think is my favorite project ever!

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This was my first ever stranded knitting project, Hogwarts During the Holidays by Emily Gaynier. It’s a free pattern that includes color charts for every Hogwarts house. Of course I had to have one to show my Ravenclaw pride, but I enjoyed knitting this so much that I almost want to make the other houses just for fun.

For this project, I used Patons Classic Wool Worsted; one 100g skein of each color was enough to finish the hat, add a cute pom-pom on top, and still have a little left over. I also altered the pattern a little. It called for one of those tucked brims, but I added visible ribbing instead. I liked the way it looked and it made the hat a little slouchier, which I thought was cute.

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I was so excited to try stranded knitting for the first time in a project. I’ve done little swatches to practice the technique before so I had a little confidence in my ability by the time I started this project. It still came out better than I thought it would! Even the inside of the hat came out nice and neat!

If you are interested in stranded knitting, but aren’t sure where to start, I highly recommend the following videos:

VeryPink Knits Learn to Knit Fair Isle (3 part series)
Positioning the Yarns and Catching Long Floats by Knit Purl Hunter

I watched them when I was first dabbling in colorwork and again when I started to do this project. They really helped me wrap my head around what I was supposed to be doing.

I already have another couple projects lined up so I’ll be back soon with those!

Thanks for reading and happy new year! ❤

Broken computer + FOs

You know those days where it feels like nothing goes according to plan? I’ve had a string of days like that for the past couple months. After my last post, I got to work on some blog-related things that I had pushed to the side, and I was really excited to start blogging regularly again. However, the universe decided to give me and my enthusiasm a swift kick in the ribs in the form of my PC failing. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get it to stay on for longer than a few seconds; not even enough time to get to the BIOS menu!

Fortunately, I’ve since figured out what was wrong and fixed it. After waiting over a month on a warranty claim for the wrong part. And replacing another part that wasn’t broken. And then finding out it was a part that I had a replacement for all along. Computers are complicated… (Turned out the pump in my water cooler failed, by the way.)

The good news is I’m back and hoping to catch up with my blog, assuming everything plays out as planned. (Cautiously optimistic…)

With that said, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been working on these past couple months. Firstly, I’ve been writing a new pattern and prepping one for posting that I wrote ages ago. I won’t reveal what they are just yet, but I’m very excited to finally share them.

I’ve also been practicing handspinning with my DIY drop spindle. My first time spinning was a blobby mess, which disheartened me a little. I ended up shoving my spindle and roving into the back of my closet and forgetting about it for a few months. I pulled it out again a couple weeks ago, determined to make some progress. I’m now able to spin rather fine singles that I’m going to be plying into a finished yarn. Hoping to have a post out about that soon!

Last but not least, I have some FOs to share! Excuse the bad quality of these pictures. I had to use my phone to take them before gifting since I couldn’t use my PC to get the pictures off my Canon.

20170501_174308-01 Years and years ago, I bought a crochet water bottle cozy from a lady at a local craft festival. My dad has said ever since that he wished he had one, so I went ahead and made one for him!

This pattern is simply called Water Bottle Cozy, and it’s free on Ravelry. The original pattern had a pretty small strap on it, so I altered it just a bit so that it was longer to accommodate my dad’s larger build and wider so that it wouldn’t stretch out of shape like my old one did.

I just used plain ol’ Red Heart (in Light Sage) for this, as I had a ton of it just sitting in my stash. I don’t know where it came from, but I had like 3 skeins worth of it… Yup.

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And I finally worked up a crochet version of the famous Jayne Cobb hat! This one was for my dad for Father’s Day. I’ve wanted to knit myself one of these for ages and ages though! I opted for the crochet version because I started it at the last minute and needed something that would work up fast. I’m definitely going to get some yarn in the correct colors and properly knit one up for me. I need one.

I found this Jayne Cobb Hat crochet pattern for free on Ravelry. The lady who wrote it also has a knitted pattern available. I made this one using Red Heart again (Light Sage and Cafe, I think?) and decided to use the green and brown because my dad told me he prefers earthy colors.

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This last one, I’ve made once before for someone else. I finally got around to making one for me, just in time for me to read Harry Potter again.

I actually made two in an effort to use up the last of that awful cro-sheen yarn I bought just for this project. I gifted the second one, but haven’t yet heard how the recipient liked it.

You can find the pattern on Ravelry for free. I used one ball each of J&P Coats Metallic Knit-Cro-Sheen in white/silver and gold/gold. It’s difficult to spot in the pictures, but there’s a strand of metallic stuff twisted with the yarn. It gives it a really cool look, but that stuff was a nightmare to crochet with. I kept splitting the metallic part from the yarn by accident or unwinding it somehow. Ugh.

I have a couple WIPs I’m working on right now, but I’m going to wait until next time to share those~

I love duplicate stitch!

I’ve dabbled in colorwork a little bit in the past, knitting up little swatches of fair isle or striping, but I’ve never attempted to incorporate colorwork into a project. Colorwork kind of terrifies me, to be honest. I’m afraid to ruin a perfectly good project and hours of labor because I’ve made it halfway through a project only to realize that I miscounted my rows or stitches, my design is off, or some other knitting mishap like that. I know it’s silly to think that way because I’ll never make progress if I don’t try. Which is why I’ve decided stick my toes in the water and see how it feels.

In my last post, I showed off my first attempts at colorwork with my striped beanie and my Overwatch hat. And now I regret being afraid of colorwork all this time! It was much simpler than I first thought it would be, and there weren’t any major hiccups. Of course, I wasn’t doing anything super advanced, but still, through this experience, I think I’ve overcome my aversion.

Also, I’ve completely fallen in love with duplicate stitch! For those of you that aren’t familiar with the technique, it’s when you take a tapestry needle and make copies of (or duplicate) your knit stitches on top of your work using different colored yarn to make a design. It’s much simpler than intarsia or fair isle because you knit the item using just one color all the way through, then you come in later and add the design.

I’ve had a ton of fun coming up with ideas for designs, and the Overwatch hat was so popular that I got a request for a custom piece! I probably won’t do any more pieces like this because it’s just too time consuming, especially considering some of the other things going on in my life right now. But it came out great so I wanted to post it!

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The recipient chose the colors and told me the designs they wanted so I did the best I could. They seemed super pleased with the work.

I guess what I’m trying to say with this post is this: if you’ve never tried duplicate stitch before, you really ought to give it a shot. It’s amazing and the amount of things you can do with it is literally endless.

For anyone who wants to try it, you can find a great video tutorial by Knit Purl Hunter here.

Christmas 2016

Even though I told myself that I wouldn’t make handmade Christmas gifts this year, I ended up making some anyway. As before, I wanted to share them here since I’m really happy with how they came out.

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First, I made several bath poufs for my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law. I packaged them with some facial masks, bubble bath, and bath salts. Unfortunately, the bath pouf in the picture isn’t one of the ones I gifted. I didn’t have time to take pictures of them. It’s the same pattern though!

I kind of hate those plastic bath poufs that you buy at the store. It’s almost impossible to clean and rinse them out completely. Once they mold and start to smell, there’s nothing you can do except throw them away. (And they don’t even clean that well!)

These cotton poufs are awesome though! The texture of the yarn scrubs really well and leaves you feeling super clean. Once you’ve used it, you can just throw it into the wash and they’re clean and ready to go next time.

I guess the argument could be made that you could just make regular washcloths, but bath poufs are so fun! I had to make at least one. (But I really made four.)

The pattern is just called “Bath Pouf“, and I used one skein of cotton yarn for each pouf.

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I’ve been really keen to write a few hat patterns lately, so I decided to make some hats to become more familiar with their construction. This particular hat has been in my library on Ravelry for a while now. I can’t believe I’m just now getting around to it!

One of the coolest things about this pattern is the neat little pin-striping effect you get. I love finding new techniques for unique designs so I think I’ll be trying this on other projects!

The pattern is All Grown Up Striped Slouch hat.

I crocheted it with Caron Simply Soft and Lion Brand Heartland. The colors matched so well, and I feel like the difference in the fiber really added some interest!

Last but not least, my colorwork debut!

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My brother-in-law loves the game Overwatch so I knew exactly what to make for him for Christmas! And he loved it, yay! I know he loved it because he wore it out in public… I know, right!?

Clearly, this is my most successful gift to date!

The body of the hat was made using the pattern Siksak, but I made the design myself and stitched it on using duplicate stitch. It was my first time ever trying duplicate stitch, but I’m in love with it. I never want to knit anything plain ever again!

I used Caron Simply Soft for the whole thing. It came out so fluffy and warm!

All in all, everyone seemed pleased with their Christmas gifts. I was so relieved to see how well they were received.

So, friends, do you make gifts for Christmas? What do you think was the best and/or worst gift you ever gave? Looking forward to seeing your stories in the comments!