Summer Hair Band #2 [Pattern Updated]

Between a huge workload of sewing in my store and my participation in Tour-de-Sock (an international sock knitting competition) it has taken a lot to complete this project. I actually designed another one in a Fair Isle inspired pattern but as cute as it is, it isn’t a summer hair band. This is a columned lace pattern and SURPRISE, it incorporates a horizontal buttonhole and beads this time.

Over the last two weeks I presented a number of videos covering many variations of the buttonhole. In today’s project we use a horizontal buttonhole. If you didn’t watch the video selection from 2 weeks ago I would encourage you to do so. Feel free to incorporate what you like from those methods into this work. Today I will include a video to show how to add beads to this project. It’s actually really easy. You will need #6 beads (this means six beads lined up side by side measure an inch) You can use #5 beads if you happen to have them. I think that #8 would be a bit too fine but you could always try if you have some on hand. I wouldn’t go any bigger than a #5 though… unless you like the look of it.

Watch the video before you do it.

For this project you will either use a fine crochet hook (it has to fit through the hole in the bead) or the “Superfloss” method. I recommend the Superfloss method if you will be going to the beach (or anywhere actually) to knit, or if you have kids or cats around you when you knit.

I used leftover Malabrigo Sock yarn for this project, but any sock weight yarn will do. A fine cotton yarn (like a #10 crochet cotton) could work as well. Because you will measure it to fit your head the gauge isn’t critical on this one.

The stitches of this hairband will tend to pull together to create a dense looking fabric. However if you take the time to block it, you will get a pretty ladder-like lace pattern on either side of what looks like a braid (even though no cabling is required).

Here’s the pattern!

I hope you enjoy this pattern. Happy knitting!

Advertisements

More Knitted Buttonholes

Last week I gathered a number of videos together that demonstrate horizontal knitted buttonholes. There are other ways to make buttonholes in a knitted garment. Today I’ll touch on three more types:

  1. Yarn-Over (Eyelet) Buttonholes,
  2. Vertical Buttonholes and
  3. “Afterthought” Button Loops.

If you are making something that can use small buttons, like a baby sweater or a headband, you can actually use an eyelet as a buttonhole. These are technically called yarn-over buttonholes, but you often see them called eyelet buttonholes as well. In my Summer Hair Band #1 pattern from a number of weeks ago, the pattern is made up of staggered rows of eyelets and you actually use a row of those eyelets as buttonholes. These are very easy to make and work well for relatively small buttons.

Yarn-Over/Eyelet Buttonhole over 1 stitch (in stockinette stitch and 1×1 ribbing)

Yarn-Over Eyelet Buttonhole over 2 stitches (in 2×2 ribbing)

This is an excellent video. She explains and demonstrates how to avoid interrupting the knitted pattern very nicely in this video.

 

Next we have a demonstration of the vertical buttonhole. Vertical buttonholes are not the most stable, but they do look quite nice and discreet. They are not difficult, but they are a little more fussy to do. This is only because you have to use an additional piece of yarn and then weave in the ends afterward.

Vertical Buttonhole

 

Another way to add a buttonhole is to create a button loop after the garment is completed. The nice thing about this technique is that it doesn’t interrupt the knitting process as you go. This means that it doesn’t change any pattern you have knitted in. Also, you can actually put off deciding what size buttons you want to use until after the garment is complete.

Button Loop (or Afterthought Buttonhole) using 3 strands

 

The previous video shows the process of making a button loop close up and slowly. The next one shows you the entire process right to the end on an obvious garment. You can actually see how it looks in relation to the garment. The only thing I would add to these is that I would actually put the intended button through the loop before I commit to the size so I’m sure it will work for the button I want. If you haven’t chosen a button, I would say at least decide what size of button you want to use so that the proportion appeals to you.

 

Button Loop (Afterthought Buttonhole) using 2 strands

 

I hope that this selection of videos will be helpful to you. Most patterns will give you directions for the type of buttonhole that the designer intends. Having an overview of the different types of buttonholes possible can help to understand those directions a little easier. Also, if you find that you don’t like the style that a designer has proposed, you have the tools to be able to swap it out for one that you prefer.

It’s good to have options! 🙂

I want to add a little side-note about YouTube videos. I absolutely love the fact that so many people share their skills in this amazing and easily accessible format. I have the utmost respect for them, for their time and their skill and their willingness to share that. I share links to these videos with that in mind. When you find a YouTuber that explains and demonstrates things in a way that works well for you, I encourage you to subscribe to their channel. There are loads of fantastic videos out there.

Show your love and appreciation by liking, sharing and subscribing for these amazing and creative people.

Knitted Horizontal Buttonholes

Have you ever avoided a knitting pattern because it included buttonholes? I have to admit, I haven’t always been particularly proud of my knitted buttonholes. I decided it was time to do something about it. After a bunch of YouTube tutorials and some practice I’m feeling a lot better about it and I thought I would share my exploration with you.

There are a number of ways to knit buttonholes.

In today’s blog I will only talk about horizontal buttonholes. We’ll expand into other territory next week. Essentially, making this type of buttonhole requires that you cast off enough stitches to create a big enough hole for your button size and then cast them on again.

There are two basic approaches to knitting horizontal buttonholes:

  • the one-row
  • and the two-row.

The one-row buttonhole does this all in one procedure over (you guessed it) one row.

The biggest advantage to this is that you can check the size against your button right away.

If it doesn’t fit well, you don’t have to frog very much to change it. For the two-row buttonhole, you cast off, knit to the end of the row, return on the wrong side and then cast on to complete the buttonhole. Although there are really just two ways to do this, if you have ever done a search for horizontal buttonhole tutorials you will discover that there seems to be an endless list of them. Why?! Because there are a lot of different cast on methods that you can choose from to complete your buttonhole. Also, some methods reinforce the beginning and/or end of the buttonholes while others don’t.

I am a firm believer that every one of us needs to find their favourite way to do things.

I recommend that you knit up a swatch and give these various methods a try. Chances are you will find one that you love the look, construction and method for. I tried to sift through what I found on YouTube and organize a variety of them for you.

Simple two-row buttonhole (with backward loop cast on).

This is an easy and very straightforward buttonhole. I personally am not inspired by this one although it certainly does the job. I find that it doesn’t look the nicest compared to others and it has a tendency to stretch out. If you are really careful to keep the stitches snug at the beginning of it, that can help. It’s definitely nice and easy. 🙂

Find here

Simple two-row buttonhole (with cable cast on).

The cable cast on method gives a sturdier top edge to the buttonhole. This is easy to do and I have found that when I do it this way it doesn’t stretch out quite as easily as the previous one.

Find Here

Reinforced two-row buttonhole

This one does seem a little complicated when you first watch it. It’s worth giving it a go though. After you do it a couple times it starts to make more sense.

Find Here

My personal preference is to do a one-row buttonhole. Again, the differences are mainly in the type of cast on used.

One-row buttonhole (using twisted purl-wise cast on).

This is a great buttonhole for garter stitch or seed stitch. The twisted purl-wise cast on is a nice easy one to do; similar to the cable cast on and not very stretchy compared to the backward loop cast on, for instance. This disappears into the “ditch” of the garter stitch.

Find here

One row buttonhole (using crochet cast on).

This buttonhole looks really nice because the cast on creates a chain along the top that mirrors the cast off.

Find here

Reinforced one-row buttonhole. This one is very strong and it doesn’t stretch out. It also looks attractive. It does tend to pull in at the sides just a bit.

Find here

Tight One-row buttonhole

This is a pretty cool (and really easy) buttonhole. It makes a sturdy buttonhole that won’t stretch out. And because of that it’s great that you can test it immediately to be sure that the button will fit.

As I mentioned there are endless videos of buttonhole demonstrations. I’m sure there are many that I didn’t even get to. But this sampling should help if you want to explore a few. With any luck one of them will stand out and maybe even become your new favourite.

Happy knitting!

Happy 150th Birthday Canada!

I was born in British Columbia, Canada, to German immigrants. I can only imagine the courage it took for my parents to leave everything familiar, pack up what little they had at the time (and despite knowing very little English) take the long trip to this amazing place that I now call home. I’m glad they did.

I love Canada!

Anyone who has read a few of my blog posts will know that I love fibre arts. I love anything to do with fabric, thread, yarn. That love comes directly from a long line of fibre-loving women from whom I descended. You may not know that I love music just as much. This love of music was also passed down through a long line of music loving ancestors.

I am a

  • Classically trained singer,
  • Vocal teacher,
  • I’m a songwriter and

I play

  • piano,
  • guitar,
  • flute
  • and a bunch of other instruments

(though no where near well enough that I’d want anyone to hear those). My parents told me that I sang before I spoke. I remember being able to memorize songs after hearing them a mere 3 times as a child. (Those days are in the past).

On July 1st this year, Canada celebrates 150 years.

It got me thinking about the songs that I have associated with Canada Day since I was a child. I hope you can humour me as I take a Canadian trip through my musical memories and share them with you.

The first video link I want to share is a song called “Canada Is“. When I first learned this song in school, I was struck by how much there is to this country. It made me feel so proud to be Canadian. My teacher would laugh at me because I could never get through it without sobbing. I still get sentimental and proud when I hear this song and I still can’t get through it without crying.

This next video is a delightful spoof on the previous song as performed by the Muppets in Montreal back in 2012.

This next video link is to C-A-N-A-D-A. It wasn’t until my children were all grown up that I stumbled on the following Video sung by Raffi. If I had known he had recorded it I would have played it for my kids along with his other CD’s that we played endlessly!

And if Canada Is made me cry, you can only imagine what this next one did! I had no idea that there was an American version of this song until much later. When I heard it, I was convinced they had stolen our song. Of course, that’s silly. When I was 10 years old I learned the chords for this on my guitar and fully intended to sing it at a school Canada Day assembly. My teacher had me sing it to her before clearing me to be on the program; she gave me 3 tries and finally ruled that although the sobs of pride were endearing, I really did need to be able to sing it without crying. I wonder whether I could do it now? LOL

One of the things I love about the CBC is the Canada Vignettes video shorts that have been tucked between programs for as long as I can remember. One of my all time favourites (besides The Cat Came Back) is the Log Driver’s Waltz. There is just something so delightful about it that I just never get tired of it. Here is the link:

I could go on, but that would be straight-up self indulgence! I am deeply grateful to all those that came before me who made this country what it is.

To all the First Nations peoples and the countless immigrants who evolved this country into what it is today, I thank you.

I love my home in the Monashee mountains of British Columbia and I wouldn’t trade it for all the world.

To all my fellow Canadians: Happy Canada Day!

(Judy does a happy dance a la Kermit the Frog.)

And next week, we’ll get back to yarn-ie stuff again. 😀

Image by Harry Sandhu

Shifting Perspective

I doubt it matters where you live or who you are, life perpetually lays before us an unending series of challenges and responsibilities. It just is.

Life is life.

When it gets overwhelming it’s important to carve out time for the things that bring us peace, pleasure and a way to break from the pressures and responsibilities of life.

As owner operator of a small business in a small town, I talk to a lot of people. I consider it a privilege that my regular customers allow me a glimpse into their lives. What I have noticed is that without a doubt, we are all the same. Yeah, the flavours of our challenges vary a bit, but it’s the same for everyone. Life is an ebb and flow of experiences that range from delightful to dreadful with every conceivable piece of the spectrum in between. Life is life.

When I start to feel overwhelmed with my responsibilities and the challenges they present me it’s easy to feel like I’m alone in the struggle.

But I’m not.

That feeling of overwhelm is very real. It can undermine my capacity to function well. And we all face the same struggle, every day. Often what feels like a struggle to me pales next to the woman whose daughter is recovering from a brain injury and is not the girl she was before her accident. Wow! Sharing stories about our struggles can help us to let go of the pressure (if only for a little while) and to reset our perspective.

Since opening my business I have been striving to find a healthy balance in life. It’s really easy to let business take over and the needs of my customers become the most important thing in my life.

But that’s not healthy.

Years ago a woman told me that the work she did to earn money was just a way to earn money. She had no attachment or sentiment toward that work. It was simply the thing she did so that she had the money to live her life. She considered the time outside of her work hours to be her life. Part of me admired her detachment while another part of me tried to imagine whether I was capable of doing that… or would want to.

I think for me, the bottom line comes down to perspective. When the current perspective results in undue stress, resetting it is vital. There was a time when I believed that to show anyone my struggle was a sign of weakness. I have mostly been that little duck that seems serene from what you see above the surface of the lake, but whose legs are busy, paddling like mad to keep it all together. These days, the people closest to me recognize that life is life. We can be there for each other without the need to compete, judge or blame. And what a relief that is. It makes resetting perspective so much easier.

There was a time when sewing was the thing I did to break away. Now of course sewing is my livelihood. So at the end of a day of sewing for my customers, sewing doesn’t offer me what I need for myself.  These days, knitting is that thing that I carve out space for. It’s my oasis; my mental health break. I love the fact that it can be meditative, or challenging or fun or all of that. It can be a quiet personal retreat or it can be social.

One of the things I love about our “Social Saturdays Stitching Circles” is that it creates a regular scheduled time to sit and knit with other people; to talk about our lives; to share in an activity that brings us joy, peace, and a wonderful creative outlet; to break away from the usual routine and all those responsibilities.

It’s a time to make sure that my perspective matches my core values.

Most important it’s a weekly reminder for me that it’s the close relationships in my life that deserve top billing, always.

Who knew that knitting could be that powerful?

Fair Isle Explorations

It’s been a week of knitting exploration for me. I mentioned two weeks ago that I signed up for my first ever sock knitting competition. Although the competition officially starts on July 15th, the bonus “warm-up” pattern was released upon signing up. It was a stranded colour-work pattern. Something I had not done before.

Since signing up I was motivated to complete the two pairs of socks that I had on needles. I finished them both and then proceeded to take on the warm-up pattern.

Here is a photo of the completed “Gimli” socks that I showed you two weeks ago.

I loved making these socks. The pattern was challenging; even more challenging because I chose to knit them in black yarn. I swear that black yarn truly sucks all the light from the room like Albus Dumbledore’s “deluminator”. If you don’t have excellent light your chances of messing up increase exponentially. Of course, the sense of accomplishment is fantastic completing something so challenging. These were a gift for my son and have since been sent off to him.

The other pair that I finished was Hermione’s Everyday Socks. If I do this pattern again, I will cast it on 8 stitches smaller than the size I usually do. There is not a lot of stretch in the pattern and they ended up bigger than I expected. They feel a bit like slipper socks on me. They were easy to do and I love the heel on them.

The warm-up bonus pattern for the sock competition is a secret to all but those participating in the Tour-de-Sock competition.

Because of this, I will not give the name or show any photographs of the sock or links to the pattern until after the competition completes in September.

I was excited to get the chance to do some colour-work without the pressure of competition. The last time I attempted colour-work was about 27 years ago so I thought I would do some research before I got started.

I’m so grateful for YouTube!

I found the following videos very helpful. The first link is to a playlist of videos about Fair Isle Knitting. It was definitely worth taking the time to watch numerous videos to take in the tips and get an overview of what to watch out for.

 

 

I learned a lot making this pair of socks.

Normally I like to knit socks two at a time (2aat). Because this was a new technique to me, I thought I would work one sock at a time to minimize any confusion. In future I will definitely knit them 2aat.

Adjusting the tension on the colour-work is a bit tricky. The floats (strands of yarn that span more than one stitch on the wrong side of the work) need to be kept loose enough and at an even tension so that they don’t make the sock too tight or inconsistent. On the first sock, because this technique was new to me, my tension was quite controlled (snug). It was loose enough that the fit was good and I managed to keep it even by tugging my row every 15 stitches or so to make sure it wasn’t too tight. The contrasting stitches didn’t show up quite as well with this snugger tension though.

The pattern recommended changing to larger needles for the colour-work section and I didn’t listen. So I guessed at loosening the tension and it shows in the second sock. By the time I did the second one I was much more relaxed and when I loosened my tension for those sections, I actually loosened it more than on the first. The contrasting stitches show up really nicely on the second one but the sock ended up a bit larger. I would definitely knit 2aat and change the needle size for the Fair Isle portions on future patterns that use this technique.

All that said, I’m very happy with how they turned out.

Fair Isle knitting (stranded colour-work) can be done holding the yarns in a few different ways. You can hold your main colour with whichever hand is normally your dominant knitting hand (left for continental and right for English) and the contrasting colour in your non-dominant knitting hand. You can also hold both yarns in your left as a continental knitter. I thought I would push myself to develop my muscle memory for English style knitting. I normally knit continental style and working one yarn in Continental and one in English style was definitely something to get used to. I did find that by the end of the first sock it was going fairly smoothly. Once I got kind of comfortable with it, the knitting actually went quicker than I expected.

It was definitely important to keep track of my rows. At each section of the pattern I drew two rows of little boxes to represent the number of rounds needed. I checked off the boxes as I completed each round. This way when I got to the second sock there was no confusion about how many rounds were in each section.

I am excited to try another project with a Fair Isle design so that I can fine tune these new skills. Perhaps I need to design a Fair Isle inspired hair band? Hmmm there’s a thought.

Summer Hair-Band #1

I have a new pattern for you today. I got tired of doing dishcloths so I thought I would shift to something different. I have long hair and it is always coming loose and getting in my face when I’m trying to work. I thought I would make a series of hair-bands out of 4-ply yarn for summer. I wanted the first one to be super easy so it can be knitted up in front of the TV once the pattern is established.

The hardest part about this pattern will probably be choosing the buttons to coordinate with your yarn. It features a staggered eyelet pattern that will allow you to adjust the size to your needs. It does tend to curl along the long edges, although blocking helps with this.

This is a great project to use up little odds and ends in your leftovers bin.

I had some self-patterning cotton sock yarn leftovers that I used. I’m very happy with the way it turned out. As a summer item, I’d suggest using cotton, linen, bamboo or any combination of those fibres. Obviously you can use wool if that’s what you have. I used sock weight yarn (4-ply/fingering) but you could use thicker yarn if you like, it would just come out wider. You work the patterned section to your head measurement and then add a section to sew the buttons onto. Because of this as long as you are happy with the width you get with a thicker yarn, you can absolutely make it work. If you use a thicker yarn, the amount (weight) of yarn you need will be different than what I have listed.

What with finishing up projects, gardening, work and the upcoming sock competition, I don’t know how many patterns I will be able to create this summer. I will play it by ear and see how it goes. I want to have a variety of hair-bands for myself, and that may be what motivates any new patterns that I come up with. 😀 I have a few ideas in mind; it’s just a matter of the time to do them up.

I hope you have fun with this pattern.

And here is the pattern!