Summer Projects: Crochet Market Bags

I don’t know what the weather is like anywhere else, but here in Revelstoke, BC, it’s been a very wet season so far. After a record snowfall this winter, I suppose I can be thankful that you don’t have to shovel rain. Whether you are at the lake or in your living room, this is a great time of year to work on light and airy projects. How about some shopping bags, now that we are allowed to bring them to the store again.

If you follow this blog, you’ll know that my first love is knitting. I’m very aware that there are a lot of folks for whom crochet takes that place of priority. So today’s blog is primarily for you beautiful crochet-lovers. 

I love that our little community cares deeply for this world and works hard to do all those little things that add up to make a difference. Having your own reusable shopping bags is just one way that we can do that.

I have two kits available in the store. The first is a Katia product from Spain. The beautiful Jasmine B of Ocean Peak Designs was kind enough to crochet up a sample of this kit for the store. It’s available in a number of colours and it comes complete with everything you need to make it, including the handles and the crochet hook!

The other kit uses jute. It’s a simple crocheted bag, no fancy stitches or designs, just straight to the point. I like that. Of course, jute is very durable so this bag will be very serviceable.

If you want to have the option of doing multiple styles, how about a book with multiple patterns to choose from? We have this fantastic book from Annie’s available. It has eight different crochet patterns for bags. From simple to stylish.

If you’re using a book or you already have a pattern, you’ll want some durable yarn for it. I have a few yarns to tell you about that would be excellent contenders for this type of project.

Ricco Creative Natur

This yarn is a 100% hemp, DK weight yarn. Although it has a limited colour palette hemp is a strong fibre that will give you a sturdy and beautiful bag.

Nako Fiore

This is a blend of Cotton, Linen and Bamboo. It is much softer than the hemp yarn and both the linen and the bamboo give it considerable strength. We have a pretty good colour selection and a decent amount of stock. Once this yarn is gone though, we won’t be able to bring any more in.

Kilim

This blend of Jute and Acrylic yarn is put up in 100g skeins with about 65m. This appears to be in the neighbourhood of chunky weight, so it will definitely work up quickly. This will definitely give you a sturdy bag that you can load up.

Cobasi Hikoo

This is a sock weight yarn that is a combination of Cotton, Bamboo and Silk. It has a little bit of nylon in it as well that gives it some bounce-back. Both bamboo and silk are strong fibres that will give the cotton that little extra boost. We have a huge colour selection of this one. They are put up in 50g skeins with typical sock weight yardage.

Wollmeise Twin

This super strong, super soft sock yarn is hand dyed using only plants and foods. The skeins are huge with about 150g in them so they go a long way. It washes up beautifully and it is exceptionally strong for a wool and polyamid blend. You don’t want to try and break this yarn with your hands, you’d likely damage your tendons!

Sudz Cotton

This worsted weight cotton yarn is our staple for making dishcloths. If you’re looking for a good quality, well priced cotton yarn, this is the one. We have a plethora of colours available and we keep this one stocked up all the time.

I’m waiting on a new product from Estelle Yarns that will fit the bill. Watch for Colourbraid soon. 😀

Whether you’re making bags for yourself or for a gift, or whether you are inclined to make other projects entirely, my wish is that you find joy in your creative expression through yarns and fibres.

Happy Crocheting!

Ooh! Christmas Ornaments to Knit!

Do you have a bunch of pretty leftover yarn that isn’t really enough to do much with? It’s just so nice you hate to get rid of it? Well, this very addictive little project will have you digging for all your leftovers and knitting up loads of Christmas tree ball ornaments. Once you start, it is really hard to stop!

Okay, so I’m all for full disclosure and so I want to give the back story to my newfound addiction. A few years ago, I started following Arne and Carlos’ YouTube channel. I love these guys. They are so creative and talented and skilled. If you aren’t following them and you love fibre arts, I encourage you to check them out.

They did a video on Christmas Balls back in 2015 and then again in 2017. They do the traditional stranded colourwork designs typical of Norway (that’s where they live). At the time I saw it, it was after Christmas and I just didn’t have the time or motivation to try them out. Since then, they have been hovering in the back of my mind, calling out,

“Knit me, Judy… you know you want to!” Yeah, since 2016 New Year’s!

So this year, I went hunting for the free pattern link so I could make some up out of my leftover yarn. The downloads are simply the colourwork charts and that’s it. I downloaded them and made a couple. As I was digging through my odds and ends I realized that I have a lot of bits of self patterning sock yarn leftover from socks I have knit. I thought, “why not just simplify and eliminate the colourwork and just let the yarn do the talking.

So I did.

After I made a bunch it occurred to me that this simplified version of balls is just too fun not to share with everyone out there. So I wrote up a really simple pattern for it. My understanding is that this pattern has been around since the dawn of time and isn’t anyone’s property. I am offering it as a free download (with no intention of every charging money for it).

Download the pattern

So let me give you a quick overview.

You have to do them on DPN’s (double point needles). You can use any weight of yarn, but you just adjust the size of the needles to accommodate it and realize they will be larger with larger yarn. I would encourage you to knit them a little on the dense side. So if you knit tight just do what you usually do; if not, go down a size with your needles from what the yarn suggests. I would stick to a finer yarn for making the little hanger thingie at the top though.

You’ll definitely want to use a set of five DPN’s as these are made up of 4 equal and repeating sections and that means you can have each section on its own DPN. I think dividing them onto three needles would take a lot of the ease and fun out of them… just saying.

I love the size you get from sock yarn. Also, the whole thing for me was to use the self striping yarn so it would give me an interesting result with little effort. I did one up in worsted weight. multi coloured, hand dyed yarn. It looks gorgeous. I’m not crazy about how large it is as I kinda just like my ornaments to be smaller. Arne and Carlos appeared to be using DK weight and I think I’d still be okay with that size. I personally wouldn’t want them any bigger, but if you like them bigger go for it!

A little tip. When you get about half way done, you might want to already take the time to close up the bottom opening with your cast on tail. It makes it really easy. Thread the tail onto your needle, pull it through each of the cast on stitches twice, put the needle through the centre hole. Turn the ball inside out and pull the needle through. Tighten it up really nice and fasten it off on the inside of the ball. You can just leave the tail there without trimming it. Or, you can do that at the end with the other finishing steps.

It takes very little yarn to make one of these. The ones I made using sock yarn weigh under 5 g before I start any of the finishing work.

A note about increases and decreases.

The charts that you can download from Arne and Carlos do not indicate any specifics regarding the type of increases or decreases to use. They do talk about it a little in their video. I played around with several different options on the first few balls I did. My pattern reflects the ones that gave the smoothest transitions and nicest overall look in my opinion. I found that using the exact same increase stitch all the way around (and the same decrease stitch all around respectively) actually gave a better appearance than doing opposite leaning ones on either side of a centre. So yes, this is on purpose. If you don’t usually knit projects with a bunch of shaping and that was confusing to you, just ignore it and trust the pattern. 🙂

Now, a note to locals in Revelstoke

As Social Saturday is up and running again, I invite you to gather up your leftover yarns, throw them and your DPN’s in your knitting bag, download this pattern and come on down to Judy’s Designs on Saturday, December 7th to make Christmas Tree Ball Ornaments with me. It takes me around an hour and a half to knit one (if I don’t get interrupted). Oh, and if you have the Knit Companion app, you might want to set the pattern up as a project. If you don’t have Knit Companion… why not? (No, I’m not a representative of them. I just love the App.) Feel free to print out the pattern. I include a grid that allows you to keep track of your rounds as you knit them and there is room to track 9 balls or something. 😀 You’re welcome! I hope to see you on Saturday.

Happy Knitting!

Let’s Show Designers Some Love!

Designing is both a skill and a creative art form. Whether the designer’s work results in a building, a chair, a garden or a garment it’s important that we respect it. Not just anyone can create a design. Today I want to celebrate designers.

Designing requires more than just coming up with a cool, innovative or creative idea. It takes a lot of trouble shooting, math, trial and error, frustration and perseverance. There are probably a zillion design ideas that will never see the light of day. And it’s because it’s a lot of work to take it from idea to item.

Truly original ideas are very rare.

Generally, anything that is designed is going to have similarities to existing items. If we focus on knitting patterns as our example (since that’s my daily focus) let’s face it, a cardigan or a sock have to be a certain way or they won’t function as required. So you have your basic structure that immediately limits how creative you can get. If it isn’t essentially a tube with a 90 degree turn in it and one closed end, it won’t be a sock. (I know, you can have a tube sock without a heel… you get my drift, though.) Obviously, there’s a lot that a designer can come up with to create a beautiful sock that is different than others. That’s where the talent, vision, skill and perseverance come in!

Recently I started looking for local knitting designers. I want to support them by selling their patterns in my store. So far I have purchased patterns from Raquel Oliveira of Squamish, BC and Knox Mountain Knit Co. from Kelowna, BC. Their designs are lovely. I encourage you to check them out on Ravelry or come and see them in my store.

Raquel Oliveira

© Knit It Out

Joy     Cocoon     Shannon     Stawamus

Knox Mountain Knit Co.

© Knox Mountain Knit Co.

Cedar Creek Cowl     Biggie Hat     Granby Mitts     Fintry

I have personally been inching away at a cardigan design for small children using a particular construction technique. After spending months of all my spare time, (obsessively) I have one size completed (using chunky weight yarn). I used three different yarns respectively, abandoned one of them, knit and frogged many, many times. I tested the pattern more than once and had another person test the pattern as well. It was revised multiple times to correct the errors we found. That was only one size. Yeah, I can “math” the others to some extent, but they still all have to be test knit to be certain that the proportions will be correct. The math in knitting is not exact. It’s a lot of work.

I already have a full time job (being a knitwear designer is not a particularly lucrative way to make a living! cough, cough… LOL) so all this happens in my down time. It takes care and focus to write a good pattern. Often when I have down time, I am too tired to have the focus needed. Often, I’ll get the bones of the design down so I can go back to it later and write it out properly. I have a collection of those, waiting to be finished. I still absolutely LOVE designing. I truly love the actual writing of the pattern every bit as much. And that (as any knitter knows) is an art form too. A well written pattern is worth a thousand poor ones. Once the actual written pattern is created, it requires photos and formatting. That takes a whole other set of skills and a particular eye.

What I’m trying to say is that designers who create beautiful patterns that we can follow to make practical and lovely items deserve our respect and support.

When you find a design you like, show that designer some love! Buy their pattern.

We can protect designers by avoiding those sites that take you down a rabbit hole for the promise of a free pattern. Those sites often don’t even own rights to the patterns they are giving away and it means that they take away from legitimate designers the means to support their creative endeavours.

Next time you are scrolling Pinterest or Ravelry take a moment to really appreciate the endless hours designers have spent turning inspiration into a tangible pattern.

Follow the designs all the way to the designer’s actual page; respect their copyright. Or purchase them from a brick-and-mortar yarn shop that purchased hard copies directly from the designer. The prices we pay for patterns are a pittance relative to what it takes to create them. If a designer is really lucky they might sell enough of each pattern design to cover the cost of producing it. There are so many designs available that competition is fierce. We need these amazing, creative individuals in our world. Let’s show them some love!

Happy Knitting!

 

So Many Yarns; So Little Time

Between the stages of the Tour-de-sock competition I have been working on designing cardigans for Toddlers using chunky weight yarn and employing the contiguous method of shoulder and sleeve construction developed by Australian Susie Meyer. This method results in a set-in sleeve appearance without having to knit components separately and sew them together. It is knit in one piece from the top down.

As I said, I’m working on this between the stages of Tour-de-sock. We are on stage 3 right now and the pattern is a Heidi Nick design called “Bicycle Race”. It is a beaded and cabled work of art. I love the care that Heidi puts into her patterns.

She colour codes all the different cable stitches.

The charts look beautiful and once you get over how many charts there are, you will share my gratitude for those colourful symbols. These just take time. I’m enjoying them very much. There is no rushing them because there are no repeats that you can mindlessly knit. Every round of the sock is a new adventure. I am loving them. I won’t have quite as much in-between time for working on the cardigans this round. But that’s okay because I will have a completed pair of “Bicycle Race” socks to show for it.

Last year we knitted Heidi’s Accio socks.

 

Here are mine:

 

I encourage you to check out Heidi’s stunning designs here!

 

As a busy grandmother, I want very much to be able to knit up gifts for the wee ones in the family without it taking so much time that it turns from joy to stress. There are many cardigan patterns out there for fingering and DK weight yarns for little ones. They are wonderful but they just take that little bit too much time to complete on a busy schedule when you have a big family.

I decided that I wanted to knit top down, all-in-one cardigans; but I really didn’t want to do raglan or saddle shoulders.

I really prefer the look of a set-in sleeve. I searched through the contiguous patterns and couldn’t find one for chunky yarn. So I figured, I guess it’s on me to create the pattern. I’m working on the size 3 (toddler) right now; next will be size 4. It will be a while before I publish this because I really want to have four sizes done and tested before I put it out there. There is definitely a sweet spot to getting the proportions just right on this type of design. The process? Knit, note, frog, repeat. I think I finally have it where I want it after frogging the whole thing somewhere around 7 or 8 times.

I have used three different yarns so far.

I have one cardigan on which I still have to frog the button band, open up the bound off hem and extend the garter stitch border before re-knitting the button band. (It was determined to roll on the back of the sweater; that’s unacceptable to me.) It will need the sleeves knit after that and it will be finished. I made that one out of Diamond’s “Soft” yarn in the yummy peach colour. I made another one out of Diamond Tradition Chunky, but frogged it completely. It came out a little too dense. I can’t imagine any toddler being happy with how it felt at the gauge I used. I’m not sure if I’ll reknit in that yarn. If I do, I’ll have to go up a needle size to keep it from being too dense. I have one started in Sirdar Caboodle now. It has colourful tufts of fibres speckled all over it. I’m finding that they show up better on the purl side of the stockinette, so I’m going to finish it “inside out” to take advantage of how delightful those speckles are. That one has my grandson’s name on it! He’s going to love it. I have a couple more yarns in the store that I really want to see this sweater in.

I still hope to do a test knit in a boucle yarn, as well as in Estelle Chunky. Mondial Flower and Lady are on my list as well. What is cool about Flower is that the ball comes with a crocheted flower that could be used to embellish the cardigan when it’s done. It’s a natural gradient and knits up as soft as a cloud; Lady comes with a colour coordinated pom-pom that screams out to make a matching toque. It is also gradient, but it has a denser texture than the others. The colour is more saturated than Flower. I’m excited to see how they turn out. I’m not ready to post photos of these little cardigans just yet.

So many yarns; so little time!

Sometimes I wish I could have two parallel timelines; one for work and one for knitting. And that somehow, I could knit as many hours as I work and still get everything done… Ahhhhh, but then I’d probably just be double as tired at the end of the day(s). As a fan of science fiction, this would be where we would say,

“Be careful what you wish for.”

 

 

Spring Cardigan Fever

This was a very snowy winter for us. On April 30th there was still a remnant of the once huge snow pile in our parking lot. By the end of May 1st the last of that snow was finally gone.

I officially turned off the furnace; that makes it cardigan season!

Since completing my  “Chance of Showers” cardigan this season, I have been on the lookout for another cardigan pattern to dive into. I want something that fits close to my body, is short waisted, interesting without being an obnoxious amount of fussy work, 3/4 sleeves, open necked, knitted all in one, and buttoned up. Oh and I want it to look like it has set-in sleeves. Hmmm that’s a lot of parameters, isn’t it?

My search has taken me down that rabbit hole called Pinterest. So many beautiful cardigan photos are posted there! But you know what? I’ll find what I think is the most glorious cardigan ever, click on it, and find that it either goes to some foreign site in a language I can’t read or it terminates in a photo and no way of finding the pattern. I have to say it: “This makes me very sad!” I finally gave up on Pinterest and started looking on Ravelry instead.

In my searching I found something very cool.

I love to knit but I hate having to sew pieces together once the knitting is done. I will do it because I actually really want to wear what I make. So I’ve been on the look out for patterns that allow you to make your garment all in one piece. I like the look of a set in sleeve and I always thought there must be a way to mimic that look yet not have seams. I often thought about sussing out how that could actually work. But I never really had the time to commit to experimenting with it. I’m happy to say that someone else had the same thought; and they did take the time to figure out how to do it. Susie Myers has named it contiguous knitting. It’s worth checking out. There is a group on Ravelry devoted to this method. Find it here!

An explanation of how it works is found here

Susie Meyers has a link to her “recipe” for building a sweater in this way. Here is the link.

I read through it and realized quickly that simply following the recipe will require some trial and error. Unfortunately, my life is so full that I don’t see myself having the patience or time to put into that trial and error process. However, then I noticed that there is a long list of patterns that use Susie’s technique in their construction. Here is a link to that list.

I figure that for the first time I try this, I will buy a pattern and follow it so that I get a feeling for how it works.

After that, I’ll take what I learned and perhaps try winging one. I looked at all the patterns in the list. (There were a couple that don’t actually count as contiguous. I suspect that those will be culled as they are discovered by the moderator.) There are some lovely patterns there. Two in particular caught my eye and fit my parameters quite nicely. There were a couple more that looked promising too. Most of these patterns are for sale, and not free. I don’t mind paying for patterns. There is a lot of work in putting them together. The designers will never get rich off the few dollars we pay them per pattern! I like to support their creativity so they’ll continue to make more patterns for us all. Here are the links to the ones that I am considering knitting:

Alecia Beth

I absolutely LOVE this pattern. It looks feminine and fancy without being so fancy I wouldn’t want to wear it every day. Fingering weight yarn makes such a nice cardigan especially for spring. My only hesitation is that it is fingering weight yarn and that’s quite a commitment.

Alecia Beth

© gosik, © gosik, by jettshin  Flickr

Hermine

I love that this next sweater is mostly stockinette stitch, but it has a little bit of pattern to keep it from being boring. It’s also out of fingering weight yarn which makes it ideal for a spring sweater since it won’t be terribly heavy. But again… that is a lot of stitches. Do I have the courage and tenacity to make a 4 ply sweater? That’s the question.

Hermine

© attimania, © attimania, © Quietsch

 

Ciel, Une Fille!

This next one is a free pattern. It’s very pretty. I would probably choose something a little less fluffy than what they did but I love the look of it. It’s adorable! I think I would simply shorten the sleeves to a 3/4. It calls for worsted weight, so I see that as being very achievable in spite of my busy schedule. The pattern itself doesn’t have any photos on it, but there are photos on Ravelry that you can refer to.

Ciel, une fille!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
© tatacharlotte

 

Seelie Cardi

This one is a free download. I really like the look of the photo. I have to say, my first thought was that one of my sisters would rock this sweater as is. I downloaded it and lo and behold! It is a tutorial that guides you through making a contiguous sweater out of any yarn. Interesting… this would be an option.

Seelie Cardi

© britt schmiesing

 

So now, it’s all about making a decision. Not that I don’t have other knitting on the go. I actually have 3 pairs of socks on needles right now, and a shawl and a ball of yarn divided for yet another pair of socks waiting to be cast on. Must be the spring sunshine bringing out the “Startitis” in me. Well, that and the fact that my current cardigans are just a teenie bit too warm now and I’m putting them on and taking them off all day long to stay comfy. I definitely need a spring cardigan… Eenie, Meenie, Miney Moe?

Wish me luck! Happy Knitting!

Comfort Wolle – Gala

Sometimes it’s my customers that introduce me to gorgeous yarns.

That is certainly the case with Comfort Wolle – Gala yarn. I brought it in as a special order and took a chance to bring in all 6 colourways. When it arrived, I was delighted with it.

This “degrade” (a continuous finely knitted tube of yarn) is gloriously soft despite being 80% wool and 20% nylon. At first glance it looks like roving. The skeins are 200g with an exceptional 500m of length! It’s available in six lovely ombre colourways and the manufacturer offers a number of free patterns to go along with it.

The label suggests using 5 mm to 6 mm needles. I made a shawl with it and chose to use 8 mm needles as I wanted to be certain that the lace would show through the fluffiness. It feels like a cloud. Did I say it was soft? Yeah! I can hardly wait to snuggle into it when I watch TV at night. It’s so cozy!

shawl.jpg

The colour gradient is subtle, yet dramatic at the same time. It’s nice and thick and knits up fast. The 200g ball is large enough that you can make a decent sized project with just one of them. It was easy to work with; my needles found their path through the yarn loops effortlessly. As with most quality yarns with high wool content, it is recommended to wash Gala gently in cool water and lay it flat to dry.

The verdict: I love it!

Happy Knitting!

 

When Starting isn’t Straightforward

Sometimes you get an idea in your head about something you want to knit or crochet.

When inspiration hits, perhaps you’re like me and you are determined to get at it… right now! Whether the yarn inspired you, or a pattern did, or you saw someone walk past wearing something amazing, sometimes getting all you need to start a project is easier said than done.

One of the things I do is help people to “get the ducks in a row” so they have everything they need to get that project underway. I often see people who know exactly what they want to make, but they can’t find what they need to get there.

Here are a few suggestions

to help you muscle through the frustrations so you can get on with what you love: to knit or crochet something wonderful!

Follow The Inspiration:

So, where did the inspiration come from? Did you see someone wear what you want to make? Did you see it on Pinterest, Ravelry or Instagram? No matter what got your creative juices flowing, you’re going to need to track down a pattern (or at least some guidelines; unless you are a pattern-making guru already; and if you are, you probably won’t be reading this). Sometimes following a Pin just leads you down a rabbit hole of frustration. Just because you can see it on Pinterest or Instagram doesn’t mean that you are going to be able to track down a pattern from that post. And even on Ravelry, sometimes photos of a finished project are posted with no indication of what pattern was used or if a pattern was used. Sometimes you can see something you want to make online, but it’s only offered as a ready to purchase item.

If your local yarn shop doesn’t have what you need and if using the sophisticated search filters on Ravelry got you nowhere, try searching for a group on Ravelry that specializes in the type of knitting or crochet project you want to make. Whether it’s socks or sweaters, hats or mittens, see what groups already exist. Join up and ask questions. Chances are, someone will be able to point you toward a pattern (or a couple patterns you can mash up) so you have a place to start. Or you can ask around in your local community of knitters and crocheters. Often someone will know someone who can connect you with a pattern or can teach you what you want to know. Who knows, you might make a new friend while you’re at it. 🙂

Gathering Your Materials:

Sometimes getting the pattern isn’t the issue. Sometimes you already have a pattern but you just can’t seem to find the right yarn. Oftentimes patterns are designed to be used with a very specific yarn. They will ask for a specific brand and line of yarn for which the pattern was originally meant to be used. That’s really nice and all, but it’s not always helpful.

The reality is that patterns outlive the production life-time of yarns.

Yarn is very much a fashion product, just like fabric is. The trends come and go; yarns come and go. And the truth is that even though a yarn may be labeled with a particular gauge, that doesn’t mean that it’s always exactly accurate, or that you can transfer that information seamlessly to any pattern with the same term. Add to this that there are a lot of different names for gauges. The US uses different names than Canada or the UK use; translators may not understand the nuances that English-speaking Yarnies take for granted. At the end of the day, the actual finished measurements and the gauge numbers (how many rows by how many stitches), are what will matter.

Of course, not every pattern gives you that information in a clear, concise way. The pattern might just say, “Sport” weight. Well, as a yarn shop owner I can tell you that “Sport” is not a universal or standard term. I have seen yarn that they call sport weight that is closer to a lace weight, and other sport weight that looks suspiciously like worsted. It all depends on the manufacturer.

Don’t you just love it when it isn’t straightforward?

So get what information you can from the pattern. Does it give you a gauge count? If it does, compare that to the labels of the yarns that you hope to use. It’s unlikely that they will match exactly. But if it’s pretty close, you should be okay. You may be able to adjust by changing the needle size.

Are gauge swatches for sissies? Well, many expert knitters will tell you that they are. The reality is that when you have a non-straightforward pattern, sometimes it’s the gauge swatch that will save you from insanity. I know, I know! You want to get going on your project already. But for the time it takes to make up a couple swatches with a couple different sizes of needles, it beats the heck out of casting on 184 stitches, knitting 20 rows and having to frog it all because the gauge is out of whack! (Can you tell that I speak from experience?)

Impatience is not your friend here.

It may be a frustrating road, but once you gather all that you need and get started, it will be worth it. And even if the project doesn’t live up to your original inspiration, it will have taught you a lot of things that you would not have learned otherwise.

Happy Knitting!

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!

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!