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Free Preemie Hats, Upcoming Patterns, and Portraits. Oh My!

Hello, lovely people!

My brain is so full right now, of ideas and deadlines, that I barely know what to say when I do have time to write.  Let me begin in the middle.

Christmas is coming (yay!), and that means we have five little people to buy gifts for (yikes!).  They are all super excited, especially since it snowed at our house overnight and they woke up to a wintery wonderland this morning.  I made the mistake of taking my two oldest ones Christmas shopping for their siblings at Chapters last week, and their wish lists instantly grew by about two feet that day.  Pokemon is the big thing in our house right now.  I am secretly horrified, but trying to look interested in all their cards with the weird names and diverse “powers.”

I’ve been knitting up a storm, trying to make samples, figure out new patterns, knit gifts, and fulfill special orders.  (I’ve recently taken up knitting for non-knitters who want hats.  They can be voracious.  Owl hats are a big hit, and I hope to write up a pattern for them soon, if I can ever find the time.)

Owl hat with plaid collageb

I’m also an artist of sorts.  I say “of sorts” because I’ve barely had a chance to draw or paint since my first baby was born nine years ago.  Now that my youngest is three, I’ve realized that maybe I can get back into painting again!  But first, I’m sticking with the simpler art of drawing.  Pencils don’t dry out when you have to leave them to make lunch.  I’ve decided to sell pencil portraits for the next little while.  It’s an experiment of sorts, trying to figure out just how much creativity I can fit into my life before the dirty dishes really do begin to overtake the kitchen counters.

(This is a drawing I made of my husband and our firstborn as a Christmas present to said husband years ago.  It’s actually a compilation of two photos, since neither of them had the proper expressions in one photo, of course.  Husbands and children never do.)

Pencil drawing of father and son.

I also received a surprise in the mail today.  I had sent my sample hats to Knit Picks before they listed my Merrick hat pattern in the IDP section, and today I received them back!  Eva immediately put the blue one on, and aha! — a revelation — it looks adorable on a three year old.  It turns into a cute little elf-like hat.  (She’s wearing the child size.)

Merrick child size

Merrick, child size

I’m in the end stages of getting Merrick‘s close cousin, Merry, ready for publication.  It’s an extended version, shall we say, with cozy earflaps and (optional) hilarious pom poms.  Adding the earflaps forced me to make entirely new charts, so I’m putting Merry out as its own pattern since it took just as much work as Merrick did.  I think, however, that I’ll offer it at a discount to those who want to buy both patterns.

I roped my neighbour and friend into being my model last weekend.  😀  She’s such a good sport.  Here’s a sneak peak:


Last, but not least:  Sunday was World Prematurity Awareness Day, and in honour of the four out of my five kids who were preemies, I’m once again offering all my preemie hat patterns for free.  The coupon code is only good for a limited time (until Friday, November 22nd at midnight), so grab them quickly on Ravelry with the coupon code preemieday.  Whether you know a preemie or not, sending preemie hats to your local NICU is such a nice way to encourage the families in your community.  Having a child born too early can be quite nerve wracking and traumatizing.  Many parents suffer from some form of PTSD afterwards.  The more support those parents have, the better.

My personal favourite of my preemie patterns is the Tulip Preemie Hat. It’s so much fun to knit it up with some self-striping yarn, and it’s so tiny that you can complete one in a couple hours (or less).

Tulip Preemie Hat





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When I was a kid, I remember reading a short story called “Impunity Jane.” I don’t know why I always returned to that story; maybe it was because I was a typical girl who loved dolls, and Impunity Jane just happened to be a doll. But really, I think it was the word impunity that had me so fascinated. I just couldn’t infer its meaning from the story’s content. It was a word mystery, and I was hooked.

The mystery remained unsolved, and, eventually, forgotten, until my high school English class. There, in my vocabulary book, was the word impunity! And the definition? Freedom from punishment. The perfect word, waiting to be used in the perfect situation. I love those types of words.

As I was typing up the description for this hat pattern, I realized that the thing I like so much about it is its use of variegated and tonal yarns. I have a love/hate relationship with those yarns, which you may have read about here. They always look so pretty in the balls, and so horribly blotchy in stockinette. Unless.

Unless you can come up with some interesting stitch pattern. Then, they shine. Then, you can knit them up with impunity.

For example, in my new pattern, which I named… Impunity. Shocking, I know.

As you can see, these hats have vertical ribbing to break up the colour changes. And the shaping continues right up to the top of the hat. Lots of springy, stretchy rings and visual interest. This hat looks great knit in any colour, for anyone. I’ve been making them for the gezillions of babies being born to all my friends this summer, and I plan to make one for myself, too. And possibly for my husband. If he’s good. After all, what’s the use in being a knitter if you don’t have an over abundance of hats?

The pattern contains sizing for Preemies, Babies, Toddlers, and Children/Adults. Because of the larger-than-normal needle size and the vertical ribs, these hats are stretchy and will fit between sizes. If in doubt, knit a size up. For instance, Preemie is definitely too little for a newborn of average size, but the Baby size will fit a newborn for quite a while. The size shown in the pictures is Toddler, and it fits the pretty little 20-month-old (if I do say so myself) as well as her 5-year-old brothers. But if you’re knitting for an 8 year old or older, I’d go with a Child/Adult size. Clear as mud?

You’ll need a 50g ball of fingering-weight yarn and size 3 US (2.75mm) needles for working in the round. I used two circular needles, but dpn’s or magic loop would work, as well. The yarn I used, that’s shown here, is one of my new favourites: Shibui Sock. Oh, the springiness! Oh, the colours! My hands are happy when I knit with it. The colour shown here is called Roppongi, and it’s a pink/orange mix. Bliss!

[box type=”download”]download now for free![/box]

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So I just learned this great new way to work short rows from Cat Bordhi. She taught a class called Cat’s Sweet Tomato Heels a couple weekends ago during a four-day Cat-class-stravaganza hosted by my local knitting guild, and I’m so glad I went.

Cat’s new method of working short rows is phenomenal. There are no wraps, no gaps, and virtually no difference between turns on the knit side and turns on the purl side. Therefore, I have been freed to put short rows everywhere, with no thought to the consequences!

However, you may have noticed that the name of the class was not “Cat’s Short Rows,” but “Cat’s Sweet Tomato Heels.” You are absolutely right! Good observational skills. She has developed a great new heel that will fit on virtually any sock and is so easy to knit that once you learn it, you won’t need to follow directions again. You will be able to just slap in a heel wherever and whenever you feel like it.

These magical heels are made up of short-row wedges. I will let her do the explaining for you, since they are her heel, her Thanks Ma’s, and her idea. She has a great video tutorial here, and her book is equally recommended.

All I did was take her brilliant heel wedges and play with them.  I felt like a kid in a sand box!

But before I can tell you that story, I have to tell you this story:

You see, after Cat’s class, my friend Annie and I had to, just had to, go buy some really luscious yarn. Cat’s sample socks felt unlike any socks I’ve ever knitted, and I knew once I felt that yarn that I was missing out. I had to go find some high-quality, bouncy, springy yarn. We made our way over to one of the local yarn shops and spent a good hour or two ooh-ing and ahh-ing over all its delights. I came home with four skeins of luscious yarn: two in superwash merino sock weight, one on-sale silk/wool blend, and some on-sale Blue Faced Leicester Aran, all of it springy and delicious.

Here is the one I was most excited to knit up: a skein of Colinette Jitterbug in “fruit coulis,” reminiscent of 80’s punk-rockers and dying to be made into arm warmers or wrist bands or leg warmers. I decided to satisfy two cravings at once: I have always wanted to buy Eva some Babylegs, but as a knitter, I can’t bring myself to spend $14 on machine-knit socks with no feet. So, I decide to use the Jitterbug to make her some really amazing arm warmers, which I hoped would also double as leg warmers.

The only problem with hand-painted and variegated yarns, in my mind, is that I fall in love with them in the skein, but then I hate how they knit up! Stockinette always makes them look so blotchy and busy, and I’m invariably disappointed. And even though I loved knitting with this gorgeous yarn, the colours just weren’t working for me. As I sat, dejectedly, at my kitchen table, trying to think of an alternate stitch pattern that wouldn’t ruin the yarn, I heard the voice of one of my fellow knitting-class students bubble up from my memory: “These heel wedges look really great with my hand-painted yarn!”

And then I thought, “What if I could use the wedges in my arm warmers? I could rotate the wedges to form a cylinder.” I remembered taking a class with Lucy Neatby and her explaining that she had made a vest out of four triangles, since four triangles form a cylinder, and I figured that the wedges were somewhat triangular…

So I tried it.

For my first try, I worked the wedges to be a little more pointy than Cat recommends for a sock. In fact, I worked them until there were just 3 sts left between turns. They looked really amazing, but ended up forming tiny mountains that stuck out from the arm warmer. I’m going to file that information away for later because someday, I may want arm warmers (or whatever) that have lots of texture to them. But that wasn’t my goal with this project, so I ripped it out.

It turned out that working a heel wedge exactly the way Cat instructs, leaving about an inch of stitches between the last turns, gave exactly the effect I was going for.

(The bottom photo, above, shows what the wedges look like in the direction I knitted them.  The top photo is of me holding it upside down, if you want to call it that.)

Amazingly enough, they will fit Eva as arm warmers and leg warmers, and I can fit them on my wrists! I think that my second try made them just the right size to be long-lasting, wearable garments, since even when she outgrows them, they’ll still fit me.

Here, in a nutshell, are my instructions for making your own cylinders like mine. I’m not going to explain Cat’s method of short rows, since like I said, they’re hers. Also, she is an excellent teacher, and she’ll do a much better job than I could. 🙂 So, these instructions are assuming that you already know and understand the Sweet Tomato Heel wedges.

I used fingering-weight yarn and size 1 US (2.25mm) needles. My preferred method for working in the round is to use two circular needles, but you can easily use dpn’s or magic loop. My gauge with those needles and that yarn is about 8sts/inch in stocking stitch.   The size I made fits my 19-month-old’s arms loosely, with room to grow but without falling off right now, and stretches comfortably to fit my adult wrist.

I cast on 48 sts using Jeny’s Stretchy Slip Knot Cast On because I wanted both ends of the arm warmer to be super stretchy. It was a new-to-me technique, and I found it a little tricky at first, but the tip she gives in the end of her video fixed the problem I was having. I highly recommend you try it out! Otherwise, cast on using whatever stretchy cast on you know and are comfortable with.

Join for working in the round. Work in 1×1 ribbing for about 4 or 5 rounds.

Knit one round, then begin first wedge. Unlike while you’re working a heel wedge, work over only half the total stitches; in this case, 24. (A heel wedge is worked over two thirds of the stitches.)

After your first wedge is completed, work a wedge on the opposite half of the cylinder in the same manner. This will give you two wedges, one on each circ. Now, you might notice that you have two hollow spots left between the two hills, and your arm warmer is no longer an even cylinder. The next two wedges (wedges 3 & 4) will fill in those hollows. After completing the second wedge, perform a mental shift. Basically, in your last round of that second wedge, after you Thank Ma up the hill, you knit back down the hill and then up the next hill only halfway (12 sts, half the stitches on that circ). Then, you turn your work and start the 3rd wedge in the valley.

Work the 4th wedge in the other valley, then do another quarter rotation and start again from the beginning.

You work in repeats of those four wedges until your arm warmer is as long as you want it to be. Then, work in 1×1 ribbing for almost an inch. Cast off using Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, or whatever other super-stretchy bind off you know and like.

Don’t be afraid to play around with the rotation. You don’t have to do things exactly the way I did to get a good result, since knitting is so stretchy and resilient. I had a lot of fun just playing around to see if my experiment would work, and I was thrilled when it did!

I am also imagining using this rotating-wedge method to make really amazing socks. They would, of course, feature a Sweet Tomato Heel. 🙂 I see another trip to my LYS in the near future to get some more hand-painted yarn!

I also wonder what it would look like to rotate wedges that weren’t made over 50% of the circumference, but over 60 or 70 percent instead. Wouldn’t it be fun to find out? And what if the wedges were more narrow…..  ??

I will end now with a few more pictures:

Please show me pictures if you experiment with rotating wedges. I’d love to see them, as I’m sure Cat Bordhi would, too. In fact, I showed her these ones before I posted about them here, since they’re based pretty heavily on her design.   She has a Ravelry group you can join that is dedicated to her Sweet Tomato Heels, and I’m going to head over there now and share some of these pics!  Maybe I’ll see you there.  🙂

If you have any questions about the rotation, feel free to ask! If my written instructions are confusing, let me know, and I’ll work to clarify them and add some more pictures of the process when I can.


Cat Bordhi developed her Sweet Tomato Heel over many months, working closely with over a hundred test knitters of all skill levels. During this time she distilled her illustrations and explanations again and again, until her test knitters and tech editor agreed the instructions were as clear and perfect as possible. In order to be sure that her work is not misrepresented, Cat asks that designers who wish to use her heel in their patterns send their readers directly to her free videos as well as to purchasing links for her eBook, Cat’s Sweet Tomato Heel Socks ($20), and to the eBook’s individual patterns ($6 each). She is encouraged that many knitters have been able to work from the free videos alone; if not, the eBook or individual patterns will give you the detailed instructions, illustrations, and explanations you need.

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Super Mario Charts

Feel free to use these two charts in any of your knitting projects! I had some fun making them up. 🙂 I have no idea what the copyright is for any of the Super Mario characters, so obviously these are free, and I imagine you should only use them in your own work and not sell anything made with them. And feel free to play around with the colours. I made these charts using, and I think I’m really going to like that site for making more charts in the future. It was so so easy.

Anyway, here they are:


And this is what it looks like in a hat:

I used duplicate stitch to do the small details instead of carrying the yarn. And for the eyes, I actually made a small decorative knot instead. You might also notice that these particular Yoshis also have tongues… They were added on as an afterthought at the insistence of my son, even though these Yoshis are NOT in their tongue-out position. I cringed sewing them on, but he was happy. They’re just a straight, basted line of red, with a little duplicate-stitch bit of red at the end.

Super Mario Bony Turtle:

And here’s what that looks like on a hat:

These hats are knit using a variation of Kate Oates’ Cheery Scrap Cap pattern. I used dk-weight yarn instead of worsted, with size 5 US needles, and I probably played around with the number of repeats, too. 🙂

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Mighty Warrior

I just finished up this chemo cap for a small friend of mine. It’s a bit of a merge between Kate Oates’ free Cheery Scrap Cap pattern and my own viking horn design, with some modifications thrown in. I’m pretty pleased with the result. 🙂

If you’re interested in making a similar one, here’s how I did this one:

I used Knit Picks Swish DK (instead of worsted weight) and size 5 US circular needles. I cast on 104 sts to make a larger version of the girls’ child-size hat (I basically added 2 more pattern repeats). I skipped the ear flaps this time, and knitted about 3/4″ of 2×2 ribbing before starting into the chart pattern. I used the girl’s pattern for this boy’s hat, but I left the heart part of the chart blank except for one tiny row of red dots.

As for the horns, you can download my pattern for them from Ravelry with this link: download now

May all the mighty warriors out there with battles to fight be strengthened by our love and prayers as we knit for them.

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Hand-Painted Preemie Hat

I love buying hand-painted yarn, but then I’m inevitably disappointed when I knit it up. The gorgeous, vibrant colours suddenly pool or stripe in weird ways that make the ugliest little hats. But when I use a textural stitch, like seed stitch, suddenly the yarn regains its charm and the hat becomes delightful!

You can see how the stitches break up the lines of colour and give it an almost tweedy effect.

Top view

I’ve worked out the top decreases in the seed stitch pattern to keep the effect going right up to the top. I’ve tried decreasing in seed stitch a couple different ways over the years, but this pattern uses my favourite. I hope you like it, too.

The pattern for these little hats includes sizes from micropreemie up to a full-term newborn. You’ll need size 2 US needles for working in the round. I prefer using two circs, but any technique will do.

You can grab the free download here:
download now

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UnBaby Blanket

When I saw the blanket my sister was making, I knew I had to have one. The diagonal stripes, the vibrant colours, the texture — they all conspired to hijack my knitting plans, and I happily let them.

Her simple design has been a hit, and not just with me. I am excited to present the recipe here so you, too, can make your own one-of-a-kind, easy-yet-interesting-to-knit unbaby blanket. I call it “unbaby” because there is no way these colours would ever end up in the baby yarn section, and there is a distinct possibility that you, like me, will want one in your own size, too.

One of the blanket’s best features, besides its bold stripes, is that it is reversible but not identical on both sides. Don’t ask me which side I prefer because I have been trying to decide that very thing since I began knitting it, and I still can’t make up my mind. Is it the clean lines and bumpy softness of the “right” side, or the varied textures and visual extras on the “wrong” side? You know what? Forget right and wrong — I think I should just name them something else that implies how great each side is. How about Ruby and Clementine? (I’ll never be able to use those names for children, anyway, so they might as well go to a good home.)

Here are some things you need to know about the pattern:

You’ll need at least four balls of 5 oz/140g medium worsted weight yarn. (I say “at least” in case you want an adult-sized one. In that case, get two in each colour… at least.) We used Red Heart Soft Touch for ours (which I know is a variation on my usual Knit Picks preference, but it was available, washable, and pretty darn soft to boot). Steph chose the dark brown, navy blue, aqua blue, and bright green as her colours, and I loved them and copied her. If that’s not to your taste, I’d simply recommend two dark colours and two vibrant colours in your mix.

Needle size was 9 US for me and 8 US for Steph, and they both worked well. The point is to have a nice, relaxed stitch for a soft fabric.

The pattern is written for beginners and includes tips on some techniques which you may or may not have already come across. I want your blanket to be beautiful, so I told you everything I did to make mine great.

And now, without further ado, here is the link where you can grab it for FREE:

download now

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How to Knit a Hat

You have yarn. You have needles. You have cold ears on a blustery day. (Or you’re having a bad hair day. It happens to the best of us.)

How do you make a hat out of thin air, without a pattern? How do you move from knitter to designer? How do you become the master of your hat destiny?

That’s easy. Let me explain.

First, you cast on. (Simple, right?) There are two ways to figure out how many stitches to cast on. The first one is very mathematical and by-the-book, and the second one might make you laugh — but hey! It worked for me for years, and it’s very fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, which can really come in handy sometimes. Right?

So, method one: Knit up a gauge swatch. If you’ll be knitting your hat in the round, you knit your gauge swatch in the round. If you want to knit your hat back and forth on straight needles, knit up your gauge swatch in the same manner. Once you know how many stitches per inch that particular yarn works up to on those particular needles, you simply measure the head you’re knitting for. If it’s 20 inches around, and your gauge is 5 stitches per inch, then that’s 20 X 5, which is 100 stitches. Easy peasy. To recap, multiply your head circumference by your stitches per inch gauge, and you have the number of stitches to cast on to fit that head with that yarn.

Now, the second method. (Don’t laugh!) I seriously used to just cast on my stitches, using either the long-tail method or the knitted-on method, then hold them up to my head to see if it looked about right. The only catch is, you have to know how that cast-on method will change once it’s been knitted for a few rows. I found that the long-tail method would give me a fairly accurate reading if I [somewhat] evenly spread the stitches out on the needle in a way that was not too stretched or too crowded. But with the knitted-on method, I had to stretch the stitches as far apart from each other as possible to see how long they’d be once knitted up. Then, I’d hold the needle up to my head and swing it around from a beginning point at the back, pivoting it around my head to see if half the stitches would reach to the centre of my forehead.

Yes, I really did that.

The next step, once you have about enough stitches on your needles, is to make sure they’re divisible by either 9, 10, or 11. If they’re not, fake it. Either drop a stitch or two off, or add a stitch or two on. You’re planning ahead right now for when you get to the decreases at the crown. (p.s. For adults, multiples of 10 or 11 are best, and babies’ or preemies’ hats are probably better with 9 or even 8. Kids are in between, so pick whatever you want.)

Once you have your cast-on number in a happy place, you’re ready to choose the edge. If you want a rolled edge, just start knitting in stocking stitch (knit the right-side rows, purl the wrong-side rows if you’re knitting flat, and just knit every row if you’re knitting in the round). If you want it stretchy, try some ribbing. (Just make sure the ribbing you choose divides evenly into your stitch count. One-by-one ribbing will work on any even number, and two-by-two will work on any even number which you can then divide a second time evenly, like 60 or 80.) If you want it a little loose, garter stitch will work. Or, you could just start into a lace repeat that goes with the number of stitches you cast on. Really, there are no limits.

You work in that edging until you’ve had enough, then you switch to something else if you so desire. Maybe you want ribbing for two inches, then stockinette for the rest of the hat. Or maybe you’d like a hat that’s ribbed right up to the top. Maybe you want to plan on your hat being really long so you can fold the bottom up, or maybe you’d prefer a hat that ends above your ears. It’s so completely up to you now! You don’t need no stinkin’ pattern anymore.

The only other thing you’ll need to do is decrease at the crown. Basically, when you’re about 2 inches away from the top of your head, start to decrease. Try the hat on to see if you’re there, or just eyeball it. If you’re making a baby-sized hat, you probably won’t even need 2 inches to decrease. My subconscious rule of thumb, which I’m just now realizing to myself for the first time in order to communicate “how I do this,” is to knit about 3/4 of the hat length, then use the final 1/4 for the decreasing. Knit stitches are such amazing, naturally proportioned things. Now matter what yarn I’m using, or what stitch count, or what size needles, that ratio seems to just work. Try it out. (And for goodness’ sake, tell me if I’m wrong! But I bet if I am, it’s just by a little bit.)

Here’s another tip: if it looks too short and fat, it probably is. Think about it. We are people who are constantly looking either in the mirror at our own heads or at other peoples’ heads. You know what a head should look like. If you think the hat doesn’t look like a head shape, you’re probably right. If you think it looks about normal, you’re also probably right.

Now, to the specifics of decreasing. Remember when you made sure your cast-on number was divisible by either 9, 10, or 11? Here’s where you take advantage of that. Let’s say you’ve chosen multiples of 11 (which are quite fool-proof, if you ask me). You’re going to *knit 9, k2tog* all the way around your hat. That’s right. If you’ve cast on 99 stitches (which is a perfectly normal adult-size number using worsted-weight yarn and size 6 or 7 US needles), you’ll repeat that decrease section 9 times because 99 divided by 11 is 9. Multiples of ten mean a *k8, k2tog* around strategy, and multiples of nine mean — you guessed it! — *k7, k2tog* around.

Do your decrease rounds every other round so they’re not all squashed together. (Unless, of course, you want to try something different and decrease really quickly in the last inch of your hat. Hey, you could call it a “design element.”) Every subsequent decrease round, you will, of course, be knitting fewer stitches between each k2tog. One fewer stitch per repeat, in fact. (Picture “k8, k2tog; k7, k2tog; k6, k2tog; k5, k2tog…” and so on, down to “k2tog” all around.) Once you’ve decreased down to your last *k2tog* around, don’t knit another round. Just stop, cut your yarn, thread the end through the rest of your stitches, and draw it tight. Wow. You just made up a hat. All by yourself.

(If your hat was knit in the round, you’re done. If you knit it flat, then add one more step: sew the seam. I use a flat stitch to sew my seams shut. Your best bet is to have a good knitting reference book around with a couple options in it so you can pick and choose which one will look best with the stitch pattern you’ve chosen.)

Now, since we’re being creative and rebellious by making up our own darn hats, feel free to fiddle with the decreases, too. Why not try ssk and have the decrease lean the other way? Or why not decrease in whatever pattern you’ve chosen? When I make a hat that’s ribbed right up to the top, I do my best to keep the flow of the ribs going for as long as I can. I still take about 2 inches to get the decreases done, but I might space them out in different ways. Really, yarn is pretty forgiving stuff. And if it’s not, then I’m the boss! I can just rip the stupid stuff out and do it over again. Who does this hat think it is, anyway?

Right. So, my late-night tantrums aside, I hope you’re starting to get the picture here. Hats are the perfect project on which to try out your designing skills. (Well, except for scarves. I mean, they don’t even have decreases, for goodness’ sake!) And once you get comfortable with the basic structure of a hat, you can start to really push the limits with stitch patterns and other random embellishments.

And now that you know all my secrets, I’ve probably put myself out of business before I’ve even really begun. But I am deciding not to care because knitting is just so darned awesome, and everyone should love it as much as I do.

So there.

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Kindle Cover, Sock-Yarn Blankie Style

I bought this gorgeous Regia Hand-Dye Effect yarn recently because I love the colours. There’s a shade of blue in there that I could just stare at for hours. I had no pattern in mind when I bought it (which is rare lately; I usually talk myself out of impulse buys by requiring a game plan before I spend money). I just wanted to be able to look at it.

Since its purpose in life was to make my eyes happy, I decided it needed to be knit into something that would play up its colour changes and be constantly where I could look at it. Solution: my new Kindle! I carry it almost everywhere, and it’s just a given that a knitter’s electronics have a multitude of hand-knit sweaters and cozies, so I decided to make Kindle cover number two with this pretty new yarn. (The first cover is a plain, white, wool aran; and even though I love it, it’s white. Blue wins out over white in my world every day.)

Enter: the Sock Yarn Blankie. I’ve been slowly knitting up a real blankie since last summer, and it’s super fun. I’ve also never done entrelac, so continuing with the mitered squares instead of learning a new skill during my last, gooey-brained trimester seemed like a good idea to me. Could I adapt the blankie pattern into a pocket shape or not? It turns out I could, and it was ridiculously easy.

Here’s how you do it:

First, I made two mitered squares. Since the sock yarn blankie casts on 31 stitches, that’s what I did. It turns out that that makes overly large squares, and I now have to sew the sides of my cover to tighten it so the Kindle won’t slide out, but oh well. I have another half ball of the pretty yarn left, so I’ll knit up a second cover with smaller squares to make the fit more snug.

But if you want to get started already making your own cover, this is what you do: using fingering-weight yarn and size 1 US (2.25 mm) needles (I used a circ and treated it like a straight), cast on a reasonable number of stitches that can be divided by two (30 divided by 2 is 15) plus one (hence, 31). Knit a test square to see what size it comes out for you. The measurement you’re aiming for, corner to corner, is slightly less than half the width of your Kindle. I say slightly less because my two 31-st squares were each half, but then when I joined them with other squares, the width expanded to be 1/4″ too wide on either side. Yikes! So even a little more than “slightly” would be good, since the cover will work best if it’s a little snug; then it won’t be randomly slipping off and leaving your poor Kindle naked and at the mercy of whatever else might be in your bag at the time.

But I digress. The formula for making a square is to cast on your even number plus 1, then work in garter stitch, decreasing the centre three stitches of each right-side row with a cdd (sl2 as if to knit, k1, psso). Use an edge stitch to keep your edges neat and easy for picking up stitches later. (The edge stitch is, simply, slipping the first stitch of every row purlwise, with yarn in front, and knitting the last stitch of every row.) Keep decreasing in this manner until you have three stitches left. On the right-side row (the decrease row), to decrease the last three stitches into one, sl1 as if to purl (with yarn in front), sl1 as if to knit (with yarn in back), k1, psso. Cut yarn and pull through.

(For the sake of this formula, I’m going to pretend that we’re all working with 31-stitch squares. Substitute your own numbers once you’ve knit up your gauge square.)

Once you have two independent squares, you’re going to join them together by picking up and knitting a new square between them:

Joining the first two squares by picking up stitches for a new square

Pick up and knit 15 sts along the top left side of the right-hand square, CO 1, pick up and knit 15 sts along the top right side of the left-hand square. 31 sts are on your needle. (You’ll notice that the edge stitch has made a neat little line of stitches along the edge, and there are 15 of them; I pick up both sides of the stitch, the whole “v.”) *Make sure to always pick up and knit your stitches with the right side facing you.*

Knit one row, then commence with the centre double decreases once you’re on the right side again, and decrease as for the first squares.

Now you have three squares, all attached together. Rotate them so the new square is pointing down:

The cast-on edges are now along the top and ready to be picked up.

Now, you’re going to pick up and knit a new square, just like you did already, but along the two cast-on edges of the first two squares. The only difference is that instead of casting on 1 st between the two squares, you’re going to pick up one stitch from the point of the already-made third square.

Next, it’s time to make the bottom corners. This is pretty cool. You’re going to rotate your work again, so the outer edge of one of your first two squares if pointing up. You’re not going to join two squares together this time, but instead pick up 15 stitches from the [now] top right of the square, one stitch from the point, and 15 more stitches from the top left of the square:

Turning the corner

Do the same thing on the opposite corner. Now your shaping is done, and it’s just joining more squares from here on out until your Kindle cover is the right height.

(If you want your cover to open at the side instead of the top, you can see how easy it would be to create a base of three squares instead of two, thereby making your cover wider to fit from top to bottom.)

Next, I built on my base with more squares, picking up 15 sts from the right, one from the top of the square below, and 15 more from the left for each one:

Then, I decided it might look nice with a bigger, focal square, so I built the sides two squares high to leave room for a big one in the middle:

To make the big square, I picked up and knit 30 sts down the right, one in the middle, and 30 up the left. Then I worked my decreases as for the smaller squares, but obviously with more of them. Ta-da! A big square:

Because I liked it so much with the big square, I did the same thing on both sides. You could easily leave the big squares out and just have small squares all over, or put just one big square, or have your big square wrap around the side instead of being centred on the front.

My big squares brought me to the height I wanted for the Kindle cover, so I decided not to make it any taller. I filled in the sides with small squares (one on each side):

Picked up and knit 31 stitches for each small square

I didn’t want to leave the top looking jagged, so I figured I’d knit half-size squares (aka triangles, haha! Remember? Third-trimester mushy brain?) to fill in the gaps.

The way to make the triangles to straighten up the top edges is like this: Pick up and knit 31 sts just like you would for a square. Then, on the wrong side (very first row), do your edge stitch (slip the first stitch as if to purl), k2tog, knit across to the last three stitches, k2tog, k1. Work the right sides as you would for a regular mitered square, decreasing the centre 3 stitches each time with a cdd. Work like this, decreasing at both ends of every wrong side row and in the centre of every right side row, until there are only 3 stitches left (after a right-side row). The next wrong side, sl1 as if to purl, k2tog, psso. Cut your yarn and draw the tail through.

There you have it! A pocket made of mitered squares with which to cover your Kindle. You can, if you like, pick up and knit a border around the top. Ribbing, more garter stitch, even some button holes or handles would look really cute. The choice is yours! And I’d love to see what you come up with. 🙂

Here’s mine:

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Picot-Hem Preemie Hat

This little cutie is knit in Knit Picks Felici Fingering-weight sock yarn in "Rainbow."
Here it is again, this time on my hand to show some dimension.

This little preemie hat pattern comes with sizes for a head circumference of 6″(7″,8″,9″,10″,12″).  With that variety, you can knit one for practically every week of baby’s time in the NICU.  It is written for fingering-weight sock yarn and US size 1 (2.25 mm) needles and is knit in the round.  One ball of sock yarn will be enough to knit three to four hats, depending on the sizes you choose.

The picot hem gives it a very store-bought, high-quality feel and will impress everyone who sees it.  (We won’t tell them how easy it is to do.)  There are complete instructions for creating the picot hem in the pattern, and it’s a great skill to acquire if you haven’t tried it already.  It’s one of my favourite new techniques.  (Oh, and if you’re worried about sewing, don’t be!  There is none involved, and the edge will be as elastic as the knitted fabric.)

The pattern is now available as a free Ravelry download. Click on the link below to download it without being a Ravelry member!

download now