Posted on

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





Posted on

Knotty Baby Hat and Merrick Cabled Hat are now on Knit Picks!

I am so thrilled to announce that two of my patterns are now available on the Knit Picks website!

Why does this matter to you?  Well, if you’re so inclined, you can go to their product pages and quickly pick up both the pattern *and* the yarn to knit it in, in one simple step.  I like that!  It’s so streamlined.


Knotty Baby Hat.  Pattern by Amanda Schwabe.  Aknitica Designs.

If you’re knitting for babies in your life, I’m super proud of the Knotty Baby Hat.  I designed it while knitting for my fifth baby.  I wanted to model it after a sewn hat that I’d used and loved on my sons, but the fifth child was a girl, and a blue hat simply would not do.

I had some Rainbow Felici in my stash, and it was perfect in every way for a baby project.  It’s soft, washable, and I love the colourful self-striping effect.  (I love stripes, but I hate sewing in ends.)  If I could, I would keep two balls of every Felici colourway in my stash for spontaneous sock and baby-hat knitting projects.  (I have also knit a pair of Skew socks in the Rainbow colourway, and some Jaywalker socks in the High Tide colourway.  The light fingering weight and superwash properties make the perfect socks and hats.)


Knotty Baby Hat pattern by Amanda Schwabe

Anyway, I knit the Rainbow hat for Eva, and it was a hit in the hospital.  All the nurses commented on it, *every time* we walked around in the hallways, without fail.  I was a proud mama.





Merrick Hat pattern

The Merrick hat came about while I was knitting a hat for a family friend.  I wanted thick, squishy cables for warmth since he works outside a lot in the Canadian winter.  It was really snowy last winter, and I was picturing a cozy head covering that would protect his ears from blowing snow.

Now, I love cables, but after a couple of inches working the same pattern, I get bored.  So I sent the cables on an experimental journey to meet each other.  They were happy, and I was happy.  The pattern turned out to be interesting (I think) and really enjoyable to knit.  It’s got enough variation in it to stimulate, and enough repetition to keep it from being too complex.  You’ll notice that the cables flow intuitively, and you’ll soon be able to anticipate what to do next.

I’m really thrilled that I was able to work the decreases right into the cable pattern, so they flow right up to the top bind off.  The hat looks great from above, so you’ll want to make sure you’re around tall people when you’re wearing it.   *wink*

I’ve also worked out a version that incorporates ear flaps into the design.  Watch for that coming in August or so, just in time for fall knitting and winter preparation.

I chose the Knit Picks Swish Worsted for Merrick because the cables really pop with solid colours.  Swish has lots of colour choice available, and, as an added bonus, it’s machine washable.

So please, hop on over to the Knit Picks website and check me out!  I’m really excited to be there.

Posted on 1 Comment

I’m Going To Be On Knit Picks!

Look what came in the mail yesterday!

I finally got brave and submitted two patterns to the Knit Picks IDP program.  And they both got accepted!

Very soon, both Merrick and the Knotty Baby Hat will be available on the Knit Picks website for $1.99 each.  You might notice that I’ve lowered their prices.  I can do that because I’m anticipating higher sales through the higher visibility they’ll get on such a great, large website.

For those of you who’ve supported me by buying them at their previous prices, I am so thankful, and I’d like to offer you the gift of another one of my patterns for free.  Just send me an email to with the name of the pattern you’d like for free, and I’ll send you the link myself, with a big thank you for your previous Merrick or Knotty Baby Hat purchase.  You have no idea how encouraged I feel every time I get that PayPal notification email that one of my patterns has been purchased.

Knit Picks kindly sent me some Swish Worsted yarn so I could knit up two samples of Merrick.  I chose two colours:  my absolute favourite, Gulfstream — an electric blue that leans slightly towards aqua; it’s so vibrant and happy — and Dove Heather, which is soft and classic and comforting.  I got the yarn in the mail yesterday, and immediately cast on to make the first sample.  This is so exciting!

I can’t wait to see how the pattern will look knit up in the Gulfstream colour.  I wish I could capture its colour more accurately with my camera.  These photos are gorgeous, but they’re actually lacking some of its vibrancy!

The Knotty Baby Hat was originally designed in Knit Picks Felici Fingering-weight Sock Yarn, so it’s all ready to go, just as soon as I can mail in the signed Terms & Conditions.  I tried to scan them, but I must be missing some essential software for my scanner.  Sometimes, nothing is simple around here.

I’d love to knit up another sample of it someday.  Maybe I’m being picky, but I hate that little line down the left front where my needles joined.  I have since changed the pattern so the beginning of round doesn’t shift any more, so that line will never, ever, ever appear at the front ever again, but my sample photo hasn’t been updated to match.  At least, not in the Rainbow colourway.  I have a nice photo in a blue-stripe colourway, whose name I have completely forgotten, and which looks like it may have been removed from the Felici colours, anyway:


I’m so thrilled and nervous to finally be taking this step forward in my love of designing.  Thanks for supporting me along the way!



Posted on 2 Comments

Merrick: Cabled hat pattern

How excited am I about this pattern?  Well, I’ve already knit it up 5 times, and I’m working on a sister pattern with integrated earflaps.  (I want an tangerine orange one for myself, if I can find the time to make it.)

Merrick debuted on Ravelry this past weekend and made it into the Top 20.   I love seeing my patterns alongside designers I admire, like Kate Davies and Stephen West.  Can you say excited?


Fleece Artist BFL Aran version








I first knit Merrick up using Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester Aran yarn.  I loved the velvety texture of the hat.  It felt lush and thick, and I couldn’t stop petting it.

Then I knit it up using Cascade 220.  I realized that the gauge was different with worsted-weight yarn (duh, me), so I reworked the hat a bit.  I was worried that Fleece Artist wasn’t widely available enough, and I wanted Merrick to be knittable in a common weight.

I wanted to make sure that the Cascade 220 worsted-weight gauge wasn’t an accident, so I picked up some golden Debblie Bliss Rialto Aran from my favourite yarn shop.  It said “aran” — would it be more like the Fleece Artist, or the Cascade?  It turns out the gauge was worsted, as well.  What a relief!

As an added bonus, the Debbie Bliss yarn made the squishiest, most well-defined cables ever.  I absolutely love the texture of it.  I wish I could have a shelf of it in every colour.

But I still had a crush on the Fleece Artist BFL, so I compromised a bit.  In the pattern, the main sizing instructions are for worsted-weight yarn, but I gave some notes on using the heavier aran-weight, too.

When you purchase the pattern, you’ll be getting both charted and written instructions.  You can use either one or the other, according to your preference.  They’re both complete and separate.

I also included detailed written instructions for each stitch used in the pattern.  Feel free to send me a message if anything remains unclear.

To knit Merrick, you will need:

  • 100g worsted weight yarn (or 1 125g of Fleece Artist BFL yarn)
  • size 7 US (4.5mm) circular needle, 16″ for body of hat; and a second circ or dpns for crown shaping.  OR, size needed to get gauge.  (You don’t want your hat to be too small, do you?)
  • cable needle, if using
  • stitch marker
I prefer to knit cables without a cable needle.  I find it much faster.  I learned how to do that from Grumperina’s photo tutorial.
The gauge you’re aiming for is 5 sts per inch in stockinette in the round.  If you know Judy’s Magic Cast On, just cast on about 15 sts per needle and work a tiny, straight pocket in the round.  Make it about 2 inches long, then take the needles out and measure your gauge.  That’s a quick, easy way to get an accurate in-the-round gauge.
Why is measuring your gauge in the round so important?  Because most people purl slightly looser than they knit, so our gauges tend to be different when we’re knitting every round that when we’re knitting and purling back and forth.  (The things you learn while taking the Master Knitting course.)
But I digress.
And now, a plethora of photos so you can see the hat from all angles and decide that you must, this very minute, buy a copy of this pattern for you and all your friends.


My test knitter had this to say about Merrick: [quote] “It was a nice knit.  I found the pattern very easy to work with and your charts worked really well.  I did not use the written instructions, only the notes that went with the charts and the explanations for the symbols on the charts, which I found useful.”[/quote]





[box]Where did I come up with the name Merrick?  Well, it wasn’t easy picking a name for this hat.  I had all my Facebook friends give me great suggestions, but in the end, I chose to somewhat name it in honour of where I bought the yarn.  (Plus, doesn’t “Merrick” sounds vaguely Aran-ish?)  If it weren’t for Beckie at Unraveled in Merrickville, I never would have had the pleasure of working with the Debbie Bliss.  And now I’m addicted to it.  Thanks, once again, Beckie, for inspiring me to happily relinquish all of my yarn budget to your capable hands.  [/box]

[box type=”download”]

You can purchase your very own pdf copy of Merrick right here!  Your download will be sent to you automatically.


What do you think of the Merrick hat pattern?  Have you ever tried cabling without a special needle before?  I’d love to hear from you!

[twitter style=”horizontal” source=”aknitica” text=”Cabled hat pattern: Merrick” float=”left”]

[twitter_follow username=”” language=”en”]

[fblike style=”standard” showfaces=”false” width=”450″ verb=”like” font=”arial”]

[fbshare type=”button”]

[google_plusone size=”standard” annotation=”none” language=”English (UK)”]

[pinterest count=”horizontal”]