Sunday, February 28, 2016

Crazy Making

This happened.

See the ones on the top.  Those are the buttons that I wanted for the owl eyes.  I went over the Central Avenue and picked them up before the big blizzard last month.  I had ten owls and the buttons all have seven buttons on the card so two cards should do it.  Right, ten owls, 14 buttons--I'm good to go.  Repeat after me--OWLS HAVE TWO EYES.  That's right two eyes.  Each.  Crap.  Six buttons short.  Back to Central Avenue (what fresh hell is this) to get more.   Perfect.  I had a red owl hat waiting in the wings that I had only bought two cards for too so I picked up another strip of those too.

First hat done and in the mail.  Second hat done and, what's this?  The white ones of the EXACT SAME BUTTONS only have six on a card.  Six.  Not seven.  So now I'm short two buttons.

Back to Central Avenue (fer Chrissake) and now I buy a bunch of buttons (see the photo).  See the white ones on top?  Suddenly, they have seven on the card.  SEVEN!!!

The ones on the bottom--totally wrong buttons.  Right size on one card but wrong button.  Wrong size and wrong button on the other card.


Next up, this.

It's a brown owl hat even though it looks purple in the photo.

I lost it.  Couldn't find the damn thing anywhere.  I could have lived with that for a while because I have two more owl hats to make but see that needle?  It's the only 16" size 6 that I have.  To add insult to injury, it wasn't alone.  This was with it.

Except, unlike in this picture, nine of the owls had eyes.  Only one owl left to sew the stupid eyes on (okay they're not really stupid) and it had gone missing.

I checked everywhere.  Called the bar that I knew I had it in (although they probably would have called me if I left knitting there).  Nowhere to be found. 

They were finally found the other day.  Sitting right on Couch 22 next to my front door.

Crazy making I tell you.  Crazy making!

And the only person to blame is me.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Carmowl Hat

Lord, it's been a long time since I've written here.  Need back on that.

But for the moment, it's time for a fast and dirty pattern.   I'll be writing up nicer one with pictures to post on Ravelry, but for now this will have to do.

My friend Carmel saw an owl hat online and she wanted one.  I few quick Facebook posts and a dive into the stash and I was ready to go.  We're knitters.  That's what we do when someone wants a hat.

And then I hit a brick wall.  The pattern called for size 5 needles and I couldn't find mine.   Anywhere.  I have a huge bowl full of double points and there wasn't a five among them.  Easily fixed by a quick run to Jo Anns (also grabbed some buttons for the eyes) and I was casting on.

It seemed wrong.  It seemed really, really, really small.  But I trusted the pattern (my mistake) and kept knitting.  It became apparent very quickly that I was out of my mind.    Brick wall number two.

A lunchtime visit to Ravelry and I had plenty of patterns to choose from.  But none of them were quite right.  I'm picky about a hat--particularly one that is basically a plain beanie--and the ones that I was finding were all just far enough over the line of wrong for me that, I decided to just wack some owls on my basic beanie and call it a day.

Here's what I did:

Gauge:  6 stitches to the inch. 

Yarn:  A nice soft worsted weight wool.

Needles: A set of 5 double points to get gauge.  I used US 6.  You can also use a 16" circular of the same size to do most of that hat until the crown gets too tight.  But I couldn't find mine so I did the whole thing on dpns.  I'm picking one up today.

Cast one 100 stitches.

Knit 2, Purl 2 for 8 rounds.

On the next round, *knit 10, M1*.  I did mike M1 by lifting the bar between the stitches so the needle was coming front to back (I just corrected this because the original post had it wrong.)  Then knit into the back of the stitch.  Repeat from * to * all the way around.

This gives you 110 stitches.  You'll need 11 stitches for each of the owls.

For the record, I start with fewer stitches than I need because I have strong feelings about the ribbing being snug enough.  This was one of the problems that I had with the patterns I was finding--the ribbing was too floppy.

You're now ready to start your owls.  This part is fun. 

You're going to repeat each direction 10 times around the hat to set up 10 little owls.

Round 1--purl 3, knit 8
Round 2--ditto
Round 3--do that again
Round 4--purl 3, Cable 4 Back (C4B), Cable 4 Front (C4F)
Round 5--purl 3, knit 8
Round 6 to 11--keep doing round 5
Round 12--purl 3, C4B, C4F
Round 13-- purl 3, knit 8
Round 14--purl 3, knit 1, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2, knit 1 (you're making the eyes)
Round 15--same as round 14
Round 16--purl 3, knit 8
Round 17--again
Round 18--purl 3, C4B, C4F
Round 19--purl 3, knit 8

And now you have owls.  Stop to admire how cute they are.  If they seem a little scrunched up, don't worry.  They will stretch out when you put it on a head.

It's really only two rows to learn with the eye rows thrown in to keep you on your toes.

Now just keep on knitting until it is 6 inches long from the cast on row measured right up to the needle.

This is a basic, good crown that works for me every time.  You're going to need a stitch count that you can dived by 8.  In this case, 112 and will work so you'll need to increase 2 stitches.  I did it like this.  Knit 55 stitches, M1 (just like I did above).  Knit to the end, M1.

At this point, I like to put the stitches on double points if you been using a circular needle or arrange them on your double points with 28 stitches on each needle.  You'll be doing two decreases on each needle.

You'll repeat each direction all the way around, twice on each neele.

Round 1--Knit 12, Knit 2 together. (26 stitches on each needle)
Round 2--Knit
Round 3--Knit 11, Knit 2 together.  (24 stitches on each needle)
Round 4--Knit
Round 5--Knit 10, Knit 2 together.  (22 stitches on each needle)
Round 6--Knit
Round 7--Knit 9, Knit 2 together.  (20 stitches on each needle)
Round 8--Knit
Round 9--Knit 8, Knit 2 together.  (18 stitches on each needle)
Round 10--Knit
Round 11--Knit 7, Knit 2 together.  (16 stitches on each needle)
Round 12--Knit 6, Knit 2 together.  (14 stitches on each needle)
Round 13--Knit 5, Knit 2 together.  (12 stitches on each needle)
Round 14--Knit 4, Knit 2 together.  (10 stitches on each needle)
Round 15--Knit 3, Knit 2 together.  (8 stitches on each needle)
Round 16--Knit 2, Knit 2 together.  (6 stitches on each needle)
Round 17--Knit 1, Knit 2 together.  (4 stitches on each needle)
Round 18--Knit 2 together.  (2 stitches on each needle)

Just about done now.

Cut your yarn leaving a nice long tail.  Thread it onto a blunt needle and pull it trough the eight remaining stitches.  Go around twice, leaving the stitches on the needle so you have a nice sturdy end.

Now pull the needles out, pull your tail in nice and tight and sew it in.

 Take a moment to admire how cute this hat is .

Now find 20 little buttons for the eyes.  Trust me on this one.  You need 20 buttons.  Owls have two eyes.  This was brick wall number three.  I failed to realize that and had only gotten 10 buttons.  My hat was done as a blizzard began to fly.  Seemed like a bad idea to drive to Central Avenue with 20 inches of snow falling and Brian suggested that perhaps I had lost my mind so I had to wait a week to do my buttons.

Here's a tip to get your buttons to stay on nice and snug.  Thread your needle with your chosen thread and tie and overhand not with the two ends.  You'll have doubled your thread.  Now pull the needle through the purls for the eyes at the top of the top purl bump.  Go in the top hole on the needle and out the bottom hole of the needle.  While it is all nice and loose, push the needle back through the fabric just bellow the same purl bump.  Flip it over, pull it tight and tie it off twice.  Your button will now be placed just where you want it.  Now go back through the button holes two or three times and then tie the ends off again at least twice, preferably three times and trim your thread.  It took me until the second hat to figure this technique out.  The first time, I was sewing it on like I would on a cloth shirt and it was a pain in the a** keeping the button straight and nice and tight.  This worked like a charm.

Once the buttons are on, give it a good dunk.  I love Soak and/or Euclan.  Dunk it, let it sit for a bit and, bang zoom, you have a nice clean hat without any rinsing.  If you don't have any, just use a drop or two or gentle soap.  Don't run water directly on it to rinse it.  Fill the bowl and dunk it again.  Repeat until the soap is out.  Now you can either roll it in a towel and stand on it to get some of the water out or use your salad spinner (which I find much more effective.)  Pat it out nicely and put it somewhere warm (and away from the cat) to dry.

Check your buttons to make sure they are nice and tight and there you have it.