A Hat for Greta

My parents own a garden statue named Greta, a replica of one my mom’s parents owned when she was young. It stands near our fireplace, where over the years it’s been an imaginary friend to several young children and a source of mild amusement to the rest of the family.

Last winter, while I was making a long list of 2015 projects in order to atone for my sub-par pre-Christmas creative productivity, I decided I would make Greta a festive hat to spruce her up for the holidays. She hangs out with the Christmas stockings and the fairy lights at my parents’ house every December—the least she can do is dress up a little, no?

A hat for Greta

The pattern is the Scrappy Gnome Hat from Melody Lisa. I made the adult size because I thought Greta’s stone headscarf might make her head too big for the child size, but in retrospect, the smaller size would have been better—even on me, the hat is gigantic. I suspect I’m a looser knitter than the pattern author.

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I used a 13” circular (29” long) instead of DPNs, using the magic loop method. I think I may have preferred DPNs (or a longer cable), but I was buying supplies in a rush, and the Michael’s I was at didn’t have a great selection. I also improvised a stitch marker from a paper clip (bow to my resourcefulness, o readers)!

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The hat came together in a couple of hours: I started working on it around 7:00 last night and finished by 11:00, with a few long-ish breaks in the middle. The instructions claim, “It also knits up extremely quick. Like, need a gift for tomorrow? This is the way to go,” and I found that to be totally 100% accurate.

I now have visions of knitting one for every member of my family (cats included), mostly for the holiday photo LOLS. If this ends up happening, I promise to report back.

A Squad of Stegosauruses

Sweater and leg warmer knitting has fallen by the wayside over the past month—it’s starting to get hot enough here that all I want to do after work is lock myself in the bedroom with the window AC and try not to melt.

In my search for compact, lightweight, not overly complicated knitting projects that didn’t involve sitting under piles of wool, I decided to embark upon a mission: knit a squad of dinosaurs.

Why dinosaurs, you ask? Because they’re awesome. Why a full squad? This summer coincides with the pregnancies of two friends and the birthdays of all three of my niblings, meaning I have five opportunities to make a tiny kid’s day with a squishy, fuzzy, wondrously plated knit stegosaurus.

Dino #1

I had high hopes of cranking all five dinos out and then doing a cute photoshoot with an artfully handcrafted jungle-themed background, but then I realized: a) I’m not that kind of blogger; b) I already gave one away; and c) ain’t nobody got time for that.

Instead, I present you with a handful of iPhone photos of (adorably!) disembodied dino parts:

Dino head

Dino feet

Dino feet

Dino head

Watching these take shape has been so fun. Right now, I’ve finished three of the bodies and am partway through the second set of feet/plates. I’m getting great practice working with double-pointed needles, and they’re so cute that I can’t stop myself from AWWWWWWWWWING every now and then. Which I’m sure thrilled the other knitters at brunch a couple of weeks ago.

Pattern: Katie Boyette’s Dinosaur Jr. on Ravelry

My Ravelry notes are here: Dinosaur Jr. #1

Bonus: a very detailed discussion of appropriate dinosaur terms of venery!

Super bonus: fascinating Wikipedia article on the Bone Wars of dinosaur fossil discovery

A Serge(r) of Delight

The weather in Boston this year has been record breakingly terrible, and despite the fact that multiple snow days and dark, cold evenings should theoretically mean lots of incentive to curl up with a project indoors, I haven’t really been…feeling it.

I’ve cast on a couple of projects and have a couple of others languishing in my studio, but my sewing machine has been almost silent for months. A few weeks ago, though, I finally worked up the courage to delve into new crafty territory: the world of sergers.

Over Christmas, my wonderful in-laws gifted me a serger that once belonged to Mr. Jones’ grandmother. I was thrilled but also a bit apprehensive: sergers are notoriously scary beasts, with four (as in, three more than normal) threads to thread and sharp knives that will chop off the tip of your finger (or, less drastically but perhaps equally sad, the wrong bits of your fabric) if you’re not careful.

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Behold: the terrifying innards of a serger

I’m only barely starting to get a handle on tensioning using my regular sewing machine; the thought of trying to navigate four different tension dials plus something called “differential feed” while simultaneously worrying about injury and potential project ruin was daunting enough that I carefully set the serger box on my sewing table and then avoided looking at it for several months.

Then I saw that Gather Here was offering an hour-long “Serger Basics” class, and I womaned up. Turns out: sergers aren’t that scary, as long as you’re willing to spend some time fiddling with your settings and make sure to test everything (maybe twice, to be on the safe side) before jumping in. I came home and began the grand unboxing.

After I set everything up, I turned Helen (named after the “Helen’s Hilltop Fabrics” label I found on the front of the machine) on and gave her a whirl. Guess what? She’s in perfect condition.

serger practice

I have a couple of project ideas in mind, but I’d love to know what others recommend as first serger projects: simple knit dresses? Leggings? Let me know!

Pac-Man Hat: Finally

I finished knitting this hat longer ago than I want to admit, then went back and forth on whether to line it. Points in favor:

  • All of the colorwork inside would probably benefit from being shielded by a layer of fleece.
  • Lining a hat is a cool skill I’d like to learn.

Points against:

  • It’s now officially springtime where the hat wearer (my brother) lives, and expecting him to sport a layer of polar fleece in addition to a knit hat seems…cruel.
  • My dark blue thread kept breaking when I tried to handsew the lining to the hat, and I gave up.

Honesty, folks.

Anyway, now that I’ve cleared up that debate, I’m finally ready to mail it off to its new home.

Pac-Mac Hat