Sayonara Summer

Time to start knitting again. If you have some acrylic yarn that isn’t worthy of much else…here are some ideas.

mailbox art

Yarn and Simon Mama Loves Knitting

We’ve spent the entire summer wrapping yarn around sticks making swords, staffs, decorative pieces, and each color has a “power.” My favorite is pink – that is “sexy power,” according to my 5 year old. Just to clarify “sexy power” gives you a skirt (whether you want one or not). Yellow is blinding, red is fire (of course), green is life, black, I think we all know, is death, and I might have to check in with Gus in the morning to be reminded of the rest of the powers.

Sword


If you tie yarn around your head (or ankles or stomach) – color dependent – you get special powers. Be mindful of your color choices!

I made only one hat this summer…and I’ve started on my second. Time to start hanging out in the basement after dark and knitting my life away. Of course this is just another of my infamous ribbed hats. I cast on 84 stitches and knit 2 purl 2 until the end. It’ll fit forever. This is supposed to be for a baby – and it fits Gus (my sizing model). It will fit the masses.

fall knits mama loves knitting

If you follow peeps on Instagram you can find some occasional knitting pics @evosshickey.

Life is grand – summer was fabulous. I’ll be knitting hats in San Diego – on our vacation in September. I was thinking I would attempt a hat a day on vacation – that is a stretch. I will be on the beach, in the sand, maybe I’ll finish one hat while I’m basking in the California sun and hitting Legoland with my all time favorite boys!

summer time mama loves knitting

Hope your summer was as magical as ours.

Baby Evelyn Mae’s Hat

Evelyn Mae Hickey

I got to be at another birth and it was an awfully special one, especially close to my heart. This little nugget joined our family almost a week ago and I was present for her first breath of Montana air. She was born right in her Mama and Papa’s peaceful bedroom, and she’s my niece Evelyn Mae. I am working on a blanket similar to the one I made for Baby Bill Jeff but with a different color scheme. I knit a bit during the labor, but I wasn’t working on the hat, that was complete and I had gifted it to Sarah that night, at our house, right after her water broke at our kitchen counter. We were having a bit of a surprise party for her because her birthday was only a few days later and we figured the weekend would be the best time. We were about an hour into the party when ~ “blammo” drenched drawers. We surprised her baby out! Or maybe Evelyn thought the party was for her.

We headed to her house, and I went along for the ride, as I’d planned to be her birth doula. Her midwife visited just to check heart rate, blood pressure and dilation. All looked well. Contractions hadn’t started just yet, so I headed back home for an hour, when Bryan texted me things were getting more serious. That didn’t take long.

Sarah and Sandhano

Sarah labored through the night with mighty gusto. Bryan was by her side the entire time and things went perfectly. Mama might still beg to differ, but I’m sure not for long. Sandhano (her midwife (and mine 4.5 years ago)) came back around 5:30 AM and Sarah was ready to push. 1.5 hours later she pushed her sweet baby out right before the light of the morn on October 22nd.

Start of Hat

Not sure how many stitches I cast on but I know that I just looked back at another ribbed hat for a babe I’d made before. I suppose I probably did somewhere near 60, of course some multiple of 4 as that is a requirement to make this pattern work. k2, p2 all the way around using size 6 circular needles. The variegated yarn I used was wool from Skyline Yarns purchased a couple of years ago, her Etsy shop has been empty for a while now, but I save it (hoard it) for special occasions…such as this one. I am promised the yarn shop will be back someday. The yarn pictured is sock yarn (fingering yarn) but just because it is “sock yarn” doesn’t mean it has to be used for socks only. In fact I’ve never completed a pair of socks…but I’m always on the lookout for pretty sock yarn.

Baby Hat  Baby Hat Again

This little hat is so tiny that I was asked if it was made for a hamster. Uncool. Hamsters don’t even wear hats.

I promise to share more photos and love just as soon as I complete the blanket. I’m 1/2 way there. Here is a snip of what it looks like (a bit before the 1/2 way mark) and Thanksgiving felt project my sister (Sloane’s Mama) and I are working on.

Ev's Blanket

Welcome to the world sweet Evelyn. We all adore you!

 

Edie’s Birthday Hat

Edie

I have another special special person in my life that was the recipient of a knit birthday hat, and don’t you worry I stuck to that ‘oh so familiar ribbed pattern’ that I so do love. I couldn’t ever tell you the exactness of it, I pretty much wing it every time, but I find myself looking back on this here blog to remember how many stitches to cast on. This time for a 4 year old I cast on 60 stitches. The requirement is that the number of stitches be a multiple of 4 for the pattern to work. I’ve finally come to this conclusion after a year 1/2 of knitting pretty much the same hat 25 times.

Pretty Yarn

I decided tiny Beeser needed a pom pom atop the knit goodness. This is the perfect way to use up the last little bit of your skein of yarn. Sometimes these particular hats are hard for me to give away, but it is usually just because of the yarn I use and how cozy it is. I just want to wear it, I probably ought to make one for myself. Edie chose this yarn out of my stash a year ago, and it is right at the very top of my list. I heart it! I could make this hat a billion times and never get tired of making it, especially with a good movie in my face, or this time – an airplane ride to New Orleans from Montana. I finished it up by the time we arrived, with the exception of the finishing work because I didn’t have a needle or a crochet hook to hide my ends.

I used Sheep Shop Yarn (100% wool) which I need to stock up on because I LOVE it. Another thing I was without was a pair of scissors. Anyone have tips for that on the plane? Here is what I did, and do fairly frequently…

Frayed yarn

I just fray the yarn until I can snap it off. It doesn’t make for very pretty pieces hanging off but it gets the job done. You hide those pieces anyway…so what difference does it make. My husband suggested on our last flight that I use the seatbelt – he’s so smart.

Lap Knitting

One thing that did surprise me about knitting on a plane is you can bring whatever knitting needles you want to – no problem. I was surprised when I brought my gigantic size 13 metal needles, no probs. Just in case I tend to bring the whole lot of them. Thanks to my sister I have a handy place to keep them all and roll them up for transport.

Edie's Hat

Here is one more sweet photo of Edie that I took only a couple of weeks ago – she is my littlest son’s bestest friend. Two peas they are.

Edie

Her Mama promised me photos of her wearing her new hat so just as soon as I get my mitts on those I will put them up on our facebook page.

 

 

Plane Knitting

Hat Brim

Gone are the days of me apologizing for how long it has been since my last blog post. I just decided I don’t need to start each post off by apologizing. And, I’m not going to apologize for making hat after hat after hat after hat, because I like making hats. I definitely am going to dabble in some other projects this fall/winter, but hats are the “gift” of the year (or possibly several years). If you are special to me, and you haven’t gotten a knitted hat yet, you can probably expect one at some point in your life. Don’t hold your breath, and you can pretend to be surprised when you get it, and maybe you honestly will be, since the majority of you aren’t reading “Mama Loves Knitting” in your spare time, someday you will (might) be gifted a hat.

Knitting Bud Lollipop

So, we traveled a LOT this summer. I know the last post was a knitting sesh on my lap and I was torn between knitting and reading the novel that everyone and their grandmother read over the course of the past year. The novel won, but I finally finished the hat (photos coming soonish hopefully modeled on the head of the recipient), so the next trip we took was to my little brother’s wedding in Indianapolis. The knitting was the easier option since we had our kids along for the ride(s), no reading could be accomplished, well with the exception of My Father’s Dragon which might be the best book ever (to read to your 6 year old).

Knitting Needles Knitting Nun Chucks

My family and I made my brother and his wife a pretty amazing quilt for their wedding gift, so…

Mitch's Quilt

I wasn’t sure I needed to get another gift, so I decided I’d KNIT SOME HATS for them. Mitchell told me he didn’t have a favorite color, which works out swimmingly for the above pictured quilt that he was the recipient of, but didn’t work out so well when I was attempting to choose a couple of Shepherd’s Wool colors at Joseph’s Coat the day before we flew away from Missoula. He did tell me that Megan (his bride) likes greens and blues so I chose two colors that I thought looked fun together and I’ve been wanting to keep that ribbed hat for myself ever since I started it.

I plugged away on the plane after starting at least 3 times from the beginning because I cannot count when I sit next to my three year old. I plugged away while we sat in our big house surrounded by my family and all kinds of cozy. I didn’t knit as much as I thought I might, as euchre was much more important, but I got a good start on Megan’s hat.

Simon Spelling Spelling/Knitting

I plugged away on the way home whilst Simon spelled. This Mama Knitted! And since I got home from our trip, I’ve finished that hat and started Mitchell’s that will be Ivory and Christmas Red Shepard’s Wool, I guess you get the colors of your Alma Mater if you don’t specify a fave. I am using size 8 circular needles, 16″. For Megan’s hat I cast on more stitches than I did for the boys’ ribbed hats, even though now that I think about it, her head is probably not any bigger than Simon‘s melon. I cast on 80 stitches for Simon and Gus and for Megan I did 96, I think? And, I did a horrible job of decreasing up top, I’m a little bit out of practice. Don’t worry though I’ll be back in the swing soon.

I’ve also been plugging away on that sweater. I re-fell in love with that project last night while watching a movie. I also discovered while knitting Megan’s hat that I can knit and watch a sub-titled movie, yep, pretty bad-ass, for a rookie. It is true that knitting is much more desirable when the weather gets colder. I have a lot of projects up my sleeve now I just need some cold weather and movies, with or without subtitles.

Baby Hats

Baker Yarn

I loved the way this handful of things all matched. Yarn-corn nuts-knitting bag from my sweet friend-cozy couch – ahhh! I’m making yet another hat for a doula client and I’m using some more of the yarn I got from Skyline Yarns . The doula client is less of a “client” and more of a friend so I wanted to make sure to use something special. This is a worsted weight superwash 100% wool yarn. Machine washable wool is the best! It says to knit with size 7-9 needles and I am using size 8 circular needles. I cast on 68 stitches to start this sweet little baby hat. Knit 2 Purl 2 round and round we go! It is still under construction as I type. This yarn makes a pretty amazing pattern, look at that beautiful stripe.

Variegated Yarn

I’m of course doing my favorite pattern – the good old ribbed hat. I love how stretchy they are and it just seems like a little person can get a little bit extra use out of a hat like this – it will fit for longer. I wonder what Karen used to dye this yarn, she dyes her yarns with all natural dyes – maybe carrots? Whatever it was – it looks delicious!

The second hat I wanted to make mention of, I whipped up in a couple of nights. It was for my last doula client and her sweet baby – Claira Rain – she was born a month ago (with the rain on April 30th) and I actually used the same yarn I used for the other Clara’s hat. It is special Skyline Yarn again but a bit lighter weight, sock yarn, fingering yarn.

Skyline Yarn Hat

This yarn called for size 3-5 needles. I used size 6 circular needles to knit this up. Same pattern knit 2, purl 2. I think I got a little bit slack when I decreased and closed up the top, I’ll have to look back at my old patterns when I close the hat I’m currently working on. It still looks pretty sweet on baby Claira’s head.

Claira and Ilsa Baby Claira

Look at that sweet little newbie and her pretty Mama. Knitting hats for new babies is quick and easy and so fun. I remember when my midwife knit a hat for Gussy while I was in labor, and it is one of my most favorite sentimental keepsakes ever. It goes on the top of our Christmas tree every year. Here is a photo of Gus in his baby hat 3 + years ago. Maybe some of the hats I knit will end as tree toppers? Who knows, what I do know is those babies will have warm little heads.

Gus Hat

Happy Knitting!

Birthday Hat with Pom Pom

Knitting Progress

Birthday Hat takes on two meanings for me today. I made this hat for a friend for her birthday because as I mentioned before – why mess with success, when you are good at something you might as well make that useful thing for everyone that needs it right? Plus they are fun to make, so I made yes another ribbed hat. The second meaning is that I finished this hat while I was fortunate enough to be a doula at a sweet birth…so it is extra special to me. This was while the Mama was laboring for a bit in another room, I snapped my progress on my lap in the rocking chair in the dark room, in the wee hours of the morn.

Birth Knitting

It doesn’t take me long to whip out a ribbed hat these days. One night and I can get one done from start to finish. This particular hat I cast on 68 stitches and k2 p2 the entire way to the decrease at the top. I used size 10.5 circular needles and I really just like the way these fit, they are snug and warm, so I’ll keep making them. In fact I’m thinking about starting to sell them on Etsy just because I like to make them so much. That’s when I ask myself, “Self, do I have time for an Etsy shop?” And the answer is as long as no one likes your hats you do!

Close Rib Peek Hat Green/Yellow Hat

I used Sheep Number Two yarn from the Sheep Shop Yarn Company. I love knitting with this yarn it is so soft and colorful! I used color number G026. I got it in hanks and just used my new tools (they’ll be featured in one of the next blog entries) to turn it into a big yarn cake. Both times I’ve made hats with this I didn’t even use a whole hank. The last hat was Lexie’s birthday hat. It is made in Uruguay and 100% pure wool!

Now for the Pom Pom! I haven’t ever made one before but I’m not sure why, it is incredibly easy!

Cardboard Wind Yarn Finger

So the first three steps pictured above: 1.Find a piece of flexible cardboard. 2. Wrap yarn around the cardboard (approx 50 times). 3. Remove the wound yarn from the cardboard. I just slid my finger in place of the cardboard – but you want to keep that wound yarn nice and neat for the next step.

Yarn Through Bundle Tied Bundle

Next step is just to tie a about a 12 inch piece of yarn twice around your bundle (through the middle).

Cutting

Finally you just cut the bundle (opposite side of where you tied it together). Then you’ve got yourself a pom pom. I just attached it after I cut it.

TaDa!

Finished Hat

What do you guys think? Etsy shop or no?

Dishcloth Increase/Decrease

Noro Yarn

So Loopy had a sale and I just bought all of this incredibly enticing Noro yarn because I never can resist it, and it was on sale! I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m going to knit a sweater for my sweet husband! In order to even begin something so huge though I needed to really work on my increasing and decreasing. Sure, I decrease all of the time when I knit my hats, but I haven’t had much of a reason to increase.

Amaizing Yarn

This yarn was my inspiration, well this combined with a very simple dishcloth pattern. This yarn is called Amaizing because it is made from 100% corn fiber. What a perfect time to make your own dishcloths! *Earth Friendly Dishcloths* during earth month – how fitting. I will never buy another dishcloth as long as I live. I usually get dishcloths by the handful whenever I visit my Great Aunt Jean – so she’s always been my “supplier” but she’ll no longer have to stock my dishcloth drawer. I’ll forewarn you – there isn’t the element of perfection I usually require, but it is a dishcloth and my first one using this pattern, so be gentle.

Dishcloth

So this simple pattern uses size 7 needles.

Cast on 3 stitches.

Increase Section: Row 1 – Knit 3

Row 2 – K1 M1 (increase or Make one stitch), K1, M1, K1

*Row 3 – Knit all stitches

Row 4 – K1, M1, K all stitches until one stitch before the end, M1, K1*

Repeat Rows 3 & 4 (between *) until you are half way

Increasing Start

Decrease Section: Row 1 – Knit all stitches

**Row 2 – K1, K2tog (knit two together), K all stitches until 3 stitches before the end, K2tog, K1**

Row 3 – Knit all stitches **

Repeat Rows 2 & 3 (between **) until you have 3 stitches left.

Bind off loosely.

So pretty simple, and really really quick! Since I didn’t really know how to Make One (m1) I used this book as a tool to teach me.

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I was increasing like a madwoman in no time! You can be too, if you aren’t already. If the book doesn’t do the trick I always watch You Tube knitting videos. You Tube is a really good teacher! You can make one of these dishcloths in one evening, so you could gift them or build up your supply at home. I have another washcloth that I made when I was just learning to knit (all garter stitch) and supposedly this yarn gets softer with each wash, but I don’t find it to be incredibly absorbent, so if you like your cloths to soak things up (in bulk) maybe this yarn won’t be your cup of tea. It is really soft though and I found a pattern for a handkerchief headband and it calls for corn yarn, so I’m planning to use this yarn to make that really soon as well.

Close up Dishcloth

It looks very pleasing to me close up.

So watch for my sweater progress, I plan to start soon. I have two other smaller projects that will happen within the next few weeks. A birthday ribbed hat – why mess around – when you are good at something might as well give that as a gift, right? The new endeavors are for people like Shane who will hopefully love it even if it isn’t perfect, since he’s married to me. Sucka!

Happy Knitting! Happy Earth Month!

Knitted Spring Hens

Knitted Hens

Happy Spring. I did end up getting the chickens done in time for the bunny to stuff a couple in Simon’s and Gussy’s baskets. I mentioned my intentions to do so on the 1st birthday of our five hens back in March. I knitted Fire then, and you can see she made it into some of these photos as well. She’s the only one that got eyes, lucky girl!

Fire

Simon's Basket Gussy's Basket

This was August’s Easter Basket. He ended up with the white hen (which we don’t even have – so while sorting through his basket he said, “A white one? Huh.”) and the Black Hen who we call Compsognathus.

Compsognathus

I again used my ancient acrylic yarn and didn’t even put a dent in it. Oh well at least it has served some purpose. My kids love their hens. Simon ended up getting a couple of the other hens we have.

Simon's Basket

The black and white hen is Octopus Pie and the brown hen is probably Captain Dan we have two Auracanas so I suppose the brown hen could be either of them but it ended up looking more like Captain Dan than Boingy.

Octopus Pie Captain Dan Boingy and Simon

I used size 4 bamboo needles to knit the girls and cast on 16 for each of them. I knitted until I felt like it was nearly square and folded them into triangles and stitched up the sides until I had only a small opening and then stuffed them with just some poly fill. I sewed them closed and crocheted the combs with red acrylic yarn and just sewed beaks on with bright orange acrylic yarn. It was a fairly simple project that I finally finished on Easter Eve. I was cutting it close but still able to hang out and play cards with family that night…so nothing too stressful. And it felt really good to have such healthy goodies in the Easter Basket. I hate Plastic Easter Grass with a passion, I think it an awful product so I lined the baskets with some recycled shredded packaging I’d gotten in something a few days before Easter. I filled the baskets with the homemade hand-knit chickens, a flashlight, some modeling beeswax, a bird whistle, a zipper pull and a few chocolate eggs. Happy Healthy Environmentally Friendly Easter! I’m such a dork Mom.

Baskets Octopus, Comp and Mystery Knitted

Happy Knitting!

Side Project

Yarn Ball

This yarn, from Purl, arrived in hanks – as it usually does – but Mama doesn’t have a ball winder…or does she…My Ball Winder

Hank

I used my husbands arms and my hands to wind my own ball. Problem solved!

So after I had a ball I started knitting a little gifty for my Sister-in-Law for her birthday. Of course I decided I ought to stick to what I’m good at so I knitted another ribbed hat. Since this yarn is pretty chunky I used size 10.5 circular needles made from bamboo. My collection of needles is growing by the project. I knitted two, purled two the whole way around. I started by casting on 68 stitches (I think). I should always write down exactly what I cast on right when I do it because it immediately exits my brain and since I already gifted the hat I can’t count how many I cast on.

lexhat2

Trying it on for size. It isn’t quite done yet but I love the colors of this variegated wool. It is called Sheep Number 2, made in Uruguay. It has to be dry cleaned or hand washed in cold water. It is 100% pure wool and it comes in 100g hanks. I got it from Purl when they had their moving sale and I’m happy that I got two hanks of it, even though this project didn’t even require one whole ball of yarn. I have a little ball left over and one whole hank for Shane to hold while I wind for another project. I’ve become a yarn hoarder, I need to do some serious knitting to start diminishing my stash.

The Finished Product

Happy Knitting! Happy Birthday Lex!

Knitting Chickens

Chicken Birthday

Today is a special day at our house. Exactly one year ago today we went to the post office and picked up a box filled with 25 peeping chicks. We nurtured our baby chicks to 6 week old gawky weirdos in our bathroom in a refrigerator box and then moved them to their new coop outside in our backyard. We didn’t keep all 25 of them, just 5. Today we are celebrating Compsognathus, Octopus Pie, Fire, Boingy and Captain Dan’s first birthday. They are little egg laying machines and so much fun. In lieu of the celebration I thought I’d knit up a handful of chickens, so I got one done. I have all kinds of yucky old acrylic yarn laying around that I got for like 50 cents a skein a while back, so maybe in 10 years if I keep knitting little stuffed animals I’ll have it all used up. I just have to keep creating one creature a day. My intention was to knit a chicken that resembled each chicken we have but I only got Fire (our yellow chicken) done in time for the celebration.

So I used size 4 double pointed needles, simply because I don’t have just regular size 4 needles. The pattern I was sort of following was in my book Knitted Animals – which has a wide assortment of beautiful little knitted animals in it. Luckily there are three chickens to choose from. I started off with yarn that was too big though so I just went out on a limb. I worked in stockinette stitch, so knitting the entire time. I think I cast on 16 and then knitted until I thought it looked close to square. I folded the creation into a triangle and sewed the two sides together and stuffed the baby bird right from the bottom point and sewed closed.

Chicken Start

I then used another piece of this acrylic yarn and sewed it around the body to create the dip in the chicken’s back. I also stitched a bit of beak on using some orange acrylic yarn (I have every color of this stuff you can imagine!).

Beak

starting to look chicken-like

Then I crocheted a bit of red acrylic yarn to create the comb. I didn’t really know what I was doing, just “winged” it. It ended up looking enough like a comb that I was happy with it. Oh and I used some black yarn (the really heavy stuff – good for buttons) to make the little eyes. It by no means is a perfect bird but it made my kids happy. Maybe by Easter I’ll have more to fill their little baskets. That’s my goal. It is all about setting little goals for myself, that’s how things get done with five chickens, two kids, a toy store and an oil business (just to mention a few things).

Making Corn Cake

Gus and Chick

Ooh we even had time to make some corn cake for breakfast for the chickens (they shared with us too). Look at that happy little knitted chicken.

Birthday Ring

Who knew a knitted chicken could lay so many eggs! Happy Birthday and Happy Knitting!

Corn Cake Eat