Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pirates and Dragons

Ok, I'll deal with the dragons first- Ysolda Teague's Snapdragon mittens to be precise. I finished the first one ages ago but after swearing and struggling with complicated cables over four needles I just couldn't face doing it all over again so the second mitten was somewhat abandoned as summer came around. Well, summer is well and truly over and with cold hands to spur me on I conquered my dragon and completed the matching mitten with only one frogging and minimal bad language.
While I feel the cold a lot, P is like his father in that he would happily run around in shorts and a tshirt all year. I really want him to at least wear a hat when he goes out in the cold, but he has perfected the sentence 'I don't like it, Mummy'. Undeterred by the prospect of failure, I used leftovers from my Manu cardigan (Inca Cloud), entrelac scarf (King Cole Riot) and the Snapdragon mittens (Artesano Alpaca) to make a pirate hat:

Yes, I know it doesn't look like anything a pirate would wear but Shhh! Don't tell a certain two year old who loves pirates and is therefore just about persuaded that a 'pirate hat' is acceptable. For five minutes to take a photo anyway.
The pattern was one I made up because I couldn't find a pattern for the weight of yarn I had (DK) or that wasn't on four needles (I'm off DPNs at the moment after the mittens, see above!) or a circular (just wasn't in the mood for circular, and would have needed DPNs for the top anyway). I'm a bit of a straights girl myself, even though I hate seaming at the end, so this is how I made an earflap hat on straights:
P's 'Pirate' Hat
Fits a 20in circumference toddler head.

Cast on 110 stitches on 3.75mm needles, in five provisional cast ons as follows:
15 for left back, 20 for ear flap, 40 for front, 20 for ear flap, 15 for right back. I used different coloured yarns for the different sections so that it was easier later. Neat knitters of a nervous disposition look away now...

Choose the colour you want for the ear flaps and make sure you have enough left to knit them later. Join yarn and knit across all stitches.
Continue in stocking stitch, adding in colours/stripes as desired until hat is desired depth from brow to 10cm below crown.
Begin decreases as follows:
On next knit row, *K9, k2tog, rep from * until end
Next row, purl
Next row *K8, k2tog, rep from * until end
Next row, purl
Continue in this manner until 22 stitches remain.
Next knit row, K2tog across row.
Break long yarn, thread through all stitches to gather.

Undo provisional cast-on for an ear flap and pick up all stitches.
With right side facing, P3, K14, P3
Row 2: K3, P14, K3
Repeat these two rows nine times more.
Next row: K2tog, P2, K12, P2, K2tog
Next row: K3, P12, K3
Next row: K2tog, P2, K10, P2, K2tog
Next row: K3, P12, K3
Next row: K2tog,K12, K2tog
Knit two rows, place stitches on holder.

Complete second ear flap to match.

Join seam at back of hat. Undo back provisional cast ons and place all back stitches on needle. With right side facing to begin, complete three rows of reverse stocking stitch then place stitches on a holder.

Place front stitches on needle, complete three rows reverse stocking stitch as for back. Place stitches on holder.

Join ends of reverse stocking stitch rows to sides of ear flaps.

Using a circular needle (I know, I know, but I only used it for this bit!) pick up 12 stitches down side of left ear flap, pick up stitches from holder along the bottom, 12 stitches up other side of right ear flap, pick up stitches along front, pick up stitches around right ear flap in same way then pick up stitches along back.
Using contrast yarn if desired, use i-cord cast off all the way around edge:
K3, *pass 3 stitches back onto left needle, K2, K2 together, repeat from * until three stitches remain. K2 tog, pass stitch back to left needle, K2tog and thread yarn through loop.

Weave in ends, join up i-cord edging and persuade your two-year-old it's a pirate hat.

Friday, October 22, 2010

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember. Inspired by SouleMama.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bread and bubblewrap

Nobody said motherhood was easy, and with P being very 'two' at the moment I'm living proof. With my nemesis day, Wednesday, looming, I was determined that we'd survive without too many tantrums. So a domestic morning of singing and playing instruments, drawing on big sheets of lining paper, cleaning the kitchen and hanging out washing was in order.
I also made bread. Didn't have time to knead it myself, so it was a breadmaker job for the proving process, finished off in the oven. Even without the soothing rhythm of kneading, just the smell and sight of new bread in the house is enough to give me a sense of wellbeing. Meanwhile, just before naptime, the delivery of a present for M (three apple trees and a pear tree- what a lovely idea!) provided P with his own therapy in the form of bubblewrap. He happily jumped, squished, stomped and popped as we wrapped up a morning that was more or less tantrum free. Hooray!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Late night necessity sewing

There are times when I sew properly, carefully, with good light and an ironing board set up nearby. Then there are times when I just need to get stuff done out of necessity and those quality standards are- ahem- relaxed a little. Last night was one of those times. Madame Dribble really needed some better bibs as we were constantly changing clothes that were soaked down the front, while the young sir has trouble with leaky nappies at night time and needed some more PJ trousers.
In just one morning of M wearing the bandana-style bibs I've made I've been showered with compliments and told I should to into production. Each time I've confessed 'THEY'RE NOT MY IDEA!'. There is a company here who make these absorbent cloth triangular bibs and very good they are too. It's just that we have a near non-existent budget. Therefore I borrowed their idea, and one of their products from a friend and made up my own version using scrap fabric, some leftover brushed cotton for the backing and adding a layer of terry cloth from an unused nappy in the middle for extra dribble soaking. Only trouble is, she can easily soak all four in a day, so another late night session may be in the offing.
The leftover brushed cotton was also pressed into service for P's PJs, as was an old t-shirt of C's. I used the method described by Amanda Blake-Soule in 'The Creative Family' for these, basically using an existing pair of trousers as a pattern. I made his first couple of pairs like this a year or more ago and he still wears them in bed- easy to make, comfy to wear and free material to make it, what's not to love? Just don't look too closely at the finishing...this was necessity sewing, remember??