Spool-Knit Headband Tutorial

I loved to spool knit (also known as corking) as a kid. I would make yards and yards of multicolored I-cord, but I never quite knew what to do with it after that. So I thought I’d figure out a way to use some spool knitting in a useful way — and only a short length of it, too, so that little ones with not much patience could still make something fun.

For this craft you will need a spool knitter or knitting spool, which is also known as a french knitter, a knitting dolly, a knitting mushroom, or a small knitting loom. There are probably terms I’ve never heard of as well, but they’re all the same tool! You can buy one commercially; they’re often found at thrift stores as kids tire of them, and sometimes at dollar stores in the craft section. Walmart even carries a few kinds if you don’t have a craft store in your area. But you can always make your own as I did with the one in the front, which is just four nails in an old wooden spool. The one that I’ve chosen to use for this craft is the pink one on the far right, which has six points instead of the more common four, just because I’ll be using a thin sock yarn. But you can use whatever kind you have handy!

Spool-Knit Headband

Materials:

– yarn
– narrow flat elastic
– two shades of green felt
– green thread to match felt

Supplies Needed:

– knitting spool
– crochet hook or spool knitting hook
– scissors
– small needle for sewing
– darning needle
– pencil or marker

1. Thread your yarn through the knitting spool, leaving a tail of approximately 6″ dangling. The ball of yarn should end up at the end of the tool with the pegs.

2. Keeping the yarn taut, wrap the yarn counter-clockwise once around your starting peg (all of the pegs are identical, just choose one to start from). Spin the knitting spool counter-clockwise in your hand until the next empty peg is directly in front of you, then wrap the yarn counter-clockwise once around that peg. Continue in this manner until all of the pegs are wrapped.

3. Wrap the starting peg a second time.

4. Using your hook, flip the first wrap over the second. Give the tail a gentle tug to set the loop.

5. Continuing to move counter-clockwise, wrap each peg, flip the oldest wrap over the newest, and then give the tail a gentle tug. This will create a long spiral of spool knitting.

6. Continue in this method until the I-cord you have created is as long as the circumference of the head of the person who will be wearing the headband. Make sure that the measurement is taken without stretching the knitting.

7. Cut the yarn about 6″ away from the peg end of the spool knitting. Thread the end of the yarn through the darning needle. Moving counter-clockwise from the last stitch, use the darning needle to thread the yarn through each loop.

8. Pull the loops off of the pegs, then pull the yarn taut. Tie the yarn securely so that the knitting will not unravel.

9. Remove the I-cord from the knitting spool. Thread the elastic through the darning needle. Use the darning needle to pull the elastic through the center of the “tube” of the I-cord.

10. Push the I-cord back on the elastic to create a clear working area. Cut the elastic to the circumference of the intended head. Overlap the elastic about 1cm and, keeping it flat, stitch the ends together.

11. Pull the I-cord back so that it covers all of the elastic. Tie the two tails of yarn together tightly, then pass them both through the darning needle and use them to roughly stitch the two ends of the I-cord together.

12. Use a pencil or marker to sketch a shamrock and a small heart out of two different shades of felt. Cut the designs out with scissors.

<img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7856/46685216214_0aff433758_z.jpg" width="640" height="544"

13. Making sure that the non-marked side remains up, stitch the heart to the top of the shamrock.

14. Stitch the shamrock over the area on the headband where the two ends of I-cord were joined.

That’s all there is to it! Of course, any colour of yarn and any felt design can be used. I just thought that it would be nice to have something in the theme of Saint Patrick’s Day given that it was coming up on the weekend. But red, white, and pink with a heart design would be lovely for Valentine’s Day; red, white, and green for Christmas; you could make it in the colours of your favorite sports team or even Hogwarts House. Be creative!

Sweater of Many Colours

I needed a new knitting project to work on after completing my socks of many clours and another pair of wrist warmers (which I swear I will post photos of eventually). Neither of these projects made a big dent in the bag full of sock yarn scraps that I was hoping to work my way through, so I thought I’d try a larger project. I decided on a top-down cardigan for Thing 2 based on my favourite how to improvise a top-down sweater tutorial.

It hasn’t been very fast going, since the yarn is a smaller gauge than I usually work with for sweaters. So far I have completed the shoulders and knit down the chest about halfway. But I have worked my way through reasonably-sized balls of leftover yarn, which is encouraging. I’m trying to progress gradually from oranges and earth tones (Thing 2’s favourite colours) into blues and cooler colours further down the sweater. So far, so good! Thing 2 seems very enthusiastic about the project, although at the rate I’m knitting it may not be complete until it’s too warm to wear it. Hopefully she won’t have grown out of this size by next fall.

Back to School Lunches

The Tuesday after Labour Day here in Canada means back to school for elementary school students in the public board. For my children, this comes with no little bit of anxiety, but as they get older I think it’s mostly balanced with a healthy dose of excitement. A big part of that excitement, I think, is getting to see their school friends on the regular again. Summer friends, i.e. neighbourhood friends and friends you meet at the park or wherever you’re traveling to, just don’t have the same staying power.

Of course, some of their excitement is purely material. While we don’t do a full back-to-school wardrobe in our house, each kid gets a first-day-of-school outfit (they’re usually identical, since they surprisingly still enjoy that). They also get new indoor and outdoor sneakers, as well as stacks of new school supplies in their favourite colours — mostly because they will have destroyed just about everything from the year prior by the end of June.

Although the kids are responsible for making their own lunches for the most part during the school year, for the first day I will generally do the honours. This year I’m trying to reduce the number of small containers sent to school because so few of them return (or return intact). Instead of lunch bags, this year I bought plastic, sort-of obento-style containers instead. Since everything fits in one box and the dividers don’t have to come out, I’m hoping that this means that less will be lost or left at school.

This year’s back-to-school lunch included:

– chopped pear from my pear tree
– cheese string
– slice of glazed lemon loaf
– nacho-flavoured Goldfish
– salami sandwich on bread machine beer bread

I was inspired by the lunches that I ate while in Japan on an exchange trip back in high school. I’ve seen some great videos on how school children in Japan help prepare and clean up from communal lunches, but that wasn’t a thing where I went (or possibly wasn’t for anyone in the time period I was there, I don’t know). Instead, we all “brown bagged” it, just like we do back here in Canada. The mother of the family usually woke up super early every day to make fresh obento boxes for her family. Mama-san, as she requested I call her, made some absolutely delicious food! I only too photos of two of the lunches; the one above is an assortment of little sandwiches, each one different, and a bottle of iced tea.

(And yes, I was taking pictures of my food even back in high school. Even when I had to pay to have the photos developed and printed. Some things just don’t change.)

And this one was a more stereotypical Japanese obento, with little bits of all kinds of dishes (it was so long ago that I can’t remember exactly what each one was, I just remember it was tasty), and some nori and I think a rice ball on the side.

When the weather was nice — and we were there during a particularly gorgeous spring — we all sat outside, exchange students and hosts and other Japanese students curious about the foreigners. It was a lovely way to spend a lunch hour.

Having had a school lunch in two different countries, and now being responsible for making sure my own children eat healthily at school, I do wonder about this meal in countries I haven’t visited. What do you eat for lunch? (Although I’m told that in some places you call it “dinner”…)

Scallop and Bacon Pesto Pasta

Thing 1 told me last week that she’d just realized that she’d never tried scallops before, and that she really wanted to know what they tasted like. Well, this week the little frozen scallops went on sale at the grocery store, and I saw a great chance to let Thing 1 try them without spending a fortune.

I whipped up a quick pasta dish where the scallops took center stage. The green noodles were Catelli SuperGreens Spaghetti, and I tossed them in the last of the basil pesto that I froze last summer. At the same time, I fried the scallops up in a dash of olive oil and a sprinkle of garlic powder. To serve, I laid down the pasta first, then a sprinkle of bacon bits, then the scallops, and then a few sliced grape tomatoes.

And the verdict is: Thing 1 absolutely loved the scallops! Next step, I think, is to invest in some of the larger, pricier scallops and serve them wrapped in bacon. Grilled, maybe? Or in a chowder? There are so many possibilities!