Double-Layered Tuque Pattern

I finished up a second of my extremely-warm double-layered winter hats the other day, this time for Thing 1, and I thought I’d share the pattern. It’s a pretty easy one, as such things go. It involves the basic techniques of casting on, casting off, knitting, purling, increases (k1fb — knit one front and back), decreases (k2tog — knit two together), and knitting in the round (I prefer the magic loop technique, but whatever you are most comfortable with is fine). Don’t let the seemingly long pattern deter you! It’s mostly because the pattern contains a flat-brim and a ribbed-brim version.

A note about sizing: this hat is made to fit my 23″ head with room for a ponytail or other hairdo underneath. I’m no Brent Butt (who claims to have a 27″ head), but my head’s still large enough that it generally falls outside of the women’s hat sizing category and smack-dab into the men’s. Don’t worry, this pattern is adjustable to the size that you want it; instructions are below.


Left: plain brim hat knit in Polo Stripe colourway
Right: ribbed brim hat knit in Favorite Stripe colourway

Double-Layered Tuque
Adult male size, fits 23″ to 24″ circumference head

Materials:
– one 141g (5oz), 215m (236 yds) ball of Red Heart Super Saver Stripes yarn (100% acrylic)
– for ribbed-brim hat only: scraps of contrasting yarn for stitches & pompom
– one set of 5mm (US 8, UK 6) circular knitting needles in a length comfortable for the magic loop method (I prefer 120cm/47″ or longer)

Gauge:
– 21 stitches and 27 rows in stockinette stitch = 20cm x 20cm (4″ x 4″) square on 5mm (US 8, UK 6) needles

Instructions:

Cast on:
– Cast on 18 stitches (flat brim) OR 24 stitches (ribbed-brim).
– Place half of the stitches on each half of the circular needle so as to use the magic loop method.
– Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist.
– Knit one row, placing a stitch marker after every third (flat brim) OR fourth (ribbed brim) stitch. This will divide your work into six sections.

Increase the Crown Exterior:
– First row: *Knit until one stitch before first stitch marker. K1FB on the stitch before the stitch marker. Repeat from * until row is complete. (Every row like this will increase your work by 6 stitches.)
– Second row: Knit.
– Repeat first and second rows until you have 57 stitches per side (flat brim) OR 60 stitches per side (ribbed brim)

SIZING NOTE:

This is where you can adjust for head size. Once you have established your gauge, which you can do either with a swatch or by measuring your stitches as you go, you can calculate how many stitches you will need in total. Use one of the following formulae, depending on whether you’re measuring in metric or imperial:

(Head Circumference + 2.5cm) X Number of Stitches per CM = Desired # of Stitches

OR

(Head Circumference + 1″) X Number of Stitches per Inch = Desired # of Stitches

Then, round the stitch number up to the next multiple of six. It gets a bit more tricky for the ribbed brim version, which must also be divisible by four.

Knit the Body:
– Use a piece of differently-coloured yarn or a safety pin to mark the row where the increases end.
FLAT-BRIM:
– Knit until body measures 9cm (3.5″) from end of increases.
– Remove increase marker.
RIBBED-BRIM:
– Knit until body measures 5cm (2″) from end of increases.
– K2, P2 for and additional 3.8cm (1.5″).
– Remove increase marker.

Decrease:
FLAT-BRIM:
– Divide the number of stitches on each needle by three, and place a stitch marker after each group. Knit the next round, knitting two stitches together for the two stitches before each stitch marker. There should be 54 stitches on each needle.
RIBBED BRIM:
– Divide the number of stitches on each needle by two, and place a stitch marker after each group. Knit OR purl two stitches together, depending on what that stitch should have been in the normal order of K2, P2. There should be 58 stitches on each needle.
– Use a piece of differently-coloured yarn or a safety pin to mark the row where you made these decreases.

Knit the Body Lining:
FLAT BRIM:
– Knit until interior body measures 9cm (3.5″) from decrease marker.
– Remove decrease marker.
RIBBED BRIM:
– K2, P2 for 3.8cm (1.5″) from decrease marker.
– Knit for an additional 5cm (2″).
– Remove decrease marker.

Decrease Lining:
– Divide the number of stitches on each needle by three. For the flat-brimmed hat, unless you have adjusted for size, that means each group should be 18 stitches. For the ribbed-brim hat, the number will not be even. If you have not adjusted for size, divide the stitches 19-19-20. If you have adjusted for size, try and make the groups as even as possible.
– First row: **Knit until two stitches before first stitch marker. K2tog on the two stitches before the stitch marker. Repeat from ** until row is complete. (Every row like this will decrease your work by 6 stitches.)
– Second row: Knit.
– Repeat first and second rows until you have 12 stitches per side (flat brim) OR 18 stitches per side (ribbed brim).
– Cast off, leaving a long tail.

Finishing:
– Run the tail of yarn through the cast off stitches and draw tight, tying a secure knot.
– Run the other tail of yarn through the cast on stitches and pull tight, tying a secure knot.
– Fold the lining into the exterior of the hat so that the cast off and cast on stitches touch, back to back.
– With a few stitches of one of the yarn tails, secure the two ends of the hat together at the point. Tie one tail to the other and pull them between the two layers of fabric.
– Create a pompom out of the leftover yarn (flat brim) or out of scrap contrasting yarn (ribbed brim). Stitch it to the exterior of the peak of the hat.
– About 1cm (about 0.5″) from the bottom edge of the hat (flat brim) OR along the edge of the ribbing (ribbed brim), stitch leftover/contrasting yarn every second stitch, affixing the lining to the exterior of the hat. Then run a piece of leftover/contrasting yarn through these stitches, creating a continuous line. Make sure that these stitches are not too tight, so as not to be uncomfortable around the ears. Tie off the yarn and run it between the two layers of fabric, snipping off any extra if it protrudes.

As usual, should you note any errata in this pattern, or if any instructions need further clarification, please let me know so that I can fix it and/or make my instructions more clear!

Christmas Gifts

I received some absolutely lovely Christmas gifts this year from friends, family, and Santa Claus. Some of the gifts would likely be of interest to other crafty- and foodie-types. My brother gave me one of those fantastic crocheted knight helmet hats and the previously-mentioned Jamie Oliver 5 Ingredients Quick & Easy Food cookbook (Jamie Oliver, 2017). My husband gave me a copy of How to Cook Indian by Sanjeev Kapoor (2011). Santa brought me some lovely worsted-weight variegated yarn, which I am currently turning into a hat. My parents bought me a funny (and very accurate) Procrasti-knitter T-shirt from White Owl Crochet.

But I do have a weakness for handmade items that combine practicality with beauty, and this year my parents picked out some absolutely lovely pieces for me. The first is a pair of wine tumbler/tea bowls from Greig Pottery. The one on the right is patterned with lupins, which is a flower that I first fell in love with on a trip to Newfoundland with my mom about eight years back. In shape and size, these vessels remind me of Japanese teacups, although they are intended for both hot and cold beverages (so far as I know, you’d never have a cold beverage in this kind of cup in Japan). They fit comfortably in my hand and the little indents — one on either side — are perfectly placed for my thumb and forefinger. As a bonus, they’re both microwave and dishwasher safe. I can’t wait to use them, possibly for some rum and eggnog before the season is over.

Mom and Dad also gave me this gorgeous two-tone rosewood & mango wood yarn bowl from Knitpicks. They actually gave me two hand-potted yarn bowls (in different sizes, for different-sized balls of yarn) last year for Christmas, but my kids managed to smash both of them on the same day. Needless to say, I was not amused, as the bowls sat on the table in the living room where the kids aren’t supposed to be playing in the first place. I was very vocal (possibly too vocal) about how much I missed the old bowls, so Mom actually hopped onto the Internet and ordered me a new one — one that, it should be noted, should be much more difficult to smash. Touch wood. I love the glassy-smooth finish of the wood; when I got the bowl, I couldn’t stop running my hands over it. I was especially proud of my mother for ordering it for me, since she had never before shopped online on her own, usually getting my brother or I to order things for her. I don’t see an Amazon Prime account in her future, but I like that Mom is now able to put aside her worries about online shopping, at least for items that she can’t get in town.

I want to take this opportunity to say a sincere thank-you for all of my gifts this holiday season. Although, as Garfield points out in the Christmas special that we watch every year, it’s not the giving, it’s not the getting, it’s the loving.

At The Park

There are a lot of public parks in the Ottawa area; a lot of them even have splash pads and water features. This means that if you’re looking to do something with the kids (or even just to get outside yourself), there is always somewhere to go and something to do — so long as it’s not pouring rain. I take advantage of this on a regular basis. My kids are old enough now to pop off together to the closest park for an hour or two. However, their range is pretty small (they only just learned to ride bikes without training wheels earlier this summer), and I wouldn’t feel comfortable with them going much further or crossing major roads alone in any case. So whenever it’s nice out and the girls are getting restless, I head out to a park.


Brewer Park


Knitting at Cardinal Creek Community Park. That day I was working on the start of an adult sock in Araucania Yars Huasco 100% extra-fine Merino wool (colour 101, dye lot 74403) on 3.5mm circular knitting needles.

We alternate between parks, sometimes staying close to home, sometimes packing a lunch and driving downtown or even across town to check out some new scenery. I stuff a novel, a knitting project, and my phone into my purse, which is enough to keep me entertained for hours. No matter where we go, I also have to bring about a tonne of sunscreen. It probably hasn’t escaped anyone that I’m a blonde and my kids are redheads, so sunscreen is not an option, it’s a necessity. The kids invariably come home soaking wet, exhausted, and happy. To me, that’s a successful summer day.

Ribbed For Her Pleasure Sock Pattern

As with my Minecraft Creeper Blanket Pattern, I wrote this pattern years ago — July of 2007, to be precise. It is actually the first knitting pattern I ever wrote. When I took down my old blog, the patterns went with it, and since then I have had request to re-publish some of my old work.

My Ribbed For Her Pleasure Sock Pattern is a very simple sock that, due to its repetitive nature, is great for working on in front of the TV, while on the bus, or while watching small children. It works well with most sock-weight yarns and showcases self-striping yarns beautifully. This is the updated version from 2011, when I fixed an error in the heel.

Ribbed For Her Pleasure Socks
Adult Women’s Size

Materials
– Two 50g (1.764oz) 152m (166yrd) balls of sock yarn, size 1 super fine
– One set of four size US 3 (3.25mm, UK 10) double point needles

Gauge
– Sock Yarn: 28 stitches and 36 rows = 4″ x 4″ (10cm x10cm) square on US 3 (3.25mm, UK 10) needles

Instructions
– Loosely cast on 60 sts. Divide into 20 sts on 3 needles. Join and work in (K2, P2) ribbing for 1.5″ (3.81cm).

– Work in (P2, K2) for an additional 3.5″ (more or less if taller or shorter socks are desired; make sure you have additional wool if you want taller socks).

Arrange heel sts:

– Slip 6 sts from end of 1st needle onto beginning of 2nd needle, and slip 6 sts from beginning of 3rd needle onto end of 2nd needle. This should give you 14 sts on the 1st needle, 32 sts on the 2nd needle, and 14 sts on the 3rd needle.

– Divide the 32 sts on the 2nd needle onto two needles of 16 sts each and leave for the instep.

– (P2, K2) the 14sts off the first needle onto the 3rd needle. Working on these 28 sts proceed as follows:

– Next row: (WS) K1. P12. P2tog. P12. K1. (27 sts on needle)

Make heel:

– 1st row: (RS) K1. Slip 1. Repeat across row ending row with K1.
– 2nd row: K1. Purl to last stitch. K1.
– Repeat these two rows for 2 inches, ending with 1st row.

Shape heel:

– 1st row: (WS) Slip 1. P14. P2tog. P1. Turn.
– 2nd row: (RS) Slip 1. K5. SL1. K1. PSSO. K1. Turn.
– 3rd row: Slip 1. P6. P2tog. P1. Turn.
– 4th row: Slip 1. K7. SL1. K1. PSSO. K1. Turn.
– 5th row: Slip 1. P8. P2tog. P1. Turn.
– 6th row: Slip 1. K9. SL1. K1. PSSO. K1. Turn.
– 7th row: Slip 1. P10. P2tog. P1. Turn.
– 8th row: Slip 1. K11. SL1. K1. PSSO. K1. Turn.
– 9th row: Slip 1. P12. P2tog. P1. Turn.
– 10th row: Slip 1. K13. SL1. K1. PSSO. K1. Turn.
– 11th row: Slip 1. P14. P2tog. Turn.
– 12th row: Knit. (16 stitches remaining in heel)

Make instep:

– Slip 32 sts for instep onto one needle.

– 1st needle: With RS of work facing and using the heel needle, pick up 13sts. Knit 11 of these sts, then purl 2 of these sts.
– 2nd needle: Slip the two purled stitches from the end of the 1st needle to the beginning of the 2nd needle. (K2, P2) the rest of the way across instep sts.
– 3rd needle: Pick up and knit 13 sts along other side of heel.

– Sts are now divided as: 27-34-13

– Knit 7 sts from beginning of first needle onto end of 3rd needle.

– Sts are now divided as: 20-34-20

– 1st round:
– 1st needle: Knit to last 3 sts. K2 tog. K1.
– 2nd needle: (P2, K2) to the end of needle, ending with P2.
– 3rd needle: K1. Slip 1. K1. psso. Knit to end.

– 2nd round:
– 1st needle: Knit.
– 2nd needle: (P2, K2) to the end of needle, ending with P2.
– 3rd needle: Knit.

– Repeat these two rounds to 13sts on 1st needle, 34 sts on 2nd needle, and 13 sts on 3rd needle (60 sts total).

– Continue knitting as in 2nd round until foot, from picked up sts at heel, measures 5″ (12.7cm). (Alternately, continue knitting until the needles sit at the first knuckle of the big toe when this sock is tried on the foot on which it will be worn.)

Shape toe:

– Slip 2 sts from start of 2nd needle onto end of 1st needle, and slip 2 sts from end of of 2nd needle onto start of 3rd needle. This should give you 15 sts on the 1st needle, 30 sts on the 2nd needle, and 15 sts on the 3rd needle.

– 1st round:
– 1st needle: Knit to last 3 sts. K2tog. K1.
– 2nd needle: K1. Slip 1. K1. psso. Knit to last 3 sts. K2tog. K1.
– 3rd needle: K1. Slip 1. K1. psso. Knit to end.

– 2nd round: Knit.

– Repeat these two rounds until 28 sts remain (divided 7-14-7). Break yarn and graft 2 sets of 14 sts.

Souvenir Yarn

My husband returned last night from a business trip to Den Haag in the Netherlands. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to accompany him, but I was there about ten years ago for a job interview, and I don’t feel as badly about missing out as I would have if it was a place I’d never visited.

When we found out that my husband would be traveling to Den Haag, he asked what I would like him to bring back. “Yarn,” I answered. I’m not a great fan of souvenirs, at least not the kind that will sit on a shelf and collect dust. Practical items are another matter, and I like to think fondly back on my trips whenever I use them. Yarn, for me, is also a great souvenir, especially if I can find something local that is hard-to-get back home. It’s also a great thing to have someone bring back as a gift. I think of the the person who gave the yarn to me when I knit it, as well as when I see the final project worn.


Malabrigo Mechita in 227 Volcan

Now, my husband isn’t a knitter, and he for the most part could care less about nice yarn — although, through exposure to me, he is learning. I am trying to convince him that it’s a good idea to go to a yarn shop employee and say, “My wife is a knitter, I have a budget of $X, she likes local wool and knits a lot of socks, could you please help me find her some yarn as a gift?” Although the employee may have a few more questions to help narrow things down, this will save him an inordinate amount of time wandering through the shelves. Unless his whole plan is to browse because, deep in his heart of hearts, he actually really likes yarn and this is a deeply satisfying experience for him — but I sadly don’t think that’s it.

Before he left, I Googled for a nice shop that was within a reasonable distance of his hotel. He ended up going to Cross & Woods Crafting Parlour. He tells me that he knew I’d like the place as soon as he stepped inside. Not only was it filled with lovely crafting supplies, but there was a table where ladies were sitting and knitting. He overheard them discussing the different ways one could hold one’s needles, how awkward it is to try a different style, and complaining that everyone else’s style is just inherently wrong. Since I’m pretty sure that I’ve had this exact conversation with my knitter friends (indeed, my grandmother and my grandmother-in-law couldn’t watch me knit because it made them want so badly to correct how I was holding my needles), I think I would have fit right in.

Unable to find a yarn that had been produced, spun, or dyed locally that he thought I’d like, my husband instead brought me back Malabrigo Mechita in 227 Volcan. (Malabrigo’s actually from Uruguay.) It is a beautiful soft yarn, although it’s not tough enough for socks, which is my general go-to for thinner yarns. Their website recommends this yarn for “shawls, scarves, garments, accessories, baby and kids items, lace, cables, [and] textured stitches.” I will have to spend some time browsing Ravelry for ideas and that, with a mug of hot cocoa in hand, is my way to spend a perfect winter evening.

Minecraft Creeper Blanket

I originally posted about my Minecraft Creeper Blanket on my old blog back in 2013. I written anything new for that blog for years, and I just assumed nobody had looked at it in equally as long. As it turns out, someone had been trying to follow the pattern I’d posted — and then I took it down! So I am re-posting my old entry. I plan on doing this with more of my old work, subject to requests, so if there’s an old post you’d like to see, just ask.

On July 16th, 2012, I almost lost my little brother to a house fire. The fire started in the room where he was trying to sleep away a flu, and he was lucky to get out alive and relatvely unhurt; he suffered some mild burns and smoke inhalaton. My parents, of course, threw a couple of things in a suitcase and started the drive to Halifax to take care of my brother in the hospital (he was there for almost a week) and then help him once he was out. With two young children at home, I couldn’t manage a 16-hour drive and indefinite hotel stay on practially no notice, but it didn’t mean that I didn’t want to be there. He’s my baby brother, man. I couldn’t just sit on my hands and do nothing. As it became more and more obvious that, between the fire damage and the water damage from puttng the fire out, my brother had lost just about everything, I started to wonder if there was anything I could make for him. Sure, the insurance should pay to replace most of the essentials, but what about those personal touches? That’s where the idea for this blanket was born.

For those not into such things, the blanket pattern is based on the face of a Creeper, which is a bad guy in the game Minecraft. I chose the design simply because I know that my brother loves the game. Perhaps I should have played the game before I knit the blanket, because I found out that the whole point of this villain isn’t so much that it kills your character (there is minimal penalty in this game for dying), but that it destroys the creations that you’ve spent a long time building. You know, like a house. I swear I didn’t know this before I knit the blanket. This doesn’t seem to bother my brother much, or maybe he takes it as ironic. At least I hope so…

This is what a Creeper looks like in game:


Source: D+PAD

It took me six months of knitting to finish the blanket. At first I thought it would be ready for my brother’s birthday, then Christmas… In the end, it was a delayed Christmas present that I gave him in February. I swear I tried to make the Christmas deadline, but I still had at least 25 squares to go by the time December 25th rolled around. I mean, it took me almost a month to sew all 100 squares together. I now have a HUGE respect for anyone who undertakes this kind of project on a regular basis. My hat is off to you, sir or madam.


It’s amazing how all that work folds up into such a small package.

Here is the pattern that I designed if you’d like to try to knit the blanket yourself. I knit it as simple stockinette stitch squares, cast on 25 stitches and knit until they were square. This makes a blanket that is big enough to generously cover a single bed, or barely cover a double. I’d give you exact dimensions, but the blanket is already with my brother in Halifax. I tried to find an acrylic yarn (brother has pets, it has to be easily washable) with as many shades of green as possible to make the Creeper appear authentic. This is the best selection I could find.

The legend as follows:

Minecraft Creeper Blanket

Yarn: Loops & Threads Impeccable yarn from Michaels
Needle Size: 5 mm (8 US)
BL = Black (01040), 20 squares (2 balls)
TG = True Grey (01044), 11 squares (1 ball)
F = Fern (01222), 17 squares (2 balls)
FO = Forest (01243), 20 squares (2 balls)
G = Grass (01223), 10 squares (1 ball)
DF = Deep Forest (01242), 10 squares (1 ball)
SF = Soft Fern, (01221), 12 squares (2 balls)
Square Total: 100 squares, approx. 1200g
Border: 2 rows of single crochet around edge in Forest (01243), approx. 50g (1 ball)
Total yarn required: 11 balls

If you try this pattern yourself or if you need more information before you give it a shot, please let me know!