Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Team Spirit Hat

I am a huge football fan. To me, knitting and football are joined at the hip (or the needles).  I know exactly how and when it happened so bear with me.

My love of football actually started when I was in high school (no need to count the years -- it was a long, long time ago). When I was a freshman, our PE teacher ended up with a difficult pregnancy and ended up bed-ridden. Since this was a very small school, the only one to take the class over was the football coach. Since it was the middle of a South Dakota winter on the prairie, we couldn't go outside. The coach was obviously uncomfortable with a group of 14-year-old girls in the gym, so he moved us into a classroom. He went through the basics, rules, player positions, strategies, formations, and just about everything Football 101 for teenage girls. Some of my friends rolled their eyes and looked out the windows, but I was riveted. I loved the trickery of the offense and the mind-reading ability of the defense. It went from a sport of high school boys just beating each other up to a game of strategy as challenging as chess. Now I saw the appeal of football and I was hooked.

Football went from a game of entertainment to a passion when I went to college. I lived in an apartment building with three other women, and we had the only color TV in the building (remember, this was in the 1970's). Just down the hall from us was a couple of apartments of law students from Minnesota. The Vikings was a regional football team for not only Minnesota, but also the Dakotas. This was during the Fran Tarkenton era, so football was big. Every Sunday, these guys brought the food and the beer to our apartment so they could watch their beloved Vikings on our color TV (like four college women would deny these handsome law students their football obsession!). These guys loved to talk football and I gathered all kinds of information. Occasionally I would ask a "dumb" question (yes, I already knew the answer, but hey, these with handsome law students who loved to talk to pretty college girls), such as "Why would you ever decline a penalty?" That question was good for at least a quarter-long discussion.

After college, I moved to Colorado, just because I loved mountains and was tired of prairies. As it turned out, Denver is a big, big football town and the Broncos were on their way to their first Superbowl. As a young woman in my 20's, I discovered the culture of watching football in a bar full of people, cheering and drinking.

And in Colorado, there is nothing like a Bronco sunset!

Now you are probably wondering how this relates to knitting, and I am getting there.

I became a wife and a mother and as time went on, I desperately needed time of my own without ignoring my family. So my husband became a "football widower" and my kids became "football orphans." Leave Mom alone when she is watching football. You can talk to her, ask where things are, ask questions, but don't ask to leave her place in the front the TV while her beloved Broncos are on. It worked perfectly! Now the question is which is more important: Her knitting or her Bronco game. The answer is simple: Leave me alone, I am counting my stitches and counting the number of first downs.  

So now that you have plowed through my football history, it is time for my hat pattern. This is a orange and blue slouchy hat I made for my son's friend who is obviously a big Bronco fan. The big trick of this hat is that I use very small needles (size 1) for the ribbed band and needles several times larger for the body. So enjoy in the colors of your favorite team from Little League to the Pros.

1 skein MJYarns Simple Sock Fingering Weight in King’s Blue (Color A)
1 skein MJYarns Simple Sock Fingering Weight in Intrigue (orange) (Color B)
(75% Superwash Corriedale wool; 25% Nylon, 100g/380 yds)
Size US 1 (2.25 mm) Circular Needles
Size US 6 (4.0 mm) Circular Needles
Size US 6 (4.0 mm) Double Pointed Needles
Yarn needle
Stitch markers
Gauge: 22 stitches per 4 inches.
Size: Fits most adults. Hat has a lot of stretch so one size fits most

With color A and smaller circular needle, cast on 129 stitches.  Join, being careful not to twist the stitches.
Work a 2x1 rib (knit 2, purl 1) for one inch. 
Next round: Knit next row, increasing 6 stitches evenly across the round (136 stitches).

Switch to Color B and larger needle, and work in stockinette stitch for 6 rounds.
Switch to Color A and work stockinette for six rounds.

Continue in stockinette for a total of three sets of stripes (not counting ribbed band) or desired length.

Crown: (switch to DPNs when necessary)
Row 1:  In color B, *K2tog, K 17, SSK* eight times.
Row 2 and all even numbered rows: Knit.
Row 3:  *K2tog, K 15, SSK*. Repeat to end of round.
Continue in this pattern switching colors every six rounds, reducing the number of knit stitches between the decreases by 2 until 8 stitches remain.   Cut yarn, leaving an 8” tail. Cut yarn, thread through the remaining stitches and secure tightly.  Weave in ends.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Magical Animal

Cats are wonderfully magical animals. Even my Hannibal Lector Neko has magical abilities that just completely flummoxes me.

I am convinced that he has the ability to appear and disappear at will. I have yet to caught him in the act, but I keep my eyes peeled for the act to happen. Many times, I call him and he doesn't come. I know he hears me and I know he knows his name. I look in his many hiding places where I have found him before:

... in a shopping bag...
... a wayward box in the living room ...

... pile of clothes in the closet ...
Under the spinning wheel ...

... in a basket of clean clothes ...

... behind the piano ...

.... a blanket on the couch ...

... or on the arm of the chair ...

... in the yarn ...

... and more yarn ...

... on the keyboard ...

... up the ladder ...

... in the sink ...

.... among the finished projects ...

... in the cupboard ...
... in a shopping bag, whether it is empty or not ...

...  and he is not in any of those places. I'm not worried because he can't get out, but where is he?

Finally, I give up and live with the fact that I will have to put off cuddling with him for awhile.

Suddenly, he is in the middle of the living room looking at me. I didn't see him come in, I didn't hear him. He was just suddenly there. He looks up at him with that expression on his face "I was here all along."

There have been times when we thought he might have gotten outside because we were in and out the front door several times and he might have sneaked out. Ken and I encircle the yard calling his name. We open a can of tuna cat food to entice him to come back. He can be hard to see in the bushes because he is all black, so you can occasionally see us lifting the branches to get a better look. We crawl on our hands and knees to look under the back deck and under the neighbor's porch.

I have had this cat for over 14 years and I can't believe that I hadn't figured this out before.

He is magic. He has the ability to appear and disappear at will. He wasn't invisible -- he was somewhere else. There has to be a cat dimension that he visits to play with other magical cats and maybe even dogs. Can you imagine what a wonderful place that would be? They have even been planning to take over the world from us humans, thinking they could run it better. They might have something there.

It could be that he is just screwing with me.