Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Bella Slouchy Hat - Free pattern


The Bella hat is a easy-to-knit slouchy beret that uses pleats instead of decreases to shape this hat. Starting at the crown, you increase your stitches until you reach an oversized slouch in the middle down to the band of the hat. Then using double-pointed needles, you created 10 cute little pleats before a 2x2 rib band. It makes a roomy and warm hat with a snug band over the ears. Using a self-striping yarn also adds interest to the look. Enjoy!

1 skein Chroma Fingering Yard in Red Velvet (70% Superwash Wool, 30% Nylon, 100 grams/396yds)
Size US 2 (2.5 mm) Circular Needles
Size US 2 (2.5 mm) Double Pointed Needles
Yarn needle
1 Unique stitch markers
7 Stitch markers
Gauge: 15 stitches per 2 inches; 10 rows per 2 inches.



With double point needles, cast on 8 sts. Place unique marker for beginning of round and join.
Round 1: Knit
Round 2: *K1, M1.* Repeat from * to * beginning of round marker. 16 sts
(see how to make a nice line your increase at the end of this post).
Round 3:  Knit
Round 4: *Knit 2, m1, place marker.* repeat to unique marker. 24 sts
Round 5:  Knit
Round 6: *Knit 3, m1, slip marker.* repeat to unique marker. 32 sts
Round 7:  Knit
Round 8: *Knit to the marker, M1, sm. Repeat to unique mark
Changing to circular needles when comfortable, continue rounds 7 and 8 until there are 30 stitches between each marker.  (240 stitches)

Body with Pleats:

Next round: Knit each round until the piece measures 2¼ inches from the last increase round.

Next round: K5, *right-facing pleat (see Instructions below), k2* five times, k5, *left-facing pleat, k2* five times knit to the end of the round (140 stitches).

Next round: Knit

Next round: K2, p2 to the end of the round.  Continue 2x2 rib for 1 inch.

Bind off and weave in ends.


Right-facing pleat:
Slip the next 5 stitches onto a double-pointed needle (DPN).

Slip the next 5 stitches onto a second DPN

Turn the DPNs to overlap the working needle so the first needle is in front and the working needle is in the back. 

Line up the three needles as close as you can.
Work the first stitch on each needle as a K3tog. (I have also used a small-sized crochet needle to pull the yarn through all three stitches.) 


10 stitches decreased.

Left-facing pleat:

Slip the next 5 stitches onto a double-pointed needle (DPN).

Slip the next 5 stitches onto a second DPN
Turn the DPNs over the working needle so the first needle is in back and the working needle is in the front. 

Work the first stitch on each needle as a K3tog. (I have also used a small-sized crochet needle to pull the yarn through all three stitches.)  10 stitches decreased.

How to make a nice line in your increases

Knit the stitch. Using the tip of the left needle, create a stitch from the row below and put it on your left needle.
Knit the stitch

One stitch increased

And here is a picture of the wonderful and adorable Bella (and my son Dane).

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Total Eclipse of the Sun!

This is me during the total eclipse,
but you can't really see the
hole in the middle.
Ken and I traveled to Alliance, Nebraska, to meet up with my brother and nephews to see the total eclipse of the sun. What a spectacular site! Although I am sure everyone has seen videos of the moon passing in front of the sun, nothing prepares you for the scene in real time. As the moment gets close, it gets dark, but not like the dark of night or even the dark of dusk. It has a slight and strange pink tinge to it. Then you see a black hole in the sky surrounded by a ring. When you see a picture of it, part of your brain is saying it did not truly look that way; it was Photoshopped or the camera distorted it. Your mind says it is not real. But to see it in person is jarring. Someone must have placed a giant animated character in the sky.

The day started out in a fog bank, and we had partial clouds throughout the built-up to totality. But it made real unusual pictures. Fortunately, it was clear skies shortly before the big event.

My husband built a staging box with great success.

 Going ...

 ... going ...
 ...and almost gone.
Strangely, the worst pictures were the ones of the
total eclipse. However, my brother took some through
his telescope that were outstanding. He will be sending
those to me soon and I'll update you.

It was also a good opportunity to knit for the 3 hours to get there and the 8 hours to get home!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Our Family's Legend of English Muffins

We are in the process of de-cluttering our house after being here for 25 years, preparing it for sale. We plan to move to Fort Collins, Colorado to be closer to our son and his future bride (wedding is September 16!) . Yesterday, while working on the drawers in the master bathroom, I was reminded of one of our funny family stories called the Legend of the English Muffins. Now what does emptying the drawers in the bathroom and English muffins relate? Stick with me and you will see.

When my sons were in grade school, my job required me to be at work at 7:00 a.m. With a 40-minute commute, I left before everyone else in the house got up. So Ken was in charge of breakfast, lunch money, and sending the boys off to school. I had the after-school duties of homework and dinner and so it worked out well.

Trying to put some variety in breakfast, I bought a package of English muffins. After about a week of no one trying them, the muffins were suddenly gone. Great, I thought, they liked them. At the next shopping trip, I bought another package. Within days, they were also gone. So I bought some more, and those too were gone within days.

This pattern continued for a few more weeks until one day Ken said, "Why are you buying these? No one eats them."

"Yes they do. They are always gone when I do the shopping list." I said.

"No, they are not gone. I have been putting them in the freezer because the first package turned green!"

Sure enough, I looked in the freezer in the garage and there were six packages of English muffins. (Don't worry, I was still able to blame Ken because he didn't tell me).

Fast forward to today (we'll skip the reason why I have four bottles of laundry detergent on the top shelf in the laundry room).

I spent yesterday sorting out the drawers in the master bath. I threw out old make-up that failed to make me look like I was 21 again. I sniffed then tossed the many bottles of magic wrinkle cream that not only failed to remove wrinkles on my face, but added wrinkles to my bank account. I found broken barrettes and hair clips that found their way in the trash.

Now, I have long hair, and yet when I look for a brush or comb, I am lucky if I find one. So the next time I am at the market, I buy another big tooth comb or brush. But within a few days, it's gone. It's not in my purse, nor in the car, nor in the drawer for my hair doo-dads. So again, I purchase another one -- sometimes an entire package.

As of yesterday, I have 43 combs and brushes. They were all hiding in the back of the drawers! I think they were planning a mutiny of some type, a comb-ination of sinking their teeth in or brushing me off. Instead of a clean, organized drawer of hair accessories, I have a pile of colorful items stuffed in so tight I can barely shut the drawer.

I am still trying to figure out a way to blame this on Ken.