3KCBWDAY7 Hooked

Crafting Balance 
Are you a knitter or a crocheter, or are you a bit of both? If you are monogamous in your yarn-based crafting, is it because you do not enjoy the other craft or have you simply never given yourself the push to learn it? Is it because the items that you best enjoy crafting are more suited to the needles or the hook? Do you plan on ever trying to take up and fully learn the other craft? If you are equally comfortable knitting as you are crocheting, how do you balance both crafts? Do you always have projects of each on the go, or do you go through periods of favouring one over the other? How did you come to learn and love your craft(s)?

I would love to learn to crochet. I know there are a few knitters out there who look down on crochet–but I am not one of them. I remember in the 90’s when vogue would try to sneak one or two crochet patterns into the magazine and it would greate an uproar. but I would look jealously at the fancy lace and wish that I could hook them. Sure I can do the basic stitches — single crochet and double. and I can even make a wonky granny square if I concentrate but the charts and directions make my head swim the squiggle lines and chain here and then there just don’t make sense to me. Every once in a while I pull out the bag of leftovers from all the hats and mittens I have made over the past 5 or 6 years and work on my grannie squares hoping to form nice squares like the brown and white ones I found discarded in a thrift store.
When I was young I remember sitting in my Aunt’s cabin- my grandmother and her sister would tell us stories about when they first started going to Mackinac  and how my father played where the fort was before it was a state park. They spun stories about my great grandfather and their lives as little girls. As they churned out these tales their fingers flew forming double and triple knots in the finest thin cotton you ever saw. Before you knew it there would be a doily forming in thier hands. I itched to be able to make this wonderful lace and would lean on their knees as they talked and watch their fingers. I would beg them to slow down and show me how they did it. And they would try to slow their fingers. The stories would stick in thier throats as they struggle to go slow enough for me to catch on. Suddenly they would laugh and say this is as slow as I can go. And they they would speed up and launch into a new tale and that tiny hook and their fingers would blur as the lace flowed off the hook.
I never did figure out how to make the crocheted lace but my mother patiently taught me to knit. It was plain but easy for me to do with two needles instead of a hook. Some how I can keep track of the stitches and where they belong when they are perched on two needles. With the hook I only have one loop under control and I just can’t visualize where to put the next one.
It used to make me sad until I discovered that the plain knits and purls can be manipulated to turn into so many other designs. I can have lace with a YO and a k2t. I can cross my stitches and make cables– the only limit is my imagination.

I still would like to be able to crochet and ever once and a while I sit down with a book or you tube on the internet and work on my crochet sts. But my fingers will never fly and form the light as air doilies I watched my Grandmother and Aunt Katheleen turn out.   And after sweating it out for a while I put the hook away and return to my comfort zone and my two needles and my plain jane knitting. one day just not today.

3KCBWDAY6 Improv or improving?

Improving Your Skillset
How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base? Take a look at a few knitting or crochet books and have a look at some of the skills mentioned in the patterns. Can you start your amigurumi pieces with a magic circle, have you ever tried double knitting, how’s your intarsia? If you are feeling brave, make a list of some of the skills which you have not yet tried but would like to have a go at, and perhaps even set yourself a deadline of when you’d like to have tried them by.

Yesterday I played my wild card to avoid Days 5 ‘s topic.
I just didn’t feel I had the imagination to come up with a dance interpretation of my craft. Now today I sit and scratch my head and wonder if I squandered my wild card because I need it again.
I always hate it when in a job interview the employer ask a similar question and wants me to evaluate my job skills for him. What do you do or say? I mean will he hire you if you say you suck at the job you want or will he think you are  bragging if you say you are perfect and never fail at anything.
What is my knitting skill level?  Well if you ask a person that doesn’t knit much- they might tell you Mary Jo is grand. So talented, her fingers fly through the yarn and creates the most wonderful things.
But the truth is I am not so talented. I think if I went to the Knitting Guild and wanted to be certified they might turn their nose up at my needles. And although my kids used to always tell me to enter a finished project in the State Fair – – I would never submit to the intense competition. Because I know — my work isn’t perfect. My sweaters would never hold up to the scrutiny of inspection by the knit police.
I take short cuts and fudge the directions. My weaving in isn’t the best and worst of all sometimes when I make a mistake and discover it several rows later I  leave it and continue on.
I admit it … sometimes the words in a pattern confuse me. the letters swim around the page and make no sense. …sl3to CN,hold in front, sl center st from LH needle to right end of CN, work 3  from LH, followed by 4…….wait what…go back do it again ..slower this time. So I go to the pictures and study it and work it out  and fudge it until my knit looks approximently like the one in the pattern. Several inches later as I near the neck of the sweater I have the ahaaaaa moment and bang my head on the desktop — oh thats what I was supposed to do!!  but I just forge ahead with my interpretation pretending all is well.
Please don’t get me wrong there really are times you must do exactly as the pattern says and I will frog it all out and make it right. And then there are other times when I simple want to enjoy the rhythm as my needles pass stitches back and forth. Then I pick something with a easy pattern so the yarn can flow through my fingers.
When I was an apprentice(in construction) I worked for a journeyman named Dwayne. And when Dwayne would teach me a new skill he always would tell me, “there’s the right way, the wrong way and Johnnie’s way”.

Yeah every one called him Johnnie even though his name was Dwayne. And he was a great guy to serve an apprenticeship with. There was always more than one way to do a job when I worked with him. But he always took time to explain the differences and when it was important to follow to the letter and when you could get the same results with a short cut. Another saying of his was -if you are consistent with a mistake no one will spot it. This one isn’t always true but some times if your cable is not going the way it should in the pattern – if you always cross it in that direction then no one will be the wiser.
I have participated in a few tests for patterns and then I will make sure that my knitting is exact and perfect as can be. And I think that is a good challenge for me. It makes me a better knitter. It forces me to read and  knit symbol ‘code’ exactly. There is no fudging or changing. I force my needles to knit a certain way even if it feels wrong.

Sometimes it is written wrong and the wording needs to be changed to make it easier to understand. And then the group of testers will work at suggesting different ways to accomplish the same thing. Other times it isn’t written wrong and the problem is that I have read it wrong. I have discovered how hard it is to set directions on a page. I have gained a new respect for designers and the work they put into their knits.
Well it seems like I have gone off topic yet again… and if I don’t watch myself I will just natter on and on till I have bored everyone senseless.
So I should just stop here. But before I do I want to thank Eskimimi Makes for having this fun week of blogging. I have enjoyed the challenge of writing each day. And best of all I am meeting new knitters and crocheters. I haven’t been able to keep up with all the posts being written but will continue to click on the links and find new friends.
One more day and it will be over for the year.  Some time next week I am going to post and do a give away for every one that has been reading on my blog and leaving lovely comments. I am thinking I might make a bunch of mini skeins from my dyeing experiments to give away so I hope that you continue to read ; )

3KCBWDAY5 Best Day Ever

Craft Your Perfect Day
Plan your fantasy day with your craft, It might just take up one hour of your day or be the entire focus of the day, but tell your readers where you’d love to craft, whether you’d craft alone or with friends, knitting or crocheting something simple or spending a day learning new skills.

What’s my perfect craft day?
Any old day…..is my perfect day……

I am lucky and spoiled I live in a beautiful area on a beautiful lake……
…………. where I have a dye garden and fire pit in the yard where I brew my magical colors in a cauldron.
We built the cabin ourselves on weekends  —

 We can fish and hike.
I can garden and experiment with colors.

My yard is set up so I can sit and take a break with my knitting or a book when I need to.*oops that is Meva’s spot….well I can sit here…..
*Meva’s spot again …….. she is such a ham …..she loves to have her picture taken. And she loves to keep me company in the yard ; )
Well, it sounds great and it is — I am the first to admit I am spoiled. My husband is one of those guys who isn’t afraid to tackle anything. Put in a stone floor and wall to surround the woodstove–

 he is on it. Can’t find the right wood floor for the amount of money we have –– a router and a truckload of wide pine planks and some old fashioned elbow grease and it is done. Radiant heated floors with a boiler — well this one was a little scary — the boiler arrived in more pieces than he expected and the instructions were not in English and it was October and getting cold fast.… But he persevered and made it work. And I work along side of him handing him a tool or cutting a board or just listening while I cook dinner after a long day.   So we together have created a beautiful home.
He has taught me a lot…. he has taught me to just … do it(sorry Nike)It is surprising what you can do if you are not afraid to fail. And also what you can learn just by doing. And if it doesn’t quite work out – take it apart and try again.
We are also content which makes life easier. We don’t worry too much about the day to day crap. We are experts at making do.*this bird house leaks so I added an old hat. It makes me smile every time I walk by.
You won’t see pictures of the dust bunnies under the bed and the holes Meva digs in the garden where I just planted bulbs or the bread that failed to rise. Life is too short to worry about that stuff. Cause the crappy stuff  is there — we have problems like any other family. But I have someone I can depend on and lean on. So I can relax and take it day by day because I know that someone has my back and will take care of the occasional snake I find in the woodpile
If my husband knit he would have been my knitting hero ; ) in the post on   day3 3KCBWDAY3 « whatzitknitz.  And now that I think of it – the way he works at projects reminds me of how Elizabeth Zimmermann talked about knitting in her books. Unventing and making it work and just enjoying small things.
*not so small thing caught when we were really hoping for a northern.
Maybe this attitude is good old fashioned midwest mentality -I don’t know.
Well I went off on a lot of tangents and hardly talked about knitting or a perfect craft days……But I guess long story short…..my perfect craft day is just where I am what ever day it is.
Whether it’s rainy and dreary or I am sitting in my garden or in a doctors office waiting. I can pull out my needles and create something. Or I can frog what’s on my needles cause it didn’t work out.
……cause my life isn’t perfect I frog more than I finish.

day4 What’s on your needles?

A Knitter or Crocheter For All Seasons?
As spring is in the air in the northern hemisphere and those in the southern hemisphere start setting their sights for the arrival of winter, a lot of crocheters and knitters find that their crafting changes along with their wardrobe. Have a look through your finished projects and explain the seasonality of your craft to your readers. Do you make warm woollens the whole year through in preparation for the colder months, or do you live somewhere that never feels the chill and so invest your time in beautiful homewares and delicate lace items. How does your local seasonal weather affect your craft?

Spring in the air??

Here in the midwest spring is hit and miss.   After a very mild winter it did look like we might move right into summer weather. But like I said this is the midwest and Saturday morning we woke up to a heavy frost and ice had formed over night on the ponds and bird baths.  This year and I think I only wore my thermal ‘woollie’ pants 2 or 3 times but I still sported heavy mittens pulled on over gloves every day. I wore my long leg warmers under my pants most mornings. I wore my hat that is made of muskrats my nephew trapped on my morning walk.

(Billy that hat is still the warmest hat I own).

Because this is the midwest there are times you will see me in a heavy sweatshirt and a wool cap when I go fishing in the middle of the summer. So no matter the time of year you will see a pair of mittens or a wool cap on my needles.  These and socks are the perfect on-the-go knitting project. You know a small thing that you can throw in your bag and carry with you. You just never know when you will have to wait in line or get stuck in a traffic jam(socks and hats are perfect for this).

*I love how this toe came out — I didn’t have kitchener directions with me in the car so I modified the toe with a weirdo short row bind off until I had just 12 sts left and then wove them together ; ) it makes me smile

I also have two larger projects going a cardigan and a sweater vest right now. these I work on at home because they are larger

And there is always one or two toys hanging around

and maybe a couple of kid’s hats

…..cause…….Baby Its Cold Out There!!!

day3 3KCBWDAY3

Your Knitting Or Crochet Hero
Blog about someone in the fibre crafts who truly inspires you. There are not too many guidelines for this, it’s really about introducing your readers to someone who they might not know who is an inspiration to you. It might be a family member or friend, a specific designer or writer, indie dyer or another blogger. If you are writing about a knitting designer and you have knitted some of their designs, don’t forget to show them off. Remember to get permission from the owner if you wish to use another person’s pictures.

I admire all the newer knitters out there. They are fearless and love to unvent the yarn world. And its hard to single out one. There are so many knitting designers old and new that I admire.

I have knit for 45 years  and just when you think there is nothing new out there a new designer will come along and unvent a technique that has been around since when the first woman flicked a bit of string and 2 sticks together and started making cloth. It is eye opening to watch how someone else takes  the 2 stitches that we all use to knit and turns them around to do a neat new shaping trick and takes knitting to a new level.

Maybe because of the internet and ravelry and knitty these techniques and patterns seem to come alive on my needles more often. I don’t have to wait and  accidently run into a book on the shelves of the library or bookstore. An innovative pattern will come out and then sweep us all off our feet overnight.

Because of ravelry forums I got involved test knitting. And through testing met a wonderful knitter from many miles away. I would have never meet Jana in my neck of the woods. The internet made it possible for us to meet Jana  justblock(gg)ed  is in Germany and I am in Wisconsin.   Ravelry: janukke’s profile   A couple ofyears ago I begged for a spot in a test group for Jana. She had designed a fantastic blanket based on a print by one of my favorite artist MC Escher

This past winter I was thrilled to be included in a 2nd test group far a new blanket. Jana has managed to take very basic sts and combine them in ways that the animals seem to come to life as you knit. Literally I felt as if the fish were wiggling and squirming to swim off my needles. There is a life to them that makes you feel like Geppetto must have felt when Pinocchio came to life. 

While I knit I really thought about the stitches and how they formed the fish. Really, it is just knits and purls, – moss stitch and ribbing and a couple of bobbles thrown in for good measure.  But then Jana tosses  a few short rows into the mix and suddenly the fish comes to life on my needles. Even the sewing is delightful–the way the pieces fit together  like a jig saw puzzles makes me eager to sew as soon as I have enough animals to make a hexagon.

Well you get the idea I could gush on and on — but lets just say I am in awe of the Jana’s imagination and   the genius of her designs.

I love meeting knitters on the internet and I think meeting new knitters that are not inhibited by the rules has changed how I knit. I am not in their league but I think seeing their patterns and reading their blogs has freed me to just play and not worry about rules.

My knitting has changed- now I pick up my needles and play. I start a swatch just to see what happens when I twist a stitch this way or that. I stack the swatches to build little things– whimsies and toys. They take very little time or yarn so I don’t feel bad when it doesn’t work out. But my play teaches me things……short rows make little monkey butts and mouths………..…..the lizard ridge blanket inspired a dinosaur. ….….and a bulbious nose becomes……..well lets just call it a whatzit Its just playing around and some thing that is a botched up swatch becomes a toy with a little tweaking.

My playing helps me understand how short rows added to a sweater helps it fit better. Understanding how my knitting works helps me be able to change pattern and knit it in the round instead of seaming. I love how this new wave of knitters that I meet on my computer has turned knitting upside down and opened my eyes about what my needles can do.

good to the last drop 3KCBWDAY2

Photography Challenge Day!
Today challenges you to be creative with your photography, and get yourself in with the chance to win the photography prize. Taking interesting photographs in this instance isn’t about flashy cameras or a great deal of technical know-how, it’s about setting up a story or scene in a photograph and capturing something imaginative. Your photograph(s) should feature something related to your craft, so that might be either a knitted or crocheted item, yarn, or one of your craft tools. One example of setting a scene would be to photograph a girl in a knitted red cape walking through the woodlands with a basket of goodies, as in the Red Riding Hood tale, or you might photograph a knitted gnome hiding among the flowers in your garden. Photo editing is permitted for competition photos. Here are a few examples of my own photographs to illustrate an imaginative use of photography, but you can do much better than these…

or perhaps — Good to the last inch………………

……….but the panic sets in- – will there be enough…..

…………………….is there ever enough……

only time will tell!…!…!…!…!…!…….this yarn saga to be continued………….

3KCBWDAY1 Nature’s colors

Colour Lovers
Colour is one of our greatest expressions of ourselves when we choose to knit or crochet, so how do you choose what colours you buy and crochet or knit with. Have a look through your stash and see if there is a predominance of one colour. Do the same with your finished projects – do they match? Do you love a rainbow of bright hues, or more subdued tones. How much attention do you pay to the original colour that a garment is knit in when you see a pattern? Tell readers about your love or confusion over colour.

Alas I am one of those challenged souls when it comes to color.

I go into the yarn store and fondle all the bright colors and the eyepopping combination of color in skiens. But although I buy some of these — it is sock yarn and the bright colors are hidden under my jeans. But you can see the colors in this blanket I knit of leftovers. Browns, greys and blues are the colors you will find in my closet.  Honestly I am trying to get myself out of this rut and be the woman that wears neon yellow and  sexy reds and eyepopping orange but if I am honest with myself I am more likely to wear it if it is earth tones. And that is ok– I am comfortable in these colors. Denim blues jeans  and brown t shirt topped with a gray sweatshirt preferable older are what I throw on in the morning.

Lately I have been dyeing my own yarn using plants. And I love the colors that come out of the dye pot. Maybe they appeal to the 1970’s teenager in me.

I harvest native plants from the garden at the cabin and simmer them in a pot over the fire pit in the yard. I am fasinated with the hues of color that attatch themself to my bare wool. Some are amazing-ly bright. the oranges from cosmos and marigold. or the intense neon yellow from goldenrod. some are weak and barely give any color such as mullien and mint. Others yield beautiful browns and greens.

the process is magical when I throw a red flower into the dye pot I don’t necessarily get a a red color on my yarn. It is always a surprise. Red hollyhocks produced a light blueish greenish gray– lovely. I want to save blooms again this year and play with them. But I might not get the same color again – that is part of the surprise the color can vary depending on the weather or the time of year or even the water you use.

2 years ago I dyed a yarn an amazing light buttery yellow with queen anne’s lace– just perfect and it was destined to be a shawl for my niece who was getting married. It knit up quickly and I  just knew that she would love the color. But then I washed it so I could block it and horrors of horrors it turned a neon green. don’t get me wrong  it was still lovely but would a red head love this color–I just wasn’t sure so back to the drawing board and I restarted. now what happened to change my yarn you might say. Look at the difference in the picture above. I had washed and rinsed it when I dyed the yarn – and I believed the color had set. But it is the wonderful mystery of natural dyeing- more than likely it was because the water  or maybe the soap that I used at home had a different ph than the soap and water at the cabin and that changed my yarn. I am glad that it happened here and not after I sent it. I couldn’t repeat this magic if I tried.

I love this yellow from onion skins and want to dye enough yarn to knit myself a short sleeved sweater with it.

And I am going to finish this hat for myself it has a little yarn from several different dye pots in it. It is the 3rd on I have cast on – the other 2 I gave to my sisters as b-day presents. I did try on the hats before I mailed them and I liked the colors on me so I am thinking if I take baby steps and introduce color slowly I can get myself out of this rut and be the woman who wears yellow and reds instead of the dull colors I normally wear.

In the spirit of being more colorful I bought these last week…..wild and crazy who knows what color will be next ; 0

continuing cat saga

Are you tired of kittens yet? I hope not because here comes a post with my wonky left-handed knitting and eliminating sewed seams. Ok this doesn’t change the pattern at all — it is just visualizing how your pattern will go together and knitting it that way. Who knows the original designer may have knitted her bonnet this way and then wrote it flat because it was easier.

I once read that Elizabeth Zimmermann submitted a pattern for a sweater to be knit in the round and the magazine publishing it changed it to be knit in flat pieces and sewn together at the end. The publisher thought that this was easier for a knitter to understand and it was how patterns were commonly written.

But if you enjoy a challenge there is nothing stopping you from knitting pieces together on any pattern. Once you read through a pattern you can combine the front and back and knit in the round until you reach the arms. Or you can start at the neck and work your way down to the bottom if that is what you prefer.

But that is neither here nor there because I am working on a bonnet. So…..you need to think about the shape of the cap you are making. In a previous post I showed pictures of what the bonnet looked like knit and laid out flat. basically you have 2 sides a top and a back.after knitting this T shape  the sides will be sewn to the back forming the finished bonnetsimple right. And there is nothing wrong with knitting this exactly as the pattern says.

Well unless you are a lazy knitter who loves to eliminate steps to get the same result. Or maybe I  should say if you are a knitter like me who has knitted so many of these caps that her mind starts to wander and think of new ways to knit it. Before I start to tell you how I knit this I have to warn you my favorite computer game of all time is TETRIS I could spend(waste) hours flipping those cubes around to make them fit together. And basically that is what you are doing when you look at a patterns for a sweater or hat or toy and eliminate seams. You are thinking about your knitting as a 3d object instead of a flat one. You are flipping and manipulating the knits and purls to shape your finished products.In the above picture I have finished all the increase rows and have 125 sts on my needles I put a marker in the center of the ear where I increased. I also placed a marker where I would need to sew up the ear if I had cast off the 52 sts on each side  Instead of sewing I am going to knit 2 sts together using a 3 needle bind off. (Now I took a few pictures of my bonnet as I was knitting but there are always lots of good tutorials and youtube videos out there to follow so if you prefer google –3 Needle Bind Off –and watch the technique.)

*****edited to add a site that explains 3 needle bind off. Knitty: Fall 2006  there are great pictures on many sites–much better than I could hope to take so if this one doesn’t help please google and find a film clip or something to help ; )And while you are on Knitty browse a little there are great patterns and tutorials here. have fun!*****

What I do is line my needles side by side and then take a 3rd needle and take the first st from each needle and knit those together. Now I take the next 2 sts and do the same thing. Now there are 2 sts on that 3rd needle and I slip the 1st st over the 2nd st.

Then I start again and take one st from each needle and knit them together. Again 2 sts on the 3rd needle and I slip the 1st over the 2nd. I continue to do this until I have knit and bound off all the ear increase sts I made.

One ear done now knit to the 2nd marker and do your 2nd ear the same way.When the 2nd ear is finished turn your knitting and purl back to the 1st ear. When you reach your marker decrease the last st with the first st of the side sts on either side of the ears. Attach the lighter stripe color if you are doing a 2 tone kitty.

Turn and decrease the 1st 2 sts and knit back to the second ear and once again knit 2 tog at the end of the row.

Continue to knit short rows between the 2 ears decreasing at the beginning and the end of each row. Also change the yarn color ever other row if you are making a striped kitten.

See how a nice line forms between the back and the side of the bonnet.

Now when you read the directions you can see that you also need to shape the back. This is where I fudged a little because the directions tell you to decrease on the 1st and  last st but I moved this in 4 stsOk you stuck with me this far and I know this has been long. keep going until you have finished knitting all the sts between the kitty’s ears to the side sts. if you have down it correctly you should have 11 sts at this point.
now for the big finish pick up and 22 sts on each side. Now you have 55 sts back on your needles. You can cast on the extra 12 sts and have a chin strap with a button like the original. I fudged a bit again because I was nervous about fit. Its been so long since I have been around little babies I was worried about size. So I knitted a couple of rows of garter and threw in a row of k2tog YO and then a couple more rows of garter. 

This way I can lace a ribbon through the yo holes and tie a bow.I wish there was a baby to model this for you — but I think you get the idea.

Now maybe you noticed the book in a couple of my photos. It is

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

And the little boy is Max. Before you write and tell me — I know that Max is not a kitty. But this was a favorite book when my son was small. And I think that this hat might be for a boy and boys are not little cute pink kitties they are WILD THINGS.

If you decide knit a hat for a baby think about including a book along with it. Even a baby fresh from the hospital enjoys being read to and you will be giving the baby a gift that will fit them long after the bonnet doesn’t — the enjoyment of reading.

Now I am off to enjoy the rest of my Sunday. I have a little left over yarn ….I might need to cast on a little kitty toy before I finish my sock or my sweater.

My Orange Marmalade tabby

So I have started  the kitty bonnet using the pattern I shared with you in the last post. I am not going to go through every line because the pattern is pretty straight forward. I do want to get a bonnet on my needles so I can try to show you how I did the 3 needles bind off and the short row back.

cast on 65 sts and work 11 rows of garter st. Which is just knit every row. This will border the face and you could use a fuzzy mohair here or some funky fake fur to frame your little kitty face.  Next up you have an increase row. In a lot of older patterns the directions will just say something like increase 20 sts evenly across the row– leaving it to you to figure out how to space the increases. this pattern is pretty thorough and has it all figured out for you. K3. *Inc 1 st in the next st. K2.repeat from* to the last 2 sts. K2 (85 sts on the needle)now the pattern directs you to knit 15 rows of stocking which we call stockinette. so knit one the right side and purl on the wrong side. Here is where I like to play around and throw in some stranded fair isle or a pattern. but to keep it simple I am just going to stripe for a tabby cat. You can just knit one color or what ever you please. once you have knit 15 rows of stockinette it is time to start shaping the ears.

K29 sts Inc 1  in each the next 2 sts. K22. Inc 1 st in the next 2 sts. knit 30.

The pattern tell you how to make your increase and leaves it up to you . personally I like m1r and m1l. I knit up to my first increase st and then pick up the st below and knit it the knit the original st. place a marker then knit 1 st and then pick up the st below. but better than me explaining it or looking at the photo below go to this page Make 1 Left or Right (M1, M1L, M1R)  where they show clearly several types of increase and decide which is your favorite increase and use it. I like placing a marker in between the two increase sts in order to make it easier to find my place with out counting.

now the pattern directs you to continue to increase 4 sts this manner until you have 125 sts on your needles. By my count this is 20 rows. In the picture below I have  5 increase rows done and you can see my kitty ears are shaping up. so I am going to knit those last increase rows and tomorrow when the light is better I will show you how I modified this old pattern so I don’t have to sew any seams.

Kitten Bonnet Pattern

With all the discussions I read about sharing a pattern and copyrights I really didn’t know what to expect when I wrote Patons Yarn company about sharing an out of print hat from an old booklet that I picked up for a quarter from Half Price Books. When I leafed through the pamphlet in the book store I came across this fluffy little pink set and even though my children are adults I just couldn’t resist buying it. I think I understand now why those grand motherly types were always pinching my children’s cheeks when they were small.The reply came quickly from Patons Yarn and gave me permission to share the directions for the Kitten Bonnet I wrote about in this post Kitten Baby Bonnet « whatzitknitz. It did ask me to share it as is. So I have scanned a copy into my computer and here it is.  Now if you click on the pattern your computer will bring it up on a separate page now you can print it. But check the print page and be sure to enlarge it to fit the page.

it is pretty straight forward. the yarn it is written for isn’t available any more but I use a sport weight or dk yarn. I have knit this with a worsted and went up a size needle to knit hat  fit a larger child.

I love this pattern — ‘it has that awwww isn’t that cute!’ factor. And it looks harder than it really is which makes it even better.

the hat starts out with 11 rows of garter stitch.  this is what frames the face and is sweeter that cotton candy in a fluffy yarn or some of that fake fur. When I use fake fur I just knit it right along with the sport weight yarn for these 11 rows.

For these 2 hats I used DK alpaca yarn. it has a little bit of fuzzy halo that I think is adorable for these kitties.

Then on the 12 row  increase 20 sts. After the increase row is plain jane stockinette. I have the new fair isle book by Mary Jane Mucklestone so I threw in a little stranded knitting there. Let yourself go wild I have made fuzzy wuzzy angora hats and striped cats, spotted ones and plain. I have made little socks and mitts that match with paw prints on the bottoms. Let your imagination run wild and try out bits of lace or fair isle. Baby hats are the perfect place to try out new techniques because they are small and fast. So have fun with it.

Now the next section the shaping of those adorable little ears. Before you are done you will have 125 sts on your needles. but don’t worry because the pattern has you cast off right away again. before you know it you will be in the home stretch knitting the back of the bonnet getting ready to cast off and sew up your seams. At this point flattened out the bonnet looks more like an elephant that a kitten but don’t worry a darning needle and some yarn will fix that.Now I love this pattern and I have knit so many I could do it in my sleep. After my first hat I was sure that I could cut out the seams.  Like a lot of people I  avoid the seams. After all why knit a mitten flat(like I learned to many years ago) when I could use 4 needles and put my mittens on when they were finished without waiting to sew them up. Who wants to spend time seaming when they could be knitting. There are times when a seam is important adding structure and stability. But other times it can be avoided. I wrote a post a while back to show off this little cap and to show how I fudged a little to not sew. But other than that the pattern is just the way it is in the pamphlet. If you knit this hat you are going to fall in love with the structure of those cute little ears. And when you put this on a baby other knitters are going to oooh and ahh with the cuteness.  Because all babies are adorable and beautiful. And then you will get the compliment we all love to hear –“wow, what a talented knitter you are!! ”

Thank you Patons for being so generous with us!!

Now I am off I have a few errants to run and maybe I will stop and get some sportweight yarn and cast on another cat so I can show you pictures of short rows and 3 needles bindoff that I used for my hat.

Let me know if you are going to knit this bonnet and share a picture with me : )

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