Category Archives: hat

The Hat to End All Hats (for a while)

A friend of a friend got me to make this for her two-year-old.

eebee1I thought it would be a quick and easy project, but (duh) it was fussier than I anticipated, what with all the sewings-on of the facial features and the purple thingies.  Also, I had no pattern, but had to work off a photograph.  And, I had to buy yarn for it.  But, it’s over now, and it’s kind of cute in a crazy way.  After this, I have one last chemo cap to finish knitting, and that’ll be it for hats for a while.  I’m finally going to get around to making a shawl with the three skeins of Noro Kureyon I bought . .  jeez . . . last year with a Christmas gift certificate.

More importantly, I can concentrate on jewelry again!  Class starts next week, and I have to figure out what I might like to work on and do some prep work if I can.  Yay!


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Halos and Ginkos



All I’ve been knitting lately are hats, as I want to get my donation to Halos of Hope out by the end of the year.  I’d rather wait until the end of holiday craziness to ship them out, so I might make one or two more in the interim.  Actually, I think I’m definitely going to do that with some Caron Simply Soft in my stash because it is, indeed, simply soft.  I didn’t notice until today that Halos discourages the use of “afghan-type yarn.”  I’m not 100% sure what that means, but I think some of the yarns I used qualify as that.  Chemo caps are not just about covering hair loss; they’re about comfort.  They’re about a painful scalp.  They’re about taking off your wig at the end of the day and putting on something soft.  Maybe even sleeping in it.  So, I think I dropped the ball on some of these.  Perhaps those could go to a shelter instead.

So, of these seven, I’ve talked about three before. Most of the rest are simple stockinette with stripes or a regular knot pattern for interest.  The exception is the interesting guy in front on the left; this is Mixed Up May by Pat Salvatini, who I met at Stitches Midwest.  She gave me a free copy of the pattern, so I figured why not use it! 

Today I finished up a hat of my own with some old Red Heart (definitely an “afghan-type yarn”):

atari5200hatI call it Atari 5200 because the rainbows remind me of the old Atari logo with the little rainbow strip under the name.  Plus, I was probably playing a LOT of Atari back when I bought this yarn in the mid-80s, as I was learning to crochet.  I remember buying a bunch of skeins at Woolworth’s for $1 each on sale . . . why am I such a nostalgic old bag these days, anyway?  Oh well.  I like what I like, and I’m old enough to not have to care what anybody thinks.  MYAH.

I did indeed go to the open metals studio session last week; not too many people did, so I was able to run freely.  I did my usual end-of-the-season rummage through the scrap bin for bits to cut discs from (and now I do know exactly what I want to do with them, and hope to accomplish it soon!) The main thing I worked on, though, was this happy little hard-to-photograph set:

ginkosThese are pieces I had cut weeks ago from 22g silver; I intended them for the “real” version of my art deco necklace.  Alas, they looked too thin to be dramatic, so I repurposed them into “ginko leaves” (if I really wanted to go ginko, I could have cut some notches into the bottom edge of the earrings.) This was a simple project:  heat the silver to anneal it, mark guidelines with a Sharpie, carefully strike it with a cross peen hammer, and anneal again.  Drill holes. Now just use round nose pliers (wrapped in tape to prevent scratching) to ruffle out the edges.  Throw it in a tumbler and here you go.  I’m thinking of putting a patina on these with some liver of sulfur.  Don’t know when I’ll actually finish them with findings, as I’m rounding out the year by finishing off other unfinished projects . . .

. . . including a commission I’ve been putting off way too long.  I’d better go do that right now.



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November Knits and Sparklies

I rather enjoyed getting away from the blog for a while, but now I have a lot to catch up on.  So, without further ado . . .



These mittens were a car trip project.  They’re easy and fun, and done in the round, but alas I forgot to bring my double-pointed needles, so I decided to just make them flat.  They came out well, but I don’t care for the seams too much; I should have added an extra stitch to each side for a better seam.

halosThree hats for Halos of Hope so far!  My goal is to make five by the end of the year, but the rest of the yarn in my acrylic stash is . . . not great, and I think wool would make an itchy hat, especially for someone who has lost hair.  Maybe I can use certain scraps to make a really stripey one.  Anyway, the yellow one in back is improvised, the pattern for the striped one is here, and the entrelac is this. (I linked that last one to my own Ravelry project page because I made some notes on the final tier, which was incorrectly written in the free pattern.  I shouldn’t complain about free patterns, but something really grinds my gears when a pattern writer tells you to stop and pay careful attention to the rest of the instructions, and then botches them completely, because I guess she wasn’t paying attention to writing them.)

There are a couple things I could show from my efforts in jewelry class, but I’ll wait until the final polishing. Suffice it to say, the box clasp worked out, my art deco pendant is only in need of a chain (I’ll make it soon!), and my copper box . . . oh the copper box.  It’s going to take a lot more time than I anticipated.  This one hinge–and I need two–took an entire class period to fabricate successfully.  But I did it!

hinge1This thing is pretty darn small, but the first version I tried was smaller.  I just couldn’t do it, though.  You have to have all three knuckles (tubing bits) lined up on a pencil lead (or steel pin) during soldering, even though you only solder one side at a time (i.e. solder the first and third knuckles to the copper rectangle on the left; pickle, etc; then solder the middle one to the plate on the right).  The trick is not to let the solder flow onto any knuckle you don’t want to solder, or the hinge will be frozen and won’t work.  Yellow ochre on the piece you don’t want soldered helps, but as I said, this is a very small piece and it takes a careful touch.

One more thing:  some seed bead earrings my friend/favorite customer Beth wanted me to make:



I’ve grown to loathe seed beads because they’re tiny and fussy and always getting dropped on the floor, but I was glad to use up some of my stash.  Now I have a chunky bead bracelet she wants me to make for her with the beads from a broken watch band.  I’d say that should be an easy one, but I’ve learned better than to tempt fate like that.



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Fringe. Lots and lots of fringe.

So I get a message Thursday from one of my knitting friends with a link to a certain free hat pattern.  She asked if I could I make it by Sunday, the day of her Halloween 10K.  The pattern is a Crochet Unicorn Hat, complete with horn and rainbow mane.  Oh, man.  Who could resist THAT?


Payment for this:  several instances of mac & cheese at Panera.  Yes I’m serious.

As it was a quick pattern, I made it in time to spare.  Actually, only the mane was tedious, but I’d just had plenty of practice with fringe.  Remember my viking helmet of a month or so ago?  I finally got around to making the beard.  And so, a rare picture of me being an idiot.

vikinghatandbeardBy which I mean the picture is rare, not my idiocy.

There may be one more instance of Halloween insanity on the way, so stay tuned.

Edit/update/shameless plug:  If you’d like to see the unicorn hat in action, or just check out a new knitting podcast by my friends Sarah and Kristi, have a look at this video of Episode 3 of In a sKnit. (Prancing at the finish line occurs at the very end of the video.)

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Nothing Much

On Monday, I made a pendant in class, but I don’t think I’ll be posting a picture on the off chance that the person who I’m giving it to for Christmas might see it.  Let’s just say it’s yet another cabochon bezel set onto a flat piece of silver with some stamping on it.  Boy, I’m getting tired of that.  Learned a good trick for getting the stone in when it turns out the bezel is just too slightly small: put a dowel on the stone and tap it with a mallet.  Do this on a wooden surface; the wood is likely to give before the stone breaks, and don’t try this with a soft stone like an opal or something.

The other thing I did in class was to anneal my brass anticlastic cuff (making it even more coppery; a superpickle solution would get it back to yellow) and whang it some more on the plastic shaping doohickey.  I whanged it against a ring mandrel, too, to even out a few spots.  An interesting trick, but you have to pay attention to where on the mandrel you’re doing it, to keep it consistent.  In the end, I got this:

anticlasticpractice1Not bad, but a touch too small for me to actually wear comfortably.  I thought a six-inch piece would be too large; perhaps I should have considered how the shape would affect size.  Anyway, I hate to keep buying stuff, but if I can get my hands on some 18 gauge brass, I’d love to try this again and make a really good one.

I haven’t worked on much jewelry at home, except for a beaded crochet spiral I started last year but has become repetitive and tiresome.  Beautiful, though.  I thought I had a picture of it, but I don’t.  It’s going to be a lariat-type necklace, with a loose knot in it, and something interesting on the ends, if I can figure out what.

And finally, I’ve made enough progress on my mystery hat that you can see what it’s going to be!



You’ve haven’t seen the piece de resistance yet, though.  It’s gonna be great.


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Half-Finished Projects a-Go-Go

I’ve been having this feeling that I need to sit down at my beading desk more often and make some basic things again.  Get in the habit, deal with the frustration(s), design new projects, use up old beads.  So today I got busy with some beautiful glass beads I bought from a local bead store last year:

glassbeadsandwireThe beads have a sort of odd fire polish to them, with a smudgy blue around the ends.  Unfortunately I don’t know what to do next; I’d like to make a neck chain but don’t have enough.  I’m weighing some options with spacers or other beads or wire work, so no worries.  I’ll get it eventually.

This week I also started a project idea I sketched up some time ago, involving a broken heart:

brokenheart1My original idea was to punch holes all around the heart and wire it up to the frame; I also wanted to “mend” the heart with some dark wire stitches.  Now I’m not sure.  Maybe I should just solder the heart to something.  It’s copper, by the way.  I stuck it in the oven hoping to turn it red, but it got sort of dull silver, with a bit of red around the edges.  What is it with me and copper lately?  I can’t get it red again.

Finally, my Halloween hat.  It’s not exactly taking shape yet, but I’ve made good progress on all the pieces.




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What I Did On Summer Vacation

Metals class–intermediate/advanced metals class, oooh–starts next Monday.  I got a few experiments worked out over the past few weeks, and had some lab time with Jane yesterday to get them finished up with some soldering and polishing.  Let’s start with all this prong business.

After the brass frog debacle, I made a larger one out of nice, easy-to-work copper.  I designed it, sawed it, filed, and sanded it.  Soldered a bail on yesterday, put it in the polisher for a while (boy, does that really take out the minor scratches and sandpaper strokes!) and, finally, set the stone.  I’d say it’s not bad!


prongexperimentsMy green glass pendant on the left there was a bit of a disappointment, though. I was aiming for the prongs to sort of bypass each other, not meet at the corners.  I think in pulling up the prongs on the long sides, I’d have done well to use something curved, like the cab itself, to make them reach up further.

pronggreenglassThe v-shaped bail stuck on a bit lower than I wanted, too.  Wouldn’t you know, it wasn’t until I got home and flipped through a jewelry book that I saw how I could have mashed it down into a charcoal block to hold it while soldering the backing on exactly where I’d have liked it.  (I was making do with some tweezers).

Also disappointing was my attempt to make red-ball headpins out of copper.  Apparently you’re supposed to stick the end of a bit of wire into the torch flame, let it ball up, and immediately quench in water.  The ball stays bright red . . . but mine didn’t.  Perhaps the two seconds it took to get my wire from flame to water was too long?


These are 24 gauge, by the way.  I also tried 16 gauge, which got red-hot but would not ball up.

And finally, you know all the scrap/experimental pieces of copper and brass I’ve been showing pictures of for the past few months?  I got to work on them with the disc cutter (which worked beautifully, by the way.  Perhaps someone oiled it with some Bur Life or whatever).  Some I stamped, and some I dapped:

discsrandomThis is a small sample; I made quite a few more, especially in small sizes.  They kind of remind me of confetti.  Perhaps I could make a pendant where these float free between bits of glass?  I have another idea for a pendant, but haven’t worked it out yet . . . time will tell.

I’ve also been at the yarn quite a bit lately.  I finished my stranded Halloween cat hat.  I suspect I didn’t make the yarn floats quite long enough, because the top part of the pattern is a bit bunchy:

halloweencathatI’ve got another Halloween hat in the works, but I won’t talk much about it yet.  It’s a surprise . . .

halloweenhat1And finally, I learned something really cool this week, thanks to YouTube videos.  This is double knitting:

double red

double yellowNope, that’s no trick photography.  This practice piece is mainly red on one side, and mainly yellow on the other, with the pattern in reverse.  This is great for something like a scarf where you don’t want a “wrong” side that looks bad.  In fact, I know exactly what kind of scarf I want to make with this, but it’ll take just the right yarn.  I’m hoping to find some when I go to Stitches Midwest with some knitting buddies in August.

‘Til next time!



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