Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pink Perfection

I never got around to showing this hat, because I had been hoping to get "real" pictures from the photographer.  However, she had asked for it in a 6 month size, and didn't seem to be getting any babies of any size that it would work for. 

Finally, I asked Jennifer, her partner, if she could manage to do something with it (they often share props).

It's of the same idea as the other "Epic" hats (one in browns, one in greens).  It was fun putting it all together, and I love the final result.

 Jennifer had liked how I had threaded ribbon through the inside of the beige one to make it adjustable, so this time, I made it a design element!

 I love Jennifer's picture, and creative use for it!  She didn't think the tapered tail with pompom worked in the picture, but I'm sure it probably would have still looked good. 
(I'm having a deju vu moment, like, I feel like I've already written all this before!  I wonder if it ended up as a draft?  After all, I finished this last February, and the weight was already included in my totals!).

I really want to make a blue hat like this, but I'm not doing it unless I get an actual order (hint, hint!).

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Almost Forgot

I almost forgot that I sold a little bit more yarn to the other mom on the school council!  It was a lot of Bernat Baby Co-Ordinates, three full/almost full skeins and a couple part balls.  I can't find a weight for it all, but based on the solid skeins being 140gr, I'm going to list this at 520gr.

Yarn In:  13 184gr
Yarn Out:  520gr + 14 425gr =14 945gr
Balance:  1761gr more used up than brought in
Costs:  $258.29/333 days = $0.78/day

Cream Elves

One of the most difficult hats Jennifer ordered was also the simplest looking.  A little pointed elf hat, in a cream thick and thin yarn.  What could be so difficult about that?  The yarn selection!  I looked at the major brands in big box stores.  I went to my LYS.  They had some thick and thin yarns, but not in a plain cream.  There was a dark taupe, and many, many multi-coloured yarns.  When I left the LYS, I was originally going to go to the next town over, to another LYS, but suddenly decided to go one block over to the Salvation Army, since it was getting close to end of school.

I really lucked out and found a cream, commercially knit scarf in a thick and thin yarn.  It was 100% acrylic, but other than that, it was perfect. 

I knit directly from the scarf, LOL.  It took a couple attempts to get the right size and shape and needle size...on one hat, it was too tight and the thicker parts weren't standing out. 

On another hat, the thin parts were stacking above thin parts, creating TOO much contrast (the thick parts were also lining up).

In the end, I think I created four hats, and ripped out one to re-knit in a newborn size.  One hat went into the grey dye pot, but the result was total yuck:

 I still have some of this yarn left.  Scarves are a GREAT option for yarn, as long as you pay attention, make sure it's knit or crocheted in one piece.

 I was recently given a scarf with an awesome purple yarn in it, but it turned out to be actually woven, and even though the individual strands were long, they weren't long enough to do two rows of a newborn hat.  Got to come up with other options for it!

Yarn In:  13 184gr (scarf already counted)
Yarn Out:  122gr + 14 303gr = 14 425gr
Balance:  1241gr more used up than brought in
Cost:  $258.29/333 days = $0.78/day

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fairy Floss

I discovered buy and sell groups on Facebook.  There's also Freecycle type groups.  In one group, a woman had pink mohair she was giving away.  There were 4 balls, and a few of us interested.  This was on a Thursday and I knew I couldn't get out to her until Monday, but she was okay with that.  I was surprised when I picked up the bag and there were all four balls!  It's Newlands-Harding "Fairy Floss" in an adorable  pink, not cotton candy, not quite peachy, not really salmon.  A really nice vintage pink.  70% mohair, 30% Orlon, 2 oz each ball (56.7gr); 227gr total.  There's no yardage given, or even a gauge suggested.  I'm going to look in my old Newlands pattern books and see if there's any patterns for it!  The closest I can find to this yarn on is Fairy Floss by Lady Galt.  Lady Galt also made Kroy sock yarns.  Not sure if Lady Galt was bought by Newlands and then Newlands by Patons and Patons by'd be interesting to find out more history.  Galt, Ontario, was once it's own town and was amalgamated into Cambridge, in 1973.  Even all that is interesting on it's own!

Yarn In:  12 957gr + 227gr = 13 184gr
Yarn Out:  14 303gr
Balance:  1 119gr more used up than brought in
Costs:  $258.29/326 days = $0.79/day

Thursday, November 14, 2013

There's a Tree for Everyone

Jennifer included two different Christmas tree hats in her recent order.  Of course, there were some small details that were different than the original pictures.  The first one was in white, and the original had a red scallop trim.  She didn't want that, but wanted it in a ***** yarn (really, she drew little * shapes on the paper), sort of hairy, sticks out from the hat yarn.  I love deciphering descriptions of yarns by non-fiber people :)  Luckily, she had an existing hat in her collection to show me that she wanted an eyelash, or fun fur, yarn.  Easy!

Well, finding red eyelash that was affordable, wasn't so easy.  I found some quickly, but it was too orange.  I searched for hats and scarves at thrift stores.  None in solid red.  Finally I gave in and bought a ball.  Then, two weeks later, I find out there are solid coloured eyelash scarves at the big dollar store :(
I used the eyelash held double, and switch from the half double crochet in the white section to single crochet in the red, to up the oomph factor.  Eyelash yarn is pretty skimpy on it's own.

It's a nice little hat, not too cutesy.  It could even be worn backwards for a simple look, or for Valentine's Day.  (28gr)

The other hat was more of a stocking hat in a bright green.  Jennifer isn't in the bright colours, but I liked the "cleaner" shade of green (I first called it a "clear green" and she said that sounded like it should be transparent, LOL!).  I also worked up a sample in a dull, mossy green.  The brighter green won out.  The original had blue, red, and yellow bobbles, but she wanted grey, blue and yellow.  I didn't have much in a bright blue, but I had even less in a "nice" yellow.  I used up every little bit that I had.  How can I be so deficient in yellow and orange yarn (I had only a small amount for Frosty's nose too!)?

 She really liked this hat, and it was fun to make (even though she turned down my suggestion for real mini lights on it!).  Even her teen aged son liked it!  Isn't her shot adorable!  Very subtle Christmas, love how it matches the green ornament.  There's also a blue velvet Waves layering blanket in that stack!  (48gr hat).  Click on the picture to see a larger version!

Yarn In:  12 957gr
Yarn Out:  76gr + 14 227gr = 14 303gr
Balance:  1346 gr more OUT than in
Cost:  $258.29/319 days = $0.81/day

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I showed you in the last post, a custom order Frosty.  Jennifer usually goes for the more subdued look.  I was really surprised when her Christmas order had novelty hats!  I really had not done much with novelty hats, as I get most of my enjoyment from the research, planning, and knitting.  I'm not fond of sewing on buttons, bows, flowers, or other bits and bobs.

I knew Rudolph was going to be a challenge in some ways.  The antlers!  One problem with trying to recreate something from a photo, is that you have no way to look up close, to see the backside, or hidden details.  The photographer is photographing the baby, not the hat.  In the original photo, the antlers seemed to be set back from the top of the head, which hid how they were attached to the hat.  Jennifer wanted them more on the very top.  I assumed they were made of felt, but that's all I could tell.

I found a ball of the perfect yarn at Value Village (along with a ball of mint green baby yarn that I promptly donated!).  Bernat Baby Softee Chunky, or something like that.  The main part of the hat was not a problem, I struggled a bit with the lower edge, trying to mimic the original, but I kept having problems with loosing the stretchiness.  Then I had problems in creating ear shapes.  Finally worked  something out, then realized when I sewed them on, that I had basically made two left ears.  But I didn't worry, it really wasn't noticeable.  Then there was the big red nose.  Knowing she doesn't like glitz, I suggested an actual light up red nose, LOL!  Surprise, she wasn't interested.  She didn't like any of the red buttons I showed.  Michaels' didn't have any single big red buttons.  There was a pack of primary coloured buttons but they seemed really cheap.  I noticed a large bag of assorted buttons that seemed to have some red ones.  At least now, I have an assortment of "fashion" buttons (though many in the bag were actually beads!). 

And still the antlers were weighing heavily on my mind (LOL).  While I was at Michaels', I found the felt, and discovered that you can buy stiffened felt.  However, it seemed to be glittery on one side.  Oh well.  I drew out my shapes, but to sew on?  I got some embroidery thread in a light beige and did some tiny stitches, and then wrapped the yarn around the base of the antler.  Really, antlers are attached by a thick velvety layer, I could have done taller, random height, stitches.  But that might have been overkill.  I wanted to put a bead of glue on the backside of the attachment point, but I couldn't find my good glue.  They seemed to stay up, though they were a little floppy.

All in all, I think it turned out rather nice!  And Jennifer loved it, that's what counts! 

Yarn In:  12 957gr
Yarn Out:  32gr + 14 195gr = 14 227gr
Balance:  1270gr more OUT than in
Costs:  $258.29/317 days = $0.81/day

Friday, November 08, 2013


One of the hats Jennifer asked me to make was a Frosty Snowman hat.  She was very picky about her Frosties--her words.  Too many ugly snowman hats out there, she warned.  I asked her to show me pictures of snowmen she DID like, and she replied "Just that one picture I sent you!".  So, I asked for pictures of what she didn't like.  That can help a lot too.  Sometimes people aren't sure how to express what they like about something, but they can usually tell you really quickly what they don't like!

Frosty got off to a rough start.  Tried with a smooth yarn, then looked at the picture and realized it was textured, and I checked--yes, she wanted "snowman texture".  Tried a couple attempts with a lumpy, fuzzy white yarn...then I looked at it outside, compared to a "real" white....well, Frosty looked a little jaundiced.  I wasn't having much luck finding snowman yarn at my regular yarn buying haunts.  Finally, I found some at FabricLand, which is not the cheapest place to buy yarn.  Unfortunately, the yarn and the buttons ate up my profits.  But it's worth it.  Hopefully I have enough left to make a second one.

The picture she showed me had Frosty wearing ear muffs, and the baby wearing a scarf, in purples.  Jennifer hates purple, so opted for greys.  She was so specific, that the headband had to be solid grey, and the muffs a grey/black/white blend.  I certainly didn't want to buy more yarn just for those little muffs, but years ago, I had made a sweater in a grey/black/white yarn and knew I had a little bit left.

I thought I had a tiny ball, but I found this instead--my very first granny square!  I'm not sure "square" is the right word for this item, but that's what it was supposed to be!  It was enough for the two muffs.  For the scarf, I used Patons Divine in charcoal.  A  little different than the original picture, but a lovely yarn.  However, the baby was giving Jennifer a rough time, and she forgot to use the scarf :(  The season's not over yet though!

Take a look on her Pinterest page!

 I also have a Pinterest page if you want to check it out...I don't spend nearly enough time with it though!

I did have to get Frosty back and lengthen him a little, but that's what you get when you custom order from me.  If you're not happy and it doesn't perform/look like you ordered, I will do everything I can to improve it!!

Yarn In:  12 957gr
Yarn Out:  57gr + 14 138gr = 14 195gr
Balance:  1238gr more used UP than brought in
Cost:  $258.29/313 days = $0.83/day

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

More Yarn Out!

I wrote before that I had some yarn for sale on and some of it had sold.  Some of it was not trendy/big name/interesting and was sort of languishing in a pile here.  There's a mom on our "School Community Council" (the Ontario equivalent of PTA) who also crochets, things like sleep mats out of milk bags (here in Ontario, our milk comes in plastic pouches, inside a larger bag, and the larger, outer bag is sliced up and crocheted into sleep mats for developing countries), and blankets for at the cancer centre.  She also has an elderly aunt who knits preemie items and likes the thin baby yarns.

 Got rid of quite a bit of odd balls, some baby yarn (I loved making baby items out of the fine yarn, but I'm a little over pale pink and I just don't have the time), some of those giant jumbo skeins from the Spinrite outlet sale.  I don't have actual weights on the jumbo skeins, but I did have one bag of yarn that had been balled up from one, and it was 852gr. 

I don't know if all the skeins are the same weight, but I'll go with 800gr each for the other two.
All total, 3564grams walked out of my house this morning!  WooHoo!  And after she left, I realized I hadn't brought up one other lot she was interested in!  I'm sure some of it I might miss at some point (the Bernat Baby Sport is a great baby yarn, works well on my machines and I have a few patterns I wanted to try), but really...after awhile, if I hadn't gotten to it already....

Yarn In:  12 957gr
Yarn Out:  3564gr + 10 574gr = 14 138gr
Balance:  1181gr more taken OUT than in!!
Costs:  $258.29/310 days = $0.83/day

I think, towards the end of the year, I will go back and add up how much yarn I actually made into something, and how much of that actually left the house.  Sure, it looks impressive that 14kg of yarn left my house so far this year, but I did not knit/crochet all of that LOL!!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Newborn Hat Collection

I think I'm not going to make items to "stock" my "store" anymore.  They just don't sell.  Photographers have ideas in mind, and want unique, custom items.  Such was the case with an order I received from the awesome Jenna.  She showed me inspiration pictures, I showed her yarns, and the order was created.  This is a fun process, and a little less stress-inducing than trying to replicate items exactly.

 Most of these were in her order, a few were just little bonuses.
 Top:  Taupe "Kiss" hat in Sirdar "Eternity" (14gr), preemie pixie bonnet from upcycled sweater yarn (41gr), beanie in Patons "Lace" (14gr), beanie in Patons "Decor" (15gr), kitty hat in Patons "Lace" (12gr).  Bottom:  Beanie in a blue mohair I don't recall at the moment (13gr), beanie in Bernat "Boucle" with brim in the upcycled yarn (17gr), and white "Butterfly" beanie (17gr).
 I was a little cautious about her request for this yarn in the "Kiss" hat.  I wasn't sure if the yarn texture would override the cable and ribbing.  In the end, I think it adds a nice soft touch.
 I'd been seeing beanies done in a plain yarn, with a textured edging, and gave it a whirl.  This was Bernat "Boucle", I think, and the upcycled yarn from a thrifted sweater.  I really liked this combo!
I wasn't sure on the sizing of the basic blue mohair beanie.  I was trying it on my newborn "head" and it just seemed a tad big.  So I thought I'd whip up one in Patons "Lace", since I love how the blue graduates.  However, because of the smaller gauge, this did not just get "whipped up".  LOL.  And, I wish I had started with a bit more light blue at the top.  But it's still adorable.

There was one more set, not in the picture.  A grey mohair pixie bonnet and pants.  I had issues with it, and it'll get it's own post!  Haven't yet gotten pictures from her with these hats, but I'm waiting! 

Yarn In:  12 957gr
Yarn Out:  143gr + 10 431 = 10 574gr
Balance:  2383gr more brought IN than out
Costs:  $258.29/309 days = $0.84/day