Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hat Lining 101

Hi Knitters,
Here is how I line my knitted hats. You will see how easy it is, even if you don't sew a lick. First, I use fleece for the lining. You don't need much. You will need a sewing needle and matching thread, a good pair of scissors and your hat to line.

Line up the hat with the bottom along the edge of the fleece and one side of the hat lined up to the fold. Where I am starting to cut on the photo above is on a fold. Make sure you are cutting the fleece in the stretchy direction or along the bias. If you aren't sure just give the fleece a stretch, if you pull it one way it won't stretch at all, in the other direction it will stretch. 

Here's where I just eyeball it. I look to see where the hat starts to decrease and use this as a guide to cut the fleece. I cut the strip of fleece and I add a couple of inches on to the end.
Next, turn your hat inside out. Pin the fleece with the right side out to the bottom edge of the hat. The ends will overlap and then I trim off any excess fleece but still leave about 1/2 inch of overlap.
Then I take my sewing needle and thread and start whip stitching along the edge. I use regular thread, not elastic, but elastic thread would probably work better. I just don't have any in my house. Regular thread works great, too, but occasionally I have to do repairs. Pick up a stitch along the knitted edge and then go through the edge of the fleece. I usually go through each knitted stitch.

Most importantly, while you are sewing stop every few inches and put your hands inside the hat and stretch the hat and the fleece to make sure you aren't pulling the stitches too tight. Hats have to stretch and if you don't stretch the hat while you are sewing the thread will break when the hat is used.
Now that the bottom is sewn, take the end and pull it over the other edge until you see that fleece is fitting the hat along the top edge of the lining.
About here looks good to me. Now where's my pin?
I place a pin at the top to hold the overlap in place and then I pin all around the top edge. I whip stitch up the edge and secure the top so the overlap stays in place.
Here is another shot of this step.
Once the edge is sewn down I start stitching the top edge of the fleece to the hat. I go through one purl bump and then I go into the fleece. I just continue this around the top edge in this manner going in the purl bumps every couple of stitches.
Don't forget to stretch the hat and the fleece as you stitch along. Stretchy, stretchy. Tie off the thread and pull the end to the inside of the fleece and pull the needle out again. Trim off the thread so it stays inside the lining.
Voila. You have a fluffy warm hat. No itching here for sure. I am telling you that kids absolutely love a fleece lining in their hats. It never fails. If you are using cotton or a non-itchy yarn anyway, the lining just adds that extra warmth and squish. Lining a handknit hat just makes it that much better and that's hard to do.
I hope this helps. I will add this tutorial to my sidebar for future reference. Remember, you may have to do a repair here and there by tacking down a loose edge. I can tell you from lots of kids wearing their lined hats I really don't do repairs very often.

Good luck with lining your hats, Knitters.
best, susie
p.s. This hat is my revised, bigger version of the Santa Hat for The Collector, with the extended top for extra floppiness as requested. I've already given two more Santa specials to my sweet nieces. Now they have almost a month to wear them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Santa's Home

Hi Knitters,
Quick update:
Santa hat is a big hit.
Brown hoodie has reappeared and  lives on!
Hmm. Hmm.
best, susie

Ho, Ho

Hi Knitters,
I needed a little typing reprieve this morning. As a result The Collector has a new hat. I finally, after 3 years of wanting, knitted up this gorgeous Santa Hat. I reviewed the pattern in the last post and episode 2 of the Itty Bitty Podcast. It is a great pattern, super fast and has an adorable result in the end.

Kathy Pasusta designed the Santa Hat (pg. 111) for the book, Handknit Holidays. The recommended yarn is Blue Sky Worsted Hand Dyes in red and Blue Sky Bulky in polar bear. It is knit on size 9 double points and 16-inch circulars for the red at 4 sts per inch and size 11-16 inch circulars for the brim.
Here is what I did. I used the red #66 Manos Wool Classica that I just got for the Just Enough Ruffles scarf. Oh well on that. The hat seemed more important to get done. Then, did you know that if you double a heavy worsted it becomes the same as a bulky weight yarn? I doubled (held two strands together) some Blue Sky Cotton in Tulip #615 for the brim.

I found a couple of errors in the pattern. I didn't check for corrections anywhere but I am sure they are out there. I am thinking about making a couple of these more for my nieces. I will change several things for my next versions. I will make the top a little longer so it is more like a stocking hat. My daughter was disappointed that it wasn't floppier on top. She adores the hat and wanted to wear it to school but I wasn't quite done. She literally jumped up and down when she tried it on.

I made the child size/small. I think for the next version I will make the woman/medium size. It seems a bit tight. I already added several rounds onto the bulky brim so it would be longer but it still could use some length. Next time I may add some straight length on the red at the bottom before you jump right into the decrease rounds. The other thing I did was to line the hat with some off-white fleece. It is such a good touch. Is anyone interested in a tutorial on hat lining? Maybe I will photo the process for the next hat and share. 

I looove the hat. I have a thing for bulky weight bobbles They are fun and beautiful when used correctly like on this brim. I had this great idea. I used 2 size 11 dpns to work the bobbles, then just placed the remaining stitch back on the circular. It was the best thing ever. It made that one "make bobble" round go so much smoother. That one round took as much time as making the rest of the hat.

I'll take a shot of The Collector in her hat when she gets home from school. 

Okay, Knitters, I have to get 2 more patterns in the can today and grocery shop for Thanksgiving. Have a fantastic holiday weekend.

I'm out.
best, susie
p.s. Remember the brown hoodie with the sherpa lining from mini-boden? Already lost. Hmm, hmm.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Itty Bitty Podcast Episode 2

Hi Knitters,
Episode 2 of the Itty Bitty Podcast is up and running. We did not end up switching servers. The link is here and I will also keep it up top on my sidebar. If you click on the link you can listen right on your computer. 

The podcast is also up on itunes under Itty Bitty Podcast. I am a one-take wonder and that's probably how it will stay for now. I just like to talk about knitting and patterns and yarn and designers. If I had to do too much editing and technical stuff the recording would most likely not happen. I had fun talking about these patterns and ideas and I hope you get some gift knitting ideas from my ideas.

In this episode I have pulled together 20 (or more) knitted gift ideas. Some of these gifts I have made before and some I plan on making soon. I hope you enjoy it.
Here are the links:
Mini Mittens ravelry
Mini Stockings and Mittens from Christmas Stockings
Wow, that's a lot to look at. Have fun. If you do listen, thanks for listening.
best, susie

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hello, Vance

Hi Knitters,
Lacy sent me these photos of her little sweetheart, Vance. With Lacy's permission, I just had to share them with you. In the above shot, Vance is wearing the Cotton Stria Stripes. He is 3 months old today and it looks like he has a real talent for smiling already:) What a fantastic smile, it makes you melt.Vance is sporting a manly version of the Chocolate Blues bonnet and scarf combo here. He is doing his over the shoulder pose, it's a killer. Cheeks like that need to be cherished for sure. Awesome.

Thanks for sharing, Lacy, he is excellent and so is your knitting. Both hat patterns are found in Itty-Bitty Hats.

My personal knitting has been lacking lately so it is fun to see other people having fun with their knitting. It never gets old for me to see babies in knitted hats. I still love it every time. I have a huge manuscript deadline coming up way too fast so most all of my time and energy has been focused on writing. The baby viewing brightened my day.

I am dreaming of knitting, though. Today I organized my next podcast episode. I pulled out my favorite projects for gift knitting, my top 20. I have some new projects and some old to share. I will record this weekend while my boys are home and then chances are way better it will get up and running quickly. I am switching to a different podcast host for this episode. We will get it figured out soon. If I didn't have those teenage boys to help me I don't know what I'd do. Oh yeah, I'd have to learn it on my own. 

Have a good Friday night, Knitters.
best, susie

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Little Tree-t

Hi Knitters,
The Collector picked out this wool felt tree kit when I dropped in a yarn shop by my house to pick up some knitting needles I needed. Isn't it cute? Pop on over here to see some adorable felt kits for the holidays. They look fun for adults or kids.
She isn't done yet but I love the way she pulled out matching thread and a sewing needle and fabric glue and went to work. I didn't help her one stitch. Her stitches are so sweet and messy. The best way to learn sometimes is to figure it out on your own. 
While I was taking a picture of the felt tree I took one of my kitchen. I have a funny little kitchen. My house was built in the late '70's and the style is typical of that era. About 8 years ago I did a mini-update of the kitchen on my own. The work area is the typical u-shape style kitchen. I'd love to open it up and get rid of the stove/cupboard part someday. It makes a very cramped space when more than one person is in there. The table space is cramped, too. Someday....

Anyway, one thing I added to the kitchen is a big chalkboard that fit perfectly on the backside of the stove section. The table is right behind the chalkboard so the kids can turn around and draw. It has been a fun addition over the years. This chalkboard is from Pottery Barn if anyone is interested. I need to get some of that chalkboard paint because some parts of the chalkboard don't work well anymore, the chalk doesn't show up. I think that paint would work to fix it.

Have a good Wednesday, Knitters.
best, susie

Monday, November 17, 2008


Hi Knitters,
My kids love the Sunday Comics. I did, too, when I was young. I grew up with 3 older siblings and every one of us read the funnies on Sunday morning. I would get them last but that was okay by me because it would take me forever to read them. I guess I studied the pictures as I went along. My kids pass around the comics section just like I used to with my brothers and sister. It makes me feel nostalgic for a time when there weren't computers and video games. It's a simple pleasure, I guess.

My mom's favorite comic was always The Family Circus. When I was little we used to read it together every Sunday and giggle. I am pretty sure it used to be in one of her ladies' magazines, too, maybe Family Circle? 

Yesterday, The Collector asked me if I had read The Family Circus yet and I hadn't. She told me it was a really nice one. She brought it over to me to read and it caught me off-guard. I won't say too much more about it. It made me tear up because I know that feeling very well. I may frame it. If you need to see it bigger just click on the photo to enlarge it. Could any comic ever be any sweeter?
The Collector also brought this comic home from school to show me. I'll save this one, too. She has a soft spot, that girl.
Continuing on with snow-people, The Collector and I made homemade playdough yesterday while the older kids were at a swim meet. I drew the lucky straw and got to stay home with her instead of going to the meet. Her friend came over later and they collaborated on this old snow lady complete with spectacles, a straw cane and an apron that ties in the back. We are letting her dry to keep. We also made goop. I haven't made either of these for a long time and I forgot how much fun it is for a little one to have the good homemade stuff.
Here are the recipes I used:
Cook together in a saucepan on medium heat:
2 cups water
2 tblsp. oil
1 cup salt
food coloring
2 cups flour
4 tsp. cream of tartar
Keep cooking and stirring until the dough breaks away from the side of the saucepan. Take out of the pan and place on a cutting board and continue to knead until it is cool. Store in an air-tight container.

1 box cornstarch
water to mix
food coloring
Place cornstarch in a plastic container big enough to get your hands in. Mix in enough water to make a goopy mix. This is a tactile, texture-y substance. Dig your hands in and feel it melt. Scoop some into your hands and watch it ooze away.

Easy and fun! Can't beat that. 
Time for some show and tell. I subscribe to Parents magazine since I have been contributing projects for them here and there. I like to keep up on the contents. In the December issue I got a nice surprise.
A few of the knitted toys from Itty-Bitty Nursery showed up on page 107. It is a funny feeling when you see something you made in a magazine and you don't know it is coming. It is like you have to rub your eyes and look again. Here we have an adorable smiley baby holding the Grumpy Ol' Bear, the Dotted Chicken is on the side and the Bunny Rattle is in the front. I love seeing knitted stuff out in the wild. This made my day.
This is the cutest ad ever. Sweetness rules.
Back to this book briefly. If you look here you can still see the old cover with my bunnies on it. That's kind of funny, right?
Here are the Organic Bunnies, pg. 28, inside the book. It is funny because the book is organized in chapters by the weight of the yarn. I used a heavy worsted weight Blue Sky Organic Cotton for the bunnies but they are in the chapter for Lightweight yarn. I know why they did this because when I knit toys I knit at a tighter gauge to get a dense fabric. That way you don't see the stuffing and the shape is held better. The gauge I used falls into the lightweight category but the yarn is definitely a worsted weight.

I think the bunnies should have been in the other chapter for medium weight. It is a bit confusing. If I had a skein of worsted weight and I wanted a one skein project I wouldn't look in the lightweight chapter to get ideas. Oh well, whatcha gonna do?

Here is a great baby project for some sport weight yarn. I have to make some of these for sure.

Have a great Monday and start of your week, Knitters.
best, susie

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sweet Surprise

Hi Knitters,
I had just returned from a tired trip to FedEx, where I shipped off some final projects to Minneapolis for photography and another package filled with a project for Parents magazine, when I heard my husband calling me. He called out, "There is a surprise here for you." It was all I could do to drag my knit-weary bones out to the living room. But to my surprise there was a month-old baby wearing a sweet pea hat I had knit for her. I got to hold her for a long time and it felt so good. I can't even say how much it made my hectic day to hold a newborn in a sweet pea hat. The. Best. Ever.
Isn't she a beauty? My next door neighbor's daughter is the mother and she and her husband have moved in with them for awhile. It is pretty exciting to have a new baby next door. What you can't see in these photos is the 5 little girls circling around drooling over the baby. That was the best. My daughters had 3 neighbor friends over and they could not get enough of the little sweet pea. They all had a chance to hold her and they were so excited. Girls love a baby, always.
I have had many emails from friendly knitters wanting to share some sort of tidbit or link lately. This photo was sent to me from Kathleen Ruttum. She sized up the Inca Snowflake hat from Itty-Bitty Hats for her daughter, Mary and her friend Katrina. These two beautiful young women are students at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Every winter break they go skiing and they wear these hats. Kathleen told me that they constantly get asked where they got their hats. How fun for Mary to be able to say, "My mom made it." Thanks for the photo and note, Kathleen. What a perfect example of how you can size up a pattern from itty-bitty.

Carla sent me this link, too cute. Thank you.
Renee sent me this link, love it. Thank you.
Craig sent me this link, love Craig and Viv, love his shop and I want to go back and stay there.

I am sending you this link. Store this one away for future reference to her free pattern. Here is another one I love. I still have that same feeling.

My podcast, The Itty Bitty Podcast, is available now in a couple of places. You can download it here or you can just listen on your computer. Also, it is up now on itunes under Itty Bitty Podcast or you can search for susanbanderson. Subscribe if you'd like, I'll have more coming soon. I will put up this new link at the top of my sidebar, too.

Now I have to hit the pattern writing road. Row 1: knit...Row 2: purl...Row 3: where's my candy?
best, susie

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hey, It's Up!

Hi Knitters,
I added this part on Tuesday due to some difficulties we encountered with the links and the itunes account.

However, my first podcast episode is up and sort of running! 

It is not available on itunes yet. We had a little snafu so we will be working on it. I will send out a new post when we get it fixed. My computer technician has a band concert and homework tonight so we'll see when he gets a chance to help me. Homework has to come before podcasts, I guess.

The new link is here: Itty Bitty Podcast. You can listen to it through podbean for now. This is temporary until we get things settled on itunes. For the first episode I kept it very simple. I did a book review of one of my favorites from the not so far past. It took me a few minutes to warm up so be patient with me: )

I hope you enjoy the episode. My girls say the introduction and my oldest son composed the music and both of my sons helped get the podcast up and running. My husband did the dinner dishes and kitchen clean up so we could work on the podcast together last night.

Okay, have a good night.
best, susie 

Sunday, November 09, 2008

#1 Question

Hi Knitters,
I should have done this a long time ago. Last week I received several emails from knitters asking how to make the patterns from Itty-Bitty Hats fit larger size heads. That is pretty typical. Sizing up these hat patterns has been a pretty constant request since Itty-Bitty Hats came out in 2006. 

On ravelry you can look here to see 2,150 hats posted as of today from Itty-Bitty Hats. It is fun to see the hats on babies and toddlers and it is even more fun to see the creativity of all of the great knitters out there. 

Today I am going to write out the steps to make the patterns in Itty-Bitty Hats larger and I will link this post on my sidebar under "tutorials" for future reference.
First, I want to share average head sizes. I reviewed and compared various sources and combined that along with my many years of hat making and fitting to come up with my own chart. I think the following suggestions are pretty accurate. With this being said, head sizes vary a lot in every age category so just be aware.

Please check out this link for a head sizing chart in inches and centimeters from the Standards and Guidelines for Crochet and Knitting. In my opinion these measurements may be slightly on the small side. YarnStandards has any body measurement you could ever hope to find so check it out as a good resource.

Susan Anderson's suggested head circumference measurements in inches:
Preemie:  12 inches
Newborn (at the hospital to 8 weeks): 14 inches
0-6 months: 15 inches
6-12 months: 16 inches
12-24 months: 18 inches
2-5 years: 20 inches
5 years to teen years: 21 inches

General Adult Sizes for men and women:
Adult extra-small: 20 inches
Adult small: 21 inches
Adult medium: 22 inches
Adult large: 23 inches
Adult extra-large: 24 inches

The Itty-Bitty Hats patterns all make stretchy hats. I prefer a snug-fitting hat so I always subtract about 2 inches, give or take, from the head measurement to figure out the number of stitches to cast on. If you don't prefer a snug-fitting hat you may not want to subtract any inches or maybe only 1 inch from the head measurement to get the cast on number of stitches.
My 9-year-old daughter comfortably wears the largest size (cast on 72 sts) of the Stripey Stocking Hat in Itty-Bitty Hats made in Manos Del Uruguay wool.

Steps to make a hat from Itty-Bitty Hats larger:

1. If possible take the actual head measurement in inches of the person you are knitting for. If not, use the chart above to estimate the head circumference. Place the tape measure just above the eyebrows and right above the ear to measure.

2. Mutliply the number of inches from the head measurement by the number of stitches per inch (gauge). For example, let’s say my head is 22 inches and the gauge is 5 stitches per inch. Multiply those two numbers together to get the number of stitches to cast on. 
5 x 22 = 110. 

3. Now, I usually subtract at least one inch and sometimes two inches worth of stitches off of the number from step 2, depending how snug you would like your hat to fit. Remember that the example gauge is 5 stitches per inch. I like a snug hat so I would minus 2 inches worth of stitches or 10 stitches leaving 100 stitches. I would begin by casting on 100 stitches to make an adult medium size hat.

Another route is to minus the inches before you multiply the head circumference by the number of stitches per inch. If my head is 22 inches I would subtract 2 inches getting 20 inches. 
5 x 20 = 100.

4. The next thing is that most hats for older children and adults are about 7 inches long, measuring from the cast on edge, before the decrease rounds begin. If you want the hat to cover the ears measure from the bottom of the ear to the beginning of the crown of your head. If you lay your hand on the top of your head with your fingers extended, measure from the bottom of your ear to your fingers. 

When I do this I get exactly 7 inches. You can make the hat shorter or longer to suit your preference before you start the decrease rounds.

5. The decrease rounds in Itty-Bitty Hats are based on numbers divisible by 8. You need to have a number of stitches on the needles that is divisible by 8 stitches for the decrease rounds in Itty-Bitty Hats to work. So on the round before you start the decrease rounds, decrease the number of stitches needed to get to the nearest multiple of 8. 

For example, if I cast on 100 stitches on the round before the first decrease round I would decrease 4 stitches. I would do this by knitting two stitches together 4 times evenly across the round to get to 96 stitches. Now I am all set to start the decrease rounds.

6. To finish the hat I usually like to have not any more than 9 stitches remaining to close up the hole at the top of the hat. If you end up with more than 9 stitches on the last round you can knit one more round to decrease the number of stitches. It can also work with a few more or less stitches so don't worry too much about this ending number.

There it is. I hope this helps anyone wanting to size up a pattern from Itty-Bitty Hats.

My hope is that in the future I will have the chance to write a hat book for older children and larger size heads. That would be really fun.

best, susie

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Presto Change-o

Hi Knitters,
When you end up with a lemon make lemonade. That's what I did with this golden moment.
Can you guess what the knitted golden piece was before I turned it into a pear?
All I did to change it was to turn it, add an I-cord stem and a green wool felt leaf.
Maybe if you see it turned this way you can tell. It was the head of a giraffe toy for the book I made that didn't turn out to be the right size. I kept looking at it, thinking I should rip it back or throw it out but then I turned the nose up and suddenly it looked just like a pear. Lemons to lemonade or giraffe heads to pears in this case. I think it will make a cute new pincushion for my table. 
Speaking of tables, I'd like to set mine with this flatware dishtowel. I bought this wonderfully sweet dishtowel at the ever-fantastic anthropologie. You can't go wrong when you shop there for a gift or two. I need to wrap this up and send it off, I am already late.
Each spoon, fork and knife is appliqued on with contrasting fabric which makes it feel homey and handmade. That is the quality I love from anthropologie, things look handmade in there. What a great spot. You know, if I ever get around to all of that sewing I'd like to do this is exactly the type of thing I would like to make, little, fun useful items for the home.
This is another presto change-o item my daughter picked out for me for mother's day. They are measuring cups made out of a silicone like rubber. They lay flat and then... pop them up to form the cups. These are a great invention because my measuring cups always get stuck in my drawer when I try to open it. Does that happen to  you? Plus they are super colorful, kind rainbow-like.

You know what I did the other night? I am excited to say that I recorded a knitting podcast of my own. It needs some work before it is ready to post so I can't promise when it will be ready. At some point in the near future I will be doing some podcasting. I think it is the perfect extension of the blog.

What do you like to hear in your favorite knitting podcasts? I know what I enjoy and I'd love to hear what you enjoy in knitting podcasts. Let me know if you get a chance.

Did you hear that this favorite of mine is expecting her sixth baby? That's impressive and fun.

Okay, that's it for today. Take care, knitters.
best, susie

Saturday, November 01, 2008

And Goodnight

Hi Knitters,
It's over. Another Halloween has past and this year it was a little different. Our night involved a lot of kids in and out of the house, big groups of kids in physical size and numbers, pizza, second rounds of trick-or-treating, late night burritos, sleep-overs, drop-offs and pick-ups. Phew. My kids are getting older and it just gets busier and busier. I love every minute of it. It was close to 70 degrees out during the day, unheard of, the kids didn't have to bundle up for trick-or-treating which was perfect. 
Here is the designated goo scooper. She is a good sport, her brothers don't enjoy the cleaning out part of pumpkin carving so she does it for them. That's pretty good service with a smile.

I have no fun knitting projects of my own to share today. I am still furiously working away on a few last book projects that were added. However, I do have some great knitting links to share. 
Here they are:
Another use for the Pear-Apple Cozy, I love this one.
Here are some really cool mittens made by a fantastic knitter.
Check out this version. I will get back to my version very soon.
She is a great knitter. I loooove this.

Have a good, restful weekend. The rest of mine will be filled with trying to finish up these last projects for the book. I think I can finish one more project by Monday, that's my goal at least. We'll see.
best, susie