Baby Hats, Baby Hats, Everywhere

We are going through this thing at work where the guys all have pregnant wives. Well, one just had a baby and one has a baby coming. So, I did what I do, and made some baby hats.

I knit an Upside-Down Daisy hat for the baby that already arrived. I obviously knit a ton of these. It's the go-to baby girl pattern at this point. I don't even need the pattern anymore. I think this is the fifth one I have knit.
So, after finishing that one up, I was ready to knit the next hat for my other coworker. He is also expecting a girl. Going against the daisy hat tradition I knit something else. Something dragon-y.
My coworker has a thing for knights and ren faires and D&D. So, it seemed appropriate to make his coming babe a bonnet that will make her look like a wee dragon. I really hope he likes it. I used the Baby Monstaa's Very Scary Bonnet pattern. Because I can't leave a pattern alone (the pattern was perfectly written, I just always end up changing stuff), I made some mods, which you can see here.

Both hats are knit out of my favorite yarn for babies, Knit Picks Comfy Worsted. I had one ball pink, one ball white, and it made both of these hats, with leftovers. That's $6 worth of yarn for two hats, which I think is the right amount to spend on something a baby is going to get projectile vomit on. :)

What are your go-to baby patterns? Knit or crochet, I want to hear about them!


Classic Elite Shawls, Wraps & Scarves

This week I'm looking at the book Classic Elite Shawls, Wraps & Scarves.

I simply love the idea of this book. It takes a stitch motif and uses it three ways in order to make three complimenting accessories.
The book obviously uses all Classic Elite yarn, and I love how different yarns are used for each set. You might use one lace/fingering yarn for the shawl and then use a chunky yarn for the scarf. It's fun to see how the stitch patterns change with the different yarns and constructions.

I love lots of stuff in this book, but this one is my favorite:
Since it's 60 patterns in one book, the ability to read charts is a must. There is no way you would be able to fit all the written instructions for the charts in this book. But don't let the charts scare you. Most of them are small and would be great to try if you are new to chart reading!

Wondering what else is in this book? Check out the Ravelry page.

Have you picked up this book yet? Which set is your fave?


Knit Your Own Moustache

I'm a little behind on book reviews. The books are majorly piling up! I'm gonna try to do one book review/mention a week until I'm all caught up. We'll see how that goes. Some of the books will be giveaways, so stay tuned!

This week, it's Knit Your Own Moustache by Vicky Eames.

I was very excited to get this book. People are constantly giving me related moustache related items. It all started when I jokingly said I wanted a fake moustache-related wedding. It's gotten crazy from there. I have coasters, thumbtacks, iPhone cover, coffee mugs, stationary. So when the opportunity came along to get this book, I took it!

This book features both knitting and crochet patterns. My count was 12 knit and 8 crochet patterns. A good mix! There are lots of cute things to make in this book.

Are most of these practical? Not really. But if you needed a quick Halloween costume or had someone that had a thing for wearing paper bags on their head, you'd be in business.

It's a fun book. I think if you were the kind of knitter or crocheter that liked making toys, you could enjoy this book. Lots of shaping and interesting constructions. The one drawback to this book is while the title is a catchy one, I think the crocheters aren't going to pick it up, because they thing nothing is in there for them. Of course, all of the plain moustache patterns are knitted, so maybe that's why. Maybe Vicky will do a follow up Crochet Your Own Moustache!

This book is going to be staying in my library, due to my weird moustache collection. I can see myself The Walrus or The Handlebar just for fun!

Picked up any good knitting/crochet books lately?


Stitches! The Classes!

I took two classes at Stitches Midwest this year. Both were taught by Myra Wood and booth were amazing.

The first class I took was Crazy as Pi. It was all about pi shawl math and how to design one. I have wanted to try my hand at designing a pi shawl for sometime, but I had a lot of questions. Like do you have to stick exactly to the number of rows you work even? How the heck to you get the pattern to flow when you are increasing like a mad knitter? How much yarn do you need.

Of course, all of these questions were answered in this fabulous class. And at the end of it, I had a cute little swatch showing what I had learned:
I have since started working a new pi shawl design with one of the balls of Twisted Fiber Art gradient yarns that I bought. It is coming out so awesome. I can tell this is about to be my "pi shawl period" in designing. :)

On Sunday I took Creative Crochet Lace Shawl with Myra. I was a little worried I would be in over my head as I have just recently started to seriously crochet, but it went just fine. I'll admit, I am still a little confused about shaping a triangle shawl in crochet and am no where near ready to design and sell a pattern, but it was great to get a taste of crochet shawl design. And, I did manage to crochet a triangle, so that's a win.
Myra brought some of her samples to class. They are so pretty. It's stuff like this that made me want to learn to crochet in the first place:
I highly recommend taking a class from Myra. They both were such great fun and I definitely learned a lot in both of them. Have you taken any good knitting or crochet classes lately?


Stitches! The Yarn!

Stitches Midwest was this past weekend. Man, was it a lot of fun. I stayed at the hotel at the convention center to maximize said fun.This year, I went a little crazy with the yarn. I wanted it all. Here is the haul:

I got two balls of the Twisted Fiber Arts gradient dyed merino/silk yarn. I blame my pi shawl class with Myra Wood (more on that later) on this one. These must become pi shawls:

 I picked up some yarn from the Windy Valley Musk Ox booth. Something I have wanted to do for years.

I did a book signing in the Zen Yarn Garden booth on Saturday and did a little damage there as well:
Then there is the new (to me) Fresh From the Cauldron yarn. Everyone was buying this stuff!
 I'll be busy knitting and crocheting with my new yarns for sure. Were you at Stitches? Get anything good?


Laura Shawl

This year I have spent a lot of time learning how to crochet for real. I've been able to handle single crochet for a while, but I wanted to do more. I wanted to be able to make those crazy ridiculously lacy crochet shawls that eat up all your yarn but are so so beautiful you don't care that it took a sweater amount of yarn to make it. So, I took a bunch of classes from Laura over the last few months and now I can successfully crochet! Yay! And when I saw the Laura shawl pattern by Lily Go it seemed like the perfect first lace shawl project. So perfect that Laura and I are doing are own little Laura CAL. :)

I had several skeins of Madelinetosh Tosh Sock sitting in the stash and it seemed like the perfect use for it. Here is my progress so far:

When I first started, I felt like maybe I had bitten off a little more than I could chew; but now that I am in the rhythm of it, it's going great! I am so happy that Laura taught me how to read crochet charts because it is definitely making it a lot easier and faster to stitch. I've been trying to do a row or two a night (damn deadlines getting in the way of my crochet time) but I'll keep plugging away and have a beautiful crocheted shawl soon.


I'm Over the Moon with Over the Moon

I'll admit it - I didn't knit all the shawls in my own book. The deadline was tight, I am a fast knitter but not a crazy fast knitter, so I needed help. Fortunately, I had my minions friends knit some samples for me. So, when I needed a sample for the Zen Yarn Garden booth at Stitches this weekend, I decided to knit a shawl from my book that I hadn't knit yet. I went with Over the Moon.

Man, that pattern is addicting! Jenni knit the sample for the book and told me the same thing, but I kinda thought she said that because I was stressed about the book and she's my bestie so she has to say nice things to talk me off the ledge sometimes. :) But she was right. I couldn't put the shawl down.

I knit it on airplanes and at airports and a little bit at home. It took one skein of Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Sock. Yum. Yum. Yum.

Come see it in the Zen Yarn Garden booth (along with me) on Saturday at Stitches Midwest! I'll be signing books from 11:30-12:30 there!


Book Signing at Stitches

Stitches Midwest is this weekend. Hooray! I am so excited. This year I am staying at the hotel and taking a couple of classes. I am looking forward to a weekend of yarn fumes and friends!

This year is a little different though. I am doing a book signing! So, if you are at Stitches Midwest on Saturday, come see me at the Zen Yarn Garden Booth from 11:30-12:30! Bring your Sock-Yarn Shawls book or buy one there!

Hope to see you there!

My Best Friend's Wedding

A week ago, I returned from a wonderful Mexican vacation. Cancun in July. You might be thinking, but why, oh why, Jen would you go somewhere so hot when it's summer in Chicago? Well, it's because my best friend, Jenni got married there! Woot!

About 30 people flew down to share in her beautiful beach wedding. We spent a week with mango margaritas in hand by the pool. We swam in the Caribbean Sea. Alex and I went and saw Mayan ruins (something I've wanted to do since I was 10 years old!)

Some knitting was accomplished during the week, but mostly on the plane ride. I did read a whole book while gone, which is very rare for me these days.

Yay for a nice relaxing vacation! Now it's back to pattern writing and knitting. It was the perfect little break to get me all geared up inspired for my upcoming shawl patterns! :)

How's your summer been going?

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