November 16, 2008

Poll: Pointed vs. Rounded Hoods

Do you like pointy or round hoods?

I like a pointed hood. But, they can look, well, too pointy.

Since I'm writing a pattern for the hoodie pictured, I thought I'd ask my readers. So, to my few and cherished readers, please make your voices heard and take the poll to the right. Leave a comment if you need more room to expound.

I did a few decreases to make the hood a little less angular. I like the way it looks here. Still, I can't decide if a round hood might not be better. I could easily rip out a few rows and rework the top.

When I write that part of the pattern, I could include instructions for both a pointy and a round hood. Maybe that's the best solution.

November 10, 2008

Birdie: free hat pattern

I like my running hat so much I decided to design a knitterly version of it.

Birdie is a trim hat with a petite brim. It is knit in the round from the bottom. On top, the cables twirl together in a sunburst design. Just like the classic baseball caps which inspired it, Birdie is topped off with a button.

Made from lightweight yarn, you won’t have to wait for cold weather to wear Birdie. Knit it in a luxurious silk and merino blend, or choose an affordable soft acrylic. Birdie also looks great as a beanie. Instructions for a brimless version are included at the end of the pattern.

Yarn: 150 yds (135 m) of dk/sport weight yarn. The orange-red hat was knit in Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend, 30% silk, 70% wool, in color 3069. The purple hat is in Bernat Satin Sport, acrylic, in plum. Choose substitute yarns that have some elasticity, and that will meet the gauge below.
Needles: U.S. 4 (3.5 mm), 16” circular and 4 dpns
Crochet hook: U.S. D (3.25 mm)
Cable needle, stitch markers, tapestry needle
Gauge: 23 sts, 38 rws per 4 in. in st st. One 16 st pattern rep at cast on edge, where it is stretched, is 2.5 in. One pattern repeat, relaxed, is 2 in.
Size: One size fits most teens and adults. Finished hat at bottom band, before brim is attached, is 14.25 in, after brim is attached, 17.5 in. Hat will comfortably stretch up to about 23 in. The brim is 1.75 in deep by 5.5 in wide.

Crochet Button Tutorial

Crochet buttons are easy to make, and they're cute as a, uh, button.

You can make the button smaller or bigger by changing the number of single crochets in step 4. If you need a firm button for a garment closure, insert a hard plastic or wood button into the center. Since I used this as a decorative topper for a hat, I just stuffed the yarn tail into the center.

Gauge: not important
Hook: size that works with your yarn

There are a couple of different ways to start the initial circle, but my favorite method starts off with a big loop. A big loop is easy to crochet into, and it feels very satisfying when you pull it shut after completing the the first round.

This tutorial assumes you know how to chain, slip into a stitch, and single crochet.

1. Make a large loop by placing the yarn tail behind the working yarn. Leave a 6 inch tail.

2. Insert the hook through the front of the loop and pull the working yarn through.

3. Chain 1.

4. Make 5 single crochets into loop. Pull tail to close loop.

5. Complete the circle by slipping into 1st single crochet. Chain 1.

6. Single crochet into same single crochet as slipped into. Single crochet twice into each stitch. Close the circle by slipping into 1st single crochet. Chain 1.

7. Single crochet into each stitch. Close the circle by slipping into 1st single crochet. Chain 1.

8. Decrease round: Insert hook into next stitch and pull through a loop (2 loops on hook). Insert hook into next stitch and pull through a loop (3 loops on hook). Yarn over, and pull through all loops. Repeat to end of round.

9. Leaving about 12 inches, cut yarn and fasten off. Stuff all (for a fat button), or some (for a flatter button), of the 1st tail into center of button.

10. With 2nd tail, sew closed and attach to your project.

Here's the button atop the Birdie hat.

November 9, 2008

My Lucky Hat

The field in today’s Vancouver Fall 5 Miler was lucky; the rain poured down before the race and picked up again afterwards. Conditions during the run were good, no real rain, no real wind, just lots of wet leaves cushioning the path.

I had a bit of extra luck today, too. I got a blue ribbon. That’s always fun.

The course was flat, two loops through Marine Park and out along the riverfront past zillion-dollar condos with zillion-dollar views of the Columbia R.

I started too fast and drooped the last couple of miles. I’m still learning to pace. “Still learning” means I stink at it.

Last night, I reread the chapter called “Mental Training” in the racing book Don gave me. After reading this, I was determined to have a steely enough mind to make up for my lack of speed conditioning and running talent. This really didn’t work.

It did succeed in giving me monkey mind for the rest of the night. I tossed and turned, trying to come up with affirmations and anything else that might help with the discomfort of trying to run fast. Finally, I gave up on that and switched to inventing affirmations for falling asleep.

I’m still learning how to suffer (see above definition of “still learning.”) I’m getting a little better, I think. I tried to push through the discomfort and not let fatigue take too much of a toll. Don calls this “paying the price.”

For what it’s worth, I have a raw throat from gasping for breath. At one point, I thought I would puke. I told myself, unless I really did puke, I wouldn’t slow down. I think the imagery of that distracted me for a couple of seconds. Probably lost some time there.

I finished in an OK time, though. My pace was about the same as my 10k pr from a few months ago. A bug got lodged in my eye.

I’m always freezing after I run, so I piled on my sweats, parka, and a hat I knit last fall. I think it's just fine to wear stupid-looking hats. The stupider, the better, really. I feel satisfied that I’m able to combine a running post with a knitting FO post.

November 2, 2008

2 Hats and a Hoodie

I finished a hoodie, pattern to follow shortly. (Update: no pattern. I'm not really happy with how this hoodie turned out.)

And, a hat, free pattern to follow very shortly.
And, another hat, knit from sock yarn. It's light enough to wear running and to get stuffed into a pocket if the runner's head starts overheating. Notes and photos to follow shortly.