Newbie Knitting : Block-Work Hat Project

Project Three : Block-work Hat

I designed this hat project to help us review everything we have learned so far. This hat requires you to complete casting on, knitting, binding off and seaming multiple times. For this project you will need to make 4 rectangular blocks. Two will be completed in a solid color yarn, two in a multi-colored yarn. The picture shows the hat before it has been finished... we will complete it in a couple weeks when everyone has finished their 4 blocks.

One skein Deborah Norville Collection Everyday Soft Worsted Prints Yarn and
one skein Deborah Norville Collection Everyday Soft Worsted Solid Yarn in a color to match
or 2 skeins of worsted weight yarn
size 8 needles
Yarn needle

Cast On 40 stitches.
Knit 4 and 1/2 inches.
Bind Off. Leave yourself a 18-24" tail for seaming later.
(make 4 total, 2 solid color, 2 multi-color)

When you have completed all 4 blocks, sew them long sides together in a solid, multi, solid, multi pattern. Then sew the outside two seams together to form a complete a circle. We will discuss how to finish the top of the hat in a couple weeks. We will be making pom-poms using the Susan Bates easy wrapper pom-pom maker.

Just so you know, after we complete the Block-work Hat we will be learning the Purl Stitch.

Additional Projects
I know that a few of my students will finish their hats early, while others will need the full 4 weeks to complete them. So I search the web for some other patterns that can be completed with the knitting skills that I have taught so far. These patterns are all from the Lion Brand website. They are free but you may need to register on their site to view them.

Easy Berry Scarf

Learn to Knit Cuff

Soft Berry Hat

My Favorite Blankie

Newbie Knitting | Finishing Your Little Birdie

To finish your Little Birdie that we started last week, you will need a yarn needle, scissors, and a softball size amount of batting.

Fold your birdie in half diagonally to make a triangle. Have your corner with the smaller tail (probably the cast on tail) meet at the right angle and the longer tail (left from binding off) be on one of the acute ends. You remember your geometry, right? ;) The acute ends will be along the fold.

Thread the yarn needle with the shorter tail. (The right angels on top.) Tip: It is easier to thread your needle if you fold the yarn first.

Use a slip stitch to catch the edge of a loop on either side to sew up the first seam. You will be working from the right angle to the acute angle that does not have the other yarn tail attached. Note: I'm using red yarn just so you can see what I'm doing. Your yarn tail will obviously be the same color as the rest of your bird and you will not be able to see it when you are done.

When you reach the end of the seam, create a loop by going through the tip and pull your yarn through the loop to knot it. You will want to pull this knot tighter than normal. We want the tip to curl down forming the head.

After you have shaped the head, thread the yarn back down the seam a bit. Then pull the yarn needle through the middle of the bird and cut the yarn. This will hide the end of your yarn inside the bird body. (Be careful not to catch the other side of the chick.)

Now thread the other tail onto your needle and work from the opposite end towards the right angle. Stop about one inch away from finishing the seam. Stuff the bird with batting... enough to fill it nicely, but not too full or it will show through your stitches.

Once stuffed, sew up the rest of the seam. This corner with the seams is your bird's belly. It is now time to shape your bird. Push your yarn needle from the belly out in the middle of the birds back, slightly off centered.

Run the needle under a few stitches and then push the yarn needle back through the bird's body to the belly.

Pull on the yarn slightly to curve the back. I like to do the same thing across the belly, and then once more across the back. Once you are back at the belly, knot off your yarn, run it through a few stitches and hide the yarn end inside the bird like we did with the other yarn tail.

Thread a 6 inch piece of orange yarn onto your yarn needle. Run it through the point of your bird's head. Double knot the yarn and trim the ends to be about 1/2 inch long. This forms your bird's beak.

You can gently form your bird by adjusting the batting with your hands. Tada, you have now just completed your first knitting project. Congrats! You are now a knitter! I will have a few more knit only projects available before I teach the purl stitch. Keep practicing what you have learned so far.

Newbie Knitting | Little Birdie

Newbie Knitting: Project One

Updates! I had some corrections to make and wanted to get some better photos up. Sorry for any confusion. We had out of town guests all week and Pixie's birthday this weekend! I didn't get a chance to edit like I normally do.

This week’s assignment gets you started on your first project, A Baby Chick. You can add this project to your Ravelry queue.

Materials Needed:
Size 8 Needles
Yarn Needle
approximately 20 yards yellow worsted weight yarn (Lion Brand Wool Ease)
6” Scrape of Orange Yarn
Softball-Sized amount of batting
Cast On 18sts. Leave yourself about an 8 inch tail.
Knit approximately 34-36 rows.

We are making a small square as the base for our birdie. When you look at your knitted piece notice that each bumpy row is actually made up of 2 knit rows. So you should have 17-18 large bumpy rows when you stop. End with the live yarn and yarn tail on opposite sides of the needle.

The exact number of rows doesn't matter (depending on how tight your stitches are you may end up with a different number of rows needed) as long as you end with a square shape. You can tell that it is square by folding a corner up to make a right triangle.

Next week we will learn how to get your knitted square off the needle and how to finish your bird.


Tree Garland - How to make an I-Cord

My mom bought a basket full of this yarn (Lorna's Laces Green Line Dk which has been sadly discontinued), with no real project in mind. I've been stealing skeins of it (shhh) here and there to make some Christmas tree garland. It is a simple 4sts I-Cord. The quick rainbow color switches work up beautifully this way and although I have miles to go... I am not growing bored of the color-way.

I-Cord Tutorial aka Christmas Tree Garland (Ravelry link)

Making an I-Cord is very easy. If you can knit at all, you can do it. You need two double pointed needles (alternatively you can use a knitting hoop or spool). I am making my garland on size 8 needles using a DK weight yarn... you can of course play with you needle size and yarn weight.

Cast on 3-6 stitches depending on the weight of your yarn and how thick you would like your cord to be. After playing with it, I chose to work with 4 sts. Knit across, do not turn.

Instead, slide your 4 sts down to the opposite side of the needle, keeping the yarn to the back.

Bring the yarn across the back and knit another row, pulling the first stitch tight to eliminate any gap across the 4 sts.

Continue in this manner (ie sliding after each row without turning) until you reach your desired length. You can either bind off as normal or cut the tail and pull through all 4 sts and tie off.

To make it into Christmas Tree Garland you will need to make several yards of it... well many yards of it if it is a big tree and you want lots of coverage. This is a great way to show off some of your favorite fun or funky yarns and add some wooly goodness to your holiday decor. To help break it up, have a lot of different family members add a few inches which will add to the charm and truly make it a family keepsake.

Gnome Bookmarks

Anyone who knows me well, knows I NEVER make "just enough" food for dinner. When I make chicken soup, you would think I planned to feed the villagers... and, in fact, sometimes I do :) But here is my philosophy... it really doesn't take that much more time to make a pot of soup for 20 as it does for 6. Then, after we have dinner, and eaten to sate our appetites, I'm on easy street for the next few days. I now have enough cooked chicken to make chicken casserole, chicken cacciatore, chicken salad sandwiches, and... well, you catch my drift. And, I have something on hand to feed unexpected visitors AND the expected wee ones that grace my table on a regular basis. Some people might look at my dinner table and say "excessive". I look at it and say "brilliant" :)

Well... I have basically the same philosophy when it comes to designing and crafts. Why make a design you will only use once? If you put the time into designing something you like, look for other ways to make use of the design. Just makes sense! Example: take our basic gnome design. We've put that puppy through the paces. It's been featured in felt, woven fabric, wooden pegs, cut wood, and yarn. Today, I'm adding paper.

I had a copy of the pattern that I had used to make the Old World Wooden Gnomes sitting on my desk. While on the phone, I was doing my ubiquitous doodling. I colored the little gnome, when I thought, Hey, this would make a cute bookmark. So, I simply blew the design up 200%, and wah lah, a pattern for a bookmark. 

You can make the bookmarks out of heavy cardstock and color with pencils or markers. (You could you crayons but you do run the risk of smearing wax on your book.) I chose instead to do mine on 140 lb. watercolor paper. One 9" x 12" sheet will make 5 bookmarks if you lay them out close together. I then used watercolor pencils to color the gnomes, and then used water to paint over them. You could also use regular water colors. Here are the simple directions, using watercolor paper and watercolor pencils.

Make a copy of the pattern found HERE. Cover the pattern with packing tape and cut out the front and back pieces. The tape will make the gnome firm, making it easier to trace. And you can then use them as templates over and over again.

Trace on the FRONT of the watercolor paper. Note: It is very important to trace on the front of the paper... the bumpy side. This side will give the best results when you watercolor, and since you will be looking at the front more than the back, make the front side the nicest :) You should be able to get 5 gnomes per page if you place them close together and flip flop them, top, bottom, top, bottom, top.

Cut out the bookmarks. 

On the back side of your pattern pieces, rub pencil lead on the lines. Tip: hold the patterns against a sunlit window to see the designs through the paper.

Place the front template on top of the front side of the bookmark. Using a ball point pen or blunt, pointy object (knitting needles work great) trace the lines of the pattern. When you remove the template, there will be a light marking of the pattern on the bookmarker. These were made from the pencil lead you rubbed on back of the pattern. Do the same to the back of the bookmark.

Using a fine tipped, water proof marker, copy over the tracing lines. Do this to the front and back of the bookmark. Make sure the sign and date the back of the bookmark :) Then proceed to color the bookmark, front and back, using watercolor pencils. Use darker colors to highlight the design.

Then, using a brush and water, "paint" the bookmark, front and back.

To prevent the bookmark from curling, when the bookmark is partially dry, I place it between 2 pieces of clean paper and weight it down, and let them finish drying.

If you would like, you can cover the front and back of the bookmark with clear contact paper to make it more durable. I personally prefer to leave it natural.

Now, go find a good book, and get reading!
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