free patterns · Knitting

Sprouted Cap

After I finished the garter stitch layette, I was ready for something a little less garter-stitch-paired-with-unusual-constructiony, so I went for Diane Soucy’s Easy Baby Cardigan.

I love this pattern. It’s so quick and easy, and very very cute. I like to make the collared version, so as soon as I cast off, I started thinking about a hat to go with it, and finally came up with this:

Sprouted Cap

And so can you!

Using a circular needle appropriate for magic looping, CO 3 stitches.
Slide them to the other side of the needle as if to start an icord. Make into each stitch a twirly tendril (as shown in this youtube video from Cat Bordhi. Use the the Annie Modesitt way she shows you first). Slide stitches to other end of needle as if for another row of icord. Kfb into each stitch so you now have 6 sts. Begin working in magic loop with 3 stitches on each needle. Knit one round plain.

rnd 1: yo, k1, repeat to end
rnd 2 and all even rounds: knit plain
(don’t forget to knit into back loops of the yarn overs to twist them shut)
rnd 3: yo, k2, repeat to end
rnd 5: yo, k3, repeat to end
rnd 7: yo, k4, repeat to end
continue as established until you have 27 sts on each needle.

Stop increasing and work in stst until the hat measures 3.75″ from last increase round.

To form a picot edge, work one round of yo, k2tog around, then work about 1/2 inch stst stitch. BO loosely and break yarn, leaving a long tail for hemming. Fold over to the inside from the yo row and hem down.

Use this cap to embellish your favorite fresh baby!


I’ve been knittin’!

After I finished the Mister’s slippers, the only thing I’ve wanted to knit is wee tiny baby things. Not for any particular reason, mind you, just that I feel like knitting wee tiny baby things. Babies are everywhere and they need to be covered in wool. That’s just the way it is.

I made a baby surprise jacket a couple of summers ago and thought it would be cute if I had a matching hat and booties to go with it. Keeping with the theme of garter stitch paired with original/unusual construction, I first made the hat from the bouncing baby set found in Homespun Handknit from Interweave Knits.


And then I went with a pair of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s bootees from The Opinionated Knitter.


Haha, my house is messy. Ahem.

Doesn’t that make the cutest little layette? For someone. Whoever it lands with should be really happy with it.

After that I moved on to another baby sweater and hat, which, Dear Reader, I will share in my next post (hopefully tomorrow) because it will include a new free pattern from yours truly.

Knitting · Weather

Yay Snow!

I know people don’t usually say that, especially those Seattleites last week who just aren’t used to a lot of snow. Today, though, in my little corner of Connecticut, we’re having the first real snow storm since the fierce and terrible storm which blew through on Halloween. We’ve got about 8 inches of snow out there as the storm wraps itself up and we have had about as perfect a snow day as there is. There’s been knitting:

And chocolate chip cookie baking:

Perhaps later there will be pie making? I’m thinking a nice meat pie will hit the spot for dinner.

We are warm and dry and cozy here, and thankfully don’t have to be anywhere any time soon. Best snow day ever! How is your day going?



So the temperatures around these parts have been more and more consistently in the  “cold” range. Which means, unfortunately, that our house is rather a bit colder as well. Cold enough that even the Mister, who generally eschews foot coverings unless going outside (and then it’s only shoes, no socks), asked for a pair of slippers. And, since I love my husband, and I am a knitter, I knitted up a pair of Felted Clogs for his size 13 feet.


I’ll be honest, these are the 3rd pair of these slippers I’ve knitted since the weather turned cold, and I have not been happy with any of them.

The first ones I made were for myself. I misread the end of the pattern (I don’t know how that is even possible) and I somehow convinced myself that I was supposed to do something (namely to knit 3, k2tog all the way around) which made the openings too tight and I had to cut the rolled cuffs of each slipper just so I could get my feet in. The second ones I made were for my sis. I must have had the stitch count wrong on one of them, because the shape of it is all wrong and it doesn’t stay on her foot when she walks.  Sadly, this pair for my husband has the exact same problem, one wonky slipper that doesn’t stay on when he walks. I was sure that I was conscientious of my stitch count for these, as I was trying to avoid the wonkiness problem I had with my sis’ slippers, but alas. Still, they will keep his feet warm while he is working/gaming/watching TV and that was their intended purpose so I guess it works out.

Moreover, the first pair I made this season have developed a hole in the sole, because I am too lazy to track down slipper bottoms for them, and should probably cast on a replacement pair soon. /sigh/ It’s a good thing I love knitting!

meme · Reading

Sunday Seven

Argh, I have no inspiration for a blog post today, even though my desire to make a blog post is high. How does that even work? Anyway, I guess that means it’s time for a meme! Google led me to something called Sunday Seven on Patrick’s Place. Today: Seven Books I’d Like to Read in 2012. I guess that works, given that I’ve been poking around for something to read since I finished TFiOS Friday night. Here’s my seven:

1. World War Z by Max Brooks. I’ve had this loaded on my Kindle for a while, but had wanted to read Brains, A Zombie Memoir first. Since I finished that a couple of weeks ago, so I guess it’s time for WWZ.

2. The Clockwork Earth Trilogy by Jay Lake. I’d read the first book, Mainspring, a couple of years ago. It was SO GOOD, but I had kind of forgotten that he was writing sequels. But then I remembered! And so here it is on my list. (So, does that count as 3 more books? No, I will count it as one.)

3. The Terra Incognita Trilogy by Kevin J. Anderson. I read about the third book in a Big Idea post over on Whatever when it came out and it sounded like a real good time.

4. The Dervish House by Ian MacDonald. Another Big Idea from Whatever. I can’t remember what it’s about, but the write up must’ve been good because it’s been on my list for a while.

5. 2030 by Albert Brooks. Who doesn’t love a little dystopian comedy? And when you read it, you will read it in the voice of Nemo’s father!

6. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. My bookselling friend read this over the summer and said it gave her nightmares. I mean, how could I not?

7.  11/22/63 by Stephen King. I am a shameless Stephen King fan. Evidently he had the idea for this book years and years ago, but felt like he needed to hone his craft before he could do the story justice (Under the Dome, too, which was excellent). I guess the time has come because here it is!

There’s a few more books on my To Read list, but those are definitely the top seven. How about you? What’s on your To Read list?


An Existentially Fraught Book Review

Tonight I finished reading the most amazing and painfully beautiful book, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Wow, you guys. I mean really. I read the entire last half of this book with tears streaming down my face, I was so moved. In the interest of not spoiling the book for anyone who is yet to read it, I will not say what the book is about specifically (here is a review from the New York Times), but I will say that it deals with a difficult subject matter tenderly and, if not hopefully, then realistically. I love that a book like this exists, that teenagers are going to read it in English class and they are going to talk about (or at least think about) the utter absurdity of human existence and that they will, hopefully, ponder whether Sisyphus was happy.

If you don’t yet have a copy of The Fault in Our Stars, I urge you to get one. And, if you decide to go with the dead-tree version, the entire first printing is signed by the author (and you might even get a hanklerfish)!

Knitting · Zombies


At last it’s finished, and I absolutely adore it!


The colors are so bright and cheerful!

And it is so warm and cozy, too! Now I can’t wait for it to get well and truly cold!


Knitting · Weather

What, what?

After I cast off Catkin a few days ago, I came down with a rather nasty cold, and so, even though it’s technically finished, I still haven’t blocked it or sewn on the buttons. I hope to do all that today and have a photo shoot with the thing tomorrow. Meantime, I’m going to try and get outside for a little while today. Why yes, I would like some 60° sunshine on January 7th, thank you very much.


Almost There

Here is Catkin, 2 rows shy of casting off.


I have no idea how big the thing is, it’s jammed so tightly on the needles. I guess we’ll see. *girds self*

off topic

How to Beat Your Friends at Words With Friends Without Really Trying

Hey all you Words With Friends addicts out there! I’ve been asked in a few of my games how I score so many points, so I thought for my first post of the New Year I would share some of my strategies for racking up points. I don’t always win, but I do fairly well for myself. I’ve won all 10 of the last games I’ve played. So, here it is.

First and most important is to always aim for the bonus squares when making a word, and especially when you have a higher point letter to play like a Q or J and even if it means you only make a 2 or 3 letter word.

Secondly, play parallel to existing words on the board (rather than perpendicular), especially with the middle-value tiles like H and W. You get more points for playing 2 (or more) words at a time than for just one.

Third, don’t be afraid to guess at words right on the board by putting down letters that might look like a word. Sometimes I get lucky and make a random vocabulary word that I would never use IRL. You don’t have to have the dictionary memorized to score high on Zynga’s Words With Friends! When you’re guessing, place your higher valued tiles on the bonus squares and build from there.

Remember, winning at Words With Friends has very little to do with anagramming the biggest possible word from the tiles in your rack. It’s all about tile placement.

If you try this, let me know how it works out for you! Happy playing!