The Fan Enough headband tutorial

Crafty Football Blog HopWelcome to the knits by emma entry for the 2013 Crafty Football Blog Hop! Crafters from various disciplines have gotten together to bring you some projects that will get you geared up for a great season. There’s a reason we love this time of year, so get in touch with your creative side, and while you scream at the TV all of Sunday afternoon, GET CRAFTING!

Anyone who has actually met or spoken to me is probably aware that I am a massive Green Bay Packers fan. Growing up in Minnesota as the daughter of a hardcore Cheesehead and Wisconsin native wasn’t always smooth sailing amongst the throng of rabid Vikings supporters. But my sisters and I never lost faith in our boys and taunted and heckled our peers right back, knowing our team would (and does) always come out on top!

For this tutorial I decided to design a piece that combined my love of the Green and Gold with my passion of knitting headbands. This was designed to be unisex. It’s also a quick little project and would suit most any skill level.

Fan Enough headband

Fan Enough headband

Fan Enough headband

Materials used:

  • 1 skein in main color (MC) – approx. 54m (Debbie Bliss cashmerino Aran 50g ball)
  • 1 skein in contrasting color (CC) – approx. 63m (Loyal machine-washable DK/8ply)*
  • A 5mm, 40cm circular needle (US size 8, 16” circular needle)
  • 1 stitch marker (SM)
  • 1 tapestry needle

    Perfect Packer-colored yarn

    Perfect Packer-colored yarn

Gauge and tips:

18 sts and 24 rows for a 10cm square

I chose two different yarn weights because of the colors available at my local yarn store, but this headband would best be done on *two Aran/Worsted weight yarns. The DK will knit up looser on a 5mm needle, but it shouldn’t be so loose that it becomes holey. Knit consistently, don’t pull it too tight or it won’t stretch as nicely over the head. Always change colors at the beginning of a round. Pay close attention to which rows are in MC and which are in CC.

Pattern instructions:

Cast on (CO) 74 sts in CC and join in the round. Place SM to indicate the beginning of a new round. (TIP: I sometimes cast on an extra stitch and knit the first and last stitch together [k2tog] when joining in the round to make it smoother and firmer)

CO in CC, then purl in MC to create a lovely striped effect

CO in CC, then purl in MC to create a lovely striped effect

Rows 1-6: Purl in MC

Row 7: Purl in CC

Rows 8-11: Knit in CC

Rows 12-17: Purl in MC

Rows 18-23 Purl in CC

Row 24: Purl in MC

Ends to be woven in

Ends to be woven in

Rows 25-28: Knit in MC

Rows 29-34: Purl in CC

Bind off (BO) loosely in MC (TIP: I recommend this article on Crafsy)

Weave in ends using tapestry needle. Take care when weaving in the loose ends; you don’t want to make it too tight, especially in the CO and BO areas.

Block lightly if need be.

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Be sure to check out the rest of the blog hoppers below. I can’t wait to try out some of these great ideas myself. Happy crafting everyone, and GO PACK GO!

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The little tweaks keep crafting fun!

Hi readers! It’s the Monday night of a three-day weekend and I have to say I’m feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after a good weekend of fun, friends, quality time with my man, and of course plenty of knitting.

A new cable, a new copper beauty

A new cable, a new copper beauty

I finished this new headband design for the shop in a beautiful copper shade, and wore one of my other headbands out on Saturday night for a bit of casual promotion while catching up with mates. Since it picked up a hint of “pub” smell, I had a great excuse to test the yarn for machine wash-ability. It came out of the machine completely intact and even softer than it went in!

I also played around with some ideas for an upcoming craft blogging event in which I have been kindly invited to participate (won’t give too much away just yet).

Today after a good gym session I spent most of the day just adding potential patterns to my Ravelry queue. I must have been living under a rock because I haven’t really gotten into the site until the last month or so. The long weekend gave me the time to actually browse through patterns properly. Any knitters not already on the site should join immediately. It’s such a great source for patterns, advice, ideas, yarn reviews and to see what other knitters are up to.

I was keen to try something a bit more fun this evening, so I landed on the Kimono Slippers. This was a great, simple little project that I could tell would be super quick and give me a great chance to dip into some stash yarn. I ended up using Panda Tempo 100% acrylic (I’m not exactly a fiber snob, and this yarn happens to be very pretty and soft) which I bought on sale for $3/skein some time ago.

Kimono Slipper prior to stitching up

Kimono Slipper prior to stitching up

As you can see, these slippers are worked flat, which is great for a quick project. I didn’t bother with gauge or even using the recommended needle size. I just went for it and made sure to sew it up well.

One down, one to go

One down, one to go

I finished one slipper tonight while Matt kindly cooked up our steak dinner. I was in the knitting zone. After dinner I sewed up the edges according to the instructions. I think this one is actually meant to be the left slipper, but it feels more comfortable on my right foot, so I’ve just gone with that. I was ready for a break, so I resolved to make its partner later in the week.

However after leaving it be for about 10 minutes, I decided it just wasn’t right. It needed a bit of an embellishment before I’d really be satisfied with it. And so…

Garter stitch strap with button hole to the rescue!

Garter stitch strap with button hole to the rescue!

I thought it would make a nice touch to knit up a quick garter stitch strap and add a button to make it a bit more exciting. Matt agrees that it looks heaps better, and I’m pretty happy with it too. The strap is also functional, as it’ll keep my foot from slipping out. It’s great to take the framework of an existing pattern and spruce it up using your own knowledge. This is definitely one of my favorite things about crafting.

I made the smallest size as my feet aren’t all that big, but I could maybe have gone medium. In any event this slipper is easy to “try on” while you’re stitching it up to ensure it will fit. I still have plenty of yarn on the skein as well, so hopefully I can get a second slipper out of it without having to break into another.

Booty from below

Booty from below

These acrylic slippers are great for the Australian climate, since they protect my bare feet from the chilly floors, but also won’t make me overheat in the warmer months. If you want something really cozy, I’d go for wool.

For the strap, I cast on 6 stitches, working a garter stitch pattern (knitting every row) and creating a button hole three stitches wide a few rows before the end (there are heaps of great buttonhole tutorials out there, it can be tricky the first few times). My advice for this whole project (including the strap) is to slip the first stitch of every row (knitwise or purlwise appropriately) to keep the edges nice and clean.

I encourage everyone to take chances in your crafting. You never know what sort of touch ups might just add a little personal flair to your project. Plus it’s great to use extra supplies that are just lying around your craft space. I have a whole bag of buttons just waiting for opportunities like this.

A handy cable cheat

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have recently become obsessed with the Never Not Knitting podcast by Alana Dakos. When I first searched for knitting podcasts in the itunes store, her latest episode was the first thing I listened to.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been catching up on her older episodes (she’s done over 70) and it’s been amazing getting to know her and hearing her reviews about so much great yarn and patterns. One thing she mentions more than once is how much she hates using cable needles, and I’m sure a lot of you knitters out there can relate.

They’re so small and easily slip out and get lost in the couch or in Alana’s case, between the front seats of the car. I certainly sympathize, but I cannot say I’ve ever had this experience.

When I finally launch my shop and reveal the headbands I’ve been working on, you will all see that I simply LOVE knitting cables. I find them so visually interesting, and I’ve been hooked ever since I first learned to knit them.

I pointed out in my recent Trial and Error post that after a five year hiatus, I initially started knitting again because of all the beautiful things I saw on Etsy. Rather than pay for a set of lovely handmade boot cuffs, I figured that even with my dormant beginner skills, I could probably make them myself.

When I first hit my local Spotlight, the Australian chain craft warehouse, I stocked up on every skein that caught my eye and several sets of needles. All of my old yarn and needles are probably still buried in the closet of my old room at my parents’ house in Minnesota, so it was time to invest in new tools and a new stash. The one thing I forgot to get was a cable needle. Sigh.

But never fear, this is how I came up with this handy cable cheat that I would love to share with all of you. When I started to work with cables in my headbands, I didn’t have a cable needle, so instead I used my thin and seemingly useless circular needle as a substitute.

Circular needle to the rescue!

Circular needle to the rescue!

There are several reasons why this is an amazing cheat. First is that you can slip the stitches all the way onto the rounded plastic bit and LET GO. Yes that’s right, if you need to you can completely let go of the project and leave it right where you are!

Slip stitches to the circular needle

Slip stitches onto the circular needle

The second great thing about this method, is that rather than transferring the stitches back to your straight needle, you can simply push them around to the other side and knit directly off the circular needle.

Knitting from the circular needle

Knitting from the circular needle

Lastly, and probably most obvious, circular needles are much harder to lose to the hungry couch monster (although on occasion it can still happen — ravenous little bugger).

So give this cheat a go and let me know what you think. Is it easier or harder than using a standard cable needle? This little method works great for me, and I certainly don’t see myself wasting money on a cable needle anytime soon.

DIY t-shirt bracelet

In attempts to distract myself from a splitting headache, tonight I settled into bed watching DIY videos on YouTube while Matt made dinner.

While looking for something totally unrelated, I came across a great little video by JewelryTutorialHQ for a DIY jersey knit t-shirt bracelet tutorial. It looked interesting so I had a look.

Before the video had even finished, I was up fishing out an old sun-faded black t-shirt and getting started.

Formerly black tee

Formerly black tee

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Cut into strips

Making t-shirt yarn

Making t-shirt yarn

Finger knitting

Finger knitting

First I set out the old t-shirt on the floor in the spare bedroom. Then I set about cutting the strips to join together and make “t-shirt yarn.” I then commenced weaving/finger knitting the bracelet.

Pattern up close

Pattern up close

The video was really easy to follow, so it didn’t take long at all. And best of all it really helped distract me from my headache. Sadly the effects have since worn off, but it was a fun little project that only took about 10 minutes.

Finished product

Finished product

This bracelet is a design using three fingers to knit. It can also be made thinner or chunkier by using two or four fingers instead. I can’t wait til some prettier tees wear out so I can make more. Check out the video and try it yourself!

A hand at design

Tonight I opted to postpone making the left mitten and completing my brownie set. Matt (fiancé) and I have not gotten much sleep the last few nights, so instead I decided to have a quick tinker with a business card design and leave the knitting for tomorrow.

I wanted the back (or front depending on your point of view) to borrow its design from the blog. With some minor sizing changes, I was able to achieve this using an image editing program called Gimp.

Business card back

I’m quite pleased with the finished product. I don’t have all that much experience editing images or photos, but this was easy enough to do. On the other side I’ll have all my details, so that each time I send a product I can include a few cards for clients to pass out if they wish. It’ll also be good to have some to hand out at local craft fairs.

Officeworks does 250 business cards for $39, which is a pretty good deal I think. It would also be great to reformat this image to create postcards with some photos of my products printed on the back. But I’ve got to crawl before I can walk, right?

*If anyone out there wants to give Gimp a try, let me know if you get confused. It can be hard to figure out at first!