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 shouldnโ€™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.

IMG_2274 IMG_2269

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!

What to do when crafting gets you down

Picture this: You’re home after a long day, compounded with the fact that it’s been a long week and it’s not even Friday yet. You can’t wait to get in PJs and settle into some warm and fuzzy crafty goodness. Before long, nothing is working out the way you planned. You become frustrated, tired, and just plain over it. What do you do? You don’t want to waste this prime opportunity to be creative, but nothing is going right.

This was me last night my friends. I wanted to knit. In fact, I’d been longing to knit all day. I still need to pump out a few headband samples so I can get them on models and take photos. There is one design that I started the other day, but ended up ripping out when it proved a bit thin. Last night I started over using the same pattern, but on slightly larger needles. This left gaping holes where the cabling occurred, so I produced a heavy sigh and ripped out to start over.

Next I decided to take a break from that design and make something new. I have a few headbands floating around in my mind, but I have yet to actually sit down and work out a stitch count. I must have tried to work out about three different patterns to no avail. I was much too frustrated to take the time and work it out properly.

My fiancรฉ could hear me getting frustrated with every dramatic ripping out of my projects. He prodded, asking what was wrong and if there was anything he could do. He was kind enough to spare me the logical suggestion of just setting down my work and taking a breather.

It was getting late, so eventually I had to rip out yet again and go bring the laundry in off the clothesline and cook dinner. I was feeling depressed, so I let him keep playing video games, rather than asking for help in the kitchen. Normally I love cooking together. It gives us a great chance to catch up on our days and it makes the process go faster when we’re really not in the mood to be stuck in the kitchen. But at that point, I just needed some time to myself to regroup.

After the quiches were safely in the oven, I came back into the living room to try one more option. This was the original design from the other day, with an extra cable. I thought these extra stitches on the original smaller needles would make it wide enough without creating gaps when stretched over a person’s head. So I did one (almost) final cast on and got to work.

Amazingly, the short pause was enough to keep me sane. Even when I had done a few rows of only 22 stitches when I needed 23, I had peace of mind, and dutifully ripped out and cast on again. This time it was project success!

I think that is what gets me down sometimes during frustrating knitting sessions. I don’t mind the ripping out and starting over, it’s the cast on that makes me insane. Especially a provisional cast on. I ended up needing to get out new provisional yarn after overworking my original crochet chain in the myriad other cast ons throughout the evening. (A provisional cast on knits into a crochet chain to create “live” stitches making it cleaner to graft the two ends together when a project is finished. It works great with headbands and infinity scarves or cowls.)

Now the headband is looking even better than I could have imagined. I still wish I could have finished it last night, but I’m glad that I took a break and got perspective rather than giving up completely.

So I say when crafting, writing or general creating has you banging your head against the wall, don’t give up. Just take a short break and come back with a clear mind. Last night I considered just giving up and watching TV or working on hexipuffs instead, but I knew I wanted to make progress on my headbands.

As a writer, I know I should be applying this same strategy. Lately I haven’t been in the mood to devote the necessary energy to my fiction writing. But I really just need to sit down and get to it, taking pause when I really need it, and coming back revitalized.

For all you creators out there, I would love to hear your stories of when you got stuck and how you dealt with it. With so little precious time for being creative amidst life’s many challenges and demands, how do you find peace and time for your activity of choice? How do you find yourย flow?