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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

how to knit a teeny tiny baby hat in 8 easy steps

Years ago, I posted about knitting baby hats. But it was kind of a sloppy post, with some random instructions and pictures of hats I had made over the years.

So, when I sat down the other day to knit a teeny tiny hat for my teeny tiny new nephew, I thought I would post a proper post with instructions and photos like the fancy bloggers do.


You know me, trying to keep up with the Jones's

I am in a BIZARRE place lately, just FYI. Its like all these goat farm in the Midwest plans are falling away, like shedding a cocoon, and I am just hanging here, on a blade of grass, waiting for wet wings to unfurl, no idea what kind of creature I will be now.

Totally. That.

In any case.

Baby hats.

So here, you are, in all its glory, a proper how to make a baby hat in 8 easy steps.

So, first things first. I'm using a size 8 needle here and a pure cotton, my mom has scads of this stuff lying around to make dish cloths. I like pure cotton for babies, or maybe a linen mix, rather than a synthetic. I would use a wool/cotton blend for a winter weight hat, but its summer now, gloriously so, so cotton is perfect. Also, if this were a winter hat I might use smaller needles for a tighter weave, or even a double strand.


Cast on 50 stitches. I might have miscounted and done 52. Doesn't make a difference.

Lets assume you know how to cast on, shall we?

Now, start your first row with a knit row. The needle goes behind in the knit stitch. Knit all the way across. Then flip.

Now we purl a row. Purl is just like knit but from the front.

Okay, so, maybe this isnt a fancy perfect instruction posts. There are excellent youtube videos showing how to make a purl and knit stitch...why recreate the wheel, right??


Also, yes, fuzzy pictures. Sorry. Incredibly hard to take photos whilst knitting.

Here, lets pause and insert a Youtube video on how to cast on and make a knit stitch and purl stitch.

That will make me feel better.

TWENTY MINUTES LATER. There are a crap ton of crappy videos on Youtube about how to knit (the worst was a woman with distractingly long fingernails and cats meowing in the background) To prevent you from wading through that crap, watch the videos below. This woman is tolerable and the sound quality is good. Man I hate Youtube.

How to cast on.

How to do the knit stitch.

How to purl.

Phew! Now, on with the hat.

Once you alternate a few rows of knit and purl you will see a rolling edge begin. This is a roll brim hat. If you wanted it to be a ribbed brim hat you would need to knit purl knit purl all the way across one row and then the next row would be purl knit purl knit...etc.

How do you know when you are at a purl row or a knit row? Say the toddler is suddenly mysteriously quiet and you throw down your knitting to investigate and discover him or her diligently drawing stars all over the living room in marker?? (Just in case things like this happen to you, too.)

Its actually easy. The above shot is a knit row. See the V shapes? If you were at a purl row it would be little bumps. (refer to above detailed videos)

This is a purl side image. See the bumps?


Now, to check for size. Once you are several rows in you can stretch the knitting out, halfway through a row, and with your fingers, stretch the bottom into a round hat shape. Look like it will fit the head you are knitting for??? That's how I do it.

 Now, you see how large the piece is now, maybe three inches? Think of a large orange. That's about the head size here. You want this first part to be large enough to cover ears, up to the crown of the head. On an adult its the length of a palm. On a teeny baby, three inches.

So now you start to reduce stitches.

I start out with knit knit knit, then knit two stitches together, (above photo)

Then on the purl row I just purl straight across, without reducing.

I do this for three or four rows.

Then on the knit row I start reducing by knitting one stitch, knitting two together. Etc. Keep doing this until you have ten stitches left on your needle.

Now, we are binding off. I'll link a video below. Here are pics of me doing it.

 Two stitches, knitting. Always bind off on a knit row. I dont know why. Just looks better maybe?

Then take the back stitch and slide it over the front stitch and off the needle, thereby "locking it" off.

Keep going.

Here I am trying to show pulling the back stitch up and over.

Now there is one stitch left, then knit another stitch, pull back up and over and off, etc.

Then when you have one stitch left cut your yarn, leaving enough to stitch up the hat, and pull it through your last stitch, securing it.

FINISHED HAT...except for stitching it up. You can buy plastic yarn needles for this purpose. All my crafty stuff is packed so I used a large embroidery needle.

Just weave a seam up the two sides of the hat. Confession. I was so distracted by two little girls yelling at me about finding just the right buttons to add to the hat that I sewed up the bottom of the hat instead of the side. I've literally made dozens of these and I still screw up.

Add buttons. You could embellish with ribbon, flowers, etc.

NOW...finished hat.

Little cute as a button nephew, having a peek at me.

And, back to sleep.

So there you have it. Proper hat knitting instructions, the June way, with the help of Youtube. HA.

Happy knitting!!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

where i am at

This song. Gorgeous.

And I type at my little book in the early morning air, babies still asleep, coffee next to me, peonies in bloom.

Waiting for that rainbow's end, around the bend.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

anti-recipe #76 curried chicken salad

So. Taking care of oneself. I was at my chiropractor acupuncturist health guru guys office the other day. Yes. Acupuncture. I swear it helped. 

Anyways. My back. Gardening one day. Totally seized up. Awful. My moms sweet friend said lady, you need to go see my acupuncturist. So. I did. 

And I confessed to him my gut issues have been bad lately. Stress kills my gut. And he said, I will help you. But you have to promise you will eat what I say. Okay fine. 

No grains. Corn. Rice. Wheat. Nothing. No potatoes either. Here is a list. Eat this. You will feel better and stay better. I promise. 

Now, anyone dealing with disease of any kind has dealt with this scenario. Listen to me and I WILL HEAL YOU. But this guy, well, flopping hair, listening to 80s heavy metal as he deftly poked needles into my stomach and ankles (ow!) and ears and head. He had my disease. And he eats like this "7 out of 10 days," he said. And hasn't been sick since the 70s when he started this style of eating and was treated by an acupuncturist. 

Well. Convincing.  And I'd love to get healthier anyway. Fine. Later I look up "the wheat belly diet" Dark chocolate and red wine are allowed. SOLD. 

SO. Here is me, making an effort. 

Juicing, mostly green things. And eating a plate this looks like this most every day for lunch. 

Here is a breakdown of today's plate. 

Pile of fresh greens, from the garden of my moms other friend. 

Then. Here it is. Curried chicken salad. Do you know about curried chicken salad? I was introduced to it when studying at Oxford, those British have such fancy ideas. 

Shred up chicken, we had a roasted whole chicken (our own free range bird from last summer! Don't I send healthy and fancy!) in the fridge leftover from dinner. Add mayo (not that healthy yet, you could substitute with plain yoghurt) then curry powder, some salt. Add in fun things like dried cranberries or sliced almonds or cashews or chopped fresh grapes.*  

Now put this on bed of lettuce. More than you think. Without carbs in your life you need to eat more. I added slices of cheese and these vegan kale cracker things, sprouted and healthy. They taste terrible plain. But are good/tolerable with cheese and the chicken salad. 

Pour a glass of freshly squeezed veggie juice (cut with half OJ)

Voila. Tasty healthy lunch. 

Notice dada's lunch in the background. Diet Mountain Dew and ramen noodles. He said he was trying to even us out. 


*dada actually made the curry salad, per my instructions, but still, I felt the need to confess. 


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

the next big thing

I don't know if its an approaching that big age mid-life-ish crisis. Maybe its that my youngest child is nearly four, potty trained, weaned, and etc. able to run around with the bigs wreaking unsupervised havoc.

One of these things.

And I sit here, sketching peonies at my mother's table, as my kids do some "summer school" work (listening to audio books and drawing) and I feel this overwhelming treacherous sort of feeling reaching up from the dark corners inside me.



Restless, verging on the discontented. A dangerous place. A place where rational thought goes out the window. Where one lies awake at night plotting all kinds of lunacy, tossing and turning, waiting for the impossible to be achievable.

And here I am.

And it is hard for me to write in this space when my brain approaches this place, as is typical for me in major periods of transition, like moves and babies.* I am unsettled. I am not felt-crafting mouselings or sewing baby bonnets or making sauer kraut or planting gardens or planning homeschool lessons.


I am, frankly, a basketcase.

And we have plans. Big Ass Plans. Plans that are so ludicrously optimistic I shudder to even mention them here. I dare not, lest the universe rip them out of my hands, once again, leaving me clinging to empty air (clearly this tortured soul bit and little sleep brings out the poetic prose, LUCKY YOU. HA HA)


The next big thing. It always gets me. When its coming on the horizon, like a tidal wave, and, there is nothing I can do. Just ride the wave, and wait.

So, I tell myself, and dada this morning, I feel like I am circling some drain, waiting for the final flush. I need my fight back, My order. My structure. Take charge-ed-ness. This family, we need to GET OUR SHIT TOGETHER.

So. We make a 100 fun summer things to do list (currently at 27) and I do what all homeschooling mamas do in such situations. Call the children to the table. And do some school. No, I don't care if its June. YOU ARE DOING A SPELLING TEST. Ha. I suck. No but, today we did some animal stories by Thorton Burgess and drew some pictures, then an easy lunch, and now we head out for an afternoon at the lake.

I am thinking of instituting "school time" from 10-11 every day, picking one topic, something we all do together (yesterday we started a little unit study on island biospheres). Then lunch. Then outside play. Then a reading time - where I GET TO PICK THE BOOKS, and, WHERE I READ TOO. Then dada takes over kids and dinners and I either write (starting in on book 2 revisions!) or GO FOR A RUN (which I really should do to get rid of some of this angst of late...) Then dinner. More time outside. Bath. Books. Bed. Then Empire Boardwalk for mama and dada. And chocolate. Ha.

I can do this. One day at a time, Big Ass Plans, come what may. I shall fight the circling of the toilet flush, I shall, I shall, one day at a time.

So, How is YOUR summer starting off???? HA HA HA.

little man's comics, his project of the summer

*No, I am not pregnant.
Friday, June 5, 2015

help, i need somebody

i am having a certain level of nostalgia lately for these "little" years...

There is something embedded in motherhood that makes us have this need for extreme independence. Have you found this?

I remember so clearly a few years ago, taking the kids to the Mall. There were two of them then. Maybe three? I dont remember? But I had a baby. And a toddler. And no older (slightly) useful child. and we were at McDonalds in the food court. Standing in line. Child A pulling on my sleeve, Child B whining in my arms. (Perhaps Child C was in the belly at that point) and I looked at my arms, full of crabby baby. And toddler. And then at the trays of food the McDonalds guy was trying to hand me. Um. Uh. Hang on a minute. I can do this.

And some guy next to me, an older dad looking type, looked me up and down and said, "Uh, Can I carry that for you somewhere?"

And I paused, I actually paused. Trying desperately to figure out how I myself could manage the situation. Alone. Without the help of a stranger.

And I couldnt figure it out.

So, I looked at him skeptically, he wasnt trying to hit on me was he? He wasnt going to snatch my baby, was he?

And then, I smiled, my sweetest mommy smile, and said, "Uh, sure, yea, that would be great actually. Thank you."

He smiled back, carried our tray to an empty table. I put down baby, settled toddler, and looked up at the helpful stranger. "Seriously thank you." He smiled and walked away. Good deed done.

And I sat down. And felt unbelievably foolish.

If I cant manage two children and a belly at McDonalds What The Hell Was I Doing Leaving The House???? I had no right! I CANNOT ADULT SUCCESSFULLY.

Accepting help, even when politely offered in a ludicrous situation, is FREAKING HARD.

Asking for help. Nigh impossible.

And here I am, living at my parents house.

Clearly, clearly, I am in need of help. Crap hard situation. (Although boy's asthma has disappeared since our move, so good choice!) And we have had to ask of it, in this phase of life. And we have learned to accept it. But good lord in heaven those first few weeks were hard. I like control. Too much.

But, then, I started looking around, at my parents huge old farm house, a full two acres of lawn to be mowed weekly, giant garden to put in, and realize, oh, well, hey, maybe, just maybe, they need our help too?? Okay. We give. We receive. Perspective. And my older sister, nearby, on bedrest, with high blood pressure with her sixth baby. She too, is learning, and I know how hard it is for her. It IS planting time after all. And she is directing her boys, as they plant and pour seeds, calling to ask friends for rides because she isn't supposed to drive. Accepting frozen casseroles from the church ladies. Counting down the weeks.

God. Hard.

Why is it so hard?

Here is my theory.

Because, as mommies, if we cant do it ourselves, well, then, we dont deserve it, right?

Because, as mommies, we have these little people looking up at us, and God forbid they see us accept help from someone! We will lose our edge! The insanity will creep it! WE WILL LOSE ALL CONTROL! AND THEY WILL SEE!

Is this it?

I think it is. For me. For a lot of us I think.

I have a raw, sticky fingered grip, most days, on this thing called adulting. I am BARELY HANGING ON.

And, if they see, if anyone, really, sees. Well then, it will all come undone, the facade crumbles away. And suddenly, I will be green-faced, hanging on to the side of the boat, rocking rocking rocking. Incapable.

And we dont like to look incapable.

Because, we then have to admit to ourselves - THAT WE DONT HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT.



What? Thirty-etc years old, and I DONT HAVE IT FIGURED OUT???


And so, we bow our heads, and take a deep breath and let that grace in, the grace that says, I dont have five dollars for a coffee on me, so, hey, thanks. Or, yea, thanks for mowing the lawn, or doing the load of dishes, or planting that row of rasberry bushes, it looks wonderful.


And we give it, help, and we receive it. And we open the doors, and let each other in.

When I was younger so much younger than today
I never needed anybody's help in any way
(But) But now these days are gone (These days are gone), I'm not so self assured
(I know I've found) Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me, get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me, help me, help me, ooh

trying not to let my sisters' babies around me this week get to me...ovaries. want. baby.  HA HA

also, certain level of nostalgia for the dreads this i do it again???

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