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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sea Monkey Baby Hat

This hat is a favourite baby gift and knits up really quickly (for those last-minute gifts). Cotton is nice and soft for babies, plus the little ears are just so darn adorable. 
The pattern features three different sizes and three brim styles. It is constructed from the bottom up on circular needles.

Skill Level: Rookie-Apprentice-Virtuoso-Genius
Skills: knit, purl, grafting/Kitchener stitch (optional)

Sizes: newborn; 0-6 mos; 6-12 mos
Gauge: 18 sts and 28 rows per 4" on 5 mm in st st (20 sts = 4" on
4.5 mm as given on ball band)

Yarn: 50 g, 90 yds (82 m) worsted weight cotton (dishcloth cotton is perfect!)
Suggested Brand: 1 ball Sugar n’ Cream cotton

Needles: 5 mm 16" circular; 5 mm dpns (for grafting - optional) or size needed to obtain gauge

Other Materials: tapestry needle or teeny crochet hook; 1 stitch marker


CO 52 (60, 68) sts, join in the round being careful not to twist sts. Pm for beg of rnd.
Work either Brim 1, 2, or 3.

Brim 1: (roll) Knit in St st for 6 rows.
Brim 2: (rib) K2, P2, repeat to end of row; repeat this row 3 times more.
Brim 3: (garter, shown in blue) Knit 1 row, purl one row; repeat these two rows two times more.

All styles:
Change to St st and knit until hat measures 5-5.5-6" from CO (if you are making the roll brim style, measure from the bottom of the roll and not the CO edge). It may seem tall for a baby hat, but it will shorten after you make the ears.

Finishing: You can either BO all your sts and then sew up the top with a darning needle, or graft (kitchener st) your sts together. Do not cut yarn.

Ears: Once the top is closed up, insert your needle from the inside about 1.5 inches from the top corner and pull through. Wrap the yarn tightly around the corner a few times; fluff out the ear and give it a few tugs until it is the shape you desire, then tie off and weave in the ends. For the second ear, cut a length of yarn and attach it 1.5" from the top corner and repeat the rest of the instructions.

Notes and Tips:

• After tying off the ears, use your needle or crochet hook to pull the ends into the ear itself and then trim; this way you don't need to worry about weaving inthe ends, but make sure your knots are secure.
• If you choose to graft the top together, be sure to change to dpns first.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Philosopher Sleeves

Everyone needs some philosopher sleeves to help with reading, thinking, tea drinking - whatever you like to do! The smallest size only uses one skein of sock yarn, so dive into your stash 
and pull out that one special skein you’ve been saving.

These fun sleeves are knit from the top down to the wrist and have basic shaping for a sleek fit. 
The optional elbow patches are knit separately and sewn on later.

Skill Level: Rookie-Apprentice-Virtuoso-Genius
Skills: knit, purl, ssk, K2tog, M1

Sizes: adult xs, s, m, l
Finished Measurements: xs measures approx. 3.5" wide at mid-arm and 20" in length (shown)
Gauge: approx. 28 sts and 44 rows = 4" in St st on 3 mm needles 

Yarn: 100% superwash merino (MC), 114-228 g/4-8 oz, 395-790 yds (361-722 m); small amount of CC in fingering weight (for elbow patches); Note: xs requires one ball, larger sizes require two balls
Suggested Brand: 1-2 skeins of Tosh sock fingering weight merino (shown in William Morris)

Needles: 2.5 mm dpns; 3 mm dpns or size needed to obtain gauge

Other Materials: tapestry needle or teeny crochet hook; 1 stitch marker

Instructions: (Make two.)

Starting at the top of the sleeve, CO 70 (75/80/85) sts with long-tail method and smaller needles in MC. Join in the rnd, being careful not to twist sts. Pm for beg of rnd. Divide sts evenly on needles.

Work in K3, P2 ribbing for 1.75" (approx. 18 rnds) or to desired length of top cuff. Change to larger needles and St st.

Next: Knit 10 rows even.
Dec rnd: K1, K2tog, knit to last 3 sts, ssk, K1.

Rep these 11 rnds 4 times more. 10 sts decreased.

Work even in St st until sleeve measures approx. 14.5 (14.5/15/15)" from beg. Try them on. They should end 3-4 inches below the wrist.

Note: If you would like a slouchier look, work extra rnds here. 
If you would like to get away with making a larger size with a single ball of yarn, you may want to make the total length shorter here.

Next: Rep dec rnd once.
Next: Knit 4 rnds even.

Rep these 5 rnds 4 times more. 10 sts decreased. 50 (55/60/65) sts rem.
Try sleeve on again. Work extra rnds here if you like. They should be 1" shorter than total length.

Change to smaller needles. Work K3, P2 rib for 1” (approx. 10 rnds).

BO fairly loosely in rib or use a 3 mm dpn to bind off. Weave in ends.

Elbow Patches: (Make two.)

CO 15 sts with smaller needles and long-tail method in CC.

Knit 2 rows.
Row 1 (RS): K2, M1, knit to last 2 sts, M1, K2.
Row 2 (WS): K2, purl to last 2 sts, K2.
Rep these two rows four times more. 25 sts total.

Next: Knit.
Next: K2, purl to last 2 sts, K2.
Rep these two rows 7 times more.

Row 1: K2, ssk, knit to last 4 sts, K2 tog, K2.
Row 2: K2, purl to last 2 sts, K2.
Rep these two rows four times more, ending with a Row 1. 15 sts total.

Knit three rows. BO kwise. Weave in ends.

Try on your sleeve, making sure the shaping runs down the inside of your arm. Place the patch on your elbow and mark the placement or pin it on. Sew it in place. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

More Natural Products for Knitters

After a long hiatus from the blogging world, Bohoknits is back at it with
new designs, free patterns and more! Here is a follow-up to my popular post,
have been working full-time in the Natural Health Industry (hence the hiatus),
which has given me the opportunity to explore some of these products
and how they can help knitters.

Red Reishi and Holy Basil (aka Tulsi)
Is it any wonder I am often referencing stress when talking about knitting? Most of us knit to unwind at the end of a long day, but the hobby itself can often be stressful (just ask the blanket I've ripped back twice this week!). Whenever my nerves start to get the best of me (in life or in knitting), I turn to herbal remedies. My two favourites are Reishi mushroom, known for its grounding and anti-stress properties. I take it in liquid tincture form or powdered in capsules from Purica. Another herb I rely on quite a bit is Holy Basil. This is an ayurvedic plant that noticably (and immediately) lifts your mood and makes all those little annoyances in life (like dropping a stitch) seem like no big deal. I take it in liquid-capsule form from Botanica or drink it as a lovely, flavourful tea from Organic Traditions.

This is one of those things that you can't believe you ever lived without.The Spoonk is an acupressure mat made of little plastic "spikes" that envigorate your system, relax your mind and deal with physical and emotional stress in one bound. Sore muscles, tired mind - just a few minutes of standing on my spoonk and I feel so much better. "The mat stimulates specific reflex points throughout the body, releases blocked energy, eases tense muscles and creates deep mental and physical relaxation." I take it on the airplane and have it open at home so I can stand on it anytime. But don't limit yourself to standing on it. You can lie on it to treat back pain (or sore knitting shoulders), use it as a pillow to treat headaches (from reading those pesky lace charts) or target any area that might be bothering you.

Chinese balls (aka Baoding Balls)
I have been using these since I was a child, but I never realized their applications for knitters until recently. They are the perfect tool to provide hand strength and general balancing. When you have been knitting hard, make sure to take a break and spin these around for a few minutes. They will work different muscles in your hands to prevent injury and the gentle ringing they make provides a nice soothing break for the mind. They also make beautiful, little objects! 
How to use them: Rotate them by rolling your fingers. Work clockwise and counterclockwise making sure to alternate hands. Eventually you can work on your speed and trying to avoid contact between the balls, but don't push yourself  too hard - these are meant to be a meditative exercise. 

Matcha Green Tea
I drink green tea all day for the many health benefits, but one of my favourite kinds is matcha tea. Matcha comes in a fine powder which can be whisked up into a frothy delight (or try a latte with almond milk). Because you are ingesting the whole tea leaf instead of an infusion of the leaves, it has more benefits than a regular cup of tea. One of the active chemicals in any green tea, theanine, works wonders on our bodies. It is an amino acid that helps to create a feeling of focused calm. Its psychoactive propterties cross the blood brain barrier, making it a quick and effective remedy for stress and "murky mind". Be cautious about drinking matcha later in the evening as it will give you a bit of an energy boost!

In my last post on natural products for knitters, I referenced mint oil as a great analgesic for sore hands and I stand by that. But a new favourite for me is Arnica cream. This is a herbal, homeopathic remedy that is capable of penetrating deep into the tissue. It is very gentle and soothing, making it great for sore hands or any kind of arthritis or injury. Try Traumeel or Arnicare from Boiron.

Essential Fatty Acids are necessary for good health, whether you are a knitter or not. There are many benefits systemically, but for knitters taking a fish oil supplement - or vegan equivalent - is essential to keep joints lubricated and to prevent injury. Knitters of all ages wind up with sore joints caused by inflammation, but that shouldn't stop you from casting on. EFAs ensure that cell membranes carry out their functions as they should. Try taking a fish oil supplement daily and you will soon notice the effects. I like to take mine in liquid form since it's more concentrated, but some don't enjoy the oily feeling in their mouths. Luckily now they have delightful flavours with no fishy "burp back". My favourites are Nutrasea from Ascenta (they have yummy flavours like Apple and Mango!) and Karlene's Sealicious. If you really can't stomach the liquid form, try some gel caps from Nordic Naturals.

I am a die-hard book lover. Being a bit of a Luddite when it comes to technology, I don't even own a cell phone. So, I was very resistant to an e-reader at first and declared that I would never give up reading paper books. Until I realized the main benefit to having an e-reader: you can now read and knit at the same time! In my last post I was touting the benefits of using a book stand. The only downside to that is it takes time to turn each page (a few stitches worth of time at least). Now all I have to do is quickly tap my kindle and I can seamlessly keep reading and knitting, barely missing a beat (I chose the kindle touch). There are other obvious, non-knitting related benefits to a kindle, which I will leave to other bloggers and reviewers to explore (lightweight and compact, stores mutiple books, environmentally friendly), but the benefits to knitters are incredible. Heck. You can even knit a cozy for your kindle. I still curl up with a good paper book in bed, but if my needles are in hand, you can be sure that my kindle is close by.

For other ideas on how to soothe those knitting nerves natuarlly,
visit my original post.