I’m a mutant knitter

I’m a lefty. My grandmother taught me to knit when I was very young. Being married to a lefty, she must have empathized for my future self and taught me to knit left-handed. She had the best intentions, but how wrong she was to teach me this way.

I’m an adaptable person. I could have learned to knit the normal way, but for some reason, I knit in reverse. Take everything you know about knitting and make it backwards — that’s me. So when a pattern tells you to take three stitches from the left needle and transfer them to a cable needle, I have to automatically switch it to read, “take three stitches from the right needle…”

Usually this isn’t a big problem. The only obstacle I’ve come across is when I made my Norwegian snowflake mittens and I had to follow an intricate chart. Figuring out where the thumbhole went and whether to ssk or k2tog proved tricky.

Recently, I made a headband using a seed stitch. This stitch takes me forever to make and I expressed this to a local shop owner/knitter who was admiring my work. She balked and said it’s because I’m throwing my yarn, not picking it. I’m knitting English method, not Continental. If I were picking my yarn it would go by so much faster! This irked me a little. I couldn’t shake it.

This was about two weeks ago, and since then I’ve received dozens of comments on this headband. So I decided to look into the two methods and figure out exactly what I’m doing. Turns out I’m some sort of hybrid knitter. I knit Continental method, but I wrap the yarn instead of pick.

What I need to learn is how to actually knit Continental. Then I can churn out these headbands. I have no idea why I learned to knit this way, but it would have been a hell of a lot easier if Grandma just taught me how to knit her way.

Lefties have their rights too!


My Classic Ear Flap Hat

This pattern is my tried and true hat design. A spin-off of Far North Yarn Co.’s Alaska Ear Flap Hat, I have made probably about 50 hats over the past 7 years. Here is my pattern along with several photos of different hats I’ve made. I make the size small for an average head. That’s 72 stitches total.

Sizes XS, S, M, L

Size 9 or 10 circular and doublepoint needles
1 skein bulky yarn. I love Lamb’s Pride.
Tapestry Needle
Pom pom maker (optional)

Ear flap (make 2):
With two double point needles cast on 2 stitches. Purl 1 row. Work back and forth in stockinette stitch. Every time you do the knit side (right side), increase in the front and back of the first and last stitch. This will create the triangle shape. Keep going until there are 16 stitches for the XS, 18-S, 20-M, or 22-L. Place these stitches on a holder. 

Hat: With the circular needle, cast on 12-XS, 14-S, 16-M, or 18-L stitches for the back of hat; knit across stitches of the first ear flap making sure the right side is facing you. Cast on 20-22-24-or 26 stitches for the front; knit across second ear flap. There will be 64-72-80-or 88 stitches in all. Join stitches carefully without twisting. Knit 2 purl 2 on the front and back part of the hat (regular knit the ear flaps) for four to six rounds. This will make the nice ribbing and will prevent the hat from curling up.

Continue knitting until the hat is about 5.5 inches tall. I usually go with 32 rows from the edge of the hat. 
Then start decreasing as follows:
Round 1: Knit two together, knit 6. Repeat for one round.
Round 2 (and all even rounds): Knit
Round 3: K 2 together, K 5 for one round
Round 5: K 2 together, K 4 for one round (this is where you should probably switch to the double points).
Round 7: K 2 together, K 3 
Round 9: K 2 together, K 2
Round 11: K 2 together, K 1
Round 13: K 2 together
Gather remaining stitches with a darning needle and fasten off. Weave in all tails.

I just braided yarn together to make the ties for the flaps. You could also do a cord stitch where you have three stitches on a doublepoint. Knit to end of row and instead of turning the work, just push them back up to the end so the yarn wraps around the back. Knit in this way till it’s long enough. Braiding is faster and pretty.

Sometimes I add a pom pom. This is especially nice when making a stripey hat because you can include all the colors in the pom pom and it’s faster to make than one color.

Here’s a montage of some of the hats I managed to take photos of before giving them away.










Cabled Tapered Headband

This pattern is based on the Calorimetry Headband at Knitty.com

We sell tapered cabled headbands at work and I figured I could probably make one. Here is the pattern!

Needles: size 10 circular
Yarn: Lamb’s pride bulky (I used two worsted weights together to create the color combo)

Cable pattern will be made on the wrong side of your work. 
Cable pattern: 
Row 1: K4 
Row 2: P4 
Row 3: C4F (transfer two stitches to cable needle and set in front of work. Knit the next two stitches then Knit the two stitches from the cable needle) 
Row 4: P4 
note: I don’t make the cable pattern on the outermost corners of the headband because there are so few rows.
CO 72 St. 
Row 1: K2, P2 
Row 2: K2, P2 to last two stitches. Turn work. 
Row 3: Slip 1 purlwise, P1, K2, place marker. P2, K2 to last two stitches. Turn work. 
Row 4: Remove marker. Slip 1 purlwise, P3, place marker. Start cable pattern: K4, P4 to marker. Turn work. 
Row 5: Remove marker. Slip 1, P3. Place marker. K4, P4 to marker. Turn work. 
Row 6: Remove marker. Slip 1, K3. Place marker. P4, C4F to marker. Turn work. 
Row 7: Remove marker. Slip 1, K3. Place marker. P4, K4 to next marker. Turn work.
Continue rows 4-7 till there are five groups of four stitches on the outside of the stitch markers (22 stitches). *If you want a narrower headband, knit until there are 18 stitches on the outside of each stitch marker.*
Row 8: When both sides have 22 stitches, start the next row without removing the stitch marker and knit in the cable pattern to the next marker. Turn work. 
Row 9: Without removing the stitch marker, continue in the cable pattern to the next marker. Remove marker and knit the next four stitches according to the cable pattern. Turn work. Place marker.
Row 10: Place marker and knit in cable pattern to next marker. Remove marker and knit 4 stitches according to cable pattern. Turn work. Place marker.
Continue Row 10 till there are only two stitches on the outside of both markers. 
Row 11: P2, K2 removing all markers 
Row 12: K2, P2 removing all markers
Row 13: BO in ribbing pattern (K2, P2) 
Weave in ends. Sew on a button to one corner. There should be a hole you can put the button through easily.

Junklaces, or how to show off all the jewelry you never wear

Recently I saw in a jewelry boutique a collection of necklaces that looked like antique charm necklaces. They were really pretty, with old keys and beads and brooches and such. So I decided to go through all my old jewelry and mix-match my single earrings, unused pendants and anything else that was collecting dust in my jewelry box. I also bought a few charms from Michael’s extensive collection. Here’s what I came up with:

Braided Winter Headband

Never have I received more comments and compliments on a knitted piece of mine. It was selected as a featured knitting project for October on craftster.org

I adore this headband, but I only wish I could knit seed stitch faster. I wrap my yarn instead of grabbing? I’m not sure. I knit the other method than most people so I’m slower with switching from knit to purl.

This headband is a simple construction. I did not come up with the pattern. I spied on someone in Seward who was wearing it and figured out how to make it.

Size 7 straight needles and double points
darning needle
worsted weight yarn
three buttons
needle and thread

Directions:Cast on 24 st. 
Knit garter stitch for three rows
Knit in seed stitch for 10 inches. I slip the first stitch of each row to make an even edge.
At ten inches, *transfer 8 stitches to a double point needle and continue seed stitch pattern for another 11 inches. 
To make a tapered edge, knit the first two stitches together, continue the seed stitch, then knit two last stitches together (6 st). 
Seed stitch the next row.
K2Tog, seed st, knit last two stitches together (4 st).
Knit the next row
CO and leave a 12″ tail.*
Repeat ** for the remaining stitches. It should look something like this:

When you have all three strips finished, braid them, pinning the overlapping parts in place how you like them. With the yarn tails and darning needle, sew the pointed ends to the beginning of the work, creating the headband.
With needle and thread, sew the pinned overlapping parts, making sure the thread doesn’t show through the front of the piece.
Sew on buttons.

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