Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Brainy Beanie

A hat to celebrate scientists and independent, analytical thinking!

Brainy Beanie hat: View from top
The March for Science is scheduled for April 22. What to wear?

We had pussyhats for the Women's March in January, but scientists need something a bit more...brainy? A little more 'smart' looking?

The Brainy Beanie was a concept hatched brain... and proven in the making!

Using both knit and crochet techniques, the hat features a highly textured knitted brain-like design secured on a crocheted mesh-like skull cap. The open-work cap makes for lighter weight headgear that is also cooler and more appropriate for typical late April warmish weather.

For the same weather-related reason, I chose an acrylic yarn, Caron Simply Soft Party, Platinum Sparkle, which has metallic strands. The glinting strands highlight scientists’ sparks of genius and creativity.

The hat components are fast to make--and not difficult. You only need to know the simplest of crochet stitches and how to sew with a needle and thread. And the knit part? If you use a spool knitter, you don't even need to know how to knit.

Brainy Beanie, showing roundness and depth
Intimidated by yards of cord? Don't be deceived!  It is quickly knit on a very inexpensive spool knitter, such as the Caron Embellish-Knit! Machine, which are readily available at Jo-Anne Fabrics (use a coupon!), Amazon and Walmart--to name three sources. I bought mine for $15.

Don't want to buy the spool knitter? You can hand or machine knit the iCord.

Fair warning: Although the cap and the cord are quick to make, placing, pinning and securing the cords to the cap are where the time goes into making the hat.

Some people have questioned why I made this in gray. Well, for one, brains are commonly referred to as 'gray matter,' but the real reason this is gray is simple: I made this for a marcher who preferred the color gray. I'm looking forward to seeing one made up in pink, which by consensus seems to be the alternate choice.

I had fun making this--and it's pretty cool to wear, too. So I wrote up the pattern and posted it to Ravelry, where it is available for download. In the spirit of the March for Science,  all proceeds from the sale of this pattern go to the The Sierra Club.
Crocheted skull cap in progress, end of Row 12
Brainy Beanie, as worn

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Spring is for ponchos

Knit a quick and easy toddler's poncho!

I wanted to make something for my very precious--and only--granddaughter, but didn't have much time to do it. This fit the bill! And fit her, too. 

It was so much fun, I'm sharing the pattern.

Emilia's Poncho

A quick, easy and machine washable poncho suitable for ages ranging from 3 to 6. To make a larger size, increase the width and length of the rectangles.

Construction diagram
Easily knit by hand or by machine, this poncho is made from two rectangles and knit entirely in stockinette stitch. The yarn is variegated moving from grape color to pink and making effortless  stripes.

Yarn: Stitch Studio by Nicole Picnic, Grapes. 2 skeins (710 yds (649.2 meters), 200 grams.

Gauge: 26 stitches and 44 rows = 4 inches

Needles/Machine: Hand or machine.
  1. Hand: #7 or 8 needles to get gauge
  2. Machine used: Passap Duomatic 80 at tension 7.

  1. Cast on 76 stitches or 76 needles (machine)
  2. Knit two rectangles in stockinette, each to a 20-inch length. (Knitting machine: 220 rows)

Seam together the short end of No.1 rectangle to the end of one side of No.2 rectangle, as in the diagram above at right. 

Then seam the short end of No.2 rectangle to the near side of the long end of No.1 rectangle. 

Optional: From the right side, make a decorative chain stitch over the seams on both sides of the poncho, as seen below.
Detail showing decorative chain stitch on seam
and fringe around neckline.

Fringe: 2 inch fringe around the bottom. 
--Cut short lengths of yarn about 4.5 inches. 
--Insert a crochet hook through the knitted fabric near the edge of the bottom. 
--Fold each end of the 4.5 inch yarn pieces in half and--using the crochet hook--pull the loop up through the edge. 
--With the hook still in the loop, use the hook to pull the two loose ends of the yarn through the loop. Seat the knot by gently pulling. 

Repeat around the bottom of the poncho and trim to an even length of about 2 inches. In the example shown, the yarn lengths follow the color changes of the yarn.

Reverse side: Pink fringed neckline

Neckline treatment: To stabilize the neckline, single crochet around the edges. Add fringe, as seen here, if desired. 

A shorter length of fringe--about 1.5 inches--is most effective. On this poncho, the color of the fringe is centered with the grape color on one side (above) and pink on the reverse (right).