Crochet Winter Hats

Over the previous weekend, I managed to finish the hat in the previous post (just put in a black rim to keep it snug and let it fit over my ears).  I’m trying to use my existing stash of yarn, and unfortunately, I cannot identify the specifics of the yarn used here, but here is the finished product.

Winter hats

Then beyond that, I managed to finish two others. Talk about being productive.

One thing I’ve noticed is that you have to pay attention to your own head size and actually be patient with stitching and undoing and stitching again.  While I have found some great pattern references, I have had to adjust based on the thickness of the yarn, or the fancy stitch following.  So while with a certain yarn, I may end up stopping the increasing of the stitches per row at say, the fifth row, I might have to do that on the sixth for thinner yarns.  Some yarns are also wont to hug your head, and others will just lay over your head, so there is less need to be relaxed with the actual fit.  What I’m trying to say here is that it’s different for each project.

I tend to start with the required number of rounds from the crown of the head (top), rather than start from the rim and work my way up.  I like my winter hats to be snug, and I don’t like putting in a pom-pom as an accent, so I work from the top down.

I first wrote about my quest for the perfect hat back in 2016, and I referenced this pattern for a slouchy beanie.  Although the original pattern called for more give and fabric to hang from the back of the hat, I wanted something snug, but with enough give just to give the hat a bit of shape when on my head.  I have used the starting pattern for this beanie for many of the hats that followed, including the first two hats in the post.

I like to learn new stitches, and I have always fancied the texture and body of the basket weave stitch.  Since I am now unable to identify the video I referenced, suffice it to say that Youtube is one great tutor.  While the stitch usually requires a treble stitch, I worked on using a double crochet stitch but had to keep in mind that my pattern had to start at a row following a round that was divisible by 3.


Winter hats

After working my way to the 6th round, I started adjusting the pattern to accommodate the woven stitch.  This time around, I wanted to be able to put a rim around over the edge of the hat.  Again, keeping in mind that I was working on a pattern, I had to make sure that the rim fell on a row that would compliment the row above it when the rim was in place.

And finally this last hat, based on a pattern I bought from RubyWebbs over at Etsy.  While my finished product looks different from the photo accompanying the pattern on the site, blame it on the tweaks I did which came out as I had hoped it would.  You can see the cable stitch clearly even with the solid black yarn I used.

Winter hats

First of all, I highly recommend Joni’s patterns on RubyWebbs because they are clear and easy to decipher, no matter what your level of skill is.  I consider myself rather advanced since I can read both word and diagram patterns and have been crocheting since grade school, but you want to work with patterns which don’t presume that you would have the same skill level as the vendor.  I actually bought 3 patterns, but I haven’t had the chance to work with the other two.

I like that I learned a new way to start a beanie off, with front post double crochet and back post double crochet.  This gave the beanie an inner rim per row which I like.  It also started with a looser top, so for those hats that I don’t want to be as snug, this is a perfect way to start the hat.

I followed the initial pattern for the top before getting to the row where the cable stitches begin, but I found that the hat had gotten too loose, so I went and unstitched two rows back and started the cabling ahead of the pattern.

I also found that you can actually make the cables longer by repeating a certain row, or keeping the pattern as is.  Towards the end, I reduced stitches for a snugger fit by first, skipping the half double crochet stitch between the cables but retaining the one inside (on the second to the last row of the cable) and then for the last row with the cable, I omitted that half double crochet to “close” it out.

The pattern provides for a finish but I opted to use my own by just closing out the cable and leaving it “raw”.  Maybe for the next one, I will try to do the cable and the finish as is and see how that ends up.

Winter hats

Back into crafting

One of the things that I have found most rewarding about crafting is that you can lose yourself in it and just let go. Even when I’m reading a pattern or working with instructions, there is a sense of freedom in just going at your own pace and working on your project as you please.

I have a ton of yarn that was purchased for projects that popped up in my head along the way. Some projects came to fruition and ended up in wearable pieces, but there are still some unfinished projects that are hoping for a second chance. My projects are usually spurred by some other event in my day to day, and a cooler weekend spoke to me if the coming of spring and then of winter.

I picked up a ball of yarn that was already unraveled at one end, and I stitched a beanie pattern away from memory. Depending on the yarn and the size of the needle I’m using, I always get stumped when it comes to the row where I stop increasing the number of stitches. So there is that magic moment when I find my fit and I can go about crocheting a stitch design that makes up the entire hat.

This one’s probably my 10th or so now.. and I’m down to the ribbing at the end. I’m thinking I will go with black and end it there.

Work in progress

I’m looking to get some projects finished before it starts getting cold again. That’ll help me get my yarn stash down by a but at least, and I’ve promised not to buy any new spools until I complete a few pieces. I’m setting my sights on maybe even making a coatigan or a shawl at the very least. Maybe I might yet get some freeform crochet done! More to come..

Midyear start

Disclosure: Clicking on the links and pictures in this post may result in the writer’s earning off a commission if you visit the site it leads to, or make a purchase a result of the links embedded here.

Here I am, yet again, attempting to jumpstart the craft blogging.  I’ve managed to get things rolling on the personal blog, but getting to this particular corner just now.  So where have I been with the crafting?  Now that I’ve come back, I’ve made a resolution to finish pending projects first before beginning any new ones.  I’ve started with the jewelry repair (easy!) and have gathered a few unfinished pieces.

I arrived from Manila 2 weeks ago, and I’m very proud of how I resisted the urge to shop for more beads and other jewelry supplies — keeping my purchases to a minimum.  Just more headpins and eyepins, essentially, and a very limited inventory of gemstones and gold filled findings.  I am not even asking for more for Angelo to bring as he returns this weekend.

I started straightening and organizing the headpins and eyepins already using my nylon jaw craft pliers.  I am hoping to find my digital caliper soon so I can figure out the gauge of the findings.  I buy the headpins from Wellmanson’s in Quiapo, and while I love shopping there, they don’t identify their findings by gauge.  So you are pretty much left on your own to figure it out.  Still, how can you beat 1000 pcs of 1.5 or 1.75 or 2″ headpins for under $2?  OF course, the catch is that you will have to straighten out most of the wires, so I am grateful for these jaw pliers.

After month after month of closing out sales from my favorite bead stores here in Manhattan, I have quite the stash to sort out and put away.  I had started doing this before I left, and it’s just easier for me to stop crafting altogether to focus on the organizing.  I’ve tried to pull together the loose stones into bins by kind, and just putting all the freshwater pearls together.  The metal components are a little more difficult to properly organize because I usually buy them in very small quantities.  That’s where I can use these bead organizers.
I have actually taken to labeling them, but I still end up intermixing the different components in one bin.  There are also certain items that need bigger storage, and I usually look at the small parts organizers found in the do-it-yourself or home improvement stores.  So I don’t really have a uniform storage unit for my components, but I confine myself to stackable or flat surface containers.  You will usually see piles upon piles of them on one corner of the room — or in my storage closet which is bursting at the seams.

My sewing adventures have also been put on hold because of my trip home.  I would have hated to be left leaving with an unfinished project.  I might not remember all the things that I should and not be able to finish the piece.  I have more than enough fabric to work with, and I hope to complete some light coats before autumn is upon us.

Of course, the very point of writing here again is because I want to chronicle my crafting journey for the remainder of the year.  Again, more for my benefit than anything else.  I have time and again attempted to plot a crafting calendar with no success.  The calendar was done, but I failed to follow through.  This time, I will post as I go along, and I’m already thinking that would actually see more crafting accomplished.

August is upon us and before you know it, the so-called “BER” months will be here, beginning with September. For us Filipinos, that signals the beginning of yet another season, and yet a different set of crafts altogether.

Here’s to a more productive second half of the year in crafting.

So much for excitement

Well, I tried.

I know that’s not the best thing to write after three months of silence. But I’m hoping I’m back, more so since I’m creating again.

There were some sales in the shop which sparked renewed inspiration to create. I think I really should devote a day or part of a day in a regular rhythm — not necessarily weekly – to creating new pieces. Even just a few hours can yield several pieces like this weekend.

I normally find one or two patterns forming as I assemble a piece – variations coming eventually – and then I am off on a roll.

And there are projects cooking in my head which I have to avoid getting entangled in lest I lose focus. Right now, I’m trying to sew again for my own wardrobe. I have been working on some patterns, mostly free, which I got from Mood Sewciety of Mood Fabrics, the famed fabric store in NYC. As a novice sewist, this is a very good resource for someone like me who does it as a hobby and who needs more help in figuring out the sewing I want to do. It’s also a good reference for fashionistas in general out there, and an off kilter destination for tourists who are students of fashion or who are crafters. This deserves an entire blogpost altogether.

I have also discovered other free and pattern-for-sale resources which I will write about in a future post.

I’ve also been working on pressing some rose petals which are taking forever and a day to dry properly, but I am being patient with them because this is a special bunch. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s the general humidity or the phase at which I started drying the roses. I have many pressed rose petals to work with but I don’t want to let this bunch go to waste.

Pressing rose petals
There is so much crochet inspiration but I don’t want to pick up my crochet hook and leave the work hanging. There is a project forming in my head which would require many little pieces to be put together, so I am just trying to see (1) if it’s a project I really want to undertake because I don’t want to end up with many little pieces and not see it through, and (2), do I have the time..

Decisions, decisions.

Let me go back to working on posting the dozen or so pieces I created offer the weekend. Visit my Pinterest boards or better yet, please visit the shop and pick a piece.. or two…

Almost Friday!

Ear Candy

I’ve been trying to make more pieces for my Etsy shop in preparation for the holidays, and also because I’ve accumulated quite the supply stash that need to be converted to merchandise for sale. I must say I’ve been enjoying the creative streak and have started to experiment with new designs. So forget the long nights and the actual posting process (taking photos, editing, measuring and taking dimensions, pricing and then completing all the required info before hitting “publish”) — I’m on a roll!

I know that the lack of activity in the shop has been largely due to my own inactivity. An online business in any forum takes a lot of effort. Your social media presence has to be constant.

I’ve noticed a trend towards chunky earrings and I have had this series of porcelain beads I have been meaning to work on.

Available in my Etsy Store: Gothamchick.etsy.com

Below are just some of the other designs I’ve pulled together with an emphasis towards producing a single dangle design. Where as before, I would normally connect the gemstones as separate dangles for more movement, these pieces are chunkier and more “solid”. I’m still doing that but have produced a series of earrings like below.

Available at the shop: gothamchick.etsy.com

Both pairs used agate wavy ovals which were surprisingly light because of their thinness –paired with turquoise magnesite coin beads on the left, and onyx beads on the right.

It’s always a marvel when I see the difference between my pieces from way back when I started making jewelry for sale, and the ones I work on now. It shows me how my own style has evolved.

This really all began as a means for me to find an outlet of relaxation, then a means to make my own pieces and subsidize it. Some have egged me to do more in terms of selling in other channels, but this one store is already taking up a lot of my time and effort. I’m quite happy with it. In the long run, I think that’s what matters. I do it at the pace I can manage without the stress.

More items coming.. and free shipping for the holidays.. est h out for that.

Trying to get back to craft blogging

I haven’t really stopped crafting — I just haven’t been “here”.  So today I discovered (to my horror), that I haven’t posted since April.

Sad.

I know that I haven’t been able to devote as much time to crafting the last couple of months, but I never stopped.  The slow down was mostly vacation and family visiting and then vacation again.  Plus of course, there’s the daily distraction of work.  And motherhood.  And just life.

So what have I been up to?

FabricI’m still trying to sew.  I now have quite a fabric stash and have all these plans and patterns.  I’ve even taken to altering patterns and creating mock ups to ensure that they actually work on me.  Hopefully, the upcoming projects will help me to keep a sewing novice journal here.

I have immensely enjoyed learning.  (Thank you, YouTube!)  There are so many great teachers who so generously share their knowledge and skills in videos that can be anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour long.  And I have watched and watched.. when something stumps me, I google the topic and find myself watching the experts do it.

I have made Mood Sewciety an almost daily habit not just for the inspiration but for free patterns, and all those sewing tips and lectures.  One day soon, I’ll write about how Mood Fabrics here in Manhattan is my kind of sewing heaven — whether I need to do a quick drop in or when I spend an hour or so browsing and thinking and resisting the urge to splurge.

I have been working on keeping the shop going, and although I haven’t posted anything new in a while, I’ve noticed quite a bit of traffic with items or the shop being favorited by shoppers.  (I must be doing something right.)

Still, it’s been a while since my last sale.  My recent trip to Manila saw me shying away from more supplies shopping (for the first time!) — because I have been confronted by the reality that I have way too much at home that need to be converted to something wearable.  I did succumb to the urge during my short trip to Hong Kong — but I didn’t let myself get carried away.  I am proud of my restraint! LOL

I have started working earnestly to organize my supplies again.  While sorting through my bead organizers and supply bins, I’ve had a chance to reacquaint myself with stocks I had forgotten about.  At the same time, new ideas popped into my head about how I can utilize these supplies.  No goals for now.  I just want to get started with the crafting again.  Be it beads, or polymer clay, or maybe even fabric or notion based accessories — I’m itching to get creative again.

I’m recrafting a new home.  No, I didn’t move.  But yes, I’ve been changing things up at home to make it the home I am dreaming of for Angelo and I.  It’s been slow but things are changing.  Clutter from so many years ago have been cleared — and while half of that is up in the attic (where the piles have moved), I am happy with the way my world at home is changing visually.

I am hoping to create some photo art to bring our walls to life — and imbibe a sense of family around my son and I.  I want to reupholster our dining room chairs instead of buying new ones.  (Although maybe buying a new set might seem an easier “out”, I want to give this a shot and save some money along the way.)

I haven’t quite gotten to repainting.  I think that can wait for now.

With summer almost over, I can’t wait for the cooler climes of autumn when I can work on the attic as well.  Like I tell myself, one small corner at a time.

Sometimes we just need a little push to get our projects going again.  I’m hoping this one will get things rolling here, indeed.

Sewing away

I am hooked.  Or should I say fully stitched in.

A while back, I had taken the beginner and advanced sewing class over at  Mood U which gave me the basic skills to operate a sewing machine and pull together a fabric tote and a coat.  (Yes, a coat.)

So since then, I’ve managed to collect quite a stash of fabrics (a post or two coming on that), and have been mining the web for free patterns, sewing tutorials and ideas in general. For a novice sewer like me, all this feels like a kindergartner let loose on the playground during recess. There is just so much to learn and try.

I am a novice at this and thoroughly enjoying myself. How I envy all those seasoned seamstresses who impart their sewing knowledge as experts. But sewing, like most other skills, is learnable and doable. I have my sewing machine and an openness to learn that comes in handy when I start thinking of embarking on a project.

What encourages me is the dream to come up with wardrobe that fits me well, as I am not a perfect size anything. I’m one size from the waist up, and another from the hips down. While I would normally fit into a normal size, certain cuts become iffy. And there’s always the incentive of wearing something stylish without breaking the bank.

Being crafty like I am, I know I can do well in sewing if I put my mind (and heart) into it. Like most things we have to take time to learn, it takes practice and a lot of trial and error. But I’m loving it! My seam ripper is now my best friend. The web is my classroom. I keep getting ideas on how to make those patterns work for me.

I’m finishing up my first project based on a pattern that is one among many free patterns offered online. I will get to writing about that in time. Meanwhile, I’m back and hopefully will be here more, chronicling my sewing journey.