Knitted Beards!

A friend of ours turned 40 yesterday and my husband suggested that as a present, I knit our friend a beanie and beard! His business means he spends most of his day outdoors, so the idea is that it will keep him warm – chin and all!!

The beanie hat part was knitted with some Rowan Cocoon that I had in my stash and the pattern I used was the Cozy Ribbed Hat from Ravelry. It was quick to knit and looked a good shape when worn.


The beard was knitted in some red Sirdar Funky Fox and I used the Rather Fun Knitted Beard pattern from Ravelry. I don’t particularly enjoy knitting with eyelash yarns, but it was fine to do.


I then attached a piece of cocoon through each end of the beard and tied it to the inside of the beanie, so our friend could remove the beard and still wear a nice beanie after the initial laughs!


It was nice to complete a project within a week!

Now it’s back to the poncho. I thought it was nearly finished but I think it needs to be bigger still.

My first attempt at felting

Regular readers of the blog may remember that at the beginning of this year I knitted a multi-coloured hat in pure wool. I was in a dilemma about whether to felt it. Eventually I decided against it, but the hat pattern was for turned out a bit of a funny shape because I had tried to make it smaller.  I only wore it once.  It wasn’t good.

So whilst I was in the hat knitting mood recently, I frogged the hat and started again, following the instructions to the letter in regards to the size, and I had my first attempt at felting.

The instructions said to felt it by hand, by first rubbing it in super-hot water, then plunging it into a bowl of ice cubes.  Well I started off doing this but wasn’t getting very far.  The yarn started to felt, but the hat wasn’t shrinking in size – and I’d just gone to the trouble of knitting it bigger, in order that it would end up smaller – and it wasn’t happening!

After a while, Mum suggested that I put it in the washing machine, but I was worried then that it might shrink too much and I wouldn’t be able to wear it.  You can’t stop our washing machine mid-cycle to check it.  So Mum said try the tumble dryer.

And voila!

multi coloured hat felted

A few minutes of tumbling sorted it.  It was the correct size for my head and fabric lightly felted.  We stuck it over an up-turned bowl to let it finish drying in the correct shape.

I’ve worn it a few times now and it’s great except it itches my forehead after a while!

I’m now knitting a bag which I will felt too, this time I’ll put it straight into the washing machine on the hot cycle.

Beanie hat patterns

I’ve put patterns of both my Lavender in Winter and Triple Choc beanies on the patterns page of this blog.  Have fun and don’t forget to let me know how you get on!

FO: Triple Choc Beanie

Finally got an FO to show you.  This is my Triple Choc Beanie.  Designed by Me!

triple choc beanie

It’s made with Rowan Cocoon yarn which is lovely and warm and soft.  It uses 7mm needles and knits up really quick – you can do it in an evening.

If anyone wants a copy of the pattern, I’ve written up and can email it to you -and it’s available on the patterns page of this blog.

Do leave a message in the comments below if you download a copy.

Gearing up for winter

We’re having a bit of a cold snap here in the UK this week and I finished a new beanie for myself.

It’s a very quick knit – it only took me an afternoon to do – and that’s just as well because I had to frog it a couple of times.

I wanted to do some pattern in the cream yarn, other than stripes, so I played around with vertical stripes (which were too bold) and little diamond shapes (which didn’t really show up very well), and so settled on alternate stitches.

But I didn’t make it big enough.  I’ve used this yarn before and my tension was as per the label, so I just assumed I’d be fine with this hat too.  I measured my head and then worked out how many stitches to cast on, but it wasn’t enough.  For some reason my tension was tighter than before and the hat turned out way too small for my head.

So I had to frog it completely and I started again Sunday afternoon, casting on more stitches.  This time it has turned out just the right size.  I stitched it up on my lunchbreak today and was able to wear it back to work this afternoon.

Parisian Beanie Beret

I actually finished the beret over a week ago but just haven’t gotten around to blogging about it. So here it is…

Parisian Beanie Beret

I’m really quite pleased with it and was certainly glad that I went back and redid the bit I got wrong.

It was nice to do something a little challenging. Once I got into the rhythm of it, it was fairly straight forward, but I haven’t done much knitting by reading a chart before, which this pattern is, so that was good practice.

It was a bit tricky to understand the row after the ribbing. You have to add in stitches at various places and at first I didn’t understand how it was meant to go. My problem was that when I increase, I usually knit into the front and back of a stitch. But in this case I needed to Make 1 stitch (M1) rather than work into the front and back. My ever-faithful The Knitter’s Bible book actually says that M1 is often used when increasing stitches after a rib, and this is exactly what was called for. A friend on Ravelry who has already made one of these, also confirmed my thoughts on how to do this row.

The other tricky bit was working out how to do the stitches which had to cross-right and cross-left. Basically a cable with just one stitch. The pattern had some diagrams on how to do this but the pictures themselves weren’t exactly clear. The written instructions for cross-left were ok – slip 2 sts knitwise, slip them back in reverse order, then purl one, knit one as usual. However the cross-right instructions didn’t make sense to me. I did start to use a cable needle to do the cross stitches, but the stitches kept sliding off my cable needle and it takes longer to do it like that. In the end I did the cross-right by carefully taking the two stitches off the needle and without dropping them, put them back on the left needle in the other way around. It was by far the quickest way to do it and the stitches are large enough not to drop and lose them.

Didn’t understand how I was meant to finish it off either, once I had drawn the thread through the remaining stitches at the centre of the beret… so I just wove the end in as normal.

Pattern available from Stitch Diva

Not quite a finished hat

I made this hat (on my lovely knitpicks options) from Elle Merino Brights yarn, following a pattern in the Art of Knitting.   The pattern calls for it to be felted, but I wasn’t going to do that.  As is a girl’s perogative, I’ve changed my mind.

wool hat

Trouble is the pattern called for lots and lots of rows before the crown shaping.  I looked the pattern photograph and that hat looked big on the model and tried it on my head, and I decided I didn’t nearly as many rows because it would be too big.

But now I want to felt it, I’m worried it will shrink and will become too small.  There’s plenty of room around the circumference, so that doesn’t matter if it shrinks width-wise, but the height is just right as it is.

After I’ve felted, will I be able to pin it out to the right size and let it dry, to make sure the height’s right?

Or should I frog it back and add a few more rows?

I don’t know what to do.  I’ve never felted before so don’t know what’s going to happen! Any suggestions?

Another beanie

I finished another beanie at the weekend.  This one went to my Mum, who preferred it to the one that she already had.


I used some of the yarn leftover from the Starsky cardigan, which is really warm when you wear it.  The hat turned out a bit on the large side though.  I’m trying to find the ideal size so I can then produce a definitive beanie pattern.

I made a spur of the moment trip to Spin a Yarn on Saturday afternoon too.  Bought some darkish blue Debbie Bliss cashemerino aran to make a beret, and a light blue to make a hot water bottle cover – which I’ve started.  I also bought some Elle Merino Brights to make a hat which I will felt.  Never done any felting before, so thought I’d give it a go!

A happy customer

I took the Plymouth Argyle beanie to its recipient last night and he was delighted.  In fact his wife seemed even more thrilled that I’d taken the time to make it.  I was so pleased that it fitted ok (although he does have a larger head than my Dad who was my test model).

I felt that I was on a roll, so I cast on for another hat last night, using some leftover Sirdar Click Chunky yarn (the yarn I used for the Starsky cardigan) . There’s another beanie pattern in a past issue of The Art of Knitting, so I’m sort of following that.  However the pattern calls for some large dots to be sewn on and HUGE pompom on top, both of which look stupid, so I think I’ll just put a couple of stripes in it, a bit like on the Plymouth Argyle beanie.

I think that I might even write up my own beanie pattern and make it available here on my blog… so watch this space!