If you believed you were beautiful…

What would you do differently if you really and truly believed that you were beautiful?

Would you spend a little more time on your hair in the morning?  A little less?  Would you chop it off?  Would you let it grow?  Color it?  Let it go grey?

Would you wear more skirts?  Ditch the “mom jeans”?  Forgo pantyhose?  Wear a flower behind your ear?

If you believed you were beautiful, would you smile more often?   Let the fake smile melt off your face?  Cry if you needed to?

If you believed, deep down, that you were beautiful, could  you tell the truth?

Would you wash your face every night?  Would you ditch some of the creams and potions?  Would you go to bed early, get your “beauty sleep”?  Would you stay up late, talking and laughing and watching the stars go by?

Never in a million, gazillion years did I think I’d quote Lil Wayne, but then I found this on tumblr:

Believe it.  You are beautiful.

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Bitty Mitts

Adorable and quick ornaments – a great way to use up scraps of sock yarn.  I used an initial motif over a background of stripes (and dots in one case).  This works best with a motif that is 7-11 st wide and 8-10 st high.

Yarn: leftover sock yarn – or any yarn, for that matter

Needles: appropriate to weight of yarn used, dpns or circular

For the samples shown, I used Sport weight yarn and Sz 3 dpns.

Notions: stitch holder (or safety pin, or scrap of yarn) to hold live thumb stitches.

Sizes: bitty odd and bitty even.  The two sizes listed ensure proper centering of odd(even) width motifs, i.e., if your motif is 9 stitches wide, use the first number, if it’s 10 stitches wide, use the second number.  Subtract your motif width from 13(14) and divide that number by 2 – that’s the number of “border” stitches on either side of your motif, e.g., if your motif is 9 st wide, then figure 13-9=4/2=2 border st.  Note that for a while, you’ll have more border stitches on one side of your motif because of the thumb shaping.

Cast on 18(20) st, arrange for magic loop or on 3 dpns (if using dpns, put half the stitches on one and split the rest onto two more – this way it’s easier to keep track of the two sides of the mitten.)

Arrange in a loop, being careful not to twist stitches.

Work 1×1 ribbing for 5-6 rounds.

Start whatever background pattern (e.g., stripes) you want now.

Round 1) Kfb, K1, Kfb, K2(3), Kfb, K1, Kfb, K1, repeat. 26(28 st)

2) K 11(12), Kfb, K1, Kfb, K to end

3) K

Now start your motif on top of your background pattern.  Because the mitts will be hung on the tree from the cuff, work your motif upside-down.

You can pull your motif yarn straight across from the other side – after all, no one has to get their hands inside the mitt!

4) K border st, work top row of motif, K to last 2 st on that side, Kfb, K1, Kfb, K border st, work top row of motif , K border st

5) K, working motif as set

6) K border st, work motif, K to last 2 st on that side, Kfb, K1, Kfb, K to motif, work motif , K border st

7) K, working motif as set

8 ) K border st, work motif, K border st, slip next 6 st to a stitch holder, safety pin, or scrap of yarn, K border st, work motif, K border st

Keep going as set until motif is finished.  Then work 2-3 rounds of background pattern.

Next round: (in pattern) SSK, K9(10), K2tog, repeat

Next round: (in pattern) SSK 3 times, [K1, K2tog twice](K2tog 3 times)

Cut yarn and pull through remaining st.

Now pick up the thumb st, and pick up two more st on the body side.

Work in pattern for 3-4 rounds, then K2tog 4 times, cut yarn, and pull yarn through remaining st.

You can pretty much stuff your yarn ends inside.  Block if you want to.  Use the CO tail to make a little loop, and hang it from your tree!

Look, a diagram!

I’m teaching a class! Finding Your Voice: A Creative Writing Workshop

I’m teaching a class this fall in the Gaithersburg/Montgomery Village, MD area.  I hope you’ll join me!  I’m super-excited.

Here’s the official description:

Whether you want to write a blog, a book or just an honest letter, this workshop is designed to shake up your writing habits. Your ideas of what you should sound like may be getting in the way of your true writing voice. We will work to uncover something that sounds like you.
Through class discussion and writing exercises, we will explore the concept of writer’s voice, develop a writing practice and explore writing exercises that you’ll be able to use time and time again.

No. 4029.420
Mondays
Sept. 26 to Oct. 31
7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
$40/Resident, $50/Non-resident
Whetstone Community Center

Click here for instructions on how to register.

Top-Down No Math Hat: The Manly Version

Hi!  I know you’re here for the hat pattern, which is the most popular thing here.  But I wanted to let you know that my new book is up on Amazon!  Check it out!

Well!  My original Top-Down No Math Hat made a bit of a splash over on Ravelry, and I’m quite tickled about my 83 loves (and counting!) and many many queues.

It is Christmas knitting season, and as I set out to knit many many variations of the hat for those that I love, I had a sudden, sickening realization.

It’s kinda girly, isn’t it?

See, I have nephews.  Three of them.  I have two sons, too, but they’re little and they’re getting hats with trains on them.  I also have two nieces, and, well, pretty stuff is easy.  But I have three nephews and the youngest one is ten.  They don’t want cute or funky – they want manly knits.

And so desperate times call for… new patterns.

A manly hat

Without further ado, I present my Top-Down No Math Hat: The Manly Version.  (Hint: it’s pretty much the same pattern, without the YOs.)

Yarn: again, whatever you like. Any weight – truly doesn’t matter. About a hat’s worth (I do this by squishing it in my hand and seeing if it kinda feels like squishing a hat. As you can tell, I’m a bit cavalier with my knitting.)

Needles: whatever the label calls for, or a bit smaller. You can use dpns to start, then switch to a smallish (24”) circular, or you can stay on dpns throughout, or you can magic loop it.

Notions: a tapestry needle and a freewheeling attitude.

Pattern Note: what makes this pattern work is a particularly swish increase that I first found over at the awesomely wonderful TechKnittingA very nearly invisible increase.  Go take a look.  When I use inc1 below, this is what I mean.  Note that the inc1 should not “eat up” a st on your left hand needle.  You should have the same number of st on your left hand needle before and after working the inc1, just as you would if you had worked a YO instead.

Very nearly invisible increases

CO 6 st. Distribute evenly on 3 dpns, or use a magic loop. Join, being careful not to twist.
Row 1 (and all odd rows): k
Row 2: inc1, k1, repeat to end (12 st)
Row 4: inc1, k2, repeat to end (18 st)
Row 6: inc1, k3, repeat to end (24 st)

You see what I’m doing here, right? Increasing 6 st in every other row, lining up the yos increases to make pretty swirly lines manly, nearly invisible shaping. Notice that it totally looks like you’re doing K2togs from the other direction.  Freaky!

If you want a less pointy hat, CO 8 st.  The idea is the same as the above, only you’ll be increasing by 8 st every other row.

Row 1 (and all odd rows): k
Row 2: inc1, k1, repeat to end (16 st)
Row 4: inc1, k2, repeat to end (24 st)
Row 6: inc1, k3, repeat to end (32 st)

Are you not getting the right stitch count at the end of your rows?  You might possibly be using the wrong increase.  The one I link to above does not “eat up” a stitch, so if you start with 6 st, you’ll [incr1, k1] 6 times.  If you start with 8 st, you’ll [incr1, k1] 8 times.

Continue in this manner until the circumference of your knitting is a little smaller (an inch less? Thereabouts?) than the circumference of the head you’re knitting for. (Still not planning to block. I’m as cavalier as ever.)

Row 23 (or whatever) and all odd rows thereforth: k

Keep knitting until you only have a few yards left, or until it looks like a hat. Then think about ribbing for a while.  Or, if you prefer a rolled brim, just keep knitting. BO loosely. Sew in the ends.

It doesn’t look like much, does it?  Nothing earth-shattering.  But I will remind you: it is a hat with no math!

Top-Down No Math Variations

My, my – my little hat has gotten a lot of attention!  145 hits in the first week – wow!  Thanks to everyone who has taken a look, and thanks for the Ravelry love!

So, here are some more things you can do with this cute little hat.

Two Colors

Run out of yarn?  Just start with something new!  The blue is Pingouin Typhon (Ravelry link).  The white is some random fluffy stuff from the stash.

Stripes

Two smallish balls?  (of yarn, folks!  come on…)  Just alternate.  I started a new color with each YO round.  I did several rows of one color in straight K for the brim.  Cream is Patons Classic Wool.  I think the lavender is Patons Canadiana.

Eggplant!

Definitely my favorite…

I started with a bit of i-cord, then use YOs to get up to 6 st to get started.  I worked in green for a bit, then introduced the purple, decreasing the green by one st every other row.  Because intarsia and circular knitting don’t mix, I had to carry both colors across until the leaves were done.  I used both yarns for the YOs and for knitting into the YOs (just imagine that they are slightly “hairy” leaves!)  Magically, when I was done with the leaves, I was also happy with the circumference, so once I went to all purple, I also went to all K.  Both colors are Patons Canadiana from an old fruit hat kit.

Coming soon – a manly version!

Top-Down No Math Hat

Hi!  I know you’re here for the hat pattern, which is the most popular thing here.  But I wanted to let you know that my new book is up on Amazon!  Check it out!

Click for a bigger image

So, I was browsing yarn.com’s closeouts (one of my favorite things to do!) and saw this adorable (and sadly discontinued) Classic Elite Bubbles. Something inside me shouted out “Kid hat!” I tossed a ball into my cart. It arrived, and sure enough, the “Kid hat!” refrain was still playing. But the ball was a bit smaller than I had hoped. It still seemed like “about a hat’s worth,” but I’d need to use every yard.

I also was in no mood to do a gauge swatch or a bunch of math, nor try to figure out exactly how much yarn the top shaping on a hat would take, so I could determine when to start… I just wanted to get knitting. So I did. Here’s how.

Yarn: whatever you like. Any weight – truly doesn’t matter. About a hat’s worth (I do this by squishing it in my hand and seeing if it kinda feels like squishing a hat. As you can tell, I’m a bit cavalier with my knitting.) I made a kid’s hat with one ball (61 yards) of bulky yarn here. I’m guessing two balls would be plenty for a grown-up hat.

Needles: whatever the label calls for, or a bit smaller. You can use dpns to start, then switch to a smallish (24”) circular, or you can stay on dpns throughout, or you can magic loop it.

Notions: a tapestry needle and a freewheeling attitude.

Click for a bigger image

CO 6 st. Distribute evenly on 3 dpns, or use a magic loop. Join, being careful not to twist.
Row 1 (and all odd rows): k
Row 2: yo, k1, repeat to end (12 st)
Row 4: yo, k2, repeat to end (18 st)
Row 6: yo, k3, repeat to end (24 st)

You see what I’m doing here, right? Increasing 6 st in every other row, lining up the yos to make pretty swirly lines.

Continue in this manner until the circumference of your knitting is a little smaller (an inch less? Thereabouts?) than the circumference of the head you’re knitting for. (The astute knitter will notice that I am not planning to block. No, I’m not. It’s all part of my cavalier plan.)

Row 23 (or whatever) and all odd rows: k
Row 24 (or whatever): yo, k to 2 st before the next yo, ssk, repeat to end

Repeat these two rows until you only have a few yards left, or until it looks like a hat. Then k solid for 3-4 rows, or until you run out of yarn. This will give you a little rolled brim. BO loosely. Sew in the ends.

Voila! A hat with no math!


Psst – have you seen the Manly Version of this hat?

Six Years Late

Every so often, I decide that I love a blog enough that I will read the complete archives.  I did it with Mimi Smartypants, and I did it with Miss Minimalist, and I’d do it for WhiteHotTruth if I hadn’t been reading her from the get-go.  These days I’m working my way through the copious archives of the Yarn Harlot, aka Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  I’m up to 2004, which is about the time that I had an article published in Knitty.  This one.

So I’m reading along, enjoying her harlotry, when she casually mentions that a new Knitty is up, and how good the articles are.  And then comes the thunderbolt:

The one about colour should be required reading, and the advice given in the short row shoulder one is pretty darned good too.

Yah – that’s my article.  I had to click the link to be sure.

“Required reading!”  Can you believe it??  Stephanie Pearl-McPhee!  I mean, she’s brilliant and she’s funny and she has the best name in the world, and…  she liked my article.

Pardon me while I grin for a very long time.

And… six years late… Thank you, Stephanie!