Christmas gifts ctd.: hat edition (& life update!)

Sorry it’s been a while.  I’ve been quite busy with personal things (which I’ll share some of towards the end of this post) as well as knitting & crocheting, as you’ll know if you follow me on Instagram!  I’ve got 2 crocheted shawls & 1 knitted shawl blocked and I just need to weave in the ends & take photos before I share, but I’ve been churning out hats the past week or so and they’re ready to show!

not your average crochet : christmas hats

Sorry, I know none of them are crocheted… just bear with me until I get to the shawls if knitting bores you.

The top hat is the Pippi hat (free pattern) and I just love the chunky cables, although they were a bit hard on the hands!  I used a little over 1 skein of KnitPicks Billow in the Tumeric colorway, which I love, and this yarn is so soft and rustic looking I’m going to have to get some more!

The middle hat is the Caramel Brûlée hat (paid pattern) and I was a little bummed that such an expensive yet simple pattern did not fit well.  It’s snug and a tad short for me (but an extra repeat of the pattern would have most likely made it too long).  Of course, when it’s stretched out you can really see the beautiful cable work — it looks kind of like a mess here.  Hopefully it’ll be perfect for it’s intended recipient, who has a smaller head than I, but if I make this pattern again it will be with larger needles.  The yarn is LionBrand Wool Ease in Blush Heather and I used less than 1 skein (although I expected to use more than 1).  Also you can’t really tell here but I knitted a Coats Metallic silver thread with the yarn so it has a touch of sparkle/frost, which I thought was perfect for winter!

The bottom hat is the Ribbed Waffle Hat (free pattern) and thinking that I might run into a similar problem as the Caramel Brûlée hat I opted to go up a needle size from the recommended 8 to US9 instead.  I think the 8 would have been fine for my size head but the 9 made a hat that is cozy on me but even fits my husband comfortably (and he has a very large head), so I’ll be making more of these for the guys in my life who still need presents made for them!  It also took less than 1 skein of LionBrand Wool Ease (this one in Rose Heather) and was the quickest of the 3 hats here, taking less than 24 hours to complete.

The pompoms were actually purse keychains that I took the little clasps off of, and there’s a tiny elastic that I can pin into the hats so that they’re removable for hat washing.  They were a bit expensive, however, so I might get some online next time for a lower price (these were from my local JoAnn’s fabric store).

life update

While my job is starting to leave a bit to be desired, I’m getting a lot of life satisfaction out of other things at the moment.  I know I’ve spoken here before about how much Wing Chun Kung Fu is helping me, but I don’t think I can truly convey through writing the powerful effect it has had on my life since March, when I started taking official classes.  I had no idea that practicing martial arts could provide such nourishment for the mind, body, and spirit, but it does.  So much so that it’s changing how I look at myself, my relationships, my job, and the world around me in general in a very empowering kind of way.  I’m practicing 3 days a week for at least an hour and I’m making some great friends.  I’ve gone to 2 seminars with a revered Wing Chun master named Sifu Francis Fong in the past couple of months, which were so informative, fun, and motivational, and I also took part in a demonstration of Wing Chun at the Moon Festival here in town a couple of weeks ago.  Here are some photos:

With Sifu Fong at the first seminar

With Sifu Fong at the first seminar

 

Doing the butterfly sword vs dragon staff demo at the Moon Festival with my friend (staff was knocked down at this point)

Doing the butterfly sword vs dragon staff demo at the Moon Festival with my friend (staff was knocked down at this point)

 

After Sifu Fong gave me my certificate at the second seminar in Atlanta

After Sifu Fong gave me my certificate at the second seminar in Atlanta

 

With my very talented training partner and friend at the 2nd seminar (cropped short to hide her name on her certificate)

With my very talented training partner and friend at the 2nd seminar (cropped short to hide her name on her certificate)

I’m so lucky to have been able to attend the seminars (thanks to Mom and Dad for the early birthday present!) and to have found such a great local teacher with 3 sessions a week.  The mind, body, and spirit are all connected and I truly feel each of these parts of me improving thanks to my Sifu, friends/partners, and the great experiences I’m having with Wing Chun.

OK, so I’m gonna leave that at that, since I could go on and on about the benefits and things that make me happy about Wing Chun and I should probably move on so as not to repeat myself too much and bore my lovely readers!

In other news, fall is slowly approaching; this is the first week forecast to have all highs in the 80s, which is our first sign.  Actually, Pumpkin Spice Lattes were the first sign, hehe, but they were released pretty early — do they even count?  Fall and winter are my favorite seasons because I can finally wear the stuff I make.  I’ve got a sweater in the works too that I forgot to mention, and it just needs sleeves at this point; I hope I can finish it soon but the Christmas gifts are taking priority — I don’t want to get behind on those!

Well, that’s a lot for one day, I think that’ll wrap it up.  Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!  I’ll try and not to take so long next time between posts!  :-)

and it has ended.

I made so many potholders in such a short amount of time — in fact this post is super late!  Here are the 10 Christmas gifts:

not your average crochet - african flower potholders

not your average crochet - african flower potholders

not your average crochet - african flower potholder

not your average crochet - african flower potholder

not your average crochet - african flower potholder

not your average crochet - african flower potholder

I used this pattern but you can pretty much do this however you like.  I tried a slightly different one as well with the yarn I had left (it’s mostly just scraps now, which was the point anyway):

not your average crochet - african flower potholder

not your average crochet - african flower potholder

not your average crochet - african flower potholder

The gray backing on this one is slightly wonky but you can’t tell from the front and it works great (a nice size, too)!  This is probably my favorite one.

So do you make potholders for people for Christmas?  I feel like it’s a bit of an older tradition but it seems to still be going strong — I’ve gotten a couple from family members & a fellow counselor, as well over the past couple of years.

Well that’s all for now, thanks for stopping by!  I’ll have another ta-da moment soon, as soon as I can block my latest project & get good lighting for some photos!  See you soon!

it has begun.

Christmas.  It is time.  I’ve been wanting some crochet projects to do but didn’t have enough to do something big like a blanket, so I figured I’d just make some African flower motif potholders out of my drawer of Berroco Vintage & Vintage Chunky.

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I started with 10 yellow centers and continued working them at the same time.

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Before long they had their little khaki/tan borders (and I literally had about 6″ left of yarn — that was a close call)!

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The dark ones are purple, even if they look almost black in the photos.

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I love African flower motifs — they’re fun and easy to make.  With this chunky yarn and a J hook it feels like they’re just flying by, too!

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This was my first one and I ran out of the light blue to do the ruffly border called for, at least in that ball.  I have more, I was just too lazy to attach it & continue on.  I might do it anyway though because the ruffle just makes them look a little more finished:

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I completed both of those today & I don’t plan on stopping there.  More are on the way!

And if you’d like to see some different shots & some videos check my blog Instagram (and if you want to check out the adorable office bunny that is making a home under my desk, check out my personal Instagram too).

Well that’s all for now!  Gotta get back to crocheting!  I actually had a really bad day so I’m doing my best to keep busy, and this does the trick.  Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!

improved Instagram!

Hello everyone!  In an effort to separate my day-to-day photos from my more blog-y photos I’ve turned my Instagram account into @notyouraveragecrochet which you can reach by clicking on the icon in the header.  If you were following me before as @hannah_owens_88 you shouldn’t have to do anything, but I made a new account and am using the old name for a more personal account (which you are still free to follow if you’re interested).

Now that Instagram has added the cool Instagram Stories feature I’ll be doing a little bit of micro-vlogging, so you’ll get more up close and personal with the details of what I’m crafting!

That’s all for now, hope to see you on both Instagram accounts!  :-)

Arlequin Shawl: begin!

Since I couldn’t decide what to do with that lovely sport weight yarn,  I started working on the Arlequin Shawl, a free downloadable knitting pattern.  I’m using the same brand of yarn called for in the pattern, Lily Neige, and even the same colorway, Bonbon Arlequin.  However, my yarn is not quite the same as the one in the pattern photos:

not your average crochet -  arlequin shawl

It’s variegated, not a long gradient.  The long gradient version is lovely but it wasn’t in stock back when I ordered this.  This is Lily Neige Single Fingering Alpaga & Soie: 90% baby alpaca, 10% silk.  And oh. my. gosh.  This stuff is so soft!  It’s creating a delicious fabric:

not your average crochet -  arlequin shawl

My stitches look to be a little looser than the pattern sample, but I like it the way it is so I’m not bothering to go down a needle size.  The fabric is so soft and drapey, it’s incredible.  The yarn is starting to pool, as you can see, but I don’t even care about that, it just adds interest!  The texture is great too.  I’m just loving everything about it.  Here’s a closeup:

not your average crochet -  arlequin shawl

I’ve never knitted a shawl sideways like this before, but so far I’m enjoying it.  It’s working up quickly, although I suspect that will not be the case for much longer once the rows get wider.  It’s such a delight to knit, though, that I don’t think I’ll even mind that.  I got 2 skeins just in case, each being 425m/100g.  One might do the trick, but if not I’ll be able to make it exactly the size I want and still probably have enough leftover to make a cute hat or something!

Well, that’s all for now, thanks for stopping by!  See you soon!

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