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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!  🙂

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free pattern release: the Snapdragon Stitch Cowl!

Hello everyone!  I know I’ve been quiet lately but I haven’t had much progress on my projects to share.  I finally finished writing this pattern up, though, and I hope you love it!
Snapdragon Stitch Cowl - Not Your Average Crochet

About

This pattern employs the snapdragon stitch as well as yarns the color of blooming snapdragons (although it would look great in any color)!  This cowl is worked in the round and is written in US terms.  There are two versions to choose from, a worsted weight version and a sock weight version.  Feel free to sell what you make with this pattern!  Also, you can find it on Ravelry here (I’d love to see your photos and progress)!

Specifics

Finished size: Worsted version: 55″ circumference, 9.5″ tall; Sock weight version: 59″ circumference, 7.5″ tall

Materials: Worsted version: US I/9 (5.5mm) hook, 2 skeins of KnitPicks Brava Worsted in Paprika (or 438 yds of any worsted yarn); Sock weight version: US 3/D (3.25mm) hook, 1 hank of Miss Babs Keira in Blooming Pansies (or 560 yds of any sock weight yarn)

Download free Snapdragon Stitch Cowl pattern (PDF)

Snapdragon Stitch Cowl - Not Your Average Crochet

Snapdragon Stitch Cowl - Not Your Average Crochet

Snapdragon Stitch Cowl - Not Your Average Crochet

Snapdragon Stitch Cowl - Not Your Average Crochet

I hope you enjoy the pattern!  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to contact me using the contact tab in the menu bar.

Thanks so much for stopping by, see you soon!

free pattern: not your granny’s granny square clutch!

not your granny's granny square clutch

The clutch I made is complete and I’ve written down the pattern and typed it all up for anyone who’s interested (for free, of course)!

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It utilizes the flower stitch sampler granny square I made recently (4 of them, stitched together in a special way) and pairs them with a fabric lining and a 7″ zipper.  A sewing machine is nice but isn’t absolutely required.  The clutch holds a checkbook or an iPhone 6 in a case.

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If you’re interested in finding out more, like the specifications, click here.

If you’re ready to download the free pattern in PDF form, click here!

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comment box below or contact me using the contact form in the menu bar.  There will be even more awesome patterns coming up soon (I’m starting to get on a roll with this pattern thing!) so stay tuned!

I hope you all have the happiest of Holidays, wherever you are, and stay safe if you’re traveling!  See you soon!

first knitted socks — ta-da!

If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Ravelry, you may have noticed already that I’ve finished my first pair of knitted socks!

Hannah's first knitted socks on notyouraveragecrochet.com

And boy howdy, am I pumped about these.  According to Ravelry (and I’m a bit ashamed to admit it), they took over 2 years to complete!

Calling for worsted weight yarn, these socks feature Judy’s Magic Cast On and a Fleegle Heel.  I was supposed to do an Invisible Ribbed Bind Off but I was so excited to be done that I didn’t want to take the time to have to learn something new and I just used a regular knit bind off with large needles.  This was almost a huge mistake — I can barely get the cuff parts over my heels because of it!  They do fit, though, so that’s fantastic!

If I ever get enough motivation to make another pair of knitted socks, I think I’ll use sock-weight yarn.  This yarn is one of the softest I’ve ever felt but because the stitches are bigger (comparatively speaking, to the stitch size of sock-weight yarn), I can feel them on my heels and the balls of my feet when I walk.  It’s a bit uncomfortable — I wouldn’t go to work or anything with them, but I’ll wear them at home all the time!

Check out my Ravelry project page to see more about the yarn and needles used, etc.

Hannah's first knitted socks being all cozy on notyouraveragecrochet.com

To all you sock makers out there, I had forgotten how hard it is to take pictures of my own feet! Do you have any tips?  Also, do socks you’ve made with bigger yarn feel less comfortable when walking than socks made with thin yarn?

Well, that’s all for today.  I’m off to do a little bit of cleaning — we have friends coming over today!  Thanks so much for stopping by, see you next time!

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