Notice Something New?

After a lot of thinking about it and talking with some friends I decided it was time to change the name at the top of the page for my blog. “Two Hands Healing and Creative Arts” is rather long and diffuse. Instead my blog will simply be “Mamas2Hands” from now on. It is in keeping with my URL, which is mamas2hands.com. “Two Hands Healing and Creative Arts” will remain my primary company name.

I’ll be making some other changes over the next 3 months as I re-align my business with my goals for 2017 and onward. We will talk more about that next month. For now, it’s time to continue enjoy crocheting and NatCroMo.

Today I spent my morning with my good friend Val crocheting. She is making a bunch of hats, some for little kids and some for American Girl Dolls. I was working on a new hat design. It’s still in the early stages, but I’ll share more about it once I have it all worked out.

I chose to work this preliminary hat in some Premier Yarns Deborah Norville Collection “Everyday Worsted”. It’s a nice anti-pill yarn so holds up to the repeated frogging that is often part of working out a design. Of course, having prepared for lots of frogging, I ended up getting the stitches right the first time. I think that might be a corollary to the rule about “Carry an umbrella and it doesn’t rain”.

Another Hat for Thing 2 – part 4

Last night I finished Thing 2’s hat. It was just in time as the weather took a turn toward freezing cold temperatures again. This morning he happily wore his new hat to school, though getting a clear photo of him wearing it was a bit of a challenge.

The only part I had to finish yesterday evening was the ribbed band at the brim of the hat. This gives the classic ribbed look around the face, but it also acts to draw in the fabric of the crown and sides for a snug fit around the ears.

For my ribbing I use post stitches. For those of you that have never worked post stitches, their name comes from the fact that they are worked around the “post” of a stitch instead of under the top 2 strands of a stitch. This gives them much more of a textured look and changes how the fabric behaves.

With a taller stitch like the double crochet it is quite easy to see the “post” of the stitch and to work around the center of this post when working post stitches. For a stitch like the Half Double or Single crochet that becomes a bit more fiddly to find.

The first time I tried using post stitches for my ribbing I decided to do what I call “skinny” post stitches. Instead of working down into the stitch, I use the very top of the post just under the “v” that makes the top of the stitch (the bit of brown yarn the arrow is pointing to in the photograph above). This creates a slimmer looking stitch because the base of the post stitch isn’t stretched around the thickest part of the other stitch.

For the ribbing affect I alternate my post stitches, so I needed an even number of stitches. I generally start with a FPhdc, and end the round with a BPhdc. The first round of ribbing is the trickiest.

Once you have finished that round it just becomes a matter of working FP stitches into FP stitches and BP into BP.

For a Front Post half double crochet (FPhdc): Insert the hook from front to back to the right of the post you want to work around, then bring the hook from the back to the front under the top of the stitch to the left of the post (indicated by arrow in photo above).  Yarn over and pull up a loop thru all the stitches, yarn over and complete your hdc. The post of this new stitch will be sitting on the front of your fabric.

For a Back Post half double crochet (BPhdc): Insert the hook from back to front to the right of the post you want to work around, then bring the hook from the front to the back under the top of the stitch for the left of the post (indicated by arrow in photo above).

Yarn over and pull up a loop thru all the stitches, yarn over and complete your hdc. The post of this new stitch will be sitting on the back of your fabric.

Finished BPhdc.

Once I finished the ribbing for Thing 2’s hat all I needed to do was weave in my beginning and ending tails. The tail at the crown is fairly easy to weave in, I’m just careful not to pull the tail too tight and create holes in the crown. For the ending tail at the brim, I want to be sure the tail is woven in so that it doesn’t create a tight spot in the fabric. I weave on the inside of the hat and keep my weaving restricted to 1 “column” of stitches.

I’m always careful with my end weaving to be sure that the tails are well secured. Hats get lots of handling and I want to be sure that this hat doesn’t become un-raveled. The very final step for me was to make an identifying tag that has our family name and phone number, just in case this hat gets misplaced. Hopefully the contact info will insure that the hat makes it back to us.

 

 

 

Another Hat for Thing 2 – part 3

Yesterday I had finished the crown of Thing 2’s new hat. The next step was to crochet “even” rounds until I had reached the length I wanted for the sides of the hat. Crocheting even means that I work 1 stitch in each stitch. But how do I know what length I wanted the sides to be?

I had taken 2 measurements when I was getting ready to crochet this hat originally. One was the circumference of Thing 2’s head, the second one was the “depth” of the hat. Thing 2 likes his hats to cover his ears well. He has short hair and wants his ears well covered.  When I took the depth measurement I placed one end of my measuring tape below his ear and took the tape over the top of his head to the matching spot under his other ear. That measurement was 16 1/2 inches.

When I am working on the hat though, it is less cumbersome to measure the depth by placing the end of the tape at the top center of the crown and read the tape at the bottom edge of the hat. Which means I divide my original measurement in half. My target length for the depth of Thing 2’s hat is 8 1/4 inches.

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As I get closer to the depth I want my hat I fold it in quarters and measure the length to see how many more rounds I need to crochet.

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I’m going to want about an inch of ribbing at the opening of the hat, so I know I need to work even rounds until my measurement from the crown is 7 1/4 inches. Then I will switch to working Front and Back post ribbing.

My favorite stitch for hats is the half-double crochet. It’s a great stitch for combining flexibility and density. It also makes for an awesome ribbing using post stitches. I’ll show you all about post stitches and how I make my ribbing for my hats in tomorrow’s post.

 

Another Hat for Thing 2 – part 2

Last night I had crocheted on the new hat for Thing 2 for 10 Rounds. I used the same increase formula I used in my “Little Bitty Noggin Cap” pattern here on the blog, with 8 increases each round.

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I worked the increase by making the first stitch like a normal stitch, inserting my hook under both strands at the top of the stitch.

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For the second stitch of the increase I work into the back loop of the same stitch. This creates an interesting texture on the crown of the hat and decreases the size of the hole made for the increase.

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The finished increase looks like this. If you look at the hole under the first stitch you will see that it is similar to the other stitches. The hole you see under the second stitch is obscured once the next regular stitch is worked.

I had measured Thing 2’s head circumference (22″) and asked him how he wanted his hat to fit. My husband prefers his hats to be fairly loose, so I actually add ease to the size of them. Thing 2 wanted his hat to be a bit snug, so I calculated that I would want 21″ for the finished circumference, negative ease of 1 inch. That meant a target measurement of 6.69″ for the diameter of the crown before I started working evenly.

Unfortunately, though the math works out, the stitches don’t always cooperate. The expansion of the diameter can be affected by the height of the stitches being used in the hat. Once I had reached 10 rounds for the crown I knew that another full round of increases would make the hat too large. But there is a simple work around for that.

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In Round 11 I only worked 4 increase points, instead of 8. I used this same method of limited increases in my Simple DC Hat pattern as well. At the end of Round 11 I had 84 stitches around the circumference. Knowing my number of stitches is a great way of checking my target measurement too. I knew that I had 4 stitches per inch, so 84 stitches = 21 inches.

Now I’ve got a lot of rounds of working evenly (without increasing or decreasing) before I’m ready to create a ribbed brim.

 

Another Hat for Thing 2

One of my crochet traditions is making hats for my family. A couple of years ago I realized that my husband and sons all considered hats for Christmas part of our holiday traditions. This year I made a hat for my husband for Christmas using a cake of Premier Yarns’ “Sweet Roll”. But I didn’t make hats for the boys. I had made a hat for Thing 1 at the start of the school year that he was still happy with and Thing 2 had his hat from the previous Christmas that he liked.

The other day Thing 2 asked me if I had seen his hat. We looked all over the house and even checked in the cars, but it was nowhere to be found. He checked in the Lost & Found at school that day, still no hat. We had to accept that his hat was gone.

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I decided to start a new hat for him as part of my NatCroMo celebration since making something for someone else is an important part of crocheting love for me. The original hat had been worked in some discontinued yarn “Lion Wool” that I had in blues, teals and navy. I didn’t have more of that color, but I did have this colorway that I thought he would like. I took the photo above while waiting for an appointment today. The lighting was indirect natural sunlight and the colors on my monitor are showing a bit warmer than the actual colors of the yarn.

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By this evening I had finished 10 rounds and will be starting the sides of the hat tomorrow. I took this photo using my daylight fluorescent lamps and played with the Pro settings on my smart phone camera to adjust the white balance and the exposure. The color and detail are good, but now they are a bit cooler than the actual colors.

I’ll experiment more tomorrow to see if I can get a better color match. At least the hat is coming along nicely and Thing 2 has approved the colors.

New Camera – New Problems

My poor little YouTube Channel is feeling quite neglected lately. Between the Christmas trips and then the death of my old Samsung Note 2 smartphone my productive time has been seriously compromised.

software-problm

I was working on a project this last weekend uploading the video footage I had shot with my new Smartphone. Unfortunately, though the footage was oriented correctly on my computer screen to review, the clips were upside down when I imported them into my video editing software. That software is a bit older and doesn’t allow for rotating the clips so I may be investing in a software update. That or re-filming the footage to see if I can correct the orientation problem.

The good news is, once I get all this new-to-me technology figured out and working properly, I will be producing more and better quality videos for all my wonderful followers.

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This is my new camera that I purchased in February. In a way this camera was partially a Christmas gift. My in-laws knew I was needing a better camera for my work, so they and my aunt gave me monetary gifts to help pay for it. As a micro-business I have to really watch every penny, and I had been saving up to purchase a good camera for the past year. Having my Note 2 bite the dust in January made things a bit of a stretch, but with the help of the Christmas gifts I managed to get this camera and it’s kit.

Some of the accessories that came in the kit are a mystery to me, but fortunately there is lots of information on the internet to help me figure them out. I was happy to find a “For Dummies” E-book that is about my exact model of camera, since the information in the booklet that came with the camera read like a foreign language to me. I’ve been working my way thru the “dummies’ book to understand all the bells and whistles on the camera. Seriously, you would almost expect this thing to wash the dishes, do the laundry and weave in ends.

One of the best ways to learn all this technology is just to use it. Which means I am hoping for some nicer weather to get out and take lots of photos. The great thing about using a digital camera is that I can take loads of photos without all the expensive of having film developed. Hopefully I’ll have some crochet and yarn related photos to show you on the blog before this month is out.

 

NatCroMo is here Again!

Today is the first day of March, or as I like to think of it…National Crochet Month.

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March sort of snuck up on me, my whole family has been dealing with a nasty cold/flu bug for the last couple of weeks. I’m still attempting to recover while taking care of my boys. Have had a kiddo home from school almost everyday.

I’m taking a different approach to blogging this NatCroMo. I’m going to be attempting to have a post up everyday, some days it will just be a quickie like this one, other days I’ll have something more substantial and I may even try to “serialize” some of my posts. So buckle up friends and let’s celebrate some crochet fun this month.