Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Visit from the Yarn Fairy

Today you get two Two TWO updates for the price of one!

I'm sure you're excited.

First off, I'm going to tell you about something that happened at school a couple of months ago. (I was too lazy to post about it right away.)

I am a substitute teacher.

A lot of people, when they think of substitute teaching, especially subbing high school as I do, imagine some poor harassed soul dodging spitballs, attempting vainly to enforce some semblance of order, fighting to be heard over all the jeering, and wondering how her life went so wrong as to bring her here. There are definitely days like that, but fortunately these are few and far between (for me, anyway). I like being a substitute teacher and wouldn't mind continuing to be one for a few years yet if it paid better or offered benefits.

But anyway.

People don't tend to know that there is a lot of down time in subbing. Teachers have no way to know for sure who they're getting--or even if this person is familiar with the subject of the class--let alone whether this person is sane or competent. (Some subs are craaaaaazy! And is it any wonder with some of the crap we put up with?) Smart teachers learn fairly quickly not to assign anything to complicated. This means I spend a lot of time cooling my heels while kids watch a video, read, do worksheets, do bookwork, or just have a "study period." I wrote the rough draft to this blog entry while watching an English class write a timed in-class essay.

This is all a long-winded way of saying I get a lot of crocheting done at school. I read too, but the crochet is less attention-stealing.

And that is all to lead up to my story. We English majors can get wordy once we get going. We can't help it.

The story is this:

A while back I was scheduled to sub for the same class for two non-consecutive days in the same week. On the first day, I don't know, let's say it was Tuesday, I spent a lot of time working on my latest abomination (to be featured here when I finish it) and a little time explaining myself and my horrible creation to stunned students. ("I was in a hurry when I picked the yarn.")

That afternoon at the end of the day I found this under the front driver's-side wheel of my car:

How did it get there? Who was responsible? I don't know. The popular theory (popular with me anyway) is that some student who regards me as his or her favorite sub saw me crocheting in class and then saw the yarn matching my terrible project in the front seat of my car (I should leave yarn in my car more often), put two and two together, and took it upon him or herself to provide me with yarn that is more tasteful (defined as yarn that does not cause you to try to stab yourself in the eyes when you see it).

Why put this yarn under my tire?

I don't know. Kids are weird. Or maybe he or she put it on the windshield and it rolled off.

The other theory, let's call it "The Lame Theory," is that some other yarn enthusiast was carting yarn around the parking lot when a ball of it fell out of her arms or bag or whatever and happened to roll under my car. Let us put this silliness aside, shall we? I mean, that's a tall order to expect somebody to swallow. We all know people give thoughtful gifts to their substitute teachers all the time, right? Right???

Well, just because it's never happened before doesn't mean it can't happen now.

Just in case, I did bring the mystery yarn back with me to school that Friday, where it sat on my desk waiting to be recognized by a student who would either claim it or take credit for it. A couple of kids agreed that it was weird that I would find it under my car, but nobody fessed up to being responsible for its appearance.

So I tried. What else could I do? The yarn's mine now, and I still don't know how it got there.

Now for an actual project I've completed. I made this while waiting for my Sims to load:

Sims are slow little buggers.

If the yarn looks familiar it's because you have seen it before. This is the yarn I scavenged from all those sweaters. I still have tons left over.

The scarf itself is in the neighborhood of 11 feet long. I didn't use a pattern or anything. I just chained until it looked like I had a decent length (boy did I) and went from there.

I wanted a long scarf, but this is crazy long. If I hang it from my neck (without wrapping it around at all) it nearly reaches the floor. It's pretty wide, too, (8 inches) making it a lot of scarf to handle.

I haven't worn it out yet, but the rainy season is finally starting (here in December) so we'll see what happens.

Read more!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I have cold hands.

I think it's part of being tall. You have longer arms and legs so by the time your blood gets to your hands and feet it's not warm anymore. It's a rough existence, being a giantess.

Anyway, this last Summer I made my customary week-long visit to my grandmother who lives a few hundred miles south of me. She knits and even taught me to knit when I was a little kid, though I never got past making blankets for my Barbie at the time. She watches my crocheting and tells me how impressed she is because she could never get the hang of something so complicated. I watch her knit sweaters and things with these fancy designs and say the same thing.

We shop for yarn while I'm visiting, and that's fun. I like looking for yarn in a bigger town that has something resembling a selection, and she gets to look for yarn with somebody who doesn't hate looking for yarn. (My cousins, who do most of the driving for her, just aren't into it.)

All this buildup is to say that on my most recent visit to my grandmother's house this last summer I bought some yarn. Not having any particular project in mind for the yarn, I only bought two smallish skeins of each kind. I keep swearing I'll quit doing that because it's an awesome way to end up with lots of mismatched yarn and nothing to do with it, but I can't stop myself. When I got back to my grandmother's house I looked at all my yarn and thought, "What was I thinking? What's a project I can do with such a small amount of yarn?"

Well, here's the project:

Fingerless gloves. I love them, because, as I said earlier, I have cold hands. Mittens and regular gloves are great for warming your hands, but I like fingerless gloves better when I'm at home because when I wear them I can still type or crochet or play video games or read or whatever. I'm wearing a pair right now. It's great.

I wrote the pattern for these more or less by myself. I didn't have a glove pattern with me at all, but I've made gloves and mittens before and remembered the basic idea of how they went together. I had to come up with the numbers of stitches and what little shaping there was on my own.

It took some trial and error. I was trying to make each glove take one skien. If you've done much yarn shopping you probably know what size skien I'm talking about. The sort of smallish medium size that a lot of novelty yarns come in. Just too small to do much useful with. I had to redo my first glove (one of the reddish ones) a few times to make the cuff shorter because I was running out of yarn. I like the cuff length now, even though it's not as long as I initially envisioned it. It's a convenient length.

The green and red pairs I made over Summer vacation. The last pair, shown below, I made once school started again. That's why it didn't get in the first photo shoot with the other two pairs. It was tardy. It's also the pair I'm wearing as I type this.

This pair has the distinction of being the only pair that came from a skien of yarn that was of a useful size. It's denim yarn and I am in favor of it, even though these gloves are less attractive than the other two pairs. They're sturdy and reasonably priced, at least. I got both of these gloves out of a skien of denim yarn and could probably have gotten another pair if I'd wanted to.

I guess I'll give you the pattern, now. I used a G hook. I'd say the yarn was on the skinnier side of worsted weight, though I can't tell you for sure because all three yarns came from those Commie yarn companies that don't actually tell you what the official yarn weight is, I guess so that if you get a pattern that asks for their specific yarn you can't fudge it with somebody else's of the same size. Jerks.

These gloves are made to fit me. If your hands aren't the same size as mine you'll have to work out how to adjust the numbers of stitches or the lengths to make it bigger or smaller on your own. Sorry. Also, I don't know what the gauge is. Try it out and if it doesn't look right, adjust accordingly. Again, sorry. I can tell you that if you want a longer cuff, just make your starting chain longer. You'll eat up more yarn this way, though, so watch it.

Anyway, here you go:

Using a G hook, ch 11, leaving at least a 10" tail
sc in each ch across
*ch 1, turn, sc in back loop of each ch across* until piece measures 6" (cuff made)
ch 1
sc 27 stitches evenly along the edge of the cuff piece and join at the first stitch to form a ring
sc in each sc around (marking the first stitch of each round) until you're 3 1/2" from the cuff
ch3. Skip 5 stitches (thumb hole made)
sc around in each sc around for 1 1/2 more inches.
Sew up the side of your cuff using the long tail you left at the beginning.
Weave in ends.

I don't really write patterns much, so I hope that was clear. If you're trying to make this and my pattern is nonsensical, go ahead and ask me about it in the comments.

Read more!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Meet Pepito

The nice thing about being a crocheter is if you find your real friends to be lacking (looking at you, Tork), you can always make yourself some new friends to hang out with. This one is mine. His name is Pepito.

I want you to try to guess what kind of animal Pepito is. Think about it.

Wrong! Pepito is not a donkey! He is, in fact, supposed to be a chihuahua.

I know. He doesn't look like one. That's the least of his problems. Of greater concern are his lopsided ears, crooked nose, and, well, this is just pornographic:

I won't label this attempt a failure partly because I like the little guy in spite of his troubles, but mainly because I don't think he's a failure on MY part. I blame the pattern. I'm sure the person who runs is a very nice person, but the pattern is translated from Japanese. The only reference picture is the straight ahead shot shown in the link, which hides a number of sins and some important information. There is no good way to tell how or where you're supposed to attach arms and legs and heads and tails and ears and things. Just a chart. A chart in Japanese. That's all.

So my new friend is a lopsided burro-perro with an anus. Thank you, Japan!

That pattern picture is so misleading. There is a reason all the pics so far have featured either me holding Pepito myself or laying him on the floor. This is why:

Rise up and walk, Pepito! Walk!

Oh. Never mind.

Poor Pepito. He's face heavy. His little spindly hollow legs cannot hold him up. Poor little donkeydog.

But you know, when I think about it I realize this is not the first time a donkey has appeared unbidden in my world. Could Pepito be the second manifestation of Jesus's donkey? The very donkey whom Man's Savior rode around on Palm Sunday? Maybe it is. Maybe God is trying to tell me something.

Maybe Pepito would be able to stand up if he had Our Lord on his back to offset the weight of his huge noggin.

Oh well. I'll close with a picture of Pepito in his natural state, one of repose.

I love you, Pepito.

Read more!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I love to make 'em Shrink!

And now for a blog entry that has absolutely nothing to do with crochet! Instead we'll be talking about something else that is very near and dear to my heart. Shrinky Dinks.

I miss the hell out of Shrinky Dinks. Back in the 80's they were big and they were so much fun. A simple Google search will fill you with hope that it may be possible to find Shrinky Dinks now, should you dare to look. BS. They're gone and they're not coming back. (They're not coming to my town, anyway.) The world mourns.

Except that I was recently at a local pet expo and I saw these:

And the world rejoiced.

Yes, these are Shrinky Dink pet tags. Awesome. Open up the package, and this is what you get:

As you can see, they already colored in most of the tag for you, so it's not exactly like the old Shrinky Dink experience. With the old Shrinky Dinks you'd color the thing in yourself, and since you were probably a little kid like I was the coloring job may not have been fantastic. Nevertheless, through the magic of shrinkage the coloring would look really awesome when the whole process was said and done.

I wouldn't get that exact experience, but it would be something close. Instead I had to try and write information for my pets on the three tags. The dog tag was easiest, as it was also the biggest. I was able to squeeze my whole address on there. The cat tags were tiny and it was impossible to get any information other than the cat's names and my phone number on there.

While you're struggling to write tiny writing with a Sharpie pen, you're supposed to be preheating these cardboard squares. Something gross fell in the bottom of the oven recently so this Shrinky Dink experience was a smoky one.

The tags are ready to go in. I hope you're not incredibly offended that I blurred out my personal info. Stalker.

I tried to take pics of the tags in the process of shrinkage, but the door to the oven is just dirty enough that you can't see much. Oh well. Here they are coming out of the oven:

If any of your tags are curly, you're supposed to flatten them out with a spatula. So I did.

You can't see it because of my Paint Shop skills, but my writing totally shrunk up tiny. Still readable, though, except for Oscars where it was really hard to fit my phone number in there.

This was the hard part. Well, this and the writing of the address. You can just barely see it, but this is the part where I put a clear plastic sticker over the top, I guess to keep the address from scratching off. There's not a lot of room to work with, so I was scared I'd get it all crooked.

The sticker for Mindy's tag was too small to cover the whole address. Cheap bastards!

Here's the finished product, which will show up on your screen about the same size as they are in real life. Now I just need to get some pliers so I can affix the hardware.

This didn't quite fill my cravings for a real Shrinky Dink experience, but beggars can't be choosers. It was still fun.

Mindy, the dog, is turning 4 today, so happy birthday to her. Yay!

Read more!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My toes get cold.

So I was visiting my grandmother last Summer, and one of my cousins came by the place for a visit. He was about 11 at the time and wanted me to show him how to crochet. I was glad to, so we searched the house for some cheap yarn he could use. (My grandmother knits, but we didn't want to use her nice yarn just to teach crochet.)

We finally found some Red Heart Super Saver in the bottom of one of her closets and set to it.

Unfortunately neither of us counted on two simple things:

  • I have many fantastic teaching abilities, but I suck at teaching crochet.
  • He is 11 and has a very short attention span.
So he was holding the yarn and the hook wrong, but I was powerless to show him how to hold them correctly or to explain how he was holding them wrong. (In fairness to him, there are numerous accepted ways to hold both the yarn and the hook, but he was still holding both wrong.) He managed to chain a bit and then get a few stitches done, but couldn't work up the ambition to keep going.

So ended the crochet lesson.

Not one to waste an opportunity, I frogged his work and used the yarn to make these:


My grandmother's yarn is the purplish, bluish, pinkish variegated yarn. As you can see, I ran out of yarn near the end of the second sock. I wasn't too overcome with love over the color of the yarn (I did find it at the bottom of a closet, after all), and I didn't want to buy a whole new skien of it just for the last couple of inches of toe, so I used some other yarn I had lying around. You may recognize it as the yarn I used to make this blanket. I don't remember which project came first.

I kind of like the one red toe. For one thing, I always know which sock to put on my left foot. For another, when I wear these socks it kind of looks like I've recently suffered some horrible foot injury, which is kind of cool.

I know the socks look awful lying on the floor like that. They're not so bad on:

They're more slipper socks than anything else. The yarn I used is too bulky for the socks to fit inside most shoes. The knobbly stitch is kind of uncomfortable to walk on for too long at a time anyway. But for just hanging around the house on a day off from work? These socks rule.

I definitely have more socks on my list of future projects. I'd have to use a finer yarn, though.

Some day I may show you a pair that I started and then aborted, but there's not really enough of that to fill out an entire post. Maybe I'm due for another post of failed projects.

Read more!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Um.... Holy crap!

The title is, of course, the first thing I said this morning because I had, at just that moment, flipped over today's page in my crochet calendar to find this:

Can you blame me?

I spent several minutes thinking my crochet calender had flown completely over the edge of the Cliffs of Insanity and looking forward to the crazyness to come when I realized that this page also covers the first, April Fool's Day.

Oh, well.

I guess there's still hope that this is just a coincidence. These are the people who brought us Baby Abraham Lincoln, after all.

There is a real update coming. I'm just trying to decide which project to talk about.

P.S. I've just been informed that the guy in this picture looks like an uncle of mine. I'm not sure how to feel about that.

Read more!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Thrift Store Sweaters: Revisited

FINALLY, I'm ready to tell you how my sweater unravelling went! It took forever because of camera-related technical difficulties, but I've finally done it.

I'll start out by introducing you to one of my favorite tools ever, and one that came in very handy for this project:

My trusty seam ripper. I love this thing. I've had this very seam ripper since I was a little kid and my grandmother was teaching me how to sew. As its name might imply, this thing is perfect for taking seams apart. Just jam the pointy end in there and use the sharpish part in the crook to cut the threads. (Easier to do than to explain). Then rip the seam open as far as you can (fun!) and repeat. Every crafting person should have one of these. They're great.

They're good for shoulder pads too.

Lots of times a shoulder pad will only be held on by a thread or two. It's way easier to remove shoulder pads with a seam ripper than with scissors because with scissors it's easier to accidentally snip into some of the yarn you're trying to save. Don't even get me started on how well they work on removing labels. Yay for seam rippers!

So while I ripped up many sweaters, the only one I'm going to give you the step-by-step for is this one:

The reason for this is that this sweater was the biggest pain in the ass, so there's the most to tell.

Before I get too far into complaining about this sweater, there is one reason I liked it. The yarn was big, which made it easier to photograph. This is pretty much the only pic of a good seam I got where you can kind of make out the seam:

You can see near the top where I've started pulling the seam apart. If you're lucky, the seam will be crocheted and you can just find the correct end of the magic string and pull and the seam comes apart. (This does NOT reduce the usefulness of the beloved seam ripper! You never know when you might get stuck! Besides, it helps when getting those seams started.)

Anyway, there's a reason this sweater was a bitch, and you can barely see it in this pic:

Fuzz. Lots of fuzz and lint all over this sweater. It had actually melded itself into the fibers of the sweater and made the deconstruction a much more difficult prospect than just pulling on a string.

My preferred method for unraveling is to unravel straight to a yarn ball winder, like so:

If you have a cooperative sweater you can just turn the crank and it will just pull the yarn along and do most of the job for you. This sweater wasn't so cooperative. The lint made the yarn stick and just turning the crank to do the unraveling would have threatened to break the winder at worst, and wind the ball far too tight at best. Besides that, I don't want to wrap up all that lint.

That meant that I had to pull out long sections of yarn by hand (which in some cases took a surprising amount of muscle) and then go over every inch and pull off any large hunks of lint.

After a while I had big balls of fuzzy lint floating around my table and that became irritating, so I broke out the scotch tape:

The tape was good for wrangling the lint and keeping it out of my hair. That doesn't look so bad, I know, but this is what I ended up with after doing one sleeve:

And this is some very densely packed lint!

One sleeve later, and this is what I get:

And work goes on and on. Five sweaters later, and here are the results (with some comments thrown in):

One ball of yarn for each sleeve, and two each for the front and back.

The white sweater was also a pain in the butt, but not because of lint. This yarn wasn't twisted very tightly when it was spun. You can kind of see this in the one piece of yarn trailing off the bottom ball there. This meant that if at any time I pulled the yarn too overzealously there was a very good chance that I would tear it apart. Very annoying.

The green gave me no trouble, mostly, except that the seams around the shoulders were bad seams and that cost me a lot of yarn.

The pink yarn came from what was once a GAP sweater, which according to one of my sweater unraveling tutorials, is a good kind of sweater to rip up.

Nothing much to say about the red yarn. I just like this tower I built here.

And so concludes, at long last, the great sweater odyssey. I already have a project in mind to use some of this yarn up (from my crochet calendar, no less!), but I'll have to finish a couple of other things first. I can hardly wait!

Read more!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friendly Blog Roundup

Yes, I'm still alive!

A new post about those sweaters of mine is soon to come. I've unraveled them and taken pictures documenting the process, but technical difficulties with my camera made it extra difficult to transfer the pictures to the computer. I've found a work-around, but I'm not quite ready to post yet.

In the meantime, allow me to plug some blogs for my friends:

Holeee Cow
This is my other blog which I co-run with my friend, wurwolf. We take a look at fundamentalist Christian tracts and make snotty jokes. But from the perspective of non-fundamentalist Christians. Yeah, we're a little weird. But the blog is funny. I think so anyway.

Cooties Cards
This is wurwolf's personal blog. She likes to make greeting cards for her friends and family and show them off here. She makes nice stuff. If you're into card making or scrapbooking or stamping or other paper crafts (except maybe origami) you should check this out.

Tork's Blog
Mostly it's about video games, but sometimes he talks about sports and maybe even tv shows he's seen. Take a look into the mind of the nerd from whom this blog got its name. See if you understand a single thing he's talking about. None of the rest of us do.

The Micerty Files
Mickry is the nice guy with the name I can't type. He became jealous of the resounding success of Tork's blog and came up with one of his own, only to become even more jealous as time went on and Tork's obsessive-compulsive updating put Michey's post count to shame. The rivalry between Tork and Micthy is surely one for the ages.

Tork's Objectified Knees
This is Rimmi's blog where she shows off her fantastic mosaic creations. Her craft is beautiful, but I can't get past her stealing her blog title from me. Accept no substitutes! I exploited Tork's knees first!

PMS Lair of Villainy
PM is an evil criminalistic jerk. That's why when he saw that all his friends had blogs he felt the need to swipe the idea for his own. He's a funny jerk, though, and that's why we like to have him around.

Read more!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

More patterns for your amusement

I know, I'm supposed to be telling you how my sweater deconstruction is going, but I'm not ready for that yet. I'm working on it. For now, here's a couple more patterns from my crochet calender.

This one is almost so awful it's awesome. I love everything about it. Look at that. Memoirs of a Bratty Geisha? Brilliant! Obviously the Geisha pictured is none other than Hatsumomo.

I kind of wonder, why a Bratz doll? You'd think Barbie would be more the Geisha type. Bratz is commonly regarded as her low-rent cousin. I don't know if you ever read Memoirs, but if Barbie were a Geisha, I think Bratz would be the ones who tie their obis in the front, if you know what I mean. (*wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*)

But somehow that just makes this pattern even more fun for me. Honestly, if I knew any little girls who played with Bratz dolls I'd consider making this. I'd consider buying a Bratz doll myself just so I could do this if I had a hope of getting the right yarn. Sadly, the pattern just tells you the brand of yarn to get and not the size, and as you know my town is not great for finding yarn. Oh well.

I obscured the actual crochet instructions here because the pattern is so short that to just post the picture as-is would be pretty much to post the pattern, and that's not right. Pattern designers have to eat, even if their patterns are... kinda weird.

So what we have here is a pattern for a very tiny bra. I don't know how small it really is, but it would be too small for a person to wear. I don't know if it would be small enough for our bratty Geisha to wear or not and I don't plan make the thing to find out. On the back of the pattern is a short poem on the virtues of bras and friendship. Because this isn't just any bra. It's a friendship bra. Whatever the hell that's supposed to be.

I just don't understand anything about this one.

Read more!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

A trip to the thrift store...

There exist, on the Internet, a couple of very good tutorials on unraveling sweaters for the yarn. It's a good way to get some way cheap and sometimes interesting yarn that you wouldn't necessarily come across in the store. I recommend either of the linked tutorials if you want to try this yourself, but I'm especially fond of the first one because it has more pictures. The only thing out of either tutorial I don't like is this one sentence from the second:

I would not recommend this as something fun to do (especially if you have more money than time) but if your yarn budget is meager this is an affordable way to get your hands on a sweater's amount of quality wool.

Screw you! You can't tell me how to have fun! I actually find unraveling sweaters to be a total blast. I think it appeals to my destructive urges that everybody has. (Everybody has those, right?)

You know I'm an expert in this because I've frogged a whole TWO shirts in my day. One was an old, ratty, kind of greenish knit tank top that I had hiding in my closet. It had good seams and seemed like a good choice to sort of try out my skills on. The other was this peach-colored old lady cardigan (it had embroidered flowers and everything on it) that I bought at a garage sale. Here's a couple of samples of the yarn I got:

I know the green yarn looks gray. It looks gray in real life, too. I don't know why, since the top it came from was definitely green. As you might expect, the old ratty-looking top yielded old ratty-looking yarn. It was my first time, though, so I felt good about it. I made an old ratty-looking washcloth from some of the yarn. It would be pictured here, but I can't find it. That's just as well.

The rather thick-looking yarn from the old lady cardigan turned out to be three strands of thin yarn. That's ok, though, I just rolled it into the ball that way and when I crochet it I crochet the three strands together. I have used this yarn to make myself a pair of fingerless gloves, which were ugly (peach is not my favorite color), but which I liked anyway. I'd show you a picture of them, but I can't. The dog ate one and then the next day went back for the other one. I was really unhappy about that. Maybe one day I'll remake them, but so far I've had other projects to look at.

Anyway, on to the point. Today I went to a local thrift store and picked myself up five new sweaters that could have warmed my community's poor to unravel. Well, not new, but new to me. They all have the advantage of having good seams and while the yarn may not have been huge in all of them, it wasn't tiny either.

When I got home I washed them all (yes, together) in the hopes of eliminating that (just wonderful) thrift store smell. I was banking on the red shirt (actually more rust colored than red, but the camera makes it look red) being old enough and having been washed enough that it wouldn't turn the off white sweater pink. (This was a real concern, since the red sweater has enough suspicious stains on it that it's possible it's never been washed.) The off white sweater isn't pink now, but it does have lots of red lint on it. Yay!

Tomorrow I'll pick a sweater and begin the frogging process. I will, of course, take some pics and include a blog entry on my progress. Fun!!!

Read more!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Some Hats for my Brother

My hat model Vena is back, and this time she's modeling some hats I made for my brother!

But first, check this other hat that has nothing to do with my brother:

I used two different kinds of yarn for this. It looks like I used a pink yarn and a purple yarn, but actually I used a purple yarn around the base and a purple/pink variegated yarn for the top. Yeah. Like you care, right?

Actually, although I think it looks ok, I'm unsatisfied with this hat for a few reasons.

The first is that the pattern just plain sucked. The hat is actually supposed to have a puffy little pom-pom thing on the top, but when I tried to make it the pattern was so confusing that the resulting mess looked less like a pom-pom than like a purple and pink crocheted booger. The picture included with the pattern was no help since the hat was photographed from an angle that didn't show the pom-pom. I didn't have a clue how I was supposed to attach that to the top of the hat and make it look ok, so I left it off and I think the hat is better for it.

Secondly, this town is crap for buying yarn in. The hat required sport weight yarn, and the only sport weight yarn I could find was in baby colors. I didn't really want a purple and pink baby-colored hat, but there wasn't much I could do about it. The worst part was when I asked the girl in the yarn section at Jo-Ann's if they had any sport weight yarn and her reaction was pretty much, "Spore...t waaaait?" It's a pretty basic yarn size, and it's somewhat disheartening when the person who works at one of your key yarn suppliers has never heard of it. I believe it's possible to buy non-baby sport weight yarn in this town now, in Wal-Mart of all places, but it's been a while since I've needed to buy any so I could be wrong about that.

Finally, the hat just doesn't fit. It looks like it fits, but it's too small. These things are supposed to loosen up a little with wear, so I've let Vena wear it for a few months now to try to stretch it out, but it still leaves divots in my forehead whenever I try to wear it. I should probably just find some little girl who likes purple and pink and give her the hat.

But anyway, on to my brother. I've made many hats for him, and I'd like to share them now. In case you're interested, the patterns for all the hats that follow came from the excellent Stitch and Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker.

This is the first hat I ever made for my brother. He picked the pattern and the yarn.

He liked the earflaps. That was one of the main reasons he picked that pattern. He wanted something unusual.

He told me he really liked the hat.

Since I made him the hat my brother has become a trucker. He's away from home for long periods of time. Often he has to sleep in very cold places and it's not like you can just leave the truck heater on all night. It gets very cold in there sometimes. He tells me there are mornings when he wakes up and he can see his breath in the air before he even gets out of bed. Seems like a good place to have a hat, right?

So how come over Christmas while I was poking around in his room I saw the hat sitting there and not with my brother on his trip in his cold truck?! Huh?! (The hat was in plain site-- I'm not so nosy I was digging around or anything)

He says it's because the hat is too big and it falls off his head. Huh. I can see that when I put it on Vena, but Brother never mentioned that until it was obvious he wasn't wearing it. Before that he told me he wore it all the time. He never told me it was too big. Hmph.

Anyway, I guess that the last two hats are in the bad hat category, but so you don't think I'm completely incompetent, I have managed to make good hats.

Despite his total dissage of the earflap hat, Brother did ask for more knitted caps (knitted? Hmph!!) for Christmas. I decided to give it another shot. Since he was going to be out of town on Christmas day, I had a little extra time to finish the hats before I needed to fork them over. Here we go:

I made it big and bulky on purpose. The idea is warmth. It's not too big, though. I tried it on myself before I gave it to him and it stays on fine. It comes down over the ears, which is nice.

I think I was in some kind of 70's mood when I bought all the yarn for these creations, by the way. You may notice a sort of 70's color theme. This hat, for example, matches my couch. The big hat came out in some kind of cool camo-ish stripy patterns, which was entirely unintentional. Just like the stripes on the next hat.

A more traditional basic beanie hat.

I really like how the colors look here. I think they go well together.

Though, as I said, the stripes were completely unintentional. They just came out that way. You can tell when you look at the top of the hat. It's all smooged and random up there, and that was how I'd hoped the rest of the hat would come out. I'm not opposed to the stripes, though.

Speaking of stripes...

This hat was intentionally striped. I used one of those self-striping yarns. Red Heart Strata.

I really like how this hat came out. It's one of my favorites of the bunch, and a hat I'd make for myself. The next hat is my other favorite.

Finally! A yarn that didn't insist on striping itself against my will!

After my other yarns striped, I was glad when this one chose to come out in a nicely randomized pattern. This is another hat I'd actually wear myself. I am, of course, speaking as somebody who is not really a hat person.

Here comes the last hat:

This one was finished well after I gave the other hats to my brother. In fact, I only finished it this weekend and haven't had a chance to give it to him yet. As you can see, it's another bulky hat.

I think the single color works well with this hat. It's nice and plain and understated.

Brother claims to like the other hats I've given him. He darn well better. I worked hard on these! He tells me that on especially cold nights he'll layer all the hats at once, with the big bulky one on top. He's going to stretch them all out if he keeps that up, and then he'd better not complain to me that they're too big! Then again, it's possible he's not wearing them after all, and is just saying he likes them to make me feel better. Who knows? I like them, though. And now you can judge for yourself.

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