You can see more examples of the hat design on my Student Gallery Page.
This pattern is a variation of a design by Mary Jane Mucklestone
Materials for both projects:
Approximately 50 grams each of two highly contrasting colors of DK weight yarn. US Size 6 DPNs if you want to make fingerless mitts, 16” circulars & matching DPNs if you want to make a hat. You can avoid DPNs by knitting the hat or gloves using one long (32-40”) circular needle using the magic loop technique. You will also need stitch markers and a tapestry needle.
Gauge is 20 sts per 4”. If you prefer a larger or smaller sized item, or prefer to work in a different gauge, increase or decrease the number of cast on stitches by a multiple of 4.
The finished mitts will be about 8” in circumference. You may discontinue or repeat the patterns for desired length.
The finished hat will be about 20” at the widest circumference.
The motif is four stitches wide. The graph shows two repeats of the four stitch repeat.
- Cast on 40 sts with double pointed needles in MC.
- Connect into the round, place a stitch marker at the beginning of the round and knit 2×2 rib for 1”.
- Add the CC and follow the chart from the bottom row up, right to left. Keep track of where you are in the pattern high lighter tape or a post it, covering the upper rows and keeping the lower rows visible.
- Follow the chart until you reach the checkerboard portion.
- Periodically try on the glove to check the length and the fit. The cast on edge will be the bottom of the glove.
- On row 24, bind off 8 stitches with MC to create a hole for the thumb.
- Start the first row of the checkerboard pattern, casting on 8 stitches with MC where you had previously bound off 8 stitches to create the top half of the hole for your thumb.
- Continue with the chart. Finish the mitt by knitting 2×2 ribbing or your preferred edge pattern for 1”.
- Bind off and weave in ends.
- Cast on 100 sts with circular needles with MC.
- Connect into the round, place a stitch marker at the beginning of the round, and knit 2×2 rib for 2”.
- Add the CC to follow the chart from the bottom row up, right to left. Use a post it to mark the row you are currently on.
- Once the hat is about 6” or your desired depth, divide the hat into 10 sections with stitch markers. Use a distinctive marker for the beginning of the round.
- Knitting only with MC, K2tog just before each marker for one round. Knit the next round with no decreases.
- Continue to alternate decrease and even rounds until the circumference is too small to knit comfortably on circular needles.
- Once you have only four stitches between markers, decrease every two stitches on every row until you have 10 stitches.
- Cut the yarn leaving an 8” tail and thread the tail thorough the loops with a tapestry needle. Pull the yarn tight and tie a knot by going under a stitch near the center of the back of the hat. Weave in the ends
This pattern is four stitches wide. The graphs below show the pattern repeated twice.
I’ve done a lot of sewing in the past couple of years. By far the easiest thing to sew are bags. I always need another bag for groceries or for my latest big knitting project. The yellow is simple and similar to the one I teach students in my bag class. The bag on the right is huge and a little more complicated. The fabric is sewn at a 45 degree angle, creating an interesting design and a nice square bottom.
I also sew a lot of clothes for myself. I adjust how patterns fit with a sloper, which is a flat paper pattern that exactly matches my proportions, and my dress form, which is made from wrapping my body in duct tape, placing the duct tape form over a dress dummy and filling the gap with stuffing. Here I am wrapped in duct tape. In the center my dress form is helping me adjust a dress, and I’m testing out a pants pattern on the right.
My favorite thing to sew is probably dresses. The first two is sewn from the bodice of my sloper with a skirt I borrowed from a commercial dress pattern. It’s pretty easy to turn a blouse into a dress. The brown blouse has the same bodice as the dress with the green waistband, and I added that same skirt to turn it into a dress. The trapeze dress was an original design, and the gray dress is the wrap dress from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual book of patterns by Gretchen Hirsch.
A few last examples from recent years. I made the skirt on the left from a light weight upholstery fabric. This orange shirt was cut on the bias from light chambray cotton. I choose to sew it by hand so it wouldn’t distort. On the bottom I have a basic pants pattern that I copied from a favorite pair, as well as two variations of the Arenite pants pattern by Sew Liberated.
Both my grandmother and mother were/are skilled with the sewing machine. This was partially due to economy, but also because you can have anything garment you want, in the color and style you want, if you can make it. There’s also a sense of accomplishment and a special relationship with your clothes when you sew for yourself. Here’s a rabbit my grandmother made me when I was little. He’s pretty impressive if you study how he was constructed, and look at all that hand stitching!
My mother made a lot of our clothes growing up. I am the kid on the right in one of the many jumpsuits she made me.
My mom was sensitive to my need to look cool when I was a teen in the 1980’s, and she taught me how to sew during this time. The trendy look was a long button down shirt and stirrup pants; here I am in my beloved purple houndstooth print top which I wore with black and matching purple socks.
It was a true act of love when she made me this puffy dark red corduroy coat. These were the rage, and it was no small feat sewing one for me.
By time I hit college, I was good enough to create my own patterns. We bough a lot of a of fun, reversible knit fabric, which I sewed into this little jester-like outfit. Here I am at my retail job at a rubber stamp store in the early 1990’s.
I’ve continued to sew for myself over the years. I’ve made so many dresses for myself I can tell pretty quick if a paper pattern will fit and the general adjustments I will have to make just by looking at it. Here’s a light green linen dress that I wore constantly in the early 2000’s. I’m about enjoy a meal following a traditional zen practice known as Orioki at a meditation retreat.
I’ve done costumes for the Shotgun Players production of the Jungle Book, and here is a dress that a friend commissioned me to sew for her.
I now teach sewing at Black Squirrel in Berkeley to groups and private students. Soon I will post a page exclusively of clothes that I’ve made for myself in recent years.
Once upon a time, before there was acrylic, crochet was done with tiny hooks the size of sewing needles with cotton thread. It was very lacy and was used to make decorative collars, lined coin purses and elaborate tablecloths. Here’s an example of filet work by my great grandmother.
Some people still crochet this way, but it’s painstakingly slow and those stitches are tiny. Here’s a coin purse in progress by a friend of mine that I photographed over a year ago. I’m pretty sure it isn’t finished yet.
Things got a little more fun once more colorful dyes became available, but it was still mostly tiny lace. My great aunt made this doily.
Most people imagine the acrylic granny square afghans which were so popular in the 1970s when they think of crochet. There were some ugly, itchy blankets, but I blame the yarn, not the technique. Here’s a lovely granny afghan a friend made me.
My first crocheted afghan was a collaboration with my mother. She started this project, realized that it was a bigger task than she anticipated and enlisted me to help her finish it. I crocheted half of the squares and together we sewed them together and wove in a ridiculous number of ends. It was a massive undertaking even for two people with years of experience. This is a message to all the overenthusiastic new crafters who want to make a king sized monochromatic crochet blanket for their first project. Do yourself a favor and start with a hot pad or a pillow cover.
I think my favorite crochet projects are shawls made in lightweight, drapey fibers. This one is made in a cotton/silk blend and is based on the very popular virus shawl, which is a free pattern. You will need to scroll down a little to upload this pattern.
The next shawl is one of my all time favorites, plus it was fun to make. The yarn is a wool/llama blend, so it’s a cozy party. The pattern is Lost In Time, and yes, it’s another free pattern, because I’m cheap and it’s a great pattern.
This year my challenge was to make a flattering crochet cardigan. Crochet can be thicker and less drapey than knit material. My solution was to do the rabbit hole cardigan with very drapey yarns that have been sitting in my stash. Here it is in a silk/alpaca blend, and you can see how it just drapes like mad. This pattern is basically a giant granny square, but the satiny yarn couldn’t look less like grandma’s afghan.
I tried this pattern again, this time pairing a fuzzy mohair with lace weight alpaca yarn. I crocheted this with a V stitch instead of shell stitch. It’s quite warm in spite of the open, lacy structure.
So there’s a tour of the world of crochet. In spite of the intimidating examples I’ve shown here, more people agree that it is easier to learn than knitting because you only have to manage one loop at a time instead of the entire row at once. And if you ever see something in a store that you recognize as crochet, remember that somebody made it by hand. There are machines that can knit, there isn’t a machine that can crochet.
Pretty soon I was looking for other things to decorate. A friend requested that I give her skull and cross bone bag some personality, so I added some free-hand flowers and insects.
I also enjoyed decorating very simple items like these blue fingerless gloves made from felted sweaters with stars made from bullion stitches and French knots.
I also like tracing and elaborating on pattern fabrics, like this vintage flowered fabric which I quilted onto another knitting bag.
My most elaborate embroidery is this lotus flower which is based on a design by William Morris. It started it as a means to practice satin stitch, but it’s final destination was a square in a baby quilt. The variety of colors is kind of wacky, but the change kept me entertained through the sewing process.
Quilting is the perfect medium when painting began to feel too serious and I have too many scraps from various sewing projects. Gifting quilts to my many friends who were also new parents in the early 2000’s also allowed me to create without worry of storing or marketing new projects.
My first baby quilt was also my first attempt at the log cabin pattern design. I remember how difficult this first attempt was, but my best friend from high school and her baby were really happy with the results.
I was excited by the different possibilities that can be made from this design. Luckily for me a family member was pregnant. worked hard to design a defined pattern in this log cabin quilt. The style was a fortunate match. The little girl who received it is very feminine and loves glamor.
I wanted the center of this quilt to feel like a sun or a star. I get attached to all the left over pieces of favorite fabrics, hence the tiny squares in the border. I frequently visit this family, and it’s sweet to hear how much their little girl loves this quilt.
This is the last and most ambitious of the log cabin quilts. It’s also the least free and spontaneous, but I’m very impressed with it in hindsight. Most of these fabrics came from the Oakland Center for Creative Reuse Depot.
Apologies for the bad lighting on this one. This quilt is made up of all those tiny precious pieces left over from other projects. The plan was to alternate light and dark bands which gradually changed color/value as they progressed across the quilt.
This is a variation of the basic strip quilt pattern. I was ready for something easier, and was nice to do a more spontaneous pattern for a change.
This baby quilt was a collaboration with friends. You can see the lotus I embroidered on the far left.
My most recent baby quilt was made from my left over fabric donations for the fire quilt project of 2017. If I really love a fabric and don’t want to cut it up, I’ll just sew a border around it and call it done. The family who received this quilt has a flower garden with similar colors in their backyard.
I have also made some large quilts for myself as well. The orange and green floral fabric came from my sister’s trip to Japan. I loved it so much I chose to frame it with various silks and other favorite scraps.
Here is a close up of the awesome border of this quilt. Note the diagonal seam in the silk tie fabric in the corner to make a rectangle. That’s called determination.
In the early 1970′s, my mom bought a tin filled with over 24 quilt squares from the neighborhood St. Vincent de Paul. Half of the squares were six pointed stars and the other half were multi-colored circles, both sewn onto muslin. The fabrics are printed flour sacks, which were popular during the 1920s-1950s when fabric was scarce.
I took initiative and turned them into a duvet cover for our bed. I removed the backing from the stars and used them to cover the holes in the center of the circles. The detail and work some anonymous woman put into these pieces is staggering. I can’t imagine sewing one of these circles or stars so perfectly. I had fun pairing the circles with the stars and finding border fabrics that resonated with the squares.
My biggest and most elaborate quilt is made of lots of little triangles that make your eyes cross. Most of them were left overs from a quilt my mother had finished, and I was eager to give triangles a try. I’m glad I chose calm blue as the main color since the pattern is so busy. The dragon from my embroidery page is in the center of this quilt.
You can check out more quilts from my Fire Quilt collection of 2017. I organized a group of crafter friends to make and donate quilts for survivors of the Sonoma fire. It was a great experience to witness other people’s styles of working, as well to do something helpful for a situation in which I felt so powerless.