Fiber

KNITTED HATS FOR LITTLE FOLKS

The air is turning crisp here, so it invites knitting projects. In 2014 there has been many new babes that are coming into our world. My go to is a knitted hat because it is practical and functional. It's something I can squeeze in a few minutes here and there in the busy routine. I have hard time giving a pattern because I usually just wing my knitted hats and scarves, so I will tell you what I did in this scenario. Also, it all depends on your needles and yarn. I would say these are easy to make if you are comfortable with knitting and have made a few things already. The circular needles do most of the work.

  • Clover Takumi, bamboo size 10 1/2 6.5mm 16" circular knitting needles
  • Manos Del Uruguay Classic Handspun Semi Solids
  • Brittany 5" double sided needles. Size 4-5
  • scissors
  • crochet hook
  • yarn

I cast on about 60 stitches give or take. I usually do the first row as a purl stitch all the way around. Then I do the knit stitch. If in a few rows you find that this is looking a little wide, you will want to decrease a stitch as you go to get it to slim out. Then I knit. I knit until I have a shape that is more or less as tall as it is wide. Something squarish. Then you decrease every 10 stitches until your work gets tight. How I do this is I decrease the first two stitches, count that as 1 and 2 (while decreasing), 3, 4, 5...go to ten as usual knit stitches. Decrease the next 1 and 2, count to 10 and repeat. You follow me? Then it eventually gets smaller, and tighter. This is where I will start to continue knitting with the double sided needles and begin decreasing every 7 or 8 stitches. Once that gets tight, I count every 5 stitches, then 4,then 3, then 2, your left with one stitch. I do this pretty organically that I guess the confidence comes with experience. I have made a handful of hats in my day and I tend to not like the way the knitted seams look, so I avoid them in my decreasing methods. I cut the remainder of the string and then pull it through tight. Your done! This is where you can decide how you want the little pointy top to look. 

knitted baby hats

Keeping the above method and lack of pattern above I will explain the differences between these three. 

Left: about 1/3 up I added another yarn thread of multi color into the mix. When I was done with the hat, it had two strings sticking up. I then cut 8 more pieces of yarn about 3 1/2 inches and then looped them into the top of the hat with a crochet hook and tied a knot. A little festivity on top!

Middle: One color knitted all the way to the top.

Right: A multi color yarn that changed colors as it went and left one dangle of a string on top. 

These hats are soft and cozy and made out of 100% wool, which means it will shrink if not washed cold and carefully. If this hat does make a journey to the washing machine and dryer, that's ok. You will just have a really lovely doll hat for the kiddo to use!

DYEING DISH TOWELS & BEADS

One of my favorite things to wrap gifts in is a dish towel. Further more a flour sac towel. I love those things! I suppose anyone who has received a gift from me already knows that. Since we are upon the season of gift giving, I thought I would prep some for upcoming occasions. I usually pick up the plain flour sac towels at the store, but I have also picked up these cotton striped ones from Ikea. That is what I had around the house this go around.

Here is what you will need:

  • cotton towels
  • soda ash fixer
  • garment dye
  • salt
  • water
  • plastic bin and utensils
  • unfinished wooden beads
  • cotton yarn
  • embroidery needle
soaking towels

Your fabric dye will have instructions on tub dyeing. I suggest following those instructions in case anything is different from what I have done here. I soaked my towels in the soda ash, salt and water. It also is recommended to prewash your towels, or given fabric first.

dye towels

Then I add the dye, which is a powder and mix it in. I used Procion because that is what we already had in the house. I always aim to do the most eco-friendly materials and techniques when possible. I have repeatedly tried to dye fabric with natural, strong dyes and I have not had results that have stood the test time yet. I will continue searching there, but most have faded significantly after a few washes. Since I will be doing batches from here on out until the holidays, I start with the lightest color to the darkest.

beads

Why just stop at dish towels? If you are creating batches of dye, you can easily dress up wooden beads as well. Get some unfinished wooden beads, your cotton yard or thread and string on the needle. 

unfinished beads

When done, make sure you tie both ends of the string with some hefty knots. You can always cut it off later. The beads have a way of working themselves out once bathing in the dye.

beads and fabric

Then plop them into your dye bath! I let mine sit for at least an hour, if not longer. The longest I leave things in a dye bath would be overnight. I usually just let mine sit in the tub in the sink and then give it a gentle stir when I walk by. When you feel good about the desired color you can wash them. If I was just doing a few, I would let air dry. When I am doing a batch, I just dump into the washing machine and wash on cold. No soap.

finished towels

After they washed, I take a few aside. Then in a day or two I do it again, with a different color! I usually pull aside a few finished towels. In this case, yellow. Then add another white one to the next batch along with the other ones that were already dyed in the yellow.

pink towels

I went for a light red and also added another batch of beads. Do the same thing you did for the first batch for the next color you wish.

towels

When you are done, you will begin to have varied colors from these dye baths. 

dye your own beads

Your beads will vary too! Now you have some beautiful, functional things to wrap gifts up with, or give as gifts as they are! This is just the beginning too. You can really go to town with layering in other colors as you go.