Tag Archives: crochet

Knitting for Dudes (or, the ticking timebomb)

Knitters are a giving bunch. After all, a gal can only wear so many of her own creations. It’s only a matter of time before the men in a knitter’s life start to look suspiciously in need of a handmade sweater.

So, after weeks of hard work, you hand your man a masterpiece. You picture delight, gratitude, and awe for your knitting prowess. “Aw, shucks,” he’ll say, as his friends ooh and ahh over his new oversized alpaca hoodie. After weeks of tireless knitting, how could you expect any less?

Here’s the thing; non-knitters will never appreciate the amount of love and anguish in every stitch. More importantly, few things are worse for the knitter than shelling out big bucks and lots of time on a project for a guy that rejects them.

So, here are my suggestions for gift-knitting for men without the heartbreak.

The Guy Friend: Scarves are the perfect gift for friendly guys of all non-romantic varieties, from your next door neighbor to the barista slinging lattes for your weekly Stitch and Bitch. While they’re super easy, scarves tend to take FOREVER, and are best saved for someone who’s going to be around awhile.

The Hey-I-Might-Like-You Guy: You’re fresh in the throes of love. He’s everything you dreamed, he treats you like a queen… but you’ve only been dating three weeks. Do yourself a favor, and stick with a Simple Hat for this one. A nice crocheted beanie will show your affection and skillz without scaring him off. Avoid fancy patterns and pompoms, and show the depth of your feeling with the caliber of yarn you choose. Try an inexpensive cotton for your summer fling, or spring for a sumptuous cashmere blend for a real keeper.

The Serious Boyfriend: He knows all your friends’ names, he waters your plants, he uses the words We and Our. This one gets an Afghan. An afghan you say? Isn’t that the most committed project ever? Well, yes and no. Yes, afghans are gigantic. BUT, with a simple pattern and large needles, toiling away on a collection of squares or strips will ultimately cost you far less pain and heartache than weeks of sweater shaping. Besides, if he’s around long enough for you to finish a blanket, he probably deserves it. I like Granny Square Afghans for the endless variety.

The Husband: He shelled out for the ring. He’s danced with grandma. You share dental bills. This dynamo deserves a Fisherman Sweater. Now that he’s stuck with you through thick and thin, knit him something that will keep him warm in all kinds of weather and last for decades.

All pattern ideas are clickable links to free patterns. Knitting With Balls is another great resource, as are vintage patterns. Choose your own adventure!

Daisy Buchanan Earwarmer

The 1920s were all about hats, but I can’t imagine the famous cloche being very kind to your hair. This quick little project is made for the modern Daisy Buchanan who hates hat hair as much as I do. The Great Gatsby is set during a broiling summer, but I imagine the Golden Girl herself might wear this come winter.

Simple, charming (if I dare say), and simply adorned with a bold flower, this earwarmer has all the glamour of a cloche without the hair-smushing. Turn one out in a few hours and give to a chilly fashionista. Or yourself.

You will need worsted/Aran weight yarn in 2 colors and a 5 mm hook.

Abbreviations: HDC = half-double crochet. ch = chain. sl st = slip stitch. DC = double crochet.

Row 1: Begin by chaining 73 stitches. Half-double crochet (HDC) in 3rd ch from hook and each ch across. Turn. 72 HDC. Alternatively, measure around your head with a piece of yarn, make a starting chain of that length PLUS 2 stitches, and carry on.

Row 2 and following: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC), HDC in each chain across.

Work even for 3 1/2 inches.

Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing. Thread tail through a yarn needle and sew the short edges together with wrong sides facing.

To Make the Flower:

Work loosely! Or you will be sorry once you hit the spiral bit.

Row 1: Begin using the magic loop method. Ch 3, make 7 DC into ring. 8 DC.

Row 2: Ch 3, 2 DC in each st all the way around. 16 DC.

Row 3: Ch 2, 2 DC in next st. *1 DC in next stitch, 2 DC in following st* all the way around. Join with a sl st. 24 DC.

Row 4: Ch 1, *(hdc, dc, hdc) in next DC, sl st in following DC* all the way around. 8 petals.

Row 5 and continuing: You will be working in a spiral in the front post of each DC. I made this flower as an experiment but I will make another so that I can post a photo tutorial soon.

Continue in pattern (HDC, DC, HDC in next stitch to make a petal, sl st in the next stitch to anchor it down), but work petals and sl stitches in the front post of each dc. Have fun with it, and space the petals out however you like them. This WILL make more sense as you try it. Just slowly curve them inward, and don’t worry too much about which loop you are working in.

I am super proud of how this flower turned out. Working the middle of the spiral takes some finagling, but it’s really not so bad.

When you get to the middle, stop with a sl st and fasten off. Pull yarn through to the back of the flower.

Finishing:

Place the flower over the seam of the headband on the right side. Pull both ends (the magic loop tail and the fasten-off tail) through to the wrong side. Tie them in a square knot and weave in ends. With some scrap yarn and a yarn needle, sew the edges of the flower (the third row of DC) to the earband.

Block flat if desired and get those ears toasty!

::Note:: I will eventually have more pics up. My model made off with this one, but I’ll make another.

Girlie Hat, aka the Hipster Beanie or Granny Hat (Free People Inspired)

This is a quick and easy pattern for the kind of slouchy, bad-hair-day-covering beret that is sometimes known as the Hipster Beanie. Slouchy beanies are comfy as hell and keep your ears warm without seriously squashing your hair. They also look good on most people, including those that “can’t pull off hats.” Trust me, I am one of those people that look absolutely ridiculous in most winter headgear and I still feel foxy as Betty White in this bad boy.

This model is plain and simple, modeled after the Vintage Tam Rose Beret which was voted a “Customer Favorite” on  Free People. The Girlie Hat is also the soft, feminine cousin of the more fitted Manly Hat. I am all about His & Hers.

Any DK weight yarn works for this project. I used Patons Classic Wool in Water Chestnut. Use a 5.5 mm hook, or one size up from what the package recommends for a crochet project.

Dimensions: 26.5 cm/approx. 10 inches across.

Abbreviations: DC = double crochet, sl st = slip stitch, DCtog = Double crochet together. SC = single crochet. To DCtog: *Yarn over, insert hook in next stitch, yarn over, draw yarn through stitch, yarn over, draw yarn through 2 loops on hook* twice, yarn over, draw yarn through 3 loops on hook.

Begin using the “Magic Loop Method“. Chain 3 as first DC, DC 11 into ring. Join with a sl st in top of first chain. (12 DC).

Row 2: Chain 3, make 2 DC in next stitch and in next 10 stitches. Make another DC into the loop with the first chain of 3. Join with sl st in top of first chain. (24 DC).

Row 3: Chain 2, *make 2 DC in next stitch, 1 DC in following stitch* all the way around. Join with sl st in top of first chain. Using a turning chain of 2 only makes a smaller gap in between rows. (36 DC).

Row 4: Chain 2, DC in next stitch. 2 DC in following stitch. *DC once in each of next two stitches, 2 DC in next stitch* all the way around. Join with sl st in top of first chain. (48 DC).

Row 5: Chain 2, DC in next two stitches. *2 DC in following stitch, DC once in each of next three stitches* all the way around. Join with sl st in top of first chain. (60 DC).

Row 6: Chain 2, DC in next three stitches. *2 DC in following stitch, DC once in each of next 4 stitches* all the way around. Join with sl st in top of first chain. (72 DC).

Row 7: Chain 2, DC in next four stitches. *2 DC in following stitch, DC once in each of next 5 stitches* all the way around. Join with sl st in top of first chain. (84 DC).

Row 8: Chain 2, DC in next 5 stitches. *2 DC in following stitch, DC once in each of next 6 stitches* all the way around. Join with sl st in top of first chain. (96 DC).

Row 9: Chain 2, DC in next 6 stitches. *2 DC in following stitch, DC once in each of next 7 stitches* all the way around. Join with sl st in top of first chain. (108 DC).

Row 10: Chain 2, DC in next 7 stitches. *2 DC in following stitch, DC once in each of next 8 stitches* all the way around. Join with sl st in top of first chain. (110 DC).

Row 11-12: Work even. The hat will look like a very large pancake at this stage. Not to worry.

Row 13 and 14: Ch 2, DC in next 4 stitches. *DCtog, 1 DC in each of next 5 stitches* all the way around.

Row 16: Work even.

Row 17: Ch 1, SC in BACK LOOP ONLY of each stitch all the way around. Join with sl st.

Row 18 and finishing: Work even for 1 inch in SC. Fasten off.

Try on the hat to see how it fits, then wet block. Tack on an embellishment of your choice and enjoy. I like a big brooch, or you can try a bow like this one from creativeyarn (I made mine slightly  larger).

::Note:: I improvised this pattern and wrote the instructions later. Toward the end, the stitch count on my actual hat differs a bit from the pattern here. If anything, the pattern is more symmetrical. It’s meant to be a sloppy hat, so just go with it.

::Note:: This is the same concept as the Manly Hat, and most hats really. Whatever number of stitches you start with, you want to increase by that number of stitches every round. This should make a nice, even, slightly curved piece of fabric that looks like a yarmulke. When the thing is wide enough to fit on your melon, begin to work even. This should cause the edges to roll slightly inward, bringing that nice even yarmulke shape into a dome.

If your hat is coming out too big, try starting with 10 stitches, or even 8. Also, you can make Row 16 another decrease row. Instead of working even, DCtog every 5 stitches.

Hot Little Handwarmers

I have a craft crush on creativeyarn’s blog. I will admit it. She whips up handwarmers and crocheted necklaces like nobody’s business AND shares a bunch of her patterns with all the world.

I just finished a pair of her “Emerald Green Handwarmers,” which are little fingerless gloves worked up flat and then sewn together. Her pattern does not taper at all, meaning it’s the same width at the wrist as it is through the hand and fingers. This did not fit me at all, so I tried altering it a bit. I  still love this pattern, and should note that I also didn’t swatch and I have very small hands. AND I used acrylic yarn, so most of the problems I had could have been solved with some good blocking. So give her pattern a whirl, with or without my changes. I added some shaping and an edging around the thumbhole, and switched the yarn to a flaming hot pink.

Cast on 28 stitches, leaving a long tail for sewing seam later.

Work in moss stitch (row 1, knit 1, purl 1 all the way across. row 2, purl 1, knit 1 all the way across) for three rows. Work in stockinette for 11 rows, ending with a knit row.

Purl 5, increase one using bar increase made purlwise. *Purl 4, increase one stitch using bar increase made purlwise*  all the way across. At least, I think this is what I did. You want to increase 5 stitches spaced out evenly across your last stockinette row.

Continue according to creativeyarn’s pattern, working with 33 stitches. Bind off loosely in pattern leaving a very long tail for sewing AND thumbhole. (note: if you have little hands, I recommend doing only 5 repeats of the pattern.)

To make thumbhole:

Starting from bottom and using long tail left over from cast-on, sew first 2 inches of seam shut.

Starting from top and using long tail from bind-off, sew 2 inches of seam shut. Switch to a 5.00 mm crochet hook and pick up stitches around open thumbhole. This is a little tricky as the edge won’t be perfectly even. You should have around 15 stitches. Chain one, and single crochet all the way around twice. Do not chain one at the beginning of round 2, just work in a spiral. Snip excess yarn, pull end through, and weave in all ends.

Love!

Blueberry Pie Halter

I recently found a half-finished bohemian-looking crocheted halter top lurking in my closet. I started the piece in high school using a pattern from Debbie Stoller’s The Happy Hooker. The book calls it “Blissful,” and it’s a lacy, skimpy, summer top done with a pretty wave stitch and lightweight linen. The pattern  works up much smaller than I intended, but I like the style and it’s simple enough to customize for a better fit. I’m also not sure if the wonky sizing is because of poor directions or my refusal to swatch (ever).

I made this according to the book’s directions for a size small.  I’m petite, but this finished up looking fit for a pre-teen. I added a few extra rows of the wave pattern on the skirt for length and had to alter the bust. I started with slowing down the decreases on the cups, but they were still wayyy too small so I added this shell edging. It adds a good two inches on the sides of each cup, and goes nicely with the skirt’s wave pattern.The original pattern also calls for closing up the back with hook and eyes. Mine was way too small to reach around my whole body, but I don’t mind the apron style and just tied it with a ribbon and called it good.

I recommend picking this book up from the library and giving this top (found on page 158) a go. Try a size bigger than what you usually do and don’t be afraid to play with the pattern. Directions for my super simple shell border are given below.

Variation:

With right side facing, join yarn at bottom left edge of left cup. Make 30 single crochet (or a multiple of six that fits your size) evenly spaced along edge. Chain one. Single crochet in second chain from hook and in next 29 stitches. Chain 2, single crochet in the second chain from the hook, then skip two chains and make 5 double crochets in the next chain. Skip the next two chains and make a single crochet in the next chain. Repeat pattern of *Skip two stitches, 5 DC in next stitch, skip two stitches, 1 single crochet in next stitch* all the way down. You should have 5 shells. Anchor with a few slip stitches along bodice edge. Repeat on outside edge of right cup.

I should have made a shell border on the inside as well, but was in a hurry to finish.

Love!!!