31 Dec

10 years ago

This post is delayed because we were out of town all week, but December 27 marked the 10th anniversary of the day Jason and I got married, in a post-blizzard deep-freeze just after Christmas, 1996.

10 years sounds like a long time, but it’s gone by amazingly quickly. It’s been a happy ten years, and I couldn’t wish for a better husband than Jason, who is truly the best guy in the world. I love him very much. Here’s to the start of another great decade together!

21 Dec

Pattern: 2 Hour Santa Hat (with cheap yarn!), adult and baby sizes

I was thinking about making a Santa hat. Didn’t have the right yarn on hand, didn’t have time to go to the yarn shop. I wanted bulky yarn, with something that would make a nice woolly white part.

I was idly walking down the yarn aisle at Fred Meyer last night, where they generally only have icky yarn like Red Heart. Then something caught my eye. Red Heart, no less. Light and Lofty, a yarn that usually looks UG-LEE, but in the color “Puff”… well, it should have said “Santa Hat” all over it. It is fuzzy and woolly (in the 100% acrylic sense) and looks exactly like the white trim on a Santa hat. (I guess I will also use it to make bunny tails and such on some knitted bunnies I have planned.)

So then I needed a bulky red yarn that would not be as fuzzy and woolly looking as the Light and Lofty. There is very little to choose from at Fred Meyer, but the Lion Brand Homespun in Candy Apple was the perfect red, and seemed as if it would be a tolerable texture (though a little more textured than I wanted). So I bought them both and later that evening I had a hat! So here’s the pattern if you want to make a last minute Santa Hat too. (If you want to make the baby version, read on — it’s after the adult one.)

(Edited in Nov. 2007 to add some important notes — READ THESE!)

Important note: There are two methods included here — the quick and dirty triangle shape which takes no thought whatsoever, and makes a right-triangle shaped hat (the Adult pattern), and the more normal hat with evenly distributed decreases which requires one to count a bit (the Baby pattern). You can knit either hat for either size — just change the number of cast-on stitches. I recommend the Baby hat method, even for adults, as it makes a nicer shape. But the Adult hat is slightly faster.

Gauge note: The gauge given here, 2.5 stitches/inch, is using the Light and Lofty yarn around the brim. The Homespun gauge will probably be smaller, but in the hats I made, it didn’t matter.

Yardage note: I don’t know exact yardage, but it was very little. You should be able to make several hats from a skein of Light and Lofty, and at least a couple if not more from a skein of Homespun.

Size note: To make a hat for toddler or child size, you will have to extrapolate, as the baby size is designed for the smallest babies. Some folks have found that the baby hat comes out fairly small, so add some stitches to make this for larger babies, toddlers, etc.


  • 1 skein Red Heart Light & Lofty, “Puff” (you actually need much less than a full skein.)
  • 1 skein Lion Brand Homespun, “Candy Apple” (much less needed)
  • US 11 straight needles
  • Yarn needle
  • Pompom maker (or just use cardboard like I do)

The gauge is really hard to tell with the L&L; I just winged it and it turned out OK. Looks as if I was getting about 2.5 stitches/inch. The Homespun gauge is smaller but it didn’t seem to matter.

Cast on 44 stitches in the white yarn.
K all (garter stitch) for 1.5 – 2 inches, whichever you prefer.
Change to red yarn.
Knit stocking stitch until the cap is 4″ tall.

* K1, SSK, K until 3 sts left, K 2 together, K1
P all
Repeat from * until you have decreased to 12 sts.
Break yarn, leaving about an 18″ tail, then pull the leftover yarn through the last stitches to make the tip of the hat. Sew up the seam down the back of the hat.

Make a pompom with the white yarn and attach it to the top of the hat.

Voila! Santa’s hat!

Baby version of the Santa hat

A note about the hat: by doing the decreases this way you end up with a hat that is a right triangle. This means that the hat is longer in the back. For a Santa hat that looks just fine. But if you want it to be more normal-shaped you just put the decreases all the way around instead of on the edge. The picture to the left is the baby version of the hat, which uses this method.

Baby Santa hat (Same materials used):

CO 32 sts
K all (garter stitch) for 1.5 – 2 inches, whichever you prefer.
Change to red yarn.
Knit stocking stitch until the cap is 4″ tall.
*K2, K2tog, repeat from * to the end of the row. (24 sts remain.)
P all.
K all.
P all.
K all.
P all.
*K1, K2tog, repeat from * to the end of the row. (16 sts remain.)
P all.
K all.
P all.
*K2tog, repeat from * to the end of the row. (8 sts remain.)
P all.
K all. (You can keep on in stocking stitch for as many rows as you like to make a floppy point,or just stop here.)

Break yarn, leaving about an 18″ tail, then pull the leftover yarn through the last stitches to make the tip of the hat. Sew up the seam down the back of the hat.

Make a pompom with the white yarn and attach it to the top of the hat.

Voila! Santa baby!

If you make one of these please send me the URL to your pictures so I can link to you here! And MERRY CHRISTMAS!

16 Dec

Not really a snowman sweater

For the stranded colorwork knitalong (as mentioned previously): this is my first progress post. This is basically the Madison’s Hat pattern, only I used worsted weight yarn this time (cast on 96 stitches) and made up a new color chart so I could try knitting with more than two colors. I like it so far. It’s deep red, deep blue, and gold.

Of course, I could just decide to make a sweater for the snowman after all. 😉

16 Dec

Rainier Avenue flooding Thursday night

This was the scene I saw on Rainier Ave just a little bit north of Lowe’s on my way to work at about 4:45pm on Thursday. There was a lot of water on the road. I pulled in to the Mc Donald’s lot, ran in and grabbed some food to go, and saw this when I came out. This was substantially more water than had been there when I came in only a few minutes earlier. It was basically a flash flood, it happened so fast. The line of cars is Rainier Ave, and I am facing northwest. The rain had just slowed way down at this point. When I went into the McDonald’s, visibility was really bad but it improved while I was inside.

The car in front was abandoned in the high water. It doesn’t look high enough to stall it yet, but who knows. Maybe they just didn’t want to drive any further in it, and I wouldn’t blame them. Who knows what kind of sinkholes could be lurking there?

I was able to get out of the lot just to the left of the part you see in this picture, where the water was a lot shallower. I watched someone else try it first and saw that it was passable. The water on Rainier itself wasn’t that deep yet — it was at intersections and side roads, like the one here where the car is abandoned, that you had to be careful. People were driving down the left turn lane quite a bit.

From this point I had to drive about 3-4 miles up to (roughly) Pier 70. This took me two hours. Yep.

This was before the windstorm started. It was actually pretty calm by the time I got to work. By that point the rain had stopped and it really was the proverbial calm before the storm.

14 Dec

Getting through grading

It’s almost finals grading time, and perhaps this is how I should be grading my students’ work. But I’m not sure how to translate online work to this system. Perhaps I can get Jason to write some software to emulate the paper-tossing process. 😉

09 Dec

On sending a pattern out into the world

I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled it makes me to see that someone has knitted one of my patterns. This version of the Madison’s Hat, by geetargeek makes me very happy indeed. Especially because it’s one of my favorite color combinations. (I just might have to make one like it!) But part of the coolness of it all is that I’m never really sure the pattern will work until I see someone besides me knit it. So when I see it happen it’s a combination of joy and vast relief.

05 Dec

What is this?

This is a close-up of the aforementioned “Baby Eleanor” scarf. Here’s a photo that shows the whole thing, so far. I can see why everyone is knitting this. It is easy once you get past the beginning. Not that the beginning is hard, it just takes some getting used to, and the entrelac instructions I used at first were… not so good. I have the Lady Eleanor pattern but haven’t used it yet — I just used online pages to show me how to do entrelac, and then estimated what size I wanted the rectangles to be and how many of them. The rectangles are smaller than in Lady Eleanor and there are fewer of them, so the scarf should be somewhat less than half the width of a real Lady E.

04 Dec

A shameful record

Found via the we move to canada blog:

On Dec. 2, we break the record for the longest period without a raise since the minimum wage was established in 1938. The prior record of nine years and three months lasted from Jan. 1, 1981 until the minimum wage increase on Apr. 1, 1990.

(That was during my minimum wage working years. I remember quite clearly. $3.35 an hour and we were supposed to be thrilled when we got a 10 cent increase after 6 months.)

The article points out that the current federal minimum wage of $5.15 is less than the 1950 minimum wage, once you convert it to 2006 dollars. (Washington state, at least, has a much higher minimum wage. And yet, the sky hasn’t fallen. Hmm.) And that it takes almost two current minimum wage workers to match the earning power of one in 1968.

And note this — “The share of national income going to wages and salaries is at the lowest level since 1929 while the share going to after-tax corporate profits is at the highest.”

It is shameful. I can’t imagine trying to live on $5.15 an hour. It was hard enough on $3.35 in 1986, but $3.35 could get you a lot more in Seattle in those days than $5.15 can now.

04 Dec

Stranded colorwork knitalong and other knitting.

I finished the hats last week too soon for the Stranded Colorwork Knitalong, by a couple of days. But what the heck — I’m in for another round. I don’t know yet what I will knit for it, but I picked up some yarn and I think I’ll design something myself. Maybe mittens. Stay tuned. I am waiting for inspiration to strike.

I’m also working on a project I call “Baby Eleanor”… a scarf version of the Lady Eleanor throw from Scarf Style. Yeah, everyone’s knitting that. It’s this years Clapotis. But it’s just so darned pretty. I’m using Patons SWS, which is really lovely stuff — but I think it’s rather a pain to knit with, as it is way too splitty. But it’s so pretty it will be worth it. This is an example of Lady Eleanor in the same yarn and color that I am using, but it’s twice as wide as mine will probably be. (So far it looks like it will be about 9 or 10 inches wide unblocked, probably 11 inches blocked.) I only have two skeins of the yarn so I suppose I will have to buy more at some point.

And I have another pair of socks going, because my feet need more warm socks.

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