Thursday, October 30, 2014

Whale Chalkboards for the Nursery

I'm not much of an artist, but I can sketch something out of chalk!

I found another project on Pinterest that I fell in love with.  It is a three panel whale with a spout going up.  I wanted to re-create this to match Lucky's nursery, but I decided to tweak it to have our own spin.  A chalkboard painting!  We made a fun chalkboard with chalkboard paint when we moved into our new apartment.  The plan was that we could change the art periodically, but so far our stick figure family has stuck.

I am going to make the panels chalkboard and paint the white on with a Liquid Chalk Marker.  Why would I want to do this?  I'm not super confident with my abilities as a painter, and doing it in chalk will be easier to fix if I mess it up.  We did a chalkboard sketch of our family and have had no smudging or anything for months.  Plus, I will be able to switch it up later if Lucky decides he wants another decoration in his room.  (But it is really so I can fix mistakes.  This project is pretty inexpensive so the cost isn't really the factor.  

They didn't have the colors we wanted in chalkboard paint, but we found a chalkboard coating that we could apply after we painted the canvases.  

I did a coat of paint and then decided to do one more before applying the chalkboard coating.

the first coat of paint.  I did a second coat so it would not be so streaky

After two coats the paint was very even.   I applied the first coat of chalk board cover and it was all streaky again!  Hopefully this will dry clear...  (Spoiler Alert - it did!)

Now it was time to draw the whale.  I started with an outline, and my first pass actually didn't turn out too badly. I only had to erase a little bit on the tail.  I colored in the whale with a couple of coats of chalk.  I like how it looks "sketched".

I had no trouble free handing the mist-spout.  I think that is my favorite part of this painting.  

This artwork is one of my favorite pieces of Lucky's under the sea nursery, probably because I made it myself.  I wonder what other pictures would be fun to draw across three panels.  A giraffe would look really cool (with a super long neck) or a brontosaurus.   

Now that I'm preparing to publish this post Lucky's nursery is finally complete!  (We had to wait a while for a chair-and-a-half to be delivered.)  I cannot wait to share the whole thing with you.  I have never designed a room from start to finish, and I'm so happy with how it turned out.  I also think that all of the elements will be really easy for us to move into another home when the time comes.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Free Kippah Knitting Patterns

In my previous post I shared a bunch of links to free crochet kippah patterns.  During my search I came across many knitting patterns, and also wanted to share these with all of you.

Free Kippah Knitting Patterns
  • Kippah - A garter stitch border and stockinette center.  Knit from the outside in.  This is an adult size pattern, but could be modified to a smaller child sizes by reducing the number of stitches you start with (as long as it is still a multiple of 10.)  
  • Accidental Kippah - Knit as a tube and then cinched together.  There is no photo on the pattern page.
  • Diamond Lace Kippah - A beautiful textured knit kippah.  Without looking at the pattern itself, there may be some cable work in this beautiful piece.  This pattern is available for download through, you may need to create a free account to access this free knitting pattern.  
  • Kippah - A scalloped border knit from the outside in.  Written for fingering weight yarn, but these patterns could be made with thicker yarns if you reduce the number of starting stitches.  
  • Keppie - kippah, kufi or cap! - "A Bukharan-style kippah or maybe a Turkish pillbox cap. A kufi cap? Three variations for the design on top-solid, Star of David, and snowflake-in a wide range of sizes so you can keep your hat on."    This pattern is available for download through, you may need to create a free account to access this free knitting pattern.  
  • Basic Knit Kippah (Yarmulka) In Reverse Stocking Stitch - This pattern title is very descriptive.  There is some simple colorwork in one of the samples on the edge that is really pretty.  This pattern is available for download through, you may need to create a free account to access this free knitting pattern.  
  • Lacy Kippah - Knit outside in.  The lace pattern and decreases give it a nice spiral effect.
  • Sam's Kippah - A pillbox style covering.  There are some different options for the sides.  This pattern is available for download through, you may need to create a free account to access this free knitting pattern. 
  • Minyan Kippah - A quick knit (according to pattern notes) using short rows versus in in the round like many of the other kippot knitting patterns on this list.  The garter stitch bumps look really pretty.  Uses fingering weight yarn. This pattern is available for download through, you may need to create a free account to access this free knitting pattern. 
  • Yarmulke - The edge in the sample image is really interesting, it almost looks braided or crocheted with alternating colors.  (I did not download the PDF to look at the pattern instructions.)  This pattern is available for download through, you may need to create a free account to access this free knitting pattern. 
  • Bukharian Style Yarmulka - Stranded with two different colors of yarn.  Cool colorwork! 
  • Colorful Kiss my Keppie Knit Kippot - Stockinette.  Lightly felted to provide the correct fit.  

I was surprised to find so many knit kippah patterns.  I've only come into contact with handmade crochet kippot in my personal experience.  Who would have thought that more people have written free knitting patterns?  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Free Kippah Crochet Patterns

When Erev Rosh Hashanah was just a day away, I realized I was unprepared to celebrate the first Jewish New Year with Lucky.  I realized that we do not have a yamaka that fits Lucky.  Even Keith (who isn't Jewish) has two!  This is something I knew I could resolve simply by pulling out my crochet hooks and some yarn, but I wanted to see what kinds of patterns were out there before I whipped up something myself.

Free Kippah Crochet Patterns

  • Colorfully Striped Kippah Yarmulke - Comes in both youth and adult sizing.  The pattern has a fun striped design.  This pattern is available for download through, you may need to create a free account to access this free crochet pattern.  
  • Free Pattern Kippah Hat - This is a kippah attached to a very open weave and then a hat like brim.   The open stitch is called Solomon’s knot.   Appropriate, right?  
  • Star of David Kippah - If you look at the lace edging the right way you can see the star of David!  
  • Keeping Kippah (Yarmulke) Star of David Version - A very stunning handmade kippah.  This has a Star of David on the crown and then is worked around that to form to rest of the kippah.  Classic and so beautiful.  I THINK I would be able to construct this one, but I don't know for sure.  I do know that I'd like to try...  Baby sizes through adult are available.  This pattern is available for download through, you may need to create a free account to access this free crochet pattern.  
  • Crochet Yarmulke - Simple construction from the center out using worsted weight yarn.  This could be whipped up in a flash if you need one last minute.  (Although I think that crocheting would be considered work, so last minute would be a little further in advance depending on how you and your family observe Jewish tradition.)  
  • Yarmulka - Uses crochet cotton.  A very simple design.  
  • Basketweave star prayer cap - "To find pattern, click link and then scroll down until you find 'Basketweave Star Prayer Cap.'"  (Search for "Hazel Furst" to find pictures of three prayer cap versions.  They are very lacy and pretty.  
  • Beyond the Doily - This yarmulka has two different Stars of David in the center.  
  • Crocheted Passover Yarmulke - A simple design, but the pattern is complete with many helpful photos and help with the color change for the contrasting border.  I love a well written pattern!  
  • Harry's Yarmulke - A kippah crocheted out of DC's.  Simple and very cute.  You will click to open the PDF on the linked page.  
  • Star of David Yarmulkah - Similar to some of the others I've linked to already.  There is a Star of David crocheted on the crown before the rest of the kippah is constructed.   
  • Yarmulke (Kippa)  - Sport weight yarn is used in this simple crochet kippah.  

There were so many awesome free versions that I didn't even glance at the ones that are available for purchase.  I'm sure that there are some stunning options, but I want to get on making something for Lucky NOW.

Guess what, there are many free Kippah knitting patterns out there, too!  I'll share those with you in my next post.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

What does the Lucky say? (A Foxy Hat)

"Fish goes blub"
Lucky's favorite song is "What does the Fox Say?"  When he was a newborn, I sang this to him at LEAST once a day.  (Less now that he is running around, but I still try to get a few bars out.)  The Pattern Foxy and Wolfie pattern is stunning, and as soon as I saw it I knew that I wanted to make one for Lucky.  The pattern contains really nice instructions for the special techniques (intarisa in the round, picking up wrapped stitches) and even has a photo tutorial.

Orange may not be my favorite color, but I wanted to make a foxy hat for my foxy baby boy.  I picked up some cascade 220 superwash in colors 817 (off white) and 822 (orange) while I was on Mackinac Island visiting my parents.  There was a markup for the choice, but I was happy to pick the exact shade of orange I wanted without having to guess with online pictures.  I want this hat to be perfect!

I swatched on size 5 needles first because I had them with me on the couch already after finishing up Lucky's Owl vest.

The gauge is a little tight.  5 sts/inch rather than the 4.5 sts/inch the pattern calls for.  With this yarn, I don't really want the gauge to be any looser.  If I knit the second hat size (Technically 3-5 year) then it should be 18.4 inches around which would fit lucky.

I cast on 92 sts (3-5 year size) and knit 11 rounds of ribbing to hit 1.5" long.

I completed all 24 rounds of the intarsia as written.  I think the length will be good for Lucky with plenty of room for him to grow into it.  The hat measured about 4.75" at this point.

Ear Shaping.  When picking up the stitches I got the right number by picking up every other stitch.  Hopefully this will look okay.  I completed incorporating the picked up stitches on row #33, a RS row.  I then purled one WS row.  34 rows total.  The link for shadow wraps didn't exist anymore, so I used the following video.  

When binding off stitches, I picked up a few stitches in the corner for the first stitch I would bind off so there wouldn't be a hole at the base of the ear.  I did the same thing with the last stitch.

With the first few stitches of the 3 needle bind off, I began to feel like I was doing something wrong.  OH, with Knit sides FACING each other.  This is the same mistake I made with Lucky's vest!  Well Hmm... In order to do the nose shaping as written I will need to break the yarn and rejoin on the next side.  It seems like that last WS row that I purled may not have been necessary.  We will see if this turns out any better.

So it turns out that by looking at the picture closely on Ravelry, I had it right the first time.  I'm undoing and rejoining at the beginning.  Sigh.  USE THE WS FACING!  to try to hid the purl bump I showed above I knit the MC stitch at the same time as purling the WS stitch.  (sort of how you insert needles during the kitchener stitch.)  I held the yarn between the two needles to accomplish this.

Unlike when I was pregnant, I can now check my progress directly on Lucky's head (10.5 months).  He only pulled out 3 sts as I tried to take this photo. 

Nose Shaping - I didn't know what the chain stitch edge was.  Turns out the instructions are perfect and it is looking great.  No curled edges here.  I added two more rows to the length of the nose, making it 21 rows knit before the bind off.

I secured the bottom of the nose to the top of the ribbing.

I got the Fashion Button 1/2'' Denver Black from  I purchased another set of 3/8" buttons but those were much more spherical than flat.  I think that these flat round buttons will be PERFECT for my little fox.  Maybe next time I would order some that are slightly bigger.  The button on the nose was easy to place because it was secured through two pieces of fabric.  I hat a harder time getting the eyes in the right place but I think it turned out okay in the end.  

We still have to get Lucky other winter gear.  You know, a coat, snow suit etc.  I hope to make a matching pair of mittens, I have plenty of yarn left over.  When we are outside, Lucky is good about keeping this hat on, but he rips it off as soon as we are inside.  

As I'm finishing up this post in October, Lucky has already worn the hat numerous times.  People comment on the hat all the time and seem impressed when I tell them that I made it.  I really love projects that make people smile!  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Lucky Owl Sweater Vest

I wanted to make this Owl Baby sweater vest for Lucky's first winter (back when he was still a chirphead), but I had no idea how big he'd be when he was 3-5 months old.  Now that he is approaching a year old, I know that he is long and lean, and I can fit the vest to him with some room to grow without too much issue.  He is currently wearing 9 month (6-9 month) clothes so I think something labeled 9-12 months will be a perfect fit for this winter.  

I had a ball of Swish DK in Rainforest Heather in my stash left over from when I was selecting colors for my own sweater.  I had ordered swish DK in three different colors, settling on indigo heather for my own sweater.  Last year I ordered a second ball of Rainforest Heather specifically so I could make this vest.  (This becomes important later on.)   On size 4 needles my gauge was 11 sts/2 inches, a little tight so I decided to go up to size 5's.  

Lucas has a 6-9 moth size sweater vest that fits him with room to spare right now.  I liked up my fledgling vest on top of it to see how it was sizing up, and it is definitely bigger, but not TOO huge.  It is nice to have something to compare my work to!  

Notes from construction
  • Size 5 needles for the entire vest
  • 31 knit rows to hit 4" (26 rows stockinette and 5 rows ribbing).
  • WHOOPS!  I did not do the increases on round 1 (2 sts total.)  Ugh... I then made these increases during round 1 of the cable portion.  
  • Initially I had assumed that the cables went all the way around the sweater, but there are only going to be 5 owls on the front of the vest.  
  • After the owl cables, the piece measures just over 6".  
  • I joined ball 2 with a Russian join in the first row after the owls were completed.  (Thankfully this happened on the back side of the vest rather than having a slight bump over the owls.) I chose to do a Russian join rather than a knot with weaving in the ends so it would be less noticeable when the vest stretches over a growing baby boy.
    Almost down with the owl cables, this is turning out the same size as a vest that is baggy on Lucky at 10 months.  
  • WHOOPS!  Instead of joining the vest to the new ball of yarn I joined it to the tail.  At least this isn't too hard to undo.
  • After the owls, I knit 2 rows of stockinette before starting the armhole division.  The commercial vest measures 6" from the hem to the bottom of the arm edging.  At 6.5" this is already longer than the vest he has.  Phew!  
  • Back - 34 rows to get to 12" total.  
  • Front - 1 row before the "count" officially starts.  Row 1 is a WS row.  To end on a RS row it looks like a total of 35 rows will be knit (for my count below).
  • When I finished the left front, I transferred the stitches to another needle and did the 3 needle bind off before starting to knit the Right front.  I could have done a kitchener stitch to graft the two edges together, but I wanted it to be sturdier.
    After the 3 needle bind off with the WS facing together.  I knit the stitch on the front needle, purled the stitch on the back and then passed each stitch over the next.  
  • Ugh.  I just saw that I'm supposed to do this with the RS facing TOGETHER not out, so this should not have the edge I saw up above.  I undid my work and redid the 3 needle bind off.  Now it is sturdy but LOOKS seamless.  (This time p2tog two stitches, 1 from each needle, PSSO.)
I now have something that at least LOOKS like a sweater vest.  

Of course I had to try it on Lucky to make sure the fit was okay.  I've had a BLAST putting WIP's on Lucky this fall.  He seems really intrigued by the hanging yarns.  I bet he can't wait until I need his help unraveling a project to make a rats nest. 

Ugh.  The first version of picking up stitches looks like CRAP.  I think I was not supposed to pick up and knit the stitches around the neck, but pick up and work in ribbing.  The knitting only referred to the back.  Grumbles.  Time to rip it out and try again in the morning.

The following video on picking up stitches just saved my life.  I don't know why I was having so much trouble, it is like I've forgotten how to pick up stitches.

MUCH better.  

Total # of rows:  5 ribbing + 26 stockinette + 18 cable + 2 stockinette + 2 divide arms + {34 back, 35 front}.  You may wonder why I'm keeping track of the rows so diligently... well I hope to be able to do another kind of vest, but we'll see if I have time this year to make it happen!

I picked up 48 sts from the neck (there were 24 sts on back), 68 stitches from Arm 1 and arm 2.

This vest only required light blocking to keep the hems from turning.  I tried it on Lucky and it looks great! There is plenty of room in it right now so I don't need to block it bigger, but I could at a later date if it starts fitting a bit too snug.  I soaked the vest in cool water for 30 min and then laid it flat to dry on a blocking board without pins.

Ending up to be similar size to the 6-9 month vest he has.  It is VERY stretchy so it should accomodate him if he grows a bit. (and if it doesn't fit I"ll have to find a teddy bear to wear it!)  

There is a subtle dye lot shift, but since the yarn is a heathered color I don't think anyone other than me will notice where the ball change happened.  Normally I would have tried to avoid this, but I had a ball of Rainforest Heather in my stash and purchased a second ball a year later so I could make this vest.  I *should* have purchased two new balls to be "perfect" but the dye lot change is really subtle.  (Another way around this would have been to alternate balls of yarn earlier in the project to make the changes more subtle.)  

So Keith picked out the color line... but he claims that it was only because I told him to look for it.  What can you do.  

17 g of ball 2 remain.  81 g, 199 yards of yarn were used in this project.  

I just realized that if I'm going to make another vest for Lucky this winter that I really need to get cracking... and I need to get some yarn... Whoops!