Pattern: Knitted Hat

I was working on my Christmas gifts, and I knew I wanted to make hats for some of my family and friends.  I have a ribbed hat pattern that I make most often, but a couple of years ago I had found a pattern that I liked as a woman’s hat.  It just had a softer look to it.  The pattern was really easy and I made myself a hat from that pattern.

The only problem was that when I went to pull that pattern out to make hats this year, I couldn’t find it!  So I made my own pattern.  It’s easy, and all you need are a couple of circular needles.

Woman’s Knitted Hat Pattern

Materials: size 7 circular needle, size 9 circular needle, your choice of yarn (medium weight works well, and I think boucle yarn is best)

Cast 56 stitches onto size 7 needle.  Knit 2, purl 2 around (ribbing) for three inches.

Switch to size 9 needle.  Knit around for one row.  For the next 6 rows, knit around, increasing once per row, resulting in 62 stitches.  Continue knitting around until entire work measures about 9 inches.

(Knit 2, knit 2 together) around.

Knit around.

(Knit 2 together, knit one) around.

Knit around.

Knit 2 together around.

Knit around.

Cut yarn to about 8 inches and draw through the loops.  Pull tight.  On the inside of the hat, weave end of yarn in and secure.

I’ve made three hats like this.  The one I like best is made with a boucle yarn, which is very soft and flexible.  Because the yarn isn’t stiff, the hat has a nicer shape, I think.

The first one pictured is made from basic worsted weight yarn (in black) and some sparkly silver stuff my mother-in-law brought me from Spain.

The second one is made from some random yellow yarn that someone gave me.  It was a remnant at a fabric store, so the original label wasn’t on it.  I’m not sure the details.  It was fuzzy, but a little bit stiff.

The last one is in the purple boucle yarn.  It’s definitely my favorite.  I think it looks the nicest, and it’s the most comfortable to wear.


House of Lords

Usually, our dogs are just called Gracie and Gryffon.

Sometimes they have nicknames like Gryffie-dog and Gracie-girl.  Or Sweetie-pee and Sweetie-poo.  Or when they are in trouble, sometimes we call them by their full names, Gracie Capella and Gryffon Arcturus.

But in the fall, they become Lord and Lady Leafbottom.

Want to know why?

Take a look:

Cozy Warm

The sound and smell of a gas chainsaw brings back memories of childhood for me.

When I was small, my parents heated our home with a wood-burning stove.  They would spend summer and fall preparing for winter by driving to Hoosier National Forest, where my mother’s family owned some land and a cabin, searching out dead trees and fallen wood.  While we kids would play, swinging from gigantic vines over deep ravines, they and some of my aunts and uncles would cut the wood with gas chainsaws and load it into pick up trucks to take back home.

This was before the threat of the Emerald Ash Borer essentially stopped all transport of firewood across county lines.

Once the wood was at home, my dad (and sometimes my mom) would work on splitting the wood with a sledgehammer and some wedges.  They’d stack the wood neatly in various places in the yard so that it was easily accessible.

The wood stove was in the basement, directly beneath one of the bathrooms.  I can remember wearing my red flannel Holly Hobby nightgown and standing in the bathtub, feeling the warmth of the furnace on my bare feet.  That bathroom always seemed to be the warmest place in the house.

Chef and I have a gas furnace in our house, but we do like to use our wood stove as much as possible.  So when some friends had a dead tree and offered us the wood, we snapped it up.

It’s been sitting in our yard for a while, and last week, Chef got a chance to work on cutting it up.

The sound of the chainsaw brought back memories.

The smell of the exhaust mingled with the scent of sawdust took me back to childhood.

Then the sledgehammer and wedges came out.

Isn’t he manly?

Get a load of that FACE!

And while I don’t stand in the bathtub in my red flannel Holly Hobby nightgown anymore, I do like to cuddle up in front of the fire, cozy under a blanket, drinking some tea and reading a book.  Wood heat just feels nicer than the heat from our gas furnace, for some reason.

And the reduced gas bill feels nice, too.

Garden Surprises

I’m continually surprised by our garden.  I just kept thinking that because we started so late and because we’ve not gotten much rain, that we wouldn’t have much produce at all.

But I came home the other day to find a whole basket full of green beans on the kitchen counter!

I mixed half of them into fried rice that I made one evening, and we at the other half as a side dish the next night.  Yum.

The lettuce has been doing quite well, also.  We planted two kinds: Black Seeded Simpson and Buttercrunch.  I think we prefer the Buttercrunch because it’s heartier, and we’ll probably plant more of that next year.

Since it was going to frost the other night, we knew we needed to cover some things and bring other items inside.  So we’ve got a bowl full of green tomatoes, too.

There are a couple of tomatoes big enough to make Fried Green Tomatoes, I think.  Chef suggested making a green tomato salsa with the little ones.

Plus, Chef pointed out to me that we’ve got some little broccolis growing, and the turnips look like they are doing very well.  So maybe I was wrong when I said that we didn’t save any money on our groceries this year.  We’re really getting a lot more produce than I thought.

And that extra money?  Toward the debt, of course.

Silly Eddie

This is Eddie.

Eddie sits on our bed.

Eddie is very silly.  Sometimes, when I come home from work, Eddie is standing on his head…

or wearing my pajamas…

or trying on Chef’s hat.

Recently, he had his right foot wrapped up and he was sitting in my GameReady, imitating me.

Sometimes, being silly wears Eddie out, and he sleeps all day.

Silly Eddie.


Chef and I didn’t plant anything in the back garden until the last day of June.  (We did get tomato plants in the front before that.)  We had hoped we’d still get some fruit from our endeavors, but we were realistic about it and didn’t expect anything much.

We did get cucumbers.

And lettuce.

But aside from the tomatoes, that’s about all we got.  It’s not looking promising for pumpkins this year.  The butternut squash haven’t done anything.  We got a few radishes, but since we don’t really like radishes and planted them only because our friend told us that French Breakfast Radishes are AMAZING, I’m not too excited about the radishes that we got because I found them less than amazing.  The broccoli, eggplant, and collard greens didn’t do anything.  I haven’t dug up any turnips, but they don’t look as if there are actual turnips under there.  The beans didn’t have enough time to do anything.

It didn’t help that we haven’t had rain for what seems like at least a whole month.  Chef was diligent about watering the garden, but rain is better, and we just didn’t have any.

But next year, we’ll be ready.  The plots are already dug up, so we won’t have to do that.  Our compost is started, so we’ll get that mixed in for more nutrients in the soil.  We’ll have a better idea of what we want to plant and we’ll get our seeds early.  Next year, I’m hoping for a much better crop.

Baby Flies and Brute Force

So we’ve got this nifty compost barrel that Chef rigged up.

We’ve been diligently putting our food scraps into it.  Carrot peels, egg shells, tomato stems, banana peels, apple cores.  But we have noticed that there have been an awful lot of fruit flies around the barrel, and when we open the hatch to put scraps inside, we’d better have our mouths closed unless we want a little fly snack to flutter into our mouths.

In fact, one day I went ot put in some scraps, and found the outside of the barrel populated with baby flies.  I’m calling them “baby flies” because the word “maggots” is really disgusting, but that’s what they were.  And they were really disgusting.  Chef read the reason for our fly infestation in a magazine called Organic Gardening.  Compost is supposed to have a certain ratio of “greens” to “browns.”  The greens, which include food scraps, have a lot of nitrogen in them.  The browns, which include dead leaves, grass clippings, and newspaper, have carbon.  We’d been adding only greens and not enough browns.  We need more carbon for the compost to really heat up the way it’s supposed to and truly compost.  Chef added some newspaper and we’re on the lookout for other browns.  When autumn comes, we’ll have a better supply, but there aren’t a lot of dead leaves around right now.

However, we did add some dirt.  I’m not sure what that’s supposed to do (is there carbon in dirt?) and I’m sure Chef explained it to me, but the information left my head like an 18-year-old leaves school on the last day of the year.  The problem now is that the barrel is so heavy that, even with my amazing strength and physical prowess, I am unable to turn the silly thing.  Thankfully, Chef is a manly man and turned it the other day.  He said, though, that he’s beginning to understand the wisdom in the composters with gears, because less brute force is needed to turn the containers.

We’ll get the hang of this composting thing eventually.  This year is our practice year.

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