The Captain A Hat

With the leftover yarn I had from my last hat project, I decided to do a Captain America “A” Hat, modeled from the movie during the WWII scenes. I did a 100 stitch flat knitted hat on #7 metal needles using Dark Horse Fantasy Yarn from Crazy Girl Yarn Shops. With this project, I had to use intarsia, so I got to learn that as well. Once the hat was complete, my wife helped me learn how to seam it up and then finish off the strings left over from the intarsia.


The Captain Hat

And now presenting, The Captain Hat! Based on the same pattern design as the Harry Potter beanie (see Astromech Companion post), I did a 104 stitch-around-sized hat on #8 wooden needles using Dark Horse Fantasy Yarn from Crazy Girl Yarn Shops. My wife, m0mmacat, had to assist me in the last portion as I’m not that good at doing the decreases and color changes necessary to complete the star pattern. It was modeled from the shield design that Captain America wields.

I think it came out just fine.

Ravelry Project Link


The Astromech Companion

My wife purchased a skein of yarn for me as a birthday gift from Haldecraft entitled Astromech Droid. After not much deliberation at all, we decided a knitted cap would be a good second project choice. From the pages of Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter, we chose the House Hat pattern.

My wife helped me learn the longtail cast on, and I swatched a sample to measure to ensure accurate stitch counts.

After the swatch was done, I cast on using #6 wooden needles and did 96 stitches. So far, the ribbing is complete, and I’m starting my knit rows to build up the top of the hat. I’m looking forward to the end, even though it’s May in Florida. Where the heck am I going to wear a wool hat this time of year?

Here’s a link to the Ravelry project page.

Update 05/28/2012: The Astromech Companion is finished!


And now for something completely different…

Today on, we go to knitting class!

Yes dear readers, I have jumped into the pool and have imbibed the Kool-Aid. I decided to take a knitting class at my local Arts and Crafts center of learning, Sew Make Do. It is a two night class, taught over two weeks. The class is taught by a good friend, Sharon. I met Sharon through my wife, and both my wife and Sharon are expert knitters. Sharon is also a fantastic seamstress, as is my wife.

Sew Make Do is a very nice little studio in my hometown that holds all sorts of craft classes. The classes are mostly sewing, but they also encourage other craft classes as well, including knitting. The studio was very well lit, clean, and sparsely decorated, which implied that the important focus was on the particular craft being taught. I was pleased to note that a lot of the furniture was IKEA (my favorite). The proprietor of the shop was very personable, kind, and offered beverages as we arrived.

On the first night, we were given a ziploc bag filled with a ball of yarn and a pair of knitting needles, size 6. Since I arrived WAY too early (which is typical), I got to choose the color of yarn.

The rest of my classmates (not surprisingly all female) arrived in short order, and we all settled in for class. Sharon, our instructor, began by talking a little bit about knitting in general. She then showed us how to cast on, after describing a few basic details about how to actually hold the needles while knitting. The styles, English or Continental, can roughly equate to comfort while knitting and help aid right vs left-handed people (Sharon stated Continental was more comfortable for left-handed people). We were being taught the English method, but she showed us an example of Continental.

After the preliminaries, it was announced we’d be knitting simple square coasters, and Sharon showed us an example of what our coaster will look like when complete (using the garter stitch), along with an example of stockinette stitch as well to give us an idea of an alternate way to knit.

After we completed a row, with Sharon wandering around guiding each of us through our first 20 stitches or so, we proceeded onto the next row. Sharon helped each of us through the steps and said we all did really well for first-timers. None of us were dropping stitches badly or making gross errors, and I think that’s a compliment to Sharon’s very patient teaching style. She asked us to make sure that we had 20 stitches at the end of each row, to ensure we weren’t dropping stitches, which is a good double check for accuracy.

We did a few more rows and then it was 8PM, and time for class to wrap up. Our homework was to finish our coaster (and do more if we wanted), but making sure to check for square by folding the coaster diagonally every so often. When it makes two perfect triangular halves, we have a square.

Next week we will be learning how to bind off our coaster, and then how to purl (which I’m not sure I can even explain yet).

All in all, I had a wonderful first time knitting. In all truth, I had learned the basics with my wife teaching me, but I promptly forgot how after not practicing regularly. I will make sure to keep my hand in by working on regular projects, and I hope to get into socks, scarves, and other nifty things as I learn.

And before I forget, I finally get to join Ravelry, which is a fantastic site for all things knitting. I felt strange joining Ravelry before I started knitting, so now I get to join the exclusive club too. Here’s the link to the project I worked on for class: Coaster Mk. I


Field Notes American Tradesman Edition

While this is not really a review per se, I wanted to take this opportunity to express my thanks for a great product that I enjoy everyday. I use them for many things. Notes, lists, drawings, and technical information I need to remember.

I just recently was able to get back into my shop and was very pleased to find out that this summer brought an offering from Field Notes, purveyors of fine notebooks (and other goodies). They release a “colors” edition periodically that has some nifty design apart from their usual brown notebooks (which are great in their own right). I’ve bought a number of them over the past year or two, and I even tried to make it to their Chicago office while I was up there for training (alas, it was not to be as they were closed).

This time around, Field Notes featured an American Tradesman Edition. It is a “corrugated-ish” blue heavy stock cover, with metallic lettering. The inside is full of graph paper. It included a special carpenters pencil and instructions on how to sharpen the pencil.

I saw this pack, and had to get it. It was right up my alley, since I’m a hobbyist woodworker, and of course from time to time need to draw sketches of what I’m building. And I ALWAYS need a good pencil for measuring.

I have used my Field Notes for various things in my hobby. One particular instance was building a simple water play device I found online called the Kidwash. I built in some modifications to it, and donated it to my son’s school for their summer camp and “Splash Days”. Here’s a shot of how I used the Field Notes. Field Notes helped me keep the material list straight.

So I received my Field Notes American Tradesman Edition just in time for this weekend and “Shop Time” (as I call it). I had some time today to prepare the pencil as per the instructions, and get my book ready for the next project.

I started by laying out everything I needed. I just used a simple razor knife to do the cutting. After starting to cut the tip on the skinny side first, I then proceeded to the wide side, and then finished the tip. Here’s a close-up. The book looks good with Teak. And it is Bob the Builder approved (yes, my wife insisted I should have Bob the Builder curtains when I first built my shop in the garage).

I haven’t used the book yet, but my next project is in the planning stages, and I’ll be using my new notebook for specifically that. My son needs Lego cabinets to store our Legos, and when I say “ours” I mean 30+ years of Legos that were mine, and now his.

UPDATE (7/10/11): I started the Lego cabinets this weekend, and of course, started using my Field Notes American Tradesman Edition. Here’s an overview of the project, including my Field Notes in action.

If you want to see more of my work, the various project details are on this website and of course on my Picasa albums.

Thanks again for a wonderful product. I really enjoy using my notebooks. I look forward to the new designs you’ll come up with.