For our handicraft this winter, we decided to learn to knit. I taught myself how to knit and then showed Ceesa and Jo-Jo. They started working on wash cloths and I thought I'd give a bigger project a try. I had read that Gramma Nancy's Hats was a book that was suitable for beginners to advanced knitters, so I thought I'd give it a try.
Nancy Nielsen started making animal hats for the families of those that were in her son-n-law's Navy submarine the USS Alabama. As her hat knitting passion grew, she developed her own patterns and designs for her hats (the hat obsessions came mostly from a pumpkin hat that she was determined to make just right).
To get you started, you have the option of making two types of hats: a rolled-brim hat and an earflap hat. Then there are different animals to choose from...
There are Forest Favorites:
Bear, Beaver, Fox, Owl, Rabbit, and Toad
Monkey, Fish, Lion, Elephant, Panda, and Turtle
and Barnyard Buddies:
Cat, Chicken, Bluebird, Dog, Duck, Lamb, and Pig
There are also directions for making booties and handsies that go along with the hats as well.
There are knitting instructions for...
- knit cast-on
- circular knitting
- knitting in the round on two double-pointed needles
- picking up stitches for ears
- 3-needle bind off
- binding off
- knit stitch
- knit 2 together
- knit 3 together
- knit front & back
- knit through back of loop
- make 1
- make 1 purl
- purl 2 together
- slip 1 stitch
- slip, knit, pass over
- slip, slip, knit
- stranded color knitting
- wrap and turn
- long cast-on tails
- creating a flat ledge
- long ending tails
- stitching a mouth
- assembling a face: snouts, noses, jaws, cheeks, and beaks and bills
I, however, need to see it being worked. A link to www.lionbrand.com is provided that gives helpful video tutorials.
To complete the projects, you need the following materials (exact measurements are provided on page 16):
- circular needles
- set of 5 double-pointed needles
- stitch marker and holder
- yarn needle
- crochet hook
- scissors and serrated knife
- measuring tape or ruler
- Styrofoam balls
- Plastic eyes and noses
- acrylic paint and fingernail polish
- bowl or vase
- hot glue gun and glue sticks
The older kids have animal hats, but Wheel doesn't so he gets my first attempt. He's also the one less likely to complain, if my knitting turns out bad. I decided to try out the ear flap hat (I like my kids' ears to be covered. It gets cold around here!) and a bear seems most appropriate for Wheel.
Since this was my first true knitting project and I've never attempted a hat, I needed to purchase many of the materials as I didn't have any of them on hand. I really wanted wooden needles, so I had to order them online and then wait for them to arrive.
Once I got started, it only took me (knitting in the evenings an hour here and there) about a week and a half to make the hat.
One major catastrophe occurred. I was so disappointed when a knot I made pulled out and the hat started to unravel. I was ready to throw in the towel and give it up. Luckily, I have my Ceesa. She found the loops that were supposed to be tied together and saved the day.
I have been crocheting for a couple of years, but I'd still consider myself a beginner there too. Since I've been doing it longer, I find that I'm so much more comfortable crocheting. So when I had trouble with the I-cord stitch (it was getting too tight), I made the cords by crocheting them instead. And I cheated on the ears and crocheted them too. And while it isn't perfect, I was amazed that I created a hat.
Gramma Nancy says that she wants us to be fearless in changing her patterns and so my bear face is a bit different. I used brown buttons sewn on blue felt. I embroidered a nose and mouth on brown felt. Finally, I sewed the eye felt and nose/mouth felt pieces onto the hat. And....
Wishing you homeschool blessings,
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