Smorgasbord Sundays: I Knit! Do You?

Knitting for Dummies Book & Knitting ProjectWhen I was in elementary school, my mother taught me how to knit and crochet. She’s a whiz at both, and when she was pregnant with me, she made blankets, sweaters, cardigans, scarves, and you name it…hehe, just not hats. She no longer knits or crochets – her vision’s really bad.

Unfortunately, I’ve completely forgotten how to crochet, but throughout the years, I keep going back to knitting. I’m more comfortable having 2 needles instead of just 1, but I suppose with more practice, I’d get used to it.

About 5 years ago, I bought a big set of bamboo circular needles on eBay. I don’t own a single crochet hook. (That’s about to change, though, because I saw cool YouTube tutorials on pom-pom scarves! I’ll link to it and other knitting and crocheting videos at the bottom of this post in case you want to try any.)

Knitting scarves is really relaxing and extremely easy to do.Β I’ve made a few basic scarves and one insane scarf made out of shiny,Β variegatedΒ monster-fur-type yarn.

This Christmas, I wanted to knit something for my boyfriend. Conveniently, he didn’t have a good winter hat, so I knew right away what to make.

However, I had my work cut out for me because I had never made a hat, let alone done any knitting in the round. (I always use circular needles, but all my projects up to this point had been K1, P1 basic, flat, rectangular scarves.)

So I looked up a free simple hat pattern online,Β referred to my Knitting for Dummies book, did research on YouTube when I got confused or made mistakes, and checked out knitting forums for tips.

In today’s Smorgasbord Sundays post, I’m going to show you the two types of wool I bought to make the hat for him and a scarf for myself. I’ll also share with you photos of my projects in progress. (The hat is pretty much completed, though. I just need to tie the end, and it’s good to go.)

One of my friends introduced me to a knitting store that has aisles and aisles of yarn everywhere. It was such an experience seeing a knitter’s paradise.

It was incredible seeing so many different colours, types of yarn, and even a wall full of needles. It made me feel like a kid in a candy store! So…obviously, I’ll be going back soon, especially since I want to make a pom-pom scarf.

Here’s the yarn I chose for the hat. I bought 3 balls of it, but I really only needed one. (With the extra 2 balls, I’m going to knit myself a thin circle scarf in moss stitch, probably.)

It’s Rowan Pure Wool DK – 50 grams/136 yards. Shade: 021 and Lot: 8148. It’s made in Romania.

Christmas Knitting Project Using Rowan Pure Wool DK Yarn

Yes, it’s a geese-poop kind of green – my favourite colour for nail polish. Believe it or not, this is also my boyfriend’s favourite colour when it comes to his clothing! Two swampy-green peas in a pod. πŸ˜‰

When picking yarn, I made sure to choose 100% wool so that it’s warm and has natural elasticity. It’s super soft, and not itchy or scratchy at all.

Here’s what it looks like up close:

Swampy Green Wool for Knitting My First Hat

I had to use a US 6 (4 mm) circular needle for this knitting project. It’s the smallest needle I’ve ever worked with – most of my projects called for US 7 needles.

Check out the following progress photos!

This is what it started out looking like in the beginning:

Starting to Knit a Hat

Here, I’ve knitted the brim (shown unfolded) and just started working on the actual part above the brim:

Knitting a Beginner Winter Hat

Starting to Knit a Winter Hat

Starting to Knit an Easy Winter Hat

The little blue ring you see on the left is a stitch marker. I had to keep track of the beginning of each round. As I completed each row, I moved the marker up.

A closer look at stitch markers:

Clover Split Ring Knitting Markers & Christmas Knitting Projects

I’m almost done the hat. I just need to thread the yarn through and tie it.

Green Hat I Knitted

Handmade Green Knitted Hat

The hat isn’t actually as long as it looks. I didn’t pull the brim up as much as I could because I wanted to show off more of the hat instead of the brim. (Funnily enough, the brim was more challenging than the rest of it, even the increasing-stitch and decreasing-stitch rows! This was also the first project that I’ve ever had to increase or decrease stitches.)

Here’s a closer look at the part that’s all just knitting (no purling) for every single row:

Handmade Green Knitted Hat Close-up

In case any of you are curious, here’s a link to the free downloadable hat pattern I used. (I used smaller needles and yarn with a smaller gauge than what was recommended, though. It still turned out great!)

Now, I mentioned that I’m also working on a scarf, but for myself. In the store, I didn’t have any colours in mind. I wanted to just see some yarn and then be inspired to use it.

This is the skein that inspired me.

I just love how chunky it is! It’s called “Misti Alpaca Qolla Chunky” and is 20% Baby Alpaca and 80% Merino Wool (Colour: QC06 Frida and Lot: 18084 – 100 grams/109 yards). It’s made in Peru.

Misti Alpaca Qolla Chunky Yarn for Knitting Christmas Scarf Project

I like how there’s green, brown, burgundy, mauve, cream, and other colours.

Misti Alpaca Qolla Chunky Yarn Knitting a Scarf for Beginners

Misti Alpaca Qolla Chunky Yarn Knitting an Easy Scarf for Beginners

I just had to show you what it looks like even closer up!

Misti Alpaca Qolla Chunky Yarn for Knitting Christmas Scarf Project Close-up

Misti Alpaca Qolla Chunky Yarn Close-up

The little white ‘hairs’ are part of the yarn. It made the scarf look fluffy and soft.

Scarf I Made

Knitting a Scarf Using Wool

Scarf I Knitted

Close-up of Handmade Knitted Scarf

As promised, here are links to some great knitting and crocheting resources:

As mentioned, I also bought the Knitting for Dummies book to help me out. You can find it online and at many bookstores.

Knitting for Dummies Book & Knitting Project

So…do you knit or crochet? If so, what are some things that you’ve made? If not, what would you want to make if you learned?


54 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Sundays: I Knit! Do You?

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Ashesela!

      It’s definitely a really fun hobby. After not knitting for 2 years, I just had to get back into it. It’s really rewarding to make something that you can wear, especially. Plus it makes those long public-transportation commutes whiz right by.

  1. karen

    You did great!

    Love the colors that you chose, too.

    The women in our family have always done knitting and crochet. My grandmother could just look at something and knit a duplicate without even using patterns. Unfortunately, it’s not a talent that fell down to me (my talents lend themselves to baking) but I still sit in awe of those who can knit and crochet and love seeing what y’all create.

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey karen!

      Thanks! πŸ™‚ I hope to push myself to try harder projects. In the past, I just always knitted basic scarves…actually, and also an iPod sock, which I forgot to mention in the post.

      I really admire people like your grandmother who are so incredible at knitting/crocheting that they can replicate a piece without a pattern! πŸ˜€

      Mmm…talent in the baking arena sounds mighty good, too. *Gets hungry for cookies, cakes, and cupcakes* πŸ˜‰

  2. Jennifer

    Wow, such a coincidence that you’re talking about knitting and crochet!!! I’ve had an URGE to crochet for the past week!!! I know how to know and crochet, but just the basic… As in doing a long never-ending rectangle… I don’t even know how to finish my work. πŸ™ I plan on buying a book during my holiday break, because even on the Internet or Youtube, I can’t find enough informations. If you have any good website/book, I would love to know about them! πŸ˜€

    Have a wonderful Sunday!
    Jennifer recently posted: Random fact of the day #5

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Jennifer!

      The “For Dummies” series of books are pretty good if you just want to know the basics and build up your skills, but I had to supplement it with YouTube videos because I need visuals when it comes to this kind of work.

      The links at the bottom of the post are what I’ve found really helpful. But, really, whenever I get stuck (i.e. if I need more information than what the “For Dummies” book provided, I just google the step on YouTube to see.)

      What are you planning to make? And do you know what kind of yarn you want to play with?

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey mellinail!

      Thanks! πŸ™‚ I’m having so much fun with that chunkier yarn – so much so that I want to buy some ridiculously bulkier yarn and knit with that. (I may actually buy those insanely large red jumbo-sized knitting needles I joked about when we went to the store! If anything, I just think it would be fun AND funny to pull those suckers out…Small woman with gigantic knitting needles…hehe!

      Once I was able to figure out how to read patterns, how to decrease/increase stitches, how to join while knitting in the round, and that I needed 16-inch circular needles instead of the much-longer ones I already had, it whizzed by. Hehe, but all of the issues I mentioned actually made me step on the brakes quite a bit as I had to do more researching. And the more I read on blogs and saw on YouTube, the more things I wanted to make! πŸ˜›

      I’m looking forward to seeing pictures of your projects…or seeing them in person. πŸ˜€ I’ve never tried colour-blocking, so it’s intriguing. Sounds like it’s tricky!

  3. Jessica

    That hat looks great! I personally just crochet. I tried to teach myself to knit at one point, but I’m not coordinated enough for 2 needles, haha. I’ve found what works really well for me is starting with small projects and working my way up. And having a really good reference book handy! I can now crochet coasters, pot holders, cell phone holders, scarves, and I just made a toy fish for my kitty for Christmas :). Any type of needlework is very addicting, and rather relaxing as well. It’s really awesome to see something you’re making slowly take form.

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Jessica!

      Thank you! πŸ™‚ I may update this post later after Christmas when I can snap a photo of my boyfriend wearing his new hat. We’ll see if he lets me publish it, though.

      It’s funny that you say that you’re not coordinated enough for 2 needles. I actually find crocheting with one needle harder and that I’m not coordinated enough to do it well. (But I’ll practice.) With 2 needles, for some reason, it just feels more secure and comfortable…but it could just be that I’m used to knitting more.

      Oh my gosh! Your toy fish sounds amazing. I would LOVE to make one. Do you happen to have a link to the pattern? Or is it your own pattern that you can share with me? It just sounds so cute – lucky cat! Even I want one!

  4. Kristina K

    So funny you wrote about that! Myself, I have started to crochet since doing things like sewing, knitting does run in the family. Alot of my friends also does it, so I have bought a book and forced my friends to teach me. I am no where near their level, but still, fun!

    I love this blog!

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Kristina!

      It’s nice to see skills like this being passed down from generation to generation. πŸ™‚ I find it very comforting, and I’m glad that you also enjoy DIY projects like this!

      What are the current crocheting projects you’ve been working on? And do you know what else you want to make?

      Thanks for visiting. Hope you’ll stop by again soon.

  5. Debi

    I don’t remember the year my mother tried to teach me to knit. I remember only that I could not keep the tension smooth and my hands were raw from the yarn being pulled so tightly.
    I put down the knitting needles.

    Age 15-ish … I have a boyfriend. He likes knitted scarves. I do it all again. And … I could not keep the tension smooth and my hands were raw from the yarn being pulled so tightly.
    I gave him the scarf and put down the knitting needles.

    Age 30-ish … I have a daughter. She likes knitted scarves. I do it all again. And … I could not keep the tension smooth and my hands were raw from the yarn being pulled so tightly.
    I gave her the scarf and put down the knitting needles.

    Age 40-ish … I have a husband. He likes knitted scarves.

    You see where this is going, right?

    Thankfully, the husband wears the scarf and we wash it so it’s clean. But I’m done. No more knitting needles!

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Debi!

      Haha, I just loved reading your knitting timeline! πŸ˜€ The fact that you struggled, but still put in all that effort for the people you love says a great deal about your character – you’re very generous and kind-hearted.

      So you’re done with knitting, you say. But I think there’s going to be a new line: “Age 50-ish or Age 60-ish … I like knitted scarves. I do it all again. And … I get the tension smooth and my hands never get raw from the yarn.” πŸ˜‰

  6. rae

    i’ve been a knitter almost my entire life, but very seriously for the last 12 years or so- im’ guessing the big yarn ship you went to was romni wools? such an overwhelming and amazing store. you should also check out lettuce knits in kensington. adorable little shop with great staff! if you ever have any questions, i’m so happy to help. knitting rules!
    rae recently posted: My First Tutorial is LIVE! (plus The Daily Nail- CYMK Dots)

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey rae!

      Yes, that was the store! πŸ™‚ I’ll definitely have to go see Lettuce Knits one day. And thank you for being really supportive – I’m pretty sure I’ll tap that lifeline when I get stuck on a project in the future. (It’s so much better asking for help from a friendly person than just YouTubing it, which is what I’ve had to do a lot.)

      1. Mary Post author

        More options! πŸ˜€ YAY!

        I recently checked out another store – Passion Knit. It’s a really small store, but they had lots of fun yarns there, too. (I must go back to Romni Wools, though…That place was like WHOA! They might just have to kick me out of the store when they close….haha!)

  7. maddy

    I’ve always wanted to knit but I don’t know how to. When I was around 7, I ordered a kit from Scholastic which included yarn, sticks and a step by step booklet about how to knit and differnet techniques and projects. I couldn’t understand anything and my parents didn’t know how to knit so they couldn’t help me much. My parents later bought be a weaving loom for Christmas and I did much better with that. I made bookmarks, scarves and placemats. When I moved to Canada, the first school I went to, every girl in my class knew how to knit but me. After a year at that school, I moved to a different school because we found a house in that neighborhood and no one in my grade knew how to knit at all. Several girls in my class loved nail polish so I got into it too! My best friends all love or like nail polish so we go over and paint our nails together. I still want to knit.

      1. Mary Post author

        Hey maddy!

        Thank you so much! πŸ˜€

        The scarf took about 2 hours so far to get it to that point. I haven’t devoted much time to it since my main priority was the hat for my boyfriend. (Needed to get it done by Christmas.) The hat took me about 7 hours or so…If I made another hat, I think I could whip it up in 2 hours. Most of the time I spent on the hat was researching new techniques (since I never made any hat before) and also just figure out how to read knitting patterns!

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey maddy!

      Major kudos for trying to knit at such a young age. I think I was 9 or 10 when I first gave it a go.

      Even the best books can be hard to follow for this type of project. It really helps if you can see a person demonstrate it…at least it does for me because with knitting, I’m very visual.

      One of my best friends in elementary school had a weaving loom – her mom’s job was actually teaching people with disabilities to use the weaving looms as therapy! And her mom had one at home and taught me how to use it. I remember going to her house every day after school to hang out with my best friend, yes, but also to devote 30 minutes to the loom. Hehe, my friend was so bored of the loom, and she often had to literally grab my arm and pull me away from it so that we could hang out properly. πŸ˜› (Even to this day, I want to buy a loom so badly.)

      Wow, I’m shocked that so many of your classmates knew how to knit. I think just one of my friends from elementary school knew how to knit! And in high school, none of my friends knitted or even talked about it. Then in university, I just didn’t talk about it. Then when I started working, I found one co-worker who knit regularly, so we connected for a while…until she became a terrible co-worker. Haha! (But I don’t need to get into that.)

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Madeline!

      Awesome! πŸ˜€ Hehe, the one great thing about knitting is being able to customize your projects.

      I would love to make a beret for myself…a slouchy kind. Have you tried making any of those?

  8. Melissa

    The only time I’ve really knit anything was back when I was in girl scouts and we had to knit a scarf as one of our tasks. I did get a tad frustrated when I didn’t know how to do it, but once I got the hang of it, it was pretty fun. I actually still have the scarf, it’s a mixture of pink, purple, and blue. It even has these little pocket things on the end of the scarf for my hands to keep them warm. Besides that, I really don’t knit but it was fun when I did it. I can see why people like it so much.
    Melissa recently posted: Color Club Lumin-Icent

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Melissa!

      The colour combination of your scarf sounds really pretty! πŸ™‚ Cool idea for pockets at the bottom, too. I’d like to knit a scarf that has a hood already attached and then sew on some little cat ears.

  9. Marta

    Tell me sweet Mary, is there anything your lovely fingers don’t do? You model nail polish on your nails so splendidly and now this! You are a woman of many talents! I wish I knew how to knit… you can buy everything already made in the stores, but it always lacks that extra personalized touch. I bet your boyfriend will love his hat! Now like I said, I don’t know anything about knitting but those stitches looked PERFECT!!!!! (in the one closeup photo)… are you using your new camera for this post!?
    Loooovely post as usual… now what will next week’s Sunday post bring!?

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Marta!

      Well…My fingers can’t whistle. Actually, neither can my mouth/lips. πŸ˜› But they can snap…my fingers, that is, not my mouth. πŸ˜‰

      You can learn how to knit very easily. As long as you have visuals (it’s crucial), you can get the hang of it. And when you just learn the first two basic stitches – knitting and purling…as well as casting on and off, you can already make a lot of cool things! You should try if you have time. πŸ™‚

      Aww…thank you – I tried to get the stitches to look even. He’ll be wearing it on his head, after all. Hehe! I wouldn’t want him to walk around advertising a newbie knitter’s mistakes.

      Yes, I used the new camera! πŸ˜€ Still trying out new functions and having a blast with it. I really love it because when I use the flash, it’s not as harsh as my point-and-shoot’s flash. And my new camera can capture things well in low light that my old camera could never. Very impressed! Of course, there’s still a learning curve that I have to venture along to improve my skills as an amateur photographer. πŸ™‚

  10. Brandi

    Yay! Always wonderful to see another knitter in love with nail polish! I’m on Ravelry myself, as Lunarius. There’s a group of very friendly, warm and wonderful (as well as a little lewd and very silly) people on Rav that also love nail polish; we gather together in a group called LSG Gets Nailed. As a member I welcome you (if you aren’t already with us), and if we’re not your cup of tea that’s totally fine too. πŸ˜€

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Brandi!

      Sounds like my kind of people! πŸ™‚ I’ll be sure to check it out in more detail soon. Thank you for the warm welcome! I have no idea that there was even such a group – sounds fun.

  11. Emily Jurow

    My boyfriend and I are like you and your boyfriend with the swampy green, but our color is dark gray.
    We both love dark gray clothing- we somehow always end up wearing it on the same days, and I love dark gray nail polish and eye makeup.
    Emily Jurow recently posted: Blue and Gold Nails

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Emily!

      Hehe, that’s cute! It’s fun when you love the same colour, and it’s funny when you wind up wearing the same colour on the same day. πŸ˜‰

  12. Sarah Azizah

    i’m still learning, but didn’t have much time, so there’s no improve, i still can’t yet πŸ™
    great job dear! i like that Misty yarn..
    i always want to make a scarf for for boyfriend..
    wish i can have more time next year πŸ˜€

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Sarah!

      The Misty yarn also came in a green that changed from light to dark. I almost got that one, but there were more colours in this one. (I’m thinking about going back for the green and making something else with it…)

      He’d love it if you did. πŸ™‚ Yes, it’s best to plan ahead!

  13. KnitMaster (Janet)

    Great job! One hint, just use piece of yarn tied into a loop or a ring type stitch marker. When you get to the end of a round, just slip the loop and knit on. No need to physically move the marker up every row!

      1. KnitMaster (Janet)

        You can call me Janet! I’ve lost so many of those little things over the years and I find the little yarn ones all over my house! LOL

        1. Mary Post author

          It’s funny you mention that – I lost one marker at my mom’s place and only found it recently. There’s so small and easy to misplace.

          Okay, I’ll call you Janet. πŸ™‚ But it’s just so fun to call you KnitMaster!

          1. KnitMaster (Janet)

            If you insist! LOL And if you ever see someone knitting on the beach with a shellac mani, it’s probably me!

  14. CupK8

    I love that you are also a knitter! I think knitting and nail polish particularly compliment each other – I can show off my fabulous nails while knitting fabulous stitches! πŸ˜‰

    I adore Ravelry! So many fun patterns, and I’ve learned so much. I find it a lot easier to improvise with crocheting than knitting – I feel like there is less planning, even if that may not be true.

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey CupK8!

      I agree with you – knitting is a great way to show off your nails. πŸ™‚ And it gives me more of an excuse to stare at my own…hehe! πŸ˜‰

  15. Nicole

    i only fake knit using looms but it is fun! I’ve made some hats and scarves and a major oopsie super-too-long-and-bulky scarf that my little dog sleeps on. Haha. I really like your scarf, the yarn is colorful yet muted and would look nice with lots of jackets. πŸ™‚ Good work! Oh- AND I knitted my husband a beer can cover! And… He actually loved it! Haha.
    Nicole recently posted: What do guys like? French tips!

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Nicole!

      I REALLLLY want to get a loom to make a huge blanket! I don’t think that’s fake knitting at all – a lot of hard work goes into it from what I’ve seen on YouTube.

      Hehe, and your dog’s lucky to have that plush new scarf! πŸ˜‰

      Cool – I never thought to knit a beer can cover, but I can see how your husband would find it really handy! Good idea!

  16. Carmela

    Yay, a post on knitting! I’ve been really interested in taking it up as it looks relatively easy and portable (ie, it can be done on the go, anywhere, everywhere!). Plus, I loved how awesome it was that my niece came into the world fully equipped for winter with hand knitted jackets, sweaters, baby blankets, mittens and booties. Her grandmas were busy! πŸ™‚ I’m still mulling it over as I have a tendency to take up new hobbies but not really follow thru. πŸ˜› Like when I took up cross stitching, tatting, embroidery and others.

    PS. I thought this was funny (maybe you can make a pair, too? :D):
    Carmela recently posted: Zoya Isla is the one red to rule them all.

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Carmela!

      I love how your niece was showered with awesome hand-knit garments! πŸ™‚ She’s one lucky girl having such sweet grandmas!

      There’s no rush to dive into knitting. Maybe just look into some free patterns online and mull over what kind of yarn you’d use. Then, when you really want to take the plunge, at least you’ll be prepared. πŸ™‚

      Hahahha, those little hats for the tops of your ears are HILARIOUS! It would be funny if I made two of those to match the hat I made for my boyfriend. They could be little gag gifts!

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Zel!

      You can! If you can crochet, I think you’ll be able to take up knitting readily. (I actually think crocheting is harder. There’s just something about having two needles with knitting that makes it seem more comfortable in my hands. But I want to try crocheting soon.)

  17. Denise F

    I tried learning how to knit from my grandma and that was one of her talents that I could never pick up. Maybe this book would help me this time >.<

    1. Mary S. Post author

      Hey Denise!

      You can also try watching some YouTube videos. I found them to be very helpful because you can do ‘knit-alongs’. Sometimes visuals and videos can make the instructions easier to understand. That’s the way it was for me!


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