Hats Off!

At the beginning of the month one of my Craft Night friends and her sister-in-law planned a trip to a LYS called Common Thread Saratoga.  Carole (the sis-in-law) found this yarn shop in Saratoga, NY and thought it was different and knowing my friends yarn crafting habits, thought bringing her up there to buy her birthday and Christmas presents would be fun.  I tagged along in the hopes of finding some yummy yarn.  I can count the time I’ve used the really expensive and awesome yarns on well one finger!…pretty much all of the yarn in my stash is acrylic or wool/acrylic combined.  Not that there’s anything wrong with acrylic.  It’s great for items that need frequent washing  or things that are difficult to wash like baby blankets, large blankets and sweaters.  It’s just not yummy yarn!

While we were in the shop I fell in love with this Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Chunky (100% baby alpaca) yarn.  Oh. My. God!  This yarn is so soft and squishy and, like the clerk said, it’s like knitting with a cloud!  I didn’t have a particular pattern in mind when I set foot in the shop, but one of their display hats caught my eye and I was in love.  It was a bulky snowboarder earflap hat with braids.  It was exactly what I was looking for!  I ended up purchasing the pattern (at around $5.50) and 2 skeins of the alpaca yarn (at $22 a skein!) in a variegated green called Midsummer’s Night (CP25) that matches the bright green of my winter coat.  I’ve never bought yarn that cost that much…much less 2 skeins of it!  Thank goodness for credit cards! lol

I had to wait about a week before I could start on the hat for myself…I had to finish the project on my circulars before I could start anything new.  I have a set of Boye interchangeable circulars and I was using the smallest length for a scarf that is a Christmas presents for one of Bug’s teachers.  I also had to pick up a set of size 15 dpns and I ended up going up to the other LYS called Trumpet Hill because Joann’s (despite me having a 50% off coupon) just doesn’t carry needles that big.

I finished the scarf on Thursday the 8th (I’ll post about those Christmas presents later) and started the Snowboarder Hat (for Everyone) on Friday.  I was worried that I wasn’t going to have enough yarn since the pattern calls for 130 yards of super bulky yarn and together the 2 skeins of Misit Alpaca were only 110 yards and only bulky, so I would have to hold them together to get gauge.   I figured worse case scenario I’d go back up to Trumpet Hill to get a contrasting color in the baby alpaca they carry for the border and braids.  Turns out I had nothing to worry about.  The hat is such a quick knit and the alpaca was like knitting with a warm fuzzy cloud.  The only downside is that it shed quite a bit, but I didn’t mind!   I ended up making the braids holding the yarn single stranded rather than doubled and I’m sure that saved me a bit of yardage at the end.  I actually love how it came out!  I wish I had more of the yarn leftover so I could make a matching scarf or some mittens.  It’s the most expensive (and luxurious) hat I’ve ever owned.  Seriously, I’d never buy a hat that cost nearly $44 bucks in a store!  It cost as much as (if not more than) the 2 new pairs of jeans I bought last month!  I’m looking forward to wearing it every chance I get this winter!

I seriously loved the pattern so much that before I was done making mine, I bought yarn to make more and I’ve made it twice since!  Once for Bug and again for Fidget.  Bug's HatI picked up some Lion Brand Home Town USA yarn in Cinncinati Red and Oakland Black at Wal*Mart for less than $3 a skein when I had to buy a replacement Christmas tree stand for out 8 year old one that cracked.  Two Skeins of Red and one black was enough for me to make 2 hats and have enough left over to probably make one more child size one.  Bug’s hat is red with a black edging and red and black braids (that’s the one that’s pictured).  Fidget’s took some modification to make it sized down for an 18 month old, but I did it (the mods are written on my Rav project page) and it’s also red with black edging and has black braids (mostly so I can quickly tell which hat is which.)  Now if I can just get Fidget to keep it on his head when we go outside!  lol

Since pretty much everyone in my family has new hats, (except Darling Hubby who has a perfectly good earflap hat (not made by me!  GASP!)) I think it’s time to go through all the hats in storage and wash and donate the ones we really don’t need.  I know I have at least 2-3 hats and a couple scarves that I haven’t worn in forever…Guess it’s in with the new and out with the old.

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I’m Thankful For…

This week was spent mostly with my little family of 4.  Darling Hubby had the week off from work and Bug had Wednesday through Friday off from school.  Darling Hubby, Fidget and I did a little Christmas and clothes shopping on Tuesday and on Wednesday I went to Bug’s Parent Teacher Conference.  I’m thankful for my sweet, sensitive, and super smart six year old.

Thursday we made the 2.5 hour drive to visit with our parents and Darling Hubby’s Grandpa and various Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins.  It was actually a relatively quiet (compared to past meals with 30+ people) and was enjoyable.  I even tried a new food – orange jello with carrots and pineapple.  It was interesting and good.  Fidget was eating it by the handful!  There was some drama brewing, things not meant for the public, but everyone managed to get through the day without saying something they’d regret.  Despite all the ups and downs and the drama, I’m thankful for my family.

Grandma M & The Boys

Grandma M, Bug and Fidget

Bug, Fidget and Great Grandpa

Great Grandpa, Bug and Fidget

We also visited my parents.  By the end of the day Fidget was tired and cranky from not having a decent nap, so he was pretty cranky.  I tried to get pictures of him with his brother and grandma, but he wouldn’t cooperate.  I did snap this picture of Bug with my mom.

Grandma R & Bug
We came home late Thursday night.  Fidget was exhausted despite sleeping for at least an hour in the car.  He went right to sleep.  Bug insisted on a chapter from Harry Potter and ended up not going to bed til 9.  I was thankful for some quiet time with Darling Hubby.

We stayed home Friday and Darling Hubby and Bug hung the Christmas lights up outside.  Darling Hubby followed Bug’s orders for light placement and it actually came out looking pretty good.   Saturday, we decided, was going to be our own Thanksgiving.    Early afternoon we ran out to get some more outdoor Christmas lights and the fixin’s for dessert.  Around 3, Darling Hubby and I cooked a 13lb turkey (using Alton Brown’s recipe – you must do this with your next turkey!  It’s so darn good!), stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, crescent rolls, cranberry sauce and french cut green beans.  I also made a peanut butter cup pie for dessert.

Sunday we decorated inside for Christmas with a Christmas candle burning and some Christmas music playing on the tv.  The tree is up, the stockings are hung, the wreath is up and the garland is on the stairs…the only thing I need to get out is my winter Eeyore collection to go on the stairs.

Fidget helping decorate

Fidget Helping Decorate

My only task between now and Christmas is to keep an 18 month old Fidget from destroying or breaking any ornaments!  At least I don’t have to contend with the cat in the tree…she prefers to sleep under it or on the radiator behind it.  And yes, we did decorate while still wearing out PJ’s!  I just wish I could put some presents under the tree…we just know they’ve never survive til Christmas.

Bug putting the Santa on the tree

The Two Best Presents!

The Two Best Presents!