Hats and Cats

Lately I’ve been working on some knitted hats. They’re great projects for when I don’t feel like thinking about anything too much, because the patterns tend to be fairly straightforward, and they’re finished quickly. They’re also easy to grab and go, and I don’t have to worry about needing complicated notions. Sometimes I don’t even need to grab the pattern.

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(Graham by Jennifer Adams)

A friend of mine works at a cancer research hospital. They have a hat box for patients to take hats from. I had some time where I didn’t want to commit to starting a major project (or finishing one… there’s a sleeveless cabled sweater sitting around that definitely isn’t going to get done before it warms up), plus I wanted to make a stronger effort to give back and think about others. So I knitted some hats to put in the box.

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(Turn A Square by Jared Flood)

Apparently they were well received. I used my favorite workhorse hat yarn, Ultra Alpaca by Berroco. (I can never remember how to spell Berroco right! I have to look it up every time.) It’s a sturdy, worsted-weight wool/alpaca yarn in a nice range of colors. It’s not too expensive and, despite not claiming any merino in the content, it’s not itchy. (Or at least, no one’s complained to me about it being itchy.) It’s my go-to for “manly” knits, or if I need the yarn to be warm but not fancy.

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(Lucky Seven by weezalana)

Nothing was too tricky about these hats, except that Lucky Seven (which I’ve made before) turned out really small (…again.) I’m not sure what it is about the pattern—I guess it must be some combination of ribbing (which does stretch) and cables (which don’t stretch much.) I made my last hat of this round on the same number of stitches, 96, and I even used a larger needle on Lucky Seven, hoping it would help. It didn’t. It can compensate a bit in width since it has extra length, because it’s designed for a flip-up brim. I hope it goes to someone with a small head, but since I didn’t make it for a specific person, it should be fine.

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(Windschief by Stephen West)

No, that’s a lie. I did originally make the Lucky Seven hat for someone, but decided to put it in the donation pile after it turned out so small. Then I made Windschief for the original hat recipient. It was made for a coworker I’ve worked with for ages and become good friends with. He asked me for a hat quite a while back, and I told him I wouldn’t make him one, but reconsidered shortly after. I wanted to have this done by Christmas, but my wrists were in a very bad tendinitis flare-up, so it didn’t happen. Now it’s done, and it should still be useful for a while this season before the winter disappears. (Not a moment too soon.)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I finally got some high-quality pictures of Miss Luna. This was on account of finally bringing my camera gear home (I shoot product photos for my dad’s business, so my kit had a long holiday at my parents’ house.) This picture really illustrates why I call her Dragon Eyes…

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Yes, her eyes really look like that in person.

And this is why I call her Grumpy Face.

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To wrap up, let me show you something that ties everything together. This is a little kitty hat I originally made for my cousin, but it turns out babies have much gianter heads than you’d expect! so I made a bigger one for my cousin and put this aside. Then my best friend had a very tiny baby, and they like cats, and they even have a white cat! Match made in heaven.

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I have some sewing coming up to show you all, but I need to get that aforementioned camera gear out first. Until then… may your heads be warm, and take all the sleeps you can get.

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Grainline Archer / Simplicity 2862

From here on out I’ll pretty much just focus on things I’ve just finished, i.e., not past makes from before the blog. But let’s start with something I finished recently just to get the ball rolling. This is two items, actually, but I planned them to be a pair. The shirt is Grainline Studio’s Archer and the waistcoat is Simplicity 2862, which appears to be out of print.

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This was the first time I’ve made Archer, and the second time I’ve made the waistcoat (although for some reason I have never taken pictures of the first one.) I usually sew a lot of knits, so doing all the fiddly details of a classic button-down shirt was a big change of pace for me, but I love the results.

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It’s not perfect, but it certainly passes the “muggle” test (that is, non-sewing people don’t see problems with it.) The fit needs some tweaks—the sleeves are about an inch too long and too wide at the cuff end, and the collar is about an inch too big. I like to wear ties with button-downs, and while loose collars are more comfortable, they can’t be that loose if you are also wearing a tie. I wouldn’t mind if the fit were slimmer on this. I’ve already bought the new Sewaholic Granville shirt pattern, which is designed to be more fitted, and I’m going to make that soon. The topstitching on this shirt is also less than perfect, but as it’s in white thread it’s quite difficult to see. Also, I prefer a regular box pleat instead of the inverted one as written in the pattern. Still, those are minor tweaks, and I’m pretty happy with the result.

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The fabric is a gorgeous cotton lawn from Fabric Mart that I bought a few summers ago. It’s very thin and lightweight, and will make a great summer shirt. It’s slightly sheer and definitely requires an undershirt.

The vest was a fairly quick make compared to the shirt. I’m not entirely happy with the fit; it probably needs to be taken in about an inch on either side seam. Also, obviously, stretch cotton poplin (also from Fabric Mart) was a terrible choice for this, as it shows some really terrible pulls and puckers. Something with more body and weight would be a better choice. I made the first version in a heavy silk brocade with a much smoother result, and I think it would be lovely in wool. I used polyester lining fabric in black from Joann for the lining, and heavier poly bridal satin for the back.

Despite all the flaws with this project, it does give me this sweet back view, which is a thing I love about waistcoats.

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Overall I love the results despite their imperfections. There will definitely be more button-downs and waistcoats in my future! I’ve got some gorgeous turquoise chambray just waiting to be cut into… but before that, I’ve got some other things on the docket. Hoping to post those soon!

Hello, and welcome to the blog!

Hi! I’m going to give this blogging thing a try. Maybe it’ll just be a place for me to keep track of my makes; maybe people might like to read it. Who knows? What I can tell you is that I will be posting mainly crafting projects: sewing, knitting, spinning, and maybe even some weaving. In between I might post interesting things I find on the internet, pictures of cats, and adventures in riding horses in the sport of 3-day eventing. The “sheep” of my title refers only to wool and wool products; I don’t have any sheep myself, though I might like to one day. Sometimes I help shear alpacas, though.

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Let me introduce you to the other members of the team:

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Tigger is 12 years old. He loves catnip, sun spots, sitting under Christmas trees, and snuggling with his sister Maggie. His skills include high-five, coming when called, and getting his human to spoil him.

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Maggie is Tigger’s sister. Both of them have lived with me since they were kittens. Maggie is also 12 and loves rubber bands, those little plastic things off the milk jug, and watching birds. Her skills include catching all types of small prey (retired, since she is now an indoor cat) and helping in the sewing room by eating my pattern tissue.

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Luna is 14 and only came to me in the last year. She is also known as “Dragon Eyes”, “Grumpy Face”, and “The Cat With The Diamond Collar”. Her skills include snuggling, licking my skin off, and running up very expensive vet bills.

You may see these occasional guest stars as well:

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Brutus is my little Shih Tzu / Lhasa Apso. He’s a family dog so he lives with my mom. He loves to snuggle.

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Teddy is a Cockapoo / Lhasa Apso. He loves to bark and be Out.

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Kalo is my first horse. I don’t own him anymore, but he’s in my avatar and he’s pretty, so you might see some pictures of him.

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Peter is not my horse, but I ride him most of the time right now. He’s good at jumping over things, which is handy for 3-day eventing, which involves a lot of running around and jumping over things.

Well, that’s it for introductions. Onward to real content posts!