Category Archives: Knitting

Cream Chunky Knit Cable Hat

chunky knit cream hat

As mentioned in the post below, cable knit hats have been my jam recently. I’ll wake up before work and knit a few rows. I’ll pull out the needles before going to bed. I’ve even skipped the gym (more than once) because I just had to finish a cable.

We’ve all been there, right?

Knitting, however, is not my first love.

As the name JJCrochet suggests, my heart belongs to the knotty loops of the crochet world. But there’s something about these chunky hats with pom-poms that have pulled me deeper and deeper into the world of two needles.

chunk knit cream hat pom pom

I think the thing I like most about these chunky knit cable hats is they take me a while to make. Not too-too long since I’m still using chunky yarn, but each hat takes about 90ish minutes to finish. Compare that to my normal pace of 20-30 mins for a crochet hat and you could call them an invested labor of love.

Which means I care a little bit more and have spent time finding the perfect yarn, the perfect pom-poms (Pat Catans!) and the perfect tags (Etsy). Instead of just a hat, it’s a blended component of things I’ve hunted down. Sure, the cost to make each hat goes up (the pom-poms run me about $4 each and the tags are $.75), but it’s SO worth it.

pom pom knit hat

Some hats were made just to be made, while others were crafted with a specific person in mind. Sarah likes black, no pom-pom – Brianne likes gray – and Britt would look adorable in a floppy beret. The hats sit piled on my countertop, patiently waiting until they’re ready to be given away and it brings me SO. MUCH. JOY.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to pick up some more yarn with my 25% off coupon from Michael’s. 

Hat for sale on Etsy: Chunky Cream Knit Hat with Pom-Pom ($30)

fuzzy pom pom knit hat

chunk knit hat with pom pom

Chunk Knit & Crochet Hats with Pom-Poms!

If you’re like me, you’ve probably seen the chunky knits and pom-pom hats that are E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E. J.Crew, Burbery, L.L. Bean, American Eagle, Loft, etc. etc. As a hooker, I’m obsessed. They’re the perfect blend of warm texture and a little playful fun!

Of course, there’s no integrity in purchasing one from a big-box store, so I decided to knit my own.

While running errands on Wednesday, I found myself in Michael’s (I swear I don’t know how that always happens!). I started perusing the yarn aisle even though, you know, I don’t need anything. The deals were too good, the skeins were too cozy.

I let my guard down and envisioned a weekend of chunky cables and pom-poms. So I bought 22 skeins of yarn and 16 pom-poms. Oh the shame!

(Fun note: the fuzzy pom-poms are actually keychains that are attached to the metal with a small elastic band. A little prying apart of the attachments and I had a simple way to sew onto the hats using the elastic loop.) 

I’ve worked up 4 hats yesterday and this morning:  two cable knit black hats, one cream and another crocheted maroon one. The black and cream ones are based off a pattern from Premknits, the Braided Cable Beanie Pattern ($4.99).

I hate (hate!) knitting in the round (the tubes always twist and turn on me) so I modified the pattern so I could knit on my ever-trusty straights. After following most of the pattern for two hats, I decided to scale it down to only 5 cables instead of 6 and I like how that looks. Less yarn, less time, less bulk.

The crocheted maroon hat was a pattern I made up as I went along and didn’t write down. I can if there’s interest! It takes some time since you have to go back and work slip stitches onto some stitches after you finish to give those 5 rounds their lines of texture.

I love how these knit pom-pom hats are turning out! It’s fun to experiment and see how each one is a little different.

I plan on gifting a few as Christmas gifts  since they work up quickly and everyone loves a good hat. Might also be on the hunt for some new pom-poms, but TBD, it’s going to take me some time to use up the other dozen…

Knitting vs. Crocheting: Which is Better? Which is Harder?

Knitting vs. Crocheting

Knitting and crocheting are similar, yet different. Both crafts use yarn to make items, but knitting is done with two knitting needles and the stitches are loops. Crocheting, on the other hand, is done with just one crochet hook and the stitches resemble small knots. The resulting projects look different, too.

Knitting can be easier to learn because only two stitches are used: the knit stitch and purl stitch. It’s a very logical craft – knitters move stitches from one needle to the other, then back again. The loops remain on the needles which makes for very organized projects. Stitches look like straight lines or little V’s.

Crochet stitches build from each other and range from very short and small (chain stitch) to very tall and twisty (triple crochet). In between are other stitches, the most common being the single crochet and double crochet stitches. Stitches are bumpier and more textured.

Crocheting (left) vs. Knitting (right)

Comparing Crocheting (left) vs. Knitting (right)

Knitting is great for items that need delicate stitches such as soft sweaters or fluffy cowls. Crocheting is perfect for when bulkier stitches are needed – hats, scarves or dishtowels.

Knitting is your craft if you: 

  • Have patience – Knitting projects can take more time and be more detailed (the stitches are also smaller!)
  • Want to save money (but only to buy expensive yarn) – crochet projects take a third more yarn
  • Prefer logical projects and directions
  • Want to enjoy an extensive library of patterns – knitting patterns can be more popular and more readily available than crochet patterns
  • What you’ll need: yarn + knitting needles (size 11 for beginners)

Crochet is your craft if: 

  • Quick projects excite you (bigger stitches = projects work up faster)
  • You aren’t afraid of making mistakes – it’s easier to rip out work or fix a mixed stitch
  • Your mind works spatially – you like going up, down and around or over
  • You’re creative – crochet patterns can be scarcer to find and you might have to forge your own path
  • What you’ll need: “normal sized” yarn + a crochet needle (size H for beginners)

I learned to crochet when I was 8 so it’s my first love and I’m obviously biased, but knitting is a close second! If you’re adventurous, I’d recommend trying both crafts and seeing what you like. I’ve taught both to friends and it seems to be an individual basis of what is easier or harder – some people hate the structured stitches of knitting, while others find crocheting too cumbersome and need boundaries.

If I had to recommend just one, I’d recommend knitting since it tends to be easier for people to pick up quickly.

Either way, you can’t go wrong! Which one have you tried?

For 8 reasons why crochet is better than knitting, read here.

Crochet vs. Knitting Differences

If you’ve found yourself inexplicably drawn to the yarn section of craft stores, you may be looking to learn the differences between crocheting vs. knitting.

crochet vs knitting

Some crocheters also knit and knitters have been known to crochet. There’s a benefit to being able to do both, though some crafters prefer to just do one. I’ve been crocheting for 18 years and knitting for 14. Over the years, I’ve found benefits for each.

Knitting and crocheting are different, though are the same at their core: You’re creating something from yarn and a needle or hooks by following a pattern. Learning both will allow you to choose which is better for your particular project whether you’re making a dog sweater or a tea cozy.

The table below outlines basic differences I’ve found between knitting and crocheting. You may have found the opposite, this is what I’ve experienced over the years. Review to learn if you’d make a coordinated crocheter or knowledgeable knitter.

Crochet vs. Knitting: A Comparison
Crocheting Knitting
Tools One Hook & Yarn Two Needles & Yarn
Basic Stitch Motion Loops & Knots Loops
Active Stitches at Any Time 1 All
Number of Basic Stitches 10 2
Fabric Texture Coarse & Thick Smooth & Flat
Construction Method Spacial: Turns or Irregular Shapes Linear:Limited by Loops on Needles
Correcting Mistakes Easy: Rip Out Stitches Medium: Unknit without Dropping Stitches
Flexibility in Patterns High: Easy to Free-Form Medium: Harder to Free-Form
Average Project Time Medium: Stitches are Bigger & Projects Work up Faster High
Yarn Needed More: Crocheting Takes 1/3 more Yarn Less
Availability of Patterns Medium High
Best Used For Wearable Accessories (Hats or Scarves) & Afghans Sweaters & Wearables
Ease of Learning Depends on you! Depends on you!

Leave a comment of what you think. What have you found to be better for your crafting: knitting or crocheting?

Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival: 2014

Last weekend (March 14 – 16th), I attended the 10th annual Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival in Cranberry, PA. I’d heard of the festival before, but was never in town to attend. The festival attracted over 70 different booths and some big name teachers. I talked to the coordinator, Barb, and she said there were well over 3,000 attendees. Not too shabby for a knitting festival!

Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival

From my perspective, the festival was largely geared towards knitters, but I didn’t mind – it seems to be the preferred craft among fiber artists (don’t worry, crochet, you’ll always be my first love). I’d say about 90% of the classes offered were knitting; only a few were crochet. Vendors also offered knitting patterns and had knitted samples of sweaters, blankets and accessories, but only a few crochet items.

I purchased a two day pass for Friday and Sunday and zipped up to the festival after work on Friday to check things out. I got there for the last two hours and spent the time looking at vendor booths and talking with other crafters.

Neutral Yarn

On Sunday, however, the real fun began.

I’d purposefully signed up for “Borderline Personalities: Knitting on the Edge” for the sole reason that it was taught by my all-time crochet hero, Lily Chin. While Lily is a master crocheter, she’s probably better known for her skills with knitting needles. Meeting her was a DREAM COME TRUE. She’s a feisty 5-foot tall woman who doesn’t take crap from anyone. She kept the class moving, called out students who were knitting the wrong thing, yet was personable and talked with me at the end.

An exclusive, inside look at what a knitting class looks like (I know you’ve wondered).

Lily doing what Lily does best - teachin' knittin' class.

Lily doing what Lily does best – teachin’ knittin’ class.

The class was 3 hours long and the best $50 I’ve spent in a while.

Lily Chin and Me. I know, RIGHT?! Lily the crochet master Chin.

Selfie with Lily Chin. I know, RIGHT?! Lily ‘the crochet master’ Chin.

I didn’t end up purchasing anything at the festival (I’m on a yarn sanction), though I did pick up a mannequin bust for $55. I envision using it to 1. display scarves rather than begging my roommate to model and 2. taking it to craft shows as part of my display.

The other notable part of the weekend was getting to see two Olympic sweaters from Sochi. One of the few things I love more than the Olympics is knitting, so to see both combined in the sweaters for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies was a dream come true. (I hope my true excitement is coming through – If not, maybe this picture will convey my love for the games.)

20140314_173259

 Opening & Closing Ceremony Knit Sweaters from the 2014 Sochi Olympics

Opening & Closing Ceremony Knit Sweaters from the 2014 Sochi Olympics

Overall, great weekend, even though I didn’t spend much time at the festival. Next year, I’d like to go with other people who knit/crochet because you can only walk around a large hall filled with yarn so many times by yourself before you look creepy. If you get the chance and are in town for next year’s Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Fest, definitely make it a priority to go!

Trying Our Hand at Arm Knitting #Pun

About once a month, my coworkers get together for “Craft Night”. Each girl takes a turn hosting and all from the office are invited. We’ll sometimes work on a joint craft like glitter pumpkins, or sometimes we’ll bring individual projects to make. Wine and cheese are necessities. 

This month, we chose to test our hands (literally) at arm knitting.

Arm Knitting

The inspiration came from Vickie Howell’s project.  The week leading up to Craft Night, Pinterest links were shared and talks of yarn combinations took place on the way to (and sometimes during) meetings.

Arm knitting is relatively new to the craft world and pretty simple to pick up. It’s gained popularity through its instant gratification and short supply list – all you need are your hands and some yarn. The craft uses similar principles as ‘real knitting’, so those familiar with needles will have an easy time grasping the concept. The entire group (Jenna and Dani, we’re looking at you…) made great scarves.

The group learned by watching Vickie’s how-to arm knit video (highly recommended) and by the end of the night (about 45 mins?), each of us had a lovely, hand-knit scarf.

The rockiest parts of the project were getting started, though once we learned how and what to loop and over which hand and when, it all came together. The key, we learned, was all in the yarn. A few strands of super chunky strands made the best scarves.

If you’re thinking about arm knitting, go for it! Call up a couple of friends and learn together. It’s a great wintery night activity to do with a group.

The following day, we wore our scarves to the office after making feeble, though sincere promises the night before, “Of course I’ll wear mine if you wear yours!” Coworkers complimented and boys belittled and we were proud. We, the women of DSG, had conquered arm knitting!

What’s next on the list?