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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gratitude & New Year's Resolutions

First of all, I have to thank all of you who have come to see the Carolyn Rose Cap and who have contacted me.  It is amazing that so many of you have found the pattern already.  I am truly grateful for those of you who are paying it forward in Carolyn's name.  Please feel free to post comments or email me at any time.

One thing that keeps running through my mind is that I should have knit something for Carolyn - the fact that I can not now is upsetting.  I have learned that I should knit and give - whenever someone is special to me.  I won't just wait for a special occasion or a particular reason.............give to those you love and care about always.  I won't stop knitting presents - I love to see someone's face light up when they get a handmade gift, but I'll hopefully manage to give more "just because" presents, not just birthday and Christmas gifts.

With New Year's Eve creeping around the corner and the hustle and bustle of Christmas behind me, I have been thinking about what to set as goals for 2012.  My resolution is to knit more!  Who's with me on that?? I should probably resolve to get rid of some of my yarn stash too, but I know that I will still buy yarn............even if I have several tubs full of yarn already...........especially if it is on sale!

So, I think I should set a goal for myself - to knit at least 2 hats a week for Delaware Head Huggers.  I am pretty sure that I can manage that even on really busy weeks.  Knifty Knitter Looms are wonderful things - I love to hand knit too, but when pressed for time, a loom knit hat can be completed in less than an hour.  I'll have to keep track of how many hats I knit on needles and how many I loom knit in 2012............but either way, at least 2 a week should be making their way to patients.  And hats made for friends or family, if not chemo caps, will not count!

I would also like to make more blankets for Kozy Kovers for Kids.  I find that I focus on hats and do not make nearly as many blankets as I should.  Maybe a realistic goal is to make at least 2 blankets in 2012..............that sounds possible.

 Right now I am working on this afghan - it's a Lion Brand pattern - Winter Lace Afghan, pattern number 80115AD.  I just started it, so I have quite a ways to go, but it's a beautiful pattern.  This is a gift for someone, so it doesn't count as one of my 2 blankets for Kozy Kovers. 

I've got an embroidered baby blanket that I started years ago that I really should finish too.  I see many goals for myself in 2012!  I wonder how many I will manage to meet!

I also want to get more people involved with Delaware Head Huggers and Kozy Kovers for Kids.  I'll have to spend some time on marketing - the local papers are wonderful about running articles about the need for hats and blankets - I'll have to expand my reach a bit.  The more who know about us, the more we can help.  Tell people about us please - send them to our websites and our Facebook pages. And most of all, have them contact me if we can help them in some way.

Happy New Year Everyone.  I'm very grateful that I will be able to spend the holiday with my family and I hope each of you has a beautiful time as well.

Happy Knitting!  Make beautiful things and pass them on!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Introducing the Carolyn Rose cap!

 Carolyn Rose

This week I received the heartbreaking news that a very special woman in my life passed away on December 15, 2011. 

I first met Carolyn Rose in September of 1976, when I was one of the very fortunate students to have her as my second grade teacher.  As I moved through grammar school, Carolyn moved grades as well and she taught me in 5th, 7th and 8th grades as well.  While I remember many things about being in her class, one that strikes me first is how much she encouraged us all to do our absolute best, in everything.  She was such a creative person and so very giving.  She always had time for each and every one of her students. I'll never forget that she gave up her lunch hours to teach students the needlework art of Bargello.  She inspired us all to make beautiful (at least to our own young minds) things on a regular basis.

After I graduated, Carolyn and I remained in touch. While we would only speak (or email most lately) a few times a year, creativity was always a main topic.  When I completed a large embroidered tablecloth as a gift, I sent Carolyn pictures and she frequently sent me patterns and magazines to help inspire my crafting as well.

Last time I saw Carolyn was a bit more than 2 years ago, when she came to Delaware and we met for the afternoon.  I was just struggling to learn to knit and of course, she was encouraging.  She could crochet, which I am hopeless at but someday hope to master.  When I started Delaware Head Huggers and Kozy Kovers for Kids, she was very supportive.  See, Carolyn, after years of teaching went on to work in Community Relations and charitable fundraising and made such a HUGE difference in the world.  She knew that this was a way I could nurture my creative side while giving back to many.

I did not know how sick was recently…..she was a very strong, independent person.  I wish I would have been able to speak to her again and I will miss her terribly.

I found myself crying and thinking about her and all the wonderful memories that I have of her and I decided that to honor her memory, I would design a “Carolyn Rose” hat using the Rose Stitch pattern.  Hopefully using my creativity to honor her is something she is smiling about in heaven. 

The pattern here is free – I will remember Carolyn and her wonderful kindness and giving nature always and I want those of you who didn’t know her to be aware of her and remember her as well.  I do ask if you use this pattern that you please do something for someone less fortunate.  If you are making this hat for Delaware Head Huggers ( or some other organization, that’s wonderful.  If not, and you are making it for yourself or as a gift, that is wonderful too, but please then, do something………put some money in the collection box at church, volunteer some time at a hospital, just give a can of food to a local food bank or a hug to someone who needs one, but please, keep the kindness and love that inspired this hat – Carolyn’s spirit -  alive.

If anyone has trouble printing this pattern, try accessing the PDF here:  Carolyn Rose Cap, highlighting and copying it into a Word document.

For anyone who doesn't know how to knit a stitch in the row below, feel free to check out this video I made to explain it:   How to Knit a Stitch in the Row Below

The Carolyn Rose Cap pattern is now available for knitting in the round as well.  It can be found here.

 Carolyn Rose Cap

You will need:

Size 10.5 knitting needles
Bulky, or 5 weight yarn – about 100 yards – I used Deborah Norville’s Serenity Chunky and one skein was more than enough. This hat is toasty warm, but has a pretty lace-like pattern to it - a perfect chemo cap I think.  A solid color yarn will most likely showcase the lace more clearly.  I will post more pictures as I make different variations of this cap.


Cast on 55 stitches

Work in K3, P2 ribbing for 1 to 1.5 inches.  K3, P2 across for every row.

Knit in Rose Stitch, ending on a Row 4 until the piece measures about 8 inches in length.  This should be about 8 repeats.

Rose Stitch
Row 1:  K2, *P1, K1; repeat from * to next to last stitch.  End with another K1. (this row ends with 2 knit stitches)

Row 2:   K1, *K1 in stitch in row below, K1; repeat from * to end of row.

Row 3:  K1, *P1, K1; Repeat from * to end of row.

Row 4:  K2, *K1 in stitch in row below, K1; Repeat from * to next to last stitch and end with another K1.  (This row ends with 2 knit stitches)

Decrease crown as follows:

                        Row 1: K3, K2tog across row. This row will end with 44 stitches left.

                        Row 2:  Purl

                        Row 3: K2, K2tog across row. This row will end with 33 stitches left.

Row 4:  Purl

Row 5:  K1, K2tog across row.  This row will end with 22 stitches left.

Row 6:  Purl

Row 7: K2tog across row.  This row will end with 11 stitches left.

Cut working yarn, leaving a long tail.  Draw the yarn through the remaining live stitches
on your left hand needle and cinch closed.  Seam up the back and you are finished.

This pattern is easily adapted for other sizes or types of yarn.
Be sure to cast on in multiples of 5 and everything will stay the same. 

Use smaller needles and add more stitches.  Use lighter weight yarn and add more stitches.

Use heavier yarn and/or bigger needles and decrease the number of cast on stitches.

Adjust this for a child’s hat by beginning with 40 stitches if using the same yarn and needles.
Otherwise, adjust accordingly. 

Make beautiful hats and share them!

Merry Christmas and Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas is Coming!

My goodness - Christmas is just around the corner and I can't believe it.  If you can this season, please tell people about Delaware Head Huggers, where we give handmade hats to chemo patients of all ages and Kozy Kovers for Kids, where we give handmade blankets to foster care children and those children suffering from abuse or neglect.  Encourage all your friends to visit our websites or 'like' us on Facebook.

Delaware Head Huggers:  

We need support in all ways - hats, blankets, monetary donations and moral support!  EVERYONE can help in some way - just by spreading the word about us.  And if anyone wants to donate hats or blankets closer to home and needs help getting started, just let me know!!  It doesn't matter where you are, you can make a difference too!

And please let people know that we happily ship chemo caps to any individuals who could use them.......just send me an email at or contact me through Facebook and we'll ship some right out.

I've got some gifts made........not as many as I had hoped, but there's always next year, right??  Hats for jars filled with candy, key chains, felted bags, bookmarks, 2 shawls, several washcloths and a few other little projects are complete......the rest will have to be finished after the holidays.

Like everyone else, I've been wrapping, shopping, cleaning and decorating.  And, MAKING HATS!  Delaware Head Huggers is in need of more and more hats every week.  Hopefully we see a big increase after the holidays, but I'm trying to get at least a few hats every week finished. Loom hats are super fast and I find I can stop to do whatever else needs to be done and pick right back up without losing my place in my pattern.

I've got an afghan started too - not sure when that will actually be finished, but it's started at least.

This time I year I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, baking and making chocolates, so I don't have as much time to knit and when I am knitting, I'm working with tried and true patterns, not experimenting.  Once all the hustle and bustle of the holidays has died down a bit, I hope to try out some other hat patterns that are floating around in my imagination.

If I don't post again before, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!  and HAPPY KNITTING!