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School is out and it’s time to crochet.

After 9 months of college, I am finally home.  Home means easy access to countless skeins of yarn, more time to create crochet patterns, and the beginning of bribing my younger sister to model crochet hats.  I have ideas for new crocheted hats and crochet headbands, designs that are exciting, fresh, and the one-of-a-kind crochet style you expect from JJCrochet.

Essentially, summer equals freedom.  And crochet.  And a promise to blog equals  tracking everything along the way.

What about you?  What are you planning to crochet or knit this summer?

As winter winds calm down, it’s the perfect time to wear those chic yet fashionable crochet berets.  You know, the slouchy crochet hats that are perfect to pair with those floral skirts and a light jacket.  A free crochet hat pattern I’ve been eyeing is Berroco’s Phannie. Simple, textured, and a perfect transition into these warmer days.

I love to crochet so when I became the 2009 – 2010 Sweetheart of the awesome brothers of Omicron Xi (aka the Okies), I thought of a way to combine my love of the Okies with my love of crocheting.  I mean,  Fraternities and crocheting, what could be a more natural pair?

The result of my brainstorming: A men’s crocheted sweater with the fraternity’s Greek letters, OE, worked into the design.

I didn’t take pictures of the sweater before I gave it to the boys, but here is one fine-looking Okie modeling the Okie sweater at the annual OE Christmas party.

This sweater is quite possibly, just maybe, the best and simultaneously the worst crocheted item I’ve ever made.  I look at the sweater and can’t help but laugh (as did the majority of my girl friends when I showed them), but when I gave it to the Okies, they loved it and that’s what really matters in the end.  At least that’s what I tell myself so I don’t retire my hooks for good.

Pattern: Men’s crochet sweater pattern from Debbie Stoller’s  The Happy Hooker +  chart of Crocheted Greek Letters

Yarn: 10 skeins of Vanna’s Choice in Red, 1 skein of White

Hook Size: J crochet hook

Knotty Knitters

Today was the first Thursday I’ve been able to go to my weekly knitting group in over 3 months and it made me realize how much I’ve missed them.  It’s one thing to crochet by yourself, but to be surrounded by people you can “talk yarn with” is another.  Our small group, the Knotty Knitters, meet at the local library from 6-8pm on Thursdays evening to knit, crochet, and share stories about life.

I’m the youngest member of the Knotty Knitters (by about 40 years), yet I absolutely love the time I spend with my fellow needlecrafters.  These women are so thoughtful and genuine – not to mention knowledgeable about all things knitting – that spending 2 hours with them is not nearly enough time.  I wish I was home more so that I could go more often, but alas, college calls.

Don’t worry, ladies – I’ll be back for another round (ha, crochet joke) soon enough.

I’m still home on Christmas break from college (PTL for private schools with 4 week Christmas breaks) and have been crocheting and knitting quite a bit.  I’ve made way too many knit and crochet hats, but when you have a hat-selling business, I guess that’s a good problem to have.  Last week, I convinced my younger sister to model some of my crochet hats and we had so much fun – me playing with my new camera, and her just loving being other the other side of the lens.  It was about 15 degrees here in Pennsylvania when we took these shots and I can still hear my little sister complaining about the cold.

While we did take some great pictures of my crocheted and knit hats…

mustard yellow knit hat, jjcrochet

knit hat - dusty rose

crochet hat with button - black

knit hat - pink and button

crochet hat - pink and green flower

…There were some awkward/ funny/ disturbing pictures that just won’t make the final cut.

She started to get a little crazy towards the end…

Overall, though, I’d say this photoshoot was a success.  And if not, at least I have some great pictures to use as blackmail when she gets older.

knit hat pattern

hannah's knit hat

knit hat zoom

I love making this hat because being a crocheter at heart, I have to make instant gratification projects. If it’s not quick, forgetaboutit. This hat knits up so quickly for me even though I’ve only been knitting for a while. Granted, not as fast as I can crochet, but you can’t design hats like this in crocheting.

Pattern is mainly for my own reference so it’s not completely precise, but feel free to enjoy! Just eyeball it and go. Contact me if you have any questions and I’d be more than happy to help!

Can’t knit?  Don’t worry – visit My Etsy Store.

Materials

Size 13 (9.0mm) Knitting Needles

1 Skein Lionbrand Wool Ease Thick & Quick (107 yards) or any bulky weight yarn

Pattern

CO 48 stitches

Knit 4×4 rib for 2 1/2 inches (or however long you’d like your band to be).

Next Row: Switch to Mistake Ribbing For Body: *k2, p2* across until 2 stitches remain.  P2tog (you need an odd number of stitches for the mistake ribbing).

Continue to work Mistake Ribbing (*k2, p2* across until last stitch, p1) until hat measures 7 inches from cast on edge.

Next Row: Begin to decrease. k 1, *k2tog, p2tog* across. Continue decreasing for 3 Rows until only 7  stitches remain.

Cut yarn and weave yarn through remaining stitches on needle, gathering hat shut.

Sew up side seam of hat and Enjoy!