Just Plain Sweet

knitting, sewing and crafting by Kendra Turner

Month: January 2015

Knit Your Heart Out …

heartpileMy usual Valentine’s Day decorations consist of two glittery heart-shaped “wreaths” on our front doors. The ONLY reason I bother with these is because they obscure the view into our house through the French doors. (It’s creepy that people can see right into the living room!) But alas, the kids are getting older, and getting into every holiday’s spirit is something they truly enjoy now!

There’s only one thing to put up for V-day … hearts! To bring in some knitting, I’ve made a quick-ish heart shaped garland that you can stitch out of that enormous yarn pile living in your house.

For the garland, I went to my cluttered Pinterest board of knitting projects where I had stowed away a chunky and stiff heart pattern a while ago. It was apparently intended for coasters? Anyway, it’s knit on 8mm needles (already making me happy) and requires VERY little finishing.

Depending on what your yarn stash looks like, you can do a couple of things: Use a chunky weight yarn, which I didn’t have, or use two strands of a worsted weight yarn, which I have too much of! When you’re looking to hold two strands of the same yarn together, it’s easiest if you pull out the end from the center of the skein and carry it with the end from the outside of the skein. If you’re one of those perfectionists who winds all the yarn into neat balls when you get home, this might be a problem.

I went ahead and knit one heart, pulled it out, and measured it so you know how much you’ll need if you’re dissecting a neat ball. Of course, I measure like a weirdo, so I’m going to explain it like this…

Hold the end of your yarn in one hand, pull it across your chest and stretch out your arms. The distance from one hand to the other should resemble your height (likely between 5 and 6 feet). Estimating this way I can tell you you’ll need 20 lengths of yarn… Easier that a measuring tape right?

Hands down, the hardest part of making this garland was deciding what colors to use. I went back and forth between reds and greys and a rainbow of jewel tones… Then I decided on two shades of purple with one pink and a red.


I will say, if you don’t have yarn to get rid of — sorry I just choked on those words — it would also look pretty cool to buy just one skein of yarn and do all the hearts in one color.

Here is the link to the original pattern: http://www.molliemakes.com/craft-2/free-knitting-pattern-heart-shaped-coasters/


This pattern ain’t playin’. You could rest your venti mug of coffee on this bad boy! Its finished size is about 5 ½” square. They take me about 30 minutes each to make and I figure I’ll have about 6” of ribbon between each heart, therefore, each heart = 1 foot of garland. This can be a time investment, but just think… if you make one heart a day for a week, you’ve got 7 feet! That’s enough for a decent swag! I will tell you, if you’re a beginner, this is a great project for you! These hearts are all knit stitches, no purling, and you’ll learn those basic increases and decreases! You CAN do it!


On your 8mm needles:

Cast on 5 stitches

Row 1: Knit

Row 2: Kfb, knit 4 stitches (6 stitches)

Row 3: Knit

Row 4: Knit 5 stitches, kfb (7)

Row 5: Knit

Row 6: Kfb, knit 6 stitches (8 stitches)

Row 7: Knit

Now you have a weird little bump shaped thing. Push it to the bottom of your needle and cut the yarn so you have about 6” for a tail. Then, on that same needle, start from the beginning and cast on 5 stitches. Continue through row 7.

Now you have two bumps, let’s join them together and finish this heart!

Row 1: Knit all the way across both sections of your knitting to join them together. (16 stitches)

I actually joined the yarn with a slack knot when I got to the second heart section, but the original pattern does not mention doing so… Personally, I think it helps me keep my tension consistent, but of course, you may find it unnecessary.

Rows 2-4: Knit

Row 5: K2tog, Knit 12, K2tog

Row 6: Knit

Repeat rows 5 and 6 until you have only 2 stitches remaining, then bind off.

Weave in all ends (you should have four… two on the top, one on bottom, and one at the center where you joined).

stringingKnit enough hearts to get to your desired garland length. Remember, each heart accounts for approximately 1 foot. I used a pale pink ¼” ribbon to hang mine, but of course you can use a chunky yarn, or some twine… whatever your style is all about! I suggest going right through a few stitch legs on the top row of your heart.

Wasn’t that a fun project? Now every year, you’ll have something that YOU knit to hang up for the holiday, and what’s better than that?!

February is coming!


For most people, the holidays are over, but for me, I get a short break after New Year’s and I’m right back at the endless planning, presents and chaos… Because I’ve turned February into four consecutive weekends of celebration (groan).

For some reason, when my husband and I were young and in love and not married (and bored), we decided February would be the perfect time of year to get married, since there was nothing else in our lives scheduled that month. Our anniversary is the 28th. Then, when it was time to have children, we planned them for this same time of year because his business was slow enough that he could be home with us more and I wouldn’t have to be super fat during the hot summer. Our kids are exactly 2 years and 10 days apart; February 21st and March 3rd. I know, I know, who actually plans their pregnancies? A control freak, that’s who! I was aiming for later in March on the second baby, but I guess first time’s the charm LOL.

So this means I have V-day one weekend, my son’s birthday the next, our anniversary, and then my daughter’s birthday to wrap things up. That’s lots of presents and lots of birthday party planning and messes. I’ve already started in with the party favors and decorations… and they are taking over my craft room!

Time to refocus. First things first – Valentine’s Day! Some people hate it, but when you have little kids, it’s pretty fun!

Hands down, the best heart-themed hat I’ve ever seen (or knit) is this pattern from Melody’s Makings. The pattern ranges from size newborn to 3 years of age. If you have a little one (or know someone with a baby), making this will ensure oooohhs and aaaahhs follow them everywhere it’s worn. Trust me, throw your $4 at this woman right this instant!


You can purchase either the knit or crocheted version on Ravelry and/or Etsy at these links:



Once upon a time, I knit this hat in public. By the time I was finishing it, a woman with a tiny baby was sitting on the bench next to me. I promptly and foolishly insisted she take it free of charge for that sweet baby girl of hers… without photographing it!!! So, I realized I was going to have to knit another one for this post… geez! I’ve knitted 3 test hats this week, only one of which I liked… WHHHHYYYYY!!! Yeah right, like I’m going to pass up an opportunity to knit some more.

yarnballBecause I can never just follow a pattern like a normal person, I did make one minor change. I wanted to use this really random boutique yarn I had sitting in my yarn pile, but it was a relatively fine boucle and the pattern calls for a bulky weight. Because of this, I carried one strand of Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn worsted weight along with the boucle. I did make a test swatch to ensure this was an adequate substitute AND YOU SHOULD TOO! I would love to tell you what kind of yarn I used here, but the tiny label that came with it is long gone. It’s basically an acrylic boucle with a strand of confetti ribbon yarn running through it. Strangely, I purchased this at Tuesday Morning (a discount home goods store by my house). Who knew they had great yarn?! I have found LOTS of cool skeins there; everything from high end wools and alpacas to decorative bamboo and silk. Check it out if you have one near you!

You will notice Melody uses a strand of yarn and a heart button to embellish her hat, but I had this cool scalloped ribbon in my scrap box. It’s nice and stiff so the bow will hold its shape forever. The cool thing about this hat is its versatility. The color, variety of boucle and the embellishments can change everything! Make it your own way and be sure to share those photos!

I will see you later this week with a pattern for a knitted heart garland you can display for the Valentine season! See you then!




Emilia’s Anna-Inspired Bonnet

My Emilia, unlike most girls her age, is obsessed with Anna, NOT Elsa from the frozen movie. We saw it twice in theatres, promptly purchased the entire soundtrack, which my two sang along with all day and slept to at night, and then watched it 4x daily for months after it came out on DVD. I’m glad that phase has ended, but Emilia and my son, Everett, really enjoy dress up and still use their Anna and Elsa capes often. Yes, my son has an Elsa cape… so he can have ice power… he insisted. Like, literally dragged bolts of swirly blue fabric through the store, had me bring it home, then stood over me while I sewed it. Perhaps I’ll have to post a tutorial on that as well… to give him equal play on this site.

Anyway, when I looked for a pattern for Anna’s headpiece, they were all crocheted, most of them were hats, NOT bonnets, and they all used loose yarn for the braids. ALL problems for me. I am a terrible hooker and I also wanted the braids to be knitted. I know my children — and I can tell you they would unbraid, cut and scatter all that loose yarn if I finished the hat that way.

To remedy these problems I looked up two different things: a three-strand braid knitting pattern and a bonnet pattern that was big enough for a toddler and used fairly large (6mm) needles so I could use the yarn Emilia had picked out. She chose a (sport weight) glitter magenta and I chose a matching worsted weight yarn to carry with it. I often carry two (or three or four) yarns together to give my knitting a unique look. I like to be able to create my own color palette and new textures. I also deplore using 3 to 4mm needles to knit something my child may disregard minutes after it’s finished. The shorter the task, the better.

Finding a tutorial on the braid was easy — I pinned it months ago to my knitting board on Pinterest. Here’s the link! (BTW you can find me on Pinterest username: kendradenae) http://annenorgaard.blogspot.co.il/2013/01/3-strand-cable-braid-tutorial.html?m=1

The bonnet… not so easy. I trolled Ravelry for a whole day before I finally decided to adapt and alter a basic moss stitch pattern made for infants to 2 yrs. The pattern was written for 5mm needles, so I knitted a swatch, measured my daughter’s head and used her general idea to do the following. If you’d like to see the original pattern, here’s the link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cozy-fall-bonnet

Emilia is two (she’ll be three in 6 weeks), so this bonnet is sized for a toddler. Though I haven’t tested other sizes, I’ll go ahead and give a suggestion for a child sized pattern (age 4-7), as measured on my son’s head (which is 90th percentile in size). If you’re planning on making a smaller version for a baby, I’d like to point out that the above pattern by Lara Simonson of “Knot Enuf Knitting” has a chinstrap that may be useful to you.




16 stiches and 24 rows= 4” in moss stitch

What you’ll need:

  • Eyelash yarn in purple. Anna’s bonnet uses a lavender shade, but I was unable to find the right color in this texture, so I settled for a variegated purple that moved from lavender to amethyst; Yarn Bee’s “Haute Fur” in Vineyard, from Hobby Lobby. (I tried boycotting them, but we have very little yarn selection in this town! LOL)
  • A worsted weight lavender yarn to carry with it. I used “I Love This Yarn” in Orchid. (This was already in my stash from an Enderman hat…SCORE!)
  • For Anna’s hair I wanted a more lustrous yarn, so I chose two shades of Caron’s “Simply Soft” in Pumpkin and Bone. (I already had these leftover from some pumpkin and cupcake hats. You won’t need much so try to use what you have)
  • For the bonnet body I carried Yarn Bee’s glittery “Fetching” in Flamingo Topaz together with “I Love this Yarn” in Hot Rose (worsted weight).
  • 6mm straight needles
  • A cable needle or a 6 mm DPN
  • An upholstery needle
  • Two small elastic hair bands
  • 26 inches of ¼’’ satin ribbon in pink or purple (your choice)

photo (4)







Let’s knit it!

Cast on 60 (64) stitches with your purple yarns (eyelash and worsted) held together. We’re going to knit these in a 1×1 rib for 4 rows. (If you’re adjusting this pattern, use an even amount of stitches)

Row1-4: *K1, P1* to the end

Now it’s time to change to our pink yarn. The glitter and worsted held together should be joined here and worked in moss stitch.

Row 5 and 6: *K1, P1* to the end

Row 7 and 8: *P1, K1* to the end

Repeat this stitch until your work measures 6 (6.5) inches.

Now we’re going to cast off some of our stitches and continue knitting the back panel.

On the right side of your work (though they look the same at this point, just note this will ultimately be the right side) Bind off 21 (22) stitches knitwise, Knit 18(20) stitches, bind off remaining 21 (22) stitches.

Now we will knit the back panel of the hat.

The original pattern states that we should knit this to the same length as the sides we cast off, but I like to be more mathematical and exact about my knitting, so I’m not guessing (and re-doing).

Continue knitting in moss stitch for 40 (42) rows, then bind off knit-wise. (For an explanation of how I got to this number and why, see below)

If you’re adapting this pattern for a different size, I recommend taking the number of stitches you cast off on one side, subtracting one stitch (because you’re bind off row will account for this, and knitting twice that number of rows. Every two rows will give you a knotted row-end (a purl bump) that you can pair with a cast off stitch. Because it’s hard to describe what I mean, please see the below illustration.


Now, with the right side of the work facing you, whip stitch through one knot (purl bump) from the raw edge, into the cast-off stitch on the other side. Continue all the way down! You’ll notice that if you try to join the raw edge from between the knots, you’ll get an annoying interruption in the moss stitch. We don’t want that! All of this should ensure the hat will have plenty of stretch in the back, no gaps, stretching or pulling when you join the sides, and an all-around pretty finish!

Weave in all your ends and now we can move on to the braids. There are two ways you can do this: pick up stitches at the bottom of the bonnet (which is what I did) or knit the braids separate from the hat and then sew them in. Please do what you’re comfortable with. I always default to picking up stitches because if feels more secure and limits the amount of finishing work.








With the orange and tan yarn held together, and on the right side of your work, pick up 12 stitches on the same 6mm needles. I switched to DPNs (double pointed needles) at this point since we’re working so few stitches and I hate working with long needles all the time! My wrists get sore! Please note that even if you use straight needles you will need one cable needle or one 6mm DPN for the braid!

Row 1: Purl

Row 2: Knit

Row 3: Purl

Row 4: Slip the first 4 stitches onto your cable needle. Then knit 4 stitches from your main needle, knit the stitches from the cable needle, then knit the last four stitches on your main needle.

Row 5: Purl

Row 6: Knit

Row 7: Purl

Row 8: Knit four stitches from your main needle. Slip the next 4 onto the cable needle, knit the last four stitches from your main needle, the knit the 4 stitches from the cable needle.

Row 9: Purl

Row 10: Knit

Row 11: Purl

Repeat rows 4 through 11 until you reach the desired braid length. I used a total of 6 sets.

Now for the bottom of the braid:

Beginning on the right side of your work make a 2×2 rib.

Row 1 through 10: *K2, P2* until the end

Row 11: Bind off in pattern

Weave in all your ends!


To cinch the braids, I used two small purple hair elastics. If you have a toddler girl… you have hundreds of these all over your house. Next I cut two pieces of 13 inches of 1/4’’ satin ribbon and tied a bow on top of the elastic band. If you want these to stay in place you’ll have to use a dab of glue or break out the old needle and thread and put a few stitches through the bow center (like your sewing on a button).

In case you don’t work with ribbon often, it’s a good idea to seal the cut ends with the flame of candle or lighter to prevent fraying/unraveling over time.

That’s it! You’re finished! Hope your little one likes it as much as mine does!

emilia posing




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