January, 2014

  1. two tone quick easy winter beanie

    January 19, 2014 by Angie

    I’m on a roll with men’s beanies! Here is the third one this month: a two tone grey and black beanie for my brother. He regularly sends me photos of his car thermometer reading -4 and other unimaginable temperatures so he needs a hat. I used the same pattern from Ravelry.com that I used for my dad’s hat. It is also available at the creator’s blog, Da Perfect Mix. I used Loops & Threads Impeccable Solids yarn in true grey and black and a 5.5 mm/I hook.

    Brother's beanie

     Finished two tone beanie!

    I followed the pattern up to round 9 where I did ch 2 then *1 dc in next 7 stitches, 2 dc in next stitch.* repeat around then join with first dc. I started with one double crochet in every stitch around for round 10 but in most of the coming rounds I added 3-4 double crochets (every 15th stitch or so) per round to make the hat large enough. For the last three rounds I switched to the black yarn. I had intended to switch back forth to create two stripes of black nestled in grey but the hat was getting too long. I like this two tone look so it was a happy accident.

    work in progress stitch marker mouth

    Dangling yarn and a stitch marker mouth

    I started this hat Friday night, slept for quite a few hours, did a bunch of non-crochet things most of Saturday, and finished it Saturday evening in less than 24 hours. That makes this a great, quick gift hat pattern. If you live in Florida, like I do, you can start making one for yourself on the first cold day and have it ready in time for the last day of winter on the next day!

  2. quilted coasters

    January 12, 2014 by Angie

    I think quilted coasters and “mug rugs” are so adorable. I haven’t come across a great tutorial for them, however, so I winged it. I am really happy with these except for the binding. I think these coasters are just too tiny to try to bind them the “right” way – blind stitching the back down. I attempted it but decided that machine sewing both sides would look better. I think next time I will try the no binding method where you sew almost all the way around with right sides facing then turn them right side out and stitch up the little hole that’s remaining.

    Front & Back of Quilted Coasters

    Front and back – the cream colored side is the back

    Set of 4 Quilted Coasters

    Set of four quilted coasters

    Not bad for my first try with no instructions but room for improvement next time! I love this as a great way to use up small scraps of fabrics that are too cute to waste.


  3. quick easy winter beanie

    January 10, 2014 by Angie

    Since Robbie’s simple men’s beanie was a success I wanted to make another wintertime hat with the same yarn for my Dad’s birthday. I tried a different pattern from Ravelry.com. It is also available at the creator’s blog, Da Perfect Mix.

    Dad's beanie

    This is a great unisex hat pattern that works up quite quickly. It uses half double crochet and double crochet which means you can have a finished hat in less time than with simple men’s beanie pattern while only sacrificing a tiny bit of warmth. I used Loops & Threads Impeccable Solids yarn in black and a 5.5 mm/I hook. I followed the pattern exactly until round 11 or so. It was getting too small to fit over the ears so I added a double crochet or two per round here and there  but not to every round. I kept trying it on and if it seemed too tight I would add a stitch at the beginning or end and sometimes near the middle too.

    quick easy winter beanie

    Below are the two hats side by side for comparison. Dad’s Quick Easy Winter Beanie is on the left and Robbie’s Simple Men’s Beanie is on the right. They fit my head exactly the same so I’m not sure why they appear to have different shapes in this photo.

    Dad's beanie vs. Robbie's beanie

    You can see Dad’s hat (on the left) has larger stitches and fewer rounds while Robbie’s hat is a bit denser made of more rounds of many single crochets.

    I really hope it fits Dad! I am so happy to have some go-to unisex hat patterns!

  4. vegan chocolate brownies

    January 9, 2014 by Angie

    Robbie doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth but he will mess up a tray of brownies. I made a new-t0-me vegan chocolate brownies recipe as his birthday treat. I used the recipe from the quite excellent vegan cookbook, The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. You should probably buy the book but if you’re not inclined to do so someone else has put the brownie recipe online here.

    A cakey little brownie in my hand

    I followed the recipe exactly (for once!) and baked for 40 minutes. I got cakey, but still far from dry, chocolate brownies. Robbie and our friends visiting from Arizona really enjoyed them. I didn’t care for them at first but I ate another piece a day or two after I baked them and they really grew on me. I think next time I will either melt the chocolate chips first to get them to distribute more evenly throughout the brownie or use more of them. Every bite with chocolate chips in it was delicious but there were some bites that weren’t so chocolatey because of the method used in the recipe. It is a much easier recipe than the one I usually use and since the chocolate brownie lover in the house really liked them I will definitely make them again!

  5. simple men’s beanie

    January 9, 2014 by Angie

    Robbie is now of a certain age! We had a marvelous pub crawl for his big birthday last Saturday in Ybor City. A great time was had by all. It’s finally been cold for a few days here and because of Robbie’s new elderly state I wanted him to have a hat to keep his old man head warm. (I can tease him this much because he still gets carded to play lotto – I’m not mean, I swear.) This simple men’s beanie was one of his birthday gifts from me.

    Robbie's birthday beanie

    My friend told me about the pattern which is available on Ravelry.com and the creator’s blog, Manner’s Crochet and Craft. I used Loops & Threads Impeccable Yarn in black and a 5.00 mm/H hook. I had to make a few changes to get it to fit. After finishing round 11, I skipped to the instructions for round 15. When I followed the pattern’s rounds 1-15 exactly the hat was too big. Even with this change though I had to add two to four single crochets to several rounds to get the hat to be wide enough.

    Robbie wears his hat on a cold Florida nightHe’s so handsome!