Monday, December 23, 2013

Knitting headband/ear warmers plus the one thing I didn't need to buy this year



Last Thursday, I posted photos of two knit headbands that I've made for my daughters's Christmas stockings (that post is here). And I promised that I would come up with measurements and details of how I made them. So here I am, beginning a third one.I begged some yarn off of my daughter, yesterday. She has some plum acrylic yarn that I thought would be the perfect, go-with-everything-winter-that-I-own yarn.

This one may take me a few days, as I'm, uh, kinda busy this week. (And I bet you are, too!)

To start, I needed to figure my gauge. It's the gauge in width that matters, with the headbands. So, I started with yarn that I doubled, size 9 needles, and I cast on 14 stitches. I knit 6 rows, to get an idea of how wide this would be. The finished headband should be about 3  3/4 to 4 inches wide. It turned out that 14 stitches was just a tad too wide. So I pulled that one out, and cast on 12 stitches. This gave me a band about 3  3/4 inches wide, which I thought would be good for an adult (me!).


This is knit in the garter stitch, which is knit both sides. There's no finishing the edges, the knit won't roll, and it will be a thicker headband than if knit in stockinette stitch.

Once the gauge was established, I began knitting. I'll knit the band until it is about 20 inches long. At that point, I'll try it on my own head by pinning it together (leaving the knitting needle in place on the last row) and slipping it over my head. I'll use the highly technical jump-around-and-shake-my-head-about method of determining if the headband is the right size. If I need another inch, then I'll continue with the garter stitch a few more rows.


When the headband is long enough to go around my head, plus have an extra 1  1/2 inches of overlap, I'll finish the final row, with the traditional bind-off, leaving a yarn tail about 6 inches. After weaving the yarn tail into the edge, I'll stitch the headband together (with needle and matching-color thread), with the edges overlapping.

Now comes the embellishing part. I haven't decided if I'll simply sew on some buttons, or make a knit bow, or gather the headband just off-center from my face.

I'll continue posting photos as I progress. Yesterday afternoon, I spent about 1  1/2 hours knitting/untangling yarn, and got a little over half way done with the band (I've got about 12 inches knit). It will be close, as to whether I have enough yarn or not. I began with about 1/3 of a skein of yarn. (I used the highly precise method of scrunching the yarn up in my hands and guessing if it felt like a thick headband.) I think 1/2 skein would be a safer bet for one of these headbands.

For a girl-sized headband, I would think that 3 inches in width and probably about 16 to 18 inches in length would make the right size headband (you can do a quick measurement with a measuring tape, to get the right length).

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And the one thing I didn't need to buy this year?

Candy canes!

Every time I've stopped at a store, there's been a bucket of mini candy canes, free for the taking (one at a time, not the bucket). Over the course of the holiday season, I amassed about 10 mini candy canes! Woo hoo! Freebies are always nice!


I realize that many of you will be heading off to visit family in the next day or so. I want to wish you a very merry Christmas! (I'll still be here this week. It will be a family-at-home Christmas.)


12 comments:

  1. Lili

    Merry Christmas and have a blessed New Year! Read/chat next year!
    Thanks for all the great posts!

    Lisa

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    1. Wishing you a lovely Christmas, Lisa!

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  2. I can't wait to see the final product with your headband, Lili.

    I've been doing the same thing with peppermint candies. I have about a dozen or so right now. Freebies are terrific. :)

    Hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas and New Year.

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    1. HI Belinda,
      Good score on the peppermint candies!
      Merry, merry Christmas, Belinda!

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  3. Many years ago, I got some very cheap candy canes after Christmas. They were the larger ones that were individually wrapped and I used them on the tree for decorations. I stored them in the freezer for years and brought them out every year to hang to the tree. Then I decided to just store them with the rest of the decorations and they did fine this way also.

    For the first couple of years, I let my kids and guests take a candy cane off the tree to eat. After a while I stopped this although they were probably still okay. Many years later, I'm still using the same candy canes. A few have broken or become unwrapped, but most are still going strong.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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    Replies
    1. Hi live and learn,
      Some years, I buy a box of candy canes in after Christmas clearance sales (this is one Christmas clearance item that really gets marked down, often just 10-20 cents for a box), and just store in the kitchen cupboard for the next year or two. And even with our damp climate here, they seem to be fine for several years. It never would have occurred to me to store them in the freezer. Interesting!

      Do you have anything you do with those broken or unwrapped candy canes? My kids like to use the broken ones in cocoa.

      Have a lovely Christmas with your family, live and learn!

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  4. Thanks for the tutorial. I'm a fan of the hold-it-up-to-your-head-&-see-if-it's-long-enough technique (or foot--I'm working on slippers right now based on an old pattern of my mother's!). Even when I get my gauge right (and I HATE gauging things!) the sizing doesn't always work out for me (which is one of the reasons I love Ravelry--people comment on patterns they knit and post pictures and it gives you an idea if a pattern runs large or small and what it looks like when others knit it).

    Have yourself a merry little Christmas ...

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kris,
      I know what you mean, about sizing. I think one of the greater skills to have as a knitter is the ability to fix something once it's gone awry. One daughter knit a dress a couple of years ago, and even with following the pattern to the measure, it still came out too big. She had a teacher at the time, who's an excellent knitter. And she helped my daughter fix the dress so it fits better. She still needs to shorten the sleeves a bit.

      Slippers -- good for you! Where do you go for in-person help when trying something new with knitting?

      Wishing you a very merry Christmas with your family, Kris!

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    2. I use YouTube a lot for knitting instructions--there are a lot of great resources for different stitches, techniques, etc. But sometimes I need in-person help, and then I contact 2 different women from my church (who have been invaluable both for their advice and their cheerleading!).

      I am SO impressed that your daughter knitted a dress. Wow.

      I remember knitting these slippers as a teenager and now I know why my mom favored this pattern--it's easy (there isn't even any shaping!) and the slippers actually fit and stay on my feet. I tried knitting booties last winter--one fit and the other didn't stay on my foot, so into the Goodwill bag they went (where hopefully some larger-footed person found them and is enjoying toasty feet right about now!).

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    3. I'm going to have to try knitting slippers. I'll look around for a pattern without any shaping.

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  5. Merry Christmas to you and your family Lili :) Hope you have a lovely day!

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    1. Merry Christmas, to you, too, Liz! Have a great time with your family!

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I'm so glad that you stopped by today. Please comment, and let me know what you're thinking.