Thing-a-Week #45

Last year, I made a Marsan Watchcap for my husband for our anniversary. He’s been wearing it a lot lately, out in the garage, because he needed something warm that wouldn’t get knocked off his head every time he had to roll around under a car or something.

Anyway, we were discussing said hat, and how rarely he wants anything I make, and then he said he’d like to have a hat like Jayne wore on “the Message” episode of the Firefly TV series.

Hold. The. Phone.

Did he actually 1) request a knit item from me, and 2) want something as ultra-nerdy as Jayne’s hat?

Yes, and omg yes.

As luck would have it, I bought the yarn a couple of years ago for this exact project. For me, because I never dreamed he’d actually want one. Naturally, I dropped everything and made it right away. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a Cunning Hat.

Thing a Week #45: Cunning Hat
Unfortunately, he declined to model it.

The pattern is Cunning Jayne Cobb Hat by Keiyla Renee. The yarn is Vanna’s Choice acrylic held double. Simple, easy, and sweetly hideous. (Or is that hideously sweet?)

“A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he’s not afraid of anything.”

Except maybe getting his picture took.

Thing-a-Week #44

Last month there was a discussion thread on Ravelry about a $300 hooded scarf from Spratters & Jayne. The basic tenor of the thread was that people couldn’t believe someone was charging $300 for a chunky scarf. I was intrigued, and decided to see if I could make one too. This is the result.

Thing a Week #44: Hooded Scarf

I reverse engineered the scarf based only on pictures on the web. I also chose a yarn–Cascade Magnum–that appeared to be very similar to what they used. It’s a very thick single, made from Peruvian Highland Wool. It’s so similar (even down to color selection!) that I have a feeling it’s from the same mill. It’s crochet, using a Q hook (which is very large… 15mm). Minus any small differences in stitch count, gauge, or construction, I think my scarf came very close to the original (found here).

Thing a Week #44: Hooded Scarf

(This picture is my own; I arranged the scarf so that it appears similar to the manufacturer’s pictures for comparison.)

What I learned during this exercise was that $300 is not really that far off. The yarn cost me nearly $80 alone. It only took a few hours to make, but once you factor in that, shipping, and distribution, it’s not that much of a stretch, even with reduced material and labor costs for the manufacturer.

I think people are incredulous at high prices because they think that hand-knit and -crochet items are inherently cheap, something you do because you can’t afford to buy the “real” thing at the store. So not true. Handcrafted items can take many (many, many!) hours to make, but they’re often sold for only a little over the cost of materials. Knitters and crocheters undervalue their time, and buyers don’t want to pay what the item is really worth. It’s why I never even think about selling what I make; it’s only for the pleasure of making it. Still, it’s nice to see a business model that works.

Hooded Scarf

I do love this scarf. The yarn is great, and the scarf so very warm and soft. I can see why people would shell out $300 for it, though I’m glad I can just make it myself.

Hooded Scarf

Thanks to my husband Bryan for the photos. I keep saying how handy he is!

(Note: I am not making the pattern available for this scarf. This was solely for the challenge; I have no interest in encroaching on Spratters & Jayne’s turf, either by distrbuting the pattern or by selling the completed scarf. However, it’s really not that hard to figure out if you really want to make one for yourself!)

Hooded Scarf

Thing-a-Week #43

This is late. I made another woven scarf. That WIP is still on my table loom, so I hopped on the rigid heddle to make this.

Thing a Week #43: Woven Scarf

The warp is Creatively Dyed Yarns Steele in colorway “Corus,” and the weft is Valley Yarns 10/2 Bamboo in black. I was going for a pooled color effect, in which I carefully plan the length of the warp to make the colors match up to make broad stripes. The fine bamboo lets the warp show through rather nicely.

Thing a Week #43: Woven Scarf

“Elle,” you say, “don’t you make anything but scarves?” Yes, I could, but I just find scarves a great way to explore different colors and textures quickly while at the same time producing something I’ll actually use. I’ve been mostly exploring color, but maybe I should try something with texture.

Such a girl.

Growing up, I really didn’t conform much to the girl stereotype. I didn’t enjoy Barbies, instead preferring to play with Legos. I was more interested in Greek myths than Holly Hobbie. I played trumpet, not flute. And through high school, I couldn’t care less about clothes, but I loved my computer.

And so it went, until five or six years ago. I began wearing nicer clothes, and started doing something with my hair. A little over two years ago I stepped into Sephora for a makeover and walked out with a new makeup routine. And last year I started wearing nail polish on a regular basis.

I’ve become a girl.

This is my makeup. I can’t resist Urban Decay eyeshadow, and I have a thing for Buxom lip gloss. I have so many perfume samplers that I’ll never have to buy perfume again. I have 51 eye pencils, and a dozen mascaras. It’s madness.


I also overindulge in nail polish. Just recently, I got the OPI Sephora holiday mini set. And this week I picked up 3 bottles from the new OPI Nicki Minaj collection (not pictured). It’s like I see pretty colors and go all grabby-hands.

Nail Polish

Oh, and a couple of months ago I went in for a long-overdue bra fitting, and ended up with 4 pretty-pretty bras. This was one of them. I feel like a picnic when I wear it.

Note: this isn’t me. They’re Nordstrom stunt boobs.

I’m not sure why it happened, but I kind of like being a girl. Better late than never, I guess.

Thing-a-Week #42

Back in March, I stated that my only rule for doing Thing-a-Week would be that I would have to start and finish my item in one week. This week, I broke that rule. I bit off more than I could chew, and didn’t get anywhere near complete on this week’s Thing.

I was going to start in on a sampler from the book I was using for last week’s Thing, but when I looked more closely at it, I realized it’d take literally miles of yarn to do the whole thing, which I didn’t have. So instead I dipped into some of my new Tencel yarn to make yet another scarf (8/2 Tencel in “Gold” and “Shale”). What I didn’t count on was the amount of time it takes to weave such a long item with such fine yarn at my learner’s pace. It’s still on the loom:

Thing a Week #42: WIP

It is pretty, but it’s only about a foot-and-a-half of what I intended to be a 6-foot skinny scarf. I threaded the loom for what’s called a Rosepath, and treadled a reverse twill repeating pattern to make the little diamonds (with a straight twill at intervals to make the zigzag, when I got bored).

Thing a Week #42: WIP

I’m actually pleasantly surprised with how it’s turning out. My beating and selvages are a little wonky here and there, but I figure this will give me a lot of practice. I know there’s more I can do with different treadling with Rosepath, too, but I sort of wanted a consistent look for the scarf. We’ll see if I change my mind as I work on it some more.

Thing-a-Week #41

As I noted last week, I broke down and bought an old but never-used Rasmussen table loom. I still have plans for my rigid heddle, but I’m intrigued by the possibilities of this 4-shaft loom. I haven’t done much with it yet, but I did manage to make a quick sampler on it.

First, I wound the warp, using some cotton carpet warp that was included with the table loom. My rigid heddle, a Kromski Harp, came with pegs to turn the bottom of it into a warping board, so that’s what I used. I actually rewound this after I took the picture to make a shorter warp, though.

Preparing the warp

After warping the loom, I began to weave. I just threaded a simple twill, to get a feel for it. (My husband even made me a raddle to spread the warp. I keep saying he’s a keeper!) At first I just did a plain weave, but then started in on a sampler in one of the books that came with the loom. (The books are very 70s. One of them even goes into macrame!)


The sampler in the book (Weaving by Shirley Held) turned out to be pretty good, and after trying it for a while, I saw that I really could be doing a sampler with varied threading, so I’m going to start over. I cut off the sampler I was working on, and here it is!

Thing a Week #41: Sampler

Not too bad for a first try. I can see that I need to work on my selvage, but the patterns don’t look half bad. I’m on my way!