Organic Cotton Wrapped Hat – Free Pattern

A few days ago I posted a photo of this hat:  DSC04235  I promised to add the pattern, and it’s a bit late but here goes:


Organic Cotton Wrapped Hat  by Essie Bruell


The hat is knitted back and forth without joining.  The entire hat should be knitted loosely.  A relatively small needle is used because of rapid increases that make the beginning of the hat.  If this hat seems a bit big while knitting, remember that cotton shrinks up to 10% on washing.  I would advise washing in cold water and drying flat to keep that to a minimum.   

Materials:  1 skein Blue Sky Dyed Cotton (150 yards), size 5 circular needle at least 24 inches long, 5.5 mm (US I/9) crochet hook, yarn needle.

The hat is knitted back and forth without joining.  The entire hat should be knitted loosely.  A relatively small needle is used because of rapid increases that make the beginning of the hat. 

Gauge:  16 stitches = 4 inches


Begin:  Leaving 12 inch tail for sewing, cast on 5 stitches.

Row 1:  K1 *yo, k1.  Repeat from * for remainder of row (9 stitches)

Row 2 and all wrong side rows:  Purl all stitches

Row 3:  K1 *yo, k1. Repeat from * for remainder of row (17 stitches)

Row 5:  Same as row 3 (33 stitches)

Row 7:  Same as row 3 (66 stitches)

Row 9 and 11:  Knit all stitches.

Row 13:  Same as row 3 (131)

Row 15-35 right sides:  Knit all stitches.

Row 37:  Knit to last 10 stitches, then (yo, k1) to end of row.

Row 39:  Knit to last 19 stitches, then (yo, k1) to end of row.

Row 41:  Knit to last 10 stitches, then (yo, k1) to end of row.

Row 43:  Bind off.



Using crochet hook, start at top of hat, single crochet down under-flap edge, around brim, around point of flared edge placing 3 single crochets in the point stitch, and up to beginning point at top of hat.  Cut yarn leaving 15 inch tail for sewing.  

Overlap brim of hat to desired size.  Pin and try on to make sure.  Underflap should extend about 1 cm below the overflap, so that crochet edge shows.  Turn up pointed edge to join upper side of overflap, making semicircular end to overflap.  Stitch invisibly along edge of overflap, joining overflap and underflap from row 13 (last full row of increases) down overflap, around semicircle, and across bottom.  Making sure to leave a little slack for stretching, stitch inner edge of underflap to inside of cap.  Weave and trim ends. 



This pattern is copyrighted.  For personal use only, do not reproduce for sale or sell products made from pattern.


Everything I Know About Tangents…

My fourth grade teacher taught me everything I know about tangents.  Ironically, the lesson was not part of a geometry instruction, and I’m not sure she knew how effectively she was teaching it.  Like many Army school teachers, my fourth grade teacher was married to a career soldier.  She had travelled the world with him, and had a wealth of knowledge to share with us – the places she’d been, people she met, customs and culture…Her way of sharing was to start on a curriculum topic, lecturing and writing on the blackboard (we still had chalk and blackboards, and the lovely honor of going outside to clean the erasers).  Suddenly she would hit on a topic that coincided with her personal experience, and off she would go, animated and voluble, giving me the same feeling as when I was immersed in a good read.  Eventually she would realize she was on a tangent, and say so, and make the leap back to the proscribed topic, leaving me a little sad that we couldn’t sail on and on, taking tangents from the tangent and navigating only by the desire of the moment. 

At the age of 8, starting fourth grade, I understood that tangents couldn’t exist on their own.  You had to have a starting place, a central core of agreed-upon topic, as your jumping off point.  And the jumping off didn’t involve a leap to another totally unrelated topic, but a sliding off the point onto something that arose naturally from the topic but moved out into another realm.  When I finally reached geometry (tenth grade?) I could picture that line with its single point in common with the circle, and remember our movement out of the circle, through that point, and down the line to parts unknown.  I would look at the tangent line and imagine how much of a leap it would take to get back to the original circle, sometimes impossibly long for a nonathletic child like me. 

All of this came to mind because I went off on a tangent yesterday.  I was thinking about hats while I knitted the projects that I’m working to complete, and suddenly I was putting down my needles and picking up a skein of tangerine Blue Sky Dyed Organic Cotton.  In my mind was a hat that wrapped, with some overlap leading to some kind of interesting adornment on the side.  I began to knit furiously, starting at the top, creating the spiraling increase in circumference and on to the stockingette body and big swirling medallion-like finish.  I went to bed satisfied that I had captured it, and woke this morning anxious to sew it together and see the completed project.  I even disturbed my daughter’s sleep so I could view it on a real head.  (I know, I am a ruthless mother when I am off on a tangent.) 

I must admit, this tangent went out a looooong ways.  After I did the finish work, I took the time to write the pattern.  I will publish it here as a free pattern tomorrow.  And I photographed the hat:


Including a top view:  DSC04237

It is time for me to get off the mother of all tangents and make that huge, light-years long leap back to the day’s tasks.  My garage is mid-cleanup.  I need groceries.  There are other projects still on the needles.  I have photographed baby hats and need to edit them and post them in the Turtletots store.  But wait, there’s more:  income tax prep, cactus planting, etc.  My tribute to Billy Mays. 

Oh heck, I can’t leave yet.  A few words about the Michael Jackson memorial tribute.  I have been a little tickled realizing how far some of the news announcers are from my world.  There’s been so much talk about his children attending (was it wise, will it scar them for life) and his daughter Paris making her own statement at the end.  The Black in my roots means memorials like this are the norm.  We take our children to funerals.  My daughter went to her grandparents for “day care” from 5 weeks of age until she began preschool.  She attended funerals with them regularly, knew that death came and was an expected part of life.  In my upbringing, it was common for children to be able to speak or sing or play a musical instrument at a family member’s funeral.  Their tributes were always welcome, and they were supported by family members in much the same way as the Jackson clan flocked around Michael’s children yesterday.  Thank God they have that sustaining family power. 


The Dylan Sweater: Free Knitting Pattern

dsc03808The coral sweater in my previous blog entry had to be finished in a hurry and delivered today.  I made a crochet cap to go with it.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to photograph the completed set.  Nevertheless, I’m writing out the pattern for the size 12 months infant sweater as I promised.  I am extremely pleased with the finished product, and it makes a simple but elegant baby gift, especially when knit in a soft, lofty yarn.

I’ve named this the “Dylan” sweater because that is the name of my beautiful step-granddaughter.  She is four now, and loves girly things, but also likes things to be simple enough to wear for play. 

As always, this pattern is copyrighted.  Please make it for your own use or for gifts, but do not reproduce the pattern to sell and do not make this item to sell. 

Dylan Sweater

Yarn:  Classic Elite Allure 25% cashmere/25% angora/50% very fine merino, 215 yards, or worsted weight yarn of your choice.

Gauge:  4 sts/inch.                  Needles:  US 8 or size to obtain gauge.

Crochet hook:  Approximately size G.

Button:  One large colorful button.

The sweater was knit flat on straight needles as a back and two front pieces, but pattern could be adjusted to knit back and fronts as single piece to armhole.  It was sized for US infant 12 months (chest 18 inches, back-waist 7.5 inches, wrist-shoulder 7.5 inches).  The completed dimensions were chest 22 inches, length 8.5 inches, sleeve 7 inches.  To close, right front laps over left with loop and button at top of  placket.

Left front:  Cast on 30 stitches.  Work first six rows in seed stitch (k1 p1 across on WS rows, p1 k1 across on RS rows).  Starting row 7, on WS rows begin with four stitches in seed stitch, and on RS rows end with four stitches in seed stitch, forming seed stitch button band.  Work the remainder of each row in stockinette stitch (knit the RS, purl the WS). 

     When piece measures 6.5 inches from bottom, increase the seed stitch portion of each row to 16 stitches.  Do this for three rows, then bind off the seed stitch portion (16 stitches), staying in pattern.  Continue stockinette on remaining 14 stitches until piece measures 8.5 inches long.  Bind off remaining stitches. 

Right front:  Cast on 18 stitches.  Work first six rows in seed stitch.  Starting row 7, on RS rows begin with four stitches in seed stitch pattern, and on WS rows end with four stitches in seed stitch, forming seed stitch button band.  Work the remainder of each row in stockinette stitch. 

     When piece measures 6.5 inches from bottom, work three more rows, then bind off seed stitches (4 stitches), staying in pattern.  Continue stockinette on remaining 14 stitches until piece measures 8.5 inches long, and bind off all stitches.

Back:  Cast on 44 stitches.  Work first six rows in seed stitch.  Starting row 7, work in stockinette stitch. 

When piece measures 6 inches from bottom, change to seed stitch, working remainder of back completely in seed stitch to make textured yoke.  When piece measures 8 inches long, work 14 stitches, bind off 16 center stitches, staying in pattern.  Tie on second ball of yarn and work remaining 14 stitches.  Continue to work both shoulders in seed stitch until piece is 8.5 inches long, then bind off both shoulders. 

Sleeves:  Using one needle and two balls of yarn, cast on two sets of 26 stitches.  You will work both sleeves at one time, using one ball of yarn for each sleeve.  Begin with six rows of seed stitch, then change to stockinette stitch and continue until sleeves measure 6.5 inches long.  Work three more rows in seed stitch, then bind off both sleeves. 

Finishing:  Block all pieces.  Sew shoulder seams.  Mark center of each sleeve at top and match it up to shoulder seam, pinning remainder of sleeve in place on front and back.  Stitch sleeve to front and back.   Sew from wrist to underarm to bottom of sweater on either side (sleeeve seam and side seam).  Weave in loose ends and trim.  Sew large button securely to top of left button band, just inside the edge.  Using crochet hook, chain a loop on top edge of right button band in position to hold button. 

Knit happy!


coral baby sweater

i said that i had a coral baby sweater on the needles.  all the pieces are done, and it looks like this:


oh yeah, forgot to say that the pieces aren’t sewn together yet.  they are blocking.  a close-up:


it has an asymmetrical front with a seed stitch button band on the right side of the chest, and seed stitch trim at the neck, sleeves and bottom.

i will post the free pattern tomorrow.  meanwhile, i’m making a matching hat. 


Essie’s Cable Brim Hat: A Year-End Freebie

What I did this year:

1.  Got out of the house.  I stopped hibernating and went to knitting group, family get-togethers, my daughter’s place, the grocery store.  Nothing remarkable to you, but a definite increase in activity, especially the last quarter of the year. 

2.  Renewed some acquaintances.  Got in touch with some old friends and made more effort with my neighbors. 

3.  Made some decisions about my store.  Decided to treat it more seriously, and to open the children’s store.  Started more intense marketing, including carrying some finished products around with me to show off.

4.  Started to deal with my weight.  Joined Weight Watchers two weeks ago.  Increased my activity at home to an average of 40 minutes per day.  Lost seven pounds in the first two weeks. 

5.  Realized that I had been making decisions like a dying person.  This led to some major changes in how I handle finances.

6.  Decided to put my house on the market.  It’s that or take in boarders.  I don’t want stranger-boarders.  I’m too picky. 

7.  Cut off my hair.  Who needs hair?  Seriously, we hang on to dead hair like the person underneath isn’t beautiful in their own right. 

8.  Put extra effort into continuing education.  Got my 20 hours and then some, in areas that are important to me. 

9.  Took a different approach to pain control.  Pain limits activity, thus I need to take at least enough medicine to get me moving every day.

10.  Started cleaning out the clutter.  Even sent boxes of books to the secondhand bookstore.  Not that there isn’t enough stuff left to fill an eighteen-wheeler.

11.  Got more serious about herbal medicine.  See 12/24/2008 post.

12.  What?  I need more?  Hell, I was busy!


Aside from taking stock of my year (which took all of five minutes) I am knitting today.  (I know that comes as an immense surprise.)  I’m halfway through a pink lace scarf in my favorite Breeze (the cashmere and silk wonder that Karabella is discontinuing in spite of my objections). 


I’m more than halfway through a cabled hat in Blue Sky Alpaca organic, undyed cotton.  I was thumbing through a cable book today and saw something similar, only with a narrower band and plain top.  Of course, I’m obsessed enough that my top has to have teeny cables all around it, too.  When I put buttons on it, it will be a fashion statement.  I actually knitted in buttonholes so it will have a functional tab. 


My cousin’s black cashmere mittens aren’t done.  I let them rest while I waited for my portable craft light (Mighty Bright, $13 at to be delivered.  My eyes really needed the help. 


Joining the etsyknitters team has opened my eyes to some of the devious things people do to make their shops more successful.  Boo.  My experience has been that most knitters are wonderful, honest people.  I can’t get focused on the bad and ugly.  In that vein, I will now tell you how I made the cable hat.  This is a “how to”, not a pattern.  It will work for pretty much any button-banded hat. 

1.  Decide what design you want on the band.  Since you’re going to the trouble of making a band, instead of just knitting in the round from the forehead up, make it count.  It should be a design that lends itself to vertical display, like cables or ribbing or other vertical stitchwork.  It can be like the random-brim hat.   

2.  Cast on enough stitches for the width of the band.  In the case of the cabled hat, I used a chunky yarn and size 8 needles and loosely cast on 18 stitches:  4 each for the cables (8), 2 for each purl section surrounding and between the cables (6), and 2 each for the knit stitch bands at top and bottom (4). 

3.  Proceed to knit your desired pattern for 20 (if stretchy) or 21.5  (not so stretchy) inches.  The next row, knit in the desired number of buttonholes like this:  Follow your pattern to where you want the button hole.  Yarnover for the next stitch.  Knit (or purl-whatever works with your pattern) the next two stitches together.  Knit over to the next button hole location and repeat the process. 

4.  Work two more rows in your pattern, then bind off. 

5.  Turn your band on its side.  Use two circs or four double points that are at least one size smaller than the previous needles.  Starting two rows past the buttonholes, pick up and knit one stitch for every row of band.  Connect to work in the round. 

Round 1:  (knit 1, yo, knit 1, yo) repeat all the way around

Round 2:  It’s your choice!  You can make the top of this hat whatever you want it to be.  In the case of my cable hat, I picked up and knitted 40 stitches, so round 1 gave me a total of 80.  For round 2, I did (knit 4, purl 1, knit 2, purl 1) all the way around, to set up my mini-cable pattern.

Round 3 (my cable hat):  (knit 4, purl 1, 1×1 left cable, purl 1) all the way around. 

Row 4 and beyond:  I repeated rounds 2 and 3 up to where I decreased to make the top.  Okay, actually I’m not up there yet, but when I have about 7.5 inches total I will.  At that point, I’ll probably knit 2 together for a couple of rounds, get it down to something manageable, thread the yarn through the remaining stitches and pull tight.  You know the drill.  I want my hat to be kind of flat on top, so that means rapid decrease, instead of gradually decreasing towards a more pointy top. 


Okay, I guess that’s a pattern after all.  It’s copyrighted, folks.  Don’t sell it, just make it for yourself and your cold friends and family.  I do so love sharing!


Superwash Bamboo Baby Blanket

This is one of those days when I wonder if I will ever run out of places that hurt.  I had a few weeks of sacroiliac pain, and now one knee and thigh are intensely painful.  I’ve limped around the house for two days and I’m doing my usual waiting period before I contact my doc.  Lupus is like this.  Meanwhile, I make my meals, and sit and knit.


I prepared all my stuff for mailing today, and my young cousin made the trip to the Post Office.  It felt good to see packages going out the door, some things completed. 


I’m working the Superwash Bamboo, which is actually 65% superwash wool/35% bamboo.  It’s comfortable and flexible in my hands after all the knitting with cotton and plain bamoo.  I’m making a baby blanket with a sweet little cable running up each edge.  I snapped some quick photos.  It was difficult to show off the cable, but here’s the rough view:

 These are small cables, 4 stitches across.  I think the scale will be perfect for a baby blnket.  One ball of yarn made about 7 inches, and I anticipate the blanket being about 28-30 inches square, including a perpendicular edging for each side.  The bottom is garter stitch for about 3/4 inch.  This yarn is less than $3 per ball, so it makes a very reasonably-priced baby blanket from natural materials that feel smooth and luxurious.  The bamboo is a special plus, since it has antibacterial properties that persist even after 50 washes.  I much prefer this to wrapping an infant in acrylic fiber. 


I am writing this pattern as I go, and I will print it here and offer it free when the blanket is finished. 


When I have a larger project on my needles, like a blanket or sweater, I like to take breaks and work on smaller, quick-finish pieces.  I think I’ll grab a ball of cashmere and finish my night with a hat. 


I’ve been making time in my days to answer my cousin’s knitting questions and help her move on to new projects.  She’s a natural.  Her second project has neat, even stitches and no glaring mistakes.  She’s on her third, stacking up simple items that she can use for gifts.  With her knit stitches coming so easily, it’s time to cast on and purl.  Be forewarned:  sit still for a few minutes in my house, and I’ll teach you to knit. 



Knitting Baby Blankets and Chemocaps While Frying B Cells

Yikes, yesterday my life sped up exponentially!  I woke with the same total body stiffness that I’ve been experiencing lately, so I called my doc’s office.  His nurse called me back for details, then later with his instructions.  My prednisone has been doubled, from 10 mg to 20 per day.  That provides some speed all by itself.  The further instructions were to come to the rheumatology office for lab this morning, then proceed to the oncology office and get B-cell killing treatment.  I was then thrust further into the near future by phone calls from one nephew and one great-nephew, anticipating the family reunion next week.  Just a little reminder that I need to disseminate all the information I’ve collected on how to have a good time for cheap or for free in Atlanta, Georgia. 


Even though I’ve been knitting and crocheting chemocaps to donate to the oncology center, this immediate appointment caught me by surprise, and I didn’t have time to put washing instructions with each cap so that I could take them in today.  I’ll have another visit in two weeks and tote the lot of them at that time. 

Meanwhile, here’s a sampling:   The purple caps are knit from an acrylic/polyester mix, kind of fuzzy-Yarn Bee Soft Delight.  You know how I feel about un-natural fibers, but cancer chemotherapy is an energy drain and easy care fabrics can be very helpful.  The yellow is the cotton scarf I showed in a previous post.  The multicolored cap at the bottom was knit from a bulky acrylic.  The blue on the left is’s Esprit, cotton with elastic, wonderful for light-weight caps. 

On top left is a crocheted acrylic in rust and cream, done a good while ago.  The middle cap is Bernat’s Miami, an acrylic tape yarn that I used a lot when I first started knitting and crocheting regularly, about three years ago.  The blue on the upper right is Paton’s Katrina, a rayon and polyester blend that is so tightly twisted that it has a very elastic effect.  The middle and upper right caps are both crochet.  I find that I can crochet a cap from worsted weight yarn in about two hours.  It takes me almost twice that time to knit one, so I resort to crochet when I’m trying to turn out volume. 


While I was on vacation, I put in lots of knitting time.  I worked on a sample that I’m knitting, one that has gotten a steady amount of attention and that I like very much.  I finished a baby blanket from the Blue Sky Dyed Cotton, an exercise in softness.  That’s become a favorite very quickly, and I was very pleased with the results.    The cotton is perfect for next-to-baby-skin, with enough weight to provide some real warmth and cushioning.  It shows stitches well, as you can see in this close-up of the garter stitch border.    This blanket was knit from corner to corner, as noted below.


Organic Cotton Baby Blanket

materials:  3 skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca’s Dyed Cotton (150 yards each); one size 6 circular needle

Cast on 3 stitches.  Staying in garter stitch, increase one stitch at the beginning and end of each row for a total of nine rows, finishing on WS row. 


Row 10: Knit across, increasing one stitch at each end.

Row 11:  Knit 5, increasing one stitch at beginning but leaving 5 knit stitches.  Purl until four stitches left on needle.  Knit 5, increasing one stitch at end to leave 5 knit stitches. 

Continue in pattern, knitting right side and purling wrong side, leaving 5-stitch garter border and increasing one stitch at each end of row, until piece measures six inches from cast-on (approximately 40 rows total).  Then drop the increases on the purl side and just increase one stitch at beginning and end of each knit row.  Remember to keep the 5-stitch garter border on purl side.  When piece measures 17 inches from cast-on, stop increasing and work 5 rows even. 


On knit rows, decrease one stitch and beginning and end of each row.  On purl rows, knit the first and last 5 stitches but perform no decreases.  Continue for about 54 rows.  This should approximately match the area on the opposite side of the blanket.  After this, add decreases to the purl rows, so that there are two decreases for each row.  Don’t forget to maintain the 5-stitch garter border by working a total of five knit stitches on either side of the purl rows.  When you have 15-25 stitches left on your needle, change to garter stitch and continue your right and wrong side decreases.  This garter stitch band can match the opposite one or not, your preference.  Continue to decrease until you have  three stitches remaining.  Bind off.  Weave in all ends.  Block if desired.  End measurement:  23 x 23 inches. 


I love this blanket.  I think its simplicity is appropriate for the heathered shades and country feel of the cotton.  It will hold a 7-15 lb baby nicely.

I’ve been listening to CBS News while I type.  One African-American man has been getting all the political press this season, but there is another who deserves some attention.  I have to admire David Paterson, governor of New York, for what he has achieved and the grace with which he manages his disability.  He was interviewed by Katie Couric, and to paraphrase his last words, if you believe you can overcome a disability, then you can.  Excellent advice. 


Once again, death to the wicked B cells!