Knitting Needle Cases – Free Pattern

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I recently had an old spool chest refinished and plan to store my knitting supplies in it. I decided to sew some needle storage cases to keep my knitting supplies neat in the drawers. I had seen cases for sale but never any that I liked. They looked poorly made and seemed pricey. You will find the instructions for making these two cases and two others (for circular and DP needles) in this post.

green chest

The chest had belonged to my mother for as long as I could remember. It had been painted green at some point. Later someone began to strip the paint but only removed a little from the top. When I heard good things about a local refinisher, I decided to have it restored. It turned out really well.

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Some of the green paint remains on the handles. I like it that way.

It seems appropriate that if it is not going to be used to store thread, that at least it should be used to store fiber craft supplies. There are enough drawers for knitting, crocheting, and weaving tools and instructions booklets.

To help organize the knitting needles I sewed four separate cases. One case for long straight needles, one for short straight needles, one for circular needles, and the last for double pointed needles. Each can lay flat in a drawer or be folded, stacked, and carried in a bag.

The fabric is cotton duck (sometimes called canvas). It is sturdy, inexpensive, and has a nice industrial look that I like. The binding on the edges is black, half inch wide, double fold bias tape.

Large and Small Straight Needle Cases

The two cases for straight needles are made in exactly the same way as each other. They are the same width, but have different lengths.

1. For the smaller case for 10” needles, cut a piece of fabric 13” wide and 24” long. For the larger case for 14” needles, cut a piece of fabric 13” wide and 33” long.

2. Sew a piece of bias tape on one of the short sides. No need to finish the edges as they will be covered up.

3. Fold the side with the bias tape up 9” as shown for the small case and 13” for the large case.

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4. At two places, mark the center 6 1/2” from each edge as shown.

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5. Mark the center line with a straight edge and pin the fabric in place so it won’t slip as shown.

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6. Stitch along the center line. I ran the stitching back and forth at the bottom and at the bias tape. This is not a prom dress that needs to “hang and flow”. It is a case that may get some tugging so no harm in making it sturdy.

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7. Mark the rest of the divider lines, each 1 inch apart as shown. The outer sections will be a bit wider since this is where the bias tape edges will be applied.

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8. Stitch each dividers as you did the center divider. Stitch back and forth at the top and bottom to make them sturdy.

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9. Cut and sew a piece of bias tape on the top edge. No need to finish the ends as they will be covered up.

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10. Cut pieces of bias tape to finish the edges. Cut each piece about 26” long so you will have about an inch at each corner to fold under. This will give you a finished corner.

11. Draw a light pencil line as a guide for the numbers. I thought I had a stencil but couldn’t find it. So I just wrote the numbers free hand with a black Sharpie.

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The flap folds over to keep the needles in place. The case can be folded in half or rolled up.

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Case for Double Pointed Needles

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This case is made specifically for the DP needles that I have. I did not make a slot for every possible size like I did for the straight needles. You can adjust the widths of the slots for your own collection. I also have not numbered the slots yet, but will.

1. Cut a piece of fabric 20” wide and 22” long.

2. Sew pieces of bias tape on both 22” sides. No need to finish the edges as they will be covered up.

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3. Fold the side with the bias tape up 9” as shown and mark the slots. I decided on two 3” pockets, four 1” pockets, four 3/4” pockets, and three 2” pockets. Starting at the left edge, make marks at the following distances from the left hand edge in inches.

3 1/2  – 6 1/2  – 7 1/2  – 8 1/2  – 9 1/2  – 10 1/2  – 11 1/4  – 12  – 12 3/4  – 13 1/2  – 15 1/2  – 17 1/2

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4. Mark and stitch slots. Sew forward and back at the top and bottom of each slot to make it sturdy.

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5. Cut pieces of bias tape to finish the edges. Cut each piece about 26” long so you will have about an inch at each corner to fold under. This will give you a finished corner.

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This case can be folded in thirds, inward from each edge. It is then the same width as the other cases. The fourth case, the one for circular needles can also be folded in thirds so the stack of all four cases is only 7” wide.

Case for Circular Needles

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The circular needle case has 15 pockets, each 6” x 6” to hold the needles. This case is a little different in that I tried to use the selvedge edge of the fabric in several places to avoid fraying. I cut the original piece of fabric with a selvedge edge at the top and didn’t apply bias tape because I was not sure I was going to have enough tape to finish. In the end, I did have enough and added it across the top just to make all the case look the same. Otherwise it would have bothered me. Some of you know what I mean.

I also cut the four 6” rectangle that make up the layered pocket with a selvedge edge. In this way, I could sew them to the main fabric piece without finishing them (which would add extra bulk) but also without having to worry that they would fray and come loose.

1. Cut a piece of fabric 20” wide and 28” long. Cut four other pieces 20” wide and 6” long. Try to use the selvedge edge along the 20” side of these smaller pieces. If you cannot, cut them 6 1/2” long and fold the edge under 1/2” and stitch. This will create a finished edge to sew onto the main fabric piece.

2. Stitch bias tape along the top and bottom of the large piece and along the top edge of the other four pieces.

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3. Draw four lines on the large fabric piece for placement of the smaller pieces. The lines should be measured from the bottom edge 14”, 12”, 10”, 8”. Sorry the ruler is backwards in the picture. Sometimes I think in unusual ways.

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4. Place the bottom edge of one small piece on the top, 14″, marked line of the large piece as shown. Stitch in place close to the selvedge edge.

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5. Place another small piece on the 12” line, sew in place. Continue in this way until all four small piece are sewn to the large piece.

6. Fold the bottom of the large piece up 6” and pin it.

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7. Draw stitching lines measuring from the left hand side at 6 1/2” and 13 1/2”.

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8. Stitch these lines, stitching back and forth at the top and bottom to reinforce the stitching.

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9. Cut pieces of bias tape to finish the side edges. Cut each piece about 30” long so you will have about an inch at each corner to fold under. This will give you a finished corner.

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This case can be folded in thirds, inward from each edge. It is then the same folded width as the other cases. Remember, I didn’t add the top piece of bias tape until the end so it is not shown in some  pictures.

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Here is what the set of four cases look like with my needles in them. They all fold in half or thirds and are then 7” wide.

Even thought I plan to mostly keep them in the spool chest, I did sew up a matching bag to slide them all in for travel.

Now that I have the pattern designed, I plan to make more. I think I will try denim next. The bias tape was the most expensive part of the project so I think I will try to make my own bias tape next time. If I do, I will be sure to write about it.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome!

 

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Pink PussyCat Hat

I knit a lot of things for friends. Recently, a friend asked if I would knit a pink pussycat hat for her mother. I had seen pictures and started thinking about how I could make a hat with cat ears. Then it dawned on me that there were probably instructions online. No point in reinventing the wheel. Sure enough, I found this site.p6

The hat pattern was unusual. I had never knit a hat in this way before. A rectangular hat with ribbing at each end is folded in half and sewn along the two sides. These images are from the web site listed about.

The hat was easily knit on straight needles. I chose a pink variegated yarn.

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This is how it looks flat. The ears appear when it is worn. It was plenty large for an adult woman.

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I hope she likes it!

UPDATE (2/23/17)

I got a request for another hat after displaying this one. This time the color is bright pink.

Here is what the hat looked like before it was sewn.

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Here is what it looked like when finished.

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Knitting Update

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Yarn was on sale this month and I couldn’t help stocking up a little. Sometimes I get requests for items and that has been happening more since I started writing about knitting on my blog. People also see stuff in my Etsy store GoodForGoodnessSake. All profits from the store are donated to veterans charities.

Here are some things I have been working on.

Linda’s Hat

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After seeing the “Snowy Day Hats” in the Etsy store, a friend said she couldn’t decide between the gray one and the blue one. She liked the ribbing on the blue one but the color of the gray one. It was funny to watch her reaction when I said I could make her a gray one with the ribbing she liked. I guess people aren’t use to custom ordering.

Woman’s Beany

I really like working out new patterns for ideas that are rolling around in my head. Here is a woman’s beanie knitted with two strands of worsted weight yarn. The color combinations would be plentiful and it would be a great stash buster. I intend to knit several in team colors for the Etsy store (when I get time of course). I will write about the pattern later.

Super Warm Cowl

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This super warm and thick cowl is all about function. Made with thick yarn, it even stands up on its own. I had made one originally for a man, but his wife liked it so I made one for her, too. It stands up so well that I am considering using the pattern to make a basket.

Cozy Ear Warmer / Headbands

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The pattern for these easy cozy ear warmers is found in a previous post.

A friend wanted three ear bands for her daughter/granddaughters. I invited her to look over the yarn I had and she couldn’t narrow it down to three. So I told her I would knit her four chosen yarns into bands and she could choose from the finished projects. Whichever one she does not choose, I will sell in the Etsy store.

Shawl in a Ball Shawl

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An earlier post describes a shawl pattern called Silvery Shawl. I had to make three of those. As soon as people saw them (and felt them) I had several requests. I finally found the yarn called Shawl in a Ball that I had intended to use and now I am knitting the same pattern in a new yarn. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

That is what I have been up to lately. As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

 

Fitness Trackers – Healthy Skepticism

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The track at the local YMCA is very busy. It is the new year and very cold outside. Even those who, like me, prefer walking and biking outdoors, have moved inside for safety and comfort.

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The track is part of the new addition to the building. It is lovely. The large windows and second floor vantage point provide a lovely outdoor feel. The sunrise is clearly visible and I try to be on the track at a time to watch it.

Most days I walk 4-5 miles. I often wonder what other people are thinking about. Today I tried to calculate how fast others were walking, relative to me, by noting how often and at what point on the track I passed them. It was entertaining.

I am ramping back up again after a minor surgery (all better now). As a result, I feel the need to track my fitness levels. The first day I walked on the track for 30 minutes and counted the laps. I wasn’t even sure how big the new track was but knew that 30 minutes was plenty of walking and I could always ask about the distance. Surprisingly, it was hard to find someone who knew. The answer to my question “how big is this track” ranged from a quarter mile to a twentieth of a mile. So I asked downstairs at the desk and they said the track was one eighth of a mile, eight laps to a mile.

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At first I was counting laps on my fingers. But as a built up distance, I found that cumbersome. So I brought a counter with me (some of you will recognize it as a knitting row counter) and clipped it to my belt so I wouldn’t have to carry it. It worked great, but I kept forgetting to click it (I have that trouble sometimes when I knit, too). Too bad there wasn’t something that would do all the measuring automatically.

I started thinking about technology that could be used. Outside I use the free app MapMyRun. It uses the phones GPS to track and record position and time data. I love it but wasn’t sure it would work indoors. I retrieved my Fitbit that I had loaned to a friend. Last time I used it to track distance, I felt that it wasn’t measuring miles properly.

So last week, I showed up to walk with three fitness trackers on. I would walk and compare them, testing each along the way.

I walked 32 laps in 65 minutes. If the track really is an eighth of a mile then I walked 4 miles.

First, I checked the MapMyRun app. It said that I had walked 2.84 miles. What ?!?

Well, this picture of the map explains the error. The picture on the left show a diagram of the track and the one on the right shows the path that MapMyRun thought I took.

MapMyRun was only seeing my position when I was near some of the windows. It thought I was ping-ponging around the track and was connecting the dots. It really doesn’t work very well indoors. To be fair, I’m sure it was designed for outdoor use where satellite reception is good.

The Fitbit data was also interesting. After walking 8 laps, one mile, the Fitbit said I had only walked 0.7 miles. That is quite a large difference, about 30%. I wasn’t sure if the Fitbit was doing something wrong or if the track wasn’t as long as they claimed. I decided to check it out.

Measuring the length of the track would be a challenge. So I started with the Fitbit. I looked up how distance was determined and found that the Fitbit assigns you an average  stride length based on your height and multiplies that distance by the number of steps. There is even a setting where you can change your stride length if it is other than the one chosen for you.

To measure your stride length, count the steps you take over a known distance and divide. Your measurement will be better if you chose a longer known distance. I used the basketball court which was regulation size for high school basketball, 84 feet. I walked down and back (168 feet) several times at various speeds. My stride length was greater at faster speeds (2.58 ft) that at slower speeds (2.47 ft).

Distance / number of steps = stride length

stride-length

To determine the stride length Fitbit has assigned to you, just take the distance it says you have walked divided by the number of steps it has counted for you. Again, the larger the numbers the better the data, so do this at the end of the day. Mine said I had walked 4.15 miles (there are 5280 feet in a mile) and taken 9949 steps. This was a stride length of 2.20 feet per step. This is off quite a bit from my measured value and accounts for some of the error (about 7%). But this value can be adjusted and fixed.

A greater problem is that my Fitbit doesn’t seem to count all my steps. I counted the steps in each lap and found it to be between 250 and 255 each trip around. I tested the counter by noting the number of steps before I started, counting out 250 steps exactly, and then looking to see how many additional steps the device recorded. The Fitbit was always short.

After reading some discussion online, I tried some of the suggestions. I tested it swinging my arms and not swinging them. I wore it on my dominant and non-dominant hand and changed the dominant/non-dominant had setting. No matter what I did it always missed some of the steps.

Using my stride length, I should take 2046 steps per mile, or about 256 steps per lap. This is very nearly what I counted. But after 40 laps (5 miles), the Fitbit said I had only taken 8555 steps. That is just 213 steps per lap. That is a 17% error. That is huge. There doesn’t seem to be any way to resolve this issue with settings and I can’t figure our anything I can do to make my steps more detectable.

So in the end, I have to say that the Fitbit is great for tracking progress, whether you are getting better, but not great for making accurate measures of distance. It has nice features for reminding you to move, tracking your sleep and integrating you eating habits and weight information.

But the best way for me to know how I am doing on the track, it seems, is to remember to click the counter and watch the clock. I did discover that the Fitbit is a pretty good timer. It told me today that my 40 laps gave me an “active time” of 77 minutes. That is 3 minutes less that the 80 minutes those same 40 laps took me yesterday. Yay!

Have a health and happy 2017.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

Color Strand Ear Warmer / Headband

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Sometimes you don’t need a whole hat, just something to cover your ears.

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My last post was a pattern for an easy cozy headband. This is a slight variation of that pattern. Instead of alternating 3 rows of knit with 3 rows of purl across the whole headband, I replaced the center section with all knit rows and used color strand knitting (sometimes called Fair Isle).

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Wrong Side of Color Strand Headbands

Because the color strand section carries two threads across ( and also because I have not yet gotten the hang of leaving the strands loose enough) these bands fit a little more snuggly than the Cozy Ear Warmers from the last post. They are also a little heavier and warmer. The dark red one is made from a lighter weight wool yarn so it looks smaller when un-stretched.

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Right Side of Color Strand Headbands

But they still fit all the adult women who tried them on so I think the pattern is fine the way it is. If you like your band a little looser, just add a few more stitches in groups of 2 for the for the red patterns, 3 for the orange pattern, and 4 for the blue pattern.

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I chose these stitch patterns because they never had more than two stitches of the same color in a row. If you have more stitches of the same color in a row, this means that the other color is “carried” on the wrong side for a longer distance, leaving loose, hanging yarns. There are ways to prevent this, but I haven’t mastered them yet. So for now I use patterns with small motifs.

This is a great “stash buster” and they don’t take long. Try any color combinations you want! I was surprised how much I liked the orange and yellow band.

I will finish weaving the ends on these three and place them in my Etsy store, GoodForGoodnessSake. If you don’t have time to knit your own you can buy them there. Remember, all profits from the site are donated to veteran’s charities.

If you make one, post a picture in the comments section. It would be fun to see!

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

Easy Cozy Ear Warmer / Headband

Sometimes you don’t need a whole hat, just something to cover your ears.

purple-bandHere is an extremely easy pattern that goes quickly and is a great stash buster. Unstretched it measures 18” around and 3.5” wide. It easily stretches to 6” wide when worn. It requires about 75 yards of medium weight yarn.

 

 

 

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The picture above shows the difference between switching colors between two knit rows and switching colors between purl rows.

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Separate Pieces Before Assembly

Here is what the two separate pieces look like before assembly.

I made three bands, all the same except for color. The gray one got snatched up before I could get a picture of all three together. The other two will be for sale in my Etsy store GoodForGoodnessSake. So if you are too busy to knit them yourself you can buy them there. Remember, all the profits from the store are donated to veteran’s causes.

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This is one of the early prototypes. I knit it and asked several people to try it on. The consensus was that it was too narrow and too loose. So I decreased the number of stitches to 65 and added another 6 rows. Again, I asked several people to try it on and they liked it so this is the pattern I have settled on.

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Spoiler alert: Here is a preview of the new style of bands I am working on. Stay tuned for new ideas!

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

 

Cozy Cowl Hood

While shopping in Portland OR a few years ago, I saw a knit cowl hood in an outdoor store. It could be worn loosely around the neck like a scarf (one that doesn’t fall off) or could be raised and worn like hood.

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After a few experimental attempts, I came up with this pattern. It is one of the most requested items I make. I think I have made about a dozen so far.

It is easy, but takes a while, so leave yourself enough time if you are making one as a gift. There are 10,912 stitches. You will need about 350 yards of medium weight yarn. I really like Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash 100% wool. But I have made it with lots of other yarns as well. Some of the new ombre yarns are pretty.

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These are some leftovers of the Superwash colors I have used.

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I hope you enjoy the pattern. As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

Shuttlecraft to Enterprise

I have always been a Star Trek fan. I watched the original series as it aired. In those days, you actually had to watch TV shows when they were on, there was no way to record them. If you missed them, you missed them until they showed up in reruns. We had a tree house that we named the Enterprise. In our imagination, anything from pinecones to rocks to tomatoes could be a photon torpedo and be chucked from our high perch onto the Klingons below.

In 1992 we were looking for a new ornament for the Christmas tree at the Hallmark store, something we did each year. There I spotted the Shuttlecraft Galileo. It had lights front and back and plugged into tree lights after removing one bulb. Apparently, the first ornament in the series, the Starship Enterprise, had come out the year before in 1991 and the Shuttlecraft was the second. There has been a new Star Trek ornament each year and they are among Hallmark’s best sellers.

I was delighted to find that when you pushed a button on the bottom, Commander Spock spoke. “Shuttlecraft to Enterprise, shuttlecraft to Enterprise. Spock here. Happy holidays. Live long and prosper”.

 

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Old Shuttlecraft Ornament 1992

As my daughters got older, they also looked forward to hanging the craft each year and hearing Spock’s holiday wishes. I was saddened by Leonard Nimoy’s passing last year. And this year, the ornament seemed to have died, too. One light wouldn’t work and saddest of all, the voice was barely a whisper. If the room were quiet, and I sat very close, I could barely hear it. I was sad, about the ornament and about the actor.

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New Ornament

The girls were also sad. Maybe because they knew I was. But those little darlings found me a new ornament on EBay. I was so surprised and delighted. They explained that may were for sale, but only a few actually still worked.

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I even have a box now! I was surprised to learn that original price was $24.  It seems odd to me that I would have paid that much since I am rather frugal by nature. I guess I really wanted it.

This week I am enjoying the new ornament on so many levels. I love hearing Spock’s voice. I enjoy reliving the wonderful times we had playing Star Trek. And most of all, I am so touched by the thoughtfulness of my daughters.

Snowy Day Hat

It has been unusually cold and snowy for December. Although the bad weather makes it difficult to get around, the snow is beautiful.

I was inspired to design a new hat, actually two new hats. The wide white brim reminds me of the beautiful snow drifts and the white color strand stitches represent the falling snow. I chose colors that reminded me of the winter sky.

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The brims of the two hats are a little different, but both are wide, soft, and white.

The photos do not do the hats justice. The foam heads are not as big as real heads so the hats look looser than they really are. I guess I will have to work on my photography.

I hope you enjoy them. If you want to make your own snowy day hat, I am sharing the patterns here. I swear one of these days I am going to go through my posts and retype the instructions in a more conventional format. But for now, I think these instructions will do.

If you like them, but don’t want to make them, you can buy them at my Etsy store: GoodForGoodnessSake. Remember, all the money raised at the Etsy store is donated to veterans charities.

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Etsy Store Reboot

 

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Last year I started an Etsy store. I love to make things; sewing, knitting, weaving, crocheting. Sometimes I make things with a specific recipient in mind. Other times I just make things to try a new skill, use some extra yarn or fabric, or just on a whim. I thought that I could sell these items on the Etsy sight and donate the money to veterans charities.

It started well, but then life became unexpected busy. The items I had placed in my store expired and I didn’t refresh the supply. But now I am ready to start again with greater determination and more realistic expectations.

So if you are looking for handmade gifts or something for yourself, check out my store.

GoodForGoodnessSake at etsy.com