Thursday, May 29, 2008



Over on the Ravelry hat project group, Gari (myarn on Ravelry) informed us in a post from Tuesday that they are planning a hat KAL and potluck at Maranacook Yarns in Readfield, Maine on June 13. I was so excited and inspired by this that I talked to the ladies at my LYS and we decided to make it a bi-coastal knitting potluck.

If you live within driving distance of either location, it would be so awesome if you could make it out. I’d love to put some names and faces together and, of course, it is always good to meet more knitters! Come for an hour or stay for the whole time, but please come!

SO! Friday, June 13 5pm-9pm, please join us in Readfield, Maine or Oakdale, California for hat knitting and food.

Maranacook Yarns 138 South Road • Readfield, Maine • 04355 • 207-685-9704 •

Hooks & Needles Yarn Shop 136 N. Third Avenue • Oakdale, California • 95361 • 209-845-2258 •

P.S. Does anyone want to host a knitting potluck somewhere in between??


I received a box of hats and handknits from Kim on Tuesday. This was my first batch of Hats from Afar. Thank you, Kim! I’ll take pictures this weekend and share all of the knitterly goodness with you then.

Then today I got another package in the mail, this time from Bea in Norway. It never never ceases to amaze me how many awesome knitters there are out there. And I mean both awesomely skilled at knitting – I am impressed and a little intimidated every time I look at others’ Flickr pages – and awesome, wonderful people, as evidenced by their generosity and willingness to reach out and lend a hand…or a handknit, as the case may be. Thanks, Bea! You rock!!

On the Home Front

The current hat count is 70. Personally, I am on course for success in regards to my goal of completing a Hat a Day in May…Which means, of course, that while I haven’t strictly knit one hat each day, I’ve come pretty close and will have completed 31 hats by Saturday. I’m going to give myself a breather in June and set a goal of one hat each week and then, depending on how the counts are going, get back on the Hat a Day wagon in July. This should give me time in June to finish Lori’s much neglected socks, (RC, how did you knit so many pairs of these and I got so far behind?) work on the Loopy Ewe and a few other odds and ends. If I get some sort of wild hair, maybe I’ll even manage to knit a long, long neglected hedgehog or a llama. Lori’s socks are a must. We’ll see about the others.


I think I might be suffering from some sort of knitting-related illness. Last night, I was standing in the yarn shop, mentally debating my next hat, while at the same time dreamily caressing the Panda Silk and contemplating knitting myself a headscarf. Something light and a little airy and beautiful and delicate. Maybe a simple Mobius something. So, May is for hats, June for socks and tending to existing projects, July for hats. Perhaps in August...

Today’s Quote

Matthew 25:40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

40 Hats

We have reached a milestone....40 Hats. I know there are others on the way in the mail but as of tonight, I have 40 hats (as pictured above) in my possession. Thank you, thank you!!!

Also, Milestone #2, my beloved local purveyor of yarny goodness has launched her website. Stop by!!! Click on the front door, and you're there...136 North Third Avenue, Oakdale, California 95361. (209) 845-2258. The free shipping on orders of hat yarn deal is still in effect. Take advantage while she is feeling generous! (Seriously, though, she is very generous. That offer isn't going anywhere.)

Because quick is the status quo around here of late (still knitting hats...26 so far for me) I'll tell you these tidbits:

1) I have approximately 400 million yards (give or take) of hand dyed cotton that I will be sending to RC as a prize for the hat contest.

2) My sister Katy, new knitter extraordinaire has carpal tunnel. Seriously! She is halfway through hat number three and making a valiant effort with the brace.

3) Remember these words: LABOR OF LOVE. There are plans in the works for a shindig at Hooks and Needles to wrap up the hat project over Labor Day weekend. I'll post more details as they come but for now, if you can be in bright and shiny Oakdale, California any time between Saturday, August 30 through Monday, September 1, please save the date. Sidenote: Oakdale is a perfect potty stop on the way to/from Yosemite from a lot of locations. Kaylee has promised to stock up on TP.

4) The Ravelry group is growing by leaps and bounds. We are currently at 28 members. If you haven't joined, please do. If you are lurking around out there knitting hats in some cold dark corner, please poke your head out and let me know you are there. It is so exciting to know where everyone is.

I think that's it. Things are nuts on this end but good nuts, not nuts a la first quarter 2008. Send yarn. Send wine.

Today's Quote:

"That ain't the half of it, honey, but that's all I'm telling." -Alice Coachman

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Merrily We Roll Along

I’ve never made any claims to be a fast knitter. In fact, I’ve long-since come to terms with my status as a comparatively slow knitter. Nevertheless, I was reasonably confident I could meet my self-imposed goal of knitting a hat every day in May (and maybe June…but we’ll see about that). What I didn’t consider was that going to work, attending to normal life AND knitting a hat every day doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for blogging.

Rest assured, though, that I have not fallen into a hole again and I am not ignoring the blog.

I’m knitting hats. (And doing my damnedest to reply to comments. Carisa, I don't have an email address for you....but rats - I'm glad you like them as pets. I understand their are also people who keep tarantulas and pythons for pets. I am not one of those people.)

On a completely unrelated note, I am so jazzed that Whitney won America's Next Top Model.

(I think they should have left her hair alone - like in this picture. The blonde was somehow Dynasty-esque, I think.) Anyway, Anya was lovely and all that but I was a fan of Whitney from the very beginning. Hurray for her!

So far, we’ve got 31 hats. Here is a picture of the 14 hats I personally had knit as of last Wednesday. I’ll try to take another picture next week with everything I have so far.

When I first took on the task of knitting a hat a day, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to knit fast enough to keep that pace (as mentioned above) but it turns out that my hands are up to the task. My yarn budget, however, is not. My stash was good for a while but I’ve knitted up all of the hat-a-day appropriate yarn (i.e. any yarn that must be knit on needles smaller than a US 8 will not do) and now I’m buying yarn a couple of balls at a time at the yarn shop and cashing in a couple of gift certificates I’d been holding on to. Who knew I had so much sock yarn? Seriously – I love the stuff and it is beautiful but there is no way I can knit a hat from sock yarn. (At least not for this particularly project.) If you come across any good sales, please let me know. FYI....I heart Mission Falls 1824 Wool. I continue to be amazed at how much it softens up from the ball to the knitted product.

Did you see the Hat Counter in the sidebar? I know it is small. This is what it looks like up close.
I’ll update it periodically, probably once a week or so.

Are you on Ravelry? I am. (as okwhatnext) I haven’t posted any of my projects there yet but I am there and I am loving looking at everyone else’s fabulousness. Deb started a Ravelry group for the hat project (called Kristys Hat Quest) and I’ve heard from knitters in Maine and England that they will be making hats. Both of those knitters are knitters I had not previously encountered through this blog or elsewhere so I am doubly excited to meet new people.

Katy went with me to knitting again last night. Can you guess why?Because she had finished knitting a hat and needed help finishing it and adding the pom-pom. Kudos to Katy for knitting a hat for the children! (Also, just between us, she bought more yarn to make more hats. She even conceded that she kind of likes knitting. Who knew?)

Kaylee told me she received her first hat yarn order this week. Patricia in Montana, if you are reading this, THANK YOU!

RC posted about the contest. And she also submitted the details to WiKnit. How cool is that site, by the way?

I really did meet the Yarn Harlot at the Maker Faire but I haven’t managed(and probably am not going to manage) to write a post about it. For the record, here’s a picture of me looking like a big goober and Stephanie holding one of the first hats for the Hat Project. In addition to knitting hats this week, I’ve also managed to finalize my travel arrangements for September and I received my new passport back in the mail. It makes it more exciting and more real as the particulars come together. Hopefully, I won’t stoop to the level of stopping strangers on the street and telling them, “Hey! Guess what – I’m going to the Ukraine.” That would just be embarrassing.

Today’s Quote

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” -James A Michener

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


(The lady who is organizing this trip to the Ukraine has been there before and this is a picture of some of the children at one of the facilities in Rivne.)

While I’ve been busily knitting hats – so far so good on the hat-a-day-in-May pace – others have been making hat plans and getting on the bandwagon with me. I am so thrilled! For those who’ve asked (and for those who want to know but haven’t asked yet) here are the particulars on the Hat Quest:

Total Hats Needed: 300

Deadline: I am leaving California September 20 but I am asking that all hats be to me by September 5 so I can figure out exactly how much space they are going to take up and then, by some miracle, figure out how I am going to get them all to the Ukraine. (Anybody have one of those bottomless Mary Poppins bags?)

Sizes: There are children of all ages, from infants to early teens, so all sizes in that range will work. We need the least of the infant sizes, so if you can aim a bit larger (school-aged kid size) that would be perfect. (Plus, if we end up with too many bigger-kid size hats, they can be rolled at the brim or otherwise maneuvered to fit small kids but baby hats can’t be made to fit bigger heads….in case you are interested in my logic.)

Patterns: Any pattern is great. Do you have a hat you’ve always wanted to knit but no appropriate recipient? Now’s the perfect time! The only caveat on that is it would be best to steer clear of any lettering on the hats (for all you crazy colorwork knitters) since it is unlikely that any of these children speak English.

Yarn: Wool, animal fibers or wool/animal fiber blends are preferred. It gets very cold there and, I’m told, electricity availability is spotty so 1) even inside, winter is quite cold for these kids and 2) these hats aren’t likely to go through any sort of vigorous hot water washing that might cause accidental felting. Please note: If you can’t knit wool or other animal fibers, that’s ok. Knit a different fiber and I’m sure that your cotton-linen-mircrofiber-hemp-corn-nylon-something-else hat will be much loved. (I’m talking to you Carissa, who I met on Saturday who has run out of people to knit for. It was so nice to meet you – I hope the pets are all well.)

Mailing: When you are ready to mail your hat, email me at crickitleigh(at)hotmail(dot)com and I will give you the address. I’ve heard from several people who live near other knitters and they are planning to accumulate hats and mail them all together, which I think is an excellent plan.

Other good things I know about this Hat Knitting Quest:

RC is planning to run a contest to go along with this. For this, I am eternally grateful since 1) I love a contest 2) I am dreadful at managing contests and 3) Knitting at least one had every day, having a job, a husband, a home and two dogs to attend to doesn’t leave enough time for doing a contest too. I’ll post a link when RC posts the rules and prizes on the contest. In the mean time, watch her blog.

Kaylee, the ever lovely proprietress of my LYS (aka Hooks & Needles), has signed on to be the Official Yarn Store of my hat quest. Which means that for local knitters, if you buy your hat yarn/needles from Hooks & Needles, you’ll get a 10% discount and if you are a faraway knitter, you can order yarn from her and she will ship it to you for free. Her full-fledged website is still in the works but in the meantime, you can visit the shop’s blog and call or email in your order. Also, she’ll be donating a prize to RC’s contest

SIDENOTE: I have a serious knitter-crush on the Autunno that Hooks & Needles carries. One ball makes one hat (and a pretty quick one) with plenty left over for combining on another hat or making a massive pom-pom. I’ve been knitting it on 10 or 10 ½ needles, 60 stitches, K2P2 and this works up great for me. (Remember, though, that I am a tight knitter.) And oh the softness! At $7 a ball, you really can’t go wrong. She has lots of other great stuff, too. The Teseo is great, too, and the same price.
I think that is it for now. I’ll put up a link to this post in the sidebar in case you need to check back later or if you want to refer a friend. I’ve gathered up the hats I have so far and I’m going to take pictures at Girls’ Night Out at the yarn store tonight of the progress.

Thanks again to everyone for their enthusiasm. I’m starting to believe that 300 isn’t such a big number after all. Unless, of course, we are talking cockroaches or rats or tarantulas….then 300 is most certainly a big number. Luckily, we’re talking hats.

Today’s Quote

“In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” -Albert Schweitzer

Monday, May 05, 2008

A Hat A Day

Thank you all SOOOOO much. I am so happy to hear from each of you. I am amazed at how much better it makes me feel just hearing others say they get it. Doubtless, there is likely to be some backsliding here and there but I am so encouraged and I appreciate all of your kind words and support.

I know we’ve all said it before but it is still true – knitters rock.

So, last week, I mentioned about knitting a hat every day this month. The place where I live – Northern California – is quite warm, all year around. It doesn’t snow here, even during the coldest winters. There is rarely a day a year that really even requires a heavy coat. So it might come as a surprise to you to find out that I have committed to knitting a hat a day this month. They aren’t for me – as you might imagine. They are for Ukrainian orphans.

In 1995, the summer after I graduated from high school, I went to the Ukraine on a mission trip with my church. The association of church here has a sister association there and I was a part of a group of youth and young adults who went there to meet and work with our sister churches. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I have always longed to go back. I loved the country and the culture and the people. After all of these years, I have a chance to go again, with another church group from the church I grew up in in North Carolina. I had heard about the trip a couple of weeks ago but it was just this past week that I found out for sure that I am going to be able to go. This is the most excited I’ve been about anything in a long time and is probably particularly good for my spirits right now.

As for the hats, while I am there (end of September/first part of October) we’re going to be working with several orphanages in the town of Rivne. In particular, there is an orphanage there for special needs children – those with mental and physical disabilities, that don’t have a place at other orphanages in the area. I talked to the lady who is organizing the trip and she and I agreed that it would be fabulous to take some handknit hats to the children. And originally I thought we’d need about 160 hats. Which seemed totally doable…but then she called me last Thursday and umm, probably we are going to need 300 if all the kids are going to get one of their own. (300 is capacity for the two orphanages we will be visiting.) And she wondered if maybe I knew any other knitters…

The thing is, if I take 160 hats that will be great. (Heck, if I take 10 hats, they will be thankful and will be able to use them.) BUT if I could round up 300 hats, it would be like Christmas for these kids. This is a very poor area and these orphanages get very little funding; they rely almost completely on private support. The Ukraine (as a whole) has come a long way since I was there 13 years ago. More areas have electricity (though for limit hours each day) and indoor plumbing is more common than it was then and the economy is much more stable. Even with all of this progress, there are still orphanages like these that struggle to care for needy children and in this case, it is made that much more difficult because of the unique challenges these children face.

I did go to the Maker Fair Saturday and I was working on a hat (of course - though it seemed inappropriate note to take the sock knitting to this event) and in the afternoon, they had a sit and knit together time during which I finished Saturday's hat. And hoping to instill the hat and this project with a little bit of knitting mojo, it posed for this picture.Anybody interested in knitting a hat or two?

Today’s Quote

“Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” -Sitting Bull

P.S. The Yarn Harlot really is as fabulous as everyone says she is. I had a blast Saturday and I'll share more pictures and the details of the fair the next time I post.