Santa Baby Hat and Mitten Set

This month I have another baby knitting pattern to share. I have two co-workers having babies at the end of November, and I thought a Santa set would be perfect. The red yarn I used is Lion’s Brand Feels Like Butta in red (for a girl, try Feels Like Butta in pink) and the white is Lion’s Brand Nap Time in white. This was my first time using Nap time, and I love it. It has the feel of a bulky, soft chenille, but is thin and can be knit using small needles. The only warning I have is that if you use Nap Time yarn to make the pom pom of the hat, it can get a little messy with fly aways (it is chenille after all). The fix I found was to cut the pom pom over a table to catch all the debris. Give the pom pom a few shakes, and it should be good to go.

The pattern is knit on straight needles (I still cannot figure out how to knit using four needles), so there is a seam, but I hid it by folding over the tip of the hat. I added a stitch to connect the tip of the hat to the side, which keeps the seam hidden nicely. The key to making this hat work is the gradual decreases of every K row, which takes many rows of knitting to achieve. Once I figured that out, it was smooth sailing. You can increase or decrease the size of the hat to fit any size baby, just keep the stitches even.

To finish the thumbless mittens, you can tie the them with green or red ribbon to keep the festive spirit of the set, or you can use pink or blue ribbon for a girl or boy. I found 1/8″ ribbon works perfectly in the small eyelet holes. Hope you enjoy and keep knitting!

Santa Baby Hat
Size US 6 straight knitting needles
White baby yarn (I used Lion’s Brand Naptime in white)
Red baby yarn (I used Lion’s Brand Feels Like Butta in red)
Pom pom maker and ruler to measure your knitting
Tapestry needle to sew seam

Using size US 6 knitting needles, cast on 50 stitches using white baby yarn. Work in ribbing (K1, P1) for 1 inch. Cut white baby yarn, leaving enough yarn to sew seam. Then, attach red baby yarn and knit in the stockinette stitch (K row, P row) until piece measures 4 inches.

For the first row of decrease, start by K2 together, then knit the rest of the row until the last two stitches and K2 together to end row. For all even rows, P entire row with no decrease. Continue knitting first two stitches and last two stitches together of every K row until you are left with four stitches on your needle. This will give you the gradual point of a Santa hat. Cut yarn, leaving enough yarn to sew seam. Gather stitches on tapestry needle and sew seam.

This is what it should look like before you gather the stitches (pictured using Feels like Butta in pink).
Seam gone!

Using pom pom maker and white baby yarn, make a fluffy pom pom for the top of the hat. Then, using the tapestry needle, sew the tip of the hat down to hide seam.

Bring thread up from inside hat.
Then bring needle through a stitch at the top of the hat.
Then bring back through to the inside of that hat and knot thread to secure.

Santa Baby Thumbless Mittens
Size US 6 straight knitting needles
White baby yarn (I used Lion’s Brand Naptime in white)
Red baby yarn (I used Lion’s Brand Feels Like Butta in red)
Tapestry needle to sew seam
1/8” Ribbon

Begin using size US 6 knitting needles and cast on 30 stitches. Work in ribbing (K1, P1) for 10 rows.
To make eyelet for ribbon, K1, *yo, k2 together. Repeat from * ending with K1.
Work in ribbing for another 4 rows. Then cut off white baby yarn, leaving enough yarn to sew seam. Attach red baby yarn.
Work in stockinette stitch (K row, P row) for 2 inches.

Then decrease mitten as follows:
K2 together across row
P row
K2 together across row, ending with K1
P row
K2 together across row, ending with 4 stitches. Cut yarn, leaving enough tail to sew seam. Gather stitches on tapestry needle and sew seam.
Weave ribbon into eyelet holes and tie into a bow.

Lion’s Brand Nap Time in white with Feels Like Butta in Pink with green ribbon.
Lion’s Brand Nap Time in white with Feels Like Butta in Pink with red ribbon

The 2020 Yarn Clown

Pepe & Bongo

2020 so far isn’t going great. Between the pandemic, politics and social injustice, I’ve been burying myself in crafting to avoid social media and ease my anxiety. Since fall is nearly upon us, I’m starting to think about the holidays. I like to make at least one thing for my family at Christmas, but I was stumped this year. Yes, I could craft a simple mask and embroider the year on it and dangle it on the tree, or I could delve into my older crafts and find something that better represents this scary year. The answer was sitting in my hutch: a yarn clown.

The origin of the yarn clown comes from my family’s Christmas tree. I don’t know where he came from, or who made him, but I’m pretty sure it was the 1970’s. He was pink, and his long yarn legs would rest on the pipe cleaner tree branches or our tree. Every Christmas I could not wait to decorate the tree to free the ornaments from their boxed prisons. There were so many fun ornaments to play with and the yarn clown was one of my favorites. At night I would wait until everyone was distracted, then I would sneak my favorite ornaments off the tree to play with them in my room. The yarn clown took center stage in many of the Christmas-themed dramas I created. I imagined he was an ex-circus clown who finds love and happiness as a Christmas ornament. Engaged to a macrame angel ornament, they married in my room surrounded by my She-Ra dolls, Monchichis and Barbies.

The original yarn clown

Years later, when my mother was cleaning out her basement, I was reunited with the yarn clown. The years had not been kind to him, but my memories of him and the stories I created stayed with me all these years later. He was damaged and stained with age, but thankfully I was able to save him before he was thrown away (sadly, his wife the macrame angel was not so lucky). I took him to my house, where he lives in my hutch wedged between my china. That is where I keep all my precious items. He comes out every Christmas to sit on my Christmas tree. I place him near the top in a place of honor.

It does not seem fair to me that I am the only one with a yarn clown for my tree. So, for this month, I have instructions for you to make your own. I hope your yarn clown represents for you all the fears you overcame this year. Whenever the world throws another punch (and it will), look at your clown and remember how strong you are. Perhaps you have a friend or a relative who could use a yarn clown to cheer them up. This was a scary year, so what better way to beat our fears than putting a clown on your tree?

I found the clown was sturdier when I used worsted weight yarn. Baby yarn made the clown flimsier, but if it’s all you have, use it. You can use any color as this project is perfect for that ball of leftover yarn sitting in the bottom of your yarn pile. Your clown can be green or red to make it more holiday, or your favorite color. I used Red Heart yarn in lavender and white and baby yarn was used for the orange and pink clown. For his shirt and hat, a simple piece of felt works, or if you can sew, you can get fancier and use a piece of fabric. Red velour contact paper was used to make the mouth and nose of the clowns, but red felt would work fine, too. For this project, a glue gun is your friend and makes attaching the pom poms and felt easy. Use pom poms, sequins, button, beads, or simply cut more felt to decorate your clown.

34 pieces of yarn cut 18”
26 pieces of yarn cut 6”
1 ½” styrofoam ball
Fabric glue and a glue gun
Sharp pair of scissors and a hole punch
1 tack, optional
felt in various colors
decorations like pom poms, sequins, button, beads, lace trim, felt, etc.

Once you have the yarn pieces cut, take the 18” pieces of yarn and take four pieces away, so you have a bundle of thirty. Use one of the four pieces and tie the bundle of yarn pieces together in the center like in the picture above. Then, spread a good amount of fabric glue on the styrofoam ball. This will help keep the yarn in place. Place the center of the yarn bundle where it is tied on top of the styrofoam and then spread out the yarn so that it covers the ball completely, gathering the yarn at the bottom. I stuck a tack on the top of the clown’s head through to keep the bundle of yarn secure. Using another 18″ piece, tie the yarn at the base of the clown’s head (see below). You may want to cut an extra piece to tie the base twice or use an elastic to make the yarn covering the ball as tight as possible. This will make decorating the clown’s face easier. Let the tied ends fall to join the other pieces of yarn. Allow to dry for about 1 hour. Once it is dry, you can remove the tack if you want, but the hat will be covering the top of his head, so it is not necessary.

A small nail or tack on top of the clown’s head helps to keep the yarn secure.

Next take the pile of 6″ yarn pieces and take 6 pieces away from the pile, leaving twenty. Then divide the remaining twenty pieces of 6” yarn into two piles of ten. Place ten pieces behind the clown and ten pieces over his chest.

Sandwich the 6” pieces around the body to keep it sturdy.

Use two of the six pieces you removed from the pile to tie the clown’s arms at the shoulders to secure it to the body (see below). Instead of cutting the ends of the tied pieces, let the ends become part of his arms.

Then, take the last two pieces of 18” yarn and use them to separate the legs. You can count the yarn or just eyeball it. Tie just underneath the chest. Take the last four pieces of 6″ yarn to tie the wrists and ankles. Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut the arms and legs evenly.

I waited until I sewed on the clown’s shirt to cut the frayed ends, but you can do it sooner.

Now you can cut out the felt shirt and hat. Starting at the legs, wiggle the yarn through the neck hole until it reaches the clown’s neck. Then pin the felt together at his arms and side. I used a blanket stitch (in my case, a very messy blanket stitch). For the hat, fold the felt in half and sew seam with an applique stitch.

If you should pause your project at this point, I suggest hiding your yarn clown under a blanket as it could pass as a crude voodoo doll. Don’t worry, with some embellishments, it will soon look like a cheery clown!

To attach the hat, I used glue gun and put a few dots on the inside of the hat to secure. Keep the seam of the hat to the side of the clown’s head. Then fold the hat down over the seam and put more hot glue on the tip to secure it to the base of the hat. Don’t worry if it looks messy, you’re going to hide the tip with a pom pom.

Notice the seam is on the clown’s left side.
When you fold down the tip, the seam will be hidden.

Now to decorate! I used leftover pom poms and hot glue, but if you want to put your clown on the tree, sequins would add some sparkle. To give the neck a nice trim, I used some lace, but you could also use more pom poms.

The lace I bought was too thick, so I cut it in half and tried to pleat it neatly under the clown’s head with hot glue. A hole punch makes the perfect size for the nose and eyes, and I cut a pom pom in half to glue as cheeks. You can even hot glue the year onto the clown’s shirt so you never forget why you made him in the first place.

If you have a cricut, there is a shapes button that includes both a circle and a diamond, which you could use instead of my template for the eyes. Using a glue gun, I glued the diamond shape for the eyes on first. Then I used a hole punch to punch out the nose and eyes. I cut a 1 cm pom pom in half and glued it on either side of his mouth for this cheeks. The mouth I drew free-hand on a piece of tissue paper, then traced on the back of a piece of red velour contact paper.

There are many different ways to dress your clown up. For the black and white clown, I made half the clown’s hat black and half gray (template is above). Then end result was a motley crew of yarn clowns that honestly look a little terrifying. But it was the perfect craft to keep me occupied and away from bad news. To me, the yarn clown perfectly sums up my feelings on this year. Hope you enjoy creating your own!

My attempt at a harlequin clown, but he looks goth to me. His name is Gene.
A sad orange clown. His name is Donald.

The Tale of Two Shadow Boxes

Last Christmas, I stumbled upon wooden shadow boxes in the clearance bin at my local craft store. Marked at 90% off, I couldn’t leave them there, so I lugged them home. Then they sat on a shelf in my craft area for months. Unsure of what to do, I left them to do my other knitting and painting projects. Regret began to creep up on me. Like the clearance yarn bin, I could not pass up a deal, but in doing so I had again bought a bunch of stuff I would never use or finish. Every now and again I would see them hiding behind my paints and wonder about the possibilities. I could simply paint the scenes on the shadow boxes and finish them with a shiny lacquer, but since they were made of wood, would wood stain also work? Then it hit me: why not do both?

I am pleased with the results of both. But of the two, I do prefer the wood stained Santa scene. For the Santa shadow box, I used three different wood stains to complete the project and acrylic paint for Santa and the trees. I used mostly old paintbrushes to apply the stain and didn’t overload the brushes to prevent the stain from spilling out over the lines. The finished project looks rustic and would be a perfect nightlight in a kitchen or living room.

The Christmas tree shadow box looked a bit more whimsical to me and I decided to paint it in pastels. I even thought of embellishing the paint with Diamond Dotz. Looking back, I wish I had saved some of the unpainted wood to stain instead of paint, but it would work well in a child’s room and would be a fun holiday project for anyone young or old.

The wood section of the craft store is full of different ideas to paint or stain. Most do not require a lot of skill, so you can let your creativity run wild. During the fall and holiday seasons there is even more to choose from. There are signs, ornaments and more. With just a day’s work you or your child can create a Christmas keepsake for the tree or the mantel that will be cherished for years to come.

Guinea Pig Pin Art

This month has been a busy one. I returned to work after a ten-week furlough spent crafting and writing. My next craft may seem like a strange one, but if you have a special love for an animal in your life, I think you’ll understand my inspiration. I also might be a little loopy from wearing a mask for 9-10 hours a day. Lately it seems the wackier the craft, the better it is for my psyche. Either way, I hope it inspires you to create a work of art starring your furry loved one.

First, let me tell you a little bit about my guinea pig, Madison. We adopted her about a year ago from a shelter. When we first saw her, we were struck by her beautiful brown fur. She is a crested, short hair pig with several colors of brown running through her fur and a shock of white. It took a bit for her to get used to us, but she has become one of our family and now rules the house. She has been a wonderful addition to our home and I wanted to make something for my daughter to hang in her room. Since July 16 is national guinea pig day in the U.S., I thought this would be the perfect month to create my baby pig in pin art form.

Items needed for this project:
1/2” thick foam board cut to 8 ½ x 11”
1 piece of 8 ½ x 11” black velvet contact paper
Sequin pins
Sequins (I used 5 mm cup facet)
Tissue paper for tracing
Clear sequin beads to help secure the sequins to the board

For this craft, I am again dabbling again in sequin pin art. After finishing several packaged and pre-printed sequin designs, I wanted to try my own design this time. I bought some ½ inch foam board and cut it 8 ½ x 11 (just after I bought the foam board, I received a package in the mail that was packed with the exact same type of foam, so you may already have this hidden away).

Next, I bought a roll of black velvet contact paper and cut it to fit the foam. Velvet contact paper is mostly used to line jewelry boxes, but I’m finding it has several other fun uses. It also comes in an array of colors, so you don’t have to use black. Because it came in a roll, I let the piece I cut flatten under some paint bottles for a few days so it would not curl up.

Then I printed a picture from the internet of a short-haired guinea pig, since I am not good at free-hand drawing. Enlarging the picture until it was the perfect size, I then traced the picture onto a piece of scrap tissue paper and pinned it to the velour. I used a picture of Madison on my phone to map out the color pattern of her fur, then I began to place sequins around the edges to further secure the tissue. When I finished, I picked out the tissue using a tweezers and a pencil. I have to admit, I found this part of the project oddly satisfying.

My daughter was quite pleased with the final product. I would like to think Madison is pleased as well. I definitely will be doing more pin art projects in the future. The possibilities are endless. With a handful of sequins and an idea, you can make anything a sparkly masterpiece.

My model relaxing in the fading sun.

Coronavirus Model

When boredom sets in, it can sometimes be very hard to get teenagers out of their room and off the phone. Or in my case, Fortnight. Being stuck in the house during this pandemic has been especially hard on one of my children. I decided to raid my craft cabinet and lure her out with a craft I thought would be a timely one. Luckily, it only took a few inexpensive craft supplies and little bit of time.

In just an afternoon’s time, we created a decent model of the coronavirus. It also allowed me to use some of those cardboard toilet paper holders we’ve been accumulating. I added a stray piece of yarn to mine so that I could hang it. After it was finished, I used it as a teaching tool to show how the virus sticks to counter tops or can hang in the air. Sometimes kids (mine especially) need constant reminders to clean their hands and giving them a way to see an invisible virus can help. I decided to hang mine up over the sink to remind them to wash their hands when they come inside.

1 toilet paper ring, cut in half
1 foam ball (any size will do. I used a 2 inch ball for my model)
1 cm red pom poms.
Toothpicks (sometimes you can find toothpicks already colored red)
Red paint and a paintbrush
Gray paint
String to hang the model. (optional)

First, cut the toilet paper ring in half. This is now your holder for the foam ball. Place your foam ball onto the holder and paint half of the ball with the gray paint. Let it dry and paint the other half. While I waited for the ball to dry, I painted my toothpicks with the red paint.

After the foam ball is completely painted and dried you can move on to adding your toothpicks. You can stick the toothpicks all around the foam in any way you choose, but to give the model a uniform look, I started placing the toothpicks on the top, bottom and sides of the model first.

Then place toothpicks in the front and back.

After the toothpicks are placed, dip the tips of toothpicks in some glue. Then place the pom poms onto the tips. I did half the model and let it dry and then did the rest after that side dried.

Add a bit of glue to the top to add some string if you desire.

Sequin Pin Art

Though I am fairly new to it, sequin pin art has become one of my favorite crafts. I have completed several projects already and can’t wait to try more. Not only is it easy to do, but the sparkle of the sequins makes it an eye-catching and fun finished product. So, when I saw this project depicting a cardinal in a craft catalog, I had to try it. I love cardinals and thought this piece would not only look good hung on my wall for Christmas, but also through the winter. It’s much like doing a paint by number, and the end result is something beautiful.

If I get a spare moment to myself, I love to pin while watching TV or listening to a pod cast. I found using little plastic cups to organize the different sequin colors was helpful. If you have a plastic egg crate, that works too. It is easier to have a table so you can’t lay out the sequins and pins so they don’t become lost on a seat cushion. A paper plate works, too.

The project featured below came with everything you will need to complete the project. Included was a stamped piece of black, velvet contact paper, a form board to stick it on, and loose sequins and pins. It also comes with instructions. I also purchased a wooden frame that was advertised with it to make it easy to hang on the wall. Because of the sharp sequin pins used, I would recommend it for teens and up. Here are some tips I have learned that might help you if you want to try sequin pin art for yourself:

  • I like to outline each object with sequins and then work my way in. That way if an object, like the birdhouse, has straight lines, they stay straight. This also give a uniform appearance to your sequins.
  • If the object, like the cardinal, is framed in finishing pins, leave room for those pins by placing sequins against the white line, but not on it.
  • With the snowflakes on this piece, I placed the first sequin in the middle of the snowflake first, then I worked my way out to keep them looking consistent.
  • Refer to the picture that comes with the project if you have a question about how many sequins to use. For the beak, I counted six sequins and laid them out before pinning to be sure they would look good.

Once I got the hang of it, I was hooked. I love the way the finished product sparkles on my wall. I had so much fun with this project that next I am going to try a free hand sequin project. Stay tuned to see those results.

Pumpkin Patch Infant Hat and Mitten Set

Knitting for a baby is a wonderful way to make a personalized gift, but the usual baby blanket takes a lot of time and patience. Instead, I like to knit hat and mitten sets for new arrivals. This way I can make something special for the baby, and save my sanity at the same time. Usually I knit with either pink or blue yarn, but if the baby is due in the fall, I came up with a quick pattern to dress the little one for the harvest.

This pattern is easy enough that it can be knit over a weekend. I used Bernat Softee Baby yarn in pumpkin and then Red Heart Café Latte for the pom pom on top of the hat. You will also need a pom pom maker, a tapestry needle to sew up the seams and some green ribbon for the mitten ties. I learned to knit using a mitten pattern and I still enjoy knitting them. It only uses a small amount of yarn, so you’ll have plenty left over to make more sets.

Pumpkin Patch Infant Hat & Mitten Set
Size 6 straight knitting needles
-1 tapestry needle
-Pom Pom maker
-30” piece of 1/8 inch green ribbon, cut in half
-Bernat Softee Baby in pumpkin
-Red Heart Super Saver in Café Latte

Infant Pumpkin Hat
-Using size 6 needles, cast on 56 stitches of Bernat Softee yarn in color Pumpkin
-Work in ribbing of k1, p1 for first 4 rows
-Then start pumpkin pattern as follows:

Row 1: *K7, P1, repeat from *, ending with K8.

Row 2: P row.

-Repeat rows 1 & 2 until piece measures 4 inches, then reduce as follows:
-*K2 together 3x, P2 together, repeat from *, ending with K2 together 4x.P row

-K2 together across row

-P row

-K2 together across row. Cut yarn leaving enough of a tail to sew the seam. Gather remaining 7 stitches and thread w/tapestry needle. Sew seam.

-Using a pom pom maker or a piece of cardboard, make a pom pom using the Red Heart yarn in color Café Latte. Attach to the top of the hat.

Thumbless Pumpkin Mittens
-Using size 4 knitting needles, cast on 30 stitches of Bernat Softee Baby yarn in color pumpkin.
-Work in ribbing, K1, P1 for 10 rows.
-Create eyelet as follows: K1, *yo, K2 together, repeat from *, ending with K1
-Continue ribbing, K1, P1, for 4 more rows.
-Then create pumpkin pattern as follows:
1. *K5, P1, repeat from *, ending with K6
2. P row
-Continue repeating rows 1 & 2 for 20 rows, then reduce mitten as follows:
-*K2 together 2x, P2 together, repeat from * ending w/k2 together 3x.
– P row
-K2 together across row, ending with K1
-P row
-K2 together across row.
-Cut yarn leaving a long enough length to sew the seam. Gather the remaining stitches on a tapestry needle and sew seam.
-Cut 30” ribbon in half so you have 2 15” pieces. Thread green ribbon in the eyelet holes and tie in a bow on the front of the mitten.

The Santa Scarf

Want an accessory that screams holiday cheer? Look no further, the Santa Scarf is the knitting project for you. This pattern is easy and simple enough to knit while you watch your favorite Christmas movie or binge Netflix. And if you are stuck in the house during the quarantine, now is the time to start a new project you can wear this holiday season. What better way to relax than to bring a little holiday cheer into your life? All you need is some basic knitting skills and some yarn to get started.

It took a few trips to the craft store to find just the right colors and textures to make this scarf work. Luckily, I was working on this pattern during the last holiday season and was able to do my research before the quarantine took effect. I settled on Lion Heart Basic Stitch in Red Heather for the bulk of the scarf and Bernat Pipsqueak in Whitey White for the trim. The Pipsqueak yarn is a bulky, baby yarn and it takes a while to get used to knitting it in the round, so I recommend taking it slow at first. But once you see how it works against the red yarn, you’ll see it was worth the effort. When I was finished, I closed the ends of the scarf with some white embroidering floss.

The Santa Scarf is a wonderful accessory to dress up any coat during the holiday season. Whether you are picking out the tree, holiday shopping, or attending the town tree lighting, the Santa Scarf is the perfect added touch. It will make any coat pop with Santa spirit and if you are a fast knitter, you may even be able to make a few for gifts. So, set up your favorite show and get knitting!

The Santa Scarf
24” size 10 circular knitting needles
3 skeins of Lion Heart Basic Stitch, Red Heather
2 skeins of Bernat Pipsqueak, Whitey White
White embroidering floss to sew ends

  1. Cast on 80 stitches of the Bernat Pipsqueak Whitey White yarn. Join in the round and K for next 30 rows, or until piece measures about 6”.
  2. Attach the Lion Heart Basic Stitch in Red Heather and continue to K in the round until piece measures about 50-55 inches.
  3. Reattach the Bernat Pipsqueak Whitey White yarn and K for 30 more rows. Bind off and sew ends together using the white embroidering floss or white thread.
  4. Wrap your finished scarf around your neck and feel the Santa Cheer! Enjoy!
Sewing the ends together