Category Archives: kids

FINISHED Teacher Gift

Lucy hat portait

My niece finished her second project last week and I felt like sharing. I learned a few things about indoctrinating kids into knitting, so I’m sharing. It’s easy enough to teach a kid how to knit, but keeping them knitting is an endeavour. Honestly, I don’t blame them, there is a lot of fun playing to be done when you’re a kid. On the other hand, my niece REALLY wants to become a better knitter, and you can’t do that without practice.

So here’s my story …. at the beginning of the school year she wanted to make a hat for her teacher, so I found an easy, basic pattern for her (something knit flat on super bulky yarn and big needles) and brought home some super bulky yarn in a colour her teacher would like, plus a jaunty fur pompom. You know how it goes, best-laid plans ….. first off, all she wanted to do was play with the pompom, it was very distracting. I don’t think she was into the colour I chose (a beautiful eggplant), and the entire concept of consulting a pattern was beyond her. Also, the longer needles required for making a hat flat were awkward and hard for her to use.

lucy hat COMBO

After several months of her project languishing, I threw in the towel and cast on some stitches in a more kid-friendly colour, and on shorter needles. I figured I’d just get her making *something*, maybe a neck warmer. But she’s a stubborn kid and insisted she wanted to make a hat for her teacher. It was hat or bust! So I went along with it, told her we could make it into a hat, and in the end McGyvered into a garment. Below is how the process unfolded (I apologize for the sad illustrations, I didn’t have the right technology with me when I made them).

Lucy Hat schematic 1.png

1. Knit a Long Rectangle

I cast on as many stitches as can comfortably fit on a 10″ straight needles. Next, I got the  kid to knit a rectangle-ish shape that fits around the circumference of a head (all in garter stitch). I found that she really go into knitting while listening to children’s books we downloaded through our public library.

I fixed all the dropped stitches that would unravel, but I did not mend any yarn overs or extra stitches added. I wanted her to get a feel for her progress. She started with a section of light blue, then changed to apple green, and finally light pink – the design concept was hers. Extra stitches were added, especially in the final section, so our rectangle was a bit trapezoidal.

Lucy hat schematic 2

2. Seaming

I seamed the cast on edge to the cast off edge. I offered her this job, but in true knitterly fashion, she wasn’t into it. The edges weren’t the same length and didn’t match, so I lined up one side and let the extra fabric hang down the other side.

Lucy hat schematic 3

3. Pick-up The Crown

Our rectangle was not tall enough to pull in the top of the hat, and the kid was adamant that she wanted a single pompom on top, and wasn’t going in for a flat-topped hat. With double pointed needles, I picked up about 40 stitches around the circumference of the non-wonky edge. I  immediately decreased for the crown, decreasing 4 stitches on every round until I only had about 8 stitches left. I broke the yarn, pulled it through the remaining stitches, and secured it on the inside of the hat. I wove in all the ends (I could have gotten her to do this but bedtime was creeping up fast and she REALLY wanted to give it to her teacher the next day). What can I say, I’m a sucker.

 

Lucy hat schematic 4.png

4. Styling and Art Direction (aka. Smoke & Mirrors)

I sewed a button on the side (I tried to teach her how to do it, but getting buttons to the right height for knitwear is a tricky endeavour for the best of us, and making the hat look good was really important to the kid, so she tried and then passed it off to me. (BTW, If you have a good button sewing for knitwear hack please share it with me! I always have a hard time making a post for the flat button.) I flipped the extra fabric up and buttoned it down, turning it into a jaunty design feature. Lastly, I sewed down the pompom.

 

Lucy Hat COMBO 2

5. Document the Occasion

Finally, I took pictures. It was a very multifaceted design, so we did an impromptu photo shoot to mark the big event. She proudly wrapped up her gift, and we got ready for bed, both of us extremely proud.

Did her teacher like it? I don’t know, but I expect it’s the most interesting gift she will receive in her career as a teacher. Did I mention that the day she gave this super wasm hat to her teacher it was super, uncomfortably hot outside? Yeah, it was a very timely gift. Anyway, her BFF at school was totally into the hat and has commissioned one in pink, with a purple pompom. Only time will tell if the aesthetic will trickle down to the runways of Europe …..

What I Gleaned

Did I learn anything? You bet:

  1. Kids gonna be kids – just go with it. If you want to get a kid into knitting, do it in kid colours.
  2. Kids do things differently than adults – just go with it.
  3. Don’t rush to get stuff done before bedtime.
  4. Kids like to knit while listening to audiobooks too!

KNIT HACK Pattern Choices (Bon Bon Toques)

Bon Bon Hats 1.jpg

People often ask me what I am working on …. most of the time the answer is something for the store, and the rest of the time I’m usually fulfilling my self-imposed materteral duties and making something for my niece & nephew. I suppose it would be cheaper & easier to go out & buy them hats & such, but once they ask I have a hard time saying no to such a sincere request. Usually, it’s doll clothes, which I don’t really have an issue making because they get used CONSTANTLY, but this year new snow suits require new hats and neck warmers. The neck warmers are still forthcoming ….

Knit Hack: Pattern Choices

Freebies are nice, but sometimes it’s worth it to pay for a pattern. I chose to pay for the Bon Bon Toque by Tin Can Knits for a few reasons:

Reliability

Tin Can Knits patterns are reliable, and I didn’t want to have to tinker with a pattern too much. If there’s too much ripping back and restarting I find I don’t finish the project, especially when it’s a project I don’t find particularly inspiring.

Size Range

Tin Can Knits patterns generally provide you with a broad range of sizes, from baby to adult large. This really helps me with sizing for two different sized kids, especially if my tension is tighter and I need to go up a size to make the finished garment fit properly (which it was, and I did). Plus, if their parents want matching hats I can make those up without the exertion of having to modify a children’s pattern.

Re-Useability

The pattern is a classic look, and I can and may use it again. When you make something for a kid you never know if they are going to get really attached to it and want you to make it again 1. when they grow out of it,  2. when they lose it,  3. want it in another color, or all of the preceding. I try to make my self-imposed materteral duties as easy as possible to fulfill. The style also isn’t gendered, I can use it for both men and women, boys and girls.

Skill Level

Tin Can Knits patterns don’t tend to be too challenging to knit. They manage to keep things interesting without making you jump through hoops. The cable repeat in this pattern was simple and predictable, I didn’t have to refer to the instructions for every row, there wasn’t a complicated chart to follow.

Bon Bon Toque

I used Cascade 220 Superwash for this round of hats; I wanted a yarn that was machine washable, not too expensive, had a bit of a depth of colour (heathered colours work well for this), came a wide variety of colours to match their jackets, and was soft and comfortable. My tension with the yarn was a bit tighter than called for in the pattern and I didn’t want the textile to be loose, so I went down a needle size and up a size in the pattern (you can see my pattern notes on Ravelry).  I also elongated the ribbing to make it long enough to fold over  – I figured this might make the hat warmer, and give the garment a bit more longevity in the fit department as the kids grow.

Materials

Shop Online Button Turquoise 250w

 

New in Store & Online

Holiday Gifts for Kids, Teens + Up


Boye Loom Sets 
Long Loom Set, Round Loom Set, Assorted Loom Set.
Each set contains 4 looms (assorted set has 3 round + 1 long), hook, darning needle, instructions. $23.97 ea. 



Boye Scarf Loom + Medium Round Loom (hat size)
Each set contains loom, hook, darning needle, instructions. $11.97 ea.




Clover Weaving Sticks
Available in sizes small or large. 
Each set contains 6 birch weaving sticks, darning needle, instructions. Watch a how-to video on Youtube HERE$24.97 ea.




Alex Cool Spool Knitting Kit
Kit contains 5 skeins of yarn, wood french knitting spool, 6 buttons, pony beads, 2 hair elastics, 2 hair clips, instructions. Ages 5 and up. $13.97 ea.



Alex Loop ‘n Loom Kit
Kit contains 180 loops, loom, yarn, crochet hook, darning needle, instructions. Ages 5 and up. $28.97 ea.



Alex Loop ‘n Loom Refills
Contains 108 loops ~ $13.97 ea.



Alex Knot-A-Quilt Kit
Kit contains 48 squares of 100% polyester fleece, instructions. Ages 6 and up. $36.97 ea.



Boye Bloom Loom
Set comes with loom, darning needle & instructions. Yarn not included. $5.97 ea.



Boye Jumbo Spool Knitter
Set comes with double ended jumbo spool, hook, darning needle, instructions. Yarn not included. $7.97 ea.



Lion Brand Knitting Spool
Contains wood knitting spool, hook, instructions. $9.97.



Embellish Knit Automatic Spool Knitter Kit
Makes edgings, applique, frogs, fringe, knots, braids, handles, and straps. 
Kit contains machine, weighted clip, tapestry needle, practice yarn, instructions, patterns and techniques. Ideal for lightweight yarns (worsted and thinner). Ages 8 and up. $20.97 ea. 



Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn
Looms & Spools need yarn! Bernat Softee Chunky is affordable, thick, easy for kids to work with, 100% synthetic, washable, comes in a rainbow of colours (and neutrals), and is made in Canada. It also makes great pom-poms (but that’s another blog post). $3.97 ea. 



NEW YARN ALERT: Debbie Bliss Rialto DK Print


Rialto DK Print is a fab new yarn from Debbie Bliss which we are sure you’ll love. It is made with soft, 100% Superwash Merino Wool – which means it’s great for everybody and everything, including kids, men, blankets, etc, even boot socks! It knits up in stripes that will wow everyone. Use Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK in a contrasting colour for ribbing to make your stripes pop!
  • Available in 6 self-striping colourways
  • 50g/ 105m
  • 22 sts & 30 rows = 10cm/4″ on 4mm needles
  • Machine wash cool, lay flat to dry
  • $9.97 per ball




 

I know it’s hard to visualize how the yarn will knit up, so take a peek at the patterns from the Debbie Bliss Rialto DK Print Book drew up for this yarn HERE

Nutmeag made these Striped Baby Legwarmers (free pattern Legwarmies) with 1 ball of Rialto DK Print and 1 ball of contrasting yarn.  Or Try Hopscotch (another free pattern) for children’s sizes.




Make a Caramel cardie (free pattern) using Rialto DK Print alternated with a solid contrast colour of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK




I think it would make an amazing Chevron Baby Blanket (use 4mm needles and cast on 193sts for a blanket about 31″ wide) but keep in mind the striping will be much narrower. 




More modest striping options: use  Rialto DK Print alternated with a solid contrast colour of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK for pattern OhLaLa







We’ve Got Holiday Kits!

To make your life easier we’ve put together a bunch of kits you can pick up and throw directly into a gift bag.


From left to right: 1. Kids’ Knitting Kit, 2. Adult-Teen Beginner Knitting Kit, 3. Adult-Teen Beginner Crochet Kit.

1. Kids Knitting Kit  $39.97
We’ve assembled a kit that the kid in your life will enjoy and actually use. It has all the right stuff to get a beginner knitting or a child who’s already learned how to knit motivation and inspiration to keep going. Kids seem to be able to pick-up knitting easily around age 8.  For younger kids see our other spool knitting & weaving craft offerings
  • 1 pair of big knitting needles, made just for kids. 
  • 2 balls of thick, soft, colourful, machine washable yarn. 
  • Kids Knitting by Melanie Falick: an amazing book written just for kids, with instructions they  (and you) can understand and follow, and projects they will want to make!
  • 1 darning needle, for weaving in the ends.
  • 1 zippered project bag, to keep everything together


2. Beginner Knitting Kit for Adults & Teens  $45.97
You don’t need much to start knitting, just some good yarn, good needles, and a great reference book. For your convenience, we’ve assembled them in a project bag to store it all.
  • 1 pair Brittany premium Birch knitting needles, just the right length, makes learning easier. made in the USA.
  • 2 skeins of pretty, soft, machine washable yarn that is easy to learn with: Berroco Vintage Chunky. (If you don’t like the colours we’ve chosen you can switch them up)
  • Stitch ‘n Bitch by Debbie Stoller: a great beginner book with clear instructions and fun projects. We love this book, clients who use it learn quickly!
  • 1 darning needle, for weaving in the ends.
  • 1 zippered project bag, to keep everything together.
  • Our “Scarves 101” hand-out, with suggestions and resources.
  • Supplemental instruction on how to wind skeined yarn into a ball.

3. Beginner Crochet Kit for Adults & Teens  $46.97
Much like the Beginner Knitting Kit, all you need to get a smooth start with crochet are appropriate materials, great instructions, and inspiring project ideas.
  • 1 Clover soft touch, ergonomic crochet hook.
  • 2 skeins of pretty, soft, machine washable yarn that is easy to learn with: Berroco Vintage Chunky(If you don’t like the colours we’ve chosen you can switch them up.)
  • Stitch ‘n Bitch Crochet, by Debbie Stoller: a wonderful introduction to crochet, with great instructions and cool projects you’ll want to make and wear. 
  • 1 darning needle, for weaving in the ends.
  • 1 zippered project bag, to keep everything together.
  • Supplemental instruction on how to wind skeined yarn into a ball.




Stocking Stuffers for Knitters & Crocheters $9.97 & $14.97
We’ve also assembled some quick little kits of stocking stufferes for knitters & crocheters. Each kit comes with a minimum of 3 little essential accessories, wrapped in a holiday gift bag with tag ready for you to sign.  




Keep the Kids Busy!


Boye Assorted Loom Set $22.97
Series includes: 1 flower 12-peg loom, 1 large orange 36-peg round loom, 1 green 24-peg round loom,1 blue 26-peg long loom, 1 hook,1 needle, instructions.


  

Boye Long Loom Set  $22.97
This Boye Long Loom Set makes bags, baby blankets, scarves and more. Three easy ways to knit: flat, double and circular. Set includes 7 pieces:  4 looms, 1 hook, 1 needle and easy to follow instructions. Pegs are removable, or can be glued in place to make them permanent.  




Extra Loom Hook $1.97
It’s always good to have an extra around – hooks get lost, sat on, and you’ll need one if you’ve got more than one kid. This hook is designed for use with Boye knitting looms.  




Needle Felting Starter Kit $19.97

Everything needed to start needle felting. Kit comes with project instructions, 2 Blue Point Felting Needles, a reusable 6″X6″ foam pad and enough dyed wool to complete a project.  We also sell small packets of wool roving in an assortment of colours for $2.50 to $2.97 each. 




FELTastic Fun Needle Felting DIY Kit $15.97

Perfect as an ornament, bag charm, key charm, fashion accessory, door knob decor, baby mobile, rear-view mirror car charm & table centrepiece. Kit includes: felting needle, elastic cord, and wool roving in all colours necessary. All you need is a felting mat/dense sponge to work on and you’re set! Suggested for ages 8 and up. 



Clover Easy Pompom Makers

Using the Clover Pom Pom Maker and yarns, ribbons or fibers you can create a wide variety of decorative pompoms to embellish wearables, home decor items and accessories of all kinds. The ingenious Clover tool design produces perfect pompoms every time. Quick and easy, too!  Watch a video HERE to see how easy it is to use the Clover Pom-pom maker.

  • Extra Small, set of 2, 3/4″ + 1″: $7.97
  • Small, set of 2, 1 3/8″ + 1 5/8″: $8.97
  • Medium/Large, set of 2, 2-1/2″ + 3-3/8″: $9.97
  • Extra Large, 4 1/2″: $13.97




Lionbrand Bonbons $8.97

Set contains 8 mini-skeins, each a different colour. Great for pom-poms, friendship bracelets, trims, accessories, and all crafts. 



Alex Loop ‘N Loom Kit $24.97

Loom weaving is a great activity for kids who are too little or have not yet developed the dexterity to knit. Use a rainbow of colours to create bold designs that can be made into purses, headbands, belts, bracelets, pillows, pot-holders and more! Includes enough loops to make many projects. Ages 5 & up.  Bag of extra loops available for  $12.97. 


Alex Cool Spool Knitting Kit $14.97
Spool knitting is also a great predecessor to knitting which keeps kids busy and also helps them develop fine motor skills. Make bracelets, pins and other fabulous hair and fashion accessories with yarn. Kit includes yarn in 5 colors, a wooden French knitting tool, wooden buttons, and pony beads. For ages 5 and up.  



Bernat Softee Chunky  $3.97

Bernat Softee Chunky is an affordable yarn that is great for kids to knit with, cork, make pompoms, and use for just about any craft (except felting – it will not felt). Bulky weight, 8mm needles, 100% acrylic, machine wash and dry, 100g/100m. Made in Canada. Available in solid and multi-colours. 



Lionbrand Knitting Needles for Kids

These needles have been designed (with happy faces) and coloured (each needle is a different colour) to facilitate learning and use by children age 6 and up.  They are easy to handle, and just the right size for little hands. 
  • 10mm-10″:  $7.47
  • 6mm-7″:      $5.97



Lionbrand Jiffy Thick & Quick  $9.97
Brightly coloured, thick and easy to knit with, this yarn is a favourite for kids. We like to pair it with a set of 10mm Lionbrand Knitting Needles for Kids (see above). 100% acrylic, machine wash and dry, 140g/84 yards. 




Clover Wonder Knitter Spool Knitting Loom $11.97

A first class knitting knobby/french knitter. Top head spins separately so there is no need to turn the tool in your hand…just rotate with thumb as stitches are completed. Unique tool has a curved tip to help grab and loop yarns efficiently. Tool self-stores on shaft. Wonder knitter includes two heads: a three knob and a six knob. Have fun experimenting with a variety of yarns, fibers and wires for jewelry, crafts, trim and more.  


Clover French Knitter Bead Jewelery Maker $16.97

Make dazzling jewelry with beads and jewels by using nylon, yarns, and embroidery threads. It is fun and easy to use. It comes with three interchangeable heads for maximum style and options.  



Lion Brand Knitting Spool/French Knitter  $9.97
This charming lacquered wood spool knitter is a delightful and entertaining craft tool for children.