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The Kitten Hat: Free Knit Pattern for the Littlest Resisters

February 27, 2017

Disclaimer: Of the few things I feel strongly enough to speak out about, Women’s Rights and equality are amongst them. I’ve thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to continue posting about the pink hats that have taken over a lot of fiber arts discussions in a big. I, for one, am a big fan of not rocking the boat, because I don’t like attention or confrontation. So if you’re opposed to a free pattern for these cute little cat-eared hats modeled by my gorgeous little girl, this post is not for you. I still love you though. There are plenty of other patterns that probably will be for you and they’re coming soon.  I will always be a safe space for everyone. EVERYONE. Knit and crochet on, sisters (brothers and non-binary gendered fiber artists).

The Kitten Hat

For those not in the know, I’ve made a giant pile of pink hats with my friend Beth of The Big String. A portion of the proceeds from the hats went to women’s issues, supported local female-owned small businesses, and also helped this little blog get off the ground. Making all these hats has its advantages, mostly that the pattern keeps evolving. It’s not quite the pattern that initially started circulating. We had to change with what worked and what didn’t for making these hats wearable, comfortable, and as quickly as possible. We even busted out my mother’s Ultimate Sweater Machine for a few, because the demand was so high. I’ll probably share my notes on using the machine to knit these hats sometime soon here too.




I also had my kiddos add a little extra positive energy to each of the hats that were sent to others. They proudly donned these hats and wore them around the house, happy to help mom not drown in the sea of pink yarn. Peanut would even announce the current hat count to everyone in line at craft stores and shout that “mommy bought ALL of the pink yarn!”

As we got more and more involved, I noticed that the original hat pattern could technically fit all three kiddos and myself, just with slight modifications. For baby Ola, I had to fold up the brim, meaning she needed a shorter brim. For Sharky, it was just a hair too big, so that meant a shorter hat body, but same brim length. Peanut could wear the adult hat just fine, but the ears were not as defined. From there, the Kitten Hat was born.

Pattern

The Kitten Hat comes in two sizes: baby (about 4 months and older) and child (aged 2 and up). You’ll see notes for where you can size up or down to customize these hats if your kiddos have bigger or smaller than usual head sizes.

The hat is worked flat and then sewn along the sides for the fastest construction. Feel free to add some duplicate stitch sayings, like “resist” or “persist” to personalize the hats even more. Use different colors or stitch patterns for further customization. Make this hat your own.

TIP: I have found that a slightly stiffer fabric helps the kitty ears stand up better, so you’ll notice that I am using a smaller needle size for what the yarn calls for. It works. I’ve made a bajillion of these.

Yarn

  • One ball Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice Yarn, 100% Acrylic Yarn, 3 oz./85g, 145 yds/133 m  in your color of choice
  • OR any heavy worsted weight yarn that will get the gauge listed below

Gauge

  • 4.5-ish stitches per inch in stockinette stitch on US 8

What You’ll Need

  • A pair of US 7 straight needles
  • A pair of US 8 straight needles
  • A tapestry needle to sew side seams and weave in ends

Glossary

  • K: Knit.
  • P: Purl.
  • RS: Right Side.
  • WS: Wrong Side.

 




Hat – Instructions are for baby size with larger/child size in parentheses.

Cast on 34 (38) stitches on smaller needle using a long-tail cast on.

Establish brim ribbing as follows:

Row 1 (WS): K2, *P2, K2; repeat from * across.
Row 2 (RS): P2, *K2, P2; repeat from * across.

Repeat Rows 1&2 for 2.5″ (3″).

Switch to larger needles. Work in stockinette stitch (knit row on RS, purl row on WS) for 6.5″ (9″). Ending with a RS row.

Note: For a child that’s between 2 and 4 years old, you can shorten that larger length by about a half an inch to make the ears more prominent.

Switch to smaller needles.

Establish brim ribbing as follows:

Row 1 (WS): K2, *P2, K2; repeat from * across.
Row 2 (RS): P2, *K2, P2; repeat from * across.

Repeat Rows 1&2 for 2.5″ (3″).
Bind off loosely. Sew side seams. Weave in ends. Lightly steam to block.

 

Some really cute outtakes from photographing Ola in her hat. She needed a nap.

 

Work from Home Mom Tips: Time Management

February 16, 2017

As irony would have it, the time I had scheduled to sit down and write this post kinda fell by the wayside due to a fussy baby girl who needed her mommy. Family ALWAYS comes first, so this post is slightly delayed. Baby girl got her nap, and mama got the best snuggles. You can’t get these early years back…

There’s a hashtag floating around Instagram using the term “mompreneur”. I suppose you could say that I have been a dedicated mompreneur for a good five years now, and it has not always been easy. A lot of people ask me how I do it, and I even blogged about being a mom and business owner back in 2012. Back then, it was just Peanut and I.  Sharky and baby Ola have been added to the mix, so how we do things has changed a lot.

With the support of my partner, #TeamDennis, and the encouragement of my mother, I’ve been back at it doing the mompreneur thing. I’ve likened it to spinning plates that are on fire in a lion’s den while those lions are juggling chainsaws, but that could possibly be a slight exaggeration.




Being a work from home mommy is not for the faint of heart and it’s not for every family. Every family has different needs. It’s important for me to have something to do while my kiddos are in school or enjoy free play time around the house, because they all are pretty independent.

I thought that my personal experience may not be like everyone else’s, so I consulted with a few of my mompreneur friends for input as well. Here’s some tips and tricks on how you can manage your time and work flow with your babies in tow:

  1. Be productive during nap time. Just about every mom that responded to me mentioned that they try to get the most work done during nap time. Every so often, the stars align and I can get Sharky and Ola to nap at the same time and I can focus on items that require my undivided attention. If your babies can sleep through conversations, get your important phone calls out of the way. You’ll have little to no interruptions from your toddler who might want juice, food, potty time, or just needs mom’s attention. If you have a business where you utilize shipping, make sure shipment pick ups or drop offs are scheduled around naps. There’s nothing worse than a kiddo who has not gotten their full nap AND there’s some valuable time lost if your deliveries wake up the kiddos.

    Sharky is proudly proclaiming that he’s helping mommy carry the mail.

  2. Plan, plan, plan. Planning and to-do lists help us maximize efficiency as well. How do you know how to prioritize if you don’t even know what needs to be done and when? When I worked in account management, I spent the first hour or so of my day sipping coffee and building my to-do list in order of priority. Projects with upcoming deadlines came first; projects that were on hold because of data issues came last. Emailing clients came somewhere in the middle, depending on the urgency. I’ve also had it where there was a National Needle Arts Association show and I only had one day to dedicate to the out of town show. I planned the heck out of that trip and went through the entire show in a blaze of glory, seeing all that I needed to and even managed to have time to lose my rental car keys for a while. Yup, I flew to Columbus, rented a car, saw the sights, got lunch, and flew home in an 8-hour day. It was glorious.
  3. Automate as much as you can. With social media being a major part of marketing/advertising for online businesses, you can utilize tools like Hootsuite to plan your social media posts around peak usage times for your followers. My followers tend to respond more to Instagram posts around 6pm Central Time, which unfortunately, is dinnertime for our family. I believe in having all of us eating dinner at the same time, so this tool is especially important. Tracy B., owner of Nails by Tracy on Milwaukee’s East Side, likes to use Google Calendars for reminders on upcoming events and client appointments. This eliminates the need to carry around a planner and allows access to her schedule from any mobile device. I prefer my iPhone calendar, but have linked it to Google Calendars and Facebook Events as well (that way I don’t forget birthdays for family and friends either).
  4. Let kiddos help with some basic tasks. I’ve found that it’s a good life lesson for older children to help with some basic housekeeping or assisting with specific things. It helps them take ownership and see how well hard work pays off. Amanda C., a Perfectly Posh consultant and mom of three, plans everything from her Facebook posts to in-home parties around her husband’s schedule. If dad cannot bearound to watch one or more of the kids, she baby wears or has her oldest daughter assist with showing off products. I’ve had Peanut show customers his favorite yarns around the yarn shop or sweep the front walkway when he offers. Sharky enjoys helping carry packages to the car or handing them over to our letter carrier if we can’t make it to the Post Office.
  5. Go mobile – make the world your office. It’s the age of the iPhone (or Android, etc.), so take advantage of the powerful mobile devices you have available. Sure, it’s easy for me, because of the industry I am in. I can knit or crochet anywhere, I have a portable spinning wheel, and do not always have to dye yarn. When it’s nice outside and I need to take the kiddos to the park so that they can run off some energy, I bring my most portable project along with. If I got emails or calls to the Google Voice number that were for my yarn shop, I could literally operate my business anywhere. Somewhere there’s even a picture of me knitting by the side of the freeway when our transport van broke down on vacation (kiddos weren’t with us, so I worked on knitting a shop sample to pass the time while we waited for help).

    Yarn, coffee, and soda: Just about everything a fiber artist mompreneur needs to take the show on the road.

  6. Keep the kiddos entertained with things that interest them. Katurah M. always kept her boys entertained with their favorite toys when they were younger. Peanut always had an iPad to work on his home-school work or to catch up on the latest episodes of his favorite cartoons on Netflix. It was definitely a good way to keep him busy during knit and crochet lessons.
  7. When all else fails, get baby sitter, grandparent, or someone else close to you to help with kiddos (if you can). I always enlist my mom for wrangling the kiddos when I have trade shows or big meetings. It is poor business decorum to bring children or babies to some of these events (although, I have attended a few trade shows where it was acceptable to be a baby-wearing, breastfeeding mom – those shows know how to cater to us hardworking ladies).

I hope some of these tips and tricks gave you perspective on how to get more done as a mom who works with her kids around. Feel free to share some of your mompreneur hacks in the comments below!

Additional momprenuer tip: Baby wear or tandem baby wear if you have multiples. You’ll be happy you did. It maximizes my efficiency and lets me run around doing housework whilst multitasking business items too.

Special thanks to: Amanda C., Katurah M., and Tracy B. and all the other hardworking moms that contributed to the making of this post. Make sure to check out their businesses too, by clicking the links where they’re mentioned above!