Raised Beds: Part I

I constructed two different types of raised beds for growing vegetables, herbs and flowers a few years back. One was out of the Ikea shelving unit Hejne


Dimensions: 78cm x 50cm x 171cm


I had this at home already and only had to modify the way it was built to turn it into a planter.

Construct the shelving unit by shifting 2 of the 4 long posts so that they sit just outside the frame of the shelving unit and not flush with the edge as shown in the picture. (This will give you more room at the top side of the planter for plants.)



Arrange the shelves so that they line the outside of the frame like the top shelf shown in the first picture above. You will need 6 shelf pieces:
Two on each long side of the planter with a gap in the middle, which we’ll address in the next step, and one on each short side.

The set only comes with 4 shelves so you will need to buy the expansion pack which adds an additional 2 shelves…



You won’t be needing the metal brace pieces that come with the shelf set, so set those aside. You will need two additional pieces of cut wood the same width as your gaps (or wider is also ok) cut to 47 cm long.

You can use two cut pieces of an old pallet, which is what I used, or other scrap wood planks that are cut to 47 cm long. Nail them to the inside of the frame to fill in the gaps between the two shelves on the long sides of the planter.

You should now have a raised bed that looks something like this…


This planter was very easy to construct as the shelves are already assembled when you buy the kit and just need to be faced outward along the edge of the frame to form a top and bottomless rectangular planting frame. Normally if you buy a raised bed for plants at a garden store they can run hundreds of dollars each. This planter cost me:

Hejne Storage System          Cost: € 25

Hejne Additional Shelves    Cost: € 9

Scrap Wood                            Cost: € 1

Nails                                         Cost: € 0.60

Total                                     Cost: € 35.60


Anna’s Spring Cardigan

I started this Peachick Eyes Cardigan for Anna last spring. It was pretty much done by September but I didn’t have any buttons that I really liked for it so it was never really finished until just now and sat in her closet for the longest time. One of my friends (Kuschel und Kram) who makes and sells her own Waldorf dolls and stuffed animals here in Germany had made a pile of these buttons in rainbow colors and sent me some in the mail when I had admired them on her webpage. They ended up being the perfect fit for Anna’s cardigan and now it is finally done and being worn after almost a year of sitting in her closet! This knit was not hard but the lace “peacock eye” motifs need a little attention when you are following the chart. The length is perfect for my tall girl and this is a light weight sweater, knit with Drops Baby Alpaca Silk yarn, which is very soft and should be good as a spring or early fall piece for her to wear. I only used about 4 or 5 balls of yarn on this project and since I bought the yarn on sale during the Drops Alpaca party, where all of their alpaca yarns are 50% off, it was rather inexpensive to make. All in all this is a very lovely design for kids and has inspired me to make my own Peacock Eyes Cardigan!


My Grandfather’s Vest


I started knitting this vest for my grandfather, originally for his birthday in March, but wasn’t able to finish it in time so it will now become his Easter gift.
It was rather simple to knit on two straight needles, back and forth and was mostly all in stockinette stitch (one row of knit and one row of purl) with the exception of a bit of increasing/decreasing for the arm holes and the v-neck.

I knit a size small and ended up using about 7 1/2 balls of an aran weight wool/alpaca blend yarn by Drops called Nepal.

It’s a little softer and bulkier than their 100% wool dk weight yarn, Karisma, which I like and have used for several other projects. Here are my Ravelry notes on this project.




I used a free pattern from the American Red Cross called:
Man’s V-Neck Sweater (Sleeveless)
This is a World War II era knitting pattern which was used to supply soldiers and refugees with warm clothing as part of a “knit your bit” home knitting campaign during that time.
My grandfather served in WWII and maybe back then he also had a vest just like this one!






Ear Flap Hat


I knit this hat with a skein of yarn that I had gotten for free from Cephalopod Yarns in return for donating a hand-made item, that I had knit about a year ago, to the relief project called Afghans for Afghans. Afghans for Afghans is in the organization’s own words “a humanitarian and educational people-to-people project that sends hand-knit and crocheted blankets and sweaters, vests, hats, mittens, and socks to the beleaguered people of Afghanistan”. This is a grassroots effort dedicated to clothing people in need of warm clothes during times of war and crisis. It was inspired by the Red Cross tradition of knitting hand-made items for soldiers and refugees during World Wars I & II.


It’s really nice to donate a hand-made item and know that all of your effort and money/time is going to the aid of people in need.
Afghans for Afghans will be accepting donations of hand-knit hats, mittens and scarfs through the end of February if you are interested in donating to this cause.


Last year I knit this hat and donated it and it seemed fitting to knit another hat with the yarn I got for participating in the project.


Since my family has been experiencing an especially tough winter this year in upstate New York, with lots of snow and subzero temperatures, I decided to send this hat to my mom as a belated birthday gift. It has a loose fit, which I know she prefers, and knitted with double strands of yarn it is warm and cozy. You can knit this with just one strand of Merino yarn if you like but the addition of a fluffy mohair yarn makes this hat softer and fuzzier which makes for a better buffer against the cold weather.


Ear Flap Hat

Adult sizes S/M and M/L

You will need:

  • 4.5 mm* double pointed and/or circular needles (circular needles are optional)
  • Size J Crochet hook
  • 1 skein (280 yds/256 m) DK/ light worsted weight merino yarn like: Cephalopod Yarn’s Traveller
  • 1 skein (220 yds/200 m) worsted weight 10 ply mohair yarn like: Lana Grossa’s Babykid

Guage: 16 stitches and 25 rows = 4in x 4in in stockinette
*Or size needed to obtain guage!

What to do:
Size S/M follow instructions below
Size M/L follow instructions below including those in [ ]
For the Ear flaps:
(Make 2)
Cast on 3 stitches on circular or double pointed needles.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: Knit 1, Increase one to the left, knit 1, increase one to the right, knit 1
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: Knit 1,
Increase one to the left, knit 3, increase one to the right, knit 1
Rows 6, 8, 10, [12, 14]: Purl
Rows 7, 9, 11, [13, 15]: Continue to increase as before with one left and one right increase
(total of 13 [17] stitches)
Row 12 [16]: Purl
Rows 13 [17]: Knit
Rows 14-23 [18-25]: Repeat the two rows above
Row 24 [26]: Purl
Cut the yarn leaving a tail to weave in later and transfer flap from your needles to a long piece of waste yarn

On circular (or double pointed needles) cast on 13 [16] stitches.
Place the earflap with the knit side facing you and knit across.
Cast on 28 [34] stitches.
With the second earflap’s knit side facing you, knit across.
Cast on 13 [16] more stitches. (Total of 80 [100] stitches)
Join in the round and continue knitting for 35 [40] more rows: about 5 1/2 [6] inches from cast on rim of hat.

Row 1: *Knit 6 [8], Knit two together, repeat from * around
Row 2: *Knit 5 [7], Knit two together, repeat from * around
Continue in this manner for 4[6] more rounds. (total of 20 stitches)
Row 7 [9]: Knit around
Row 8 [10]: Knit two together, around (total of 10 stitches)
Row 9 [11]: Knit around
Row 10 [12]: Knit two together around (total of 5 stitches)
Cut a long tail. Pull yarn through remaining 5 stitches and to the inside of the hat. With a crochet hook single crochet all around the bottom edge of the hat. Weave in all loose ends. Use the crochet hook to pull loops of yarn through the bottom end of each ear flap that are 5 inches long. Tie the loops in place near the bottom of the ear flap and cut the ends of each loop to form a tassel. If you have enough yarn left over and you are so inclined you can also make a pom pom for the top of the hat. I used up exactly one skein of the merino yarn to make this. Block the hat carefully with a damp cloth and a hot iron. You can also line the hat by sewing in a layer of fleece to the inside to make it extra warm.


Lacey Boot Liners



These were a gift for my husband’s sister for her birthday. They are meant to be worn just peeking out over the top of your boots.


For these boot liners I used Pam Power’s Birmingham Short Boot Liners pattern.


I used less than 1 ball each of DropsKarisma” light and dark grey superwash wool yarn.
This is yarn I had in my stash left over from another project.


Drops yarns are really lovely to knit with and their online site Drops Design has tons of free patterns to choose from for all skill levels.


I only deviated a bit from her instructions by shortening the rib on the bottom to only 10 rows and adding lace.


I used wooden buttons and antique lace that I purchased at a discount store for about €3
and I have plenty of leftovers to use on my next project.


Ylva’s Lamb

Here’s a little lamb that I made for a friend’s daughter for her 3rd birthday….

My 4 year old daughter, Anna, helped me stuff the little lamb with carded sheep’s wool.
(It seemed appropriate for the project and it is also much nicer and softer to use than polyester stuffing when making dolls and stuffed animals.)

I used a free pattern from the site Pattern Bee called Little Lambkin.
The only changes I made to the pattern was that I printed it at 1 1/2 times its original size and added round pieces of fabric to the bottoms of each of the lambs legs to make him more realistic looking when he’s standing.


I used white fleece for the main body fabric and brown velvet for the contrasting ear fabric, buttons for the eyes were sewn on with white embroidery floss and pink embroidery floss for the nose and mouth (both colors were sewn with double strands).


I used less than a quarter of a yard of the white fleece fabric, scraps of velvet that I had left from another project, left over ribbon from last Christmas, and buttons and embroidery floss that I had in my stash already. The only costly item was the organic wool stuffing I used which came to about $5-7 for the total amount used in this project.

It was a pretty straight forward sewing project and Anna had fun helping me with the little details along the way. The only trouble I had was the fabric was very stretchy and didn’t want to stay put while I was sewing the body together so I needed to use a lot of pins and patience to get the face and legs right. Overall it was a moderate to easy project to work on.

Time wise this can be a weekend project if you have plenty of time to dedicate to it or can be finished up slowly over the course of a week or so.

Christmas Knits


I’ve been really busy the past few weeks knitting up a storm for Christmas. We had snow last week but it all melted this past weekend and sadly it’s been cold and rainy around here lately. Whether it’s rain or snow though these holiday knits should keep you warm on a cold winters day and with the  70 % Wool, 30% Alpaca blend yarn they are really soft too! The scarf/cowl is the adult version of Anna’s Scarf which I made longer by knitting to 52cm, the hat is an adult version of the Baby Garter-Stitch Knit Hat that I made and the mittens I adapted partly from this Drops Design pattern. I’ve written up my patterns for the hat and mittens here. I was able to knit all these up last weekend while I was stuck at home with a  pretty bad head cold, which I am hoping will be completely gone by the holidays and our trip back to the US to visit my family at the end of next week! These can easily be completed in the last few days we have before Christmas, using only 4 balls of chunky yarn which knits up very quickly, and you’ll still have time left over to make some Christmas cookies if you want too!


(Adult) Garter Stitch Hat

You will need:

2 Balls Lana Grossa: Linea Pura Fauna (or similar bulky weight Wool/Alpaca yarn blend)

Set of 5mm circular or double pointed needles

Set of 6mm circular and double pointed needles

Gauge: On 6mm needles in garter stitch, 8 stitches and 14 rows = 5cm x 5cm

Cast on 60 stitches evenly on a set of 5mm circular or double pointed needles,  join and knit in the round as follows:

(The addition of a marking thread to tell where your round begins/ends is helpful!)

Rows 1-6: Knit 1, Purl 1 around

Now on size 6mm circular (or double pointed needles):

Row 7: Knit 6, make one stitch, around (total of 70 stitches)

Row 8: Purl around

Row 9: Knit around

Rows 10 and up: Repeat rows 8 and 9 until the hat measures at least 15cm. (16cm or more will make for a slightly longer hat. Mine came down just to the bottom of my ears.)

Ending on a purl row proceed to decrease as follows, switching to double pointed needles when needed:

Row 1: Knit 5, knit two together, around (total 60 stitches)

Row 2: Purl around

Row 3: Knit 4, knit 2 together, around (total 50 stitches)

Row 4: Purl around

Row 5: Knit 3, knit 2 together, around (total 40 stitches)

Row 6: Purl around

Row 7: Knit 2, knit 2 together, around (total 30 stitches)

Row 8: Purl around

Row 9: Knit 1, knit 2 together, around (total 20 stitches)

Row 10: Purl around

Row 11: Knit 2 together, around (total 10 stitches)

Row 12: Purl around

Row 13: Knit 2 together, around (total 5 stitches)

Cut the thread leaving a tail and thread the tail through the remaining stitches. Pull tight so there is no gap and weave the ends in. Sew a button of similar color on the top of the hat with the same yarn and a tapestry needle (optional).


Mittens in Stockinette Stitch

Adapted from Drops Design

You will need:

2 Balls Lana Grossa: Linea Pura Fauna (or similar bulky weight Wool/Alpaca yarn blend)

Set of 5mm double pointed needles

Set of 6mm double pointed needles

Gauge: On 6mm needles in stockinette stitch, 7 stitches and 9 rows = 5cm x 5cm

For the rib:

Cast on 24 stitches with a set of 5mm double pointed needles and knit in the round as follows:

Knit 3, Purl 3, around until the rib measures 8cm

Change now to size 6mm double pointed needles for the rest.

For the body of the mitten:

Knit 5 rounds

Increase for the thumb (place a marking thread before and after each increased stitch):

Row 1: Make one stitch, Knit 1, Make one stitch, Knit around (3 thumb stitches and 26 stitches total)

Row 2: Knit around

Row 3: Make one, Knit 3, Make one, Knit around (5 thumb stitches and 28 stitches total)

Row 4: Knit around

Row 5: Make one, Knit 5, Make one, Knit around (7 thumb stitches and 30 stitches total)

Row 6: Knit around

Row 7: Make one, Knit 7, Make one, Knit around (9 thumb stitches and 32 stitches total)

Row 8: Knit around

Height should now be 14cm from the bottom of the mitten. If not knit until a length of at least 14cm is reached and then:

Put the 9 thumb stitches on a long thread and cast on 3 new stitches behind these thumb stitches.(Now a total of 26 stitches on the needles)

Make sure your stitches are evenly spaced on at least 3 needles. (I reduced from having stitches on 4 to 3 needles here but you can keep all 4 if you want.)

Knit in the round until piece measures 24cm or at least comes up over the top of your pinkie finger.

Decrease as follows:

Row 1: Knit two together, knit 11, knit 2 together, knit 11 (total of 24 stitches)

Row2: Knit two together, knit 4, repeat around (total of 20 stitches)

Row 3: Knit two together, knit 3, repeat around (total of 16 stitches)

Row 4: Knit two together, knit 2, repeat around (total of 12 stitches)

Row 5: Knit two together, around (total of 6 stitches)

Cut the yarn leaving a tail and pull through the remaining stitches. Pull tight and weave the end in on the inside of the mitten.

For the thumb:

Pick up 4 stitches with a new strand of yarn and a crochet hook evenly spaced behind the thumb and preferably over two legs of a former stitch so you won’t make a hole in the mitten here. (total of 13 stitches)

Place a marking thread at the beginning of the round and knit in the round on 6mm double pointed needles until the thumb measures 6cm from the shortest side.


Row 1: Knit 2 together around (total of 7 stitches)

Row 2: Knit 2 together around (total of 4 stitches)

Cut yarn and pull through remaining 4 stitches. Weave in the loose ends.