Second Hand Store Steals

While my brother Richard was still here, last month, we went to a second hand store near where I live, just outside of Cologne, Germany, to look for some small nicknacks for him to take back to the U.S. with him. He was looking in the glass and houseware section while my daughter Anna and I were busy browsing through the children’s toy section.  I was hastily sorting through a tall pile of used board games for kids that were all precariously perched and ready to come crashing down on me at any second, when I found a used puzzle set of four Maus und Elefant puzzles for Anna.

She has been all about puzzles lately and with her third birthday coming up at the end of this month I thought it would be nice to find her a 12 or 24 piece puzzle, one that would be a bit more challenging for her than the wooden cut out puzzles that she has at home right now and would be something that we could sit and work on together. I was tediously counting through what seemed like hundreds of puzzle pieces when I noticed that Anna was quite happily sitting on a little chair and playing with a toy next to a heaping pile of… well, junk that was covering something with white legs. This receptacle that was covered with a pile of dirty and broken, plastic toy rubbish was barely recognizable for what it was. Not until I noticed the three white wooden chairs surrounding it did I realize that there was something even under there at all. When I realized what it was and saw that there were no major flaws with it other than being extremely dirty and covered in junk I held my breath as I asked the sales lady “How much for the little kid’s table with ‘only’ three chairs?” (three chairs were no matter to me but I was hoping for a good deal). She looked me up and down with a stern gaze and said “With that puzzle you have in your hand how about ten euros?”. Trying to hide my excitement I quickly doled out the ten euros and immediately left with our purchase. Anna loves her “new” table and chair set and her puzzle box with four puzzles (all complete) and all I had to do when we got home was to wipe everything clean!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Baby Knits

I knit these garter-stitch boots for a friend of mine who was having a baby last month and I was looking around for a hat to match them. I saw this really cute garter-stitch knit hat with a button on top at Gap.com and thought it would go perfectly with the boots I had just made. I did not, however, want to pay $16.95 for the hat plus shipping and handling on top of that and since I currently live in Germany the cost for shipping would have come to almost the same price as the hat! So I used the handy zoom feature on the product page and scrutinized the hat a little closer and thought, I can make this myself!  From the picture I was able to do a bit of row counting and stitch calculating and it wasn’t too hard to come up with this pattern for the mock “Gap garter-stitch knit hat”. I used the same yarn as for the boots and I think the pair would make a very nice gift for a new baby or mom to be. This hat is a cinch to make. I was a little nervous about making the boots when I first started, as I’ve never made any before, but they knit up extremely quickly and were no trouble to make at all. Yarn choice is key when making baby garments and I wanted something that was soft, organic and neutral in color since I didn’t know the sex of the baby yet. I had quite a bit of this extremely soft, organic, hand-spun lamb’s wool  in my stash, left over from some Christmas projects that I made last year, so I decided to use that. I used a button that came as an extra button from some clothing that I had bought for my daughter Anna, that was sitting in my stash of buttons, and it made a great accent to the hat. Altogether the hat and boots cost me nothing to make, just a little bit of my time.

Garter-Stitch Knit Hat

Inspired by the Baby Gap garter-stitch knit hat

Materials:

4 and 5 mm (40 cm long) circular needles (or set of double pointed needles)

5 mm double pointed needles

1 skein of 100% Organic Lambs Wool or Organic Cotton Yarn (worsted weight)

1 button a similar color as the yarn

Scissors

Tapestry needle and/or crochet hook (for weaving in the ends)

Gauge: On 5mm needles in garter stitch, 10 stitches and 18 rows = 5cm x 5cm

 

Cast on 80 stitches using  4 mm circular or double pointed needles (if using double pointed needles divide so that there are 20 stitches on each of 4 needles)

Row 1:  Knit 1, Purl 1 around and place a marking thread at the end of the round

Rows 2-5:  Repeat row 1

Row 6:  With size 5 mm circular or double pointed needles knit 6, knit 2 together, repeat around. (Total of 70 stitches)

Row 7:  Purl around

Row 8:  Knit around

Row 9:  Purl around

Rows 10- 35:  Repeat rows 8 and 9 (ending on a purl row)*

Row 36:  Knit 5, knit 2 together, repeat around (Total of 60 stitches)

Row 37: Purl around

Row 38: Knit 4, knit 2 together, repeat around (Total of 50 stitches)

Row 39:  Purl around

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

Row 41: Purl around

Row 42: Knit 2, knit 2 together, repeat around (total of 30 stitches)

Row 43:  Purl around

Row 44: Knit 1, knit 2 together, repeat around (total of 20 stitches)

Row 45: Purl around

Row 46: Knit 2 together around (total of 10 stitches)

Row 47: Purl around

Row 48: Knit 2 together around (total of 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.

*Repeat rows 8 and 9 until the hat measures 9 cm or about 3 1/2 inches, that was row 35 for me, but make sure to end on a purl row before starting to decrease.