The first book in my new urban fantasy spinoff series, HELL BENT will be out soon (November 5th!) I always get nervous before a book release, so I've been doing some stress-knitting. When I stress knit, I tend to knit Very Dorky Things. Often Very Dorky hats. This time, I might have outdone myself. I knit this: This is a Plants vs. Zombie hat. It is the Conehead Zombie from that game, which is a fun game I have played many times. Here I am wearing the Conehead Zombie hat: Sorry, Conehead Zombie--no brains for you! Stress has already eaten them! Ha!
So there are a few really cool crochet patterns for knight's helms out there, but my crocheting skills are pretty rough. When I got a request to knit a knight's helm for a nephew's birthday gift, I thought I'd give a knitted version a go. Here it is: (trust me, it looks better on my nephew!) How hard could it be, right? As it turns out, it's *not* all that hard, but since I gave the helm away and didn't write the pattern down as I went, I'm going to give you the basic guidelines for making this helmet. I have already received requests for additional helms, and when I knit them, I'll make a *real* pattern. These guidelines are free to use for personal and non-commercial use.
First, the supplies:Yarn: worsted acrylic so it can wash. I used Red Heart "with love" in pewter Sock weight yarn - silver sparkly string (I've long ago lost the label on this one) Needles: US #8 (5mm) cable needles - US #8 dpns - US #8 straight (optional, the cable needles can be used instead) Tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) I knit tight, so the worsted and the sock weight yarn together made a stiff fabric. But that's good! A helm should be sturdy. If you're a loose knitter, you might want to go down a needle size. I knit this for a 23" head, but it fits a 21" nicely too.
Hat:I started with the hat, and any beanie pattern would do. So if you have a favorite, use it--however, I suggest no ribbing since helms are meant to be smooth. I decided I liked the decreases in the Turn A Square pattern by Jared Flood (free on Ravelry here) so that's the hat I used, EXCEPT I modified it a bit: Modifications: cast on 84 stitches. Didn't bother to do the tubular cast on (used a long tail cast on) and purled the first 4-5 rows. I thought I'd leave that purled edge, but in the end, I rolled the purled edge up and it created such a nice border around the brim I left it up.
Neck piece:To make the piece at the back of the hat that covers the neck, I put on the hat and marked the points above my ears. In retrospect, I might have come a little forward and marked points at my temples. Where ever you choose to mark, you will now pick up stitches (here's where the crochet hook can come in handy) from one mark, all the way around the back to the other mark. If you made the rolled up purl edge (like mine) pick up the stitches about 4 rows down from the top of the rolled edge, while the edge is rolled up. Knit this flat in stockinette stitch, slipping the last stitch at the end of each row to give it a nice clean edge, until the piece that covers the neck measures 3-4 inches down from the edge of the hat. If you have the recipient handy, try it on them at this point. You want the neck piece to NOT to touch the shoulders. Bind off. My edge seemed to roll a bit, so once again, I just rolled it up about 2-3 rows, and did a quick basting stitch with the tapestry needle and gray yarn to hold it there. And happy accident--it made the bottom edge match the brim.
Visor:When I make more of these helms, I'll note the real steps to making the visor. I did not make button holes, but you could. The basic guidelines are: Cast on 6 stitches and knit flat in garter stitch, slipping the last stitch of each row (with yarn in front) to give it a nice clean edge on both sides. You'll want to attach the visor right where the hat and the neck piece join over the ear (or temple). For this hat, I knit those 6 stitches in garter stitch (slipping last stitch of each row) for about 2.5 inches, then did an increase row: knit 1, KFB (knit front and back), knit until last two stitches, KFB, slip stitch. Knit 3 rows, work increase row, knit 3 rows, work increase row. Somewhere along the way, I increased 4 for the row instead of just two, knit 3 rows, worked increase (adding 4 instead of 2 stitches) and then knit for several rows. The idea is that you're adding stitches at the ends of the rows to create the diamond that fits over the mouth and chin. Once I was near the nose, I did the final increase of 8 stitches in the row (4 at the start, 4 at the end) and knit 4-5 rows. The piece should reach the center of the nose. I marked that as my center point, and basically knit and reduced to create the opposite side of the visor (you'll ssk at the start of rows, and k2 at the ends of the rows to get the shaping correct.) I folded the piece in half to check my progress and to try to create an even second half. You will end with 6 stitches, knit 2.5 inches, and cast off.
Crest or Comb:Cast on 10 stitches, knit flat in garter stitch slipping the last stitch of each row to make a nice clean edge. Knit until piece measures 6 or 7 inches. Bind off.
Bringing it all together:Hat: I ran a basting stitch with tapestry needle and gray yarn (or just a quick stitch here and there) under the rolled up edge of the purl stitch to keep it in place. Fit the visor by choosing a button with a looped backing. I pressed the looped back of the button through the end of the visor and sewed the button in place right where the hat and neck covering met, making sure the visor could slide up and rest on the hat, and slide down and rest over the nose. Repeat on the other side of the visor. As mentioned above, I also rolled up the bottom edge of the neck piece and ran a basting stitch with tapestry needle and gray yarn to keep it rolled up in place. I only rolled up about 2-3 rows, so it's a very thin "hem". Pin the crest/comb in place in the center of the head, down to the neck. Stitch it in place (standing up) by sewing the bottom edge firmly with tapestry needle and gray yarn to the hat. Tie off & weave in all tails of the yarn, and you, my friend are now ready to defend the kingdom! (and to bring me a shrubbery.)
As I mentioned recently, a local elementary school burned to the ground. The amazing Dina James, and Skyla Dawn Cameron along with the rest of the Evil League of Evil Writers have put together a terrific auction to raise money for basic necessities for the the kids and teachers to get them through the year. For a full list of auction items click here For a direct donation to the school (be sure to select Crestline from the drop down option), click here To donate books, click here What have I donated to the auction? These things: Chapthulhu, the Lip Balm Buddy of Evil: click here All hail to the elder god of evil and his gloriously cozy lip balm carapace! This lip balm buddy was designed and hand-knit by Devon Monk, who thinks everyone should have a little evil in their pocket. Chapthulhu's terrifying tentacled head tips back to conveniently expose the contents of its stomach, while Chapthulhu's spine is fitted with a handy loop to make this uniquely portable evil suitable for key chains, backpacks, or anywhere else the madness of dry lips may cry out for relief. (chapstick not included) Cheshire Book Cat: click here “Oh, you can't help that,' said the cat. 'We're all mad here.” --Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland This Cheshire Book Cat was hand-knit by Devon Monk and is filled with glass pebbles. Why? Well, it makes him the perfect weight to hold open books, secure maps against strong breezes, or clunk a fellow-adventurer across the noggin if the need should arrive. Do you know what this grinning feline has in common with a raven or a writing desk? No? Well, perhaps if you have him for your own, you shall someday tell me. Deadline Dame's Book A Day for a Month: click here The Deadline Dames have gathered up enough books to keep you reading for a month! This is your chance to get your hands on thirty-one signed novels, one ebook advanced copy, and two novellas from seven authors. The exciting bundle includes: Keri Arthur - urban fantasy: DARKNESS UNBOUND, DARKNESS RISING, DARKNESS DEVOURS, DARKNESS HUNTS Jenna Black - young adult: GLIMMERGLASS, SHADOWSPELL, SIRENSONG Rinda Elliott - debut urban fantasy: DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD (ebook, early copy!) Jackie Morse Kessler - young adult: HUNGER, RAGE, LOSS Karen Mahoney - young adult: THE IRON WITCH, THE WOOD QUEEN, FALLING TO ASH Devon Monk - urban fantasy & steampunk: MAGIC TO THE BONE, MAGIC IN THE BLOOD, MAGIC IN THE SHADOWS, MAGIC ON THE STORM, MAGIC AT THE GATE, MAGIC ON THE HUNT, MAGIC ON THE LINE, MAGIC WITHOUT MERCY, MAGIC FOR A PRICE, and DEAD IRON, TIN SWIFT Rachel Vincent - young adult: Soul Screamers volume 1# & #2 (which includes MY SOUL TO LOSE, MY SOUL TO TAKE, MY SOUL TO SAVE, and MY SOUL TO KEEP, MY SOUL TO STEAL, REAPER), IF I DIE, BEFORE I WAKE, and WITH ALL MY SOUL (early copy!) The auction for these items ends February 15th. So there is plenty of time to check it out!
My sister is awesome and has canned lots of fruits and veggies this year. In exchange for letting her use my extra jars, she's given me some of the food she's putting up for winter. My empty canning jars weren't doing anything sitting in the basement, so I am totally making out on this deal. 🙂 But I wanted to give her something in return. Something silly and whimsical to brighten up her pantry and make her smile. Maybe something knitted. Since I'm on a very tight deadline to turn in my latest book, COLD COPPER, I only have little chunks of free time available to me. I needed a small project that I could dream up quick, and get on and off the needles fast. So I knit her a jar hat. The Button Witch Hat: She liked that one so much, I made her a couple more: The Snow Beanie: The Viking Helmet: Because, hey, everyone needs a viking helmet. And here's an action shot of the jar hats rocking the pantry whimsey. Rock on, jar hats. Rock on.