Our Kansas weather has turned cool, which means I’ve had an itch to knit. This seems to happen to me in the fall. All spring and summer I didn’t venture anywhere near my knitting needles but as soon as that fall weather started showing up, I suddenly needed to knit.
I came across the Simple Collection by Tin Can Knits when I was looking for a free hat pattern for Baby J’s 3-month photos. I made all of N’s outfits for her first year photo shoots (I hadn’t started sewing yet when J was born so no handmade outfits for his photos!), and I wanted to make something for Baby J’s. But boys’ clothes are just so much more of a commitment to make when they’ll only be worn for a few weeks at most. But Baby J needed a stocking cap and I’m pretty sure I can get a couple seasons wear out of it. Besides, a stocking capped baby is just cute!
J and N also needed new winter hats so when I went to my local yarn shop to buy yarn for Baby J’s hat, I bought some to make hats for each of them too.
The pattern is Barley from The Simple Collection. I think the Simple Collection is simply brilliant, especially for beginning knitters like me. It’s a collection of 8 free, attractive patterns from the talented designers at Tin Can Knits aimed specifically at beginning knitters. The collection builds on itself so that by the end, you’ve learned to construct every type of basic knitted garment. Each pattern is accompanied by tutorials on the Tin Can Knits blog to explain various techniques.
With Barley, for example, I learned a great way to join in the round. It was also my first time working with double-pointed needles (which weren’t nearly as scary as I had built them up to be in my mind) and my first time using multiple stitches in a single garment.
They were fun to knit. And fast! After I finished Baby J’s and got the hang of the pattern, I was able to finish each of N and J’s hats in a weekend. I also love that even the largest size in this pattern can easily be completed with a single ball of yarn. And you’ll probably have leftovers!
Just like I love turning a 2D piece of fabric into a 3D article of clothing, I think it is so cool that I can take a ball of yarn, essentially tie it in a bunch of knots, and end up with a wearable item!
As the collection name indicates, the patterns are simple. Basic construction, and each uses a combination of ribbing, garter stitch and stockinette stitch. No pretty cables or complicated lace here. But simple generally suits us just fine, and right now I’m more interested in learning the nitty gritty of how knitted garments are constructed. There’s plenty of time later to learn cables, lace and colorwork!
All of my kids have huge heads, and their hats reflect that. I made the Baby hat for Baby J, as his 6-week-old head measurement fit perfectly in that size. N got the Child size, and I made an Adult Small for J. Each is a perfect fit! I made Baby J’s a little slouchy so that he can wear it next winter as well. Unfortunately that means he’s not super fond of it right now since it tends to slip over his eyes if we’re not careful If I had to do it again, I would make his more of a beanie like J and N’s.
I had a ton of the blue yarn for J’s hat leftover, so I’m currently making him a Wheat scarf from the Simple Collection to match his Barley hat. And the yarn I chose for N’s hat happens to match her winter coat perfectly — gotta love handmade!
I plan to work my way through most of the Simple Collection. I don’t particularly feel the need to make the blanket and cowl, since I’ve already made similar items in the past, but the socks, mittens, sweater and cardigan are definitely on my list! In fact, I already have the yarn to make the Flax sweater for myself, and Albert will be getting the Maize fingerless mittens (as well as his very own Barley hat and a yet-to-be-determined scarf) for Christmas. The final pattern in the collection, the Harvest cardigan, is set to be released by the end of this month. Yeah, that one will probably be for me too