Meg Makes: Learning to knit and how I made a cute hooded towel for a baby pirate

Meg Makes: Learning to knit and how I made a cute hooded towel for a baby pirate

I decided last fall that I wanted to learn how to knit. Nine months later, I finally did it.

My mom finally convinced me to learn when I was working on a crocheted baby towel for a gift and it was turning out really bulky. (The gift: a hooded baby towel in a pirate theme, to be given at a pirate-themed baby shower.)

Blog PhotoMy mom always says that knitting is basically a series of single knots, and crochet is a series of double-knots. She told me that the towel would be lighter and my yarn would go further if I knit it.

I resisted, but finally tried knitting. It took some time for me to get the hang of it (I kept wishing my needles had hooks at the ends), but finally, it got easier. She was right. I even told her so.

Making the hooded towel was pretty basic. I used Sugar'n Cream white and red 100 percent cotton yarns.

To make it, I cast on 110 stitches on size 10 hooks. (I knitted it flat using a circular hook, because it was so long). I made it about 22 inches tall, alternating knit and purl to make a stockinette stitch. (I didn't start my purl rows with knit stitches, although I read later that this causes the edges to roll. I ended up finishing the towel with a single-crochet border to prevent that.)

Every six rows, I alternated red and white to make nice bold stripes. I just pulled the alternating yarn colors along one side, not bothering to cut them with every stripe.

Blog PhotoWhen I finished the height I desired for the body of the towel, I used this pattern to make a separate hood, skipping the ties. I still alternated the red and white yarn to make it striped.

I wanted to sew the hood to the top middle of the towel. To make that happen without having to count a bunch of stitches, I folded the towel in half and secured the back seam of the hood to the middle corner using a safety pin. With the towel still folded, I attached each side of the hood to the top of the towel, making sure the spacing was centered and even.

To seam the hood to the towel, I used instructions for stitching horizontal knitting to vertical knitting from "Knitting 101," which I checked out from the Champaign Public Library. The book was incredibly helpful for a beginner like me. (You can find similar instructions for the seam here.)

Once that was done, I put a single-crochet border around the sides of the towel that weren't attached to the hood. (It wasn't necessary to border the hood because it had ribbing knitted in.) The border helped hide the stray, attached threads from making stripes on the towel.

Blog PhotoTo make the eye patch, I cheated and got out my crochet hook. Using black Cream'n Sugar yarn, I modified this pattern to make it smaller, and used safety pins to help me position it.

(My modifications: I used single crochet instead of half-double crochet, and basically halved the pattern. I started with six single crochet stitches and decreased from there.)

I used a yarn needle to sew the eye patch on the hood at a jaunty angle, and my towel was done.

It turned out pretty large - way too big for a newborn baby. But my goal was that the new parents would be able to use it for a while before their son outgrows it.

I love the satisfaction of finishing something in almost exactly the way I envisioned, so this was a great first knitting project for me. (I also love red and white stripes, so that didn't hurt.)

Whatever it was, I'm now basically addicted to knitting. When she was basically forcing me to try knitting, my mom said, "You'll thank me for this." She was right.

Tomorrow, I will share a cute knitted dishcloth pattern I modified that works up really quickly. If you knit, you will love it.

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