Marvel Graphghan Square #6 – Hawkeye

Funny story. I’ve been doing some serious reorganizing of my work space the past month. I needed to find a way to separate work from rest, so I decided it was time I make myself more of a “working area” within my home. Upon deciding this, many of my projects had to be packed away temporarily. Guess what was last to be unpacked?

My Marvel squares.

So I ended up momentarily forgetting that this little project of mine existed. Thankfully I have anxious readers who have been wondering when the next square was going to be released and they reminded me that I need to get my little butt in gear!

Hawkeye is actually one of my favourite characters in the Marvel universe. I feel like he is a bit of an unsung hero, causing him to be brooding and mysterious.

I LOVE the way this square turned out! I was worried that it wouldn’t look the way I had envisioned, but after testing it I managed to prove myself wrong.

I’m going to be quick and to the point with this post. I know many of you have been waiting for this magical moment. Here are the grids for Square #6:

Hawkeye Pixel

Hawkeye Grid

As always, don’t forget to print off the grid made of letters and cross each square off as you go. It seems redundant, but I can promise you that it will save you a huge headache in the future. P stands for purple and W stands for white (yes I know it is written in black). Fairly simple!

For ease of designing the grid (and also the horrendous colour selection I had available to me through my cheap editing software), the grid is shown in a vibrant purple. I am planning on using more of a dark eggplant and white for the target. If you were wanting a bit of a darker look, you could even change the white of the target to black or dark gray!

You have a lot of free reign with this square. The colour changes are fairly simple, and we already have practice working out a circle shape from our Captain America Square. I can’t wait to see all of your creative ideas!

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #marvelgraphghan on Facebook or Instagram so I can stalk you all and creep your pictures.It really is a favourite past-time of mine.

Just joining us now? Where have you been?! If you are a little lost, here are some links to the previous squares we have done:

Square #1 – Iron Man

Square #2 – Captain America

Square #3 – Thor

Square #4 – The Hulk

Square #5 – Black Widow

Happy crocheting!

Why I sometimes really hate being a maker.

There. I’ve said it. Sometimes I really do hate being a maker. And I’ve got my reasons.

Exhibit A:

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I came across this adorable little cozy mug at the dollar store a few days ago. Wandering the aisles of dollar stores is actually kind of fun because you occasionally come across secret treasures, just like this one. I almost put it into my shopping basket.

And then I thought to myself, “Hey… I could literally make this.”

It happens pretty regularly. My creative brain is always whispering, “Don’t buy that, figure out how to make it instead!” When in reality I know that it would likely cost me much more money and time than it would to just simply buy it at the store. I was just about to “quiet the voice” as I usually do, but the fact that this coffee cozy is knitted made me stop.

If I were to try and make something like this I would first need to buy the yarn required, which would be about $3.00. A mug would cost me $1.00. Then I would need to spend about 4 hours actually knitting the thing. It’s made out of a very fine yarn, so that right there makes the entire process take way longer. It also has cables and I am not very good with cables yet, so that adds even more time to the project.

So I’m in about $4.00 plus about 4 hours of my time. If I wanted to sell something like this and pay myself at least minimum wage, it would be about $45.00 total for the mug and the coffee cozy.

How much do you think the dollar store was selling it for?

$3.00

I can’t even begin to compete with that. And the most frustrating part is that I can almost guarantee someone will see this mug and ask me to make one for them. I will have to decline because the price would be absolutely ridiculous. They will go back to the dollar store and buy it there.

The hardest choice I have to make is whether or not I should accept a commission. I enjoy what I do so much that I actually consider (and sometimes agree) to pay myself less than minimum wage for my work just because I want to make the item. The business part of my brain usually steps in and solves my internal struggle, but sometimes it doesn’t.

It’s hard enough to convince people to purchase your handmade items over store bought goods. Prices like what I found at this dollar store make it almost impossible.

When I first started my business I was 17. I had very few sales and I had very little recognition within the maker community. People didn’t want to buy things from me because they didn’t trust my skills as I was so young. I don’t really blame them either.

I do remember having an interesting argument with a friend about my prices. I remember her telling me that she was shocked anyone would pay $15.00 for a hat (yes, I was only selling my handmade crocheted beanies for $15.00 when I first started out). I didn’t protest much or try to defend my prices. I was a little more self-conscious back then about my abilities and I thought she might be right. Maybe my prices are too high. Maybe I really shouldn’t be doing this.

We went to the mall a few weeks later. Her words were still stuck in my mind. I remember taking a small hiatus from knitting and crocheting because I was trying to decide whether or not I should continue with my work. She bought a beanie that day for $35.00. It was a chunky knitted beanie with a big fat pompom on the end that looked like it was about to fall apart. It was an expensive name brand accessory from an expensive name brand store.

Of course I immediately questioned her purchase. Why would she buy one of those hats for over twice the price of one of mine? Her answer was simple: “Because it’s (insert name brand here) obviously and you just make yours.”

Oh.

So it’s okay to give large amounts of money to a clothing store that doesn’t care about you to support a business who either makes everything with machines or child labour.

Interesting.

The concept of priorities is an interesting one. I want more people to shop for handmade goods to support small Β businesses, and in turn, support small families and young entrepreneurs. But even I catch myself sometimes choosing something from a large name brand store over a smaller handmade shop because for some reason it seems more trustworthy.

I could keep rambling about this topic for hours, but I’ll keep it short and sweet tonight. One of the most difficult things about being a maker is the fact that you have to compete with stores that have been around forever and have established themselves as credible sources for consumer goods. Your product could be a million times better than what can be found in stores; it could even be cheaper. But there will always be people out there who do not trust things that are handmade and will always choose to shop at the name brand stores over choosing handmade.

And it sucks.

Free Beanie Pattern to Celebrate the End of Summer!

I know some of you may disagree with me, but I’m just going to say it anyways. I hate summer. While having time off is fun, and lots of exciting events take place during the summer, it is just not my cup of tea. Too hot. Too many bugs. Too sunny (I am am quite pale so I think that is self-explanatory).

Thankfully this summer has gone by extremely quickly! I can’t believe it is August already. We have had a fairly mild summer so far on the coast of British Columbia, but I am really looking forward to the crisp mornings and chilly evenings of fall.

Knowing that fall is just around the corner has put me in high gear for market prep and pattern designing. I am cranking out beanies and scarves like crazy and my yarn stash is rapidly depleting. I have even made a few things for myself for once!

I have been tinkering with a beanie pattern in the past few weeks, and I think I’ve finally perfected it. What better way to celebrate the fact that my favourite season is closing in on us than by sharing a free pattern?!

edited one

This is definitely one of those no-brainer patterns. After I completed my first one I seriously shook my head and thought to myself, “Why on Earth did I think this would be so hard?!”

Playing with measurements can be tricky, but thankfully this pattern is 100% adjustable for both length and circumference/width. I’ve done some experimenting and I have come up with a few yarn weight/needle size/and stitch combinations to make different sizes and styles!

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I’ll start out with my most favourite style and size and hopefully you’ll get the idea of how to adjust this pattern and create all sorts of shapes and sizes!

The Classic Beanie

A pattern for beginner knitters. This beanie will fit an average woman’s (or even teenager’s) head in a slouchy style!

Supplies:

  • Approximately 60-70 yards of super bulky yarn OR 2 strands of any worsted weight yarn
    • I used Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick for the bulky version
    •  I used Loops N’ Threads Impeccable for the worsted version
  • Size 13/9.00mm short circular needles with a 16 inch cable
  • Stitch marker
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle
  • Pom pom maker (optional)

The Pattern

  • Use your favourite cast on method and cast on 40 stitches
  • Use your stitch marker so you know where the beginning of each round is
  • Ribbing – * K1 P1, repeat from * around for 10 rounds
  • Knit around normally for 15 rounds
  • Decrease
    • * K3, k2tog, repeat from * around
    • Knit one round normally
    • *K2, k2tog, repeat from * around
    • Knit one round normally
    • *K1, k2tog, repeat from * around
    • k2tog around for the remaining stitches
  • Break your yarn and use a yarn needle to weave the tail in through each stitch. Pull tight to close the top of the hat
  • Use your pom pom maker (or whatever method you prefer) to make a nice big pom pom to sew to the top of your beanie
    • This step is optional! I just love pom poms!
  • Weave in your ends

You now have a beautiful chunky hat to keep you warm all fall and winter long!

Here are a few other size options I have various yarn weights and sizes:

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Chunky Men’s Beanie

  • Cast on 42
  • Follow the same steps as the original pattern EXCEPT:
    • Work the ribbing for 11 rounds
    • Knit normally for 16 rounds
  • Follow the same decrease method. If you have extra stitches just knit them normally to maintain a nice looking decreased top of hat

Chunky Children’s Beanie (age 1-3 roughly)

  • Cast on 32
  • Follow the same steps as the original pattern EXCEPT:
    • Work the ribbing for 8 rounds
    • Knit normally for 12-13 rounds depending on preference
  • Follow the same decrease method

Fitted Women’s Beanie

  • Use bulky size 5 yarn
  • Cast on 56
  • Follow the same steps as the original pattern EXCEPT:
    • Work the ribbing for 13 rounds
    • Knit normally for 20 rounds
  • Follow the same decrease method. If you have extra stitches at the end of your rounds, just knit them normally to maintain a nice looking decreased top of hat

This is an amazing pattern that can easily by adjusted, changed, or customized to fit anyone and everyone. I bet I’ve made close to 50 of these beanies so far for market prep and early fall orders. Trust me, they will be a hit with everyone.

Experiment with stripes and different sizes. Create fitted beanies and super slouchy beanies. Try incorporating a little bit of some fair isle style! The possibilities are endless.

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Let’s connect on social media! Use the hashtag #classicbeanie so I can see all of the beautiful creations you come up with using this pattern. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and follow me on Instagram and Facebook!

Have fun!