Late Fall and Winter are such a great time for knitting. Having handknit items around, both those completed and those in progress, makes the steadily chilling air almost welcome. The challenge for me is to remember that I can't knit everything and that sometimes it is worth it to just buy a pair of mittens. Other times I come across a hat pattern so adorable that I just have to make it, even though there are at least 15 hats in our closet already. I recently made this hat for Juniper; it's the Vintage Pixie Cap from Hadley Fierlinger's Vintage Knits for Modern Babies. Jim said it kind of reminded him of the little caps the French kids are wearing in Alfred Eisenstaedt's classic photos of the audience at a Paris puppet theatre. The yarn I used is a bit thicker, but I think the result is still pretty cute:

I created a ravelry group for any sweetjuniper readers who want to learn to knit, or who already know how to knit and want to help others, or just want to check out what other people are making. The lovely DW (the woman responsible for the fact that I can't tear myself away from my knitting needles at night long enough to empty the dishwasher) has joined, and has already taught some group members how to knit cables. I'm also meeting with a wonderful group of ladies in my neighborhood for a weekly night of knitting. Already there are at least five other pixie hats adorning small heads at our playground each night.

If knitting is something you've always wanted to learn but were too intimidated (or frustrated) to try, I urge you to give it a go this winter. I always worry that by sharing my projects on Woodcraft it seems like I'm showing off, so I want to share something now that will hopefully dissuade anyone from thinking I'm naturally good at any of this. If you need some encouragement, take a look at the first thing I ever made from yarn.

Ten years ago I learned to crochet while I was living in China, and I made what I truly believed at the time was an awesome scarf for Jim for Christmas. You can't really fully appreciate from that picture how uneven this scarf is. There are parts that are 2 inches wider than other parts.

Here I am making the scarf with my friend Carissa Carmen (who taught me to crochet):

I think she may be repairing one of my many mistakes in that picture. I also added a pocket, thinking it was a clever touch. You know, for all those times that you need to keep. . .something. . .in your scarf. . . . I was really proud of that pocket:

Jim was nice about it when I gave it to him, probably summoning whatever enthusiasm he could from the well of relief that I hadn't made him a sweater. He even wore it once when we went touristing around Beijing (it helped that it was extremely cold that day). To this day he's bitter about that scarf strangling him in every picture I took of him in the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square:

He calls it The Scarf of Many Colors and despite his efforts to hide it deep in the basement every spring, I always manage to dig it out the next winter. Here's another picture of my friend Carissa, modeling the first hippie hat I ever made, with only a hint of forgivable trepidation:

I guess you could say I have come a long way since those days; but I went years without making anything because I didn't know where to start. If you want to give it a try, please join the ravelry group and let's get something made before the holidays!