Tuesday, May 29, 2012

WIP - Firey Redhead Lace

So my knitting escapades this holiday weekend included my first foray into full blown lace knitting...

Doesn't look like much yet without blocking, but it is B-E-A-Utiful.

This started back in late February when the lovely Ruth over at Rock & Purl (likely the reason a lot of you are reading this blog now) included me for the test knit of this pattern. I got almost through the end of the bottom chart back then, but I was so woefully off there was no saving it, and it took me a while after that first frogging to pick it back up. I think where I went wrong the first time was I wasn't concentrating enough (we had just started watching LOST) so my pattern got all wonky.

But now, with the help of the holiday weekend and Top Gear marathon all day yesterday I got through the bottom chart, and once I get through some more of the body I'll pin it up on some blocking pins and show off Ruth's beautiful Maighdean Mhara pattern. I am so loving the Knit Picks hand dyed Gloss on this pattern, it's just variegated to add some movement to the pattern, but not distract from it.

So loving it! See the Ravelry Project Page here.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Whole Food Lifestyle

So it's been a while. I could make excuses about working full time and going to school, but we're all busy and no one cares how busy someone else is because fuck it, who isn't?

Let's talk about this instead...

That's my first bag of pre-season CSA goodness. We have a little bit of lettuce, bac choi, mustard greens, and swiss chard in there (most of which will likely go to the bunny because he freaking loves romaine lettuce and I dare say he's never had it this fresh) as well as garlic scapes and zucchini. I'm mostly excited about the scapes which I've never seen before.

Turns out if you cut the bits of the garlic that grows above ground before it flowers, you can chop it up and use just like garlic. I took a bite while I was on the farm, and they are not lying! Packed with garlic flavor, but I think it's best you peel the first layer off before using. The texture of the skin was similar to the woody part of asparagus and no one needs that, but the inside was soft and delicious like garlic.

We also decided to split a cow we lovingly named Maggie with four friends, and husband and I offered to take the bones to make stock. Little did we know that it would be like 50 lbs of bone. More on the adventures of trying to figure out what the hell do to with all of those bones to come.

What are some of your favorite beef & veggie based recipes? Because we are going to be drowning in both and I couldn't be happier!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Trouble with Long Weekends

I love a long weekend. They're always so full of opportunity and promise & I always think I can squeeze so much more into each of them than is even approaching reasonable. For instance things that I've added at one point or another to my want to-do list for today include...

  • Going to IKEA to get new duvet covers
  • Getting into my new office to make sure everything is set up correctly
  • Going out to lunch with my mom (this is probably a bad idea)
  • Visiting Salvation Army to see if I can find any good sweaters to pull yarn from
  • Going to the fabric store to ogle beautiful prints
  • Try an awesome yarn dyeing technique I saw in a tutorial
  • Plan out my blog posts for next month
  • Do some freezer cooking

Now the first 3 will defiantly be happening & the knitting is naturally a given too. The rest remain to be seen... If only I could have a 5 day weekend and a 2 day work week just for a week. I'd catch up on so much.

What are you doing with your extra day this week?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Love List - Paper

This past Tuesday, yes Valentine's Day, was my first anniversary. Dear Husband sent me an edible arrangement at work (which I may or may not have hinted heavily would be better than flowers) and then made me a fantastic steak dinner. It was a fantastic day, and I love the idea of giving gifts based on tradition, so this is a love list in honor of my paper anniversary.

If I had remembered this existed in my Etsy favorites soon enough this Love Calender would have been the most perfect one year Anniversary present! Keep track of a year by the amount of love you share every day. Sounds pretty romantic to me.

If we had gone with a traditional wedding, these are the invitations I would have used. Inviting Moments have so many amazing invitation sets! For all my friends who are getting married soon, check them out, I'm willing to bet there's something there you'll love!

This Star Wars/Death Cab for Cutie love mash-up is one of the best cards I've seen in a long time. Husband introduced me to this song, so it has a special place in my heart.

My favorite Fiber Farm has gotten into card making recently and I'm totally in love with this Sheep Squad notecard set.

Finally this is what I actually got Husband for our anniversary. My in-laws got us a grill for Christmas and Husband loves Bobby Flay so this one was a no brainer for me.

What are you in love with right now? Any favorite paper crafts/paper gifts you've seen recently?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Delancey KAL - Week One

I dunno about everyone else, but Blue Mountain has finally decided that it's winter. The snow we got wasn't so bad, but the cats and I really didn't appreciate the gusting winds blowing the front door (which mind you has a storm door in front of it) wide open all night. My poor oldest kitty spent the night under the comforter with me because I thought the heat had just broken again and that's why the house was so cold.
Oh hey Winter! There you are!

So a cold, snowy weekend combined with the fact that dear husband is away on a boys hunting weekend made for a TON of awesome knitting time. Mainly on The Sweatshop of Love's Winter KAL featuring the sweetly retro Delancey Cardigan by Alexis Winslow.

I've cast on for the largest size of her standard pattern in a beautiful Wool/Alpaca/Silk dk I'd never heard of before called Balmoral.
Thank god for helpful LYS Ladies!

Even though I had been planning on going with the pattern photo combination of orange and white I'm totally loving this natural and navy blue combination. It's almost gives a South Western vibe to the sweater & I could use a little desert warmth in my freezing house right now.


I love a good mitered square pattern, which is kinda what these two bottom panels are, and the same principles of combined increases and decreases carry throughout the pattern to make those iconic bias stripes.

I am soooooo in love with this yarn and color combo!

Our goal for this week was to make it to row 54 and I decided to go ahead and knit to row 56 so I'd have 2 solid rows connecting my two bottom panels.

Monday, February 6, 2012

You know you have a problem when...

I may or may not have been up until 2 AM working on my newly cast on Aidez... and I may or may not have needed to get up for work at 530. Gonna be a rough day.

Beautiful 1x1 ribbing

However, I'm gonna call it totally worth it. I love the beautiful Knit Picks cadet blue that I'm working in, and I can't resist a highly complicated chart pattern. And since I'm doing this following the Sweatshop of Love KAL that I originally bought this yarn for, I've cast on the whole body at once which includes 9 different sections of reasonably complex cabling/stitchery. The thing that made the whole thing possible is the fantastic guide that Allyson made to follow all three body sections at once.

And even though I have no photographic evidence of it; I ACTUALLY SWATCHED! This is going to be a lesson in loose tension for me 'cause the only circulars I have were 10s when the pattern calls for a 10 1/2. (and I'm too cheap to buy new ones right now)

What did you do during the Super Bowl yesterday?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Resolution False Start

So one of my resolutions was to lose 5 lbs a month every month this year & January didn't really go so well... I'm just going to call it a false start because between having a monster flu for a week and a half and transitioning between working two part time jobs to working a normal full time schedule it just never happened.

However, I'm not going to let a false start get in the way of a perfectly good weight loss goal. When I stepped on the scale this morning I was pleasantly surprised to find that my starting weight is 227 lbs. Last I weighed myself (probably pre-holidays) I was floating around the 230's so I suppose in a way I did hit my first month goal as far as I know! I know the secret to success for me is making sure I work out. The nature of my desk job forces me to lead a pretty sedentary lifestyle during the week and the times I was skinniest were when I was swimming or doing color guard competitively regardless of what I ate.

So what's the plan?

I know better than to jump into this too hard & fast and discourage myself right off the bat with burn out. Week one is all about trying out the yoga classes at my gym. I love me some yoga, and at my current fitness level it's a pretty legit workout. Not only is a decent work out for me, but there's less judgement in a yoga class than almost anywhere else in a gym so when I know I have to do a modified plank I'm not stressed about people thinking less of me.

I know I shouldn't stress anyway, but lets be honest, in a gym you feel like you're on display all the time. Especially if you're a bigger girl.

So I'm going to try at least out two different yoga classes this week, and try to hit up a Friday night Zumba class. I also want to get myself back into hiking, and I think husband misses his Sunday mornings to himself, so Sunday mornings might be devoted to hitting some trails. I'm surrounded by the Appalachian trail and nature walks and it's a great natural work out so I'll probably hit up a couple of the gentle nature trails this month and start on real trails next month.

I'll be giving once a week updates on my progress and share anything I learn along the way. Do you have any favorite healthy recipes or workout rituals? I always love a good tip!

January 31 Weight: 227.0


Friday, January 20, 2012

FO : Gap-tastic Cowl #5

It's sort of like Mambo Number 5, but with a heck of a lot more seed stitch

Lots of red seed stitch and some very cute glasses

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't glad to see this stupid cowl gone, but I already kinda miss it. The co-worker that got it was so excited to see it on her desk when she came in & wore it to her meeting that night so in the end it's all well worth it.

I still think I'll probably make one or two or a dozen in every color of the rainbow for myself, but not for a hot minute. I need to stop hating this fantastic pattern first. Tomorrow I hope to finish the neck shaping and seam up my very first sweater! Super huge accomplishment!

What have you finished recently? What are you excited about tackling next?


Monday, January 16, 2012

WIP - I will finish these gifts!

So now that I'm feeling a little better and I finally have a bit of a day off (though I will still go to the office today because I am drowning in work from being sick) I can finally show you the two WIP I currently have on the needles.

First of all I have the ultra scary first sweater...

And yes, it's a Weasley Sweater from Charmed Knits! Geek kinda runs in my family, and though it took me years and years I finally got my mom to read the Harry Potter series, and now she's hooked on the books & movies. Last year she got me Charmed Knits for Christmas and very subtly hinted that she really wanted her own Weasley Sweater. Since I had never made a sweater before I kinda dreaded making it, but it's basically been two big rectangles with two trapezoids attached to it, not too complicated except that I had to figure out how to chart that R myself since the pattern only comes with an intarsia H. It came out well in the main except for the loopy bit that looks a little wonky, but just about any curve looks like odd in knit. (or that's what I'll keep telling myself.

 Stupid tiny yarn...

This sweater has been a bit of the bane of my existance for about 3 months now. I'm not afraid to admit that I'm not speed knitter. I am by no means super slow, but these size 8 needles and Knit Picks City Tweed are making me feel like a n0ob. I love the way its turning out, and my mom loves what she's seen of it so far so I'm just gonna keep telling myself it's worth it and keep on plugging on.

And speaking of things that might be the bane of my existence, we have another Gap-Tastic Cowl. When I made one for my office White Elephant exchange, it was an unspoken agreement that it was made for a specific person however, as is custom for this kind of gift exchange, it got stolen from its intended recipient. She was pretty crushed so I caved and agreed to make her one in whatever color she wanted, she requested red (this yarn is much less orange than the picture shows) and I'm about halfway done with it now.

After getting some work done in the office, I think I'm going to come home & put season one of Portlandia on (it's on Netflix now so I can FINALLY watch it) and knit my fingers off to try and knock both of these out as soon as possible. Those who follow me on twitter may have noticed that I have a bit of designing fever, but I'm holding off until I get both of these off the needles.

What do you have on the needles? Anyone else still working on some holiday knits? Anyone? Okay it's just me...


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quick Updates from the Sickbed

Welcome new followers! I promise the content here won't typically be so lacking, but I seem to have contracted a mild form of the plague and since I work in accounting, the very beginning of the year isn't really the time to be sick so all my energy reserves get used up before I get home.

I managed to finish the first sleeve of my Weasley Sweater two nights ago and (rather poorly) picked up the stitches for sleeve number two last night. Ran out of steam before I could take pictures, but with how fried my brain is right now, I would shudder to think what they would look like.

There's been a lot of great inspiration floating around and I'm finally thinking of dipping my toes in the ocean of creating my own designs. Hopefully I can hold on to all this inspiration after I feel better so I can get my butt in gear and put all these dreams into action.

For now I'm getting back into bed until absolutely necessary.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Love List - Selfish Knitting

Until recently, I have almost never found patterns that I would want to make for myself to wear. I always find things that I would love to make for others, and maybe the odd home goods item or cozy that I thought I could use, but never something I'd wear around and say "Yeah, I knit that!" That is, until I started discovering amazing designers like Allyson from The Sweatshop of Love and Lee from Do Stuff! who make beautiful, complex knits for 20-somethings.

Digging deeper into Ravelry I discovered a treasure trove of things I would love to knit from independent designers that I might never have found just by buying books. And at the end of a particularly jam-packed holiday season, all I want are some selfish knits, and these are at the top of my list...

Coming soon to my needles will have to be these fantastic Lady Finkaas slippers. Made with Lion Brand's Fisherman's wool they'll be super inexpensive and a fabulous instant gratification knit, not to mention I need something to wear around the office when I have to wear snow boots to get to my car.

This! I have had the yarn for the fabulous Aidez ever since Allyson hosted her Winter Knit-a-Long way back when, but the whole working two jobs and feeling buried under holiday knits thing finally caught up with me. So the beautiful Cadet Blue knit picks yarn has been patiently waiting for me in my car because I don't trust myself to open the box and not start on it. The instant I finish my yet-unfinished holiday sweater this goes on the needles and I'll probably give a bunch of updates on this since it's such a beautifully complex pattern.

I've been super inspired by Leethal's Remixed line and Wild is the Wind is my absolute favorite. Her patterns are almost always designed to be knit in any gauge and heavily feature unexpected details and buttons (who doesn't love buttons?).

And speaking of buttons, just like everyone else in the world I'm totally in love with Owls by Kate Davies. I would probably edit the pattern a bit to make it a 3/4 sleeve (or maybe a little shorter) but otherwise I think this is beyond cute.

Heroine has been in my favorites for over a year now & maybe this will be the year to make it. I think it's the disenfranchised 90's grunge kid in me that love this coat so much.

What selfish knits can you not wait to get on those needles? Or maybe are lucky enough to already have started? (in which case I am 110% jealous)

Anything you'd like to see featured as a theme for a love list? Just let me know!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Holiday Knitting Wrap Up

So when I decide to do a large quantity of knitted gifts I like to choose one pattern that is equal parts versatile and easy to personalize. This year I chose the amazingly simple and beautiful Gap-Tastic Cowl by the super cute Jen Geigley! We've all seen this cowl before and who doesn't love a wrap-able cowl in a super chunky squishy yarn?

Beauty & simplicity

So I knit four of them this winter, all in the fantastic super bulky from Michael's Loops & Threads line appropriately called Charisma. I made one in Fuschia for my gay best friend who can rock pink like no man I know.

 If you don't have a gay best friend, you should find one, they're amazing.

Green for my best girlfriend who as she puts it is "spending a year blowing her money in Ireland and oh yeah, getting a masters degree". This girl is all about bright color and I just couldn't resist giving her green in the year of her Ireland adventure.
 Upon receiving it she instantly put it on her head like a turban and wore it like that the rest of the night. This is why she's my bestie.

I remotely participated in The Sweatshop of Love's Secret Santa exchange and since neither she nor I knew anything about the lovely lady I was knitting for I went with a great grey neutral. 

I was hoping for a lighter grey like in the now iconic default picture for the pattern, but alas there was none to be found.

Then finally for my office White Elephant gift exchange (if you've never been to one of these, it's pretty epic and you need to plan one for your office/favorite group of friends) I was requested to knit something once the knitting cat was out of the bag. Since at the time I was already 2 projects deep into Christmas knits and naturally way behind my initial thoughts were ()#$#^@#@#!!! but then I heard the words "Yeah! Not a problem!" come out of my mouth. So I went back to the store, grabbed 3 skeins of navy blue and finished it literally the morning of the party. I love bringing handmade into everyone's life a little more and it warmed my heart that my scarf actually got stolen in the middle of the game.

I've now been commissioned to knit at least 2 more, but at least it's super quick to make. I did tell them they're going to wait until at least Feb. to get them because I'm sick of these damn cowls. 

I did have one last handmade gift, but as it's not finished yet, it will be featured in a WIP post coming soon!

What did y'all make for the holidays? Did you get any handmade gifts yourself?


Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolutions


I love the fresh start of the new year, and in the early hours before I go to work I want to jot down my resolutions somewhere everyone can see them so I can hold myself accountable. I plan on trying to spend this year updating on these resolutions, as many of them have to do with the idea of living a healthier, more handmade life.

1) Lose around 5 pounds a month - I make a weight loss resolution almost every year, but now I live with someone who is also committed to this. Seeing recent pictures of myself helps secure me in this goal because I've let the stress of my life get to me this year and it's showing on my waistline far more than I'd like it to. I want to do this with a combination of eating whole foods & getting good exercise, not any asinine fad diet.

2) Set up a canning plan and following it - I had planned on doing this last year, but since we had only just moved into the house and were still trying to get used to adult life, needless to say it didn't happen. I'd like to make some strawberry jam, husband's signature vodka tomato sauce, and apple sauce. If other whims catch me I'll probably follow them because that's just the kind of person I am, but those three seasonal staples are a great place to start.

3) Work towards an income based partially on making - I have a few ideas of what kind of Etsy shop I'd like to have, but I need to make a real decision and go boldly in that direction. More on this later, I promise.

What are your new year's resolutions? Share them here, big or small! The first step to completing them is to tell someone & have them hold you accountable. It's usually scary, and sometimes sucks, but you can't say it doesn't work!