Many MANY Socks

As some of you might know, I have been writing for an online magazine called Addicted to Sock Knitting. I got into it through their Facebook group, which is a closed group so you have to submit a request to join. On this group people post photos and conversation topics all about sock knitting. I know what you’re thinking; I’ve found my people.

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I really enjoy the group and I will admit that I go about simply looking at posts others have put up. I do creep around the group, but I do chime in when people ask questions or if there is something particularly amazing! There are sock knitters of every caliber on this group so no one should feel shy about joining or posting! It is a very welcoming environment full of fantastic people!

Rainbow Socks Finished 2015

The eZine is something that the group creator Debra Garner put together. It’s an online magazine with two issues out so far. There is a wide array of information within the pages from tutorials all the way to patterns and reviews. I wrote an article for the first issue about ‘why hand knit socks are better than store bought socks’ and the most recent issue I wrote a tutorial on patching up socks.
I wanted to take this post to tell you about this eZine because a lot of work goes into it and there is some really great information there. If you’re at all interested in socks, you should definitely check out this magazine!

Snow in the Spring

Finally time to reveal my super-secret project that I have been working on for so long! It was a baby blanket for Liane. I normally don’t knit things for people, especially not for events, but I saw this blanket and couldn’t resist. It was so beautiful I had to grab the pattern and cast on. It is really hard to work on something so intricate without the recipient seeing it. I had to be quite judicious with my knitting time.

Blanket Snow

I bought the actual yarn itself while I was with Liane, we were looking at the Purple Purl for gender neutral yarn so she could make some booties. I looked at it and thought it would be really good for this particular blanket, because it was gender neutral, but on it’s own it was too dark. However paired with white for the snowflakes… it would be perfect.

Snowflake Closeup

I did try to find a white yarn that had a little bit of a sparkle to it, but nothing presented itself to me in a timely manner. The best thing I could find was a fine thread of sparkly yarn that was to be held double with your working yarn. It wasn’t too bad, but the sparkly thread could have been a bit softer; as it is for a baby I thought softness and super wash were very high priorities.

Steek Snowflake

If you’ve checked my Ravelry page for this project you will notice I started this in January. That is 100% correct. It wasn’t too bad to knit because I love colour work, but hooooooly cow, do not knit if you’re not on the ball. The chart is 80 rows and something like 150 stitches and it isn’t a memorable pattern. When I tried to print out the chart it came out as two pages and way too small to read. I had to open it on my computer and put two overlays on the chart. I just added a line above and below the row I was working on. After a while, I ended up moving the second overlay down a little bit so I could partially see the row I had already worked; this way I could tell when I was getting off pattern. I also zoomed way in so I could only see ten stitches at a time, then I would scroll to the left. It was nice and big and much less confusing than looking at the whole chart itself.

Blanket Snow Full

I really enjoyed this blanket, but the knitting gods preserve you if you lose your place or get off pattern. I was really lucky because I only knit the chart from my laptop and those overlays didn’t move unless I moved them. If it were a post it note situation, I don’t know what would have happened.
Now that I am done this blanket, I am going to work pretty hard core on my grandmother’s sweaters; I have one back and two sleeves done. That is 3/8 of the way there… someone remind me not to write out a fraction of how far along I am until I finish the next two sleeves. As I typed it I felt like, ‘what?!?! I’ve been working on them for so long!!! This can’t be right! I have to be further along than this!’ At which point I went to lay down with a cold cloth over my face.

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I am going to get through this sweater! It might be the middle of summer by the time I finish it, but I will get it done!!! A few rows here and there add up to quite a bit!

Technical Tuesday: Helix Knitting

I am actually quite excited about today’s Technical Tuesday because I previously didn’t know this technique existed. I’ve made several striped hats and I always had that one stitch which was slightly off from the rest. I can’t wait to actually work this technique the next time I make a hat!

This video kind of starts in the middle and gives you a good idea of what this technique looks like on a finished object! Every time I have explained how to make a striped hat to someone I’ve just told them to carry the yarn up the middle of the inside. This might be a little bit more difficult to explain, but it would look so much better!

This video started right from the beginning so there are no questions about how to get started. I would have put this one first, but the other video gives a really good description of what helix knitting is and what it ends up looking like!
If anyone has tried this technique, what did you think of it? I think it would be awesome and cannot wait to try it! I’m going to have to pick out some colours for a hat now!

More on Mason Jars!

Every Sunday I prep my Mason jar meals for the coming week. It’s really awesome to have breakfast and lunch made for the whole week and I’ve received a lot of interest about what exactly I put into these jars. I’ll give you the short answer first.

Parfait

I make Paul’s and mine a little differently because he likes his granola to be mushy. I don’t want my granola crunchy, but definitely not mushy. I use vanilla Oikos Greek yogurt for mine and mix Greek yogurt with regular yogurt for Paul’s. For granola, I use the Complements brand, but I find granola is a very personal choice; everyone has their favourite.

Parfait

Last I pick some kind of berry, usually it is blue berries, but I’ve done raspberries as well. Strawberries tend not to last as well as others. The strawberries get kind of mushy… in a weird way, when raspberries get mushy, it’s delicious.
I layer yogurt, berries then granola one after the other in the Mason jars until they are full. Lately I’ve been layering on some flax seeds in mine; the iron could always use a boost.

Salads

The first time I did the salads, I did way too much work. I cut everything and put it all in bowls etc until it was ready to go in. Now I’ve got this down to a science. You want to put the moist veggies on the bottom then any veggies that won’t go mushy just above those, then your layer of protein and the lettuce goes last.
Now I chop things and put them in as I go. I start with tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, celery and carrot. I will admit that I cheat a bit with the carrot. I buy baby carrots then put them in the food processor until they’re minced.

Salad Mine

The protein for my salad is roasted pumpkin seeds. If they’re unroasted from the store, I coat them with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper then roast them on a cookie sheet fro 20 minutes on 350 degrees. They’re soooo good.
For Paul’s I use a little bit of turkey and two hard-boiled eggs. I’ve been hard-boiling my eggs in the oven and I strongly suggest it! You put the eggs in a muffin tins and throw them in the oven for 30 minutes on 350 degrees.

Salad Pauls

After the protein goes in, I just put the lettuce on top. I use romain lettuce and mix mine with spinach because if the lettuce isn’t the freshest right from the grocery store, by the end of the week, it looks like it is THINKING about getting soft. The spinach lasts much longer.

Sunshine Daisies, Butter Mellow

After reading the title of this blog post, everyone who knows Harry Potter, yelled “TURN THIS STUPID FAT RAT YELLOW!!” It was the spell Fred and George gave their youngest brother to turn his pet rat yellow; you know, to make him more interesting.
The whole of the relation of Harry Potter to this blog post is the fact that I am talking about the Lemon Waffle socks and those happen to be yellow. It was the only name I could come up with at the moment.

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I have, indeed, finished the first of the Lemon Waffle Socks. Finally I know! I’ve even started on the second one. I’m not terribly far through it, but I started it before the half way point in the month, so I am satisfied. Now to finish it before the end of the month!

Crystal Stitch Markers

I’ve been working on a lot of show-related things as the Creativ Festival is only a little over a month away. I have started using wire jewelry techniques to create stitch markers. This gives me a whole range of stitch markers that just didn’t exist before. Whenever people look at the stitch markers, they all turn to me and say “I could never do that, I wouldn’t have the patience” or “I would go blind doing such small work.” Mind you these are normally people who knit, sometimes even LACE KNITTERS!!! I really haven’t made a foray completely into lace territory yet, but I am sure it takes patience and a reasonable amount of eyesight.

Rose Gold Stitch Markers

I find working on these stitch markers kind of cathartic. They’re small, but take only a few seconds to complete. Once you get into a rhythm… I could sit there and make them all night. I am really excited about the feedback I am going to get about the new stitch markers! I’ve been using a couple shamelessly; you know, to test things out! No one wants snaggly stitch markers!

Leaf Stitch Markers

I’ve actually had Paul all over pattern markers, I think he takes to it with the same methodic approach as I take to stitch markers. It is dangerous to go to the store and pick out the ribbon we’re going to use for the pattern markers. I could easily spend thousands of dollars just walking along the shelves going “this one…. And this one…. And this one… and two of these…” Moderation is key!

Pattern Markers Ribbon

I usually try to force myself to pick up one of two that I am not overly fond of; not everyone has the same taste as me! Sometimes I’ll bring a friend and have them pick out a couple, or I’ll make Paul do it. Its nice to have that little bit of deviation from just things I like… or else all the pattern markers would be blue and purple.

Pet Stitch Markers

I’ve had to put a hold on a lot of things for the show this week because I am co-hosting a baby shower this weekend at my house. It is going to be an AWESOME baby shower, but this means I am going to have to clear out some of the knitting paraphernalia that has began dominating the main level of our town house. The muggles wouldn’t be able to handle the sheer amount of knitterly gear I’ve got floating around my house!

Technical Tuesday: There’s a Hole in my Bucket

I’ve taught several people how to knit, and one of the most universal problems I’ve seen is holes in knitting. Now, when I am sitting directly beside the person and watch what they’re doing, this is easy to catch and easy to fix. When you’re trying to teach someone to knit remotely, it’s a little harder to explain; so here are a couple videos about why there would be holes in your knitting and what to do about it!

The biggest thing to watch out for is to make sure you aren’t putting your working yarn over the needle. As mentioned in the video, this creates a yarn over and these are not the prettiest when you’re making something mostly stockinet stitch.

Now these fixes are for a yarn over that is recent. What if you didn’t notice? Or what if you were working on a larger project and didn’t want to stop knitting it before you saw your knitting troubleshooter? They would be much further down your knitting and it would be a lot harder to just tink back and slide the YO off. The following video gives a few solutions to this problem.

I am always looking for more techniques to cover so if you are ever unsure of anything please message me or post in our Ravelry group thread! There is no such thing as a stupid question and I want Technical Tuesdays to be informative for all!

Inspiration and the Attainable

Since my headaches have been going away, I’ve been trying to get back into the gym. Things go okay, there are bumps and pain-in-the-neck’s along the way, but I am doing okay. As I mentioned last post, the weather is getting warmer and for me… that makes me want to get out and do things!

Yoga Stress

When I am trying to motivate myself to go to the gym or do athletic things, I need incentive. Normally I sign up for a race or obstacle course because nothing motivates you like the thought “if I don’t train for this, I am going to die.” A lot of people will mull over signing up for a race, but that is a pitfall you must avoid. The first time I signed up for a 5K race, I was not a runner at all. I just signed up for it because a friend of mine was doing it and it sounded like fun. After I paid, I realized I would actually have to train for this. Complete madness, I know.

Work out no Punching

It was really motivating though. Every time I thought I would prefer to sleep in or something, I just thought about running the race and being trampled by all the really fit people behind me. THAT will get you out of bed in the morning.
Since I don’t have any races coming up, I haven’t been able to use that against myself, but I have found I really enjoy going onto Etsy or Pinterest and looking at all the wise-ass sayings on some workout clothes. Any of the photos I’ve posted in reference to this link back to the pages where you can purchase them. I keep setting little goals for myself and saying, “if I get to this point, I am going to buy that workout shirt.”

Sweatin Church

This kind of works double for me because not only am I striving toward a goal where I get a reward, I get a cool shirt. I am going to want to go work out just so I can wear that shirt.
I’ve read quite a few articles with interesting and sometimes crazy things to keep you getting to the gym. One of the ones I thought was funny yet clever, is to wear your work out clothes to bed. If you’re trying to get to the gym in the morning you sleep in the work out clothes. This way you only need to drag your sleep deprived self to the gym and don’t have to worry about getting dressed and all that jazz. This is especially true for women; have you ever tried to fight with a sports bra in the pre-dawn hours?
I’ll do another post full of awesome motivating things. It might not be obvious, but I try to apply the same principles to completing knitting that is really fighting me. Goals… and buying yourself something pretty!

WIP Wednesday

Things have been absolutely crazy this week and I’ve been feverishly attempting to get some FO’s for you guys! I’ve been working on the Lemon Waffle socks because they’re my socks for March and March is almost half over. My socks are not half way to being done either! Three out of twelve and I am already worried about being behind.
I’ve been thinking about doing toe up socks again. A couple knitting friends came over and talked about their love of toe up socks and told me about a technique to do a heel flap for toe up! I am definitely going to give this a try the next time I go for socks.

03102015 Lemon Waffle

The weather is starting to get warmer now and I will probably be able to do a couple rows in the car again. During the winter, our drive to the office wasn’t long enough to sufficiently warm up the car. Hence! I was not able to knit in the car for several months. It was a sad time, but there is more and more sunshine every day and there have been ACTUAL POSITIVE TEMPTERATURES!!
Whewf! Enough of the weather. I have also been making tracks on my Super Secret project; not actual tracks or anything, but a lot of progress to speak of! I wish I could show you photos, but it will have to wait until it is all done and delivered.

ColourWork

Something else I have been working on is a pattern! I started looking at my different pattern ideas and began putting together ideas for what I would do first! I am playing around with a few different things, but I am definitely working on a couple things. The first pattern I release will definitely be free so keep an eye out!

Technical Tuesday: Magic Knot

I learned this knot at Vogue Knitting Live NYC 2014. It was a little extra that one of the teachers threw in and I thought it was really great. I know a lot of people condemn knots in knitting but sometimes there is just no other way. This is the best knot I’ve seen done so I thought I would share.

When I was looking for a video I found this video on a Russian join. I’ve never seen this technique before and thought it was very interesting.

While we are on the subject of joining, I might as well go over splicing. This particular video is about spit splicing and I know she says not to use water, but if using spit to splice your yarn really creeps you out, water will work.

A Book!!

I haven’t talked about books in so long! It’s actually been a while since I was really into listening to all the book series I am into. Usually once I listen to an entire series and get really into it, I can’t wait for the next book to come out. Then I have to wait, and patience is not really my forte. I was out of touch so long I didn’t realize a book was coming out in a couple days.

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I don’t think I have mentioned any of Patricia Briggs series, she has two, but this one is very sweet. The Alpha and Omega series technically starts in an anthology called On the Prowl with a short story called Alpha and Omega. Usually this is referred to as book 0.5 since it is the start of the story and not technically a side story.

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The short story is not absolutely necessary to the plot of book number one, but I think it is a really great lead in and explains the relationship between the two main characters.

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This series parallels Patricia Briggs’ other series, the Mercedes Thompson books; which are also excellent! I read both series and love the little tie-in’s here and there. You also get a little bit more back story about characters that are central to the Mercedes Thomspson book, but play a more ‘off stage’ role.

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If the book covers didn’t give it away, these books are an urban fantasy about werewolves. Of all the werewolf books I’ve read, these ones are my favourite. When people transform they turn into actual wolves, rather than the creepy half wolf half human renditions that are so popular in movies.

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There is magic and a whole slew of other supernatural beings that come into the plot lines for this series, and keep it interesting. I attempt to talk everyone I meet into reading these books. There is a strong female lead in the Mercedes Thompson books, so they are naturally a little more appealing to a female audience, but the Alpha and Omega series centers on both Charles and Anna as main characters. Depending on your preferences, I strongly recommend you read all the books. ALLLL OF THEM!!!