You’re Welcome Citizen!

This is the designated time when I usually talk about the books I’ve been reading and listening to, but I am still lost down the podcast hole! The latest one I have been listening to is called Knit 1 Geek 2. They’re a podcast based in Canada; they’re practically my neighbours!!

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I really love all the podcasts I’ve come across, but it is especially great to find one that is local to me. Usually when podcaster’s talk about their LYS or events that are local to them, I desperately want to go check them out. The last couple I’ve listened to have been in California; that compared with the weather we’ve been having… I was almost ready to move.
Maggie and Karen talk about all things that have to do with geekery! They talk about movies and tv shows; review ones currently out and keep everyone up to date with news about upcoming features!
These ladies absolutely slay me; they’re so funny. Their podcast has the explicit tag because there is a little swearing and they get a little excited when they talk about some of the male characters; but it’s nothing untoward.
I’ve listened to the most recent couple episodes, and now I am working my way back. It’s actually really really fun to go back and listen to older episodes about movies that have already come out. Everyone makes predictions about movies and tv shows and theirs are really quite accurate. Sometimes I am bursting with glee because I know the movie coming out is going to totally BLOW THEIR EXPECTATIONS OUT OF THE WATER!!
I haven’t been listening that long, but I absolutely love their podcast!! Trust me and go listen!

My Name isn’t Alice

I have fallen down the rabbit-hole of knitting pretty hardcore the past week and a half. I haven’t been feeling all too well, so I’ve been taking it easy and doing a little more knitting than normal! I’ve gotten a lot done including my Valentine’s Day Socks!

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I was planning to get them done by Valentine’s Day, not for the specific reason of wearing them, but simply to have an insane self imposed goal. I didn’t get them done before V-day, but it wasn’t too long after that they were complete. I really wasn’t too far from finished, I just needed some time to dedicate to them. I polished them off and immediately cast on another pair. I am knitting these ones from the colour way Lazer Lemon. I am part of a sock KAL where you can only knit from things from your stash and it has to be spring themed. I was originally going to knit a pair of socks from Cotton Candy, but I reorganized my stash this weekend and found this skein of Lazer Lemon. If there is something that says spring, it is a bright yellow ball of yarn; brighter than the sun!

Lemon Waffle Sock 02252015

I’ve also decided that I am going to knit the socks in a pattern too! I have knit so many pairs of the knit three, purl one, ribbed socks that I am kind of getting sick of them. I never thought that would happen, but crazier things have been known to happen! This pattern isn’t much harder, but it requires me to do a K2P2 pattern. I know this ribbing is where most people live, but I can never get the hang of it. I don’t know what the deal is, but I’ve never been able to get into a 2×2-ribbing pattern.
I managed to finish two sleeves for my grandmother’s sweater. I feel like I am trucking along on that as well! I should have made each piece of the sweater it’s own Ravelry project; that way I would feel la greater sense of accomplishment every time I finished a piece.

Grandma's Sweater 02252015

I am really trying to intersperse knitting these sweaters with other projects that I like. I am hoping this is going to motivate me to finish it. It’s one of those things that weighs on my mind and makes my anxious. I would really love to get these sweaters to my grandparents while it is still cold outside, but we will have to see how it goes. I really need to get this done and out of area 51.

Ultra Purple Square 02252015

I also added another square to my sock yarn blanket. I was doing some tests on sock yarn and instead of knitting a little swatch, I just made a square for this blanket. I have been thinking about how to organize the blanket and I think I would like to attempt to group the colours together and have them flow across the colour wheel. Have it go from yellow, green, blue, purple, red and orange. I know not all my sock yarns will fit perfectly into those categories, but they will be relatively close to one or two. I have decided to make all the squares first and lay them out to see how I would like them to come together after I’ve finished them all.

Technical Tuesday: Whip it!

One of the most recognized methods of attaching two pieces of knitting and generally one of the first hand sewing techniques knitters learn. I can’t believe I haven’t thought of this before now! I found a LOT of videos when I searched this technique on YouTube, so if the videos here aren’t to your liking, you will be able to take your pick of the litter directly from the source.

Whip stitch is not for attaching everything. You will be able to see where the pieces were sewn together. As the video mentions, this is best for afghans or pieces where the yarn is very fuzzy and a seam would be hidden in the fluff. Another place this is popular is when tacking up a hem.

When I am making sweaters and need to seam up the edges, I use mattress stitch, blogged about here.

This is also a really popular stitch for basting things in place; I would use a contrasting yarn and do it very loosely if you are using this technique for basting anything into place before doing a more permanent stitch.

Mason Jar Meals

Okay, this is the newest thing I am totally obsessed with. Making meals in advance is so awesome. I love coming home for lunch and having a meal ready. Just take it out of the fridge and you’re good to go!

Mason Jar Meals Three

Shauna was the first one to mention this to me and I checked Pinterest. Turns out it is a huge thing and there are recipes specifically for mason jar meals. There are even philosophies about the best order to place ingredients and whether there should or should not be dressing in the bottom when making salad.
I started out by making a few parfaits, but Paul said they weren’t quite filling enough. The next time I added greek yogurt instead of regular, for the extra protein.

Mason Jar Parfait One

That keeps me full for a really long time and barely satisfies Paul, for a couple hours anyway, so there is the perfect mid ground! The greek yogurt does make the parfait a little dry though. The yogurt has the consistency of mousse so it doesn’t really moisten the granola much. On one hand, you’re not going to get soggy granola, but on the other, it kind of sticks to the roof of your mouth.

Mason Jar Parfait Two

The first week I made one or two salads, but the second week I went totally off the deep end and made different salads and enough for the whole week. We’re on day four and they’re still great! The jars are airtight and therefore keep the lettuce fresh. The salad is still crunchy and the leaves don’t have any brown edges. I actually stirred some avocado in a bit of lemon juice and added them to the salad at the beginning of the week and they’re still green.
I am totally running with this, it’s an amazing time saver and I am less likely to eat junk for breakfast and lunch if I have them premade!

Holy Moly, there is Progress

I got so much done this week! It was a long weekend here so I caught up on a lot of things I had been letting fall behind; such as cleaning, meal prep…. Etc. I also got quite a bit of knitting done. I managed to finish a sleeve from my grandmother’s sweater, finished a hat and may or may not have started something new.

Seed Stitch Sleeve

First thing is first! I decided the body was going really slowly and I felt kind of discouraged about the sheer amount of work I had left to do, so I started on the sleeves. I am not going to lie to you. I changed them. The sleeves were also meant to be covered in cables, but most of that work is hidden under the arms and I think it makes the whole sweater look very very busy. I looked at just making a stockinet sleeve, but I thought that would be too plain. A row of seed stitch up the arm fits with the rest of the pattern and is very easy to do.

Seed Stitch Sleeve Two

When I started this sleeve, I was modifying the pattern as I went and I figured that the pattern would have needed me to do a double increase on seven rows. That is an increase of 14 stitches over 47cm of knitting. Kids play right? Actually, because the sweater is an older style, the sleeves are very baggy, so there was actually an increase of 44 stitches over 47cm. When I realized this, I was almost at 47 cm and there was no way to gracefully fit 30 extra stitches into 10cm. I had to rip it back and start again. The second time went much better though! I managed to not mess things up and got the sleeve done this weekend!

Purple Pleasures Hat 1

The hat I started and finished this weekend was from a kit I bought at Vogue Knitting Live Chicago 2013. I remember grabbing it very last and I’ve been saving it for some strange and unknowable reason. I meant to start it a while ago, but never managed to get it caked up in time. I finally started it Friday night and finished it by Saturday. It is the Simple Pleasures Hat pattern from Purl Soho, a free pattern on Ravelry and the handout that came with this kit. It’s a good thing the pattern is free on Ravelry because I completely lost the pattern that came with the hat itself. I had to look up the yarn on Ravelry and check the patterns that other people had done.

Purple Pleasures Hat 2

The main yarn is 100% Mongolian cashmere. I don’t use cashmere a whole lot so I am not totally sure if this is normal, but the ribbing on the hat is made with the cashmere held double and when I wear it the ribbing grows. It was okay in the beginning but now the hat is slipping down my forehead. It’s not totally unwearable or anything, but I wish I had gone down one more needle size when I was working on the ribbing.
The project I started is something that had been kicking around in my head for a while. I was reading the blog My Sister’s Knitter when Andi said she was working on a mitered square project from left over sock yarn. I had been thinking about doing a blanket with my leftover sock yarns, for a while, but never really got a pattern that suited me. The plain garder stitch ones made me think they would be like knitting a BILLION TINY SWATCHES FOREVER. Which really didn’t appeal to me… Anything that had more of a pattern seemed like something that would require brain power and that is something I am sorely short of these days.

Sock Blanket

When Andi linked to this pattern I had to check it out and it is perfect. Thanks enabler Andi!! I tried out one square of this already and it looks pretty awesome!!
I feel as though I had really productive weekend! I am going to go continue knitting all the things, because, apparently, I am just on a roll.

Technical Tuesday: Entrelac New Videos

I know I covered how to do Entrelac back in May but I have come across new videos that are really excellent. There are two parts and they are kind of long, so this might be something to add to your reading list for when you have time.

I really love how much time the video author takes to explain things. It’s so in depth and that is totally amazing for when you’re trying to learn a technique. Entrelac is not a really hard technique; it’s another one of those funny techniques that you think is going to be very very hard because it looks difficult, but it is actually quite simple.

These videos were produced by a woman named Beth who writes a knitting blog and dyes her own yarn! Check out her blog here!

Pinterest

I am sure most of you know what Pinterest is, but I am going to talk about it today because it is just that awesome. I could spend hours on there planning my entire life. For those of you who are easily addicted to things, this might be a rabbit hole you could skip.

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One of the first things that comes to my mind when I think of Pinterest is the funny cat pictures and random meme’s the internet has produced. As great as these things are, there are amazingly useful things out there. One of my favourite things to look up is workout tips and tricks. Things that either make working out more efficient or just getting to the gym a little easier.

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Exercise is something that we should all do, but most people dislike. There are so many little things that make it a lot easier to handle. When you’re getting discouraged and need a little pick-me-up there are all sorts of motivational photos and stories there too. If you’re like me and the touchy-feely motivational stuff doesn’t really do it for you, there are plenty of informational photos about how much good exercise does for you. The benefits you don’t know you are reaping when you run, do yoga, or just move in general. When all else fails, there is always sarcasm and dry humour.

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What goes hand in hand with going to the gym? That’s right nutrition. You can find a recipe for literally EVERYTHING on Pinterest. It is actually insane. I have a food board and I feel like I should split it into categories. My latest obsession has been salads and miscellaneous other foods that can be put into a mason jar and are ready for grab and go eating. I actually got this from a friend of mine and when I looked it up, BAM there were a billion recipes and ideas for meals in mason jars! Genius I tell you!

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I always like to keep recipes I’ve found random places on this board too, just to keep track of them. I read a few food blogs, some listed on the Lovely Blog Hop post, and I’ve tried quite a few recipes from these blogs and LOVED several of them. I pin those up along with the interesting recipes I want to try.

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There are a lot of really clever tips and tricks for cuisine that I would have never came up with! One I haven’t tried yet, but thought was really cool is freezing your chopped garlic with olive oil in an ice cube tray. This way when you need it, you can simply slip one of these garlic cubes into the pan and have chopped garlic instantly! It works well with herbs as well; if your fresh herbs are going to go bad, give it a try!

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Food an exercise aren’t the only areas of my life that I keep organized with Pinterest, but they’re certainly a couple of the biggest contributors. My boards are public so anyone can look at them. You can check out the mess of things I have pinned here. I will go over a couple more of my boards in a couple weeks, I would be able to sit here and write forever about the things I’ve pinned and my everlasting love for Pinterest, but I thought I would keep it relatively short!

Mine, Mine, Mine…. Not Mine?

I have been insanely busy this week again, but that has been on par for the past couple of weeks now. I think I am just going to have to get used to it! I’ve finished one of my Valentine’s Day socks and started the other. I’ve been working on another project too. It’s not a new project per-say, but it is new to me!

Valentine Sock

As promised, my finished sock! There isn’t really much to tell about these; they go fast and are lovely to knit! I absolutely love how the pattern knits up and am really looking forward to the second sock!

This reminds me, I have started to dye the replenishment yarn for the Creativ Festival coming up and I did a little bit of experimenting. I dyed a few random skeins of sock yarn for myself. Just trying out new colours and the like. I can’t wait to knit them up!

FFS Scarf

Next is my not-so-new project. It is a scarf that a friend of a friend’s sister had been working on. Unfortunately she passed away before she could finish it and her sister wants to see that the scarf is finished. It’s an interesting pattern and it didn’t come to me with a pattern for further instructions.
I have started to finish it off in the only way I can think makes sense and that is to do the 2X2 ribbing again and start the cables. I’ve only got one 50g ball of yarn and I am not sure how far this is going to go. The yarn is kind of obscure too, I did a Ravelry search and could not find the brand! I was going to check if there was any place I would be able to beg, borrow or buy, but it isn’t looking likely. Until I get there, I am not going to worry myself about it.

FFS Scarf 2

I also helped Liane finish her baby blanket this week as well. She ran out of yarn while she was doing the cast off, ripped it back and started to cast off again, and ran out of yarn just before the end. I ended up doing some clever knitting magic to finish the blanket without ripping it back or buying another entire skein of yarn. Less than a yard of yarn was needed so I would not have bought another skein

Baby Blanket Liane

At some point during the blanket’s tenure I wove in all the ends on the wrong side. The blanket was one inch from done and apparently I have an OCD that prevents me from leaving things alone that are that close to being done. All that needs to be done now is a good blocking!

Technical Tuesday: Speedy speedy

One comment I get a lot when I am knitting in public is how fast I knit. I’ve never tried to be particularly fast and really don’t think of myself as a very fast knitter, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be helped! I took some time to look up videos that give information about picking up your speed!

In the video above, the flicking technique is mentioned. I never realized this was an actual knitting technique, but my ‘throwing’ evolved into this. There is much less wasted movement in this technique.

The last four minutes (give or take) they’re trying to sell something, the technique is what we’re looking at though. This technique is something I have never seen before, but it looks like a very interesting technique. I think it also forces you to knit with a loser gauge; if you’re a tight knitter the needles would not slide as easily.
One problem I ran into as a new knitter was the fact that I knit everything very tightly. I ended up getting really sore wrists. I googled the problem and as it turns out, other people has the same kind of issues. One of the most common comments I saw, was the loosen your gauge and see if the problem persists. I focused on knitting with a looser gauge and the problem simply disappeared!
I wish everyone luck with their conquest of knitting faster, and remind everyone to take many breaks to prevent fatigue and repetitive stress injuries!

On a Bender

I’ve really been totally and completely out of control. Apparently I can’t just pick up a podcast and listen to it like a normal person, I have to listen to all the past episodes all the way to the current one. Just recently I got caught up on the Knitmore Girls and realized I had to pick a new one to listen to! As I was listening to the Knitmore Girls, I would subscribe to podcasts they recommended and any whose promo tickled my fancy.
Now I have a good list of approximately 47 podcasts lined up; you would think it would be impossible to choose what to listen to next, you would THINK. Not for me, I immediately dove into Dr Gemma’s Cogknitive podcast. Not surprisingly it is about psychology and knitting; not the psychology of knitting, but psychology in general.

Cogknitive

A typical episode consists of what Dr. Gemma is knitting, spinning or crocheting, something that makes her happy, a life strategy and a section called ‘blather’. The strategy and blather are the more technical and psychology based parts. I find it completely fascinating.
When I first went to university, I had planned on becoming a psychologist. I absolutely LOVED the classes, and found them very interesting. Unfortunately, the head of the Psychology Department was some kind of multiple choice exam wizard. He was especially good at weeding out the weaker of the heard. It might shock you to know that I am better a written answers better than multiple choice, so I naturally excelled in English Lit. Thus the direction of my life was decided and changed forever! I digress though.
The psychology I took in school was very different from what I hear about on Dr. Gemma’s podcast. I think this is the distinction of cognitive psychology; it’s useful. The strategies she dishes out are amazingly useful on a day-to-day basis. She talks about a wide range of things from dealing with passive aggressive people all the way to a terminally ailing parent. She goes over techniques for coping with anger, depression or anxiety and has made me see some things in a very different light.
A few weeks ago was Bell Let’s Talk Day and there were hundreds of things flying around the Internet about supporting mental health and encouraging understanding of mental health issues. This comic was particularly striking because it really does hit the nail on the head.

Mental Health Physical

This ties in with Cogknitive because of the way Dr. Gemma describes things. She really has a gift for explaining things from the other side. I am not really sure how to describe it, except to give an example. I’ve listened to an episode where she talks about depression and I felt like anyone would be able to understand what that person is going through. It’s a lot more than saying ‘they’re sad’. Obviously her amazing powers of description are not contagious because I am definitely not doing her justice!
The only thing that might put you off is the sound quality. I know I was a little unsure about it at first, but this podcast is so interesting I guarantee you will be so engrossed in what you are listening to, you’re not going to worry about a bit of car noise in the back ground.
Take my word for it and just go listen to this podcast. I’ve already put quite a few friends onto it because Dr. Gemma is funny, witty and I firmly believe her podcasts will teach you something valuable.