Monday, January 27, 2014

FO: Quickie Yoga Bag

I sort have forgotten that I haven't shared this finished project. Whoops.
I have a thick yoga mat that I wanted to make a bag for because I use it every Jazzercise class. The little strappy thing that it came with is a little flimsy, but apparently, I made a yoga bag for an extra-extra thick mat, so I can't tell which is the lesser of the two evils.
 
Pattern: KUAS' Quickie Yoga Mat
Yarn: 2 skeins of LionBrand Cotton Ease, in Lime Green
Needles: Size US 8 and US17
I was going to make a nice strap for the bag, but I was so close to running out, even with two skeins, that I just made a simple chain string to close it up. Gee, I wonder why I ran out of yarn? The whole thing could actually be reduced by 25%.

See kids, this is what happens when you mess with fate and rely on memory for the overall circumference of the mat while perpetually sleep-deprived. Doesn't produce amazingly accurate results.

Oh well, maybe I'll use it for storing rolled up blankets while traveling. 

Cheers from Antarctica, er, Chicago. The boys and I have this cold right now, and they are at the age where they are really aware of their nose and throat bothering them. I think I'm going to put on a thick hat or ear warmers to block out the constant sub-zero weather and/or crying from the boys. Welcome to hotel miserable. :(  Bah Humbug. Hurry up Spring!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Re-release & give-away: Be Speckled

What better way to get over a case of the Wednesday Humps than to throw a re-release bash! Whoot Whoot!

I've completely re-written this 2007 pattern and added new sizes (Small to X-Large) to fit the smallest to even the largest women's hand.

You know me. I love creating simple patterns that newer knitters (and even more experienced knitters) will enjoy.

The yarn I used is sadly discontinued, so I've provided some suggestion for yarns that work because quite honestly, isn't it all about the striping?

For mine, it surprised me with a sunrise & twilight effect.


What's this bash you talk about?
I supply the (eye) candy here in this post, you get out a glass of wine, or make a "case-of-the-Wednesdays" cocktail...and hurry onto your computer because the first THREE commenters in this post will receive the pattern in their email or Ravelry box for FREE! That's it. Yay! 

The pattern is now live on Ravelry for $1.99.

This is one of my first KUAS patterns.  *Feeling nostalgic*
What do you get nostalgic about?

P.S- Join my KUAS group on Facebook to upload your project photos, chat or come to FB events!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2013 Top Blogger

I just made a post today about the Follow Your Arrow mystery shawl, but I couldn't wait until another day to share what I got in an email just now. Just like last year, when they sent me a 2012 Favorite badge, they told me that my Doubled Looped Scarf and Dummy Clap Shawl still makes their top 100 free patterns on the AllFreeKnitting Site.  :) Smiles.

Follow Your Arrow: Clue 1

I was intrigued by the idea of doing a "choose your own adventure" shawl KAL. It reminds me of those books where you turn to either page 12 or 35 and hope that you enjoy the outcome. It's always a risk to buy a pattern with blind faith that you will enjoy what it looks like without even seeing a single photo of it, but it's Ysolda, so how bad could it be?

You get 5 clues, a set of new clue directions delivered through Ravelry each week. Each clue will have two choices, "A" or "B." So, when you tally up how many choices to weeks, you get 32 shawl possibilities by the end.

This is the yarn that I choose. I dyed it up a while back with pink, plum and light brown tones using a bamboo base. I'm not sure how many yards it has. I know it has more than your standard sock yardage, and if I run out, I have another skein that is almost identical. I would guess this is in the 500+ yds.
 Which route did I choose?
Hey, it's a "mystery shawl." I can't very well blow it for you, can I?

I'm on to Clue 2 today. Which route will I choose?

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Angel

I wanted to share this cute jewelry project called "Almost Angels Earrings" that I saw on YouTube. I used to wear earrings in the past, but I eventually had to close them up every time because my ears have always been too sensitive to wear any type of metal or plastic, so it bums me a little that this couldn't be worn on my ears. I could hang this on a chain though.

I think it's darling. It's not perfect, but whatever. I'm new to beading & wire-working.

P.S- I'm still waiting on my yarn to arrive so I can start working on the lacy border on my large WIP, and the yoga bag is completed except for the shoulder strap.

Cheers for now,
Anna


Monday, January 06, 2014

Collossal Woven Pink Scarf

I planned ahead for this scarf. The last scarf was great, but a little shorter than I wanted. So, I placed my loom on the far end of the island and put the the warping peg across from the island and onto the adjacent counter. That gave me an extra 30 or so inches for the additional scarf length and all the extra yarn in the world for fringe.

Somehow I managed to forget along the way that I left myself 30 extra inches for scarf length & fringe. I think I have a "slight" crafter OCD illness that brought this "slight" oversight into play and "forced" me to end on purple, because I started on purple, and that gave me probably 10'' more than I really needed for a long scarf.

Remember me mentioning that these scarves are generally warped and finished within a day? Well, on day 2.5 I was starting to think something sneaky was going on that made this scarf take so long. Maybe yarn elves sprinkling on more length during the dead of night? Me just taking my time for once?

However, I'd rather have a scarf that is mammoth-sized than too short. Look at today's weather, for instance: -40 degrees (real-feel). There's no shame in having a scarf that you can wrap twice around your neck.
 
Scarf Length: a whopping 92'' long
Woven on my 15'' Schacht Cricket Loom 
  Woven Scarf #4 
Have you seen the other three? Scarf #1 (Blue) Scarf #2 (Greens w/ Stripes) Scarf #3 (Hawkeye)
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Solids in "Pink" and a slightly darker shade of  "pink"(I know, real helpful. I dumped those labels year ago", and a beautiful almost heathered "Plum." For the middle accent warp and wefts, I used "Candy Stripes" from Bernat Baby Coordinates.

Warps: 35
5-dark pink-5 lighter pink-5 dark purple-5 Candy Stripes-5 darker pink-5 purple- 5 lighter pink

Wefts: 5'' of each color (Plum, Lighter Pink, Darker Pink), segregated by 8 wefting rows of the Bernat "Candy Stripes"
I'm not a huge pink fanatic, but I do like to wear it from time to time to get in touch with my girlie side. I realize how crazy that just sounded. As a mother and, well, the person that I am, I don't devote a lot of time looking or feeling incredibly girlie. Too much sneaker-wearing (orthodics), not a lot of time for hair-doing, or hair-cuts or manicures, massages, etc.
I decided to do something different for the fringe, since it was going to be short anyways (*shakes fists*). I tied the yarn together in pairs and then grouped 5 threads at a time together into a knot in the middle of the fringe.
This pattern will look great in any color, whether you want to go stir-crazy making it feminine or masculine.
I think it's beautiful. Maybe one of my best yet? You really can use the cheapest of yarns (as long as it's soft) and produce something magnificent. This whole weaving thing is a great stash-buster! Hmm, towels and placemats next?
Stay warm, stay safe & stay crafting with yarnie goodness!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Blissfully Healthy Crepes

Here's my present for you this coming weekend (or tomorrow if you're going to be stuck at home because of the bitter weather) & New Year! Get gourmet and feel like you're eating something really indulgent: "No Guilt Blissful Crepes!" They are around 200-250 calories for two crepes! And it's filling!

INGREDIENTS: makes about 6 crepes (double if you need to)
Crepe batter:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup low fat milk
3/4 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs sugar (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbs egg whites
spray oil for pan

Toppings:
1 Greek yogurt (blueberry)--trust me, don't swap for a low-fat yogurt. The thick and creamy consistency is what makes it so indulgent.
Handful of Blueberries
Granola (optional)
Low-fat whipped cream topping (like Reddi-whip)

Mix dry and wet batter ingredients separately and whisk together until smooth. Using a medium-sized skillet, spray with oil and heat on medium. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and *quickly* swirl until you form a very large pancake-like size crepe that fills the entire skillet. Heat for a minute or so until lightly golden and flip. Cook for a minute or less on the second size.
Let the crepe cool. Using a spoon, spread half a cup of yogurt onto each crepe. Sprinkle blueberries on top of the yogurt and fold the ends of the crepe together like a taco. Spray a little whipped creme on the top and sprinkle with a little bit of granola.
Additional fillers or topping ideas for breakfast crepes:
-Other flavored greek yogurt
-Nutella Spread
-Low-fat peanut butter
-Butter whipped with berries or lemon juice/zest. 

Bon Appetite and happy impressing your family. My husband told me he thought he woke up in Paris for a second. You can get creative and choose a different fruit theme.

Sorry, no knitting updates. I'm just about done with the pink scarf, but haven't really touched it today since we've been celebrating my husband's birthday. Photos tomorrow. 
It's supposed to get up to negative 40 tomorrow and they've been cancelling school and other businesses left and right. How about you?

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Early January WIPs

My goal this year is to dive back into knitting and crafting of other sorts, like: weaving, spinning, maybe a little yarn dying, and of course blogging. Last year was pretty dull. I realize it. However, on my end, when it gets too quiet, it's really easy to slip out for a while because you feel like it goes unnoticed. Sometimes, it feels that this blog really only runs for my free patterns that knitters from other sites hop over from, and it gets discouraging. It's much easier to blog when I feel like people are actually coming to read about my crafting adventures or even mishaps, rather than stopping by to nab some free stuff without spending some time to get to know me a little bit more. After all, a blog is a glorified journal.

So, this year, I'm hoping to keep the blog posts rolling. Fill them with eye candy and crafty things that are therapeutic to this stay-at-home mother who would have developed a psychotic breakdown, or at least a twitch in her eye without them. In the process, I hope that this site becomes more of a hub about life, and not just a means-to-an-end for those free pattern sites.
 
I've got almost 3 large baskets full of work-in-processes. Three. It's a little embarrassing. However, if you look on the bright-side, I've got three baskets full of things that are partly started and can be ripped out without too much of a heartache, some that are mid-way and a good number that are big pieces that are nearly done.

Let me show you a few things that are being worked on simultaneously at the moment:
1. A yoga bag for my thick mat (the green yarn in the first cryptic photo)-80% done. It's cryptic on purpose because I'll be posting about it really soon. I was just at a place called "Stay-to-Play," a place where you let your children play in a supervised area, while you do whatever you want in their little cafe area. I was getting so many compliments from the other moms saying "Oh, I wish I learned to knit," or "Oh, I should pick up the needles again," and many "I love that color!" The color is a pretty lime, the lighting was bad for the photo.

Hopefully the bag turns out well. I didn't really do any measuring before casting on. I live life on the edge.

2. A new scarf with three main colors, plus one accent color. You can see how I'm getting more and more courageous with adding main colors as I start each new scarf:

Mommy doing a bit of weaving while the boys try out their new play-dough set from Christmas.

3. And this fella:
I've been keeping this identity a secret all week long. There's not a huge reason, it's more because I'm excited that after X-amount of years it is finally coming off the needles to show it's full glory. For those who have been with me from the beginning, or for those who have read through my old post (God Bless you...those were college days), can you tell me what this project is from years past?

I am FINALLY on to the border phase of this beast. I was unimpressed with the solid yarn choice that I had chosen years ago, so I ordered some red and yellow striped yarn that will match much better. Now it's just a waiting game for the yarn. I figure that I have been knitting it on and off for X-years (with lots of history attached), I might as well finish strong. Why waste a perfectly good project on settling?

Thursday, January 02, 2014

FO: Woven Hawkeye Scarf

I just had to. I was going to work on a certain hibernated project that I was referring to a couple of posts ago, but I had The Itch. The itch to stitch something woven in Hawkeye colors.
So I conceived and bore this yesterday evening:
I couldn't believe how amazing the effect is with just two colors. I did 6 warpings of gold & black and did 14.5mm of each color while weaving. 
SCARF LENGTH: 56.5 inches     SCARF WIDTH: 21mm (8.25'')

YARN: 1 skein of Caron Simply Soft in Black & Gold

SET-UP: approx 70 inches worth of warping length (I used my entire kitchen island-length)

WARPS: 36
6 yellow-6 black-6 yellow-6 black-6 yellow-6 black

STRIPING: color changes every 14.5mm

Although my husband, myself and my parents-in-law are all U of I graduates, I am gifting this scarf to my MIL who is a much bigger Hawkeye fan than I. I'm still trying to work on figuring out the warping length to make the scarf the perfect length. It's not overly short though. Just a little shorter than I'd like to have as a scarf. It wraps around and leaves some dangling length.
I'll get it right next time.
I just love it. Colorway ideas are already buzzing in my head for new 2-color striping, just like this one. Maybe some color changes will be longer than others. 
It's been snowing for days, and since we are in the Chicagoland area we are experiencing extra from the "Lake Effect." I convinced my husband to work at home this morning because it will take 2 hours to get to work during Rush Hour. Now that it's about lunchtime, it's finally starting to stop. I think. The roads are treacherous because they either can't keep up with the snow, or are understaffed during the holiday. My poor brother lost his car on New Years Day due to dangerous conditions. He works as a delivery person, so he'll have to start the year with no car and no job now.  :( 

Stay warm and safe.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2014 Here We Come!

Another year comes and goes. Does anyone else feel like singing "Sunrise, Sunset?"
This year hasn't been incredibly great for knitting, but I have accomplished major things while not blogging. Here's a glimpse of my 2013 year:


1. My #1 free pattern "$5 in Paris" has been translated not only into Spanish, but French as well, and has been pdf'ed in Spanish, French & English by popular request.
2. I spent the year composing piano sheet music and have published 24 pieces!! It's a significant mark for me, especially so because I started composing January 2013.
3. I spent the three summer months composing, recording and producing my very first CD, "A Nativity Suite."
4. Two pairs of "Elfish Slippers" for my boys to enjoy this (past) Christmas.
5. I knit the "Katniss Cowl" which I just learned the other day was taken off Ravelry by the designer because it was either too close to the original or because it infringed on the original designer's right to sell the pattern. Who knows.
6. I bought my first weaving loom!
7. My first woven scarf: for twin #1
8. My second woven scarf: for twin #2.
9. I finished my "Quickie Fuzzy Hat" pattern that you can literally make within a day, and put it on Ravelry.
10. Usually we don't keep our weight-loss resolution, but starting last June, I worked my tail off trying to loose the rest of the "babies-weight" this year and I'm happy to announce that I did! I lost 12 pounds. Whoo hoo. I've been eating better, doing elliptical work and Jazzercise (and thoroughly exhausted each day.) It's been a slow, slow, weight-loss ride, but another pound is another pound.

Have a happy, healthy and joyful New 2014! May this year be even better than the last!
I've got some great things planned for this 2014 blog.
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