My Number One Minimalist Knitting Tip: Put Your Knitting Away When You ’re Done With It

May 26, 2010

I do most of my knitting while sitting on our family room couch. I knit while we watch movies and/or television at the end of our day, relaxing into the click of the needles and the growth of the projects thanks to all those knits and purls. I keep all my yarn, needles, notions and projects upstairs, however – stashed away in our office with the computer and the awesome grey chair.

Over the years I’ve had quite a number of cases, bags, and even baskets to help corral my knitting while it’s in the family room, but if I’m honest all these “solutions” have ever done has been to keep the knitting in the family room at the end of the night. If I’ve got a basket sitting next to the couch, I’ll throw my knitting in it sure as my favorite day is Sunday.

Having all these bags, baskets and storage boxes leads to knitting finding its way all over our house – something I’m definitely trying to avoid now that I’m living a more minimalist existence. Part of keeping this from happening was corralling all my knitting into one room, but I had to make sure it always ended up back in that room since I was knitting on the couch as well as in the office.

Enter my Knitting Box. I’ve had this small green box (and two more just like it) for several years. It’s been used to house a variety of junk, and has now been repurposed as my knitting box.

The concept is simple. I put whatever I’m knitting - including all needles, patterns, and my notions bag – into the box. I then carry that box downstairs with me when I want to knit on the couch. At the end of every day, I carry that box back upstairs to be stored in the office with all the other knitting supplies.

This simple choice, so similar to the Fly Lady’s “shine your sink” mentality, caused a mini-breakthrough for me. No longer am I struggling to control the knitting creeping that always seemed to happen. I always know where my current knitting project is, and I have everything I need to complete it on-hand, so there’s no digging around last-minute for DPNs or a tape measure. It has, quite simply, revolutionized my productivity and single-handedly kept my knitting life under control.

The key to this? Putting the box away at the end of the night.

Having the knitting box was simply the tool – what makes it work is the commitment to cleanliness I’m discovering I have. All the tools in the world won’t help me keep my home clean and pared down if I don’t have the commitment to keeping it that way.

I’m excited to start applying the “put it away when you’re done with it” mentality to other areas of our home as well – the remote controls, errant cords, daily mail, etc. I’m betting this rule can be applied to every room, and almost every situation!

finished: Watchman ’s Cap

May 25, 2010

This past weekend was all about hat knitting for me. Coming up quickly on the 75th hat for One Hundred Hats, I've been stashing away finished hats in the hopes I'll finish early. A few weeks ago I knit a maroon cap I called "Israel In Maroon". The pattern is from a woman who collects hats for the men and women of the Israeli army, and I promised when I knit my maroon version for the project I'd knit one in black to send off to her. This weekend I finished up my black version.

Chanah's hat pattern is super simple to follow, and the perfect minimalist addition to anyone's winter wardrobe. I know I've got more black yarn hanging out in the stash, and I also know about five guys who would love a hat like this for the holidays, so as i come across my black yarn I'm going to knit up hats both for Channah and for the guys I know.

The two-by-two ribbing all the way through the hat means it will stretch and shrink to fit just about every head, which is perfect if you aren't sure how bit to make your hat. In all, this is about the perfect no-brainer minimalist hat pattern! Bonus? This hat used up the last of yet another skein of yarn!

finished: Watchman ’s Cap


This past weekend was all about hat knitting for me. Coming up quickly on the 75th hat for One Hundred Hats, I've been stashing away finished hats in the hopes I'll finish early. A few weeks ago I knit a maroon cap I called "Israel In Maroon". The pattern is from a woman who collects hats for the men and women of the Israeli army, and I promised when I knit my maroon version for the project I'd knit one in black to send off to her. This weekend I finished up my black version.


Chanah's hat pattern is super simple to follow, and the perfect minimalist addition to anyone's winter wardrobe. I know I've got more black yarn hanging out in the stash, and I also know about five guys who would love a hat like this for the holidays, so as i come across my black yarn I'm going to knit up hats both for Channah and for the guys I know.

The two-by-two ribbing all the way through the hat means it will stretch and shrink to fit just about every head, which is perfect if you aren't sure how bit to make your hat. In all, this is about the perfect no-brainer minimalist hat pattern! Bonus? This hat used up the last of yet another skein of yarn!

Love, Norway (#72)


I'm in a knitting phase right now where I'm knitting each skein to the very last drop. Trying to knit through your entire yarn stash will do that to a girl, I guess. And seeing as I had plenty of yarn left over after London, I decided to simply keep on knitting with it for the Love, Norway hat.

I seem to be knitting hats that are just a tad bit too small for my own head lately, so clothesline shots is all I'm able to give unfortunately. Don't let it deter you from this gorgeous hat, however. Love, Norway is a wonder to behold, and one I'm hoping to knit again for a few gals I know as winter shows up in a few months.

 Specs: From Norway With Love by Pickles; knit using leftover wool and size 8 bamboo needles.

London (#71)

May 24, 2010

Well then, weather! We went from 65 and rainy to 89 and sweltering over the course of 24-hours. Not that I mind summer being here in full force, mind you - it was just a bit abrupt. With the sudden turn towards heat, the last thing I wanted to do was toss on a wintery hat. Lucky for me, London is just a tad too small for my noggin - to the laundry line it was!

 Grabbing from my Patons stash for the grey and from my misc stash for the green, I was able to whip through this little ditty in just a few hours. Simple in design concept, the London beanie is perfect for those craving something simple to keep their ears warm come fall and winter.  

Specs: London Beanie by Mark Thraikill; knit using stash yarn and size 8 bamboo needles.

Harry Potter Knits!

May 21, 2010
Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some posts from my personal blog, A Devine Life. This is one of them, originally posted on July 15, 2009.

+ + + + +


Are you one of the millions who stayed awake well past their bed-times last night to be at the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince? If so, please don’t rub it in – with all the time off I’ve taken to vacation across the Midwest lately, I couldn’t take the morning off to catch up on sleep, so I’m one of the millions more who will see it this weekend.

This latest installment in one of my favorite series’ of all time has got me thinking about hand-knits, however. I know, shocker. Like many crafty HP fans, I’ve picked up books on HP knitting projects, found free patterns online, and imagined patterns based on items I’ve seen in the movies but have yet to find patterns for.

So in the spirit of one of my most beloved book and movie series, I present to you some amazing Harry Potter knitting (and crochet) patterns!

Bags
Dark Mark Bag (free)
Mrs. Weasley’s Bag of Stitch Witchery (from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter )

Bookmarks
Bookscarf Pattern (free)
Double-Knit Bookscarf (free)
Crochet Bookmark (free)
Dobby Style Sockmark (free Ravelry Download)

Etc
IPod Cozy (free)
Harry Potter IPod Cozy (free)
Deathly Hallows Wristband (free)
Trust Snape Armband (free)
Weasley Cell Cozy (free)
Wizard’s Robe (from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter )
Golden Snitch Dishcloth (free)
Harry Potter Blanket (chart, not pattern)
Weasley Sweater Ornaments (from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter )

Hats
Ginny’s Beehive Hat (free)
Gryffindor Common Room Cap (from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter )
Dobby Hat (free)

Mittens and Gloves
Hogwarts House Gloves (free)
Potter Mitts (free)
H is for Hufflepuff (free Ravelry Download)
House Mittens (free)

Scarves
Prizoner Of Azkaban Scarf (free)
Wizard Scarf (free)
Prizoner Of Azkaban Crochet Scarf (free Ravelry Download)
Crochet Wizard Scarves (free)
Phoenix Tears Scarf (from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter )
House Unity Scarf (free Ravelry Download)

Socks
Slytherin Socks (free Ravelry Download)
Knee Socks (free Ravelry Download)
Ravenclaw Pride Socks (Ravelry Download)
Fawkes (free Ravelry Download)
Firenze The Centaur Socks (free Ravelry Download)
Simply Ginny Socks (free Ravelry Download)
Fred and George Socks (free)
Phineas Socks (free Ravelry Download)
Quidditch Socks (from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter )
Horcrux Socks (free Ravelry download)
Dobby’s Socks (from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter )
House Socks (from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter )
Hogwarts House Cup Socks (free Ravelry Download)
Bellatrix (free Ravelry download)
Nagini (free Ravelry Download)
Such A Slytherin (free Ravelry Download)
Hurray Hufflepuff (free Ravelry Download)
Go Gryffindor (free Ravelry Download)

Sweaters
Weasley Sweater (free)
Harry's Red Cabled Sweater (from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter )
Hermoine's Grainbow Sweater (purchase on Ravelry)
House Sweater (from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter )
Quidditch Sweater (from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter )

Toys
Wizard Trio and Owl (purchase on etsy)
The Golden Snitch (free)
Pocket Potter Puppet Pals (free)
Time Turner (free)
Errol (from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter )

Vests
Hogwart's School Vest (from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter )

The Friday Wrap-Up

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds from around the internet here in the Friday Wrap-Up. Have you found anything great this week? Share your favorites in the comments!


I’m in love with everything about Elise’s website, and her wedding photos are no exception! Talk about knowing how you want an event to play out and doing it with perfection!

Knitting:


Craft:

 


Productivity/Personal Development:


Minimalism:

Road Trip Saturday – To Iowa And Back!

May 19, 2010
Over the weekend we left our fair city for a day-long road trip. We were on a mission – to pack up my brother Dan at college and bring him home to live with us for the summer! I have been super geeked about this since we first decided he should do this, and after weeks of renovating the room that would be his – a room we used to lovingly refer to as “the dumping grounds” it was so gross – all that stood in our way was a road trip.

This trip was made much more minimalist by the fact that we were not staying the night, and thus had no need for luggage. But I am known in our little household for bringing far too much on any car trip, no matter how short, so I decided to take a minimalist approach to the day and see if I could bring no more or less than what I needed for the day.

Because we’d end up being in the car for a full eight hours, we decided to upload a ton of music to my SUPER AMAZING NEW PHONE {more on that in another post} so we could rock out. That meant bringing the cord to connect it to the car and the charger to keep the battery from dying out.

Also because we’d end up being in the car for a full eight hours, I knew I’d need some knitting. I wanted something that I could knit on without needing an in-depth pattern, so I chose to bring my black yarn and size eight needles and knit up some clutches I’ll be donating to a charity fashion show in a few weeks.

Because we were leaving super early in the morning, we decided to grab breakfast on the way – after a quick trip to the post office to check my Knit Omaha PO Box, that is! The ride there was pretty uneventful, and we ended up eating great lunch at Steak N Shake before packing up my brother and bringing him back with us!




The borrowed mini-van full of his stuff, we headed back to Omaha.All in all, it was a great day-trip! I was able to knit through part of a clutch, we got my brother to Omaha with no trouble, and even celebrated with a few beers and a few friends!

Twisted Pumpkin (#70)

May 18, 2010

Just as soon as I got Cables and Bobbles off the needles, I cast on for hat 70 - the Twisted Pumpkin hat from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter. This time around I made the medium-sized hat, so it was just a tad bit too small for my noggin' - that means it'll be perfect for a kid around grade-school age to rock! I'm completely smitten with this pattern - the ease at which it works up, only two repeats to remember, and it works up lickity-split!I foresee knitting up tons of these in the future, both for charity and for friends and family!  

Specs: Twisted Pumpkin from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter; knit using Patons 220 wool in pink heathers and size 8 needles.

The Family Stash Blanket, Part One

I recently decided it was high time I get moving on the Family Stash blanket. As a way to use up all those scraps of yarn I’ve been holding onto I’ve decided to knit them into a simple blanket – this way I use up every bit of yarn I’ve got in my possession and we end up with a blanket that tells the tale of my knitting history!


To make this blanket, I grabbed the longest size 9 circular needles I had on hand and cast on 210 stitches. I was aiming for 220, but ran out of yarn tail – I prefer the long-tail cast on method – and so went with it. Then I simply knit until there was hardly any tail left, knotted on the next piece of yarn {I know, I know – bad knitter!} and kept right on knitting.


Most of the yarn I use for knitting projects is worsted weight, so I’m not going to care too much about gauge. If I run across a skein of yarn much thinner than the others, I may set it aside for a sport-weight version of this Family Scraps Blanket to work up later. Or I may just knit them in along with the other yarn.


I’m also mixing my fiber types with this blanket. There will be lots of acrylic, but there will also be cotton scraps and wool remnants as well – I’m more interested in having a finished blanket to use around the house than I am concerned with fiber type. I’ll just know that this bad boy would prefer to be sprayed down and hung outside than tossed in the wash machine.


My goal is to knock out two remnant balls from the box of remnants for each new skein I finish – hopefully by following this method, I’ll have the scraps of yarn in my overflowing bucket used up by the end of the year! And thanks to one weekend of solid blanket knitting, I’ve knocked out ten remnant skeins of yarn!

Cables and Bobbles (#69)

May 17, 2010

Busy as we were getting some home improvements done, I slacked for far too long on Cables and Bobbles, one of the amazing patterns from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter . The pattern works up super fast and amazing - something I didn't expect for all the cables! I was pleasantly surprised, however, when the hat flew off the needles once I got back around to working on it! I'm not a huge fan of the way the bobbles turned out, but I was never really comfortable with making them, so I may have been doing something wrong all along. Perfect for a gal in love with Harry Potter, this hat is definitely a keeper!  

Specs: Cables and Bobbles from CCharmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter ; knit using Patons 220 heathers in pink and size 8 bamboo needles.

Taking Control Of My Stash

The largest reason for my foray into Minimalist Knitting stems from the amount of yarn I currently have in my possession. While I recognize most knitters enjoy having a large stash – more options to choose from when picking out a new project – I find myself heading to the store again and again in search of new yarn (shiny! Pretty!) as I decide on a new project to knit. This means I’ve got a stash of yarn I have not been using – and what a stash it is!

I decided to take some time, figure out exactly how many balls of yarn I currently own. If my goal is to only own yarn I am either currently using or will use within the next three months, the first order of minimalist business would seem to knit through my bursting stash!

As I set about pulling all the errant balls of yarn from their respective hiding places and boxing it all up, I was struck by the enormity of it all – eight boxes and I still wasn’t done? How could I have acquired so much yarn?!

Some of the yarn was procured thanks to generous donations when I began the One Hundred Hats project – and until I started pulling all my yarn together I thought this was the majority of the yarn I now owned. Reality set in quite hard, and quite fast – I am most definitely a yarn hoarder. And unlike so many knitters, who purchase gorgeous hand-dyed skeins and hold onto them because the yarn seems to beautiful to knit, I have errant balls of acrylic for days and days.

Do not misunderstand me – I’m a big fan of acrylic. I use it for most of my charity knitting projects, and have knit many a baby item for friends and family out of the stuff. I am simply commenting on the very different look to my stash.

After several days of boxing up, counting, hunting down any errant balls of yarn, and counting once more, I came up with a total. I currently have:

180 balls of yarn
30 pieces in process – either needing to be finished, ripped out, or re-worked.

Currently on the home stretch of the One Hundred Hats project, I’ll be able to use up some of those balls of yarn between now and September 1 for Nest: Maine donations, and I’ll have several of the WIP’s taken care of in the next few weeks, but that still leaves A LOT of yarn and knitting!

After hyperventilating a bit, taking time to cuddle the cats and step away from the yarn, I formulated a plan. A simple plan, but a plan none the less. I am going to knit through all the yarn I own, one box at a time.

{I said it was simple.}

The only way I can see working my way through all this yarn in a quick and systematic manner is to just start with a box and work my way through it. I’ve got a few projects bookmarked in my Ravelry page – gifts for others, charity projects I know I want to work on – so as I find yarn in my stash for those, I’ll use it. Other than that, the yarn will be used one skein at a time, mostly filling my charity buckets and my “crap I have to give someone a gift and don’t have any time to knit something” basket.

The goal? To have half of my stash knit up by November 1, with a staple of holiday and last-minute gifts ready to be wrapped up! Wish me luck!

** Side Note: When my husband walked into the office and saw what I was doing, he asked what was up. When I told him I was on the path to becoming a minimalist knitter, he laughed. Not snickered, laughed. Out loud. Challenge accepted.

The Friday Wrap-Up

May 14, 2010

Craft:
To consider before pricing your crafty e-book (Craftypod)

Washing with Soak (Close Knit Portland)

Wallflowers Tutorial (Dana Made It)

Free Tape Strips clip art (Pugly Pixel)


Productivity:
Eight tips for handling your mail more efficiently (Happiness Project)

Cleaning your white keyboard (Penelope Loves Lists)

Portable Chicken Tacos (New Nostalgia)

Minimalism:
Going “car-lite” (Becoming Minimalist)

Minimalist Business Success at the basis of existence (Far Beyond The Stars)

101 Physical things that can be reduced from your home (Becoming Minimalist)

Health and the simple life (Simplicity By Sunny)

Mastering the art of surrender (Communicatrix)

Blogging:
Launching a successful blog in 15 days (Six Revisions)

Breaking Up With Bloglines (Marta Writes)

Knitting Tip: Getting Rid Of Jag

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some posts from my personal blog, A Devine Life. This is one of them, originally posted on July 28, 2009.

+ + + + +

Cast on last night for a charity hat, and discovered the single greatest tip known to man.
Andrea of String In Motion has freely offered her pattern for the Hurricane Hat (an amazing pattern so far, by the way) and her instructions for casting on are genius.

“Cast on 81 sts in the knitted on cast on method. Join in the round, knitting first & last stitch together to eliminate jag. Total 80 sts.”

What?!?!? you mean if I cast on one more than called for in the pattern, and then slip the first stitch to the right needle, and knit those two stitches together (first and last) to join in the round, that annoying little jag won’t be there?! It can’t be!

And so I tried it. And lo, the angels came down and sang, and I have no jag on this hat.

The hat isn’t done yet, but I’ll definitely share pictures when it is. And this technique? This “jag-less” amazingness? I’ll be using it on EVERYTHING from now on!

Knitting Through Bag #1 Of Yarn

May 12, 2010
In order to knit through the 181 skeins of yarn I currently own, I set the goal to knit through my stash one container at a time. Easiest to begin with is my large Land’s End knitting bag – it contains most of the projects I’ve deemed “current knits” along with a few errant balls of yarn from recent knits, so the stuff on the needles is fresher in my mind.

My goal with this bag, as it will be with any of the containers of yarn, is to photograph it as a whole, and then photograph each individual skein (or group of skeins if more than one skein will be used for a specific project).

Once all photography is done, all yarn will go back into said container, and I’ll assign each skein to specific projects in my Ravelry account. Then I will simply have to pull a ball of yarn out, look it up on Ravelry if I’ve forgotten what I assigned it to, and get to knitting!

Sounds simple, but with all the rainy weather we’ve been having, the photography part of this became a bit more difficult than I’d imagined. Thank goodness we have a room in our home with no curtains on the windows (thanks to a remodel in its final stages), so I was able to get as much light as possible while taking these photos.
This is everything that’s in the Land’s End bag. Truly a great knitting catch-all, this bag will be one of a few items I keep along my minimalist journey to be sure. I received it as a gift for participating in a nation-wide knitting drive through Land’s End – a complete surprise, but perfect for my knitting needs! It’s become the designated “current knitting” bag, and the hope is that it will be one of only two storage containers I’ll need for all my yarn and accessories by this time next year. I ended up sending two of the balls of yarn to the stash blanket pile as they were so small, but the rest have already been designated for projects. With the yarn in my Land’s End bag, I should be able to knit:
  • Five One Hundred Hats hats

  • At least four baby hats

  • Several hats for Boystown – more on this later!

  • A pair of booties and a baby hat for a friend

  • An adult-sized hat for a relative

  • A scar for a friend

  • A shawl for a relative

  • Accessories for a charity fashion show

  • At least one wall art piece for the office – more on this later as well

The goal? To have all this yarn knitted up into the assigned projects by my birthday – that gives me five full weeks to knit through sixteen skeins of yarn plus some!

Pasha (#68)

May 11, 2010

About a week ago, I knit up a hat for a friend. She wanted something turquoise, and after taking a look at all Jane Richmond's hat patterns, she chose Pasha. I whipped it up in record time, and in the process fell in love with the pattern - only eight rows to memorize, four of which were simple knitting, and you've got one repeat of the pattern done!

As soon as Shauna's Pasha was off the needles I knew I needed to make one for this project. I dug into my stash and found some spring green yarn in the right weight. Without hesitation I cast on, and proceeded to whip through yet another Pasha in record time! It is quite honestly the perfect color and weight for a hat for me, so this one was hard to throw into the donations pile once it was done - I wanted more than anything to keep it for my very own perfect spring hat. But I know that it will go to someone who will love it thoroughly, so into the bin it went.

Incidentally, I pretty much need a woolen cap right now. I don't want to talk about the fact that it's mid-May and I'm wearing a turtleneck sweater in these photos - it's that cold outside right now. So much for spring/summer weather! I only hope it cheers up before my brother comes to stay for the summer!

Specs: Pasha by Jane Richmond {etsy link}; knit using size six bamboo needles and spring green DK weight yarn from my stash.

Mother ’s Day Shawl

May 10, 2010
A good six months ago, my mom asked me to make her a little shrug, something to toss over her shoulders as she meandered between her portable classroom and the main building at the elementary school where she teaches.

After trying several shrug patterns and more than one triangular shawl with varying degrees of failure, I settled on a rectangular leaf patterned shawl – perfect to toss over her shoulders, it would drape down her arms and keep her warm while looking GORGEOUS no matter where she wore it.

By the time I started my Minimalist Knitting adventure I was on the last skein of yarn I’d need for the shawl, so this gorgeous project does not knock down my totals any. It did however knock down a lot of my patience.

For whatever reason I struggled with the pattern – some rows would end a bit differently than written every time, and I had to be constantly counting stitches to make sure I hadn’t added any additional ones or accidentally lost a few.

There is also no chart for this pattern – some knitters find it maddening to not have a chart to work from, but I tend to work from written instructions rather than a chart, so this didn’t bother me in the least. Having a chart might have made parts of the pattern make more sense from a visual perspective, but I doubt it would have made a difference.
004.JPG

Any issues with the pattern were tossed aside as I watched this shawl take shape, however. I’m not much for blocking {please don’t tell the Knitting Police!} but this shawl was one that required it.

I steam blocked as I went, using my ironing board and setting my iron to full steam and the wool setting. I loved watching the pattern open up, the lacey leaves form right before my eyes as the blocking gave this shawl loft and room. {Plus, it would have been impossible to gauge the finished length without blocking as I went.}

At the end of the day, I am very much a “smaller projects” kind of knitter – hats, mittens, the occasional baby sweater. I love projects that take less than a week and can be knit up with fewer than three skeins of yarn.

Knitting this shawl was both an exercise in patience and a grand experience – I’m all set to knit up a few warm cardigans for myself and can’t wait to start work on my next baby blanket after knitting through a project for a full month. The ultimate bonus? My mom loved it!

Knitted Gifts For Babes

May 7, 2010
Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some posts from my personal blog, A Devine Life. This is one of them, originally published on August 26, 2009.

+ + + + +

With all the friends and loved ones around me having babies right now (five at last count, with several more *hopefully* being added to the list soon), I’ve been knitting baby-related items each night until my husband makes me turn off the lights – or gets so tired he just goes ahead and turns them off, mid-row be damned!

I’ve gotten the baby knitting down to some sort of a system. With a few new pieces thrown in here or there, the majority of what I knit for each of these babes is relatively similar. I rotate through ten or so patterns, changing up the color of the yarn and the fiber content depending on the mama and the sex of the babe. This makes it all so much easier, because I can just have a little binder with my patterns in it, and flip from page to page, grabbing yarn out of my stash as I go – no need to pick through the hundreds of other patterns I have queued up (yes, I know I just said that – don’t worry, I pick through them plenty!)!

**a note about Ravelry – I know that some of you readers don’t have Ravelry accounts. And I meant for this post to be a big happy link-fest to all the patterns I use and where they’re housed outside of Ravelry. The problem is, most of these are patterns I found via Ravelry, and seem to only be offered via the Ravlery download/purchase system. There are many things that can be said about not making your patterns available to the larger, non-Ravelry public, but I’ll leave that for another day. I just the other day finally got all my patterns their own pages here on the blog so that non-Ravelers can access them as well. Unfortunately, some of my favorites are only available through the Ravel-verse. Maybe it’s time for us all to jump on board?

Here then, are a few of my go-to patterns.

One. Baby Boy 5-Hour Sweater – I use this one for boys and girls alike, I love the pattern so much. I’ve gifted it already to five or six babes, have two already wrapped to give as gifts, and have three more in process for winter/spring presents. The pattern is truly a 5-8 hour pattern, depending on how fast you knit, and I’ve been known to complete them in two evenings of bad television.

Two. Kanoko Pants - I’ve only knit these once so far, but have them queued up three more times already. The pattern calls for cotton, which makes them a great spring/summer/fall transition piece, but I think the next few pairs I make will be wool-blends or even the dreaded acrylic – much more suited to the fall/winter months, those fibers will help keep little legs all the warmer in these FANTASTIC pants. Seriously. The perfect construction, addictively simple to knit, with just enough pattern to keep you excited and engaged while not feeling overwhelmed. Swoon and love.

Three. Baby Booties - these tiny booties are my favorites to knit. Worked up super fast, this free pattern is available through Bernat and has become my go-to bootie pattern for new babes. I love how they have just enough elf-ish quality without being over-kill cutsie.

Four. Project Linus Security Blanket - (this one is a Ravelry link) This pattern comes out of the Knit for Peace book, and is quickly becoming my go-to blanket pattern. I’ve been working on one for a December babe, and once that’s done will cast on a big-person sized version for a housewarming/holiday present. I love that it’s a simple three-row repeat, can be knit in the virtual dark, and yet looks like it took years to complete!

Five. Baby Cobblestone Vest - I love, love, love this vest! I’ve made them to donate to the hospital many times before, and now that I’ve got a few friends having babes of their own, this is one of the items that’s queued up for gifts. Made with DK yarn for smaller babes, I’ve read other bloggers who have sized it up by using worsted weight, which is what I plan to do in the near future as well.

Six. Cap-Sleeved Spring Shirt - this one is perfect for all the one to two-year olds you know – made with a bit bulkier yarn, little girls could wear it a bit longer. And it’s not just for spring-time, either! This shirt can be worn with long-sleeves underneath for all-weather fun. I’ve loved knitting it in the past, and am sure to knit it again soon! (could only find a Ravelry link for this one!)

The Minimalist Knitter – The Plan:

One of the joys of knitting for me lies in the planning – picking a perfect pattern, digging through my stash to see what yarn will work with it {or heading to the store to buy yarn that will work!}, and then plotting out just how I will work the project to completion. Now that I’m on this Minimalist Knitting journey, planning seems essential to accomplishing my goal. The over-arching plan is simple:
Beginning May 1, 2010, I will strive to knit only what I have on-hand in my stash, as well as own only those knitting accessories I actually need and use. I will continue to knit through my stash until it is gone, trying to not buy a single skein of yarn until I am through all my yarn.
At that point, I will strive to only have yarn, accessories, and projects not yet gifted that fit into the yarn dresser. This does not include donations sent for Knit Omaha, as they are not items I have knit, but does include items I knit for Knit Omaha. I will document this process through before-style photographs of all the yarn and accessories I own, photos of all finished objects knitted, and a tally in the sidebar for numbers of balls of yarn gone through. Simple enough, yes?

Knit with what I’ve got, use only what I truly need, and get rid of the rest. Document as I go, and share so that others can follow along, or maybe even join in. With any good plan, however, there are so many small details I’ve enjoyed listing out page by page!

It truly seemed overwhelming when I first started to think about it – I’m going to knit only with the yarn I’ve got, get rid of most of my supplies, and still knit as prolifically as I have in the past? It didn’t seem possible. To make my life easier, I’ve been laying some ground-rules, organizing my office/knitting room, and figuring out some practical steps. And I’m happy to report it’s all been coming together much easier than I’d thought it would!

Here’s a few of the details to my plan:

1. I’m cataloging all my yarn so I know what I’ve got. This idea stems from a Ravelry group I’m involved with, wherein knitters are stash-busting all across the internet! They’ve gone through their yarn and photographed each skein, tracking it all in their Ravelry accounts.

For me, this process seemed so overwhelming at first I balked. So instead of tracking each ball of yarn, I’m enlisting a more generalized approach. Rather than organize my yarn by fiber content, or even by color, I’m simply counting the number of balls of yarn I have as I box it all up.

The plan is to knit through each box, one box at a time, until all my yarn is knit up. All yarn storage will be labeled based on the number of skeins in each box, and a few boxes are labeled based on the type of yarn in them (I had enough Red Heart in white and turquoise that it got its own box, for example).

2. I’m allowing myself to buy yarn to finish projects, and for holiday knitting if people request specific things. Much of my yarn is ear-marked for charity knitting, and far be it from me to keep a project from getting finished because I ran out of yarn, or not give someone exactly what they want because I don’t have the yarn in my stash! I will, however, only allow myself on trip to the craft store every sixty days, so I’ll have to plan my shopping and my projects accordingly!

3. I’m not allowing myself to get all worked up about the leftover bits of yarn that happen when a project is done. If I’ve used less than half a skein, I’m still counting it in my totals, and if there’s less than ½ a skein left, I’m using it for my Scrap Blanket. The scrap blanket will be made with no concern for yarn gauge, fiber type, or color – each remnant ball of yarn will be tied to the end of the last ball {yes, I know – bad knitter!} and then knit until it is almost done. I’ll leave a tail to attach the next ball to, and move on to the next project.

To get me started on this blanket, I’ve set aside a box for all the random balls of yarn I’ve got laying around the house, and am designating a pair of needles and one big bag to the project. I’ll kick it off with remnant yarns, and for the foreseeable future, whenever I finish a project I’ll not only add that yarn to the blanket, but at least one other ball of yarn from the scrap box. The blanket may turn out super ugly, but it will be a history of all the yarns I’ve used, the projects I’ve made, and will keep us warm!

4. If it can’t be knitted up on needles sized 5-10, I’m giving it away. I’ll be setting aside a special box just for this, and will then offer them up here on the blog on occasion as giveaways! I figure, rather than hold onto yarn I know I won’t use, I’ll give it away to people who will love it and squeeze it and pet it and ….
That’s it! Four simple rules to help keep me on track for the next year and change – easy to write out, but I’m sure they’ll be much harder to live out!

House Hat (#67)

May 6, 2010

I'm working my way through some of the hats in the Charmed Knits book - the amazing Harry Potter-themed knitting book that came out around the time of the fourth movie. While there have been a lot of hand-knits in the rest of the movies, I'm hoping a second version of this book comes out after the eighth and final movie hits theaters in a few years. Until then, there are some great hats in the first version, not the least of which is the House Hats.

With two varieties, this hat was even featured in a charity knit-a-long when the book was first released. I didn't get a chance to participate then, but I'm making up for lost time with this Gryffendor-themed hat. I got lucky when I realized I had some wool in my Patons stash that almost perfectly matched Harry's house colors - I was all set to make a generically striped hat when I happened to see these two half-balls of yarn sitting next to one another. Casting on the smallest size, I got to work. This hat took all but a few days to complete - it might have gone faster, but we're in the midst of another round of home renovations {and finally on the home stretch!} so much of my time has been taken up helping my husband out on that front.  

Specs: House Hat from Charmed Knits; knit with red and gold Patons yarn on size 6 needles {because I forgot to size up to 8's after the ribbing!}

Striped (#66)

May 3, 2010

Not actually very stripy at all, Striped is billed as a holiday knit for all the men in your life. As I made it in the smallest size, the hat will fit a growing boy quite nicely. Clearly Poppleton is not impressed, but the hat was not only a fun knit, but looks amazing as well. Simple enough to satisfy any boy or man, the little added color strip at the brim edge gives just enough knitting fun to keep you excited while knitting. I knit it to the pattern, creating a ridge where the brim folds, but if I were to knit it again I would leave that part of the hat out. Without a ridge, the hat would actually be able to be worn a bit longer, as the brim would be adjustable. Regardless, it's a great knit, a quick knit, and a fun knit!  

Specs: Striped by Sara Lucas and Allison Isaacs, from Holiday Knits: 25 Great Gifts from Stockings to Sweaters, knit using Classic Elite Yarns Renaissance in green and stash wool in brown on size 8 bamboo needles.

+ + + + +  

Because we're required to now, the link above is an Amazon Affiliate link. Should you decide to click on it, any purchases you make will gift me with a tad bit of returns. Which I will use to buy more knitting books, natch!

Pasha For Shauna


when i set myself on a mission, i tend to knit like the wind. such was the case when i offered to knit up a hat for my friend Shauna. although her book tour isn't for months, i knew if i didn't get to knitting quickly, i'd completely forget and she'd be hat-less! it didn't hurt that Shauna picked Pasha as the hat she wanted to own, either! i love Jane Richmond's hat patterns, and Pasha is no exception. it was off to the store for some turquoise yarn, as i didn't have any in my stash, and then lickety-split the hat came off the needles!

the perfect shade of turquoise (finally got it captured right!) coupled with a gorgeous pattern meant i whipped through the hat in record time. if she hasn't received it already, it will get there in the next day or two (i love priority shipping!), where it will be imbued with tons of memories she will be able to carry with her all fall as she tours around for her newest book Bittersweet.

hopefully she'll make it to Omaha, so i can see the hat on her and in action - you can bet i'll snap some photos if that happens! and if she makes it out your way, be sure to swing by and meet Shauna - she's one of the nicest people i've met, and i love her writing!

Pasha For Shauna


when i set myself on a mission, i tend to knit like the wind. such was the case when i offered to knit up a hat for my friend Shauna. although her book tour isn't for months, i knew if i didn't get to knitting quickly, i'd completely forget and she'd be hat-less! it didn't hurt that Shauna picked Pasha as the hat she wanted to own, either! i love Jane Richmond's hat patterns, and Pasha is no exception. it was off to the store for some turquoise yarn, as i didn't have any in my stash, and then lickety-split the hat came off the needles!


the perfect shade of turquoise (finally got it captured right!) coupled with a gorgeous pattern meant i whipped through the hat in record time. if she hasn't received it already, it will get there in the next day or two (i love priority shipping!), where it will be imbued with tons of memories she will be able to carry with her all fall as she tours around for her newest book Bittersweet.

hopefully she'll make it to Omaha, so i can see the hat on her and in action - you can bet i'll snap some photos if that happens! and if she makes it out your way, be sure to swing by and meet Shauna - she's one of the nicest people i've met, and i love her writing!

Twilight-Inspired Knits

May 2, 2010
Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some posts from my personal blog, A Devine Life. This is one of them, originally published on November 10, 2009.

+ + + + +

With New Moon {the second installment in the Twilight Saga} hitting theaters next weekend, many of us will be heading out sporting our Team Edward/Team Jacob shirts and thoughts, excitedly standing in line to see the newest installment in the vampire series.

I’ve already got my ticket {thanks to Melanie!} and am excited to see the movie. Whenever books and films this popular capture us, knitters start to show up en masse, creating patterns inspired by the characters, the books, and the movies.

So in that spirit, here’s a few Twilight-inspired knit and crochet patterns for you to enjoy!

{all patterns found via Ravelry – links to web pages where I could find them. All photos are from the Ravelry pages themselves.}


Bella’s LaPush Hat (Ravelry link) (web page)
Jacob’s Twilight Beanie (Ravelry link) (web page)
Twilight Tote (Ravelry link)
Angela’s LaPush Hat (Ravelry link)

Bella’s Baseball Scarf (Ravelry link)
Bella’s Mitts (Ravelry link) (web page)
Twilight cover socks (Ravelry link) (web page)
Alice’s Field Trip Scarf (Ravelry link)


Cullen Finger Puppets (Ravelry link) (web page)
Twilight-Inspired I-Pod Socks (Ravelry link)
Rosalie’s School Hat (Ravelry link)
Apple Pouch (Ravelry link)

Carlisle’s Baseball Scarf (Ravelry link)
Eclipse Socks (Ravelry link)
Bite Me Fingerless Mitts (Ravelry link)
 
Designed with ♥ by Nudge Media Design