Feb 28, 2011

Simple Knits: Boneyard Shawl

Boneyard

I may not be much of a shawl knitter, but I recognize the importance of keeping a good shawl pattern on-hand. So many knitters not only love to knit shawls, they have also become somewhat of a go-to gift for times of sorrow, times of joy, and even as a "just-because" gift.

The Boneyard Shawl pattern from Stephen West is quite possibly the perfect pattern for a first-time shawl knitter like myself. When I whipped up the one pictured last fall, I had never worked a shawl, didn't think I'd enjoy it one bit, and found myself relishing the simple increases, the subtle patterning, and how quickly this item found itself moving from yarn cake to finished item.

Never knit a shawl, but interested in giving it a try? The Boneyard Shawl pattern is a free download, and if you grab a few skeins of stash yarn, you won't miss any of your hard-earned cash while you test it out! Bonus points for the pattern being written for any yarn gauge and needle size!

Feb 25, 2011

a few notes, and some thanks

While I'm knitting away as fast as my fingers can handle in order to share a few fun projects next week, I wanted to stop and share a few things, as well as some thanks.

First, for those reading in a feed reader, you won't have noticed the layout changes I've made - head on over to the blog proper to take a look. Thanks to some wonderful branding suggestions from Princess Lasertron, I've been taking some time to really think about what I want this site to say, visually speaking. It's not 100% there yet, but it's already much closer to where I'd like it to be.

Second, I wanted to send out a huge thanks to all of you who have already downloaded and cast on the Shauna Cowl. It's been an exciting week as I've watched more than 230 of you download the pattern, several of you cast on, and even more of you add it to your Ravelry queues.

I'm never sure if a pattern will be loved or not, and I'm super excited that this one was! I've got plans to add a few to the shop in some bright spring colors, so if there's a color you'd love to see, be sure to let me know in the comments.

And finally, another huge thanks to those who stopped by the shop last night for it's first update. I've already got some notes on tweaks for the next update {more photos of each item, more detail in the descriptions, more products in general ...} that I hope to implement in mid to late March, just in time for the gorgeous spring weather to hopefully hit!

Here's to a wonderful weekend - my mama is coming to town in just a few hours, so we'll be spending our time lounging on the couch, eating out, and maybe even seeing a movie - if only the cold would break!

sandoval in olive


pattern: Sandoval Hat, my free pattern
needles: size US 9 / 5.5 mm 16" circs and dpns
yarn: I Love This Yarn! in olive (131 yards)

 In the last week we've gotten almost a foot of snow here in Omaha. In the next 48 hours we're supposed to get another 8". While it's been a late winter for us, winter is definitely here. And while I'm able to nestle into our warm home, piled under blankets, cats, and a toddler, there are far too many folks who don't have any way to stay warm.

This hat will be joining the giant bag of hats I currently have in my home (thanks to bunches of generous knitters), headed to the Omaha VA Hospital's Outreach Center this Tuesday. A simple ribbed hat with a folded brim is the perfect hat for just about anyone who may make their way through the doors of the outreach center, man or woman. Any knitter -- even one who has never made a hat before -- can whip up a Sandoval Hat to donate this winter season. Consider making one or two and dropping them off at the shelter closest to your house. You may have to drive a bit, but it's totally worth the effort.

Feb 24, 2011

On Charging For Content

This is a rant – be warned.

There is a trend lately on personal development blogs – people are starting to set up e-mail lists, where they publicly state they will be sharing their best content {or all of their content} via this newsletter service, and you only have to pay $20 a month to get it!

Get that? Where information used to be freely distributed to anyone and everyone, regardless of income, social status, means or reciprocation, now there is a group of people who have decided that their time and information is just worth … more.

And I’m not a fan.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that it’s awesome for people to earn a living off their information, I just subscribe to the 90/10 rule – 90% free, 10% for pay. That way you’re helping as many people as possible improve themselves, learn something new, and better their environments without assuming they can afford to pay a premium price for the information.

And I’m not calling out folks who offer up e-courses, sell knitting patterns, or charge for ad space on their blogs. I’m talking about people who are no longer offering up content of any deep value where there used to be plenty, in order to make an extra buck.

Because $20 a month is a premium price. It’s more than magazines charge for a subscription. It’s more than two Kindle books a month. It’s more than some people can spend on school supplies for their kids in a year. $20 a month is almost $250 a year. That’s a laptop.

That’s more than most of us can afford to pay for information.

And as more and more intelligent people start charging for their information, less and less of that valuable information they were sharing with the world is going to be available. People honestly looking to better themselves, learn how to earn money doing what they love, wanting to know how to live a minimalist life or craft a socially conscious web presence won’t be able to do so as easily, because the experts in the field will be asking them for $20 a month for impersonal, newsletter-based information.

We’re not paying for one-on-one time here. We’re not paying for a greater level of accessibility. We’re paying for the same stuff that used to be free.




So here’s my stance. As I come across bloggers who are doing this, bloggers I love and have followed sometimes for years, I’m unsubscribing. I’m no longer reading anything they have to say, no matter how wonderful it is, because they have deemed me unworthy of their 90%.

These are people that I’d wanted to pay for private coaching sessions with, people whose ideas have inspired some of the ideas I hold dear. And I am choosing to say goodbye. Because if I – a middle class white lady with a full-time job and plenty of disposable income – can’t afford to pay for their previously free ideas, I bet there’s thousands more like me who can’t either.

I’m also making a promise right now. While I may write patterns that I’ll charge a few bucks for, I’ll always give more away free. And while I may stock my Etsy shop with fun and sustainable hand-knits, I’ll always share how you can do it yourself. And I’ll do as much of this for free as I possibly can.

This may mean at some point I’ll add some advertising space to this site, which will help me generate extra income that can then help me keep sharing the goodies for free. But I’ll never charge you for the 90%, and when I offer up that 10% for sale, I’ll give you a damn good reason why.

Because I want someone accessing my website from a shared computer in a poverty-stricken part of the world to have just as much access to what I’ve got to say as those who live comfortably and safely in suburbia. I would rather not make money off you than keep the majority out. This website is not a country club folks, it’s the city pool, and proud of it!

Feb 23, 2011

It's Time For A Shop Update!

Shop update

After knitting my little fingers to the bone over the last few weeks, I've got a shop update ready to go! The Minimalist Knitter Shop is about to be filled with a few lovely cowls, and each item in the update is one-of-a-kind and will be made available beginning 6pm CST on Thursday Feburary 24th!

All items in this update are ready to ship according to my Wednesday/Saturday shipping schedule.

Looking for something specific? Love one of the items listed, but wish it were in a different color? Use the convo feature in Etsy to let me know - I'd love to work up a special order for you!

And just a little reminder - I send out an e-mail a few days before updates like this to my newsletter group, and always include a special coupon code! Head on over to the sign-up page to start receiving them!

February Knit-Along: One Week Left!

Charity hats

I can't believe it's already almot the end of February! I've gotten so caught up with knitting projects, home projects, and even a few baby projects {though not for my little one, for a friend's little one!} that I looked up and expected it to still be February 16th!

It seems I haven't whipped up as many hats as I'd thought I would so far this month, but with one week left to go, I'm hoping I can finish strong. Above you can see the 13 hats I've made so far to drop off at the NICU - my new goal is to get that to 20 by February 28th.

How have you all been doing on the February Knit-Along? I'd love to look through links to some of your finished projects this week! And don't forget to share your final totals on March 1st {with links to photos in Flickr, on your blog, etc} so I can pick the winner of the $25 Amazon gift card!

Be on the lookout for a shop update announcement later today! I'm excited to be listing a few things this evening!

February Knit-Along: One Week Left!

I can't believe it's already almot the end of February! I've gotten so caught up with knitting projects, home projects, and even a few baby projects {though not for my little one, for a friend's little one!} that I looked up and expected it to still be February 16th! It seems I haven't whipped up as many hats as I'd thought I would so far this month, but with one week left to go, I'm hoping I can finish strong.

Above you can see the 13 hats I've made so far to drop off at the NICU - my new goal is to get that to 20 by February 28th. How have you all been doing on the February Knit-Along? I'd love to look through links to some of your finished projects this week! And don't forget to share your final totals on March 1st {with links to photos in Flickr, on your blog, etc} so I can pick the winner of the $25 Amazon gift card!

Feb 22, 2011

am a fan: pregnancy edition, part 1

Bump 12 weeks

Over the past couple of months I've come to relish in a few routines, rituals, and tried and true favorites. I've also been pleasantly surprised by some newfound loves. It's been super interesting to watch my tastes, loves, and stuff I loathe change during these first twelve weeks, for sure!

As I've enjoyed digging back through other mama blogger archives for their "can't do without" posts, I thought I'd share one now!

+ Cinnamon toast. I lived off this stuff those first ten weeks or so, when almost everything else made me want to hurl. Not the healthiest by far, but I convinced myself that my multi-grain bread was better than nothing!

+ Cardigan sweaters. I started out the winter with two - my tan one from Walmart and my grey one from Kohl's. I've since added to that list with one more I picked up with some Xmas gift cards, and am hoping to make one more with long sleeves before it gets too warm. They are the perfect additional layer for my new-found super fickle temperature gauge.

+ Nail clippers. Those prenatal vitamins have my fingernails growing at rapid-fire speed! As someone who likes her nails no longer than her fingertips, my nail clippers have become my new best friends!

+ Oranges. I can't seem to get enough of seedless oranges. I keep waiting for their acidity to give me heartburn, but thankfully I've been spared so far!

+ Strawberry flavored anything. From the actual things {not in season and so hard to find good ones right now} to shakes, popsicles and more, a friend pointed out I've been devouring anything strawberry by the bucket-ful!

+ Weekend crafting dates! My MIL has an almost weekly crafting Saturday at her house, and I've loved heading over there with my knitting bag to get some projects complete. Thanks to napping most of my weekday evenings away, this has been when I've gotten most of my crafting done, and it's been time I've cherished!

+ Dresses! Thanks to discovering a love of dresses during Project 333, I've been rocking my pre-pregnancy wardrobe almost daily still. Yes, I've still got a long way to go, but I'm super happy that the dresses in my closet should take me through almost my entire pregnancy!

+ Darker hair. A few weeks ago, I broke down and headed into my favorite salon to have my hair darkened. Now it's a yummy chocolate brown, and I'm in love! {And before you freak out, my doctor said it was fine to dye my hair while pregnant - her exact words were, "Well, I dyed my hair when I was pregnant, and my kid's not funny looking!"} I think I will keep it this way for quite some time!



Whenever I look down at my belly, it's hard to believe I'm only 12 weeks - somehow my little bump looks bigger to me. I imagine I will end up one of those gloriously large pregnant ladies, lumbering around at six months with people asking me how many days until I pop, and exclaiming in surprise when I tell them I've still got months to go!

But then I look at the photos above and just giggle away - that little monster is still so tiny, and my tummy is still so small! Ahead of the curve already in length, I can easily believe this still-super-small 2 inch wonder will one day fill up an entire universe for us - it already has!

I can't wait to see what I latch onto during the second trimester - hopefully I won't find I no longer love any of the stuff on this list, and will only add to it!

{idea stolen from marta over at Marta Writes ... although I don't think she'll mind!}

am a fan: pregnancy edition, part 1

Over the past couple of months I've come to relish in a few routines, rituals, and tried and true favorites. I've also been pleasantly surprised by some newfound loves. It's been super interesting to watch my tastes, loves, and stuff I loathe change during these first twelve weeks, for sure! As I've enjoyed digging back through other mama blogger archives for their "can't do without" posts, I thought I'd share one now!

 + Cinnamon toast. I lived off this stuff those first ten weeks or so, when almost everything else made me want to hurl. Not the healthiest by far, but I convinced myself that my multi-grain bread was better than nothing!  

+ Cardigan sweaters. I started out the winter with two - my tan one from Walmart and my grey one from Kohl's. I've since added to that list with one more I picked up with some Xmas gift cards, and am hoping to make one more with long sleeves before it gets too warm. They are the perfect additional layer for my new-found super fickle temperature gauge.  

+ Nail clippers. Those prenatal vitamins have my fingernails growing at rapid-fire speed! As someone who likes her nails no longer than her fingertips, my nail clippers have become my new best friends!  

+ Oranges. I can't seem to get enough of seedless oranges. I keep waiting for their acidity to give me heartburn, but thankfully I've been spared so far!

 + Strawberry flavored anything. From the actual things {not in season and so hard to find good ones right now} to shakes, popsicles and more, a friend pointed out I've been devouring anything strawberry by the bucket-ful!

 + Weekend crafting dates! My MIL has an almost weekly crafting Saturday at her house, and I've loved heading over there with my knitting bag to get some projects complete. Thanks to napping most of my weekday evenings away, this has been when I've gotten most of my crafting done, and it's been time I've cherished!  

+ Dresses! Thanks to discovering a love of dresses during Project 333, I've been rocking my pre-pregnancy wardrobe almost daily still. Yes, I've still got a long way to go, but I'm super happy that the dresses in my closet should take me through almost my entire pregnancy!

 + Darker hair. A few weeks ago, I broke down and headed into my favorite salon to have my hair darkened. Now it's a yummy chocolate brown, and I'm in love! {And before you freak out, my doctor said it was fine to dye my hair while pregnant - her exact words were, "Well, I dyed my hair when I was pregnant, and my kid's not funny looking!"} I think I will keep it this way for quite some time!



Whenever I look down at my belly, it's hard to believe I'm only 12 weeks - somehow my little bump looks bigger to me. I imagine I will end up one of those gloriously large pregnant ladies, lumbering around at six months with people asking me how many days until I pop, and exclaiming in surprise when I tell them I've still got months to go! But then I look at the photos above and just giggle away - that little monster is still so tiny, and my tummy is still so small! Ahead of the curve already in length, I can easily believe this still-super-small 2 inch wonder will one day fill up an entire universe for us - it already has!

 I can't wait to see what I latch onto during the second trimester - hopefully I won't find I no longer love any of the stuff on this list, and will only add to it! {idea stolen from marta over at Marta Writes ... although I don't think she'll mind!}

Feb 17, 2011

Knitting For Baby: The Pattern List, Part One

Thanks to so many of you who have sent me heart-felt congrats on our little monster! Many of you asked to share my baby knitting as I finish up projects, and so I've had to admit that I haven't been doing any baby knitting yet. Not a single stitch!

At first I thought I wanted to wait until we knew if it's a boy or a girl, but the more I've thought about it, the more I think I was holding off until at least the first trimester was done, waiting for it to become a bit more real.

Baby blanket

Now that I'm officially starting to show a tiny bit {although sometimes I still think it's just a food baby I'm rocking} it's time to start planning some baby knits. We're pretty non-traditional in our house, so I have no problems knitting items out of greys, reds, browns, greens, and even turquoise for this babe before knowing if it's a boy or girl.

Because I'm a planner, I hit up my Ravelry favorites and past knits to start making a list of the items I'd love to knit for baby. Mind you, this is definitely an "in an ideal world" type of list here - I realize I will probably not make everything I'd like to, and that's okay. Right now I'm still starry-eyed at the thought of babe being wrapped in as much handmade goodness as possible!

First and foremost, the items I've knit in the past for other babes and know I want to make for my own:

Project Linus Blanket {it's the first blanket on the list}. I've already got the yarn for this one - a natural cream wool - and am excited to start working on it!

Kanoko Pants. My hope is to have three or four pair of these made out of acrylic yarn for easy washability, so he or she can have warm legs all winter long.

Sleep Sacks. Ah, the sleep sack. After talking to a friend, she recommended I knit these a bit longer so they can be used longer - I'd love to have seven of them so the monster can sleep in on every night of the week!

Cabled Baby Hats. Baby hats are the cutest, and these whip up super fast and easy - I'd love to have two or three to rotate between, but I'll probably hold off until we know the sex so I can gender at least one of these.

Five Hour Baby Sweater. This is one of the quickest baby knits I've come across, and I love to work in a button band to help keep it closed. I know I'll whip up several of these in a variety of colors to help keep the monster warm and cozy in the winter months!

Aviatrix Hat. {Ravelry link} I love that this hat has a strap to help keep it on baby's head, since every kid I know loves pulling their hats off more than they enjoy wearing them! The pattern sizes from newborns to four-year-olds, so I hope to knock out a few different sizes to keep the monster's head warm all winter long!

Next I'll share some of the patterns I've seen other new moms knit up for their babes that I'm excited to try out in the coming months, so stay tuned!

Feb 10, 2011

Valentine's Day Quick Crafts

I love the idea of crafting up a special something or other {from your supply stash, of course!} for Valentine's Day this year. If you're stuck, below are links to some fun projects I've been noting on my Tumblr over the last week or two!

002

I had some bright red yarn on hand, and so whipped up a few of these knitted hearts {pictured above} to pepper around the house - I'm hoping to sneak one into the husband's lunch pail on Monday! {Ravelry link to free pattern}

This DIY Glitter heart banner uses glitter and spray glue, with a bit of bright red ribbon. Perfect for antsy kids in this snowy weather!

I'm in love with this giant heart stamp banner!

Go old school with some heart-shaped sugar cookies - even I can manage this one!

Add an adorable love-themed sticker to your honey's fruit for a lunch-time surprise! {via}

Whip through some of your red and pink paper stash by making this adorable paper heart garland!

Thinking of cooking a lovely meal on Monday? Do so while rocking this heart-themed apron!

These color-theory valentines are a great way to help even the youngest sweethearts send out the love.

Are you a super serious baker? Consider whipping up a heart-shaped surprise cake!

Feb 8, 2011

A Quick-Knit Scarf

Melanie scarf

Pattern: Big Lace Scarf, from More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts.

Yarn: I Love This Yarn, from Hobby Lobby - one full skein used.

Notes: Over the weekend I whipped up the first of several projects I've been eyeing in More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. I own the original Last Minute Knitted Gifts book as well, and these two are part of an extremely small collection of pattern books I keep.

As part of my journey to knit through my yarn stash, I find I've got far too many single skeins of yarn with no idea how to use them. Some are wool, many are acrylic, and all are itching to be made into something to gift or donate!

Enter the Big Lace Scarf.

Knit up on size 15 needles, this scarf worked quick and simply, two words I love to hear when it comes to knitting patterns. A four-row repeat, you begin to memorize the pattern within minutes, meaning I didn't even need the book by my side while working this up!

My only issue? The scarf calls for bulkier yarn than this skein, so I held it double - this created a rather short scarf; a scarflette, I've taken to calling it. This problem lies not so much with the pattern, but my choice of yarn the first time around. Next time, I'll pick either a chunkier skein or one that's got more yardage to help create some extra length.

This burgandy number is on it's way to a friend - hopefully she'll love it and it will keep her super warm during these ridiculously cold days. I'm betting a few more of these will make their way off my needles soon, to be gifted to charities such as Nest Maine; the scarf works up too fast not to make it one of my go-to patterns!

A Quick-Knit Scarf

Melanie scarf
 
Pattern: Big Lace Scarf, from More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts.

Yarn: I Love This Yarn, from Hobby Lobby - one full skein used.

Notes: Over the weekend I whipped up the first of several projects I've been eyeing in More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. I own the original Last Minute Knitted Gifts book as well, and these two are part of an extremely small collection of pattern books I keep.

As part of my journey to knit through my yarn stash, I find I've got far too many single skeins of yarn with no idea how to use them. Some are wool, many are acrylic, and all are itching to be made into something to gift or donate!

Enter the Big Lace Scarf.

Knit up on size 15 needles, this scarf worked quick and simply, two words I love to hear when it comes to knitting patterns. A four-row repeat, you begin to memorize the pattern within minutes, meaning I didn't even need the book by my side while working this up!

My only issue? The scarf calls for bulkier yarn than this skein, so I held it double - this created a rather short scarf; a scarflette, I've taken to calling it. This problem lies not so much with the pattern, but my choice of yarn the first time around. Next time, I'll pick either a chunkier skein or one that's got more yardage to help create some extra length.

This burgandy number is on it's way to a friend - hopefully she'll love it and it will keep her super warm during these ridiculously cold days. I'm betting a few more of these will make their way off my needles soon, to be gifted to charities such as Nest Maine; the scarf works up too fast not to make it one of my go-to patterns!

Feb 6, 2011

Knit-Along Week One: Some Helpful Tips To Get You Started

February donation hats 1

We're a good few days into February now, and hopefully at least a few of you are working your way through charity hats for the knit-along! Above you can see the hats I've been working on already - not as many as I'd have liked, but still a good start to what I hope will be a charity-filled month!

Because this knit-along is a month long marathon, I don't want to see anyone burn out, injure themselves, or give up too soon - with that in mind, here's a few tips and tricks to help keep you in the thick of things throughout February!

Gather Your Supplies In One Place. Many of us have a knitting or crochet bag where we keep our current projects. For the month of February, I've got a bag that I've placed knit-along specific yarn in, along with my crochet hook and a spare pair of scissors and darning needle. This way, whenever the urge to knit-along happens, I know exactly where all my supplies are!

Work With What You've Got. Most of us have at least a few skeins of acrylic laying around our stashes that we're unsure what to do with - this is the perfect time to use it up! Most hospitals only accept items for babies that are made out of washer/dryer safe yarns, and acrylic is best I've been told - less chance of allergic reaction than with wool or even cotton. Even your most "vintage" acrylics, which feel a bit more scratchy, will wash up soft and wonderful! On that note ...

Hats Don't Have To Be Just Pink Or Blue. In fact, most of the hats I donate to my local NICU don't have a trace of pink or blue in them. Some are more masculine or feminine in color, but I find that all hats are generally welcomed and loved by new parents. Remember, just like knitters, not all new parents have the same style and taste, so a yarn color you may think no baby will use will get snapped up super fast!

Take Frequent Breaks. This knit-along takes place over a full twenty-eight days. To avoid boredom and injury, be sure to take frequent breaks! This may mean taking weekends off, only working on the challenge on weekends, setting a limit to how many hours or minutes you'll knit a day ... so many other options!

Set A Goal. Without a doubt, the easiest way to keep on track is to set yourself a goal. My personal goal is two hats a day during the week and five hats a day on the weekends - I've even set myself up a cute little chart in the front of my  Essential Patterns Binder so I can check off the day's hats as I've completed them! Having a goal will help keep you on track for the month.

Reward Yourself. Whether it's a small reward for each hat done, a medium-sized reward for hitting milestones - such as finishing your goals for the week, or hitting a certain number - and at the halfway point, and a larger reward if you finish the challenge are all great ways to stay motivated. My rewards will all be food-related {I'm like a puppy that way}, and I'm looking forward to each one of them!

Share Your Successes! There's nothing quite as nice as someone seeing what you've been up to and cheering you on. Be sure to post your weekly updates to each Friday's post so we can all head on over to your blog/Ravelry page/Flickr page and see what you've been up to. The added encouragement you'll get should help keep you motivated!

What are some of your tips for keeping motivated and excited for a marathon-long knit-along like this one? Can't wait to hear about them in the comments, as well as see some links to your finished hats for the week!

Knit-Along Week One: Some Helpful Tips To Get You Started


We're a good few days into February now, and hopefully at least a few of you are working your way through charity hats for the knit-along! Above you can see the hats I've been working on already - not as many as I'd have liked, but still a good start to what I hope will be a charity-filled month! Because this knit-along is a month long marathon, I don't want to see anyone burn out, injure themselves, or give up too soon - with that in mind, here's a few tips and tricks to help keep you in the thick of things throughout February!  

Gather Your Supplies In One Place. Many of us have a knitting or crochet bag where we keep our current projects. For the month of February, I've got a bag that I've placed knit-along specific yarn in, along with my crochet hook and a spare pair of scissors and darning needle. This way, whenever the urge to knit-along happens, I know exactly where all my supplies are!  

Work With What You've Got. Most of us have at least a few skeins of acrylic laying around our stashes that we're unsure what to do with - this is the perfect time to use it up! Most hospitals only accept items for babies that are made out of washer/dryer safe yarns, and acrylic is best I've been told - less chance of allergic reaction than with wool or even cotton. Even your most "vintage" acrylics, which feel a bit more scratchy, will wash up soft and wonderful! On that note ...  

Hats Don't Have To Be Just Pink Or Blue. In fact, most of the hats I donate to my local NICU don't have a trace of pink or blue in them. Some are more masculine or feminine in color, but I find that all hats are generally welcomed and loved by new parents. Remember, just like knitters, not all new parents have the same style and taste, so a yarn color you may think no baby will use will get snapped up super fast!  

Take Frequent Breaks. This knit-along takes place over a full twenty-eight days. To avoid boredom and injury, be sure to take frequent breaks! This may mean taking weekends off, only working on the challenge on weekends, setting a limit to how many hours or minutes you'll knit a day ... so many other options!  

Set A Goal. Without a doubt, the easiest way to keep on track is to set yourself a goal. My personal goal is two hats a day during the week and five hats a day on the weekends - I've even set myself up a cute little chart in the front of my Essential Patterns Binder so I can check off the day's hats as I've completed them! Having a goal will help keep you on track for the month.  

Reward Yourself. Whether it's a small reward for each hat done, a medium-sized reward for hitting milestones - such as finishing your goals for the week, or hitting a certain number - and at the halfway point, and a larger reward if you finish the challenge are all great ways to stay motivated. My rewards will all be food-related {I'm like a puppy that way}, and I'm looking forward to each one of them!  

Share Your Successes! There's nothing quite as nice as someone seeing what you've been up to and cheering you on. Be sure to post your weekly updates to each Friday's post so we can all head on over to your blog/Ravelry page/Flickr page and see what you've been up to. The added encouragement you'll get should help keep you motivated!

What are some of your tips for keeping motivated and excited for a marathon-long knit-along like this one? Can't wait to hear about them in the comments, as well as see some links to your finished hats for the week!

Feb 3, 2011

meet our little monster

Monster 10 weeks

Ten weeks old, three centimeters long from butt to head, and it's already the cutest thing ever, if I do say so myself.

Looks like I won't be doing any skydiving or methanphetamines until at least September, but I'm pretty okay with that!

Feb 1, 2011

Made In: January 2011

Thanks to joining a Harry Potter-themed group on Ravelry, where-in I earn points for completing projects over the course of a month, I've seen a ton of items find their way both on and off the needles this month. Because I'll hopefully be keeping up this pace most of the year, I'm going to share a monthly "made in" feature .. and this is January's!

Made in january

This month I managed to finish 43 things! That's 32 hats for charity, seven squares, two gift hats, a pair of gloves for my husband, and one vest for charity.

Yes, only one vest for charity. I'm having some serious issues knocking out one a week - I've had the second one on the needles since the second week of January, without much getting accomplished. It's going so poorly that I may just end up changing my goal from vests to something else - mittens perhaps?

For now I'm going to keep plugging away at the vest on my needles, as well as whipping up as many hats as I can for the February-along charity hats project! Today is the first, so hopefully you've got some yarn and needles ready to go on some baby hats - I'll be sharing my finished items of the week on Friday!

What knitting and crochet projects did you finish this month? I'd love to see photo links in the comments!