Mar 31, 2011

project linus security blanket

Blanket
 
pattern: Project Linus Security Blanket {link on their patterns page}

yarn: Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool, two skeins

needles: size 10 circulars

notes:
I am no stranger to this pattern. I've knit it for blankets for several friends, and even donated one or two. This is, however, the first time I am knitting it for our home. For our babe. Crazy!

I didn't do anything special for this blanket - cast on the smaller number of stitches, and then worked in pattern until both skeins were completely used up. I thought I might need a third skein, but it will become something else, probably something to donate.

The blanket has not even had a soak - it is wool, and therefore cannot head to the wash machine. However, it won't get a good soak until all the sanding is done in the pantry, and the kitchen is cleared up. Then I'll dip it into the sink for a quick bath, lay it out to dry, and fold it up for the little.

I normally work this blanket up with acrylic, and already forsee one in either a pink or blue heading to the needles in a few quick weeks. Until then, there's more knitting to be done!

project linus security blanket

Blanket
 
pattern: Project Linus Security Blanket {link on their patterns page}
 
yarn: Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool, two skeins
 
needles: size 10 circulars

notes:
I am no stranger to this pattern. I've knit it for blankets for several friends, and even donated one or two. This is, however, the first time I am knitting it for our home. For our babe. Crazy!

I didn't do anything special for this blanket - cast on the smaller number of stitches, and then worked in pattern until both skeins were completely used up. I thought I might need a third skein, but it will become something else, probably something to donate.

The blanket has not even had a soak - it is wool, and therefore cannot head to the wash machine. However, it won't get a good soak until all the sanding is done in the pantry, and the kitchen is cleared up. Then I'll dip it into the sink for a quick bath, lay it out to dry, and fold it up for the little.

I normally work this blanket up with acrylic, and already forsee one in either a pink or blue heading to the needles in a few quick weeks. Until then, there's more knitting to be done!

Mar 29, 2011

The One Hundred Thing Challenge

100 thing bookI've followed Dave Bruno's blog, off and on, for two years or so. While he wasn't my introduction to simple living, counting the number of physical items in my possession, or the idea that I could have a full life with less stuff, I resonated with his philosophies more than I did with other minimalists.

When his book The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul first came out a few months ago, I was one of the thousands of folks who picked it up - in my case, for the Kindle app on my phone. Over the past few months I've been dipping into it while eating lunch at work, and have come to love his philosophies about stuff even more.

Unlike most folks who count their stuff, Dave has a very open-minded view. He counts all his books as one thing, for example, doing the same for his undies and his socks. He takes into account the amount of items in his home he shares with his wife and children, and is honest about what he uses versus what they all share - the beds, table and chairs and dishes aren't counted, in other words.

Overall, he takes an incredibly modest approach to how he lived his year with 100 things, and his book reflects this. Instead of being a how-to guide for participating in your own challenge {although he does offer a few thoughts on this at the end of the book}, the majority of his words are spent examining his complex relationship with the things he kept, the things he gave away, and how he views his life differently having lived with so few possessions.

I consistently come back to the idea of owning less than 100 things. Being a knitter - even a minimalist knitter - means I may never reach that number, but the desire to be more conscious about what I own and use has served me well in the last year or so. Thanks to the words of folks like Dave, I've managed to pare down my clothing to around 50 items used on a daily basis {pajamas included, undies and socks counted as groups}. I've managed to pare down my book collection to those books I know I'll want to read again, and have taken up reading library books and Kindle books instead of buying paper copies to store.

And now that we're expanding our family, I've thought long and hard about the amount of stuff we truly need for our little one - in a culture that deems it important to have every little gadget, we're looking at only procuring those items our little one will truly NEED.

Not interested in living with less? Then this book isn't for you. Curious how others do it, but unsure if you want to take the plunge yourself? Check this one out from the library. Looking to put verbage to your burgeouning philosophies, and hopeful to find some direction as you pare down in your own life? Add this one to your permanent library for sure!

Mar 28, 2011

things to do this spring

Spring game 2010  
In no particular order ...
1. get a porch swing and use it as often as possible
2. flowers in pots
3. downtown Omaha photo walk
4. nature-based photo walk
5. drink so much rootbeer i float away
6. head to the farmer's market
7. break out the "big" camera as often as possible
8. wear my red and white ... {done}
9. ... and pick up something for babe while in Lincoln
10. start decorating the baby's room
11. knit up a few sleep sacks
12. finish a book
13. solidify the summer knitting plan {done}
14. start thinking about small projects for fall, when babe will be in-hand
15. a brother graduation to attend!
16. bake some bread
17. pack up the tights for the season!
18. knit one of these for charity. {ravelry link}

Mar 22, 2011

Patterns To Knit On Two Needles





While I love my circular needles with a passion bordering on obsession, I’ve received a few questions about patterns suitable for straight needles. To me, I think straight needles and immediately presume scarves, but a quick Ravelry search brought about a few gems – sweaters, mittens and even socks that can be knit up on two straight needles!


Plain Vest, from Pickles. (pictured above) Because there are no sleeves to knit up, and the vest is open in front, this kid’s item can be knit up on straight needles without much of a problem. In my list of things to knit in the next year or so, I’m thinking of trying it on straight needles … just to see.

Diagonal Lace Scarf, from Midnight Purls. This gorgeous scarf is completely reversible, and a perfect charity
Two Needle Mittens, from Knitting On The Net. Knit on straight needles and then sewn up the side? Perfect for someone new to knitting who wants to make some mittens as presents! I’ve never even thought to knit mittens this way – definitely a pattern I’d like to try!

Two Needle Eyelet Hat, from Knitting On The Net. Here’s a little secret – you can knit just about any hat on two straight needles! You simply need to reverse half the rows so you’re still knitting the hat according to the pattern! However, if you don’t want to go through all that trouble, this Eyelet hat is a great way to knit up some baby hats without having to dig out your DPNs.

Two Needle Slippers, from The Irish Ewe. Slippers that take less than an hour per foot, and use up less than a skein of yarn? These are my kind of slippers!

Fingerless Mitts, from Leftsox’s Designs. Worsted weight yarn, straight needles, and only moss and ribbed stitch? These mitts look like a great charity donation find! {free Ravelry download only}

Baby Sweater On Two Needles, from Elizabeth Zimmerman. While many people choose to knit up the sleeves with DPNs nowadays, this pattern was written for straight needles. And best of all, you use whatever needles work with the yarn you love – babies come in different sizes, and so does this sweater! {published in Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac} Network Cowl, by Tanis Gray. While you have to know how to do a provisional cast-on for this cowl to be worked on two needles without a large seam, it’s worth picking up the skill – this gorgeous cowl is the picture of effortless simplicity! {Ravelry download only.}

Mar 21, 2011

Giveaway At Vegan Craftastic!

Hey all! I've got a giveaway for a free pattern of your choice from my shop over on Vegan Craftastic!

Blogbannernew2

I love to knit with acrylic yarn, which is by default vegan-friendly, so this seemed like the perfect partnership! Kala runs an amazing blog and has a tremendous shop - what more can a crafter want?!

Head on over to Vegan Craftastic to enter to win!

Mar 18, 2011

Using Up Leftover Bits Of Yarn

One of the more annoying bits to being a minimalist knitter? All those remnants of yarn you inevitably end up with. Most patterns do not use up full skeins of yarn, and knitters are often left with half skeins, quarter skeins, or even just a few yards of yarn to place back in the stash pile.

Over the last year I’ve made it my mission to knit and crochet my way through these remnants of yarn lurking in the corners of my stash – no matter how small or large your stash is, know that you’ll have these lurkers as well! In an effort to knock these remnants out of my stash, I’ve set up a very simple plan of attack – and today I’m going to share it with you! By following this three-step process, you’ll be able to use up every last piece of your yarn when done with a project, clear through your stash faster, and even find projects for some of those lurking half skeins!  

Step One: Assess The Situation Do you have a large portion of a skein left when finished with a project, or is there less than ¼ remaining? Knowing what you’re working with will make the process easier. If you’ve got a large remnants stash problem, I suggest dividing it up into piles, one for ½ skeins or more, and one for those smaller bits of yarn. This will make it a bit easier for you to use these little bits up faster.  

Step Two: Hats or Stripes? Based on how much yarn is left, decide to do one of two things with it – either use it to make a baby or kid-sized hat, or use it as stripes in a larger, adult-sized hat. I do this on the fly, guestimating if the remnant is more than ½ skein, or less. If it’s less than ½ skein, I add it to my ‘meant for stripes” jar on my bookshelf. Once that jar is full, I grab some grey yarn (which I always use as the base color in my striped hats), and work up some ribbing. Then I use the leftover bits of yarn to make stripes of varying sizes before using the grey yarn to finish off the hat. If I’ve got more than ½ skein left of a specific yarn, I knit up a baby or kid-sized hat. I use my Basic Beanie hat pattern for this (included in Section Four of this handbook), always adding these hats to my latest donation bin.    

Step Three: Move on to the next! If you’ve got quite a few remnants laying around, I suggest working through them all before you start your next project. This way you can clear up space in your yarn storage area, and you’ll probably have a box of squares you can send off by the time you’re done! Be sure to keep your stash-busting projects in their own space, so you can easily move from your finished stash busting item onto the next project, and you’ll never have to worry about random half-balls of yarn again!  

Some helpful hints:

I use up my remnant balls as soon as I’m finished with the project they came from as often as I can. This helps keep them from piling up and taking over the stash, and I can always record my skeins as fully used in Ravelry.

Use easy-to-memorize patterns. Part of the reason I’m able to get through so many hats each year is thanks to my using the same four or five hat patterns on repeat. I know when I make a baby hat that exactly how many stitches to cast on, how far to knit before I decrease, and how the decreases will work. Same goes for kid-sized hats and those for adults. Once you know about how much yarn it takes to knit a hat, using a food scale can help you determine if the yarn you’ve got on-hand will finish one. This takes the last bits of guesswork out of the process!

Using Up Leftover Bits Of Yarn

Stash bust
{I used to have this many remnants of yarn!}

One of the more annoying bits to being a minimalist knitter? All those remnants of yarn you inevitably end up with. Most patterns do not use up full skeins of yarn, and knitters are often left with half skeins, quarter skeins, or even just a few yards of yarn to place back in the stash pile.

Over the last year I’ve made it my mission to knit and crochet my way through these remnants of yarn lurking in the corners of my stash – no matter how small or large your stash is, know that you’ll have these lurkers as well!

In an effort to knock these remnants out of my stash, I’ve set up a very simple plan of attack – and today I’m going to share it with you! By following this three-step process, you’ll be able to use up every last piece of your yarn when done with a project, clear through your stash faster, and even find projects for some of those lurking half skeins!

Step One: Assess The Situation

Do you have a large portion of a skein left when finished with a project, or is there less than ¼ remaining? Knowing what you’re working with will make the process easier.

If you’ve got a large remnants stash problem, I suggest dividing it up into piles, one for ½ skeins or more, and one for those smaller bits of yarn. This will make it a bit easier for you to use these little bits up faster.

Step Two: Squares or Blankets?

Based on how much yarn is left, decide to do one of two things with it – either use it for a blanket square, or knit it into a stash-busting blanket like the ones I’ve always got going. I do this on the fly, guestimating if the remnant is more than ½ skein, or less.

If it’s less than ½ skein, I knit or crochet it into at least one blanket square. The squares go into a box for donation; once the box gets full, I tape it up and send it off to one of my favorite square-taking charities. If I run out of the yarn before a square is done, I just set it aside to be added to with the next remnant.

If I’ve got more than ½ skein left of a specific yarn, I knit or crochet it into my current stash blanket. My first stash blanket was knitted, and while we love it dearly, it seems easier to crochet a stash blanket than knit one. No needles poking out, potentially dropping stitches, and I can start and stop at the middle of a row without much concern. And these larger remnants will give me at least one row {usually two or three} before I run out!

Step Three: Move on to the next!

If you’ve got quite a few remnants laying around, I suggest working through them all before you start your next project. This way you can clear up space in your yarn storage area, and you’ll probably have a box of squares you can send off by the time you’re done!

Be sure to keep your stash-busting projects in their own space, so you can easily move from your finished stash busting item onto the next project, and you’ll never have to worry about random half-balls of yarn again!

Some helpful hints:
I use up my remnant balls as soon as I’m finished with the project they came from. This helps keep them from piling up and taking over the stash, and I can always record my skeins as fully used in Ravelry.

Know ahead of time where you’ll be donating your squares. Charities that accept squares may require different sizes, ends to be left hanging, or a variety of other specifics – by knowing ahead of time where you want to donate your squares, you can ensure the charity will take them!

Use simple stitches on both your squares and your blanket. You won’t have to keep a pattern nearby if your stash blanket uses double crochet, and if you work a simple granny square, you won’t have to think about which pattern to use when starting a new square.

Once you know about how much yarn it takes to knit a square, using a food scale can help you determine if the yarn you’ve got on-hand will finish one. This takes the last bits of guesswork out of the process!

You may be able to donate your stash blankets right along with your squares – some charities accept fully-formed blankets in addition to squares, so you can package them all together in one large box!

Mar 17, 2011

am a fan: 16 weeks

16 weeks
 
{the growing bump, at 16 weeks!}

It won't be long now before Spring is fully in the air, the weather starts to get warmer, and my belly begins to overtake everything I do! Before I hit the half-way mark, we get to enjoy the Husker Spring game, starting to shop for a few little things {including a crib, dresser, and bookshelf!}, and getting outside to take walks around the neighborhood. Until then, here's a few things I've been loving on these past four weeks of pregnancy:

* Oranges, Oranges, Oranges. I eat at least one a day, sometimes two. We keep buying those big mesh bags full of them at the store, and before Zach can grab even one, they're gone! I've started to joke the baby is going to come out a bit orange colored!

* Strawberry anything. Milkshakes, popsicles, lip balm, even the real things themselves when I can get my hands on them. I can't wait for spring and summer fruit to show up so I can snag strawberries grown at least a BIT more locally!

* No more sickies, for the most part. It was amazing - I hit 14 weeks {and the official end of the first trimester}, and it was like I stopped feeling sick almost immediately. I still get the occasional floops when I get to gung-ho brushing my teeth or feel a bit to warm, but other than that, I'm ready to rock and roll!

* Pondering the sandal selection for spring. While I'm normally a boot and sock person through almost June, I'm keenly aware that this year will probably be a bit different! Whenever I feel too warm I get sick, so I'm already checking out the spring/summer sandals cropping up in shops. I may have to pick up a pair or two of work-appropriate sandals for the rest of my pregnancy, as my black sporty flip flops aren't work appropriate!

* Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream. While my psoriasis has all but disappeared {yay!}, I've noticed my skin isn't any less dry, which leads to some tremendously cracked and gross cuticles. I've taken to keeping a pot of this loveliness with me at all times, and I'm loving how I'm not picking at my fingers as much because of it!

* Mentally figuring out my "baby registry". While we don't want or need tons of stuff for this little monster, we still know we'll need a few things! As it's far too soon to start heading to Target to register away {does anyone else have an unhealthy love for their registry gun?!}, we've taken a few trips to the baby section to see what there is to be had. Each time I add to my mental list of "definitely want" or "no way, ever!", hoping that by May or June, when we're ready for the real thing, it'll be as painless as possible.

* Our doctor. She's hilarious to me! I had my first appointment back at my regular OB this week, and when she walked into the room, the first words out of her mouth {after Congrats, of course} were, "Well, now you're just a regular ole pregnant lady, no more special fertility stuff for you!"

Everything is looking normal, and I'm happy to be a regular ole pregnant lady, by the way. Weight gain is normal (I've packed on eight pounds already), my belly is growing normally - despite my husband and I both thinking I look WAY more pregnant than 16 weeks - and when I told her I've been eating oranges and strawberries as snacks, she told me to eat some french fries already!

* The end of tights season! I cannot wait until I can start wearing my boots without tights, and then start rocking sandals shortly after that! It's in the 50's and 60's right now, and I've already ditched my tights over the last few days as often as I can! My pale legs definitely need a bit of sun, that's for sure!



What are some things you're excited for this spring? Any "almost halfway done growing a baby" advice to share?

am a fan: 16 weeks

It won't be long now before Spring is fully in the air, the weather starts to get warmer, and my belly begins to overtake everything I do! Before I hit the half-way mark, we get to enjoy the Husker Spring game, starting to shop for a few little things {including a crib, dresser, and bookshelf!}, and getting outside to take walks around the neighborhood. Until then, here's a few things I've been loving on these past four weeks of pregnancy:  

* Oranges, Oranges, Oranges. I eat at least one a day, sometimes two. We keep buying those big mesh bags full of them at the store, and before Zach can grab even one, they're gone! I've started to joke the baby is going to come out a bit orange colored!  

* Strawberry anything. Milkshakes, popsicles, lip balm, even the real things themselves when I can get my hands on them. I can't wait for spring and summer fruit to show up so I can snag strawberries grown at least a BIT more locally!  

* No more sickies, for the most part. It was amazing - I hit 14 weeks {and the official end of the first trimester}, and it was like I stopped feeling sick almost immediately. I still get the occasional floops when I get to gung-ho brushing my teeth or feel a bit to warm, but other than that, I'm ready to rock and roll!

* Pondering the sandal selection for spring. While I'm normally a boot and sock person through almost June, I'm keenly aware that this year will probably be a bit different! Whenever I feel too warm I get sick, so I'm already checking out the spring/summer sandals cropping up in shops. I may have to pick up a pair or two of work-appropriate sandals for the rest of my pregnancy, as my black sporty flip flops aren't work appropriate!  

* Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream. While my psoriasis has all but disappeared {yay!}, I've noticed my skin isn't any less dry, which leads to some tremendously cracked and gross cuticles. I've taken to keeping a pot of this loveliness with me at all times, and I'm loving how I'm not picking at my fingers as much because of it!  

* Mentally figuring out my "baby registry". While we don't want or need tons of stuff for this little monster, we still know we'll need a few things! As it's far too soon to start heading to Target to register away {does anyone else have an unhealthy love for their registry gun?!}, we've taken a few trips to the baby section to see what there is to be had. Each time I add to my mental list of "definitely want" or "no way, ever!", hoping that by May or June, when we're ready for the real thing, it'll be as painless as possible.  

* Our doctor. She's hilarious to me! I had my first appointment back at my regular OB this week, and when she walked into the room, the first words out of her mouth {after Congrats, of course} were, "Well, now you're just a regular ole pregnant lady, no more special fertility stuff for you!"

Everything is looking normal, and I'm happy to be a regular ole pregnant lady, by the way. Weight gain is normal (I've packed on eight pounds already), my belly is growing normally - despite my husband and I both thinking I look WAY more pregnant than 16 weeks - and when I told her I've been eating oranges and strawberries as snacks, she told me to eat some french fries already!

* The end of tights season! I cannot wait until I can start wearing my boots without tights, and then start rocking sandals shortly after that! It's in the 50's and 60's right now, and I've already ditched my tights over the last few days as often as I can! My pale legs definitely need a bit of sun, that's for sure!



What are some things you're excited for this spring? Any "almost halfway done growing a baby" advice to share?

Mar 16, 2011

for your Wednesday afternoon enjoyment

If you are not a Harry Potter nerd {as I most certainly am} you may not enjoy these quite as much ...

Hog_8 Hog_23 Hog_39 Hog_60 Hog_62 Hog_68 Hog_74 Hog_77 Hog_87 Hog_90 Hog_92 Hog_93 Hog_99 Hog_105 Hog_118 Hog_121 Hog_123 Hog_126a Hog_132 Hog_134 Hog_143 Hog_150

Which one is your favorite? They all come from 150 Things I Am Not Allowed To Do At Hogwarts.

Mar 15, 2011

Favorites: More Knitting Blogs

After posting my first list of favorite knitting blogs I began to look around. Not only did some of you suggest some great knitting blogs I was missing, but I realized just how many great knitting blogs I’d forgotten to mention.

This then, is my version of an apology – a much longer list {less of my “why I love them” and more link love action!} of some of the great knitting-related blogs that are out there. Am I still missing some? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add them next time!

- 100% Rain - A Friend To Knit With - Brokeknits - Chicken Knits - Close Knit - Cosmpicpluto Knits - Dances With Wool - Do Stuff! - Grumperina - Jaknits - Lixie Knits It - Midnightsky Fibers - Never Not Knitting - Olga Jazzy - Silly Little Lady - Stephanie Japel - The Scarlet Knitter - The Stash Basket - The Thrifty Knitter - Through The Loops - Two Left Feet - Vickie Howell - Watch Stephen Knit -

Mar 14, 2011

Simple Knits: Project Linus Blanket

Project linus

Currently on my third installment of the Project Linus Baby Blanket {listed here as the All Purpose Knitted Afghan}, this blanket is one of my favorite things to knit. Three rows, repeated over and over to give the double-sided ripple, make this pattern an easy one to memorize, and with only knits, purls, yarn overs, and knit two togethers forming the bulk of this blanket, it's perfect for even a beginner knitter!

As I've given these blankets away, the response again and again is how much babes love to run their fingers on and through the stitches. The texture is perfect for little ones growing and exploring their worlds, making this blanket an instant favorite with every new mom I've shared a Project Linus blanket with!

Over the next few years, I'm excited to make these in different yarns so I can donate these blankets to charity as well as gift them to friends with new babes - consider casting it on for your next big project for sure!

Mar 11, 2011

Knit Along With Me: Shauna Cowl

Thanks to some great reading I’ve been doing the last few days, I’ve set up a group on Ravelry for fans of this blog and my patterns. To help kick things off in a fun way, I’ve set up a knit-along!

Shauna

Beginning March 15th, we’ll be spending a month knitting up the Shauna Cowl together – sharing pattern notes, yarn suggestions, and photos of our gorgeous finished knits!

The Shauna Cowl is a great spring knit to add to your wardrobe – while the weather is warming up, nights can get a bit chilly, and you never know who’s already turning their air conditioning on.

If you’re already a Ravelry member, joining up with the group is simple – click on this Minimalist Knitters Group link and then click the “join this group” button in the right-hand corner.

Not a Ravelry member? Head to Ravelry’s Home Page and get yourself signed up! It’s free, helps you track your finished knits, your yarn stash, and save patterns – plus there’s thousands of groups you can join, helping you connect with likeminded knitters and those in your area!

We all cast on our Shauna Cowls this Tuesday, so you’ve got a few days to get signed up, pick your yarn out of your stash, and join in on the fun!

Mar 10, 2011

five hour baby sweater

Five hour sweater

Pattern: Five-Hour Baby Sweater, by Gail Bable

Yarn: I Love This Yarn! from Hobby Lobby, 1/2 skein

Needles: size 10 bamboo circular 16"

Simple skill sets required for this project include: casting on, knitting, purling, M1 {make one}, kfb {knit into the front and back}, slip stitch for crochet, binding off.

My second baby Devine knit flew off the needles just as quickly as the Kanoko Pants, and again was a pattern I've used over and again as gift knitting. It's fun to start using these patterns for my own little one, and remind myself how much I've loved knitting these items for others in the process.

This free sweater pattern is billed as a boy sweater pattern, as there is a lacier girl version, but I've always just used this one for boys or girls. For me, the neutral nature of this sweater is made girlie or more masculine based more on the yarn color used, and in this case was no exception.

Our little monster will be born just in time for the first Husker game of the season hopefully, and so he or she definitely needs some Husker gear to rock as the fall weather hits. Hence, this bright red sweater, the first baby Husker sweater to enter our home!

Sometimes when I make this sweater I work in a button band, but in this case I knit the sweater as-is, no buttons on either side. I know I'll knit this sweater again for our little monster in the coming months and will most likely add in a button band then, but for this sweater I followed the pattern exactly as written, and couldn't be happier!

Time and again I say this is a perfect "first sweater" for new knitters - very little shaping, no using DPNs for the sleeves, and because it's so small you don't have time to get super frustrated with it! The instructions are clear as can be, and once you get the hang of it, you truly can knit it in five hours or less!

for a few more details, check out my Ravelry project page, and check out my Flickr set for a few more photos}

Mar 9, 2011

oh, and a giveaway!

I'm super excited to be part of a great giveaway today on Love, Elycia! I'm offering up $20 towards your purchase of anything from my Etsy shop! Head on over to her blog to enter to win ... but hurry, because the giveaway ends March 17th!

Knitting For Baby: The Pattern List Part Two

Wool box


Whew! Now that I've shared the patterns I already knew I wanted to knit, based on previous baby knitting experience, I knew I wanted to add a few new patterns to the mix as well. As our little monster will be born in September, there will be many months of cold weather during his or her first year, leaving plenty of chances to dress the babe in hand-knits!

Thanks to Ravelry, I was able to start queueing up quite a few adorable and functional patterns that should be finished in no time at all! Here's the list of patterns I've never used, but am excited to give a whirl:

Baby Yoda Sweater {Ravelry link}. I've seen several moms wrap their babes in sweaters of this variety, and this free pattern seems like the way to go!

Yellow Wiggles. There will be tons of cold weather days, and so sweaters seem like a great idea to knit. This raglan sweater has super simple directions, making it a good winter knit!

Knitted Yarn Ball. Every babe needs a few handmade toys, and these knitted balls seem ideal! I can use up remnants of my yarn stash and whip up some toxin-free, plastic-free toys in a jiff!

Baby Leg Warmers, pattern one. So many of the leg warmer patterns out there are knit on size 3 needles - far too small for my liking! This pattern uses worsted weight yarn and size 8 needles, which is just about perfect for me!

Baby Leg Warmers, pattern two. These use sport-weight yarn, but still knit up on size 5 needles, which measn they'll work wonderfully during the first few months!

Not queued up yet - baby booties. I'm unsure of these. While I know I'll probably love them com winter-time, I think I'll wait and see how big these baby feet get before I start making them. For the first few months I'd like to let him/her rock the bare feet as much as possible.

I know I'm missing tons of great free/for sale downloadable patterns - while I'm trying to steer clear of buying knitting books, I'm all about knowing what other pattern suggestions you may have!

Mar 8, 2011

while on retreat ...

Over the weekend I spent time with nine other lovely ladies (many of whom are family) in a glorious cabin just down the way from where most of us live. A retreat set up for quilters, we used it for the weekend for scrapbooking, card-making, knitting, crochet, and so much more!



 Table

Apples

Tray



I didn't take enough photos of the cabin itself, but did snap a few shots of some of my favorite bits - the super long table that sat the 10 of us with plenty of room to spare, the gorgeous bowl full of apples, and this adorable tray I wanted to take for our little one's room {I can picture it on the dresser holding diapers, wipes, and so much more}!

Friday knitting

Fourteen weeks




I got tons of knitting done - three finished projects, and one about 2/3 done in just 48 hours - and can't wait to share photos throughout this week and next!

I also managed to snap a shot of my 14-week belly, which has decided to make its presence known. When Megan showed up, whom I saw just two weeks ago, she exclaimed "Robyn, look at how pregnant you are now!" How fun!

We're hoping to do this on a quarterly basis, retreat to the cabin to craft and spend time with one another. If you have the chance to do something similar, I highly recommend it!

kanoko pants, the first

Kanoko 3


Pattern: Kanoko Pants, by Yumiko Sakurai

Yarn: Lion Brand Woolease in Aloe, one full skein used

Needles: Size 7 bamboo 16" circular needles, size 7 bamboo DPNs

Simple skill sets required for this project include: cast on, bind off, knit in the round, knitting, purling, 2x2 ribbing, seed stitch, knitting on DPNs {double pointed needles}.

I'm finally ready to start knitting some items for the littlest Devine! First off the needles are my favorite of all baby pants, the free Kanoko Pants pattern.

I've knit this pattern at least three other times for other babies, and each time I fall a little bit more in love with it. The simple shaping allows extra room for a diapered bum, the patten is sized for the smallest of babes up to almost toddlers {which I will take full advantage of in the years to come} and works up fast enoguh for me to complete in one days' knitting time!

This time around I used a wool-blend yarn instead of acrylic like I've used in the past. Knowing our babe will be born in September, and before we blink the temps will begin dipping, I wanted to make sure I had some pants that had a bit of wooly love worked into them. Woolease is perfect for this, as the yarn is washable, and the pants are small enough that even a line dry won't have them off babe's legs for long!

I currently have big plans to make several more pair of the smaller size, all in gender neutral colors. I'd love to have several pairs in shades of greys to help tone down the inevitable pink or blue palatte we'll be assaulted with as we find out if this is a boy or girl baby. As I'm not a huge fan of pastels in general, I'm hoping some neutral colored knits will help tone down the pastel bomb that's about to go off!

{for a few more details, check out my Ravelry project page, and visit the Flickr set for a few more photos}

Mar 7, 2011

and the winner is ...

Thanks to those of you who participated in my Feburary knit-along! It was such great fun to knit and crochet along with all of you, and I'm so excited so many little baby heads will now be kept warm thanks to our efforts!
 
The winner of the Amazon Gift Card is ...
 
Kd hats 
Kmcklemurry said...
What fun I had with this project! I finished ten little hats and want to make lots more!
Katie crocheted up 10 little hats to donate, and all are adorable! Check out her Ravelry page for more shots and a few notes! Katie, I'll be e-mailing you your gift card - if you don't get it by the end of the day, e-mail me at rmcdevine@gmail.com to let me know!

Simple Knits: Mustard Scarf

Mustard scarf


My love of Jane Richmond's patterns are well documented, both on this blog and in my Ravelry account. I think she may have hit paydirt with the Mustard Scarf pattern, which gleefully costs a mere $3.50 through her Etsy shop.

I've knit the Mustard Scarf up several times - once as a gift and several other times for charity, and each time I'm thrown by the ease of the stitch pattern, and how quickly it knits up. Worsted weight yarn, size 15 needles, and just around 2 hours, and you've got yourself a small scarf to button around your neck year-round.

Made longer, this scarflette transforms easily into a full-length scarf to keep the winter chill away, but at the written shorter length, I'd wear this baby out and about in both spring and fall as well!

Mar 4, 2011

Weekly Wind-Up: Inspiration, Simplifying E-mail, and Adorable Nurseries

What a busy week! So many fun things happening around the internet, several great knitting projects shared, and now I'm off on a fun ladies-only retreat for the weekend while the husband clocks some home improvement time like a champ!

While you settle into your weekend, here's some links that have made me smile this week:
Rest

 {image from my smiling heart}

* God Of Love won an Oscar, and it was one of the sweet moments of the night. Check out a trailer thanks to Cup Of Jo.

* Over the weekend, Megan of Princess Lasertron shared her thoughts on taking inspiration from others without copying their work. Great thoughts!

* According to Shim, everything looks better when it's been re-packaged. I tend to agree with her after checking out the swap package she sent!

* Liz shares how she simplified her e-mail, thanks to folders, permission to press delete, and scheduled check-in times. Good stuff!

* Glorious guest post at Superhero Journal, reminding us that there is beauty and wonder in every little thing.

* Maggie Mason is going through some serious life upheavel right now, but in the midst of it all, she's sharing how she's finding her center again, and giving herself permission to find joy in her days. Perfection.

* I love James' post detailing her littlest babe's nursery, even if it is a few months old. Gemma's room is around the same size as our little monster's future room, and her photos and thoughts have given me TONS of inspiration!

* I'm loving the different foyer designs featured on sfgirlbybay. We've got a gorgeous foyer in our 100-year-old house, complete with a built-in bench, and once all our renovations are done I'll get to trick it out with pillows, a pretty mirror, and no saw dust!

* My husband LOVES chocolate peanut butter cups. So much so I'm thinking of trying this recipe out - I think even I can manage it!

* Scoutie Girl interviewed a couple of super-creative mamas - loving what they have to say about being creative while also being a full-time at home mama.

* Gorgeous {and simple!} sewn quilt from ISLY, perfect for a teeny little boy!

* The ladies of Red Velvet made Fight Club chocolate bars!

“People first. Dogs second. Things last.” ~ Nate Berkus

Mar 3, 2011

Stacked Eyelet Cowl

Owl cowl 
Pattern: Stacked Eyelet Cowl, by Ami Madison

Yarn: Naturally Caron in Spa

Needles: Size 6 bamboo circular needle with 16" cable

Back in early January I committed to knitting two baby blankets and a cowl for the Harry Potter Knit And Crochet House Cup - a group on Ravelry themed after Harry Potter, complete with classes, challenges, badges and so much more to keep my little geek heart happy.

Yes, I realize this makes me a gaming nerd. I'm comfortable with it.

I had intended to knit up a different cowl for my Transfiguration OWL {what these three completed projects will earn me}, but could not for the life of me get it to work out. So I hopped onto Ravelry and found a pretty little cowl I could add a simple picot edging to - the Stacked Eyelet Cowl won easily!

A free pattern with super simple instructions, once I finally got working on it the cowl took just a few days of evening television time to complete.

Simple skill sets required for this cowl are: casting on, knitting in the round, yarn over (YO), knit two together (k2tog), and binding off.

My only issue with this cowl was in my yarn choice. In an attempt to clear out some of my yarn stash, I've been knitting from what I've got as much as possible. That meant using yarn I'd never tried before, which had been gifted to me in the past. While the yarn feels amazing to the touch both on the skein and once knitted up, the acrylic/bamboo mix splits quite often, making it easy to lose part of your stitch, and makes weaving in ends quite a little nightmare. For someone wanting a more natural yarn blend, this might be a great choice, but for me it wasn't a favorite.

Final Thoughts? I'd knit this pattern up again in a heart-beat. The yarn, not so much.

Stacked Eyelet Cowl

Owl cowl 
Pattern: Stacked Eyelet Cowl, by Ami Madison
 
Yarn: Naturally Caron in Spa
 
Needles: Size 6 bamboo circular needle with 16" cable

Back in early January I committed to knitting two baby blankets and a cowl for the Harry Potter Knit And Crochet House Cup - a group on Ravelry themed after Harry Potter, complete with classes, challenges, badges and so much more to keep my little geek heart happy.

Yes, I realize this makes me a gaming nerd. I'm comfortable with it.

I had intended to knit up a different cowl for my Transfiguration OWL {what these three completed projects will earn me}, but could not for the life of me get it to work out. So I hopped onto Ravelry and found a pretty little cowl I could add a simple picot edging to - the Stacked Eyelet Cowl won easily!

A free pattern with super simple instructions, once I finally got working on it the cowl took just a few days of evening television time to complete.

Simple skill sets required for this cowl are: casting on, knitting in the round, yarn over (YO), knit two together (k2tog), and binding off.

My only issue with this cowl was in my yarn choice. In an attempt to clear out some of my yarn stash, I've been knitting from what I've got as much as possible. That meant using yarn I'd never tried before, which had been gifted to me in the past. While the yarn feels amazing to the touch both on the skein and once knitted up, the acrylic/bamboo mix splits quite often, making it easy to lose part of your stitch, and makes weaving in ends quite a little nightmare. For someone wanting a more natural yarn blend, this might be a great choice, but for me it wasn't a favorite.

Final Thoughts? I'd knit this pattern up again in a heart-beat. The yarn, not so much.

Mar 2, 2011

The Knit-Along Is Done!

Charity hats


A day late, but here are the final hats I finished for the February knit-along. You'll notice they look strangely similar to the previous hat photo? That's because I didn't finish any more ... sheesh!

I'm super excited to see links to the hats you've all gotten finished - remember, you have to link your hats in THIS POST in order to qualify for the Amazon gift card giveaway, and the comments on this post will close on March 5th around 6pm CST, and then I will randomly choose a winner, to be announced next Monday.

Mar 1, 2011

Welcome, March!

Clovers
Welcome to March! I’m excited for this month for so many reasons – the eventual break of winter cold usually happens in March, heading off on a crafty retreat this weekend, huge knitting plans in store, a friend’s baby shower, and so much more!

To celebrate, I’m changing a few things up on the blog … I know, I know, I always seem to be doing that! But if we’re not constantly growing and stretching, then we get stagnant and become irrelevant, even to ourselves!

This month I plan to: wrap up the Essential Patterns series with a binder tutorial and the last few patterns; start sharing my favorite minimalist and crafty-related links each week in the new Weekly Wind-Up {look for it to begin this Friday}; put the finishing touches on the baby shower gifts for my friend and share them with you; bake some cupcakes from an old family recipe; finally get the office in hand and share some {hopefully} finished photos with you; kick-start my baby knitting for the little monster!

With such a busy month, you can look forward to tons of great craft projects, along with several planned articles on simplifying your knitting life and even your knitting needles, some patterns that use up those leftover remnants of yarn, a few more blog favorites to share, and another charity spotlight!



Love the clovers I’m holding in the photo above? I made those over the weekend using some stash green yarn and a size H crochet hook. The pattern is a free one from Lion Brand, and each clover took me around 15 minutes to whip up! {see my Ravelry page for project notes}