Dec 5, 2012

Rounded - Free Pattern

I wanted to create something that could be made quickly and easily modified.  This pattern is fast and relatively easy.  The name of the pattern is "Rounded".  I realize that it's not very imaginative, but I used up all that energy in the design phase.

It can be used in many different size yarns and hooks to get different size “motifs”. With a worsted weight yarn and ‘I’ Hook, I made something big enough to be a trivet or a dishcloth.

I have editted this pattern myself, so if there are any errors, please send me a note and I will correct the pattern.

In the attached photo, I have used two different color yarns, but this is not included in the pattern, as I did this more for a tutorial effect. I think it makes it easier to see the different rounds.

PDF Download

Ravelry Link

Dec 4, 2012

Another Cowl FO - GREAT Pattern

Just popping in quick (as I'm in the midst of packing up my home) to let you all know about a great pattern that I came across on Ravelry.  It's crochet (so much faster than knitting), FREE (!!), and really easy.  If you're in need of a last minute gift for Christmas or just in general, this is perfect.  It took me, literally, two hours (I crochet fast).

One more thing, if I have some time today, I will release my new pattern.  It's free and pretty easy to whip up as a nice gift for someone, last minute.

Pattern: Catesby Three-Hour Cowl by Kathryn Jones
Yarn: Red Heart Super Save Economy in Sandy Print
Hook: K Hook
Made for: Etsy Store
Notes: This cowl was super easy and super fast.  I think I can churn out some of these for my Etsy store.  My only caveat is to not use a worsted acrylic, only because it doesn't drape well enough.  I'm thinking a larger hook (with less chaining) to get the drape.  One more thing, it's written in British terms (this is well noted in the pattern).

Dec 2, 2012

FO - Cowls Galore - Etsy

I have a bunch of FOs to share.  I've been a very busy knitter lately.  I've made two Honey Cowls (awesome, awesome pattern) and a Sleet Cowl (easy but SLOW going).

They are all listed in my Etsy shop and I'm hoping, with the holiday season, I'll get a few sales.

Pattern: Honey Cowl
Yarn : Top - Crystal Palace Yarns Mini Mochi (Color: Jungle)
            Bottom - Jo-Ann Sensations Bamboo & Ewe Pattern ( Color: Purp/Blk Pattern)
Needle : US8/5.0mm
Made for : My Etsy Shop
Ravelry Project Page

Pattern : Sleet
Yarn : Premier Yarns Serenity Sock Weight
Needle : US6/4.0mm & US10/6.0mm
Made for : My Etsy Shop

Ravelry Project Page

Nov 27, 2012

Homebuying, Landlord-ing, Etsy, & Ears

As per my usual, there are plenty of things keeping me occupied outside of my career (which is busy enough).

We have been trying to sell our home since March of this year, without a scrap of luck. We haven't even had anyone come for a second showing. Well, we pulled our home off the market and got ourselves a we need to move out by December 15th. My immediate thought, each time my brain circles back to it, YIKES, DECEMBER 15TH !!!! Should be an interesting next few weeks. Luckily, my in-laws are kind enough to let us stay with them while we put all of our "stuff" into a POD (so cool). We are set to close, on our new house, just after the new year, so, fingers crossed ya'll.

In other news, I've been frantically knitting/crocheting to get some stock in my Etsy store. I've decided to get a bit more serious about my crafty life, since I enjoy it so much and it costs me a pile quite a bit of money. I figure, if I can just earn a few bucks to suplement my burgeoning desire to purchase yarn and patterns, then I won't feel so guilty. I have a few things, but I've been too busy to take photos and put up listings, so wish me luck to get this sh-tuff done.

Finally, the ears. My 6 month old son has caught an ear infection. He is miserable. You know what that means, it's simple math really. Baby misery^3 = Mommy misery

Be back soon, folks.

Nov 7, 2012

TOMS Shoes Review - Fashionable AND Comfortable

Disclaimer: I did not recieve any type of incentive to write this review.

There are many good things that I can say about this company, but I suppose, the most important concern that you have when purchasing shoes, is comfort.  I know many people may say look, style, etc....but in reality, if your feet hurt you're probably going to be grouchy (some people would say that MY shoes, never are comfy).

TOMS shoes are very comfy.  I can speak for a few of their styles, as I have purchased many pairs of TOMS shoes.  Currently, I'm wearing the desert wedges (at work) and they are so comfortable, that I don't even feel like I'm wearing a heel.  Also, my feet are quite snug and relatively warm in there, even with just thin trouser socks.  I have also purchased their wedges (peep toe variety) and their "classics" style shoe (which is my absolute favorite).

Now, let me talk a little about why they are so great.  When you buy a pair of their shoes, they donate a pair to a child in need.  So, you get a great pair of shoes, that are relatively stylish, and really comfortable, AND you're donating to a good cause.  Who doesn't love that with just simple shopping, you can do something good (other than for your closet)?

Here is where you can read a little bit about their cause.

Ok, onto the best part of all this.  They are offering free shipping.  Yes, that's right.  I love me some free shipping.  I wait for this, just to order their shoes (yeah I'm cheap thrifty, like that).

So, head on over and just check them out.  Even if you don't like anything now, they are always innovating and updating, so keep an eye on them.  Also, they do make other products, but as I've only bought shoes, I can't speak on the quality or style of them.

I'm off to buy a pair of shoes.

Nov 2, 2012

Sock Yarn Extravaganza

Hurricane Sandy came through and left me without power for about 3 days, but I'm back now and ready to blog.  We had some minor damage here (in Langhorne, PA) thankfully, nothing too terrible.  We have to replant my poor uprooted butterfly bush and put up some fencing that has come down.  The howling wind was really unsettling and we retreated to my in-laws because they have a gas stove and a fireplace.  It got quite chilly after the storm passed and not having heat isn't fun when you have a 5 month old baby.  I have this to help me feel better though.

Sock yarn time.  I have to confess, that I have some strange obsession with buying sock yarn.  I have no desire, AT ALL, to actually make any socks.  Oh, how I enjoy irony.  To see the extent of my crazy sock yarn love, click here to see my stash on Ravelry (sign up required).  I know it doesn't seem overly excessive, but it really really is.  I mean, I don't plan to EVER make any socks...

This leaves me with a bit of a dilemma.  But, thanks to Ravelry, there are, literally, tens of thousands of ideas.  Here are a few projects that I've completed.  The last one is still in progress.

Oct 27, 2012

Pattern Release : Flakey Scarflette Pattern

I've finally edited, photographed, and PDF'd my new pattern.

It's a scarflette that can be held with a button or a pin.  I created it with a raised snowflake design, just in time for the holidays and winter.

Here are a few pictures. 

Pattern Link: Ravelry


Oct 26, 2012

iPad2 Review

I disappeared from here again.  Life can be hectic and brain numbing as a new mom.

Here is my reward for being a mom.

I'm still working on a pattern to release, but I haven't yet decided whether to sell it or offer it for free.  I will say that it's a scarflette and that it will be perfect for the holiday and winter times.  Here's a sneak peek (sorry for the not so great cell phone pic).

Now it's product review time.  I will include links below.

I recently (and buy recent, I mean about 8 weeks ago), purchased an iPad2.  I very much debated purchasing one.  They are expensive and, in my  mind, not overly practical.  My objective was to try and decide between a laptop or a tablet, then once I decided on the tablet, I wanted one I knew that people use and love.  Everyone that I asked about the iPad, loves it.  I read a few more reviews, because I still had to decide which iPad to buy.  For my purposes, I did not need a better screen resolution or any of the other minor upgrades for the "new iPad", and I decided on the iPad2.

So far, it is extremely useful.  I use it ALL THE TIME.  My only caveat to the otherwise utter bliss that I feel with this device, is, that it's not useful for blogging.  Here is where I made a mistake. 

I belabored over a case to purchase.  I had only one requirement; it had to be a 360 rotation case, so that I could prop my iPad vertical or horizontal without removing it from the case.  I discarded the idea of a keyboard as they are quite expensive and they can scratch the screen, unless you buy protectors, which would be even more money.  So, I purchased the best case in the world (I really do love it), but I really wish I had gone with one that includes a keyboard.  Now I'm scouring Amazon, trying to find one that is affordable, but also good.  Any suggestions are welcome !!!

Be back soon.

Oct 18, 2012

No 'Poo' III

I never realized that having an infant would take so much time.  I mean, I knew, consciously that he would be a lot of work and my free time would sharply decrease, but I didn't realize the brain drain that would also occur.  My hat is off to Mom bloggers because it's a lot harder than you might think.

Now, onto the real reason for this post:

No "Poo" Update III

I have to confess, that I quit this about two weeks ago...

I really had problems with build-up in my hair and I could not solve whatever was causing the issue.

My roots would look great, but about half way down my hair length, it would be sticky and clumped together.  It was even difficult to get a comb or brush through.  Also, I would pull off a sticky, white film as I combed/brushed, that I could not even remove from the implement.  I really did try.  I tried different ratios of baking soda (BS), I tried skipping the BS solution and just using Apple Cider Vinegar/Water to moisturize.  Nothing seemed to work.  What a disappointment, honestly.  People claimed to have such great results. 

 The other thing that kind of changed my mind was that my hair was falling out...a this could be a consequence of being postpartum (4.5 months), but I'll tell you, I got a little nervous.  I don't have thick, luscious hair, and I greedily, hold onto every strand.

Either way, now I no longer am no 'poo' and maybe at some point in the future, if I come across a solution to my sticky hair, then I will try all over again....

Oct 8, 2012

Rowan Newsletter - October 2012

Hey, just wanted to pop in and point you towards the Rowan Newsletter.
You have to sign up to recieve it, but it's usually pretty interesting, as it discusses their yarn lines, free patterns, and general knit or crochet topics.

Defnitely, check it out.  Why not have a little more yarn-ee goodness in your day, especially when it's free?

Click Here to sign up. 
If you sign up, you also have access to their free patterns and forums.

Oct 2, 2012

Being a Mommy - Parenting Post

Disclaimer: I am, by no means, a professional in terms of psychology, doctoring, or even giving advice.  My intent is to only share my trials, tribulations, and experiments in Mommy-dom.

I enjoy my son and all of the new experiences, good or bad that come our way.  I spend a lot of time trying to make sure that he's growing and progressing towards his milestones, properly. 

This brings us to my first observation.

1.  Despite the fact that Ethan is a preemie with a 4 week adjusted age, he does not seem to fall on any particular scale that will give a rating of "normal".  He doesn't exactly fit into the profile of a 3 month old (adjusted age) or a 4 month old (actual age).  I worry all the time that he will somehow have a disadvantage or an issue because of his early arrival.  It's even more anxiety-inducing when you see other children around the same age and they appear to be doing "better" than your child.  Try not to fret too much over what other people's children are doing; because more than likely, you're doing a very fine job.

This leads very nicely to another observation that I had and one that I'm afraid, I'm also guilty of.

2.  People will brag and talk up what their child is doing.  The most challenging thing about this is, it can feel like a rather passive aggressive judgement on your child.  This one has two points.  Firstly, it's important to be proud of your little tyke, and to share this pride with others, unfortunately, it can be a bit overwhelming for parents of a child who is not meeting milestones.  It can even begin to feel like a contest.  Your baby is not in a contest with any other baby, at least as long as you're not entering them, literally, into contests.  Secondly, as a parent who sometimes feels like everything is a competition, try to remember, IT IS NOT A COMPETITION.  I think it's necessary to make sure that you're not taking someone elses pride in a way that it's not intended.

3.  There is not a rule book.  I feel that this is the most annoying stumbling block to being a parent.  There are almost too many resources at your fingertips.  Websites, Pediatricians, hospitals, other parents, "retired" parents (children are all grown and gone), books, news reports, and people without any experience at all are all willing and happy to share their advice and judgements with you.  Unfortunately, there isn't one single resource that is 100%, absolutely correct.  I find that, even amongst Pediatricians there is disagreement around all of the various parental hotspots and faux pas.  It even feels like Science and research do not really agree.  It's a potential minefield of guilt, doubt, and insanity.  It seems, so far, that taking all of the various information into account and then mashing them together works fairly well for me.

These observations are merely meant to show my personal experience with having a baby and wandering through

I think that I will try and post more regulary about this whole parenting gig and I will also do my best to be more specific, as I figure things out.  For example, my son has learned to roll over onto his stomach, from his back, unfortunately for my sleep duration, he has not learned to roll back.  This means that he squirms, wiggles, and grunts himself onto his side and then his belly before waking up with an angry wail.  I have tried propping him against the side of his crib.  This does not work, as he just tries to roll and then smacks his little noggin, repeatedly against the bars.  Then I tried to put him to sleep on his belly.  This sort of worked, but it's a WIP (work in progress) for now.  I will update with little events such as these for your reading pleasure, my own tracking system, and maybe even for a sense of comfort for other parents with these same silly, but very real struggles.

Sep 30, 2012

Ripple Baby Blanket - Baby Madison

I completed this project a little while ago.  I wanted to make sure I had it finished before my little niece was born.  I just made it; she came a few weeks early, but luckily her blanket was DONE.

This pattern was simple and makes a really great design.  It blocked out so well and added a new take on the typical chevron.

Pattern: Ripple Baby Blanket
Yarn:  Mill Ends - similar to Caron Simply Soft
Hook: I Hook / 5.5mm
Made For:  Madison Skylar

Ravelry Project Page

Sep 28, 2012

FO - Silk Ishbel - Fertig, finito, DONE

I really should have finished this sooner, but having a baby takes up quite a bit of time.  I'm terrified to find out what it will be like with more than one.

So here she is....unblocked:

Blocked (soooo much better):

Pattern: Ishbel
Yarn: 100% Silk DK Weight
Needles: US 7 / 4.5mm
Made For: Unsure
Notes:  I love, love, love this yarn.  The pattern was great, pretty easy to follow, and produces a fabulous  product.  I wish I had better pictures that showed off the sheen of the silk.  For more details (like how I messed up the pattern) check out my Ravelry Project Page.

Few more pictures:

Sep 25, 2012

Update: Silk Ishbel, Granny Stripe Blanket, and Life

I've been chugging along on Ishbel, a great pattern written by a very talented designer, Ysolda Teague. I mentioned this project briefly, here.

I'm using the 100% silk DK weight yarn that I reviewed.  I really like this yarn....A LOT.  I also really like this pattern a lot.  Although I totally missed reading a portion, and skipped part of the shawl....absolutely my fault, I soldiered on, and so far, I'm happy with the results.  Here is my Ravelry Project Page.  I'm much further along than what is in this picture, but I really wanted to show off the yarn a bit.

I was making fabulous progress on my Granny Stripe Monster Blanket, but now that it's quite large, it's relegated as a "couch" project.  AKA, I can only work on it while I'm at home, sitting on my tokhes.  I don't have any new pictures yet, but it's about twice the size as the last time I posted.  It's at about 600g of yarn and 1000 yards.  You can view more details here and here.

My son, Ethan, is now 3.75 months old and time is flying past.  I try and live in the moment, but life can be very distracting, especially when you are sleep deprived and cranky.

Here he is, in all his 3-month-old glory.

Lastly, I've joined Goodreads, so come check me out over there.  I read a whole lot slower now (the baby udpate slows down my hard drive), but I like this site, as well as Shelfari, to keep track of my books.  I will probably decommission my shelfari site, as I find it difficult to navigate, but I like how it keeps track of anthologies, so we shall see.

I'll be back soon to update my hair experiment, show off my hopefully, completed Ishbel, and maybe, share a free pattern.

Sep 20, 2012

No 'Poo' II

As of today, I'm at about 5 weeks into a regimen of baking soda / water and apple cider vinegar (ACV) / water to clean and condition my hair. 
My google research indicates that it takes about 6-12 weeks for your scalp to acclimate its oil production.  It seems that I'm a bit more oily than I'd like, but my biggest issue so far, seems to be some kind of buildup in the length of my hair. 
For a few weeks, I thought it was due to the ACV, but I'm beginning to suspect that I'm not washing out the baking soda mixture, properly.

There are a few tips that I've collected that might help with the buildup. 

1.  Currently, I use a mix of water and baking soda, but I think I will try using the "paste" method.  This includes 1 tablespoon of baking soda in your hand which you mix with a bit of water and massage onto your wet roots.
2.  Brush my hair until the buildup is gone (sebum or baking soda).
3.  Using a stronger ACV solution to clean out the buildup (doubled ACV) and combing in the shower.
4.  Coconut Oil on the ends (they are getting a bit dry) when wet, without rinsing.

I found a site that has a great explanation and that doesn't really lean towards granola-crunchiness (this makes me happy).  The Eco Cat Lady.

Sep 19, 2012

Happy New Year & New Knitty Issue

Firstly, Happy New Year to all (even if you're not Jewish) !

Secondly, the new issue of Knitty is up!

All new patterns, designed by very talented people and giveaways (yay)!
I have a few favorites, one of which is way too complicated (fair isle is waaaay out of my league).
I refuse to give away too many details here, so head on over and check out the new patterns and all of the other goodies that the Knitty publishers have put together for us.

Sep 14, 2012

Granny Stripe Blanket - Part I

I can no longer resist the pull of the Granny Stripe Blanket. 

I've long disliked the traditional granny square.  The only time I can tolerate it's wonky, square-like shape, is when they stay small and are pieced together.  Otherwise, they grow into an enormous, crooked, wavy piece of fabric....ick! 

Despite my burgeoning granny square boycott, I just love the look of the double crochet clusters.  They always remind me of little flower buds.  And, I've been admiring the look of this blanket for ages.

Now onto my newest project. 

The pattern was designed by one of my favorite bloggers.  Whenever I head over to my blog reader, I hope that she has posted something new.  She is Lucy, from Attic24.

I've discussed her before on this blog, and if you haven't gone there yet to check out her space, then I strongly urge you to do so.  By far, my favorite aspect of her designs, is her color palette.  She appears to be a genius when it comes to color selection.

Granny Stripe Blanket - direct link / ravelry link
My Ravelry Project Page

I plan to make the blanket long enough to lay vertically on my bed, instead of the traditional horizontal layout. 

I chained 300 and the blanket measures at about 95" long.  This blanket will be a monster when it's complete.  I chained and did the first row in a larger hook, as I crochet so tightly.

I didn't want to do it exactly as the pattern states. The pattern has you changing colors every two rows. My modification is to change colors on every row. The biggest drawback to this, is the fact that I will have, what feels like, one million ends to weave in....

Sep 1, 2012

Dizzy Sheep Spin-Off

The Dizzy Sheep is having a "Spin-Off".  Each hour they have a new offer. 

I love this site and have ordered many things from there.  They have pretty great deals and the shipping is only $1, no matter how much you spend. 

So head on over and check it out.  I will, personally, be hitting refresh every hour on the hour for most of this weekend. 

Enjoy !

Aug 29, 2012

No 'Poo'...(nothing gruesome, promise)

I promised that I wouldn't share anything overtly gross, and I will stick to it, but if you're really crazy about hand washing or scared of dirt, then maybe this post will give you the creepy-crawlies.

I have decided to try the 'no-poo' treatment for my hair.

Some quick details about my "physique":
  • 11 Weeks post-partum
  • NOT breastfeeding 
  • Straight hair, thin shaft, lots of it
  • PCOS - not on birth control 
Since I stopped taking birth control, my hair has been a mess.  Then I got pregnant and all during my pregnancy, I kept waiting for the "beautiful, glossy, perfect" never came (same goes for stronger nails....pfft). 
Over the past two years, I've tried numerous, fancy, organic, magical, and miraculous hair products, all to no avail.  Mostly, this is due to my PCOS (and probably my genetics).  What really tipped me off to my hair of nast was when I got my hair cut and blow-dried at a salon.  I walked out with my hair still looking somewhat limp, cruddy, and dry.

I had been reading many "raw" and vegan articles and blogs, and I came across the 'no-poo' experiment.
Loving it Raw is a site that has some "recipes" and progress photos.  Nature Moms discusses some of the chemicals found in haircare products and a how-to. 
I'm not worried about the various chemicals, more, I'm tired of store bought stuff that doesn't add anything special and costs me lots of $$$$$$.

It's been 2 weeks, and my hair is finally losing that slightly sticky film that forms near the roots when you first start the change.  Some sites suggest transitioning if you can't deal with having yucky hair, but as I'm a ponytail devotee, it was smooth sailing (mostly) for me.
I use baking soda/water for cleansing and white vinegar/water for moisturizing.  I make the mixtures in a mason jar and put them in a spray bottle for easy application in the shower.  I'm currently investigating deep conditioning, and leave in conditioner "recipes" that will improve the texture and shine.

My hair does not smell dirty or like vinegar, it's relatively easy to comb through, my hair is soft, and the ends do not feel dry and/or frizzy. 
Overall, I plan to stick with this regimen and see where it takes me.

Aug 28, 2012

Yarn Review - 100% Silk DK Weight - ColourMart

Despite my apparent laziness, when it comes to my blog, anyway, I think I will review some yarns here.  It will help me to keep track of my thoughts on the various yarns that comprise the millions of pounds in my stash.

The first yarn that I'd like to review is one that I'm currently knitting into an Ishbel Shawl
My Project Page

It's called "100% Silk DK Weight" and its sold by ColourMart (a UK based site with fabulous yarn).  I paid about $22 for a "skein" and that is quite a value for a 100% silk yarn.

Weight: 150g
Yardage: 540yds
Fiber: 100% silk

Ravelry Page

I use this particular picture because you can see the beautiful sheen.  This yarn is actually that shiny.
Although it's not soft, as silk is not overly "soft", it does work up very well.  No splitting or knotting, as it slides very nicely through your hands.  It's rather slippery at first, but you quickly get used to it.
The colorway that I purchased, was 'Stainless' and it very much resembles a shiny, silvery coin.

FO - Summer Solstice Mystery KAL

Although I finished this shawl in the very beginning of August, I felt I should add some pretty photos and a post to this blog.

Pattern: Summer Solstice Mystery Shawl KAL 2012
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Silky Merino (Topaz 332) - 2.5 skeins
Needles: US-6 & US-8
Made for: Me
Notes:  For technical notes, please see my Ravelry Project Page.  As for the pattern, it was a fun knit.  I never felt bored or like I was slogging through any parts of it.  What I think was sort of interesting about this, is that I found many different ways to block it.  If you browse through the projects section (which I always do before I make something) you can see the many different results for the very same shawl.

This is a close up of the pretty.  I think that even this yarn was a tiny bit busy for the pattern, but it still came out quite lovely.  If you decide to make this yarn, don't go too dark or light and try to keep the yarn more solid to semi-solid, otherwise the pattern does get swallowed up.

These pictures were taken with my new camera, the Nikon 5100 DSLR.


I'm seriously in love with this thing.  It's relatively easy to use and although it's bulkier, obviously, than a point-and-shoot, it takes fabulous photos.  I'm still learning all the functions AND I'm debating to take a class on learning even more.  I think that this camera is good for the casual user as well as a serious (non-professional) photographer.  I was not compensated for mentioning my camera; I just love it.

Time for a shameless kitteh photo.

Aug 20, 2012

Changes - all good

My life has morphed, in leaps and bounds.

I have an Expansion Pack now for my family.  My husband and I recently welcomed a baby boy into our little world and we're quite obsessed.  Our son is wonderful and everything we could hope for.  Here he is in all of his infant glory.

I'm going to try and begin posting again, as I'm still knitting and crocheting whenever I have a spare moment.  I will also try and design some patterns, but that requires a level of concentration that I have not enjoyed since before I was pregnant.