Friday, May 31, 2013

FO Friday: Birthday Chickens!

Since the weather didn't  cooperate for a photo shoot yesterday, I will be sharing my finished Fleece Artist Socks and Elfe sweater for next week's FO Friday post. However, I do have a super-secret project that I can finally share on this blog - I crocheted a Cluck Clutch and some Tiny Chickens for my friend Leanne's birthday!
The Cluck Clutch is a free crochet pattern on Ravelry. I used Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Butter for my main color. I think this is super cute, though it would probably make a better pillow than carry-all! 
Of course, it turned out to be some very cute packaging for the tiny chickens I knit from Teeny Tiny Mochimochi. 
I used worsted-weight yarn instead of fingering to make a slightly larger (but still tiny) chicken. I couldn't resist putting them into an egg carton - they fit perfectly!

Thanks for stopping by this week - for more FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog

Have a crafty weekend!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

WIP Wednesday: All New Projects!

Over the weekend, I finished all of my WIPS, so this week I have all new projects to show off this week! My friend Julie was in town, so we made a trip up to Windy Knitty for a little stash enhancement. I finally picked up two skeins of Freia Flux, which I've been wanting to try out for a while now, and immediately cast on for a simple cowl to show off the hand-dyed gradient colors:
I also cast on for another pair of socks using a test color (I think!) of Baah! La Jolla; they are a pattern from my back catalog that I will be updating once these new socks are finished. I was never happy with the photographs of this design, which is based on a vintage stitch; the pattern could use some gussying-up as well, so later this summer there will be a re-launch for my Scalloped Ribs sock pattern (and anyone who has already purchased this pattern will of course get a free upgrade!).
Finally, the new issue of Pom Pom Quarterly arrived in the mail last Thursday - I was impressed with how quickly it arrived from England, I think I placed my order at the beginning of last week! I started swatching for the Fieldwork Cardigan over the weekend using the Sincere Sheep Tenacious Sock in St. Bart's that just arrived. I am so in love with this pattern and yarn!
Thanks for stopping by this week. For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Craftsy Pick of the Week: Shawlscapes

It was only a matter of time before Stephen West joined the roster of excellent talent on Craftsy, right? Last week, Stephen's new online class, Shawlscapes, launched. First, you will you get to hone your skills with the guidance of a shawl master as you knit the Boneyard Shawl. Then, you'll learn various methods of construction and patterns which you can use to either modify existing designs or create your own from scratch. Finally, Stephen will show you how to block your masterpiece - the class description claims: "Stephen literally turns blocking on its head, suggesting different methods that will surprise you." Now who doesn't want to see that?!

What's more, a portion of all class sales through midnight tonight will be donated to a veterans' organization in honor of Memorial Day here in the US!

Click here to sign up for Shawlscapes with Stephen West for 25% off!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Caturday: For Spoiled Kittehs

Ever since Robin was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure, he's been fed on top of the cat condo that we've had since we moved to Chicago in 2005. As you can imagine, after such a long time, it's not as pretty as it used to be...especially when a certain finicky cat gets wet food all over the place. Thankfully, that doesn't happen often, but it's been enough to cause some unsightly discoloration!

For a while now, we've been using folded towels as a covering, but they end up being a little messy and don't fit very well, so I finally decided to crochet a quick little mat to cover Robin's feeding spot. I used some bulky yarn I purchased via Craftsy deals last fall (two skeins of Cascade Covington) and a size L crochet hook - in just a few days, I had a nice new mat for my dear spoiled kitteh!

Friday, May 24, 2013

FO Friday: Angry Birds + Sock Yarn Hat

I've been doing a lot of secret crafting this month, and one of the projects I finally get to share with you is the pair of Angry Birds I made for my nephew Rhys' fourth birthday!

I used a couple free patterns from Adorable Amigurumi to crochet these with some Berroco Vintage from my stash. My sister texted me a photo of Rhys with his new toys and I think it's safe to say he liked them - they were even wearing party hats!

I also finished the destash sock yarn hat from WIP Wednesday! I freestyled it on #2 needles with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Douglas Fir and Chocolate, finishing with a fun pom-pom!

Thanks for stopping by this week - for more FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog

Have a crafty weekend!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Sock & Sweater Progress

Hooray, it's WIP Wednesday! All of my projects from last week have seen some serious progress in the last week. My Elfe sweater is looking much more sweater-y:

Last night, I started the heel flap on my second sock:

And yet another destash sock yarn hat is nearing completion:

Thanks for stopping by this week. For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Monday, May 20, 2013

More Yarn + Random Monday

Last week, I wrote about one of my favorite online yarn stores, which is in the process of closing. Consequently there are some very lovely yarns that are on sale right now. My stash is rather enhanced at the moment with some pretties from Skein, Sincere Sheep and Abstract Fiber (to name a few)....then again, sock yarn doesn't count as stash, am I right?!

I've always liked to take photos of random things I see when I'm out and about, which admittedly doesn't happen as much as it used to now that I work from home. But I do have a small collection of photos I've taken, both on instagram and from the days before instagram (if you can imagine that), which consists of interesting graffiti, a misplaced shoe, funny signs, squirrels eating pizza...that sort of thing. 

At any rate, over the last few days I saw a couple of things that caught my eye: first, a really big art piece wheatpasted to a dumpster by the California blue line station; second, a bizarre and slightly disturbing sight which also happened to be by the California blue line station - I have no idea why this person was taking a self-portrait while wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, but I am glad that I was quick enough on the draw to sneak a photo myself. You don't see that every day (thankfully). 

Finally, I thought I'd end by sharing this photo of Tyler enjoying a special birthday donut from Glazed and Infused

Thanks for stopping by today - see you back here for WIP Wednesday! 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Happy Caturday!

Rawr! Today's post was inspired by the folks who own the coolest hotel ever, a dinosaur-themed Best Western in Denver, Colorado. Earlier this week, the posted a request on their Facebook Fan page to have fans submit photos of their dinosaur-ified pets:
This is the photo that started it all! Artwork by twitter fan Erin Schmalfeld @eschmalf. 

Since then, photos have been pouring in, and on Thursday night, Tyler and I worked on our own submissions starring Tilly and Robin!

It sure beats cat breading, if you ask me! You can view all of the entries so far here on Facebook. Enjoy and happy Caturday!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Thrummed Mittens & Mail Goodies

Last weekend, I put the finishing touches on my Thrummed Mittens, then gave them a nice blocking in Wrapture (I could still smell the lingering jasmine during this photo shoot)! As luck would have it, my husband got a very fancy digital camera as an early birthday present from his parents, and he took some really great photos of my finished mittens...a process I apparently didn't enjoy.

Consequently, he's now going to be doing a LOT more photos for my patterns and blog posts! I mean, it's night and day, the difference between these photos and the photos I've been using from our much-older digital camera (or my cell phone...or instagram...).

You can get all the details on the yarn and fiber used in this project on my Ravelry project page. I used to pattern and video instructions from Marly Bird's excellent Craftsy class, Mittens and Gloves Galore (click here for a full review and a special discounted link for my blog readers)! I am so excited to bust these puppies out next winter!

I started the week off with some goodies in the mail: first, this month's shipment from the Sweet Georgia Fibre Club, which is some very interesting Masham top. Those who know me well are aware that pink is a color that doesn't often find its way into my stash, so I'm curious to see how this particular colorway spins up; maybe the pink will be subtle enough that I don't mind knitting with it - or it will at least be equally balanced by the green and the purple.

Yes, perhaps it will be the exception to the rule, kind of like the hot pink Nick Cave t-shirt that made its way into my closet, which is filled with black t-shirts (and a few gray, blue, green and brown ones, I suppose - much like my yarn stash, I think I'm sensing a theme!).

The second goody is my prize from the recent Holla Knits! blog tour: three skeins of Yarn Hollow Gemini, a bamboo/cotton blend yarn that's perfect for summer! I'm not sure what I'll make with it just yet, but I am excited to work with this very pretty yarn.

I have more yarn goodies from Doodlebug to share with you, but that will have to wait til I have time to have my lovely assistant photograph them - and today is his birthday! Soon, we will be heading to Hot Doug's in accordance with our birthday traditions!

I hope to meet you back here tomorrow for a special Caturday post. I don't want to give it away, but it does involve dinosaurs...and awesomeness. At any rate, I hope you'll be as amused as I was!

Thanks for stopping by this week - for more FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog

Have a crafty weekend!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Happy WIP Wednesday! I have a few knitting projects to share this week, plus a progress report on my latest Spin-O-Lution efforts.

First, my Elfe sweater is coming along nicely! Over the weekend I tried it on and decided to do a few more increases for the sleeves before binding off those stitches. Now that I have a bit of length from the armholes, I may have to try it on again just to make sure I made the right call.

I finally started working on my second Fleece Artist sock - I'm not too far along, since I keep getting distracted by gift knitting/crocheting and my Elfe-in-progress, but hopefully I can get this second sock finished by the end of May so that the new pattern can come out mid-summer. That is the new goal, anyway!

So what do I do when I have a self-imposed deadline? Cast on for a new hat, of course! My husband bought me some Knitter's Pride Karbonz needles for Christmas and I have been dying to knit with them. I have no idea why it took me five months to give in, but in any case, I grabbed some Lorna's Laces sock yarn from my stash and started a hat that will have random stripes (sort of like the variation of the Genmaicha hat I made recently - except bottom-up and more stripey than color block-y). I am really enjoying knitting with these needles - they have a good point and just feel so nice in my hands.

This week, I've been working on spinning some hand-dyed BFL top from the now-defunct Kitchen Sink Dyeworks. I bought it several years ago at the Renegade Craft Fair here in Chicago, and I would probably keep it stashed in my fiber bin for who knows how long if I weren't trying to spin through my entire fiber stash in 2013. I really like how it's spinning up; I have 6 oz. of natural brown BFL from Spunky Eclectic that I'll be spinning up next, and I'm pretty sure I'll be plying them together.

Thanks for stopping by this week. For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sometimes, A Yarn Sale is Not Just a Yarn Sale

This isn't the kind of post I wanted to write first thing on a Monday morning. For regular readers of my blog, you know that there is nothing I love more than getting a good deal on something. But I also love luxury yarns and I'm willing to pay luxury prices if I think they're worth it. So the sale at Doodlebug Yarn that's happening right now would be the best thing ever except for one important detail: it's a store closing sale.

I've read countless articles about how hard it is for the LYS to keep its doors open in the face of online competition, and I don't mean to belittle that because I know it IS hard - I'm part of the problem since I prefer to do 90% of my shopping online! However, it's also very hard for online-only shops to compete with both bricks-and-mortar shops AND the powerhouses that are Jimmy Beans Wool, Webs and the like. I shop both of those sites from time to time, plus Craftsy and Doodlebug when I purchase yarn online. I like each one for different reasons - a specific yarn line, a notion I need for my knitting bag, or a deal I just can't pass up.

Getting back to the matter at hand: In the case of Doodlebug, sometimes it's not even about all of these other factors, it's just time to move on to something new. That appears to the case in this instance, and I can understand that - it's sort of what I did with my massage therapy career.

For me, the closing of Doodlebug Yarn is also personal: I did a lot of shopping there over the past few years, as my Ravely projects and stash will prove. I also got to know some of the folks in the Ravelry group as I shared my WIPs and FOs. Finally, I also had the pleasure to work with Gayla and Doug (the owners) on a professional level, and I know how much care went into selecting each luxurious line of yarn. There were several yarn companies that I discovered at Doodlebug: Skein (Gayla was among the first to bring this line stateside), Baah! and The Uncommon Thread come readily to mind.

If you're just now discovering Doodlebug Yarn, I hope you'll find something new and different to try and remember them by. And if you've been a loyal customer like me, then let's be sure to share the last of our DBY stash and raise our needles and hooks to a great online yarn store!

Friday, May 10, 2013

FO & Fiber Friday

Hooray, it's FO Friday, and unlike last week, I have bona fide finished objects to share with you this week!

First, I finished my destash Genmaicha Hat, which I knit with The Fibre Company's Canopy Fingering in Sarsparilla and Conifer and Malabrigo Finito in Paloma. Last week, I confessed that I goofed when casting on and ended up knitting the entire hat on US #1 needles (instead of US#3). Oops! The results, however, are a super-cute child-sized hat, so into the gift barrel it goes!

At the top right is my amigurumi Roosevelt monster, which was my third and final shipment from the FreshStitches Kit Club. I would have liked to sign up for another subscription, but tax day wasn't super kind to us last month! Perhaps later this year I can jump back on the kit club bandwagon...or, at the very least, treat myself to another crochet amigurumi kit!

I also finished another stockinette baby hat for the Cutie Patootie KAL/CAL - and I still have a fair amount of Cotton Comfort left over, too! I am going to try to get a pair of booties out of the remaining yarn, too - I just found this cute free pattern on Ravelry!

It was a busy week for spinning, too - not did I ply the merino single I finished on Wednesday with the dyed Wensleydale single I spun last mont, I also used the leftover merino to ply with a few random leftover bits and bobs. Perhaps I can make a fun, stripy cowl or hat with all of this yarn!

Thanks for stopping by this week - for more FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog!

Have a crafty weekend!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

New Neighbors!

I was really excited to be greeted by this when I woke up this morning:

We live about 20 minutes from O'Hare, and even though I'll probably never get to see these cute little guys while they're at work, it makes me deliriously happy to know that somewhere nearby, a herd of goats are doing their goaty thing! 

Now if we could just get our own neighborhood to do away with the lawn service and hire some adorable goats instead....

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

WIP Wednesday + Craftsy Pick of the Week!

Hooray, it's WIP Wednesday already! What are you working on this week? Here are a few of my current WIPs:

Over the weekend, I made some serious progress on my Thrummed Mittens (and I've been making a lot more thrums, too - all told, there will probably be 300-400 thrums used for this project!):

I also started a new sweater with the Grinning Gargoyle Seda Sock I purchased at both YarnCon and VK Live Chicago - it's the Elfe sweater by Astrid Schramm and I'm using Espresso and Signature Red. Totally in love with how it's knitting up so far!

Aaaaand, I finished spinning the natural brown Merino roving which I'm planning to ply with the dyed Wensleydale from the end of last month. Can't wait to see how it looks together; I'll probably start plying tonight when I'm finished with work.

Craftsy Pick of the Week: Free Mini Courses from Craftsy!

If you have never signed up for an online class, these free classes from Craftsy are a great way to try out Craftsy's interactive platform free of charge with no strings attached (pardon the pun!). Sometimes, the best things in life really are free!

Designer Carol Feller demonstrates four different techniques to create short rows in this free mini course on! If you would like to knit socks or garments that fit you better, short row shaping is a great skill to have in your toolbox.  

free short rows knitting class at

Become a wool expert with Deb Robson's excellent Know Your Wool class! Deb is the co-author of The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook; this class is a great introduction to the wonderful world of breed-specific yarns and fibers. 

Click here to read my full review of this class or click here to sign up!  

Thanks for stopping by this week. For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Kitteh Report

On Friday, Tilly and Robin both had their comprehensive health exam (their favorite thing!) and each received a positive report from the vet.
Tilly continues to lose weight; she's slimmed down to 12.6 pounds since her last visit. She still has a little ways to go, but they're happy with her progress. We're happy, too, because Tilly isn't limping around any more.
Robin's kidney values continue to hold steady as well, so that was a relief to hear! His new thing is he gets really drooly at the vet (and, in general, he just drools a lot - when he naps....when he snuggles....when he gets his fluids....). I took this photo once we got home since it kind of looked like he had a beard o' drool.

Today's entry is a short one, but I finished and made progress on a LOT of projects this weekend to share with you later this week. I hope to see you back here on WIP Wednesday and FO Friday!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Kinda Sorta FO Friday

I find myself without an FO this week, unless you count the following: my first finished sock of 2013 and my Breezy Bolero from last week, now complete with buttons!

Consequently, this will be a short post today.

It's been a while since I've shared my sock progress, but these have been taking the backburner to other projects in the last few weeks. They are my own design, which will hopefully be out later this summer. I am loving the yarn, Fleece Artist's Nova Sock.

I'm also glad to finally have a photo of me wearing my newest finished sweater! The buttons were gifted to me by my pal Lauren, who probably has a button stash that puts mine to shame....and mine is pretty extensive. I believe she'll be selling some of these lovelies on etsy sometime soon. Of course I'll keep you posted!

I would have had a finished Genmaicha hat to share with everyone, but I had a small incident with a stretchy bind-off gone awry; this weekend, I'll try again and hopefully have better luck!

Thanks for stopping by this week - for more FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog!

I look forward to hearing about your latest projects. Have a crafty weekend!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WIP Wednesday

I'm still chugging away at my thrummed mittens, though over the weekend I started running perilously low on thrums. I probably should have seen that coming, but at least I have plenty of fiber to make more thrums....I just hope that I can get two mittens' worth out of them, since the first mitten is probably going to take over 200 thrums!

I started a very simple hat last week which has been my primary on-the-go project. The pattern is a free pattern from Kelbourne Woolens called the Genmaicha Hat. I have to say that the name is really what did it for me, since it's my favorite kind of tea (though I am also in love with Canopy Fingering). I happened to have some leftover yarn from my Color Affection Shawl - a full skein of Canopy Fingering in Sarsparilla and half-skein in Conifer; I did have a brief moment of insanity where I thought I should purchase one more skein to knit the teeny-tiny stripe before the ribbing, but then I realized I had enough Malabrigo Finito in Paloma left over to do the job.

As you can see, my hat isn't totally replicating the color blocks from the pattern (I knit the first color til I ran out - naturally, that was just shy of the measurement given in the pattern), but I think it'll still be pretty.

I also decided (albeit unintentionally) to knit the entire hat on US #1 needles, even though the pattern clearly states that the body of the hat is knit with US #3 and the ribbed edging is knit on #1 needles. I managed to throw in a few extra increases at the crown to compensate and will probably decrease a bit before I start the ribbing since I won't be going down a needle size.

My other WIP this week is my last shipment from the FreshStitches kit club! It's been a while since I crocheted anything, so this little guy (Roosevelt the Monster) is now officially on the hook!

Thanks for stopping by this week. For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!