Wednesday, April 30, 2014

WIP Wednesday & TNNA-Bound

Over the weekend, I finished my Spindleberry Shawl, can you believe it?

I wasn't planning to start a new project so close to TNNA, but I ended up casting on for a pair of socks with some Tibetan Dream that's been in my stash for a while now:
The pattern is called The Hub of Fashion, and the body of the sock is knit sideways, something I've never done before! Here we have the rarely-seen Robin photobomb:
I'm still not finished with my Dorper project for Spinning Spring Training; I was hoping to at least finish the singles before I left town, but realistically, that's probably not going to happen:
I've also been making progress on my North Hollow Cowl in the new yarn from Blue Sky Alpacas, Extra - over the weekend I finished the first half and started the second half:
It's soooo soft! I am really enjoying working with it, and the design is turning out to be the right mix of mindless/mindful knitting: it took a little concentration to get everything set up, but now that I have the stitch pattern down, it's coming a lot easier.

However, I realize that every project I've worked on recently has been gray or brown - I seem to be in a color rut! My goal this weekend at TNNA is to find a fun color for a non-neutral project when I get back.

Thanks for joining me this week! For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Thanks + Feedback!

Thanks to everyone who placed an order for my virtual Thirty-One party which ends today! Below is a reminder of how to place your order through my event; Callie will be submitting your orders tonight and your awesome stuff will begin shipping out later this week.

Since I haven't ever done anything like this on my blog before, I'd like to ask for your feedback:

  • Did you like the products and tips featured? 
  • Was it easy for you to place your order? 
  • Did you think there were too many or too few posts dedicated to Thirty-One? 
  • Is there a better time of year when you would like to see this type of event (i.e. the holiday season, back-to-school, etc.)? 

If you can please take a few moments to share your thoughts in the comments, that will help me to plan future content, events and promotions which are of interest to YOU!

How to Join The Party
You can view the Thirty-One catalog here. To place your order through my virtual party, point your browser and click on "My Events." You'll see "Stefanie's 31derful Party" as an option  - simply click "shop now" and you're ready to go! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

FO Friday: Knitstant Gratification

With TNNA just around the corner, I've been working long hours and six-day weeks for the last week or so. By the time I'm ready to sign off for the day, my brain power is pretty much spent, so I've been really appreciating the simple knits this week.

First, I found a nearly-finished Itty-Bitty Batty from 50 yards of Fun in my knitting basket! I gave him some ears and feet and now he's complete:
I couldn't resist starting another project from the book, the Small-Peanuts Elephant. I used up every scrap of the grey and blue oddballs from my stash - in fact, I had to pinch-hit to get those legs finished.
I was also gifted a skein of Spud & Chloe Outer, so I whipped up a Slope Hat by Susan B. Anderson in just one night of knitting!
I accidentally ran it through the washing machine on the maximum-abuse setting - usually I choose the delicate cycle for my superwash yarns. It emerged relatively unscathed, especially considering the wild ride it went on!

Thirty-One Party: Last Call
My party will come to an end on Monday, so it's time to get your order in! If you're reorganizing your craft room (or any other part of your house, for that matter) I highly recommend the many storage bin options when you click on the "Home" and "Utility" categories:
Here's my handy tip for the day: add a cedar block to your utility tote when storing yarn and fiber!

How to Join The Party
You can view the Thirty-One catalog here. To place your order through my virtual party, point your browser to and click on "My Events." You'll see "Stefanie's 31derful Party" as an option  - simply click "shop now" and you're ready to go! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Meet Me Halfway (Plus Something Extra)

Over the weekend, I made some major progress on my WIPs!

It was so nice on Sunday afternoon, I took my wheel out onto the back porch to spin and enjoy some of my husband's home brew. I managed to fill bobbin #2, start bobbin #3 and surpass the halfway point (weight-wise) in a matter of hours!
I also worked quite diligently on my shawl, and on Monday night I reached the halfway point! Now I am decreasing across the remainder of the shawl, and I'm hoping to have it done just before I leave for TNNA next week. It's definitely reached the hard-to-photograph stage, that's for sure!
Yesterday I decided to start knitting a brand-new pattern (the North Hollow Cowl by Robin Melanson) out of a brand-new yarn called Extra! The whole kit & caboodle arrived at my house last week (along with some other goodies I'll be sharing on future posts). They were sent to me to try out, which is a pretty nice perk of my job, I can't lie. It's hard to go wrong with Blue Sky Alpacas yarn, and I am already loving Extra. It was really hard to choose which pattern to make with my skein of yarn from the new collection, so I suspect I will be stashing more Extra to knit with in the very near future.
Last but not least, here's two needle storage ideas featuring my Thirty-One picks for today:
The Flat Iron Case (left) is great for storing straight needles, or you can use the Fold-It-Up Organizer (left) to store your fixed circulars, interchangeables, crochet hooks and other craft-related accessories! Both can be found in the "Accessories" section when you shop the site - click here to find out how to join my party!

For more great tips, check out my Craft Room Organization board on Pinterest!

Thanks for joining me this week! For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Knitting Bag Essentials!

Hi all! I hope you are still as excited about Thirty-One as I am (and if you aren't, I promise to return to my regularly-scheduled blogging next week)! Today, I wanted to talk about The Perfect Knitting Bag.

If you're like me, you are always on the prowl for the shangri-la of carry-alls, and it can be quite a tall order to fill: lots of compartments and pockets, roomy without being ginormous and rivaling that of a suitcase, comfortable to wear and carry, and most of's got to look cute, too!

As I mentioned before, the cute & roomy Thirty-One bags my friend Julie had when she last visited were what inspired me to check out the website and decide to host a virtual party. As I'm sure she can personally attest, they fit the above criteria for The Perfect Knitting Bag, plus they are durable, too!

There are several sizes and styles to suit pretty much every taste, and here are a few of my favorites:

Retro Metro Foldover: there are two pockets on the front and an interior zipper compartment (which is tablet-sized); if you're working on a large project, it can be carried as a tote, or you can take a smaller project on-the-go and fold over the top to wear the bag as a crossbody. There are three fun prints, but I have my eye on this neutral gray option!

All-Pro Tote: I know I already mentioned this (it's only available this month!), but this would make a totally great knitting bag! It's got five pockets and a separate compartment which could safely house your WIP away from everything else, no project bag needed!

Zip-Top Utility Tote: while this bag is definitely on the larger end of the spectrum, I keep envisioning it as a way to store my WIPS at home next to my knitting nook. There are seven pockets and a zipper closer would keep curious cats at bay(or dogs or long as they don't know how to work a zipper!); that's certainly an attractive feature. Plus, all I have to do is grab and go when I'm heading off to knit night!

Need a refresher on how to place your order for my Virtual Thirty-One Party? Click here!

Stefanie's Knitting Bag Essentials

One of my colleagues just turned me onto knolling, which is quite possibly the weirdest term I've ever heard for "taking a photo of stuff arranged in a very anal-retentive way." That's not the exact defnition, but at any rate, it inspired me to take the above photo of everything I deem essential when knitting on-the-go: 

  • My business card holder, which is super professional - sock monkeys on pogo sticks!
  • Various stitch markers
  • A tape measure
  • A crochet hook for fixing dropped stitches; I have a fix-a-stitch tool.
  • Lip Balm
  • Row counter
  • Lavishea lotion bar - I hate having dry hands when I knit!
  • Cable needle
  • Nail file for fixing rough edges so that nails don't catch on your work; Thirty-One has similar files with fun prints on them, FYI!
  • The Knit Kit - this little gadget has everything you need while on-the-go, including some of the items above (row counter, crochet hook, tape measure. It also includes a small pair of scissors and a compartment where I stash darning needles, stitch markers and the tightening key for my interchangeables.
  • My design notebook!

What are YOUR knitting bag essentials?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Windy City Knitting Guild - April Meeting

By popular request, I'd like to share a few more photos from last Tuesday's meeting - as you can see, there was quite a big turnout!

We had a great time trying out various Knitter's Pride needles and new yarns from Berroco, Mrs. Crosby (a new hand-dyed yarn making its TNNA debut next month) and Classic Elite.

I heard a lot of great feedback about the needles, especially the newest lines: Karbonz, Nova Cubics and Bamboo. As I mentioned in my presentation, Knitter's Pride is one of the many awesome companies I work with in my job with Stitchcraft Marketing, and I was really excited to share my favorite needles with everyone.

When I talked about Pinterest, I mentioned that one of my favorite personal uses was to collect crafting tutorials for reference later:
Another popular use for Pinterest in our industry is to create "mood boards" to guide designers' submissions for magazines, books and pattern collections: 

I also talked about some of my favorite blogs and podcasts, such as Lattes and LlamasA Homespun HouseStockinette ZombiesHey Jen ReneeSubway Knits and We Are Yarn.

I also talked about Instagram, hashtags and photo-a-day challenges such as the one that Knitter's Pride is hosting this month:

With the use of the #KPpadc hashtag, you can look up all of the latest photo entries on Instagram (above) or on twitter (below), along with other search terms such as my personal favorite, #knittersofinstagram (below):

Pretty cool, right?

One more, I'd like to thank the folks at the Windy City Knitting Guild for having me as their guest this month. And thanks so much to everyone who came out, too! Let me know how you are enjoying your Knitter's Pride goodies!

Friday, April 18, 2014

FO Friday: Calling All Cute Girls

I'm so excited - at long last, my #HKKAL project is done! Behold, my completed Cute Girl Squares top:

I know that making a ton of granny squares and seaming them together seems terribly fussy, but it actually wasn't as time-consuming as you would think! I totally could have made this top in less than a month I hadn't taken so many breaks to work on other projects - what can I say, I'm easily distracted!

The only modification I did was to create the belt using these instructions for a Foundation Single Crochet:

 I think this turned out pretty darn well for my first-ever crocheted sweater! I'm also happy to report that Valley Yarns' Charlemont sock yarn is awesome to crochet with - plus, it's an affordable option: I made this entire project for less than $38!


If you're just joining me, I am hosting a Virtual Thirty-One Party for the next two weeks (click here for all the details) andI have two product picks to share today: the first is a fun little extra to keep your stitch markers, darning needles and other notions safe in your knitting bag! The Icon Coin Purse comes in three fun shapes: frog, chick and camera.

My second pick for today is an adorable new print ("Sweet Tweets") in one of my favorite products, the Mini Utility Bin. Click here to see the bins in action in my very own craft room!

How to Join The Party

You can view the Thirty-One catalog here. To place your order through my virtual party, point your browser to and click on "My Events." You'll see "Stefanie's 31derful Party" as an option  - simply click "shop now" and you're ready to go! 

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

Have a crafty weekend! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

WIP Wednesday: The start of a shawl (plus a million other things)

In the wake of finishing several WIPs over the weekend, I was on the prowl for a new project I could start in addition to the MANY top-secret projects which are currently on my needles. Yes, there are exciting things afoot (pun intended), and I can't wait til I get to share them with you! Alas, that won't be for a month at the earliest, to be exact. Until then, I'll be ever-so-slowly knitting on my new WIP, the Spindleberry Shawl by Joanna Johnson.
I'm using a skein of Skein Merino Cashmere Fingering in the Ochiba colorway; I realized that I didn't have a single grey shawl, and this just happened to be in my stash! 

I was able to snag the pattern for free when it was first published thanks to my Ravulous Hot Right Now widget that I have on my phone (click here to read my review). I've never made anything with fringe, and it's not something I would normally be into....but for some reason I like it in this design. Bonus: the fringe is created as you knit!
I haven't had much time to spin as I thought I would this month, as I've been working 50-60 hour work weeks in preparation for the trade show next month. I am getting rather close to the halfway point with this pound of Dorper for Spinning Spring Training, which I suppose is pretty good given the circumstances. If i am finished with this project by April 30, I will be quite pleased!
Also, for everyone who made it out to the Windy City Knitting Guild meeting last night to see my presentation - THANK YOU! I'll be sharing some of the blogs, podcasts and other information I spoke about in a special upcoming blog post so since I wasn't able to do the powerpoint at the meeting due to a technological snafu since so many people asked if I would make that information available after the meeting.
Everyone got to try out some new yarns (including an exciting new hand-dyed yarn that will be making its TNNA debut) during the needle tasting; it was a ton of fun! I hope everyone enjoys their Knitter's Pride goodies!
Many thanks to my husband Tyler for being a good sport and taking lots of photos last night! 

If you're just joining me, I am hosting a Virtual Thirty-One Party for the next two weeks (click here for all the details). Since I've already shared a few posts  about Thirty-One this week, I will be unveiling my next product pick this coming Friday when I also share my finished #HKKAL project, the Cute Girl Squares top!

Thanks for joining me this week! For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tax Day: Treat Yourself!

For those of you who will be enjoying a tax refund this year, I hope you will treat yourself to something special! Though I won't be getting a refund myself, I like to live vicariously through others...and I may still treat myself anyway, because what better way to ease the pain of writing that tax check than getting a fun new bag for spring?

If you're just joining me, I am hosting a Virtual Thirty-One Party for the next two weeks (click here for all the details), and today I'd like to share this month's amazeballs deal: both the All Pro Tote & Duffel are each just $25 with any $35 purchase! These bags retail at $80, and they will only be available this month (click here to watch a short video on YouTube to see them in action). The All Pro Tote (pictured below) would make a fantastic bag for toting your WIPs to knit night!

How to Join The Party

You can view the Thirty-One catalog here. To place your order through my virtual party, point your browser to and click on "My Events." You'll see "Stefanie's 31derful Party" as an option  - simply click "shop now" and you're ready to go! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Have You Heard of Thirty-One?

Littles Carry-All Caddy
Last December, my friend Julie visited and she had that cutest bags with her - all of which were from a site called Thirty-One. She left me a catalog and I fell in love with all of the coordinated bags and storage solutions!

For those of you who are new to Thirty-One, the products are sold via sales consultants (similar to Mary Kay or Avon). I've been ordering my Thirty-One goodies through consultant Callie Woodland, and we have teamed up to bring you some fresh ideas for organizing your crafting life, both at home and on-the-go!

For the next two weeks, I will be hosting a virtual Thirty-One party on this blog, sharing my favorite Thirty-One products along with organizational tips and my usual WIPs and FOs, too! Be sure to bookmark my blog, sign up for my free newsletter or follow me with Bloglovin!
Flip-Top Organizing Bin

I'd like to start things out by returning to a topic that I blogged about earlier this month, when I shared this peek inside my own craft room: spring cleaning!

Now is the perfect time to clean house and get organized, and I firmly believe that it's way more fun to do it you have the right supplies. You may recall that I used three Mini Utility Bins from Thirty-one to organize my spinning fiber stash & handspun yarn, but there are a ton of great options in the "Storage and Utility" section that are worth checking out.

I have to say, I do love my bins; they are extremely roomy, and I discovered that each each one can fit about two pounds of spinning fiber quite comfortably - in fact, I could probably squish even more fiber inside if I wanted to!
All Thirty-One products can also be personalized, which can come in mighty handy when you're organizing your craft room. Having dedicated bins for things like needles, notions, scrap yarn and project bags would be so helpful, am I right?! 

You can view more craft room organization ideas here on my Pinterest board!
One crafter's personalized bins.

How to Join The Party

You can view the Thirty-One catalog here. To place your order through my virtual party, point your browser to and click on "My Events." You'll see "Stefanie's 31derful Party" as an option  - simply click "shop now" and you're ready to go! 
This is probably the part where you're wondering what I'm getting out of all of this, right? As a host, I will be able to earn product discounts and freebies based on how much is ordered during my party; all of these posts are written purely on a voluntary basis and contain my true feeling about the products. Aside from the potential for freebies and discounts, there is no other compensation taking place. 

Feel free to share this with your friends - we'd love to have you join us! You can change your order at any time during the course of this party; all orders will be submitted at the event close on April 28th. Once you place your order, you will get occasional notices about awesome deals and flash sales, too - and I assure you, it's totally worth it! 

I thank you in advance for supporting my blog and my friend Callie with your order!

Friday, April 11, 2014

FO Friday: Vorderrhein Hat

With TNNA just around the corner, I've been working longer hours and have had much less craft time that I'm accustomed to, but somehow I managed to finish this hat! I was able to cable (mostly) without a cable needle, which made it go fairly quickly despite the intricate pattern. It was definitely a pay-attention project, though - I think it will be all mindless knitting from here on least til I've recovered from the trade show!
The Vorderrhein Hat is designed by Kate Gagnon Osborn and appears in Vintage Modern Knits; though it calls for Organik, which is a lovely single-ply yarn from the Fibre Company, I decided to sub in a different yarn from the same company: Terra, which I bought earlier this year from WEBS.
I love how this turned out - check out the awesome stitch definition! - and I'm sure I'll be wearing it lots next winter!

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

Have a crafty weekend! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

WIP Wednesday: All of the things.

This weekend's fiber stash acquisitions proved to be a great motivator for my Spinning Spring Training project which I started last week - one pound of Dorper top. I'm nearly to the halfway point, in fact - last night I finished the first bobbin and started on bobbin #2!
I also made progress on my #HKKAL project....which I think had to rip back because it looked wonky. Attempt #2 at the crocheted front of the top is looking much better, however: 

I have even made some progress on my Berlin cowl, though I haven't been working on it very much because I wanted to finish my twisted-stitch hat. I've also been working some long days this week, so this project has been moved to the bottom of the priority list for my remaining craft hours, unfortunately.

Hopefully, you didn't miss my post earlier this week about YarnCon and my interview on the While She Naps podcast. If you can believe it, I have even more big news: I will be this month's speaker at the Windy City Knitting Guild meeting! I'll be talking a bit about social media, blogging, and my work with Stitchcraft Marketing. We'll also be previewing some exciting new yarns during a Knitter's Pride needle tasting - and there will be a TON of prizes to give away!

The meeting is open to non-guild members, so be sure to stop on by! Here are the details:

Location: Conrad Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago IL

Date: Tuesday, April 15

Time: 6:45 PM

Cost: FREE!

Click here for more details on the WCKG website!

Thanks for joining me this week! For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!