Saturday, April 28, 2012

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week Day 6

Day Six - Saturday 28th April, 2012

Improving Your Skillset
How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base? Take a look at a few knitting or crochet books and have a look at some of the skills mentioned in the patterns. Can you start your amigurumi pieces with a magic circle, have you ever tried double knitting, how's your intarsia? If you are feeling brave, make a list of some of the skills which you have not yet tried but would like to have a go at, and perhaps even set yourself a deadline of when you'd like to have tried them by.

I'm going to keep today's post a simple list (mostly so I can bookmark it and reference it for myself later):

Since crochet is my main focus, here's a list of skills I'd like to master. Some of which I've briefly tried but not enough that I don't have to reference a book to do them again or to the extent I'd actually design something using them.

  1. Tunisian
  2. Broomstick Lace
  3. Hairpin Lace
  4. Entrelac
  5. Learn new stitches
    1. This is probably the only thing I want to attach a date too. I really want to start swatching blocks to learn new stitches. Maybe learn at least 2 per month based on the amount of time I actually have to do it.
So my crochet list is fairly short because I am pretty confident in taking on any WELL WRITTEN crochet pattern. Usually there's not a crochet pattern that will intimidate me at all :)

And then here's my sundry list of things on the knitting side that I'd like to try. Keep in mind I'm a pretty novice knitter. I've done it for years and can figure things out in patterns but the extent of what I make isn't all that complicated.

  1. Successful colorwork in an item
  2. Master double pointed needles (this includes socks and hexi-puffs)
  3. Really sit down with my knitting books and absorb all the goodness in them
  4. The easiest way to put any of these in the list is that I'd love to work through "The Knitter's Life List"
For those of you familiar with the "Year of Projects" I think sections out of her will make up my list for the second round of "Year of Projects" :) Just to force myself to sit down and really improve my knitting skills!

Maybe I'll tag this post as a "Year of Projects" post so that I'll remember to snag the idea when the time comes!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Made it Hap-Pin 4/27/12

This week's Made it Hap-Pin post probably more features a blog that I had pinned as opposed to a specific recipe. I found Real Mom Kitchen as I was browsing Pinterest and she happened to be featuring mug cakes so of course I can't resist a lemon cake that can be made in a minute as well as a one minute brownie or nutella cake so I gave them a try!

I think the picture above (lemon cake) was the 2nd time we (my husband and I) made them. We've since had them nearly every day this week...yeah it's that good.

The brownie I would share with you but as you can see from the picture was THAT good. Didn't get around to trying the nutella cake since we were so hooked on these two but just judging from the desserts, I'd definitely recommend giving this blog a look, it's amazing! We're planning a few dinners from recipes off her site as well (and she has a book)! Enjoy!

FO Friday 4/27/12

The bad news is that I've been way way behind in participating in FO Fridays. The good news is that I have a few to share! (And a few stashed for future weeks just in case haha)

To start, I made a Shimmer Lace Scarf

Probably a new favorite pattern of mine as it's super quick, could easily be made in a variety of yarns to suit various seasons and it's easy! To match, I made up some v-stitch mitts:

Once again, new favorite pattern and very cute to wear!

Also did a few squares for the month of April! If this isn't bright colors, I don't know what is!

This one I just LOVE. It was a mystery square in a Ravelry group I'm in and the pattern is currently no longer available but I adore it so much!

Think that's about it for this week. Just a few small things to share! :)

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week Day 5

Hello bloggers. That's me in the picture up there. That's right, a lonely ball of sock yarn just looking for the right home. Rolled into quite the sloppy ball but it wasn't always this way.

I used to be a squishy factory wound skein of yarn that sat in a bin at the local Michael's craft store until my lovely owner fell in love with my colors and took me home (after paying for me of course!)

See how neatly wound I was when I first came home? Such a site to see!

Unfortunately I ended up in what my owner calls her "stash" for about a year before she finally decided what I would grow up to be. I believe she called it a beautiful "peacock shawlette." I glanced at a photo of it when she sat me on top of the freshly printed directions ready to begin and it really was beautiful, I couldn't wait!

I began slowly transforming through rows and rows of lace knitting that required my owner's full concentration level.

We even got through the entire part 1 of the pattern! And then...the unthinkable happened...

That dark fateful night (actually I think it was a sunny afternoon but still...effect wise, dark fateful night just works), she frogged me! Yes can you believe it?! She frogged ALL of me!

Apparently the frustration of trying out lace knitting with the November/December holiday craziness was just too overwhelming. She realized that several rows prior, somehow the stitches had been shifted and thus horribly messed up the appeal of the pretty lace pattern so there was no choice but to go back to the beginning.

Ever since that day, I've been cooped up in a knitting bag, waiting to see the light of day and hopefully what will one day become my permanent home project. What, oh what will become of me? Another shawl perhaps? An actual pair of socks? Something else sock yarn related? What shall I become?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week Day 4

Day Four - Thursday 26th April, 2012

A Knitter or Crocheter For All Seasons?
As spring is in the air in the northern hemisphere and those in the southern hemisphere start setting their sights for the arrival of winter, a lot of crocheters and knitters find that their crafting changes along with their wardrobe. Have a look through your finished projects and explain the seasonality of your craft to your readers. Do you make warm woollens the whole year through in preparation for the colder months, or do you live somewhere that never feels the chill and so invest your time in beautiful homewares and delicate lace items. How does your local seasonal weather affect your craft?
So today's topic is regarding the seasons. I find lately I've turned more to a crocheter for all seasons, especially with the little one around. I'm always looking to make stuff a season ahead for her so that she gets the most wear out of it. My mistake with that in the beginning? Not knowing that she'd be born at 8.5 lbs and that now, at nearly 9 months old, be in 12 month clothes so in the beginning there were some flaws in my plan such as this cute hoodie I was so proud to make that she never really got to wear:

So after learning my lesson with that one, I recently (as in maybe a couple weeks ago) finished this one in 18 month size with plans for it to be worn on our yearly trip to Maine in the fall :)

Luckily it's a little big now which means it should work during the season it's intended!
As for other items and their seasons...I took a look at my projects on Ravelry to see when  I completed them and what kind of projects they were. I will say that prior to looking at the project page, I thought I was a crocheter who crocheted projects for whatever the current season is but apparently not.

This obviously screams Spring but I started/finished it in December (Winter)
Can't say I'd wear this in July when it was started/finished

All in all, I'm pretty much all over the place. It's just whatever project strikes me at that moment. It could be a project appropriate for the current season or a project meant to be for Winter that I'm completing in the summer heat of August.

I like to try and keep on top of my gift crafting as well so I didn't really apply that to this post since I didn't consider gifts to necessarily be a part of WHEN I crochet them seasonally :) Those things I just NEED to get done, no matter the time of year!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week Day 3

Although today's topic is listed as discussing our crochet and knitting heroes, I've decided to swap it out for my wildcard topic. Mainly doing this because I really don't have a "hero" in the craft. I don't have other family members that crochet or knit, I taught myself and although I frequently test for several designers and follow many others, I certainly couldn't pick just ONE of them.

On to wildcard-ness :) The wildcard topic this year is to "Craft Your Perfect Day"

I have to say that with life being so busy lately, my perfect crafting day would likely be heading out to nearby Shenandoah National Park, renting a cabin and crocheting the day away to put it simply (possibly some knitting too but crochet is my main craft).

More specifically heading out to Sky Meadows in Shenandoah, the highest point on Skyline Drive. When my husband and I got a cabin there several years ago, this was our back deck view:

That sunset every night was AMAZING. Now starting with the sunset I feel like I've started at the END of my perfect day so let's talk about the rest of it!

To be honest, I wouldn't mind dragging along some stitch dictionaries and other sundry books I own and making a few swatches of stitches and motifs I've never used before.

An hour or two of that fun would mean it'd be time for a snack! I'd have to bring along some one minute lemon mug cake (recipe here) because who doesn't like cake that can be made warm in one minute!

Another portion of my day would have to be making some amigurumi! There are way too many cute patterns and not enough time for me to take them all so a perfect crafting day would allow me to try a few extras in addition to ones I've already made like these!

Green Owl

Lil Pumpkin! (With a kitty sleeping in the top right)

Purple lavender scented elephant that was the star of yesterday's photo challenge post :)

A little amigurumi playing and then it'd be time to whip up a project for myself for the evening, likely a top or a cowl since those seem to be my current favorites.

So more or less my day is simple enough:

1) Find a cabin
2) Try random new stitches, motifs, etc.
3) Eat lemon cake
4) Amigurumi
5) Whip up an evening project be able to sit on my butt all day and crochet, I wish!! (Although I do enjoy my gym visits once a week).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week Day 2 - Photography Challenge Day!

Wanna see some small finished objects in action? Well, that's what you're getting in today's photography challenge :) Enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week Day 1 - Color Lovers

Kicking off Knitting & Crochet Blog Week with a discussion of COLOR! It's my first time getting to participate in Knitting & Crochet Blog Week so I'm excited...let's get started and let's talk color!

I think the season tends to lend itself to my color choices in projects. Being that we've had such an early spring (summer really, it was 80 here as early as March), I've very much been on a bright color kick! Maybe it's the inspiration of the flower popping up outside or maybe it's just the cheery sunshine.

Although based on this picture, it's not a bright colored party in my house until pink and orange are involved so I suppose those are my "bright and cheery mascot colors" :)
Once Autumn hits, I'm sure to go into a phase of burnt oranges, burgundy, plum, brown and cream as that's usually the case! Then winter will likely bring in the blues, purples, aquas, etc to round out the rainbow.

Lately I've seen a lot of projects by others done in various neutral tones or various shades of the same color so you can bet as soon as I catch up on what I'm doing now, I"ll give some of that a try!

I will say when it comes to variegated yarns, I have a hard time picturing how they will work up in certain patterns. So many of the yarns from the big box stores have shorter repeats so finding the right project (that isn't socks, day I'll make socks, I promised myself).

When it comes to picking a yarn for a project, there's three ways for me:

1) I've already got an inkling for some idea in my head that I want to make happen
2) Let's go to the LYS and run around like a mad woman through the aisles holding colors next to each other until I'm satisified
3) Take advantage of the hikes that my husband, daughter and I take and pull the inspiration from nature and our adventures!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Made it Hap-Pin 4/20/12

Have I been MIA? Why yes, yes I have. Besides having family in town and a to list a mile long...I have no excuse :-P Buuuttt....remember that Cheesy Ranch Lasagna I was going to try out? Well I did (that week too)!

Here it is ready to go into the oven. I followed all the directions but as you can see...there really wasn't a significant amount of shredded cheese or sauce to cover my noodles. The recipe also said you were to use already cooked noodles but I've ALWAYS used the oven ready lasagna noodles.

After baking time...

Here's the thing about this. I can't say my husband or myself was thrilled that because there was not enough sauce for the noodles, they didn't properly cook on the edges and nobody likes crunchy pasta...yuck.

I will say the sauce, chicken and noodles (those that were cooked) were absolutely delicious.

My husband and I both agree that it's a dish we'd make again with a few changes:

(1) Make double the amount of sauce
(2) Bake it more like a baked ziti casserole kind of thing instead of layering it all lasagna style
(3) Try it with meatballs instead of chicken

So with those suggestions in mind, I'll definitely be trying it again soon. I"ll let you know how it goes! Until then, check out Shateen's great cookies in her Made it Hap-Pin post on Knit2Together

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pick A Pin 4/2/12

Decided to try more food this week. Found this pin for cheesy ranch lasagna. My husband and I love italian food so this has to be perfect to try!

The pin itself links back to the "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" Recipe blog but she actually got the original recipe and modified it a bit from Real Mom Kitchen.

Sooo....the original blog was chicken lasagna...the pin was ranch and chicken...what will I come up with?

Come back Friday to see!!

Made it Hap-Pin 3/30/12

Posting a few days late but I have a good excuse. Little one has decided that on random nights (generally not consecutive but we'll knock on wood for that) she will wake up screaming and crying at oh about 1 in the morning. She started doing it last week and it would take up up to 2 hours to get her to go back down with her screaming on and off. I reluctantly gave in and let her have a few ounces to drink on a few nights and it settled her back down but we mostly think it's either a)she's getting more teeth (she just got her bottom two maybe two weeks ago) or b)she's doing the "nighttime wake up" that usually comes in anticipation of a big milestone. That next big milestone for her is walking and um, I'm not too sure we're ready for that one yet! She's everywhere as it is! :) But...enough about my little one...I DID manage to get some time to whip up the Jell-O mousse that I was wanting to try! I actually did it in two flavors and both are delicious!

Who would ever think that the simple addition of cool whip to Jell-O would make it taste that much different...and better! (Not that I don't still love Jell-O). The orange pretty much tastes like the Jell-O equivalent of an orange creamsicle...delicious!

Next flavor? Blackberry fusion! Apparently we bought the box the end of last summer and forgot about it but luckily it wasn't expired so...blackberry fusion mousse!

Had to wait to mix this one. My husband insisted on making this batch :)
Yummy pink goodness ready to set up in the fridge for a few minutes!

I kind of want to pour some of this into popsicle molds and see how it tastes but we'll need some more warmer weather for that. The second frost warning in a week is tonight so no popsicles just yet here!