Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Review: Lullaby Knits

Lullaby Knits: Over 20 Knitting Patterns for 0-2 Year OldsLullaby Knits: Over 20 Knitting Patterns for 0-2 Year Olds by Vibe Ulrik Sondergaard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was generously donated by Anova Books.

First Impressions: Oooh! A knitting book with baby patterns! Everything is so cute and tiny! Ooooh, the patterns aren't pages and pages long; I could actually knit these items. There is no colorwork and limited finishing required (i.e., sewing buttons). This could be promising. Look! These patterns can be used for boys and girls!

The Details: According to the book, there are "over 20 knitting patterns for 0-2 year olds." There are 7 sweaters (the Slip Stitch Sweater is cute), 7 cardigans and jackets (I love the Wide Collar Jacket), 3 vests (the vests are cute, but I am not a vest person), 6 accessories including a lace scarf for mom (the Little Dolphin Sleeping Bag is is a mermaid tale for your baby!).

The patterns are written in metric, but there is conversion information for needles, weights, and lengths. Also, although the patterns are cable and lace heavy, there are no charts. This doesn't bother me, because I am not a chart person (heresy, I know); however, I know this is a deal breaker for some. Almost all of the patterns have a good picture of the front of the finished product (either the item flat or on a child with a clear view). Now, not all of the patterns have this (Wide Collar Jacket, I am looking at you); however, this book does a better job than other pattern books. Finally, the items are knit in Debbie Bliss, Malabrigo, MillaMia, and Rowan.

Knitter Level: Although the book is cable and lace heavy, I feel that an advanced beginner could knit these items. The designs are super simple (e.g., knit 2 sleeves, 1 front, and 1 back).

Final Thoughts: This is a cute baby pattern book with a lot of variety in types of items. The book really focuses on cables and lace, so if these are not your bag, this book won't be to your liking. At the same time, there is no colorwork and there is limited finishing required once you sew up the pieces (e.g., no sewing buttons), so many of these patterns may be the next for a newer knitter.

View all my reviews

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Update!

We are coming to the close of another week. I feel like the weeks are coming faster and faster all the time.  If you are on Ravelry, you might be aware of a group entitled the Harry Potter Knitting and Crocheting House Cup (HPKCHC. I used to participate in this group fairly regularly for a while. As part of the group, you complete projects for different Hogwarts classes. There are different classes each month, and you can earn points for your House (e.g., Ravenclaw). I always felt obligated to complete all the assignments, so my House could earn as many points as possible. I should say that there was no pressure from the group to do this; this was all me. With my return to knitting regularly, I decided to participate again. Because the term had already started, I decided I would tag along and just do the projects on my own. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there is a whole group of folks just like me on the HPKCHC. They are called "students on sabbatical" (SOS). Being an SOS has been so wonderful. I don't feel pressured to complete all the assignments. I only do the ones that interest me, and I don't complete projects that I had no real interest in trying in the first place. Don't get me wrong, the assignments still encourage me to try new things. I only knit the Catnip Bird, because it was an assignment, but it was something that I had been thinking about doing. Now that the month is almost over, it should be crunch time to get the monthly assignments done; however, I am just chilling and slowly working on my projects. If I finish, I finish; if I don't, I don't. It's nice. :)


I am currently working on just two projects right now. I renamed the Noro Striped Scarf the Chroma Striped Scarf, since I used Chroma yarn for it. Anyway, back to business! The scarf is coming along; however, it will take a bit longer, because I find it slow and boring. It is quite pretty though. One day it will be finished, and I will be happy.

My other project is another Odessa hat. I have found my groove with this one, and it is knitting up fast finally. Once I figure out how much yarn versus beads I needed for each round, the project started going super fast. :) I do love this pattern. It is so simple but gorgeous. I might knit another one soon.

Come the start of next month and the start of a new Bigger on the Inside. My mother-in-law sent me the pattern and yarn for my birthday, and I am anxious to get started with the project. Here is a picture of the yarn again, isn't it beautiful?
batch of assignments on HPKCHC, I am going to start

Knitting Television

My husband and I had a full television schedule last night, because it is premier week. We watched two new episodes of The Big Bang Theory and a two-hour long episodes of Grey's Anatomy. The two episodes of The Big Bang Theory were okay. I feel the show has its good and its ehh episodes. The Grey's Anatomy episode was great with all of its ridiculousness. I must admit my favorite part of watching the show is to yell at the characters on the television.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Labels: Blogging Tips

Photo by MichaelFitz
You might be noticing some changes to the blog.

First, I bought my domain name, so no more blogspot in my website address! I feel so fancy and professional now. It was much easier and cheaper than I thought it would be.

Second, I am fixing all my labels. This has been a painful task. I still need to get through 6/06 to 6/07. I had so many labels it was out of control. Instead of labeling each project in each post, I am just labeling the type of project (e.g., scarf and hat). This project would have been easier if Blogger wasn't being so difficult about labels. For some reason Blogger keeps adding labels to posts, so I can't change posts in bulk. All this accomplishes is that 50 random posts have the "scarf" label. Before you get worried that you will never find anything, I am also going to have a page with a list of all my completed projects and links. I know that this isn't a perfect solution; however, I couldn't stand having 20+ labels. I don't think they were useful anymore.

If you are starting a blog or have been blogging for just a brief period of time, I recommend thinking about the labels that you want to use. Pick a few and commit to using only them. This has been a major pain.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Update!

It has been a quiet couple of days here. My husband and I are just spending the time counting down to all of our fall television shows! In less than five minutes, Agents of SHIELD starts!


Projects are moving right along. The Noro Striped Scarf is getting longer. I think it is going to take me ten million years to knit, but I am pushing forward. I am almost done with one complete rainbow cycle. It will be super pretty when it is done. This will be my last scarf for a while though. They just don't keep my interest for the amount of time that I need to complete the project.

I started an Odessa hat this week. I love this pattern,
because it is super easy to memorize. My last Odessa was knit several years ago, so I don't remember how I managed the pre-strung beads. I don't remember how much yarn I kept between me and beads.

Finally, I completed Ruffle Scarf #3! First, I should mention that I don't consider these ruffle scarves to be scarves, because they just take a few hours to complete. This one has my grad school colors in it!

Knitting Television

I watched The Black Cauldron last night. This is the third time I have watched it. Before I watched it last night, I could not tell you what it was about. After a few months, I won't remember again. The movie is that bland.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Book Review: Lace One-Skein Wonders

Lace One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects Celebrating the Possibilities of LaceLace One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects Celebrating the Possibilities of Lace by Judith Durant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was generously donated by Storey Publishing for review.

First Impressions: So many pretty patterns! I really love these 101 one-skein knitting pattern books. There are so many patterns for that random skein of yarn that you picked up that little yarn boutique or that extra ball of yarn for the shawl that you made last year. As a super extra bonus, the book is less than $20.

The Details: This book contains 101 lace designs. There are 12 hat and cap patterns, 9 mitten, glove, and cuff patterns, 7 sock patterns, 11 baby wear patterns, 2 blanket patterns, 2 toy patterns, 19 scarf patterns (I loved the Butterflies Are Free pattern), 9 cowl patterns, 15 shawl and stole patterns, 8 miscellaneous lacy accessories, and 7 miscellaneous home accessories. The patterns are not just for lace weight yarns; there are a variety of yarn weights for the patterns. Unsurprisingly, the patterns are not geared towards men. Please note that if you love charts, not all of the patterns have them.

Final Impressions: This is another great 101 One-Skein Wonder books. You can't go wrong with so many patterns for such little money. This is a great book for knitters who like me picks up a skein of yarn every once in a while (or more often) without a pattern in mind and doesn't know what to do with the skein later.

View all my reviews

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Update!

Well, things have been far less exciting, since the birthday extravaganza has ended. My husband liked his birthday hat, and his mom approved. :) Hurray! Otherwise, it has been pretty quiet here. I have been doing a lot of reading and working.


I finished Ruffle Scarf #2, and I seemed to have fallen off the ruffle scarf bandwagon. Because the stitches are so large, they slip off the needles very easily; therefore, I end up losing chunks of knitting all the time. The scarf is much easier to knit, if I know I have a few hours to just sit and knit. It really is a knit in one sitting type of project.

I have also been knitting my Noro Striped Scarf. It is a bit longer, but it is a slow and
steady wins the race type of project. I am almost up to a full rainbow repeat of my yarn. I think I am almost up to two feet. Hurray! I should measure my old chroma scarf, and see how much longer I have to knit.

Finally, I knit Lunabelle a cute bird catnip toy. She doesn't find it too interesting; however, she sometimes falls in love with a toy six months after she receives it. I messed up picking up the stitches around the head, so it looks like the bird has a collar. One bonus about this project is that there is no seaming. It is knit in one piece (you pick up stitches around the neck to knit the head).

Knitting Television

The husband and I have been just watching a lot of our regular television. We are excited about our television shows that are starting up next week! Here are some of the television shows that we watch:

The Big Bang Theory
Agents of SHIELD
Parks and Recreation
The Vampire Diaries
Grey's Anatomy

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday Update!

Hello! I great you from the other side of 32! I had a fun birthday on Saturday, and I received some beautiful yarn for the Bigger on the Inside shawl. My mother-in-law got me the Lorna's Laces yarn, and it is gorgeous! I can't wait to start knitting it. I also received Forbidden Desert, but we had a wee setback, because the game was missing a piece. We made due over the weekend, and on Monday, I was able to get in contact with the company. They are going to send me the piece in the new week or so.

I have been knitting up a storm this week. I finished my husband's Who? hat for his birthday. He liked it. :) I was worried that it wasn't going to fit; however, he said that if anything it was a bit loose. I am going to have to make him some more hats and figure out the right number of stitches for him. He says that he has a huge head, but I am starting to think that it isn't as big as he thinks it is. 

I also started a Noro Striped Scarf with Knit Picks Chroma yarn. It is a fairly mindless project, so I knit it while watching television or at my knitting group. I am already starting to get a bit tired of knitting it (I get bored quickly with scarves); however, I keep telling myself that I am only going to knit two balls and then I will be done! We shall see how long that lasts.

Finally, I have discovered the world of ruffle scarves. I thought I knew what ruffle scarves were; however, I was knitting a poor man's cousin of the ruffle scarf. The ruffle scarf I previously attempted to knit had wrap around stitches and lots of turning. This new scarf only requires that I knit four stitches and the yarn does the work. After I knit one Sunday night, I went back to Michael's and bought more yarn, because it was on sale. I didn't tell my husband how many balls I bought. My plan is to just pull out a new ball every night (starting with last night) and just knit it until he asks how many balls I bought. There are several ruffle scarf patterns on ravelry. I am using the Patons pattern. I recommend using the below youtube video to understand what you are doing, because the directions are a bit sparse.

Knitting Television

My husband and I are doing a rewatch of the new Doctor Who. The latest season of DW was not its strongest, so we are trying to rekindle our DW love. It is great rewatching shows, because I can focus on my knitting, but I can look up fairly often and catch things that I never noticed in my original watching.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Book Review: The Field Guide to Fleece

The Field Guide to Fleece: 100 Sheep Breeds & How to Use Their FibersThe Field Guide to Fleece: 100 Sheep Breeds & How to Use Their Fibers by Carol Ekarius
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was generously donated by Storey Publishing for review.

Are you a spinner? Do you find yourself buying fleece and only realize after you return home that it isn't right for your project or it doesn't dye how you want? Well, The Field Guide to Fleece is for you! This book is written by the same people who brought you The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook. This book focuses on 100 of the sheep/fleece that you are going to run into when you are about and about fleece shopping. The book is 6.9 x 5 x 0.5 inches, so you could bring the book with you on your fleece travels.

For each sheep, the authors give some basic information, explain the effects of dye, and explain the best uses of its fleece. Additionally, the fleece weight, staple length, fiber diameter, and natural colors for each wool is listed. Finally, there is a cute picture of the associated sheep!

This is a fantastic book for hitting sheep and fiber festivals and other places when you are not sure what sort of fleece you are going to come across.

View all my reviews

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Update!

Birthday weekend is almost here! My birthday is tomorrow, and I am quite excited. I am getting Forbidden Desert, and my husband and I are going to play lots and lots of games. If you are looking for fun cooperative games, Forbidden Island, Pandemic, and Elder Sign are some great choices. Also, if you are interested in trying new board games, but you feel uncertain about where to start (the back of the box doesn't always sell a game), try Wil Wheaton's YouTube series "TableTop" on the Geek & Sundry channel. The shows are about 20-30 minutes and consist of Wil and his friends playing board games. The show won the Diana Jones Excellence in Gaming Award.

Here are some of my favorite episodes:

Elder Sign
Ticket to Ride
Formula D (I even watched the extended edition, because I found the original episode to be so funny.)


I finished the Amy Pond Scarf! Hurray! I was started to get tired of it, so I ran out of yarn at the perfect time. There is supposed to be some fringe, but I really dislike fringe, so no fringe for you! I am really happy about how it turned out. Plus, I used five balls of yarn! Just call me Stash Buster. ;)

I am now working on a Who? hat for my husband's birthday (he's is next week). His college's mascot was an owl, so I thought this hat would be perfect for him. It will also match the Owling fingerless mittens that I knit for him last year. I just have an inch more of stockinette and then I can start the decreases. I would be done already, but I can't work on it when he is home. I am a little worried that it won't fit, but I told him that I will knit him a larger hat and I will keep this one!

Kitty wanted to help with the pictures!

Television Knitting

I watched Katy Perry: Part of Me this week. It was a pretty good documentary, even if it is a bit unbalanced with its totally pro-Katy Perry attitude. It was nice to see that she has a good relationship with her family and that her staff seem to like her. Also, there is a good amount of seeing her onstage seeing on her concerts. I am a Katy Perry fan, and I like listening to her songs. My husband and I both had the same thought during the documentary: You won't find Katy Perry twerking even though several of her songs have sexual metaphors.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Monday Update!

Well I had a very wild and exciting weekend; and by wild and exciting, I mean a weekend filled with movies and knitting. :) The knitting I will discuss below, but let's discuss other knitting related business now! First, I am trying to reorganize my knitting book library. I am attempting to add all my books to ravelry. It is a slow and arduous process, because I want all the books tagged and listed as either dead tree editions or ebooks, so I can find them easily. I have gotten to the point that I own so many knitting books that I don't remember what books I have. I feel rather embarrassed when I come home from the library with a stack of books that I already own. I am about a third of the way through the books then I get to do all the knitting magazines! Yea!

Second, I randomly volunteered to teach a woman how to knit when I was at Barnes and Noble. The cashier commented that she always wanted to learn how to knit when I was buying a knitting magazine (The Unofficial Harry Potter Knits magazine that Interweave just put out), and I told her about the knitting group that I started going to instead of just telling her to buy Stitch 'n Bitch by Debbie Stoller, which is how I learned to knit. I don't know why I said this, because I find teaching people to knit to be tedious. At the same time, I have taught several people how to knit, and I find it satisfying to see them finish projects on their own. I guess I will see, if she comes. I will have to dig out some yarn and needles just in case.


I am still working on the Amy Pond Scarf. It is definitely getting longer. It doesn't look very long in the picture, but I can wrap it around my neck at least once. I have one full ball left to knit and a little bit of two others. If I keep up my current pace, I should be done this week. Yea! I am really enjoying knitting this scar, because it requires very little brain power. There is only one row that is a bit fiddly (the cable row) and the rest is mindless. Granted, I have lost count a few times, so some of the pattern repeats are a bit longer than others, but you can't tell unless you are examining the scarf carefully.

I think I am going to knit a hat for my husband next, because his birthday is coming up! I think he could use something warm, since the weather is starting to get a bit chillier. Also, his mother is a knitter, and I am worried that she might think I am not doing right by her son, if he is not outfitted in knitted items from head to foot!

Knitting Television

This was a big television weekend for my husband and me. We watched the PAX D&D game and The Music Man. I was able to knit almost half of my scarf during the five hours of television. Both of these shows focus on the speaking and singing bits, so I could really focus on my knitting and only look up from time to time (knitting for the win!).

Monday, September 09, 2013

Book Review: Great Little Gifts to Knit

Great Little Gifts to Knit: 30 Quick and Colorful PatternsGreat Little Gifts to Knit: 30 Quick and Colorful Patterns by Jean Moss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was generously donated by The Taunton Press, Inc. for review.

First Impressions: Do you have friends, family members, co-workers, acquaintances, or random strangers that you need to knit presents for? Well this book is perfect for you. This book has 30 projects for babies/little ones, women, men, and the home. An extra bonus is that the presents are unique (e.g., beaded wristlets and a dog jacket) but simple (most of these projects are easy enough for an advanced beginner). Another extra bonus is that most of these projects are ones that I would actually knit for people (e.g., mittens, hats, and baby booties). I really hate it when gift books are predominately filled with items that are interesting when opened but quickly forgotten.

The Details: As stated earlier, this book has 30 projects for babies/little ones, women, men, and the home. Rowan yarns are used for the projects, but the author encourages knitters to use whatever yarns that are handy and/or affordable. There is a section in the back of the book that reviews special techniques that are used in the book. I find this helpful for when I don't want to dig out one of my knitting technique books. Of note, although the babies/little ones, men, and home sections all have about the same number of patterns, the women's section is double the number of patterns. Although this is not surprising, it is a bit frustrating, because I don't typically have a problem with finding women's patterns.

Final Impressions: This is a great book of knitting patterns for advanced beginners. There is a good amount of variety in the patterns for all the different people in your life that needed knitted presents.

View all my reviews

Friday, September 06, 2013

Friday Update!

Just got back from a lovely vacation in Cape Cod. I even had a chance to hit a yarn store. I got two skeins of sock yarn. I know, I know, I shouldn't be buying yarn, when I am trying to knit down the stash, but it is vacation sock yarn. Vacation sock yarn doesn't count. At least, not until I am trying to knit down the sock yarn. One of the skeins has 2% silver! I figured that is too super fancy to ignore.


On vacation, I knit a grand total of one washcloth. It is a bit embarrassing. I got too wrapped up in reading. I
have a stack of books that need to be read within the next month. Once I got home though, I returned to my Amy Pond Scarf. I am about 40% done with it!

Now, let me tell you a funny story. I originally planned to knit an Amy Pond scarf. I didn't have a pattern picked out. I figured I would make up a pattern based on pictures from The Pandorica Opens. Last week, I pulled out three skeins of Patons red worsted weight yarn and opened up ravelry. I found a pattern that I liked; however, the pattern instructed the knitter to knit two strands of worsted weight yarn together. The pattern called for five skeins of yarn. I only had three skeins of worsted weight yarn. I decided to just knit the scarf with what I had, and the scarf would just be a bit short. Well, as I started to knit, I decided that I would like the scarf to be a bit longer. So, I went to Michael's and bought more red yarn. Now, this yarn bought three years (or so) later has a completely different dye lot; however, I decided it wasn't a big deal in a scarf. I continued to knit happily along. The next day, I was in my walk-in closet and looked at my tub of worsted weight yarn. I noticed two skeins of Patons worsted weight yarn. I then noticed that this yarn was red. It was then that I realized that I had bought five skeins of red worsted weight yarn several years ago, not three. I now own seven skeins of Patons red worsted weight yarn. I am returning the two new skeins of yarn today or tomorrow, before it starts to multiply.

Knitting Television

I have been continuing to knit while rewatching all of the Star Wars movies. My husband and I finished up with episode 3 last night. I think he is tired of hearing me complain about the Jedi and their bottling up of emotions. I have also been watching the first season of Carnivale. It is a really interesting show so far. The show follows a carnivale show and a preacher. There appears to be magic in this world, that may be related to God and the Devil. There is an air of mystery surrounding everyone, and the show does a good job of balancing giving the audience a bone and teasing of new mysteries.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Book Review: Knit Your Own Dog

Knit Your Own Dog: The Second Litter: 25 More Pedigree PoochesKnit Your Own Dog: The Second Litter: 25 More Pedigree Pooches by Sally Muir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First Impressions: I must admit that I have a love for knitting books that focus on toys and other small items. Little knitting items are wonderful, because (1) they are tiny (and tiny items are always cute), (2) they use up all the scraps of yarn that you have in your knitting basket, and (3) they are super fast to knit up. I can just imagine knitting up an army of lifelike dogs and bright pink and blue dogs in just a few weeks!

The Details: This book contains 25 adorable patterns of knitted dogs. There are 6 toy dogs (the Shih Tzu is my favorite), 4 utility dogs (I loved the Greyhound), 6 terriers (the Cain Terrier Yorkshire Terrier and the Airdale Terrier are super cute), 4 gun dogs (the pointer is adorable), and 5 working dogs (I really liked all of them).

Each dog is knitted in pieces and then sewn together. The patterns do a good job of describing how to sew and shape each dog, so they look like their namesakes.

Knit Your Own Dog recommends Rowan Yarn; however, the book even states that any yarn (of any size) can be used. I appreciate knitting books that recommend certain yarns (so if I want my project to look just like the picture in the book they will) but also encourage the knitter to try other yarns (I don't like it when books guilt me into buying hard-to-find yarns or out-of-my budget yarns).

Final Impressions: This book is super cute. I love all of the dogs, and I cannot wait to start knitting lots of dogs in all the colors of the rainbow. There is a decent amount of variety in the types of dogs, so I feel like I won't get bored while knitting through the book.

This review copy of Knit Your Own Dog: The Second Litter was kindly donated by Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers.

View all my reviews

Monday, September 02, 2013

Book Review: Knit Christmas Stockings!

Knit Christmas Stockings, 2nd EditionKnit Christmas Stockings, 2nd Edition by Gwen Steege
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was generously donated by Storey Publishing for review.

First Impressions: It is my favorite Christmas stocking book but updated! I own the first edition of this book, and I love it so much. I try to knit a Christmas stocking every year. Ooooh! The patterns have all been reknit with new yarns! Oooooh! The book looks so much more grownup too!

The Details: This book contains 19 patterns. Storey Publishing has updated the yarns for the new release and has reknit the stockings with the new yarns. I really love that the publishing company updated the yarns with the new edition. This shows that the publishing company cares about the product and isn't just looking for a quick dollar. All of the patterns are the same from the first edition of the book except for one. The Furry Felts stocking has been replaced with the sleeker Reindeer and Bells stocking. The book itself also looks much sleeker than the original book. Now the book is in the shape of a rectangle instead of a stocking. The patterns are not in colorful boxes anymore. This knitting book blends in with your other knitting books. In short, it looks more grownup. The book retains its opening chapter on how to knit stockings and the anatomy of socks.

Final Impressions: I love this book. There is a ton of variety of Christmas stockings in this book. You will not get bored knitting the stockings in this book. I am super happy that the yarns were updated and that the patterns look less busy (no super colorful boxes breaking up the patterns).

View all my reviews