Happy B-day!

Well, today is my boyfriend's birthday. Normally, I wouldn't post anything on my blog about his birthday (because I am almost certain he does not read the blog...you know, he is already surrounded with wool, he doesn't really need to read all about it too, but I digress). But, I just wanted to share this little gem with you, my bloggy friends, and it seemed somehow right on this day so why not?That. That picture right there is why I love this man. Because when he installs the new version of Windows, he takes the time to find the most perfect icon for me for the log on page.

I think I will keep him. Happy Birthday, Alex!


Paying it Forward

So, a few weeks ago I received a lovely skein of yarn from Karen, aka LaCabeza Grande. You can find her blog over here. It's very good. I suggest you add it to your Google reader. :)

Anyway, Karen was so nice to send me yarn as part of her "I'm sending yarn to a random commenter giveaway." Let's take a look at what I got now shall we?

Ah, a lovely skein of Fearless Fibers yarn. I love this stuff. The color is so pretty and the yarn is so squooshy and it just makes me want to squee.

So, I thought, why not give someone else that same squee-like feeling when random yarn shows up at his or her door.

Here is what is up for grabs - a custom dyed skein of yarn!! I pretty much dye sock weight yarn these days, but if there is something else you would like and you win, we can talk about it. :)

All you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post between now and 04/01/10 at 5pm central time and you will be entered into a random drawing for a custom dyed skein of yarn. I will enter everyone who comments between now and then. If you win, I will contact you to discuss what colors and type of yarn would make your day. So, please leave me a way to contact you (Rav name, email address, blog link, whatevs).

And, if you are unsure if you will like what I dye, take a peek at my etsy shop to see what I do!

Good luck and happy knitting!


Sunday Night Etsy Site - Fearless Fibers

Ok, it's no secret that I love all things sock yarn. The sock yarn stash has been known to grow at an embarrassing rate from time to time. And, I have to say this week's etsy site has contributed to stash enhancement before. It's Fearless Fibers.It's not just about the sock yarn on Deb's site. She has lots of other types of yarns as well. And, you can get some of your fave Ann Hanson patterns there too. Also, I love that she has stuck with Etsy even as her business grew and grew. Not many yarnies out there with over 9000 sales on Etsy. Quite impressive if you ask me! So yeah, if you haven't checked out Fearless Fibers, you really should. Her stuff is just wonderful.

You can find Fearless Fibers over at http://fearlessfibers.etsy.com.

So, stopped by any good Etsy sites lately?

Note: Pictures are from Fearless Fibers Etsy site.


Handspun - Fat Cat Knits

So, as I mentioned on Thursday, I totally have gotten the spinning bug again. I have been spinning up yarn left and right. It's ridiculous.

This yarn was spun up from some Fat Cats Knits roving I bought some time ago. I think it turned out just great.
I went with a two ply with this one, and I got that nice barberpole look, which is the whole reason I wanted to start spinning in the first place.
I don't know what this one will become. I have lots of single handspun skeins being added to the stash. I think lots of people might be getting hats for Christmas. :) (Plus, did you see that hat in Knitty!? It was perfect timing considering the rate at which I am spinning up random skeins o' yarn.)

I ended up with 220 yards on this one. It's about a worsted weight (although I am still spinning thick and thin (and not on purpose) so in some spots it's a little bulky and in some spots it's more like a DK...and I am totally ok with that).

Happy spinning!


From the Queue Friday - Spring Edition

Well, with the arrival of Spring, why not take a peak into some Springtime goodies that have made their way into my queue?

First up, it's the Bunny Nuggets:

Photo from dangercraft's Flickr Photostream.

I think I heard about these cute lil guys on a podcast awhile back. I think they are so adorable. And, they seem like a good use of random yarn leftovers, which I always like. You can get the Bunny Nuggets pattern for free as a free Ravelry download.

Next up is the Sweet Little Bird:

This bird is just too cute. I could totally see it as a baby gift. Might need to knit one or twelve for just that reason. Goodness knows that lots of people around me are cooking babies in their uteri right now. :)

The Sweet Little Bird pattern is available for free. You can get it here.

So, what's new in your queue?


The Spinning Bug

So, it seems that in the last couple of weeks the spinning bug has gotten under my skin again. I don't know what makes it come and go, but when I get the urge to spin, I don't let it pass me by.

I spin.

Awhile back I had talked about some roving I got from Creatively Dyed at a Stitches Midwest event a couple years ago. The first half of that roving went on to become a nice worsted weight yarn, which then turned into my Handspun Shawlette.
Now, the second half of the roving has been spun, plied (a nice Navajo three ply) and has also become a nice worsted weight yarn.

I have no clue what I will do with this skein. It may become mittens or a hat to match the shawlette. But who knows. It needs to marinate in the stash for a bit to figure out what it wants to be. :)
And, since that spinning bug still seems to be with me, I started on something new. More on that later. :)

Happy spinning (and knitting)!


Class Review: Stefanie Japel's Online Class, Design Your Own Shawl

As promised, here is finally a review of Stefanie Japel's Online Knitting Class: Design Your Own Shawl!

So, I am going to start out by saying that this is the first ever online class I have ever taken. And, other than a couple classes at Sock Summit last year, I am totally new to the whole knitting class thing in general.
I regularly read Stefanie's blog, and I had been keeping up with some of the other things she had been doing in these online classes (making a fitted raglan shawl class comes to mind). It seemed like a cool idea for an online class, so when the new ones were available, I signed up.

And, for $60, it was so totally worth it.
Stefanie was totally there for the group, working through issues, chatting with us, and providing videos and handouts about designing a shawl. Her website for the class allows for live chat, and forums, as well as the ability to upload pictures directly to the site. All of these tools really made me feel like she was there along the way willing to help. It's like she was right here in my house in Northern IL checking out my work!

Over the course of the class, we covered picking out stitch patterns, swatching, doing all that pesky math to 'get the shawl to work,' and charting. These last two items were the main reason I signed up for the class. Sure, I have knit quite a few lace shawls, but getting that math to magically work out can be a pain. That was the main thing stopping me from designing shawls. I knew I wanted to do it, but the math gave me a headache (and as a girl with a chemistry degree and a math minor, that is saying a lot. I mean, c'mon, I made it through multivariable calculus and physical chemistry, but shawl math is a whole different story....but I digress). Stefanie explained all these things in a way that was easy to understand and made me feel confident that I could actually do it.

The other part that I really liked was seeing exactly how Stefanie's process for shawl design goes. Of course, everyone is going to have their own way of doing it, but I really liked having an inside view of how a super successful designer does it.

While towards the end of the class Stefanie's participation in the class lessened (as people were getting their shawls going and she was preparing for her new little bundle of joy), Stefanie even went above and beyond by lengthening the time we had access to the website so we could continue to help each other out (and she was available, just on a more limited basis). I don't know that a lot of other people would have done that. She really wanted us all to have a successful class and that at the end of it we were getting all we could out of the class.

So, would I recommend you take an online class with Stefanie Japel? Why, yes, yes I would. :) The price is so reasonable and I swear the handouts alone were worth the cost. And, I loved having the ability to work at my own pace. It's one of those things where I feel that you are going to get out of the class what you put into it. I worked hard during those three weeks to really challenge myself to get a shawl going. I wasn't working 8 hours a day on it or anything, but I was very committed to that project and didn't work on a lot of other things. So, I would say if you are going to take one of her classes (and I think everyone should), just keep that in mind.

You can get more details about Stefanie Japel's online knitting classes on her new website, http://stefaniejapel.com/. You can check out her blog here (you should read it, it's good!).

Note: I was not compensated in any way for this review. I paid for this class myself. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.


And the winner is. . . .

So, I am finally getting around to announcing the winner of the Nature's Wrapture book that I reviewed last week.

Using the random number generator, I am pleased to announce the winner is Aria!!!

Congrats, Aria. Please check your Ravelry mail. I have sent you a message about where to send it. :)

Thanks everyone for stopping by the blog. I have some more giveaways planned for the near future so check back soon.

And, if you are liking my reviews, come back tomorrow for a review of Stefanie Japel's Design Your Own Shawl Online Class.

Thanks again and happy knitting!


"Design Your Own Shawl" Shawl, Part II

So, I have been talking for awhile about how I took part in Stefanie Japel's Design Your Own Shawl Online class recently. The class is over now, but I still have been working on my shawl design, trying to iron out the kinks and make something I really love.

Here is my second shawl with my new design.
I am not dead set on it yet, and I made some adjustments to the edging this time. Stefanie said "it's your first shawl, it's not THE shawl," so hopefully I will get that into my head and stop tinkering with it too much soon. Plus, I have a super awesome design (well, it's awesome in my head anyway) that I want to start on in the very near future.

This class really was a great time. Come back on Wednesday to read my review of the class.

Happy shawl knitting everyone!


Sunday Night Etsy Site - Dyeabolical

It's Sunday so you know what that means - Sunday Night Etsy Site. Nothing like a little fibery/yarny pr0n to finish up the weekend. :)

This week, I tempt you with Dyeabolical Yarns amazing yarn and fiber.Seriously? These colors make me want to roll around in her yarn all day and then sleep in a bed of her roving. What? I'm dead serious.

You can see more of Dyeabolical's wonderful colorways over at her Etsy shop: DyeabolicalYarns.etsy.com.

Found any good Etsy sites lately?

Note: Pics are from DyeabolicalYarn's Etsy site.


From The Queue Friday - Dishcloths!

So lately, as spring quickly approaches, I have been getting in the mood to knit with cotton. Baby bibs and dishcloths are on my mind. So, here are a couple of these cotton dishcloth gems that have been in the queue for awhile.

First up is the Wishy Washy Fishy Tawashi Dishcloth:

I think this pattern is hilarious. I am pretty sure as Alex and I start talking about redecorating the kitchen these might need to be incorporated into the design. This pattern is available for free here.

And then there is the Vortex (5) Dishcloth:

Photo from first_of_five's Flickr Photostream.

I think that pattern is so neat. And, a great use of half balls of kitchen cotton, if you ask me. The Vortex (5) pattern is available for free here.

So, what's new in your queue?


Book Review: Nature's Wrapture

This week, I have an actual book to review! It's Nature's Wrapture by Sheryl Thies.This book contains 20 patterns all named after various things found in nature. It starts out with a few pages on how natures inspires creativity. I really like that part of the book. I think that it is so true. I will say I don't always see that connection in my knitting, but I sure do when it comes to my yarn dyeing.

So, after the pages on creativity and some explanation gauge and level of difficulty, the book dives right into the patterns. The patterns cover a wide range of wraps, including scarves, wraps shawls and ponchos.

Of the twenty patterns in the book, there were three that caught my eye, Bumblebees, Fall Colors (that's the wrap on the cover, seen above) and Milky Way.

After the patterns, there is a short section on techniques, which is standard for most knitting books.

Overall, I thought it was a nice book. Would I truly knit anything out of it? Probably not. While I think that these patterns are all simple, classic looks that will never really go out of style, I just really don't think that this book it totally where shawl/wrap knitting is right now. I mean with things like Ishbel, Traveling Woman, Milkweed taking Ravelry/the knitters by storm, I feel like the designs in this book are just so-so in comparison to them. I do appreciate the tone of the book and linking the knitting designs to nature, it's just the patterns aren't really the kind I am into right now.

So, would I recommend the book? Yes, if you like those simple, classic sort of wraps and shawls and things. If you are like me and can't stop knitting all these new shawlette patterns that are coming out on Ravelry, then maybe not so much.

Think you might like this book? Well, just leave me a comment with your Ravelry name, or blog, or email or some way for me to contact you and you will be entered into a random drawing for this book. I will be drawing the name on Monday, March 22nd at 5pm.

Think you might like to buy this book? You can get it on Amazon for $16.49.

So, ready any good knitting books lately?

Note: I received this book as a review copy for Martingale & Company. I did not receive any additional compensation for this review. For more information, please see my disclosure policy here. Also, I am an Amazon associate, so I would receive a small percentage from any sales generated by following my links.


WIP: March Sock Stash of the Month Socks

I have been going strong with my Stash Sock of the Month Club this year. This month I am going with a pattern and yarn that I picked up at Sock Summit in August - Curling Tendril Socks with some Hazel Knits Artisan Sock yarn:While at the Sock Summit, I was grabbed by the pattern first. There was a sample knit up and I got all squee-like and just had to have it. It was so pretty. Shortly thereafter, I made my way over to the Hazel Knits booth to pick out my yarn. And, because the sample was so pretty, I went with the same colorway for my socks: Toad Lily.
They are coming out just great. I made a couple minor mods to the pattern (more on that once they are done). I am so in love with these socks, I may want to marry them. :)

Happy sock knitting!


Kimi's Kids - Round Three

Well, of course, the knitters continue to be awesome and I am getting more knitted baby items then me or Kimi know what to do with. And, that's a good thing. I think we are getting to the point where she now will have several classes worth of gifts for the expectant mommies. So very awesome, knitters, so very awesome.

I came home from work last week to find these precious numbers in the mail (and from a woman who had already sent me two of these sweater/hat sets already no less!):That pattern for the sweater is Paxton, which is a free Ravelry download (lots of people have been asking me about it, because it is just about the cutest thing ever!)

Then yesterday, I went knitting with some of my buddies at the new LYS in Arlington Heights, and my friend Tammy gave me all these hats:

Her and a couple of friends knit them up for me. So generous ladies!

Kimi took that first huge pile home when I saw her a week ago, but here is the new pile o' baby goodies:

This week I plan to start cranking through my large-ish stash of Sugar'n Cream and start some baby bibs.

Thanks again to everyone for helping out. Keep those baby items coming! If you would like to join in the baby knitting (or crocheting!) fun, you can either join the group on Ravelry or just knit any baby item your little heart desires and then email me at jenATknittinglikecrazyDOTcom and I will give you my address so you can send it to me. I will then be giving them to Kimi to give to the women in the class that she teaches.

Happy knitting and thanks everyone!


Sunday Night Etsy Site - Knitty & Color

This week's Sunday Night Etsy Site is a shop I have not yet purchased anything from. But, I have been following Knittyandcolor in the Fresh From the Dyepot Threads in the Love to Dye group on Ravelry and holy cow. She has some nice stuff:
I wish I could dye roving like that. :) Knitty and Color has lots of stuff in her Etsy site, including a bunch of dieffernt kinds of roving and batts. So pretty!
Knitty and Color can be found at http://knittyandcolor.etsy.com.
Note: Photos are from Knittyandcolor's Etsy site.


Sunday Night Etsy Site - Natalie's Nest

Ok, so I totally love the idea of putting my itty bitty knitting notions in an Altoids tin. Unfortunately, I don't like Altoids enough to eat an entire tin of them. Thank goodness for Natalie's Nest. She sells decorative Altoid tins that are perfect all those stitch markers I seem to collect. And, they look good too!

I bought a set of three of the owl tins that you see above before Christmas. Two stayed with me, and one went into a gift for my knitting groups yankee swap. And, if you are the kind of knitter or crocheter who likes to do swaps on Ravelry, then I think this Etsy site is an excellent stop for you!
You can find Natalie's Nest at http://nataliesnest.etsy.com.
Note: Photos are from Natalie's Nest's Etsy site.


Handspun Shawlette

So, a couple months ago I talked about some yarn I spun up from some Creatively Dyed roving. I finally knit it into something! I present the handspun shawlette. I just kind of made it up as I went. And it turned into a simple shawlette that I think is perfect for random skeins of handspun. Or sock yarn, whatever.
It follows your basic shawl construction. I increased every row, because I like the shape of shawls that are knit like that.
Wondering how I knit this thing up? Well, fortunately, I wrote it down. :)
Handspun Shawlette:

Yarn requirements: Whatever your little knitting heart desires! If you are going with a worsted weight yarn, you probably want something at least 180 yards (or more). For sock/fingering weights, I would so with something at least 350 yards or more. No one likes running out of yarn!

Needle: One that goes appropriately with the yarn you picked. For worsted weight, maybe a US 7, for a sock/fingering, I like US size 4 or 5 for shawls.

Cast on 7 Stitches.

Row 1: K3, yo, k1, yo, K3
Row 2: K3, yo, p to last three stitches, yo, K3 Row
3: K3, yo, k to center stitch, yo, K1, yo, K to last three stitches, yo, K3

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until you are tired of the purl rows (ending with a WS/purl row).
Row 1: K3, yo, K to center stitch, yo, K1, yo, K to the last three stitches, yo, K3.
Row 2: K3, yo, k to the last three stitches, yo, K3.

Continue these two rows until you think you have enough yarn left to bind off. Bind off.
Ok, not the best pattern ever but hey, it works. :)
I used up 4oz of my handspun, which was about 180 yards. I knit it on a US Size 7, because that seemed to work well with the yarn.
Happy knitting!


Magazine Review: Interweave Knits Spring 2010

The Spring 2010 issue of Interweave Knits came in the mail last week, so I have decided to review it. Because, you know, I like to review things on the blog. I have to be honest here, I don't get this magazine for the articles. I very rarely read them. All I really care about is that little section in the front they have sometimes with new books or fun new knitting things and the patterns. I just want to stare at the pictures all day and then dream about knitting these things. Is that so wrong?

Anyway, I just really wanted to share my opinions on the stuff in the magazine and tell you what I would like to knit in it. There were actually lots of things I want to knit in this issue; I am a total sucker for the lacey stuff. And this issue had a good amount of it. There is a lace shawl/stole, a bunch of sweaters, and even a cute market bag.

Here are some of my absolute favs. First up, it's the Rose Window Beret:

This beret might be the thing I am most excited about in this issue. Why? Well, there was a girl on American Idol who was always wearing these cute little berets during Hollywood week. I literally had been watching AI thinking that I should design a beret. Now there is no need, because here one is!

I also am totally in love with the sock pattern that was in this issue:

I love this sock! This pattern is the Wasabi Peas Socks. I have a feeling that sock may be on the needles soon for me.
And finally, my last fav of the issue is the Double V Cardigan:

I love those little lacey cardigans. I think people in photos wearing them always look so sophisticated. So, maybe I will knit one so I can get that sophisticated look too!
Anyway, I don't always love issues of this magazine, but I have to say, I thought this one was pretty good. So, run on out to your LYS and pick one up today!
So, what were your faves in this issue?

Note: All photos in this post came from the Interweave website. Also, I was not compensated for this review, I pay for my own supscription to this magazine. To read my disclosure policy, you can view it here.


Kimi's Kids - Round Two

Well, lots of people have opened their hearts and their needles to knit for Kimi's Kids, my group on Ravelry that are donating baby items to my friend Kimi's class she teaches for low income women at the clinic where she works.

Here is the latest haul of stuff I have received. I got all of this stuff from one woman in Kansas:I can't believe she took all that time to knit! (Well, I can believe it, because she is awesome, but wow! That is a lot of stuff!). Last week I also received a couple baby sweaters and some hats from another Ravelry group member:
I was so in love with those sweaters that I demanded to know the yarn and pattern that she used. And, as I showed off yesterday, I knit one of my own. Here it is again:
So, now my pile of baby items to go to Kimi looks like this:
I can't believe how much stuff I have received so far. And there are many many more people generously knitting their fingers off to send more to me. Amazing!

Keep those baby items coming! If you would like to join in the baby knitting (or crocheting!) fun, you can either join the group on Ravelry or just knit any baby item your little heart desires and then email me at jenATknittinglikecrazyDOTcom and I will give you my address so you can send it to me. I will then be giving them to Kimi to give to the women in the class that she teaches.

Happy knitting and thanks everyone!


I'm a Ravthlete!

Well, with the Olympics winding down so do the Ravelympics. This year, I joined Team Blue Moon with the goal of knitting a Baby Surprise Jacket. And knit one I did:I have knit this pattern once before (you can see the one out of STR in the Goody Goody colorway here), but this time I was going for something a little more gender neutral.
I think everyone should knit this pattern. It's quick, it's easy, it's fun, what's not to love!?

The Specs:
The Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket by EZ
The Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock, Mediumweight, in the Downpour colorway
The Needles: US Size 4
The Time to Knit: About five days, and then I cut it all close and put on the buttons yesterday morning, on the last day of the Olympics!

And then because the knitting was done on the BSJ, I thought why not try to crank out another baby sweater during the Olympics. So, I did. :)

This one is for my group on Ravelry, Kimi's Kids. Someone had sent me two sweaters using this pattern and I thought they were so cute that I decided that I needed to knit one.
So very cute. I could see a cute little baby girl wearing this one in the summer. I may have cast on for another one. :)

The Specs:
The Pattern: Paxton (Free Rav download there)
The Yarn: Bernat Softee Baby (about half a skein)
The Needles: US Size 6
The Time to Knit: 3 days

So, that's it. I am pleased with my Olympic knitting. How did yours turn out?

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