Spring 2016 Goings-on

Back in April I began participating in a sock knitting KAL wherein you knit a pair a month, saving them in a box until you’re done. I’m not sure why I can’t just wear them when I’m done, but I love knitting socks so I joined. *shrug*.

April’s socks:

Plain socks

Just some plain socks I knit up in Dragonfly Fibers’ Super Djinni sock yarn. I was knitting a lace pattern at first but it didn’t show well at all, so I just went straight to plain stockinette. It’s the perfect go-to for variegated yarns.

May’s socks:

Aradena socks for Biggest Beanlet

Aradena Socks, by Tinksdarkerside. I knit these in this gorgeous Cascade Heritage Prints in Roses. I kept getting lots of compliments on this yarn, and I’m looking forward to knitting myself a pair in this. These will go to Biggest Beanlet this Fall.

Currently, June’s sock WIP: 20160604_121356

The Don’t Cage Me In Socks, by Heather Kinne.  The yarn is some wonderful yarn called WonderSock by Gale’s Art in the colorway Stoney. Love, love, love.  These are actually supposed to have the lattice patterning on the back of the leg. I’m not doing that though: it turns out(and I knew that, I probably just forgot!) that moving stitches from needle tip to needle tip  is impossible when knitting both socks on the magic loop at once. I was away from home and without a second needle when I realized this, and was unwilling to put the project down(I was #waitingroomknitting) and so I just decided to knit the back of the legs plain. NO harm, no foul. I’m pretty much Team 2-at-a-time-socks these days, so I’m reluctant to knit them one by one.

The Aradena socks were knit one at a time and I have no idea why. Usually, I guess I’m just on autopilot and don’t want to deal with SSS(second sock syndrome). These socks are currently further along than in this photo. In fact, they’re almost done! 😉  Stay tuned for an in-the-b0x shot of the first three pairs!

 

In spinning news, I finally got Dutchie fixed!! My poor spinning wheel had all sorts of issues: noisy, shifty footmen, a missing tension spring(I’d been making do with fishing line and rubber bands!), and the list goes on. I went to spin a few weeks ago and the footmen had completely dry-rotted and broken. After some quick research, I was able to get all the parts required to fix the wheel up and I have been spinning!

Falkland Wool from Into The Whirled

What you see here is some Falkland wool I picked up at Rhinebeck 2012 from Into The Whirled. It had been sitting on the wheel since I started spinning it a few years ago, when I started having serious issues with the wheel, which caused me to stop. I tried desperately to pick up where I left off, but nothing I did would allow the singles to take up onto the bobbin without breaking off. Then,  just my luck I’ve lost the end of the fiber and can NOT find it. So I started a new bobbin with the rest of the fiber(on the left), and am currently plying it.  It’s not the softest yarn( neither the Falkland nor the unknown undyed fiber (Could it be Cotswold or Romney?) I’m plying it with are soft fibers, but hopefully a good soak will smooth things out. One can only hope!

What are you knitting/spinning these days? Hit me up in the comments!

My Design: Therese Socks

The time has finally come to announce my entry into the world of Knit Designing! It’s been a long time coming, with 11 years of knitting and yarn-play behind me. I present to you: Therese Socks.

Therese Socks front

These socks were inspired by the beautiful Radiant Gradient cowl, designed by fellow KnaturalPurl Therese Ross-Carter. A knit designer and an accomplished motivational author, Terrie encouraged me to get in the ring and start creating my knit-dreams. Without her nudging, I’d still be thinking about publishing my own patterns. It’ll be a challenge but I can count on her to put her foot in my notions bag when I need it. 😉

Therese Socks side.

I figured I’d start with the one thing I’ve knit more of than anything: socks. So many options for toes, heels, stitch patterns to choose from, why not? This was truly a labor of love, with everything from realizing that what I KNOW doesn’t always make sense to others, to being disciplined in terms of timelines, to getting so frustrated at formatting the pattern template that I was ready to smash my laptop! (Luckily, it never came to that!)

I also want to thank ALL my Purls and ALL my yarnies for all the advice, encouragement, and well wishes on this endeavor.

Like what you see? Get the pattern on Ravelry (it’s free to join!), get to stitchin’ and enjoy this simple, lacy sock.

TTFN!

I Popped My MDSW Cherry…

I know, I know. EVERYBODY and their mother on the East coast has been to MDSW(Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival) at least once. This past Saturday was my very first time. And it was sweet.

In the past I’d resigned myself to NYS Sheep and Wool (Rhinebeck!), because I was not willing to travel allllllll the way to Maryland. Most of my local knitter friends, and a bunch of distant ones made a regular pilgrimage down that way every first weekend in May. I figured now was my chance. Talk about overwhelming. I barely took photos of the goodies to be had, instead opting for the usual, ‘ I’m here, look!’-type shots. Hell, I’d even left the DSLR home(now you KNOW it was serious).
Pretty Sky
Sheepy decorations outside the festival entrance

Of course I took time out to show off a sock WIP( the Socks on a Plane have since been finished.):

Socks on a plane... at a festival! (Mine’s on the right).

The highlight of the festival was getting this: a skein of the Cobblestone Sock, by Neighborhood Fiber Co.

Neighborhood Fiber co. Cobblestone sock, Canton colorway

I can’t wait to knit this gem!

Also, I managed to finish the Socks on a Plane in record time: 5 Days ya’ll!

Socks on a Plane, in Socks That Rock, Little Bo Peep colorway

This sock was insanely easy and the thick sock yarn made it go really fast. Socks that Rock is a popular sock yarn that sells like hotcakes at festivals. I got a bum skein with knots and tangles. I’m thinking they sell the oopses at these festivals. I like the yarn a lot for what it is, but I’m not sure if I’d ever buy it again if the usual quality is what I found at Rhinebeck (2013). We shall see.

What am I working on now?
Ashton shawl progress; Malabrigo sock, in Lettuce.

Meet the Ashton Shawl. I’m knitting this in Malabrigo Sock, in Lettuce. I know I bought two skeins of Malabrigo sock and couldn’t remember what shawls I wanted to knit with them. I just did the close-your-eyes-and-point and came up with this in my queue since 2012. What better time to knit it than now?, I say. So far, it’s a really relaxing, easy knit. Can’t wait to block this puppy!

So that’s it for this one. Stay tuned for a special event coming up in the next few weeks. I’ll give you a hint: socks. 😉

TTFN!

Big Things Are Coming…

…and Gaye over on The Confessions of a Yarn Ho is to blame. 😉 I’ve been viewing her beautiful WIPs and FOs and decided it was time to try something in a thicker yarn. Last time I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick was back in, oh… 2004 when I tried to knit the Sonnet sweater for myself. (I’m still gonna try it, just not with bulky yarn!). After a while things just got really heavy and I gave it up.

But now? NOW! I think I’m ready for Big Things. Quick cowls and hats are the order of the day, at least in this really cold, bitter Winter the Northeast is having right now. On the big needles:

2015-01-31_11-05-17

GAP-tastic Cowl, by Jen Geigley. (LB Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, in Cranberry).  I’m knitting this on 13s. I bought 15s just in case the 13s didn’t work out, but since I’m changing things up and knitting sideways on way less stitches I’m thinking this will be fine. I can’t wait to finish it! Admittedly, this won’t be AS quick as a single-loop style cowl done in the round, but this will be so worth the wait.

I’ve taken a short break from the latest socks I’m working on for the 60-Minute Sockagram because I’d really like to have quiet time to sit and just knit, and with all the moving around and errands I have to deal with lately, there’s just not much of that. I’m on the heel flap of the first sock, and that type of thing deserves close observation and attention.

That’s pretty much it for now. Of course, there will be knitting on this cowl and scheming on what Big Thing to knit next. 😉 You knew that, didn’t you?

TTFN!

2015: The Year of the Socks

Wow, has it been that long? I guess it has. Moving right along…

Simple Skyp socks(blog shot)

 

This is the start of something new. Well, sort of. ShamekaKnits of the Knatural Purls has created the sock challenge of the year: 60MinSockagram! In this challenge, socks are knit and a photograph is taken every 60 minutes to document the progress. Through in some FO/modeled shots at the end and then chuck ’em all into Flipagram. Make a slideshow with all your photos and then post THAT to Instagram. There’s a Ravelry group as well if you’d like to join. I’m already on my second pair, the cast-on for which is feature above. Simple Skyp Socks, by Adrienne Ku, in Fable Fibers Story, in the Silver Birch colorway..

 

My first #60MinSockagram project was the Zigzagular Socks, by Susie White, in Artyarns Ultramerino4, in Olive.

Check out the sockagram video here, and here’s the FO shot:

CAM00761

 

I’ve been queueing sock patterns like a fool so picking subsequent pairs to knit is gonna be one hell of a challenge. We’ll see how that turns out.

 

Back to knitting I go! What are you knitting on? Hit me up in the comments.

 

TTFN!

A Little Success Goes a Long Way…

Quite a bit has happened since the last post. After completing the 30-day green smoothie challenge I didn’t stop there. I kept going and adding back juices as well. And luckily the Ninja is holding up very well. Loving it!

I have been knitting too. This year’s Winter Olympics brought the Ravellenic Events on Ravelry and for the first time I joined in. Team KnaturalPurls FTW! I completed my Double “Plainbow” sweater, and cast on and finished my second Two-Step cowl (Ravelry link) made from luscious Malabrigo.. I now understand the love for that yarn..
And it's done! Double Plainbow, finished for the 2014 Ravellenics. Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Chili. Pattern by Rena Varsakis. #teamknaturalpurls #ravellenics #Ravellenics2014 #FO #sweater

It’s nice and warm, despite not being 100% wool, though that might have more to do with how tightly it was knit at first. I eventually worked my way from a US size 5 needle to a US 8, because it was just taking way too long. What possessed me to attempt a DK sweater in plain stockinette, I do not know. But it is done and I enjoy wearing it. I’m already planning a new sweater to knit and it too is largely stockinette but I think I’ll get to use a bigger needle this time. 😀

Once the Ravellenics were over I could get back to less fast-paced knitting. I’d been going cowl crazy earlier this winter and felt a complete set was in order.

Untitled

Hurricane Hat and matching handwarmers. The two patterns are pretty much the same, only the handwarmers use less stitches in the patterning and there’s no decreasing. Two different designers, too. I took it upon myself to just take the hat pattern and keep going straight up and make a cowl. Plain and simple. It works! Pics of that soon enough. For now, just imagine the hat without a crown!

As for the title of this post, this is what else is going on in BeanKnit land: I am losing weight!

With the whole juice and smoothie-ing going on I’d dropped a few pounds and it really shows. Everyone is complimenting me and I even needed to get new jeans for my slightly slimmer figure. 🙂 So, I’m on a roll, looking to push this further and really get back down to a healthier weight. I downloaded the C25KFree app and set to.

Ouch. At first I was trying to run too fast too soon(and ultimately, speed isn’t the goal, really), and even with breaks I couldn’t complete the 30-min workout. But after a lockerroom break and more thought I went back in there and adjusted my jog speed and it worked! I tried it this time for 15 min. instead of 30 and was surprised that I’d run(No pun intended) out of time! Go me! 😀 I’m already looking forward to starting again on Monday.

And to go with that, healthier food. I made my own almond milk yesterday:

Home made Almond Milk

My smoothies usually contain almond or coconut milk. But that ish costs almost $5 a half gallon. Nope! Gotta do better than that. So I went and tried my hand at pressing my own. Easy, quick and worth the effort. I used this recipe.

For my first post-workout meal I opted for a meat-less lunch: Pomelo, spinach and feta salad, with raspberry vinaigrette dressing(which OMG tastes like you can fill a pie with it… sigh).

Post-workout lunch! Pomelo, spinach and feta with raspberry walnut vinaigrette dressing. The pomelo tastes good, but there's a LOT of pith to contend with. Will have to work on my peeling skills. #lunchtime  #pigouttime #postworkoutmeal #hungry #mmm

Delicious with some fruit-infused water, another thing I’ve been getting into, to help me get more water into my body. So far, so good.

 

So that’s what I’ve been up to. What about you?

 

TTFN! (OMGlob I need to soak! Yeek!) 😀

Stealth Health( Or, I Finally Bought a Ninja Blender)

ninja

 

So,  almost two weeks ago, this happened. Back at the beginning of January I started the Simple Green Smoothies 30-day Challenge, wherein I drink at least one green smoothie a day for 30 days. So far, so good. I’m really enjoying the journey and if I didn’t know better, I’d swear I’m actually starting to see benefits.. 🙂 Even the kids and Mr. BeanKnit are getting in on this. He even wants to get his own personal device(a NutriBullet, to be exact) to take with him to work. I’m all for it!

 

16 days into the challenge my 5-year-old Cuisinart Blender carafe went to blender heaven. Not wanting to fail on this challenge I started immediately checking out a new blender. I’d heard wonderful things about VitaMix and BlendTec blenders but they’re WAY out of my price range. I’d also heard about the Magic/Nutri Bullet thingies but wanted something that could blend larger quantities, should I want to blend something other than smoothies( ie, sauces). Enter  the Ninja line of blenders.  Ninja came with impressive reviews as well, but I like to check and double check to see what, if any complaints there were. They were plenty, and most of them seemed to be about a few specific issues, but after some thought and glowing reviews from people I know and trust, I took a leap of faith and got one myself.

 

Whoa. I’m in love with this thing. (Shh. don’t judge.) I do have ONE issue which turns out to also be part of what makes this blender so good: The blade is a 3-level deal, so it creates a whirlwind inside the carafe and gets EVERYTHING. The bad thing about this is that, it’s a tall blade and putting greens in and trying to get them to the bottom without slicing myself up is tricky. I just let the leaves sit where they land and pour in a liquid and it’s all good. I’m just so used to the tiny, short blade in the other blender..

Which leads me to the plus about this set-up. The blade comes out from WITHIN the carafe, allowing me to fill it with water as I clean it. The other one, you pull the blade out from the bottom and with no bottom attached, well yeah.

This thing BLENDS. At 1100 watts, no wonder! Some  have complained it’s loud(it is), but with that much strength do you expect it to be whisper silent.? (IJS, Ninja is PROBABLY not a good name for it if it’s that noisy… 😉 ) But yeah, it’s a real workhorse. I especially like the single serve cup attachment. Quick and easy, though I regret that the sip spout doesn’t close so traveling with the cup is a joke. I heard tell I can buy separate lids that are fully closed so I’ll be looking into that.

So, for now, I’m sold on this Ninja Blender. Warning though, do NOT attempt to use this to mix muffin batter. Don’t ask.

TTFN!