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!

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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!

Harvest Sweater (Rhinebeck Sweater, 2014)

Been a lot of crafty crazy going on lately. Finished two shawls and a scarf that I have yet to actually block. I’m such a slacker when it comes to stuff like that. But I must at some point, right?

On to the latest WIP: Harvest Sweater, by Tin Can Knits. I got a tip that their Simple Collection( a collection of free, fairly easy patterns) was available to download. One of my favorites was the Harvest Sweater. One of the things I like about this whole idea of the collection is how the pattenrs are sized for the whole family. While I probably won’t knit one of everything for all 5 of us, the fact that it’s available is fantastic.

So,
Harvest Sweater--- body 60% complete

I’m about 60% done with the body and then it’s onto the sleeves. Still thinking about trying to knit both at the same time to get even sleeves. Don’t know how trying it on for fit is going to work like that, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. In the meantime, I was reminded of something: Tension can make or break your project.

Back several years ago, I learned to knit/purl backward, so as to avoid turning my work, and actually purling. I quickly figured out that in doing so, I could avoid the dreaded swatching-in-the-round that I didn’t really care for. My tension while knitting stockinette backward(purling without turning the work) nearly matched what I get when I knit stockinette in the round. It allows me to swatch stockinette flat for projects in the round, but when I am actually doing something flat… yeah.

I swatched the Harvest sweater flat, with actual purling because I planned to just go ahead and knit it ‘regularly’. But after umpteen rows of that nonsense I decided(after I was done with increases on the front), to go ahead and work backwards. Already I’m seeing a slight difference in the tension between both areas(see photo above– right above ‘here’ is where you can see the change).

No biggie, it’ll all even out in the blocking process(I keep telling myself this). Yes. It will. 😀

As for future projects, there’s some socks on the horizon and possibly a new cowl. Can’t have too many of those can you?

So, what you yarnin’ on? And what has you knitting/crochet taught you lately?

TTFN! 😀

Take It or Leaf It Shawl

IMG_20140722_112716

So this began the other day. After a false start or two I’m finally 80% of the way done. Can’t wait to block this out and show it off this fall. Patons Lace yarn in Bonfire, that I finally found a use for, and a G hook. I think I’d like to make this again in a less fuzzy yarn; one thing this project taught me is that the ease of ripping to be found in crochet does NOT exist when it comes to fuzzy mohair. You’re welcome.

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.

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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!

Happy New Year 2014!

So, I’ve been doing all manner of things since my last post. I recovered from the crazy of 5K land, though I’ll probably be trying that again soon, because, fitness! Then I got to donate to Children of Promise, this holiday season, and hung out with some beautiful, talented knitters all December long. 2014 got off to a raucous start, though.

It started with a nasty cold which brought me down to giving in to a visit to urgent care. Thank goodness for late Friday night hours, is all I can say. Oh, and 24hr pharmacies.. 🙂

Then, while that was going on I was trying to knit and smoothie myself silly. I’ve joined the Simple Green Smoothies’ 30-day smoothie challenge and so far, so good. I’ve been documenting the experience (or, at least photographic evidence of it) over on Instagram if you’re so inclined.

Merry early Xmas to me and the family. I'd been talking about getting a juicer for quite some time.  Mom and I first juiced back in the 90s. I figured it was time to get back to it. #juicing #liquiddinner

Chunky Monkey Smoothie

I used to use a juicer way back in the late 80s, early 90s when my mom was still alive. We juiced every and anything.
Sometimes it was good, sometimes, not so much. But between the juice fasts I’ve been hearing about and the smoothie challenge I think I’m pretty well covered. It’s a hard road, but I’m still on it. Slow and steady wins the race, they say…

But knitting. I’ve been on a serious cowl kick as of late, completing 7 in about as many weeks. Highlights:
Untitled

Stockholm Scarf

Finito! Fear of Commitment cowl. This KP WotA is no joke! My neck will be warm!  #FO #knitting #knitfaster  #fiberary #fiberuary #cowl

Fear of Comittment
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Armonika

There was also the Luxe Cowl, as well as the Who’s Cowl’d?‘s designed by Therese Ross-Carter. Therese makes awesome, easy-to-knit patterns that I love. Check out her Two Step, as well!

 

I just blocked a Two Step the other day and will seam that later on today. Then it’s photo time!

 

TTFN!