WIPs are now FOs!

I recently got two WIPs off the needles: Harvest Sweater, and the Standing Stones cowl.

Harvest Sweater- Done!

 

Harvest Sweater, from TinCanKnits’ Simple Collection. I love how this fits me. And I’m extra pumped because It’s not super big like sweaters in the past have been. All these knitting years, between being big, and yet not knowing HOW big, I’d always erred on the side of caution, resulting in unnecessarily large sweaters. Now realizing I wasn’t as big as I thought I was, and deciding to actually pay attention to size and fit(yay for not having to use/buy as much yarn anymore!), I’m getting better turnouts. I’m still a little wary of sweaters only because I intend to get even smaller and don’t want things that’ll swim on me.

 

As for the knitting itself, it went really quick. Not seaming helped with that but then I re-realized two things: 1) while raglan shaping makes for easier trying-on while knitting, it seems to take forever to get where you need to be before setting aside the sleeve stitches. (BO-RING!), and 2), all those damn stitches on the needles is no good for my wrists. Or anyone’s wrists, for that matter. Which is why my next sweater is a seamed one.

Day 6:  WIP That’s the bottom of the back of Ella Rae Lace Merino Worsted Ribbed Sweater (hey, that’s what they’re calling it!) from the Knitting Fever website. Ignore that garter ridge there. That’s a… design element! 😉

 

Then there’s Andee Fagan’s Standing Stones cowl,  a recent KAL with my Knatural Purls (We’re on Facebook, check us out if you’re there too!) crew. It was a really quick knit, 3.5 skeins of Lion Brand Wool-Ease and I was done. It fits like a dream, and I look forward to wearing it. I’m not used to wearing over-the arms sort of things so this’ll be interesting, to say the least.

Standing Stones cowl-Done!

 

So, that’s pretty much it for this post. Mallow socks (pictured above with the nameless socks) are at the gusset-stage and heel-turning should begin this weekend. Or next. Or, whenever cause I’d really rather work on the sweater and read.. 

 

What’s on your hooks and needles? Let me know!

 

TTFN 

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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:
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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!

 

 

Busy….

Knitting, looking for more things to knit, realizing how out of shape I am by trying to run a 5K untrained… stuff like that..

My shirt and bib. It was fun. I learned something: I'm out of shape!

Recently, littlest Beanlet ran her first 5K walk/run through Girls on the Run. It was cold and windy but we had a great time. I had planned on starting my own Couch-to-5K to be ready. You know that didn’t happen, right? 😉 Tired as I ended up(and sore!), I think I need to do that again, and soon. I felt surprisingly good after that, might be a psychological thing. Yeah, that’s it, ’cause I don’t like running! That will have to change!

As for the knitting, yeah. I’ve completed 3 cowls for Fiberary so far. One of them needs a rip and shortening, and I still have yet to actually seam the last, so maybe I can’t say they’re completed, but yeah. I learned a valuable lesson about second-guessing differences in dye lots, though. The Stockholm Scarf I started a few weeks ago is due to be modeled in the next post, so stay tuned. 😉

I’ve also been having fun with food, getting slowly back into the green monster thing and baking.
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Pumpkin Doughnuts

They turned out not all that doughnut-y looking, but they taste great! A bit too much salt I think, but that can be fixed. Also, I must have smaller-than-normal doughnut pans because this recipe makes way more than is implied in the recipe. I think I’ll need a 3rd doughnut pan. 😉

As if that isn’t enough, then I went ahead and finally tried out this CrockPot Bread recipe I found through TimeSuck Pinterest.

Voila! Crusty bread in the crock pot, to go with my NE clam chowder lunch. #mmm #foodgasm #foodpr0n  #baking #homemade #lunchtime

Oh. My. Stars. I love this! It makes great bread, without the second rise business. Mind you, I was advised to try it with rapid rise(quick rise?) yeast, but it worked fine with regular. I will of course try it that way just to see if I get a taller loaf. As per the recipe the loaf isn’t as tall as I’d get it with a 2nd rise, but it’s still bread and it tastes like real bread. Mmm Mmm, good!

Here’s the m0ney shot (with Clam Chowder):

Lunch time! 😉

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

TTFN!