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Friday Roundup: Back in the Groove

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What I’m Knitting:

I’ve been doing a whole lot of planning and swatching this week for two designs. One is for a submission that I can’t show you, but the other is a hat to match the Mystic Falls Mitts I released last fall. These ones (did I ever show off the final pics here? I lose track of these things…):

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I knew I wanted the hat to have a similar feel, but not quite the same pattern. The mitts were an experiment in yarn dominance and required switching the dominant yarn halfway through the back colorwork. Since I’d have to do much more than two panels on the hat, switching yarns all the time could get really annoying, really fast. So I’m scrapping that idea for the hat and focusing on getting the colorwork swirls along with the square check pattern on the palms in there.

My swatch has been ripped out a few times and doesn’t look like much at the moment, but here’s an idea of how it might look (as long as I like the way the swatch comes out!):

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What I’m Cooking

Remember the tasty vegan alfredo that I forgot to take a picture of last week? Well, I liked it so much that I made it again this week. Over some gluten-free pasta and veggies with some garlic bread on the side, it was delicious:

IMG_2396For my weekly meal-for-a-crowd, I made shepherd’s pie with a new recipe, one that used parsnips (really good!) and skipped the lentils. The big revelation was the vegan, gluten-free gravy I tried out to go on top. I figured it wouldn’t be that great, but it ended up being delicious! (Not the greatest picture, but you get the idea.)

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What I’m Reading

I finished the first book in a new YA series this week, The Naturals. It was really good, and I’ve already snagged the second one so I can keep going.

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“Friday” Roundup: Brain Break

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(I know it’s Saturday, but the day got away from me yesterday! So if everyone reading this would just pretend it’s still Friday for a minute, that’d be great.)

What I’m Knitting

Hey look, something I can show you! I mailed off the big commissioned sample (yay!) and immediately got to work on a little neckwarmer for my son.

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It’s just a super-simple 2×2 rib in the round in a skein of soft Knit Picks Swish Worsted I had lying around, but it’s already gotten a lot of use! I tuck it under his jacket and pull it up around his ears to block wind. We went to the zoo a few days ago in 25 degree weather (I know, I know), and he was snug and warm with his handknit mittens, hat, and neckwarmer.

I have to say, too, that it was really nice to knit such a simple item after lots and lots of more complicated knits. Everyone needs a brain break now and then!

What I’m Cooking

I actually cooked something fancy this week! Homemade vegan alfredo sauce with spring peas and asparagus over pasta, which was really tasty. But… I forgot to take pictures. I used this recipe from Minimalist Baker (one of my favorite recipe sources). I’ve tried a lot of vegan “cream” sauce recipes, and this was definitely one of the best!

What I’m Reading

Um, a potty training book. Ah, parenthood.

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Friday Roundup: Not Much to See Here

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What I’m Knitting:

I finished the large secret sweater project (yay!) and am working feverishly to get the pattern all written up by the deadline next week. So that means nothing new has been cast on, unfortunately. Hoping to rectify that with an instant gratification project tonight!

What I’m Cooking:

Look Ma, I actually cooked something this week! For my weekly vegan-meal-for-a-crowd, I went with a tried and true favorite: a soft taco bar. Cook up some peppers and onions, heat up some vegetarian refried beans, and provide lots of toppings (I wasn’t feeling the vegan cheese or Mexican rice, so that’s missing from my plate). Add homemade guacamole and chips on the side and it can’t miss.

IMG_8797I also discovered a much better way to heat lots of tortillas at once. I much prefer warm tortillas, but it’s a pain to microwave them or heat them on the stovetop if you’re doing more than 5-10. So I searched online and figured out that you can wrap stacks of 5 or so in aluminum foil and put them in the oven for 10 minutes. So much easier!

What I’m Reading

I finished Dangerous Lies (it was really good all the way to the end!) and am looking for my next read. I think a trip to the library is in order…

Friday Roundup: Closeups

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What I’m Knitting

Well, there’s been a whole lot of knitting on the secret commissioned sweater project… which means that once again, I don’t have much to show off here. I’m cruising through the yoke now, so it won’t be long before I can show off some actual knitting content again!

In the meantime, I figured I could show you some extreme closeups of some of my favorite details. (Side note: these remind me of a feature they used to have in the Highlights for Children magazine, where they’d show closeups of everyday items and you had to guess what they were. I LOVED those!)

Texture:

IMG_2345A nice squishy rib:

IMG_2353One of my favorite features, subtle waist shaping away from the sides:

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What I’m Cooking

Uhm, nothing. I’ve really fallen off the wagon on cooking healthy meals, yikes! Work has been crazy for both me and the husband, so there’s been a lot of takeout and ready-made meals stuck in the oven or microwave. But I’m determined to get back to it! Posting here makes me more accountable, so maybe that will help….

What I’m Reading

I’m currently writing a young adult mystery novel, so I’ve been looking for some examples in the genre. This one, which involves the witness protection program, a believable romance, and a really scary villain, is excellent so far!

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And the Winner Is…

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The winner of the Knit Picks Petite Pattern collection is…

Drumroll please…

Post #9!

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That would be poster woolytanis, who said “My left over stash just keeps getting bigger but there is so many projects in this book I can see it shrinking. I hate throwing away yarn, it can be used in so many ways even small bits. I can so see me making the sheep clock for a friends xmas gift—not too early to think of them is it lol!”

Congratulations, woolytanis! I’ll be contacting you through Ravelry to arrange shipping of your prize.

Thanks for playing, everyone!

New Pattern and a Contest!

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Your regularly scheduled Friday roundup will be back next week—but today I have a new pattern release to show off! (And a contest! See the bottom of this post for a chance to win a copy of the pattern book.)

52017220_9Here are the specs:

Pattern: Woodmere Mitts (Ravelry link), published in Knit Picks’s Petite Presents collection.

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport, shown in Marina and Dove Heather. The mitts as shown used about 2/3 skein of the main color and about 1/2 skein of the contrasting color.

Notes: This pattern was so much fun to design! Like my Mystic Falls Mitts, I decided to go with a totally different pattern on the back and front of the mitts. This keeps things interesting, and having a simple, easy to memorize pattern on the palm is a nice break after the more complex colorwork on the back.

52017220_13I also included instructions for plain, single color mitts with this pattern. It’s a good basic recipe (and you can add your own twist to with variegated yarn or texture patterns, if desired).

52017220_4And now, on to the important stuff! First of all, let me just say that this is probably my favorite Knit Picks pattern collection of all time. The book is gorgeous. There are thirty(!) accessory and home patterns in it, all made with less than 150 grams of yarn. That means it’s ideal for anyone with a big leftovers stash. Seriously people, the only reason I’m giving away a copy is that Knit Picks graciously sent me two!

32768To enter, just leave a comment on this post telling me about your leftovers stash (is it huge? Nonexistent? Constantly being used up by your never-ending hexipuff blanket?). To be eligible to win, your comment must be received by the end of day (EST) Monday, January 18th. On Tuesday morning, I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner!

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: This contest is open to anyone worldwide, but make sure you leave some way to get in touch with you. Your Ravelry name, email address, or website are all fine—just make sure I have a way to send you a message if you win! After spending quite a bit of time trying to track down winners in previous contests, I’ve decided that this is an eligibility requirement. You must include a way to contact you to be eligible to win!

Friday Roundup: Sleight of Hand

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What I’m Knitting

A week spent hard at work on deadline projects leaves me nothing to show off… so I’m going to take a page out of magicians’ handbooks and distract you with a shiny new pattern release!

IMG_1031 (1)Remember this nautical baby sweater? I actually released the pattern last month, but I never got around to posting it here on the blog. After discovering that the secret to getting my son to stop for a second so I could take pics was putting sticks in his hands, I got some pretty good photos!

IMG_0938He is just ridiculously photogenic, isn’t he?

Here are the specs on the pattern:

Name: Hoist the Sails, available for purchase here on Ravelry or here on Knitpicks.com

Sizes:
3-6 mo (6-12 mo, 1-2 yrs, 2-4 yrs, 4-6 yrs, 6-8 yrs)

Yarn:
Knit Picks Mighty Stitch (80% acrylic/20% superwash wool ; 208yds/190m per 100g skein); 2 (2, 2, 2, 2, 3) skeins in Celestial for MC, 1 skein in White for CC (all sizes).

One thing I love about this sweater is how economical it is to knit. Three skeins of the recommended yarn (which is all you need for all but the largest size) will cost you less than $12!

A few more pics, because I can’t resist this cutie:

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IMG_0244Sigh… that last picture makes me nostalgic for fall!

What I’m Cooking

I was feeling a little under the weather this week, so I didn’t end up cooking anything for the first time in a long time! I have to admit, though, it was nice to have a break. :-)

What I’m Reading

Still plugging away on Confessions of a Murder Suspect… which is actually a bit odd for me, since this is a fairly quick read and I have had time to read before bed. I have to admit that I’m not really into this book. I read a lot of young adult fiction, and this one seems like an adult author jumping on the bandwagon who hadn’t really read much of the category beforehand. But I’ll persevere and get it done this week!

 

Friday Roundup: New Year’s Edition!

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What I’m Knitting

A fairly low-key day (not a day off—freelancers have it tough sometimes!) means plenty of time for knitting! I can’t show you the whole sweater I’m currently working on for a publication, but I can give you a teensy peek. Look at that gorgeous, rustic yarn:

IMG_2200I’m also working on two(!) other designs for publication with a similar deadline, so there’s going to be some frantic knitting around here for the next few weeks. Wish me luck!

What I’m Cooking

Family in town means lots of eating out, so not too much to show this week! I did manage to make a double recipe of this tasty tortilla soup, which everyone appreciated:

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What I’m Reading

Is there anything better than getting a big stack of books for Christmas? I’m working my way through, starting with this one that’s been on my wishlist for a while:

13521399Happy New Year!

 

 

Merry Christmas!

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Just a quick little post here as I get a breather between opening gifts and cooking food for Christmas dinner!

Yarny gifts were acquired.

IMG_2189Vegan cinnamon rolls and vegan mini-quiches were made and devoured.

IMG_2174And best of all, this little boy’s day was MADE.

FullSizeRenderMerry Christmas to everyone out there who celebrates, and a happy Friday to those who don’t!

GAL 2015 Interview: Designer Tanja Luescher

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We’re entering the last week of the Indie Design Gift-A-Long over on Ravelry (check it out here if you want to join in the fun!). One of the best things about the GAL for me is discovering new-to-me designers.

Tanja Luescher designs gorgeous lace shawls and accessories. She kindly answered a few questions for me, so without further ado, here’s the interview!

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Tanja modeling her Marion’s Cowl design

Triona Murphy (TM): What inspired you to start designing?

Tanja Luescher (TL): I modified patterns or used recipes to create my own very soon. I’m very small, so I had to make changes to get something that fits me. After a course on shawl design by Renee Leverington I felt confident enough to publish my own patterns.

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Margrit’s Pi Shawl

TM: You have such gorgeous intricate lace designs! What is your design process like for these?

TL: In the beginning, I take out my huge collection of stitch dictionaries and see what I fall in love with this time. Sometimes I have an idea what I’m looking for, sometimes I just let the pictures inspire me. When I’ve found one or more stitch patterns, I change some details here and there to make them work for the item I have in mind, and after that begin to knit. In that phase, a lot can happen. A shawl might become a cowl, stitch patterns get added or removed. I have to see the knitting on my needles to know what the design really wants to be. I envy those who have a perfect plan and a pattern written out before they begin to knit. Maybe I’ll get there some day. :)

TM: Are you participating in the Gift-A-Long as a crafter as well as a designer? If so, what do you plan to make/have you made?

TL: I’ve cast on Vining Roses by Natalia Sha, Fairy Ring Socks by Kirsten McTeer, Pleach by Clare Devine and Sand Tracks Scarf by Tracey Lee. I love this opportunity to knit other people’s designs! :)

TM: Is there a design of yours that you love and would like to see more people make?

TL: Yes, Soraya’s Faroese Shawl, I’d love to see it get more attention.

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Soraya’s Faroese Shawl

TM: What are your design goals for the next year?

I want to have more than 30 patterns available and answer some submission calls. An idea I’ve already begun with is working with Caterpillargreenyarn’s Shawl Striping yarns and see what happens when you use them for other shapes than the triangles that they are meant for. It’s so much fun to experiment with the gorgeous colors!

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