New Year's Resolution ACHIEVED!!!

I made a few New Year's resolutions last year, some of them I am still working on, but one I managed to achieve just in the nick of time!  I promised myself I would finish Venezia (started it in 2007) AND make another sweater for myself.  I live in chilly Upstate NY and it's downright embarrassing that I end up wearing fleece instead of wool 'cause I don't have enough sweaters!

My girl and I had a lovely Florida trip planned to see my family last week but the snow storms thwarted our vacation plans and we got stuck at home. What did we do?  We did not wallow and wail (okay, we did a little.) We MADE, of course! Miss B made the coolest diorama of "Shiloh" and I did this:

and this:

Not one, but TWO sweaters finished!  Can I get a Hoot Hoot (pardon the pun!)  One is Venezia by Eunny Jang from Interweave Fall 2006 and the other is Owls by Kate Davies.  I ended up using Schaefer Yarn's Esperanza for Owls and have rekindled a love affair I thought I was "over".  This yarn is scrumptious. It's got structure and loft at the same time, a combination that is excellent for Owls.  AND it only took me 18 oz to make the sweater, you gotta love that!  You can see my Ravelry pages for more details, but know that I LOVE both these sweaters immensely and it's going to be a struggle to decide which one to wear tomorrow when I wake up. 

Feeling Accomplished and Happy and Ready for the New Year....  I hope you all had a lovely holiday season and are as ready to embrace this New Year with Strength, Creativity, Humor, and Peace as I am! 


Chubby Puppy!

Chubby Puppy was originally released in Fons and Porter's Fall edition of For the Love of Knitting.  The rights to the pattern have reverted back to me (already!) and so I can make him available to you as well.  So, for those of you who love puppies, especially stuffed puppies, here you go:

Chubby Puppy is really easy!  He's worked in the round and seamless.  It takes about 200 yards of a heavy fingering weight yarn to make him.  I used Schaefer Yarn's Nichole, a yummy plush superwash, which is perfect for this project!!!


Something Healthy this Holiday Season

It's important to me that there is still time to eat healthfully even when life is going full swing like it has been for us this holiday season.  It's the perfect time of year for me to share a quick healthy dinner option. My girl told me my recipe was secret... but I've decided to let it out of the vault and share it with you!

Quick and Easy Baked Tofu
(prep time: 5 minutes, baking time: 25 - 30 minutes)

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Block Extra Firm Tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 Tbsp Tamari (or soy sauce, but I like Tamari better!) + 2 tsp for later
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds (raw is okay too)
1 1/2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat the bottom of a heavy baking pan with  sesame oil.  Place cubed tofu in pan and sprinkle with tamari, sesame seeds and nutritional yeast.  Stir gently to combine.  Place in oven and stir every 10 minutes or so until golden, about 25 - 30 minutes, take out of oven and immediately sprinkle another tsp or two of tamari onto the piping hot tofu.  (This is the secret step!)  Plate it up and EAT!

Our plate from tonight: Acorn squash and asian braising greens from the CSA, shitake mushroom nutrional yeast gravy (my girl's fav) and baked tofu

And more:
*I've been making this for years, when my girl was little I used to double and triple the recipe and keep it in the fridge to snack on all week.

*Wondering how food bloggers keep their dinner's from going cold while they take pics....

*Excuse the bad photos, my camera's batteries were dead (again) and I used my phone!

*I'm on a design "break" and am knitting owls for myself in Schaefer's Esperanza, can I just say, I am in LOVE...

*I've got a few new designs that will be posting in the weeks to come, stick around!


Mr. Popper Lives!

Have you ever read Mr. Popper's Penguins?  It's one of our FAVORITE books!  To pay it homage I designed Mr. Popper, the world's cutest hot water bottle holder.  Of course, if you live somewhere that you don't need a hot water bottle cover, or you don't use hot water bottles, you can close the bottom and make him a stuffie.  This is a quick knit, done on large needles and then felted, super easy to get done for the holidays, so go for it!!!!

Thanks to Knitty for publishing this wacky pattern of mine.  As always it was a joy to work with Amy and Kate.  You all know I LOVE designing with Schaefer's hand-paints, but really, it was a joy to work with black and white Cascade 220.  Sometimes it's the simple things in life that get our creative juices flowing, ya know?


In the works!

My latest design Eventide is almost ready for you...meanwhile, enjoy your holidays, and remember to take a break for a cup of something warm and scrumptious!

Picture Perfect Cappuccino from Gimme Coffee


Finally, Flip-Top Mittens!

When my Miss B was 6 she very clearly told me EXACTLY what she wanted in a mitten down to all the minute details.  These mittens she envisioned had one very clear design detail... they needed a flap so she could get her fingers out for all the important playground activities that required them.  So, I made her a pair, just like she ordered, and loved the design so much that I wrote it up and submitted it to Judith Durants 101 Designer One Skein Wonders.  Flip-Top Mittens was one of my first published patterns, and I am still so proud of it!

As will happen, Miss B grew out of her gloves, and though they are pink and purple they are now being sported by her 5-year-old buddy, Jayden. Gotta love that boy!  This fall she requested a new pair and once I finished my last round of deadlines I quick whipped her out some in Schaefer Yarn's Nichole.  The original pattern called for Schaefer Yarn's Lola, which is being discontinued.  This was also a great way for me to test that they would work well in Nichole as well... which they definitely do!

 Pattern: Flip-Top Mittens
Yarn: Schaefer Yarn's Nichole, in Peter

My girl is thrilled with her new pair of flip-tops,  I bet members of your family would be too; the pattern is sized from a size 2 -4 to men's small, so you can make them for almost everyone!

Oh, and the winner of the It's in the Bag Giveaway is: #1 Imene
I've sent you an e-mail so I can get your snail mail address and get your goodies on their way!  (How cool is that the the random number generator choose #1?)


Travel Knitting- It's In the Bag Give Away!

Welcome to today's stop on the It's in the Bag Blog tour! It's been a fun event, I've been meeting new bloggers and learning alot about the designs in It's in the Bag...

I have to say, traveling is one of my favorite things to do! I am pretty much constantly on the move. At least once a month, and often more, we head out on an adventure. Sometimes I wonder if one reason I travel so much is how much knitting I can get done. I've traveled, though, for way longer than I've knitted, so I don't think this is the case.

My latest travel knitting (clockwise): Box Bag from Splityarn, with socks for my hubby inside, Namaste Catalina Pouch with swatching yarn, Namaste needle case with needles for swatching, Quart sized ziploc baggie with needles, yarn, beads and chart for more Beaded Cuffs for gifts, a mesh bag with Flip-Top Mittens for my girl (almost done!)

When I travel, I keep it light, small projects that are compact and are easy to negotiate while I am on the move. I tend to copy notes and charts and paste them onto index cards so I am not carrying around lots of paper. (I do end up having a stash spot in my suitcase for extra paperwork and patterns in case I need to look at them...) See how small and lightweight that ziplock baggie is for the cuffs?  I always bring WAY too much with me, but at least it's small!

I've really enjoyed looking through It's in the Bag's pages looking for projects that will travel well, there are so many scarves, socks and kid designs to choose from that will pack up perfectly for your winter travels.

Where are your travels taking you this winter?  Leave a comment telling me what your travel knitting is this season and you'll be entered to win a copy of It's in the Bag, and the Namaste needle case shown above.  You have until the end of the blog tour to leave your comment (11/25 with Faina Goberstein.)

Don't forget to check out the next stop on the blog tour tomorrow:
The Fitter Knitter : Cindy will chat with Colleen Smitherman about her It's a Wrap shrug. Colleen will share some of her inspiration behind this fashion-forward design.


A Bloggy Book Tour and Tutorial

Today I am lucky enough to be interviewed by Kat for the It's in the Bag Blog Tour!
Kat asked me a lot of questions about my Andrea Beaded Cuffs one of the 48 patterns in It's in the Bag  I know it helps for my beaded patterns when I supply tutorials. When I read through Kat's questions I realized just what needed to go into the tutorial for these Cuffs.  So those of you hesitant to knit with beads, hesitate no longer, this tutorial will hold your hand every step of the way!

The Blog Tour continues on all week; tomorrow stop by Susie Gaughan's blog- Knitting Knoobie: Don't miss Susie's review of many of the easy and beginner projects as she discusses them from a "newer knitter's" perspective.

Come back to visit me on Saturday, I'll share some of my own  knit packing tips with you AND have a give-away for a copy of It's in the Bag and really nice Namaste needle case!


Beaded Cuffs Tutorial

This tutorial will take you through the "steps" of my Andrea Beaded Cuff Pattern available in It's in the Bag that are a bit tricky so you can make them on your own. My own version of this pattern will be available in January.  Keep in mind that not every step of the cuff is done here, only the ones that I thought could use illustration. Please let me know if there is anything you need explained further. I'm happy to help!

How to get your Beads onto the Yarn:
(you can click on any of these pictures to make them bigger!)

Using dental floss threader, thread end of yarn through large loop at bottom of threader leaving a tail. Pick up beads with threader and slide down onto the yarn. This is a great job to give a 9-year-old if you have one around!

Making a Yarn Over with a Bead:

Slide bead up the yarn with your right hand until it touches the right hand needle, bring yarn with bead on it up and over right hand needle. I use my right index finger to keep the bead in place until I work the next stitch.

Working into Yarn Over's with Beads: (WS rows)

When working back on purl rows you want your bead to be to the BACK of the left hand needle, i.e. on the left leg of the yarn over, when working into it.

Knitting a Stitch with 1 Bead:

pic 1                              pic 2
Pic 1: Put your right ndl into the next stitch on your left needle to work as usual, then slide a bead up until it is touching the right hand needle.

Pic 2: Then work the stitch, pulling the bead through, the bead will lock into place on the new stitch you just made!

Working Beaded Attached I-Cord:  (please see the pattern for complete step-by-step instructions, these photos are meant to help you with the more tricky parts)

pic 1                              pic 2
Pic 1: Shows stitch being picked up along edge of cuff.

Pic 2: Shows all stitches being slid to other end of needle to begin next row.

When working into an i-cord stitch with bead on it make sure that the bead is to the BACK of the left hand needle. 

Working Beaded Clasp:

String 3 beads onto yarn with a small sewing needle or a dental floss threader, leaving a 3 inch tail go back through the beads in the same direction again creating a loop.
String on 3 more beads and go back through the first 3 beads again.  

You will have a circle of 6 beads with a length of yarn running through the middle of it.  Attach this to the opposite end of the bracelet in line with the first loop.  Sew it down only on that center thread.  This is important so that the loop can go all the way around the “button” and catch itself.  If you sew it down on the edges the loop won’t have any grip and your bracelet will fall off!



I've decided it was time to show you my W.I.P's just so you  know I've been knitting: 

Recycled Burlap W.I.P. Bucket from Maya*Made
Read Maya's dynamic blog here, buy buckets here

Clockwise around:
Venezia by Eunny Jang for me:
Yarn: Jamieson Yarn, Shetland Spindrift; 10 colors
Status: 1 sleeve and body up to neckline split done!  I am making this a v-neck referring to the mods made here.  I VOW to only work on this once I get the Snuggler off to tech and model knitters.  You can see from my Rav page that I haven't knit on it since last December, a travesty for something SO beautiful!

Angee by Cookie A for my hubby:
Yarn: Schaefer Yarn, Anne; Ash
Status : MUST RIP and start again... major knitter's denial here, added one more lace rpt as the gauge on Anne is smaller and I was making them for my hubby, it kept saying they were loose, I kept knitting, and then when knit group saw it, the first thing they said was... THEY ARE BIGGG, and so, I shall rip and repeat with one less lace repeat (i.e. make it just like Cookie wrote it in the first place!)

Flip Top Mittens for the girl:
Yarn: Schaefer Yarn, Nichole; Peter
Status: One almost down, must make thumb a little longer, then one to go!  I love this pattern and will devote a whole post to it once the second mitten is done.

The Snuggler a new design by me
Yarn: Schaefer Yarn, Susan; Barbara McClintock
Almost done with the hood, then finish writing up pattern, size the pattern, and off to the techy people to "fix" it for me! 

Btw, I've finally started a Nelkin Designs Group on Ravelry, please join us!


Walking Spiral Cap and Socks

I've got a new pattern for you!  This is one I originally published in Tops and Toes last year that I can now release to you all...

Show in: Schaefer Yarn's Nichole, Indigo

Walking Spiral Cap and Socks is a SUPER cute set to keep your wee one, or your friend's wee one, warm on those chilly fall and winter days!  Both the cap and the sock have an easy to follow walking spiral rib stitch that is both charted and written out.  You can easily add i-cords onto the end of the cap if you need to be able to tie-it on I have to admit, I kind of wish I had them on there for this shoot, this is the ONLY good pic I got of Ollie wearing the cap... it turns out that 18 month-olds don't always like to keep their hats on for pictures.  I have a MAJOR respect for photographers who take great pics of babies and toddlers.  They are a majorly moving target, my shutter was definitely not fast enough for this little imp!


Sunday is for FOOD!- Pumpkin Bread

I've noticed a new trend in my family's schedule that I am loving, Sunday is for FOOD! The kitchen is always busy on Sunday, with treats in the oven, soups on the stove , and snacks for the week being created, it's a yummy day!  I am going to start sharing more of my weekend cooking with you, sound fun?

Today my girl and I had a "double" playdate day, we both had friends over... Connie stopped by with her hubby, Maurizio.  She used to live in Ithaca and luckily she still comes back often so we get to visit multiple times a year!  Connie shared with me earlier this fall that she loves everything pumpkin, so I decided to make her my version of pumpkin bread.  I've found that it takes an hour for the bread to cook, so I always save some batter and make a batch of mini-muffins that cook quickly.  That way we have something to snack on while we wait for the bread.

Besides the ginger pumpkin bread we had cashew chili (vegetarian) going in the crockpot for a chili cook off we went to later in the day... my secret?...  a bottle o' beer!

Ginger Pumpkin Bread and Muffins

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (melted)
2 1/2 cups flour
(I mix whole wheat and white)
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1 /2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg (or pre-ground)
1/8 tsp cloves
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 can solid-pack pumpkin puree
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, and a 12 count mini-muffin tin (I used papers in the muffin tin).

In a large bowl melt butter in your microwave.

While the butter is cooling, in a medium bowl, mix together the flour, spices, baking soda and salt.

Add the eggs, pumpkin puree and brown sugar to the melted butter and mix.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, stir gently until combined.  Add chopped ginger and stir in.  (Sometimes I add chocolate chips, at this step since my family says EVERYTHING IS BETTER WITH CHOCOLATE!)

Bake Muffins for 15 mins and Bread for 55 minutes.  You may want to make a tent of aluminum foil for over the bread after the first half hour if the top starts to brown too much.  Take out and cool 10 minutes before slicing and eating!  Yummm! 


Family Festivities

Here's one the many things I was secretive about this year:

Family Festivities
Coordinating skeins of Schaefer Nichole
Shown in Clara Barton and Indira Gandhi

This sock pattern is based on an easy slipped stitch pattern I was obsessed with last winter, add in a two color ribbed cuff and heel and you've got a design that really playswith color!  Sized for the whole family from 2 -3 years to a men's medium.  If you use Schaefer's Nichole you can get a few pairs out of the 2 skeins... perfect holiday presents for the whole family.

Here I am knitting away on them on vacation in Costa Rica last year,  the easiest "working" vacation I've ever had!  I don't know what's up with that scowl on my face, guess I was concentrating... and using my mouth as my third hand!


A little bit o' everything!

I'm fresh from a long weekend, well not actually fresh, cause I always stay up too late when left to my own devices and then when I have to get up at the crack of dawn for the school bus again I'm a bit bleary for the rest of the week; it's my cross to bear that I perk up around 10 pm!

First off, I'm going to Maryland this weekend:  My dear friend "Jay-Lo" is having a baby shower on Saturday. On Sunday I'll be teaching Migrations at Woolwinders and having a Schaefer Yarn "Petting Zoo" afterwards.  It's all sold out and I am really looking forward to meeting all the knitters there!  Hopefully my Squammie BFF Betz will be able to pop over in the eve for a visit!

Number Two: I did LOTS of knitting this weekend, see?

From right to left in clockwise direction: Tiny Shoe (see info below),  Beaded Cable Cuff (no edging or clasp yet) , New Design (with secret NEW Schaefer yarn...)

Number Three:  These are for my dear friend's baby shower this weekend, I'm just hoping she doesn't read my blog regularly... so Jen, if you are, STOP!!!! and don't scroll down anymore! 

About to be released Walking Spiral Socks (there's a super cute cap in the set too!)

I bought Whimiscal Knits from her at TNNA last June and finally got to make something from it!

Finally, my friend, and editor, Kara, is getting together a blog tour for her new book It's in the Bag... get in touch with her if you think you might want to take part!


And the Winner is...

First off, can I just say, THIS WAS FUN!  I got to listen to some music I'd never heard before, and some I hadn't heard in a long time. I'd love to share a few of my favs (I wish I could link to them all, you built quite a compilation for me to listen to today while I worked!):

Foundations by Kate Nash (with Billy Bragg) (thanks Kathy)

If I had a $1,000,000 by Bare Naked Ladies (thanks to Sam)

Papa was a Rolling Stone by the Temptations (thanks Hadley!)

I used a random number generator... and the winner is #22 Michelle, get in touch with me so I can send your goodies (Brickhouse and 2 skeins of Schaefer's Heather to make it) on their way.

p.s. I might need to do this again, I had way too good a time this go round!


Introducing: 3fer

3fer is three for one!  One skein of Schaefer Yarn's Nichole will make you all three items in this pattern, the cap, the mitts, that's right folks, and even the cowl... better than ginsu knives, I'm telling ya!  Using beads is optional, you can make all three items with beads, or without, or make the cap with beads for your mom, the mitts without for yourself, and the cowl for your kid's fourth grade teacher.  

3fer is based on an easy slip stitch pattern that is created by wrapping the yarn twice around the right hand ndl and then cabling it on the next row.  Directions are included in the pattern for cabling without a cable needle, which is SO easy!  As with all Nelkin Designs patterns the stitch pattern is both charted and written out.

I have to tell you that hilarity ensued when naming 3fer, as I brainstormed with friends and family some rather risque names emerged... do you want me to share?

You can purchase 3fer here or here.
3fer is shown in Nichole by Schaefer Yarn in colors:
(from top to bottom) Indigo, Mary Walker Phillips, and Jane Addams

P.S. There is still one more day left to the giveaway, feel free to join in!


Learning = Brickhouse Giveaway!

I learned something new this week, a super important skill:
How to embed youtube videos into my blog posts!
(Btw, it is easy!!!!)

To celebrate I am giving away 2 skeins of Schaefer Yarn's Heather and the pattern to make my latest design Brickhouse! Leave a comment and share one of your favorite songs with me (I would love a link but it seems that comments won't post with links.... sorry!) before Tuesday October 6th. I'll use a random number generator and announce the lucky winner!


Workshop with Brandon Mably

An amazing opportunity came to Ithaca this week, in celebration of the Bloomsbury Group exhibit at the Johnson Art Museum at Cornell, Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably came to lecture and teach. Schaefer Yarn dyed a series of 6 colors for the Bloomsbury Group exhibit and I showed those along with the event.

Last night I went and listened to Kaffe give a presentation of his work, and today I took an all day workshop with Brandon. We had to bring 20 ass't colors of yarn... I packed WAY more than that the night before, but no where on the info did it say they should be solids... I ended up with TONS of my hand-dye leftovers from Schaefer and not many of "okay" choices; needless to say, I ended up borrowing ALOT of yarn. The workshop was a great stretch for my creative self as I am so used to my yarn doing color changes for me...

Look at what everyone created, aren't they all individually beautiful and hanging together, gorgeous?

Here's mine:
Btw, the new Schaefer colors will start shipping to stores next week, they are really nice, particularly Lytton Strachey... you will probably see it in a design of mine one day soon!