Knit Wit Living

Reflections, Beading, Knitting, Life

Archive for the month “January, 2014”

No Dairy, Caffeine or Chocolate?

I was having trouble sleeping last month so I decided to do a trial of not consuming dairy, caffeine or chocolate.

Dairy makes me all phlegmy so when I lie down it blocks my throat passage.

Caffeine may have been causing me to not fall asleep easily.

Chocolate has caffeine. Boo! Hiss! Decided to stop eating it, for a month anyway.

This all started on December 29th, along with my already mostly-in-place habit of not eating wheat products or processed foods.

Surprisingly, what I miss the most is…a nice cup of coffee, it could even be decaf, with cream and sugar.

Also surprisingly, I don’t really miss chocolate.  I went out with a friend last night and we reviewed the dessert menu. All 5 offerings had chocolate (most had wheat too).  I had no trouble saying, “nope, not interested.”

I also found that it’s much easier to say “No” now.  Someone had brought in bagels and cream cheese at work.  Before I might have said, well, maybe I’ll have a little cream cheese, and then would have ended also having a little bagel.  Now that I’m not eating dairy, it was very easy to just say No to the entire offering.

I also like that I give myself complete freedom to have anything I want….and then surprisingly end up having what I want to want I had not brought my breakfast to work today and had to get something in the (dairy-laden, gluten loaded) cafeteria.  Walking in, I decided to have a (flour) wrap with eggs and maybe bacon. I used to get it with cheese, but absolutely knew I did not want that today.  By the time I was ordering, it was eggs with sausage. No gluten, no cheese, no problem.  Without a thought.  I love it.

I also found this wonderful product that helped me through the holiday season.

This stuff is awesome!  It tastes delicious and doesn’t leave that “not quite satisfied, but I shouldn’t have done it” feeling at the end.  Too bad it’s seasonal. It would also make great ice cream. Next year…

So how am I feeling?

I have gotten compliments that I look good and that my skin is “so clear.”

I feel good. I don’t feel tired when I wake up. I go to bed at a decent hour instead of getting all those second and third winds that keep me up. I’m sleeping better for the most part.

Most of all, I’m proud of myself for making it a whole month, and continuing on…because it feels good.

The New Year Starts with Efficiency!

My VKL NYC purchases

My VKL NYC purchases

It’s been less than a week since I purchased new yarn from the VKL Marketplace.  Would you believe I have already made another crocheted Infinity Scarf for my LD?  And it’s going in the mail tomorrow!

Let’s hope the rest of the year is as fruitful!

Back from Vogue Knitting Live NYC!

VKL NYC was this weekend! I took the train into the city early Saturday morning and was ready for the Registration table to open up at 7:50 AM.  (Egads!) I checked my coat and my suitcase, registered, went to the all-purpose store and waited in line for 30 minutes to buy a coconut water and a grapefruit juice (you’ve gotta love NYC!) for almost $9 (again, feel the love!). My first class was Ha! Fooled You! with Melissa Leapman.  Last year I took Melissa’s Reversible / Double Knitting class, and was very inspired.  I bought wonderful yarn, picked out a pattern, and hope to start that project this year!  This year’s class was about achieving stitching skills without as much effort.  Well, that was the premise.  The first project was to do a form of intarsia but with only one color per row, using slip stitches instead. 2014-01-18 09.46.55 It only really works when you have a pattern with at least two rows of the same pattern, so you can slip the string in the same spot as the previous row to bring the color up.  An interesting concept, and I have seen similar patterns before, so it was a good exercise. Next was mitered stitching, also using slip stitches.  Similar practice as the previous one, but using more garter stitch. This one bored me as I didn’t see myself ever doing it.  Too symmetrical to keep my interest. 2014-01-18 10.15.17 From there, we went to the last concept – cabling without the cable needle. Well, this was not really true.  The cable needle was used in the two previous rows to set up the look of the cable starting to come together. The actual cable though was done without the cable needle by creating two straps that then were tied in a knot and reinserted onto the needles.  It was interesting, but the woman next to me and I agreed that it was just easier creating the cable the old fashioned way. 2014-01-18 11.40.35 Regardless of whether I’m going to use these new tricks, Melissa is very outgoing and entertaining, knowledgeable and creative. I would not hesitate to take another class with her in the future. On to the lecture on Creating New Stitches by Norah Gaughan.  Norah showed many pictures of what inspired different stitches and patterns that she created.  One of the best insights was about this book, Steal Like An Artist, which apparently speaks about how no one can be creative without being influenced by what is already known.  I was particularly impressed by the Salvador Dali quote: “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.”  The lecture was very interesting, and it was good to see and hear this creative designer in person. The afternoon was spent in Lucy Neatby‘s Various Variegations class.  This woman is wild! I wish I had taken a picture, but try to imagine a middle-aged woman with BRIGHT pink, purple and blue hair, wearing a floral dress, with one brown stocking and the other blue, and one pink boot and the other one turquoise. I kid you not.  I should have gotten a photo of me with her so that my friends could see that there is someone out there even crazier about colors than me! I learned in Lucy’s class that there is no magic solution or formula for working with variegated yarn. It’s a bit mathematical and you have to be willing to “cut and paste” with variegated yarn to get some designs to work. We tried some different patterns that highlight variegated yarn and it was a good discussion. 2014-01-18 16.19.08Here’s what I worked on, and following are some inspirational projects that she brought in as examples. I am going to copy some of the concepts of the hat for a winter hat for a guy at work. I especially like the concept of breaking up the variegated yarn with some solid yarn. I think it really shows off the variegated yarn much better than just doing a piece with all variegated yarn.

I visited the marketplace and was underwhelmed and overwhelmed at the same time. There were fewer vendors than before, but still a lot to look at. I ended up buying two skeins of yarn and a bag from Yarn Pop that I had previously seen in a Vogue article. I was hoping to buy some more Soak, but they didn’t have a booth this year.

I attended the Gala dinner, found a seat at a table with some nice ladies, and enjoyed the dinner.  There were party favor bags for each guest. I was delighted! It included 3 skeins of yarn (Rowan, Malabrigo and Louisa Harding), stitch markers, garment wash, needles, and so much more!

My gift bag!

My gift bag!

They had many raffles throughout the evening, and I won…another yarn pop bag! 2014-01-18 21.52.14 Barbara Kingsolver was the guest speaker, and she spoke about her farm and raising Icelandic Sheep. I had read her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a few years ago, so some of her talk seemed repetitive, but it was still entertaining and engaging. The next morning while I was enjoying my breakfast, I saw that Barbara was having her breakfast with one of her favorite designers, Norah.  I was thrilled that I recognized them because I am usually oblivious. On to Leslye Solomon’s Finishing Sweaters class. Wow! I had forgotten how personable Leslye is, as I had taken another of her classes two years ago. She is very knowledgeable, friendly and engaging.  We spent a lot of time talking about swatching and gauges, which must be taken seriously (much to many people’s dismay, though I do swatch and don’t find it an issue).  But then she showed us the mattress stitch and an easy way to do the kitchener stitch. Now I am almost inspired to do a pieced sweater instead of one in the round.  When I knit in the eighties, I used to send my pieces to my aunt who would sew them together for me.  Now I feel more confident and less intimidated to do them myself…”Now” is NOW after taking this class. Taxicab to the train station, caught the express and I was back on home turf in less than two hours after packing my knitting supplies in the class. What a whirlwind weekend. What fun! I can’t wait to start my new projects and see what classes I’ll take next year. Oh, one more thing.  Look at this knitting inspiration – the carpeting in the hotel room… 2014-01-19 06.55.43 Lovely!

Bad Knitting Ads

MEOW! Yes, I may be feeling a little catty today. I started reading the latest edition of Vogue Knitting (Winter 2013/2014) this morning and was struck by the number of uninspiring photos in the ads.

Bad Knitting Ads

This Koigu ad is what spurred me into writing this post, although there were plenty of other bad ads. But really!

Yes, the yarn looks intriguing. But the pattern?  Who in their right mind would wear this outfit?

When the model doesn’t even look good…or is this a throwback to …Hippie chic???

Who would wear these things?

This next one, an ad for a variegated yarn, must have been knit in the wrong size for the model. She is slumping in the photo because if she stands up straight, you will see that the garment is entirely too short for her figure.  I am not a fan of the pattern and think it’s dated.

Bad Knitting Ads

And finally, I’m sure this model is an active, healthy woman. But she looks pregnant in this outfit. Since the ad was not targeting pregnant women specifically, I don’t think the ad is effective in selling the yarn or the pattern.

Bad Knitting Ads

I used to get another knitting magazine, and the patterns for the magazine itself were so dated and dreadful, I used to wonder what the models were really thinking behind their smiles.  “Finally, a modeling job!  And if I put it in my portfolio, it will look like I’ve been modeling for decades because this clothing style is no longer in fashion.  And, it will show how little I’ve aged since then, too!”

At least the models, the patterns and the styles from Vogue Knitting are modern, fresh, and inspiring.  And that what it’s all about.

Fair Isle Inspirations #2

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I had ordered prints of many of my Fair Isle inspiration photos awhile back and wanted to put some of them in a collage frame. When I went shopping, I realized that collage frames are not for me.  They’re too restrictive, and don’t have the cut-out size options I wanted.  On one hand, I could take it to the extreme and design my own mat openings, but….let’s be realistic!  So I came up with a better solution.

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I bought a simple frame, and some black wrapping paper.

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I took the cardboard that came with the frame and covered it with the paper. (I wrapped it like a gift at the edges, folding and taping facing flaps, then created a triangle at the corners of the open edges before folding and taping them in.)

And then I had to decide my “most inspirational” photos.

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So many choices!

Of course nothing is set in stone so I can switch them out as needed, or even purchase and set up more frames.

The final products below. I love them both!

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I love the detailing in these photos!

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I must confess that I like this one the best!

Crochet Confessional

2013-12-31 20.15.22 Over Thanksgiving break, LD asked me to make her an infinity scarf.

Be still my heart! My daughter is actually requesting I make something for her! (She is very, very picky and our tastes are totally different, so her request means she’s placing some amount of trust in me that we will be on the same page of what she wants or needs.)

I had her log into Ravelry to find a pattern, and she picked two possibilities. Both crochet!

Rather than say no, I took a deep breath, bought the patterns, some yarn, and a Crochet instructional book.  I was able to order these online as there were two weeks before she would be coming home again for Winter Break.

I decided upon the Signature Infinity Scarf by the Crochet Designer “Don’t Get It Twisted.”

black_infinity_scarf_small2

Now that she’s home for Winter Break, LD has been busy making gifts for her Sorority “Little” and had to run to the local crafts store, where she also bought the crochet hook for me.  She’s home from school for 3 1/2 weeks, so I’d better learn how to crochet and make this scarf.

And I did!

I was about 75% through when I realized the pattern called for Super Bulky weight, and I had purchased Bulky weight. Ah, well, life goes on.

Are you sitting down? I’ve finished the project….and LD loves it…and is wearing it! (to counterbalance the “Mom, this house is sooo cold” attitude.)

Of course, she wouldn’t pose for the camera, so here I am, enjoying it so much that I’m contemplating making one for myself!

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Hard to smile when performing a selfie. But still nice & warm, and I want one! Just need to decide … what color?  …and here we go, again…

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