How about a technique book today?
The Knitter’s Companion by Vicki Square is an excellent quick reference. There is a little bit of everything in here. It is by no means in-depth. It is just little bits from all of knitting.
Yes, you can use Google much the same way, but I like having the book. I can write myself notes in it, I can use it when I’m not plugged into the internet, and I like books. Also, I don’t have to weed through 10 million hits to find the one I want.
I like the diagrams. Some books have hard to understand diagrams, but this book has great diagrams. I also seem to always understand the directions, which is nice.
So, if you find yourself forgetful, like me, or you are new to knitting and want a quick coverage of almost everything and/or a quick reference, I highly recommend this book.
I adore knitting/craft/cooking books and magazines, and I have plenty, so I thought I would start reviewing them now and again. Here is the first one:
I was a Kickstarter backer for this book, because the premise made me happy. Amongst several of my groups of nerdy friends, it is widely believed that my crafty arts will be my ticket into a position of honor and value in any post apocalyptic society. I can knit, spin, crochet and weave if I have to, garden, bake, can, etc. I’m also good with circuits and machinery. So this seemed like a book written for me.
I have many projects from this book that I want to make: Apocketmitts are first on my list, but I love Baby’s First Principles because it is a baby blanket with skulls; I want to make Circuit for me too with some conductive thread for touch screens; Ditch the Tech looks super comfy; Fennec just looks cool and would be awesome for my sister-in-law; I want 10 of Fatigued in different colors; Fission looks fun and would make a great gift; the Grom-mitts are way bad-ass; I would wear Ozone all the time; I want 20 Technologicas in different colors; who wouldn’t want a Utility Corset or five? Wayfarer is so pretty; and Thrumviator would be great for all of our cold-weather-living family.
The writing in this book is fantastic. There are great doomsday themed extras and the patterns are arranged by the type of apocalypse. :-D This is definitely my kind of book.
The only negative I have would be that some of the suggested yarns are quite pricey. Now, I’ve at least felt most of the yarns, even if I haven’t knit with all of them, and damn are they nice yarns. That being said, unless I win the lottery soon, I’ll have to make some yarn substitutions to make all of the patterns I want to knit from this book. I will definitely be stash shopping first to see if I have things that will work. If an apocalypse does come, I will be raiding yarn shops first to get all of the yarns for the projects in this book.
Why did I decide to fill in the stick? The tutorial just had a back stitched outline of the stick. Why do I make things difficult for myself?
The stick is taking forever on this, but I’m almost done. Just two more branches. Then the grass and the firefly wings and I can put in the LEDs and the battery and be done!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m making this for one of my nephews, and I have a frog and firefly for the other one that I plan to make. I can’t wait to finish this because I have a cross stitch creation I’m dying to start.
The tutorial can be found on thezenofmaking.com. Click through the picture to go to the tutorial.
So, I’m making a thing. I don’t know what it is yet.
I really liked this lace-vine pattern. I really want a lacey shawl/wrap/poncho thing. I was looking for other stuff in my stash several years ago and stumbled across this yarn. I started knitting.
The yarn itself I like. It is bulky, it is soft, the color is pretty. The yarn ball, not so much. It is tangled and HUGE to the point of almost being unwieldy.
At the moment, this is in my “on pause” collection because the yarn ball was annoying me. I’m sure I’ll get back to it before too long. I kinda like having no idea where this is going.
I found some big-ish craft beads cleaning out some craft supplies. They are blue-ish and might become a part of this at some point.
The ravelry.com page for this project is: http://ravel.me/scitchet/clwu
Super Awesome Nummy Bars
These are inspired by the dark chocolate cherry granola bars that my husband loves and our local store stopped selling, and “Car Snack #2” from The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila. Basically, I’m using Alana’s process with my own recipe. Once you have the proportions down, you can put in any ingredients you like.
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/3 cup maple syrup (or 1/3 cup more honey or 1/3-1/2 cup peanut butter)
- 2 cups of rolled/old fashioned oats
- 1 cup of dried cherries
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds without the shells
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds without the shells
- 1 1/2 cups nuts (I did 1/2 cup each of peanuts, almonds, and pecans for this batch)
- 1/2 cup shaved, unsweetened coconut if you like coconut
- 1/4-1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
You will also need chocolate chips/chunks. I usually use a mix of dark chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate, but you can do whatever makes you happy. Peanut butter chips are also delicious.
- Melt your syrup ingredients over medium-low heat stirring occasionally until it is all melty and delicious.
- Mix together your dry ingredients in a bowl. Do not add chocolate (or do, just be aware that it makes the whole process a lot more messy if you add it now).
- Once the syrup is all melty, mix it with the dry ingredients so that they get completely coated.
- Heat oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. You’ll have to decide if you want thick or thin bars. If you want thick (more chewy) bars, go with a small cookie sheet. If you want thin (crunchier) bars, go with a large cookie sheet.
- Cover the parchment paper with as much chocolate as you want on the bottom/top of your bars.
- Cover chocolate chips with the other ingredients and smooth down with a spoon for an even layer.
- Bake 15-35 minutes (depending on thickness) until the edges are a darker brown.
- Cool completely.
- Flip out of pan and cut into bars.
- Try not to eat them all in one sitting.
I prefer thinner, crunchier bars, but the majority of this batch is headed to my husband’s stash at work, so thick and chewy it is. I also recommend making the chocolate layer the “top” when eating these, because it can get messy on the bottom.
Store in sealed plastic. May be refrigerated or frozen.
As soon as I get something finished, this is up next. I’m making it for my oldest nephew for his birthday in December (his brother got the snake one for his birthday this year).
I have also noticed that I have lost the dark grey ball… I will need to find that.
The Morehouse critter backpacks are pretty easy to knit. In fact, if you can do basic increases and decreases (and may slip a stitch now and again), all of the critter knits I’ve done are really easy stitch wise. If you want a “next level” project after knit/purl rectangles, I highly suggest them. They look super complicated, but they really aren’t.
The ravelry.com page for the pattern is: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/owl-backpack
From there you can go buy the pattern and/or the kit if you want.
Even if I’m only going somewhere for like two hours I ALWAYS BRING KNITTING. But then I worry, you know? What if it’s not enough? What if I finish the project before I come home? You know what? I should pack another project. Maybe two more.Me too!
Yay! Rakestraw spinning!
What you see here is my road-trip spinning. When we are road tripping, I mostly knit, but I love having fiber with me, even if I don’t spin very much. Since we aren’t really road-tripping this year, I dug this out and decided to work on spinning it up anyway.
Rakestraw spinners may be a tiny bit noisy, but they make up for that my letting you spin anywhere, anytime, in any position. I love that I can recline in my chair to spin.
The fiber is a beautiful Corriedale top.
The ravelry.com page for this project is: http://ravel.me/scitchet/7zo7b
This is one of my favorite spindles. It has shell casings in the whorl. It is also one of my heavier spindles.
This roving is one of my early experiments in Kool-Aid dying. It is shades of blue and purple. I used the sun-tea method of dying this. I’m now finally getting around to spinning it up. It is sport/worsted weight-ish.
It did get slightly felted in the dying process, so it is a bit of a pain to spin.
The ravelry.com page for this project is: http://ravel.me/scitchet/ju77z
Continuing yesterday’s theme of cheap yarn on eBay in the summer: I got enough Rowan Big Wool for the Woodland Hoodlet!!!!!!!!!! I’ve owned this pattern for years, but it is also included in Woodland Knits by Tiny Owl Knits. I love the look of it.
I have some alpaca that (okay, LOADS really) I plan to spin up to make this with, but who knows when I’ll get to that. So, in my recent eBay-scouring-for-super-cheap-yarn, I found seven balls of Rowan Big Wool in color 05 (a slightly teal blue) for under $25 with shipping. Needles to say, I jumped on that. The pattern calls for 6-7 skeins, so I have exactly what I need. I have to say, it wouldn’t be my first choice of color, but I think it will still look pretty knit up.
This is in the queue for whenever I have time to knit for myself.
I would like to talk to you about eBay. Specifically buying yarn on eBay in the summer. I got five skeins of Misti Alpaca Chunky (in #301 Chocolate Brown) for under $30. It retails for $15-$17 per skein.
I’ve been keeping my eye on it because I want to make the Juniper Wishing Scarf from Woodland Knits and she waxes poetic about how awesome it is to knit with Misti Alpaca. I have to say, after feeling it, I can see why.
The scarf only calls for three skeins, so I’ll make a matching hat to go with it. I don’t know who this will be for, or when I’ll get to actually knitting it, but I am excited all the same.
Also, I highly recommend Woodland Knits. I’ve been a Tiny Owl Knits fan for years (designer of the Beekeeper’s Quilt), and I’ve purchased quite a few of her patterns individually. Just leafing through this book makes me happy, and I have several projects that I have yarn for and several more that I’m scouring sales to get the yarn for.
This is a spider-man afghan for my youngest nephew for Christmas. I’m using AnneM’s pattern, but a very different size of yarn. The only yarn I could find with the right colors, machine washable, and under several hundred dollars for one blanket was Caron Simply Soft Light. Thankfully, the pattern is super easy and not gauge dependent. So I’ll end up with more stripes for the same size blanket, but I am kinda happy about that anyway.
If you want to get into some shaping and/or knitting in the round, this is a super easy pattern to up your knitting game. You can use any colors you want.
I’m planning to add a duplicate stitch spider when it is finished.
The ravelry.com page for this project is: http://ravel.me/scitchet/o7o5w
Due to some job-searching stuff, I’ve really gotten back into arduino over the last few days.
Full disclosure, it has been 8ish years since I wrote a full fledged code from scratch. However, I’ve always been a natural at computer programming (yes, I’m bragging, I’m frickin’ awesome at it. I probably should have been a comp. sci. major. I wouldn’t have such a shitty GPA if I had been…). So, I’ve been goofing around with simple stuff with my LilyPad breakout.
I’ve had a LilyPad project that I’ve wanted to do since before I actually bought one: A Christmas stocking that has LEDs and a speaker that plays Christmas tunes and specific LEDs light up to correspond with specific notes.
This is actually a very easy case to program. There is the annoying/clunky way and the elegant way. The clunky way is to program it much like the example program toneMelody. It makes for lots of repeated, nearly identical lines of code, but it gets the job done. The elegant way is a very simple main program that reads the variable values from an external file (in this case it would contain the notes for each tune and the pin number of the LED to light with it). While the initial setup might me a smidgen more complicated, it makes adding on in the future really simple, just add the notes of the new songs to the external data file. It would also make it easy to change which LEDs light up to which notes in different songs. So, say for a B in Jingle Bells the LED on pin 7 lights up and for a B in Silent Night the LED on pin 9 lights up.
However, it seems that my initial “easy” coding project is a little too complicated for the arduino coding platform. I’ve been doing some research and everything I’ve found says that if you want to use external data files that way, you have to use something other than the arduino coding platform to do it.
So, I’m thinking that if I get time this afternoon, I’m gonna write it the clunky way for just a song or two. Once I have a good proof of concept, then I’ll grab a C++ compiler and go elegant later. Of course, I don’t have a Christmas stocking knit, so it is purely academic at this point anyway. I do have the yarn lying around somewhere for it though…
It could be fun to grab a few cheap stockings somewhere and make some prototypes. It would be about $40 in electronics for each one though.