Success! I Dropped A Stitch

That’s right!  I dropped a stitch and I’m happy about it. For those who don’t knit, dropping a stitch is usually not a good thing. It can be the reason for much frustration and hair pulling for beginning knitters, and can also cause them to rip out fabric that took them hours to create. Hey, I’ve done it.

But as you gain experience and confidence with your knitting skills, a dropped stitch is no longer a big deal.

I’ll show you how to fix a dropped stitch in a future post, but this time, I’m keeping that dropped stitch right where it is.

Shay Pendray, Laura Bryant, and Barry Klein on the set of Knitting Daily

Shay Pendray, Laura Bryant, and Barry Klein on the set of Knitting Daily

I recently caught an older episode of Knitting Daily where Laura Bryant of Prism Yarns and Barry Klein of Trendsetter Yarns (LOVE them!) show how to use dropped stitches to your advantage.

The scarf pattern is worked in garter stitch. It’s a great take-a-long project to work on while waiting at the doctor’s office or while your kids are at music lessons.

I chose a ball of TLC Cara Mia (Acrylic/Nylon/Rayon/Angora) that I’ve had for years. It finally told me what it wanted to be when it grew up!

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2 columns of dropped stitches so far

Don’t be nervous. But do be aware that you knit the entire scarf before dropping any stitches. See how the dropped stitch is dropped all the way down the length of the scarf?

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Bind Off edge showing the width of 3 stitches for 1 dropped stitch

Laura had a great tip that each dropped stitch will have the width of 3 stitches, so the bind off has some special tricks to it.

When looking at these photos, please keep in mind that my scarf isn’t quite finished. I have some more to bind off and stitches still left to drop. When it’s complete, there will be 4 columns of dropped stitches.  You can kind of see where the other 2 dropped-stitch columns will be on the photo above.  There are vertical indentions where the columns of new dropped stitches will be.

Get the pattern at Knitting Daily TV and drop some stitches on purpose!  And if you like the scarf that Laura shows at the beginning of the segment, that pattern is here.

I’d love to see your dropped stitch scarves. Dive into your stash and see what you come up with.

Bye Bye Sugar, Hello Veggies

I really try to eat healthy and have cut out a lot of the sugar, meat, and snackie items my family used to eat.  We’re not perfect.  But we’re discovering healthy options all the time.  (A little secret:  After I cut out 95% of the sugar I was eating, I went through a bit of withdrawal, but then my cravings for sweet things disappeared!  And I lost weight without doing anything but cutting sugar.)

Ready to make Dolce Vita Minestrone

           Ready to make Dolce Vita Minestrone

I’d like to let you in on some of the blogs I’ve been following to help revamp my fridge and pantry.

The Food Babe

              The Food Babe

 

Recently, I found the Food Babe’s blog. She’s amazing! There are lots of great recipes and restaurant reviews on her site. She has even exposed many fast food restaurants for their nasty ingredients.

 

 

 

A Must-Have Cookbook

          A Must-Have Cookbook

Veggies, Yarn and Tails is another blog for great food finds.  I gave the recipes in the Groovy Green Kitchen: Weeknight Veggie Slow Cooker by Geraldine Helen Hartman a try.  They are all delicious!  The Dolce Vita Minestrone with Whole Wheat Ricotta Scones was a soothing meal on a snowy day.  The Mac & Cheese is super creamy.  And the In The Navy Bean Soup and Rosemary Hummus were devoured by my family.  Oh, and I made the lasagne too!  Yes!  Lasagne in the slow cooker.  All of these recipes were super easy, delicious, and healthy.  I’m set to try the Rice & Red Lentil Salad and the Sunflower & Oat Machine Bread next.

 

 

Kale and Apple Cake

                             Kale and Apple Cake

I’ve been a fan of Jamie Oliver for years and receive his newsletter.  Today, he helped me discover a blog that I’m very excited about – Veggie Desserts.  Kate Hackworthy’s blog is the Food Revolution Blog of the Month, and it’s full of yummy and healthy desserts.  I’ve just got to try the Kale and Apple Cake with Apple Icing, the Kale Coconut Cream Pie, or the Cucumber and Lemon Cake with Elderflower Icing for St. Patrick’s Day.  She incorporates carrots, beets, spinach, chard, sweet potatoes, and avocado, just to name a few.  Veggies can be used to replace sugar and fat.  Did you know that  avocados make great replacements for eggs?

And speaking of avocados and eggs… I attended a raw desserts class at Whole Foods and the instructor said the same thing!  At that class, I learned how to make wonderfully creamy chocolate desserts from walnuts, cacao, coconut oil, cashews, maple syrup, and a food processor.  I made some of these treats for Valentine’s Day.  They were so delish that my family didn’t know that they were eating healthy desserts.

I look at food in a different way – ever since someone reminded me that food and drink become part of your body.  They become part of YOU.  So… basically, you are indeed what you eat.  Here’s to healthy!

Knitting: A Lot More Than Just FUN! ;-)

I follow the Veggies, Yarns & Tails blog where I found this post and just had to blog about it.

It’s true! I definitely need knitting and crochet to help me with anxiety and stress. If I don’t get some crafting into my day, I can tell a difference in my mood.

I read an article last year that talked about the brain and how it’s unable to focus on worry or stress when you’re involved in repetitive motions, like with knitting or crochet. Your blood pressure decreases and your breathing has a regular pattern about it (which helps with anxiety).

For me, not only is the act of knitting and crocheting fun and satisfying, but I also enjoy making items for others. The benefit of having something tangible that someone can use, and making them happy too, releases dopamine. Everyone feels good!

Knit On!

VEGGIES, YARNS & TAILS

fruit slices socks for post 1

I came across a very interesting article today, at the Tree Hugger site re: the many benefits of knitting.

Not only is it great for stress relief which I did know about, it actually helps in a lot of other ways, to keep us healthy.

**Click to read the post here.**

So, the next time you are trying to justify another trip to your LYS or an online yarn splurge, remember it’s not just fun, it’s so good for your health too.

That’s certainly enough of a reason for me! 😉

Happy Crafting! 

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Bob’s Back!

My family and I have Olympic fever.  We can’t get enough.

The Winter Olympics have always been my personal favorite.  I remember going snow skiing with my Dad every winter when I was a kid and I think those experiences helped me appreciate the difficulty of the downhill skiers.  But I enjoy the snowboarding, luge, figure skating, ice dancing, and speed skating too.

The appeal for me goes way beyond the skill of each sport.  It’s about the hard work and dedication of the athletes.  It’s about overcoming obstacles with mental and physical strength.

I’ve startled my husband (who may be dozing on the sofa) many times with my outbursts of surprise or cheering on the athletes.  So much drama!

Bob Costas will be back covering the Sochi Olympics tomorrow

           Bob Costas covering the Sochi Olympics

This year, something or someone has been missing.  Bob!  I always look forward to Bob Costas’ Olympic commentary.  He was there for a couple of days and then gone for a week; an eye infection that made it hard for him to continue working being the culprit.  Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira tried to fill in, but I miss Bob.  It’s just not the same without him.  The news came tonight that I’ve been waiting for.

Bob will be back tomorrow!   Booya!

Up to the Challenge

Gerri Hat pattern designed by Marly Bird

Gerri Hat pattern designed by Marly Bird

Now that the holidays are over (hope yours were wonderful!) and I finished all of my gift knitting, I’m kicking it into high gear knitting hats for Halos of Hope.  Halos is a nonprofit that collects and distributes hand knitted and crocheted hats to cancer patients.

A few months ago, the KnottyGirls KnitCast decided to challenge other podcasters to see who could get their listeners to donate the most hats to Halos of Hope before Stitches West 2014.  Stitches events (there are several held around the country) are like conventions for knitters and crocheters.  I’ve never been to one, but some day… oh, yes, some day.

I listen to the Yarn Thing, Fiber Hooligan, and Knitmore Girls podcasts, all of whom are promoting the Podcaster Throwdown.  But Jasmine and Gigi, the Knitmore Girls, are the only ones of the three who are in the contest.  So, they’ll get my hats.

Marly Bird, of the Yarn Thing podcast, gave her listeners 2 free hat patterns on the condition that they would use them for Halos.  The Gerri is the one I’ve been knitting first.  So far, I have 8 completed and 1 almost off the needles.  Caron Simply Soft was on sale at Michaels, so I scored!  I bought more than I thought I could reasonably finish, but being one to jump in whole hog (oops!  let my GA roots come through there!), I told myself that it is possible.  I had the Gerri hat pattern memorized by the time the second hat flew off the needles, and I’ve been knitting every moment I can.  Each skein of Simply Soft gives me 2 Gerri hats with yarn left over.  I’m going to combine the left overs to create Marly’s Sous Chef hat.  It’s crocheted and I’m hoping it will go pretty fast.  Thanks Marly for the fantastic patterns!

9th hat almost finished!

9th hat almost finished!

I’m usually not one for New Year’s Resolutions, but this year I made a few.  My first New Year’s Resolution is happening!  I WILL have these hats shipped off before February 20th!

If you knit or crochet, please consider knitting soft, comfy hats for Halos of Hope.  Here are their guidelines.  It’s a great cause and you don’t have to make the February deadline.  They accept hats all year round.

Plug It In, Plug It In

Image 7Yesterday was National Plug In Day and owners of electric vehicles all over the country are gathering this weekend to educate the rest of us about how great these rides are.

Did you know that, right now, there are ten 100% electric cars on the market?  You can buy any of these right now!  And there are eight combo electric and gasoline cars available for purchase if you don’t feel comfortable making the switch to electricity all at once.

Charging Station In Use

Charging Station In Use

My favorite electric car is the Tesla Motors’ Model S.  Why do I love Tesla?  They’ve made electric cars cool.  Just take a peek at the Roadster!  The business model makes sense. The Roadster was my first love but way out of my price range.  But I wouldn’t dare look down on them for that.  These owners were first adopters and invested in the company.  They helped pave the way for the next model.  The price has come down considerably for the Model S, and with the next model (rumors say it’s the Model E), the price will come down even more.

Tesla Roadster

Tesla Roadster

 

Electric cars are made here in America with American energy.  Electricity is a much better power source than gasoline in many ways.  Think of the miles the oil travels, the spills, and the processing that goes into converting it to gas.  Even though electricity isn’t perfect (ie. nuclear and coal), the environmental impact is nothing to take lightly.  Not only do electric cars cut out all of that oil processing and transportation, but driving an electric vehicle also gives off absolutely no CO2 emissions.  Electric utilities have extra energy at night when demand is very low, as the plants have to continue to run.  So, some utility companies are giving owners of electric cars cheaper rates for charging their cars at night.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Maintenance is very minimal with electric cars.  No oil changes, engine flushes, or routine 3,000- or 5,000-mile trips to the auto mechanic.  An electric engine has hardly any moving parts, so that eliminates the usual amount of maintenance needed.  So, if you’re looking at the overall cost of operating a car – not just the initial purchase price – an electric car is vastly superior.

Range is one of the concerns people raise when talking about electric cars.  That is quickly becoming alleviated.  Tesla has been partnering with Solar City to place solar charging stations at owners’ homes and at Supercharging stations around the U.S. and Europe.  They have a fantastic map showing the expansion of their Superchargers. Model S drivers who have selected this option can charge their cars at Supercharging stations very quickly – half a charge in 20 minutes!  And with the range of the Model S being 265 miles on a full charge, that’s the quickest out there!  And it’s free!

And if you like the idea of going electric but can’t quit gasoline cold turkey, the Chevy Volt is a good start.  I poo-pooed them for a long while because they marketed it as an electric car.  They made it sound entirely electric.  We were at the Washington, DC auto show a few years ago and discovered that it’s not all electric.  It has a gasoline engine.  When we started asking questions of the rep, she was stumped as to what to say.  We felt lied to.  Now, I’ve noticed that they are advertising it as an electric with a gasoline generator, which is more honest than saying it’s all electric.  We spoke with a Volt owner for a long time yesterday.  He loves his car and charges it in his front yard (he doesn’t have a garage) using a regular 110V outlet on the outside of his house.  It’s charged and ready to go in the morning.  He’s driven his 2011 Volt for 23,214 miles and only used 67.9 gallons of gasoline.  He talked about how smoothly it drives and the switch-over from electricity to gasoline is not noticeable.

That’s another thing that electric cars have – get up and go!  All of the owners said that these cars move.  No waiting.  When you mash the pedal, it immediately goes.  The Tesla Model S goes 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds!

We spent a few hours yesterday morning talking with owners of Tesla Roadsters and Model Ss, Chevy Volts, Nissan Leafs, and Fiskar Karmas.  They were all very enthusiastic about their vehicles and eager to answer any questions.  One owner even let us take the seat in her Tesla Model S!  Heaven!

Tesla Model S Interior

Tesla Model S Interior

Tesla Model S Frunk

Check out the Frunk – the trunk in the front.  No, there’s no engine in there, just space for groceries or whatever you’d like to tote around.

Tesla Model S optional 5-point harness child seats in rear

Tesla Model S optional 5-point harness child seats in rear

If you didn’t know about the events yesterday, you may find some in your area today.  There will be EVs on the National Mall at 3rd St NW.  Check out their website to see if there’s an event near you.

Sign inside a Chevy Volt

Sign inside a Chevy Volt

Crochet-a-Long: Part 2

Colorfully Modern Cardigan

Colorfully Modern Cardigan

Drum roll, please… It’s finished!!  I really enjoyed crocheting this sweater.  It’s nice and soft and warm.  I wore it to brunch with my hubby to celebrate our anniversary.  We sat outside and I was nice and toasty even though the wind kicked up a bit.Kelly Modern Cardigan

Now, for the scoop on how I finished the Colorfully Modern Cardigan.  I worked the pattern as written until I got to the trim for the sleeves and neckline.  Then, I switched it up a bit.

The pattern says to work the surface slip stitch from the wrong side.  But, if you do that, the “V’s” of the slip stitches will be on the wrong side of the fabric.  I wanted mine to show, so I worked with the right side facing me.  I worked 2 rows of it on each sleeve.  For the neckline, I wanted it to be wider, so I worked some sc back and forth around the neck.  Some decreasing was needed a few times to prevent a little ruffling that started to creep up on me.  Back!  Back!  I ripped back and tamed that neckline with decreases.  And with the 4 rows of surface slip stitch, it’s perfect.

Surface Slip Stitch at Neckline

Surface Slip Stitch at Neckline

I also decided not to sew a snap at the front top trim.  I’m still thinking about what I want to do for the closure.  It’d be nice to have something, even if I create loops and place a few buttons.  The double crochet posts might even work as loops if the buttons are small enough.  But the buttons will have to be subdued.  There’s too much going on with color and texture in this sweater to have busy buttons.

I’m definitely going to make another one of these and probably in a solid.  But first, there are a few other projects I’d like to tackle (it is football season, after all!).