A Little Success Goes a Long Way…

Quite a bit has happened since the last post. After completing the 30-day green smoothie challenge I didn’t stop there. I kept going and adding back juices as well. And luckily the Ninja is holding up very well. Loving it!

I have been knitting too. This year’s Winter Olympics brought the Ravellenic Events on Ravelry and for the first time I joined in. Team KnaturalPurls FTW! I completed my Double “Plainbow” sweater, and cast on and finished my second Two-Step cowl (Ravelry link) made from luscious Malabrigo.. I now understand the love for that yarn..
And it's done! Double Plainbow, finished for the 2014 Ravellenics. Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Chili. Pattern by Rena Varsakis. #teamknaturalpurls #ravellenics #Ravellenics2014 #FO #sweater

It’s nice and warm, despite not being 100% wool, though that might have more to do with how tightly it was knit at first. I eventually worked my way from a US size 5 needle to a US 8, because it was just taking way too long. What possessed me to attempt a DK sweater in plain stockinette, I do not know. But it is done and I enjoy wearing it. I’m already planning a new sweater to knit and it too is largely stockinette but I think I’ll get to use a bigger needle this time. :D

Once the Ravellenics were over I could get back to less fast-paced knitting. I’d been going cowl crazy earlier this winter and felt a complete set was in order.

Untitled

Hurricane Hat and matching handwarmers. The two patterns are pretty much the same, only the handwarmers use less stitches in the patterning and there’s no decreasing. Two different designers, too. I took it upon myself to just take the hat pattern and keep going straight up and make a cowl. Plain and simple. It works! Pics of that soon enough. For now, just imagine the hat without a crown!

As for the title of this post, this is what else is going on in BeanKnit land: I am losing weight!

With the whole juice and smoothie-ing going on I’d dropped a few pounds and it really shows. Everyone is complimenting me and I even needed to get new jeans for my slightly slimmer figure. :) So, I’m on a roll, looking to push this further and really get back down to a healthier weight. I downloaded the C25KFree app and set to.

Ouch. At first I was trying to run too fast too soon(and ultimately, speed isn’t the goal, really), and even with breaks I couldn’t complete the 30-min workout. But after a lockerroom break and more thought I went back in there and adjusted my jog speed and it worked! I tried it this time for 15 min. instead of 30 and was surprised that I’d run(No pun intended) out of time! Go me! :D I’m already looking forward to starting again on Monday.

And to go with that, healthier food. I made my own almond milk yesterday:

Home made Almond Milk

My smoothies usually contain almond or coconut milk. But that ish costs almost $5 a half gallon. Nope! Gotta do better than that. So I went and tried my hand at pressing my own. Easy, quick and worth the effort. I used this recipe.

For my first post-workout meal I opted for a meat-less lunch: Pomelo, spinach and feta salad, with raspberry vinaigrette dressing(which OMG tastes like you can fill a pie with it… sigh).

Post-workout lunch! Pomelo, spinach and feta with raspberry walnut vinaigrette dressing. The pomelo tastes good, but there's a LOT of pith to contend with. Will have to work on my peeling skills. #lunchtime  #pigouttime #postworkoutmeal #hungry #mmm

Delicious with some fruit-infused water, another thing I’ve been getting into, to help me get more water into my body. So far, so good.

 

So that’s what I’ve been up to. What about you?

 

TTFN! (OMGlob I need to soak! Yeek!) :D

Happy New Year 2014!

So, I’ve been doing all manner of things since my last post. I recovered from the crazy of 5K land, though I’ll probably be trying that again soon, because, fitness! Then I got to donate to Children of Promise, this holiday season, and hung out with some beautiful, talented knitters all December long. 2014 got off to a raucous start, though.

It started with a nasty cold which brought me down to giving in to a visit to urgent care. Thank goodness for late Friday night hours, is all I can say. Oh, and 24hr pharmacies.. :)

Then, while that was going on I was trying to knit and smoothie myself silly. I’ve joined the Simple Green Smoothies’ 30-day smoothie challenge and so far, so good. I’ve been documenting the experience (or, at least photographic evidence of it) over on Instagram if you’re so inclined.

Merry early Xmas to me and the family. I'd been talking about getting a juicer for quite some time.  Mom and I first juiced back in the 90s. I figured it was time to get back to it. #juicing #liquiddinner

Chunky Monkey Smoothie

I used to use a juicer way back in the late 80s, early 90s when my mom was still alive. We juiced every and anything.
Sometimes it was good, sometimes, not so much. But between the juice fasts I’ve been hearing about and the smoothie challenge I think I’m pretty well covered. It’s a hard road, but I’m still on it. Slow and steady wins the race, they say…

But knitting. I’ve been on a serious cowl kick as of late, completing 7 in about as many weeks. Highlights:
Untitled

Stockholm Scarf

Finito! Fear of Commitment cowl. This KP WotA is no joke! My neck will be warm!  #FO #knitting #knitfaster  #fiberary #fiberuary #cowl

Fear of Comittment
Untitled
Armonika

There was also the Luxe Cowl, as well as the Who’s Cowl’d?‘s designed by Therese Ross-Carter. Therese makes awesome, easy-to-knit patterns that I love. Check out her Two Step, as well!

 

I just blocked a Two Step the other day and will seam that later on today. Then it’s photo time!

 

TTFN!

 

 

It’s been a long time…

since my last post, I know. I have been working on projects of the yarny kind and here’s the proof:

Not one, but two! crocheted Chevron Lace cardigans. One for me, and one for littlest Beanlet.

Matchy Chevron Lace Cardigans

Chevron side(child)

Chevron front (adult)

We have been getting compliments left and right on these sweaters, especially when we were them at the same time. I’ve since moved on to knitting a different sweater that I will feature in another post(read: when I get a decent photo of it!). But little one has taken to spending a little more than a few minutes every morning trying to decide which one to wear that day. After I finish some school sweaters for the older two Beanlets I may go and make yet another for her( my most appreciative yarn-gift recipient of the three), before I get started on another for myself.

This will serve as my ‘Rhinebeck sweater’ for this year’s visit. Yes! I’m finally going again after a long, 4-year absence. I can’t WAIT!!! :D  Are you going? If so, hope to meet you there!

In this post:

Chevron Lace Cardigan

About 8 balls of Red Heart Super Saver(mill ends) in Aran Fleck

Size 48 done for me in a K hook, Size 44 for her, but with a G hook

Both of these took  4 days each of work, having not worked on any other projects.

Hookin’ Again( Or, Yay, Crochet!)

I started out crocheting years ago, as a child. I picked it up again as a young adult but by my third child I was ready for something new, so I learned to knit..

Over the years I kept seeing those long crochet hooks or sometimes double-ended ones and didn’t know what they were for. Right before I learned to knit I dabbled in what is called Tunisian(or Afghan) crochet and it was ok, but I didn’t quite get it that first time around.

Fast forward to 2012 where I met some lovely ladies in a G+ Hangout and re-learned the process. I’ve since cast on for a Red Scarf project submission but I put it down because the hook was just too fiddly and too small for the yarn I am using.

Just last week I purchased a larger, flexible, double-ended crochet hook and I will restart the scarf. But in the meantime I’ve started a cute little dishcloth, a la a pattern from Jennifer Hansen, on Craftsy.com (The course in which the pattern appears is $29.99–check it out!)

The smaller, stiff hook I was using for the scarf would probably go better with this Sugar N Cream yarn but I’m going to keep on keepin’ on until I finish. The next one will get the smaller hook, so that I can free this one up for the scarf. ;)

What’ve I been up to?

Tunisian Dishcloth(Craftsy.com class)–:

Tunisian Dishcloth

Honey Badger Socks(Ravelry link)– Made in scrumptious Shalimar Yarns ‘Breathless’ in colorway ‘Sedge’:
Honey Badger Socks Honey Badger Socks close-up

Cotton Granny Square Apron(two separate links)–:

Granny Square Apron

This apron is actually a mixture of two ‘patterns’. The square featured is not in the original apron concept pattern, but I figured any square would work.

 

I’ve since finished the Sari Lace Triangle and all that needs blocking is the corners. Yeah. It’s so big I couldn’t fit it all on a queen-sized bed.

 

Maybe if I’m lucky, after these, I’ll catch a bout of finish-itis and clean up my WIPs. One can dream, right? ;)

 

What are you working on?

 

 

Knit-Chat Alphabet Knits 2012

Aran Twist Socks

The lovely ladies of the G+ Knit Chat and I have begun a year-long project whereby we are going to start/work on/complete a project based on a corresponding letter of the English-language alphabet, every two weeks. Started on New Year’s day, which was conveniently on a Sunday, and I’m now working on “D”. The rules are somewhat up to interpretation, such that we can alter project names to suit.

The socks above are my “A” project. The Aran Twist Socks were a heck of a project, mostly because I kept messing up and having to restart. Annoying as heck but user error for sure. Nice simple pattern that I would likely do again. I did a different heel than what’s listed in the pattern but the main thing is the top and leg of the foot right? :)

Next up is my “B”. I had originally thought of the Buttercup Tunic (Ravelry link) sweater but that pattern is a disaster, IMO. I read through it to familiarize myself with the construction and couldn’t make heads or tails of why it’s constructed the way it is, so I changed my mind and went for a Tappan Zee Sweater, renamed ‘Bridge Sweater’ to fit the project. So far, not bad. I’m already done with the knitting. I opted to make it into a pullover instead of the cardigan it’s designed as. Not sure if that was a good idea, or if I just used a not-very-good choice of yarn because it bloomed like CRAZY with blocking. Instead of buttons I will be adding in some ribbon to cinch the neckline and button band. Whoops.

Then there’s “C”: the Caroline Hat. Caroline Hat

This needs a ribbon and I already bought it, but you know me, procrastination galore here in Chez Bean. I bought it the same day I got the ribbon for the Bridge sweater, so at least I’m on something of a roll in terms of acquiring the embellishments. I’m sure I’ll get it done before Fall. ;)

Finally, I’m on “D”. First, understand that projects are NOT required to be finished within the two weeks, just that it should be the main thing I’m working on.

'Da Age of Brass and Steam shawl

I’m knitting The (‘Da) Age of Brass and Steam next. It’s all in my own handspun. Some of the fiber is pre-dyed Grafton Fibers Merino that I picked up in a buying frenzy when I first learned to spin back in ’06. The rest is some undyed Merino that I dyed myself, with Koolaid the following year. I’m just now getting around to using it. I’m sort of on a stash-burning quest in the process of completing these projects. Kill two birds with one stone, or something like that.

Eileen is next on the horizon, though, guess what? She’s done! Except for the zipper, which makes things easier, but I’ll likely throw in a secondary “E” project for $hits and giggles. We’ll see..

TTFN!

Back in the swing of things

First off, Happy New Year 2012!

Quite a bit has occurred since my last post.There’s been some knitting/crocheting of new projects, as well as finishing up an old, long-standing WIP.

In the finish-up department:

There’s the Cable Plait Bag that I started wayyyyy back in 2009. Finished it Christmas Day, 2011.

Plait Cable Bag done!

I actually had to call Big Beanlet back to get a picture of it, because she’d run off with it before I could finish a sentence. I’d been putting off lining the bag for fear that I’d mess it up. Silly me needs to get a picture of the lining; I don’t know why I didn’t think to do that before I let it out of my sight again.

After that, though, I got back into a bout of startitis and wound up working on a Half-Granny Square shawl, which I actually started and finished before I even bothered with the bag. I’d bought two skeins of this awesome Loops and Threads Luxury Sock yarn, but found myself crocheting the shawl instead of actually making socks. Since crochet takes more yarn than knitting, I went back for another two skeins to complete the project. (Gotta love coupons from Michaels and A.C. Moore!).

Crochet sock yarn shawl

All of these were finished before the near year began, and I’m now on a new ‘mission’ to complete and work on projects with a different goal/inspiration in mind. I’ll detail that more in the next post.

TTFN!

30/30

Day 30--Self-portrait
This is my last photo in the 30-day Photo Challenge for June 2011. I hear tell there will be one for July but I won’t be entering that one. I’m still debating if I have the stamina to even do any sort of photo-a-day projects. I’m torn between feeling like I need to always be out-of-doors and trying to open up my home life more. And I’m not sure I’d like to do the latter. Plus with the Beanlets around the place isn’t always spiffy and photo-ready. ;)

I’ve been knitting off and on through this time. I’ve been busy on Pinterest, seeing lots of things I’d love to make; sewing and yarn-craft alike. The latest item to pique my interest is Mao, a cute little one-piece knitted toy cat. Mao is designed by blogging-multi-crafter OiYi. I have to admit that most of my unwillingness to knit toys was because they usually involved knitting a bunch of separate parts you would then have to seam together. This is done in one big section(just add the tail–no biggie), and you stitch on facial features with embroidery thread or thin yarn. Easy peasy. Mr BeanKnit has a few new 3rd(4th?) cousins coming soon and so I’ll definitely have little ones to give them too. Several weeks ago I bought a bunch of cotton yarn at Michaels for some potholders but those will have to go on hold while I make some Maos.

I haven’t done much sewing other than fixing a ripped seam or three but I am gonna have to dig in my heels and get to sewing because my wardrobe is woefully skimpy these days. I usually dress in layers during the colder months but since it’s warmer(read: hot!) now, all I need is one layer per section and I’m good to go! I’m not ready to tackle pants. I can’t bring myself to do it and I’d prefer more skirts. I’ve been loving the jeans skirt to death because of the built-in pockets but I will have to bite the bullet and add some pockets to the skirts I plan to make.

Well, just touching bases to let you know I’m still kicking! TTFN!

Jeans Skirt is Done!

Well that didn’t take too long. But then most of the seaming was done since the skirt was literally a pair of pants before.

Jeanskirt-full on

There was a bit of seam ripping and re-seating to get the panels right, but I’m thinking I goofed somewhere because the back keeps dipping inward.

Jeanskirt- 3/4 back

And then there was the annoying back-of-the-skirt-is-higher-than-the-front problem:

Jeanskirt-side view

Sigh. Overall it was a simple job and I do plan to do this with a few other pairs of pants.

Thoughts:
I’m probably going to have to use a separate fabric for the panels. This would allow me to use a train-effect on the back section. Then it would be ‘ok’ if the back and front aren’t the same length. Perhaps I could also split open the side seams and add panels there. I’m short, so I just wouldn’t have enough jean material to use without cutting the skirt too short. There’s also the possibility of doing some patchwork for the panels as well. ;)

One other thing that bugged me was the realization that I miss my old Trixie Singer. When I first seamed the panels(and then had to rip them out) I was using a really short stitch. I wish I had basted the seam first but my Babylock’s longest stitch isn’t really that long after all. The Singer’s longest stitch was a true ‘basting’ length. I hope my MIL is enjoying it.

Lastly, I need to stop trying to sew stuff late at night. My mind was who-knows-where and I wound up sewing the hem with the wrong color thread. I’d had the beige-ish yarn I used for detailing in the bobbin and the dark blue thread in the needle like normal, but then sewed the hem from inside. Genius, I am. ;) What’s done is done.

And so is the day! I had a yarn shop adventure with a knitting net-friend today and I’m beat. Details tomorrow! :)

TTFN

As Usual, Random

That’s where my head’s been lately: just all over the place! And would you believe I actually sewed something? *gasp*

makeup pouch outside up

I’ve recently been getting back into ‘putting on’ my face. I’ve never been fond of foundation but I like shadow and lipsticks. What better way to carry them around than in a new makeup case?

It’s a simple, 3D-style zippered pouch and it was a snap(after I had to rip out a bad zipper choice, and undo a seaming mistake). I apparently also need to keep design placement in mind, because the butterflies are upside down. O.O

I adore the look of brocade but geez it unraveled like nobody’s business! I don’t know if it’s the quality of this low priced fabric or if brocades just do that sort of thing but was annoying. It’s a wonder there was anything left to sew. But sew I did and I’m very pleased, with the result and the pattern. I can see myself making this again, especially since the girl Beanlets whined that they wanted one too. ;)

In other crafty news the girls and I(well, mostly I) made up some pretty hollow yarn balls: Yarnballs with glitter

I tried to get cute with it and added some glitter to the glue mixture. Waste. Of. Time. You can’t even SEE the glitter. I debated getting glue that had glitter IN it already but wondered how well that would mix with the water. Though I suspect the result might have been the same: no visible glitter.

It was a mess but fun and I’d do it again if I had any real use for them. I made 9 or 10 of them and they turned out a bit bigger than they appear in the tutorial. No matter how small I tried to blow up the balloons, they only started looking round once they got too big. Sigh. Maybe it would have worked out if I used better quality(and more expensive!) balloons, but I just couldn’t see that when I would only be popping them to get them loose from the yarn when the balls were dry.

In photography(you knew that was coming, didn’t you?), I’ve been venturing out more little by little. Still trying to decide if there’s any other kind of photography I can really get into besides the macro stuff. I do like street photography, I’m just really shy and I know how people get when strangers point cameras at them. As a NYer I might know the difference between some random person snapping me because I look like a photo of me(or what I’m doing) might get them an A on their project, and when they’re watching me because they’re a perv. But not everyone does so… yeah.

I’d been wracking my brain trying to think of convenient, non-wallet-emptying places to get a good shot for a simulated tilt-shift miniature. I say simulated because the appropriate lens setup to do a REAL one would make a grown man cry. Well, at least a grown man who couldn’t afford such a lens. A few shots and Photoshop Elements tweaks later and:

'Mini' Seaport--level 2 at the mall

Not perfect but it’s a start. I need to get out more and get better at judging angles and all that good stuff. In the meantime, I leave you with this beauty:

Cheap, but pretty

TTFN!

Update–On the Horizon…

As usual I’ve finished a WIP or two and added a few more to the pile.

IMG_1299 IMG_1296 IMG_1297

Panta Band. My second and I know I’ll make more. I need something for the colder months that covered my ears without interfering with my hair and this fits the bill. It doesn’t take a lot of yarn so I’m sure I could wing a few more out of some of the myriad single skeins of handspun in my stash. This is in acrylic so no blocking. :( The rest will be in wool!

I also started a Multnomah Shawl.

Pic-a-Day 2011-12/15-- Multnomah Shawl

Now, before you remind me I still have another shawl I have yet to complete, let me explain myself. I’ve stated how we all sometimes need a mindless project to work on, right? Well Multnomah works. It’s simple garter stitch with some feather-and-fan type lace on the bottom. Way on the bottom. So I’ve got a while of garter stitch to enjoy. Easy peasy. I more than likely will not be posting any more WIP photos of this since it’s plain.

In sewing:

New fabric goodies

Caught a sale at the Sav-a-Thon warehouse and scored a bolt of Denim. Unfortunately for me I mistook it for STRETCH denim and bought a Jalie Jeans pattern that needs stretch denim. Dammit. I do have a pattern or two that I can use with this fabric so it’s not a total loss. Also, the Jalie goes from little girls to adults so I’m sure that when I DO get some stretch denim it’ll come in handy because these kids are ALWAYS growing.

Sitting on top of that is some bleached muslin. I don’t plan to sew with it, but I would like to use it to make a light tent for my small object/FO photos, as well as a backdrop for larger ones.

Speaking of photos, I love taking them! Sigh. As usual I find a new hobby and don’t know what to do with myself. It’s a losing battle trying to hold off the snapping and get back to crafting. Especially since I went to dSLR to take better photos OF my crafting. Go figure. ;)

Oh well, I’m gonna get a fume high from the delicious Pork Stew in the crockpot. See ya!