Monday, April 29, 2013

Tractorloom: coming soon to a town near you!

Today's post will be a quick one - I just wanted to spread the news about my friend's Kickstarter project to launch a US/Canada tour of her soon-to-be world-famous Tractorloom. Yep, it's a tractor...it's a loom....it's a Tractorloom!

Click here to view the details -you can weave and plow a field at the same time! It's super cool and even won "best of show" at the Naples Grape Festival. She's taken it to nearby farmers' markets, fiber festivals, etc. and it has gotten people really excited about weaving. She wants to visit schools and other public places to educate people not only about weaving, but a host of other topics as well - the nature of farming, where our food comes from, etc.
She has a really big goal to meet in order to launch this tour; one of the major expenses will be purchasing a truck that can haul the tractorloom from spot to spot, and she's hoping to find a truck that runs on veggie oil to reduce her carbon footprint. I hope you'll consider donating and sharing this project with your fiber friends, local guilds, or even your favorite fiber arts magazine! To make this tour happen, she will definitely need some viral sharing to take place.


If you are on Facebook, you can also like the official Tractorloom fan page

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spinning Saturday + Caturday

Note: I do realize it's not Saturday today! This was the post I wrote yesterday before my internet connection went haywire. I decided to take my Ladybug out to the back porch to spin up my Wensleydale top, and now that my internet connection has mysteriously righted itself, I am sharing this post today! 

I'm still spinning up a storm! This week, I pulled out two fibers from my stash: the first, 5 oz. Finn top from Spunky Eclectic in natural cream that I've had in my fiber stash for several years; the second, a braid of very pretty hand-dyed Wensleydale roving from Northbound Knitting, which I purchased earlier this year. I thought it might be interesting to spin singles from both of these fibers and ply them together, but a lot of that depends on how the Wensleydale spins up. The Finn (also known as Finnish Landrace or Finnsheep) was surprisingly lofty - you can't really see the halo in the photo below, but trust me, it's there!
It was really a dream to work with - very light and springy, and it seemed to just fly onto the bobbin. I like the idea of plying it with a dyed single, but I'm a little worried that all of the halo will obscure a colored ply. It might be better to spin up another single of Finn for plying purposes; I don't tend to buy light-colored yarns, and I really like the idea of a minimally-processed natural yarn spun by me (and also, that means I'll need to buy more spinning fiber....). Here are a few fun facts about Finn sheep:

  1. These sheep breed a lot and are known for multiple births. Is there anything cuter than sheep twins and triplets?!
  2. Their fleece is lightweight with a long staple length; it blends easily with other fibers.
  3. They are small, friendly and relatively low-maintenance. Which means that I'll be asking for a Finn sheep for my birthday this year. 


In preparation for another Spinning Saturday, I spent this morning waxing my wheel - there was a lot of debris from the last few projects, so I thought it could use a little routine maintenance before spinning up the Wensleydale. Speaking of which, I have a new plan: I was rooting through my fiber stash and found some merino/silk roving that might do the trick. Again, I suppose this depends on how things spin up today, but I am starting to think that Plan B is the way to go!

I would be remiss if I didn't share a few of my favorite instagrams from this week in honor of Caturday - plus, it's been a while since Tilly and Robin have made an appearance on this blog! Enjoy!
One of Robin's favorite spots...it used to be my knitting chair!
This is Tilly's happy face.

Friday, April 26, 2013

FO & Fiber Friday

It's the last FO Friday of April, and I'm psyched to share my latest finished project with you, my ready-for-spring cropped cardigan! Now that all the ends are woven in and it's been blocked, I just need to find the perfect buttons. This was a pretty quick knit (I am a historically slow sweater knitter, even for cropped cardis and such); on April 4 I cast on and ended up ripping out my work and starting again from scratch mid-month because I am OCD. I'm glad I did, because the finished product is perfect! Once I sew on some buttons, I'll have my husband take a photo of me wearing it, but for now, here's my latest FO:
Pattern: Breezy Bolero by Marly Bird
Yarn: Roslyn, a fingering weight cotton/cashmere blend from Bijou Basin Ranch

Notes: My size called for 4 balls of yarn; but because I had to go down a needle size to get gauge, I ended up using only a tiny bit of that fourth ball! I probably have enough to make some fingerless mitts or a hat; perhaps it would like to become a part of some colorwork mittens?

Fiber Friday!

Last week, I shared my first shipment from the Sweet Georgia Fibre Club; it proved to be too delicious to remain unspun for long. Of course, I had to finish the project that was on my wheel first, and then I ended up spinning my custom batt from YarnCon before delving into my latest fiber acquisition (click here if you missed out on my recent Spinning Saturday post!).

At any rate, by the end of the weekend, I had this to add to my handspun fiber bin:
The 50/50 merino/tencel blend was a little challenging to spin since it was so slippery, but I ended up getting the hang of it pretty quickly and the end result was absolutely gorgeous. I ended up navajo plying the single because I couldn't imagine anything else I would want to ply it with - at least, not anything that was in my stash already! Consequently, I don't have much yardage to work with, but I think it will make a cute stuffed critter or perhaps some accent stripes on a hat or cowl.


Thanks for stopping by this week - for more FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog!

Have a crafty weekend!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Only 2 Projects?!

Amazingly enough, I did finish my Breezy Bolero by the end of the weekend; it is currently blocking and awaiting buttons! Consequently,  I only have two projects on the needles at the moment, plus I'm in between crochet projects.

The first WIP is a pair of socks that I haven't blogged about in a while, as they went on the backburner for a bit. They are my own design (which will be out at some point this summer - as soon as I can manage things) and I'm knitting them with some beautiful hand-dyed sock yarn from Fleece Artist.
My second WIP is a pair of thrummed mittens from Marly Bird's Craftsy Class, which I blogged about earlier this week. It's probably a weird time of year to start knitting what's sure to be the warmest pair of mittens I'll ever own, but that's just how things go sometimes. Thrummed mittens have been on my mental to-knit list for a few months, and I really could have used some super-warm mittens these past few months. Alas, now that winter is on its way out I am ready to thrum it up. I guess it's never too early to be prepared for next winter!

Thanks for stopping by this week. For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Craftsy Pick of the Week: Thrummed Mitten Kit

Over the weekend, I began my preparations to make the Warm in Here Thrummed Mittens from Marly Bird's Mittens & Gloves Galore class on Craftsy (you can read my full class review here). This has been in my queue for a while now, and I have to say there have been many days I've wished for thrummed mittens, including last Friday when it was blustery and snowing here in Chicago!

When I worked at Lorna's Laces, I dyed a bunch of Wooltop in various colors to use in needle felting projects...and since they never really happened, I thought this would be the perfect way to put them to good use. Plus, they happen to look pretty good with the yarn I picked out, some pretty multicolored yarn from Knit One Crochet Too.
As you can see, I made a big o' pile of thrums this weekend - over 100, in fact! I hope that's enough, but I still have plenty of leftover fiber if I need to make more. Tonight I'm going to do my gauge swatch and then cast on for my first mitten. I hope I'll see you back here on WIP Wednesday so I can share my progress with you!

If you don't happen to have any fiber in your stash that would be suitable for thrumming, you're in luck: Craftsy put together a handy little kit using hand-dyed fiber and yarn from Lorna's Laces (shown at right) - naturally, it's a pretty sweet deal, too!

Haven't signed up for this Craftsy class yet? No worries, click here for 50% off Mittens & Gloves Galore with my special discounted link!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spinning Saturday!

The arrival of my first shipment from the Sweet Georgia Fibre Club proved to be the perfect motivation to finish the spinning project that has been on my wheel for several weeks now: some very pretty merino roving I purchased at the Yarn Barn in Lawrence, KS a long time ago. That night, I finished the second single, and then on Thursday afternoon I plied both singles together. I'm still not sure how this happened, but I only have a few inches left over from one of the singles once the plying was complete! What I like about this fiber is how it looks like a grayish-brown from far away:
But when you get closer, you can see that there are lots of heathered colors that blend together to trick the eye from far away:
Before delving into my newest fiber acquisition, I wanted to be sure to spin the custom batt which I purchased at YarnCon earlier this month (I'm not sure if you can request a custom-made batt from the Knitspin etsy shop, but they have plenty of other fibery goodies that are worth checking out).

Originally, my plan was to spin two singles to ply together, but as I was spinning, I thought it might be better to get it all on one bobbin and then navajo ply it. Once I'd gotten through all of the fiber, I changed my mind again and decided to do something I don't typically do with my handspun: let it remain a single-ply. I really love how this turned out - it's the closest I'll probably ever come to spinning an art yarn, too. I think it'll make a fantastic monster, and it's got so much character and texture as-is that I think plying it (with itself or anything else for that matter) is kind of unnecessary.

Now I am happily spinning my Bubble Bath merino + tencel fiber while Tyler is doing the Record Store Day thing this morning!



Friday, April 19, 2013

FO & Fiber Friday

Last week, I discovered that my blog readership was comprised mostly of enablers! Not that I'm complaining, since I rather liked the encouragement to work on as many projects as I like. I haven't been allowing myself too much freedom in that regard, but the gloves came off last weekend and I have to thank my blog readers for that! First, I started a very simple baby hat while on the bus; you may recognize it from last week's post, though I ended up not following a pattern after all (I didn't want to consult a chart while on-the-go). A few days later, I was done with my Cutie Patootie KAL/CAL baby hat! I used Cotton Comfort from the Green Mountain Spinnery, and I probably have enough left over to make another baby hat, or perhaps some matching booties!

Over the weekend, I also started crocheting a retro mushroom potholder (available for free on the Lion Brand Website). I never thought I'd be the type to make a potholder, but I couldn't resist this awesome pattern. Also, I am going to make all of the birthday and holiday gifts this year instead of doing the store-bought thing, so I've been looking for useful items that are quick to make. I used Dishie yarn from Knit Picks (though I was careful to use my Paypal account when checking out - the last thing I need it to have my debit card number stolen again), which was really nice to crochet with, though one of the colors I ordered ended up being much darker than I was anticipating. Buyer beware when purchasing yarn online, right?!

The big FO to share this week is my destash Constitution Hall Scarf, which I actually finished a week ago last Thursday night, but didn't get a chance to block it til last weekend (and I still need to properly block it so that the lace edging looks the way it should). I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, though I ended up making it a tad shorter than the pattern calls for on account of I ran out of yarn!. I think it'll still do the trick, plus I was able to block it to be a little longer and skinnier than it was when I initially finished it. The two sides are slightly uneven due to the running-out-of-yarn issue, but I doubt anyone will notice when I'm wearing it.

I also got a few more treats in the mail this week: my first shipments from the Sweet Georgia Fibre and Sock Yarn clubs! I hope this isn't a spoiler for anyone, but I am just too excited not to share today! The fibre is Merino+Tencel (a 50/50 blend) that is very shimmery and lustrous; an informational card is included to share special characteristics of the fiber and suggestions for how to spin it and what to make with the finished yarn. The skein pictured below is Twinkle Sock, which is a 3-ply 50/50 blend of superwash merino and tencel; the informational card gives a fiber overview and suggestions for projects that are best suited for the yarn. Both are dyed in a special colorway called "Bubble Bath" which is a mix of blues and purples inspired by the iridescent, transparent colors of soap bubbles. I haven't decided what to make with either of these just yet, but they will both be excellent for summer projects!
This new fiber has proved to be just what I needed to finish the merino that has been in progress on my wheel for several weeks, and last night I also spun through my art batt from YarnCon! Since this post is long enough as it is, I hope you'll join me back here tomorrow for a special edition of Spinning Saturday for all the details!


For more FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog!

Have a crafty weekend!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Cropped Cardi Progress

Today's post will be a short one, because I have finished a few projects and been concentrating the rest of my crafting time on the Breezy Bolero. I actually did end up ripping the entire thing out and starting over - I don't know what compels me to do such things, to be perfectly honest. Whatever the reason, I'm glad I did because the issue I was bothered by is significantly better on this second attempt. With the progress I made over the weekend and these last few days, you probably wouldn't have known that's what I did if I hadn't just confessed, am I right?
Click here to see last week's progress for comparison's sake!
At any rate, last night I took off for the sleeves, and now I just have a few inches of stockinette and decreases to do before I get to the ribbing and bind off. My somewhat-unrealistic goal is to have ALL of the knitting completed by the end of this coming weekend. I suppose anything is possible, but considering I am (usually) the world's slowest sweater knitter, I'm not holding my breath!

Thanks for stopping by this week. For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Monday, April 15, 2013

App Review: Todoist

Having just under 2 years of self-employment under my belt, I am still refining my day-to-day workflow for maximum efficiency. Whether you're self-employed or otherwise, it can be tough managing all of the day-to-day tasks that life demands.

My productivity as of yesterday!
Personally, I hate feeling like I'm forgetting to do something important, but an even worse feeling is realizing that I actually DID forget to do something important! I have a hard time with the concept of a 'paperless' office (though I like the ecological implications, some part of me needs to have a hand-written list or see the words printed on a piece of paper). I'm old school; I actually sit down at the beginning of each work-week with six pieces of paper (one for each weekday and the sixth for Saturday and Sunday combined), portioning out the week's tasks so that each day has just a few "big" to-do's coupled with a few smaller tasks....with plenty of space for all of the stuff that will come up along the way. This works pretty well, except when there is a long-term project or something I need to follow up on in the future. Enter Todoist, which is a task management app you can use with your internet browser (I use Chrome) and smart phone. There is a free version with fewer bells and whistles, but I opted to upgrade to the premium service after a free one-month trial.

Since using Todoist, I really do feel like I can keep track of all of my work (and non-work!) projects easily. Once you enter each project and subproject, Todoist will email you when things are due and also keep you posted on your productivity. They also recently added in more metrics to track your productivity, awarding you "karma points" for completing tasks on time or ahead of schedule. They can't be redeemed for anything, but regardless of that fact, it still feels good to mark a project as complete and see that number go up.

Below is a short video from their YouTube channel that walks you through Todoist's features; you can sign up for your free trial by clicking here!


You may like to know: I was not compensated or solicited for this review; I paid for the yearly subscription myself and just wanted to share this with my readers in the hopes that you find it as useful as I do!

Friday, April 12, 2013

FO Friday: Turtle Tote & Goodies Galore

My knitting guru's birthday was last Friday, and I wanted to think of something fun yet useful that I could make her. After combing Ravelry and my bookshelves for ideas, I finally decided that the Turtle Lunch Tote from Amigurumi on the Go would make an excellent project bag! It was actually kind of hard to give this one away, I may have to make one for myself someday soon. You can purchase this awesome book via Craftsy Deals by clicking my affiliate link!

I got a few goodies in the mail this week - first, I placed an order with HaldeCraft because I wanted to try the lavender hand lotion before it was discontinued...naturally, some lip balm (which is also being discontinued) found its way into my shopping cart, and Lorena very kindly included a bar of Lavender soap that smells absolutely heavenly. I don't usually order lavender anything online without already being familiar with the product line and how it smells, because there is good lavender and very, very bad lavender. Lorena uses the good stuff - the really good stuff, in fact. Lavender lovers rejoice!

The Lavender Lemon lip balm is on my desk, and it's a nice little moment of relaxation during my work day whenever I slather it on. It's very lavender-y and you can actually taste the lavender for the first few moments you are wearing it, which I happen to like. It's one of those things that tastes exactly how it smells!

I am also really enjoying the Lavender Hand Lotion - it's extremely moisturizing but not too greasy or sticky, and it's now on my night stand so that I can let it work its magic while I sleep. Leave it to me to get hooked on the stuff when it's going away! I haven't tried the Lavender Soap yet, but I plan on using it over the summer because I read somewhere that lavender is a good bug repellent. Seems like a good way to test the theory, anyhow! I did notice that the soap design is yarn and needles, which is super cool (but hard to photograph)!

You should also check out HaldeCraft's hand-dyed yarn (you can see some of it in action on this blog post, wherein I knit a monkey toy with her Tepper Worsted in the Sock Monkey colorway!). Good stuff!

I also received my third and final shipment from the FreshStitches Kit Club (sniff). I was so happy to open it up and see one of the monster patterns I'd been eying on Ravelry! The yarn is lovely - I think it might be Zauberball of some kind - and I am pretty excited to whip up a wacky-colored Roosevelt. I wish I could sign up for another 3 months of kits, but sadly, it's not in the budget for now. I just mailed in our tax payment - ouch! While there are many benefits of being self-employed, tax day is not among them!

If you've been wanting to sign up for a monthly yarn, fiber or kit club, this is a really good one to try out. I generally don't like surprises and would rather pick out my yarn and patterns myself, but Stacey does a really good job with each shipment - I wasn't ever disappointed in the least. Plus, her designs are so cute that you can easily keep them for yourself or give them as a gift. It's totally worth your while to sign up!

Speaking of which, there are still a few more days to take advantage of my Tax Day Pattern Sale - click here for all the details!

Whew! That was a long one - thanks for sticking with me today!

For more FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog!

Have a crafty weekend!






Wednesday, April 10, 2013

WIP Wednesday - Fighting Off Startitis

I've been trying to resist startitis, which is has become much harder since YarnCon this past weekend. For instance, I discovered I have enough Seda Sock to knit the Elfe sweater, but I am trying not to cast on til I finish the cropped cardi I just started. Unfortunately, progress hasn't been swift because I keep getting distracted by other things - this is as far as I've gotten since casting on last Thursday:
Not a whole lot so see there! There is also the problem of some serious laddering near the cable panels, which I think is tied to how I'm increasing (I'm doing a m1 where you lift up the bar between the stitch you just worked and the stitch on the needle and knit through the back loop); this is also where there is a stitch marker AND a switch from knit to purl, so basically that is the trifecta of unappealing laddering, at least for me - I've always had this issue with my knit-to-purl transitions. The question is, should I frog and restart to try to fix the problem, or soldier on and hope that it will block out?

Since those as the kind of questions I apparently don't want to answer, I've been working on other things. For example, I cast on for a new sock design with some pretty Fleece Artist sock yarn that's been in my stash for several years now...hoping to have a salable PDF pattern by mid-summer, but I am historically very slow with these things. Rather than keeping it a total secret, I think I'll share my progress here as well as on the HBS Facebook page and my Instagram account.

Since I am dying to spin up my custom batt and Manx Loaghtan top from YarnCon, I have been working more diligently on the merino that has been in progress for the last month or so:

The only light at the end of the tunnel is the nearly-done Constitution Hall Scarf; over the weekend, I managed to begin the lace border, which means I am coming down the proverbial home stretch:
Of course, once the scarf is done, I plan to cast on for a baby hat for the Cutie Patootie KAL/CAL happening in the Green Mountain Spinnery Ravelry Group. There are prizes from both the Spinnery and Eucalan, plus I get a chance to use the skein of Cotton Comfort I bought from their January sale AND knit a pattern from one of the books in my library - a challenge I've made for 2013 that I don't think I've blogged about yet.
More or less, I want to see how many projects I can make from books on my shelf (and if I can destash along the way, that's just the icing on the cake!). Ideally, I'd make at least one project from every book I have; I suppose if I don't make something from a particular title, that probably means it's a good candidate for selling back (though I've already thinned the herd considerably during my last burst of spring cleaning). At any rate, I've been keeping track of my progress so that I can give a full report at the end of the year, if not sooner!

Thanks for stopping by this week. For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!


Monday, April 8, 2013

YarnCon!

This weekend, my pal Lauren and I went to YarnCon, Chicago's independent fiber festival that features several local and regional indie dyers, spinners, and other fiber-related folks. This year, they are kicking off the fiber festival season (at least for me), rather than waiting til the fall - a clever move, since there are already many fibery events in the region from August-October (Stitches, Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival, Michigan Fiber Festival and VK Live all come to mind). Their new venue in the west loop is a little roomier, too, boasting plenty of parking; another exciting development for this year's show was moving to a two-day format!

I had a small budget which I managed to stick to, amazingly enough. There were many temptations, of course, but in the end I made just a few purchases: a skein of Seda Sock from the Grinning Gargoyle booth (in Signature Red to coordinate with the Espresso Seda Sock yarn I purchased at VK Live last fall), some hand-dyed organic fiber in an interesting-sounding sheep breed I'd never encountered (Manx Loaghtan) from the Yarn Geek booth, a bar of sandalwood soap, and a custom-made batt from KnitSpin!
Tucked in the back corner was a table that was covered in colorful fiber - not much signage, so it might have been easy for people to walk by without noticing KnitSpin's $14 custom-made batt. I nearly did! I don't think I've encountered such an opportunity at any fiber event I've attended, and for $14, it was too good to pass up. I began to pick out my fibers, gravitating mostly to the greens and blues, but  trying to toss a few others in for variation. Once I had made my selections, Isaura began to feed the fibers into the drum carder, which was fascinating to watch:
Button Bunny Love!
I came home with 2 beautiful and unique batts that I'm itching to spin (but I have to finish what's currently on my wheel, of course). I also picked up a bar of sandalwood-scented soap from JB Soap Works in the same booth where my batt was created - did you notice the cute button design on the top? It's handmade and smells fresh and clean, and it's also not too overpowering. Click here for their Etsy shop, which should be restocked soon now that YarnCon is over.

My pal Sam was there with her yarn company, The Wool Dispensary, which debuted at the 2011 YarnCon. One of my favorite toy designs also made its debut at that show (in her booth, of course): the Button Bunnies! They were on display over the weekend, but if you missed out on purchasing the pattern at YarnCon, you can still snag it for $6 on Ravelry or Craftsy. They are knit with Greater Poison, a hand-dyed worsted weight merino yarn from The Wool Dispensary that is quite snuggly!

Everything's on Sale!

One more thing: today is the last day for the Craftsy Spring Class Sale - and everything is on sale!! If you've been itching to learn something new, now's a great time to sign up. Click here to see my recommended Craftsy Classes and here to see a list of Craftsy classes I've reviewed. Happy learning!

Friday, April 5, 2013

FO Friday: Plomo Cropped Cardi

I finished my third and final Malabrigo March project on the last day of the month (with a few hours to spare!). I ended up using a small amount of Arroyo in Escorias that was left over from the Mushin Cowl as a contrast color once it became obvious that I would run out of Plomo before getting to the border. It was just my good luck that I liked the way they look together!

Basically, I knit the body til I ran out of yarn, then picked up stitches for the border and began the long, slow process of an i-cord bindoff. I had about 5g of Plomo reserved for finishing each sleeve, which worked out pretty well - all told, I probably had 4-5 yards of Plomo left over. I spent last Sunday morning weaving in the ends, and then there was the moment of truth: trying it on. It even fits!

It's not totally perfect, but considering what a random experiment it was, I'm pretty pleased with the results. For those of you who missed earlier posts about this project, I used an app called Raglanify (read my full review here) to create the pattern which I based this sweater on. I did make a few changes along the way - for example, I wanted to make a cardigan instead of a pullover, which is a pretty easy thing to change. The actual numbers that were supposed to achieve specific measurements, however, ended up being true, and I didn't monkey around with those. I think it'll be nice little cropped cardi to wear in the spring and summer - so glad it worked out!


Craftsy Spring Sale!

Click here to save on awesome Craftsy classes: starting today through Monday, April 8th, a different set of classes will be on sale each day, up to 75% off their normal price! Today's selections include a few I've signed up for, Celtic Cables with Carol Feller and How To Say It: Pattern Writing for Knitters by Edie Eckman.
There is also a great beginner class for only $9.99, Knit Lab with Stefanie Japel!

I heard a rumor that tomorrow will have the most classes on sale, so be sure to check back here for the enabling scoop!


Celebrate FO Friday by checking out more posts over on the Tami's Amis blog!



Have a crafty weekend!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

WIP Wednesday & Tax Day Sale!

Since I finished my final Malabrigo March project over the weekend (which I'll blog about this Friday), I decided to start swatching for my next sweater project. Though it's still pretty chilly in these parts, I expect any day now I'll be in need of yet another cropped cardigan, and I just happened to have the yarn and pattern for Marly Bird's Breezy Bolero waiting in the wings. I whipped up my first swatch and discovered that I've become quite the loose knitter, so I'm working on swatch number 2 with slightly smaller needles. Hopefully that'll do the trick and I can cast on soon!

I've also made some major progress on the Destash Constitution Hall Scarf - as you can see, I've started the next phase of striping! I even snuck in a few rows while at the sold out Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds show this past Monday. I know it's slightly off-topic, but I feel the need to write about it because we had front row tickets (which we didn't find out til we arrived at the show). I have never been that close before - once I was in the second row at a Radiohead concert in Colorado, but there was a pretty huge buffer zone between the crowd and the band; on Monday, I was literally inches from Nick Cave. He wears very fancy shoes, incidentally, and two glorious man-rings.
I would have liked to take some more photos, but my phone just isn't up to the task - Nick Cave is way too dynamic, and it's just pure crap at 'action' shots. Below is the best that I was able to do, and to be perfectly honest, I really wouldn't have dared to whip out the ol' cell phone camera when he was any closer to me! I don't know if you've ever seen footage of his performances, but he really gets in your face if you happen to be in the front row (more on that here on my husband's blog) - my friend dubbed our section of the stage the 'charisma vacuum': on either side of the stage, his crazy super-fans were trying desperately to make contact (and he is definitely one to grab hands, make eye contact, and even pull someone up onto the stage to dance). I suppose our small group of introverted folk enjoying the show by looking without touching did serve a purpose; he seemed fine with running back and forth between the super-fans,spending a little time in the charisma vacuum when (I assume) he wasn't in the mood to be grabbed.

At any rate, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it was totally awesome and worth every penny. But I digress...back to the yarny stuffs!

Tax Day Sale

All patterns in my Ravelry Pattern Store are $4.15 (or less!) in honor of the most dreaded of days in the U.S. (at least for me), tax day. All you have to do is enter "YARNANDTAXES" at checkout or click this link to have the coupon code automatically entered for you. This offer is good now through April 15, 2013!

Thanks for stopping by this week. For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, hop over to the Tami's Amis Blog!

Monday, April 1, 2013

New Feature: Craftsy Picks of the Week!

Perhaps I'm the only one who checks Craftsy's Yarn Deals on a nearly daily basis, but I just can't help myself. I have often been rewarded with some truly great deals on yarn (my Rocky Coast Cardigan comes to mind - I bought nine skeins of Canopy Worsted for 50% off in the Craftsy Yarn Shop!). There are also some really great patterns sold on Craftsy*, so I thought I'd start highlighting my favorites from both areas in a new regular feature. Enjoy!

Stefaniegrrr's Craftsy Picks of the Week for April 1, 2013:


Manos Wool Clasica: 2 skeins will make this free pattern, the Wavy Cable Boot Toppers! I made these for my rain boots last year and absolutely love them!



Spud & Chloe Sweater: Use all three colors created exclusively for Craftsy to make Stacey Trock's adorable Alastair the Caterpillar!


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*Here's another reason to purchase patterns on Craftsy: while Ravelry charges designers a small fee from each pattern sale, Craftsy allows designers to keep 100% of the PDF purchase price. What a nice way to support your favorite indie designers!