Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Finalities

This has been an experimental kinda week, and at least moderately eventful.

I have finished the wrap! I still need to weave a few ends in and block it, but I'm relatively happy with how it turned out. I also figured out a few things that I'll do differently the next time. I'll probably be keeping this one, since it ended up being a bit on the small side.

A bit of experimentation with crocheting flowers. This is the result of getting bored one day and needing something to do with my hands. I think I may use this idea as a basis for a door wreath for winter or something.

And that beef stew from Wednesday? It turned out quite nicely. I think I'll be using a dark beer instead of red wine for it in the future.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Upcoming Projects!

When I came home from the library, I found this adorable mass of cuddles:

The three of them rarely lie like that, and when they do, it's almost always on my side of the bed. Unfortunately, it's never shortly before bed, so I don't get to curl up in a feline-generated warm spot.

Ah well.

Seeing them like that, however, reminded me of the idea of making cat beds for them. As it stands now, I have folded blankets in their favorite spots under my desk, and the cat fort I made for them last year.

So, to the internet I go! Right now, I'm thinking of something like the Cuddle Cup from Guinea Pig Cages or this one from Lori Marie. There are quite a few adorable knit/crochet options out there, but I'd prefer to stick with fabric. In my experience, woven fabric and felt tend to stand up to kitty claws than knits.

Though, speaking of knitting, I am going to pick up this pattern for a dragon scarf/shawl from Ravelry. A girl can never have too many dragon things, can she?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Stew Season! (Linky)

Leaves are changing, days are getting shorter and the temp is dropping. Guess what that means - stew season is upon us!

Today, I've kicked it off with some slow cooker beef stew.

Everything else is under the onions. Decided to chop those up last, since using a knife while blinded by onion tears is a bad idea.

Instead of red wine, I decided to try this stuff, since we still have a few bottles in the fridge. I've read it's good in stew, and I already know it does great things to meat when used in cooking.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Picking Up Stitches - Crochet Basics

Occasionally, you'll come across the term "pick up (x) stitches" in a crochet pattern. This just means that you'll need to add a certain number of stitches to the finished portion of the item.

You can also use this technique outside of patterns to add a decorative border to spice up the look of a finished item.

I just whipped a small swatch of single stitch crochet up to demonstrate how I do this.

Step One
When picking stitches up on the side of a piece, insert the hook in the space between the rows at the edge of the piece. I prefer to put the hook in from the front, or right side of the piece, but if you find inserting it from the back instead is easier, there's no reason why you can't do that.

When starting at the top or bottom, just crochet into the stitches that are already there.

Step Two

Loop the yarn over the hook, and draw it through. Keeping that loop in place by holding the yarn tail securely with the hand not holding the hook, insert the hook into the space between the second and third row, yarn over again and pull that through. You'll now have two loops on your hook.

Step Three
Bring the tail still attached to the yarn ball to the front of the piece, yarn over and pull the new loop through the two existing ones. This will be your first stitch.

Step Four
Continue in this way for as many stitches as the pattern calls for. If you're adding a border, keep doing it until you've gotten all the way around the piece. When you get to the last stitch, pull it tight, snip the yarn and weave the end in.

The border on the bottom and left side of the picture demonstrates what the first row will look like. I'd already started the second row on the right side.
So, there you have it! Painless, and rather pretty.

For more Crochet Basics, check out the master page.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Shawl Shenanigans

This sudden change in temperature has ignited the cooking bug in me. I'm not entirely sure why, but when the temperature drops, I have the urge to make beef stews and casseroles. I guess they've become my comfort foods.

It's a little odd. I enjoy eating cookies and sweet things, but I just don't like baking them, for whatever reason. Maybe I'll give apple crisp a try one of these days, though. Does anyone have any favorite recipes for me to try?

Anyway, I've done a fair amount of knitting, this week. My hands have been a little on the painful side, so that hasn't been quite as robust as I'd have liked. I really should get started on gifts. What have I been working on?

Well, that shawl from last week. I decided to start it again, since I got bored with the plain old stockinette stitch.

Alright, so maybe it doesn't look that different, but now I'm slipping every other stitch on every other row. I kind of like how it's turning out.

The plan is to add on white edging once I finish this piece. I'm not sure whether I'm going to attempt to sell it, give it away or keep it for myself. We shall see what we shall see!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Favorite Fall Things (and a not-so-subtle give away reminder)

Still no love for the give away opportunity this month? You can win free stuff or a discount to my shop! I don't think that's a terrible way to get going on your holiday shopping, but I may be a bit biased.

Anyway, now that the plug's out of the way, today's the first day around here that's cold enough to need a jacket. When it comes to seasons, I tend to be a summer girl. Even though my allergies have gotten worse over the years, I still enjoy the heat, and not needing to wear every article of clothing I own to leave the house.

Of course, I'm talking about winter, but autumn always makes me a bit sad. Instead of lingering on the oncoming unpleasantness cold weather brings, why not list some of my favorite things about fall?

Toe socks! I guess I'm a bit of a kid at heart. Sadly, these things are getting harder and harder to find in stores.

My beloved gauntlets! I have four pairs of varying lengths that I wear regularly over the colder months. This is by far my geekiest pair. Deadpool is such a fun character. These are super warm, mostly because they're double sided.

I also enjoy knitting them, which is probably why I have so many of them.

Autumn jackets. I actually don't mind wearing jackets when it's not freezing out. The one I'm wearing in the above picture is from an antique/thrift/junk shop. Perfect for days with a bit of chill, but not downright cold.

Sunflowers! I guess I have a weak spot for these beauties. They're the first flower I tried growing in my own yard, and they've taken off. The first ones were massive, but they cross bred with smaller varieties, and now the ones that pop up every year are like this pretty bloom.

Seedums are another favorite plant. It's hard to kill these things, which is probably why we still have so many of them. The flowers turn into such a lovely color as the temperature drops.

As melancholy as the changes in the leaves makes me, I still enjoy it. Our burning bush out back is already turning, but it'll be pretty amazing when its colors blaze to life.

What about you? What are your favorite things about autumn?