Thursday, November 29, 2012

I made a pattern!!

I made my first pattern today!

It's just a simple snowflake pattern, but still. I'm excited!

Errata: 12/2/12- I fixed the requested yardage amount, added parentheses on Rnd 2 for better understanding, and changed "make picot" to "make triple picot"- all changes can be seen below

On Ravelry HERE
PDF can be found HERE

O simple picot snowflake J

Depends  on hook and yarn used
One ball of yarn or crochet thread (only about 10-25 yards needed)
Crochet hook
Tapestry needle
Ornament hook or extra yarn to hang
Sugar syrup: 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, boiled until clear and then cooled

This sample was made with Knitpicks Comfy Fingering yarn in Planetarium with a size B (2.25 mm) crochet hook. This snowflake can be made in any size- you could even use a worsted weight yarn and a size J or I hook to make a coaster or doily

To begin:  ch 6 and join with a sl st to make loop. You could also make an adjustable ring by wrapping the yarn around your finger
Round 1: Ch 8, *dc in ring, ch 5* Rep from * four more times. Join with sl st to 3rd ch of beginning ch. (6 loops)
R2: Ch 3 *(dc, ch 6, dc)  all into next ch 5 sp. Dc in next dc* Rep from * around. Sl st into top of beg ch
R3: Ch 1, sc into next dc. *(sc, hdc, dc, 2tr, make triple picot, tr, dc, hdc, sc) all in next ch 6 sp. Sc in next two dc, ch 3 and sc in same dc, sc in next dc* rep until you get to last dc of last round. Sc in dc and the beg ch, ch 3, sc in same ch. Sl st to first sc.  Fasten off and weave in ends.

Make Triple Picot: ch 4, sl st in 4th ch from hook, ch 5, sl st in 5th ch from hook, ch 4, sl st in 4th ch from hook, sl st to top of tr

Finishing: If desired, soak snowflake in sugar syrup mixture. Gently squeeze out excess moisture and hard block (stretching out points and pinning) on an old towel, or blocking mat with a piece of wax paper to protect the board. When dry, attach an ornament hook, or make a loop with an extra piece of yarn

Ch- chain
Sc- single crochet
Hdc- half-double crochet
Dc- Double crochet
Tr- treble (or triple) crochet
Sl st- slip stitch

Note: This pattern is the intellectual property of Nicole Miller. If you would like to use this pattern or reference this design on your website or publication, please credit me as the designer, and link to this blog post, or to the pattern on  Ravelry. If you would like to use this pattern for sale of a snowflake, please contact me at

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Updates from Turkey Week

Hi everyone! I hope that you had a fantastic Thanksgiving last week, or just a fantastic Thursday if you are not into Thanksgiving. 

Fortunately I am finally over my nasty cold, but unfortunately I gifted it to my dear boyfriend, who subsequently missed three days of work and was sick on Thanksgiving. He usually never gets sick, but the combination of stress from work and living with someone with practically no immune system finally took its toll.

For the next couple of weeks, I may only get in a little post, or no post at all. Finals are coming up, and I have many papers I need to write and tests I need to study for. I also really need to finish up Christmas present making/shopping, so that, homework, and work will probably take up a good chunk of my time.

This long weekend was AWESOME! I did not have school for about a week, I got to spend time with my wonderful  family, and Brandon and I got the Christmas tree up and decorated. 

My gorgeous nephew


My beautiful sisters and Mama

Yep, this pretty much sums up my family :)

Our first Christmas tree!

With all of these days off I got a lot of knitting done. I have not started anything new, but I got two projects done and worked more on a third.

Works in Progress

Still Brandon's scarf- but I got a few more inches done on it. I told him it might not be done by Christmas- I am just so sick of scarves! :P

Finished Projects

1) I finally finished that damn headband thingy for my sister. I will not be using that pattern again, I do not think. And I discovered with this project and Brandon's scarf that I am not a huge fan of Knitpicks Brava. It is a nice, soft acrylic, but I hate working with it. Maybe it is just the way that I knit, but the yarn seems like it is over-twisted, and it is not much fun to work with.

Here is the finished headband. I ended up having to tack down the sides of the cable so that it would lie flat, but I think that it looks pretty nice. Sorry about the not-so-nice photo: I already gave the headband to my sister, so I did not get a chance to take a better picture.

2) I also finished my grandma's scarf, finally. I will also not be using that yarn again, but since it is just the recycled yarn from a sweater that I bought for three dollars I am not that upset about it. I used the yarn doubled, so I ended up using about 650 yards altogether. By the end of the scarf I was sick of knitting it, so I powered through about ten inches of speed knitting in one night.
I also added some fringe at the end, to use up some more of the yarn.

Stash Enhancement

I have managed to do so well as far as not buying yarn goes, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday totally did me in this year. I got Brandon to buy me seven skeins of yarn from the Knitpicks sale yesterday (as a Christmas present) and then I bought three more. And I also purchased some fiber from a Black Friday sale on Etsy. Over all I only spent about fifteen dollars, so I am not feeling a lot of buyer's remorse. I will be posting pictures once the lovelies arrive.

Good luck to anyone working on finals in the next couple weeks, and I hope that everyone is having a great Tuesday!



I just found out as I was finishing this post that one of my favorite bloggers and podcasters, Karrie (AKA Knitpurlgurl) passed away yesterday. This is so, so sad, and my thoughts are going out to her family. :-(

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bonus post: How to eat a pomegranate

Since I'm home sick and stuck in bed for the third day in a row, I thought I would make another post this week, just for fun

This is not going to be related to knitting at all, but it's educational anyway.
I apologize in advance for how bright the pictures are: my camera's flash is way too bright

How to cut and de-seed a pomegranate

1) Find a nice red and firm pomegranate and rinse it under cool water

2) Prepare a work space- pomegranate seeds are very messy if you squeeze the juice out of them, and they will stain any porous surface. I find it impossible to prepare any sort of food without making a mess, so I always lay down some newspaper or plastic wrap. You will also want a bowl to put the seeds in, and either a trash can or another bowl nearby to drop the skin and pithy parts in. 

3) Cut off a little bit from the top and bottom of the pomegranate

4) Lightly score lines down the sides of the pomegranate, about and inch apart, all around. Just push the knife in a centimeter or so, until there's not as much resistance- you don't want to cut into the seeds.

Wow that flash is bright, I'm sorry

5) Use the cut marks to help you pull off a wedge of pomegranate. You can pull the whole fruit apart into little wedges, or you can just do one wedge at a time

This is what the inside looks like. So pretty!

6) Use your fingers to gently pop out all of the seeds. Most of them should come out easily, but if not you can wiggle them a little bit to make them come loose. A pomegranate if FULL of seeds- it is insane how many seeds can fit inside a single fruit, so make sure you don't miss any

7) Discard the white skin and the outer skin from the fruit- this part is flavorless and blah.


8) When you are done, fill the bowl of seeds with water- any white parts that you missed should float to the top, so you can fish them out. 

9) ENJOY! 

Pomegranate seeds are delicious, full of antioxidants and vitamins, and keep well in the fridge for a couple weeks.

You can either eat them by themselves, mix them into your yogurt or cereal, or cook them down into a simple syrup and use it on top of pancakes, or as a drink mix. You can also bake them into cheesecakes, cakes, and cookies. 
Here, here, here, here, and here are some awesome and helpful recipes.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial and that you have a great weekend!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Song Of The Spinning Wheel (or drop spindle, in my case)

The title is a reference to the William Wordsworth poem, by the way. *Pushes up nerd glasses*

I feel like it has been an insanely long week. I have been really busy with school work lately. and I cannot believe that Thanksgiving and Christmas (and FINALS OMG FINALS) are coming up so fast!

I have been doing a lot of crafting lately, and I have a little bit of stash enhancement of the yarn and fiber variety (all of which, I SWEAR, I have a plan for).

My fingers feel better today than they did last night, but I have a massive blister on my left index finger right at the first joint (which is, conveniently enough, exactly where I hold my yarn when knitting). If there is a clumsier or more scatterbrained person than me alive in the world I have yet to meet her/him. I honestly don't think such a person could survive. Yesterday I somehow walked into the men's restroom and stood there for a good ten seconds texting on my phone before I looked up and registered the two guys staring at me in confusion. 

Also, this happened this week

Yes, that is a broken needle. No, I don't know how it happened

So, anyway, as I said, I have been very busy with school lately. We are going over Medieval art in my Art History class this week, which I love and have been looking forward to all semester. Those crazy monks made a lot of really interesting paintings.
The only reason why I am able to update right now is because when I woke up this morning I found that the cold that I have been fostering for the last three weeks apparently staged a revolution in my sinus cavities, and I decided that I don't need to go learn about the immune system in Biology today, because my own immune system is so very educational. I finally had to go out and get a humidifier yesterday for the bedroom so that my sinuses don't get caked with evil gunk every night (I know, beautiful). I have gone through half a box of tissues and a dozen cough drops since 10 am. Gaaaaah. 

So, here's what I have been up to lately

Works in Progress

I have been a bad girlfriend, and I have not worked on Brandon's Christmas scarf AT ALL for about a week and a half. I did make him that hat though, so that makes up for it, right?

BUT! I have started and made significant progess on several other projects.

1) I started a moss stitch scarf for my grandma.

Note the ninja turtles pajama pants. Those are an important part of my creative process

I love the scarf, but I hate the yarn. I am knitting this up on size eleven needles with recycled yarn from a thrift store sweater. I chose the yarn because it is soft and fluffy, but it is obnoxious to knit with. Even though it is acrylic, it behaves like cotton, and has absolutely no stretch or give. 

Just as a side note, I, as a rule, absolutely love ribbing and the seed stitch (and moss stitch and fisherman's ribbing, etc). I am a huge fan of textural knitting, and I think that any yarn looks great in these patterns. However, since I am prone to getting hand cramps (which is one reason by I have not been knitting as much these last couple weeks), all that switching between purling and knitting can get tiring.

And then I discovered the Norwegian purl method, and it saved my life. If you knit continental (with the yarn in your left hand) and you love alternating K and P as much as I do, then you should learn this method. Essentially, Norwegian purling is where you keep the yarn held behind the knitting and sort of do a twist and swoop maneuver to catch the yarn. Here, here, and here are a few tutorial videos.  I have been alternating between this and doing a regular purl every few inches, and it keeps my hands from getting tired. 

2) I have also started a twisted headband for Molly. All I can say is that she had better like this headband, because it is driving me crazy.

I am knitting it on size seven needles with Knitpicks Brava Worsted in Currant. The pattern that I am using is the Twisted Turban Heaband. The pattern is just a simple ribbing with a cable, so I am just using the pattern for the cable chart, but that thing is going to be my downfall. I don't know what I problem is, because I have done cables before, but I think that because of the size of the cable it is really tripping me up. I did the twist yesterday, and it took me four tries to get it right. I kept getting my yarn too tight and doing the twist incorrectly. I will post more pictures once I finish it, because it does not look great right now. 

3) SPINNING! I have been spinning so much and I am IN LOVE with my drop spindle. 

So I ordered a bottom whorl drop spindle from theknitstore on Etsy. They accidentally sent me a top whorl spindle, but when I emailed them about it they offered to send me the bottom whorl and let me keep the one they sent by the mistake. So now I have two drop spindles! How sweet is that!?

I am going to post a picture of the first tiny little skein of practice yarn that I made, and you have to promise not to puke when you see it. Are you ready?

EEK! I know, right? It's awful, but I have learned a lot since then, and I have been practicing every day. I spun this with some roving that I bought for felting, and I used my bottom whorl spindle because I wanted a chunkier yarn. 

Want to see what I have been spinning this week?

Isn't it beautiful! Look at how thin and even it is!!! Seriously, I am so proud of the way this single is spinning up, and I cannot wait to ply it. I am using the undyed BFL top that I told you about in my last post. It is beautiful and soft and squishy, and the staple length (or length of each hair) is fairly long, so it is perfect for a new spinner. I am really loving spinning, and I love watching this big huge fluff turn into thin and smooth yarn. The only problem that I am having is that all that flying fuzz has been agitating my allergies, which are really sensitive because of my cold, so I have to pause my to sneeze sometimes. 

So that is all that I have been up to lately in the crafting department. Last week I was suffering from some pretty bad hand cramping, but this week I am hoping to get some more holiday knitting done. If I put a band-aid on my blister I can barely feel it! (Sort of)

Stash Enhancement

I should preface this by saying then when I bought all these goodies I had had an awesome week at work as far as tips go, and I was able to splurge a little on yarn. This last week however, I had to pay the electric bill and fill my tank up, and my tips have been blah, so I will have to wait, probably until I get some Christmas money, for any more yarn. 

1) First off, look at these lovelies

Aren't they adorable. I got them here on Ebay. They were very cheap, so I cannot guarantee that they won't turn my ears green, but it will be worth it. 

2) I got this beautiful yarn from knit outta the box. They are having a fantastic sale right now, and all of their yarn is 50% off. This is actually a really awesome company, and I would recommend checking out their products. I got seven balls of this yarn for 2.50 each! 

3) I also got three skeins of Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool in Natural. My local Hancock's Fabrics was having a 30% off sale on all of their yarns, so I got two skeins there, and I got the other skein for 60% with a coupon at JoAnn's fabrics. Yes, I am that obsessive about getting a good deal.

With this and the turquoise yarn I have two sweater's quanitities of yarn, which I am planning on using on one of these projects- I have not decided quite yet which ones. 

4) I bought another four ounces of un-dyed wool top, this time in Corriedale wool from winderwoodfarm on Etsy. I bought it primarily to dye it rainbow colors, which is why I bought the following

Glory glory hallelujah

That, my friends, is over five dollars worth of Kool-Aid, and it was totally worth all the weird looks I got from people at Meijer for taking ten minutes at the self check out. 

Well, that is all for me this week. Now please excuse me while I go have a sneezing fit 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Delayed posting

Hi there!

I am planning on writing a long post, and I had all my pictures ready to write it tonight, but then I burnt my hand really bad on a cooking sheet :(.

So, unfortunately my hand hurts too much to type (or knit) a lot, but I will try to have a new post tomorrow.

Can you believe it is already almost Thanksgiving!? CRAZY!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Plans and Hats and MORE PLANS

Hi everyone!

I hope that you have had a wonderful week and that everyone has been safe from the horrible weather. I don't think there is anyone that looks at this blog from the East Coast, but if there is, I hope that you have been able to avoid the worst of the storm. 

I have not made a lot of progress on my boyfriend's Christmas scarf, and I gave up on carrying the yarn up the side. I didn't like how the blue was peeking through on the white sections. I am just too picky :P. 
BUT I have managed to crochet almost two hats in the last 24 hours!! 

Finished Object(s)

Since both of these hats are pretty much identical, and I am still finishing weaving in the ends on the second hat, I will just take a picture of one of them
I crocheted these both with my size I bamboo crochet hook from ThinkBamboo out of Yarn Bee's Bamboospun in Olive. This yarn is very soft and nice to work with. The wrong side of the crocheted fabric actually ends up being softer than the right side, which is perfect for a hat. 

A note about these crochet hooks- they are clearly not the highest quality bamboo hooks, but I am in no way a snob when it comes to hooks and needles. As long as my tools feel comfortable in my hands, do not snag or otherwise disrupt my crafting process, and if they can get the job done well,  I am a happy camper. 
I like how the head of the hook is a little pointy

I have noticed in the the last year that I cannot knit or crochet comfortably with metal. My hands and wrists start cramping up quickly, and I cannot work for long periods of time. Because of this, I have switched almost completely over to using bamboo and, since I buy all of my supplies on a waitress' salary, I buy the least expensive tools I can find. I always check the reviews and look closely at all pictures before I buy any tools, and I have not been disappointed yet (except for when an inexpensive set of circular needles started to detach from the win some, you lose some).

This is a very very simple half-double crocheted hat. I started with seven or eight stitches and increased to 62 st (for my uncle) and 66 st (for my boyfriend's giant head). 

I have been promising my uncle a hat for the last four years, so I am going to surprise him tomorrow with this early Christmas present. 

Stash/Tool Enhancement

I am super excited to tell you that I have just purchased my first drop spindle!!!!
I bought a fairly inexpensive spindle, because I have never spun before, and did not want to shell out a lot of money for a craft that I may not like. 
I ordered a bottom whorl spindle from theknitstore on Etsy. From the research I have done, I think that I will prefer a bottom whorl over a top whorl, but I will have to let you know once I start spinning if this is really the case.
I also purchased some inexpensive, undyed blueface leicester fiber from threewatersfarm on Etsy. I am planning on dyeing this fiber myself, or just spinning it in it's natural color. (OR maybe I could dye half of it and then ply the natural and dyed fiber together!!! I am getting way too excited) 
I was really drooling over this roving from Ethereal Fibers and this one from Fibernymph (and don't even get me started on Into the Whirled and SpunRightRound...can you tell that I'm a color freak?)  but those will have to be on my Christmas wish list. And I should probably know what I'm doing with a spindle before I start getting googly eyes for more pricey fibers. 

Podcast Plans

So, as I have mentioned before, I am planning on starting a video podcast/ video blog about my projects and what I'm up to. I am waiting until I can figure out a good way to videotape myself, and until I can find a good video-editing software. 

My podcast will feature all of the basic elements as many of the other knitting podcasts you have seen/listened to. Therefore, it will include
1) Works in Progress
2) Finished Objects
3) Some good resources/patterns 
4) Stash enhancement/ new crafty tools

However, I want my podcast to be unique, and to represent me as much as possible. 

Podcast Philosophy

The general theme of my podcast is going to involve the three following areas as much as possible

1)Not only am I a student in college, I also consider myself a "Collegiate Crafter"- meaning that I have mastered many areas of knitting, crocheting, and sewing but I still have a LOT to learn, and am still honing and developing my skills.
As the title of my blog suggests, I am seeking to become wiser in the ways of knitting and crafting, as well as in life. As often as I can, I will show you what I have learned recently, and may even give demonstrations of my newly learned skills.
I may also end up talking a little bit about what I am learning in my classes, and incorporating this as much as possible into my discussions on crafting. As a studio art minor, I may have a lot to talk about some days :). 

2)   Since I am putting myself through college on government loans and the tips from my part-time job, I do not have unlimited funds to put towards my crafting. I love silk and cashmere as much as the next knitter, and I greatly admire and totally lust over the beautiful hand-dyed yarns that I see on Etsy, but I just cannot afford these luxuries on a regular basis. 
What I can do is look for the highest quality yarns that I can fit into my budget. That involves a lot of time scouring the web, local yarn stores, and, yes, even Hobby Lobby for good, affordable yarns and tools. I am picky, but I am not a snob when it comes to yarn and, while I would prefer to work with superfine merino all the time, you may see the occasional (good quality, soft and durable ) acrylic sneak in to my knitting. 
I will provide a lot of tips for finding bargains and sales, as well as how to make your dollar stretch when looking for crafting supplies. 

3) I am not a monogamous crafter. Although I generally prefer knitting over any other craft, I also spend a lot of time crocheting and sewing, as well as drawing and baking. I also write a lot, and have even been known to make jewelry and do calligraphy (although this is a rarity). 
Although this podcast will be primarily about the fiber arts, do not be surprised if I show off some cookies that I have baked or a drawing I have made for class as well.

Whew, that's a lot of content, right?
But I am not crazy. I know that I will not be able to cover every single one of these areas every podcast, but these tenants will direct the general theme of my podcasts, and they will help viewers understand the goal of my video.

So keep an eye out for that! I will let you know when I be starting these videos, and I hope that I will have some viewers! :P

Have a great week, and happy November!