Little Happy Things

Ah….the little people in the house are all taking naps (for the moment), giving me some much needed time to rest and think without someone crying or tugging on my clothes or trying to eat things off the floor. Moms, you know how it is, right?! I have been babysitting a sweet little toddler girl several days over the last two weeks while one of my friends (her usual sitter) is on maternity leave after having her own precious fourth baby! This curly-headed little gal is good as gold, but adding an extra tiny human to our house and routine for the majority of our waking hours is still a bit draining. She and Little Miss are learning to share toys and space, and germs, too. Sadly, Curly Girl had a cold virus and gave it to Little Miss, so I have dealt with droopy, snotty, cranky, sleepy, coughing babies for over a week now. Needless to say, this quiet time while everyone sleeps today feels pretty blissful after all that! I have been wanting to blog for so many days now but felt a bit too frayed to write anything that made sense. I have so many topics swirling around in my head, but for today, I thought I would just share a few happy things that are refueling and refreshing me right now.

1. Tea and cookies! 

 

I have become a serious tea addict this winter, not that I didn’t already love tea before, mind you. But I have recently become a two cups of tea a day kind of girl, one cup at breakfast and another in the afternoon. I can attribute this change to two things: real farm fresh cream (yum!) and switching from whatever black tea was cheapest to Tetley brand tea. Major difference! I need to up my herbal tea game now, too, since I also often want a cup of something hot and soothing before bed but do not want to have any caffeine in the evening. Celestial Seasonings options are ok, but I want to try some Teavana soon because I have heard great things about their unique blends. The cookies are a new-to-me recipe for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, and they are excellent. I could have tried harder to make them have a pretty shape, but we (ahem, I) eat them too fast to care how they look! 😉 Here is the recipe link in case you want to make some for yourself.

2. Pandora Relaxation Radio

 

This has become my go-to listening when I need some background music without words to distract me. And if something I don’t like comes on, I can just hit the thumbs down button and not hear it again! Pandora is a pretty genuis app!

3. New favorite podcasts

 

I plan to do a whole blog post about some of my new favorite podcasts. I did one a while back when I was listening to knitting podcasts all the time. After having Little Miss, the knitting podcasts went off my radar just like my knitting and crocheting did. But I recently found a bunch of great new podcasts that I love so much, many related to homeschooling in some way, but not all. When I am cooking, cleaning, or sorting laundry, I really enjoy having something engaging to listen to, and these all fit the bill nicely!

4. Knitting


Surprisingly, for the first time in months I have a new project on my needles! I have taken a long break from any fiber arts, just doing enough in the fall to get a baby gift or two done. I really needed some time away. I would miss it a little every now and then, but not really enough to pick up anything. I just did not feel like I had the mental or physical focus and space for it in the evenings when I actually have both hands free. But I am finally starting to feel like some of my mojo is coming back in that area. And Little Miss will need a new cardigan for spring and summer, which is what inspired me to dig out some yarn and needles and get a project going. I am quite pleased with the pink and green stripes on the yoke. The body of the cardi will be finished in green. Perfect for spring!

And now I have a couple of little girls in my lap, looking at books, which is a different sort of happy thing!

What is making you smile today?

Listening for Inspiration

I don’t quite remember how I got started on this, but a few months back I found the wonderful world of knitting podcasts. Ah! What a veritable rabbit trail of fiber-y goodness and inspiration! I had no idea how many knitters were doing podcasts, of both the audio and video variety. I really enjoy listening to a podcast or two while I am doing housework each day. It makes doing things like dishes and laundry much less tedious. Video podcasts are usually easier for me to pay attention to if I am knitting or crocheting, especially when a certain small boy is sleeping or quietly playing somewhere.

If you haven’t ever listened to a knitting podcast before, you might be asking, what fun could you possibly having listening to somebody talk about their knitting? Well, it is a lot like reading a blog…they talk about lots of things, not just what is on their needles. Life, kids, nature, food, yarn, spinning, and other crafts as well… And a few of my very favorite podcasts are hosted by friends who laugh and talk together, making you feel like you are sitting there and knitting right along with them. Oh, and another perk of getting on the podcast bandwagon? Most of them host giveaways and Knit-Alongs on a regular basis! Those are always great fun to participate in? So, I thought it would be nice to share with you my current podcast lineup, in no particular order, in case you want to check some of them out, too.

Knitting Pipeline
The Knitmore Girls
The Dyer’s Notebook
In a sKnit
Prairie Girls Knit and Spin
Yarniacs
Curious Handmade
Fluffy Fibers
The Savvy Girls
A Playful Day
Commuter Knitter
Down Cellar Studios
Knitting Butterflies
Must Stash Podcast
Ewe University
The Lost Geek

(P.S.–Because I often listen to these while little ears are present, all of them are by necessity pretty clean and free of words I don’t want my child to hear. Still, there may at times be a slightly off color joke or mention of drinking. Just fair warning for those who may be sensitive about those things.)

That Crazy Dyeing Thing

Howdy, blog reading friends! In my last post way back when (let’s just say it’s been a while) I talked about my experiments in dyeing yarn. It was very fun and addictive. And I kept thinking and thinking about how much I would like to try my hand at dyeing yarn to sell. But it was sort of scary. I mean, what if nobody buys it? Then I will have loads of beautifully hand dyed yarn sitting in my craft closet just waiting to be knitted up! (Oh, wait, that doesn’t sound so bad, now, does it?! 😉) I was afraid of doing something new and having it fail, of having my hard work go unnoticed or unappreciated. I am not a big risk taker.

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But then I thought, how will I know if I never try? There is an element of risk in everything in life. And often, the greater the risk, the greater the reward! So, I dismissed my fears and the little voice inside that likes to tell me I’m not good enough. (Sometimes that little voice is very loud and annoying, and persistent!) I saved up enough to buy some professional dyes. Then I saved up some more to buy some good quality yarn from a fellow dyer who was destashing. And I started up my new little shop, Eclectic Lemon!
I am starting small and building up stock as I can, so right now I only have small batches of worsted and sock weight yarns. But this crazy dyeing thing is such an amazing creative outlet for me that you can get there will be more in the future as I have time and money to add new yarns!

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I do hope you will stop by and take a look around, whether you are in the market for hand dyed yarns or not. I would also love it if any knitters or crocheters out there would leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite yarn bases or colors that you would like to see me add in the future. Or tell me what colorway you see in my shop now that you love the best!

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Oh, also, I wanted to let you all know that I am on Instagram now! I post pics of my knitting and crochet, my yarn, my kitties and collie dog, nature…and sometimes just random stuff. If you are on Instagram, feel free to follow me @EclecticLemon. See you there! 😊

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Basic Newborn Bear Hat Pattern

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Ok, so y’all know I haven’t been knitting all that long, so this maybe is not the most original pattern ever. It is pretty much the basic formula for a knit newborn beanie, just with little crocheted bear ears added to the top. I am writing this here more for my own future reference than that I think it will add anything to the knitting world. 😉 I am going to start offering this style of hat as a made to order item at Lemon Lane Organics, so I don’t want to forget what I did to create this adorable little hat. And now, you can make some, too!
Also, I knit a fairly tight gauge but forgot to measure the gauge on the prototypes before putting that in the pattern. Next time I make one I will add that information. Just know you may need to go down a needle size to get an average newborn size hat

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Basic Newborn Hat Knitting Pattern (with crocheted bear ears)

Materials: DK to light worsted weight yarn – less than 50 grams (I used O-Wool Balance)
US size 6/4.00mm knitting needles (either a long circular for magic loop or DPNs)
Crochet hook size E/4-3.50mm or F/5-3.75mm
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends and sewing on ears

Hat:
Cast on 64 stitches, using desired method. I like a long tail cast on for this. Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist work.

Work 6 rounds of K2P2 ribbing.

Work stockinette stitch for 3.75 to 4 inches.

Begin crown decreases as follows:
Knit 6, k2tog around.
Knit next round.
Knit 5, k2tog around.
Knit next round.
Knit 4, k2tog around.
Knit next round.
Knit 3, k2tog around.
Knit next round.
Knit 2, k2tog around.
Knit next round.
Knit 1, k2tog around
K2tog around.
Cut yarn and thread yarn tail through live stitches on the needles and cinch up to close the top of the hat. Weave in ends.

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Ears: make two
You want the ears to be a pretty tight fabric without big holes, so use whatever size hook you need to achieve that look.
Row 1: Ch 7, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next 4 ch, 3 sc in last ch, turning to work along bottom of foundation ch, sc 5 along bottom of foundation ch, ch 1, turn.
Row 2: Sc in each st of row, ch 1, turn.
Row 3: Sc 5, 2 sc in next st, sc, 2 sc in next st, sc 5, ch 1, turn.
Row 4: Sc 7, 2 sc in next st, sc 7. Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing onto hat. Stitch onto top of hat, placing as desired, and weave in ends. (I placed mine about 5-6 rounds from the top of the hat.)

If you want a little bigger ear, just sc evenly one more row before fastening off.

You could also make this hat larger by casting on more stitches in multiples of 4 (I think? I’m still not too good at this knitting math stuff!) and making the stockinette section longer before decreasing for the crown. Enjoy! 🙂

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Weekend WIP Wrap-up

It is Sunday afternoon, an overcast day in February, and it is nap time at my house. I used to blog on Sundays. I’m not sure quite how or when I got out of that habit. It seems like it was a good one, though, so perhaps I will get back into that routine…since I obviously have not yet fulfilled my 2014 goal of blogging more! (I have done better with some of my other goals, but I decided I wanted to talk about other things in this post.)

Anyway, I’m calling this the Weekend WIP Wrap-up, and maybe it will become a go-to theme for these future Sunday afternoon blogging sessions if I can’t think of anything else to write about. There are, after all, always Works in Progress where a crafter lives! It has been a long, long time since I did a tally of all the projects I have on the hooks and needles, so this may be enlightening for me! So, let’s get started on my list, shall we?

Crochet Projects:

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First off, I have a pair of these custom faux fur baby booties in Charcoal on the hook right now in the 0-6 month size. My goal is to have them finished and out the door by Tuesday at the latest. I have the body of both boots almost done, and once that part is finished, I will just have the trim, buttons, and tags to put on, besides weaving in all the ends. Totally doable! I have mentioned this designer’s shop before, but for new readers, you can find the pattern at http://www.etsy.com/shop/patternma, not to mention lots of other fun patterns to crochet!

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I guess this isn’t so much of a WIP since I haven’t started on them yet, but I also have a pair of these newborn baby loafers to crochet in sepia brown organic cotton, once I get done with the faux fur boots. The pattern is from https://www.etsy.com/shop/TwoGirlsPatterns where you can find a bunch of really cute crochet patterns. I totally recommend you check out their shop if you like to crochet!

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I also have a pair of wee baby rain boots on my hooks right now. I am in the process of creating a pattern for these, but it is slow going because I am going to create various sizes…and because other things keep getting in the way, putting this project on the back burner. But I hope that over the next month I will be able to get the pattern written, tested and finalized in time for spring so lots of other people can make their own sweet little baby galoshes!

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I guess that is just about all for crochet projects that I’m actively working on at the moment. There is still this huge afghan that is sleeping in the closet right now…and it is so close to being finished, but I never seem to have both the time and the desire to work on it at the same time. I just need to attach about half the squares and do the edging, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is just a very, very long tunnel!

Knitting Projects:

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On the needles right now, I have several different personal projects, either for myself or for gifting. I started knitting a pair of house slippers for myself a few days ago because my store-bought slippers are so old and hole-y and worn out. The pattern is called “Non-Felted Slippers,” and it is a free download on Ravelry. I am making these in handspun yarn given to me by my sister in law for Christmas! Both yarns are from Moondance Springs Farm, which is located in Buffalo Gap, South Dakota. The soles are a 100% llama fiber in the “Sage” colorway, which may actually be the llama’s name, for all I know, since the yarn appears to be a natural color. The uppers of the slippers are 100% merino wool in a super hot pink color. I will never lose my feet when I have these things on, that much is certain! (It also happens to be close to the same shade of my favorite yoga pants, so it’s all good!) I have one slipper completed, and it is a wee bit small, but I am guessing it will stretch with wear, so no biggie.

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All my other knitting is more of the gift-giving sort. I have a Meret scarf in the works for one family member, although it hasn’t seen the light of day for some time. When I do get it out, I really have to think hard to figure out where I left off in the pattern since I am still quite a novice when it comes to lace knitting. (Let’s admit it, although I’m very adventurous, I’m pretty much a novice at all knitting, period.) I’m using Caron Simply Soft in Blue Mint for this scarf.

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I also have another lace scarf in the works, although I am a bit dubious as to whether I will have enough yarn to complete this one. It is another Moondance Springs Farm creation, 100% wool, hand dyed in beautifully vibrant green tones. It is a pretty light weight yarn, but I don’t know how many yards there are, only that it is 1.8 ounces…and I don’t know if it will be enough for a scarf of decent length. The pattern I chose is the One Row Lace Scarf, so I can stop it at any point. I may need to frog it and make it narrower, though, in order to get a nice length for it. I’m not sure yet.

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Little J often wants to play with yarn when I am knitting or crocheting, and he has asked me several times to teach him how to knit. He doesn’t have the fine motor skills or attention span to really do much right now (he is only three, after all!), but I decided I can at least let him sit on my lap and hold the needles with me. He wants to make a bunny rabbit, so we are just knitting a basic rectangle of garter stitch right now, and I will sew it up, stuff it, and make ears and a tale for it. And when it is done, he can say that he helped make his very own toy bunny!

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Another project that is almost in hibernation right now is a baby cardigan I started around Thanksgiving 2013. It is my first ever attempt at knitting a garment, so it is something of a challenge. I am using this beautiful, luscious, squishy organic wool sock yarn from Gynx Yarns in a colorway called “Wolf.” This yarn has been discontinued, and I got it at a deep discount. It is a lovely combinations of cream, grey and tan. The pattern is simply titled “Garter Yoke Baby Cardi.” If I ever get back to working on this cardigan, it will make a great gift for any baby, boy or girl!

And, that, folks, is a wrap-up of all the WIPs I have at the moment. Looks like I’ve got some work to do, huh? That being said, I think I will wrap up this blog post and go stitch! Have a great week, everyone!

Terrific Teal

Teal, turquoise, deep blue green….ah…whatever you call it, this is one of my favorite shades on the color spectrum! I love the cool yet deep color, rich and relaxing all at the same time. In fact, I just finished a set of beautiful teal fingerless gloves, and it is all I can do not to keep them for myself instead of putting them up for sale at Lemon Lane Organics! Since I find this color so inspiring, I thought I would put together a collection of some terrific teal finds from a few of my friends over on the Christian Artists Street Team. I hope you like what you see here!

Teal Fingerless Gloves
Teal Sakura Filigree Ring
Teal Chevron iPhone Case
Dark Teal Mineral Eyeshadow
Teal Infinity Scarf
Turquoise Swarovski Crystal Earrings

 

Turquoise Hand Warmers

4KCBWDAY4 Color Review

So I didn’t get to do Day 3 of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, partly because I was busy with other projects, and partly because I really couldn’t think of anything to create an info graphic about. Oh well…moving on to Day 4! Today’s challenge was to think about the colors you are drawn to when yarn shopping and crafting, then look and see how that compares to actually colors chosen for projects you’ve done and yarns in your stash. Then think about how that may relate to the “house” you’ve chosen to identify with.

When I think of my favorite colors to wear, I am drawn to deep, rich reds, blue-green shades, and earth tones. In my mind’s eye, I see yarns that are vibrant, deep shades of red, blue, green and other jewel tones, although I know I love the look of rainbow colored handpainted yarns, too. I just have never used them. Let’s see how this compares to my projects in my current Ravelry notebook…

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Ok, um, sort of close, but some of those projects were not for me, obviously! In fact, about a third of those shown were for my shop or for friends, then another third for Little J, and finally only a third are/were for me. I don’t have a picture of my stash, and if I did it would look rather odd as all my personal yarn is just scrappy stuff at this point. My nice yarn is all for the shop! Speaking of the shop, lets look at some of the colors happening over there right now…

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Although more muted, these colors are more to my personal liking for the most part…sort of a pastel rainbow in contrast to the vibrant, deep colors I would want in my own wardrobe. But that is fitting of baby items, isn’t it?!

Seems that is all I have time for today. Tomorrow’s post is supposed to be something completely different than the usual blog post, so we will see what I can come up with for that. Am I up for the challenge? Hmmm….

To find other blog posts on this topic, please enter 4KCBWDAY4 into a search engine of your choice

Springy Soaker for Knit and Crochet Blog Week

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I just found out about the fourth annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week hosted at Eskimimi Makes, and I thought it would be a good challenge for me to join in. I don’t know if I will be able to blog every single day, but at least I will try! Besides, it was good reminder (or excuse) to take some time and show off my current knitting endeavor. The blog week has this fun “house” theme representing different crafting styles. I think I mostly fit into the “Busy Bee” house because I am always working on several projects and can never wait until one is finished before starting something new.

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I wanted to make a knit wool soaker for Little J since he is not ready for potty training yet. We never really loved our crocheted soakers, although they were very absorbent, or bullet-proof as I have heard some cloth diapering mamas put it. They just don’t stretch well, and therefore didn’t seem very comfortable or well-fitting. The Curly Purly soaker pattern came highly recommended, so I downloaded it and waited patiently until I could get some wool to use. I recently have been wanting to try my hand at dying yarn, so I snagged a good deal on some LionBrand Fisherman’s Wool using a coupon at Joann’s and got to work!

Having read some about using Easter egg dyes to hand paint yarn, I first dyed this using some teal, denim, green and yellow Easter egg tablets. I won’t go into details of how to do that because I am still learning. But there are some nice tutorials online if you just google it! 😉 Anyway, the initial colors were paler than I wanted, so I over dyed the whole thing with some blue food coloring, and it came out just perfect! Very springy, I think!

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Here was my first photo as I got started on the soaker…

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And here is what I have finished so far! I’m starting to pick up stitches for the legs now, which is rather intimidating as I don’t know how many I really need to have for them to fit nicely.

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It has been so much fun to work with this hand dyed yarn and watch the colors shift. I definitely am going to have to dye more! It is sort of addictive! :p

For more posts from other bloggers on Knitting and Crochet Week Day 1, simply type 4KCBWDAY1 in your favorite search engine! You are sure to come up with all sorts of crafty blog fun!

A real knitting project at last!

Ok, so I will admit right off the bat that I don’t have any pictures of my actual knitting of a real project yet….but I just decided to write this post at 9 pm, so no sun in sight, and my knitting (and the camera) is clear on the other end of the house anyway. So you will just have to trust me when I tell you that after two rather homely attempts at cotton washcloths and several ripped out practice swatches in various patterns, I am indeed knitting something that will, hopefully, end up being really useful. (Yes, I have been watching too much “Thomas and Friends” with a certain toddler boy, as evidenced by the fact that the phrase “really useful” is becoming part of my normal vocabulary!)

Anyway, I decided that the only way I was ever going to learn to knit was to start a project that appeals to me, at least a little bit. But since my yarn buying is still pretty limited to buying things for my Etsy shop, I knew I needed to use something I already had in the house. And I only have just a few sizes of plain old straight, single pointed needles, which further limits the number of enjoyable patterns for a beginning knitter! But I finally found one that I felt was within my abilities and wouldn’t require buying any extra supplies! Hooray!

The Woven Cowl by Monique Gascon met all my qualifications for my first real knit…simple stitches, easily memorized pattern repeats, worsted weight yarn and 4.5mm straight needles! It is also a pretty basket weave design that is simple, but not too boring looking. I apologize to those of you who do not have Ravelry accounts, as you probably won’t be able to see the pattern page…but I did find someone else’s project page that you may be able to view to get the idea! I am making mine in Paton’s Classic Merino Wool in Natural. Usually I like to make scarves and cowls in jewel tones, but this was what I had on hand. Besides, the lighter color will help the stitch pattern show up better than a dark one would.

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I am always crocheting little hats and things on the side, of course, and can’t seem to resist buying a new pattern now and then. My latest purchase was the Arabella Cloche by Lisa Van Klaveren of Holland Designs. I simply love the style, the lacy look, and the adorable little girl in the pattern photos! I’ve already made two of these hats, and the first one is up in the shop…although I’m not entirely happy with the first round of photos I took. It is really one of those hats that needs a head in it to look right! 🙂 But rather than wait until I can borrow a baby to model it, I decided to go ahead and list it. You never know if someone will snatch it up in the meantime! (I wouldn’t mind!)