All About Attitude

All About Attitude

I’m one week back at work and feeling the stress!

Somehow I ended up with three finished objects this week. I’m close to finishing my colorful Flatiron Shawl. I talk about color-dominance in my Christmas stocking, how to keep a positive attitude by re-framing your thoughts, what a busy week does to cooking, and my thoughts on a novel. Enjoy!


Finished Objects

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One Christmas stocking down and one to go! I finished my Steamer Train stocking by Ursula Almeida. It turned out incredible. I need to get the next one going… with school starting next week, my brain is going to melt away. This next one will take me much longer to complete.

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I made only one modification on this pattern. The designer has the after-thought heel opposite the seam, which just didn’t look right to me. After moving the heel to center the seam… I know exactly why she did that. In order to center a heel over a round change you need to cut both of your yarns and join them back in- or else you’ll be very sad when you go back to pick out your waste yarn! Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy I moved the heel, because now the back of the stocking is truly the back.

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I also finished my #slaythestash2018 July project. I had these two beautiful skeins of ballet-pink silk ribbon. I used a knitty.com pattern circa 2003 called Twins-Anna to create two bralettes. These sweet little things are really tiny… and I’m, ahem, not incredibly gifted in that area. However, they are perfect for wearing at home on a knit-filled Saturday; which is exactly what I intended for them.

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The rules for Slay the Stash say that you must use your yarn down to the last three yards. Even after two bras, I still had a good bit left. I made this sweet newborn headband with my leftovers. No pattern, just chained about 12 inches, single crocheted one round, then did shells. For my flower, I used the “Basic Rose” pattern by June Gilbank. This silk yarn is so special, I might just have to keep it until I have a baby of my own.

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One more FO for the week {thanks to long professional development sessions!}- a hat I will give my brother for Christmas. The pattern is a simple 2×2 rib and available for FREE. I made the same same hat for my husband back in February. This time around I decided to make some mods to the decreases. Instead of the four decreases the pattern calls for, I adjusted the counts to have five decrease points. You can see how I did that on my Ravelry project page.


WIP’s- Focus Projects

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Flatiron Shawl by Toni Lipsey

My Flatiron Shawl has continued to make me smile this week. I’ve made it to the third color- a bright, sparkly pink. Somehow, this color makes the funky, rainbow in the middle blend in a bit. I absolutely love it now! I’d like to finish it in the next few days so that I can block and wear it during the long, chilly hours of teacher professional development next week.

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Sneak peek of my sock design coming in late August.

My new sock pattern is out to testers and I’ll finish up one of the pairs I have going this weekend. You won’t see the pattern release until the end of August. For now, just a blurry teaser, but follow the hashtag #knittynattydesigns to keep an eye on my testers’ WIPs!


Something New

My recent FO, Steamer Train, has me puzzling over a colorwork technique- color dominance. Take a closer look at the last section of my colorwork. Can you tell how the green not only contrasts with the white, but physically pops up? Hmm… not sure if that’s the color I wanted to dominate.

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I’ve watched a few videos from fair-isle guru’s Arne and Carlos. They talk about color dominance depending on which hand you use to hold your yarn. It’s not as much about color contrast as it is about stitch definition. So, in this instance, I held my green yarn in my left hand to knit continental and my white yarn in my right to knit English-style {my preference when knitting most things}. I think I’ll try switching those colors in my hand for the next stocking and see what happens. It will be an colorwork experiment!


What God’s Teaching Me

Attitude. That’s the theme of my “back-to-work” week.

After my two glorious months off {teacher life}, I had to go back to work this week. I knew my attitude could be negative, especially given that the first two weeks consist of professional development. I wanted to combat that! I wanted to reap as much as possible from my training and not let the long hours of sitting and listening take away my joy.

I found a simple 5-day plan on the Bible App called “All About Attitude” and it really helped keep me in check. I read the message each morning before work. The part that stuck out to me the most was this: “For some, choosing our attitude starts with choosing our words. Instead of saying, ‘I have to,’ we start saying, ‘I get to.’”

So I started saying to myself: “I get to become an expert in teaching dyslexic students this week.”

“I get to go to work each day to support my lifestyle.”

“I get to work in a field that I feel helps others.”

Give it a try! It’s quite effective.


What We’re Cooking

This week was all about survival. We had Hamburger Helper one night. Kent sauteed some mushrooms to fancy it up a bit!

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I pulled some chicken frozen with onions and diced green chiles to make an easy taco meal.

Next week we’ll be back to our routine- I meal plan, Kent shops, and I cook a few times. I’m hoping to gear in a healthier direction {a.k.a more veggies and less cheese} too!


What I’m Reading

A Spool of Blue Thread took an unexpected turn this week. I’m just over 50% of the way through the book and into Part Two. It’s an intriguing book because I still don’t see any clear plot or direction. We continue to follow different characters paths… and them BAM something happens that I didn’t expect, but I won’t spoil it.

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Even without a clear direction, this book is so comforting to me. I can’t put my finger on why it makes me nostalgic- since Whitshank family is not like my own. It might be because the author makes the characters’ problems so real and undramatic. I find myself nodding in agreement to their mundane thoughts. I’m reading it very slowly… just 10 or so pages each night. It might take me two more weeks to finish at this rate!


Check back next week for more going-ons in the Knitty Natty home!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Totes and FO’s

Totes and FO’s

It’s been a busy two weeks of travel- Vegas, California, and Nashville!

These past weeks I finished a pair of socks, released my Float Tote pattern, started a new design, ate yummy food, and panicked about the return of the inevitable- work. Enjoy!


Finished Objects

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These shorties are a Christmas gift!

My July socks are finished! When I left for vacation two Saturdays ago they were barely started. I knit on them in restaurants, casinos, cars, and Disneyland. They are a pair of shortie socks in striping Hufflepuff colors. The black yarn for toes, heels, and cuffs came from Gynx yarn in her BFL blend in the colorway “Black Hole”. The self-striping is from Brazen Stitchery and called “Hufflepuffs are Fantastic Finders”.


WIP’s- Focus Projects

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Adding the second color to my Flatiron Shawl.

My second Flatiron Shawl has gotten some love these last two weeks. I’ve faded in the second color- a crazy, bright rainbow by Vice Yarns. I’m not so sure what I think about the pairing of the darker rainbow with the brighter rainbow… but I’m not pulling it out yet! This is going to be one bold shawl.

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Textured front of my next design- a sock!

I’ve also been concentrating on a new design- my first socks! The sock features an easy-to-memorize texture pattern and contrast heels, toes, and cuffs. I will go into more detail later on as the pattern won’t be released until the end of August.


Something New

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The Float Tote pattern is live!!! You can now purchase the Float Tote for $5 on Ravelry. This bag is designed for your colorwork projects. It’s simple to crochet {with just one stitch} and works up quickly with yarn held double and a J hook!

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I learned so much writing this pattern. I know now {just a smidge!} how much work it takes! I have so much respect for full-time designers, especially the ones that write garment patterns. I’m so grateful for my friends and the crochet community on Instagram for helping me test this pattern. It was so much fun and I’ve already started to design more items!


What God’s Teaching Me

Pray for me. The summer of dreams has come to an end.

I’ve spent nearly every day since June 1st in introverted bliss. {I’m a teacher and take the summers off.} My daily goals were working out, knitting, and writing about knitting. I’m not sure I’ll ever have another summer like this one. I was nearly in a depressive state the Friday before our first trip thinking about the end of summer. I still had a two weeks until work started back at that point, mind you. However, the coming weeks are going to be stressful… I give you: ONE MONTH OF EXTROVERSION.

Help.

These next few weeks are going to be marvelous, as have been the last two. I don’t think I have to explain to fellow introverts why I just miss my house and my routine. {Introverts would probably nod in solemn understanding that I secretly, sort of would have been relieved if my trips got canceled.} Let me explain.

Two weeks back I had the pleasure of vacationing in Las Vegas and California. We got see my mother-in-law and my brother and go to Disneyland. All things I love! But… immediately when we returned home Sunday night I washed my clothes and packed again.

I left Tuesday morning for Nashville. {Yes, I did plan these back-to-back trips myself. Why do you ask?} I was so looking forward to seeing my parents and my Bliss Yarns family. I also get to go to SSK! But… right when I return I have to go straight back to work.

This part I didn’t plan. When I planned these two back-to-back trips, I did so with the understanding that I would have a week buffer until work started again. Just days after I’d finalized my flight, I found out that I would need to attend a workshop during this week that I’d thought would be my final days of summer vacation. Now, it’s going to be a super-informative learning experience on a topic that I feel is very important; still I am so bummed.

The following week I’ll be starting back at my school (lots of new staff and a new principal) PLUS my mother-in-law and brother-in-law are coming into town for a week AND we’re having a party. Okay breathe. All you extroverts are thinking right now, “Why is she complaining about four super fun weeks in a row?” I’m not trying to vent, I’m trying to prepare.

One whole month of travel, people, changing routines, more people, different time zones and new people… Let’s get back to my bought of sadness two Fridays ago. Kent {dear husband} thought it would be fun to move our flight to Las Vegas up a day earlier. In theory, that would be fun! Another day in Vegas, more time to spend with his mom, more things we could see.

I just couldn’t change plans that quickly. I was supposed to have one more day at home before my summer literally unravels. I needed that one more day at home!!! It wasn’t just a day’s difference in travel to me; it’s the start of a whole month that’s no longer the quiet summer I’ve been enjoying. I entered into a spiral of sadness for summer ending, guilt for preventing my husband and mother-in-law from starting the vacation early, and shame for needing this one last day to feel ready for the month of extroversion.

I wonder how many others are like me and panic at the thought of change. I’m not always aware of my stress levels, and sometimes have to analyze my own outward behavior to sense what’s going on. Why am I cleaning everything in sight? Why can’t I fall asleep? Why am I just sitting here staring at the wall and petting my dog?

Yup… for nearly an hour I just laid on the couch {not even knitting!} and cuddled with my dog and radiated sorrow. I mourned the end of my summer. I analyzed why I was feeling so bummed. I prayed to be more extroverted. I pumped myself up for vacation. Then the little rain cloud lifted and I typed this up- and felt so much better! {Not energized enough to go to on vacation a day early- ha!}

How funny that my blessed situations bring me stress, but I do have some ways to deal with them. I’ve gone the long way around this week, but this is where God and I have been chatting. In the next few weeks I’ll be relying on Him immensely. I don’t always have access to knitting, writing, exercise, chocolate, or bubble baths {my top five external stress relievers}, but I always have His comfort. Pray for me y’all. I will need it.


What We’re Cooking

I remembered this time to take plenty of food pictures on vacation!

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Even though my husband and I are both in our late 20’s… and have no kids… we decided to do a character brunch at Disneyland! We got to meet Mickey, Minnie, Chip, Dale and Pluto. It was so much fun and the food was good too!

In Anaheim {outside of Disneyland} we discovered a super cool food spot. It’s called the Anaheim Packing District. It’s a huge building packed with different restaurants. There was Asian, sandwiches, gelato, pizza, you name it. Kent got to try hot pot for the first time and I played it safe with grilled cheese and tomato soup- yum! We even found a local brewery with Geeks Who Drink trivia.

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In California Adventure you can enjoy alcoholic beverages- hehe! My mother-in-law got me on a Bloody Mary kick during our trip. This is one of the most artistic ones I’ve had.

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What used to be Ariel’s Grotto got a face lift and Pixar name- Lamplight Lounge. Although the renderings are terrifying {creepy fake people!} the restaurant itself is beautiful. We sat on the lower deck on comfy couches and had fresh donuts with chocolate/hazelnut and sweet dipping sauce.


What I’m Reading

Honestly, I haven’t opened a book or listened to an audiobook or podcast in the last week. I’ve still got A Spool of Blue Thread on my Kindle and Jurassic Park on Audible.

Since I’ve been spending the week at my parents house, I thought I’d be recharging from my previous busy vacation with podcast after podcast. In reality I’m just hanging out at Bliss Yarns from open to close- the best way to fill my soul! Anyhow, I wanted to share my favorite podcasters’ current episodes that I’ll be catching up with soon:

Katie from Inside Number 23

Amber from The Yarn Hoarder Podcast

Amy from the Stranded Podcast

Dianne from Suburban Stitcher

Trysten and Christy from The Girls in the Yarn Cafe

Whew! I’ve got a lot to watch- yay!


Check back next week for more going-ons in the Knitty Natty home!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Silk and a Sous Chef

Silk and a Sous Chef

Happy Friday! We’re off to Las Vegas and Disneyland tomorrow!

Another week with no FO’s… but more stockings, a new project, tips for creating knit charts, some of my favorite scripture, Kent’s cooking, and a new book. Enjoy!


Finished Objects

None… again. Hopefully some projects will drop off the needles next week after my vacation!


WIP’s- Focus Projects

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“Steamer Train” by Ursula Almeida

I’ve been putting an hour or so into my Christmas stockings each day. I love seeing the picture come to life with each chart. Colorwork is so satisfying! This week I made it through the trains on my Steamer Train stocking. This project won’t come with me to Las Vegas or California next week, but it will come home with me to Tennessee the week after.

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Artyarns Silk Ribbon for #slaythestash2018

With a new month comes a new #slaythestash2018 project. This time I pulled one of the oldest yarns in my stash. It’s a 100% silk ribbon I purchased sometime in high school. I have a very vague memory of being on a family vacation and my family kindly accepting my new hobby by stopping at a farm/yarn store. I had no clue what I was looking for and ended up buying these two little hanks. I’ve never known what to do with ribbon yarn.

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Start of my Twins- Anna bralette.

The yarn is light as air, but tricky to knit. I wanted to make something special and delicate with these skeins. I decided I’d make a bralette! I wasn’t looking for a revealing pattern, just something simple and camisole-like. I just wanted the perfect little layer for wearing under t-shirts on a lazy day at home. Not snug enough to bind, but providing enough coverage that I could answer the door without crossing my arms over my chest. I found the Twins- Anna pattern in the deep archives of Knitty.com. So far so good! I’m making a few changes that I’ll be sure to highlight when I post my finished product.


Something New

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Float Tote- coming July 10th!

My Float Tote pattern is set to release next week {now available!}, so I’ve begun working on a new pattern. This will be a pair of knitted socks with a texture pattern that requires a chart. Ah! Charts!

I’ve been making my own charts in Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets for years. However, for a knitting pattern that I plan to publish… I needed to step up my game.

Can I just say, “Thank you, Craftsy.” A quick Google search on “how to make my own knitted charts” lead me to this Craftsy article. Included are five great sites for making knitted charts. Two of which look perfect for what I need.


What God’s Teaching Me

This week I found myself seeking peace and comfort. I start scrolling through my YouVersion Bible App at all the image quotes I had made with favorite verses. Each of these verses meant so much at the time. They were either extremely applicable to my life at the moment or they were so striking I just had to save them. Here are a few of those verses. I hope one stands out to you and helps get you through this season.


What We’re Cooking

Sunday we enjoyed the third meal from my freezer prep: Cheesy Tortellini with Ground Beef. It was pretty good. Don’t get me wrong, it was yummy! It’s the kind of home-cooked comfort food you might crave at times. I think what turns me off this recipe is not the taste- it’s the expense of tortellini. Maybe I’m looking at the wrong aisle, but I can only find Buitoni tortellini, and that’s $7-9 a bag. The expense of the meal just doesn’t match the taste.

Remember the rubbery chicken from last week? I couldn’t stand to eat it or to let it go to waste. So I decided to form a rescue. First I picked off all the Tuscan toppings to eat on their own (mmm!). Then I warmed the chicken in the microwave long enough that I could shred it. I tossed them in a pan with some taco seasoning. Finally, I put them in the oven on top of tortillas and cheese. These came out muy bueno.

My husband, Kent, made a decision this week to try the Keto diet. This diet is heavy on protein, fat, and veggies and includes little to no carbohydrates. No sugar? No bread? Help!!!

It turned out to be a great thing for me though! Kent went off to the grocery store to buy food for his new meal plan. Then he cooked. And then I got to eat it! I present to you Kent’s cooking.

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Spicy cheddar biscuit {made with almond flour} with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and arugula.

Above you’ll see broccoli with a creamy, cheese sauce and bacon paired with a grilled steak.

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Chicken breast stuffed with cream cheese, jalapenos, and cheddar cheese; then wrapped in bacon and paired with asparagus.

Kent is such a natural in the kitchen. He’s actually humming to himself and SMILING while he cooks. He either combined a few recipes or didn’t use one at all, and trusted instinct to make a good meal. Someone tell me why I’m the one that usually cooks?!

Above, Italian sausage with peppers and onions alongside haricots verts cooked in garlic.

I enjoyed playing sous chef so much. I loved that I didn’t have to think, just follow the directions my husband gave me. I’m also an excellent dishwasher, thank you very much. We played to our strengths and we had fun together in the kitchen! I hope we can continue working together once school starts back up.


What I’m Reading

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After a few nights of browsing through my local library’s digital collection, I came across A Spool of Blue Thread. It caught my eye right away because of the loose connection thread has to yarn- of course! I’m only a little ways in, but it’s a cute book so far. It features a family with a slew of kids and real world problems.

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I’ve been listening to Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. It’s much more technical than I remember. Have I gotten dumber since I listened to the book a couple years back? Probably! I still find the book fascinating. Any author of fiction novels will put their own spin on fact, but there’s an exorbitant amount of research that goes into science-fiction. Some truth is in there!

While I’ve enjoyed re-reading the book, I was so disappointed in the new movie Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I won’t spoil the plot, I promise. There were several elements that just didn’t work for me. One, it was cheesy… a common pitfall among sequels where the writers just tried too hard to be funny. Two, it was intense. There was too much “up” time {i.e. waiting anxiously while certain dinosaur attack is imminent} and not enough down-time to build the plot and characters. Three, even for a movie about dinosaurs there were too many unbelievable parts. The ending? Just… no.

Please, don’t make another movie Universal… oh wait this is a planned trilogy. Hopefully they can clean this movie up and make another great one (like with the first Jurassic World).


Check back next week for more going-ons in the Knitty Natty home!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty