#heliKAL | a helical knitalong!

#heliKAL | a helical knitalong!

With all that is going on in the world right now, it can be difficult to hold onto the things that ground us. Routines, social interaction, creativity… we’re all trying to find a “new normal”. So in this time I’m hosting a casual knitalong that I’m hoping will stir up some joy!

I recently cast on the Travelers Loop by Dawn Barker after taking her class at the Knitting in the Hills Retreat. It’s a simple, two-tone garter stitch infinity scarf that uses the helical knitting technique. When one of you asked on an Instagram Q & A if I would host a helical knitalong, I couldn’t resist!

So what is helical knitting? Helical knitting is a way to knit in the round with two or more colors {or when alternating hand-dyed yarns} without creating a jog or tight stitches at the beginning of round.

Welcome to the #heliKAL! The #heliKAL is a knitalong promoting all things knit with the helical or helix knitting technique.

WHEN | March 22nd-April 30th
WHAT | Knit on any helical project {wips count!} or learn to knit with helical technique.
WHERE | Chat on the Ravelry thread and use the hashtag #heliKAL on Instagram to participate.
WHY | Get some motivation to work on those helical projects or learn a great new technique! Participate in this awesome community and enter to win prizes {tbd}. But mostly because the wordplay of #heliKAL is too fun to miss out on!

RULES {or lack thereof}
Rules will be updated as questions are asked! (3/24/20)

  1. Knit any pattern with the helical technique for any part of the project.
  2. WIP’s {any project you cast on before 3/22} count.
  3. You do not have to finish your helical project by 4/30 to enter, just participate!
  4. You can join in at any time! Come learn helical knitting and have some fun!

PRIZES

RESOURCES

SUGGESTED HELICAL PATTERNS

Travelers Loop by Dawn Barker {great for beginners!}

Nomad Loop by Dawn Barker {if you ❤ mohair!}

Maypole Cowl by Dawn Barker {for a mini-skein set}

I hope you will come along and join us for a little bit of helical fun in the chaos!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Tulle Kitchen Scrubby

Tulle Kitchen Scrubby

Let me tell you about my most used handmade item- the tulle kitchen scrubby. I’ve been using these for YEARS to scrub and wash dirty dishes. Eventually {when I finally realized I’m an adult and allowed to make these decisions}, I completely ditched sponges in lieu of the tulle kitchen scrubby.

These could not be easier to make! My version is as simple as it gets- three rounds of double crochet to make a flat circle. There are tons of scrubby patterns out there, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find out what works for you.

Favorite the Tulle Kitchen Scrubby on Ravelry to bookmark the pattern.

These tough little guys last for a year {or more!} and make wonderful gifts for your friends and family. One spool of 3″ tulle can make two full scrubbies, with a little bit remaining to make some fun multi-colored scrubbies.

When your scrubby gets dirty, just toss it {okay, safely place it in the top rack or silverware caddy} in your dishwasher and wash like normal with your dishes. I sanitize at least one scrubby with every cycle!

The Materials

  • 3″ roll of tulle (makes two full scrubbies)
  • J (6.0 mm) hook or size that is comfortable for you
  • tapestry needle for weaving in ends (find them at Joann’s)

Although I used to buy tulle at Joann’s and Michael’s, it seems that they no longer carry the 3″ rolls. The best place I’ve found for 3″ tulle is Hobby Lobby. I also found it on a site called Paper Mart– though I have not ordered from this site before.

I LOVE my Clover Amour crochet hooks. You can get them from your favorite big box store or Amazon as a discounted set. These finishing needles from Susan Bates are essential for weaving in the tulle ends. Joann’s has them or you can find them on Amazon.

The Pattern

dc = double crochet {American crochet terms}

Begin with a magic circle.

Rnd 1: Ch 2 (does not count as a stitch), dc 12 into circle- 12 dc. Join with a slip stitch in the first dc.

Rnd 2: Ch 2 (does not count as a stitch), dc 2 in each dc around- 24 dc. Join with a slip stitch in the first dc.

Rnd 3: Ch 2 (does not count as a stitch), *dc 1 in first dc, dc 2 in next dc. Repeat from * around- 36 dc. Join with a slip stitch in the first dc. Cut tulle and fasten off.

Enjoy making all the scrubbies! I’m making one each day in the month of February to use up my tulle stash. I’m looking forward to having a stockpile of these guys for myself and for quick gifts!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

$30 per Week Grocery Budget

$30 per Week Grocery Budget

This past month my husband and I set a challenge for ourselves- to spend no more than $30 a week on groceries. Our reasoning was part to ease the the feeling of heaving spending in December and part to put aside more money for upcoming vacations. We did it… and we are so proud of ourselves for the money that we saved!

I made a video showing exactly how I created our meal plan each week. I walk you through my process of starting with the food we had in our house, building a meal plan around those things, and price-shopping to get as much grub for buck as we could.

$30 a week is not realistic for my family…

Now, please know that $30 a week is a personal number for our family of two. If you’re interested in challenging yourself to spend less on groceries, definitely consider the size of your family, cost of living in your area, and any dietary needs you have when setting your budget.

How much did you spend/save?

We were averaging $450 in groceries per month for our family of two. We started this challenge in the second week of January because of the holidays. So for the four weeks of January we challenged ourselves {Sunday 1/5 to Saturday 2/1} we spent just shy of $120 total on groceries- exactly on target for our $30 per week goal.

This means we saved about $330 that we can add to our savings account for vacations. THREE HUNDRED THIRTY DOLLARS. That’s more than enough for a round-trip flight to Orlando (hello, Disney World) for one of us.

Is this your budget for forever?

Now, this is NOT a sustainable budget for us all year long; it was simply a short-term challenge. I haven’t had hair conditioner {which I am considering a grocery item} for a week because I used that $6 for food. Don’t you worry though, I simply borrowed my travel size conditioner from under my bathroom counter. Next week I’ll be able to replace both.

Also… our freezer and pantry are looking a little bare. It was great to use up a lot of those items because too often we would ignore that stuff saying, “We’ll use it when it’s an emergency or if we forgot to plan a meal.” But when you wait too long, those things go bad. “We’ll use that frozen chicken when we forget to plan a meal,” is also a nice lie I would tell myself… we didn’t take the time to defrost chicken when we needed a quick meal, we would just get fast food!

What we learned, the long-lasting benefits of this challenge:

  1. How much “x item” really costs.
    • By price shopping at different stores {so easy to do on your phone/computer from home!} we learned the best prices and average cost of items on our standard grocery list.
    • Now we know when it’s really a good time to buy a product or when it might be a good idea to wait until it’s on sale.
    • When a shredded cheese topping or a special sauce cost $7… is it really worth spending more than 20% of our weekly budget on one item? We found most of the time it wasn’t worth the money- so we found a different recipe or just did without!
  2. It’s really worth saving the 30 cents or dollar on an item, even if it’s at another store.
    • We have two grocery stores literally across the street from each other. Before the challenge I would never have visited both stores to save a buck.
    • I learned that saving 30 cents on an onion, a dollar on chicken breasts, and 50 cents on pasta now means that I have $1.80 to spend on sauce for my meal. For the same dollar amount, I can get an additional item. That makes it practically free if you ask me!
  3. How to waste less food.
    • Buying fewer groceries, by default, meant we had less food in our fridge, pantry, and freezer in January.
    • We also had a specific meal plan that covered three meals a day for every week. We spent a lot of time making the plan each week, which made us want to use up the things that we’d bought.
    • Every bit of food we made felt like a carefully spent dollar. So we either planned to finish a meal up as leftovers or we made sure to freeze leftovers portions before they went bad.

So what does grocery budgeting and meal planning have to do with yarn?

Well, you get to tell your dollars what to do. If you save money on groceries, you have extra money to spend how you please. We went from $100 or more a week to $30 or less a week. That means we now have $70 extra dollars PER WEEK. Even if my husband and I had decided to split the savings {instead we put the total toward vacation} and each have a little fun money, I would still have $35 dollars per week to buy something I love- like yarn! By the end of the month I would have $140 dollars, just by spending less on groceries. I could probably buy a sweater’s worth of yarn with that!

Budgeting isn’t just for the times you don’t have enough money. Budgeting is a way to tell your dollars exactly what you want them to do, so you can spend your hard-earned bucks where you see fit.

Check out the video to see how I made our tight meal plan and grocery list. Please share your awesome grocery budgeting tips in the comments!

Now, excuse me while I go find the best price for conditioner.

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Playtime Shawl

Playtime Shawl

Meet the Playtime Shawl.

This is a triangular shawl with fun criss-cross stitches and boatloads of texture. You can make it in one of two sizes. There’s also a bobble bordermy favorite part!

I originally designed this shawl in July of 2019 in collaboration with Shauna of Farm Girl Fibers. Her yarn is yummy and soft and she has incredible colorways.

And guess what?! She’s got a wonderful discount for us! Just use the code “PLAYTIME” to get 15% off your order with Farm Girl Fibers through Saturday, November 30th, 2019. You’ll need two skeins of her Clover Fingering Weight to make the Playtime Shawl.

See why I love the Playtime Shawl in my Love Letter Video!

Today ONLY you can get this pattern for free as a part of my friend Claire’s {E’Claire Makery} Winter Fashion Blog Hop. She’s an uber-talented crochet designer. You’ve got to check out her tapestry crochet pieces!

Use the code “COZY” at checkout. Sale ends 11/22/19 at 6 AM PST!

To snag the free pattern, just place the Playtime Shawl in your Ravelry cart and use the code “COZY” at checkout. {This promotion is for Ravelry only.} If you’re catching this post after November 21st, 2019- don’t worry! You can still purchase the Playtime Shawl here on my blog, in my Ravelry Store, or in my Etsy Shop.

You’ll Need

  • Two 100-gram skeins of fingering weight yarn
  • 4.00 mm (G) hook or size needed to obtain gauge

Worried about making the criss-cross stitches? Don’t be! I have a video tutorial that will walk you through each and every stitch in the shawl as a small swatch. You can even test out the stitches BEFORE you get the pattern to make sure you’ll love it.

Make sure to check out the beautiful projects on Ravelry here.

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

My Knitting Routine- How I get things finished.

My Knitting Routine- How I get things finished.

Are you a scheduled type of knitter or crocheter or do you cast on projects without abandon?

It doesn’t matter what type of crafter you are (in a global sense) until it matters to YOU. So when you’re starting to feel like your WIP pile might merge into a yarn monster and eat your family in the middle of the night… it’s time to try a routine.

I’m fairly orderly when it comes to my WIP’s, but I haven’t always been that way. For the past couple years I’ve made it a habit to stick to three projects– a “main” (usually something bigger like a sweater or shawl), an “obligation” (designs for me!), and one “on-the-go” (typically socks). This doesn’t mean I don’t have other WIP’s… and those scrappy blankets definitely don’t count here – *wink*. These are the just the projects I focus on from day-to-day and week-to-week.

Main (fun knitting)

My main project is the one that I tend to work on at home in the evenings, at knit night, or during my lunch break at work. It’s usually the bigger or more complex projects and often for myself. I almost always have two “main” projects. But wait, if you have two main projects isn’t that more than three WIP’s at a time? Hush, my child, I will explain. The main project can ROTATE.

One of my “main” projects this month.

For example, right now I have a sweater and a shawl. Some days I’m focusing on the sweater, but this week I’m really working on the shawl. That’s because my Starflake is nearly done and I want to power through and finish it over the weekend! After I finish a main project, I’ll cast on another one. Yes, even though the other main is not done. You gotta have something else to rotate!

So, can I still have two “mains” if I really have 80 bajillion projects? YES.

You’re probably already doing this without really intending it. If you want finish off some old WIP’s, the key is to pick two to focus on and put the others into hibernation. Think of those projects you keep pulling out and set aside the ones you’ve been ignoring. I will literally put my on-hold projects in another room of my house so that they aren’t in the basket next to my couch. I will “hibernate” the projects on Ravelry too. This is a way to clear the clutter and hone in on a couple tasks. It helps me to get focused and not feel overwhelmed!

Designs (obligation knitting)

I try to only have one design going at a time. Designs take a lot of mental energy and even when I’m excited for them, I have to practice discipline to get myself to work on designs.

If you’re not a designer, you can put any type of obligatory knitting here. Maybe it’s charity projects so you’re always working on something to give. Maybe it’s gift knitting so you can stock up for Christmas, birthdays, or baby showers. Maybe it’s just anything that is not for you- knits for your children, spouse, family members.

You can put whatever you are “requiring” yourself to knit here and you’ll always have it in the works!

My latest design, releasing January 2020.

Socks (on-the-go knitting)

I feel like I get the most out of my 24-hour days by knitting when I’m out of the house. I ALWAYS have on-the-go knitting. Most of the time I choose socks to take on the go. They’re compact and simple– which makes them perfect for conversations or crowded places.

Sock are my favorite “on-the-go” knitting because they are so portable.

If you don’t enjoy socks- no worries! Your on-the-go knitting can be an easy shawl or hat, you could even bring a sweater that’s on the stockinette body. The purpose to on-the-go knitting is that you have a project ready to grab and that you don’t need to fuss with any complicated techniques.

The great part about this system is that it’s flexible. I limit my WIP’s, but I’m not forced to finish one thing before casting on the next. I can rotate out my fun knitting. My projects can actually transition to a different category. Sometimes a WIP that was my “main” turns into an obligatory knit as the deadline approaches. Sometimes my “main” project has a brief stint as “on-the-go” knitting.

The most important thing is to remember that knitting is supposed to be fun, not stressful! In case no one has told you…

  • It’s 1,000% okay to only knit/crochet for yourself.
  • If you don’t like a project you are allowed to give it up and rip it out.
  • <insert long-term project here> does not count as a WIP.
  • You are the boss of your knitting.

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

How Pattern Designers Get Paid: Ravelry vs. Etsy

How Pattern Designers Get Paid: Ravelry vs. Etsy

So what really happens to your dollar when you purchase a knitting pattern online? How much of it goes to the site host? How much of it gets back to the designer?

This week I put out a video on my YouTube Channel called “How Pattern Designers Get Paid: Ravelry vs. Etsy” that answers all of these questions and more!

This video was made to be informative and objective, but a disclaimer: I don’t know it all! I did my best to include as much information as I could in the clearest way possible.

So here’s what you’ll find in the video:

  • Quick Overview of Ravelry’s Fee Policy
  • Quick Overview of PayPal’s Fee Policy
  • Math Breakdown of a $6 pattern purchase on Ravelry
  • Quick Overview of Etsy’s Fees
  • Math Breakdown of a $6 pattern purchase on Etsy
  • Side-by-Side Comparison of Ravelry vs. Etsy
  • Consumer Pro’s and Con’s for both sites
  • Tips for supporting your favorite designers

However, if video is not right for you, here’s a visual breakdown. You can also find this info as a printable Google Doc here.

RavelryAll fees are based on a $6.00 US sale, payments received via PayPal.

FeeFee RateSample Fee CostPattern Profit
Listing Feenone-$0.00$6.00
Ravelry Sales Fee3.5%*-$0.21$5.79
PayPal Fixed Fee$0.30 in US-$0.30$5.49
PayPal Transaction Fee2.9% in US-$0.17$5.32

*Ravelry Sales Fee is assessed on monthly sales totals, not individual transactions. Monthly sales <$30 or >$1,500 are not subject to this fee. A 3% fee of EU sales occurs once you reach the >$1,500 threshold.

Etsy- All fees are based on a $6.00 US sale, payments received via Etsy.

FeeFee RateSample Fee CostPattern Profit
Listing Fee$0.20-$0.20$5.80
Etsy Transaction Fee5%-$0.30$5.50
Etsy Payment Flat Fee$0.25 in US-$0.25$5.25
PayPal Payment Fee3% in US-$0.18$5.07

In conclusion, designers make a tad more money selling patterns on Ravelry vs. Etsy. As a consumer, you have the right to decide where you spend your money; and now you have the knowledge of where exactly it goes!

You can find my designs on Ravelry, Etsy, and here on my site.

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Basics Series

Basics Series

Happy Friday everyone! This week I rounded out two YouTube tutorial series on the Knitty Natty channel: Basic Knits and Basic Crochet.

When I designed these two series I had a few audiences in mind. The first was my students at the elementary school where I host an after-school knit and crochet club. The second was capital “K” Knitters who want to learn to crochet; and the third was capital “C” Crocheters who want to learn to knit.

There are a million beginner tutorials out there- so why add my own to the mix? As a teacher, I wanted the videos I refer my students to watch to have the exact same language that I’m using when I teach during my club. As a learner, I know that sometimes I “click” with certain instructors and their style. So the more options out there to watch and learn, the better!

Something that makes each of these tutorials unique is they are totally all-encompassing. When I teach you the knit stitch, I don’t just show you the steps to make a stitch and then stop. I demonstrate starting the row, ending the row, working the first row vs. all other rows, tips for working multiple rows, and show both English and Continental styles.

You can find each of these skills in the Basic Knits Series.

Slip Knot: http://bit.ly/slipknotKN
Long Tail Cast On: http://bit.ly/longtailKN
Knit Stitch (English): http://bit.ly/KnitEnglishKN
Knit Stitch (Continental): http://bit.ly/KnitContinentalKN
Purl Stitch (English): http://bit.ly/PurlEnglishKN
Purl Stitch (Continental): http://bit.ly/PurlContinentalKN
Knit + Purl (English): http://bit.ly/KnitandPurlEnglishKN
Knit + Purl (Continental): http://bit.ly/KnitandPurlContinentalKN
Basic Bind Off: http://bit.ly/BasicBindOffKN

In each of the crochet videos, I start with a chain. This way you can truly understand how the foundation of the stitch is built. I go through the first row and then show how the following rows will be different. I really focus on the beginning and end of these rows because I remember how tricky that was for me as a new crocheter. Each crochet video is offered in both right and left-handed views.

You can find each of these skills in the Basic Crochet Series.

Slip Knot: http://bit.ly/slipknotKN
Chain (right-handed): http://bit.ly/chainrightKN
Chain (left-handed): http://bit.ly/chainleftKN
Single Crochet (right-handed): http://bit.ly/singlecrochetrightKN
Single Crochet (left-handed): http://bit.ly/singlecrochetleftKN
Half Double Crochet (right-handed): http://bit.ly/hdcrightKN
Half Double Crochet (left-handed): http://bit.ly/hdcleftKN
Double Crochet (right-handed): http://bit.ly/DCRightKN
Double Crochet (left-handed): http://bit.ly/DCLeftKN
Triple/Treble Crochet (right-handed): http://bit.ly/TRCRightKN
Triple/Treble Crochet (left-handed): http://bit.ly/TRCLeftKN

My hope is that these videos will serve as a reference material for new knitters and crocheters. I had so much fun creating these basic stitch videos. Now I have a whole new level of respect for creators who spend most of their time making tutorials. Breaking down a technique takes a lot of thought and prep! Since I’m an English knitter and right-handed crocheter, creating the Continental and left-handed videos really pushed me to expand my skills.

Maybe you are multi-craftual already and don’t need to brush up on the basics. For you, knowledgeable crafter, I will have more tutorials coming soon. Just you wait!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Yarnxiety

Yarnxiety

There are 101 ways to be stressed every day- here’s how to not let your knitting or crochet project be one of those things.

Whether it’s self-imposed deadlines or the weight of your WIPs threatening to smother you in your sleep, knitting and crochet have been known to produce some anxiety. Wait. I thought yarn crafts were supposed to make me feel more relaxed? How did I get this stressed out about my knitting?! Fret not, my friend. I am going to help you talk some sense back into yourself.

The topic of “yarnxiety” (a pretend term I just made up, in no way to take away from the seriousness of the very real condition of anxiety) is fresh on my mind this week as I push through a complicated shawl design. My thoughts have ranged from “this is the best thing I’ve ever come up with!” to “I’ve done this completely wrong… do I even know how to knit?!” several times… today alone.

So let’s discuss a few things you can do when a knitting or crochet project has become TOO MUCH to handle.

ONE. Take away the deadline.

I cannot think of a scenario where the world would discontinue its rotation if you don’t finish a project “in time”. Sure, it’d be ideal if you could complete that sweet little sweater by the time your nephew is born. Yes, you did promise your sister that you’d knit her two pairs of socks by Christmas. And okay… you did just tell your whole Instagram that you’d be finished with that design this month. But, you know what? I’m pretty sure no necks are going to freeze this winter without you. Sorry, love.

When a knitting or crochet project has a deadline approaching the pressure to finish is real! We get stressed. We might cancel plans. We might injure ourselves knitting late into the night. This is not worth it. Please save your incredible energy for true emergencies. {P.S. When your office adds “knitting deadline” to the PTO list, you may disregard this advice.}

Often when we take the pressure of a deadline off of ourselves, we actually feel more motivated to work on something. When a looming end date makes you side-eye your yarn, you know it’s time to say “sayonara” to the time frame.

TWO. Take a break.

Okay, you’ve nixed the time limit, but you’re still not friends with your project yet. It’s time to take a break from each other. You know how when your significant other goes on a work trip and in his/her absence you remember that you’re still fond of each other? Same thing goes for your knitting.

The time you need “off” from your project is up to you. Usually I just need to set something down until the next day. A good night’s sleep seems to heal a lot. You might need longer with more miscreant projects.

In the meantime, pick up a WIP you love (c’mon I know you have twelve) and enjoy a stress-free evening working on it. You’ll remember that you actually love knitting and crocheting; and that you’re not terrible at it either. You’re just having a rough go with ONE project. And you will figure it out… after you indulge a little more with some of your other projects.

THREE. Try it in time.

Eventually you will need to face the project again. One of two things can happen: you will work on it or you will not. Shocking right? Often the project that’s making us frustrated is a project we do want to finish. So, once you’ve had a nice break from your project, it’s time to get back to it. How do you motivated yourself to work on it again? Let me suggest: a timer.

I know, I know… I just said to throw out any time constraints, but sometimes we really do want or need to finish something. I’m not saying you need to meet your original deadline, and once you starting working on the project again you can figure out what an appropriate goal period would be.

Begin by telling yourself, “I’m going to attempt this again for 15 minutes, self“. Set your phone timer and sit down with the things you need {yarn, needles, computer, beverage} and give it the old college try. At the end of 15 minutes, if all you have done is cry softly into your beautiful yarn, it’s time to put it away again until tomorrow. If you’ve managed to make some headway on your mistake or new technique or whatever was holding you up in the first place, perhaps you might want to add 15 more minutes to the timer and keep going.

Keep working at it until the project frustrates you again. And then {you guessed it!} time for another break.

Projects that require you to keep going through Steps 2 and 3 might not be the right project for you. That brings us to the final step.

FOUR. Make a better plan for next time.

Evaluate your discomfort. Why was this project such trouble? Did you pick the wrong yarn? Did you not listen to your gauge swatch? Did you choose another bottom up sweater with inset pockets? {Those little boogers.}

For me, at least with this current design, I leaped before I looked. I set a design deadline before I started the process. I called for testers before I finished knitting {why do I keep doing that?!}.

Making mistakes in knitting is okay because- it’s just knitting! However, don’t torture yourself by making the same mistakes over and over. If you don’t do well with deadlines, don’t promise to complete projects by a certain time. If you never swatch, start buying an extra skein of yarn. Know yourself and your yarny habits.

For me, I’m realizing that I need twice the time I think I’m going to need. So from now on {hold me to it!} I’m giving myself double the time to design and I am not going to create a pattern release date until I’m totally done with the pattern. It’s slower than I want to work, but I know I’ll be happier for it.

Remember, y’all, it’s just yarn and you are the boss of your knitting.

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Ravelry Refresh

Ravelry Refresh

It’s that time of year to start fresh. Or is that just me? I want everything in my life completed, sorted, or started anew. Nothing “old” can sit dormant. I’m turning over everything!

One thing that I knew needed a good purge was my Ravelry page. My queue and my favorites hadn’t been looked over in a long time. I KNEW there were patterns there I’m no longer interested in making. And that’s okay!

Purge is not really a positive word. It suggests that the things that we need to clear out are negative. The patterns aren’t bad, they are lovely. They just no longer fill a need for me. {The need to pretend that I will definitely make them in the near future.} So instead of a purge, I approached this as a refresh. Fluff up my Ravelry page! Dust off some old favorites, stow away those “maybes” into the favorites pile, and let go of that poncho I wanted to make in 2009. Here’s my approach.

Use the hashtag #ravelryrefresh on Instagram to show off your hard work!

One. Clear everything out of the queue.

I had 29 items in my queue, which wasn’t too bad since I did a clear out less than a year ago. However, those pattern dreams had come and gone {along with my #2018makenine} and new ones are taking their place! I made sure each one of the patterns I still enjoyed, but didn’t see myself making anytime soon, were favorited and tagged, and then cleared out my queue.

One lonesome pattern in my refreshed queue.

Only one pattern remained- Like a Cloud by Joji Locatelli. This is a recent member of the queue and I still want to make it desperately!

Now… it’s not time to add to the queue yet… even though it’s tempting. The next step is to tackle those favorites. Eep! We’ll be back to the queue later as a delicious reward.

Two. Review your favorites.

Do not lie to yourself. Your favorites have changed. It’s okay, love. They’re supposed to change! Before you start to cry because you have 1394409385.5k favorites, let’s establish some ground rules.

  1. Follow all the steps in order and do not go down a rabbit hole looking at Knitty.com patterns from 2013 {guilty}.
  2. Take the number of pages in your favorites {mine was 21 pages} and divide it by 10. Ahhh that’s better right. Every so many pages {your number divided by 10} we are going to get up and do something. Grab a sip of water, eat an m&m, save the rest for another day- hey I’m not judging. Just make a plan that works for you!
  3. Start with the easy stuff. Go to the very last page of your favorites. Have a laugh! Then start hitting that delete button. With these older patterns it will be easy to make quick decisions. Watch those page numbers shrink down at top speed!
  4. Take your breaks to reward yourself and DO NOT spiral into a entrelac scarf induced coma.
My favorites went from 21 pages to 10 pages in about 45 minutes. That delete button is addictive!

Three. Stock your queue.

You did it! Your favorites and queue are refreshed, so let’s jazz them up a bit. You probably spotted some gems in your favorites, so go ahead and add them to your queue. You can use the features in queue if you want {like adding stash yarn or notes} or not- up to you! This is the fun part so reward yourself!

I added a summer tank and an easy Christmas gift to my queue!

Four. Organize your favorites.

Let’s not pretend that these favorites won’t get out of hand again. You know what happens when you go searching for just the right lace shawl that has beads and uses alpaca and your favorites number doubles {just me?} . Tagging your favorites is one of the most useful Ravelry features out there. From now on, when you favorite an item take the time to add a couple tags to it. For example, when I added Like a Cloud to my favorites I tagged it with attributes I will later look for when I’m itching to start a new project- sweater, cardigan, mohair. Now when I go to look at some of my favorite cardigans, this pattern will show up.

Here’s what happens when I click my “pullover” tag.

As for what’s already in your favorites, it’s going to take some time to label. Follow the same steps we used for reviewing them to add tags. It’s important you don’t refresh AND label your favorites at the same time because it will take twice as long. A little accomplished, a little reward. And then we move on. Yes?

How does your Ravelry page look now? Mine feels so much lighter! It’s like I was actually wearing all those failed sweaters I had in my queue and now they’ve all vanished! Hopefully your queue and favorites are now functional and pleasing to the YOU that exists at this very moment. Let’s make this a yearly thing? Maybe each fall and spring season? You do you.

You’re the boss of your knitting.

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

How to Turn Any Charm into a Progress Keeper

How to Turn Any Charm into a Progress Keeper

I LOVE progress keepers. Especially those incredible handmade polymer clay creations. But you know what I don’t like? Lobster claws. You know those little fasteners on the charms that are too small to clip onto stitches? Maybe it’s just me and my fake nails getting in the way (no, this was an irritation long before my obsession with NexGen)… but I found myself not wanting to move my progress keepers once I’d placed them because it was so frustrating.

How to Turn Any Charm into a Progress Keeper Video Tutorial

That’s when my friend, Rebecca, came to the rescue. She saw my struggle and offered to change my progress keepers to earring backs. Earring backs? I was imagining studs. But no, these are like lever back earrings. Visualize those lovely drop style earrings or the massive clip-on doorknockers your grandma wore. Rebecca slowly transformed my collection of progress keepers each knit night into a functioning fleet. I felt guilty about the time she spent on them (she said it really didn’t take any time and to stop fussing) and bought her progress keepers and fasteners to make up for it.

See, I was afraid to do it on my own. I really don’t know why! I thought I would get too frustrated (it looked finicky) and end up with a bent pile of metal mess (still happens sometimes). Rebecca kept telling me she could teach me in a second because it was sooo easy. She told me what to buy at the craft store and we sat down for five minutes at our weekly knit night and that was it. I learned! Rebecca was right, it wasn’t hard. And boy does it make a difference to me and my progress keepers.

So if you, like me, want to change the hardware on your progress keepers… maybe you have some beautiful stitch markers you want to convert… or you bought some cute charms at the store and want to display them on your knitting or crochet- I’ve got you covered. Well me and the knowledge I reaped from my dear friend.

Follow this link to my five(ish) minute video on how to convert charms into progress keepers.

I cover all the tools you’ll need and give you step-by-step directions!

These sweet charms I picked up at Disney World! I’m converting all of them into progress keepers.

The tools you’ll need (all can be found at your local craft store in the beading section):

  • charms with a hole or loop
  • two needle nose pliers
  • jump rings
  • earring or lever backs

Some of my favorite shops to buy progress keepers:

I hope you enjoy turning your charms into functional progress keepers! Next week I will show you how to transform glass beads into stitch markers and progress keepers. Stay tuned!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty