Fiddle My Stitches!

Have you heard of a website called Stitch Fiddle? I hadn't. I decided to check it out after seeing what a woman was doing with it on Facebook.

It's a website that is also a program that allows the user to make charts for knitting, embroidery, crochet and other things. I've seen web sites like it before, but this one is much better. It is so intuitive. Every time I thought, this is pretty cool but I wish it would allow me to do This Thing, BAM! I found where to do it, in just the place where it should be.

It just so happened that I had a few Christmas stockings to design for some people, and I turned to Stitch Fiddle. This was the result (names are knit or embroidered at the top; the purple or pink line designates the turning point for the back half of the stocking):

Christmas Stocking - Stitch Fiddle Christmas Stocking II Christmas Stocking III


Designing with Stitch Fiddle was so easy and fun! There is a cool little Progress Tracker that highlights the row you are working on, and you can choose how it works to be exactly right for YOU. Such a great idea.

This program does more than colorwork too. It has crochet charts, and for knitting it has lace charts, cables, brioche, mosaic, and more. I may try my hand at designing lace something or other in the near future. Stitch Fiddle is always growing and expanding, so it can do  even more in the future. Should be fun! There is a Ravelry group for Stitch Fiddle too, and yes, I joined.

Stitch Fiddle works on a PC, Mac, iPhone & iPad, Android, Linux, Chromebook and more. No installation is required, just use it from your browser; your saved charts are automatically available on all your  devices. And you can work with others on something also, other users, a tech editor, clients, anybody. You can import a picture if you want to chart it. There is even an Inspiration:Explore Ideas page to see how Stitch Fiddle is being used! This web site is so valuable!

My Christmas stockings were designed in the free version of Stitch Fiddle, and I could save them all, share them, download them. There is also a Premium version of it also, which you can buy for a month (~$3.29) or a year (~$1.70 a month). Go check it out!


I Have A Substance Abuse Problem

The substance is the chocolatey goodness that is Nutella™. For a person who has diabetes, Nutella™ is like a flame to a moth. If a jar of Nutella™ is in my house, given half or even a gazillionth of a chance, I will eat it, a large spoonful at a time, and that is A Very Bad Thing for a diabetic person to do. 

My diabetes meant that I had to eliminate it from my house entirely and forever. I was sad. :( 

Despair-Man

But then the internet came to my rescue! I found that there was a sugar free version of the chocolatey hazelnut spread online ... but upon reading the ingredients, I couldn't do it. There is too much crap in it. To be honest, there is probably too much chemical crap in regular Nutella™ too. I fumed for awhile, but then I thought, maybe ... maybe I can make my own. Hmmmmm.

So, just for fun, I searched for recipes. Bam! There are lots!! Woohooo! 

Happyladyface

And all of them had powdered sugar and chocolate chips! Booo! :(((

Onikero

But by then, I really wanted my Nutella™. I looked in AllRecipes.com (apparently my  go-to recipe place online), and found this.  It was a recipe both time consuming (roast your own hazelnuts and take the wrappers off??? melt chocolate in a double boiler in this heat???) and filled with sugar. I laughed and ordered already roasted unsalted husk-fee hazelnuts from here and also dark chocolate sugar free chocolate chips from here too. Take that,  sugar and already-wrapped hazelnuts! 

Everything was ready. I put a cup of hazelnuts in the food processor and ground them till they were paste. I had to stop and spatula them into place a lot, but my fire to get sugar free Nutella™ helped. I added the other ingredients (I used regular granulated Splenda™, but you can use more natural sweetners too -- Swerve™ and Lakanto™ both have powdered sugar varieties, and there is liquid stevia too), and while they were grinding in the background, I put 12 ounces of the sugar free dark chocolate chips in the microwave on a medium power setting for 4 minutes til they were all melted (Ha! No double boiler mess!) and added them to the food processor and let it all blend together. The whole process took maybe 20 minutes.

I tasted it. It was heavenly! Chocolate goodness that I had known before ... well, it wasn't exactly the same as Nutella™ ... it was better! They used milk chocolate, mine used dark chocolate; they used sugar, mine didn't. And my Nutella™ used way less chemical crap too. And I added sea salt that was unground to add a salted chocolate taste, but mostly because I was too lazy to grind it up.

I am in chocolatey goodness heaven. Pardon me while I get my spoon. 

IMG_1375 Not-ellaNutrition


Nutrition info of my recipe according to MyFitnessPal.com


Hmmmmmm ....

I am trying to talk myself either into or out of a thing ... a thing that is both magnificent (if it works) and brutally awful (if it doesn't work) ...

A 4 Day Sweater Knitalong!!!!!

It seems impossible, but that is what makes it desirable. I kinda want to do it. I've knit a couple sweaters in two weeks before during the Ravellenic Games, but never in only 4 days, or even 8 days.

It is offered by Olive Knits. I like her 4 Day KAL she did last year, the Stillwater sweater. It looks totally like it was not knit in only 4 days. Yet, it was!

The sweater in question for 2018, the Beekeeper cardigan, is a DK weight (it's not even chunky or bulky weight! madness!!) adult sweater that is an open front cardigan (no buttons, but you can have them if you wish -- she gives you the option) with an all over texture (not stockinette! gasp!!) with 3/4 length sleeves, though you can make them full length if you want. 

From Ravelry's pattern page: "The KAL begins July 1st and runs through July 15th with a sliding timeline for different sizes (up to 8 days). Pick and choose your days (they don’t have to be consecutive)."

I believe I will see how Olive's test knitting of this year's sweater goes, and if she survives, I'll buy the pattern. Who is with me?? 

:::Think of it like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but it is really NaNoWriWe (National Novel Writing Week). Or NaSweKniWe (National Sweater Knitting Week) :::


Score!

Need a quick, simple counter that runs in your browser? Check out Scoreboardz! Designed to keep score for several people, it's a gaming device, but I used it for counting my increases on the sleeve of the little purple Aran Coat that I am making. I bookmarked it too, so I can use it in the future. It probably would not be my counter of choice for a whole project, because it may get deleted or the cat may step on the keys and increase the number astronomically. But for something simple, it's nice.

Scoreboardz

It can keep track of 12 people (or increases or decreases or whatever) and it has 10 backgrounds to choose from. Pretty cool, I think. Anyway, just thought I would share that with you. I'm putting it here in my blog so I can find it again in the event that I lose my bookmark!


Tis the Season

Thanksgiving is behind us and we are starting to get into the spirit of good will and cheer. I finished the Christmas stocking that I was working on:

Upload_medium2 (1)
Upload_medium2 (1)

It's so pretty! I didn't buy the colors specifically for a Christmas stocking, but they work. I mostly used Arne & Carlos' Christmas Stocking, but I added Mary Jane Mucklestone's book 200 Fair Isle Motifs (#110, snowflakes) and Renée Kies socks pattern O Dennenboom for the Christmas trees.

I also updated the look of my blog. The flowers were looking a bit too flowery, so I streamlined the look, and made a new banner. I used a fabulous free font for the title: Kingthings Needles by Kevin King. There are lots of cool things on his site, and more fonts too. Go check him out!


Peace Project Progress

Happy Winter Solstice! Here is to the shortest day of the year. Let the advancing hours of daylight begin!

 

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How is your Peace Project cowl commencing? I am very happy with mine. The Wildwood Arcadia yarn is knitting up beautifully, and the pattern has a nice rhythm to it that is gentle, yet produces a look that suits my variegated yarn. I love it.

I got started late, so my cowl isn't finished; it's a little over halfway to being done, and that is okay. I love knitting it.

One of the things that slowed me down a bit was that I chose to start it with an I-cord cast on, which made a lovely little tubular edge that I like a lot!

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It took me a day to cast on all the over 300 stitches this way, but it turned out nicely. I plan to cast off with an I-cord bind off as well, making both edges match. 

I-cord Cast on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxNtbWYXrvg

I-cord Bind off: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddBuZzYhkO0

I hope your Peace Project Cowl is giving you a bit of peace this holiday season!
 


Project Peace

Blogger Christina is trying to change the world, and I think she is succeeding. Her blog The Healthy Knitter is having a 21-day tips for peace during December, and it coincides with a "Peace-along" on Ravelry, with her free pattern for a lovely cowl. My Daily Mindfulness blanket has languished but it will still be there in January. I'm going to join her for the peace-along, and I urge you to join me too! 

Project peace

So far she has gotten over 20,000 people to read her peace tips every day and join her peace-along. That is 20,000 individual people whose lives she has impacted in  a good way, a peaceful way. 

"And we need peace…with turmoil, and acts of violence, hatred and anger occurring daily in our country and throughout the world it’s time to take action. Often I think "but I’m just one person" but maybe, just maybe with Project Peace we can spread ideas on how to choose peace. Perhaps then, we can slowly make some changes. We’ll never overcome evil but we must find ways to cope with it."

from The Healthy Knitter, November 10, 2016

So, what do you do? Here is what she said back in November:

Here's how you join in:

  • Download the cover page of the pattern on Ravelry
  • This is only the cover page; the pattern will come to you as an update on 11/28.
  • Read the information about the project requirements
  • Please click on "fav" on Ravelry, begin a project page for the cowl, and join the Healthy Knitter group.
  • Beginning December 1, read the blog daily for 21 days to receive the tip of the day on how to infuse more peace into your life.

Will you help me promote this?

Here are some ideas on how you could spread the word:

  • Spotlight Project Peace on a blog post
  • Post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other forms of social media
  • Include in your electronic or print newsletter
  • Provide a give-away to those that help spread the word
  • Tell all your knitting friends, clients, customers, readers, family.

Also, there is a World-wide Knit-in for Peace on December 21. Will you will knit for peace on that day?

I think this is a great idea! It is sort of like SETI, but instead of helping to locate alien signals, we will be promoting world peace! Using knitting needles! I can get behind that.

My project for peace will be Christina Campbell's cowl knit in Wildwood Yarns Arcadia in a pretty blue-pink-purple colorway. To me, it looks like peace. 

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Heck, whatever you do to be mindful and peaceful would work too! Whether you draw, crochet, quilt, craft, sew, doodle, whittle sticks or make baskets, just do it. Be peaceful, and help others be peaceful too!

 


It Makes You Think

I read an article lately by Woolly Wormhead, the fabulous hat designer, about the cost of producing a pattern. It was enlightening, to say the least. Now I want to buy one of her hat patterns.

Lots of people on Ravelry make money with their patterns. Some get an order once in a blue moon, some get an order every hour or so. Some make $1 for a pattern, some make $5 or more. Some people work hard to make their patterns accurate and readable, some don't. My patterns have always been free, mostly because I didn't have the time or energy to hire tech editors and test knitters and photographers. But now I think maybe I should. It's not like I don't have the time. I just have to figure out who does tech editing of knitting patterns and find people to test knit my designs. Hmmmmm, I might have to do some knitting myself to earn the money for that!

I did a Google search for "work from home knitting" -- there are tons of offers. Many are simply pages that talk about it. I'm sure most of us have wanted to make extra money by knitting, right? Reading about it usually satisfies my urge. Then I remember my WIP's and pick them up again.

Anyway, random thoughts on a Tuesday. Have a great rest of the week, everyone!

Obligatory cat picture goes here:

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Odds & Ends

Remember when I started my Haiku scarf a month ago? Well, I finished it in early November, but never got around to measuring its final size. It's 7 1/2" wide and about four and a half feet in length, an average size for a scarf. But, that is the resting length of this little beauty; as you wear it (or if you block it), the garter  stitch will lengthen enormously, doubling in length. 

Scarf 1

Scarf 2

I love how sheer it is. I love that it kinda floats in the air, but is very warm around your neck. 

To restate the pattern: 40 stitches, size 8 (5.0 mm) needles, knit every row, bind off when you are nearly done. That's it. Perfect. I knit it very lackadaisically, and it still was only two weeks to make. (I knit a ton of Other Stuff in the meantime.) A focused knitter knitting only this scarf could probably make it in three days -- I'm guessing here, but still. 

One thing about the yarn that you might need to watch out for -- like any fine mohair/silk blend, it is very difficult to tink back more than a few stitches, so while it makes good TV knitting, be careful you don't inadvertantly pull the wrong needle or drop a stitch and discover it four inches down, like I did. Let's just say, I had a lot of ends to weave in, rather than just the two I had planned on!

In other news, I am now on Ello, a new social media place to hang out in, with no ads and no creepy big brother watching over me, cough *Facebook* cough. You can read their manifesto here. Ello is still in beta, so that is why you need to be invited to join, and it still has that new car smell, sorta like Ravelry did in the beginning. If you want an invite, email me at yarndemon at gmail dot com; if you are there already, I'm at https://ello.co/yarndemon.

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.~Nathaniel Hawthorne

  


Another Knit-Along!

Announcing the First Evernote-Knitalong! I joined; have you??

Evernote is an app you download to your computer, iPhone or iPod or iPad, or Android. It's a way of collecting all those documents, images, little bits of paper you've got cluttering your house, sticky notes stuck on your display, images, and organizing them in one place. So instead of saying, "Now where did I put that Kangaroo Bunting pattern??", you can just go to Evernote, search for it or look in the appropriate folder, and wham! there it is. You can put .pdf files, images,  snap photos with your computer or device, create a sound file, add an . mp3 or a video file to a note, add tags to it, add a URL to it . . .  I don't think there's anything you can't add to Evernote. I love it!

I use my Evernote for tracking my yarn and fiber stash, and organizing my patterns, and I have done a bit of word processing in it, too.  The best thing is, you can take it anywhere, it's so portable, so you have your virtual yarn stash, needle inventory, and patterns available to you whenever you need to check if you have something or not! How great is that!

The Evernote knitalong is a really fun thing to do, and I plan to knit the Lettuce Knit Arm Warmers, but in the round, not flat. I should be able to get them done in four weeks!

Hero_evernote


The Nanny

Let me introduce you to Vivian Maier. Vivian worked as a nanny for most of the 1950's through the rest of her life, but secretly, she was a street photographer. She rarely shared her photographs. 

In 2007 John Maloof discovered a trunk full of negatives at a local thrift auction house on Chicago's Northwest Side. Vivian Maier had come to light. I have put some pictures here, but I urge you to take a look at the Vivian Maier website; it's fascinating. These photographs would make good story starters.

Untitled, Undated
Untitled, Undated

Untitled, Undated 2
Untitled, Undated

August 1958 Churchill Manitoba Canada
August 1958, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

 [love the Roy Rogers and Trigger shirt!]

Untitled 1953
Untitled, 1953