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DIY Crochet Yoga Strap

June 22, 2017
DIY Crochet Yoga Strap

Do you ever wake up with the attitude, “I’m going to be healthy today”? Like, you’re ready to work out and hydrate and eat healthy and use soap made out of goat’s milk and stuff. Last weekend we had one of those days. We woke up early-ish and proceeded to go to the McKinney Farmers Market in Chestnut Square. If you’re in the area and you’ve never been to the McKinney Farmers Market, you should go! It’s in a little old historical section of town among all these cute old buildings and a wedding chapel. It is also where The Hubs and I got engaged (Though not during the farmers market, that would have been way to much of an audience!).

DIY Crochet Yoga Strap 1

After a long morning at the Farmers Market, at which we bought some excellent okra, The Hubs and I went to check out the local Yoga Fest near our apartment. Admission was free if you registered in advance, so we figured that we would check it out. The registration specified, however, that you must bring your own yoga mat.

While The Hubs and I have our own yoga mats, they’ve never…umm…been to yoga. They sit in a basket looking healthy while we do yoga on the carpet. We’ve never taken a yoga class, thanks to youtube, so they never really seemed worth it. However, it seemed the we were going to have to take them for a spin at the Yoga Fest. That meant I had to think about how to carry them.

Enter the crochet yoga strap!

DIY Crochet Yoga Strap

There are several very helpful and quick patterns for crocheted yoga straps on Pinterest and Ravelry. I ended up using this one. I used a worsted weight yarn held double and each strap took me maybe 10 – 20 minutes total. I braided the ends of the yarn instead of weaving them in because I’m lazy and I hate finishing. I may add some more tassels and beads later on to spruce them up. Then I tried them on our mats and they worked beautifully!

I was afraid that the straps would slip off the yoga mats and be hard to use but they were great. I even got a few compliments on how clever they were, though that may have been because some women wanted to sell me some doTerra…

We didn’t end up staying a the Yoga Fest very long, but I have my eye on a few other yoga events in the future. There’s a yoga studio in downtown McKinney that offers free community yoga on Saturdays at Tupps Brewery. There’s also Saturday morning yoga available at Klyde Warren Park! I don’t know if I’ll have any more healthy feeling Saturdays up my sleeve, but if I do, I’ll be ready thanks to my new yoga strap!

Finished Object Knitting

Pattern Review: Elijah by Ysolda Teague

June 15, 2017
Pattern Review: Elijah by Ysolda Teague

The first project of my Summer Knitting List is complete! Meet Elijah! Elijah is made following the pattern by the same name by the great Ysolda Teague! Seriously, she is one of my favorite designers. Everything she makes is so whimsical and elegant. And yes, an elephant can be elegant.

Elijah was made to be a baby warming gift for my new niece, who will be born this summer. I am throwing a baby shower and I couldn’t resist a good pink elephant theme. I can’t help it! Elephants are simultaneously cute and smart and kind, which is what I hope this new baby will be.

Pattern Review: Elijah by Ysolda Teague

The Pattern

Ysolda’s methods are so clever that I’m always wonderfully surprised at how her patterns turn out. I’m not a very visual thinker, so I don’t always see where she’s going with her instructions. But then, a turn or a flip or something and it all comes together and I’m like, “oooooh, that’s what she was doing!”

Elijah, as a stuffed animal, is a little more complex than your typical hat or shawl, but it’s really more labor intensive than it is difficult. It does feature short rows in the ears, so if those bother you, beware! There’s also a lot of pick up stitches, which I don’t always enjoy. The diagrams on this pattern are very clear however, and let you know exactly what to do. That being said, I think I picked up the stitches for the ears about 6 times, because I didn’t like the angle. That was user error though, not the pattern.

The other thing to note about this pattern is that it does rely on double pointed needles, which are…not my favorite. I ended up switching to circular needles as soon as possible on the arms and legs. This may also have been due to the fact that I could not find a whole set of my DPNs at once…

The finishing on this pattern is where things have the tendency to look wonky. I still may redo my french knot eyes. I’m not super experienced in embroidery, so one of the eyes looks a little funny to me. Also, when stuffing, be careful not to stuff TOO firmly. The head and body can be stuffed pretty tight, but the arms and legs should be looser to flop around, otherwise your elephant won’t be able to sit down!

Pattern Review: Elijah by Ysolda Teague

The Yarn

The yarn I used to this was a heavier weight than what was called for in the pattern (which calls for DK). I used Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash Hand Dyed in my favorite color: Liptstick! Because speckles are a thing right now and I love them. The yarn stood up pretty well to the pattern, but did get a little splitty when using the smaller DPNs. Nothing to cause major issues, though. I just had to slow down and pay attention. I also appreciate that this yarn is superwash, because this is going to be a gift for a baby, and you know it’s going to need a bath at least once in it’s life!

Overall, this was a very satisfactory knit. It was made with a pattern I love, from a designer that I love, using a yarn that I love. Can’t get any better than that! Have you ever knit a toy before? How did your experience go?

Featured Finished Object Knitting Lifestyle

Jubilee Cardigan: Pattern Review and FO

April 20, 2017
Jubilee Cardigan: Pattern Review and FO

If today’s blog post were a book chapter it would be titled, “The Jubilee Cardigan: In Which Tori Has No Clue What Size Babies Are.” Seriously. I have a decent reference point on toddlers…maybe. But I have no clue how big an infant is. Can’t figure it out. If you are like literally everyone I know, you will tell me that this could be easily solved by having one of my own. I will politely deflect this comment in some way because nothing scares me more than thinking about my own motherhood. So lay off, people!

Despite not knowing how big babies are and being terrified of having kids, apparently I make a pretty decent aunt. Really. My 3 year old niece told me just this Easter that I was her very favorite Tori. The Hubs asked her if he was her favorite uncle, to which she replied, “No, Tori is.” Clearly, I am succeeding in the Aunt department. Bubbles, candy, and My Little Pony figurines help too.

Since I’m feeling pretty good about this Aunt thing, I am excited to double my aunthood this summer with the addition of another niece. Ya’ll know what this means: baby knits! Oh, I have plans. I have visions of knitting another Elijah elephant; this time in speckled pink yarn, because #specklesaresohotrightnow.  Heck, I have visions of a while pink elephant themed baby shower (It’s gonna be cute!) The first of my baby knits, however, is a pattern I’d been waiting to use for a long time. It’s the Jubilee Cardigan from the 2010 Holiday Gifts Edition of Interweave Knits.

Jubilee Cardigan: Pattern Review and FO

 

Jubilee Cardigan: The Pattern

The Jubilee Cardigan is an easy short sleeve raglan cardigan with a lower lace detail. It fastens at the top with three buttons, while the lower section is left to fall open. It’s super cute and super easy and I think I still managed to mess it up a little. The only tricky part (and the part where I think that I messed up) is remembering where to make the button holes. They’re probably supposed to only stay in the raglan section, but I put the buttonholes wherever. Oh, well.

My only qualm with this pattern (and it may just be me, because see above) is that I think that sizing may be way off. I knit the 6 month size, or at least I thought I did, but I appear to have a cardigan that would fit a 1 year old. Again, my knowledge of baby sizes is very poor, but I’m pretty sure this knits up large.

Jubiless Cardigan: Pattern Review and FO

Jubilee Cardigan: The Yarn

I used Universal Yarn’s Bamboo Pop for this project. It’s 50% cotton and 50% bamboo, which makes for a nice summery (washable) knit. I’m always stumped on yarn for baby projects. I don’t like acrylic because it can melt at high heats. I know wool is the technical good choice, but what mom is going to hand wash baby clothes? Every  mom I know would felt a wool knit in the wash in minutes. Cotton is a good choice too, but I hate knitting with it because it feels like twine.

Bamboo pop ended up being a good choice for this project, but I won’t say it’s my favorite. The bamboo gave it a little bit more stretch and bounce than plain cotton, but it also made it more slippery. I also found it to be fairly splitty, though it doesn’t appear to show many splits in the finished product. It just meant that I needed to concentrate more while knitting. Still, they have a good range of colors and I would use this again for another baby project if needed.

Jubilee Cardigan: Pattern Review and FO

I’m setting this one aside for now to wait for it’s future wearer, but I look forward to working on more baby knits in the future. I’m thinking toys and blankets and maybe a hat or two (but definitely not baby booties, because they are my kryptonite!). Yes, this baby is going to be fully stocked by the time I am done with it.