Another Harold on the needles

I have been itching to do some non-Christmas-related knitting so I can share what I’ve been up to on the blog. My Christmas present projects are heaps of fun, but I don’t want to give anything away. I finished my dad’s and my sister Rachel’s gifts. Mom’s is probably 35% done and Nora’s is past the halfway mark. I’m just waiting on more yarn to come in from my LYS.

I also finished a takeaway coffee cozy the other day for knits by emma. I whipped up a quick little design and finished it off while watching Gilmore Girls (my all-time favorite show).

Demonstrated on my wrist until I can get a cup

Demonstrated on my wrist

Two nights ago I cast on another Harold. It’s kind of a funny story.

So I purchased The Big Book of Knitted Monsters for my kindle probably a little over a month ago now. I haven’t had the “right needle sizes” to get anything started, but Rebecca Danger believes in working with what you’ve got, so I decided to just go for it and make it work for myself. Plus a monster is very season-appropriate.

I browsed carefully through every pattern in the book and hunted for photos of finished monsters on ravelry. Finally I decided to just start with the first monster in the book, since I eventually want to knit them all anyway. I was about halfway into the body, which I’m doing in stripes to use up some leftovers, when I realized I was making Harold the Houseplant Monster. I turned to Matt and exclaimed, Omigod! It’s another Harold! We had a giggle at the coincidence. The only other toy I’ve ever made was named by me: Harold Bartemius Hippo.

Harold 2 now has a body and is currently gaping and stuffed. I need to run to Spotlight and see if they have any eyes I can use for him before I close up the top. He will also get felt teeth.

I guess I should have realized he’d be HUGE since I’m using bulky yarn. I’ll keep tabs on my progress. I expect things to slow down a bit in the knitting department since NaNoWriMo starts TOMORROW. Happy Halloween everyone!

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Music as motivation

It’s crazy to think it’s only been two months since I ran my first marathon. It feels like a lifetime ago.

Since my training ended, I’ve been having fun getting back into classes at the gym, doing yoga, and going for long walks with Matt. I’ve even been able to start riding my bike to work again on days the rain chooses to subside.

It’s been an unusually long winter in Perth, with the rain lasting late in October, when normally we’d enjoy a beautifully sunny spring. Between early morning wind and storms, knitting into the wee hours, and my busy gym and work schedule, I have let my early morning run routine fall to the wayside. ENTER: Music and sunshine.

She's called Joni. Get it?

She’s called Joni. Get it?

Ever since I was in college, I would always get motivated to run when I heard a great new song at a party or on the radio. I love a good beat, and although I hardly listen to the radio these days, (it’s all podcasts all the time, especially in the car – at least until the new Arcade Fire comes out this week!!) I am still exposed to good running jams every now and then.

Personally I think music – even more than friends – is the best motivator for both running and doing chores. If I can dance while mopping, all the better. This morning I decided that rather than waiting all the way to 9:15 for Body Attack at the gym (I’m an earlier riser, we’ve established this), I would go for a run. It was time to revamp my running mix with a few tunes I’ve been loving lately. Feel free to judge, I am not ashamed.

New on my playlist

1. The Wire by Haim – check out the video too, I absolutely LOVE this song. It’s not quite the usual fast beat I like to run to, but I like it so much it doesn’t matter.

2. Talk Dirty to Me by Jason DeRulo – heard this one again a few weekends ago when out dancing with friends. Certainly not family friendly, but a GREAT beat.

3. Classic by MKTO – again, judge if you will. It’s catchy

Oldies but goodies currently on my mix

1. Let’s Groove by Earth Wind and Fire – YES.

2. She Drives me Crazy by Fine Young Cannibals – great jam, totally classic.

3. Sussudio by Phil Collins – if you know me at all, you know that I LOVE Phil.

4. Dancing with Myself by Billy Idol – this has a perfect beat for running, as does…

5. Super Freak by Rick James

6. Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles – can’t go wrong with this one

7. Sleepyhead by Passion Pit – it’s the perfect first song on a running mix

8. Pompeii by Bastille – not exactly an oldie, but it’s been a favorite for awhile

9. 867-5309 (Jenny) by Tommy Tutone – makes me laugh

10. Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here by Deborah Cox – great motivator and great to dance to

I could go on and on, but these suggestions are more than enough to get you started. What songs are staples on your workout/cleaning playlists? I’m always open to ideas (though if you say Taylor Swift, FRIENDSHIP OVER).

The Fan Enough headband tutorial

Crafty Football Blog HopWelcome to the knits by emma entry for the 2013 Crafty Football Blog Hop! Crafters from various disciplines have gotten together to bring you some projects that will get you geared up for a great season. There’s a reason we love this time of year, so get in touch with your creative side, and while you scream at the TV all of Sunday afternoon, GET CRAFTING!

Anyone who has actually met or spoken to me is probably aware that I am a massive Green Bay Packers fan. Growing up in Minnesota as the daughter of a hardcore Cheesehead and Wisconsin native wasn’t always smooth sailing amongst the throng of rabid Vikings supporters. But my sisters and I never lost faith in our boys and taunted and heckled our peers right back, knowing our team would (and does) always come out on top!

For this tutorial I decided to design a piece that combined my love of the Green and Gold with my passion of knitting headbands. This was designed to be unisex. It’s also a quick little project and would suit most any skill level.

Fan Enough headband

Fan Enough headband

Fan Enough headband

Materials used:

  • 1 skein in main color (MC) – approx. 54m (Debbie Bliss cashmerino Aran 50g ball)
  • 1 skein in contrasting color (CC) – approx. 63m (Loyal machine-washable DK/8ply)*
  • A 5mm, 40cm circular needle (US size 8, 16” circular needle)
  • 1 stitch marker (SM)
  • 1 tapestry needle

    Perfect Packer-colored yarn

    Perfect Packer-colored yarn

Gauge and tips:

18 sts and 24 rows for a 10cm square

I chose two different yarn weights because of the colors available at my local yarn store, but this headband would best be done on *two Aran/Worsted weight yarns. The DK will knit up looser on a 5mm needle, but it shouldnโ€™t be so loose that it becomes holey. Knit consistently, don’t pull it too tight or it won’t stretch as nicely over the head. Always change colors at the beginning of a round. Pay close attention to which rows are in MC and which are in CC.

Pattern instructions:

Cast on (CO) 74 sts in CC and join in the round. Place SM to indicate the beginning of a new round. (TIP: I sometimes cast on an extra stitch and knit the first and last stitch together [k2tog] when joining in the round to make it smoother and firmer)

CO in CC, then purl in MC to create a lovely striped effect

CO in CC, then purl in MC to create a lovely striped effect

Rows 1-6: Purl in MC

Row 7: Purl in CC

Rows 8-11: Knit in CC

Rows 12-17: Purl in MC

Rows 18-23 Purl in CC

Row 24: Purl in MC

Ends to be woven in

Ends to be woven in

Rows 25-28: Knit in MC

Rows 29-34: Purl in CC

Bind off (BO) loosely in MC (TIP: I recommend this article on Crafsy)

Weave in ends using tapestry needle. Take care when weaving in the loose ends; you don’t want to make it too tight, especially in the CO and BO areas.

Block lightly if need be.

IMG_2274 IMG_2269

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog hoppers below. I can’t wait to try out some of these great ideas myself. Happy crafting everyone, and GO PACK GO!

Itching for prep

Ever wake up and realize your wardrobe needs a makeover? (or a lobotomy?) I feel like that’s been me the last two years.

Growing up a Minnesota girl, the preppy fashion scene was hardly on my radar. It seemed to nest in a mythical boarding school realm and the far northern east coast regions I had never visited.

Then I went to university in small town Virginia, and suddenly prep was everywhere! Popped collars, pants that looked like patchwork quilts and ensembles akin to horseback riding uniforms. I get nostalgic thinking about my capris with little turtles on them or my endless supply of polo shirts.

After graduation I moved to France for two years where it was all about black and converse sneakers (neither of which did I choose to wear). I tried to maintain my own identity, but the prep look in a small country town would have pegged me as “l’amรฉricaine” instantly, and I really wanted to immerse myself in la vie quotidienne of Decize (my little French town).

Following my stint in Europe, I came home for a few months to say my goodbyes and pack up the bare minimum before again relocating to Perth, Australia.

During my time in Perth, I have not been able to devote much time money to developing my personal style. It’s changed a bit over the years, but simple and classic is definitely my scene.

Lately I find myself wandering into preppy clothing sites on my lunch break, desperately wishing I didn’t have to order things all the way from America. I blame The College Prepster. It’s her fault I’m drawn once again to the prep.

Here are a few staples I simply MUST to get my hands on.

LL Bean boots - perfect for rainy Perth winters

LL Bean boots – perfect for rainy Perth winters

I have never owned a pair of these but have always wanted to. I put them in my “shopping cart” nearly every time there’s a string of grey rainy days. We’re entering Perth summer pretty soon, but next winter I’m taking the plunge and just getting them.

Jcrew

J. Crew embroidered cap

Let’s face it, there will always be bad hair days. Most of my caps are ruined from being worn during my hot summer runs. I really need a clean classic one for all occasions.

Bracelets from Kiel James Patrick

Bracelets from Kiel James Patrick

I love the entire bracelet range from Kiel James Patrick. These are sturdy and well-made and are 100% American. What could be preppier than sailing? And speaking of KJP…

Seafarer collection

Seafarer collection

I am loving the new collection. I do not own nearly enough collared shirts anymore.

Other sites I’ve been trolling are Vineyard Vines, Ralph Lauren, Madewell and even Brooks Brothers. Sadly many sites do not ship to Australia. I’m going to have to get creative, not to mention look for online bargains. It’s all about the look, not the tag.

One thing I never gave up was my puffy vest. I love it and still wear it all the time, even in Australia. The vest trend seems to be more dudely over here, but I don’t care. I also have a beautiful pair of tall brown “riding” boots, which are a wardrobe essential.

I recently bought a very tame Lilly Pulitzer dress for Melbourne Cup (a popular Australian horse race that the whole country celebrates), which is the first sign of my dipping my toes back in prep-land.

At the end of the day I just need to mix it up, and the classic preppy look never goes out of style. I need to start making some new wardrobe investments. Are you due for a change?

knits by emma hits the streets!

Picture 8

I’m proud to announce that knits by emma will make its first public appearance at the Smart Street Parties series happening down in Mandurah’s Smart Street Mall.

The series includes four events spread out over the next four months, and I will be showcasing at the January and February Suitcase Markets next year. I will fill a suitcase of beautiful knits to sell and display. 1 suitcase=1 stall. It will literally be a trunk show!

Check out their blog for more information. The Twilight Markets will take place on Fridays from 5-9pm on November 8th, December 6th, January 17th and Valentine’s Day.

I’ll post more info as it gets closer to the date. If you’re a Perth-based crafter looking to participate, I encourage you to apply quick as places are limited!