Monday, May 02, 2016

Traveler's Notebooks

I have a slight obsession with leather notebooks. But I wasn't using them because I didn't want to waste the paper in them. I didn't want to write something "unworthy" of the leather. There is something more permanent about the leather compared to a hard paper covered book. 

Midori Traveler's Notebooks caused a sensation and a multitude of spin offs. You could have the feel of leather in your hands and place any book in them. From throw away notebooks to heavy watercolour paper.
They are customizable and changeable. I need a calendar 9 months of the year usually. Undated is bet for me as some months are soo quiet.
Bullet Journals, planners, Bible study notes, book reviews, project ideas, scarapbooky "junk journals....wallets, folders. It is really endless.
In the past I have bought new calenders and planners. Money was spent from Franklin Covey to Target. And I did not use them a whole year. I felt guilty about my failure to track my life on paper.
Traveler's Notebooks work for me. I can slid a calendar in when I need it. I can toss in sketching and drawing notebooks, add a wallet, keep my passport in one. Fill one with the crazy things my kids say, or the things my husband says from one of his pulpits.
I can write down ideas and toss out the bad ones. I can doodle and sketch and brain dump.
What is a Traveler's notebook (TN) you might be wondering. Essentially it is a flap of leather or fabric with some elastic string. I know, it doesn't  sound like much. But there are different types, different sizes, different leathers and colours...
...and an addiction is born.

I have been lucky in most of mine have been from clearance sales or I found them 2nd hand and never been used.
I own mostly TNS from FoxyFix, 1 (red) from Onica Hanby, and 2 from China via ebay. I still feel a bit guilty about the ones from China. What toxins might be in the leather? Were they made by slaves?

4 of my kids have a TN. (Amazon sets for $29.95) Talia sketches during shul in hers or writes song lyrics. Chaī sketches landscapes, writes music or writes out his dash for the Torah parsha in his. Kezzie draws. Zem writes stories and draws and keeps notes. Jaden doesnt think he would actually use one and I am not sure if Tirzah actually uses hers or if it stares at her from her desk at college. They have figured out out to make their own inserts, utilizing long reach staplers and paper trimmers.

Here are some examples of the sizes:
The small ones: No.s 1-5 (or passport, pocket, le petite,  A6 perfect bound, and 5x7)

The larger ones are No.s 6, 6.5, and 7. (or Regular, Reg Extra Room, and Wide

The Onica Hanby REX is slightly wider than the other REXs. It is going to keep notes and stories rom A Tour of Roses teams.
It holds  standard midori insert and 1-2 caheir or picadilly notebook.

The wide has a larger variety of sizes I can throw in it. 7 or 8 standard midori inserts or 4 picadilly inserts. This is my general note taking book for classes.

The wanderlust butterscotch passport accompanied me across Israel, held my passpoet, kept track of the itinerary and receipts. Fits in my purse.
I think I would have liked the pocket over the passport. It is slightly taller. Plus now there are pockets and pen loops now.

I am not crazy about the bay leather. The 5x7 got marked up by something oily via a kid. The smaller was a clearance item so the leather is not typical of the smooth semi gloss bay leathers...coarse and bumpy.
I love the yellow for happy thoughts. It is fun and carefree.

The Le Voyager Abyss is thick, pliable and a tad heavier. It is made from buffalo leather. These two are decadent. I feel more serious writing in it. It has work projects and career stuffs.

Yellow REX or No. 6.5 vs Wide or No. 7

Friday, April 29, 2016

April and May Knit-From-Stash socks

I was soo busy last month, I don't think I posted an update for the Knit-From-Stash 2016 Botanic Socks collection.

April was Calathea Socks.

Shown in Phydeaucx Designs "spiced peaches" colourway. Photo from Winter TNNA San Diego.
Calathea Individual Pattern:  

Calathea is a plant with striped foliage. It is called Peacock plant, Zebra plant, Snake plant or even Prayer plant depending on who is writing up the labels. It likes humid climates and no direct sunlight. You can not neglect this plant, which is why I don't grow them!

Our Calathea socks have twisty stripey leaves. You will want to block these out when you are done, as the fabric bias wants to spiral.

April's leaves brings May's....Bark layer?
Rhytidome is the external later that we consider "bark" to be.

Rhytidome socks have texture, knots in the  "wood" and are both a Cuff Down and a Toe Up sock.
These socks have twisted stitches and are on a purl background. "Someone" Is testing them on a knit background....we shall see how that goes. :)

Rhytidome Individual Pattern:

2016 Books update

Early 2016 list:
Natural History of Dinosaurs by Marie Brennan
Tea with Jane Austen by Kim Wilson
A Year with No Sugar by Eve Schaub
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Malice: The Faithful and the Fallen by John Gwynne
The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan
Beauty by Robyn McKinley
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings ( Tolkien,  Lewis, Barfield, Williams) by Philip and Carol Zaleski

Pride and Prejudice read by Rosamund Pike
A Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller

To this list can now be added (knitting books not included):
The sound of a wild snail eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
Originals by Adam Grant
A perfect red by Amy Butler Greenfield 
Snow by Tracy Lynn
Drunken botanist by Amy Stewart 
Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley 
Perfect ruin by  Lauren DeStefano 

Dawn of Wonder by Jonathan Renshaw 
Dragonvein by Brian Anderson 
On our own in Jerusalem's old city by Vicki Andree 
David Copperfield by Dickens, narrated by Richard Armitage 
Rewinder by Brett Battles

Sunday, April 24, 2016

3 skeins or less: Modern Baby Knits

Another wonderful book by the talented Tanis Gray. This book mixes the comfortable baby friendly garments with wonderful color choices making it a must have for microfashion knitting.
I want this bunny!!!!

This Polka Dot sweater reminds me of honeycomb and bees. What makes it a sweater I will actually knit is that it is straight forward, fun so it will keep my attention but not overly fussy so that it would become just another unfinished project.  This is what makes this book a must have for knitting mothers with little ones, adorable knits that are completable.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Highlander Knits

F&W / Interweave have released a new collection of wooly, Scottish knits inspired by the Outlander series.
There are a variety of patterns enclosed from quick knits (perfect for knitting while watching tv), to Cables and lace. "Rustic yet undeniably feminine beauty" of chunky, tweedy knits make this a book you will want to pick up.
I am especially fond of the warm, knee high socks, Standing Stone Stockings.

Highland Knits pattern collection by the Interweave Editors –also has a freemium from Highland Knits on amazon. Get the free pattern at this link:
There is another special on in the interweave store for 20% off withcoupon code  OUTLANDER20

Monday, April 11, 2016

Bleeping Sock Games 2016

The 7th year of Bleeping Socks has begun!
All of the socks are based off of video, arcade or computer and gaming system games. Every 10 days a new sock pattern will be released.

Group info:

The 2nd sock is from Janine Le Cras aka Guernseygal.

Inspired by assassin's creed, the Assassin 's Creed Syndicate socks are beautifully decorated with a button cuff and leg.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Refined Knits

When I received Jennifer Woodhouse's new book, Refined Knits, in the mail before I could even thumb through it my 13 yr old daughter was already stash diving (in my stash, of course). Zemy immediately cast on the Camellia sweater.

It is a bit of a challenge for a 13 yr old. We made 2 modifications. One was the 11 row chart for the button band. A 12th row was added ( knit the knits, purl the purls) so that she didn't have to work the more complicated sts from the wrong side. The second was to adjust length for her height.

Note: errata for casting on Camelia's sleeve sts- the 2nd sleeve numbers for all of the sizes were not transposed, use the numbers for the first sleeve.

My neighbor who is going through breast cancer treatment is also a knitter.
She was looking for a new project to keep her mind calm. After looking at my copy of Refined Knits she bought a copy....and so did each of the members of her knitting group. They cast on and are knitting together the Victoria sweater.

This is a beautiful book filled with many sweaters that we are looking forward to making. I highly recommend this book.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Crafter's Market 2016

Crafter's Market 2016: How to Sell Your Crafts and Make a Living by Kerry Bogert is an excellent resource for anyone in the crafting industry. 
The book covers everything from copyright information, connecting with buyers, email marketing, craft events, venues, publishers, communities......and so much more.
Besides just an information guide, there are wonderful articles on business and how to streamline and eliminate distractions, from the A to Z of who's who of crafters- Abby Glassenberg to Heather Zopetti.
Whether your freelance, design or make a sellable product, this is a must have resource for beginners and well seasoned crafters.
ISBN 13: 9781440244841

From the publisher:
Crafter's Market 2016 is the perfect start to your crafting career. This comprehensive guide will introduce you to a whole new world of possibilities for marketing your craft. Editor Kerry Bogert, author of Totally Twisted and Rustic Wrappings and knitting, crochet and jewelry acquisitions editor for Interweave, will help you start or expand your business with completely updated resources, such as:
  • More than 400 new listings for complete, up-to-date contacts and guidelines for submissions for a total of more than 1,400 craft market resources, including craft shows, magazines, book publishers, online marketplaces and more!
  • Markets for a variety of crafts, including quilting, sewing, knitting, crochet, papercraft and jewelry making.
  • Informative, inspirational articles on hosting creative retreats, managing your time on the internet, growing your business through Pinterest, how to handle custom orders and setting up and utilizing e-Newsletters.
Interview with successful craft professional Carter Seibels Singh on establishing her successful small business, Woman Shops World, on Etsy.Whether you're looking to expand your online presence or you're just beginning to think about how to turn your weekend hobby into a side business, Crafter's Market 2016 is the complete resource for crafting professionals.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

2016 books

Last year I started up reading again, but since moving to town 5 yrs ago, my reading momentum slowed significantly.  I am hoping to be a better reader this year.

Natural History of Dinosaurs by Marie Brennan
Tea with Jane Austen by Kim Wilson
A Year with No Sugar by Eve Schaub
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Malice: The Faithful and the Fallen by John Gwynne
The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan
Beauty by Robyn McKinley
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings ( Tolkien,  Lewis, Barfield, Williams) by Philip and Carol Zaleski

Pride and Prejudice read by Rosamund Pike
A Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller

Monday, January 25, 2016

Free Spirit Knits

I love opening cardboard wrapped around books, you never know what you will find when it peels away. Today it reveals Free Spirit Knits by Anne Podlesak.

I could get completely lost in this book. I am not sure of the photo shoot location the book used, but it feels like Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods. It feels like places I have roamed and hiked, places I lay whispering poetry to the air. So for me Free Spirit Knits, feels like a kindred spirit, a bit of a home coming. If i could get a glimpse around the corner, just over the shoulder of the model I bet I could glimpse the 'kissing camels' rock formation.

Free Spirit Knits has and amazing colour palette bith earthy and vibrant at the same time. The yarns are the lush wools that call us to cast on, like  Jamieson and Smith, Classic Elite, Brooklyn Tweed, and Green Mountain Spinnery, plus several others including indie dyed yarns.

When you have a house full of knitters like I do, a new book gets scooped up and projects are dreams spoken aloud. My 19 year old of course is enamored with the Snowbowl Hoodie. Its cabled back and detailing on the hood create just enough texture to pull you in with out scaring you off. It is a perfect mid-level cable project.

While filled with amazing sweaters there are several projects suited for traveling. the Tres Flores Shal and the Saguaro Blossom hat are two that will find their way on to my needles.

The balance of the book between floral detail and strong colour patterns are what make this book a volume to bring home. There are projects for gifting, for wrapping your family in and sweaters guys actually will wear every day, even when the knitter is not visiting.

Anne Podlesak has a great eye for colour and design. This book has so much bound into it. Definitely pick this one up

Interweave/F+W; $25.99

Thursday, December 31, 2015


Our first sock for 2016 is Espalier.

In keeping with the Botanic theme, espalier is a technique for growing trees on flat surfaces, or turning them into flat "fences". It is a really cool technique. You can also Google "Belgian fences" for more info.
Actual definition: Espalier- tree or ornamental shrub whose branches are trained to grow flat against a wall, supported on a lattice or a framework of stakes.

The sock is in 3 sizes with a modification for some of the "fairy footed" knitters in the group.

S (6.5"), M(8.5:), L(10") the after gusset decreases create a size between S and M for about a 7-7.5" foot circumference.

One of the stitches on the sock is a 3 stitch wrap. Where the sts are not worked but wrapped instead. I thought this might not be as intimidating as an "Estonian flat nupp".

There are several ways to work this stitch.
1-slid the sts back and forth between your right and left needles as you wrap them
2-slip them to a cable needle and wrap them.
3- ignore them until the sock is knit and go back and sew them on.

I accidentally missed a wrap on my sock, so instead of ripping it out, I thought I would use it to show you the third technique and how contrasting yarn looks on the sock.

Using a small amount of the Midas colourway from Phydeaux Designs, I threaded a needle and inserted it at the missing place from the inside of the sock.

Carefully, pull the yarn through and wrap the 3 sts several times, returning the needle to the inside of the sock.
Secure both ends on the inside of the sock and weave in ends.

Violá, a golden stitch wrap.
I am looking forward to seeing how all the socks turn out. We have over 1,100 knitters from around the globe!

Monday, December 07, 2015

Knit From Stash 2016 countdown -22 days

Last year a crazy idea became something really amazing.
Instead of subscribing to a sock of the month club, we decided to create our own, using our stash yarns. (Because many of us have way more stash than is healthy.)
 READ POST HERE about last year's KAL.

Using 12 containers of mystery (paper bags, can, boxes), 12 skeins of sock yarn are selected. (100g/400yds) These 12 are mixed up and then labeled by month. You are surprised by what is in the package and then challenge yourself by knitting up that yarn in its designated month. (I upload the pattern the last day of the previous month so you can cast on ON the 1st). Some of the yarn choices were a bit wild. I am always amazed at how combinations of yarn and patterns that would not have been typically chosen, turned out rather well. Stripes always surprise me.

This went a step further, and I talked to Jacie about how the SOM clubs often have a pattern for each skein that is sent out. So I created 15 patterns for the year. (more than 12 so that if there was a pattern you just did not want to knit, you had an optional design.)

I expected maybe 50 people to participate. It wound up being over 600!
It was a challenge and it made me have a deadline and create.  And I met some wonderful people.

So... We are doing it again for 2016. 15 patterns, 12 mons, 12 skeins of yarn.

Socks are available in multiple sizes. Some of the socks are suitable for both men and women. All of the socks have charts, most have written instructions as well.  This year I decided that I needed a theme. The theme for the 2016 Knit-From-Stash sock collection is all botanicals. Before living in California, I was working on my Botanic Art and Illustration certificate. ( As there are only a handful of places to earn this, our move was NOT to one of them.) I love plants, Fibonacci, the science and structure of  botany. So far the 1st 6 patterns are done. I LOVE THEM....and I am actually quite proud to be ahead of the game rather than killing myself at the last minute to meet a deadline. You do not want to disappoint 600 people armed with pointy sticks.

The 2016  will begin on December 31st, for all of you who want to knit into the new year, and then hopefully knit on the 1st as it is a holiday for many. Instagram and the ASK facebook group are a great place to see what is being created. #knitfromstash and #knitfromstash2016 #addictedtosockknitting tags will help you sort through and find the projects. This year I am going to have Facebook prizes and Instagram prizes for our KAL.

The coupon code: tajemnica  is good for 50% off through January 15, 2016 for those who are late to the party. 15 patterns at $6 each is a $90 value, with the coupon you get them for $2 a piece.

Ideas for your mystery bags:

Paper lunch sacks are excellent. There are so many ways to dress them up. It is a rabbit trail of its own over at pinterest.

One Good Thing by Jillee via Pinterest

Take Out Boxes

Found on
Template here to make your own:

Project Bags
Last year several people made their own project bags for each month. This was an extra monthly incentive to complete their socks so that they could move on to the next bag.

Tutorial HERE

Glass Jars

When storing your yarns you may want to make some lil packs of Moth repellent to add to them.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving and Control

Oh, the control issue. Ouch!
This was a big deal Thanksgiving week. 
Dinner for 30, with a dislocated collar bone, messed up shoulder, and not being allowed to stir, chop, and lift turkeys in and out the oven!
My 17 yr old son and 13 yr old daughter made dinner. 
We rented a church dining hall since I also can not vacuum! (best idea ever)

Steam apparently makes someone's curls go a bit crazy!
I had invitations, place settings, all our worship music copied... ( we do after pie, coffee and worship in the evenings).
When we arrived at the church all of the long tables were gone!!! Some one (turned out to be one of the church elders) borrowed every "good" table. 
This of course lead to a freak out. 
The one thing I thought I had control over, seating arrangements and decor,  was "ruined".
This could have ruined the entire day. I could have wallowed in fact that I did not have control over even a place setting.

We wound up finding old heavy tables with peeling layers of veneer. Pieced together a seating arrangement for the tables we had and discovered that only 24 people could sit in the best configuration. Where were the other 6 going to sit?!

Another freak out moment, and then my husband who hates Thanksgiving due to a childhood tragedy around the holiday, had his own freak out moment.
So here we were in the kitchen, less than an hour til guests arrive, "whisper fighting".

Thankfully,  we stopped and prayed together, the two of us- control seekers who were losing control.
There were unexpected changes. We got several calls to cancel. We had exactly the right amount of seating.
The day was not perfect, but the food was great and the company was wonderful.
But, the day wasn't done with us.

We started getting texts from our old youth group 'kids', now grown and having dinner with their children and spouses. One of our boys from those youth ministry days was in a very, very bad accident. His passenger died. He was paralyzed. Lives shattered and out of control.
In the calming of panicked, disbelieving hearts, some of "our kids" even dropping in after dinner, we sang and prayed together.

While I had a plan and an idea for the day, G-d had another plan. He knew how many seats were needed. He knew the tragedy that would strike. He knew who needed to be there.
We heard over the weekend from several guests, that it was the best thanksgiving they had ever had. Here we were, feeling impoverished in our idea of a feast, and several of our guests had never experienced such bounty.
We really are blessed more than we can imagine.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Family-Friendly Knits

Family-Friendly Knits is a book that I have been really looking forward to. I am so glad to have received this copy to review. It is one of the few books that has multiple projects that I will actually knit up for my family.

At the time of posting, it is 35 days until Christmas, and 16 days until Chanukah. That is not a lot of time for knitting. However the good thing about 8 nights of Chanukah is that if it isnt done by the 1st night, you have a week to finish your project. You can get the ebook HERE  and start your holiday knitting right away.

Family-Friendly Knits is packed full of wonderful, giftable items to make. Plus some wonderful, comfy winter items. When I knit for myself, I look for complicated stitch patterns or patterns to challenge my skills. When I knit for my family, I want it to be something they will actually wear!

Courtney has created sweaters that will not only allow freedom of movement, but become the everyday favourites in your home. The collars and cuffs are unconstrained, and the children's sweaters have ease to allow some room to grow. Which, if you are like me, is needed so that from the time you start the sweater, until you finish it, IT STILL FITS.

Some of the projects: Most of the projects are pretty straight forward, these few that I want to share with you have some extra special details.

Must Have Mitts- A quick knit that will hold your attention. These mitts are in a range of sizes. Do not be fooled, they look simple but have intriguing details for the shaping. I love palm gussets, and these mitts have built on that technique. pg 47

Cuff to Cuff socks- These are a bit unconventional. Designed to defeat Second Sock Syndrome, you are literally making 2 socks from one tube of fabric. you cast on at one cuff knit thru the first sock and into the second socks toe, binding off at the second cuff. You will want to get the book just to try this out. pg 121

 Aileron- This is another project one of my daughters has fallen in love with. It is a sideways knit sweater with shoulder shaping so it fits well.
"The Aileron (French for “little wing”) is named for the angel wing cables between the shoulder blades. This is a great introduction to shawl cardigans because it’s just a rectangle with openings for the armholes; sleeves are shaped using easy no-wrap short-rows." pg 39

"Knitting is a test of endurance, and for those with less experience, larger pieces should be worked up to; however, I stress to new knitters the importance of pushing themselves and attempting a pattern that speaks to them even if they aren’t confident in their skill. As a knitting instructor, I am always pleased to see the spark behind knitters’ eyes when they realize how capable they truly are."
 -Courtney Spainhower

Interweave/F+W; $22.99
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