WIP Wednesday: Something New

I have something new to share today!  It’s small, just begun, but it’s new and I’m so happy about that.IMG_6924

This little guy is going to be a hat for my Grandpa.  This hat is currently my purse-knitting and the knitting that I work on while walking to and from my shifts at the cafe.  Easy peasy ribbing in the round on size US 10 needles.IMG_6926

What are you working on this week?

Healthy Habits | Drinking More Water

Part of my 2015 goal to take better care myself includes drinking more water.  I, like many folks, am pretty chronically dehydrated and the culprit is that I just don’t like the taste of water.

The subject of water-drinking came up at the cafe the other day and my coworkers and I had the usual conversion:

Those who like and drink water all the time: “How can you not like water?!”

Those who don’t: “I don’t know, it just tastes gross! I drink other things like tea and coffee, does that count?

Those who like and drink water all the time: “No, tea and coffee are diuretics! Those don’t count.”

Those who don’t:  a plethora of grumbles and excuses

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So that day one of my coworkers and I decided to be accountabilibuddies and help each other drink more water.  I did a bunch of online reading and research and we shared some links, turns out that tea and coffee do count toward water consumption, especially if you’re a regular consumer because your body develops a resistance to the diuretic properties of these drinks.

In my research I also came across a LOAD of articles that talked about the benefits of drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning and so I decided to try it out for myself.IMG_0492

I’ve definitely had to add a tiny bit of honey to the water because, as expected, lemon water by itself is pretty bitter and hard for me to drink straight.

I certainly like to add things to my water – cucumbers, lemon, ginger, fruit and other herbs.  I find that the extra flavor really helps me WANT to drink the stuff and it doesn’t hurt that it adds zero calories. I’m still only a few days into the experiment but I have noticed a few things:

  • I’m less hungry
  • I crave salt less (anyone who knows me knows that I love popcorn, crackers and all that salty, crunchy goodness so this is a big one)
  • I have more energy – mentally and physically
  • I don’t have to pee as much as I thought I would – “if I drank that much water I’d be in the bathroom all the time!” but nope, normal stuff here
  • It doesn’t seem like I have time to do anything BUT drink water, really!  Maybe that’s just a testament to how little I typically drink but still, it’s on my mind constantly!

Overall, I think it’s a good thing to focus on and I’m going to keep doing my best at it.

Are you a water drinker? Or a wish-I-could-be-a water drinker?

Looking Ahead to Spring – Some of My Faves (Part 1)

Even though it’s snowing outside today and we’re in the depths of January, the magazines are previewing their spring issues and I can’t help but look ahead!  Today we’ll just talk about one of them and why I find it especially appealing.

Interweave Knits Spring Issue looks like it’s going to be a good one.  Part of the fun for me, personally, looking through any of Interweave’s products (Interweave Knits, Knitscene, Knit.Purl, etc) is looking at the photos and trying to pick out where they were shot!  Living in the same state and having lived all over it (Denver, Lakewood, Golden, Loveland, Fort Collins, etc) means that I’ve been fortunate to visit a lot of different places.

(C) Interweave Knits

The story including the Timetable Pullover by Andrea Sanchez was shot in the newly-renovated Union Station in downtown Denver – a quick drive or lightrail ride from my house.  The setting and this sweater itself are beautiful.

© Interweave Knits

The story including Joan Forgione‘s Beech Leaf Shawl was shot in a pottery studio in Fort Collins called Smokestack Pottery.  This little space is so cute and fun to visit – I even have a few bowls made by the artists who work there in my collection!

© Interweave Knits

Seeing these gorgeous knits in settings that I myself have been in multiple times makes me smile.  They bring to mind happy memories with great folks.

That bowl in the background is from Smokestack, I find it makes a perfect yarn bowl!
That bowl in the background is from Smokestack, I find it makes a perfect yarn bowl!

Are you looking at spring patterns yet or do you prefer to remain in the current season?

Pints & Purls #38: DirtWolf Double IPA

This is the thirty-eighth in a series of installments that will highlight one of my favorite brews and which knits to go with it!  None of the breweries or yarn companies are compensating me – these are just my opinions on my personal experiences!

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Brew: DirtWolf Double IPA

Brewer: Victory

Malts: Imported two-row malts

Hops: Whole flower Citra, Chinook, Simcoe and Mosaic

IBU:

ABV: 8.7%IMG_6746

Flavors: This is my kind of beer – floral and slightly sweet in that way only delicious IPA’s can be.  Full flavored with slightly assertive bits that pique your interest.

Knit Pairings:  Because this beer is full and ever-so-slightly assertive, I’d pair it with some knitting that is wholesome and comforting if slightly indulgent.

Notes:

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Let me know what you think!  Suggestions for future beers, more/different information to include, this is a work in progress so I won’t be offended by constructive advice!

WIP Wednesday: Slow but Steady Progress

I  haven’t had a lot of time to knit lately what with the new year, moving (again), catching a nasty cold and everything else life has thrown at me but I am trying to get a few dedicated minutes where I can.IMG_6638

I finished the first sleeve last week and immediately started the second.

My concern? Unless I packed away another skein of this Mrs. Crosby Plays in Squid Ink, I may run out of it and that would require some creative thinking about the neckline (and that’s assuming I have enough to finish the second sleeve in the first place).IMG_6644

What are you working on this week?  Feel free to share links in the comments!  I’ll try to get as many as I can 🙂

Squash for Happiness

Recently I was looking through some pictures I’d taken last year and the year before at around the same time of year and I noticed that in previous years, I’d done a lot more cooking and baking than I have this year.  This got me thinking – “Why wasn’t I doing that this year? What about the previous years facilitated so much more intensive food-making?”IMG_6625

Of course I came up with a bunch of quick excuse-answers – I had more time back then (fat chance, time is the same); I wasn’t as financially burdened (bullcrap, finances have next to nothing to do with it); I enjoy cooking for other people and lately I’ve been the only person around (a more reasonable answer but still can be fixed rather easily).IMG_6624

Cooking for other people is something that makes me happy, whipping up more than a simple, easy meal provides more satisfaction and, as I’ve mentioned here recently, this year I aim to take better care of myself and that includes my mental state.  If it makes me happy, I should do more of it.IMG_6628

The other week I bought a butternut squash, chopped it up, cooked it down, pureed the bits in my wonderful-totally-worth-every-penny food processor, and layered it up with some home-made sauces, easy bake noodles and delivered a lasagna to two very deserving people (three, including myself).  IMG_6632

What things do you find make you happy but are easy to neglect?

Artistic Differences – A Review

When Talitha Kuomi approached me recently about reviewing her new book Artistic Differences I jumped at the opportunity.IMG_6646

This collaboration with Classic Elite Yarns was Tal’s first real chance to express herself more fully and the finished result is packed with beautiful pictures and each pattern knit with two variations!  Tal differentiates the two versions of each pattern with a Rocker version  (on the right in the picture below) and a Boho version (on the left). I love when books do that – show you different ways to spice up your project and make it unique.IMG_6648

The patterns included run the gamut from sweaters to socks, bags and cowls to hats and mitts.  All of the projects would easily translate to real life and I can see many of them working in my own closet!  If I had to pick a fave, it’d probably be Terva but Tensity is up there too – I’m a sucker for a good knitted purse.IMG_6647

One of the best things about the sheer functionality of the book and patterns, in my opinion, is that they’ve provided a wide range of sizes for the garments!  The Terva alone comes in sizes ranging from a 31″ to 58″ bust.  I love when designers and publishers take that into account, don’t you?

Have you seen Artistic Differences yet?  What’s your favorite pattern?

Spring Blossoms Cowl – A Pattern Release!

Just as Kirsten said on Monday, I’m here to release a new pattern into the world!  It seems like it’s been FOR.EV.ER. since I’ve released a self-published pattern and I’m thrilled to be doing it again!!!IMG_6407

The Spring Blossoms Cowl is my interpretation of the Chevron theme we picked to kick off this collaboration.  I wanted to really highlight the ziggy-zaggy stitch pattern with some colorful stripes and texture.IMG_6502

It is begun like a triangular shawl and worked back and forth until it is joined in the round and finished like a cowl.IMG_6401

The Himalayan Trail by Bijou Basin is so soft and cushy to work with!  It comes in an awesome ranch of colors so I highly recommend making your own combination for your version of the cowl.IMG_5554

Making your own version of the cowl and posting a picture to this thread in my Ravelry Group is a good way to make sure you’re entered for the KAL prize package too!IMG_6486

The pattern is now available on Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy for $5.00 or you can get your copy now!

Guest Post by Kirsten of KleverKnits – A Happy Announcement!

Today we’ve got a special post by Kirsten Singer of KleverKnits announcing a very special project! 

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I’m very excited to be guest posting on Holly’s blog, and to be able to announce such a great joint project is very cool!
The two of us are putting together an e-book of several designs meant to keep you warm this winter, and into spring.  At first we took one concept – Chevrons – and thought it would be interesting to see how two designers would interpret this theme.  But of course, we felt one design wasn’t enough, so we quickly added two more: slipped stitches and color work.
 Still Water
I don’t want to tease too much, but the color work designs couldn’t be coming at a better time, it seems that color work is on the bucket list for a lot of knitters this year.   There are posts on Karen Templer’s blog for mosaic knitting, one of which highlights a spread in Vogue Knitting’s new Fall & Winter Issue.  Plus there are a slew of samplers being sold, perfect for quick Fair Isle projects (check out Knit Pick’s sampler deals for Palette)League
The first pattern we will be launching will be the chevron-themed set this Wednesday.  When I first started thinking of ideas for this theme, I definitely got way ahead of myself.  I was struggling trying to come up with a way to make chevrons somehow different.  And then I realized that I needed to embrace the pattern’s simplicity: very graphic lines could be easily juxtaposed with soft and muted colors, knit with a thick yarn at a large gauge.  And after several swatches and a visit to my LYS, Still Water was born.
 Tabernas
I know I can’t wait to share everything in this collaboration!
Coming Up – Still Water pattern launch; League; Tabernas