Sunday, January 18, 2015

2014 Year In Review And 2015 Goals

I didn't publish any new knit pattern and it seems I have completely lost my knitting mojo. Instead, I have been teaching myself how to crochet since 7/21/2013. After finally getting the hang of crochet, I dedicated 2014 to only doing crochet projects. And I ended up falling in love with crochet and my ergonomic Clover Soft Touch crochet hooks. I never touched my Clover Takumi Bamboo circular knitting needles at all in 2014 and just a few weeks ago, I pulled out one of my plastic knitting needles and a leftover Encore yarn to see if I still like knitting with two pointy sticks or if I would like to try Knooking. Guess what? I enjoy holding a hook in my hand instead of pointy sticks! It's just so much easier. So last 1/12/2015, I started practicing my Knooking skills and the other night, I finally got the hang of Knooking in the round. So maybe knitting for me is not completely lost but I am challenging myself to use the Knook whenever I start a knitting project and see where this takes me. I am still undecided on whether to sell or keep my knitting needles so 2015 will be dedicated to Knooking (as much as possible) and discover for myself if there are any limitations to Knooking that is better served by using actual knitting needles. If Knooking is everything I am hoping for (aka knitting needle replacements), I will definitely be a happy camper. As you all know, I got the complete Knook set to go with me when I travel so that I am not limited to just crochet or just knit projects. With the Knook, I can do both and because they're made of plastic, hopefully they will not get confiscated by the TSA. And did I mention that last year, I have been gifting my crochet friends a basic Knook set especially if they showed an interest in wanting to learn how to knit but finding it extra challenging to hold two needles instead of one hook? Yes. I gave one of my good friends a basic Knook set and a dishcloth pattern for Knooking for her birthday and another friend my very own basic set because she said she really likes wood hooks and I thought she might enjoy trying to Knook. As for the other friend that I was teaching how to knit with actual knitting needles, she's such a busy lady that practicing how to cast on and the knit stitches on top of getting the hang of holding the needles is just way too much for her and after two months (I don't think she even managed to practice her stitches), she gave it back to me and basically said that she gave up and will stick to crochet. It is a sad thing but sometimes, if you don't have the time for it now, maybe in the future you will and maybe then, she'll pick up the interest in knitting again and hopefully she will give me a call and I know just what to do: get her started on a basic Knook set and hopefully that will transition her to actual knitting needles or maybe not but at least she'll be able to knit and purl without poking her eyes out in frustration.

So, for 2014, I have a reading goal of 35 books and ended up actually reading 58 and I've gone on a Yarn Crawl all over Northern Colorado by myself, (sadly, I only got to visit 8 lovely LYS and didn't get to the others in downtown Denver, Castle Rock, Black Forest and Colorado Springs) during the Yarn Along The Rockies Yarn Crawl event and I am looking forward to doing that again this year and hopefully with a friend along. If not, I know I can do it again. My most favorite LYS during this yarn crawl was the Recycled Lamb Yarn Store in Golden, CO. It's huge, has lots of light coming in and all the staff were very friendly. So if ever I am in the area, I will definitely be going back for a visit.

2015 is the Knook challenge year and maybe I will learn how to do the Tunisian crochet using the Knook and attaching a sheep button at the end of the cord to keep all my stitches from sliding off. I have 3 skeins of self-striping sock yarn and I am going to post a very detailed tutorial on two-at-a-time toe-up socks with afterthought heels using the E sized Knook hook. So stayed tuned!

Another goal for 2015 is for me to write more stories, teach more people to crochet and knook, and design more patterns and hopefully successfully transition over to a more creative job doing these things that I love to do as my day job creeps towards permanently shutting down this coming Feb. 28. Going to be laid off is a grim, depressing business but determination and perseverance should see me and my family through this tough time.


Books I've Read Since Last Blog Post

  • The Wishing Thread by Lisa Van Allen - 9/4/2014
  • Dying To Get Published (Jennifer Marsh Mysteries, #1) by Judy Fitzwater - 9/11/2014
  • The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs - 9/18/2014
  • When Girlfriends Make Choices by Savannah Page - 9/23/2014
  • Red Riding Hood Gets Lost (Grimmtastic Girls, #2) by Joan Holub - 9/29/2014
  • Delicious! by Ruth Reichl - 10/3/2014
  • Lovestruck In London by Rachel Schurig - 10/17/2014
  • Business For Authors: How To Be An Author Entrepreneur by Joanna Penn - 10/28/2014
  • The Shining (The Shining, #1) by Stephen King - 11/11/2014
  • On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King - 11/20/2014
  • Blood Magick (The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy, #3) by Nora Roberts - 11/25/2014
  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis - 12/8/2014
  • Mr. Miracle (Angelic Intervention, #10) by Debbie Macomber - 12/18/2014
  • The Wedding Dress Diaries (The Wedding Season, #0.5) by Aimee Carson - 1/1/2015
  • When Girlfriends Chase Dreams by Savannah Page - 1/2/2015

Currently Reading
  • The Success Principles: How To Get From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be by Jack Canfield

Finished Objects
  • Baby Drucker Car Seat Blanket - I used 2 skeins of Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in the Candied color way 100% Acrylic, Worsted Weight, 560 yards/200g and 4.0mm US size G hook

  • Cuddly Blanket - I frogged my knitted Patchwork Blanket because I feel like the blanket was made by a drunken knitter who is also high on drugs as the stitches were uneven and the squares look hideous when stitched together and I just couldn’t take the imperfections anymore. My poor husband thought it was a really nice blanket and didn’t want me to frog it. In the end, after I’ve crocheted him a better improved blanket, he loves it and agreed that the Patchwork Blanket did looked hideous. For the cuddly blanket, I reused the yarn from the Patchwork Blanket: 4 skeins of Bernat Baby Blanket in the Baby Blue colorway, 100% Polyester, Super Bulky Weight, 585.6 yards/732g and 9.0mm US size M hook


Currently Crocheting/Knooking

  • I am currently working on a sweater/cardigan design that will utilize using the Knook hooks to create both crocheted and knit stitches. So excited for this!
  • I am also currently working on a Knook tutorial on how to do 2 toe-up socks with afterthought heels at the same time using one Knook hook. I’ve been searching online for how to do toe-up socks using the Knook but didn’t find any and though most people prefer the cuff-down technique, I prefer the toe-up version that way, I can just stop at anytime when my yarn runs out and two-at-a-time so I don’t get that 2nd sock syndrome and I thought I’d share it with the rest of the Knooking world as soon as I get it done. 

Product Reviews
copyright STM
  • STM Linear Bag (Laptops & Tablets) - After searching for the perfect laptop bag to safely transport my brand new 11” MacBook Air, I found on Amazon this awesome Linear Bag from STM. It has tons of pockets to carry pens, external hard drives, chargers & cables, travel & work documents and it also has a slot for tablets. The size I got was the small size which could fit 11” up to 13” laptops and it fits my 11” MacBook Air with enough room to spare if I decide to get a hard shell for my MacBook Air. My iPad Air with it’s current case fits nicely in the tablet pocket. The inside smaller pockets house my stylus pen, a regular pen, my external hard drive and USB cable and my MacBook Air charger & cable. Car keys can be attached to a key strap/key holder for easy access and so that you’re not digging around in the bag forever. The flap pocket can be used to store your phone since it is also fleece lined. When traveling with a rolling suitcase, you can slide the bag over the suitcase handle with the luggage pass-through strap which I think will be very convenient. It also has a hand strap on the top of the bag if you don’t want to use the shoulder strap. The shoulder strap is very comfortable to use and freely swivels so you’re not stuck with twisted straps. The fabric and the bag is very well designed and it looks and feels sturdy. My only wish is that the interior pockets for accessories has more room so that it could also be a combination gadget and daily work purse for women. Overall, I am definitely loving this bag and I highly recommend it whether it is for a short trip to the coffeeshop, library or the office and especially for domestic and international trips. 
  • 11” MacBook Air - For the longest time, I have been putting off buying my own
    copyright Apple, Inc.
    computer mainly because my iPad is capable of doing most of the things I need to do and my husband was finally done with his masters so that means I get more time to borrow his MacBook Pro and I was trying to wait for the Retina MacBook Air. Long story short, I finally bought my MacBook Air online on Nov. 21, 2014 and picked it up at the Apple Store on Nov. 26, 2014 because the College I work for is being sold to a Non-Profit group and that means, I will soon lose my education discount on computers. It took awhile for me to bring home my MacBook Air because I bumped up the following specs: RAM to 8GB, Processor to 1.7Ghz and Flash Storage to 256GB to make sure that any future OS X updates can be installed on this machine as I plan to keep this machine for a minimum of 5 years. I really love this little machine (compared to my iPad Air, it is 1.5 inches longer) and the magsafe adapter on the charging port. Even without the retina display, I find that it doesn’t bother me because I don’t really work with graphics. I mainly work with text (writing books, blog posts). The keyboard is very responsive and feels full-sized and the trackpad is just amazing. With iCloud + Handoff/Continuity I can start a blogpost using Pages or Notes app on my iPad Air while on break at work, add additional thoughts discretely (aka stealth mode) using my iPhone 5 while at my work desk and finish off my blogpost on my MacBook Air during the weekend. I just love how convenient that is. So for my writing life, my MacBook Air + Scrivener = writing & publishing heaven. Talk about stress-free! As for my iPad Air, I still use it a lot for first drafts, first edits, reading eBooks, social media, journaling, painting, emails, text messaging, web browsing, games and a lot more to mention. Even with my MacBook Air in the picture, I don’t think my iPad Air will be going anywhere.
    copyright Amazon
  • Kindle Fire HDX - I won a Kindle Fire HDX 7” tablet recently for attending a Rich Dad Education workshop/seminar. I opened the box and turned on the Kindle to make sure it is working and it is. As much as I would love a Kindle, I have no use for it seeing as I already have an iPad. Based on the Kindle website, I am pretty sure it is a great product and deserves a better home than I could give it. It has 16GB storage, Wifi, Dolby Audio, Quad-Core 2.2Ghz processor, battery life of 11 hours mixed use,  front-facing HD camera. It’s very lightweight, user-friendly and the Amazon app store content is growing daily not to mention the awesome collection of Kindle Books and Audible library and Amazon Prime video & music library at your fingertips. If I didn’t have an iPad, I would definitely keep this. So, if anyone in the Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Denver area is interested, I’m selling this brand new Kindle Fire HDX 7” for $199.00 cash or Paypal. Send me an email and we can discuss where to meet in person for payment and delivery. 

Announcements

Just in case, I would like to share the blogs and/or podcasts I'm really enjoying which are also listed on the side bar...and these are in the order I discovered them...hope you'll enjoy them too!
  • 2 Knit Lit Chicks
  • Never Not Knitting
  • The Writing Show (ended Dec 2012 I think)
  • Books On The Nightstand
  • Knit Me Happy
  • Knitting Blogcast
  • Blooming Knitter
  • Knit 1 Geek 2
  • Just One More Row
  • That's Write
  • Knitabulls Podcast (might have ended)
  • Ladies of the Knit
  • Robinz Nest
  • The Book Pod
  • Worsted For Wear: A webcomic about knitters (ended 4/23/2014)
  • Literary Disco
  • Gantsilyo Guru Blog
  • Me And My Dog And Some Yarn (YouTube)
  • The Creative Penn 
  • The Author Biz Podcast