Sunday, March 27, 2011

IWTMT: Wheelie

Wheelie (Rav).

Details on why to follow.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Adventures in Painting Glass

Hi, my name is Jen and I am detail-oriented. That's the polite term, anyway.

Today's post does have to do with a crafty endeavor, but it's not about yarn. It's not about beads. It's about coffee.

For Christmas I was looking at what I called "fancy coffee makers", since I'd decided I like the coffees with the foamy milk and the expensive price tags. It was a toss-up between the Tassimo and the Dolce Gusto. I chose the Dolce Gusto because it was sassy, cute and got better reviews. One of the perks of the machine is that you can control the strength of your beverage. Prefer it stronger? Shorten the brewing time. Like it weaker? Wait until it starts to look watery.

For a lot of people, this is a great feature. For me, it led to coffee anxiety. Sure, the packages told you how many ounces to brew to, but I don't happen to drink out of beakers. I was afraid I wasn't brewing to maximum potential. I'd brew until the beverage started to look watery, and maybe I didn't want watery! There had to be a better way.

I looked into writing on a coffee mug. I purchased a clear glass mug and was hoping I could just Sharpie all over it, but apparently that doesn't work. Crap. I went to Michaels and found paint pens which claimed to be dishwasher-resistant once you cooked your piece in the stove. Finally, I found a mL-marked flavor injector, since it seemed easier than trying to figure out 0.3 ounces. Then I carefully measured & injected the amount of necessary liquid for each drink I had into the mug and marked off the name/stage of the drink (some drinks have a milk component too).

It took a week, but I sucked up my fears and baked the mug in the oven yesterday and then put it in the dishwasher after it cooled. It made it out alive and I had a very tasty and spot-on mocha this morning.

Here is a shot of the mug post-dishwasher and pre-beverage.


Obviously it's not perfect. It was my first time using a paint pen on glass, and for me at least, there's a learning curve. Also, I did this later at night when I'm brain-dead, which explains why I wrote "hot/coffee/chocolate" next to "mocha" on the bottom.

Actually, it's a design feature. I'm revolutionizing punctuation, people.

The Dolce Gusto is a niche market, and for about 10 seconds I considered improving my skills and attempting to sell these, but then I realized I would probably get sued. Next time, I think I'll take off the names of each beverage and just mark off amounts in milliliters or ounces. That way it WILL be like drinking out of a beaker. You'd have to do the math, though. In the morning. Before coffee. I'm slightly evil.

But at least now my coffee anxiety is reduced ... at least until the caffeine kicks in.

P.S. I'm waiting for the science majors of the world to tell me that one fluid ounce of water weighs one regular ounce on the scale. I'm sure I could have made this ten times easier on myself. Please enlighten me. I went to school to read words.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

IWTMT: Avalon Top

I think I've decided that I love Doris Chan. She has a knack for designing crocheted garments that actually look feminine and that I want to make.

The Avalon Top (Rav) is a free pattern that's light and airy but still has substance because it's crocheted. I love the flower motif up by the neck and the frills at the ends of the sleeves.

Overall, I have some more slimming to do before I'd be willing to take this top for a test-drive, but I've got to say how it looks on the model is good motivation!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Baby's First Link Party

Okay, I'm trying out something new today: I've joined a link party. Little Andalucia is hosting a Creative Friday Features link party, and this week's theme is "red". Since you're allowed to use old posts (phew!), I linked to my Amanda Hat post. Please consider joining, because the more the merrier!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

IWTMT: Vera Crochet Shawl

Wow. After the two months leading up to my giveaway, it's almost hard to believe the world keeps on turning and I keep procrastinating another IWTMT.

The very first IWTMT was inspired by cosmicpluto's Dipped Infinity Scarf, and I think I've found the gorgeous crochet shawl equivalent. It's called Vera (Rav) -- wasn't that the name of Jayne's gun in Firefly? Man, I gotta watch that show again. Anyway, it's got that gorgeous dip-dyed look I really love.

Oh yeah, it's free. I also love free things. A lot a lot.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Happy 3rd Blog-A-Versary!

Today is my third blog-a-versary. Yay! As usual, I'm thrilled I haven't killed the blog. I also kind of thought I'd be asleep by now, but since it's March 12th where I am, I might as well draw the winner of my giveaway.

Before I do that, I'd like to give a shout-out to Knititall, who found out at the very last second that they were not eligible. Knititall, I'd like to thank you for your many nice comments & I will learn to be clearer in any future giveaways!

If we include ineligible comments, I did end up with over 100 after announcing the giveaway, which is very nice. I hope this trend of commenting continues, hint hint!

Okay, okay, let me go to the Random Number Generator and post the screenshot of what it picks so you know I'm not lying. There were (assuming no one else is ineligible) 87 comments.

The winner is ...


Did you know 6 is my lucky number? How weird! Nick won with his comment on (go figure) My First Giveaway! post, thus proving I wrote two months' worth of blog posts for nothing. Nick, you are a saint because not only do you have an active blog, you have your e-mail address on your Blogger profile, so I will be commenting & e-mailing you post-haste to get your contact info. Congratulations!

Thanks to everyone for playing! Now that this is over, I have an idea for my next giveaway, but you're just going to have to keep reading to find out what it's going to be.

Yep. I'm that shameless.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Your Last Chance

Okay people! In my corner of the globe it's currently an ungodly 8:41 AM on a cold and rainy Friday, which means today is the very last day you can enter to win my giveaway! Since I have a bad tendency to think of rules at the very last minute, let me make some clarifications to my original entry now. (If you've kept with me this far, these shouldn't be a problem!)

Since I will be drawing the name tomorrow, this is pretty much your last chance. I'd like to say that you need to get all comments in by 11:59 EST tonight in order to be eligible, but I don't know if that's fair since I didn't really specify that to begin with. So while I firmly suggest you do so, if a comment or two slips in tomorrow before I draw the name, I will probably feel generous and still include it. But if you comment while I'm making the post, obviously it ain't gonna work.

I will do my best to contact the winner. A lot of you have public Blogger profiles or have let me know who you are through Facebook or Ravelry. If you have a generic first name and no way for me to get in touch with you, I cannot reasonably be expected to get in touch with you, in which case it is your responsibility to get in touch with me. I will post the winner's name, winning comment and the entry they commented on tomorrow. I will also try to comment on the winner's blog and/or e-mail them. If I do not hear from the winner by Saturday March 19th, an alternate winner will be chosen. Sorry, but I'm not that good of a detective!

I am reachable through here, through Ravelry (StormCoast), Twitter (stormcoast) and e-mailable at stormcoastcreations at gmail dot com. If you are on Ravelry and don't feel comfortable e-mailing me, please send me a message!

Okay, I think that does it for the last-minute rules. Be prompt, check tomorrow to see if you've won and don't make me cranky by disappearing off the face of the planet if you have. Good luck!

(And yes, this entry is a perfectly valid one to comment on. Feel free; I'm up to almost a hundred entries and I'd love to get there!)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sharing: The Creation of Shelter

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably already know about Shelter, the incredibly hard-to-get American wool created by Brooklyn Tweed. He's putting up a five-part blog of the yarn-making process, which is beautifully photographed and very interesting. Yesterday was Part 1 and today is Part 2. I especially love the "web" in part 2 -- wow!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Summer Shawl Dilemma

I recently received an invitation to a friend's wedding, which will be held in August. Her wedding colors include lavender, and, despite my lack of wedding etiquette - I got married in my jeans in a field, after all - I immediately decided I was going to have a purple shawl at the wedding.

You'd think with my recently having done yarn inventory I'd know better what was in my stash, but I was all set to run out to the LYS and get some purple yarn. It's a good thing I didn't, for several reasons.

First, I already have AT LEAST two appropriate purple yarns in-stash. I've even taken pictures of them already. This is turning into a green hat phenomenon.



Second, these are wool yarns and this is an outdoor wedding. I would probably only wear this inside at the reception, but now I don't know if it would be too warm or not.

Third, I don't even have a dress yet. This probably should have been first on the list, but I am a knitter, so it's last.

I should probably get a dress and go from there. Good thing I have time.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

IWTMT: YWTMT! Special Edition

Can you believe that it's March 6th already? This is the last IWTMT before my giveaway ends on Saturday, so I thought I'd do something a little different. Instead of posting one pattern, I'm going to post several that I think would work with the giveaway yarn! That's where the YWTMT! part of the title comes in: maybe You Want To Make That? The lucky winner may have a pattern in mind already, but if they don't hopefully this will help them brainstorm. (And since I have a sister skein, it won't hurt me to look either!)

Now, I haven't actually swatched with the yarn, but I'm assuming it's fingering weight, so let's just go with that. Assuming I'm not an idiot, you should be able to complete all these projects with one skein.

Need a reminder of the prize? Okay!


Purchased at the VT Sheel & Wool Festival in October. Sold by the Biltmore Wool Barn.
Yardage: 430
Ounces: 5/2
Superwash Merino Wool

Now onto the IWTMTs!


In the sock category (being a superwash yarn, socks seem like a logical next step), we have Knitty's Skew (Rav), a free pattern. I'm sure we're all aware of how tempting variegated yarns are in the skein, and then you start knitting with them and they pool horribly or just don't look good. I quote from Skew's Rav page: "Handpainted or self-striping yarns are particularly suitable for this design, as they will highlight the unusual stitch direction flow."

Skew is knit on the bias. I think. Just look at it. It looks cool.


If socks aren't your thing, maybe you'd go for a scarf. Arlene's World of Lace has a really interesting scarf called Not A Drop (Rav), which is purchasable (but don't ask me how much it costs in US dollars).

I took the liberty of tracking down a few done in variegated/non-solid yarns, so you could see how much the pattern breaks them up. I think each one looks lovely.


Maybe you're a fingerless mitt fanatic like me. And, like me, being a fanatic means you love fingerless mitts but you don't actually really have any, so you need to make some. Have you seen the Nereid Fingerless Gloves pattern (Rav)? It's based on the Pomatomus sock pattern, but I think I like it better as mitts.

I love hunting down those examples, so check these out. So interesting!


Now for the last YWTMT!, I have a shawl pattern in mind. You may have heard of it. In fact, you may have already made it. Multnomah (Rav) is a free PDF download from Hello Knitty. Shawls can sometimes be iffy in variegated yarns, but I haven't seen a variegated Multnomah I didn't like. Like this one. Or this one. Or that one. I think you get the point.


I hope you got some good ideas for stuff to do with the prize yarn, or yarn of your own! Well, that wraps it up for -- oh, crocheters, put down your hooks. I'm just teasin', I didn't forget about you. It took a bit longer to find a crochet pattern I liked, that's all.

If you crochet, why not try this Sunflower Satchel? As far as I can tell you have to purchase it through Ravelry, but at $3.50 I think it's a steal. If you're not on Rav, here's an example of what it looks like. So pretty!


Okay, that's seriously it. Phew! I'd like to thank all the unsuspecting bloggers I've linked to today. I hope you get some traffic from me! I'm sure I'd mess up the HTML (plus I'm lazy & it's time to eat), otherwise I'd list them all instead of just linking them.

There will probably be another post or two before the giveaway ends, so keep those comments coming and good luck!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I'm a Winner!

I ended up winning one of the One World, One Heart giveaways and I just received my gift in the mail yesterday. I was so anxious and pleased for it to come, since I have very little of what I call "grown-up jewelry". I won Briana Tomlin's giveaway and she was gracious enough to send me the prize I preferred, a little pendant covered in words!

It arrived wrapped in a scrap of a Yukon map and a book page, which I absolutely love the thought of and would do myself if I could bear to rip my books up.

Since I'm not self-photographing well today (and can't figure out how to make my new haircut look as cute in pictures as it does in life), you get an "artistic" shot of me wearing my prize.


Isn't that so me?

By the way, there's still time to enter MY giveaway, since I'll be drawing the winner on March 12th. Please see this entry for details.