Hall of Finished Projects 2016-All

Monday, December 22, 2014

Tangledmania Podcast 3: Start With Thank You, End With Crochet Tips

Where you can find me:
Instagram: Tangledmania
Ravelry: Tangledmania
Ravelry Group: Tangledmania
Facebook: Tangledmania Blog
Youtube Channel: Tangledmania Podcasts

Autumn's End by Alana Dakos
Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure
Impression Vest  by Meghan Jones

Glaciation by Josh Ryks



Etsy Shops:

Happy Holidays everyone, and thank you so much for stopping back and watching. Be well and keep your head up!! Watch to the end for my three favorite pieces of advice to give to crocheter's who want to learn how to knit, as I was a crocheter first so I know where you are coming from!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Checking In and My Knitting Round Robin

Where you can find me:
Instagram: Tangledmania
Ravelry: Tangledmania
Ravelry Group: Tangledmania
Facebook: Tangledmania Blog
Youtube Channel: Tangledmania Podcasts

Good evening! Over the past few week, so much has been going on. I landed a new job (SQUEE!!), that starts on December 29th, and became ill in the midst of all the paperwork and running around for family doctor appointments. Life still goes on, right? It was interesting jumping up and down after the phone call offering me the position and feeling so sick to my stomach haha.

   I'm so excited about the new job and cast on a new project, now that I've finished the Glaciation Shawl by Josh Ryks. So all that is left on my knitting round robin would be:

  1. Autumn's End Sweater  by Alana Dakos
  2.  #27 Leaf Blanket by Inge Spungen
  3. Bonnie's Wish MKAL by Erica Jackofsky
  4. Vanilla Toe-up Socks for my husband by no one in particular :D
  5. Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure
  6. and Impression Vest by Meghan Jones (for my new job)
Phew that's a lot.. Probably mainly working on the Impression Vest and the Leaf Blanket. Was hoping to get the Leaf Blanket finished by Christmas Day for my mother but the large leaves are hurting my hands, so I don't think it's going to happen, and I find that very frustrating.

   Because of being ill, the podcast was not recorded and the goal is for recording to occur on Monday, so hopefully that occurs without a hitch. After that I will have to find a new location and time to record as I cannot record in the middle of the day on a Wednesday since I will be at work all day haha. 

    The Autumn's End sweater is coming along beautifully. Almost done with the section that is the waist section. 

   The Leaf Blanket is coming along, it's a diamond shaped afghan with leaves knitted in relief of purl stitches, so I am on the decreasing end. I'm knitting this with Premier Yarns Serenity Chunky Heathers and two size 10.5US, 6.5mm needles. 

   The Impression Vest is the only other project I've been working on and it's coming along beautifully. I'm using Plymouth Encore Tweed worsted weight yarn on size 7 and 8 needles (4.5 and 5 mm) in the vest and I just adore tweedy yarn :D. 


  So many people are sick, experiencing loss, remembering grief, and having a hard time during the holiday season so make sure that you know, people do care, just have to find the right people to reach out too. Keep your chin up and stitch on!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sweater Pattern Favorites

It looks like I'm getting into a rhythm with my blog and podcast. Blog on the weekend once, podcast on Wednesday. Not a bad rhythm!

Some regular housekeeping.
Where you can find me:
Instagram: Tangledmania
Ravelry: Tangledmania
Ravelry Group: Tangledmania
Facebook: Tangledmania Blog
Youtube Channel: Tangledmania Podcasts

I've been brainstorming, still a giveaway that I will be hosting, and have finally decided on a Ravelry pattern giveaway of $7 or less. The details will be relayed on my podcast this week on how to enter and what the rules are!

Sweater Favorites:
 I thought it would be fun to highlight my favorite patterns, so this section will have two. One that I've completed and one that I want to complete.
  The one that I have completed and that I loved was from Interweave Knits Magazine, Winter 2014. It is the L'Acadie Cardigan by Bristol Ivy who also has a blog called Where the Red-Winged Black Bird Flies

   This is an awesome sweater, and a very simple cable pattern that is easy to follow. A great pattern for relative beginner to cables who wants to venture into sweaters with cables! :D The yarn I used was Berroco Comfort, worsted weight, and it was nice to use and has been pilling, but not too badly so it's nice and comfy. With winter coming on, I've layered it with my alpaca sweater from New England Knits called Augusta Cardigan, which was my first knitted sweater ever. 
   Funny story about that, I screwed up the cables in front of the sweater and instead of going back, since I was done with the sweater, I just said forget it and I've lived with it ever since. Good thing it was for me as I was my own guinea pig haha. Just goes to show, that if it's for you, and you can live with it, leave it alone. And no one has every said anything about it.

One that I want to do is from the Vogue Knitting Magazine, Fall 2014, called #22 Vibrant Colorwork Pullover by Marie Wallin. This is a pattern that I would really like to attempt in 2015 because it's so lovely and it's colorwork! Who doesn't enjoy a bit of colorwork for a challenge! :D

These are just a few of my favorites, my list in Ravelry is out of control, but these are my current "woot's" lol. 

Short Blog Wrap-up
  The podcast will have a stash enhancement fun, review of the latest Vogue Knitting and Interweave Knits magazines as well as details on how to get into my giveaway. Knit on people and keep your chins up! "Winter is Coming!"


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Podcast 2: Being Silly

Show Notes

  Some misspoken words and phrases, but all in all some good silly fun.

Where you can find me:
Instagram: Tangledmania
Ravelry: Tangledmania
Ravelry Group: Tangledmania
Facebook: Tangledmania Blog

Autumn's End sweater, designed by Alana Dakos aka Nevernotknitting on instagram and ravelry
Basic Cables Can Be Fun by Joe D'Angio
Glaciation by Josh Ryks

Cat's Eye Cowl by Gretchen Tracy
Basic Toddler Hats by Lauren Estes

Swish DK (knitpicks) I am using colorway Rainforest Heather

Stash Enhancement:
MIRLA Fiber Arts found on Facebook and on Etsy
  Sun Salutation in superwash wool (75%)/nylon (25%) fingering, 434 yards
  Nighttiming in superwash wool (75%)/nylon (25%) fingering, 434 yards

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Casting on: Autumn's End

Welcome back, my friends! I hope you enjoyed my first podcast, and there will be more to come, I'm sure because I had a really fun time doing it (aside from technological stuff). It's fun being in front of a camera with the chance to just sound-off and chat.

   There are only four days left on the MIRLA Fiber Arts Kickstarter, so please donate if you can and let's keep her in business!! Here is a sample of her yarn, such loveliness!!

Where you can find me:
Instagram: Tangledmania
Ravelry: Tangledmania
Ravelry Group: Tangledmania
Facebook: Tangledmania Blog

Autumn's End sweater, designed by Alana Dakos aka Nevernotknitting on instagram and ravelry

Andean Treasure in Aurora Heather

Swatching is essential for sweaters!
   Sweaters really are one of the few knitted items that I strongly suggest folks take the time to check gauge and make a swatch. I have been so excited to jump ahead and start a sweater project before and more often than not, I have regretted it.
    The pattern calls for size 7US, 4.5mm needles but I knit loosely so this is the swatch that gave me the gauge I needed for this sweater, which ended up being size 6US, 4.0mm needles.

Casting on fun!
     (I am not going into specific details, such as cast on numbers and such, because this pattern is not free, out of respect for Alana and her designs.)
  If you're casting on with me (and come chat in the ravelry Autumn's End chat if you are), you may have noticed that the instructions say to use the long-tail cast on and we cast on a great deal of stitches. And I was thinking about how I can do this without the conundrum of having too long a tail or not a long enough tail to complete all the stitches. So, I did some research after I did the swatch and What I found with my research is the suggestion to use two balls of yarn to cast on, and I thought it was brilliant. No, I have not done a long-tail cast on with two balls before. :D.

   Guide with pictures: You can find a fantastic guide to this on another blog called Coco Knits, with pictures and all! So that is what I used and it worked brilliantly. I have 3 tails which has been interesting haha, but otherwise it really does make me happy and may be my new go-to for long-tail and a high number of cast on stitches.

    Preview: I've been working at it and truly love it. With the yarn color I'm using, it's almost like ferns in the forest, which is really lovely. And the yarn is so soft. I joked with my husband that I was responsible for them selling out in that color, since knitpicks.com did sell out in the Aurora Heather colorway last week haha. I hope you know that I am absolutely not serious about that. :P
  This is pinned out so that you could see the pattern a little, but once the sweater is done, soaked and blocked out, the lace features will really show.

S2KP2: I do have one more thing to show you, it is for the S2KP2 in the pattern. I was doing it wrong for the longest time and now I'm finally doing it right, in time for this project. What you want is for the center stitch to line up.

Be well, folks and keep your chins up and your hands busy :D. Another podcast will be coming this Wednesday, I hope. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tangledmania Podcast Episode 1

Wow that was odd, well, here are the show notes!
  Sorry for the slightly fuzzy picture, will work on getting a good webcam for xmas. :P

Botanical Knits by Alana Dakos
On Ravelry: Botanical Knits
Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure
Basic Cables Can Be Fun by Joe D'Angio
#27 Leaf Blanket by Inge Spungen


Podcast Loves:

Awesome shops:


Be sure that you keep passing word around about the MIRLA Fiber Arts Kickstarter! I meant to talk about it in my podcast but forgot and then I do not know, yet, how to join videos. So here is the other video. Sorry Jinny!! And say hi to my youngest daughter! :D

Thank you for watching!! Be Well!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Fighting Depressive Symptoms

Where you can find me:
Instagram: Tangledmania
Ravelry: Tangledmania
Ravelry Group: Tangledmania
Facebook: Tangledmania Blog

This will not be one of those blog-posts in which I am going to be stating my works in progress, or showing my finished objects. Instead, this is a little blurb about today.

   Today was a gray, cloudy, and sleepy day. 

   Problem number one, I didn't sleep so well last night and problem number two, I have a job interview tomorrow. The reason why number two is a problem is because I truly need a job and not having one is both petrifying and stressful, so I'm very stressed out that I will not get the job that my family needs me to get so badly.

   What did I do? I could have just sat there and stared at the television and cried. Goodness knows there are days where I've done that. Heck, I lost several months of my life to a couch and depression when I was 19. But I did self care.

  1. I did take a morning nap with my 3 year old on the couch. This is okay because I was exhausted and it was cuddle time.
  2. When I was awake, I kept my hands busy and knitted. I also made sure to post on instagram my posts for the two fun December instagram events I'm doing (follow me, Tangledmania). 
  3. I did not let myself binge eat in the slightest, which lends me towards eating less, but I make up for it and I'm not skinny so it won't kill me for one day. 
  4. I told my husband briefly on the phone that I was upset and what about (guilt for being unemployed). It always helps to reach out, even though when you are in that state of mind, so little will relieve the despair of the moment, but it passes.
  5. And right now, I'm blogging about my symptoms, and explaining what I did. 
  The reason these are healthy and helpful for me is because they gave me compassion for myself. They also helped me focus on something else, such as knitting, which broke repetitive thought processes. Writing about it here, helped me think it through and logically and as I finish writing this paragraph, I actually do feel better. 

  I'm putting off doing my first podcast until I receive some yarn to show off, but I have so much to talk about, so I'm really excited and nervous. 

  Here's to hoping you had a fun Thanksgiving in the USA, a wonderful weekend for everyone else and that everyone keeps their chin up when they can, and hug themselves inside when they can't during this holiday season. Be well!

Jen Riley

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Fun - Happy Turkey-Day!!

Where you can find me:
Instagram: Tangledmania
Ravelry: Tangledmania
Ravelry Group: Tangledmania
Facebook: Tangledmania Blog

Turkey-Day Chat:
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the USA, so to all my USA viewers, Happy Turkey-Day! Who's going to win the football games? Looks like there are three games going on:
  Bears vs Lions
  Eagles vs Cowboys
  Seahawks vs. 49ers

   I'm not sure which game I'll end up watching and knitting in front of, likely just whichever one is on when I'm done making the turkey and I can finally sit down. At my house it's not really a big deal, just my two small daughters, my mom and husband and that is it. Which I'm kind of grateful for, because that is anxiety ridden enough for me as it is.

Reading Pleasure:
   Still reading my way through Prince Lestat by Anne Rice (her latest)  and enjoying the new characters she's introduced into the book that we never knew before. Antoine is a little jarring, but still easy to relate too. I do not know what's next on my list to read and I've been plowing through the outline for my self-help book on how to use Yarncrafting in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to treat depressive and anxiety symptoms.

WIP (Work In Progress):
   Working on scarves for xmas, pattern is from Joe D'Angio "Basic Cable Can Be Nice".
    I burned my finger the other day, so that has taken a bit out of my knitting sail, so to speak. But my knitting ADHD is in full force as I get ready to cast on for my "Knit-Botanical-Knits-Book" event. Not such a fun thing, I lost my size 8 needles!! This sometimes happens around my recliner but I can usually find it. It's been almost two weeks and I still can't find those circulars so I may have to order another pair.
   But I did knit a little on the fair isle tam, but not much.

FO (Finished Object):
  This is sadly empty.. but here is a funny picture to make you smile!

Wrapping up:
  I'm typing things up this way to give you an idea of how my podcast will go. Yes, I will be doing a podcast. First I'm waiting for some yarn to arrive so that I have something fun to show you. Secondly, I'm looking for the best place to do it.
   Life is moving on as tonight I get ready to cook turkey tomorrow, not my favorite thing to do since my oven is older than me (I'm 34), but it does the job. We also got hit by a good snow storm today, but stayed safely home so all is well in the household. Everyone is safe and no one is sick, besides the occasional sniffles. Project bags are everywhere, even my seven year olds, who is knitting a nice bulky scarf (I'm so proud of her!)

Have a wonderful turkey day. Be happy, be nice to each other and remember that no one can love you more than yourself, so love yourself and be compassionate to yourself! Thank you for reading!

Jen Riley

Saturday, November 22, 2014

"Knit-the-Book" Event News

I love interviews! Don't you? Jinny is so wonderful so I hope you all keep spreading the news of her Kickstarter Campaign!.

Where you can find me:
Instagram: Tangledmania
Ravelry: Tangledmania
Ravelry Group: Tangledmania
Facebook: Tangledmania Blog

Pre-Event Projects (WIP, including  Xmas Stuff)
  So I have to finish two cabled scarves for men, so my butt is in high gear for that. I'm using the same pattern for both, which is by Joe D'Angio and is called "Basic Cable Can Be Nice". I linked the connection to the Ravelry page for the pattern (which is free, by the way) but he also has a blog here on blogspot called The Actor Knits. It's a more simple cable pattern than I usually do but, hey, it's for a dad and his son, both grown.

Also, I'm going to work on finishing up Josh Ryks Glaciation mystery knit a long, the last clue was released today. :D. I am almost finished with clue three so hopefully I can finish this shawl in the next couple of days.

Event News
I know, you all were like, I don't care about the other projects you're doing. :D Or maybe you do, haha. I will be receiving yarn from Knitpicks very soon for the Autumn's End Sweater, which is the first project in the book. There are some packages that I'm expecting, so perhaps that will be my first podcast, opening packages.

 I may end up knitting the Buds and Bloom's sweater in bulky yarn that is not available anymore, but we'll see.

The Twigs and Willows sweater will be knit in Berroco ultra alpaca (worsted) in colorway tiger's eye mix.

The Entangled Vines sweater is up in the air, in regards to yarn. I'm really not sure what I'll be using for it as I'm out of a sweater's worth of worsted weight yarn in my stash at this point, but fear not! I will think of something :D. Perhaps a splurge at Jimmy Beans Wool or Webs.

The two DK hats, Forest Floor and Pressed Leaves will be knit out of yarn I will be dyeing with help from a local farm, many pictures will come on that adventure! The yarn itself will be donated by this good friend so I am super excited!!

 The Ivy Trellis Socks yarn will be donated by Three Fate Yarns and I am so grateful to the owner Stephania Fregosi for her generosity. If you have not been to her shop, you need to get over there and drool!

  The Ivy Trellis Mittens yarn will be donated by Keya Kuhn of Cedar Hill Farm Company, and she is doing a special colorway just for this event so I'm so grateful and cannot wait to see it when it arrives!!

  And the Wrapped in Leaves shawl will be knit in Supersquish DK in the colorway Harvest Moon by Angela Moon of Celestial Strings Yarn. She provided me with a discount and I'm super grateful for her willingness to do a custom order for this shawl, since this colorway wasn't readily available. Go check it out for a preview!

There are a few other projects unaccounted for, yarn-wise, but I am not worried. Life tends to fall into place and we are going to have a ball. I hope you knit a long with me! See you again soon, and no I will not be blogging tomorrow, lol. Off to a local fair to help out a fellow yarn crafter, Simply Shawls, who makes amazing woven shawls that are selling out as soon as she makes them. I almost feel sorry for her haha.

Have I put in enough links? :D

Be Well!
Jen Riley

Friday, November 21, 2014

Interview: MIRLA Fiber Arts: Jinny McKenzi

One of the things I wanted to do was to provide interviews and spotlight fantastic artist that make my addiction to knitting even more wonderful. One such person is Jinny McKenzi, who owns MIRLA Fiber Arts. She is currently running a kickstarter fundraiser to expand her business and is offering fantastic rewards for donations.

You can find her at the following locations:
MIRLA Fiber Arts Etsy Shop 
(Shop is on vacation mode until after Fundraiser ends)

1) How did you get started in fiber arts?
I started in fiber as a young child. My grandmother, who was an amazing quilter, taught me how to crochet one Christmas when she came to visit. At 13 I crocheted my first granny square afghan, but then put fiber aside in favor of teen angst! Then at college I was looking for creative classes to take alongside my more academically demanding course load and I found a tapestry weaving class, I was lost to fiber from then on. I found a rickety old Ashford Traditional and taught myself to spin. It has been a wonderful journey.

Drooling here.. are you?
2) How did you come up with your brand name?
My brand name is an acronym for my children in the order of their births. MIRLA: Madison, Iris, Rose, Livia, and Aurelia. I got lucky that their names work together so well. My logo design is also representative of my children. A Rose for Madison as it's her middle name, an Iris for Iris, another Rose for Rose, a Wren for Livia as it is her middle name, and a locket representing Gold which is what Aurelia means in latin (golden). The logo was designed by my amazingly talented brother, Scot McKenzie, who is a painter in Portland, Oregon.

3) Where do you get your inspiration for the colors you use?
I don't have any preconceptions when I go into a dye session, I work on instinct and am usually happy. I find that when I try too hard to preconceive an outcome I am often not pleased with the results. However, for the Kickstarter I did manage to come up with a number of repeatable colorways that I am happy with, based mainly on previous results I'd had without forethought. When I am really in need of inspiration I look to nature and draw from the colors that speak to me there. The internet is a treasure trove of imagery and I am thankful it is there when I need it.

4) Your kickstarter is a fundraiser to expand, will you be opening a physical shop?
At the moment I have no plans to open a physical shop. I am fortunate to live in an area rich in fiber arts. The downside of that, for me as a business, is that the market is already saturated with shops that provide for the existing fiber community here. I do hope to one day move to an area where a physical shop would be possible and have already started exploring options.

5) What do you think about the popular idea that fiber arts are a good coping mechanism for  depression and anxiety?
I believe strongly in the therapeutic benefits of the fiber arts and any creative art form really. There is nothing I can think of that has more positive influence on the mind and soul than immersing oneself into something creative. I do think the fiber arts are particularly suited to this end, there is something about the rhythm of spinning yarn, or repeating a stitch pattern, that is soothing. These moments of quiet concentration and focus are a form of meditation that is regenerative to the mind and spirit.

6) What are your future goals?
My future goals are fairly simple but moderately ambitious, eventually I would like to have a full retail fiber website. I want to keep creating and contributing to other artists creations via my fibers and yarns. If I am lucky enough to one day have a physical shop then that would be the icing on an already delicious cake, but it is not something I need to continue pursuing my passion for this wonderful art form and sharing it with those who graciously allow me to.

Can anyone else relate to her answers? I can! So go check out her kickstarter page, which you can find here: MIRLA Fiber Arts Kickstarter and donate if you can! We need to support our fiber genius'. :D I need to stop drooling over her yarn pictures..

Good luck to you, Jinny!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Getting Excited and Other Things

Getting Excited
   Yes, I am. This is a big deal for the blog and I'm super excited to relay that I have the following yarn folks/companies on board for advertising!
   Knitpicks.com (if you are not familiar with them, you should be :D)
   Cedar Hill Farm Company (which has absolutely lovely hand-dyed yarn)
   There are more on the way but these two are definite. All of the companies should get uber-love because it's just fantastic what they're doing for the blog!

   It looks like I'll be dyeing some of the yarn that I will be receiving so that will be a fun adventure and I will definitely be posting about that with pictures!

  If you haven't voted, make sure you get on the Ravelry group Tangledmania and put in your vote! Will you be knitting along with me? I'm planning on starting from the beginning of the book that wins in the voting and going straight through. There will be giveaways as well!

Other Things
   So I've been suffering from knitting ADHD, I just cannot stay focused haha. But knitted a little bit on the fair isle tam. Funny story about that pattern is that I am a very literal pattern follower. I can change things up, but it usually takes me by surprise when I have to change things. So I had to frog back to the corrugated ribbing which you can see here:

  I also have been working on a second pair of socks, this time for my seven year old daughter and I'm just fudging the pattern, though I'm not sure I like it. What do you think? Let me know, as I'm considering frogging these back doing lace or cables or something.

Lastly, should I do a weekly podcast? Or is reading better? I'm enjoying the podcasts and am unsure. Is that the new way to go. Give me your preferences. What are your favorite podcasts? Go check out my Facebook page for the blog as well! Tangledmania Blog.

On a more personal note, I have a job interview on December 2nd so I'm so excited, it would be so great for my family for me to be back to work!!

Be well and I'll be talking to you soon!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Preparation and Mystery Knit A Long's (Updated 8 hours later)

So preparing for the big project of knitting through book's has be very excited. I've looked through all of the book, but Botanical Knits is far in the lead and I'm looking at the four sweaters haha. But nothing looks too bad. :D. I'm so excited!!

    If anyone knows of any independent yarn genius's that want to sponsor this endeavor and have their name splashed all over the place, let me know, or have them contact me through the Ravelry group. Yes, I'm asking because it's a great source of advertisement. Update 4:44pm: Knitpicks has hopped on board with donating yarn! I am over the moon and keep saying "Holy Rapies!" (Hotel Transylvania).

   Make sure you go and join the Ravelry group and vote, it is called Tangledmania and I have a discussion thread on books going so it should be fun!

  Another fun part of this that I've decided to include is that everyone in the Ravelry group will be available to enter into a giveaway towards the end in which I will giveaway one of the non-sweater projects. I'll use rafflecopter and post it on here, but the only way to track that it's not some random folk that I can think of is that you're also in the Ravelry group.

That takes care of the preparation portion of the upcoming event, which feel free to knit a long with me, by the way. I would love to hear comments and give aid as I can.

  Next, I've decided to play fast catch up on Josh Rykk's (Sword of a Knitter/Geoknittrix patterns on Ravelry) and his Glaciation mystery kal (knit a long) and having a fun time with the funky shapes!! They are already on clue three, but I believe I just finished clue 1, so not much of a spoiler, unless you are starting really late. DancingGeek sucked me into this with his podcast, it just tortured me because I wanted to try it so much. I love mystery knit a longs and have done an Outlander version and a Game of Thrones and had a ball with both!! People are so awesome on ravelry!

 Here is a preview, and I'm using Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in Moonshadow and oceanic mix.

Be well, folks, go join the group, go vote and thank your for being a part of my world. Love you guys!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Book Review Poll and Wrapping up the Bazaar

In the great inspiring steps of Julie Powell, one of the two main characters of "Julie and Julia" (the movie), on November 22, 2014 I will start my book review journey. What I mean by that, is that I will be taking a knitting pattern book and knitting every single pattern in it while I blog about the video's I used for help on new techniques, changes I make to the pattern, possible alternate yarns I use (and why), and if I'm lucky maybe a designer interview!   I have received an overwhelming response to this endeavor and I am very excited about it!

  Presently, I have a poll up here in my Tangledmania Ravelry group, and that poll will be up until Friday, November 21, 2014, at which time whatever book has the most votes will be the first book I knit my way through. The book's, which were picked at random from my library and excluded afghan books, are as follows:

  1. New American Knits by Amy Christoffer's
  2. Stitching in the Stacks by Sarah Barbour
  3. Botanical Knits by Alana Dakos
  4. 60 Quick Baby Knits by Sixth and Spring Books
There is an other category, so you can add suggestions for future knitting book reviews for me to go through pattern by pattern. But go vote and join the Ravelry group and let's have some fun. Maybe knit along with me when I reach a pattern you've been meaning to tackle. 

  Second of all, I wrapped up my bazaar today. Two days of 6 hours a day of being social and smiling and putting my stuff out there.. To only sell one hat.. But I will say this, I had a freaking AWESOME time. :-D I do not care that I only sold a hat. I met some awesome people, was able to be social and just have a great two days!  Ironic part about selling at a bazaar is that you need to lift things up and justify the price, that was hard for me to do this time. But next year will be better :D. 

Be well!! :D

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

First Bazaar: SUNY Cobleskill Holiday Bazaar

I'm soo nervous!!

  So a few things on my plate. The big one is that this Friday and Saturday, November 14-15, I'l be selling my knitting at SUNY Cobleskill during their Holiday Bazaar and I am sooo psyched and nervous! I've been knitting furiously and my 7 year old will be helping me draft the tags starting tonight haha. Here are some pictures of items I finished that didn't make it to my shop.

This hat is just so much fun, with little beads on top. It's a slouchy hat! :D kinda looks elvish, doesn't it? I gave it away during an instagram giveaway so had to make a new one for the shop.

    These mittens are a taken from a full mitten pattern, but I wanted some more fingerless mittens for my table, so there it is. The green is really bright and fun! I know I previewed one mitten last time, but here they are together! For one at a time, my gauge is getting pretty even.

     I'm working on one more super chunky cowl and another cabled kitty hat, since my daughter stole the one I made for the shop (hehe) and say I'm good. Soo nervous!! Everything from my shop will be for sale on my table. I think my biggest problem will be figuring out how to get them to display nicely.. I'm still unsure what I'm going to do.. I need to figure out ways to add height so that my stuff isn't all flat.. Brainstorm.. Any ideas?

Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Development and Depression in the Holiday Season

  The Holiday season is always really tough for me, as a kid there were very few happy holiday memories in my family, mostly they were stressful and sad and very lonely; a few were even horrific. So as an adult, my job is to try and figure out how to make it fun for my kids, which isn't easy because it's all up to me for various reasons. So it is really easy to feel depressed and part of depression is anger and irritation in normal daily life.

  So many of us have had hard childhood's, I'm not under any belief that I am unique, or that it is a competition and I had it worst, which I know I didn't. Instead, I try to be compassionate towards others and myself on a daily basis. Towards myself means giving myself a break, if I need to sit on the chair and cry a little, then get up and clean for 20 minutes, so be it. If I need to message a friend on Facebook, so be it. If I need to go for a walk, that is a bonus with the kids :D.

  So once you take care of yourself, you should also be able to take care of others. Like my children and my husband who is in pain from his back (though I would prefer if he would throw out his trash that is next to the counter instead of leaving it on the counter haha). What I've noticed is that folks who have been neglected as children (at least neglected, if not abused), crave for people to return this care and when it doesn't happen it can be devastating.

   So if you find yourself feeling that way, keep in mind that first of all we surround ourselves by people who we are comfortable and familiar with, and that includes people who resemble the family we grew up with in various ways, including emotional availability. Second of all, what if it was up to us to hug that little neglected child inside and cuddle that child when we feel that devastation, instead of waiting for someone else to do the cuddling. As adults we can do a certain amount of what I call self-mothering and actually think about that child that wanted love and simply hug the innocent child that still lives in all of us.

   We're kind of like onion layers, which is how I see human development.

  1. At the center is the baby who needs to be mimicked and needs to get that face to face contact and smiles. 
  2. Then the toddler who needs just as much love and cuddles as well as a growing sense of boundaries for wrong and right. 
  3. Then the child who needs those boundaries reinforced and a safe and affectionate place to turn too. 
  4. Teenagers are so ready to be independent but they still need those hugs and embarrassing kisses, as well as the strong boundaries, and stories to relate to the teen about the dangers of choices during that time, though experience is going to be a strong influence. 
  5. The presiding opinion is that the brain does not stop developing until at least the age of 25, which would mean that teenagers are teen's until 25 and as I'm 34, my opinion is that is probably true haha. 
So if any of these spaces are missing support, acceptance or love of at least one adult, and let's admit that many of us have missed that unconditional feeling, there is a hole. I wonder why the holiday's are the times that make that emptiness most prevalent? Why do you think?

  I have been knitting obsessively, because I have a bazaar I will be selling my items at on November 14-15 at SUNY Cobleskill. I'm psyched!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What I'm reading, What I'm doing, and What else is going on.

What I'm Reading:
Trying to finish library books can be tough, especially when on a deadline for knitting a scarf for a calendar. But in the scarf's favor it was a lovely soft knit, but I am a bit cabled out. I cannot share pictures but you can order the calendar here (warning, the calendar does feature grown men with scant clothing, though everything is usually strategically covered haha).

  Some of the books I'm attempting to finish are:

  1. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From The Making of The Princess Pride, by Cary Elwes (Wesley) with Joe Layden. 
  2. Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town, by Beth Macy.
Almost done with the first, it's a quick read and a fun one, for the most part. It goes a little too much into some history stuff and not enough into little tidbits from the making of the movie, though there are some. I'll let you know on the second.

   What I'm Doing:
As usual, I've been knitting (big surprise) mittens, and they are going along swimmingly. Next is a colorwork tam, so that will be fun. Here is the first mitten all done, except for weaving in the ends. I am very happy with the result and with my attempt at latvian braids :D.
What else is going on?
   I'm working on finishing a few projects from "60 More Quick Knits" so that I can have a knitting book review for next month. So far, I love this book and the only problem I have is that all the projects are in sport weight, which is kind of a pain to get in person. 

  Be well folks and safe this Halloween. Check the candy and keep an eye out for animal safety. 

Jen Riley

Friday, October 24, 2014

Keeping It Real With My Kindle, Some Spidey-Sense, and Halloween Begins.

That is a very long title.. But I will explain, haha. First of all, I have been posting two posts a week, but this past week there has been nothing and I will tell you why. I've been on an emotionally roller-coaster in working on getting myself reinstated with the state, as those of you who have been following me know, I have been searching for a job. So I have been in conference with Civil Service to find out my options and furiously applying to position in various state agencies. This has been so stressful that it's just been a very emotional week in coming to terms with that.

   So that has sucked.

  But other things that have happened would be that I was contacted to do a review of a book by the author, so that was just fun and out of the blue! The book is called The String Quartet by Dan Hupalo.  So far so good, I will let  you know more when I finish the book :D. Just found it interesting that I was asked out of the blue.

  Have you ever looked at patterns or a pattern book you have purchased on your kindle? One of the nice things about having a kindle is that I can send pdf's to my kindle, such as patterns I purchased or was able get a hold of for free on ravelry and other places. So while I work on a project the pdf is very portable. But when it comes to craft/pattern books I find it lacking. Maybe it would be better on the kindle fire (the large tablet) but my kids commandeered it so it's not really available haha.

  Speaking of my kids, my 7 year old has a birthday party to go to this weekend and instead of buying a toy, I found out that the kid has taken an obsession of spiderman so I just finished these mittens, hopefully he likes them. :D


Also, my kids received their Halloween costumes today. Hilarity started as my 3 year old refused to take off her kitty costume. Here she is on the couch petting herself haha: 

  And my 7 year old also had her first dance, a Halloween dance, today, where she wore her costume and she and I had a decent night without tears or whining on either side haha.

I love my daughters. I am so blessed!!

Jen Riley