I Backed "The Knit Show with Vickie Howell"

If you've been around as long as I have (and I'm not exactly a spring rose anymore), you'll remember an amazing show called "Knitty Gritty" that aired on the DIYnetwork back when said channel wasn't frothing at the mouth over home renovation projects.

Don't you miss those days?

The show was hosted by none other than my knitting idol Vickie Howell. You've probably heard me say several times that I learned how to knit from my Oma. While that's true, the woman who reinvented knitting for me (and taught me more than the basics) was Vickie Howell, and "Knitty Gritty" was the comforting-yet-educational reason I made it through a depressing breakup with my long-term, live-in boyfriend at the time.

I used to watch the show even when I hadn't touched my needles in years (and when I really only knew how to knit and purl). I experienced my first break-through thanks to Knitty Gritty: the yarn-over! And I've been plugging away ever since.

Needless to say, I keep a special place in my heart for Knitty Gritty and it's I-want-to-be-best-friends-with-her-host, and I've missed being able to tune in and see what she and her prolific-knitter guests have been up to.

Well, we have that chance yet again. I'm here to implore you to back a Kickstarter project I just found out about (and have backed myself): "The Knit Show with Vickie Howell". It'll the the first crowd-funded, professionally produced knitting show ad most importantly: it brings my favorite knitter back to our screens.

How does crowdsourcing work? I won't waste your time explaining it here because Vickie does a great job of that herself in this Facebook video. But basically, if you back the project, you can choose from different levels of support and receive a little reward if/when it goes live.

To me, it's more than worth the investment. As someone who has recently started a fledgling knitter group for my fellow Skimmbassadors (if you're not reading the Skimm, why?), this will become an important resource for them and other beginners. I know it did wonders for me, and there's no reason others should miss out.

Want more details? Check out the Kickstarter campaign here and make sure to review the different rewards you can get.

I really want to see this happen - for all the reasons described above, and also the fact there isn't any good craft programming on TV anymore. I feel like I've switched entirely to YouTube for my crafting needs, and although I move than love my podcasts, I miss this format. So how about we get this show on the road?!

PS: Backers of all levels ($1 and over) will receive the knitting pattern for the Sloucher Beanie, which is super cute. Check it out below:

In Progress: Just Another Vanilla Sock

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I'm sluggish. I don't know what else to say, but as I'm typing this, all I can think about is how much I want to crawl into bed with one of my books and fall asleep within a matter of minutes.

(Worth noting is that only minutes after I started putting this post together, I got two migraines two days in a row, which explains more than you can imagine)  

Between that and the wrist pain I've had since Christmas, my knitting time has been little-to-none. That doesn't mean I haven't been doing anything, but it means I forced myself to take a break so my wrist got better (it hasn't) and lost my mojo in the process.

That said, I'm in "get it done" mode and have been picking projects back up left and right just to finish them off. One of those WIPs are these vanilla socks I started forever ago as an on-the-road project for visiting breweries or going out for cocktails (I am clearly not afraid of knitting in public!)

Here are the details, in case you're interested: 

Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks Stripes
Colorway: Meadow Stripes
Pattern: Not really using a pattern at this point - just straight knitting socks based on how I know they fit!
Heel: Fish Lips Kiss

This project is taking forever, so I'm a bit sick of looking at it. But it's been nice to take with me on brief car trips because the other socks I'm working on are a bit less mindless.

Now that I've briefly checked in, it's time to go and continue recouping. Today was my first full day back to work this week thanks to my migraines, so it was an exhausting day trying to catch up. I'm still loving working from home, though, and my job in general. I'm looking forward to speaking at a marketing conference next month, as well, although thinking about it kind of makes me want to puke, too :P

In the meantime, I'm: also:

Reading: Columbine by Dave Cullen (I'm just over 100 pages in and its riveting - highly recommended for anyone who, like me, remembers this event, or is interested in how/why this stuff happens)

Watching: The Golden Girls (It's on Hulu and I've been binge-watching. You know you're jealous)

2017 February KnitCrate Sock Unboxing

It's that time again: time for me to drool over my latest yarn acquisitions, this time courtesy of KnitCrate!

The good folks there reached out to me about a month ago and asked if I had any interest in reviewing their boxes. As you may or may not know, I used to be a KnitCrate subscriber, but cut back because I needed to save money (I think you can see by all my stash enhancements that my plan didn't go well). Since the early days, they've come under new management (or ownership) and the branding has changed a bit, so I was - of course - interested to see what was new!

Depending on what's included, you now either get a cute box (as is the case with the sock crate I opened first) or their traditional red envelope. Read on to find out what was inside!

Yarn

This month's box includes a skein of Mrs. Crosby's Train Case, a blend of 55% Merino Wool, 15% Nylon, and 30% Outlast Viscose, a unique fiber that extends the life of your socks. This unique colorway was created just for us (and it's absolutely gorgeous, people)

Pattern

A swirling treat of a sock, designer Mindy Vasil's Soft Serve Socks are a playful and delightful knit. You'll love watching the colors play out as your knit from the toe up. This project is perfect for me, if only because it's knit toe-up. I just knit a pair of cuff-downs and I now hate my life.

Extra

Soothe yourself at the end of a long day with this handmade, heart-shaped bath bomb from Etsy artisan Petting My Unicorn (with a name like that, you know I was going to be enthusiastic). Scented with lavendar essential oil and made from premium ingredients, this bath bomb is specifically designed to relax sore muscles (perfect to recover from a knitting and Netflix binge!) Or, in my case and as mentioned in the video, recovering from a long week or work travel.

So, how much is it?

Glad you asked ;) The price for a monthly sock crate is $29.94, shipped. Which is awesome because this month's crate has a retail value of $31.74. So you're more than making your money back, especially when you consider shipping costs. Mrs. Crosby is a really great yarn to work with, too - plus, it's an exclusive colorway! You know how I feel about exclusivity!

And get a discount!

Use code JL20 to get 20% off your first purchase :)

Finished: Crescendo Hat (PATTERN AVAILABLE NOW!)

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Hey, all! Popping in to tell you about this lovely hat my friend Erin (better known as gimmeyarn418 in the knitting community) designed for us all!

Called Crescendo, this hat combines slipped stitches and basic knitting techniques to create a stretchy hat perfect for variegated or speckled yarns. It's quick to knit up, too, so I'm thinking you should add this to your stash in extremely advanced preparation of holiday gift knitting. Just saying :)

I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester, so I put my needles to work last week and love the result (I've also been wearing it ever since I bound off and have received a lot of compliments). I really think you will, too!

If you need more swaying, then you should also know that all proceeds will be donated to the Seth Bottari fund. Seth is Erin's cuddly baby nephew who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Every little bit helps, so buy one for you and your friends and start your own Crescendo collection.

2017 January Yarn Crush Unboxing

Hey, all! I'm back again with yet another Yarn Crush unboxing (it seems like these are the only videos I make anymore, but I promise I'm working on that!)

This month was all about yummy treats, as you can tell from the spoiler card we all got - hello, donuts! Bonus: the goodies awaiting me were just as yummy. If you're ready to be spoiled, then check out Yarn Crush's January contents:

The Goodies

The Yarn is a pillowy-soft skein of Single Ply Chunky from Twisted Owl Fibers (who I've been following on Instagram forever, apparently, so imagine my surprise when I finally was able to get my hands on some through Yarn Crush). The yarn is an 80% superwash merino / 20% nylon blend, which makes it both soft and easy to care for. The colorway I received is "Dancing Bears" - can't help thinking of the Grateful Dead once you see the yarn and know the name! You have no idea what a coincidence that is, being that my college sorority's imagery was all based off the Dead. This box was meant to be.

The Patterns, as usual, allow you to choose between a knitting or crochet item. This month, both patterns are for headbands. The knitting pattern is for Alcyone's Crown and the crochet pattern is for Genevrie. They're similar in design, and both feature the notions provided in this month's box (detailed below), so whatever your craft, you're guaranteed to have a gorgeous accessory when complete.

The Notions give you everything you need to put the finishing touches on your January project - lots (30, to be exact) of adorable, sparkly, horse eye rhinestones and a button for whichever headband you choose to make! We've even been provided with the sewing thread to attach them. Seriously, I mean it when I say Yarn Crush gives you everything you need to make each monthly project.

The Bonus Gift was such a cute surprise this month - a piece of handcrafted jewelry from one of two Toronto-based artisans. Hyein Lee makes beautiful laser-cut brooches based on her own illustrations (I got a sheep that I'm going to now wear everywhere) and Candice Ware makes food-themed jewelry that looks cute enough to eat. We don't always get a bonus gifts, so it's always a fun treat when we do!

The Price: I've said it before and I'll say it again: one of my favorite things about Yarn Crush is that you know the retail value of each item in your box (it's published along with the description of the box's contents). Why is that important? Because you know exactly what you're getting for what you've paid, and let me tell you: it's always a steal. The retail value of January 2017's box was $49-95-$55.95, but the monthly subscription price is only $32.99 in comparison. That’s up to almost $23 in savings!

The Rating

How could I possibly give Yarn Crush any less than 5/5 stars? The answer is: I can't. The yarn is just too pretty and the projects too fun for me not to rave like a lunatic about the contents.

How to Get It

There are a couple subscription options and multiple ways to pay. For example, you can subscribe to a monthly box or bi-monthly box and then select how often you'd like to be charged. You, of course, save money with a 3- or 6-month payment plan; I love when subscriptions cater to both our needs and our budgets, especially for those of us trying to be more conscious of what we’re spending (look, I said "trying").

PS: For those of you wondering, I switched to the Sock Crush box, which is $29.99 monthly. I should be receiving my first Sock Crush this month!

If you're ready to learn more, click the button below to either subscribe or select the subscription option that's right for you: