April 13, 2014
by Emma

Spring Cleaning

Some people clean in the spring. I don’t because let’s be honest, I hate cleaning no matter what the season. My dream is to be rich enough to afford a house husband who can stay home and do all the cooking and cleaning so I don’t have to. (But without the actually being married part because right now in my life I don’t believe in marriage. House lifetime partner?) Though I don’t break out the vacuum when nice weather hits, I’m not immune to that tantalizing rush of Change and New Beginnings that flows through the air–I find it more seductive than the other time of year when people love to plan Big Changes, aka January 1st. What new things have I been testing out then?

As of a few hours ago…plants!

succulentsMaybe it’s a tad pathetic that I’m proud of my ability to pick out plants at Home Depot and put them all in a pot together but look Ma, plants! I am not Green Thumb Girl. I am more like apathetic, I will have a garden if you do all the work just so I can get fresh vegetables Girl. Plants are a mystical confusing world that has never really interested me, though I can agree that they are pretty. Plus these ones thrive on neglect, according to the internet, which is perfect for me! I would have kids if kids also thrived on neglect! (Just kidding. That is why I have cats though.) I have to admit, I’ve been looking at pictures of succulents in cutely shaped planters after bringing home these babies and I am not against getting more. Waiting to make sure I don’t kill the test batch first though!

I’m also halfway through my April Challenges! I meant to post about this on April 1st and here we are…13 days later… As I’m sure you’ve guessed, health and fitness challenges are my jam if I’m going to do any kind of personal challenge at all. See: Whole 30, Rugged Maniac, and so on. I felt like I was coasting and wanted to set myself a few challenges to push myself a little this month and hopefully ingrain some new habits. They aren’t a very hard investment which is good since I am pretty busy in general right now and didn’t want to feel overwhelmed.

  • My first challenge is a Green Smoothie Challenge! I am pushing myself to drink 3-4 green smoothies a week. Currently I am on a kick of spinach, mango and pineapple smoothies but I have also done spinach and various berries. I have yet to branch out into other greens instead of spinach, though I did make one avocado, pineapple and coconut milk smoothie which still counts as green in my book. Once I found some good green smoothie tips and got my proportions all sorted out, this challenge came easy! No more swamp water concoctions for me.
  • My second challenge is a Hula Hooping Challenge! One of my friends posted this hooping challenge to Facebook and I really liked it, but I can’t commit to 30 minutes of hooping every day. Especially on days where I have a circus or pole class after work, by the time I get home I’m wiped out already! Instead I told myself I simply need to hoop every day this month, no matter what the time span. I haven’t hooped in a long time so just getting in the groove regularly is really helpful, even if I’m only managing to do it for 10 minutes! Unfortunately…I already technically failed this one since I missed a day last weekend. :( Completely forgot about it. One mistake doesn’t mean giving up and I’m soldiering on to finish it with a 99.9% success rate.
  • The final challenge is a Squat Challenge! This one was not planned originally, but a fitness group on Ravelry I’m a member of is doing a group squat challenge for April and I couldn’t resist joining in. When the month is out, I’ll have completed 2,035 squats–yowza! I am mostly doing them with just bodyweight, but if I happen to be in the gym doing squats on the same day as challenge squats are assigned, my back squats count towards the day’s challenge total I decided. Mostly because if I do a bunch of squats in the gym I am not re-doing them all again at home later.

Other new things: took an aerial rope workshop yesterday; just started watching Mad Men; changed the background on my phone. (Scintillating, I know.)

What’s new in your life?

March 28, 2014
by Emma

Friday Night Music Videos: Birthday Madness Edition

Friday night is extra-special this week because…

I turn 26 on Sunday!!

So this is my birthday WEEKEND as far as I’m concerned. I fully intend to spend it knitting my little fingers off since that’s what I do almost every weekend. Also I am getting a birthday biscuit breakfast which incidentally, is the same thing I had for my birthday breakfast last year, except that birthday was in Seattle! Do you sense a theme? I really love biscuits, man. You can’t age out of that.

I’m also giving a gift to you! Saturday and Sunday (3/29-3/30) use the code 26BIRFDAY on Ravelry to get 26% off one of my eligible self-published patterns (aka Striated, Brooklyn Bridge Mitts or Elektrocute. Short list, sowwy.)

Tonight I’m jamming out to my latest earworm courtesy of Arctic Monkeys. This is exactly the type of band I would have listened to in high school, I was way into the ‘garage rock revival’ trend of the early 2000s that consisted mostly of bands with ‘The’ in their name. IE The Strokes, The Hives, The Vines, The White Stripes, and so on. Of course, in my advanced age I haven’t bothered to keep up with new music and as such, this is the first Arctic Monkeys song I’ve actually heard. It’s pretty awesome.

P.S. I finally made a Ravelry group that’s ALL ABOUT MEEEE. Check it out!

March 17, 2014
by Emma

Birthday Hats

Sometimes, even when you’re crazy busy (like “I probably shouldn’t sleep for the next month” kind of busy)…you can manage to make something for people you love.

I hinted at it on Instagram with this picture, but I made each of my parents hats for their birthdays this year. It’s been a few years since they got anything handknit (selfish knitter for life, yo!) and I figured it was time once more. My mom’s was at the end of February, so she already got her version of my Tamborim pattern because she admired mine at Christmas so much. Hers is sans pom-pom and the length is slightly shorter. My dad’s birthday is today–hopefully you get your hat in the mail before you see this blog post, Papa!–and for him I decided to improvise.

papahatcollagePlease ignore my terrible lighting and bad self-photography skills.

I used the brim construction from my Free Cecily Hat, but worked it for longer so he has a nice thick brim to cover his ears when walking, hiking or cross-country skiing. The body of the hat is an oversized garter rib pattern that I “made up” but probably already exists: Knit all sts on Rounds 1 & 2, *k2p2* on Rounds 3 & 4. I winged the crown decreases and tried to keep the ribbing intact as it narrowed. Yarn is Dream in Color Classy, possibly in Cloud Jungle–I had it in my stash without the label.

I’m really pleased with the end result! Sometimes it’s nice to create without writing everything down with plans to publish it, and I like knowing that my papa now has a one-of-a-kind creation.

P.S. My birthday is at the end of the month and I would not say no to a hat. #jussayin

March 2, 2014
by Emma

Happiness is…

…having a whole bag of Unjunked Peanut Butter Cups in your cupboard.

unjunked…spending lazy weekends with these two weirdos.

the duo…finally finding the perfect lipgloss formula! Laura Mercier Lip Glace, in Violet.

lipgloss…completing your first aerial fabric recital in a most spectacular fashion. Yes, I’m wearing a pink fishnet shirt. We performed to Britney, ’nuff said!

1625579_10203234742612046_784485390_n1781905_10203234643329564_941986863_n…hearing that a Heliopath KAL is about to start and being super flattered that people like your pattern enough to run a KAL!

Wait, what?

Two awesome ladies, The Unapologetic Knitter and Ghostface Knitter decided to run a KAL for my Heliopath Vest. The KAL just started this weekend, but right now the only goal is to get a swatch done so there is still time to grab your yarn and cast on. Some great prizes await all who participate…including a pattern donated by yours truly. Check out the first week’s post! I love how they are taking this KAL to Instagram as well, since I am a huge IG fan. In case you couldn’t tell by all the perfectly square photos I recycle into blog posts so I can pretend to be relevant. :P I’m cool, I swear!

February 7, 2014
by Emma

Friday Night Music Videos – Mac Lethal Edition

I treated myself yesterday to a few new albums and one of them was Mac Lethal’s 11:11. I first heard his songs on my Atmosphere Pandora station, and finally bit the bullet and got the album since he’s just that good.

It’s no secret that I like hip hop/rap, especially of the alternative and white guy varieties. (See: Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Sage Francis, Aesop Rock, Classified…) So feel free to skip this edition if that’s not your cup of tea since this is a double dose of Mac. No actual video for either of these…he’s clearly too cool for that.

February 5, 2014
by Emma
1 Comment

Hooker’s Startitis

I am a pretty newb crocheter. My most notable project to date, a cute summery tee, is currently languishing half-done. (Oops.) I enjoy the rhythm of crochet, but my excuse is the same one for selfish knitting–I don’t have time! 98% of my knitting time is devoted to design work and at most, I manage to squeeze in a small accessory project to break up the monotony of creating beautiful things you then have to send away instead of showing off. It’s a hard life, this designing. Cue violins.

Anyways, last night I tried the crochet chain provisional cast on for the first time instead of the usual provisional cast on with waste yarn I use when knitting. LOVE it, so much easier. Unfortunately, picking up a hook made me start daydreaming about all the crochet projects I’m dying to start. What better way to spend a snow day than fantasy yarn shopping?

decodaisiesThe Holla Knits KAL* just kicked off this week and I wish I was right there with everyone working on a Deco Daisies of my very own! I love this sweet and flowery cowl, which I think would be perfect in a color changing yarn with long repeats like Knitting Fever Painted Desert. I’m thinking something pink and purple-y for the ultimate feminine neckwarmer.

fallfieldsI loved this sweater so much that I bought the issue of Interweave Crochet as soon as I saw it. Once I have time, it’s waiting for me! Of course, as a Tosh addict I couldn’t resist dreaming of Madelinetosh Tosh Sport color combinations for this. I love Heuchera but have yet to use it in any projects and would make it the main color of the Fall Fields Cardigan so it can take center stage.

sugarsparklesMy coworker and crochet design maven Sara once said that hand-dyed yarn looks great in crochet and I couldn’t agree more. I love Fable Fibers’ colorways and couldn’t pick just one! This yarn sudden death match comes down between Orchid and Lucky Penny, both in Fable Fibers Story MCN. Each would give the Sugar Sparkles Shawlette a different vibe and I can picture either color at home in my wardrobe.

I’d love to grow my crochet queue, so share your favorite patterns or designers with me!

*There are tons of cool prizes in the Holla Knits KAL, including my self-published patterns and the Pantonal pattern collection–incentive to join in if you’ve been waiting to whip up any Holla Knits patterns!

January 24, 2014
by Emma

Friday Night Music Videos – 1/24 Edition

Tonight I am living the exciting life, as I am so wont to do, and cleaning. Because I have company tomorrow and I don’t want them to think I’m a dirty hamster (heeeey-OH, oblique Jersey Shore reference!) I’m good with the putting things away type of cleaning, and not so good with the vacuuming and actually scrubbing stuff type of cleaning. I also have a (small) Martha Stewart complex and want to impress people with my clean house, unless they’re my dear friends and then I just don’t care anymore. You know I really love you if my house is messy when you come over.

Pumping myself up with some high energy garage-y alt rock!


January 24, 2014
by Emma

Spring, Spring, Spring

I couldn’t resist that bit of nerdiness, now you know my secret love for musicals. SORRYNOTSORRY.

Spring is a fever dream right now in New England. Warm weather? Exposed arms? Dafuq?! But you too can dream that fever dream by checking out the great spring looks that have just been released as part of Louet North America’s Spring 2014 Collection. If you start knitting now, you’ll be prepared by the time the snow melts! In theory…

This is a very well rounded collection, featuring tanks, tees, a long-sleeve pullover, two shawls and a skirt. All use either Gems Fingering, Gems Sport or Euroflax Sport. The first two are smoothly plied merino yarns and the last one is 100% Linen. Yarn store employee confession time–Euroflax Sport simultaneously intrigued and terrified me when I worked in the store. If a customer wanted 100% Linen yarn, Euroflax Sport was one of the only ones we had. In the hank it’s stiff and wiry but we kept a blocked swatch nearby to prove how well it softened once washed. LIKE MAGIC. I never got a chance to try it but still hope to someday!

I decided to style my three favorite items from the collection. First up is Selway by Karen Marlatt. (All photos of the collection by Caro Sheridan, who is a fountain of awesomeness by the way. Took a photography class of hers and it was amazing!)

BFF Afternoon

I love oversized, airy layering pieces and Selway is perfect for that! You can add a different colored tank top under it to change your look completely and have it fit right in with your wardrobe, especially when knit in a neutral like white. I made it pop with yummy coral jeans and cute kitschy shoes from Modcloth but you could easily work Selway into a more ~grown-up look. I think this would be perfect for an afternoon of shopping with my BFF–comfortable and still fashionable!

Summer Date Night

Niobrara by Jairlyn Mason features an elegant pleated neck detail and a flattering shape. I dressed it up for a summery date night out with a look that’s put-together but not stuffy. A mini and flats put all the attention on your legs (one of my favorite parts to highlight) and a cardigan is a must-have when braving overly air-conditioned restaurants. Just don’t forget to roll the cuffs back to show off that sweet stack of bracelets!

Lazy Sunday

For days when you need a quick layer but want something more polished than a sweatshirt, Camulet by Anne Podlesak is perfect. I’d let a bright tee peek through this lacy number for a lazy Sunday spent knitting, running errands and doing whatever else strikes my fancy. I’m a huge fan of long sleeves with shorts–I think of it as the less-popular cousin of short sleeves with pants–and as I’ve mentioned before on this blog I am a diehard Converse fan, so there’s no contest in the footwear department! Add a geometric necklace and you are golden for spending a day on the couch without looking like you’re spending a day on the couch, ifyaknowwhatImean.

Now that I’ve unfairly whey your appetite for warmer weather, go forth and knit! Or check out the other stops on the Louet North America Spring 2014 Collection blog tour to explore these great designs further!

January 13: Louet North America
January 15: Mari Knits
January 17: From the Desk of Molly Purlz
January 20: Fiber Dreams
January 22: Nik’s Knits
January 24: Emma Welford Designs
January 27: Guest Post by Patty Nance on Louet Blog
January 31: Wooly Wonka Fibers
February 3: Kangath Knits

January 17, 2014
by Emma
1 Comment

Friday Night Music Videos

Since I get to listen to music I already have at work (RIP deceased ipod), I like to listen to Pandora or videos on YouTube when I’m doing work at home. (Notice I said listen to videos…I don’t actually pay attention to the videos themselves after the first time through.) Netflix is for knitting; YouTube is for pattern writing and other computer-driven activities. Makes no sense to try and watch two screens at once, yaknowwhatI’msaying?  So this is where I embarrass myself by revealing what I’m currently digging on! I’m thinking I’ll make this a regular feature, if I can remember to.

Tonight is all about female rappers because I love me some good rap, and I love women breaking into male-dominated areas of music.

(You probably shouldn’t blast these at work though. Or if you can, you have a really chill workplace.)


January 8, 2014
by Emma

Graze Box Review

This post has not been sponsored by Graze Box, nor have I received any compensation from them. Total free will here!

In case you hadn’t noticed by now, I really like food. I also really like getting stuff in the mail. So when one of my co-workers sent an email around about his free codes to join Graze Box, a snack subscription site, I decided to check them out!

For $6 a shipment (which includes shipping), you get snack-size portions of four different healthy snacks. Healthy is variable depending on your ideals of course, but the full ingredient list for all snacks is available on line and most are free of scary, unpronounceable ingredients–the exception being some of the cracker-y things but really, what do you expect from crackers. (Those scamps!) You can sign up to get a box every 2 weeks or every 4 weeks, I’ve opted for the latter and have received three boxes so far.

box shotsThese snacks are definitely SNACK sized. So if you want more bang for your buck, buying bulk bags of your favorite snacks and divvying them up yourself would probably be better. If you have problems with portion control or just want to try some new things then I think this is a good way to go.

photo 1 (3)Graze Box snacks fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Cracker-y type items, which includes the sub-category of ‘dippers’–a (usually) cracker-like item served with some type of dip or sauce
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts/seeds
  • Chocolate
  • “Flapjacks” which is just a fancy-ass way of saying granola bar

There is much overlap in the fruit/nut/chocolate category. Ok, they give you lots of trail mix you could say. But it’s GOOD trail mix, and I’ve never been a trail mix fan. Things like Dark Rocky Road (pecans, cranberries and dark chocolate buttons) or Jelly Doughnut (raspberry fruit strings, raspberry infused cranberries, almond slices and sponge pieces.)

closeupsThe coolest part is that when you sign up, you can browse their list of snacks and adjust your preferences. Hate anything spicy? ‘Trash’ the chili and honey almonds and you’ll never receive them. Can’t get enough of fancy-ass granola bars? ‘Love’ the flapjacks to receive them in your boxes more often. I nixed most crackers and spicy items from the get-go, along with any unpalatable flavor combinations, and left the rest set to ‘try’ so I could taste-test as many concoctions as possible. If you’re allergic they can’t guarantee no cross-contamination, but picky eaters are safe. Heck, you could even ‘trash’ all the chocolate if you believe in a world without chocolate. (Like a world without shrimp, a la Anya’s explanation of other dimensions in Buffy. But why would you want a world without chocolate?!)

As boring as it may sound, I have to give full props to the dried fruit. I don’t know what magic they inject into each tiny dehydrated nugget, but all the fruit is really juicy and tasty. You know when you’re eating a bag of raisins or dates or whatever, and there are always a few depressingly hard ones, like they’re shells of their former fruity selves? I haven’t found any of those in my boxes yet which is pretty slammin’. A+ to the fruit. The cheesy sombreros (seen in the top right above), however, are a lie. I pictured a festival of cheesy, vaguely Mexican taste sensations in my mouth. Like Goldfish or Cheez-Its, but with a more fun name. Instead they are hard, decidedly un-cheesy rice wafers.  The biggest Graze Box blow so far, F-. I immediately trashed any other sombrero-containing snacks out of my future boxes.

Currently you need a referral code to sign up, or you can ask to be put on their wait list. I happen to have two shiny codes, so leave a comment if you would like one! First two people to comment with their emails included get them–and maybe you can spread yours around once you sign up to anyone else wanting one? Sign-up via code gives you your first and fifth boxes free, yay, and the person whose code you used gets $1 off a future box so that’s all the kick-back I receive. I’m big on disclosure.

Snack happy!