Modification Monday: Spring Cable Socks

Modification Monday: Spring Cable Socks | knittedbliss.com

Original Pattern: Spring Cable 

Knitter Extraordinaire: Judy (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Added a second cable up the other side of each sock for symmetry, changed the top ribbing to be single twisted rib. Full details on her mod can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: I have always liked cables and moss stitch, so I love the original pattern, but seeing it with the second cable so perfectly situated on the other side of the sock just checks all the right boxes for me. These socks are beautiful in their symmetry, and adds a little extra detail to an otherwise straightforward sock. Even the switch to a twisted single rib for the cuff seems to underline the attention to detail paid on these socks- they are perfectly balanced, beautifully made socks that would be perfect for just about anyone. A total sock win!

Modification Monday: Spring Cable Socks | knittedbliss.com

 

Pin Ups: My Favourite Things This Week

Pin Ups: Modern Tea Party | knittedbliss.com

It’s Mother’s Day this weekend here in Canada, and this simple, modern tea party idea would be fantastic if you were having some family over. But hey, you don’t have to have a modern tea party just at mother’s day, this would be lovely and fun to get some girlfriends together over, anytime.  Pinterest link is here, original site link is here.

Pin Ups: Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Tacos | knittedbliss.com

I’m a sucker for healthy slow cooker meals, because I love being able to chuck a bunch of ingredient in a pot, work all day, and come home to a freshly cooked meal that only needs about ten minutes of additional prep. The secret to making tacos this pretty is the fresh chopped red cabbage, tomato and cucumber- the balance of red, purple and green makes this dish so visually appealing, and extra healthy, with all that veg! Pinterest link is here, original site link is here.

Pin Ups: Cream Cheese Brownies | knittedbliss.com

Cream cheese chocolate chip brownies. You guys know about how awesomely delicious cream cheese makes, desserts, right? Just crazy good.  These brownies have it all- icing top, chocolate chips, and chewy texture.  Pinterest link is here, original site link is here.

Pin Ups: DIY Clay Wall Planters | knittedbliss.com

I love these simple, beautiful clay wall planters- and the DIY looks pretty easy, although will take time. But with results like these, I think it would be worth it. They look perfect for succulents or air plants, and the little hit of colour on the inside looks amazing.  Pinterest link is here, original site link is here.

Pin Ups: DIY lipstick print pants | knittedbliss.com

Speaking of DIYs, these lipstick kiss print pants are so cute! The tutorial is really in depth, with great links on how to ensure that the lipstick sets, or even to use fabric stamps instead. it’s worth checking out.  Pinterest link is here, and the original website link is here.

This weekend I’m going to take it easy- I just came back from a very short work trip to St. John’s, but moving time zones and working through it is a little tiring. The weather is supposed to be beautiful here! Anyone have any fun weekend plans?

Reader Survey Results Are In!

I am kicking myself for not doing a survey before- you awesome people all had so many interesting things to say! I feel like I just went to a party with all of you, and we had so many cool little conversations.  Let’s take a look at the results!

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There were 427 responses,  and in the age category, most readers were in their 30s (so am I) and next largest demographics were in their 20s and 40s; but there was representation from all groups, which I was really pleased to see.

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I loved learning more about your hobbies! Unsurprisingly, most of you are knitters.  The vast majority of you self-identify as readers, and then cooking and baking rounded out the top three hobbies. I’m not surprised to see TV and movies up there, since that’s what I’m usually doing when I’m knitting, too! In the ‘Other’ category, a lot of you enjoy spinning, weaving, and running, but pretty much every hobby you can imagine was mentioned at least once.

Question 3:  As for what you like about crafting, most of the results fit into these categories (these were the short answer questions, so I exported them into Excel and went through the results manually. Next time, I’ll do multiple choice so I can get a handy graph):

1. The satisfaction of making something
2.  Having a creative outlet that lets you play with colour and texture and style
3.  You find it relaxing and enjoyable
4.  You love the process, the actual act of crafting
5.  You enjoy learning new skills

Question 4: As for crafting challenges, there were several recurring themes (again, I exported the data into Excel so I could find clump together similar answers), which I found really interesting. It’s in these longer answer questions that I really felt like I was getting to know more about you guys:

1.  Not having enough time to craft
2.  Unclear/less than ideal pattern instructions
3. Project not turning out as expected
4. Startitis/Motivation to Finish
5.  Sourcing Supplies/sourcing affordable supplies
6.  Making Mistakes
7.  Struggling to learn new skills

Those were the main subjects that came up over and over again, and I can definitely identify with many of them myself. I wanted to ask this question because while we do have a lot in common with our shared love of knitting, I think it would be interesting to unpack each of these challenges in future posts, and talk about what we could do for each of these.

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First- you’ll see there is a weird anomaly in the chart, it counted Finished Knit Posts in two separate categories, even though there wasn’t more than one option on the survey. I assume it was a glitch. I had no idea there would be so much interest in Knits in Progress, I always feel like those are the posts that I struggle with most- but lately I’ve been putting my cats in those posts, which I hope helps make them more interesting! I also found it amusing that my favourite, the Outtake posts, didn’t rank that highly- the least popular in all the categories! I guess the pretty pictures win out over the silly pictures.

Survey Results | knittedbliss.com

I was so surprised that the video podcast ideas turned up so low on the list of things you wanted to see- it feels like every knit blogger out there has a video podcast now, I thought I was missing the boat, but clearly there are already enough podcasts to go around.  Highest votes went to pattern reviews, which is a great idea and I’m happy to start doing that- but I feel I should come right out and say I’m not going to bash anyone’s pattern. I know personally how much time, effort, and work goes into creating and writing up a pattern, and how it can go through loads of test knitters and multiple rounds with a tech editor and still emerge on the other side with a typo or an error in instructions. You would need to have a totally anonymous blog to do something like that (and also not worry about ever hurting someone else’s feelings or crushing their dreams). So, I’m thinking that when there is a new collection from, say, Knitty or Twist Collective or Wool People or etc., I can put together my top picks and explain why I like them- does that sound interesting? I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you would like to see included in pattern review posts.

Second most requested are happiness and general living posts, which I’m thrilled to see- I’d love to talk more about that! I’ll get working on that right away. As for product reviews, I can definitely do more of those-  I can talk about tools I like best, other products I use and enjoy. If there are specific products you’d like to see reviewed, let me know in the comments. I’m always open to suggestions.

Most popular recommendation in the the ‘Other’ category was yarn reviews. I think I can do a bit of that, talking more about different yarns I’m using or my favourite yarns for certain types of projects.  I love trying out new yarns all the time, but I do have favorites that I know hold up well when the knit is finished. I’ll be sure to talk more about that in forthcoming posts.

Question7  asked, “What is one thing that I don’t talk about often, that you would like to see more about?”  Most popular suggestions were:

1.  How I choose patterns and yarn for myself/deciding what to knit, knits in progress
2.  More insight into my design process
3. How I fit knitting into my daily schedule, my work/life balance
4. Other crafty things that I do, thing I make from Pinterest posts
5.  More about my personal life: home, Lila, pets, etc.
6.  How to make modifications

There were some great requests, like someone who suggested seeing updates on the things I’ve knitted, a sort of ‘Where are they now?” update on past FOs. And I’ve tried to be so careful to not post too many things about my daughter, not because I mind sharing stories or photos, but because I  have seen too many blogs I enjoyed slide gracefully off into the sunset and become entirely about their kiddos. I’m so hyper-aware about not doing that, someone actually commented, “wait, you have kids?” So that tells me I’m in no danger of overwhelming everyone with photos of my daughter (I save that for Instagram and Twitter!).

Question 8: “Is there anything about the blog that you wish was different?”

Most of you commented that were happy with the blog as it is, which is great to hear- I’m glad that you are enjoying it! Quite a few said they would like to see more frequent posts. I personally aim to post at least 3 times a week, and when I can, I post more frequently. But since I work full time in an office, I think they might notice if I started to bring my knitting in and take photos at my desk (which isn’t to say I haven’t done it, but I try to keep it infrequent). If I ever find a way to blog full time, I will totally post every day!

Several commented that you don’t use Pinterest (What?! People aren’t using pinterest?!) and many of you have probably already noticed that I took to heart what many of you said about not using Pinterest, so added in original post links as well- the response has been great.

As for comments:

Survey Results | knittedbliss.com

I don’t think I was particularly surprised by this, since  every blog will have more readers than commenters, especially in the current age of declining blog comments.  But it clearly had a strong influence on the results of the next question:

Survey Results | knittedbliss.com

Unsurprisingly, I’m betting that the people who comment probably enjoy the emails back and forth (since I try to respond to every single comment), but those that don’t would like to see it in the comment section. I’m not sure what my next steps will be with this information- maybe I’ll start doing a mix of individual responses and commenting back on the posts as well. Maybe I’ll try just commenting on the comment and see how that works? I’ll have to give this section more thought.

And the final box allowed for you to tell me anything that you wanted to let me know- and I’m glad that so many of you filled it out!  First off: to the person who commented that my older Ravelry projects no longer link to my blog posts- thank you!! I had no idea when I migrated my blog from Blogger to WordPress every single old link would be killed (cautionary tales, my friends).  I’ve now gone back and updated all those old links, so my older Ravelry projects link back to the appropriate blog posts. I’m working on updating older Pinterest links, too.

I really appreciated the comments about how well the integration of the “meet the sponsors” posts are going, as I know some of you were nervous when I opened up to advertising. Please know that no one else has any control over which ads appear; every single one is a relationship that began with an email inquiring about space, and then I evaluated the fit to make sure it would be interesting if I saw it on someone else’s blog. All the items that appear in the Meet the Sponsors posts are picked out by me. The sponsors get to be surprised along with you!

This has been a really enjoyable experiment. I’m so glad so many of you participated and gave me your feedback- thank you!! I feel like I have a much better idea of what sort of things you would like to see around here. But don’t worry- there won’t be any sudden or swift changes, just trying to work in more of what you want to see.

Meet the Sponsors: May Edition

I’ve got two new sponsors to share with you all today, and all sorts of new goodies for everyone- I hope you enjoy!

Fuzzy Mitten Collage | knittedbliss.com

Name:  Fuzzy Mitten 

What She is All About: Barbara designs some of the cutest stuffed toy patterns around, and has patterns for all sorts of clothing for them, too! They are great value, as every pattern comes with instructions for more than just the animal- there’s always something for them to wear, or an accessory or two. All are exceptionally priced, too- I doubt you’ll find anything cuter or as good a deal for knitted toy patterns.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: The adorable Pocket Mouse pattern comes complete with a great little great little pullover and sale alert!! He’s currently 25% off right now (discount automatically applied at checkout); I love this Dragon (doesn’t he look great in the chromatic stripes?!) and the pattern includes the mini figurines for the knight and princess; and then we have the Rainy Day Turtle, which is brand new and was the mystery toy KAL that I’ve been working on! I’m almost done, I’ve got one more piece of the shell to finish. It’s been a great knit!

Knit Circus Collage | knittedbliss.com

Name: Knit Circus

What She is All About: Dyed-to-order gradients are her specialty, there is a whole range of colours, weights, and yarn bases to choose from. If you’ve been eyeing some lovely knits featuring gradients, you should check this out.

A Few of my Favourite Things, from Left to Right: 80s Dance Party is a speckled gradient- oh yes! For those that love speckled yarns and gradient yarns, here is the best of both world combined. For a spring-y gradient socks set, try out this lovely Watermelon gradient stripes set! Knit Circus does a great job of creating the yarn to match up so both socks looks the same.  And finally,   The Shire is a stunning gradient colourway that reminds me of seashells, I love the beautiful blue to cream to pink.

Zenitude Collage| knittedbliss.com

Name: Zenitude

What She is All About: Lise  weaves, felts, dyes her own yarn and roving, and specializes in bright and happy thrummed kits and self striping sock yarns. And she has an alpaca farm!

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: I love the subtle striping sock yarn in this great colourway, Be Here Now! Perfect for having a more subtle stripe, while still having lots of visual interest.  This beautiful variegated blue is call Day by the Sea, and is a  bulky weight- it’s hard to find great variegated yarns in bulky weight!  And then there is Tropical Punch, perfect for the warm weather with it’s citrusy pinks and oranges, a lovely variegated sock yarn.

Madbird Collage | knittedbliss.com

Name: Madbird Knitting Bags & Accessories 

What They are all about: Alecia and Rob Miller make fun and functional Project bags, project clutches, totes, spindle bags, needle and hook rolls, and zip pouches- with a wide variety of fabrics, you’re sure to find the right size you need in a fabric you love.  Project bags come with interior yarn guides that have a snap on them, so your yarn feeds through cleanly, but you can change out the yarn or project any time you like. And they are all sturdily built, with fleece interfacing and solid bottoms that ensure the bags stand up well on their own, once a project is inside.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: Large Knitting/Crochet Project bag, in ‘Vignette’, I think the poppy print is so pretty for spring, and the bag is sturdy enough to stand up on it’s own when there is something inside of it, and there are two yarn guides inside, so perfect for stripes or alternating skeins!. This wonderful grey tote with the busy bee pattern is fantasticly modern, and perfect for holding bigger project like sweater comfortably and easily, and the Rabbit Moon clutch is great for small knits, and the wrist strap is ideal for those of you who are knitting while commuting or walking, or just keeping all your stitch markers, measuring tapes, needle gauges, and tools organized.

Bijou Basin Ranch Collage| knittedbliss.com

Name: Bijou Basin Ranch 

What They Are All About: Carl and Eileen have a family-run Yak ranch in Colorado. The sell amazing yak fiber and yarns that are both 100% yak and blended with other fibers (like bamboo or merino) to give the yarn strength and variety. And if you haven’t tried yak fiber before, you are missing out- it’s very soft, and very good for those that have wool allergies.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: This is the Bijou Bliss Sportweight, which is a blend of 50% Tibetan Yak and 50% Cormo Sheep, and I love the undyed version- clean bright, and great stitch definition.  As Bijou Basin Ranch also imports some yak fiber from Tibet and Nepal, they were extremely saddened by the devastating earthquake, and wanted to do something to help the people- they have marked all of their Lhasa Wilderness yarn (70% Yak/ 25% Bamboo) for all proceeds from the yarn to go directly to support Americares, which has on-the-ground workers helping to provide medical aid and supplies to those in need after the earthquake. The yarn comes in 28 colours, including the lovely ‘Culloden’ pictured in the center. TBBR also has lots of great kits, including this lovely Lily of the Incas Shawlette kit, which includes a 12-pattern collection.

Andrea Sanchez Collage | knittedbliss.com

Name: Andrea Sanchez Knits

What She is All about: Andrea specializes in a wide range of  beautiful, flattering-on-everyone patterns for the whole family, and all patterns have a great size range.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: How sweet is that Navajo pullover for babies and kids? It’s a free pattern, too! Crocheters, I’m looking at you- this Diana’s Blossom Scarf has such gorgeous texture, even without the pretty spring blossoms.  And then there is this super cute garter stitch Neighbor Hoodie, which has a stockinette yoke and a fun little pocket, too!

Those are the special things I’ve picked

Modification Monday: Ze Tiny Baby Pants

Modification Mondays: Ze Tiny baby Pants | knittedbliss.com

Original Pattern: Ze Tiny Pants

Knitter Extraordinaire: Cassy (Ravelry ID, blog)

Mods: changed the pattern to be top down, adjusted the gauge, and added short rows to the bottom to add extra room for cute little diapered baby bums. project page can be found here.

What Makes This Awesome: Babies! in knits!! That’s what makes this awesome.  And of course, changing this knit to be top-down instead of bottom-up was a great idea, so that they could even be tried on a wiggly little one as needed. I very much enjoy the bright, contrasting waistband, and the short rows are a brilliant idea for the baby pants- diapers (as you may know from your own baby experiences/watching cable TV that shows occasional diaper commercial) add padding to a baby’s backside, so short rows are a great idea for giving a little room where it’s most needed. The pants look very comfy and cozy!

Modification Mondays: Ze Tiny baby Pants | knittedbliss.com