5 Podcasts Worth a Listen (or a Watch!)

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Do you listen to podcasts?  I listen while in the car or while knitting or while taking a nice walk outside.  And sometimes you just need something different to listen to, am I right?  So I’m sharing 5 podcasts that I like and and asking you to share some that you like. Maybe these will get you interested in podcasts if you don’t already listen or add some variety to your already existing list! [SHOCKER: They are not all knitting podcasts.]

1) The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

photo from www.mikerowe.com/podcast

First of all, he’s got the best voice for listening to.  Next, each podcast is only about 10 minutes long so he touts it for those with a short attention span.  Each story starts out simple enough about an ordinary person doing some sort of ordinary job or activity but by the end I am always gasping and saying, “No. Way.”  The stories end up being about someone famous or some famous event that happened.  Definitely worth a listen.  Especially because they are short!

2) Prairie Girls Knit and SpinThis one is just a fun duo who talk about their spinning and knitting and crack me up.  And I love their tag line: May your drafting be consistent and your gauge never lie.

[I just have to say for the life of me I never spell “gauge” correctly the first time.  I always spell it “guage” so thank goodness for spell check.]

3) Just the Right Book with Roxanne Cody

photo from www.justtherightbook.com

I found this one (I think a suggestion from my mom) after Books on the Nightstand ended (also a great podcast with lots of episodes you can still listen to).  This is done by Roxanne Cody, the owner of R.J. Julia an independent bookstore in Connecticut.  She usually interviews and author, asks about the book that changed their life and what they are reading, and then gives some book recommendations.

3) Knitmoregirls

photo from www.knitmoregirlspodcast.com

A well-done, well-organized podcast with lots of information about knitting, spinning and even some sewing thrown in.  One of my favorite segments is “When Knitting Attaaaaaacks” (said with a deep voice and scary music in the background).

5) The Fat Squirrel Speaks

photo from www.thefatsquirrel.com

This one is actually a video podcast but you can just listen to it too!  Her tag line is “Knitting, Spinning and Assorted Awesomeness”.  Silly and fun.

There you have it: A nice mix of podcasts that may be new to you and maybe you will want to try. If you have any podcasts that you love, leave a note in the comments.  I’m always looking for something new and interesting.  And yes, even if it is not knitting related!

And now, a mini-commercial about Craftsy.  Since I am an affiliate, I need to talk about it sometimes!  But, I’m an affiliate because I really like it, so there’s that.

I prefer taking knitting classes at my local yarn shop to support them, but for classes they don’t offer this is great. I signed up for a class on how to design cowls and that is how I came up with my Easy Cozy Cowl. AND they have so many different types of classes — cooking, gardening, baking, quilting, sewing, drawing and woodworking! If you have not tried Craftsy before, try one of their FREE mini-classes! [see how I did that?  A mini-commercial about mini-classes?]

Click here to try them out. If you like them and want to sign up for a class, please consider coming back here and clicking through the side bar.  I will get a small commission and that goes towards supporting the blog.  Thank you!

Stay tuned next time when I may actually have a finished project to show you and talk about LT’s and RT’s.  [If that’s not a good teaser, I don’t know what is.]

And don’t forget to comment about your favorite podcasts!

Knitter’s Elbow Tendinitis: The Progress is in the Details

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Dealing with elbow tendinitis as a knitter has been challenging to say the very least. My recovery progress has been going VERY slowly, so I’ve had to figure out some workarounds. Seeing how the knitting is likely 70% of the reason I’m in this mess, I needed to figure out the best way to deal with it because what I have realized is that I can’t continue to NOT knit.  I just can’t.  I’m driving myself (and likely, indirectly, my husband) bonkers.

I have gotten advice from an orthopedic doctor, 2 physical therapists, a massage therapist and a chiropractor. With all those opinions (some of them contradictory to each other), it’s been a little frustrating to figure out what should help me but I think I have settled on a few things to do to help my recovery progress while still being able to knit. *Disclaimer: If you are dealing with this, these may not be the right suggestions for you.  It is simply what I am finding to work for me.

1) GEAR UP:  When I’m going to knit, I’ve got to wear the supportive gear.  A tennis (golfer’s) elbow strap and a hand support glove.

2) GO SLOW: Physically slow down my knitting.  This is very hard for me because I can knit pretty fast and it takes some deliberate focus to slow down.  Slowing down makes me pay attention to how I’m holding my arms and helps keep my muscles somewhat relaxed.

3) SHORT TIME FRAMES:  I’m knitting for 10-15 minutes at a stretch. This has also been hard. I used to knit for several hours at a stretch.

4) SMALL AND BIG: I’m working on small projects with big needles.  I had been working on a stockinette project which I thought would be easy to do.  However, it was a blanket and the large number of stitches on the needle was making it heavy!  (Although, I did try a few rows on my Tangled shawl and even though it was US3 needles, I didn’t have a hard time I think because the yarn is so lightweight. And I only did a few rows.)

5) REST AND STRETCH: After my 10-15 minutes, stop!  STOP! Also hard for me – see #3 above. Stretch my arms/hands and then put on more gear – a wrist support that limits my wrist movement because wrist movement is what affects the elbows.

6) REST SOME MORE: I want to do another 10-15 minute knitting session way before I should, so I remind myself to rest some more.

7) YOGA: I’ve started doing yoga to get some additional stretching in, not just of my arms but everything else.  How I have been holding my upper body to adjust for the pain of resting my arms on things has made all kinds of other muscles tense up.  I have had A.M. and P.M. Yoga (click there to get it on Amazon) for years and just dug it back out of the cabinet.  It is a beginner video and I really like it.  And yoga is just so awesome in general.  I always feel so good after doing it.

And the result of all this?

In about five days, I’ve gotten 16 rows of a cowl done! While that is absolutely the best news – I’m actually getting some knitting done – I’m trying really hard not to think about the fact that I used to be able to knit something like this in one day.  Baby steps.

[That is the Diamond Tempest Cowl made with Cascade Baby Llama Chunky which is WONDERFULLY soft and nice to work with. I’ll be teaching a class in this at The Spinning Room in late May/early June.  While you don’t usually think of knitting with chunky yarn in the spring, it is a small project and a great head start on next fall/winter/holiday knitting.]

One last thing to tell you about — a product review of sorts because I love it so much.  This being winter (sort of — it’s going to be 68 degrees here today, 35 degrees tomorrow), my hands get very dry and that can make for snagging yarn.  So I’ve been using my lavender Lavishea Lotion Bar.

It absorbs quickly (good for when you are knitting and still good even if you don’t knit) and makes my hands so soft and it smells so wonderful. Not everyone loves lavender but it comes in other scents. It’s a little different because it comes in a bar form (not a bottle of lotion) but you get used to it quickly. And they even have a Lavishea Yarn Bar!  If you try it, I hope you love it like I do.

Buttoned Cowl – A New Design

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My latest adventure in knitting design is the Buttoned Cowl:

It has a pretty, textured design with an interesting and new-to-me stitch technique.  The k1 long entails putting your needle in between two stitches that are two rows below your needle and pulling up a “long” stitch.  Fun and keeps the knitting interesting.

There are six buttons and that gives you room to get creative or go the safe, blending-in route like I did!  This pattern actually started out with just three buttons…

…but I quickly realized, when I tried it on, that it was not going to work. There were big, open gaps between the buttons! And those buttons were a little more daring. My prototype had the buttonholes at the end (luckily), so I took it back and re-knit the design with 6 buttonholes.  I looks much better!

[And a quick note on buttons: I used a wool yarn which is fairly sturdy and can hold up to some heavier buttons, but if you use a less sturdy yarn such as alpaca, be sure to choose lighter buttons.]

Knit with worsted weight yarn (I used Cascade 220), this can also be made longer to make an infinity cowl. It is knit flat so you can make it any length you want!

If you are interested in purchasing this pattern, you can use the “buy now” button below and it will take you to Ravelry.

If you are local, I’ll be teaching this in a class at The Spinning Room in April! (It is not on the schedule yet, but it will be very soon so keep checking the classes page and then call to sign up.)

I would love to see your finished projects so get in touch and send me a picture:  liz at lizytishknits dot com

P.S. In case you are wondering, I did NOT knit this recently because I’m not supposed to be knitting much these days! I knit this last year and got stalled with the button issue.  If you know me, you know that I tend to have a little motivational trouble when it comes to sewing on buttons and I was somewhat discouraged about needing to fix the gap issue, which meant adding more buttons. More. But, clearly I overcame and persevered!

Sunday Cooking: 4 Healthy Recipes To Get You Through The Week

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In my household, we have been trying very hard to eat better. This means not following my husband’s family rule of having no less than three desserts. This also means trying to do a bunch of cooking on Sundays to make healthy recipes that can take us through our busy week and not resort to pizza and poppers.

With the main chef in the house (me) slightly out of commission due to elbow tendinitis, there is a new chef in town (my husband Paul). This is new to him and needs lots of direction from me but he has reportedly enjoyed doing some of this cooking, especially the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from Super Bowl Sunday.

This past Sunday we had a 3-hour cooking marathon with me teaching and included Paul trying to get me to NOT help, which was VERY difficult and not very successful.

Recipe #1: Frittata muffins

This is our own recipe that we make to have for breakfast during the week.

Breakfast Frittata Muffins

8 eggs

2 boxes frozen spinach (thawed and liquid squeezed out)

1 large red pepper, chopped

2-3 cups frozen hashbrowns

4 oz shredded or cubed cheese

Pepperoni, or sausage that has been browned (1 cup or so).

Mix it all up, divide among a 12-cup muffin tin (coated with cooking spay).

Bake at 350 degrees for approx 25-30 minutes (until the tops are puffed and no longer moist)

We eat 1 1/2 muffins as a serving.  Very healthy, especially if you use turkey sausage, and along with some fruit, a pretty filling breakfast.

Recipe #2: Tomato-Glazed Meatloaves from Smitten Kitchen.

This one had quite a few steps but it was worth it. Deeeeeeelicious! (even though I forgot to tell the chef to put the milk in the mixture, so they were a little teeny tiny bit not as moist/tender….) Have I told you how much I love recipes from smittenkitchen.com? We did NOT make the accompanying brown butter mashed potatoes that are in the recipe since we were trying to keep it healthy and all, but they look delicious too.

Recipe #3: Chicken Noodle Casserole… Sorry, no picture of this one! We thought about it, but decided against it because it was really BORING. It is tasty – tastes just like thickened chicken noodle soup. But, we used whole grain egg noodles, and didn’t put the buttered breadcrumbs on it in order to make it healthier, so it pretty much just looked like brown noodles. But good.

Recipe #4: Marakesh Carrots from Joy the Baker.

This one was totally for me. Paul will not get within 10 feet of something with turmeric, cilantro, chick peas, pistachios or scallions! I’ve made this before and I just love it. All healthy ingredients and a dressing with not a ton of oil but LOTS of flavor.

Lastly was a huge green salad to keep in the fridge. We were then set for the week with a bunch of healthy recipes, and tired of cooking/directing! By the end of the week, we’ll get pretty tired of eating these recipes multiple times, so that give us incentive to look for something new and different. Or decide to freeze some of them next time.

Do any of these look good to you?  Would you try any of them?

[Have you noticed the Craftsy link over on the sidebar?  I am now a Craftsy affiliate.  Click there to explore the many, many craft classes they offer.  I have my eye on a few of the bread baking ones!]

5 Patterns to Knit this Spring

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I’ve been trolling on the line lately — well, really just Ravelry, finding things that would be great to knit in the spring (and maybe teach at my local yarn shop The Spinning Room).  [By the way, “on the line” is my favorite mis-phrase from the movie The Internship with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn.  So funny, and I use that phrase all. the. time.] It’s the time of year that I’m done with the cold weather and the snow — even though here in upstate New York it seems like all of winter happened just in the last week and a half — and I start looking for light and airy things to knit.  I have found 5 patterns that would be great.

1) Socks are always a good bet for knitting in the warmer weather.  Maybe you won’t wear wool socks in the coming months, but they are great to knit because they are small — don’t heat up your lap — and use lightweight yarn.  So my newest can’t-wait-to-knit socks are Vintage Fairy Lights by Helen Stewart.

Copyright Helen Stewart

I love her patterns and I also listen to her podcast called Curious Handmade.

2) Shawls are also great for spring — to knit and to wear. How about this Tangled Shawl?

Copyright Caro Sheridan

Full disclosure, I do not love the yellow, and that turned me off a bit. But then I saw the beautiful green one Kathy at The Spinning Room made and I knew I had to make one.  Mine is a pretty blue and just barely started:

I’m also teaching it as a class in the spring!  This would be a great item to wear on a chilly spring day.

3) Another small and light item to make in the spring are cowls in fingering weight yarn. Sping is still a good time of year to wear them as accessories inside, but also when it’s a little chilly under your lighter coats. I found this great Checks, Please! cowl by Debbi Stone:

Copyright Debbi Stone

It’s got a pretty pattern and I love the idea of using a gradient yarn.  Maybe I’ll use my Anne with an E yarn from Knitcircus:

4) Another great cowl pattern is the Knitting is my Yoga cowl by Elizabeth Sullivan:

Copyright Sweet Paprika Designs

Because who doesn’t like a (FREE!) easy pattern to knit while you are sitting outside in the spring having a picnic and relaxing?  This pattern was designed with relaxation in mind.  And it’s FREE.

5) Finally, a hat project with heavier yarn (worsted) but still small so you won’t pass out from heat exhaustion.  This Double Cable Ponytail / Messy Bun Hat by Lena Mathisson is perfect:

Copyright Lena Mathisson

And so practical! Buttons go up the back so you can change where your ponytail comes out.  Very clever.  This is on my list to make and teach in a class too.

There you go.  Five suggestions for springtime knitting, all of which are in my Ravelry queue and waiting for me to start! Let me know if you like them and if you will try them. (By the way, if you do the Pinterest thing, click on the side bar and you can follow me there.  I pin things I want to knit someday as well as lots of other stuff.)

A Few Random Things (including crochet!)

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So, I did a little crocheting! I worked on my Moorland crochet-a-long blanket (from the Attic 24 blog)

Got the Khaki row finished and started the Meadow row.  I am only doing a few minutes at a time and trying to go very SLOWLY so progress will be extremely slow. I am woefully behind as the CAL is just about finished (the post for how to do the edging is due up next week) but that’s ok.  It’s not a race. Thank goodness.

There has also been some kitchen experimenting around here.  My dad told us about the Presto 06006 Kitchen Kettle Multi-Cooker/Steamer which he makes stews and soups and french fries in.  Paul’s eyes widened when he heard french fries.  So we got one and made some fries….

The day we wanted to make them, we only had some baby red potatoes on hand but they were great!  We will definitely be experimenting with more frying.  And soup.

I finished a great book called Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel  Lots of twists and turns in this book about a woman trying to maintain a new life despite some major events that happened in high school and which catch up with her. The author is great at dropping little bombshell pieces of information then taking you to another part of the story and making you wait for her to put it all together.  I love that kind of book.

(Click on both those links up there to find them on Amazon.)

I also wanted to show you my new pencil holder.

It is my new favorite tea from Beekman 1802 called Brace the Day.  It is a strong black tea, great for waking you up and starting your morning.  Plus, along with my “RELAX” reminder, I thought “Brace the Day” was a good sentiment too (and it sits next to the wonderful little crochet bowl my mom gave me!)

Next up: hopefully a little more crochet or knitting to show you and probably some talk about all the new patterns that I’m dying to knit.

Hanging On

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Well, the weather has been horrendous here, how about you? Snow last Thursday, snow yesterday.

Early last week – and actually for the past month or so – Paul was working on the plow Jeep to get it running.  It was having carburetor issues and we thought for sure that this was the winter it would crap out on us.  Paul already had to shovel the driveway during a minor snowfall in January.  We have had this 1960-ish Jeep for 12 winters and almost every year, we think it will be the last.  It has had MANY fixes and we are just always hoping we’ll get through yet another winter because replacing it would be very expensive.  It will be hard to beat the $400 deal we got on this one.

Thankfully the last ditch effort of purchasing a rebuild kit for the needle and seat (she says like she knows what she’s talking about but really, she just asked Paul) did the trick.

And we think it can hang on for at least the rest of this winter!

Meanwhile, with the snow coming down yesterday, Paul and I made pretzels!  Paul has been WAY into the cooking and baking since I have been limited in this area recently.  I think he is actually starting to like it.

(Paul declared the one in the lower right to be representative of our intertwined love.  You know, with Valentine’s Day coming and all…)

We used the King Arthur Flour Soft Buttery Pretzel Mix (click there to get it on Amazon) and they are so, So, SO, GOOD!  Especially right out of the oven.  Perfect to have watching tv on a cold, snowy day.

Progress?

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There may be a light at the end of the tunnel and today is “test day.”  Here is what things have come to:

Rock tape to help relax the muscles (there is another piece on the other side of my arm). Tendonitis bands to take the pressure off the elbow tendon.  Hand/wrist support to support the muscles that extend to the elbow.  Crazypants.  (And by the way, both arms look like that.) But, I think it might be helping.  While I am still supposed to be resting and heating, I am able to do some computer work with just a little soreness later, not a lot.

And today, I am trying knitting (for only a few minutes) with the orthopedic doctor’s recommendation of using square knitting needles (I can’t believe he knew about square knitting needles!) which are supposed to be gentler on your arms/hands.  I got some tips to try with my interchangeable set at Knitpicks.com:

And because I wanted to make the shipping “worth it,” I got these too:

How could I not? Reds and pinks were on sale for Valentine’s Day.  These could potentially be a pair of socks for my sweetheart Paul (who absolutely would NOT wear them so really they will be for me!).

Oh and while we are talking about yarn purchases, I went to The Spinning Room the other day, “just to browse” and I came home with these:

I just can’t resist Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and especially the new tonals.

Stay tuned – you may actually see some finished knitting from me someday!

3 Books, A Class and A Window

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Still no knitting but a cortisone shot in each elbow will hopefully help things move along. And abbreviated posts continue….

Here are 3 books I have finished recently:
Missing You by Harlan Coben. I love, Love, LOVE Harlan Coben’s books. Exciting, suspenseful, page-turning stories and this was no exception.

Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing by Jennifer Weiner. I have enjoyed all her books. This one is a memoir and since we went to the same high school, it was interesting reading her perspective on our town and her experiences.  But that was just a small part of the book.  There were so many great chapters.  I enjoy her writing – engaging, witty, thoughtful, and honest.

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. The first time I read a Kristin Hanna book was The Nightingale: A Novel which I loved.  I decided to try another of her books and I wasn’t disappointed.  A completely different book from The Nightingale, Firefly Lane is a story about two best friends, how they met and a journey through their lives as friends.  I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed it!

(Click on any of those links to purchase on Amazon.)

A Class:

The Baa-ble Hat class was fun last weekend.  This one is so popular that I’ve scheduled another class and it is almost full already!  As someone in the class mentioned, there is something about seeing those sheep grow in the knitted work that makes you just want to keep knitting to see what it will look like…

A window:

Christine did her magic once again with The Spinning Room’s front window.  The most adorable sweatered penquins (and an elephant) playing on the ice!

A List

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A list for you today!

1) We are having a little ice storm today.  Luckily I got to the dentist and back before it started. (No cavities! AND my dentist now has warm towelettes to wash your face after your cleaning. How froofy!)

2) The Rough Waters cowl class was fun this weekend.  Here are the works-in-progress:

Lots of practice with yarn overs and sk2p’s.

3) You may have noticed a new little heading near the top of my home page that says: “My Favorite Things Amazon Store”.  (If you are on a mobile device, click on “Menu”) That is a link to my Amazon store where you can find a bunch of my favorite things (knitting related and non-knitting related).  If you purchase something through there, I get a tiny commission, which helps pay for my blogging host fees. Thank you for your support!

4) While I was not knitting this weekend, my mom came for a visit and we chatted and watched tv.  And had ice cream. A pretty good substitute for not knitting!

5) What I’m making in the crock pot right now: Honey-Garlic Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs.  This is the second time I’m making this recipe – excellent.  And so easy!

6) How about a little book review? I recently read: Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood, Book 1).  Aside from Twilight this is the only other vampire book I have read.  I think I liked it.  It was just very weird to read about vampires as if they were an everyday thing. And it was a little gory. Otherwise a good mystery with some romancy things thrown in.  This series is what the tv show True Blood is based on.  I have the next two in the series, Living Dead in Dallas and Club Dead, waiting in the wings but will wait a bit to read those. There is only so much vampire stuff I can take. (click on any of those links to purchase on Amazon)

7) And here are some additions to my Ravelry queue, accumulating while I can’t knit:

Triteia cowl

Cloud Covered Scarf

MinimalSockz (#800 in my queue. I better be able to start knitting soon so I can start on those 800 patterns.)

Enough typing. Off to heat and rest.