Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How I Finished My Second Holla Knits Design in a Third of the Time It Took Me to do the First

This is a cross-post from the Holla Knits blog, but I really wanted to share it here, too! 

sneaky peek4

I was really excited when I found out that I would be designing again for Holla KnitsI loved designing Finishing School, but in terms of timing, it was a disaster. I ended up knitting the sample while packing and searching for apartments in LA, and writing the pattern a week after the due date in a cafe, because I didn’t have internet at my apartment yet. Yup, I moved across the country right in the middle of the process.

So this second design would be a chance for me to do it right. To be more professional, and not turn in my pattern a week after it was due. And then I got my contract from Allyson, and realized that the due date fell right at the end of my planned 10-day vacation.
sneaky peek3 

There was no way I was going to travel with my sample and try to write on the road. So that meant that I would have to design and knit a cable-heavy garment in three weeks.
I got it done in just over two, and wanted to share my tips:
  1. Set Your Priorities – I’m a busy lady. While designing, I was also working two jobs, taking a Shakespeare acting class, and opened a new Etsy shop for WORK + SHELTER.  But I wanted to be able to relax on vacation more than I wanted to go out on Friday night, so I spent many a Friday knitting, sometimes until 2am.
  2. Break It Down - We’ve heard this a million times before: in order to finish a huge task, break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. For my design, my list looked something like this:
    1. Research cables
    2. Swatch
    3. Knit
    4. Finishing
    5. Edit Pattern
sneaky peek2

That made it pretty easy to assign due dates for each step, and so as long as I met my mini due date, I’d meet the overall due date.
  1. Don’t Procrastinate – I am the worlds biggest procrastinator. I even procrastinated writing this blog post! But when your goals are big, figure out a way to block facebook or turn off your phone, and just get it done.
  2. Reward Yourself – The majority of my sample was knit while watching Game of Thrones, which is so addicting, it made the knitting time fly by. And when I was completely, totally done, I got to start a new project, my Lace Striped Sweater, which was a different kind of reward!
And now that I’m done with this blog post, I’ll reward myself with more Lace Stripes!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

this week in Instagrams

Whew - this week has flown by. Yesterday was a travel day, and I'm home in Michigan now. I'm heading to a wedding tonight, and looking forward to a week of fun & relaxation! 

mmmm burgers fruity froyo
1. I've been totally obsessed with burgers lately. 2. ...and froyo with mini gummi bears.

soak box workin' my lace striped sweater
3. I got my soakbox! 4. Working on my lace stripes sweater at the airport. 

walking right up to the plane flying over the rockies
5. In Burbank, you walk up to the plane like it's 1954. 6. Flying over the Rockies.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Sister Road Trip Across America - Part 4


As you may know, at the end of January I drove cross-country with my sister, Meghan. We had a lot of fun, and took a lot of awesome pictures, and I've been wanting to share mine with you, but to be perfectly honest, her's are better. She's put together a few posts with some of her best, most amazing pictures from our journey and a few fun realizations. This is Part 4, the final installation. Read the rest here

Part 4: California!    


After four days in the car, a few exciting tourist adventures, a completed book on tape, and an enthusiastic rendition of "Colors of the Wind" by the Canavan sisters, we made it to California. All LA traffic and sleepiness aside, we were happy to finally arrive at Katie's adorable new apartment; complete with a mermaid fountain, '60s color scheme, courtyard pool, and a couple of fat cats hangin' around.








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Over the next three days we started getting Katie settled in and made time for a little fun, too.  We checked out some good places to eat and shop in Burbank, went to The Getty Museum to enjoy art, gardens, and the scenery, and went to Santa Monica so that I could get my ocean fix before heading back to the Midwest.

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I wish I could've stayed for another week or two to explore, but we did the best we could with the time we had. Here are some photos from our California adventures. Again, taken with my Nikon and my iPhone. I'm already planning a trip back to visit this year, but for now, enjoy this small taste of California!

xo Meghan

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Crafty Summer Plans

Mmmm, Summer. Although I'm still pretty busy, Summer always puts me in the new-project-planning mindset. I suppose it comes from those Summers in high school & college when a break from school meant time to devote to crafty pursuits and reading fiction. 

Here's what I'm planning for this Summer:


A few weeks ago I had a dream I was wearing Allyson's Summer Lace Stripes Sweater, and I couldn't get it out of my head. I know, I'm the corniest. "It came to me in a dreeeaaammm!"

I ordered Knit Picks' Comfy Worsted in Ivory and cast on Sunday after I finished my Holla Knits sample. It's the perfect California sweater - a light, breezy extra layer that will go well with shorts or my bright teal skinny jeans! 


A is watching...

Last summer I was totally obsessed with recreating some beaded bracelets from a popular show about doomed teenage girls (....) and made the one above for my sister. This summer, I'm dying to use my bead loom to create pretty Native American- inspired jewelry, like these bracelets, and these barrettes.


Meghan's afghan

A crochet blanket from years ago, before I had a blog

It's time to jump back into crochet! We were gifted three plain, wooden stools that work perfectly with our counter. Except that, you know, they're so plain and wooden. I'm going to crochet a little seat cover for each, and hopefully they'll be as pretty as this cover


I bought McCall's M6331 last Summer, and totally didn't get around to sewing it up. I want, nay need, that romper. I'm interested to see how this pattern comes out, since it claims to be adjustable for different bust sizes, instead of just going with the standard B-cup. We know that's not gonna work for me! 


What's that you say? Reading isn't a craft?! Ok, let's say I plan to perfect the craft of reading while crafting, and start with this book. I'm a huge fantasy fan, so I don't know why I've avoided A Game of Thrones for so long. Chris and I just finished watching the first season of the HBO series, and I'm totally hooked, so I think it's time. Anyone else loving these books or the show?

Monday, June 18, 2012

this week in Instagrams...

new shirt
1. I couldn't resist this shirt from Threadless.

Another busy week! I finished up my Holla Knits Fall design (more on that later), ate at a few new restaurants, started planning a trip back to Michigan & Chicago, and worked a bunch. Whew. It'll be nice to have a few days off next week to visit family in the midwest.

eating ramensparkly nails

2. Melissa and I ate some fancy ramen.  3. Love this pink sparkle Essie nail polish.

spoiled by pancakes & starbucks        new sweater
4. Chris spoiled me on a weekday with Starbucks & pancakes. 5. Cast on for a new summer sweater!

red & blue velvet pancakes

6. I met up with Izabelle, of Izznit! We ate super delicious Red & Blue Velvet pancakes at Larchmont Bungalow, and talked all things blog, fashion, and pets. I'm so happy to have a knitting friend in LA!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Sister Road Trip Across America - Part 3


As you may know, at the end of January I drove cross-country with my sister, Meghan. We had a lot of fun, and took a lot of awesome pictures, and I've been wanting to share mine with you, but to be perfectly honest, her's are better. She's put together a few posts with some of her best, most amazing pictures from our journey and a few fun realizations. This is Part 3, read Parts 1& 2 here

Part 3: More Tourist Attractions

Riding the train

Last week I wrote about the first couple of tourist attraction stops we made along the way on our drive to California. The World's Largest Truck Stop and the World's Largest Time Capsule left us wanting more. Little did we know, the best was yet to come...

In the stocks

olde tyme

Our third attraction stop was our absolute favorite. We're talking about childhood dreams coming true, here. From the second we spotted the first old, tattered billboard advertising Pioneer Village (hours before we were anywhere close to it), Katie and I were intrigued. It was a little out of the way, but our love for Laura Ingalls Wilder and The Oregon Trail could not be suppressed and we just couldn't resist stopping.

On the Oregon Trail! Pioneers!

school desks milk

Pioneer Village is located in Minden, Nebraska, amongst a million and one cows. The friendly elderly lady who sold us our tickets was probably confused as to why two twenty-somethings were giddy with excitement before roaming around the village. There were approximately six visitors at the village, including us, which was actually quite perfect.


and the trolley

This meant more freedom to explore, climb on trains, climb on covered wagons, take goofy pictures, take artistic pictures, and touch absolutely everything that was stamped with a little red 'OK TO TOUCH' hand (you know, the kind of signs that let young children like us know it's OK to touch things).


more shadows

Our short stop turned into a few hours, we purchased some amazing maps of the Old West for $2, and being famished from all of the excitement we hit the road to find some food.

Hole N the Rock

Our fourth stop was at Hole 'N the Rock in Moab, Utah. Hole 'N the Rock is a 5,000 square foot former home/restaurant for local miners that a man named Albert Christensen carved in red Utah rock. 

Though we weren't allowed to take pictures inside the actual home (click here to see their website with interior photos), we were amazed at some of the features--for example, a fully-functioning fireplace and a bathtub made of rock?! Awesome.


 We were also mildly disturbed by some details--for example, Albert was experimenting with taxidermy in his later years and stuffed his wild horse-friend in a less-than-professional manner. Poor horse. 

License plates


Ye Olde Gas Pump  Spurs

There were a lot of interesting weathered and rusty things around for me to photograph here (yay more old stuff!), so I enjoyed doing that. Partially exhausted from our journey and partially creeped out by the stuffed wild horse, we left Hole 'N the Rock to refuel at a brewery in Moab. Yum!


For our final act of American tourism, we stopped in Las Vegas for lunch and a quick gamble. Since we were driving through anyways we figured we had to stop.


Las VegasNope, LV
Katie and I enjoyed walking around and people watching on the strip, we ate lunch at Margaritaville, and finally, we tried our hand at gambling. It was actually the first time either of us had gambled at a casino. Can you believe that?! Needless to say, we stuck to penny slot machines and were not lucky.

In Vegas or Paris?

The variety of tourist attractions we stopped at made our travels go by quickly, and it was fun to experience new and different things. The beautiful, the exciting, and even the creepy.

Next stop--California!
xo Meghan