Friday, August 31, 2012

Soakbox Mitts, finished.

When I saw the new Soakbox mitt kit - Soak, lotion, yarn and matching nail polish - I totally fell in love. It was like Soak designed a product JUST for me! 

soak mitts

I decided on the Cuff Au Lait kit, which looked brown online, but wasn't completely sold on the pattern that came with the kit. I didn't know if I liked the fold over cuff, so I started looking around for another suitable pattern. 

But then, when the kit arrived (a bit more purple-y than advertised), I began to reconsider the pattern. It's kind of the classic, the fold over cuff, right? And I certainly don't have anything else like this in my (large) collection of fingerless mitts. 

soak mitts 2

The yarn is a dream, so I'm totally into them. The pattern is interesting; there's a bit after you join where you flip the whole thing inside out. 

I did make one small modification - the pattern suggests making two matching mitts, but I made them mirror images by layering them opposite when joining in the round. It turned out perfectly, and they're lovely!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

HK KAL Week 2 - Progress!

HK KAL Week 2 Progress

Week 2 of the Holla Knits KAL went much quicker! I'm just st-st-ing away over here, and actually knit a large portion of this while viewing Chris' current play, "All My Sons." Did you know st st makes for great knitting in the dark?

Since my gauge was a little off, I was a worried about the size I chose to knitting. But I measured across the bust, and I think it's going to be a great fit. A win for math! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Adventure Time - Little Tokyo

Little Tokyo

I've been in a bit of a rut. The weekend comes, I don't plan anything, and I end up at Target with my friend Melissa, around 10pm on a Saturday, spending $100. Have you been in this rut? It's just so easy

So Melissa and I made a list of all the fun places in the LA area that we wanted to explore, and vowed to break the Saturday-Night-Target Habit. So we started last Saturday by visiting LA's Little Tokyo



Little Tokyo is a super cute area of downtown LA that has all sorts of fun Japanese restaurants and shops. There's a Japanese cultural center (they had a quilt exhibit!), and we even stumbled upon an eating contest. Yup, you heard me: Eating Contest

boba tea! mochi

crazy photo books

We possibly went overboard on the food - boba tea, conveyer belt sushi and mochi ice cream in assorted flavors. 


I had to hold myself back from buying all the cute things - but I did go for this little bear purse. It's so cuuuute! 


Sometimes, with adventure comes pain. I had never experienced one of these conveyer belt sushi places, and it was kind of amazing. The sushi goes past your table and you just reach out and take what you want. 

the sushi that did us in  rotating sushi

Here's Melissa with the piece that did us in - the Heart Clam. The description said "Like a Tender Chicken," which could not have been less true. It was a disgusting, chewy, mess and ruined our appetites for the next two hours.

Ah, well, you live, you learn, you never eat the Heart Clam again!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

This week in Instagrams (and a video)

I'm pretty obsessed with this song. The album comes out on September 10th, and you can be sure I'll be getting it.

This week has been pretty busy - the cafe I work at is closing, so it's been packed every night. Lots of running around and sweating, but that means more free time next week! In general, I'm trying to use my time better, and I think this will only help. Here's to organization! 

beer float le bun
1. I may have a history of making terrible floats with alcohol, but this beer float from The Federal was amazing. 2. Devious bun is loving the cooler temperatures! 

gallery wall working & bun
3. The apartment is coming together, including the "Art Gallery" on one wall. 4. Chris is a master multi-tasker. 

zippers pretty KP yarn
5. Putting the finishing touches on my Holla Knits accessory design. 6. Some gorgeous Knit Picks yarn.

Friday, August 24, 2012

HKKAL Week 1 Progress

We cast on Monday for the first Holla Knits' Knit Along! 

HKKAL Week 1 Progress

The first week was a bit intense - 9" of st st - but I powered through. I didn't realize exactly how much I'd knit until I really flattened it out. Last night I was slightly panicked at the size of my sweater, but that st st likes to curl in on itself and look like a tiny bit of knitting, when it's really closer to 8.75"! Whew. 

Want to join in? There's still time! Keep up with us on the Holla Knits blog, and in the Ravelry group, or email me at for more info. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Adventure Time: Denver Weekend

Brides & Bridesmaids!
1. Katie, Annie & Sethrina

Two weekends ago, I went to visit my friend Annie in Denver for her engagement party. She's not getting married until October of 2013, but this was a chance to get together and celebrate a little before then. Annie's having just two bridesmaids - Me & Sethrina (the blonde beauty above) - and it was great to finally really meet her and spend time together. Instant best friends! 

I don't know about you, but I'm at that time of life where all of my friends are engaged or getting married. In 2012, Chris and I were invited to 4 weddings, and in 2011, we were invited to 11. Sometimes quality friend time can get lost in the wedding shuffle, so it was extra nice to just slow down and drink a mimosa together. This is one wedding I'm super excited about!

To Denver! Lucy, the cutest pup ever 
2. Tiny plane, take me away! 3. Lucy, Annie's adorable pup.

fancy mimosas
4. Mimosa bar - I had champagne with berry sherbet. 

Me & Annie Memories

5. A little BFF time. 6. Memory lane via college polaroids. 

7. You know it's a good weekend when your most taxing decision is which color to paint your toes!

Gettin' ready for dinner
8. Engagment party! Annie's Mom, Me, Annie, Sethrina, and Binks, Annie's honorary Mom.

The happy couple
10. The happy couple - Annie & Tom. 

No, really.
11. No, really, they are happy! 

They love each other!
12. They love each other!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

This week in Instagrams...

I'm headed to Denver this morning to join my dear friend, Annie, for her engagement party. I'm excited to get away, and hopefully I'll work in a visit to Fancy Tiger.

A short one this week:

Living Room Sleepover Reading at Work
1. It's so hot, we've been sleeping in the living room on the pull out couch, right in front of the air conditioner. 2. Work at the cafe has been slow, so I've been reading Game of Thrones. 

Soak mitt & matching couch Yarn for HK KAL!
3. My Soak Mitts match my couch. 4. Yarn for the Holla Back Tank KAL

Friday, August 10, 2012

Instagram Wall (with a bit of a How-To, DIY type thing)

It should be no secret that I love Instagrams at this point, right? Last year I printed a few Tinybooks, but  I wanted a bigger way to display photos around my house. Enter Persnickety Prints.

my instagram wall

Persnickety Prints has a ton of options for printing Instagrams. I went with 3"x3" matte prints and got 144 of them. 

Now, if I were to do this again, I would have just bought 20" square canvas and called it a day. But I like to work with what I have, and what I had were wood frames from Ikea, which they don't even sell anymore. The idea was that you could mount whatever pretty fabric you had on hand and it's like instant art. But I bought them two (or more?) years ago on a whim, and they had yet to be used, so this seemed perfect. 

But if you want to do this, you should just buy 20" canvases.

instagram wall


- Four 20" square canvases
- 144 3"x3" prints
- Glue gun
- Nails or screws for hanging on the wall

"dining room"

Step 1: Have canvases, and don't spend an hour and a half mounting plain muslin on your dumb Ikea frames like I did.

Step 2: Lay out your photos in a pleasing manner.

Step 3: Use the glue gun to glue them to the canvas. I did one line of glue across the top and one line of glue across the bottom and then pressed down with my fingers until it was cool. Let it cool completely. 

Step 4: Hang your canvases on the wall in a huge square. 

close up on instagrams

You may be thinking, "But Katie, won't the glue gun be slightly impermanent?" I actually intend to trade out my photos as time progresses, replacing some less-cool photos (like that one of me in an old-lady visor, above) with more-cool photos as I take them. If you want a more permanent piece of art, use E-6000, and it will be totally, completely permanent. In that case, let it dry overnight before hanging.

Let me know if you try it!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

How To Dye Yarn with Tea

Thanks to everyone who has supported TEA+WOOL thus far. As you know, each purchase makes a difference for the shelters in India, and we really appreciate each purchase. Today I want to share my WIP pictures of the tea-dying process.

bare yarn

When the bare yarn came to me from India, it was in quite a state, and took up a full three Ikea-bags. Each big skein of yarn was actually made up of three smaller skeins, each around 100g (you can see the small skeins on top of the pile). There were about 250 skeins waiting to be dyed. 

the crockpot set up

After the yarn was separated, it went into a mordant bath. Mordant is a chemical that helps the yarn absorb the dye. You can use a few different chemicals depending on the fiber, the dye, and your desired results - I used Alum. The Alum and the yarn went into a crock pot and cooked on low for about two hours. 

yarn in the crock pot
Mmmm, looks yummy!

After the mordant, I drained the crock pots, and refilled them with fresh water and tea. Each of the yarns were dyed with their namesake teas (Chamomile, Lemon Grass & Darjeeling). These also cooked on low until it was bed time, at which point I turned off the crock pot and let them cool overnight, still soaking in the tea. 

All this crock pot cooking made my apartment smell like a cooked sheep! Needless to say, we didn't host many parties while I was dyeing. 

Yarn hanging to dry

In the morning the yarn was rinsed in fresh water and hung to dry in the bathroom. Check out that tile! After drying for a day or two, each skein was twisted and put into a fancy W+S label, and that's where you'll find them today

W+S Yarns

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Knit Like it's 2004

When I moved from Chicago to LA, I went through every single thing I own, and buried deep in a huge plastic bin, I found one of the earliest examples of my knitting: 

old school knits

The pattern is Stephanie Japel's Minisweater (aka Boobholder), and I knit it in the spring of 2004. I clearly remember wearing it for the first time to the cast party of Into the Woods my sophomore year at Michigan State (I played Granny & the Giant, for those interested). No picture of me wearing it at the time exists, but for reference, here's what I looked like at the time:


Ahhh, the days of the timestamp! Is it just me, or is there a stain on that shirt? Ok, back to the sweater.

It's knit with a lovely hand-painted superwash wool that I bought at a tiny yarn store near the MSU campus, which was probably the first time I bought "expensive" yarn. Upon closer examination, you can see that all my stitches are twisted

close up on the terrible knitting

Yup, I knit with twisted stitched for at least the first 2 years I was a "serious knitter." Since I taught myself from online tutorials and books, I didn't realize my mistake for some time. Good thing I finally corrected myself, right?

Ahhh, memories! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mamma!

mama's mitts

My mother's birthday was last Friday, so I took a break from working on my 3rd Holla Knits design to whip up a pair of mitts for her. 

close up on the mitts

I made a pair of these at Christmas for myself, and I loved the pattern (Susie's Reading Mitts) so much that it's become my new go-to. The yarn is Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool, and they turned out beautifully. 

birthday mitts

Now if the temperature drops below 90 degrees, she'll be able to wear them!