My First Yarnbox!

What is Yarnbox?

Yarnbox is a monthly yarn subscription club. You can choose bi-monthly, one month, 3 month or 6 month subscriptions with the option to cancel anytime (between payments).  You also have a choice to give a gift subscription (no auto-renewal).

{Just to be clear right from the start:  I’m simply sharing the details of what I’ve received so other yarn enthusiasts may know what getting a Yarnbox subscription is like.}

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What’s inside?

Yarn.  Yarn which, according to the label, may cause extreme happiness!

Seriously though, each month Yarnbox chooses luxury yarns to send out to subscribers. You also get free access to patterns that aren’t generally free.

My Yarnbox subscription

My mom knows I’m a yarn addict. So she likes to get me at least one yarn-related gift for Christmas each year. This year, I pointed her to a couple different yarn subscription companies as well as various yarns and other items I want/need.  Well, Mom decided her best and easiest option was to gift me a 3-month Yarnbox subscription. Today my first Yarnbox arrived in my mailbox.

Yarnbox Reveal:

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My glass drinking jar is there to show relative size. The box was much smaller than I had thought it would be!

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There are 2 designer cards with lovely photos of some of their designs.

Bonus:  Yarnbox subscribers can get a special discount off their other patterns too!

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Yarns included in my January Yarnbox: 1 skein Knit Collage Pixie Dust Mini in Iceberg Mist and 1 skein Knit Collage Stargazer Silk & Sequins in Blue Lagoon

Patterns included in my January Yarnbox (to download):  Snow Cap by Cheryl Kubat {knit} and Crocodile Stitch Hooded Cape by Lianka Azulay {crochet}

At Retail Prices that all would cost $73! So the subscription price is a pretty good value.

What do I think?

My initial thought as I looked at the yarns was that I would probably never buy them myself.  The colors are fabulous, but I’m not usually drawn to yarns with sequins or shiny material. But after a moment’s reflection, I realized that’s kind of the point of a Yarnbox subscription. To get new yarns that I might otherwise overlook and have the opportunity to work with them! Who knows? I might even fall in love with them as I knit or crochet with them.

Ultimately, I’m happy with my first Yarnbox and can’t wait to see what the next two will have!

Have you ever received or purchased a yarn subscription?

Tell me what it was and whether or not you felt it was a good value in the comments section below!

Happy knitting!

~Stephanie

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Blogathon Bash Wrap-up

Just a quick wrap-up post for the Blogathon Bash

blogathonwinter_thumbSo how’d I do?

New pattern published. Check!

Scheduling posts. {Going to have to do that one still.}

Learn more about media kits. {Nope…didn’t have time for that either.}

Design a blog button. {Do I really need one? Didn’t have time for it anyways.}

Clean out my email inbox. {Well, I didn’t get rid of old mail, but I’ve been keeping up with reading/deleting new mail! I should still set up a separate folder for those emails I want to keep.}

Mini-challenges for this Blogathon bash. THIS is where I spent a lot of my time.

The mini-challenges I worked on were:

  1. Creating a Pinnable Image with Picmonkey
  2. Categories and Tags
  3. Growing Your Facebook Community
  4. 15 Clever Ways to Get New Blog Traffic

PLUS, I’ve wanted to set up a redirect page for new commenters.  I had the plug-in already (Comment Redirect by Yoast for any interested bloggers), just needed time to design the page for it and make sure the plug-in was activated and set up to redirect to the correct page.  I think this is what took me the longest. Just had it tested this morning and it worked!  Yay!

So although there’s still a lot I could do for my blog, I feel good that I was able to spend some quality time working on it this weekend!

If you’re a blogger and haven’t yet participated in the Blogathon Bash, be sure to click on the above image and check out the dates for the Summer Blogathon.

Have a great week!

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No Featured Photo?

Ravelry members: a gift for you

Do you ever find you’ve finished a project and were so excited to give it to the recipient that you forgot to take a photo to upload on Ravelry?  You later realize that “no featured photo” is just sitting there mocking you and your photo-forgetfulness. Annoying, isn’t it?

Well, I’ve got a little image that can help make that space a little nicer-looking!  And I’m happy to share it to anyone who’d like to use it. That’s right…you may use it too!

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So, if you happen to have a few of those annoying “no featured image” empty photo spots bothering you, just save a copy of the above image. Right click on the image, save it to your computer, and upload it to any of your Ravelry project pages that are missing photo evidence. And breathe a sigh of relief to see something in the place where a photo should be.

And if you like this image, be sure to Pin this post on Pinterest and share it with your Ravelry friends! Enjoy!

Happy knitting!

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Newly published pattern!

Published pattern: Newborn Bunny Hat

That’s right!  I finished one of my monthly goals and published a new pattern!  This one is for the crocheters out there.  It’s an adorable baby bunny hat!!!  Newborn size, but since babies come in a variety of sizes it might fit smaller babies up to 2 months or so.   {It’s been so long since I’ve had a newborn, that I really can’t say for sure.}

The hat is made with basic single crochet. It’s easy-peasy! Then comes the slightly-more-difficult-but-still-pretty-easy making of the bunny ears.  The hardest part is getting the ears sewn on so they look proper!  But if you take your time (and aren’t afraid to undo stitches if an ear isn’t standing in just the right place) you’ll do fine.

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I’ve decided to set the cost of this hat pattern at the affordable price of just $1.00 since it’s pretty easy to crochet.

To all my hook-loving friends, enjoy and happy hooking! 🙂

Blog Updates

Thanks to the Biannual Blogathon Bash, I’ve gotten some blog-related work done today!

1. New pattern published!  YAY!!!

2. Updated blog pages:  If you check out the menu bar above, you’ll see I’ve updated it to include a page for my Free patterns as well.  And I’ve updated both pattern pages with links to my newest patterns, both free and for purchase.

3. Another blog update that’s probably not as noticeable, but will hopefully help me:  updated categories and tags for my posts. One of the Blogathon’s mini-challenges was to sort out the difference between categories and tags, and then limit the categories to 3-6 and have related tags for each category.  I had *no* idea what I was doing before, but it was getting pretty messy!! So I’ve cleaned it up and re-categorized my posts.  It’s still not perfect, but MUCH better!

Still working on the other goals…plus a few more that I’ve thought of too!  Plus I’d like to try and do a few more mini-challenges before the Blogathon Bash is done.

But for now….I need me some KNITTING!!!

So I’m going to go put the kiddos to bed, find a show to watch with my man, and knit!

Have a nice night!  Happy knitting!

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Biannual Blogathon Bash

Blogathon Bash:  January 24-27, 2014

It’s time for another Blogathon! If you’ve been following my blog long enough, you know I participated in the last one (June 2013) but jumped in a little late. This time I signed up before it started and am trying to start right away today.

Biannual Blogathon Bash

If you’re a blogger and don’t know what the Blogathon Bash is, it’s a weekend to really take time a focus on your blog. Set some goals…anything from clearing out email inboxes to writing posts…whatever you need to do to make your blog better. Did I mention there are some prizes available too? But in my opinion, making time to focus on my blog is well worth joining in.

For this blog, I really need to work on some of my New Year’s goals.

First, it’s almost the end of January and I haven’t published a new pattern yet! Gotta get that done!!!

I also know I haven’t been posting as often as I’d hoped. So I’m going to work on scheduling posts.

Next, I’d like to learn more about media kits. I’m not sure I need one, but if I do, I should probably get working on it. And maybe design a blog button too. Again, not sure I really need one.

I also need to clean out my email inbox. I’ve kept way too many junk emails thinking I’d go back to them for ideas or whatnot, but really they’re just junk. At the very least, I should put them in a separate folder.

Finally, I’m going to look at the list of mini-challenges on the Blogathon blog and see if there’s anything else I should do this weekend.

Of course a knitblogger’s weekend just wouldn’t seem right without some time for yarn, so I’ll be taking breaks and working on my Bellatrix socks some more too.

Have a productive weekend! Happy knitting!

Steph

FO: Bigger Bigger on the Inside

Finished Object: Bigger Bigger on the Inside Shawl

Here it is! The Bigger Bigger on the Inside Shawl is finally finished, loose yarn ends are woven in, and shawl has been blocked.

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Yesterday was a gorgeous day here in Northern Minnesota–above freezing!! (And after sub-zero temps, that feels like a heat wave!) So hubby and I stepped outside for a few photos of me modeling it for you. I know some of you reading this are seeing these photos of me wearing short sleeves outside in the snow must think I’m a bit crazy, but going from -30 degrees F to above freezing is a huge difference and feels {relatively} warm! Really! Besides, it was only for about 10 minutes or so. (Although hubby *did* go to church wearing short sleeves and no coat…he’s a crazy hardy Northerner!)

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Clearly, this shawl is a bit larger than my first Bigger on the Inside (which measured 52″ wide by 15″ high). After blocking AND after modeling the larger shawl, I lay it out and measured:  turns out it’s 62.5″ wide by about 17.5″ high (at the center).  Although the width is about perfect, I still wish it was just a couple inches longer in the back. Which would require figuring out where to add more length–above and below the TARDIS pattern? making the TARDIS pattern taller? adding even more length to the bottom ribbed edging?

knitty shawl

But it definitely has more of a shawl feel than my first attempt which is a pretty nice Whovian scarf instead.

And Patty, my dear pottery-making friend, I hope it’s to your liking because it’s already in the mail and headed your way!!!

On My Needles

Here’s a sneak peak at what’s on my needles now… (if you follow my Facebook page, you’ve already seen this):

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What’s On YOUR Needles (or Hooks)

If you knit or crochet, tell me what project(s) do you have in progress?

And don’t be afraid to find me and friend me on Ravelry! (I’m perfectioKnits there too.) I don’t have enough time to really get involved in the groups and forums at this point, but it’s still fun to connect with my readers!  “See you” on Ravelry?!

As always, happy knitting!

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Goals, Knitting, Work

Goals

The old year is done.  The new year has come.  And I’ve been setting a few goals for myself for 2014.  Personal goals, knitting goals, designing goals, and blogging goals. I am going to share with you a few of my goals related to perfectioKnits.  Perhaps by sharing them with you, I will do better at following through with them.

  1. Publish a new pattern by the end of each month:  if I manage to meet this goal, I will have a total of 15 patterns published by the end of 2014!
  2. Post updates and other info to the blog at least 2-3 times each week.
  3. Encourage and cultivate more dialogue between you, my dear readers, and myself–here and on Facebook/Twitter/Google+/Pinterest, etc. (Speaking of Facebook, are you seeing my posts? I’ve been seeing lots of pages posting that most of their readers don’t see what they share.  Especially if it includes a link.  So if you’re reading this, but not seeing what I’m sharing on Facebook, please pop by my page and leave a comment on a post, ask me a question about knitting or crochet, or even just like a few posts. From what I understand, the more interaction you have with the pages you follow on Facebook, the more likely they are to show up in your newsfeed.)
  4. Finish 42 books:  a personal goal, but I will very likely continue sharing some of the books I’m reading (especially if I continue to link up with Ginny’s Yarn Along on occasion).

I have other, more specific goals related to these, but maybe they’re actually sub-goals or something.  Publishing this list here will hopefully help me keep focused and deliberate about making time to knit, write, create with yarn, and read too!  In order to keep myself accountable, I will write a post every month? other month? quarter? and evaluate how well I’m accomplishing these goals.

Knitting

I’ve completed the knitting portion of Bigger Bigger on the Inside.  Finished it Saturday.  Today is Wednesday and I have yet to weave in any ends, let alone block it.  Just thinking about picking it up the past few evenings has made me tired.  So I’ve left it sitting by my seat on the sofa and will get it done as soon as I can find enough time and energy for it. Soon, I hope since this one will go to my friend!  (See what I wrote under the heading “work” below and you’ll maybe understand?)

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Just waiting for me to weave in its loose ends and be blocked.

One more thing:  I haven’t even started a new project yet! I haven’t knit a stitch since Saturday. Can you believe it? (Me neither.)

But I’ve still got those sock yarns and a new pair of warm wooly socks always makes me happy.  Me thinks I shall be casting on some soon…maybe even tonight!?  No wait.  Shawl first.  Then socks.

Work

We homeschool.  Teaching my boys is my primary job and (needs to be) my primary focus. (Although knitting and blogging can be really distracting at times.)

Monday, despite the public schools in Minnesota all being closed due to the cold, we started a new semester of home-schooling. (As I told my boys, the public school here started up on Thursday or Friday and they had those days off still…fair enough.)  Some scheduling changes needed to take place since we’re–once again–falling behind a bit.  I expressed my frustration and concerns to my husband and asked him for assistance.  I really want to be finished with our school year by the end of May/early June.

Teaching our 7 year old son is my priority because he has been struggling with mixing up and/or forgetting some of both his numbers and his letters, therefore I know he needs a bit of extra help from me at this point to get him up to level with reading and math. But our 14 year old son, whom I’ve had working independently, still needs me to evaluate what he’s learned while working on his own.  He also needs me to supervise science experiments.  Finding time for both boys each day has been a scheduling nightmare for me–I’ve never been good at time management.  It’s a real struggle!  Enter my hubby… who is taking on a more active role in our homeschool and helping me by assigning our eldest’s daily work. Two days of feeling like I’ve accomplished *most* of what I’ve needed to for school gives me hope that we’re on a better course. 🙂