How to make a Lavender rattle


Before getting into the post for today, I just want to thank you for all the wonderful comments I've received, both here and elsewhere on Designing and Making Do. I really value your input, so do keep it coming! Now that it's out of the way let's get into the thing you really came here to read about today, shall we...


Lavender, the trusted friend of any fibre lover, or at least I think it should be. Lavender is famous for its medicinal uses, it keeps the moths at bay and well, smell wonderful (except to moths, or maybe they like it too?).



To make a lavender rattle you need two things
1) A bunch of lavender (10, 20, 30, you decide, just keep it an even number)
 2) Some silk ribbon. 


Strip the leaves off the stems and gather a bunch. 
The rattle will have approximately the size of the flower heads. 


Tie a ribbon as close to the flowers as possible.


Bend the first two stems down and place the ribbon over them.
If you are making these later in the lavender season, 
then be careful as you bend the stems so the don't break.


Bend down the next two stems down over the ribbon. 


Continue bending the stems down and weaving the ribbon tightly over and under the stems. 


Cut the ribbon when all the flowers are covered and tie it tightly
Make a loop with the end of the ribbon to hang the rattle in.

Lavender rattles are wonderful in the bathroom, in the linen closet, your wardrobe and of course in your stash and knitting basket. They also make a wonderful hostess gift and last for years.

What is your favourite use of Lavender?






Designing and making do.

Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. 

Sometimes I wonder if this is my slogan when it comes to designing. Lets face it, many, if not most of us are on a budget, for some of us that budget is very tight. Like accidentally casting on with a needle 3 sizes too small tight. 
This is something I've mentioned before, that all of my design are out of leftovers or reclaimed yarn so far. I cannot afford to go out and buy new yarn for a design when I have some on hand that will do.   My design budget is pretty much zero. But this isn't a please pity me post at all. 



For the design I'm currently knitting on the make it do or do without part of the saying is at work. You see, I'm knitting in this wonderfully woolly yarn, the color is lovely and the yarn has a good amount of lanolin in it. Knitting with it almost feels like a spa day for my hands, they come out so soft afterwards (obviously no need for pity here). The only downside is that, when I put those final touches on the pattern, under yarn it will say: mystery. That isn't good, right?! Of course I won't leave you hanging like that. I'll figure out the meters per grams and suggest one or two yarns that are similar, but frankly there is no way of knowing what yarn this is.


The mystery yarn

The story of the mystery yarn is a gnarled one, I'll try to keep it straight. Someone bought this yarn at some point, knowing what it was and probably intending to do something with it. Then at some point later in time the yarn was donated without any labels to a group. They knit blankets for a charity, Mother Theresa, I think. Anyways, they are not allowed to knit with wool and this most certainly is a wonderful wool yarn, so a lady schleppt it and a bunch of other yarn to a knit group my mum attends. She, that is my mum, got the yarn for 5dkk a cake, that is less than $1. Then it sat in my mum's stash for a while and one day she gave it to me. Our stashes mingle a lot and yarn sometimes go back a forth a number of times before being knit by one of us. So that is the story of how I got my hands on the mystery yarn.



Concerns

It was a great concern to me, if I should knit up this pattern in a yarn no one will be able to get. It's not as professional as I would like it to be. But here is the thing: make it do or do without. I had this idea of a feminine vest that I was eager to design and I had this yarn on hand, free of cost. You do the math on that one. 
My next concern was that I wouldn't have enough yarn. My first two attempts at this pattern weren't promising. However that all changed when I decided to sit down and actually do the math and grade the entire pattern, before I cast on for the 3rd time. I'm currently at the waist and still haven't used up all the yarn I frogged from my last attempt. 


What do you think?

I spent a long time debating the yarn for this pattern before casting on and I continue to struggle with it. But in a situation of "it's this or nothing, baby" I decided this was better than not being able to do the design at all. That said, I really want to hear what you think.
Is it okay for a budding designer to use obscure yarns? Does the specific yarn used and mentioned in the pattern matter a lot to you? Would you want to buy a pattern like this?

How to make 3 berries jelly


One of my favourite things to do each summer is to make the jelly, we eat with so much pleasure all winter long. To me this is a savoury recipe, since I only ever have it with meat and potatoes. I'm salivating just from the thought of it. Well, then let's move on to the recipe, shall we?!

You'll need

Berries
Sugar
2 large pots
1 colander
cheese cloth
1 ladle
1 skimmer
1 tea towel
an abundance of glasses
a bit of whiskey or atamon

Day 1 

Day 1 should be long before your gooseberries are ripe. Our gooseberries are red, so we make our jelly no later than when they begin to show the first signs of turning from green to red. 



Pluck all your berries, we do a 3 berries jelly, hence the name, since we happen to have a tiny bush of each in my parents' garden. The majority of our berries are gooseberries, and then there are much smaller amounts of red currants and black currants. Watch out for those pesky thorns on the gooseberries. While you want to avoid all the leaves, the stems of the berries can remain on if you have, ahem, sloppy pickers. 



Once you have thoroughly cleaned all the berries in water to get any bugs etc. off, it is time to cook them.

Place the berries in a large pot and cover about 1/3 of the berries with water. Let it boil for 30 min.

Place the cheese cloth in the colander and place the colander on top of a pot large enough to hold all the juice. 

Now comes the immensely important part: let the juice drip overnight. Why? Because the very last of that juice is the juice that contains the most pectin, which is what makes jelly gelatinous. 

 Day 2

You did wait a day didn't you?! Well then, let's get on with the jelly making.

First you need to measure your juice. For every litre of juice you'll need a kilo of sugar. Yes, you read that right, one to one and don't try to save on the sugar as it a) makes it delicious and b) conserves it. Do not add the sugar yet.

Find all your jelly glasses and sanitise them using boiling water and atamon or my personal favourite, whiskey. 

Now bring the juice to a boil and skim off all the white foam that surfaces. This foam contains the impurities of the juice and you want to get rid of as much of it as possible. 

When you have removed all the foam, take the pot of the heat and add the sugar. Gently stir it till all the sugar is dissolved. 

Return the pot to the heat and let it boil again. If any foam surfaces, then skim it off. The juice now needs to boil until it reached the jelly state. Don't worry if you don't know when that is, because there is a nifty trick to find out. 

The jelly test
To find out if the juice is at the jelly stage, take a room temperatured spoon, dip it in, raise it high above the pot and let the juice drip off. If the last drop remains on your spoon as jelly, well then you have jelly. 

Ladle the jelly into the glasses and let the glasses cool completely covered by a tea towel. 

Put the lids on the glasses, once the jelly has cooled off completely. Store them in a cold, dark place.   


Home Office Inspiration

Knitting is not my full time gig, far from it in fact (as the amount of knitting done and shared this month will prove). I spend my days studying my little heart out surrounded by books en masse.
This past semester those books took over our dining table most days and got shuffled to the end of it by the end of the day. The result? Our tiny flat always looked messy and neither my man or I was thriving.

That is why I'm determined to redo our office space before the semester begins and you know maybe even study at the desk. Up until now, the desk has been my man's area (of doom), featuring his big screen stationary PC and a random mess. My hope is that after the re-do, the desk will be an inviting place for me to study as well as a home for his PC.

Naturally, the first step of any flat re-do is to head to Pinterest and gather inspiration, which I want to share with you guys.

The budget for our re-do is as close to ZERO as possible, I may sneak in a little paint, we'll see.
The one thing that bugs me with all these great pictures is that most of them don't contain standard home office things, where is the printer? The binders? Oh well, I guess they are too unsightly to include, but we have to have them.

Micro Business - Learning from the Pros vol. 2



I'm not capable of saying anything meaningful on blogging or small business yet, which is why I continue to learn from the pros and share some highlights of what I learn with you. Here is a few of the things I've used and learned from in the past month.

I read about the 10 biggest mistakes a craft business can make over at the Creative Income Blog

I'm also soaking up knowledge from Leslie Samuel's podcast Learning With Leslie. This guy is teaching me so much about blogging and using blogging as a tool in a small business set-up.

Another fun thing I've been playing with is Canva, which is great for making graphics like this one.

There is one resource, which by far has had the biggest impact on this blog in the past month and that is How to make your Blogger blog not look like a, um, Blogger blog by Carrie over at Carrie Loves. That post single handedly made me so much more happy with the look of my blog. If you have a Blogger blog and are, shall we say less that thrilled with the standard look, then work your way through her tips.

You can find more goodies here:
Follow Pia @ Noget Uldent's board small biz tips on Pinterest.

Or here:
Vol. 1

What has made an impact on your blogging?


Knit Crush: Tin Can Knits

Oh I am in love with the two ladies behind Tin Can Knits and their designs. They are so simple, yet elegant and with enough patterning to keep your interest. I dream of one day being a designer in their league. Here are a few of my favourite designs by them.
As always, all pictures in this post are borrowed with permission from the Ravelry project pages and by clicking their name, you'll be taken right to them.   


Winterberry

Vivid

Snowflake

Low Tide Cardigan

Cable me softly

Dogwood
Do You have a knit crush on anyone at the moment?


Looking for other knit crushes?
Try Veera Välimäki
or Helga Isager

Birthday Skies


It's my mum's birthday today, which is partly why today's post is a little late. You see, I had a project I really had to finish and I managed it, well almost anyway. 

I haven't  been spinning on the Fiber Obsession Silk/BFL blend for long, a few rainy days and a deadline has pushed me to do more spinning, than I usually do. Which I must say, I've  thoroughly enjoyed. 
  

I finished the last of the singles Monday. Mum decided she wanted a two ply and asked for 550m. That amount of meters from 113g. is pushing my ability to its limits. But she wanted that much and had already picked a pattern, so I did my best. 

Yesterday I plied it all up and mum was gushing over the colours, telling me she had always wished for a yarn that could capture the skies so well (huge cad eau to Fiber Obsession for dying it so well). She even asked me how many daughters would make such a gift for their mothers, to which I replied; How many mothers would want such a gift? 

I think it's safe to say that she is as happy as can be with her birthday present. 


But the yarn wasn't finished yet. I skeined it this morning and then came the moment of truth. I counted and counted and counted, and then I smiled. I hadn't made my mum's goal of 550m. What I had was a lovely, thin, fairly even and well balanced yarn that totalled five hundred, wait for it, forty, there is more, five, point, 4 meters - give or take. 


To say that I'm well pleased would be an understatement. Assuming I haven't miscounted, I'm less than 5m from my mum's wish. I don't think I've ever spun anything that precise before.

Happy birthday, mum. We'll give it a wash when you're done petting it tonight. 



A peek, as promised.

A while ago, I was sitting outside in my parents' garden, finishing up my Still Light Tunic. I had known for some time, that I would have a good deal of yarn left over, but now I knew just how much. All of my designs to date has been made with leftovers or reclaimed yarn. Such are the woes of a student. Back to the yarn. I had the idea, that a baby sweater would be a good knit and a good item to design, before I tried my hand at an adult sweater. So a baby sweater it was.

I also had a clear vision of how it should look. I wanted a certain pattern at the bottom, the cuffs and the neck. That neck, I tell you. It brought me so much trouble that I finally just dropped it! But first things first. I cast on a small-ish swatch, I already knew my gauge but I had to see if the pattern would work out well. It did, in my opinion.


As a small aside, when I was doing the swatch, I had no idea where the idea for the pattern had come from. Why was it this exact pattern that was at the forefront of my mind? Then I went into my parents' bedroom and it all became clear to me, as their bedspread has this pattern all over. It just proves that inspiration really can strike at any time and that you don't have to have a big revelation, sometimes it just sneaks into your mind.

On to the math. I did not figure out all the math for this sweater from the beginning, which worked out fine in this case. However, I have learned my lesson on another pattern and will from now on always do all the math from the beginning. (Oh my, now I actually have to do it, don't I?)

I quickly finished knitting the sample in size 12mo and wrote that size as I knitted it. Well, relatively quickly, I didn't manage to go completely without frogging.


 Then I sat down to do the math for the other sizes and took a deep breath of relief when I was done.

Off to my volunteer tech editor it went and then the wait began. The thing about doing everything on the cheap is that you have to arm yourself with patience, a quality that isn't very pronounced in my family.

The pattern came back a few days ago and all that is left now is test knitting and a photo shoot.

One of the things that keep surprising me is how quickly the designing itself is over and how much time all the other parts take. In this time the knitting was fast as well, but sometimes it isn't and all the technical stuff is not only challenging and long drawn at times, but thankfully also very rewarding.

...and the winner is...

With the help of my mum, who went fishing for a winner and my man, who edited the video, I bring to you the winner of the giveaway. The lucky person should contact me, so I can send the prize as soon as possible.
video

Spinning in the heat



Guided by that feeling inside, I chose the silk/BFL blend from Fibre Obsession as my birthday gift to my mum. Then I sat down outside one sunny day and began to separate it and make my usual pre-drafted centre pull cakes. Not a bad way to spend a sunny day.


Another day I took advantage of the summer rain to sit down and begin the spinning. There is always something so zen about spinning to me, but spinning a yarn, knowing that it will be a gift adds another layer of joy to the process.


Our salad bowl doubles as my yarn bowl when there isn't any salad in it, mostly because the bowl is so beautiful.


So far I have just under half the the singles done. I had planned on a 3 ply, but when I showed my mum the single she voted 2 ply and I told her she could have it just the way she wanted it. I have a feeling, she has already picked a pattern she wants to knit with it, so now I'm crossing my fingers and hoping there will be enough yarn for it. 

Are you taking part in Tour de Fleece this year or like me just spinning as usual? 

P.S. If you haven't entered in the giveaway yet, then don't fret, you have until midnight GMT. 

Carpe Lanem

Micro Business Update

Updates

This month I'd like to share some updates and then tell you all about how I'm handling being on vacation and working on my micro business. 

Let's begin with the blog, since it has seen a lot of small changes over the past month. You may not notice them all, but i hope you like the ones you have noticed. I'm certainly happy with them.

I also managed to send a pattern off to my tech editor and I can't wait to get it back, get some test knitters on it and find an adorable baby to photograph it on. 

This month has also proven very productive in furthering my knitting education. I've finished taking both Sizing Knitwear Patterns with Faina Goberstein and How to Say It: Pattern Writing for Knitters with Edie Eckman. I've learned a lot from both classes and although they take you all the way from complete beginner in these areas, I think almost anyone could learn a few great things from them. I certainly did.   

And now on to the vacation bit. 

Vacation time

Ahh, vacation time, long days with no solid plans. Wandering around cities taking in the beauty and noise, finding rest at the local parks or on long forest walks. Spending some much appreciated and needed time with your family. One wouldn't think that being on vacation would prove immensely beneficial for a small business owner, but it has for me. If you, like me, have a side hustle, being on vacation is the best thing. 


Benefits of taking a vacation
Of course there is the most obvious benefit of taking a vacation: it allows you, to spend all those hours, usually devoured by your full-time gig,  on your side hustle.  You can of course choose to spend your vacation working as many or more hours than you do when you are not on vacation and no doubt your business would prosper from it, but it may lead you to ask: What happened to long days with no solid plans?

Time, being without a doubt the most important benefit of being on vacation, is not the only benefit. If your side hustle is fuel by passion, I would advice strongly against the above approach. Instead I want to share my approach with you. 


Create a plan of attack

A few days before your vacation begins, sit down and make a list of things you would like to achieve with regards to your small business during your vacation. Having a list will enable you to see your progress and stay focused. It will even allow you to relax more, since you don't have all those things, that need to get done, floating around your head all the time.

Here are some things you should keep in mind while writing your list:
  • Make sure your goals are measurable.
Don't write: get more followers on Instagram
Do write: reach 200 followers on Instagram
  • Brake big goals down into smaller steps.
If 'reach 200 followers' sounds daunting to you, because right now you have a total of 5, then divide it into intervals of 10, 25 or 50 whatever seems manageable to you.
  • Go ahead and add 1-3 goals that will be more of a stretch to attain.
Dream big. Don't limit yourself on what's manageable, reach for the stars.
  • Don't be afraid to tweak the list during your vacation.
You should try to make the number of goals you have relate to the amount of time you have off. You can do so by trying to estimate how much time each goal will take to complete. That said, you can always add more goals or delete some if you feel like it. This list is simply a tool; it is not the boss of you.  

Here is a glimpse of my plan of attack, it originally contained 16 goals, but I've added another goal to it and am debating deleting one or two. 


Work your plan

Now that you clearly know what you would like to get done you are armed and ready to face your vacation head on. What you do next is very much a question of personality. If you are very type A you might plot every goal into your calendar and work then in just that order. If you're more of a type B, you can wake up each morning, look at the list and decide what to work on. You may decide to work for x hours a day, only work certain days or maybe just work when you feel like it.
How you choose to work your plan of attack doesn't matter as long as you actually work on it. Ideally you'll have all the goals crossed off by your last vacation day, but if this isn't the case, then don't fret. You can transfer them to a new list and keep working on them after returning to your full time gig.

Carpe Lanem 

Giveaway: Yarn and Pattern

It isn't often that I find myself speechless, but all the support you guys have shown me over the past month or so has made it difficult for me to find the right words, words of thanksgiving, words of appreciation. 
Not only have I surpassed both my social media summer goals already, but the numbers keep rising and I've received so much positive feedback. Well, instead of writing an overly emotional post, (I'm getting a little teary eyed already), I decided to do a giveaway instead.
The wonderful folks over at Artesano Yarns sent me two lovely skeins of their Silk Blend in the colour autumn (my best guess, there is no label on the yarn), which is enough to make the largest size of my cowl pattern, Simple With a Twist.



Get one entry for each of the following four things you do and leave a comment with what you did. 

Follow on Bloglovin

Share the giveaway on Twitter, including @nogetuldent in your tweet.

Share the giveaway on Pinterest, including @nogetuldent in your pin.

Sign up for my newsletter:           


The giveaway ends Wednesday July 9th at midnight. 
The winner will be announced Friday July 11th.

Let's Review: Locking Stitch Markers




Locking stitch markers is one tool I wouldn't want to be without in my knitting bag. These small markers are useful for so many things, for instance:
  • Marking sections on your needles
  • Leaving in to illustrate how far you've come or for measuring purposes.
  • Holding pieces together when you try them on
  • Mark mistakes on long rows so you can fix them next time you reach them.
  • Hold a small number of stitches if you forgot a pin
  • For even more uses check out Knitting to Stay Sanes lovely roundup.
Between my mum and I we have three different brands of locking stitch makers which we use in almost every knit we make.

Pros
  • These are the cheapest kind we've ever seen, so if your budget is tight this is a good option.
  • The colours are strong (purple and green), standing out clearly from most yarns.
Cons 
  • The edges are somewhat raw and I have snagged stitches on them.
  • They feel cheap to work with in comparison to the two others
  • Only comes in 2 colours
Pros
  • Comes in a bag with two sizes. This is a big pro if you often knit with chuncky yarn
  • Comes in the most colours, 4 (blue, white, salmon, yellow).
  • Medium price, still very affordable.
Cons
  • Comes in a bag with two sizes. If you, like me, rarely venture above size 3,5mm/US 4 needles, then this can be a con. I would prefer if I could by the two sizes separately.
  • The colours do not appeal to me they seem sickly. However your mileage may vary.

Pros
  •  Comes in a neat plactic pocket, that will keep them together in your knitting bag
  • Feels smooth to the touch.
  • The colours (green/blue and orange) are my kind of colours, however, your mileage may vary.
Cons
  • Only comes in two colours
  • The most expensive

The Verdict
As should be the case, I think you get what you pay for. To me the Clover markers are by far the nicest to work with and the most aesthetically appealing. That said, if you knit with bigger yarn than I do, or just prefer to have more colours to play with, the Pony ones are nice too. The Knit Picks / Knit Pro markers would only be my choice if your budget is seriously limited, but in that case they do the job well, compared to the cost. 

Bonus Tip
If you want your locking stitch markers to last, then always store them open. Storing locking stitch markers open ensures that the plastic isn't being stressed and thus they will last a lot longer before they break.

What kind do you prefer?

Looking for other reviews?
Try Knit Picks / Knit Pro Cubics DPNs