Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday FO: marina cowl and cuffs

103I actually finished and photographed these items months ago, in September of last year. The photos were shared on Ravelry, the pattern put up for testing, and then... well... Christmas happened.

 I work in retail, and it always always is busier and crazier and more exhausting them I remember it being in previous years - and I've worked in retail a long, long time!

So today I share two items I made using my Marina Cowl pattern, which I'll be publishing on Sunday (and if you are just reading this now, the link will take you to the pattern).

The pattern comes in two formats - a traditionally written pattern, for worsted weight yarn, for a cowl in two sizes, or a template / recipe for making whatever you want, in whatever yarn you want!

The cowl photographed here - in white - was using the pattern as written, for the smaller size.

cowl cuffsI also used the pattern to make a pair of fingerless gloves - no shaping on these, just a straight tube.

I know - not everyone's cup of tea, but I actually really like this type of fingerless glove because they are so fast to make, and use such a small amount of yarn!

If and when the gloves are getting in my way of work (which happens all the time) I can just pull my thumb out of the whole & wear it as a cuff and I'm still gonna be warmer than not having them on at all.

You can see here I'm wearing them as cuffs, not as fingerless gloves.
Link Up: That DIY party

I Heart Naptime

Daughter of the Reef by Clare Coleman

Daughter of the Reef (Ancient Tahiti, #1)Daughter of the Reef by Clare Coleman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Daughter of the Reef shares the tale of Tepua, a chieftain's daughter, who's on her way to a different island to get married to a man she doesn't know, and ends up almost drowned. The book starts off nicely, with some background setting the scene and the characters, but ends up being too slow paced for me.

I didn't like the pacing very much the first half of the book, but enjoyed the story line enough to keep on going for the first half of the book, but by the halfway mark, I just wanted the novel to be over.

There was a little too much romance and not enough historical detail for me, and the pacing was just so slow, and I didn't feel the characters were drawn enough to really get to know them or care about their lives. I really wanted to like this book, as I really enjoy other, similar novels and I don't think I've ever read a novel set in Tahiti before, but I wanted to learn about the culture and the people, and that was sadly lacking.


I was asked to read and review this book by the publishing company, received a free copy of this book to review but was not paid for my thoughts or review

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

work in progress wednesday

Almost finished with my socks hooray! I am still looking for test knitters. Please let me know your ravelry ID if you are interested. 😃. #knitting #knitsofinstagram #socknitting #socks #toeup #lace #toeupsocks #designing #testerswanted #helpwantedGood morning!

How has your week been going? How's the weather? Sunday we had a gorgeous day, it warmed up just over 34 degrees so some of the snow had a chance to melt - then it got cold, and everything froze again :/. Will spring ever arrive?

 I've had a little bit of progress on my WIPs how about you this past week?

Progress on the socks....
#knitting #socknitting #creative

This picture is a few days old - I'm just about at the heel turn on both socks now. Just a basic, toe up ribbed sock, but I did write up the pattern & will be putting up for testing if I ever get caught up ....

Body is finished ! #pattern is ravello 😀 The ribbing is a little bit on the short side. I was definitely getting a little short on Yarn. So I started the ribbing about a half an inch early. Went to bind off, ran out of yarn. Tinked back, binded o

and on the sweater...

the sleeves are still left to go!

I used knit picks palette, a fingering weight, 100% wool yarn, pattern is ravello, a top down, seamless sweater written for tons of sizes.

I also have started a pair of socks for hubby, using my scrap pattern " Balance Rock Socks " using slip stitches to create the simple, two color design

@jonzittel progress on his #socks #scrapyarn #scraps #toeup #knitting #slipstitch #mosaicknitting #knitting #pattern is balance rock socks by me #anastaciaknits

My around the twist #crochet #afghan #blanket - I'm finally getting around to finishing it. It's based upon the #quilt #pattern with the same name #creative #crocheting #crochetgeek #crochethook #crochetafghan #crochetconcupiscence #handmade #handmadebyme

and I finally started working on my around the twist crochet log cabin afghan, too...

I'm in the process of joining the squares, but decided I need just a few more so have to make four more squares.

I'm using the continuous, join as you go method, which I just love, but is a little bit of a pain when using larger sized squares and making a larger size afghan, which this one is... The finished size will be close to a queen size blanket when I'm done.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first book I read & finished in 2015 just for me :)

I read Divergent late to the game - last summer, maybe? and never managed to write up a review. I enjoyed it; not as much as Hunger Games, perhaps, but I definitely enjoyed the book. I admit I watched the movie first and liked the movie enough to try to tackle the book.

Roth creates a great, dystopian world from the first page. I like where the story starts; you get enough of Tris' family & her life before she decides to join Dauntless. I enjoyed the bit of "will they or won't they" romance between her and Four; surprised me, honestly, because I'm normally rather bored with romance in books, but Roth throws the romance at you in between the action scenes and makes me want to know what will happen next.

View all my reviews FFBE23270EBFC876F2A5917A5E674.png" />

Thursday, February 19, 2015

My Top Crochet Shawl Designs

At the end of every year, I usually do a round up of things I've accomplished, what designs I've published, and all of that jazz, like the rest of the bloggers out there. *grin* Well, I never did that this year, and I thought I'd do something different - how about a round up of my top shawl designs (overall, to current date) :)

(for anyone interested, I currently have 55 shawl designs, both self published, in magazines, in Crochetvolution, and in books)

My fifth most popular shawl design...

Modeled by my Mom :)

Guile is a pretty, two color crochet shawl, designed with Dream in Color Perfectly Posh.

This shawl is crocheted from the bottom up for the body in the main color, and then the edging is picked up and worked from the top down, and is suitable for beginners.

We had a crochetalong & a giveaway, which I think contributes to the popularity of this shawl.

Fun Fact: It's one of only a few multi-color shawl designs of mine! (thought I do have several designs, both knit and crochet, that is designed for stash / scrap busting)

My forth most popular shawl design...

York Shawlette
Modeled by Me
Photographed by Hubby

York Shawlette!

One of my first shawl designs!

Despite the name, this shawl can easily be made any size. It's a basic, go to pattern, that's designed for using up all of that precious, beautiful, skein of yarn you don't know what to do with.

 It's also idea for self striping yarn, as you can see from the photo!

Many crocheters also use this as a stash buster.

The yarn I used for this shawl was dyed by me, using kool aid!

The name comes from one of my favorite places on earth, York Beach in Maine!

My third most popular shawl design...
three triangles shawl

Three Triangles Shawl (another freebie)

I love the story behind this shawl. I have a Ravelry group (Anastacia Knits Designs), where I host cals, do my pattern testing, we share photos, we chat, etc. A lot of my group make prayer shawls, and I had gotten the suggestion to make a shawl that had three triangles, instead of the more normal two triangles (a triangle shawl actually consists of two triangles). A three triangled shawl would sit better on the shoulders, and would be much warmer to wear.

The conversation then led to using up stash, and I combined the two ideas into this design. There's also a "dressier" twin version of this shawl - the same wonderful lady who asked me to design a three triangle shawl also wanted me to use a particular stitch, and so I designed Short Sands Shawl).

Next up!



Featured in Crochetvolution a few winters ago, my original version honestly didn't go over like hotcakes - I was stashbusting, like I always am, and the original design used a worsted weight white yarn (hence the name).

Snowdrop starts with just a few stitches, and is worked back and forth in rows, and worked sideways.

 Someone made it in a fingering weight version, and it took off like hotcakes! It's been used in many, many, many CALs (there's a current one going on now), and I am so, so grateful for each shawl that has been made - almost 500 to date! It blows my mind to see something that so many people have loved. This pattern is highly adaptable - you can use any weight of yarn, use up all the yarn you have, and make it any size you want, from a small shawlette, using lace weight yarn and a big crochet hook for an airy, lacey accent to your outfit, to a chunk yarn that measures 6 feet across that will keep you warm all winter!

Because this design was so popular, I just published a "lace" weight version of this one, also on Crochetvolution for free, called Summer Drop.

Snow Drop also has a chart, for those that prefer to use charts! :)

And drum roll please... my most popular shawl design is....

Half Granny Square Shawl

A top down, any weight, any gauge, any size, half a granny square (in other words, a triangle)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WIP Wednesday

Just a quickie drive by post to share a couple of Wips with you all! I was playing catch up on Ravelry and thought I should share with ya'll too :) My ravello - love this pattern! I've been wanting to make it for ages & I'm sure I'll make it again. I have a ton of pallette in my stash, so I can easily use up some of my odd balls for the stripes.

Progress on my #stripes #knit #knitting #sweater #topdown #seamless


Etude in stripes - really scrappy version! Anyone who follows me knows that I've been working on using up my pile of scraps. This is just one more attempt. I have a few balls of the blue I'm using for a main color, but the rest is just crazy stripes. I'm regretting the red-maroon you see - but I'm hoping it'll look OK once the whole sweater is done. I have more of that color & I'm thinking of using it in the sleeves.

etude in stripes

Monday, February 16, 2015

How I became a crochet designer

Hi there! My name is Anastacia, and I'm a knit and crocheter designer.

I grew up doing crafts - I've entertained my co-workers in the past with stories of me sleeping over a cousin's house, and deciding on a whim to make homemade pajamas, by hand. I mean, who does that, really?
Twists and Turns Throw
Crochet World Magazine

I did all the crafts, from pot holder looms, to embroidery, to cross stitch and sewing and making doll clothes using socks ... (yes, seriously I did this). And loved every minute of it. I learned to crochet, tried to learn how to knit (I eventually learned as an adult), and crafting was a part of my soul. My parents both crocheted, my grandmothers knit, sewed, crocheted, kept the family clothed and warm from the sweat of their brows. I had aunts and cousins who crafted and I didn't even think twice about it.

All this just to say I've always crafted. So how then did I start designing?

Honestly, I was designing before I knew designing was a "thing" or that it was supposed to be "hard". I just did it. From my very first afghan, I just picked up a hook and started crocheting - and I think a lot of crocheters do that, or we're constantly tweaking designs to make them better, easier, faster, more suited to our tastes.

Raspberry Lace Shawl
(I Like Crochet magazine)
So how did I become a designer?

I kept seeing people publishing patterns on Ravelry - really, that's how I began. I was rather obsessed with all the designing threads that were popping up on Ravelry (I was among the first 10k joiners to the site, so I'm talking early days!). I participated in the conversations and the debates when Ravelry first started offering patterns - did you know the site didn't always have patterns for download? I read all I could on the subject. I asked questions, googled for hours on end. I studied, and learned the value of testers, tech editors, proofreaders, writing patterns again and again, practicing practicing and constantly improving. I read about style sheets, the importance of consistency.

And I did mountains of research on what patterns were popular on Ravelry. I was a big knitter then - that's why I joined the site as anastaciaknits, not anastaciacrochets, but I knew I'd be a crochet designer. Then, as now, there were a lot less crochet designs. I discovered there weren't a lot of crochet shawl patterns, and even less available as a single download - most were part of books or magazines.

Half Circle Shawl with Scalloped Border
Luckily, I knew how to make just about anything from my years of crocheting, knew how to make circles and half circles, so that's how I started. My first design, "Half Circle Shawl with Crocheted Scallop Border", came about because it was super easy for me to make a half circle, and it was super easy for me to write up the pattern the way I did the increases. The shawl didn't lay perfectly flat, but was perfect after blocking. Many of my testers were using acrylic and weren't comfortable blocking acrylic, and mentioned how the shawl was a little poofy in spots. I thought my career as a designer was over right then and there. One of my testers said it was a "design element" and that was part of the charm of the shawl.

A ha! Design Element. Must. write. that. down.

Mondrian Throw
 (Love of Crochet magazine)
I learned more from my testers in those days - and after my third pattern, when I could start hiring a tech editor (I used volunteer proof readers for the first few patterns, and went back and got my first two patterns tech edited when I could, a step I can not emphasize enough!), I learned from them, too. My pattern writing style has evolved, and I've gone back and rewritten my older patterns several times as my personal pattern writing style has improved with time. At first I was embarrassed by that, but I've learned that's common with designers, and is actually a very good sign - it means you are learning and growing!

Of course, there's more to my journey then this. I've published almost 200 patterns, been in multiple books, e-books, online and print magazines, and love every minute of it!

So follow your dream - work hard - and just do it!

Life as we Know It

Sunday, February 15, 2015

art journaling of a sorts!

I really want to try art journaling. I've been collecting pins and sites and have read some books on it, but I just have no idea where to begin. My tangling book I actually bought to art journal in, and just never did so it turned into my tangling book instead (waste not, want not).

I just have no idea where to begin.

I know everyone says to just jump in, and that's great, but I've never painted before, picked up a paintbrush (other than a paint your house paintbrush!) before & have ZERO artist talent. I don't even understand what kind of paints to buy.

 I know everyone talks about watercolors, but like what are those?

What should they look like? What kind is good? where do I buy them? LOL I need an art journaling for dummies class....

So my long, long drawn out intro is to intro this... my lame attempt at art journaling...


The text includes my name, one of my current book series (Hunger Games), my goal for this year (Dream big), my favorite place on earth Acadia National Park, and the book I'm currently reading.

Filled in with tangles, of course.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Knitting in the Nordic Tradition (Dover Books on Knitting and Crochet)

Knitting in the Nordic TraditionKnitting in the Nordic Tradition by Vibeke Lind
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was thrilled when I saw this book show up on netgalley, and immediately downloaded and looked at it. Unfortunately I forgot about the review part, but the fault was mine, not the lovely book!

This book is fascinating for someone like me, who's a geek who loves math, history, and knitting, and anything that combines all three is pretty cool! If you are looking just for patterns, then the book may be a little dry for you, but I enjoyed it and love reading about the history of historical knitting traditions.

Unfortunately, I have to give the book 3 stars because the book is in black and white - there is no excuse for that in this day and age, especially in a knitting book! The charts can be read, but the three color charts are not easily read. The book is written ala Elizabeth Zimmermann - more pithy recipes then step by step directions, which I like but may be a turn off for some knitters, especially newer knitters. The book is definitely not recommended for newer knitters, but is highly recommended for someone who enjoys the history of knitting and is interested in doing a little bit of work with their knitting :)


received a free copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review, and I was not paid for said review

View all my reviews

Friday, February 13, 2015

Wear Red Day

I've been featured!

Thanks, Marie, for including one of my latest designs in your collection for Wear Red Day !

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

sorry; rejoining blogloving & had to add the code there!

Friday FO

I made these back in December and am just getting around to photographing them :) I'm always so slow! First, just a quick, "granny stripe" scarf


and a pile


of my granny square shawl (free pattern on Ravelry).


and a close up


Everything was added to my donation pile.

Linking up to:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

WIP Wednesday

Well, not technically a wip anymore, but I frogged Jon's flax - it was coming out way too big.


Plain, toe up, ribbed socks (my current travel project)


I'm greatly enjoying knitting these - a lacey, ribbed toe up pair of socks - pattern will soon be up for testing (as will the ribbed socks, as a matter of fact)


Tuesday, February 10, 2015


My current work of "art" using the term loosely lol...

The Crocheter's Skill-Building Workshop by Dora Ohrenstein

The Crocheter's Skill-Building WorkshopThe Crocheter's Skill-Building Workshop by Dora Ohrenstein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great little book for anyone out there who wants to learn more about crochet or to improve upon their crochet skills, from beginners to oldies like me :). The book has the absolute basics, but also discusses things like yarn choice and various crochet stitches.

Each lesson builds upon the previous ones, but you can certainly skip around if there is a particular topic that catches your eye. It's definitely a must have for anyone interested in developing their crochet skills, but is definitely more geared towards beginners or those who haven't crocheted in a long time.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and was not paid for my review.

View all my reviews
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