Monday, April 30, 2012

Wooly Bully

You probably know by now that I love trying out new technology. It should come as no surprise, then, that I got the Wooly app within minutes of being notified by email that it was available. This is, as far as I know, the first Ravelry companion app for iOS devices (iPhone, iPod, iPad).

Now, I knew what I was getting because I checked it out on the Ravelry forum that the developers set up. If you're interested, you should check out the current list of features too so that you know what to expect--and what not to expect--for your money since I don't think the description on iTunes really spells it out for you.

Right now, you can basically look at parts of your Ravelry notebook: projects, queue, stash, and friends. That's right--you can look, but you can't touch! The interface is smooth and intuitive. You can scroll through your projects and see information you have previously entered about yarn, needles, and notes; you can also flip to see all your pictures. If your project has been marked as a favorite, you can see how many hearts you have, but you can't read any comments people have left on your project. You are not linked to additional information that you may be used to from Ravelry. For example, clicking on your yarn doesn't bring up more information about the yarn, and clicking on the pattern doesn't allow you to see other people's projects made from that same pattern. You cannot edit or add any information. Those capabilities are in development, but don't expect to have them yet.

You can similarly see what's on your queue. For those items, you get information about the recommended yarn and needle size. However, there's no information on the recommended yardage, which is a huge drawback if you're trying to use the app while browsing at your LYS trying to decide what to get next. You can also see the number of times the project has been made or queued, but you cannot follow that to see other people's projects.

For your stash, there's information on the yarn color and dye lot, weight, purchase location, and the number of skeins you have; you can see any pictures you may have of your stash. There's no information on total yardage, though, which again would be important to know. Also, I'm not sure about the logic in how the yarns are ordered. They're not listed by name, company name, or weight. Maybe it has to do with the order in which they were entered into Ravelry?

You can scroll through an alphabetical list of your friends, and if you click on any of them, you can see her projects. The same kind of information that is displayed about your own projects is also displayed about hers. There is no feed that shows you the most recently updated project from all of your friends, and you can't select different categories of friends, even if you have those set up on Ravelry. To see a friend's projects, you have to remember his Rav ID, and that's not always easy to do.

All in all, I am still very excited to have this app, and I see great potential for it. There are some things that need to be improved before I think it can be fully helpful in read-only mode. Down the road, I know they are looking to add the capability of editing your Ravelry information, and of course that would be a quantum leap. I am willing to be patient as I remember that Ravelry itself grew slowly and organically. The developers of this app seem receptive to feedback, and I'm more than happy to give my $2.99 in support of their venture.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bitten by the Bug

I know you were starting to wonder, but yes, I do still knit! I just have been juggling lots of other things, so knitting has been a more rare luxury.

Several of the ladies in my knitting group have knit the Color Affection shawl, and I got caught up in the buzz. Initially, there was just a little sting of interest as I admired my friends' beautiful projects. But then, a welt of an idea formed and I got the itch to flick through some Ravelry projects. Next thing I knew, I was feverishly scratching at countless pictures, and I knew I had to make one myself.

More pictures and details on Ravelry

This was a wonderful mindful knit. No wonder so many people have made one! At the last meeting I was able to attend, more than half our group was working on one, each unique. I enjoyed it so much that I've since gotten yarn for a second one. I'm feeling a little twitch right now. I might just go cast on!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday Tube: Krochet Kids

This is an interesting profile of Krochet Kids, an organization started by 3 guys who learned to crochet and then started a fair trade business selling hats crocheted by women in Uganda. Check it out:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Inspired By

Inspired by Awesomely Awake, via The Parent Water Cooler, to have a Yes Day.

Now, I try to do a lot of things with my kids, but I don't think of my parenting as being necessarily child-centered. We limit their extra-curricular activities and constrain their choices most of the time. They have lots of chores, responsibilities, and consequences. I find myself saying "no" a lot, and if I am to be completely honest, there's not always a "good" reason for it. Sometimes it's just because saying "yes" would be inconvenient or would take more time than I think I can spare. So when I read about the idea, I thought it would be worth a try, to help make sure that

We read the book Yes Day! as a prelude and laid out some ground rules the night before. Basically, I promised to say yes to any reasonable request. They had to understand that since there is only one of me (my husband was working) and two of them, they had to realize that there might be times when we could not have simultaneous yeses; I could not do two different things or be at two different places at once. And finally, I tried to make it clear that it was not a carte blanche shopping day.

The kids started the morning watching TV with breakfast. My kindergartener wanted to go to an egg hunt (this was just before Easter) and go to the Children's Museum. I let her take the lead in how long she wanted to spend on an activity and didn't encourage her to move on to something else just because I was getting bored.

When we were at the grocery store, she wanted to go in the lane where you can scan the items yourself. Normally, I say no because it takes too long--no 6 year old can scan as efficiently as a grocery store clerk--but that day I said yes. I also said yes to playing Monopoly (am I the only one who dislikes that game?).

My older daughter wanted to stay in and relax all morning long, so I said yes to deferring chores till the next day. She lounged, watched TV, and texted her friends as much as she wanted. In the afternoon, she asked to go shopping, so I said yes even though I knew it would be a crowded day at the shopping centers. She did try to test the rule about not having a shopping free-for-all, but I stood firm and she had to limit herself to what she had available in her allowance spending account (that did generate a lot of "no" from me).

All in all, it was a wonderful day. My little one said at one point, "this day just cannot get any better!" There was so little stress, and an unexpected side effect is that the girls didn't bicker with each other at all. I realized that my kindergartener just wants to spend more unhurried time together, while my tween needs more down time by herself to decompress. I get that, and I've been trying to carry some of those lessons forward.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday Tube: Music for Knitting

Here's a little tune for you to knit by

It's called "Knitting Something Nice for You" by Aidan Knight.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Right Now

On the Nails: Girly Bits Shift Happens. This is such a pretty multichrome polish!

On the iPod: Perfect by Pink

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday Tube: Knitting with the Stars

This is such a cute prank that Tom Hanks played on Julia Roberts when they filmed Larry Crowne.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


We went to a local children's museum yesterday and discovered a different way to dye eggs to create a swirled or marbled effect. It was a lot of fun, so I thought I'd share it with you! You can use the tablets of egg dye, or you can make your own dye. For the latter, I usually use 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1/2 cup of water and add food coloring to that. There are also lots of recipes on the internet for natural coloring options. In addition to dye, you also need shaving cream. Warning: this is messy!

Squeeze out a little mound of shaving cream and squirt on your dye.

Then, place your egg into the shaving cream and swirl it around. We left ours on for just 30 seconds or so. Rinse off the egg in water, and you're done! At the children's museum, they had plastic sheets on top of tables and just squeegeed off the shaving cream residue after each child was done. At home, I would use a rimmed baking sheet or plastic container to corral the mess.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

What Happens in Vegas

In this case, what happened in Vegas...came home. Remember that little trip I took in February? I went to a conference and since I had all kinds of time to myself and few responsibilities beyond going to lectures, I got to do a lot of knitting! Most of the yarn that I packed got used.

After 4 days, I came home with a Lollipop skirt all but completed. The knitting was done, but it took me all this time to get around to putting elastic in the waistband and weave in a few ends. Yeah, it's a lot harder to accomplish productive knitting in my regular life.

Lolli 1

And of course, the obligatory twirling action shot:

Lolli 2

I'll be adding a few project details to my Ravelry project page soon.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday Tube: Cuteness

Since Easter is coming up, I thought I'd share this bit of gratuitous cuteness: