Style Your Knits: Eustice

Many of you will know I've been using Polyvore to style knits for quite some time. I've decided this is going to be a fairly regular thing on the blog, so I've officially named the feature "Style Your Knits" (I know, original, right?). You can see the first few I've done by clicking here.

Today's set features Eustice, which is a free pattern from Berrocco using their gorgeous Ultra Alpaca Light. I absolutely love the cabling on this sweater, as well as the comfy, oversized cowl. For this set, I've paired it with skinny jeans, suede heels, a delicate leather lace handbag from Valentino and some shiny details. Looking at this set makes me really want to knit this sweater! I've already got most of these items, except for that amazing Valentino, which was sadly priced a bit out of my budget at a mere $2500. Ahhhh, Valentino, how I love thee. Someday, you will be mine! Perhaps, in the meantime, I can substitute with this more reasonably priced lace beauty?


I have a winner for the lovely notions bag giveaway from Kusala Knitworks! It's commenter #14, InJuneau! I'll be in touch! Remember, you still have another 2 weeks to finish a Muffalette and win the grand prize!

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Deliciousness: Weight Watchers Cupcakes! (sorta)

This weekend, the Dr. and I had guests over for dinner and board games.We wanted to keep it low-key, so we just heated up the big pot of chili I'd made on Monday, and I whipped up a fresh batch of cupcakes. I didn't feel like making cupcakes from scratch, though, so I bought a box of Pillsbury Moist Supreme in Classic Vanilla. Boxed cake mix is awesome if you're feeling lazy, but sometimes I feel like preparing it according to the box instructions makes for greasy, heavy cake, and I wanted something a little lighter.

The ones the guests got were tied with fancy ribbons too, but I totally forgot to do that to these!

A few years ago, a friend of mine told me a little Weight Watchers trick. If you buy a cake mix that says it has pudding in the mix (all of the Pillsbury Moist Supreme flavors say this), you can make light, fluffy cupcakes with barely more calories than the cake mix itself by adding a few simple ingredients. And I'm gonna tell you how to do it! Here's what you need:

  • 1 box Pillsbury Moist Supreme cake mix, any flavor
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 egg whites + enough water to make 1 cup

Toss these ingredients into a bowl, mix them up with a whisk for a couple of minutes, then bake as directed on the box. The only extra calories you're getting is from the applesauce, and hey - that's a serving of fruit, right? So really, you could even say these cupcakes are good for you, amiright? This recipe will make 1 dozen Texas-sized cupcakes or 2 dozen regular cupcakes. I promise the final cupcakes don't taste like apples or applesauce at all. Just yummy cake that will leave you feeling satisfied, not guilty! You can also use 1 cup of canned pumpkin instead of the applesauce, which I hear goes really well with the spice cake. :)

Adorable, edible extras from Sugar Robot

I topped my cupcakes off with cream cheese buttercream frosting (okay, so they're not THAT great for you, but you gotta save calories where you can, right?) and edible Christmas ornaments from Sugar Robot.

Cream Cheese Buttercream:
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Beat these together until smooth. This is tasty and delicious, but be warned: it's thick, so it won't pipe through a frosting bag well (ask me how I know). This frosted all 12 of my Texas-sized cupcakes, but I think you might want to double the recipe if you're making regular sized cupcakes.


I'm no Grinch...

I'll leave that in the very capable hands of one Mr. Jim Carrey.

Since it's Christmastime, and I'm not a Grinch, I've decided that Muffalette will be free through the end of December! So go snag your copy while you can, and remember...if you finish one by December 31, you could win a kit to make another!

In the meantime, here's my video tutorial for making & inserting thrums:

Thrum, they told me, thrum-thra-thrum-thrum...

Watch while you can, because the video will go back into hiding at the end of December! :)

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Introducing Muffalette (and a giveaway!)

The new Knitty got me thinking...it's been awhile since I self-published a pattern (nine months, actually, since Limeade Fizz came out), so I've decided to go ahead and release a pattern I've been working on for some time now. I give you: Muffalette!

Cozy thrummed muff!

I’m a native Texan. I spent the first 23 years of my life in Fort Worth, Texas, followed by 3 years in West Palm Beach, Florida. It should have been 5 years, but that’s a very long story involving the Dr.’s career and other people moving and someone else having a stroke, so perhaps that’s best saved for another time. Long story short, at the age of 26 I suddenly found myself residing in the Midwest. You know what? I have learned one very important thing from my time here: I do not like being cold. I’ve also never seen this much snow in my life; luckily for me, I happen to be a knitter. It suffices to say that I quickly set out on a quest to find the best way to cocoon my entire body in as many layers of wool as humanly possible during the winter months. My quest was over when my lovely local yarn shop owner told me about thrumming. Thrumming is, for someone who does not like to be cold, a godsend, because thrumming is a means by which you can knit huge gobs of fluffy, unspun wool, right into your knitting. This leaves you with an insulative layer of wool underneath your knitted fabric! It would almost be like wearing a sheep, if sheep came in loads of different colors and knew how to cable.

Colorful diamonds decorate the outside, while the inside keeps you nice and warm.

Muffalette is designed to be truly practical; it has all the grace and charm of its counterparts from a time gone by, yet still caters to the demands of today’s busy schedules. Worked with a single skein of worsted wool and two colors of fiber, this muff features diamond cables on the cuffs and sneaky colorwork across the body. There’s also a wrist strap, in case you need to send a quick text or open a door to let yourself in out of the cold.

Diamond cabled cuffs are expertly finished with an I-cord Bindoff and wrist strap.

The pattern uses just 200 yards of worsted weight yarn and 60 grams fiber, total. The 5-page PDF includes a link to a video tutorial for making the thrums and inserting them into your knitting, as well as stitch-by-stitch written instructions and charts for both the cable and colorwork sections. I'm offering it for just $4.00, but WAIT! You can get it for FREE, for the next 30 minutes, right here. If you missed the freebie, you can get $1.00 off when you use the coupon code "clubsexy" during checkout.

But that's not all!

No, friends, no post of mine would be complete without a giveaway, would it? I didn't think so, either. To help promote Muffalette, I'm going to be giving one lucky winner the following:

  • 2 skeins Spud & Chloe Sweater in Lake
  • 80% Merino/20% Bamboo Top with Angelina from Shunklies
  • Undyed 100% Corriedale roving
  • Project bag from Kusala Knitworks

Jenifer's bag fits all the goodies with room to spare!

Want to know how to enter? Well, I'm giving it a bit of a twist this time. To enter, you need to knit a Muffalette, and post your FO photos to Ravelry by the end of December 31. That's it! Muffalette knits up quickly, I promise; you have plenty of time between now and then to whip out one or five. Remember, each FO you produce counts as one entry, so go crazy! Surely you know someone who needs a lovely thrummed muff for Christmas, right?

I also have a beautiful notions bag from Jenifer to give away to one lucky commenter. To enter to win the notions bag, all you need to do is leave a comment to this post! I'll choose a winner sometime next week. (You know me, I try to be specific and then nope, it just happens when it happens.)

So cute! This one measures 7.5" x 7".

For a second entry for the notions bag, tweet the following:

"Couldn't you use some FREE YARN this Christmas? @TheSexyKnitter tells you how to win enough for her new thrummed muff: http://tinyurl.com/79nvrvg"

Good luck, everyone!

Picks of the Day:
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New Knitty is Here!

The Winter issue of Knitty came out tonight, and whooboy, it's pretty great! I'm sure you've seen it by now (and if you haven't, head on over and give it a looksee), but I wanted to point a few things out. Y'all remember my interviews with Laura, Alex, and Julie, right? Well, all three of these rockstars are featured in this new issue. Take a look:

(Alex's corresponding article regarding fractal spinning is here)

A huge shoutout to these three ladies and all the other featured designers! Another great issue. :)

Looking for the winner of Stacey's amigurumi giveaway? Random Number Generator tells me it's KisforKrissy! Congrats, Krissy! Stacey or I will be in touch shortly to get your address. 

I'm going to be posting another giveaway tomorrow, so don't miss out! More yarn, fiber and project bags to be had!
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Getting to Know You #6: Stacey Trock

Whoo boy! We had a bit of a break from the Getting to Know You series; y'all didn't think I was done, did you? Well, I'm definitely not finished, because I've got loads more fabulous designers to talk up. This week, I wanted to tell you a little bit more about someone who may have been escaping your radar: Stacey Trock, aka Fresh Stitches!

Newly-married Stacey shows off one of her faves, a giant puppy
I got to meet Stacey this year at (wait, can you guess?) TNNA. She was doing a book signing for Cuddly Crochet in the Martingale booth, so I snagged one of those and snagged Stacey for the evening, too! We met up with the also-fabulous Teva Durham at the social networking event and afterwards wolfed down some of the best Mexican food Columbus has to offer. Stacey & Teva, since I'm a Texan and we had Mexican food together, you should know that makes us friends for life!

Teva, Stacey & myself at TNNA; click the photo to read Stacey's account of our fun!

The list of designers I admire would not be complete without Stacey; this gal is practically a machine of efficiency! Not only does Stacey crank out her amigurumi patterns at an alarming rate, she also has a dedicated following on her regularly updated blog, a solid handle on social networking, being active on Facebook, Twitter, and Ravelry, and she somehow finds time to fill all the custom orders in her Etsy shop. How does she do it all? I caught up with her to ask.

Microbes & Macrob
TSK: I love that you specialize in full-size, cuddly amigurumi, when everyone else seems to be doing tiny amigurumi. But why amigurumi? How'd you get started making those? Which was the first one you made, and how long ago was that?

I've ALWAYS loved stuffed animals. Of course, it started with my favorite teddy, then escalated to getting stuffed animals as gifts when I was a teenager, then sewing stuffed animals in high school and college. After college, I was browsing around online and saw that you could crochet stuffed animals, and I was right onto that! I crocheted my first amigurumi in 2008... and I think I designed my first one the next week. My first amigurumi were a koala and a lion... and they're still patterns of mine to this day! When I look back, I can't believe that I was able to make something cute on my first try!

Maple the Moose
TSK: Yeah, um, I MAY still have my childhood teddy bear. It may or may not still sleep in my bed. What can I say? I sleep on my side and need an arm prop. Nothing else is quite the same. Ha! Anyway. These projects seem to go quite fast for you; do you just crochet quickly, or do they really work up that fast? How long would you say it takes you, on average, to work up a new sample?

ST: Oooh, that's a tricky question! I think it's a bit of both. I've been crocheting since I was a little child, so of course, I crochet like someone with 20+ years of experience! Plus, I make A LOT of amigurumi, so I have the benefit of being able to crochet them without looking at a pattern, which saves time. But mostly, they're quick things to make... much faster than something like a sweater! My amigurumi aren't known for being super-tiny, and the medium-sized ones can take about 4-5 hours (once I've sorted out what I want to do). For some of the tiny amigurumi, they can take less than 2 hours- talk about a great project! I once crocheted a giant puppy (pictured at top), and I don't even know how that took me... it was forever! I'm not making another one of those!

Stacey's two books, Cuddly Crochet and Crocheted Softies

TSK: Now that we've established that you're a downright whiz with a hook, who taught you how to crochet, and when? Do you also knit? What other crafts do you enjoy besides crochet?

ST: My mom taught me to single crochet and increase when I was very little. She never taught me to decrease, because all she makes is ripple afghans. So, I got my hands on a crochet book or two, and am completely self-taught (besides the intro lesson from my mom). I began knitting in 2008, and I have to admit, most of the things I make "for fun" are knitted. I find the motion very relaxing, and it uses up much less yarn (which is important when you're calculating how much baby alpaca you need for a shawl)! Aside from knitting and crocheting, I also sew (mostly clothing for practical purposes) and bake like a crazy person (can that count as a craft?). I've dabbled in tatting, quilting, cross-stitch, french beaded flower making and embroidery... but I always come back to the crafts involving yarn.

Zork the Alien
TSK: Baking definitely counts. You are one busy lady! One last thing I'm curious about, though. Since you self-publish your patterns (other than your books), have you found the "business" end of things impacting your design style? If so, how?

ST: That's a really good question! When I first started designing, I wanted to make a stuffed animal from every animal on the planet. So I set to work: the koala was a success! Everyone loved the monkey! But then... the ostrich? The cheetah? Not so much. That's when I figured out that I needed to design animals that other people wanted to make. It sounds really obvious when I say it now, but it didn't really occur to me at the start how much my designing would be shaped by customer demand. After all, if no one is interested in buying your pattern, there's not much point in designing it!
So, some designs that pop into my head get scrapped because I don't think there will be much demand for them. But on the other hand, listening to what my customers are interested in has given me some great ideas! I had no idea that folks were so into buggy eyes, until I asked around and discovered that people are crazy about them! Now, I've started adding a 'buggy-eyed' option to many of my patterns!

TSK: Makes sense to me, Stacey! I've run into this myself too, because what I really love designing is dresses and skirts, but those are generally the least-likely-to-be-knitted. Luckily I do have a few clients who love having a good showstopper to send down the runway at TNNA and other functions!

Okay, that's it for this time! Huge, huge thanks to Stacey for stopping by. We do have a little surprise for you; Stacey is going to gift one lucky winner with one of her new amigurumi kits from her Etsy shop! To enter, all you need to do is go have a look at Stacey's designs, then come back here and leave a comment suggesting an animal for her to make that she hasn't done yet! I'll announce the winner on Thursday. 

We have a winner!

Looking for the winner of the Capelet Giveaway Extravaganza? Random.org tells me it's commenter #71, Mamahoov on Ravelry! Congrats, Mamahoov! Shoot me an email at thesexyknitter@gmail.com and let me know your mailing address and whether your prefer your Signature Needles (size US 8) to be circular or straight. :)

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Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Each year since we've been married, the Dr. and I sit for a photo with Santa. We keep all of the photos in a large Christmas scrapbook with a bit about what that Christmas was like, where we were and who we spent it with; even though we have just 7 photos so far, it says a lot about our life together. Last night, we had our annual photo taken in Sheridan, WY, at City Hall with Santa AND Mrs. Claus! In eight years, we'd never seen a Mrs. - or a fake beard!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! On Monday, I'll announce the winner of the giveaway extravaganza, but there might just be something else going up for grabs, too, so come on back!


Capelet Giveaway Extravaganza!

Click the photo above to be taken to the Ravelry pattern page

The Winter issue of Knitcircus came out today, and features not only a video where yours truly will teach you how to work I-cord and applied I-cord, but also features a little design of mine, the Priscilla Vintage Capelet!

Texture, short rows and an I-cord edging complete this look. Also, isn't my beagle cute?

This capelet was inspired by an antique stitch pattern book; I selected a dainty border that was originally intended to be worked on minuscule needles and crochet thread, and turned it into a big fashion statement! Seen here in America's Alpaca Blend DK held doubled throughout, the capelet whips up in a jiffy when worked on Size 8/5 mm needles! You've still got plenty of time to knit one before the holidays, so I thought I'd help you towards that end. That's right, kids, it's GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

America's Alpaca was gracious enough to sponsor the giveaway with enough yarn to work the capelet, but that's not all! I also have a lovely project bag from RudDawg, some handmade point protectors from Kusala Knitworks, a pair of Signature Needles, and a copy of the Winter Pattern Collection from Knitcircus!

So here are all the goodies:

That's 1320 yards of luxury, a fabulous project bag, and an entire SET of point protectors!

The project bag is a Medium KIP bag from one of my very favorite project bag makers on Etsy: RudDawg. I have two of her Small KIP bags that I use absolutely all the time, which are great for socks and other small-to-medium-ish projects. Brenda's bags are made out of high-quality cotton, they have a nice fleece base the bag can stand on, and they are fully lined with about a jillion pockets inside (seriously). They also close with a double drawstring, which I generally prefer to zippers, since I'm the klutzy type that always manages to snag my yarn in the zipper. With the small bags priced at just $9.50 and the mediums at $15-$17, they're some of the most affordable bags I've found. And as if that's not enough, she even has a clearance section, where you can often snag the small bags for about $6.50. This one's big enough to fit all 6 skeins of yarn with a tiny bit of room left over!

Fabulous custom point protectors and YARN!!

I was really excited when Jennifer offered up a set of her custom wine-cork point protectors, because how perfect are these going to be with the razor-sharp Signature Needles? Perfect, that's how. It was also Jennifer's idea for me to find a needle sponsor, so thank her for my contacting Signature! Definitely go check out her Etsy shop, because she has many other cute things, including LEGO stitch markers!

This yarn was a real delight to work with; it's the perfect blend of 70% alpaca and 30% merino, with a nice tight twist so your knitting doesn't get a weird halo to it. It was a great pairing for the textural quality of the stitch pattern in the capelet! These skeins come in put-ups of 220 yards per ball and retail for $14.00 each; they come in 4 colors and can be purchased directly from America's Alpaca.

Signature Needles! THE knitting needle.

The winner of this giveaway will also receive a pair of size 8/5 mm needle from Signature Needle Arts, in 14" straight needles with their their choice of point and cap or a 32" circular needle. Seriously, every person I have ever known who has tried these needles says they're unlike anything they've ever worked with before, and tells me very earnestly that if they could afford to switch ALL their needles for these, they'd do it in a heartbeat. That's some pretty convincing advertising, right there!

So, you probably want to know how to enter the giveaway, amiright? Well, first go and queue up the pattern on Ravelry. Hey, this giveaway is all about my pattern, and if you win you'll have everything you need to make it, so you might as well put it in your queue, right? Then, I think it would be nice to thank all of our sponsors in the comments, so come back here and leave a comment with any one of the following (you don't have to answer them all!!):
  • Your favorite pattern from this issue of Knitcircus OR
  • Your favorite project bag in RudDawg's store OR
  • Which item you find most covetable in Kusala Knitworks' shop OR
  • Which needle you'd choose from Signature if you were to win, OR
  • Your dream order from America's Alpaca
I'll leave the comments open until midnight, Central US time on Black Friday, November 25th. The winner (one winner takes it all!) will be chosen by the Random Number Generator and announced, um...well, I would tell you when I'll announce it, but honestly every time I do that I never seem to get around to it, so let's just say I'll announce it as soon as I can. I'll be traveling until the 27th (the Dr. and I are going to WY for Thanksgiving!) so it'll probably be the 28th.

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SexyKnitter readers get 20% off 579Jewelry with coupon code "sexyfans"!


8 Years & Counting...

Eight years ago Monday, a medical student asked me to marry him, and I said yes! This amazing guy changed my life forever, and even though there's been some ups and downs, I wouldn't change a thing. Here's us that night (and this was before he asked me!):

Yes, those are overalls. Don't be a hater.

In case you hadn't figured it out by the Superman getup, Halloween is our engagement anniversary. I had mono, and that day was the first I'd felt like going out in weeks, so he came and took me out to Olive Garden (which is pretty much my favorite restaurant of all time), watched Superman with me, and tucked me back into bed, playing his guitar and singing me to sleep with an original song he wrote just for me. He had my ring on his pinky, and as the song came to a close he sang, "Will you marry me?" Needless to say, that woke me back up. ;)

To celebrate our 8 years together, I'm offering Buy 2, Get 1 Free on every pattern in my shop now through Monday! You don't need a coupon code or anything, it's automatic if you have at least 3 patterns in your cart.

Have fun shopping! Click here to be taken to the shop.


Deliciousness: Raspberry Crescent Squares!

About a week ago, my oldest brother became a father, and I became an aunt for the third time. Since the baby was a girl, I decided to make some yummy pink snacks to celebrate!

Can't get much girlier than this, right here.

Really, if you need more of an intro to this recipe than that photo, you've got issues. Seriously though, these things are AMAZING. You're going to want to double the recipe (which is really easy, by the way), because you'll have eaten half of them before anyone else can reach the pan. They're also stupid easy. Here's what you need:

For the Squares:
  • 1 can seamless crescent dough
  • 12 frozen raspberries
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
For the Topping:
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten (toss a splash of water in there, too)
  • 1 Tablespooon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Note about doubling: If you're going to double the filling, buy 2 extra cans of crescent dough. I always have about half the filling left over!

Preheat your oven to 375°. Open your can of seamless crescent dough and cut it into 12 squares. I kind of biffed it on mine and cut rectangles. Next time, I'll cut 3 long strips and then cut each strip into 4 pieces.

Der, Sarah. These are not squares.

Toss everything else except the raspberries into a bowl and cream it all together. If you have a Magic Bullet, like I do, you can use that. Otherwise, just use a mixer. Flatten out each of your little pieces of dough so they're about 3-4 inches square. Plop about a tablespoon or so of filling in the middle, and top it with a raspberry.

Almost done already! See how cute and pink?

Fold each corner towards the middle of the square, and pinch the edges together, like so:

The mathematician inside me would like to point out that technically, this is a parallelogram, not a square.

Repeat for the remaining bits of crescent dough. Line them all up on a greased cookie sheet, and baste with the egg wash. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together, and sprinkle over the top.

Now we're cookin' with gas! Or...something.

Put them in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the crescent rolls are cooked through. Remove from oven. Hoard from others. These are really, really good warm.

I think I ate about 4 of these right away. Best not to think about the calories, really.

I feel like there are probably endless variations of these. Cream cheese + apple butter + apples? Cream cheese + peach preserves + peaches? I bet almost any fruit would be equally tasty. My original inspiration for this recipe used strawberries; you can find over at Rumbly in My Tummy. You could even top them off with nuts, or powdered sugar, or candied sprinkles, if you wanted a little bit of crunch. However you decide to go, you're going to be really happy. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Oh hey, it's about time I announced the winner of my Infinity Scarf giveaway, yes? It's Pamela McGary! Congrats, Pam! I'll PM you over on Ravelry to get your mailing address. :) Thanks to everybody who stopped by! I've got a little hint for you: You're going to want to come back, because my next giveaway is going to involve about 1600 yards of alpaca yarn, a magazine subscription, another project bag, and, if I can swing it, a pair of Signature Needles!


Infinity Scarf Giveaway!

It's that time again! Today I have a whole project's worth of goodies to give away:

They could all be yours! Yours, I say!

I received this lovely book, Easy as 1-2-3 Skeins, in the mail a few weeks ago from the publisher; it contains a cowl pattern of mine named Infinity & Beyond. This cowl knits up ridiculously fast on US 11 needles, and can truly be styled in a near-infinite number of ways. The simple drop-stitch pattern serves as a series of buttonholes for two giant buttons, which means that you can wrap, fold or scrunch the fabric in any pattern you choose, then pop through a button or two to secure it in place!

Just a few of the many style options...

The pattern uses just one skein of amazing, bulky yarn; in this case, Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande. I happen to have a skein left over in the very colorway the pattern calls for, so I thought, why not share the love?

Alpaca is my favorite fiber ever. Y'all should feel special I'm willing to part with this!

As far as the book goes, there are FIFTY-EIGHT patterns here, including everything from socks and scarves to baby garments and tank tops, and each pattern calls for at most 3 skeins of yarn. With the holidays fast approaching, this will be a fabulous resource to have at your fingertips! Who among us doesn't have the odd skein or two lying around we have no idea what to do with?

Super-cute project bag has room for the book, the yarn, and then some!

Also up for grabs is this lovely project bag from Mindy over at Knittin' Ninja Designs. Mindy has generously sized her bags at 13 inches x 13 inches, and finishes them professionally with French seams on the inside. I asked her to send me something sexy, and she found this sensuous red scrollwork pattern for me - isn't it fabulous?

Okay, now the part you've all been waiting to hear about - how to enter! I've decided to keep it super easy this time. All you need to do is come join Club Sexy over on Ravelry, and make a post in the Introductions thread. Don't be shy, either! Tell us how you started knitting, who taught you, what you like to make, and anything else that comes to mind. Then come back here and leave a comment so I know who's who! :) I'll draw a winner on Wednesday, October 26th. In the meantime, why not go check out Mindy's shop? These gorgeous drawstring fabric bags are selling for just $6.00 each, or 3 for $15.00. Can't beat that price with a stick! Except you can, because Mindy is offering 10% off any order now through October 23 when you use the code, "SexyKnitter10" during checkout! Seriously, go...go now!

Picks of the Day:

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Beatriz is Here!

Hoo boy, I've been waiting a long, LONG time to show you guys this one!

Beatriz Dress, from Knitscene Winter 2011

I have been working on this design for almost two years; last year, it found a home at Interweave Knits. Although originally scheduled to appear in the Holiday Gifts issue of Interweave, it eventually got shuffled around a bit and included in this winter's issue of Knitscene, and I couldn't be happier! Knitscene has long been a favorite of mine, and I almost always love how they style the knits. You can get a sneak peek at how they styled this knit for the magazine right here, as well as getting a preview of the rest of this issue. The issue won't be out on newsstands until October 25th, but if you decide to order online, you can get 18% off your order by entering the code "XTRA18" during checkout. (Side note: You can also preorder IK's special issue, Jane Austen Knits, while you're at it!)

This dress, worked from the top down, is worked with Kollage Yarns' amazing Scrumptious, a truly delectable combination of 70% angora and 30% silk. I had a hard time taking the sample off after the photo shoot, it felt so good against my skin!

Fab photo courtesy of Sara McDonald

The dress begins with a hem to give the boatneck a bit of stability; an elongated circular yoke forms the dolman sleeves, then the body is continued in the round. Large, lacy leaf motifs decorate the bottom of the skirt, which gets finished off with another hem. The entire piece is worked seamlessly, and is sized for busts 32"-48".

Add a sparkly belt for a bit of holiday bling!

I've added the Beatriz Dress to the Ravelry database, and just can't wait to see everyone else's projects! This dress was really fun to knit and especially fun to wear; I'm really looking forward to having one of my own!

Picks of the Day:

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Deliciousness: Caramel-Filled Brownies

That's right, caramel-filled brownies. Doesn't get much better than this, let me tell you.

See the caramel oozing out of the middle there?

If that picture doesn't speak for itself, this one should. These brownies are unlike any other brownie I've ever had in my life. Not only do you get two layers of fudgy, chewy, chocolatey brownies, you also get a thick, gooey layer of caramel in the middle! They're finished off with a healthy sprinkling of chocolate chips. Prepare to be wowed! On the surface, it seems like filled brownies would be kind of a hassle to make, but I found this recipe surprisingly easy. You might be making a trip to the grocery store, because you're going to need a TON of bittersweet chocolate (12 ounces! That's like...6 squares!) and a couple of bags of caramel candies, as well as a bit of heavy cream. On the upside, you don't have to make the caramel from scratch, and everything besides the filling can get mixed up in one bowl. You do have to bake them twice, since the first layer gets baked on its own before the filling and top layer are added, but I promise you it's totally worth the extra step.

I followed Annie's recipe exactly, except that I used a 7" x 11" baking dish instead of the recommended 9" x 13" size (I didn't change the baking time), and I didn't line the dish with foil. My dish was so full I thought it was going to start slopping over the side, but there was just enough room, and my brownies turned out delightfully thick and fudgy. One thing you should be aware of about these brownies, though, is that they're practically un-sliceable while warm. If you want them in tidy squares (or squares at all, for that matter), you'll have to wait until they come to room temperature. That said, they're absolutely unbeatable warm, so go right ahead and dig yourself out a big spoonful - we did! Plop a big scoop of ice cream on top, and I guarantee you'll be thanking me later.

Get the recipe from Annie's Eats, right here. Look, there's even a printer-friendly version!

Picks of the Day:
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Sneakety-Peek, a KAL, and a prize winner!

I have a little secret: I'm going to have a pattern in the Winter issue of Knitcircus Magazine! Okay, okay...not that big of a secret. But I'm excited to get to show you a little piece of it:

I'll let you all have fun guessing what it is!

For this issue, I'll also be hosting a video tutorial on how to work applied I-cord as an edging. Trust me - it's super easy!

I also have another fun bit of news, which is that the fourth quarter KAL over at Club Sexy has just begun! For the last quarter of the year, completing a project by the end of the year using any pattern of mine will qualify you to win some fabulous yarny prizes! We have four skeins of yarn to give away this quarter, and they are all super gorgeous. Our sponsors, Grinning Gargoyle, MamaZooma, and Our Humble Castle have really outdone themselves! Here's a little glimpse of what we have to give away:


Drooling yet? Come on over and join the club, then read all about the KAL right here. We'd love to have you!

Looking for the winner of Alex Tinsley's giveaway? It's KnittingDancer! Congratulations, Teresa, you've won a copy of Alex's Go Go Malabrigo Collection 1! Drop me a line over on Ravelry (I'm TheSexyKnitter) and we'll work out the details. Didn't win? Don't forget - you can still get 20% off all of Alex's patterns through the end of today! Just enter "sexyinterview" during checkout!

Picks of the Day:

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Now offering Etsy Mini spots!

I, like many of you, have a few Etsy shops. I have one very active shop, TheSexyKnitter, and countless other registered shop names that may or may not ever get used. Probably also like many of you, I'm in a constant state of trying to figure out how I can get more traffic, views and sales out of these shops.

Enter The Sexy Knitter Etsy Mini spots!

I really enjoy visiting a blog that has those "You might also enjoy" galleries at the bottom of a post. Chances are, if I'm already reading the blog, I probably DO want to click on something in the gallery and visit whatever-it-is they're linking to, be it another blog post, recipe, or shop. I don't think I'm alone in this, or those types of widgets wouldn't be as popular as they are, right?

So, what are The Sexy Knitter Etsy Mini spots, you ask? Well, they're a chance for you to have items from your Etsy shop featured at the bottom of one my blog posts! Your Etsy items will be billed as "Picks of the Day"; see an example of what these will look like at the bottom of this very post.

How much will it cost?  Etsy Mini spots will cost $5.00 each; unlike pricey monthly ads on other blogs, these will stay with their associated posts until your shop or this blog closes for good.

What happens when the blog post I paid for goes into the archives? Won't I lose traffic? When the blog post your Etsy Mini appears with goes into the archives, so will your Etsy Mini. Because I categorize my posts, I do get a lot of traffic to the archives through folks clicking through the tags, so your traffic numbers will only keep going up as my readers continue to peruse these posts.

Why not just sell sidebar ads? People tend to ignore these ads because they're not part of the content they came to see. With Etsy Mini spots, your items will be the last thing people see after they finish reading my blog post. Besides...not only are sidebar ads tiny, they're also charged on a monthly basis; with my Etsy Minis, you get a chance to showcase specific, current items from your shop, and you only have to pay one time for a forever spot. Because of the way Etsy Mini works, only current items in your shop will appear, which means that if you sell an item, another one will take its place.

Can I choose which post my Etsy Mini goes with? Yes! You may choose any existing post on the blog, or choose from the following categories for upcoming posts:
  • Videos
  • Recipe reviews
  • Designer interviews
  • Giveaways
  • Tutorials
  • Style posts
  • General (may include travel posts, design posts, new pattern releases, etc.)
Note that each post may only have one Etsy Mini, so spots for existing posts will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis.

What is the current traffic like on this blog? Current traffic ranges between 100-200 visitors per day, and popular posts like giveaways, designer interviews, and recipe reviews average between 500-800 readers per month. As the blog gains more popularity, these numbers will only keep going up!

I think I'll just wait until you have more traffic. You certainly could do that, and I'd love to have you later too, but be aware that the price of $5.00 per Mini is likely to go up in direct relation to my traffic. Why not get in early, instead? :)

If I have a coupon code, will you post that too? Yup, just be sure to let me know when the expiration date is! My readers love a good deal.

Will you create a Mini for me? Etsy Minis can only be created by shop owners, so you'll have to provide the Java script for me. Don't worry though, it's super easy! To create your Mini, follow these 3 easy steps (click the photos to enlarge):

Step 1: Log into Etsy with your shop account, and click on "My Account".

Step 2: Scroll down the page a bit and click "Etsy Mini".

Step 3: Choose "Items from my shop", "Thumbnail", 5 columns, 1 row. Copy the code that will appear in the box, and send that to me. I do the rest!

You've convinced me. How do I participate? Shoot me an email at thesexyknitter@gmail.com, and include the following things:
  1. Which blog post or category you want to appear in, 
  2. The Java script code for your Etsy Mini, 
  3. Coupon code and expiration date (optional), and
  4. Your Paypal address so I can invoice you.
I'll take care of the rest! Please note: I'm happy to accept both knitting and non-knitting related items (including knitting/crochet patterns and stitch markers), but they should be PG-13 rated at highest. No nudity will be posted here! :)


Picks of the Day:

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