Dec 3, 2023

Still here, working on one stitch at time.....


an image of wooden staircase leading up
Staircase to....

This image is one of my favorites. I took it few years ago at an old castle in Czech Republic named Pernstejn. If you ever have a chance to travel to Czech Republic, this is a wonderful place to visit, as it's usually not overrun by tourists. The castle has been used by movie makers as a setting for several movies, especially fairytales. The castle has been on my wish list for many years, but the opportunity to visit always seemed to slip away, until few years ago, when I stayed at my friend's place who live nearby, and finally I was able to see the castle. I hope to return to visit this castle again at some point in life, but more importantly I want to visit my friends again. I visited them this summer, but the castle didn't fit our itinerary, so hopefully the next time....

This brings me to my knitwear adventures. I still create and knit and write patterns, just at much slower pace than I used to. The blog posts are less frequent, my toy mystery KAL happens about once a year and the time seems to never be there for all that I would like to create. 

I am working on a flat version of my Paw Print Heart pattern, and this should be published and available within a week. I also am participating as independent knitwear designer in two major events that happens around this time of year.

On Ravelry it's the Indie Gift-a-long which runs to the end of this year and participants can win prizes. This year there are over 250 independent knitwear designers and thousands of knitting and crocheting patterns. 

If you are not on Ravelry, then the Fasten Off might be for you. This event is held entirely online and there are about 100 independent knitwear designers who offered their patterns. You can participate in games, meet fellow crafters, and win prizes. 

When I started this blog in 2011, I really didn't know what to expect and I definitively didn't imagine that one day there will be more than a million of visitors to this little space online. 

Thank you all for visiting, reading, and believing in my craft, ideas and creativity. 

I will continue one stich at time.

an infinity cowl in shape of heart made up from scraps of yarn on wooden background with a dog's leg in the picture


Aug 14, 2023

Fran, the toy mystery KAL and some new patterns


Sensory Caterpillar is one of the two new patterns that I have added to Ravelry and to Lovecraft. I have created the pattern for Knitpicks IDP program, and the pictured sample uses their Dishie yarn.

My second pattern Calypso Hat and Cowl that I have just added to Ravelry was also created for Knitpicks IDP and it just got published on Knitpicks website as well. The pattern uses Knitpicks Wool of the Andes Bulky weight.  

Link to Ravelry:  My designer page

Link to Lovecraft: My patterns on Lovecraft

Link to Knitpicks: Calypso Hat and Cowl and Sensory Caterpillar

Fran, the next toy mystery KAL will start next Monday, August 21st, 2023. 

You can sign up for my newsletter and receive a coupon code for the pattern and a free toy pattern on my website: Stana's Critters etc.

Also, you can get the pattern for 50% off by using the coupon code: Fran 

The coupon code is valid from today until August 24th, 2023. 

As always, I appreciate your visits, comments and please don't forget to follow me, here or on Instagram: stanascrittersetc

Jun 4, 2023

One stitch at time....

an infinity scarf in the shape of heart made from scrap yarn with small remnants of yarn in the middle

     At the end of April, I had everything ready for the next toy mystery KAL. I only needed few more pictures of work in progress to show what the toy looks after each clue during the mystery KAL. Then something unexpected happened in our lives and I am still trying to figure out the next step. Life goes on and I will be back with the toy mystery KAL in second half of the summer, but I need few more weeks of time to allow me to process my grief. 

Be kind to each other. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, yet full of moments of joy. 

Heart shape made of small heart shaped rocks,

Thank you for visiting.

Apr 29, 2023

Dandelion Honey


photo of small glass jars filled with dandelion honey

These jars are filled with sweet syrup made from dandelion flowers. I remember it as a special treat my mom and grandmother used to make when I was growing up. First time I made it by myself was in the spring of 2020. See the blog post here. Since then, I have continued making the syrup each year in the spring, when the dandelions are in bloom. 

This year I have posted a picture of my dandelions and violet flowers collection and once again I have received request for the recipe. I have included the recipe in my e-book Baba Yaga's House. But if you are not interested in knitting, you may not want to buy an entire e-book filled with knitting patterns and some extras, therefore I have decided to write the recipe here.

This recipe goes back to my childhood. We would gather dandelion flowers and made what we called honey, but it’s rather a syrup. This is a spring time activity, and I would highly recommend leaving plenty of blooms for the bees and other pollinating insects when collecting the dandelion flowers. 

Dandelion flowers (400)
2 liters (0.5 gallon) water
1.8 kg (4 pounds) sugar
Lemon juice (from one lemon)
Orange slices (optional)

Step 1: Collect the dandelion flowers.
Step 2: Wash the flowers. Add them to a large pot with the water. Add the lemon juice and sliced orange.
Step 3: Bring to a boil, let it simmer for 15 minutes. 
Step 4: Cover the pot with the lid. Let it sit overnight in the pot. 
Step 5: Strain the liquid through a cheese cloth or a strainer. 
Step 6:  Add the strained liquid to a pot, add the sugar and bring to a boil.
Step 7: Lower the temperature and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally. The longer you let the liquid simmer the thicker the dandelion honey will be.  
Step 8: Sterilize small glass containers, then pour the dandelion honey inside. Cover. Let it cool to room temperature. 
Step 9: Keep in the refrigerator, and use it as a sweetener for teas, lemonades, etc.  

Thank you for visiting and enjoy! 

Apr 2, 2023

The Headaches of Medical Bills....


a photo of two knitted foxes, a knitted frog and a paper in the background

Another one just arrived yesterday. 

This year has been rather stressful, and my knitting has been mostly on hold. I cannot find the energy or time to knit. The stress of having my husband out of work and without any income since January is not helping. Earlier this month, when I went to an Urgent Care with a chest pain and was refused to be seen, I had to go to ER instead. I was worried about the chest pain, not the medical bills at that time. 

Now the medical bills started arriving. Even though we are lucky to have a health insurance through my full-time job, it's a rather high deductible insurance and we have to pay most of the bills anyway. The unbelievable high medical bills here in the USA force people to create GoFundMe pages as they struggle to pay their regular bills and the medical bills as well, while sometimes they cannot even work. A good friend of mine is dealing with the uncertainty of his child's long recovery from a serious car accident as well as the devastating medical bills the prolonged hospital stay at an ICU will cost. I am truly at loss on how he must feel. Below is the link to my friend's child GoFundMe page. 

My friend's child GoFundMe Page

I still hope to host the toy mystery KAL sometimes soon. It might take a bit longer than I anticipated, but there are more than 300 other knitting pattern that I have created over the years, which you can either purchase or are available as free patterns. See all the places where you can buy my patterns on my website. Stana's Critters Etc

As always, I am grateful for any purchase you make as it helps me to continue to create one stitch at time. 

Thank you.

Mar 11, 2023

A brief note


An infinity scarf in a heart shape knit up from many colorful pieces of yarn on a wooden background with legs of a dog

Hello everyone,

Every day I keep thinking about sitting down and writing a blog post. Yet somehow it has not happened yet. My knitting adventure has taken a brief break over the past few months. I tried to keep up, but life got busy with other things and there were days when my knitting needles were left untouched, and I couldn't manage to make a single stitch. It wasn't that I lost a joy from knitting and creating, but the time just wasn't there. Life happens sometimes. 

We all try to do our best, and as I am adjusting to everything, I try to find few moments here and there and continue with my knitting adventure one stitch at time. 

My new toy mystery knit-a-long is slowly getting ready, and I hope to have it all done soon. So, we can have some fun mystery knit-a-long towards the end of this month. 

a rainbow colored textured knitted caterpillar

Sensory Caterpillar is my latest knitting pattern created for Knitpicks IDP program. When I have more time I will add the pattern to Lovecraft, Knitpicks, and Payhip. In the meantime, you can get the pattern on Knitpicks website, along with the yarn. 

Thank you for visiting.

For some little snippets of my life, you can follow me on Instagram: @stanascrittersetc