Catch Up & A New Venture

I have not posted in an embarrassingly long time. I have had a lot of knitting to share and ample time to sit down and work on a blog post, but I’ve had a hard time feeling like I deserve to spend my time doing so. I got laid off at the end of September from my job of almost two years. (Go back a little over two years and there is a nearly identical post.) I do not have the luck when it comes to steady jobs. I have also not had the luck as far as finding a new job. Most of my spare time I feel I must spend hunting for, applying for and sometimes interviewing for jobs. I am trying to remain positive that the right thing will come along, but some days that is really, really difficult. I actually feel like I’ve interviewed for the right job many times over since September but I have not gotten an offer from anyone yet. The market is very competitive right now. At every interview I have managed to get I have been told how many people (usually 50+) applied for the job and how they are interviewing at least half of them. It takes just the tiniest little things for someone else to have a slight edge over someone else. I am signed up with about 5 temp agencies (as of today) and have gotten just a couple of jobs from them since I’ve been home. One of them was a month-long. I am getting unemployment. Things could be worse…but I really just want to be done with this job hunting phase and be back to work.

I will get around to talking (briefly) about what knitting I have finished since my last post but first let me tell you about my Etsy shop. In a desperate attempt to feel like I’m contributing (even just a little bit) to my household while I look for my next job I have started an Etsy shop. I have been told by several people in the past that I should consider opening an Etsy shop and selling my knitted items. Mostly I’m selling some cute, decorative Mason Jars with knitted cozies. I made a slew of these as Christmas gifts this year. I am also posting a few items that if people would be interested in they can custom order and I will knit it up special for them. I’m not telling you about this shop to ask you to go buy something from me, but I am asking that if you are an Etsy user, please go visit my shop and maybe like it or an item (or several) that I’m selling. The more traffic that I get and the more likes I get the more attention it will draw from others and maybe some potential customers will find their way to me.. Thanks in advance!  Here’s the link: NicolesKnitGifts

New Finished Objects (corresponding photos below)

A. Turkish Bed Socks by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas – I made these for me. Despite having to battle second sock syndrome with these I love how they turned out and hope to make them again.

B. Pacifier Leash by Angela Munden – Made for my niece. Sometimes she likes to chew on it…silly girl!

C. Wildstyle Hat by Me – Minnie dressed up as Wildstyle from the Lego movie for Halloween. I improvised a hat to look like her hair.

D. Elizabeth Elaine Dress by Taiga Hilliard – I Love this designer. She has the sweetest little baby dresses! I am gearing up to knit another! This one was for my niece! She wore it in her 6 month photo shoot!

E. Molly Hat by Erin Ruth – One of my fabulous sisters in law and I organized a trade. I would knit her a hat and she would make me a quilted table runner. I do not have a picture of this hat on my SIL…so my husband is the stand in model.  (Don’t tell him.)

F. Milo by Georgie Hallam – I love this pattern, I have knit it a few times before. This one was part of my niece’s Christmas gift.

G. Candle Cozies by Silje Camelie – I made these as Christmas gifts for my kids teachers as well as for several family members. They are fun to knit and really cute! (These are also what I’m selling in my Etsy shop.)

H. Chopper Mitten Liners – I used the pattern Classic Mittens by the Bernhard Ulmann Co. to make chopper mitten liners for my Dad. I hope they work well for him on ice fishing trips. 

I. Calypso Shrug/Shoulder Wrap by Debbie Haymark – I started this ages ago and hated it. For some reason I remembered it and went back to work on it. It became my Mom’s Christmas gift. I still need to get better pictures of it before my Mom gets the final product this weekend.

She’s Here!!

My newest niece arrived quite dramatically, early on Friday morning! She is beautiful! I got to go meet her on Friday and bring the last few gifts I’ve been working on for her (currently, anyway.) So, now I can share all that I’ve been working on for so many months!

Back in January I started in a blanket for Baby Girl. The pattern is the Zig Zag Baby Blanket by knitculture.com. I really like the pattern but I have one complaint. Why would anyone design a baby blanket that is so weirdly skinny? I cast on the larger number of stitches listed in the pattern. I knit a good six inches before realizing that the blanket was more like a wide scarf than a blanket. I soldiered on for several more inches hoping it would seem more acceptable as I got more of it knit. It did not. Not wanting to start completely from square one (hindsight being what it is…I wish I would have started over at this point) I decided that I’d finish this ‘panel’ (as I decided to refer to the blanket) and then knit another panel and join them to make a larger blanket. I finish the first panel and decided that I’d make one little color change for the second panel just to mix things up a bit. I also decided to change the order the colors fell in to mix it up some more. (I wish I hadn’t done this.) In my head these changes were cute and lovely. In reality it makes the blanket a little too busy for my exact taste. It’s not hideous, but just not what I had pictured in my head when I started out knitting this. When all the knitting was done and all the millions of ends were woven in I had to figure out how best to join them. I thought I’d try do a crocheted join like I did on all those slippers I knit at Christmas time. I didn’t like how that looked. It might have been better if I’d managed to crochet a bit looser. I took that apart and just did a kind of rustic sewing job. I mostly like how it looks and it does seem to tie the two pieces together well. It seems like I always end up with some kind of snafu with my projects. I’m not sure if it is just me or if everyone else just doesn’t talk about the adventures their knitting takes them on. Since a big part of why I write this blog is to remind myself of how different projects went and to LEARN from my mistakes I am just being honest about what a mess I mange to make of even the simplest projects. Hopefully Baby Girl will get use out of this blanket, even if  it didn’t fulfill all of Auntie’s knitting dreams.

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Speaking of knitting dreams…the dress I knit Baby Girl might be my favorite thing I have ever knit! Really! The pattern is amazing and SO well written. The knitting was exciting and challenging, yet manageable. (Don’t worry there were still plenty of hurdles to be faced.) I love how the finished product turned out! I knit the Lizzy Dress by Taiga Hilliard Designs. I used a ball of fingering weight Stroll by Knit Picks in the Blue Violet color way. (I actually emailed my sister a picture of about 6 balls of yarn I was considering and told her to pick. She narrowed it down to two.) Since I mentioned above I try to be honest while writing this and confess all my knitting messes I’m trying to think of what went wrong with this. The only two things I’m coming up with are really minor and not really messes. When I finished the bodice of the dress and looked at the neck hole I couldn’t image that I had knit this at all in gauge. It looked entirely too small to fit around even a newborn’s neck. When the dress was blocked and I saw my niece in person I can see that I was wrong. The sizing is just fine – hooray! As this is a lace pattern there were many rows I had to count back and figure out where I went wrong when I ended the row with too many or too few stitches left. I don’t see this as big mess either…I think that is just how knitting lace goes. It can be so easy to lose track of yarn overs and whatnot. If you are in the market for a baby dress knitting pattern I would HIGHLY recommend this one! I am kind of considering knitting the whole thing for Baby Girl again in a bigger size and a different color. Really! I finished this dress within a few hours of Baby Girl’s birth! I actually thought I’d have at least a couple more days to finish up. It was great timing though. I finished knitting, washed, blocked and went to bed. I heard early the next morning that she’d arrived and went to the store to buy buttons before going to the hospital to meet her! (How’s that for timing!)

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I also knit her a little headband to go with this dress. I crocheted the flower, but I bought the cute stretchy headband at JoAnn’s. I attached the flower and the accent button and called it good. (I also did this in the morning before I went to meet her .)

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In the midst of finishing up baby gifts in the last month or so I did start one new thing. We were going to WI for a birthday party that my sister would be at and I didn’t want to bring either of the gifts above that she didn’t yet know about. I cast on a shawl….possibly for myself. I am famous for two things when it comes to shawls. 1.) Not ever finishing them. (I have at least 3 shawls at home I can think of that are in various states of completion.) 2.) Finishing a shawl that I thought was for myself only to give it away to someone else.  I do hope to finish this one and I hope that it really is for me this time. It is the Dinner in the Eiffel Tower Shawl by Jessie Dodington. It was designed to look like different elements of the Eiffel Tower’s structure. It is really pretty. It has been challenging knitting for me. I am enjoying it and hope that my finished project does the pattern justice.

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This is the best picture I have so far. I need to get it on a larger circular needle so I can stretch it out. Sorry!

I have SO many more things I want to knit Baby Girl. I am happy I hit all my big deadlines before she arrived. But, I plan to keep casting on things for  her 🙂 (Here is a sneak peek at one.) It will be finished shortly and I will share details when it is.

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Here are a couple photos of my new niece in a few of the hats I made her. Isn’t she she cutest?

 

 

 

Knitting for My Sanity!

I didn’t want to post another blog entry until I could announce that I had a new job. I’m not sure why it mattered, but alas, I have too much knitting to share to put off doing another entry. I really hoped that I would not be laid off for very long. It has been a little over a month and I’m starting to have major cabin fever and anxiety about money. I am doing as much applying for jobs and interviewing as I can. I’m sure the right thing will come along eventually. I just hope it is soon! Until it comes along I’m doing A LOT of knitting!

I did make Baby J a hat. I love it, but it turned out a bit too big. His Mom can just hold onto it until it fits. I knit him Charlie’s Sock Yarn Hat by Aimee Alexander. I liked the pattern so much that I’m planning on trying again with different yarn and I’ll knit it a size down this time. The yarn on the first hat is Sunshine Yarns Classic Sock Yarn in the Mockingjay colorway. The yarn I’m planning to do the second is called Cartoons and is by Knit Picks.

 

I decided I wanted to try knit something with beads in it. I maybe should have started with something using more normal yarn. I decided to do the Ice Queen cowl by Rosemary Hill. It is knit with Rowan Kidsilk Haze. It is SO soft and so thin. It is like knitting with bunny fur (yes, I know kidsilk is made out of goat fur.) I think it is turning out well but it is lace and until I get done and block it, it is hard to tell for sure. With the tiny fluffy yarn and the beads it is the most challenging thing I’ve knit in a while.

I finished the Hooded Baby Sweater with Back Zipper that I was working on it. I think I successfully sized it up to a 24 month size. I just need to put the zipper in and mail it off to the person who is gifting it. Then I have another to make for a baby that is due in about a month! I will cast that one on soon.

I loved the feel of Baby J’s sock yarn hat so much that I decided to make one for me…but with a more feminine pattern. I looked through lots before I decided on the  Fietsbellen Hat by Natalie Selles. I am just working on the brim part right now. It is a fun honeycomb cable pattern.

The last thing I’m working on are monsters! My niece has been not so subtly hinting that she and her brother would like a monster like I knit for Baby J, for Christmas. She has been complementing my knitting and projects….how can an aunt say no to that! Last time they were here I had her help me pick colors, hypothetically, you know, incase I ever have time to knit some monsters!

Oh…and while at JoAnn’s today I saw a display of stuff to make parachute cord bracelets and thought I’d try that out. My sister-in-law knows how to make these and I’ve always thought they were neat. I need to go check some other stores to see if I can get some more colors, but here are my first attempts! I used a tutorial for this: How to Make a Paracord Survival Bracelet.

And this is almost a month late…but here’s a picture of my Harry Potter and Mermaid on Halloween!

Summer Is Here!

It’s summer and at my house everything shifts just a little bit during this time of the year. My time-table doesn’t change at all because it’s summer, but my kids’ does and it is amazing how much it can affect everything, including my knitting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still knitting, it just isn’t as all consuming as it was for me this winter and spring. In the summer my kids are home all day long. Until two they are with Dad and then a babysitter comes and hangs out with the kids until I get home. Because they’re spending so much time at home I end up feeling like I need to get them out of the house some evenings. We have been running errands or going to the little beach about a mile from our house. We also need to work going to the library and on walks or bike rides into the mix more. As I’m being more active with them I find that I’m more tired in the evenings and my knitting gets neglected. Which is why it has been more than three weeks since I last posted! But, I still have things to share.

My brother got married almost two weeks ago. It was a gorgeous day! You will probably recall that I knit a lace garter for my new sister-in-law to wear on the big day! Yes, I know I have talked about this at length previously, but I wanted to share one more picture of it on the bride’s leg with the dress, flowers and ring all adding to the romance of it. I’m still so happy with how this project worked out.

I cast on the Kimana, which is the second part of the American Girl Knitter’s June KAL, but I’m avoiding finishing it. I just have one sleeve to go, but I can’t bring myself to work on it. In working on this I’ve discovered how terrible I am at seaming together things knit in pieces. This must be why I lean toward patterns that are knit all in one piece! I am so disheartened with the seaming job I did at the shoulders of this sweater and then on the first sleeve, that I just don’t want to work on it. I should probably just rip out the seaming I did, do a little research and try again…but for now I’m just avoiding it.

Of the things I already had in progress (four, that aren’t seriously hibernating) I have only worked on one in the last several weeks. I have made quite a bit of progress on my Shaelyn Shawl. I love how this is turning out and can’t wait to add it to my wardrobe in the fall. The pictures I posted of it previously didn’t do it justice, so here is a closer up view. Oh, and if I didn’t say so before, this yarn is really lovely! (Quince and Co.)

My nephew turns one in a month!! Holy Cow, where did the time go? I have cast on the Hooded Baby Sweater with Back Zipper for him. Since my sister already knew I was going to knit this for him I was going to keep the color a surprise, but she caught me knitting on it…oh well! It is Cookie Monster blue! It is the same brand of yarn I used for the last one of these sweaters I did (Berroco Vintage Colors) except in the colorway VintageBlue Note. I am liking how it is coming along. I’m glad that since I ruined the surprise of this one that I have another knit gift in the works for Baby J ~ stay tuned! I have been realizing lately that I have knit quite a few things for Baby J, but there is a reason. While I knew how to knit when my kids and older nieces and nephews were born, I wasn’t addicted to it like I am now. Not to mention that when my kids were little I had no time for anything besides taking care of them. Baby J has been my one big chance to lavish my knitting on a baby so I’m taking full advantage of it, because who doesn’t love baby knitting?

This weekend Minnie and I are going to be “camping” with family up north.  My husband has to work and LJ will be away camping with family from my husband’s side. As I’ll have to be the driver on this trip there will be no car knitting, but I’m looking forward to knitting and soaking up some sun while supervising Minnie in the pool!

Happy Summer Everyone!

Addicted!!!

I love when I find a pattern that is truly amazing! While I have worked on both the Traditional Gansey Socks and the Lintilla this week, I knew it was time to start something new too. The more variety I give myself with my knitting the better I seem to do with it. Odd, I know. I’ve been wanting to do another shawl with some lace elements since I finished the Multnomah, so I looked in my Ravelry queue and picked a pattern to start. I chose the Shaelyn shawl by Leila Raabe. I cast on for it Sunday evening. Two evenings later I’m almost through the whole first skein of yarn. It is the kind of knitting I love most  – Addicting!! I have a hard time setting it aside and moving onto anything else. I keep wanting to knit another row to see the lace pattern emerging. I am using yarn by Quince and Company. It is excellent yarn! I’m very impressed with it.


I still want to start one more thing…I’m not sure what yet. I found a new pattern that I’m interested in for my Malabrigo yarn…(Commuter Fingerless Mitts)

Or maybe some socks so I can use some of my Sunshine Yarns sock yarn! Or maybe a pattern that incorporates beads…

Here is an updated picture of the Eloping wedding garter with the elastic sewn in. It is cinched up a bit more, but not too much.

The dress for Minnie’s new American Girl Doll was a hit! (And the dress I knit for it.) I think knitting more doll clothes will be in my future.

Clearly I have more ambition for knitting projects than I have time to accomplish them all. We are going out of town for Memorial Weekend and I’m thrilled to have many hours of car time in which to knit!

The last thing I want to mention is that the Ravelry design contest has ended. The design that I liked best (outside my own) Won!! I’m excited and plan to buy a project bag! Thank you Ravelry administrators for such a fun contest! And congrats to ALL who entered, it is amazing how many talented people there are on Ravelry!

Until next time…may you enjoy your favorite hobby!

Amazing Lace!

There are knitting projects that include elements of lace (like the Multnomah Shawl), which I have done before, and then there are lace projects in which the entire project is a piece of lace, which I hadn’t done before…until now.

I will be the first to admit that this didn’t turn out perfectly, but overall I’m happy with it. I’m talking about the lace garter I knit for my sister-in-law-to-be to wear for her and my brother’s wedding this summer. The pattern I used is called Eloping by Abigail van Roode and Kristi Geraci. I have listened to a fair number of knitting pod casters talk about how amazing their first experience with lace was and now I understand and know how true their accounts are.

As you knit lace it looks like a sloppy clump of dental floss that might kind of have a bit of a pattern going on. I kept looking at what I had and thinking, “It will be a miracle if this looks anything like the pictures in the pattern when it is done.”  It took me three tries to get this going. I found it is much harder to keep track of yarn overs in knitting that is a piece of lace and kept losing them on the second row. As I neared the end of knitting this I realized that I was probably a bit above gauge, but was too far in to want to start over again.  Here is how the garter looked when the knitting was finished but no blocking had been done.

Blocking, for anyone reading this who doesn’t knit, is when you pin out your work after washing to shape the piece exactly how you want it to dry. In the case of the garter I pinned down each point of the lace along the edges. I stretched the garter as I pinned it down to open up the lace more. I maybe blocked it a bit too aggressively as it now measures a bit longer than it needs to. Here is a picture of it pinned.

Tonight when I was sure that it was totally dry I unpinned and wove the ribbon in. I forgot that I also needed elastic…whoops. But, this way I can get the elastic for this weekend, when I’ll see my family, and can fit it exactly to her leg. The lace is going to have to gather up a bit to fit her leg, but I still think it is going to look great.

Of course I still took photos of it around a jar that was the right size.

My first experience with a real piece of lace knitting was kind of amazing to me and I’m excited to try another!