Hello Freedom!!

I have met all my knitting deadlines! Really, no joke! I know, I can’t believe it either.

The Hooded Baby Sweater with zip up back is finished and is in my Mom’s hands to sew in a zipper. The wedding garter (Eloping), which I shared in my second to last post, now has elastic and is ready to be worn. The Sunday Swing Socks have been done for a few weeks. And finally, the dress for Minnie’s new doll is done (except for the button in the back…shhhh.) Here is a picture of her faux-American Girl Doll modeling it. I’m happy with how it turned out. I was rather liberal with following the pattern on this (wrong weight of yarn, wrong sizes of needles) so I kind of adapted as needed to make the dress work. I’m happy with the results. The pattern is the American Girl Doll Empire Waist Lace Dress by Elaine Phillips.

I feel so free! I have just two projects that are really in the works (not hibernating.) Neither of them have deadlines attached and so I’m feeling free to think about new projects and what I want to work on next that will be new and exciting. I do need to get back to the Traditional Gansey toe-up socks, but lets face it, who’s going to wear wool socks in the winter…I have some time for those. And the Lintilla for my Mom…will hold a bit longer. I think I will hold off on that until a car trip and I will give myself no other options…that is a sure way to yield results.

I have this yarn in my stash (Quince and Co.)

and think I might make this pattern. (Shaelyn by Leila Raabe)

I also have this yarn in my stash (Malabrigo)

and think I might make this pattern. (Snapdragon flip-tops by Ysolda Teague)

I also have oodles of Sunshine Yarns sock yarns in delicious colors that I should try out soon….so many choices!

On a different note…this week has brought me another kind of freedom! Freedom from unreliable vehicles! (Sort of) We will still have one not great vehicle but we traded in the worse of our two vehicles and bought a new to us car for me to drive! It is a 2010 Ford Fusion!! My husband bought it this morning, drove it today and wants it for one more day before it officially becomes my car! I’m so beyond thrilled. Ours is not a hybrid like the one pictures below…but otherwise…picture me in this car!

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Keeping Focused

It’s been nearly three weeks since I posted, but not because I didn’t want to. Every time I thought about posting I realized I’d be rehashing all the same stuff I’ve written about recently. I decided that my time would be better spent working on the projects I have hard and fast deadlines on. It seems that I have many projects with deadlines looming rather near all of a sudden. It is a classic case of  ‘Nicole taking on more than she might actually have time for.’  I’m being good though and rather than casting on new and enticing projects or working on projects with no real deadline, I’m focused on and working steadily toward completing what I already have on the needles. I have learned that I should steer clear of looking at patterns on Ravelry when I need to focus though. It makes me feel a little bit trapped when I have so much knitting to finish, but all I want to do is shop my stash for the perfect yarn to cast on something new.

In my last post I said I would finish the first of the Traditional Gansey Socks (which I did) and then go back to the Sunday Swing Socks (which I also did.) While I have posted pictures of the Traditional Gansey Sock in progress here is another picture of it on my foot. I love it and am so excited to cast on the second…but I must be patient. The only thing I’m less than thrilled with on the sock is the cast off. The pattern did not specify a cast off to use but the one I chose looks ugly, in my opinion.  I’m not sure yet if I’m going to attempt to rip it out and try another…sigh.

I cast on the second Sunday Swing Sock directly after I cast of the first Traditional Gansey Sock. I didn’t write down the date but I am fairly certain it was within a few days of my last post. So roughly, it took me two and a half weeks to do the second sock.  Here is a picture of how they turned out.

I need to get back to the Hooded Baby Sweater with Back Zipper now. I’m probably more than half way done with it and after sock knitting on tiny needles with very fine yarn the rest of the sweater should fly!

I have two other projects in my head that  have deadlines on them. Neither are started yet. I have yarn and patterns for both though. The first is for Minnie. Her sixth birthday is just around the corner. There is a box stashed under our bed with a VERY coveted doll in it. I am planning on knitting a dress for the doll. I’m not sure how impressed she’ll be with it, but it’ll be something to add to the doll’s wardrobe.  The other project is for my soon-to-be-sister-in-law. My brother is marrying a wonderful woman and I’m going to knit her a garter to wear for the big day (well, maybe two so there is one to throw and one to keep, if they take part in that tradition.)

I also need to get some yarn lined up for my nephew’s first birthday gift. I asked my sister if she would be interested in a Hooded Baby Sweater with Back Zipper for Baby J and she said yes. She should let me know if she has a color in mind or if she’d like to be surprised. I’m suddenly wondering if I already asked her this…

Sometimes I think I’m crazy to have so many projects going when my life isn’t exactly quiet, but I’m not sure I would have it any other way. I love the feeling of accomplishment each project brings. I love the little lessons and techniques that each one teaches me. Mostly, I love knitting gifts for my family and friends. I hope that each gift says to its recipient, on my behalf , “I love you so much that I made this just for you.”

Until next time…may your life include something that brings you as much joy as knitting brings to me!

This and That

Almost two weeks ago I finished the first of a pair of socks for my good friend. Most knitters would probably cast the second right on…not me. I know that I should do things that way, but I’m not most knitters. I always have at least two knitting projects going at once…if not many more. There is a method to my madness. I like to have choices. If something I’m working on is frustrating me it is nice to have something else to switch over to for a break from the frustrating project. I also like to always have at least one project that I can easily slip into my purse. Probably most importantly, I like to be able to keep all the things I’m working on interesting. By taking a little break from these socks to work on some other things they will feel fresh again when I cast on the second sock…very soon.

During my break from the Sunday Swing Socks I have been working on two things. I started the hooded baby sweater with back zipper by Sarah Punderson for Cal. I have made a similar sweater twice before and I must say this is a much better pattern. The hood was much too shallow on the other pattern and didn’t cover the baby’s head well. I love this hood on this pattern, it has such clever construction.

Also, I started working on my toe-up Traditional Gansey Socks again. I have turned the heel and am racing up the leg!! I probably won’t stop knitting socks from the cuff down now that I’ve discovered and figured out toe-up…but, wow!! I’m definitely a convert. I have never had a cuff down sock fit my foot as perfectly as this toe-up sock does!! I’m just a little bummed that I have to knit a whole other sock when I finish this one before I can wear them. Oh well, soon enough. I probably wouldn’t be able to wear them until the fall anyway.

And, as if I didn’t have enough to work on I got it in my head that I should try to make my own earrings. I tend to favor beaded earring that dangle and sparkle and realized that maybe I could save some money by making some for myself. Below are my first few attempts. They are okay…I’ll keep trying. I think I need more practice of making the wire loops. I do intend to wear these.

This Sunday is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. I learned about the Titanic from a ‘learn to read’ book about Titanic my brother got for his sixth birthday. I can’t remember what he thought of the book but I was immediately fascinated and have since read many, many books on the topic. It still fascinates me today. I’ve been suggesting to my husband that we go see the movie in 3-D since it is back in the theater. I didn’t think he was going to agree to it, but today he asked if I could get a babysitter for Sunday so we can go see it. (We aren’t seeing it on Sunday because it is the anniversary but because he has to work on Saturday.) I’m so excited! It amazes me that something that happened 100 years ago still interests people so much today, but I definitely understand why.

Here’s a picture of my kids on Easter morning. Minnie’s sweater worked out perfectly with her dress and she wore it until around lunch time and decided she was too hot. Hope everyone had a lovely Easter holiday! Until next time…enjoy what makes you happy!

Knitting in Public

What a fabulous weekend! I’m always sorry to see such a great weekend come to an end. The highlights were the school carnival, a stop at a favorite yarn shop, seeing my nephew (and sister and her husband)  unexpectedly at my Mom and Dad’s, watching LJ try to roller skate for the first time, tennis with my family, grilling hamburgers for the first time this spring and going out for dessert with one of my very best friends!

I’m a big advocate of knitting in public. Partly because I have a hard time sitting around and waiting for anything, so if I can fill that time with knitting I’m much happier. Mostly though because I think it is an excellent way to expose knitting to the public and get others interested in trying it. I have found that knitters mostly seem to be happy, helpful and generally nice people. In my opinion, the more people who knit, the nicer place the world could be.

That being said, I found myself in the most bizarre example of knitting in public I have ever experienced this weekend. LJ was invited to a classmate’s birthday party at Cheap Skate. He was excited to go and certainly I wanted to let him, but he’d never skated before and this worried me a bit. When I RSVP’d for the party I asked if I could tag along for a bit to help him get going. The mother was more than happy to accommodate. Once I helped LJ around the rink a few times I let him go on his own. I sat on a bench rink-side and kept on eye out for wipeouts while I knit. I’m fairly certain I’m the first person to ever knit inside that building…EVER. Usually when I knit in public I get people who ask about it or admire it…this time I just got a lot of strange looks. Oh well!

The yellow mystery project is no longer a mystery! No, I’m not finished, but it was revealed to the recipient last night. One of my best and oldest friends was in town this weekend and we went out for dessert last night. I brought the almost finished first sock and had her try it on to see if I was on the right track for sizing. I am knitting the Sunday Swing Socks by Kristel Nyberg. They are a very easy and fun pattern! Here is a picture of the first sock finished!! I will see Tammy again for Memorial Day Weekend and will have the finished pair for her then. Only about 4 months too late for her birthday.

Another gift I need to be finished with for Memorial Day weekend is a hooded baby sweater for Cal. I should have had a gift done for Cal by my scrap booking weekend, but I was lacking inspiration and couldn’t decide what to make. In the end I asked Cal’s Mom what she needed for him. She requested one of those hooded baby sweaters that zip up the back. Check out the awesome yarn I picked up for it this weekend!

And this yarn…which I have no plan for, but it was so pretty I couldn’t just leave it at the store.

I have a few other project ideas bumping around in my brain, but I need to stay focused on just a few at a time.

I’m up to book seven of the Stephanie Plum series! I keep thinking I’m going to take a little break after the one I’m currently reading and then there is a cliffhanger and I have no resistance and just need to know what happens next. At work last week I listened to an audio book called False Mermaid. It is by a St. Paul, MN author called Erin Hart. It’s a mystery based in St. Paul. I enjoyed the story and it was especially nice to recognize places in the book!

Hope your weekend was as wonderful as mine!