It’s Been A While

So, it’s been a while since I last posted…like a few months! Yikes! I’m not sure where the time went. Since I posted last work has been busy, school has ended for the school year, summer arrived, camping trips have commenced and two holidays have happened! I have thought a few times about writing up a new post and then before I could sit down and do it I got busy with other things and forgot. Sorry! I do have a fair amount of knitting to share!

I really wanted to make my kids’ amazing teachers great knitted gifts. I never manage to start in on these early enough though. Both teachers got homemade key chains from the kids along with a Target gift card and a small knitted item. I made both teachers the Heart Pin by Hannah Fettig. It was a quick and interesting little project. I was not totally thrilled with how they turned out, but was out of time to be too fussy. Both teacher seemed to like them though! (I heard Minnie’s teacher put it directly on and wore it for the rest of the day on their field trip!) Sorry, the quality of this photo is not great, it was taken on my phone and it is the only photo I ended up with.

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I finished some socks that had been languishing forever in the ‘almost done’ state. The trick was to ONLY take this project along on a car trip out-of-town. It was the only thing I had to work on, so naturally it was appealing. I love how these turned out. I am not a big fan of cold weather, but these will be fun to wear once fall comes around again. (These are the Traditional Gansey Socks by Wendy D. Johnson.)

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Upon finishing one of my unfinished pairs of socks I was reminded how much I do like knitting socks, but I tend to let myself get sidetracked when they are involved socks with lots of design and patterning. I have been hearing of the after-thought-heel in old podcasts of the Knitmore Girls Podcast that I’ve been catching up on and thinking…that might be the way to go. More or less you knit a big tube with ribbing at the top. You need to knit in some waste yarn where you plan to knit the heel in later and then do the normal decrease for the toe. I found a pattern with great directions and tried it out. I love it!! I have knit one sock of a pair for myself. I decided to start a pair for Minnie before finishing my pair, but in doing the math to figure out how many to cast on to make them her size I went too small. I have a baby sock instead of a Minnie-sized one. I have cast on once again for her and this one will fit…we have already tested it. Next…I need to figure out some patterns/designs to work into these quick plain socks…I’m thinking cables! (The pattern I’m using is the After Thought Heel Socks by Laura Linneman.)

I almost forgot about this one…I started this back in Mid-May when we went up to Breezy Point for the weekend. These are some mittens that I queued ages and ages ago and still love, so I finally took the plunge and cast them on. I love how they are turning out! (This pattern is Galileo Mittens by Laura Chau.)

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One of my biggest regrets right now is that my current job doesn’t allow me to knit at my desk when work is slow, like my previous job did. I would be getting tons of knitting done right now. Oh well, it just forces me to take the time in the evenings to make sure I get some knitting in. It would be nice to have more time though as I feel like I have so many projects going or that I need to start right now. I do have one other project in the works it is for Baby J’s 2nd birthday. He isn’t a baby anymore, maybe I’ll just start calling him Busy J. I can’t share it yet, but I will say that it is another project that I queued ages and ages ago on Ravelry and there is a certain satisfaction in finally getting around to knitting it for someone.

I will leave you will some of my favorite pictures from our summer so far. Hope your summer has been and continues to be wonderful!

Ugly Socks!!

These last couple of insanely busy months have been a good example of why I need knitting in my life. Between work, the kids being back at school and family obligations I wasn’t finding a lot of time for myself or my knitting. Even the time after my kids go to bed and I’m still sitting in the living room watching TV has not been spent knitting. On top of being too busy, I was also too tired. During this period of time where I wasn’t doing much knitting things felt very disjointed and I was not handling stress well. My job is at the peak of busy season right now. My co-worker (there are only two of us who do what we do) and I are so, so, so busy and there is not an end in sight to the mountains of work coming in. While I know I’m not expected to get it all done I can’t help but let it stress me out. I go home exhausted and sore from sitting in a certain hunched position all day and typically with one of my eyes twitching.  Not good. Even though I was sure it would be mistake to get back into my knitting because I was already tired, I did…and it is the thing that eases the stress of it all. I’m handling it all more calmly and the eye twitch rarely shows up. Moral of the story…keep knitting; even if only a couple of rows a day because it is where I let go of the stress.

Since I have not been taking a lot of time to knit it is a good time to finish up unfinished projects, of which I have many. I have been anxious to cast new things on again, but I’m trying to patient and wait until I have more time to spend working on them. After I finished my cousin’s mittens (Berry Stitch Mittens – see below) and shipped them off to Milwaukee I cast on the second Hermione’s Everyday Sock for my pair. I’ve been working on it for a few weeks now and am proud to say that I finished! I have a love/hate relationship with these socks. I love the yarn and I love the pattern but I’m not sure I like them together. My first thought evey time I look at these is…wow, those are ugly! The pattern is very textured and I think with a yarn this wildly colored it is just a bit much. I liked the yarn fine on its own and on the bottom of the foot where you stop doing the textured pattern it looks pretty. That being said I will wear these ugly socks proudly (to bed, not out in public!)

Berry Stitch Mittens for my Cousin

My Ugly Socks!

What to work on next? I need to finish the Traditional Gansey Socks and I’m probably half way done with the second one. I have an American Girl Doll sweater for Minnie that needs one sleeve. I am more than half way done with the Shaelyn Shawl, but that one needs some tinking back and fixing which just makes me want to grind my teeth right now. I have more unfinished projects than these, but these are the main contenders.

Actually, before going back to another unfinished project I should knit my kids their winter hats. Every year my mom buys my kids (and their cousins) new winter coats. She buys them on clearance in the spring so she gets great deals on them. I’m amazed that she always manages to find such cute coats on clearance! So every year I knit them a new hat to match their new coat. For LJ’s new coat I’m planning on using the extra yarn from Baby J’s back zip sweater. I want to make him the Koolhaas Hat by Jared Flood, but wonder if it looks too feminine. I will have to show it to LJ and see what he thinks. For Minnie I want to do a purple hat that matches her coat and add a flower in a pink…or maybe a beret. Thoughts?

New Coats

The Koolhaas hat by Jared Flood

I can’t believe that Halloween is less than two weeks away! Our pumpkins don’t look any different from the last picture I shared. They don’t seem to be getting any bigger. Next year we will have to try to plant them earlier and see if they grow bigger for us.

Happy Autumn!

Mittens in August

My knitting mojo has been still been a little bit on the slow side, but I have a couple new things to share. I think I discovered the cure for lacking mojo: start something new with techniques I’ve never done before! I will get back to all the works in progress I have…eventually…none of them have real deadlines attached. I’m pretty sure all of thing things that have been in the works for a while are all for me anyway. I do seem to do better with finishing projects up if they are gifts for someone else.

The evening of my nephew’s first birthday party I started up a pair of mittens for my cousin. He recently graduated from high school and as part of his gift I offered to knit him a pair of mittens in his new school colors to wear around his new campus. I knitted his older sister a pair when she graduated a few years ago and he was interested in some as well. The pattern is called Berry Stitch Mittens from the book Mittens and Hats for Yarn Lovers. I have the first one finished, but would like for him to try it on before I start the second one up. I would hate to discover that I knit two mittens that are too small. I will see him next weekend (I think) and he can sample it for me then.

Once I finished the first mitten I spent a little time putting a few more rows onto my Traditional Gansey Socks, but that hasn’t really been drawing my interest lately. I will do better with finishing up socks and shawls when the colder weather starts to reappear. I have been hunting for a fun stranded knitting project to do with two balls of Malabrigo Yarn that I have. In my search I stumbled across a pattern that used two techniques I have never tried before and they intrigued me enough to want to do this pattern. The pattern is called Hearts for my Tween Mittens by Rebecca Reveal. So far I have done a i-cord cast on and an Estonian braid. Both were easier that I thought they would be. But, both left me with a row of stitches that were kind of large and left larger holes…which I don’t love, but I’m hoping will even out more in the end.

Outside of knitting I’m still working on sorting out the whole mess with my car. They did finally decide it was totalled. I got a settlement value recently and have accepted. The amount of time and paperwork that goes into dealing with this sort of thing is just unbelievable to me. I’ve dealt with an accident before and don’t recall it being so complicated and long. I have had to return my rental car and while we’re getting by I hope that by Labor Day we are in a new car again.

I am wrapping up a four-day birthday weekend. It was wonderful to spend time quality time with my husband, kids, sister, nephew and parents over the last several days. While I always enjoy my time away from work I am actually looking forward to returning to work tomorrow. Tomorrow is our first day at our brand new state of the art building! I spent about an hour and a half there today unpacking my moving crates and making sure I could find my desk tomorrow! It is gorgeous and I’m so looking forward to working there!

Part of my birthday gift! DH ordered me an Edible Arrangement! Yum!

I can’t believe how quickly summer is coming to and end. Before I know it my kids will be back in school! Before that happens though we are enjoying every last little bit of summer. Last night we went to the Twins game with my Mom’s family. It was a lot of fun!

And…we have pumpkins!

Happy Summer!

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!

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!

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!