Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crunch Time

Sometime in October I decided that I would not go crazy and knit gifts for everyone this year. I had made a few pairs of mittens here and there for friends and that was going to be all I did. It was a nice thought.
Today I found myself in the kitchen knitting (and cooking) another pair of mittens and telling myself that I could squeeze in one more pair along with a hat all before tomorrow.
It is now 12 noon (and I'm on the computer which makes it difficult to knit) and I still think I can do this, along with the last minute shopping, packing, and cleaning we need to do before we head to C-town for 9 DAYS!

I did, however, finish this gift for my mom. I love it! The yarn is Silk Mountain by Noro. It is a boucle, which is not fun to knit with and the reason that I "banned" this sweater for quite awhile (I think I started it in October and just now finished it). However, it turned into a lovely sweater that I hope my mom enjoys.
Yes, that is Dan modeling a woman's cardigan. Pattern (roughly) from Creative Knitting. I didn't use the suggested yarn or color and had to make maaaaany adjustments. But for my first adult sweater, I think it turned out pretty great. At least it looks good on Dan.
I also decided to knit all the little munchkins gifts that are some variation of the following combo. Soft, warm, and durable. I came up with the mitten pattern out of my head so I hope they fit and don't get immediatley lost (that may be wishful thinking). The hat is 2X2 ribbing on size 7's to head measurements. All in Lamb's Pride worsted weight wool/mohair.

And I continue to make socks. This is my 3rd pair and I've started a pair for Dan. Which is on hold until I finish up my 1 1/4 pair of mittens and another hat before tomorrow. I think Dan is on to me. I always put his projects aside...but I will finish those slippers and the socks over the break, mark my words!

On a non-knitting note... here are a few pictures of our house for our first Christmas (married)...and my hand at baking cookies (that didn't come in a tube) for the first time.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Story about Socks

Once upon a time I took a sock making class. This was my first experience with double pointed needles, my first experience with needles smaller than a size 8, my first experience knitting something other than a scarf, and my first experience with reading a pattern. It was confusing and only possible because of the extreme patience of a very gracious teacher. She fixed my mistakes many times and did the turn heel for me.

I (we) finished the first sock with difficulty and a lot of help over a 3 week period. The sock actually looked pretty good too with only a few minor mistakes. I bravely tried to start the second one a couple of weeks later and then, totally intimidated and lost without my teacher (who moved away!), I placed the unfinished pair in the yarn basket where it lay buried for the next two and a half years.

I learned to knit many more things in that time period, along with starting a new job, beginning my master's, getting married and moving all of my knitting paraphernalia to a new house. Yet still, my sock and a quarter sat lonely at the bottom of the yarn basket.

Until yesterday.

I picked up the very tiny needles knowing it wouldn't be as hard as it looks...and of course, it wasn't.
I finished my first pair of socks and it only took 2 1/2 years!

I'm officially a sock knitter.

P.S. I've been wearing them for the past two days and will probably wear them tomorrow.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Unwinding the ball

This semester is finally calming down. With the push of a button I turned in a very large paper, which I considered the biggest project of the semester, and now I feel I can breathe a bit. And blog a bit.

I've been furiously (well, sort of ) working on items for the craft fair next weekend. I'm not sure how it will go but I think it will be really fun. Mostly I'll get to hang out with my sister all day...which doesn't happen all that often.
One of the little mittens, up close.
Here is the pile I have so far. I have no idea what kind of prices I should put on this stuff. Any ideas?
I've also started something with this awesome (and not cheap) yarn. I am a little upset with this project right now...okay with myself, for not getting my gauge right...so I've put it aside in protest for a few days and finished a project for myself.
But isn't the yarn cool looking?

This is a vest that I found in one of my knitting magazines and decided to try. It was really fast and I wore it to work yesterday. Believe it or not, this was the first item (besides a scarf or a hat) that I've made for myself and been able to wear as an outfit. It actually gave me hope for finishing the above project and I will soon pick it back up, I'm sure.

I also found this beret pattern and decided to make one for a friend. It is definitely not a beret for warmth...for style, sure. Not exactly my style, but the receiver will totally be able to rock it.

And that's all for now.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Erika Interviews Dan about Knitting

(words)=Erika's side comments

Me: What is your favorite thing about my knitting?

D: I guess when you make me stuff. No, my favorite thing about your knitting is that you are making something. That you're engaging in an ancient art. There's a real DIY, punk rock asthetic to it.

Me: What is your least favorite thing about my knitting?

D: That it prevents you from cuddling me on the couch.

Me: What is something I have knitted, that you recall as good?

D: Everything. I've never seen you make anything that I wouldn't consider as good. (ah, that's sweet)

Me: Do you think knitters have an expensive hobby?

D: Uh, no. I don't really pay attention to what you spend on yarn and needles. (that's a good thing!)

Me: Do you have a stash of any kind?

D: Me? YES I have a huge music stash. CDs, Vinyl, Cassettes, that's my stash. (our house looks like a record store/yarn shop)

Me: Have I ever embarrassed you, knitting in public?

D: No. (but I think I've embarrassed other people...)

Me: Do you know my favorite kind of yarn?

D: No. You like natural more than synthetic. Wool? Do you like wool the most? (yes, usually)

Me: Can you name another knitting blog?

D: Yeah, the Yarn Harlot has a knitting blog. I don't know the name of it though. (it's the yarnharlot.ca)

Me: Do you mind my wanting to stop at knit shops wherever we go?

D: No.

Me: Do you understand the importance of a swatch?
D: Uh, kind of. (yeah, me too)
Me: Do you read my blog?

D: No. Occasionally, but not regularly.

Me: Have you ever left a comment?

D: Yes.

Me: Do you think the house would be cleaner if I didn't knit?

D: No. I like that there are balls of yarn and needles everywhere. (neither of us clean!)

Me: Anything you'd like to add?

S: I think knitting is awesome. The only thing I don't like is when you won't cuddle me on the couch because of it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Secret Secret

It is coming to the time of year when the knitting is dedicated to Christmas gifts. Which presents somewhat of a dilemna. I am still debating whether or not I will post on the gifts I am making or just keep things pretty vague. You know, blurred or up close pictures that are not recognizable. But what fun is that?

This is my knitting blog after all. And I am not a big fan of knitting blogs with no pictures. Even if you are an excellent writer, I still want to see what you're making!

I will be making things for the craft fair of November 15th so I could post those items. Which reminds me, I should probably start on some stuff.

I'm sure I'll decide eventually but here are some pictures from Laramie's surrounding areas for your enjoyment.

These were take at Vedawoo...just outside of town. A windy but beautiful day.

I call this one Knitting with Boulder, also at Vedawoo.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A knitting break...I mean a blogging break

As I sit studying the therapeutic implications for the rural/urban family, I can't help but thinking: I would much rather be knitting. So, instead, I will practice my typing skills by writing about knitting.

This is my break. It will be limited to about 10 minutes. Then I must finish that outline...or at least 1/2 of it. Or maybe it's good enough right now? Just turn it in?

As I ponder that...think about this:

I finished the baseball tee! Well, actually I finished it a few weeks ago but since today is the day it will be given to the owner's mother, I thought I should post it.

The pieces...

I messed up on that seam but no one will notice except for me, right?

I love these buttons! I know it's a "baseball tee" but the parents of this one are much bigger football fans...so I had to let go of my own bias and use what they would like.

The finished product:

Monday, October 6, 2008

In-Class Knitting: Sanity Saver!

I am taking a much needed day off today. I plan on doing nothing but knitting and heading outside to enjoy the Laramie fall weather....

Because, frankly, it's beautiful right now; A little windy, but that's why fall doesn't last long around here and I should get out and enjoy it while I can, right?

This weekend was another jam-packed, fun-filled, social work weekend. Which means I am quite exhausted. Last week at work was pretty rough too so...today I've decided to decompress.

I finished this scarf for Josh...modeled by Dan. I really am not a fan of scarf knitting but Josh has been asking for over a year now. He wore it for our entire 8 hour class, so he must like it, or maybe he was just indulging me. Either way, I was elated to finish it!

This one is in 2X2 ribbing with Lamb's Pride worsted weight in the closest to "baby blue (as requested by Josh)" that I could find, which wasn't very close but whatever....

I am still working on the baby blanket. I actually made a lot of progress this weekend and hope to finish it today.

Scarves and blankets are kind of the same for me: boring. But they are great for what I will refer to as lecture knitting because they require little concentration and allow for premium listening. At least 2 other knitters/crocheters joined me for lecture knitting this weekend.

Maybe by graduation we'll all be in-class knitting experts...it certainly keeps me sane, which has not been exactly easy this semester. I truly would be lost without my needles and yarn.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Today I thought I would write about some projects that held my attention last spring and summer. First off, as I have mentioned before, I decided to make slippers for all (two of) my bridesmaids. This was actually a pretty simple endeavor but a bit tiring, mostly because they required felting (really fulling) and I don't have a washing machine. Also, because I didn't use the suggested yarn, which was entirely too expensive, and opted for my favorite yarn instead which (of course!) resulted in the wrong size of slippers.

So Lori at Cowgirl Yarn, the local Laramie yarn store, was very gracious and fulled all my slippers at least 3 times in the communal washing maching just trying to get the slippers to shrink. Some worked (a little too well), and some were still huge.

But, they are still really cool!

This was the first pair. They are adorable, but would probably fit a 3 or 4 year old and not my sister so...does anyone know a 3 or 4 year old in need of slippers? Just kidding, I'm keeping these for my own future 4 year old.

This is the second attempt. I adjusted the pattern to what I thought would work. This was the result before the washing machine. We (meaning Lori) ran them through 3 times and they were still really huge. They are just super long but I kept them for myself and wear them almost everyday. The top fits just fine.

This was the 3rd and final attempt and guess what? They worked! These were the pair I gave to my sister. I don't know if she wears them but she better, especially after reading this saga!

On to the summer....while we were on our very long, relaxing and really fun honeymoon (me on the shores of Grand Manan),

I was able to make this little dress for my friend Sara's new baby Paige.

I am still in awe of this dress.

Sometimes I can't believe I can make this stuff. It's magic I tell you, magic!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Social Work Knitter

This weekend (and all day Friday!) I had the priviledge of attending classes for my social work degree. I guess I shouldn't speak with such sarcasm because, truly, my education is a priviledge. It just wears on me to be in class for three days straight (8:30-5:30) after working a full week...but it's what I signed up for so, suck it up.
And suck it up I did.

Along with learning some of the wonderful ways to deal with people in crisis, I also knit these mittens for dan.
Bright orange, of course. After finishing these gems, I also started a new blankie for Miles (AKA the future owner of the Baseball Tee, which is also coming along swimmingly).

I made it blurry in case the future mother sees the blog (at least that's what we'll say). That way she can't make out the cuteness and softness of the blanket. My sister wants me to join some sort of craft fair in the next month or two. I think that would be totally fun but I'm a little bit worried about knitting enough things to sell as well as all the projects that I have bouncing around in my head.

It is fall now, and that means crunch time. If I want to knit presents for everyone I gotta get going. Even though I said I wasn't going to, I love those mittens and they are so fast! What to do, what to do???

I don't know, but I'm really excited to knit with this:

It is new handpainted yarn from Brown Sheep. More on this later...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Do Babies Need Pockets?

Of course they do! Actually I have bipassed the pocket on baby clothes before (okay, just once before on a coat that I am still making) but this one is so cute I had to make it. Often when I am knitting something new I get nervous that something will be more difficult than it turns out to be. After I get the difficult thing finished I think to myself, "Oh, that wasn't hard at all. I'm a brilliant knitter!"

And while this may be true (actually, not true at all because I just bound off the little pocket lining instead of putting it on a holder) I really think I just get too uptight about making mistakes. So here is the progress on the baseball tee for the little buddy:

Along with the bound-off instead of a held-on pocket lining. I'll make another one tomorrow, yeesh! Too tired right now. I love the colors and the yarn is very soft. I hope to finish it this weekend while learning about all the wonderful social work things I will be learning about (Friday-Sunday all day, by the way).

And here are the mittens I've finished and since dispersed.
These were a practice pair that I gave to the future mother of the future baseball tee owner. My first pair, with only a few mistakes. I like them.

I did the wrist different on all of them and definitely like the ribbing the most.

Again, the pattern is my adaptation from the book listed a few blogs down. I just bought some really bright orange yarn to make some for D. He always says I forget about him...so he's next. I'll probably start now...I know, I said I was tired.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

One project or 50??

I've finished three whole pairs of mittens and I need a rest. This blog would be much better with pictures, and I really will use them eventually, but I just feel the need to keep writing. I don't want this space to go into oblivion like so many other sites I have started. Well, really, I only started and abandoned two or three but still.

Now I need to get cracking on a very cute little sweater for my friend's almost born baby. It is from Knit-Two-Together, a totally awesome book. The patterns are pretty simple and vary widely. For awhile I was stuck on the house slippers in that book and then I started one of the shawls. That project is still on the needles but I will finish it someday. It was supposed to be ready for my wedding this past summer but I was a little too ambitious. I wanted to make slippers for the bridesmaids and a lace shawl for myself all in the 2 months before the wedding. I'm surprised I got as far as I did. But I will finish that shawl someday!

Just like I will finish those socks and that cardigan.

See, I used to be a one project only type of knitter and now I'm doing at least four projects at a time. I also used to only buy yarn that I was going to use immediately. And, well, that is no longer the case anymore either.

I can't tell if I like the one project knitter more or less than the 4-project-at-a-time knitter. That later knitter was efficient and to the point. I like to think of myself in those terms in general, so that is appealing. However, the 4 project-at-a-time knitter is also pretty cool. She's ambitious and sporadic and totally determined to finish everything on time. I like her too. We'll see. When I'm buried in yarn for mittens and blankets and sweaters and hats for Christmas, I'll probably really miss one project knitter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Here Comes the Snow

Well, not yet but I am prepared. I am ready and armed with my size 8 needles and Lamb's Pride Worsted weight wool. I am on a huge mitten kick right now. I actually just learned how to make them and I love them. I've made 2 1/2 pairs and I will be making them until Christmas I'm sure. They are adorable, fast, and warm. I've been using this book and modifying things as I see fit.

I will post pictures when I get home but for now I'm just having fun with my new blog. I figure, I think about knitting all day and do it whenever I can (let's face it, sitting at your desk all day and knitting probably isn't the most professional thing to do) so I may as well start writing about it. At least this looks like I'm working!