Dangerous knitting

In case you aren’t keeping up a home, the new season of Sherlock started last week, and it is not letting me down! I can’t say anymore, every moment is precious, and I don’t want to spoil anything!

What does this have to do with dangerous knitting? Last night I decided to knit and watch Sherlock at the same time…I’m pretty sure that’s either a crime against knitting, or against Sherlock, or possibly even against the great Cumberbatch! You can totally watch TV while you knit, but I think certain shows is a no go. Downton Abbey may be another example of that.

So how did I do you ask? Not bad actually! I’m working on a stocking cap for my husband. Inspired by the new Zelda game, my husband demanded a Link cap! This will be the second hat I have knitted since I began my journey in knitting several years ago. Yes, I have made many hats, but they have been crocheted. I can crochet a hat in an hour. This year for Christmas I knitted our niece Morgan a slouchy hat. It took me a week! I swore to never knit another hat (which I knew was a lie, that hat looked awesome!), but then here comes my husband, a week later demanding a hat! He sent me a slue of patterns, and made a special trip to the yarn store to pick out his yarn, how could I say no! The pattern I settled on is actually incredibly easy (stocking hat pattern), knitted flat, then it will be stitched together when I’m finished. This is the first hat I’ve knitted flat, and it’s fun to try a new way, and I still get to use my awesome needles (a Christmas gift from the hubby!). So, last night I dominated dangerous knitting, and ran out of yarn! This is my progress so far!

Adam said he was going to make a trip to get me more yarn sometime today! And, this pattern is so easy, I’m hoping if I ever go into labor (yup…still no baby!) it’ll be something I can do to get my mind off painful contractions, and to pass the time until we actually get to go to the hospital!

In the mean time, I’m going to practice knitting a little less dangerously. I have a glove pattern,I’ve actually knitted one glove, but I didn’t like how it turned out, and I put it aside and never came back! Well, with these frigid temperatures, I thought, well, might as well! This pattern is a bit more difficult, so I will be watching Bob’s Burgers reruns, and avoid the Downton Christmas special!
Hope everyone is safe wherever they are! Stay warm, and watch Sherlock! But take caution if you decide to knit!


Knitting Camp and Yarn Church

So proud of my Errant Easel ladies! Staci has been blogging up an introspective storm and D3Z has been busy working out and being the “hostess with the most-ess.” Work has been extra busy this January but I’ve been trying to balance the (always enjoyable) science with EE-worthy pursuits.


Luckily there is no judgement at Yarn Church since I was headed to the gym afterwards.

Most of my creative time in 2013 has been spent knitting and particularly a free pattern of fingerless mitts that caught my attention on Pinterest. The Swirling Gauntlets were designed by Susana IC and she has a number of free patterns on her website I am interested in trying. The traveling cables look really nice when you finally get this pattern right. It’s a quick and satisfying project I’ll probably use for some gift items this year. I’ve finished the first pair using Classic Elite Woodland Yarn that is 65% Wool and 35% Nettles. According to Classic Elite, nettles are eco-friendly because they can be grown in poor soil conditions without the use of chemicals. While I haven’t had any memorable encounters with the infamous stinging nettles, this makes sense to me because it is a type of plant that comes early to an area with disturbed earth like a plowed field. Already the mix of animal and plant fibers are wanting to felt slightly and form a nice warm fabric that will blend nicely once it’s blocked. The yarn is also lightly heathered from the different dying properties of animal and plant fiber, a property of fiber I had not really considered.


Sarah is working on her Fair Isle Hat and I am casting on my second pair of wool mitts.

I took this pattern to my aunt’s annual Knitting Camp we have at her house every year in January and finished the second at our newly established Yarn Church which meets every Sunday at 11:30 at rotating coffee shops in Lexington. I loved my annual get together with my aunt which involved lots of coffee, good food, Downton Abbey, and creative projects. It’s also been a really good thing for me to have a weekly appointment to knit because I’m more motivated to work on my projects through the week so I have some progress to show by Sunday. Seeing my friends’ progress and ideas opens me up to trying new techniques and makes me think more about the process as a whole. Rebecca and I recently tried to teach a new left-handed friend to knit the left-handed way and the inherent differences really blew our minds. Luckily our exprienced lefty knitter friend Amanda was able to intercede and keep us from leading Ali further astray. All interested parties, new or experienced, are welcome at Yarn Church and we will teach you to knit or crochet depending on your interest.

Classical Romances and knitting

Lately I have been indulging in some romantic movies! (don’t judge me, everyone enjoys a good romance, I’m just not afraid to admit it!) these aren’t just any romance movies though, I have been watching the classics. Amongst them are: Sense and Sensibility (Emma Thompson, Kate winslet, Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman) Much Ado About nothing (also has Emma Thompson, she’s obviously pretty awesome, Kenneth Branaugh, Keanu reeves,Kate Beckinsale, Denzel Washington, and the amazing Michael Keaton!) Wuthering Heights (Tom Hardy, Andrew Lincoln)…and that’s all I think I’ll discuss before you get too bored. So before I talk about my awesome knitting, let me sum up romance as I have learned from these movies based off classical novels…if I was high class society, when I turned at least 17? Or I look pretty and able enough, I’m introduced into society A.K.A lots of men ranging from 20-infenity, then when one caught my fancy, I’d flirt or whatever it really doesn’t matter because if I has monies…they all love me! One asks me to marry him, he’s rich enough I oblige, and in a fortnight we will be wed! The cool thing about these classics though, is the heroine typically had a strong mind and they took a bit of a stand on their marriage, BUT! It’s a WAM BAM thank you ma’am deal….Me and Adam would have been married more than 8 years ago….eek! The only cool thing about these ladies lives is they get to read and be educated and learn music and sew and knit…

So onto my knitting escapades. I have been dabbling with some patterns trying to get in the groove of things, and I decided I needed a sleeve for my iPad case, and I found this amazing pattern on revelry (cabled iPad sleeve) and it is so much fun! Lots of cables but it’s not overwhelming, and the pattern works out fast. The neatest thing about this pattern is the way you cast omits done in a magic loop type deal where the bottom is knit closed from the start, so there’s no sewing at the end, which I think makes the sleeve seamless, and awesome! So here’s what I have so far!




Looking Forward from 2011

Happy New Years and welcome to 2012! I have had a warm and productive holiday season and hope you have, too. I’d like to take a moment to look back on the past few months in which I kept busy but posted little. Lessons in the craft world learned in 2011 include the following.

-I recently completed my first hat and despite some pattern misreads discovered in the final product, I think it turned out pretty well for a first try. An inherent problem in crafting any wearable item is producing a properly fitting garment. This Harry Potter beanie was designated as a child’s pattern but the large version I made seems more like an oversized adult hat. This has reminded me the hard way that it’s worth the effort to take some measurements and to never knit (for someone else) on autopilot.

-A major project of late has been working on homemade stocking stuffers including lip balm, sugar scrubs, fizzy bath salts, bath bombs, melt and pour soaps, and lotion bars with my friend Sarah Rentz. While the sugar scrubs have been the easiest product to create the bath bombs have proved the most interesting. We have had inconsistent results with the bath bombs stemming from water consistency issues and surface area to volume ratios but this will be an excellent product once we perfect it. One memorably failed experiment involved changing our source of salt from a coarse Mediterranean sea salt from Kroger to a bulk package of dead sea salt from an online company. The result was a sticky mess of a continuous reaction between the citric acid and the baking soda in the matrix of the (apparently) higher water content of the Dead Sea salt.  The lovely fizz when the bath bomb is dropped in a nice warm bath is the result of carbon dioxide bubbles and additional water as biproducts of the chemical reaction between an acid and a carbonate. However, when the reaction begins inadvertently in a small plastic jar creating more water further fueling the reaction, the result is a sticky bubbly mess that hopefully isn’t sitting on your carpet at home. Luckily we identified the culprit as the new salt source and this will not be  an issue in the future. I love that simple chemistry can help or hurt in these situations making it important to understand the ingredients used in each project.

-While Sarah and I played with melt and pour soap bases, we really weren’t thrilled with the simplicity of the process. Luckily, we met Joann, a legitimate homemade lye soap maker from Stanton, KY and she offered to show us her techniques. She makes beautiful and potent smelling lye soap that is very impressive in both formulation and presentation. She welcomed us into her own home and we could not thank her enough for her insights and support. I can not wait to put these skills into use and create such a beautiful and useful product.

-In December, Brad, Staci, and I visited the Open Studio event at the University of Kentucky Reynolds Art Building. Not only did we get to see a diverse assortment of student projects in print making, 3D sculpture, graphic design, fiber arts, paintings, drawings, and pretty much anything else you can think of, but we also got to see a live aluminum pour into sand molds created by patrons of the show at the open air metal arts studio. This was amazing. Sparks were flying, sawdust was burning, metals were molten and  students were wearing protective leather smithing type outfits and welding masks. This was art and science on steroids. As a result, one of my New Years resolutions for 2012 is to participate in the 20th annual campus Iron Pour when it rolls around this fall.  Last year’s event even included a patina workshop that I would gladly attend if repeated this year. I can hardly wait for October but at least there will be plenty of time to plan my project.

With so many great craft experiences in 2011 and lots to be excited about in 2012, I have a few craft-related and a few personal resolutions for the newborn 2012:

-Aforementioned participation in the 2012 UK Iron Pour

-Put into practice lye soap making lessons from above

-Update Errant Easel with new material at least every other week

-Successfully defend capstone this semester

-Choose a nonfiction book for every third leisure reading book

I have more resolutions, but these seem sufficient to keep me busy for the immediate future. I hope you are lucky enough to look back at 2011 with positive feelings and if you can not that you maintain hope for the future and the will to make the best of new opportunities. Happy New Year and I look forward to writing again soon.

On the Easel

It occurred to me last night that there is so much zucchini in the world and not enough time for zucchini bread. In other words, I have before me so many raw materials and ideas but also a great difficulty in deciding where to start. While on vacation, I stocked up on some beautiful beads on sale to add to the hoard and returned home to a pack of clock parts in the mail from the great and bountiful land of eBay. I also have more squash and zucchini than I have freezer space thanks to my father’s garden. Every year, he sends me home with more produce than I can process (he provides so you know he cares). The zucchini comes with the expectation that it will be partially returned in the form of zucchini bread. After about 20 aliquots of shredded zucchini and four quart-sized aliquots of chunked zucchini for soups and pasta sauces, I still have half the zucchini and all the squash to go. Oh the squash… #farmworldproblems.

Pushing the (mountains of) squash aside for a moment, I wanted to write a quick preview of things to come on the Easel. Here our a few projects and features in the works:

On the personal Easel:
-A Growing Leaves Cowl designed by Meghan Macko in Old Lilac Baby Llama yarn
-Book Review of The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers
-Steampunk and other Jewelry sets
-A character study of the Milner protagonist in my (theoretical) Steampunk novel
-A personal zucchini bread recipe And my experiments with modifying the recipe to support a healthier lifestyle

Collective Efforts and Features in the works here at The Errant Easel:
-An Errant Easel Excursion to the Woodland Arts Festival here in Lexington, KY
-A knit-along workshop in sock-making led by our resident expert D3Z
-A resin casting party for high through-put creativity
-The Errant Easel Book Club’s take on original Sherlock Holmes stories

Keep checking back for updates on these and other creative endeavors. Also, if you have any crafts, books, movies, or events you would like to read about here, please let us know in the comments! We would also love to review your work or event and spread word to our readers!

Much Ado About Knitting

So we are t-minus 18 days until we start selling our work! I hope everyone is As excited as we are! Im still knitting like a fiend, and prolly will for the rest of the year! So buy like crazy because I’m working my butt off to produce beautifully knitted products for YOU! I know all of us are! (shout out to my two partners in crime! They have lots to sell as well!)
So, I have finished my cowl, and half way finished with my last wash cloth in the set I made…I already have my next set of wash cloths started (well…I have the first cloth on the needle and the pattern worked out at least!), and I’m thinking about my next project: Fingerless mittens! Shew! And don’t forget, I also have prints for sale! If you love Kentucky, you will love my prints, all of them were taken in My Old Kentucky Home!
So, here’s a picture of the cowl I just finished…I have tried it on and oh man…it feels so nice around the neck! I could sleep with it on if it wasn’t so warm! Perfect for fall and winter! Enjoy!




I thought I’d post a picture of my lil jailbird…he ran off Thursday and was turned in to the pound! Adam bailed him out…he’s got blisters on his paws…and maybe a new tattoo from his wild night…but I think he’s happy to be home! And I am SO happy he is home!

Moving Along

So I haven’t been as productive as last week…but I am still moving along. Right now on my needles is a cowl, and off some other needles, the third washcloth in my set! One more to go! But I am taking break from that and I am working on this wonderful cowl, it may be one of my favorite cowls I have worked on in a while, the zig zag pattern makes the cowl stretchy, and the wool I am using is merino, and if you have ever felt merino wool, you know how wonderful it feels! So for this cowl which is a bit snug around the neck, it’s perfect! So if you enjoy wonderfully soft merino, and warm cowls, this cowl will be perfect for the cooler months coming our way! I have 2 more skeins of merino wool, so there will be more of these to come! Enjoy!



On the Easel

So I have been a busy bee this past week and weekend! With only a few weeks before we start selling our work, I’m trying to crank out some knitted items! So, this week, I have finished a cowl (pictures to come later, looking for a willing model to pose for me!) and 2 out of a set of 4 washcloths! Tomorrow, I will start on washcloth number 3 and my next cowl! This is going to be another exciting week! Also! Any prints I showcase here on the blog are also going to be sold! Without further ado…the washcloths!



Getting Organized

I dusted off the sewing machine today and made magic happen…I finally decided to make some bags for my knitting work! Waking up every morning and having to ball my yarn back up because kitties had a midnight rendezvous with them started to not be cute anymore! So it took me a few hours, but I made 5 bags!! Yes I said it: 5 BAGS! I made my own patterns using this book “Sew What! Bags”. It fives you a basic outline of a pattern and you alter it for whatever size you need. It’s a great book especially if you have sewn for a while and want to delve into making your own patterns, this book will help you understand how to go about doing that! So, I decided to not make my own pull strings, and all I have right now is this awesome polka dotted lace…but it doesn’t quite match everything, so I am looking for other lace (I stopped by Wal-Mart which is down the street…and their craft section is awful and bare! Such a disgrace!) so tomorrow I will be heading to some real craft stores and hopefully have better luck! So enjoy the bags!





So, I thought I would share how my sock on the circular needles is going! So some things I like about knitting on a circular needle…it seems faster, only having two needles to worry about instead of 3 or 4 may be the reason, I don’t know, and I may just be getting comfortable with knitting such small objects, but it seems that I finished the cuff faster then I did my other sock (the one where I made my own pattern…which is still a work in progress!). And of course the fact I only have 2 needles to work with is nice, less fiddling around and less needles to get in your way! Another thing I just realized the other night, which is fantastic!….a person can try on the sock while it’s on the needles without worry of messing it up. Yes! You heard me right! Without messing it up! I had Adam try on his cuff to see what it fit like, and it was delightful to know everything fit great!!

Well, as there are things I like…a couple as of now, I don’t like. One would be laddering…most knitters (all the normal ones I assume!) know what laddering is…that’s when you don’t make the stitch between needles tight enough and it has a long stitch between them…and it looks like a ladder! Ugh….I hate laddering, and I learned on other tools how to prevent them…but still not with this technique! On the first couple of stitches I didn’t have it, so I don’t know where I went wrong! I am open to suggestions! Please sock knitters! Send me a sign!
Anyways, another thing that’s happening to me, and I don’t know if it’s just from learning a new technique, the bamboo needles (my first time using them) or the circulars, but my stitches are incredibly lose! I am a…well a stiff knitter, tight but not too tight…so I guess stiff is a food word…I have been working on controlling my tightness of knitting trying to loosen up a bit…but this is too much too fast for me! I need baby steps! Aaahhh! But I am still pressing on! Adam WILL GET SOCKS!
So far that’s about all…I am now working on the leg in a knit 3 pearl 1 pattern for an extra stretch that will still huh the leg snuggly….and I am looking forward to doing the heel! It should be lots of fun!
So without further ado….here’s how it looks!!




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