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A Little Pick-Me-Up

I’m officially a full-time freelance writer! The last time I wrote I was uncertain about my future, but there’s no more uncertainty! I am very happy about the decision that was made at the end of the month and all is well! I have plenty of opportunities, Critical Sheep is working hard and it’s all great! It’s FUNEmployment. I wish I had made this decision years ago! I feel like making the decision to work for yourself takes a lot of guts, and it’s probably better that I didn’t do it until now; I lacked the gumption to do it all until freedom was thrust upon me.

I’m writing this on my brand new MacBook! The 2007 Black Macbook has finally bit it and we made the decision to add yet another laptop to the house. I think that brings us up to 6 or 7 computers. We’re nerds, what more could you ask for?

I’m really loving the whole sleeping until I want to thing of being my own boss. My hours are whenever I want them to be. And I can be as creative as I want in the hours when creativity is the most effective for me. I, being my own boss, set the dress code too: No Pants Tuesdays are awesome!

I’m also getting a ton of knitting done. I’ve created a bunch of dice bags to sell on the Critical Sheep Etsy page and I’m working on a sample for both three skeins of D4 and 14 Tribbles. AND I’m working on a sample for Cream City for a class I’m teaching.

So for now, because it’s gloomy and cloudy and dark today and I can’t get a good picture of anything to save my life, here’s an in-progress shot of my knitting. Color is Chameleon, but came out exactly like Lifespring, so there’s that.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!



Mondays are Terrible

I have the hardest time getting up in the morning. It’s always been like this- I’ve never had an easy time getting up at 7 a.m. with an alarm or…at all. 7 a.m. is just too damn early.

Today was a tough day to leave the house and go to work. It’s gorgeous outside; the sun was shining right away and there’s just the hint of a breeze to bring in a little bit of coolness to an otherwise warm apartment. The sun blazes in the afternoon and heats the apartment like an oven. Have I mentioned that I like it cold? The windows were all open and we put a fan in the window last night. Anything to get the blankets used. Husband thinks I’m weird, but I have to have a blanket on me, even if it’s just covering my butt and nothing else, I have to have something on me.

It’s been a long while since I posted last- I’m having a really rough time in my professional life and I feel very out of luck when it comes to finding a good job where the people I work with respect me and don’t treat me like crap. Now I’m about to rant. I won’t rant. I promise. Bottom line is I think, if things go the way I think they’re going to go, it might be time I step out of the professional world and go to work for myself. Lindee Brauer would be proud.

On the knitting front? Lots going on! I’ve been knitting samples for my classes at Cream City Yarn. I finished an entrelac wrap, which was such an undertaking and took me forever to finish. I powered through on a drive up to Minnesota for the Family Easter weekend, and managed to finish it a few weekends later when I spent 10 hours over two days knitting non-stop. I may or may not have had a cramp after that.


Three skeins Cascade Tangier, size 9 needles, lots of patience.

I’m also working on a Clockwork shawl by Stephen West for another class at Cream City Yarn. This one is fun- it’s a lot of stitches and a lot of paying attention to where I need to increase, but otherwise I picked really pretty colors and it’s lovely.


One skein each Tosh Sock in Big Sur and Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in the beige color way, name of which eludes me right now.

I’m still working on the Bifrost scarf. You’ll recognize this from my wedding photos as it’s the project I had going twenty minutes before tying the knot (six months ago)! I’m almost done with it and can’t wait to wear it soon! I’m planning on grafting it so it’s a cowl, not a scarf. Scarves never stay up for me so I’m going to have to bite the bullet. There are two mistakes in this scarf, but I really don’t care.


I’m working, very slowly, on a pair of Turkish Bedsocks out of my own D4 Fingering yarn. This is color way Tradewinds and it’s knitting up beautifully. I am only through half of one right now but I can’t wait to have them both finished!


What’s up with Critical Sheep? LOTS! I’ve been posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Ello (still not sure how I feel about this network) daily with funny quips and pictures of the yarn colors. I’m running out of funnies, but I can’t wait to sit down with a pen and paper and create many more! I’m also working on creating a kit out of D4 Fingering for a beautiful rainbow cowl. I’m brainstorming the pattern and need to get supplies ready before creating a test knit but that’ll be in the shop within the next two months. It’ll be a lot of winding of mini-skeins, now called Tribbles, but in the meantime you can still get skeins on my Etsy shop!

In the meantime, here’s one of my favorite posts for Monday. It sums up the feelings I have for the day pretty well.



A Tale of Slippers

If you live in  Wisconsin or the midwest or anywhere with…weather, you’ll know just how cold it’s been lately. It’s so cold that your hands are always chilly, the hairs in your nose freeze from the moment you stand outside and hair has a special static going on with it.

My feet have been cold constantly since this snap occurred a couple weeks ago. They were especially cold the other day and I didn’t feel like knitting my sweater again. So I decided to look for clogs or slippers that were a.) Free or in my library and b.) cute and easy. I decided to give the French Press Slippers a try…again. I’ve made these three times now and have hated them every single time so I’m done with them.

Time 1: Finished them pretty quickly out of purple Cascade 220 and 220 Tweeds, sew them up and put them in the top-loading washing machine three times to felt them. Upon being fully felted, the slippers would have fit Sasquatch. They were thrown away immediately after many grumblings and Mom laughing in fits of hysterics over how large they were.

Time 2: I made lime green slippers thinking they would be so freaking adorable. I hand-felted them which was such a bad idea. After three hours of flapping the yarn around in the water, beating the crap out of it and finally wasting $3 to put it in the washer with a couple dirty towels, they didn’t look anything like slippers but more like open wine bottle cozies. They went in the garbage.

Time 3: I gambled again and started these slippers again with 2 strands instead of 3 and I did them exactly like the pattern called for. I seamed them up and put them in the washer for two full loads of wash, then threw them in the dryer until they were dry, got them wet and then put them through the dryer again. The felted bits were VERY felted, but there were pills EVERYWHERE and they fit me really loosely… They fit husband though… Because that’s just my luck. They went into a box and will go to my friend if she wants them but I won’t be heartbroken if it goes in the garbage.

So French Press Slippers: YOU WIN. I’m done ruining more yarn for you to just end up in the garbage. I am moving on. I’m breaking up with you and your stupid adorable face. I hate how cute you are in other people’s project pages; it’s like you’re mocking me in all your cuteness and it makes me feel inept and like a terrible knitter.

I’ve moved onto a cute pair of slippers that are a turkish bedsock style. I’m also making these out of handspun Ashland Bay Merino in a inky black with shocks of blue, red and purple, so I’m much happier now that I have a pair of slippers that will actually fit when I’m done knitting.


Monday Madness


I made an amazing Buffalo Chicken casserole last week for dinner. The grocery store had no spaghetti squash so I picked up some flax angel hair pasta and they also didn’t have ground chicken (c’mon Sentry. get your shit together!) so we did ground turkey. It is so good I’m already anticipating the day when I can make it again…I think this picture makes it look horribly unappealing, but it was seriously one of the best things I’ve made in a long time.

I started the Flax Light last week night. it’s this awesome pattern by TinCanKnits and I’ve pulled out my Shelridge Farms Soft Touch Heather from the Bridesmaids shawls that I am deeply in love with. I’m also using the ChiaoGoo needles that Husband got me for Christmas. Can’t wait to get into the meat of this sweater. It’s my first fingering weight sweater so I hope it turns out really cozy and flattering on me.

I’ve been taken over by monogamous knitting now that I’m under the deadline to finish the baby stuff for my cousin’s shower this weekend. I’ve gotten one thing done and I’m close to finishing the first part of the second. I basically just have a lot of knitting to do and then it’ll be done. Hopefully in time. I may end up working on it on the way to the shower, as I do.

I am beyond tired today- I fell asleep on the floor of the living room last night. I was on the floor because my back really hurt and my sciatic nerve kept spasming, so I got into a really odd-looking position and cuddled up under a fleece blanket and crashed. Hard. Husband told me this morning that I fell asleep at about 9, he woke me up a couple times because I was snoring (in my infinite wisdom, sleep me decided it was a good idea to bury my face in the pillow) and then finally woke me up to go to bed. I slept straight through the night, other than to pry blankets out of my loving husband’s hands because he is a blanket thief. I then overslept and didn’t have any coffee before driving to work. Only one workout and a little bit of knitting with the gals and I’ll be going back home to a shower and more sleep. I slept for 10 hours last night and I don’t feel like it was enough. I could have totally kept going. Shows you just how tired I am lately.

I’m publishing this from my car, on my phone. Because I make it to the gym ridiculously early for the workout and I feel like a weirdo wandering around ‘warming up’ for an hour, which is really just me laying on the foam roller trying to get my back to release. Details.

So I suppose I should put an image in this post- you all like pictures, right? I guess you can see the ‘small and nondescript’ shots of the blankets I’m working on. The crocheting was super cute on the first one I finished and now I’m knitting like a madwoman on another.

That’s all for today. I really can’t wait to sleep tonight.


A 2015 Wrapup

I realized the other day that, on top of finishing a lot of things, I did a lot in 2015. I get a gratification by finishing things and I realized that it’s hard to quantify everything that I did in 2015 unless I write it down. So here we go.

I finished 17 projects in 2015, but really I finished 20 objects. I finished 3 blankets, 9 shawls/cowls/scarves, 5 hats/headbands, 2 pair of socks and 1 baby sweater.

Because I love the last two things I finished this year, here’s pictures of my Dovetail Wrap (ravelry link!) and my Simple Ribbed Hat.

I planned a wedding in which I knit five shawls and a pair of socks. This was definitely the highlight of my year. I would totally show you the pictures of the shawls, but I don’t technically have the rights to them yet because Husband and I have been so busy with everything that we haven’t sat down and looked at them. They’re on the list of favorites though! If you really want to see some that I’ve cheated on, go to my instagram or my Ravelry pages. They’re there.

In total, I knit and crocheted over 11,000 yards of yarn. That’s about 6 miles.

My knitting basket became much fuller this year, despite most of what I made going to other people. Out of all 16 projects, I kept 7. The others were gifts either for the wedding, other people’s weddings, baby showers, and the likes.

Now, onto 2016: My goals are similar: I want to finish as much as possible, work through my stash a lot and just make a lot of pretty things. First on the docket? I’m working on a blanket or two for a baby shower I’m attending in a couple weeks. No pictures in case she sneaks a look at the blog. Since it’s such a quick turnaround from the holiday, it’s on the knitting machine and it’ll be crocheted. I’ll post pictures in a couple weeks when she’s seen it.

I’m still working on the Bifrost scarf and I finished the second cake yesterday. Now it’s time to finish the blues and go into the purples! Since it’s a quick and easy garter stitch, I knit this when I don’t need to think about what I’m doing.

I’ve started a pair of socks for Mom that has been on in a project bag for about two years now with a pair of size 2 needles. It’s Lorna’s Laces Sport Weight in Packers colors. She bought it at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool in 2013 with the proviso that I knit her socks with it. So now I’m finally working on it. Ya know, just in time for the end of the season.

I’m also going to be starting a sweater this week. The Flax Light is a recently published sweater from TinCanKnits and my Shelridge Farms yarn from the Bridesmaids shawls is just screaming to become this sweater. I’ve already washed all the yarn and have just over 2500 yards. The pattern calls for 1700 so I think I’ll be good!

Finally, I want to start blogging more. I’ll be working on scheduling it better so I can get a post in at least once a week, probably more than that. My schedule now allows for a little bit of ‘sitting at the computer to write’ time, but it’s a matter of getting pictures off my phone and onto the page for a post to get published. You’d be surprised how that little extra step becomes a hard process. Eh. We’ll get there.

I hope everyone had a wonderful 2015 as well. I’m really looking forward to what 2016 can bring!


A DIY Wedding!

While I anxiously await my wedding photos to come back from the photog, I figured I’d talk about all the DIY projects i did for our wedding this past month. I can’t believe I’ve been married for a month! It certainly doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. This is also a REALLY long post; I think it could be the longest I’ve ever written.

So, starting at the very beginning; we created all the save-the-dates and printed them at home on 4×6 postcards; I tirelessly searched for envelopes to hold them, created address labels for return addresses and created the labels for outgoing addresses. Husband said I should have hand-written them, another fight for later, but I had already stuck the labels on the envelopes so…no going back now!

We asked Husband’s father to make us a letter box and he came up with the idea of modeling it after the cedar chest my maternal Grandpa made for me when I was born. We wanted the letter box to act as a storage box when all was said and done so it now holds all the candles we used at the reception. We also asked him to make us Jenga pieces to act as our guest book. He created them out of the maple from a felled tree at Tim’s childhood home. We also got the last of the maple. We will eventually be making a mural or something of the likes out of them all in the coming months. People wrote on almost all sides (my fault, as I didn’t tell them to just write on one side) but we have a ton of extras so we’ll be filling in from there. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest for this wedding and it’s unbelievable how much i did as either a copy or refresh from a Pin. I found my hair style options (which I didn’t even end up using) on Pinterest, we came up with the Men’s colors partially from Pinterest, I found a lot of mason jar options on Pinterest, and the list goes on.

I bought the yarn for the bridesmaids shawls from Shelridge Farms in Canada; her yarns are gorgeous and the Gunmetal colorway wound up matching the dresses we chose perfectly. I bought three pounds thinking it would be more than enough and it was- I have a TON leftover and will be starting a sweater soon with it! I started the bridesmaids shawls in March and finished in early August. i am really looking forward to the photos of the shawls from the wedding. There’s an amazing photo that i hope came out really well of the five of us.

I made Tim’s socks in the middle of all the shawls- I should have written a note saying ‘make sure you get a picture of you in your suit with your socks on’ but my darling husband didn’t think about that.

I bought the yarn for my shawl in April and started shortly after finishing the first shawl for the bridesmaids, knowing mine was going to be an undertaking. i finished knitting it in mid September and it was the last of the wedding knitting. I cast on a Bifrost scarf and was knitting it in my wedding dress 20 minutes before the service as a way to calm down, which didn’t end up working, but it’ll still be a great photo! There is a photo of me standing on the overlook at the park with the shawl on facing away from the camera and I know it’ll be amazing. I’ll share it as soon as I get them! I made personalized hangers for my gals and Husband and my brother and the best man. I ran out, otherwise I would have made more. We asked Husband’s eldest sister to make us some simple table runners in navy blue to use at the reception. She wound up making us 21 runners that will soon be going back to her to be made into napkins and placemats and some to stay as runners. Lots and lots of napkins.

We talked to Husbands’ Boss’ Wife who owns a candle shop right next to where he works about making us some candles for the wedding reception. She made a ton of votive candles for the 40 centerpieces we needed and have a bunch leftover. We’ve been burning them at a pretty good clip and will likely have them gone by our 1-year anniversary. It smelled like a latte at our reception, which is exactly what we were going for. It was light but noticeable as soon as someone moved nearby a candle. I purchased 60 (!) blue mason jars for centerpieces at the reception. Husband stopped by Berre’s Brothers in Watertown and picked up two pounds of leftover coffee in random scents. I had to pick 1.5 more to finish making all the centerpieces of which there were 40. 20 jars went to our florist for centerpiece creation. They were then donated to the rehabilitation hospital across the street from our home. I found some invite kits at Michaels and went to town- i created all the invites, RSVPs, and other details cards and found an adorable lovebirds cartoon stamp and hand-stamped all the invites and all the programs. I also printed all the programs and came home with TONS of them. I’m finding ways to use some of them in our momentos- I have written up a poster-sized chalkboard with the lyrics to our first dance song and have the program under it. It’s hanging up in my office now. Overall we saved hundreds of dollars than if we had gone through a stationer.

I made Mr and Mrs sweatshirts for the two of us to wear on our honeymoon. Admittedly, I did this so we’d get congrats and such but I also really wanted a cute sweatshirt to wear in the future. You bet I’ve worn that thing like crazy. I did some simple iron-on and mine started peeling a couple days into the honeymoon and Tim’s started coming loose by the end of the weekend, so once they fall off completely, I’ll get some screen printing stuff and make them again. The font is the same as one of our wedding fonts. All decor and signage at the wedding was created by me. ALL of it. I created a welcome board (found on pinterest) that included fun details about the wedding; that it was game night, there’d only be one dance, sign a jenga piece, have fun! etc. I created a couple signs with some great quotes (Mawwiage is what bwings us togevah today! from The Princess Bride; I have found the one whom my soul loves from Song of Solomon, a timeline that I’ll be recreating at some point, and a couple other fun things). I spent an entire weekend making these signs and i’m very happy with how they turned out.
I made Jewelry! My Something Old was a bracelet made of buttons from my grandmother’s dress- these buttons are 75 years old. Fate stepped in and I’ve lost the bracelet but my mom and I are going to use the satin from her dress to make up more buttons so I can make another bracelet out of them and so it’s something i can pass on in the future. I also made a bracelet of bells to scare off the evil fairies (Irish tradition). i found some Swarovski crystals at Joann fabrics and used those as the sparkle to go with the bells.

I made necklaces for all the girls made from one strand from my paternal grandmother who passed away this past May. it was a way for me to have both grandmothers in the wedding with me. I also wore a ring made as a reproduction from one of the rings from my paternal grandmother with a large sapphire in the center. Grandma Kehoe was on my left wrist, Grandma Throm was on my right hand. My Something blue was my shoes- bright TARDIS Blue shoes that peeked out under my dress as I walked. My Something New was my dress and my comb (also blue). My Something Borrowed was a hankie from Tim’s maternal grandmother. The next day Tim’s mother gave it to me. None of these were DIY, but figured people would want to know.

I made my skirt for the rehearsal- it served its purpose for the night and had far too many snags in the lace to be functional in the future. I’ll be using the rest of the fabric in the future though! I purchased 8×10 frames and created an in-memoriam for the two sets of grandparents I had lost and the one set Tim had lost. They sat in the foyer with two hurricane candles lit in honor of them watching from Heaven. Another chalkboard sign was created for them as well. I have no idea how people reacted to it, but I know it was wonderful to walk up the stairs and see them before I walked out.

The DIY continues even after the wedding- I created the poster board with our song lyrics for my office at work, I’ll be creating another one for home with all of our stationary- the program front and interior, the save the date, the bridal shower invite, the rehearsal invite and the entire invite for the wedding. I am getting my dress preserved professionally from David’s Bridal and have plans to have a custom shadow box made up for it to go over the bed. In an effort to get the dress out of the closet to free up some space in the guest bedroom we are having it sent out to be cleaned and boxed up so when the time comes to make our shadowbox, it’ll be clean and ready to go. They send it back to me in a display case so hopefully they will show off the back of it when they box it up. Hopefully.

i am drying flowers from two of my bridesmaids’ bouquets (thanks Abbey and Murphy!), the toss bouquet (which we didn’t use because the next people to get married are children) and a centerpiece or two and they’ll become ornaments; I found ornaments that can be opened (they’re cut in half) so I can put full buds if I want and use the ribbon to hold them up. They’ll look great in our Christmas tree this year. I am pressing my entire bouquet and Tim’s boutonniere in the guest bedroom and will be creating a 2D representation of my bouquet in a shadow box or a float frame within the next couple of months. I need the flowers to be good and flat, but not super fragile so we’ll see how that goes. My hope is to have that pretty well along by the end of the year. I did a lot for our wedding- I know I’ve received some accolades from my husband, but I figured I’d share how much work went into the whole day. If you’ve never been married and think a DIY wedding would be easy and fun, it’s definitely not. 100% not easy at all. A lot of sleepless nights went into the creation of our wedding, but overall it saved us thousands of dollars and it really proved that the wedding was OURS and US, not an event pulled together with pieces made from other people or mass-produced in stores. We wanted a unique experience and that’s exactly what we got and I would NEVER trade that in for anything else. No it wasn’t easy, but it was sure fun when all was said and done.

Most of our budget went toward the reception and, by doing a lot of things on our own, it was much easier to keep costs at bay. Exhaustion and relief mixed with excitement on Friday was all I felt. People kept asking me if I was OK or how I was feeling up to the day of the wedding and all I wanted was to get it ‘over with’ because I had done so much already and just wanted to stop freaking out about one thing or another.

Yes, the exhaustion and stress of the whole 10 months were only part of the reason why I was crying the whole service. The other part was that I hadn’t cried for 10 months over everything that had happened to me and Tim and we were finally here and my brother told me he was proud of me two minutes before walking down and I was just a little verklempt. They were only the best tears ever, I assure you.

I still remember little snippets about the night and remember how awesome it all came out. I remember sitting at the front table during dinner just looking out at everyone who came to celebrate with us and was just like ‘wow. I did this.’ and then someone rolled an 18 on the D20 and I stood and kissed my husband in front of everyone who loved and cared for us.

And yes, i put his ring on his right hand and he put my ring on backwards. Things happen.


Call me WIFE

I wanted to hold off on writing this post until our wedding photos came in and I could share all the beautiful shots of the bridal shawls, but I couldn’t help myself.


And no, I don’t have professional photos of my wedding yet, so those will just have to wait. Don’t worry- I’m anxiously awaiting the knitting photos too!

Being married is pretty great, actually. I started a new job and Husband moved into the apartment and we’re seeing each other every night and I finally have my cuddle buddy full-time and it’s awesome.

The apartment is an absolute wreck, naturally.

I only have 5 thank-you cards written. Pretty sure I have way more than five to write.

We had to sleep in the guest room for the first few days because of how disastrous the place was. The upside of that was that I could visit my dress all the time!

Most of the normal things we would do like, clean the apartment, cook proper meals that can be eaten at the dining table and find homes for laundry have been overtaken by the overwhelming need to flip out because OH MY GOD WE HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF EVEN THOUGH WE MOVED INTO A PLACE THAT’S ENORMOUS COMPARED TO BOTH OUR OLD PLACES!

Luckily my new job is part-time, so I can work on organizing and cleaning the dickens out of the apartment on Fridays until I start working extra hours at the yarn shop. This Friday I tackle wedding-gift-central. It has taken over the dining room and I am getting anxiety every single time I pass it on my way to the kitchen. I want to have a meal as husband and wife at our dining table and that still hasn’t happened and it’s driving me bonkers.

My knitting is coming along nicely. I knit my Bifrost Scarf while in my wedding dress. I’m slowly, and not so enthusiastically, working on my Scoreboard KAL (I’m two games behind, but at least we have a bye this week! Oh who am I kidding, I probably won’t knit anymore of it for a while), and I started a new project for the long weekend Husband and I took in Door County for our honeymoon. Oh did I fail to mention how amazing my husband is? He took me to a working sheep farm for our honeymoon. We pet sheep and I bought lots of their yarn and I got on the wait list for a beautiful blue (gunmetal grey colored) fleece. I started the cowl out of Woolfolk FAR, of which I have four skeins in the pewter color way and I’m calling it “On This Day” to be a knitted representation of a special day, in this case, our wedding day 10-10-15. I’m nearing the 75% mark and will share photos when it’s all done and the pattern is written and up for sale on Ravelry.

I have some serious Camera-nesia so I have no photos of my knitting or really anything else worth documenting. It’s not much to write home about right now anyway, so they will just have to wait for another time.

If you’re super interested in my life and what photos I’ve taken recently, check out my Instagram: Wifi_4_Lyfi (Husband’s nickname for me in his phone) because I have an unhealthy obsession with Instagram.