Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Knits Continued

So, while I am still employed at the moment I am employed part time. The benefit of this? Holiday knitting deadlines aren't so scary after all. Hail the return of the gift scarf.

His and hers scarves. Well, They're only his and hers because one is for my dad and the other is for his wife I guess, other than that they're totally different. His is the genius 'why didn't I knit this sooner?' One Row Handspun Scarf by the Yarn Harlot in a lovely yet still manly brown Berroco Ultra Alpaca. Hers is the also genius 'why didn't I knit this sooner?' Feather and Fan Scarf in a classic but still feminine gray Berroco Vintage Wool. I had never knitted or even seen Feather and Fan in person before making this scarf. Now I know why it's so popular. Easy as pie and pretty enough to make something simple and good like Vintage look like a million bucks. I have a feeling I'll be knitting both of these as gifts again in the future.

Something not so classic, actually kind of quirky? That would be these.

Trebuchet Hot Water Bottle Cozies, and their accompanying water bottles. Definitely not the perfect gift for just anyone but trust me, I think the people who are getting these will like them just fine. One is my godmother, who is from England, and often exclaims "Oh how precious!" in her thick English accent at charming things such as nightgowns and teacups and things like this that remind her of her childhood there. The other person may or may not see this so I won't be specific, lets just say she appreciates things handmade and comforting. So I think they will both go over well. Both knit it Patons Basic Merino.

Another big holiday success these days? Ina's white chocolate bark.

She's the Contessa for a reason people. This is good stuff. Easy too. Melt some white chocolate, spread it out in a rectangle on parchment, press in chopped walnuts and dried apricots and dried cranberries. Festive and pretty, my photos don't do it justice but in person the fruits look like jewels on snow. And taste even better....

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

B5T5 Wrap Up and the Start of the Holiday Knits

The Bottom 5 Top 5 are finally done! Last one-

Pattern: Caricia by Anne Hanson at Knitspot
Yarn: Seduction by Blue Moon Fiber Arts
Needles: Size 5 Knitpicks Options

The small triangular shawl is quickly gaining popularity over the fingerless mitt for "Most Favored Knit Accessory in My Closet." I adore this item. What a shame that I passed this yarn over for (gasp) three years??? That's right, I purchased it at Stitches 2006. Ludicrous! And I love this shawl! It is silky and pretty and has the wow factor of no one can believe you actually MADE that yourself when they see it. Was it hard? I wouldn't say hard, lace does requires concentration though. Which is ok. When I'm parked on the sofa while there's football/hockey/another sporting event I'm really not that into on the TV, I don't mind having something to concentrate on. Plus, as I mentioned-LOVE IT. Thank you again Anne Hanson, have I knit all of your patterns yet? Ok no, but I think I've knit enough to officially make me a fan. A fan of Anne. Yup.

And since that sums up my Bottom 5 Top 5 experiment let me just take a minute to say- HUGE SUCCESS! I never thought I could take yarn I so strongly felt 'meh' about and make such cool things that I love so much. I love my B5T5 items! I think in a way because they were such surprises. I never intended to make a bulky weight Katia triangle shawlette. Never. But guess what-worn it like 10 times already. 10. Times. So my new theory-there are no bad yarns. Ahem, let me repeat that -THERE ARE NO BAD YARNS. There are only yarns in search of the perfect pattern. That is all. And with the power of the Ravelry, and a little time, every yarn can find it's way. Every yarn.

Boy for someone who took such a long break from blogging I seem very enthused don't I? Well, yeh, things have been a little rocky of late. My job situation has been somewhat rocky, but I'm still employed so that's a good thing. And I seem to be coming out of some horrible head cold misery this week so that was lousy, and then the holidays are upon us, yadda yadda yadda you know the drill. But the holidays-THE HOLIDAYS! I do have quite a bit of holiday knitting to share in some upcoming posts. But I don't want this to be an epic blog post so I'll just start with a glimpse at the smallest and the cutest ok?

Pattern: Mittens from the Knitters Book of Handy Patterns by Ann Budd
Yarn: Vanna's Choice (what's good enough for Vanna, is good enough for me)
Needles: Bamboo 7 dpns

My little niece in Florida asked for mittens for Christmas. I know what you're thinking, same thing I did-"But you live in Florida!" But I'm told there are some cold(er) mornings here and there, and sometimes my niece thinks her hands are cold, and ok, yeah, my guess is that these will probably be put to more "dress up" type use than "warmth providing" use. But when the cute niece asks, you know the aunt is going to knit them right? This pattern was interesting. Normally I love everything from this book but yeah, for some reason I ended up having to frog the complete top half and thumb of the first one I knit of these. The increase section is written a little unclearly and my first thumb was ridiculously short. It was an easy fix to rip back and just make the gusset shorter and the thumb shorter. And now they're perfect. And adorable. And just in time for Christmas.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rehabilitating a Bad Yarn back into Society

To say I used to have a love/hate relationship with the yarn that is in the 4th position of my Bottom 5- Top 5 strategy is an understatement. I loved the softness, the texture, it was not complete melting soft mush like some yarns, but not itchy scratchy wooliness either. It was a beautiful bulky nubby mix of something in between. And I even loved the colors, the brownish gray-mud part, contrasting so well and playing so nicely with the lighter beige mixed in, and that jewel-y pretty purple part. Well... Most of the colors...

Yikes! It's that acid green stripe of heck that just appears out of nowhere! What is that? I so don't love the acid green stripe. It burns my eyes and makes it sad. I swear it literally hid in the middle of the ball until I got it home and tried knitting the horrible cowl that is shown above. (Actually it's not a horrible cowl, it just wasn't different enough to mix up that green!) That acid green totally tricked me! But-don't despair-Bottom 5 Top 5 can fix a lot of problems. It can make the best of a bad situation. Maybe it could even tame that crazy acid green into something perfectly acceptable, perhaps complimentary at times, that I do now adore and welcome very readily near my face and around my neck.

Yarn: Katia Nepal
Pattern: Simple Yet Effective Shawl by Laura Chau-modified

I changed the pattern slightly so that I increased 4 stitches every right side row as written, but still increased 2 more stitches- one at the beginning and one at the end of every wrong side row. Similar to the increases from Ishbel. The result is a shallower, wider, less pointy triangle, more suited to wrapping and gathering around my neck all cuddly-like. This is not a shawly-drapey situation people. I don't really think bulky yarn ever is really. This is a "scrunch it down in that gap between my chest and my coat and block out all the chill and conserve warmth situation." Yep. That works.

Now there's just one more final yarn to go in Bottom 5 Top 5 except.. (cue record scratching sound)

Oh. It's lace in fingering weight. It's still a one skein project, and it's more of a scarf than a shawl but still... it's just not going along as quickly as the scrunchy bulky Katia shawl I just made that took 3 days. This one might be a little while. I'm much further along than in the photo above now, but still, I'll have to report back later on this one.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Three Projects Down, Two to Go

My Bottom 5-Top 5 stashbusting strategy is proving a success. Not only am I ticking these bottom 5 yarns off the list right and left, I'm finding out that some of them aren't so bad after all. I found such great patterns to match with them, I feel kind of bad I neglected these yarns for so long. First up-a hank of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport. The pattern I picked for this yarn is Grumperina's Periwinkle Beret.

I adore this beret. I find myself walking around with it on, forgetting to take it off, not wanting to take it off. First of all-the yarn is really ok. The colors are right up my alley and it's soft and pretty. But this pattern-oh this pattern. Totally awesome. Love the tubular cast on, it was really, really easy and just makes wearing the hat feel great, like I've never had a homemade hat feel. And lots and lots of stockinette in the round. I love that. So much that if I had to knit just one thing for the rest of my life, it probably would be hats in the round. Which brings me to the next project.

The Pi Topper Chemo Cap by Corey Laflamme is a free pattern on But I think if I had to pay for it I would have. More stockinette in the round-this time inspired by EZ's Pi Are Square pattern. Mine is knit in Louet Gems Sport in a purple color I had originally intended to use as socks for my mom, but she's kind of through her phase of loving this color now, so I was free to make whatever I wanted. And I'm going to donate this one to a charity. It's not a color I love, and it is a little snug, and in this yarn not really warm enough to be a warm winter hat. However-for someone battling cancer who has lost their hair it might fit them great, and they might like it that's it's a little lightweight. I have another random skein of something else that would work with this pattern though, I think I'll knit a partner for this one before I ship them out.

The third project on the list, has not thrilled me as much as those first two I'm afraid. Maybe because it's something I was knitting for the second time, maybe it's just that this yarn definitely was at the bottom of the basket for a reason...

I first made the Cloverleaf Lace Mitts from Knitspot back in April 2007 for my mom out of the same yarn I used here, Misti Alpaca Sport. The yarn is a challenge, supremely soft, but very hairy and sheddy-not something that shows stitch definition at all as you can see. But I've had it FOR-EV-ER and it was haunting me. I worked Ravelry backwards and forwards trying to find a good project for one ball of this yarn. It just never happened. Sport weight just is not popular like fingering and worsted weights are. It can be a challenge. So I decided just to go ahead and make exactly what I had made before. The results are ok-soft, warm, I will wear them when the temperature drops definitely. I made one obvious mistake in that one is actually an entire pattern repeat shorter than the other, however, they're pretty stretchy and I just don't feel like ripping this hairy splitty yarn, so, yep it's staying, I can live with it. Next time though, and oh yes there will be a next time, I'll be making this great pattern with a tighter spun yarn that shows better stitch definition like it deserves.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Playtime and the NY Times

A non-knitting post today but still worth noting nonetheless. My nephew is growing like crazy, and last week I went down to Florida to see him turn 1.

In addition to eating birthday cake with our hands we spent a lot of time laughing, playing, swimming and reading stories. Ok, most of the time he kind of just sits and hugs you and smiles and walks around but his sister-let me tell you!

She is becoming such a little card! What a character! She's a big girl now and well she is just totally smart and logical and bust-a-gut hilarious. All. the. time. Every little thing gets a reaction or a statement or a funny face or pose out of her. More entertaining than tv. Seriously. The time just flew, but I'm so glad I could be there with them again. I never get to spend enough time with them especially now since they are just growing up so, so fast.

While I was gone I kind of fell behind on my internet surfing, including reading blogs. Which was a mistake because for a few days I missed out on a blog post that mentioned me. A Big One.

If you look here there's a post called Lessons from Gardeners. Yep, that's my photo. And my name as the first 2 words of the post. My husband is running around telling people I made the New York Times, and I'm right behind him saying "The New York Times Website hon! It's the website, not the paper!" But still... Michael Tortorello has been writing this blog since the spring on what it's like to have a first garden, the victories, the successes. It's really good and all too familiar to me. Reminds me of all the stuff I went through last year-the joy of an abundance of basil, the defeat of the squash vine borers attacking all of the squash. Anyway, a few weeks ago he asked people for stories about their gardens. I emailed, sent the picture, and heck-whaddaya know I guess he liked it, even my cheezy joke about the wide margin of error! Ha! Anyway, so it's not the paper, but it is the website and I do keep going back and looking at it and it's cute how my mom printed it out to show all her friends. Oh and another thing-just so you know, if you go to the link, and then click for the Home Page at the top, and then scroll down and click for the Dining & Wine Section, and then click "Bitten" for Mark Bittman's blog. Well yes, I am a mere 3 clicks away from the ever amazing and fabulous Mr. Bittman. 3 clicks. Swoon/sigh... Now that-that has you jealous now doesn't it?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bottom 5? Top 5!

Wow, 2 weekends in a row with finished objects! A girl could get used to this!

Pattern: Pembroke by Kirsten Kapur from Petite Purls
Yarn: Encore worsted
Result: Nauseatingly cute.

Not to mention this was fun. Fast, interesting, came out looking very much like the one in the pattern photo-always a plus. I love it. I'm going to visit my nephew next week and I'll be there for his 1st birthday so this is one of his gifts. Anyone considering making this pattern I say make it-I think it would be a great choice for beginners who want to practice cabling or basic construction. Also-I would love to see one made in pink or purple for some brainy little girl toddler too, I just think that would be awesome.

But what to knit next? Well, I've developed a new strategy to deal with this very question. I'm calling it-Bottom 5, Top 5! From the bottom of the stash to the top of the queue!

I was a little at odds what to knit next. I know I should probably be starting Christmas gifts, but I do already have a couple done, and I still have a lot of time right? I figured that I really want to do is to knit the yarn that I’m always passing over. The yarn at the bottom of the stash. So I decided to single out my bottom 5. They are clockwise from the left-2 balls (one in the form of a cowl that needs to be frogged) of Katia Nepal, an odd ball of Misti Alpaca Sport, Lorna's Laces Shepherd's Sport Multi, one hank of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Seduction and a mystery amount (1 skein? 2?) of purple Louet Gems Opal which is now discontinued. Now there’s nothing specifically wrong with any of these yarns. Except maybe the fact that 3 of them are sport-weight (not a lot out there for sport weight in terms of patterns it seems). I think maybe they’re only fault is that they were purchased with no set pattern in mind and as a result, they’ve never been matched up with the patterns that are their destiny. So I decided that what I needed to do was to find these yarns some patterns. I’ve finally singled them out, poured over and over Ravelry and have found them 5 acceptable patterns to work with. And voila-these yarns and their patterns have moved from the bottom of the stash to the top of the Ravelry queue. Bottom 5-Top 5! More on the patterns that I've picked later but I will mention that I'm hoping to tie this in with some entries in the Single Skein September Knitalong over at the Stash and Burn Podcast. Just for the heck of it. I am starting a little late, but I also have some good travel knitting time coming up so it's possible to at least have a couple of entried finished by the end of the month. Also I have a feeling that while I do really love these yarns, I just don't feel like I see some of them (especially that crazytown Katia Nepal and that 'meh' purple Louet) fitting into anything I'd ever wear or any upcoming gift opportunities I have in the near future. It's likely some of the finished items will end up going to charity too. And I haven't knit for charity in awhile, and I do love knitting for charity so I'm happy to get to do that again.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Labor Day Wrap Up

I'm ending the summer on a peachy note. The berries picked earlier this summer are now gone and I miss have a huge frozen fruit stash to dip into for smoothies every morning... To deal with this I went peach picking this weekend and came home with several pounds. Let me just say that peach picking is something that I think everyone should do at some point in their lives. Even if you don't really like peaches, it's quite an event to be in the orchard on a beautiful morning, with that fresh peach scent just clobbering you right over the nose. And these peaches are just perfect. No marks or bumps or bruises. They should be, they haven't been touched by anyone in a store or given some kind of crazy chemical bath along the way. We'll be enjoying them for awhile.

Something else that's perfect? My new shawl.

Pattern: Simurgh by Anne Hanson of Knitspot
Yarn: Mistralee Silk and Wool
Needles: Knitpicks Options Size 5

Yep, it's done and yep I adore it. I did make one huge mistake in the pattern-I was supposed to start off knitting the center motif for 4 repeats, finish half of the shawl and then pick up and knit the other half-starting with 4 repeats in the opposite direction. Instead, I guess I just got a little carried away and ended up knitting 8 repeats right away. Therefore, it is not symmetrical. Do I really give a whit? Heck no. I love this. I want to wear this all the time. With work clothes. With jeans on the weekend. With my pajamas. Love it. And all it's woolly silky goodness too.

Also btw I totally love this yarn. When I bought it at Stitches last year I bought it from the woman who owns the Mistralee Farm Studio. Along with the other people shopping in her booth I just could not get over the quality and beauty of the yarn and it's reasonable, reasonable price. When I paid I asked the owner if she had a website she said she does not. I asked if there is a catalog and there is not. She only sells at shows like Stitches. I was surprised. If you come across her booth or any of the yarns scoop them up. There was not one variation or knot or imperfection in any of the six skeins I used to knit the shawl. Also when I blocked it-not the tiniest tinge of red on any of my white towels. For an independent vendor and not a major manufacturer-I was pleasantly surprised by this.

Now that the shawl is finished I'm wrapping up a little vest for my nephew. This is Pembroke by Kristin Kapur as featured in the new online magazine, Petite Purls. In regular tried and true Encore Worsted it's fun and fast and almost done!

And there's only more knitting to come. I've been sifting through my Ravelry queue trying to find projects for some older yarns that have been, ahem, moldering away in the stash. (Remember Stitches 2006? Yikes!) And with fall knocking at the door, I figure it doesn't hurt to be prepared.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Knitting on the edge

See I still knit lace. I'm on the edge of the Simurgh stole already...

Ok, it's just the first edge of the first half, but I've still been knitting my head off. This thing has grown into a beast and I love it. I made a mistake (of course) where instead of knitting 4 repeats of the middle section, I knit 8. Oh well, I just won't knit the other 4 when I pick up the middle for the second half. I know this means it won't be symmetrical but I don't care. I'll love it anyway.

Another big thing I've been doing a lot of lately is cooking. A. Lot. I've always loved to cook, but lately I feel like I'm starting to COOK. In a new way. I read The Omnivore's Dilemma earlier this summer. Wow. Between that and a way more successful recession garden this year my thoughts about food and where it comes from and what's good to eat have been changing significantly. I pay attention more. Our meals have been much more veggie-centered and there's a lot less red meat and processed foods around. And I think it's great. And it's changed the act of cooking itself for me. Earlier today I was cooking and thinking that I'm starting to cook the way I knit. I think about it, just like I always think about knitting so much. And it's not unusual for me to find myself in the kitchen for long stretches of time, kind of just finding my way along something involved, but totally enjoying it. I've abandoned almost all of the frozen stuff I used to rely on for quick midweek dinners and found ways to whip up a quick pizza, or stack a bunch of veggies and hummus in a wrap for a veggie sandwich. On the weekends I try to snatch longer stretches of time trying out the new recipes I came across during the week that I've been thinking about. Which brings me to this weekend- last night the husband grilled up some lamb chops (yes there is still some meat, I cannot give it up entirely) and I made the Summer Squash Gratin from my new favorite food blog 101 Cookbooks. I adore this blog and the recipe came out decent-I think some of my modifications might not have been that helpful. Oh well, can't win them all, husband liked it a lot though. Then this afternoon I whipped up The Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup from Barefoot Contessa, just to try it out and to stash in the fridge for some lunches this week. That was a big success-yummy and it helped me cut down the surplus of tomatoes from the garden that was starting to build up! Then for dinner this evening I continued my ongoing summer of 2009 experiment of pizza on the grill.

Yum. This one I'm still getting the hang of-hence the one unintentionally heart-shaped pizza and the other one that's kind of shaped like a kidney. Every time I make the pizza on the grill I start out thinking it will be the last, I'm still struggling with the dough a little, it always seems like it's going to just fall to shreds until I actually get it on the grill and cooking. But then once it's there it's just so easy, it gets so nicely charred and crispy. And it's soooo tasty that when we finally do get to eat it we always wonder why we don't eat these all the time. Here the big one and the heart shaped one are BBQ chicken pizza-BBQ sauce, chicken, monterey jack cheese and red onion. The other 2 are simple-homemade pesto and feta cheese. All were delicious. Enough to make me keep trying I suppose!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

More like the Summer of Infrequent Blogging....

Oh gosh, no posts since June! Talk about a busy summer. It's been bbq's and weekend trips and fun stuff as far as the eye can see. Which is great, but doesn't fair well for the knitting blog. Well, I am still knitting, and I am still knitting lace, but there have been other things too.

Pattern: Easy Baby Cardigan from Knitting Pure and Simple
Yarn: Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand

Simple yarn and a simple pattern equals a great gift! This was for a baby shower I went to in July. The mom to be is a great knitted gift recipient, so sweet and appreciative, I knew I had to make something. Now, when they say Easy Baby Cardigan, it sure was easy. I added the button and button holes to the pattern, I like them better than the ties and this came out so cute! Vanna's Choice is simple acrylic, nothing that's going to set the fiber world on fire, true, but a good baby yarn powerhouse-machine washable and will hold up through and through. And the color is Dusty Purple. It's sweet for a little girl but not too froufy. Perfect.

Also meet Absorba, the bathmat from the first Mason Dixon knitting book. This came about one night when I went to knitting group and literally finished the yarn I had for the project I was working on. I went and bought 16 balls of Sugar and Cream cotton, and a new Size 15 circular and was on my way with this one. It is so squishy and wonderful. I'm going to love having the versatility of the cotton washcloths as a bathmat. It's also my specified garter stitch knitting for those tv dance shows I love where I just can't look away from the screen that much. A must have.

In addition to knitting, there is a new hobby which will I'll wait to talk about in a later post, and also gardening is back in fashion this year. The Recession Garden lives again it sure does have me on my toes!

Back and bigger than ever, at 20' by 30' it is a big garden. It has to be big to accommodate my wide margin of error! Well, so far only the pepper plants have been a big mistake this year. A ton of rain and cold weather in June just knocked them right out with some type of devastating black spot yuckiness. But other than that things have pretty much been so far so good.

This might not look like a huge harvest but lately it's been about this much that I've been bringing in every other day. Even the zucchini is abundant! And I'm way past the squash borer season at this point so I think I've made it. I injected the stems with BT this year regularly and it seems to have worked. The tomatoes are now coming in full swing and oh yeah, there are quite a few green beans. Summer, it's what's for dinner.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Summer of Lace

I'm probably a few years behind, but it looks like 2009 is going to be my first summer of lace. Blame it on Ishbel. I'm officially addicted.

Knit up in some Miss Babs Yummy Sock yarn this is my new favorite thing. I adore it. I love the points, the drapiness, the pattern, everything. And face it, I could have knit a cat bed with this yarn and I'd want to wear it around my neck in those colors. They are so gorgeous and saturated. Color name-Wine Barrels. Perfection.

Onto the next project is Simurgh by Anne Hanson. I have wanted to knit this for a forever ago but made the Ishbel first as a warm up.

I'm loving this one too already. I feel like a big lace project is what my summer knitting repertoires have always been missing. Not that I don't love the socks and dishcloths but I've always felt a little subjected to the very simple and very small project realm during the hot weather. Not anymore. It's like instead of having to read magazines, I can finally pick up a novel again. Big lace projects are fun to sink my teeth into. And I can't wait to see how this one will come out.

And that's not the only red in my life. Last week I picked 14 pounds of strawberries at a local farm with my mom. We also picked fresh peas, spinach and kale. I'm all about the local lately. And the berries. And now I've got a freezer full of both. Lovely.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Normally I would make lame excuses for not blogging for so long, but this time is different, this time there are good excuses! My mom was in the hospital for a crappy, scary stretch. She's ok now but for a while there it was not good and exhausting and sad. We're all doing a little better now, getting used to a new way of things. Just goes to show you never, ever stop learning.

Also it seems everyone has been sick! Really sick, like doctor visits and medicine and the cough still hangs on for 6 weeks sick. And I got to get sick twice too! I got a cold thing and then a stomach thing. Ick! And let me tell you there are few things worse than sitting in a hospital worrying about your mom, wondering if you should just crawl into a hospital bed yourself... Anyway, then last week when it seemed we were done with all the people being sick, little Ella developed some weird skin condition and had to have a vet visit and some medicine of her own...

We don't know if it's a scratch or a skin allergy or what but she has to wear that rotten cone collar until she's done with the medicine. Poor baby...

Ironically, in the meantime, despite everything else being a mess, the knitting has gone surprisingly well. Somewhere along the line I finished knitting Cosima. Let it sit around for 2 weeks with no buttons, and then found buttons and finally finished it for real. And boy I'm so glad I did.

Pattern: Cosima
Yarn: Cuzco
Needles: Clover circs, Size 8 and 10.5 (I think)

Results: I love this. I've probably already worn it 3 times in 4 weeks. It's not as heavy or hot as the bulky yarn would make you think, I think it's the 3/4 sleeves. And for some reason, it's just so comfortable. It wasn't a difficult knit but definitely more chart reading than I'm used to. Also, seaming the raglan sleeves on the purl side (the front is the purl side) with all that patterning was a little tricky at times. I did lengthen the body by 2 inches and make the sleeves an inch wider for my chubby arms. I'm not sure this was necessary, when this yarn gets wet it stretches considerably. When it dried it shrunk back to the dimensions I wanted but I wonder if I could have just knit it normally and blocked it to that size. Either way it's wonderful. Definitely something I'm proud of.

And already poof! I'm about to finish the second sweater of the season.

This is #994 V-Neck Neck Down Raglan from Knitting Pure and Simple and it is flying. In this photo taken 2 days ago I'm in the middle of the second sleeve but as I type this I've finished the sleeve, I'm on the garter stitch neckband (translation-garter stitch neckband easy and fast!!!) and then I'll just have the little garter button bands (also easy and fast!!!) to go. I didn't think I'd manage 2 sweaters this year before the hot weather set in. I had originally thought I'd be stuffing this in a bag to wait to be finished sometime next fall. But it looks like I'm going to make it and I'm thrilled. So far the sweater is coming out great. It seems things are starting to look up.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A little guy and some little knits

Last weekend I took a quick trip down to Florida for a very special event, it was time for my nephew to be baptized.

And believe it or not he was just that calm cool and collected throughout the whole ceremony. He is such a sweetie. And just to make him even more lovable when he's not dressed in his formal wear he enjoys lounging about in a onesie, playing with some handknits.

Can you believe it, he loves his blocks! He grabs them and squeezes them and puts them in his mouth while he makes this silly grunting noise like he's trying to be tough. It cracks everyone up, and then he starts laughing and he's all smiles and giggles like all of a sudden he thinks its so funny too. It's so cute. And I'm just thrilled that the blocks are put to good use. Remember how much trouble I had making them? Ugh, I look back on those awful last stages of seaming them and wonder how I made it through, it was really that miserable. And now, now they are toys- TOYS! That someone loves and plays with regularly. I just think its so cool.

I recently finished my toe up socks which came out ok

For some reason my toe-ups seem to come out a little saggy all the time. They just don't fit as well as top down. And they seem to take forever after the heel, I think I miss having a toe to look forward to. It might be awhile before I try these again. Anyway, after I finished the socks I had to start another 'toss in my bag' project to have with me all the time so I started this scarf.

It's Rivolo by Anne Hanson. Like all lace it looks kind of bumpy and weird now but once its blocked it should look way better. I am having so much fun knitting this by the way. It's so simple, and every other row is purling back, so it's meditative with really short rows and seems to be going very fast. I worry that I might not wear this when I'm done. I realized I already have a very lovely green lace scarf that I never, ever wear. But I know that I am a process knitter, and sometimes I have to knit things just to try it, just to see how it will look finished, or just because it's there.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Inspiration, not for vegetarians

A couple of things almost inspired me to post recently:

My sister called me the other night giggling and asking what I thought about Rod Blagojevich’s idea to name Oprah Winfrey to the replace Barack Obama in the Senate. She and I both thought it was hil-lair-ious!! We had a very funny conversation, laughing about the different ridiculous things we had heard him say in various interviews that day and I just thought it was so cool that I have a sister who calls me about that stuff and that we have a very similar twisted sense of humor about such things. What can I say? It warmed my cockles…

I was also thinking about blogging about getting chart burnout. Cosima is trucking along and looking gorgeous. But I miss knitting without looking so I did spend a couple of days just vegging out working on my stockinette toe up socks for a little while. The chart for Cosima isn't hard by any means but it gets tricky keeping one eye on the chart and one eye on American Idol…

But the most inspiring thing, the thing I heard about recently that I really felt I needed to blog about, because it’s so wonderful, it needs more coverage and should be shared with others, is that new culinary phenomenon known as the Bacon Explosion

Ahh, so pretty. Coming to us courtesy of the blog BBQ Addicts, this is the most unique and scary and mouth watering thing I've heard of in awhile. First Bacon is woven (see there are crafts involved!) in a square shape and then spread with sausage and then it's wrapped around-what else? More Bacon! All rolled together into one adorable tasty little heart attack.

The inventors suggest slicing it thinly and eating it on a biscuit-so see it's not as bad as you thought! Really, click the link, go read the recipe yourself, you'll see- it’s amazing!!! Now of course the question arises- will I ever make one? Unfortunately to the huge disappointment of my husband, probably no. But for now, just for today at least, I still want to acknowledge it's existence here on the blog and look at its picture a little longer and just think about it. Even just the photo of the Bacon Explosion is better than nothing. Just knowing it’s out there, I feel the world is a better place…

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I think I miss summer

This is a shocking statement for me. I've always been a big winter girl. My reasoning is a) on a normal day I run hot as a furnace by nature, when everyone is cold I'm usually still warm in a t-shirt (I worry what menopause is going to have in store for me someday) and b) I'm a knitter. I want it as cold as possible as long as possible all the time. I need winter to maximize the usage of those lovely knitted items. They aren't going to wear themselves you know. But I have to tell you, these days... this year... everything is different...

This year I miss my garden. I miss my garden very, very dearly. These are 3 gardening books I got for Christmas and my first seed catalog for 2009. This past Sunday I finally got some time to curl up with them on the couch to start reading and I swear my jaw was dropped open and drool may or may not have fallen on some of (most of) the pages. Then there was a day recently when I saw Ina Garten make an ordinary Tomato Sandwich on her show. As she put the knife to that huge juicy tomato, I felt an ache in my heart like a food show has never inspired in me before. And you know I can get pretty emotional about my food. And speaking of tomatoes I've noticed all of a sudden that all the tomatoes in my supermarket suck. Did they always suck this much? And also I spend way, way, way too much time gazing out my dining room window, looking at my compost bin covered with snow and thinking "Is it going down? Does it need turning? Does it need more green or more brown? Will I have compost to put in the garden when the time is right?" Sigh... So much for being the girl that used to want to marry winter...

So in this distressed state I've reverted to my safe place and I've regressed to consoling myself with fiber...

Meet Cosima. I know she's not much to look at now but trust me she's going to be a grand girl. What fun, really, really fun. And the color that I was kind of 'meh' about when I bought it? (This usually happens to me every time I'm forced to pick a color that is not black) All of a sudden I love it! It's perfect! And that yarn, the Cuzco, it's amazing. So lush and soft, such a pretty twist. Trust me if you're thinking of making anything with Cuzco make it. If you need something to line your shelves with, hang from a curtain rod, I wouldn't be surprised if Cuzco wouldn't be great at that too. Yes I love it that much. Yes I'm being silly. But it's going to be a windchill of like 8 degrees tomorrow, and I haven't had a decent tomato in years (3 months) so just bear with me for a bit. I'm sure spring is just around the corner...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Cutesy Good and the Ugly Bad

The cute cat photo of the day is Ella in a box she found on the dining room table. She sat there for at least half an hour just posing. It became obvious she was waiting for me to take her photo.

And then this would be the ugly knitting photo of the day...

Blech. This is the GC Cowl (raveled here) which is still a pattern I like but not in this yarn. The yarn is Katia Nepal which is still a yarn I like but not in this pattern. Jess at Fig and Plum just made one of these and it's beautiful. But mine came out way too long and floppy and curly and it just doesn't really work. I wanted a cowl that is a little closer to my chin and higher, this one hangs down kind of like a scarf. Oh well, it's my first time making a cowl so go figure. I'm going to frog it and probably try another cowl pattern. I think one that's knit side to side rather than up. I think I'd like the stripes better running the other way and it will help the length/droopiness issue. I'm not going to re-knit it again right away, but I will eventually. I still really like the colors and the yarn is squishy and soft, it doesn't deserve to live in the stash unused.