Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Delicious leftovers

We made pot pies with leftovers again - 3 pies, and I still have filling for one more!  My brothers and DP really enjoyed them, and I froze one for my sister.

It's actually somewhat warm today (34), so I'm only wearing one layer of clothes.  You have a lot more flexibility when you're not bulked up.

The presents went over well; everyone seemed happy, and my brother wore his cowl from the moment he got it until he went to be on Tuesday night. 

If I can ever pry the camera from DP's clutches, I'll put some pics up.  If I look at my project page on Ravelry, there are hardly any pictures for the last few months.  The downside of having a husband interested in photography :)  Of course, the upside is that we have beautiful pictures around the house!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

World enough and time

Two weeks since my last post?  Time flies.

I finished the cowl for my brother and need to block it.  I like it, even though it is a bit tall.

I have one more glove to do for my other brother.

I ordered an apron for my other other brother, since I wouldn't have been able to finish the embroidery in time.

Now to print and frame some pictures, and hope for the best.

I also am drinking caffeinated coffee today.  I haven't had any non-decaf in months, and the effects are crazy.  Shaking hands, sweating profusely, cold appendages...I know caffeinated coffee still has caffeine, but obviously it has less!  Outrageous.

I have to do some laundry now, and try to felt those mittens again.  Eek!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sotto voce

Or notta voce?  I basically can't talk because of my chest cold.  Saves me the bother of answering the phone!

The mini cupcake bath bombs seem to have turned out, but I'll have to test one of them to be sure.  The mini lotion bars are great.  I'm wondering if I should do a bath tea bag, and just call it spa in a bag for Christmas...

I made a few more lip balms because I'm on my last one, and with the dryness I really need it.  At least testing all these unguents is moisturizing my hands.

I started the owl cowl for my brother, so we'll see how that goes.  It may end up being too big, but he is very tall.  Positive thoughts!  The tosh vintage is great stuff to work with - I'd love to get more.

I made bread yesterday, but the crust came out too thick.  I think that's due to a too-cold second rise, or maybe not enough moisture in the oven.  It tasted okay, but it was too crusty.  It would have made great bruschetta or toasts with cheese.  Hmmm...that sounds delish...maybe some cheese toasts are in my future!

I have an idea for DP for Christmas - since we're not giving each other real presents, I can be creative.  I have a little photo album, and I think I'm going to try to concoct a mini wedding album.  Our pictures didn't really turn out, but I think there are enough good ones to make something.  I also have pics from our honeymoon, which will be nice.  When he goes off to his meeting tonight, I think I'll tackle it.

I've been trying to work on being more thoughtful toward him and put more effort into things.  I want to make sure he knows he's loved!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Warped and ready

We warped the loom last night - as I was having DP hold the warp ends, he said ,"Oh wait, I remember this!"  It's been a long time since I've had him help me with a warp :)  I started weaving with some sock yarn, but I might have to switch it up...it feels a bit too feeble.

I also bought this little number to make a cowl or mittens with for my brother.  The item will depend on how much time I have, and if I have a skein of white worsted lying around somewhere.  I'm thinking of fingerless gloves for my other brother, and I have no idea what to do for my brother in Texas.  What do you get a mathematics professor in a land of hot weather?

I wanted to make socks for DP, but that takes a month at least, and I just don't have the time to finish.  With being sick, I'm not on my A-game, and I haven't been actively crafting much.  Our electric snowblower is our corporate gift this year.  DP's wrist and ankle injuries and my back mean that we're no longer able to shovel with impunity.  Sigh.

Maybe I'll start those socks so I can show him I'm giving it the old college try...

I also need to sew up a few stockings for my sister and niece to decorate for the twins.  DP's handwriting is so beautiful that I have him write the names in pencil and embroider over them.  My handwriting shows I should have been a doctor :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Last day

I can't believe it's the last day of November!  It went by really fast.

With house guests, illness and babysitting, I didn't get as much done as I would have liked, and the beginning of December means the beginning of holiday crafting.  As I said, I'd like to weave a few scarves - I have a lot of yarn that would work, and weaving would give it a good home.  I've also worked up a slipper pattern that's quick (I finished a pair in two days) and simple (a toe up sock with the instep bound off), so I could always make up a few pairs of those for gift giving.

Unfortunately, I am still sick, and I seem to be getting worse.  A day or two of rest should mend things, but I'm not sure when I'll get that :)

I'd love to be at home with some hot cocoa or tea and a warm blanket...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Warp speed

I can't wait to get home and warp!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What do I have?

Some kind of something - super sore throat every morning.  Who knows!

My mil loved the owl cowl, so I feel good about that.  She also gave me the warping pegs and other heddle block for the loom, so now I have two sets of heddle blocks and the ability to wind a warp without running it around chairs :)  I really want to try a few scarves, really I do!

I also am almost done with a pair of slippers I made using Noro Silk Garden that I've had in stash forever.  Scratchy on the hands, but okay on the feet, and I hope the mohair will make it wear well.

Back to football!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Just a few hours

Until the big family Thanksgiving gathering with DP's family!  Should be interesting:  several of his cousins are pregnant, though I don't know if any of them are coming.

This also means we'll have another bunch of houseguests :) 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tale of two yarns

I have some Tosh Vintage that I'm trying to figure out what to do with - a cowl for my brother?

I also have another miscellaneous worsted that's a little thicker than the Tosh, but it's a bit scratchier, so I'm not sure I could make a cowl or scarf out of it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I finished the cowl!  My seaming is a little crummy, but it's done, and that's the chief thing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Almost there!

I'm at 23 inches into the cowl!  I need to finish it by Friday, so I think this is good progress.  I picked out the buttons for eyes, and DP weighed in on his favorites, but I'm putting off sewing them on until I finish the knitting.  It will give me something to look forward to :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sock yarn cowl?

Would STR heavyweight make a good cowl, or would it not be soft enough?  I have that skein of meet brown, joe, and I have a cowl pattern, but I'm just not sure that it will feel warm since it's so tightly spun.

I also am not sure that it's really a worsted weight - it seems mighty thin.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Inching along

I'm 14 inches into the cowl, which needs to be about 25 to 27 inches.  I take frequent breaks because seed is so boring for me.

As a reward, I might make something fun next...maybe a pair of slippers, or another pair of socks, or one of those cowls from the Knitspot club.  I have some Tosh Vintage that I want to use, so maybe if I make the smallest version in a bigger yarn it will be okay. 

The first pattern is buttoned, but I may try to engineer it to be seamed.  I'm always afraid of buttons by my hair.

I also would like to get my cowl pattern up, but I don't know where I put the picture of the cowl that I took!  I've been using it every day at the bus stop, and it actually works.  Unfortunately, I'm allergic to the yarn, but right now I don't have anything else to go in its place.  I love the color, so maybe that's why I'm still wearing it :)

My mom is coming over today to stay with us through Friday - it will be easier than trying to transport a bunch of food to our house on Wednesday.  However, this means that the whole week will be a houseguest week, and next week we'll have DP's family over, so that will be another houseguest week as well.  Eek!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It came!

DP's Kindle Fire came today! I was a bit bummed because it didn't come with the special gift message, but oh well. He likes it well enough, especially for what he's planning to use it for, but it does have some issues. If you put documents in the cloud, you can't access them. Only things you bought from Amazon are accessible. Lame!
I got to play with it when he took a nap...it's pretty neat. Ravelry looks great, and the colors are amazing. Since we have Prime, I watched a bit of Soylet Green (for free). Awesome.
I'm working on that seed stitch cowl for DP's mom, but it's going slow. I love what seed stitch looks like, I just don't like stitching it :)
I dowloaded the latest Fall in Full Color patter from Knitspot, and it's great. It's actually two patterns, cowls, and they look perfect for gift giving or self making. I'm debating whether or not to join the club for next season - Bare Naked, I think it is. The club with the yarn is just way too expensive unless I don't buy any other yarn for the year, but I'm not sure if it's worth buying without the yarn. We'll see.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fun fact

Knitting with 4 strands of splitty dk is somewhat problematic on Denise needles :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It didn't work

I decided to spin thin and triple ply, but the yarn is really only a heavy worsted, or maybe a bulky. Certainly not super bulky.

Soooo...I'm going to try to knit with 4 strands held together and see what happens. It means I'll be making this cowl in beige instead of cappuccino, but beggars can't be choosers!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


The eternal question - is it better to spin a thinner singles and triple ply for thickness, or to try to spin a bulky weight that ends up thick and thin?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And another thing

DP called me to tell me that his mom needs me to knit a cowl for her to give to someone :) The only problem is that it calls for super bulky and I don't have anything that big. Sooo...I need to spin the yarn,wash and dry it, then knit it into a seed stitch cowl. Eep!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Yarn for my MIL

My mother in law found Ravelry a couple of days ago, and she is kind of overwhelmed by all the patterns :) She wanted a free pattern for a crochet scarf, and she came up with over 2000 to choose from!

Besides that, her stash is pretty low, so DP and I will be raiding my stash for some goodies. The only problem is that most of my yarn is fingering weight, and she was planning on using it to make gifts. They'd be nice, but take longer, and she has nine siblings to craft for. I also need to check if she has a ball winder; it would suck to have tons of yarn but have to wind it all by hand (witness the reason I bought a ball winder four years ago).

I'm going to see if she wants any of my cotton yarn. I just don't knit with it enough to make it worthwhile.

Some of my yarn is also a bit...natural...so it would be better for gloves or mittens than for hats or cowls.

Off to stash dive!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Despite the allergies

Every day brings us closer to getting our cat! We found a cat that I am less allergic to, and we'll be picking her up after Christmas. It's very exciting, but kind of scary - another creature to care for.

We have to confab with my sister on what accouterments we'll need for the kitten; my sister is my resident cat expert. DP was talking about how excited he was about the cat yesterday - a good sign.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Still on that kick

I'm totally on a sewing kick. I bought more Moda Prairie Cloth to make napkins and a quilted table runner that's a combo of a runner and a hot pad - no need for unsightly trivets :) It's another pattern of - you guessed it - the Purl Bee. I just need some batting, and I'll be ready to go. I used my last batt to make a baby quilt for my cousin.

I also talked to my sister about my stocking idea for the twins: make blank stockings and let my niece decorate them with fabric markers and quilting scraps. She could even make one for herself if she wanted (I made her one when she was a baby).

I'm still getting over whatever sickness I have...I'm really congested and it's hard for me to breathe except sitting straight up. I'm drinking a lot of tea and hoping for the best.

We also upgraded our internet and phone and got U-verse yesterday. As they say, I've become the very thing I most abhorred :) I'll be able to watch more sports, which is a bonus, and visiting relatives will no longer complain about having to watch PBS.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Holiday knitting

Christmas is coming quickly, and while I can't stand the fact that stores have Christmas stuff out already, it does remind me to get stuff made up sooner rather than later. It's too bad that scarves take so much time, because I know several people who'd love them this year.

I may end up crocheting a few things too, since I crochet much faster than I knit. I also need to spin up those yarns I keep talking about, and warp the loom.

Hooray for cold weather!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nakpins, cont.

I made the 8 napkins, realizing as I was cutting the fabric that if I had gotten a 1/4 of a yard more, I could have made 2 more napkins. Irritating! I may sew the scraps into a couple more napkins, since I'll have more than 8 people at Thanksgiving. I only wish Joann Fabrics actually had something besides polyester and cotton in stock!

I would really like some Indian food right now, I'm not sure why.

The snow we had was just beautiful! I could not believe it when I looked outside. It's the kind of snow that melts quickly, but it was so nice to see.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Napkins and spinning

Using a tip from another person who made the Purlbee napkins, my plan is to cut them out, sew, and then wash them. Supposedly it makes fringing easier.

I'm spinning up the wheel of the seasons braid into what I hope will be a two ply. I'd like to make some fingerless gloves with it, but we'll see.

I'm also going to spin up some bulky yarn for more cowls. I discovered that the cowl I made, though itchy, is actually worthwhile, so I need to concoct a few more.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I hate being sick

I don't know what I have, but it's not good. Fever, runny nose, cough. Ugh.

Thankfully, I'm able to stay home from work today and get some rest. I think I'll break out the chicken soup!

Monday, November 7, 2011


After seeing these napkins on the Purl blog, I couldn't resist. I got the fabric in, and I just need to wash, cut and sew. I should have new napkins by Thanksgiving. Hooray!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


So, based on a pattern I saw and then couldn't find again, I'm making a scarf. But not just any scarf; you make a colorwork cuff, and at the end of the cuff, you start knitting back and forth flat. Keep knitting until the yarn runs out, and then wrap it around your neck and tuck the end of the scarf into the tube to keep it in place! I'm very excited to see how this thing works.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Baby socks

When my sister asked for some baby socks, I figured I could bust out a few pairs in no time flat. Dead wrong. I've only finished one sock since last week!

My latest scheme is baby tube socks (no heel) made in traveling rib. Hopefully this will help me get the dang things done.

Friday, November 4, 2011


I need a good traveling project - should I pick something with lots of stockinette (boring but safe) or something with lots of shaping (interesting but possibly trouble)?

I also may need to clean the entire house if DP ends up having a business meeting here. Eek!

I got the latest wheel of the seasons shipment, a braid of BFL in beautiful autumn colors. I really want to make it into a pair of fingerless gauntlets for me, but who knows if I'll get around to it.

I also got the Webs catalog...ideas, ideas!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


One day closer to the opera! I can hardly wait - mom and DP are going to the opera with me.

Nothing much on the spinning front. The replied merino/bamboo is finally dry; a cool house means a looong wait for anything to dry. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. Maybe a scarf for my sister or sister in law.

I'd also like to weave something, now that I got the replacement heddle blocks for my loom. I don't have any warping pegs, but I could figure something out. All the sock yarn I'm not making into socks could make some nice scarves.

I also discovered The Saxon Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell, and I'm halfway through book 5. That's not really that impressive though, since I started on book 4 :) 1-3 have long wait lists at the library, so I didn't even try to check them out. If I end up liking how this ends, I'll get on the list for the others.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A day late, but still

I totally forgot about the blogging challenge for November - blog every single day.  I'm already behind!

It's a rainy day, but that's just the kind I like.  When I was in college, I'd spend rainy afternoons just walking and walking.  I never caught a cold, but I did ruin a couple of pairs of shoes and socks.  Today I'll be stuck inside all day working, and hopefully escape in enough time so I don't miss my bus.

I got my next sheep shares shipment, and I think I'm going to try to spin it into a bulky yarn, two ply probably.  I'd like to make another cowl or two.  I'm really wanting to make an infinity scarf for my sister in law, but I can't decide on a pattern.  There are several that look super boring, but I might try one of those so I can knit and watch sports at the same time...we'll see.

I'm not sure what, if anything, I'll make for my brothers.  Maybe fingerless gloves, but what to make for a brother in Texas?  A mosquito net - or scorpion net?

I'm really wondering what the next wheel of the seasons shipment will be.  I couldn't really get into the September silk hankies, because I really just hated the colors.  I think I'll try to do something with them eventually, but I'm not sure what.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Many moons ago, I had some 50/50 merino/bamboo that I spun into a heavy laceweight singles.  It was a pretty steel blueish grey color with some yellow, and I was planning a shawl.

Well, I never got around to the shawl, and I have cowls on the brain, so I decided to ply the two laceweight singles together to possibly get a light worsted weight!  It's soaking in the sink right now, and I don't know how I'm going to wait until it's dry :)

I just finished two hats for the twins, made from Madelinetosh DK in a harvest gold and an autumn leaf rust color.  My sister seems to like them, so I'm happy.

I also finished a baby cardigan for my friend who has a baby due tomorrow!  It's a green cardigan Spud and Chloe sweater yarn (wool/cotton blend) in the baby sophisticate pattern.  I have to say that I am disappointed in the Spud and Chloe yarn.  I may have just chosen a bad color, but the green is pretty dull, no depth at all.  Maybe that's a result of the cotton element.  I could also have gone for about 20 more yards in the skein; I don't like these 200 yarders.

My sister really wants some baby socks, so I may try to whip up a pair or two over the weekend. 

I finished reading Howards End this morning.  Even if you've seen the movie, it's worth reading the book.  DP told me that he read somewhere that the book is full of despicable characters, and he's right...but it was still a good read.  He's probably going to read it next.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Where do the days go?

Just a few days later, and things have been crazy.  Emergency dental surgery for DP, errands, visiting the pumpkin patch with my three nieces...somehow the time just zooms.

Now that fall is truly here, I'm planning out my gifts.  After coming back from MO, I have a "new to me" loom (one I gave my MIL years ago that she no longer can use), so I may try the old placemat/table runner/hand towel thing again.  Maybe a scarf or three :)  I have to buy heddle blocks for it though, since she lost them somewhere along the way.

I'm trying another baby sweater (the last one was given up in despair over splitty yarn), and my sister is lacking in hats for my baby nieces.  Hats for babies are relatively quick, so I hope to get them done this weekend, or in the next few days.

I'm really feeling down right now; I'm not sure if it's the weather or age or what, but every day is worse than the last.  I'm doing a lot of work, and getting back into devotionals too, but I'm not sure what's up.

Monday, October 17, 2011


The holiday season is almost over - thank goodness!  Even with the days off, I just didn't get any time to relax this year.  I'm looking forward to Thursday & Friday though, and I'm really hoping to get some good crafting time in.

I finally got the yarn I bought from someone's destash - I think I'll use it to make that baby sweater.  I also got a skein of chunky yarn that I'm hoping to use for a cowl for my brother.  He seems to enjoy them, so who am I to stop making them for him?

DP's and my 11th anniversary is coming up as well.  I just can't believe it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I decided to dig out the yarn I'd gotten to make DP a sweater all those years ago, and found that the sleeve I'd made was missing! I tore apart the entire fiber closet, and was on the point of giving up, when I discovered it at the top of the closet behind the drum carder.

So, at least I have all the yarn :) Now I'm not sure if DP will actually wear it, because his skin has become even more sensitive over the years.

I finished the featherweight! It's blocking right now. I ended up with a lot of yarn left over, so I could have actually made the sleeves full length rather than bracelet length, but it's cool. DP suggested that I wait to give it to my sister until after the twins are a bit older...but if I wait, I may end up with it myself :)

Now I have to decide what to make: a sweater for DP, a sweater for my best friend's upcoming baby, a sweater for my mom, or a sweater for me. I have all of these on the brain, along with spinning and Christmas/Hanukkah bazaar presents. Eeep.

I got the Mabon shipment from the wheel of the seasons club I joined - an ounce of dyed silk caps in sort of a rainbow-ish colorway, leaning towards autumn. I was thinking of knitting up some wristwarmers for myself or DP from the unspun caps, since my cap spinning is not the best, and I want to actually make something and not just think about it.

I also dug through the sock yarn bin, looking for the next sock installment. I'm thinking of some plain stockinette in muddy autumn rainbow STR. DP loves plain stockinette socks. Or maybe stockinette with a traveling eyelet - he loved those socks to death. I should really finish my darning before making any more socks, but I don't know if I can! Maybe I should take the darning to my sister's house...?

I bought Circle & Bloom's fertility series yesterday (you can guess why), so I'm going to start today. It can't hurt, and I think it might help. I'll report back. At least I had a 20% off coupon.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I tried a sugar scrub in my shower this morning - sugar, honey and a bit of avocado oil. Wowie - the parts that I scrubbed are super soft and smooth. I may have to start doing this once a week.

I'm almost done with one sleeve on the cardigan, so I have one more sleeve and the collar. I still don't know what I'm going to do, but it may be in garter to go faster.

With the cooler weather coming, I need to make some more socks! As soon as I finish this cardi, I'm going to cast on a pair. Not sure what color or pattern, but I've been sockless for too long.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Who would have thought

That the world would be like this ten years after the terrorist attacks.

I remember I was at work, and my mom was supposed to be flying to New York - I was terrified that she was on one of the planes, and it didn't help that everyone was trying to get hold of everyone else, and I couldn't reach her. She had decided to stay in Boston with my dad for their anniversary - that's right, their anniversary is the day the terrorists murdered hundreds of my people.

I love my country. I do not love anyone who attacks it. It's colored my whole adult life, the anger and the fear. I remember talking to one of my friends who grew up in the 50's and 60's. He told me that he just shakes his head at people today who pooh-pooh the cold war mentality: "It was real...you lived knowing that another country would drop a bomb on your school if they could."

But we have to go on living and working, and trying to keep our country together.


I got a few more inches in on the featherweight, but now my wrists are hurting. I put some liniment on, so we'll see what happens.

It was pretty warm yesterday, but the evenings are nice and cool. Almost was a full moon too, which is so bright - casting shadows.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tsk, tsk

Another long dry spell - I blame the holiday season :)

I actually released another of my shawl patterns, the Lady of Rohan. It took me a long time to write up the pattern, and I think there may still be mistakes, but I wanted to get it out there. I also want to release my this and that mitts, but I need to reknit a sample, since I don't have the originals anymore.

I finished the little cardigan for my niece, and she even wore it! Of course, it was way too big, but hopefully it will fit when it's cooler outside.

I'm currently working on a featherweight cardigan for my sister. It's basically just a top down raglan in laceweight on large needles, but I'm very excited about it. Maybe I'll even finish it!

I'm not allowing myself to buy the other cardigan pattern until I finish this one. Since I'm extremely excited about the other cardi, I hope this will give me the push I need.

I'm still trying to felt the thumbs for the mittens I started making last year. For some reason, they just won't felt, even though they're made of the same yarn as the mittens. I'll keep trying.

For the water-along in the Folklore & Fairytales group, I think I'm going to try to spin up the "ultramarine" that I bought from Cupcake Fiber. The person I asked about the batts was right. This stuff is amazing. Best batts I've ever spun, excepting my own (those last ones I made).

I'm pretty excited for fall, even with the extra workload, because I feel like I'll get deeper into knitting and spinning.

I've also decided that I really, really need some relaxing skirts. Since I can't seem to make one worth beans, I'm going to have to get someone to make one for me. I ordered one from a person on Etsy...we'll see what happens. I'm just more comfortable in a skirt than pants - I'm even wearing a skirt right now, and it's Saturday afternoon :) I tried to buy a skirt from Zappos, but I didn't read the explanation correctly or something, and it was sheer with a little mid thigh slip. Eep! Not the kind of thing I can feel relaxed in.

I finally finished working my way through the Val Lewton collection, and I was severely un-impressed. The best one was Cat People, which is saying something. Bedlam was supremely irritating, as was Ghost Ship. The thing I didn't like was the "happy ending"...if you could call it that. Conflicts were built up, but either were not resolved at all (just forgotten about) or were resolved in a really lame deus ex machina way (see the end of Bedlam). Sigh. I did see an extremely great movie with Edward G. and Boris Karloff, 5 Star Final, about a newspaper digging up dirt on a woman acquitted of murder twenty years before. I'd never heard of it until DP mentioned it, but I loved it. Pre-code, so a lot of snappy dialog, strong women, and just plain craziness. Edward G. was at his best, I thought.

Watching movies like that with DP reminds me of when we were dating, and we'd go down to the local video store to pick out an obscure movie or two every weekend. It's hard to believe that we'll be married for 11 years in October.

I just recently had a birthday, and for a present DP brought me to the liquor store and said I could pick out a case of wines that I wanted, so I wouldn't feel bad if I drank a bottle without him. He loves Valpolicella, and so do I, but I thought I'd branch out a bit. I even bought a Burgundy, which I haven't had since before I was married. My friend Alan, my sister, and I had some amazing wine and crackers one night when he was off duty and in town. I haven't seen him in years now...I think he has three or four kids at this point.

I'm off to try to get another couple of inches in on the featherweight!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Beet stew - yes, really

Today I came home from work and decided I needed to eat beets. I grabbed three beets, a summer squash and some basil and oregano from the garden and an onion from the fridge, and went to work. I sauteed the onion and beets (thinly sliced) in some coconut oil, then added some tomatoes that had been sitting on the counter for a week (we'd saved them from the chipmunks, but hadn't figured out what to make with them). I let that simmer for about 7 minutes, then added chopped summer squash and the herbs. 5 minutes later, I had a delicious sweet and earthy veggie stew! I added a sprinkle of feta to finish it, and I wished there was someone around I could have fed it to (DP hates beets).

In other news, I finished the cowl, which is drying on my new blocking squares (thanks DP!). Once I get pics, I think I'm going to toss it up for free on Ravelry. There can never be too many free patterns, right?

I started a tiny tea leaves for my niece using STR lightweight. I'm making the size for a 4 year old in sock yarn, so it should end up fitting a baby :) The color is little bunny foo foo, a melange of browns and pink, and it's so beautiful, I just like watching the colors as I knit.

I also joined another fiber club - the wheel of the seasons - and bought some batts from the Cupcake Fiber Factory. I asked a person on Ravelry how the batts spun up, and she gave such a glowing review that I had to try them. Since my experience with my home made batts, I'm willing to give spinning them another try. Hopefully this means that I'll have some good spinning fodder for the blog this winter.

Finally, I'm getting a cat! I know, I know: I'm allergic. But I found a breed of cat that has somewhat less of the protein I'm allergic to in its saliva, so we found a kitten who needs a home. We'll get her in November...I can't wait! My whole life, I've wanted a cat, and I'm finally getting one. DP is really excited too - I wouldn't have even tried this without making sure he was on board. He already has a name picked out for her.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chunky banana bread?

That's what's in the oven right now. It's what you get when you're too lazy to find the potato masher. The batter tastes good, though.

I'm moving along on my cowl; I had a lot of time to work on it today, when I was waiting for tech support to convert my database. 2 1/2 hours! Now I'll be working on two machines in two different rooms until I finish the upgrades.

I found a gorgeous cardigan on Ravelry, but the pattern isn't out yet. I can't wait for it to come out - I think it would look good in the tweed I have running around...the tweed that's been knitted into about three cardigans so far!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Italian Chain?

I'm trying out a new-to-me ribbing: Italian chain ribbing. It looks great in the stitch dictionary picture, but we'll see how it looks actually knit up.

I'm about a quarter through the latest Song of Ice and Fire book, and I'm both happy and sad. Happy that I have it left to read, sad that I'll probably have to wait five years for the next book! It's kind of like Auel's Earth's Children series. If you come to it late, you have a backlog to read, and it makes the waiting less painful.

I think that it's chipmunks that have been eating my tomatoes - I overheard someone on the bus talking about chipmunks eating their tomatoes, and the signs point to the same MO. I'm not sure what to do about it...I don't really want to kill them, but I want to be able to eat at least some of the things I'm growing! I think those fiends must also be eating my green beans.

I have to ply up the three singles I spun for the Camelot-along, and then I'll have all my Gawain and the Greene Knight yarn ready. Instead of making up my own pattern, I may just make another Eva shawl. It's plain, but I wear it all the time.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Beet it

So, I love beets, but I haven't done much with them besides pickling and roasting. However, I have concocted an amazing beet soup twice, so it's not a fluke :)

I sliced beets into pennies, then sauteed them in coconut oil. When they're half done, I add the chopped beet greens and a bunch of basil (or dill), and cook that down until the greens are wilted. Then I top it up with beef broth and add about a teaspoon of black pepper. Simmer it until the beets are done, and you have a delicious - and blood red - soup that goes great with crackers or bread. Yum!

I'm currently up in the air about what I should be knitting. I have a shawl on the needles that's going slowly, so I think I may need to whip up something small just to keep my spirits up. I bought a skein of cormo/silk/alpaca from Foxfire Fibers with my last sheep shares box, so I may knit that into a cowl/neckwarmer. It's gorgeous yarn, so I have to do something worthwhile with it. I also need to knit another baby cardigan...I'm thinking of tiny tea leaves, but I'm not certain about it.

The babies wore the hats I made for them home from the hospital, and they seemed to be a hit. Cotton, while not my fave to work with, was just right for this application. Here's a pic, sans babies:


They worked up fast and were fun to knit.

The reason I need to knit a second cardigan is that I finished the first for one of the twins - the whirligig shrug. It knit up really well:

shrug front

My sister thinks it's cute, which is all that matters!

The reading mitts also worked out:

winter mitts

They feel so nice to wear, I wish I could keep them.

The shawl is done, and DP thought it would work just right for a witch/wise woman:


I've been on a roll, which probably means a lull for a bit - with all the work coming up in the next few weeks, I probably won't have much time to think.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nieces and knitting

My sister had her twins on the 19th - hooray! They're two little cuties, emphasis on little. We've been going over there every couple of days to help out, mainly by playing with my older niece so she doesn't feel left out.

I finished the fingerless gloves, and I wish that I didn't have to give them away. They're long enough on the arm to give you support, and not too long on the hand, so you can actually type or knit with them on.

I also finished the little shrug. It's just adorable! It's soaking now, but I should be able to get a picture of it tomorrow before it goes on it's merry way.

Now the only thing left to do is the godswood shawl. I've been trying to figure out exactly how I'm going to do this thing, and I'm still not sure. Now my plan is to work from the bottom point upwards, starting with brown and moving towards green. The question is still obscure or obvious? Should I actually make a tree looking thing, or should it be more subtle. I may go with obvious, at least to start. I only have 400 yards, so it's not like it will take all that long once I decide it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dang stress

When I'm stressed out, I carry the stress up in my shoulders and neck. Every few months, I get a stress attack, and basically can't turn my head to one side or another because everything is too tight.

Well, I got home from work yesterday and went to take a shower. When I tilted my head back to start washing the shampoo out of my hair - bang! Stress bomb. I now can't turn my head to the left or right, and my left shoulder is pretty much useless. It's been crazy the past few days, and my sister is going to have her twins any day now, so I know where my stress is coming from. The only thing is that there's nothing to be done about it except not get stressed out. Blah!

I'm working on a pair of fingerless gloves and a top for a little girl right now, but I don't know how much I'll be able to knit on them. Ditto for spinning. I need to get inspired again - I may take out my rubbermaid totes and spread the stash out to see what speaks to me. I have so many options - maybe that's part of the problem?

I also want to write up some of the patterns I have running around on scraps of paper. If nothing else, I'd be able to make them again!

In food news, DP has become more amenable to making things on the grill. He's a good griller, but he doesn't like to waste coals. However, he's become an artist with chicken, and this may be the chink in his armor. He fired up the grill for a single chicken breast yesterday! They are so delicious the way he makes them - just salt and pepper, nothing fancy, but you can barely wait for them to cool before you chomp them!

Who knows...maybe by tomorrow I'll have two more nieces!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kummel, anyone?

I had a delicious drink last night - 1oz Kummel, 1oz vodka, topped up with tonic in a rocks glass. Marvelous!

The rug has been duly fulled and dried; now I need to dye it and put a binding on the edges. Sigh.

Chucked out the baby vest; it just wasn't working and wasn't any fun. What to do?

Got a present from Jake - Game of Thrones! I'm so excited to read it, you have no idea :)

I also got my period today, and am ultra depressed. Like I always say, I'm not going to kill myself, but I really want to.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tour de fleece already?

Wow - it's already July! I'm hoping that the TdF will get me off my duff and onto my spinning chair. I really want to finish spinning up that three ply.

In other news, the shawl is done being blocked and looks great. The other little item I'm working on is still just ribbing :)

The fan in my bedroom is stuck on high, but since it's a ceiling fan and it's the summer time, I don't want to turn it off. My eyes and nose are not thanking me for sleeping underneath it.

Is there anything cooler than cutting cloth off a loom? I have a rigid heddle loom, and I don't do any fancy patterns, but when I cut the warp at then end of a weaving project, I feel so powerful! Like I was telling DP, I have the tools and the ability to make him clothing, should we end up in a post-apocalyptic war zone. I am woman!

Now, this woman has to figure out how to full the cloth without ruining it :)

Happy Saturday!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Spin great yarn with this one weird tip

I was reading the back of Respect the Spindle, and thought of that ad. Really, the best way to get better at spinning is - wait for it - to practice! I know that when I was spindling more often, I was able to whip up a two ply sock yarn like no one's business. Now that I've been using my wheel more, it's a lot harder.

I have the single ply, the two ply, and two of the three plies for the three ply done. I need to buckle down and spin up the last 3/4 ounce, but it may have to wait until tomorrow. (I'm almost done with the plain part of my shawl, and I want to get to the edging.) I'm excited to see how the three ply turns out - it's been a while since I've done a three-bobbin three ply, as opposed to navajo ply. I hope the effect of round-flat-round shows up when I knit the three yarns. I may have a motif for at least the neck of the shawl. I found an eyelet pattern that kind of looks like a double bladed axehead, but the decreases don't emphasize the eyelets. I think if I move the decreases to the outside of the pattern, it will look more axehead-ish.

Sadly, my allergies are in full force and I have to keep stopping spinning or knitting every few minutes to sneeze or blow my nose. Because of where I am in my cycle, I can't take allergy medicine right now, so I'm just miserable. Blech!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nel Sole

I got my wine, and we drank it yesterday with a homemade pizza, crostini and a movie from the 60's starring Al Bano. The wine is Al Bano's Platone, 2002. Delicious, and goes really well with food. It has a kind of woody flavor: woody, but not oaky, if that makes any sense. Velvety smooth, with an unidentifiable fruit flavor. We think it's tart cherry, as opposed to sweet cherry. A great purchase. I only wish I could get it in town!

Currently, I have one shawl, one sock, and two sleeves on the needles. I'm also darning a pair of DP's socks, but I just have to finish the toe and I'm done. The sock is the second of my diamond waistcoat socks, which I would like to just finish already, and the sleeves are to Uinen, my Sprossling cardigan. I've just stalled out on those two projects, so the shawl is a nice change of pace. It's Cladonia, by Kirsten Kapur.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Know ye not Agincourt?

Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell is one of the better books I've read recently. It's everything Gates of Fire wanted to be. GoF (to me) went too heavy on the "these guys were great soldiers, but just guys" shtick. I don't need to know everyone's nickname, with a ridiculous story for each one. That kind of thing smacks of effort, as they say. It tries too hard, and I couldn't get lost in the book because I could feel the author thinking.

Bernard Cornwell is a good writer, and I love his Richard Sharpe series, but I hadn't actually read anything else by him. I saw a recommendation for this book, from the same place that recommended me GoF, and I decided to give it a try. Awesome. Lots of grit, but not fake grit. Slimy churchmen, but good ones too. I'm only to the battle of Harfleur, but I love this book.


In knitting news, I have my swap partner assignment and have begun the project. I really hope she likes it - it's in her queue - and I think I might make a few other smallish things too. Depends on time. I'm not quite sure what to do about extras though...I don't know if I have any yarn she'd like, and it's hot to ship something chocolate. Well, I have time to figure it out.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ply me a river

Well, I've decided to go traditional three-ply with the cormo/mohair. I found all of my bobbins, so this shouldn't be a problem.

It's pretty steamy outside - and inside! - so my interest in spinning or doing anything with fiber is waning. I am darning DP's socks, and hopefully I'll have them all finished by the fall. It's not that far away! Halfway through June is pure craziness.

I haven't been able to pick out a pattern for my shawl yet. I still want to incorporate the pentangle, and of course I need to work in something axe-like. I want to make the thing interesting to knit, but not so difficult that I can't memorize it and have to keep referring to the pattern. Yargh! Maybe I should just ball some yarn up and start swatching already.

In other news, I have a case of wine coming my way from CA. In researching an awesome Italian pop singer, I found out that he has a winery. Sadly, all six liquor stores I called did not carry it, and didn't seem interested in ordering it. Outside of Italy, it's distributed through a company in Germany, and I wasn't about to pay $76 to ship a bottle of wine that might be garbage. Then I came across Beltramo's! If you haven't checked this place out, please do. Great prices, inexpensive and fast shipping, and a good selection.

Now I'm off to decant my coffee concentrate!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Carding it is

I almost can't believe it: I have been able to successfully blend with my drum carder! Ever since I bought it, I've had no end of troubles, and last year I put it into the top of the closet to forget about it.

Well, with my scheme to blend the sheep shares fiber with the polwarth, I realized I couldn't blend it all by hand and finish it with any enthusiasm left to actually spin it. So, I broke out the ol' drum carder. It's a Louet Roving Carder, which was all I could afford when I decided to buy a drum carder. Cruising around youtube, I discovered a video of someone with my exact carder. Using the video, I've been able to blend up the two fibers - no thick spots, and the only neps are the ones that were in the fiber to begin with! I'm so happy.

I've adjusted the scheme a bit. I'm going to try some number magic on the shawl: a singles of the polwarth, a two-ply of the blend, and a three-ply of the cormo/mohair. I've carded up the blend and spun one bobbin of it. It spins so smoothly... I think I'm going to go with a navajo ply for the three-ply, mostly because I don't know if I can find all my bobbins. We'll see.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Weather or not

I have the day off today, and it's supposed to be 91 - but t-storms throughout the day. I need to get the pool summerized (is that a word?) but every time I go to do it, it starts raining, or I have somewhere to go, or I have to work. Blargh. Yesterday would have been perfect, but DP was babysitting at my sister's all day and I was at work. After work, we went over to my sister's for a cookout, so we didn't do anything last night - not that I would have wanted to anyway. I hate the dusk mosquito swarm that comes out every evening, and I won't willingly go into it. All I need is some dang sunshine today, and I can get the pool cleaned and filled. Of course, it will only be in the 60s for the next week, but I can't control that. Dang weather.

In other news, I got the fence up around my garden. Thank goodness! The rabbit's had munched the strawberry plant down to one leaf, and they had their sights set on my other veggies. I got the fence up on Saturday, and on Monday, I saw the rabbit hoard descend. They were all around the garden, but couldn't get in...though one enterprising fellow stuck his nose through the chicken wire and munched a few leaves that were up against it. Hopefully they won't have gotten in when I go to check it today.

Knitting wise, I wasn't able to find another cardigan to make, so I started spinning up the green/yellow Polwarth I got from Briar Rose fibers. It's beautiful stuff, and my plan is to spin up three ounces of it, then blend two ounces with my cormo/mohair roving from Sheep Shares, then spin two ounces of the Sheep Shares alone, and make a shawl out of it. The Folklore and Fairytales group theme for the summer is Camelot, so I'm thinking Gawain and the Green Knight. I just need to come up with my motifs and hope I have enough yarn :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Knock out, indeed

Guess what happened the day after my last blog post? I took a step out of the bus and threw my back out! It is the most pain I can remember ever being in, and I am still not healed up, though I can go to work. I was out for 5 days, flat on my back, and I can't lift anything over 5 pounds or bend at the waist. ARGH! It's not fun to have time off work when you have to lie on the couch, flat on your back, with a pillow under your knees.

So, I haven't gotten much knitting done. I did sew buttons on the Haymaker, though I will be replacing them with special buttons I ordered from Etsy. I'm very happy with the sweater; it looks great on me (color and fit) and weighs almost nothing. I wore it to work on Friday and to my sister's on Saturday, and it held up well in both venues.

Now for a look:



haymaker front

I'm so happy with it! My confidence is up, so I really want to make another cardigan or something great while I have this drive. We shall see...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Knock out!

The cardigan is done, save for a blocking and buttons! It's soaking in the washer right now.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Movin' right along

I'm done with the body to the underarms, one sleeve and part of the other sleeve! I'm really enjoying making this, though I might dye it once I finish it and get to try it on in the sunlight. Laceweight held double gives such a nice hand in the fabric.

I don't know what we'll do this weekend, but we're planning a fun dinner for Friday night with my sister and her family. Whatever else we have, I'd really like a good beer. I've been craving a good beer for a while, and PBR just isn't cutting it :)

I still have my diamond waistcoat socks to finish, but this cardigan took over my bus knitting, and it's hard to do beaded knitting on the bus anyway.


Sunday, April 24, 2011


Even with knitting in hand, I hate waiting. Lately, I've been too edgy to knit much...I don't know what it is, but I start knitting and then can't concentrate on it. I'm preoccupied, but I'm not sure by what.

I signed up to test another pattern - a women's cardigan made with laceweight! Don't worry; it's held double :) The yarn I plan to use is a bit lighter weight than called for, so I'm waiting to find out what the gauge is so I can swatch. I have lots of different laceweights just running around, and I think this will be a great way to use them and maybe get something for myself out of the deal. Plus, the deadline will ensure that I actually make the thing.

With Passover and Easter coinciding this weekend, I get Monday and Tuesday off just when I need it. I've been painting rooms in my sister's house on my days off, but I think that I won't need to paint anything this coming week. A nice little rest. DP has a meeting downtown tomorrow, so I'll either come along with him and hang out at a coffee shop (and plug the meter), or stay home and work in the garden. I have to see if my poor crushed berry canes have done any sprouting at all. A big birch branch fell on them sometime this winter and broke most of them.

Well, I'm off to whip up a potato gratin and a chickpea salad for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fashion plate

Navy pants, brown socks and black shoes - I am totally fashionable.

Still working on the Waistcoat socks; I decided to try one sock using the crochet hook method to bead, and it's slow going. I also spent all of Sunday at my sister's house painting, so I didn't get any knitting done, except for some darning. DP's socks really needed it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Beady and bready

DP took me to the store today to get beads - hooray! I got silver, gold, bronze, green and red, which I think will make a marvelous waistcoat :) My plan is to put half of each color of bead in a bowl, and thread them onto the yarn. Hopefully, I'll have enough...and the back of the leg won't be too stiff with all the beading. I'm excited to try this out, and if it looks anything like my imagination, I'll be very happy.

I also just pulled a batch of b-bread out of the oven. I used this recipe, but I swapped out rum for the bourbon. One, I don't have any bourbon in the house, and two, I love rum and bananas together. Frankly, I love rum in anything, but that's beside the point :)

I just need to finish the foot and heel of the second Diamond Waistcoat sock, then I can cut the yarn and bead it up. Goodness, that banana bread smells lovely!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Little bunny's getting fat on bread and honey

I'm eating buttered bread with honey and drinking tea, and it's raining outside. Hooray!

I just finished my March SKA socks, and I love them:


That Eidos yarn is amazing. I started out not liking it, but it won me over. Great stitch definition, nice deep color, and it stands abuse well. I carried it with me on the bus and over at my sister's house for a month, and it's none the worse for wear.

Now I can concentrate on my Smaug socks...but I really need to get to the fabric store to pick up the beads for the sock backs.

I also had a nice meeting today with a woman doing a project for a Folklore class. She needed to interview knitters, and I thought it would be fun to help a fellow knitter (and folklore lover) out. It was! We had a great talk, and even kept on talking after she had gotten the footage and recordings that she needed. It was fun to talk with another person close to my own age about knitting and fiber crafts - especially a real live person :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's a Yorkshire kind of day

It's cold and rainy, and I have a cup of Scottish breakfast steeping. I'm just about to sit down and read Wuthering Heights - it's just that kind of day.

DP has been very sick the past week - stomach sick, fever, chills - but he seems to be a bit better. I'm letting him sleep, and the rain on the roof makes good white noise for him.

I'm excited for the next mystery sock clue; here's what I have so far:


I really like how this yarn is knitting up. I wasn't sure about it at first, because it has a firm hand, but I like the stitch definition. We'll see how it wears.

I'm also working on my Smaug socks, which have now been dubbed Diamond Waistcoat socks. Here's the toe:


I still need the beads, but maybe I can get my sister to take me to the store sometime. DP's in no condition to go anywhere.

I've also been working on the Uinen sweater, and I'm into the sleeves:


I've finished both fronts and the back,


so I really need to get these sleeves done. I may not actually put buttons on it, depending on the fit. Time will tell...

Once DP wakes up, I'm going to make a seedcake, but I haven't decided whether I want caraway or cardamom...decisions, decisions.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Socks and redecorating

I'm working on the March mystery socks for the SKA KAL, and I'm really enjoying how they're looking. The Sanguine Gryphon Eidos is really nice yarn, once I got over its high twist. The next clue comes out tomorrow, and I can hardly wait :)

I'm also working up a pattern for some lacy socks inspired by the Folklore and Fairytales RAL/KAL of The Hobbit. The colorway of the yarn is Smaug, and I'm really excited to start working on my pattern. The problem is that I need to find my third circular needles in US0...two circs are being used for the mystery socks. Sigh.

In other news, I reorganized my craft room. Once we took out the couch, I had a lot more space, but things still felt cluttered. I got a new desk (only $30!) and put it together this weekend - I love the open feeling of the room now. Lots of floor space for sewing or blocking, lots of wall space for pictures or nothing, and just a great feeling. I spent about an hour tonight working on my map of Beleriand, and it was so nice to be able to put it on the floor and work with my pastels without having to move a couch or trunk out of the way. This openness won't last however; we're going to put a futon in this room so it can be a guest room for when my family members are over at the holidays. I'm enjoying it while it lasts, though!

Well, my focaccia just came out of the oven, so I'd better look to it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Let them wear socks, and let them eat cake

I'm trying yet another yellow cake recipe - dp loves boxed yellow cake with chocolate frosting, but I refuse to buy boxed cake mix. I've tried various butter and oil cakes, but nothing is quite right. Currently, I have Smitten Kitchen's yellow cake in the oven - most of her recipes are great, so I have high hopes for this one. I don't know what to do about the frosting though...dp didn't like the buttercream I made last time, though that might be a review of my skills rather than the recipe :)

I finished the Nibblers socks - hooray! Here they are in they're poorly lit glory:


and the detail shot:


I finished the second sock in about 5 1/2 days, so I'm only a little bit behind schedule. I'm currently working on the March mystery sock for the SKA sockdown on Ravelry. I'm happy to be knitting down the stash - though if I use up my sock yarn, I'll only have sweater weights left. It's likely though that I'll top up the sock yarn, if I could only get someone to take me to the yarn store!

I also finally got some cardigan pictures off the camera:

Side one:

oatmeal cardi1

Side two:

oatmeal cardi2

I love that it's reversible, and I love both sets of buttons. Now that my sister and my best friend are expecting, I think I may have to whip up a few more of these for them. So cute, and so quick. Though if either of them is having boys, I may not go with this cardi - it is a bit delicate looking.

I still have two half finished cardigans for myself sitting in my WIP pile, but I don't have the energy to work on them. I think I need a nice vacation, so I can concentrate on just relaxing, at which point I'll be able to work on the sweaters. I need to have either a certain state of mind, or a really hard deadline :)

Well, off to pick out a frosting recipe...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's been a while

Two weeks? What the heck happened?

Things are completely insane at work with the holiday coming up and the large freezer defunct. I'm getting various freezer donations, but it's like tetris over here.

I was happy to see "Shrove Tuesday Recipes" when I opened up allrecipes.com today - the historian in me always gets a kick out of that kind of thing.

I still haven't finished even the first Nibblers sock. I haven't been doing much knitting lately, due to some issues, and I can really tell that my mood is bluer because of it.

I ended up making a baby blanket for my cousin's shower - just a flannel one, with little pictures of birds in blue, brown and pink. I love those colors together! DP was actually jealous of the blanket, and if he'd been a baby, he would have stolen it for himself :)

My sister finds out in two weeks the sexes of her twins. I'm pretty excited, because once I know the sexes, I can start on the projects. DP will probably be annoyed at the craftosity, but c'est la vie. I can't wait! My hope is for one girl and one boy (that's what I hoped for when my mom was pregnant with twins, but she ended up with my brothers - sigh!).

I'd really like to work up my forest of Brethil socks for Ravelry. They're pretty easy, and I think people might enjoy making them. At the very least, I'd like another pair for myself :) Why don't I seem to be able to just sit down and pattern write?

Back to it!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bills stink

I got the bill for my bloodwork in January - $1200! My insurance actually did something to help me this time, so I only am responsible for $500 of it, but come on! I have another procedure next week, and it's going to cost almost $2000. I called my insurance company (since the last time I had something big, they covered 95 cents of it - literally!), but the person on the phone would not tell me how much of it they'd cover. She could only tell me it's a covered service. Bah!

In other news, I've been playing around with Calibre, and tried converting one of my patterns with it. Worked like a charm, except I forgot to make my charts into pictures, so they came up weird looking. This opens up a whole new world of things to put on my Kindle. I wonder if I need to hack pdfs in order to convert them...

I haven't had much time for knitting this week, so I just finished turning the heel on the first of DP's socks. I think I'm liking how they're turning out, but I'll need to knit further up the leg to be sure.

I got the new Interweave Knits yesterday; le sigh. Nothing in it really grabbed me and said "make me now!", which is kind of a bummer. I have the itch to make things, but I just don't know what.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Thank goodness for heavy sock yarn

I found two half balls of STR mediumweight, and I think I have enough to make a pair of socks for DP. I might just go with tube socks, using that ubiquitous spiraling rib pattern.

I'm still plugging away on the Nibblers socks; I'm finally to the gusset increases, so at least there's something interesting to do :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A depressing discovery

I've found out the hard way that the only socks that don't develop holes in a few months are ones with nylon. Not even silk or bamboo work. Almost all of DP's newer socks have holes in them, because I've been making him nice soft socks with pure merino. I should have realized that they'd never last, but I let myself be fooled.

The good thing is that the socks I'm currently making for him are in a wool/nylon blend, so they should stand up to wear. The bad thing is that, like almost all his socks, they are 9 stitches and 12 rows to the inch, so they won't be done anytime soon. I have to get him hooked on STR I think, because the only holes those socks get are from severe injury - catching them on a nail, accidentally cutting them with a scissors. Blargh!

I might have to whip up a thicker pair for him in between other projects, just to take the edge off, you understand :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The socks are done, long live the socks

I finished the mystery socks on January 31:


They are nice and warm, and in shoes don't look too bad :)

I started another pair on February 1 - Socks for His Nibs, made out of the bright orange yarn I mentioned before. I wanted to do the pattern because I want to get more comfortable with flap and gusset heels, especially toe up style. I'd like to get to the point where I don't need a pattern or need to look at a reference; basically, to be as comfortable with flap and gusset as I am with short row.

I decided on a little cardigan with the cashsoft, and finished it pretty quickly. I still don't have buttons for it though, since I'm not sure any of the buttons in my box really work with the oatmeal color of the yarn. It is very soft and snuggly though! Now I need to decide whether I want to go with socks or a blanket for the accompanying gift.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Onwards and sideways

I've been sooooo tired lately. I really need a good vacation with a lot of sun, close proximity to yarn stores, and several really good books. Since I've never had a vacation like that, I don't know where it would be, but I want it :)

I'm doing some swatching with the cashsoft, but I'm not sure on the needle size. It doesn't help that I'm a super loose knitter and need to go down a needle size or two for every project.

I'm worried about my youngest brother; my sister told me that he broke up with his SO, has overdrawn his bank account, and is delinquent on his loans. I hate that he's so far away, and that I can't do anything to help him. I wish he lived by us - it might be less fun, but I think he'd get some much needed stability and security in his life. I know he can take care of himself, but I wish I could do something.

I know I should wait for the patterns from the Art and Sole sock club before I start another pair of socks, but I might just have to dive into a pair for DP. I'm thinking of coffee colored socks with red heels and toes, and maybe of incorporating some slip stitch action (thanks to this month's SKA challenge, I'm interested in trying more). I also have a nice skein of bright orange-y yarn with some nylon content (thank goodness!) that I might use in some pattern calling for a semisolid. It's so bright; I know DP will just love it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I fought the law, and it was a tie

I had to go to court a few days ago to contest a snow citation for work. I got them to drop the citation, but I still had to pay for the city workers to come and spread about 6 oz of sand on the sidewalk. Blargh.

I had a relatively good appointment at the doctor; he seems like a very nice person, but I was crying all over the place, so he probably thinks I'm crazy. Whatever - as long as he can help me, I don't care. He wants me to go in for an hsg in a couple of weeks, which is kind of scary, since I've heard it can hurt really badly. We'll see.

I'm halfway done with the foot of the second SKA sock, so I should finish by the end of the month with no problem. I have to say, these are some of the ugliest socks I've ever made - I thought the colors would go well together, but in the final equation, I think they don't jive. DP hates them, which is good in a way, since he won't be stealing them like all the other socks I make :) My mom and sister like the combo though, so maybe I'm missing something. I dunno.

I'm happy that I've worked the socks up in about a month, because I'd really like to make a pair every other month this year. Like all my beginning of the year schemes, we'll see how this one goes, but it's not a bad start. I have enough yarn to make twenty pairs of socks, and I joined the Art and Sole pattern only sock club this year, so I should have some foot fodder coming down the pike. I also have two gift certificates to a local yarn store, but I need someone to take me there. Since my sister is tired all the time with her pregnancy and DP doesn't like yarn stores, I don't know what to do. Cab?

I'm currently trying to figure out what to make for an upcoming baby shower. I have four weeks, so I'm thinking a cardigan and a pair of socks. Since I have this issue of owning a million patterns but never wanting to make any of them when the chips are down, I bought this (Ravelry link) yoked cardigan pattern by Hannah Fettig. I think I'll use that cashsoft, since it's machine washable, and make a little tiny sweater with it. If I have time, and the inclination, I might also work up a blanket.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Whatta day

It has been snowing all day long - sometimes heavy, sometimes, less heavy - I'm so happy I didn't have to work today.

I spent the day working on my second mystery sock for SKA on Ravelry, catching up on my blogs, baking bread and reading romance novels. Sigh.

Here's a pic of the first sock:

jan mocks leg heel

Yes, I know it's blurry, but it's the best I could do :) Really - I took six pictures, and this was the best one. Eeep! I'm about a third of the way through the second sock, which will end at the end of the gusset (the next clue isn't out until next week). This is the first time I've done mosaic, and I have to say that I enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would. I love colorwork, but I'm not often in the mood to have to carry both yarns around - this makes that problem moot.

I finished the sweater/dress that I was test knitting:


I love how it turned out, and I'm going to give it to DP's sister's daughter. I think it will be a dress for her now and a sweater for her later, but it's just so cute I can hardly stand it.

I baked two loaves of bread today: a whole wheat sandwich loaf and a baguette. I use the recipes from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Bread Every Day, which I encourage everyone to run out and buy if you are interested in making bread. The two things I've brought away from the book that I think can be used elsewhere are the overnight rise and the stretch and fold. The overnight rise gives you a lot more leeway on when you make the bread, and it helps the flavors of the bread develop so much more than the usual countertop rise. The stretch and fold lets you make a dough with a higher hydration and less traditional kneading. You knead your dough for a bit, then stretch and fold it onto itself by quarters. You let it sit for ten minutes and do it again, usually three or four times total. It's an amazing technique. Sadly, I have to let my bread cool, so I haven't been able to dig in yet, but I have designs on the baguette at least for dinner. DP also mentioned that he'd like roti tonight, so I made end up making 3 different breads today.

I also got a bunch of pictures off my camera and onto flickr, so I can prove that I actually knit something during Christmas. Behold, my juerga mitts:

forest juerga


golden juerga

A coworker got the green ones and DP claimed the yellow ones.

And some One Scarves:

blue scarf

bronze one scarf

cherry cordial scarf

I love that pattern - obvious, I know.

Finally, two keyhole scarves:

golden scarves

Again, another great pattern from Anne Hanson. She's amazing.

I still need to make myself some more lip balms; I'm totally out, since I had to give several away to visitors who left their own chapsticks at home :) I need to finish filling out the h&p stuff for my doctor's appointment tomorrow (new fertility clinic), and I have a couple more chapters to read. Finally, if anyone knows of a great pattern for Rowan Cashsoft 4 ply (the fingering weight), let me know. I'm thinking baby stuff, since it's soft and machine washable, but I'm not sure which baby stuff. All the babies I'm waiting for the birth of are due April through August.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Deja vu?

I ended up giving my Juerga mitts to my sister on Sunday - she really liked them, and I felt like she needed a pick me up. With her pregnancy and my 2 1/2 yr old niece, plus moving into a new house, things have been pretty hectic for her.

I am working on the mystery socks for SKA, and I'm actually having fun! It's mosaic, which I have not done, and I'm using up yarn that I've had for over two years, so I feel virtuous. I did have to do the cuffs over because the STR lightweight I thought I had turned out to be STR mediumweight. I was using a 2.5mm and had to go down to a 2.0mm, otherwise the things would have been enormous. I'm halfway through the second clue on my first sock.

I'm also test knitting a sleeveless sweater dress like thingy for someone on Ravelry. When I saw it, I thought it was too gorgeous to be denied, and I had too many little girls I'd want to make it for. Since I couldn't wait for the pattern to be finished and set out for sale, I had to ask if I could test it. I'm using Louisa Harding silk/wool blend singles, dk weight. Exciting!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Almost there

I've finished the feather and fan section on the second of my "for me" juerga mitts, so I have only to knit the double eyelet rib and I'll be done with the pair. I love these, and I'm happy that I'll have a pair for myself :) The squash colored pair I'd been making for myself was appropriated by DP, and with all the Christmas knitting I had to do, I didn't get to make another set for myself.

I'm also trying to decide if I should make the mystery socks in the Sock Knitters Anonymous KAL this month. It looks interesting, and I said that I wanted to get back into sock knitting...we'll see how I feel later tonight. The cuff looks really neat, and I have some heavier weight sock yarn that would let me make the smaller stitch count in my size.

Once all of my house guests are gone, I really want to go through my craft room and rearrange it. DP wants it to be a combination craft room/library, so that the library can be a guest bedroom, but I have a small couch in my craft room that will need to go if we want to put four more bookcases in. I've not been up to moving furniture lately, and with all our guests over the past month, I didn't really have the opportunity. Next week though, I won't have any more excuses.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Professor!

Today is the birthday of JRR Tolkien, and fans all over the world raise a glass to his memory. Right now, I'm in the middle of a good deep mug of cider, but I'll probably raise another toast in ale later tonight :)

When I think of all the different things I've read, and all the ways they have influenced me, JRRT's works are some of the most important. In almost all that I do, I can find reflections to the Silm, or the LOTR, or even The Hobbit. I love his style, his stories, his choice of words, his imagery. If I got nothing else from that long ago, ill-fated relationship in college, I got introduced to Tolkien and his world. Thank you, Brian!

In other news, I did finish most of my Christmas gifts, but I didn't finish the mittens. I had some...trouble...so I'm still working on them. The cowl I made for my brother was too orange, so I made him a green one with Madelinetosh and Cascade 220. He loved the green cowl, but also liked the orange one, so he got both! My other brother liked the scarf I made for him; it was a heathered navy Cascade 220. He actually wore it to work, so I think he really liked it and wasn't just being nice. My aunt and grandma liked their keyhole scarves, and I think my other aunt and cousin probably liked theirs as well; at least, I didn't hear about how they hated them.

Now that 2011 is here, I really want to crank out some more socks for me, DP, and maybe some of the little nieces and nephews I have running around. I do want to finish my Uinen, and I saw a gorgeous sweater on Knitspot that I'll have to make for myself or DP as soon as Anne publishes the pattern. Last year I made several cardigans, but none of them were perfect. This year, I'd like to make one cardigan that fits really well, and one pullover that I can wear with no undershirt (if I'm so inclined).