American Wool Series

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Birthday!!!

Today is the Little One's birthday. She's now officially 1! I can't believe how quickly the year has flown. We had an afternoon birthday party with family and cupcakes. I knit her a dress and it fits like a dream. (Dale of Norway book #208 in Dale of Norway Baby Ull, size 0 & size 1 needles) Her favorite gift is a xylophone which she banged away on for the majority of the party. Or chewed on the mallets. She's also entranced by the little accordion and her new set of wheels (Skuut). We had so many well wishes from so many people, thank you so much!!! I can't imagine a better little person to spend my time with and I'm excited to see what happens in the next year! Happy Birthday, Boo!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thanksgiving Redux

Tonight is Thanksgiving #2 as my first one was, well, unsatisfactory. A bit too stressful, a bit too tardy, and not enough conviviality to make up for it. So the Man and I are having Sister-in-law over for a veggie dinner re-do. My crust is in the fridge chilling before it becomes pear pie and all the fixings are prepped and ready to go. To share in the redux love here is my awesome vegan gravy recipe, great for vegans, veggies, and everybody else too!

Awesome Vegan Gravy

2 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
1 1/2 cups water (you can use stock but I think it makes the gravy too salty)
2 Tablespoons tahini

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the cornstarch and soy sauce until there are no lumps. Add the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens, stirring frequently. (The stirring is really important, if you don't stir frequently enough you'll get gross cornstarch lumpy-burny stuff at the bottom.) Remove from heat and add tahini, stirring until a consistent color and thickness is achieved. This gravy thickens a lot if left standing so you can do it a while beforehand so it gets nice and thick and then reheat and serve.

We've also tried this with the addition of sauteed mushrooms which is quite yummy and adds a little more texture. Enjoy over mashed potatoes, turkey or turkey substitute, biscuits, and anything else that needs some gravy love.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Non-Turkey Rundown

After all the talk the past few days about Thanksgiving food and how good or bad it can be, or actually was, I thought I'd give a rundown of Turkey substitutes. This is the time of year where vegetarians usually get short shrift. My first veggie Thanksgiving, 12 years ago, I had dry vegetarian meatballs, no-gravy potatoes since there was turkey in the gravy, rolls, and green beans. My pie consumption made up for the lack of a tasty main dish but it was disappointing nonetheless. Since then I've tasted most meat analogs (appetizing descriptor, no?) and I've definitely got my likes and dislikes.

Tofurkey - the most famous to non-veggies and perhaps the least appetizing. It's got a tough "skin" on the outside and is rubbery and flavorless on the inside. Not too bad if you have absolutely no alternative.

Field Roast - Local to Seattle, and perhaps hard to find elsewhere, this comes in medium sausage-like packaging or a larger "celebration roast" portion. Made from a blend of grains and legumes, it has a nice texture and flavor. This one is best steamed on the stove top rather than baked since it can dry out quickly. It is also available in sandwich slices and regular sausages (we like the ones with fennel).

Quorn Turk'y Roast - My absolute favorite. You can find it in the freezer section and it comes in a fat sausage shape. This one has the best texture and flavor. It's made from mycoprotein which is derived, somehow, from mushrooms. It's also soy-free. It can go straight from the freezer into a hot oven and is done in about 45 minutes. My Goth ex-roomates, all voracious meat eaters, loved this and declared it "Just as good as turkey". This brand also carries cutlets, chik'n pieces, ground "beef" and a whole lot more.

I think those are the most common ones I see in my supermarket although there are probably more out there. Sadly, most all contain gluten, soy, or eggs or a combination of those ingredients so it's hard to find one for people with food allergies. Family gatherings can be difficult in more ways than just the food, I've found that telling my hosts waaay beforehand that I'm a vegetarian allows for menu mediation and I always offer to bring my own main dish and gravy. It relieves some of the stress from the host and I know I can at least eat something if not everything on the table.

I've got a kick-ass gravy recipe that I'll share in another post. It's gluten-free, lactose-free, and super duper tasty!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Furious Needles

The last few weeks have been really busy. I'm wrapping up my work-from-home job (one more day), watching the Little One walk around the house and soothing the many many tumbles she has, and knitting like a mad woman. I wasn't going to knit for many people for Christmas but dragging
Little One around feral holiday shoppers doesn't really sound that great. I busted out a pair of Evangeline in a day. Knit in Malabrigo Worsted these guys take very little yarn, I think the pattern calls for 80 yards, and knit up soo quick. I do an extra repeat of the cable pattern to make them a tad longer so I'm guessing ~100 yards total. I'm not sure of the color I got it as a partial skein from a swap at my knitting group.


I also knit up a Theory Shawlette which is incredibly soft and beautiful. I'm already thinking about one for me! The cast on and subsequent 4 to 5 rows are a big huge pain in the rear but totally worth it. The cast on (backwards loop) makes a very nice finished edge to work from. I love the garter short rows in the Silky Malabrigo, they're so sproingy and texturey and everything garter should be. Oh, and the color is Plum Blossom. Pretty!
Last night I cast on for the Bodhi Mittens (and Fingerless Mitts) for me! Despite the number of mitts I've knit they all seem to have disappeared. Gifted? Lost? Dunno. We got the new Malabrigo Twist yarn at the shop recently and I thought it would be perfect for these. The pattern is pretty straightforward. I like the elongated stitches that make the flowery-looking things. The yarn is awesome and has great stitch definition. I finished up all but the thumb of the first one last night. My only issue is that the first one is fairly long. I'm not going to frog back but if I knit these again I would stop at a pattern row 8, just after a fancy stitch pattern row, and work either stockinette or seed stitch for a couple of rows before binding off. I don't mind the stockinette rolling at the fingers but I think seed stitch (which is on the cuff of the palm side) would make a more finished-looking edge. The color is Sealing Wax.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Caricia

My mini Caricia worked up beautifully and quickly and I have quite a bit of yarn left over. Blocking pictures never quite do it for me but they do show the pattern wonderfully. I really like that the upper border edging is knit as you go so there isn't any funky picking up or anything when you think you are finished. When you're done, you're done. Another fantastic thing about this is that the yarn did not rub off on my hands as I worked with it. I think that may be a first for me and my love of uber dark blues and it's a really really good thing. This is a mini shawl - just large enough to wrap around my neck and loop bandana-style to wear under my coat. I like this size, it gives all of the satisfaction of knitting lace triangles without the wearability issues of a larger shawl. If I use my knitting time to knit lace then I really want it to be wearable and not languish in the closet waiting for a "nice" enough reason to wear it. Plus it's a good size to use up all of that sock yarn stash that seems to be multiplying on its own. Isn't there some type of math equation that shows a correlation between the breeding rate of rabbits and the rate that sock stash seems to grow? If not, there should be, because even when I don't buy sock yarn for a while I go to my stash and I swear there's more of it. Really.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jay Blue


I'm finally back from the last round of vacation craziness. California was lovely and the weather? Oh, 70-ish most of the time I was there. Ate at my favorite place (the Buddhist Temple restaurant complete with working monastery) and hung out with my family and even got an evening sans Little One so I could hit up a midnight movie which I haven't done in forever. But I'm home and I have lots of knitting to share but my batteries in my camera are dead and I have to get some more before I can snap and upload.

I'm about 99.5% finished with NaKniSweMoDo with just a little bit of blocking and finishing left to do on the last sweater. I had started a little shawl called Caricia out of this gorgeous skein of Hazel Knits, lost it, found it again, and realized there was a mistake in the setup chart. I frogged and restarted and am halfway done with the main chart. Well, I have 4 out of 9 repeats done in any case. It's a pretty flower basket lace pattern and it works well with the deep color of my yarn. The yarn itself is awesome to work with and for once the blue is not rubbing off on my fingers.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Post-Birthday or Birthday Post?

So my birthday was on Saturday and I got to do some fun stuff with my BFF (hee) who is visiting for the week. We went and watched Where the Wild Things Are which is AMAZING!!!!!!! Great all around and I love the soundtrack. I didn't really feel that it was a movie for kids though, maybe the older kid crowd? It was emotionally intense even for me and I'm relatively grown up. Nickie cried and honked her schnoz which kept me from boo-hooing. Post movie we hit up my favorite (cheap) mani-pedi place and got our relaxation on. Not a bad way to spend an hour. Lunch at Panera Bread since we were in the area and I had a hankering for panini. Relaxation at home with the Little One and the Man. Dinner at my favorite fancy-pants vegetarian restaurant Carmelita and a bottle of Persecco later and we headed home for a little movie watching. Not a bad way to spend a birthday.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Yesterday's Goodness

Piroshky, Piroshky - flaky, buttery, potato-filled goodness. I ate two.
Experience Music Project - oral history room had awesome interviews with people like Michael Azerrad, Sleater-Kinney, Exene Cervenka, and more.
Science Fiction Museum - surprisingly good and I loved all of the Blade Runner items.
Dahlia Bakery - tasty iced tea, we didn't do treats since we were saving ourselves for....

SERIOUS PIE. Yes. I ate a very serious amount of pie. My fave was the chanterelle & truffled cheese pizza. Even better, they have happy hour!!! 3$ pints of Maritime Lager and 5$ mini pizzas. The mini pizzas are half the size of the regular pizzas and include all the flava-flaves from their regular menu.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Slackerdom

I am a total slacker. I keep writing posts in my head but not actually posting them. I have finished stuff to block (approximately 2 sweaters and a ton of mittens) and share with y'all but it seems like so much work to do it. My house is a wreck and I have company coming today! I've been waiting for my fridge to be completely devoid of anything resembling food before replenishing it. The extent of tidying that has gone on this week is minimal: bed made every day, bathroom cleaned, cloth diapers laundered. And why is this happening? I've been spending a lot of time working from home before I'm laid off the last week of October. Yeah, my 2 month stint turned into almost 18 months and while I'm not looking forward to losing that income I am excited about spending more time with my Little One. I'll be a real live stay at home mom. That is something that I never thought I would do or even be exciting about doing. But there it is.

I have been doing more socializing though. I went to my knitting group as usual on Monday and last night I went to Theo for a stitch & bitch with chocolate tasting and yarn from Earthues. They had some sample yarn that was just gorgeous and squishy and it made me want to snatch up the whole load and run for the door. I learned about natural dyes and worked on the Man's boring boring brown socks. After picking up some Ghost Chile Caramels I headed over to El Camino with Jessica where I proceeded to drink two very strong but tasty margaritas and eat some guac with plantain chips. !!! Easily more tasty than tortilla chips because they don't get soggy plus they hold a lot of guac and salsa. I'll definitely be heading back there, preferably by bus, so I can stuff myself full of deliciousness.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

Back from Kansas and all things Wizard of Oz, flat, and corn-filled. I had a great time with my family and it was actually relaxing. The high adult/kid ratio worked well in everyone's favor so I had a little time with my siblings sans myriad children. I loved meeting my nieces and my nephew. The Little One was a bit overwhelmed by the sudden immersion into a large and raucous household but it stood her well for playmates and socializing. An added bonus were the mirrored closet doors in the living room which she licked thoroughly before we returned home. I'm glad to be back in Seattle with the changeable weather and my own little house and the Man. Kansas is very flat and green and pretty in a wide-open-sky kind of way. But I don't like how far everything is spread out and that Downtown Wichita is bare of people on a Saturday afternoon while the suburbs are bustling. It seems backward somehow. They get a D- for vegetarian fare but an A+ for Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburger which has a delish veggie burger, shoestring fries, and a dense, creamy, mouthwatering concoction called frozen custard. Yum.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Now We Are 3

Today is my three year wedding anniversary with the Man. He took the day off of work and we're going to scoot down to Atlas for 5$ lunch and then go to Tilth for dinner tonight. What happens in between is kind of up in the air. Maybe the beach? Maybe the park? Definitely getting ready for my trip to Kansas since I leave tomorrow morning with the Little One in tow. I'm not really looking forward to my two-leg flight although my layover is incredibly short. I would almost prefer a longer one so I could walk around with the baby and have a leisurely lunch before jumping on the next plane. As it is I'm not sure if I'm going to have time to eat between the 8:45 take off and the 4:15 arrival. Bleck. It'll be worth it to see my family all together, I think it has been at least three years since I've seen my brother. Sadly, the Man will not be coming with me since he is going on tour with his band in October (East Coast!) and couldn't get so much time off from work so close together. So today is for us to hang out as a family unit and bask in each other's awesomeness before we're separated for a week. Happy Anniversary!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Get Down With the Sickness

I've been feeling a bit under the weather for the past couple of weeks. I get better and feel fine and then drag my butt around for a few days. This last little bout of tiredness has resulted in full-on weary body, stuffy nosed illness. I took the day off from working from home and slept while the Little One slept. I'm even skipping knitting tonight. So sad! The Little One seems to have contracted my stuffy nose but seems in fairly good spirits. I just hope we both get better before flying to Kansas next week for family reunion. Some good sleep tonight should put me right as rain.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Back on Track

I'm back on track on the pearl shrug. I actually have the body and the trim done and should finish up the sleeves tonight. A little seaming and some quiet time and I might be able to finish this evening. I just have to say those knit 1 yo 4 times are a pain.

Today has been rough. The Little One is changing her nap times and/or not napping at all (or briefly) and driving me bonkers. Her first group play with other kids went well except for the one kid who was either trying to kiss her or bite her cheek off. I'm not quite sure. It was fun to see her interact with other kids although I could use a nap right about now.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Doh!!!

Last night when I got home from knitting I picked up the Pearl Shrug that I'm working on for the Little One. I decided to double check my stitch count and lo and behold I was off. Way off. I had double the number of stitches I should have had on the needles. I went back and re-read the directions. Yeah. I thought I needed to cable cast on 136 stitches instead of 72. The 136 was the total stitch count for picking up and doing the cable cast on. So I had a good 50+ stitches extra after doing a bunch of broken rib and decreases. Doh! So I spent a few minutes frogging back the portion I had going and then the portion I had finished and got back to where I was yesterday morning. A whole day of knitting gone in about 5 minutes. Blech. The upside is that since the armhole sections are supposed to be much smaller they won't take as much time to knit...again. Maybe I shouldn't stay up until midnight to get one more row done (by which I mean a whole section) because I miss important little things like how many stitches to cast on. I hope that this evening I can finish up the first armhole.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Audrey's Twist

Some mid-week cuteness for you. I finished my first project for Single Skein September that the ladies over on Stash & Burn run every year. I bought the kit at Sock Summit. The yarn is Hazel Knits in Lipstick 1984 and the pattern is Twist Hat by Melissa Goodale. I used #2 & #3 dpns. This is a new favorite baby pattern. I love the traveling stitches and that it takes less (!!!) than 100 yards of fingering weight yarn. Yeah, the kit comes with 100 yards and I had a good size ball left over from that. I think it'll be perfect for all of those big honking balls left from my Smooshy. I think Audrey likes it too, she didn't even rip it off of her head right away. Score!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It Sucks!

Yes, my vacuum cleaner. It sucks! Really really well! I finally got around to changing the filter after, oh, about a year and half and it works so much better. Who knew that actually following manufacturer instructions could improve things? This is a good thing since the Little One has been crushing cherrios into the rug on a daily basis. Vastly entertaining to her but somewhat of a nuisance for me.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ishbel


I don't want this to be an album of finished projects but I've been doing a lot of knitting lately with very few pitfalls. I think that has to do with about a billion other people knitting a pattern before I get to it so all bugs have been worked out of the pattern. This is Ishbel by Ysolda in Malabrigo. Seems like I've been knitting a ton of stuff with it lately but I've really just got a few skeins in stash that lend themselves well to little lacy things. I've got one skein left and I'm debating whether or not that will be a little shawl or some actual socks. I've also got two (#9 & #10) sweaters on the needles at varying degrees of completion. I switch back and forth on them since #9 is in black and hard to see in dim light and #10 is on big needles and has a tendency to hurt my hands after cabling all of the cabley bits. That leaves 2 more in my NaKniSweMoDo challenge with a few months left for completion. My last two planned sweaters are on little needles so I may need the full time to finish up but I'm about 99% sure I can do it. Go me. Nothing very exciting is happening until the end of September when I'm off to visit my brother and his family in Kansas for a little family reunion.

Baby Update: The Little One has her first two teeth in and they're very cute. She's also started crawling on all fours instead of her soldier crawl. I believe this is in preparation for standing on her own since she has also been kneeling a lot. We are definitely not ready for more mobility, especially the cat who already fears for her life.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ocher Damson


I knit some pretty over the weekend. I actually had two whole days off in a row! Unbelievable. We took the Little One to the zoo, I made a crazy amount of cornmeal pancakes both sweet and savory, and I cleaned the house. Yep. As of this morning all laundry was washed and put away, the bed was made, and the floor was swept and vacuumed. The rest of the place is starting to finally recover from our first 6+ months of parenthood. I like this upward swing in cleanliness it makes me less crazy. So, yeah, knitting. Ysolda released her first pattern in Whimsical Little Knits 2 which I cast on for immediately. Not to the detriment of other projects, mind you, I was between sweaters at the time and only had a pair of socks on the needles. I dug a skein of Malabrigo sock yarn in Ochre out of deep stash (really deep, it wasn't even entered in Ravelry!) and knit it up over the course of my weekend, binding off at about 8 last night. Yellow is not really my color but I'm loving this mustardy goodness. It makes me want to dip into a big jar of fancy french mustard - the kind that sears your nostrils a little bit. Specs: Damson by Ysolda in Malabrigo Sock Yarn in the Ocher colorway on size 6 addi turbo lace needles. 4 days!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sock Summit Part 2; Electric Boogaloo

Going into Sock Summit I had two vendors at the top of my list - Miss Babs and Hazel Knits. I think this was a good plan since I was able to hit their booths immediately, ohh and aah, make my purchases, and then browse the rest of the market place thoroughly. Above - Hazel Knits "Limited Edition" color based on her Aurora Borealis colorway.

Hazel Knits Jay Blue - this is going to be a little sharf (shawl/scarf)

Miss Babs - She had sock yarn in tiny skeins which is enough for a pair of socks for the little one. Above - Yummy Toes Periwinkle

Miss Babs - 2-ply sock yarn in Pewter

Miss Babs - 2-ply sock yarn in Oyster.
This isn't all of my Miss Babs. I went back on Sunday!!! She had some sportweight in her booth at a discount since she's changing her base yarn. I picked a few skeins of that up, including one for my friend, Amanda. The color just screamed - I'm for Amanda! Take me to her! So I did. I also bought two skeins of her Yowza! What a skein! in Ironweed. These skeins are a whopping 560 yards so I'm going to use them as some type of Elizabeth Zimmermann sweater, maybe even a Fair Isle Yoke Sweater. I would have hit up Hazel Knits again as well but Jessica steered me away from her booth. These were my top two favorites of the show with Tactile coming in a close third. If I had unlimited funds that is where I would spend it, and did I mention everyone in those two booths were amazingly friendly? I'm sure being a vendor for several days in a row at something like Sock Summit could be taxing but everyone was super nice. I even chatted with Miss Babs herself and met Wendy from Hazel Knits. Good people and awesome yarn.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sock Summit - Part One

Technically this is not part one since I already glossed over the madness that is Sock Summit previously but I thought I might share a few things that I bought. A few, since there were way too many! I had to hit up Tactile since they are my number one favorite at Madrona and for natural dyeing. Plus the ladies that work there are so nice! I picked up this skein of red (the color is Brick) merino/cashmere/nylon sock yarn and had to buy it since it was the last one. Duh. I just finished knitting up some red sock yarn so this one can take it's place in my stash.








I also got these super-cute ceramic buttons at a couple of other booths. The ones with the fancy packaging are from an etsy shop at really great prices and lots and lots of sizes and colors. It was really hard to make a decision. The larger green button is from Jennie the Potter and I thought it would be great for one of those single button hats or sweaters. I also bought a nifty pair of earrings from her with knit stitches on them. Cute! Everyone at the Ravelry meet-up was sporting their Jennie-ware on Saturday night. Seriously, there were so many vendors at the marketplace it was hard to make decisions. Knitters aren't the best people to keep you on a budget either. Rebecca and I co-enabled although she did keep me from purchasing duplicate colors of yarn. I would have walked away with a whole bag of gray-blue-lavendar sock yarn if it weren't for her. This is just the tip of the iceberg, more to come in the next few days.

Monday, August 10, 2009

And this one time at Sock Summit....

I totally lost my head and bought enough yarn to clothe a quiver of children. I'm super tired but had a great time and met lots and lots of people. The highlight of my trip was meeting Meg Swansen (eeeeek!!!) and she is so nice and personable and everything she seems to be from watching her dvds, and gorgeous to boot! I hope to have that skin and those cheekbones when I'm her age! I also spotted the Yarn Harlot several times, Anna Zilborg, Jess & Casey, and oodles of other folks that belong to the kniterati. I hung out with fellow Purlygirls Jessica, Jeanne, and Rebecca and had a wonderful time with them shopping and eating and laughing, laughing, laughing. My tootsies are still sore from being on my feet for two days. I'll try and get my act together to post pictures of yarny goodness once I fully recover.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Zip

My attention span has clearly dwindled in the past hour. I did the necessary taking care of baby, putting her down for a nap, and getting some caffeine in my system and then....kaput. My brain is broken and I can't seem to focus on the work I'm supposed to be doing right now. I've got stuff ready to go for Ishbel and I just keep thinking about how nice it would be to knit all day today. And tomorrow. And the next day. This is crazy since I'm already working a short week because of an extra full day at the shop and Sock Summit this weekend. I need a taskmaster today - someone to stand over my shoulder and crack the whip. My mind keeps wandering to the fact that it's Monday and that means knitting tonight at apparently the best knitting group in Seattle. I know it's awesome and I guess other people think so too. I've clearly got knitting on the brain and it won't go away, not even just a little ways away to the neighboring town so I can get some work that pays the bills done. Le sigh. Is it possible to have Monday-itis when you work from home?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Happy Feet


It has been uber hot in Seattle the past few days. I mean, almost Ukiah hot and that is pretty darn spicy. The heat wave has led to an abhorrence of all things sweatery since a pile of wool in the lap is equal to another ten degrees of heat. With Sock Summit looming I decided to cast on for these beauties. The Cycling or Golf Stockings (of which I do neither) from Knitting Vintage Socks. It's my first go with Spud & Chloe Fine which is a new yarn line from Blue Sky Alpacas and which we now carry at the shop. The yarn is lovely to work with although the label says size 1 to 3 needlewise and I think if I went any higher than a 2.5 mm (that's a 1 & 1/2 US) the fabric would be very loosey goosey. I was a little surprised that there was no calf circumference measurement in the pattern since there was a measurement for just about everything else. The colorwork is pretty snug on my calf but not unwearable, if my calves were any larger I'd make the socks shorter to accomodate the pretty cuff. Spec wise the Spud & Chloe color is Anemone, the brown is Lorna's Laces in Chocolate, and the pink is some unlabeled koigu leftover from another project. I've already moved on to another sock project. The pattern is Sunshine from Sock Innovation in STR Mediumweight. The color is Hoofle Foofle which I thought would be appropriate for a pattern name Sunshine. The pattern is working up very quickly and is nice and squishy. This is yarn from my first ever Blue Moon purchase and has been languishing in my stash for a couple of years. It's nice to finally dig it out and see it as a project.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Imaginary Knitting

I've been doing some actual knitting lately but since my Sock Summit weekend has come into view I've been doing a lot of thinking about socks. I'd like to knit a pair before I head down to Portland so I have a brand spankin' new pair of socks on my tootsies without all of the pilling and wear most of my sadly small hoard has going on. I am not obsessed with sock knitting and most of the pairs I have knit have been gifts for other people. I think I have maybe three pair? I've knit between six and eight pair total. After all of my sweater knitting the idea of small, portable, single skein or two skein projects is vastly appealing. My problem is deciding what to actually cast on since in my noggin everything is partially completed. The possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Here I Come!!!

I just worked it out with the Man to take the weekend off for Sock Summit in August. !!! I'll be heading down to Portland solo (as in sans baby, sans hubby) to have some alone time with a bajillion crazy knitters. That's 2 WHOLE NIGHTS to do nothing but knit and visit with friends. I've even got a place to stay. I'm not registered for classes since I won't be exclusively in town for Sock Summit but I'm excited to have my very own schedule for at least one day. The Man is not totally happy with this arrangement but since his band is probably going on tour for nine days this Fall and I'm taking the Little One to visit family in Kansas for six days I should get at least a couple of days off, don't you think? I do. Now, what socks will I bring to knit?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

(Not)Lush & Lacy Cardigan

As promised, my #7 sweater. The Lush & Lacy Cardigan by SweaterBabe. The pattern calls for an angora blend yarn but I wanted a nice summery cardigan so I used Samoa which is a 50/50 cotton acrylic blend. I was pleasantly surprised by this yarn, it didn't hurt my hands and felt nice and sproingy without actually being sproingy and it has beautiful stitch definition. This one knits up quick on #8 needles at 4 sts to the inch, hence my one week cardigan. I'm contemplating getting more of this yarn out of the sale bin at the shop before there's not a sweater quantity left.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Three Day Weekend

I had an unprecedented three day weekend over the 4th of July. !!! I just recently decided to decrease the hours I work from home so I don't go ballistic, hop in my car, and head for the border blaring AC/DC at full volume. Seriously, I've thought about it. It was great to have a breather from the 47+ hour weeks I've been trying to power through. So what did I do? Knit, duh. Finished the Butternut Scarf, a second pair of charity mittens, and sweater #7. I need a little help taking the photos so pictures will be posted soon-ish. I've already chosen #8 but want to finish up the baby sweater I'm working on and the first half of my stole before casting on.

We didn't do anything for the 4th. It has to be the worst holiday ever for moms with babies. As soon as it gets dark every idiot on the block sets off firecrackers in the street and starts yelling "Whoooooooo!" underneath the windows. Yeah. Not so baby friendly. The Little One was amazing and slept through all but the loudest bangs and then settled right down again. I don't even know why I tried to go to sleep before midnight since every bang woke me right up again. That was wasted knitting time for sure.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

6 in 6


Friday night I finished up my sixth sweater in six months. Whoo! I'm super happy with it even though I basically knit it twice. Much better the second time around.

Pattern: Button Me Up Pullover
Yarn: Eco + in Vandyke Brown
Needles: #9 Harmony
Mods: I got a gauge of 4 st to the inch instead of 3.75 so I cast on for zero ease. Sleeves are my usual 15 inches and I knit the body 3/4 inch longer. I also did 2.5 inches of ribbing at the bottom of the sweater instead of 5 inches.
This is a good basic sweater and I really really like the way it fits.

The little one turned six months old this past week. !!! Time has flown. I'm getting ready for her to just get up and walk around and start speaking in sentences, she's growing so quickly!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Catch Up

I've been doing stuff, really I have. This last weekend I made an AWESOME recipe from one of my first vegetarian cookbooks. A strawberry tart! Yum! The Man declared that it "tastes like what cheesecake should taste like, but doesn't." Super yummy and super easy. I'm a huge fan of almond & flour crusts, they're kind of like shortbread. I baked the crust one evening and did the filling and strawberries the next morning and then left it to chill. I even glazed the thing with apricot glaze so it's tangy and sweet and rich from the cream cheese layer. Ahh...everything I want in a summer dessert.


I've also been knitting a little lace. Well, not so little. It's the Icicle Dream Stole from the 2008 Winter Twist Collective. So far, so good. I'm on the third chart of four on the first half of the stole. (You knit the two halves separately and then graft them together.) The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy in the color Midnight Derby. We got a few very darkish skeins in at the shop and I just had to knit something with the last couple. The pattern calls for a laceweight but I'm not such a fan, hence a sock-yarn stole. I'm excited to see the end product, it's my largest lace project so far.


And finally...
This is what I'm doing right now. Eating some watermelon and knitting the body of my sweater, again. That small disaster from the other day? Yeah, this is it. After ripping out the ribbing I decided to try it on again to see how much longer I wanted to knit it. I decided it was a bit too snug. :: sigh::
So I cast on and just started knitting the dang thing over, directly from the frogged sweater. The man came in while I started this and looked really confused. "Why are you knitting that sweater into the same sweater?" I'm pretty sure daggers flew. "For fun." A couple days later and I've got a little over 13 inches reknit and should still be able to finish up by the end of the month. Probably to the detriment of my mom's birthday gift (her birthday was last Saturday). Sorry, mom!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Petite Disaster

I wish I had taken pictures last night. Anyhoo, I was knitting along on my sweater and getting the yoke finished and binding off. This seemed like an opportune time to try it on so I did. It's a little snug but nothing I don't think blocking won't help. I'm pulling down on the hem thinking that it's a tad too short when there it is - a hole! Not just dropped stitches but SNIPPED stitches. How the hell did that happen!? I pull off the sweater, run over to my knitting bag, and throw a couple of stitch markers into those dropping stitches. Yikes! After a few moments of pulling my hair I decide that it's not really a bad thing. I'll just rip back the ribbing (the whole was right in the middle of the ribbing) knit a few more inches of stockinette to lengthen the sweater and then ribbing and bind off. Two hours later the stitches were back on the needle ready to go and I went to bed. So much for my nightly knitting time. I also decided that I want to try the sewn bind off that is supposedly uber-stretchy that Elizabeth Zimmermann uses. Cool beans, a new technique after all that trauma.

PS I probably would have thrown the stupid sweater across the room and had a crying fit if it hadn't only been a week on the needles. I'll still make my 6 sweaters in 6 months deadline.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Exhausted much?

I'm super tired today. Wanna know why? I sure would. I stayed up a little later than usual last night, but not too late. I just had to join the sleeves to the body of the sweater I'm working on before I put it down for the night. It's sunny out, so it's definitely not the weather making me feel sluggish and I haven't done any crazy partying or amphetamine use that I can recall. Hmm. I really feel like I just need a solid 12 to 14 hours of good, deep sleep to expel this perpetual tiredness. Unfortunately that is nowhere in my future since I'm still working the crazy 47-ish hours a week schedule that I've been on since May. Oh well, knitting, socializing, and a beer should definitely improve my outlook for the week.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Unexpected


I received a lovely and unexpected gift in this afternoon's mail. It cured my recent homesickness for the time being. My best friend sent me some honey made by a friend of ours, a pear shaped candle & holder from the local Mendocino Bounty store, and an awesome kids' book called "The Tenth Good Thing About Barney". The card in back is a woman holding up a sweater with a heart/thought bubble that says World Wide Knitting. Awww. Ever since the little one has arrived I miss my hometown more and more, which is weird considering how ready I was to leave when I moved to Seattle. However, the incredibly hot summers are not missed nor the even-more-depressed-than-Seattle job market. This cheered me up big time. Thanks, lady!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mariah


I knit most of this while I was pregnant so all I had to do was knit the button bands, weave in some ends, and sew on buttons.

Pattern: Mariah
Yarn: Elann Incense in Cypress
Needles: #8 harmony, I think

The sleeves are really frickin' long on this. I'm pretty sure I even made them shorter than the pattern calls for and they still go over my fingertips. It's also a little over-sized and I'm not sure if that's because I knit a larger size than I needed since I was prego or if my gauge was off. It's more of a hang around the house, want to be comfortable, don't care much about the fit kind of sweater. I also didn't knit the hood, I just decreased until I liked the neckline and then did the same ribbing that is on the bottom of the sweater to match. Actually, I like this better now than when I was knitting it last Fall. Maybe letting it marinate in it's own juices for a while did something for it. Dunno. This is #4 for NaKniSweMoDo & #5 is blocking as I blog. I've almost hit the 6 in 6 months goal I set for myself. There are also a couple hats (both green as well) blocking and a pretty little scarf on the needles. Now I just need to decide on #6. Hmmm....

Friday, June 5, 2009

Episode 21

I've been totally lax on announcing new episodes. We're up to #21 now. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Unseasonable

There has been some unseasonably warm weather in Seattle the past few days, I can say that even as an expate Californian. I would also deem it "hot ass" weather. Just cause it's really hot, but also cause it does really make your butt hot. It makes my knitting life a little unbearable. I'm knitting Wicked in Elsebeth Lavold Baby Llama (no harm came to llamas in the making of this yarn) and it makes my palms sweat like nobody's business. I mean, it's 100%, cute, frolicking, spitting, fuzzy little llama so I love it but I can only touch it after about 7 pm or it felts by fingertip. It's also nice to knit stockinette in the round FOREVER. I think I've been working on it off & on for about a week and I've already split off the arms, tried it on, and knit an inch or two of the body. It should make a nice quick #5 for NaKniSweMoDo. I was going to knit the pocket but I think the fuzziness of the yarn will not show the stitch pattern very well, and as Jessica pointed out, droop a lot. And all I really need right now is more drooping in the tummy area. Yikes. I'm off to sweaty palm-land.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Silk Cocoon Cardigan


This is #3 for NaKniSweMoDo. Silk Cocoon Cardigan from the Spring 09 Interweave Knits. I knit it in the yarn called for, Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca & Silk (gorgeous stuff) in the color Peacock. I love it but holy crap was there a lot of finishing on this puppy. Seaming, grafting, reverse single crochet, buttons, button loops, and more seaming. Yeah. Won't ever knit it again but I love the finished thing, a little warm for the gorgeous weather we're having lately.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Agonizing

So you've decided to update your stash on Ravelry. Good for you. You think you've been fairly good about adding things as you bring them home and your excel sheet says you've got about 25k yards. All good & fine. Beware...the stash lies. After photos and stashifying you've now got a whopping 42,139.9 yards of yarn. !!! That's roughly 23.9 miles. !!! Really? How'd that happen? Was it the recent rash of retail therapy? Sock yarn doesn't really have that much yardage, does it? Is that why the cedar chest won't close? Wow. Amazing. Must. Knit. Faster.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dead Snow

Nazi zombies + gory humor = happy me. I saw this at my first ever SIFF movie (thanks, Sarah!) and couldn't have been happier. It even has the added bonus of some gorgeous scenery.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Progress

I've been working somewhat steadily on this sweater after taking a knitting break to make the Man's birthday socks (done, already in the laundry bin after wearing). I feel like I'm finally making progress. That's two sleeves and about 14 inches of the back done. It's the Silk Cocoon Cardigan from the Spring 09 issue of IK. I love the yarn, Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca & Silk, but it does turn my fingers blue. I'm resigned to greenish-blue tinted fingernails until I'm done with it. NaKniSweMoDo number 3. I want to just power through and get it done by the end of May but I've got crazy knitting jealousy about everyone's Ishbels. Mmm...Ishbel.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Blah.

Gone to Salem and back again. Contracted deadly cold that will not leave my head. Eating homeopathic cold tablets like candy. My knitting turns my fingers blue, again. My eyeballs feel like cotton balls & I sound like I drink a bottle of bourbon for breakfast each morning. All in all, a great first Mother's Day.

Time for a nap.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Time Flies

video

I feel weird about posting pictures or anything of my little one on my blog but she is so darn cute lately that I can't help myself. She was four months last week and is growing like a weed. Rolling over is her new favorite past time beside vocalizing to her heart's content.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Little Liza Jane


Done!
Pattern: Little Liza Jane from the Spring Twist Collective
Yarn: Elann Callista (cotton/linen/viscose blend) in Boysenberry
Needles: #4 Knitpicks Harmony

I knit the 6 month size which fits the little one perfectly with a tiny bit of room to grow. She's already in 6 month size clothes in general since she's so long and has the extra bulk of cloth diapers. Baby sizing seems to be even more random than adult sizing. The pattern is well-written and edited and easy to follow, which is great since it's my first pattern from the Twist Collective and they've made a great first impression (awesome patterns aside). The yarn isn't bad to work with either, although it does have cotton & linen, my hands weren't screaming at me to stop after knitting the first couple of inches. I have yarn to knit another one in the 3T size and I'm actually looking forward to knitting this pattern again. It's been really fun knitting for Audrey since I don't normally knit brightly colored things for myself, it's a good change of pace from my dark tones and jewel tones. Hooray for babies to knit things for.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Drops 103-1 Cardigan


I think I finished this back in January? Yep, sure did. But I finally got some pictures taken, very tired, post-work pictures, but still. I wear this sweater a lot and it made me decide to just knit most of my sweaters with 3/4 or bracelet length sleeves since I push them all up to that length anyway. It also has the added bonus of not taking as much time or yarn to knit longer sleeves. I used just over 5 skeins of Cascade 220 in a medium gray color on size 7 needles. I have an idea to sew some clear flat buttons to the inside & knit button loops since the cardi is kind of double-breasted and has a tendency to open up in an unflattering way. Make sure to follow the measurements for centimeters since some people had issues with the conversions to inches. Centimeters are more exact any-who.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Welcome!

I've had two friends give birth to baby girls recently, like in the past two weeks. So, welcome little ones and congratulations parents!

I've also been getting a bit of knitting done recently. Today is actually sunny so I can take pictures and post soon. Yay!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

And more knitting...


Despite airport security's attempts to foil my knitting mojo I have triumphed over the GIANT HOLE IN THE CUFF and finished my socks. Yay! Malabrigo sock yarn is so silky and squishy and gorgeous. I'm really glad I have two more skeins in my stash to knit socks for myself. These are the Fancy Silk Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks. Knit from Malabrigo Sock Yarn in African Violet on size #1 needles. The cuff of the first one took me three tries to set up the pattern but once I got going it was pretty easy. Make sure you choose a nice stretchy cast on for these since there isn't really any ribbing to make the tops more elastic. I used the Old Norwegian cast on and it worked like a charm. Finishing these made me want to knit more socks (half my stash is sock yarn- I've only knit about 4 or 5 pair!) but I've decided to put my focus back on my Cardigan for Arwen which now has a complete body and the cuff of one sleeve done. I think I'm at the tipping point for that one and just want to go go go to the finish.

PS - The weather in Seattle is gorgeous today and I just want to throw all the windows open and dance a little jig. Preferably with knitting in one hand!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Knitting!


I finished knitting this back at the beginning of the month but it took me a while to block it and decide on a closure. It's the Matinee Coat from Debbie Bliss' Simply Baby in yarn I picked up at Madrona. Tactile Fiber Arts Superwash Sportweight Merino Sock Yarn in the color Wisteria. Pretty pretty. It took about 1 & 2/3 balls for the 6-9 month size. The way Audrey is growing she'll be in it lickety split. I like the way the color worked up - a little bit of pooling but nothing really crazy. The lace section at the bottom is especially pretty. I've been knitting regularly for 2+ hours a night since the little one goes to bed between 730 and 8. I just have to remember to go to bed as well or I stay up waaay too late and am cranky and groggy when she wakes up in the morning. Bad mommy! But it's really nice to have that crafty time again. Hooray!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just Back

Just got in from California and I have to say that my little one is a rockstar of the jet set. No crying, minimal fussing, smiled at the seat neighbors, and napped half the flight - each way. I couldn't ask for more except maybe my return flight to not be delayed because sitting at the airport for an extra hour or more is extra fun. Yeah. The weather was mostly gorgeous the family and friends were super-excited to see babycakes and actually wanted to babysit for hours on end which left me time to get a pedicure, a manicure, see a movie, eat way more ice cream than is good for a body, and knit. It was awesome! I can't wait to go again.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ravelry...yet again

I just saw something new to me on Ravelry. At the bottom of a pattern's page there is a little beaker that says "Try the pattern recommendation experiment!" Well, okay! I like it, there's a little sense of excitement before the screen pops up listing similar patterns. Yes I do like that, and that, and that, and that. Thanks, Ravelry!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I'm in LOVE

With the new twist collective. I've been impressed with their patterns before but I feel like this issue totally hits it for me. Could it be the super-cute baby on the front? Maybe it's the fact that most Spring issues of anything are pretty blah to me but this one stands out. In my knit list: ardent jacket, kerouac (I like the stripes but Noah requested one in a solid color), dulce de leche, sleepy monkey which violates my no-baby-blanket knitting rule, necco wafer, little liza jane, and more. My Ravelry queue is happy with new additions. I haven't even read the twist articles yet. So exciting.

*Baby note- Audrey had her 2 month check up on Friday and she is 24 inches long and a whopping 13 pounds! She's also almost sleeping through the night. I'm feeling more clear-headed than I have in the past two months. Hooray!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Can't Believe It


It frickin' snowed last night. Yeah. This is especially nice since I'm headed to California week after next and that really looks good right now. Really. Was there really talk about Spring at my knitting group on Monday? Seriously?

I've finished a few things up lately. My sweater is done and I love it but haven't taken pictures of myself actually wearing it to post. But I finished this super-cute baby knit. The pattern is Design H from Little Sweet Peas (a sirdar booklet). I used leftover Cascade 220 superwash (off-white) which I thought would be enough but I ended up having to buy a second skein just for the sleeves. Poop. The edging is in leftover Cashsoft DK and the awesome little button is a tagua nut button we carry at the shop. Perfect match. I really like this pattern and the way the edging looks crocheted but isn't. I'll definitely be making more of these.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

VD for Ravelers (hee!)

Sorry, couldn't resist. Did you know that (possibly for a limited time) you can send Valentine's day messages to your fellow Ravelers? The button is located on the 'about me' page for your friends. My personal fave is the pirate. Umm..pirates and Valentine's Day? Hell yes, they go together.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Not Dead (Undead?)

I haven't disappeared. I've just been hiding in my house trying not to die for the past week. Noah got a cold and was home sick for three days so I was trying to take care of the little one and partially take care of him. This resulted in colds for me and the baby. Mine is on a scale of massive proportions. Sore throat for three days. That disappeared. Fully congested head and lungs took its place only to be joined by rib-bruising coughing. Yay. I'm finally on the mend and have my voice (kind of ) back. And I'll just say that having a baby with a cold while you are sick as well sucks major ass. The only good thing was that while I had a full day of fever and chills she slept the whole day and only woke up to be changed and to eat. That's my girl. Oh, and there will be knitting posted soon.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

For Comparison

Who wouldn't I kill for a voice like hers? This is a bit more jazzy than the version I have but still - she's got just as many moves as Elvis and maybe a bit more soul.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday!

Betcha didn't know I'm an Elvis freak. Yep. Yesterday was his birthday and I spent some time listening to my records and indoctrinating the little one. She seems to like Patsy Cline too. We'll see how she responds to Big Mama Thornton's version of this song.