Friday, May 30, 2008

a sweet surprise

The Baby Surprise Jacket is finished, and on its way back to New York to warm the heart of the parents and the body of our new little friend.  It's my first entirely-made-in-Oregon project!

I remain astonished that a hunk of fabric such as this could turn into a lovely little sweater. I was so astonished that I assembled it (moved the buttonhole pieces up to where they should be... and voila!) many, many times. Hubby was getting concerned.

Ain't she purty?  I opted for simple buttons, because the yarn was going to overwhelm any detailed fastenings.  I think these super plain pink ones actually work really well for the finished product.  There's a lot going on in this sweater.  (The yarn is Hello Yarn's Fat Sock - superwash - in Softly.  There was plenty in two skeins, and no, I didn't bother to check the gauge at all.)
There's a simple Cro-Kay edging around the neck.  My shoulder seams, you will note, are not featured in the photo spread.  There is a reason for that.  Messes such as that should not be recorded for posterity.  

I love the sweater, and can't wait to find more yarn in my stash that wants to be a Baby Surprise Jacket.  I have some Mirasol Hacho - in an overstated rainbow colorway that's perfect for what I think babies should wear - that is itching to get knit.  

But this evening, Hubby and I are going to see Sex and the City, the Movie.  I'm feeling a wee touch of homesickness, and I think this will cure me.  And, of course, hearing that another construction crane collapsed and killed two people.  I don't see much of that in Portland.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

more foodie goodness

To continue the foodie trend 'round here, I made granola yesterday. It is pretty darn tasty, if I do say so myself.

4 cups of rolled oats
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
smidge of salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 maple syrup
1/2 cup hazelnuts

Mix the dry stuff together, and then slowly pour in the liquids as you mix. Spread the stuff out on a sheet tray (with sides, of course) and bake at 350 for 15 minutes (oven should be preheated). After 15 minutes, take the tray out and mix in the nuts. Put it back in for another 15, and then let it cool. Bag it up and enjoy with yogurt and fresh fruit, if it's available.

If I'm making granola, you know that it's a very good thing that I start a consulting job on Monday that will keep me rather busy for a while.

Tomorrow I'll have a finished Baby Surprise Jacket for you. (It's still a little damp, so I'm waiting on the button-sewing.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Whoops. Sorry for the silence, but there was a reason for it. On Thursday evening/Friday morning, I experienced sickness like I'm not sure I've ever seen.* It's been a slow recovery process, but I finally feel human again. For a couple of days, Hubby was looking at me with Sad Eyes, then saying, "But you just need to eat more! A piece of toast a day is not enough food!"

*I was calculating the time difference between Portland and New York, and trying to figure out how early the doctor's kid wakes up, so I could call dad and ask if I should really be feeling this bad... would a trip to the ER be called for, and could they do anything for me? My thought processes aren't the greatest at 3am.

But before I was sick, I made up a recipe for rhubarb crisp, and it was quite tasty.

¾ cup oatmeal
¼ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup hazelnuts (or other nuts)

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then drop in chunks of the butter. Mix it together with your fingers until it looks like a crisp topping. Then mix in the chopped nuts. Set aside.

4 cups rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons candied ginger

Mix all of this together in an 8" baking dish, and sprinkle the topping over... the top! Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so (you should have preheated the oven, of course). Top with whipped cream, then enjoy!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

the pay-off

Last night, my spinning class met for the second and final session. We learned plying, and: wow. It makes such a difference! That crazy and ugly turnip of yarn has turned into a little skein of yarn.

It's pretty bulky, and still needs a bath to "set the twist" - or something like that.  But it's yarn!  And it's inspired me to keep the drop spindle out, at the very least.  So fun.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

gift socks

I finished a pair of socks over the weekend. These are destined to be a gift, as they're a bit tight on my feet. I love the colors in the yarn (Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Mountain Tango), and it's fun to work with. I've done two pair of socks in Bearfoot, but neither have been for me. I did prowl around the Yarn Garden yesterday, hoping to find more, but they don't seem to carry it. I can't recall where I purchased this skein (I'll have to check the archives).

The pattern is based on the Swirly O Socks in the Knitters' Book of Yarn. I still haven't read the fiber information in the front of the book, but the patterns in there are really lovely. There are a couple more things that I'll work on soon, but right now I'm trying to figure out what socks to cast on next. I've got lots of varigated socks yarns, but no inspiration for a pattern for them. Perhaps I should take the plunge and try something from New Pathways for Sock Knitters?

Sunday, May 18, 2008


The instructions say, "Work will start to look very odd, indeed, but trust me, and PRESS ON."  And yes, the garment (which will evidently turn into a baby sweater after some crafty origami) does look very odd, and I keep pressing on.  

This is the great Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket.  I'm using Hello Yarn's Fat Sock in the charmingly named Softly.  Perfect for a new little girl, don't you think?  

The Portland Heat Wave is waning, thankfully.  It's not nearly as dreadful as 90 degrees in New York, but the lack of air conditioning is noticeable.  The forecast is for highs in the low 60s for later in the week.  Bliss.

(Watching the Yankees get their arses handed to them on a platter by the Mets was not bliss.  But thanks for broadcasting the game, ESPN.)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

demented parsnip, or...

...what came from my first class on using a drop spindle.  It was a good class, and I know that I've got a lot of work to do.  Which is why I purchased this lovely bit of fluffiness as well (3.5 oz of merino).

I probably won't ever spin laceweight with a drop spindle, but I can see that this is a slippery slope.  I've already been looking for places to rent a wheel in Portland.  

In other news, it's supposed to get up to 86 degrees today, and 97 tomorrow.  So far, the house is remaining pretty comfortable, which is great because our air conditioners didn't make the trip out West.  The high temperatures mean clear skies, and I had wonderful views of Mounts Hood and St. Helens this morning.  Ah, for a little of that snow down here!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

final shawl shoot

The shawl came off the blocking board this morning, and it came with me on my morning walk.  After the scary experience in blocking the Cash Iroha sweater with the silk (which I'm still not showing off), I blocked this by pinning and steaming with the iron.  I stayed 1-2" off the fabric, and it worked quite well.  

Except for that completely different colored skein thing.

So enjoy the tulips!  I'm off to my first spinning class now.  ;)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Today is, evidently, a fairly typical Portland day: light ran, all day long.  So my plans for walking up Mount Tabor were put on hold.  But this gave me the opportunity to finally finish the Woodland Shawl (Nikol Lohr, using Artfibers Alfabeto).  

I've been cranking away on it for longer than I thought, but it was really knit during short, productive bursts.  I did quite a bit of it during my short trip to Portland at the beginning of April.  While on the plane back, I joined the third ball of yarn, and thought that the color seemed a little odd.  I chalked that up to the fact that lighting on airplanes is not the best, and that I was so tired I probably wasn't seeing anything correctly.  After I got back to NY, life got incredibly crazy, and the shawl stayed in the ziploc bag.  I'd do a row here and there, but never really got it out to examine.  

Well, I guess that I should have, because that third ball of yarn is a very, very different color from the other three. See that?  From the middle, to 3/4 of the way down the shawl?  This is all rather perplexing, since Artfibers doesn't do dyelots - there's one run of a yarn, and then that's it.  (From what I understand.)  It can't be from being out in light, because the entire skein is lighter than the others.  I kept all four of the skeins together after I purchased them, so something happened during production.  You also couldn't see a difference while they were wound up.  

But anyway, the point of this shawl was to do some easy lace during the moving period, and it accomplished this goal.  I'll block it, put it away, and wait for a gift-giving occasion for someone whose sight isn't the greatest.  

Friday, May 09, 2008


Our stuff has arrived. The computer and network are up and running. I have sweaters and scarves and wool socks available again. I seem to be the only person who is cold all the time in the whole city, but wearing the Tilted Duster sweater yesterday was heavenly. Wooly goodness.

So far, I haven't found a single broken item from the move. Our box of toothpicks, unsealed, made it all the way from New York to Oregon without losing a single pick to the bottom of the box. But once I got my hands on the larger box, half of the toothpicks were scattered throughout "Kitchen - Misc." I have many boxes in my life labeled "Misc." It has been like Christmas, a little. It's certainly chilly. (Yes, enough with the talk about being cold. I could turn up the heat, and all would be well.)

The weekend is looking good: a baroque concert, haircuts, farmers' markets, and theater. And the delivery of our books and wine. Bliss!

Monday, May 05, 2008

some random thoughts

I wish that I’d had a better understanding of what a forecasted temperature of 42-55 degrees Fahrenheit meant before I packed to move to Portland. What I wouldn’t give for a pair of my handknit wool socks right now. And a scarf, or three. It's getting much warmer during the days, but wow: it was cold for a while.

But things are looking up. Our old car was delivered on Saturday night, and I was very excited to see it. (Not so excited to spend the day at the DMV and other offices getting it re-registered, but what can you do?) In it was a bunch of blankets and comforters that were light and took up a lot of space. I was foolishly thrilled to pull them out of the trunk. My duvet! It’s here! Something of my old life!

The moving truck comes on Wednesday. The cable and internet installation on Thursday. We are getting some order… and I have a new library card, which I’ve been using like crazy (DVDs, mainly, since it gets pretty dark and quiet in our house at night). But I’ve already finished two books (The Doctor’s Daughter by Hilma Wolitzer and Elements of Style by Wendy Wasserstein; not the finest pieces of literature ever, but I was glad to read fiction), and I picked up two more.

We went for a walk with Hubby’s cousins on Mount Tabor yesterday afternoon. It was cool and shady under the Douglas Firs, and we had great views of Mount Hood, St. Helens, and other peaks in the Cascades. It’s really very beautiful here.

But in the meantime, a question for the fiber readers: there seem to be moths in our house, and I’ve scattered sachets of cedar around everywhere. If I put all wool into Ziploc bags as soon as it comes inside, will my wool be safe? And the cottons don’t have to be sealed up because moths aren’t interested in that fiber? (I need to do a little internet research, but my online time is so limited right now.)

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Moving is a really good exercise for proving how powerless you are in the face of everything.  Our movers aren't coming with our stuff until next Wednesday.  And there's nothing I can do about it.  The guy with our car can't tell me when he's arriving with our old car (which will become mine).  I'm getting rather tired of wearing the same clothes that I've been wearing for two weeks already*, and a really empty house.  But there's nothing I can do but enjoy it, I guess.  
I'm becoming so zen living out here in Portland.

*We can wash them, of course, but it's the same small selection that is getting tiring.

Today was Hubby's first day of work.  I celebrated by getting a library card, and checking out a book I never managed to finish in New York.  I google-chatted with a friend for an hour.  And went to Twisted yarn shop, and fell a little bit in love.  I bought two great patterns from local designers, and now really wish that my yarn was here with me.  And finally, I ordered cable and internet for home, because I'm so ready to start listening to internet radio again.