Saturday, September 27, 2008

catching up

Quite a few babies have arrived this summer, and I've been neglecting them. But no longer! I'm on a baby-knitting roll.

I started the Placket Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts in early August, and upon discovering some very strange dye lot issues (wherein one skein - the bottom of the sweater - was considerably darker than the other two), I stuffed the whole thing in the back of the cupboard.

But then I finished the Icarus Shawl, and was so excited to be finishing up old projects that I grabbed this and decided that with the return of autumn, the babies needed some cozy garments. (Yarn = Mirasol Hacho in tutti fruitti.)

I am very happy with the little purple beads I found for the placket. If I made the sweater again (which I probably will do), I'll make some buttonholes, because it's very hard on the psyche to shove the beads through my lovely seed stitch.

Soon, it'll be on it's way to Brooklyn, and I'll be casting on for another overdue baby gift.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

double skein september

Last week, I needed some mindless knitting that wasn't on size 0 needles. A few months ago, I made most of a Bainbridge Scarf (everything but the ties), and then ran out of steam. It sat in the cupboard, lumpy and not terribly happy. So, I yanked it all out and wound it up into a ball, and started a simple seed stitch scarf. I had another skein upstairs, and I had found my mindless, not-small knitting!

You know how they say you always need to wash and dry yarn that's been ripped from another project before starting over? The first half of the scarf, made with the frogged yarn, was kind of bumpy (see scarf half on left). I thought it might be my tension, but never the fact that I didn't follow the knitting rules about washing the yarn. So when I started the second half with the fresh skein and it was smooth sailing (see scarf half on right), I knew that I might be in for a world of hurt.

Happily, the fates smiled upon me, and once completed and soaked, the scarf turned out just fine. Smooth, mossy alpaca goodness. This is destined for the holiday gift pile, and should be lovely to wear come January.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

flying high

At very, very long last: the Icarus Shawl is finished. (Below, in big blob stage.)

The pattern was published in Interweave Knits in the summer 2006 issue. I purchased the yarn for it at Rhinebeck that fall, and found A Touch of Twist Zephyr - a silk and merino blend that was $5 for a 300 yard skein. (What a bargain, right? Look for them this year on my behalf.) I started the shawl in the summer of 2007, after failing at the Mystery Stole 3 knitalong. I did very little of it, before determining that laceweight yarn and train commuting weren't a great match. Off it went into a plastic bag for nearly a full year...

I picked up the project again for our road trip to Napa at the end of June, and it came with me to New York in July. It got pushed aside for a little while again in August, but I told myself that I wouldn't cast on another lace project (and there are so many interesting ones waiting!) until this was finished.

While still working on the plain portion, I discovered that many knitters were running short on yarn. I had 900 yards, exactly what was called for in the pattern, but it had been two years. I think that only one other person on Ravelry had the black yarn, so a decision was needed. I didn't do the fifth repeat of the stockinette portion, and started the lace pattern early. Looking at what I've got left, it was a good choice. Also, the blocked shawl is amazingly large. Draped over my shoulders, the ends fall to mid-thigh. It's about 80 inches across the top.

It's light, and quite lovely. Hubby asked if I was going to wear it to Oregon Flock and Fiber this weekend, and I think that I might. I never wear the lace that I knit, except for the Shetland Triangle to my office holiday party last year. But this might be the weekend for a debut...

It's light, and quite lovely. Hubby asked if I was going to wear it to Oregon Flock and Fiber this weekend, and I think that I might. I never wear the lace that I knit, except for the Shetland Triangle to my office holiday party last year. But this might be the weekend for a debut...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

pity party

This is the weekend when Hubby hops on a plane and goes back to the old alma mater for a series of meetings and gadding about with old friends and professors. In previous years, I've taken advantage of the weekend alone to catch up on TV series that I'd missed (e.g., House, Alias), eat microwaved food from Trader Joe's (trying to fool myself that it's healthy), and knit to my heart's content.

Unfortunately, those plans were slightly derailed by some bad news on Friday afternoon (I and all loved ones are fine, it's just some really annoying/depressing info). So instead of watching good TV series, I watched Lipstick Jungle on hulu and threw myself a pity party. With an entire bag of hickory bbq potato chips from Trader Joe's. (Note to self: while eating all those chips seems like the right thing to do at a pity party, the hangover is really not worth it.)

Come Saturday morning, I forced myself out of bed, and went to Twisted to see the Louet Fall Fashion Show, which was quite a bit of fun. There were 25 people there, or so, and I was a little surprised that I was one of only two people knitting through the event. It was a show of knitted garments in front of knitters, so I assumed that more people would have pulled out their needles...

After more work on the Icarus Shawl (sooooo close to done!), I got a message that my copy of Jane Brocket's The Gentle Art of Domesticity was ready to be picked up. Thinking that it would be good for me to get out of the house a bit more, off I went.

I passed a new wine bar - EVOE, I think, on Hawthorne - on my way back to the car, and sat down to look at the stunning pictures and browse the book with a glass of hard cider from Basque country, and a few deviled eggs (with chips of ham). I will certainly be back there as autumn approaches and we look for places to be out of the house but also out of the rain. I'm still digesting the book, and am sure to discuss more of it soon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

bamboo who?

I went to The Knit and Crochet Show last weekend, which is sponsored by a big trade association (TKGA). Since I won't be going to Rhinebeck this year, I was hoping for something great - to ease the pain of missing the Duchess County Fairgrounds in mid-October. It's so beautiful up there that weekend. Sigh.

The marketplace wasn't quite as exciting as I'd hoped. There were booths for most of the local yarn stores, and new-to-me West Coast independent vendors. Of course, my only yarn purchase was from the New York-based Habu textiles - super thin bamboo and over a 1,000 yards of it! I never made it to the store while I lived there, and thought that I need to correct that (in)action in some way.

I did also buy the pattern for Chrissy Gardiner's Path of Flowers Stole (Ravelry link), and got to meet her. She's Portland-based, so I managed to do some buy-local shopping. I'm hoping that next weekend's Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival will help to lessen my Rhinebeck heartache...

Monday, September 15, 2008

single skein september

It's Single Skein September! That time of the year when you decide that you really are going to get a jump on holiday knitting, and actually make something with all those singleton skeins of yarn.
I pulled out One Skein (handily titled), and a skein of Knit Picks Main Line, and cast on for a little bib, which didn't turn out quite as little as I expected. The colorway is Red Velvet Cake, which is exceptionally appropriate for bib yarn, I think.

It was a fun little pattern (with some errata, fyi), and my first experience in using the wrapping method for short rows. I was successful most of the time, but the careful eye will find the mistakes. But hey, it's a bib: anything that is purposefully designed to get dirty is allowed a few clumsy wrap pick-ups.

What was less fun was weaving in the 14 ends (carefully saved above) from this little number. That's a lot of weaving for not very much bib. They went quickly, though, and I found a great match for some yarn that needed a purpose. I am waaaaay behind on making baby gifts, so many this will get me going...

ps: hello, post #400!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

trip to the big city

Over the weekend, we took a trip to Seattle to see my beloved New York Yankees beat the Mariners and make up some games in the wild card race. That was the plan, at least. They managed to win one game.

Seattle is quite the sports town, and our stop for lunch on Saturday had this massive "art" on the wall. Please note the "No Yankees" symbol in the lower left corner. It made me laugh.

But I did finish some socks over the weekend (well, yesterday - it was a long weekend). These are my first socks from Socks That Rock, and since Blue Moon Fiber Arts is a Portland company, it's about time!

Sad to say, I'm not sure that I completely love the yarn. I don't really like the pooling (no news there), and it wasn't as soft as I expected. But they do feel lovely and cushy on my feet, so maybe I'll give it another try. You spend much more time wearing socks than knitting them, so it may be a fair trade.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

the bakery

I got the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for my birthday, and over the weekend I whipped up the basic recipe. This is the dough after the two hour rise and overnight in the fridge.

Next, I pulled a hunk off and shaped a little loaf, let it rise a bit, and slashed the top to give it the fancy artisan look. (I imagine that there's something more to it than just looks, but I'm not that good a bread baker yet.)

And then: yum. Fresh bread.

It really was as easy as advertised. The first loaf was cut by someone a little too early, so it was a bit dense, but easily the best bread that I've ever made. I can't recommend the book more highly.

Lunch was fantastic. I can't wait to explore the rest of the recipes. I might become a bread baker yet!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

summertime and the knitting is easy

I pulled out my new skein of Socks That Rock and started a super-easy sock, and it turns out that a ribbed sock was exactly what I wanted to knit right now. It was great to have on hand during last week's convention-watching, and hopefully I'll get to work on the second one during this week's speechifying. (These two weeks are really going to negatively effect global warming - such hot air coming out of Denver and the Twin Cities!)

Hopefully I can finish up the toe this afternoon, and get the new one cast on before book club tonight. It's only my second time with this group, but I hope that they won't mind if I knit.

This weekend we are going to Seattle to see the Yankees play the Mariners at Safeco Field. We are waaaaaay up in the top deck, so it should be safe to knit during the game. We've got Saturday night and Sunday afternoon tickets, which is a lot of baseball over the span of 24 hours. Will I still be working on these socks next weekend?

Monday, September 01, 2008

omnivore's 100

Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Not too bad! There's pretty much nothing that I won't try, except for maybe the fugu and roadkill...