A Little Lace, Some Baking and No Finishing Whatsoever.

October 30, 2006 at 3:49 pm (Baking, knitting, Work in Progress)

I once again had grand plans for my weekend. I was going to block my Flower Petal Shawl that has been finished since the beginning of September and was supposed to wearable for Fall (Fall is rapidly turning into Winter here in Upstate New York). I was going to attempt to finish the V-Neck Cardigan. These plans were not realized. At least Oliver got to run in the fields behind my parent’s house, sniffing woodchuck holes to his little doggy heart’s content, and I got to visit with my baby niece on Saturday. Happy (and sleepy!) puppy and a happy aunt. I did get a few hours in with the Flower Basket Shawl on Sunday morning. I really need to get cracking on this, as I am sloooowww with the lace, and I need complete peace and quiet in order to not miss any YOs. The quiet didn’t help this time, however. I finished the third repeat, and dove recklessly into the fourth without attaching a lifeline. I’m pretty sure you know where this is going . . .Flower Basket Mistake

Does that look like a flower basket to you? Yeah, me neither. So I need to frog four rows and begin the fourth repeat again . . . sigh. I really do enjoy the lace while I’m doing it, as frustrating as it can be. It’s completely engrossing and peaceful. I just have to find the quiet time in which to do it.

I also made some good headway on my Dad’s Irish Hiking Scarf. This is good TV knitting, so naturally it’s practically knitting itself ūüôā I also received the good news this weekend from my mother that the scarf doesn’t need to be too long as my father “doesn’t wrap scarves around his neck.” He just does the little foldover in front. That means I’m more than halfway done, as my father is only 5’7″ and doesn’t need more than a 45‚Äď50′ scarf. Yippee!!

Irish Hiking Progress

I baked this weekend too, a Chocolate Gingerbread cake from Nigella Lawson’s Feast. I’ve made quite a few recipes from this book, and I’ve really enjoyed all of the savory stews and soups. The cake and cookie recipes? Not so much. Something always seems to go awry for me. This recipe, however, turned out very tasty, dense and moist, and the gingerbread and chocolate go surprisingly well together. It smelled really good while it was baking too. There was a problem though, albeit a small one, but one that my Virgo anality did not appreciate. The recipe makes a rather watery batter, to which you add chocolate chips. Well upon baking, all the chocolate chips sank to the bottom of the dish and melted there, rather than being dispersed throughout the cake. Any tips on how to stop this from happening next time? I think I remember a Barefoot Contessa episode where she coated some berries in flour before adding them to a batter; would that work with chocolate chips?

Anyway, We finally have some decent weather today, highs in the 60s, and I definitely liked getting up an hour later today.

Window View

That’s the view out my office window. Please ignore the power lines and note the pretty blue sky. Hope you have a nice week!

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A Little Twisted (and a Finished Object too)

October 26, 2006 at 4:30 pm (FO)

Knitting. A craft that for so many conjures images of grandmothers and little old biddies. So why¬†are there so many parallels between knitting and vice? Yarn porn, Stash Enhancement Expedition,¬† the Yarn Harlot‚ÄĒand those are just the lusty ones. How about gluttony (overbuying yarn you don’t need), sloth (the yarn taketh over the craft room), pride (my socks are better than your socks), envy (her socks are better than my socks) and¬†greed (I’m buying all the Koigu so no one else can have it). The only one not definitely covered here is wrath, unless you’re into knitting voodoo dolls, of course.

The more modern vice that I find my knitting most often parallels¬†is addiction. So while with good intentions¬†I carefully made up my Christmas knitting list, checked it twice and posted it for extra accountability‚ÄĒI have already cheated. I am ashamed. I’m a slave to my drug of choice, the small project. I needed a quick fix to break up the monotony that is the Christmas scarf.¬†And my hands were cold, damn it.

Little Twisted Hand.

Pattern: Little Twist Armwarmers by Wendi Dunlap
Source: “Worthware” pattern from Slumberland.org
Materials: Knitpicks Swish (100% Superwash Wool) in Coast Grey, 1 skein; Brittany Birch DPNs, Size 8
Started: October 25, 2006
Completed: October 26, 2006

Like I said, I needed a quick fix, and I’ve¬†wanted to make some armwarmers for a while now. These are really fast‚ÄĒI’m not a quick knitter and I knocked these out in about six hours. I like the fact that the thumb gusset is easy, just a few increases and then a bind off, and the single twist cables keep things interesting. The pattern was well-written and very clear, which is great if you’re a beginning knitter. The only change I made was to twist my purl stitches when I rejoined after binding off the thumb gusset, to avoid a big gap. And if you haven’t already tried it, I’d recommend cabling without a needle on these. It’s really easy with just the two stitches you’re cabling, and one less pointy thing to mind while using DPNs is a very good thing. The Knitpicks Swish is nice stuff‚ÄĒvery soft and it didn’t really split no matter how many I jammed my needle into it when executing the M1.¬† I’d definitely use it again‚ÄĒalthough I’ve read on the blogs that even though it’s supposed to be a Superwash, the row gauge changes drastically when you machine dry it. Something to keep in mind.

Little Twisted Both.

Fun, fast and easy. Great for Christmas presents I’m sure, or if you’re a selfish sinner like me, a very satisfying quick fix. ūüôā

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Finished Object‚ÄĒRopes and Ladders Scarf

October 24, 2006 at 2:19 pm (FO, knitting)

ropes-cables-closeup.jpg

Pattern: Ropes & Ladders by JenniferTallapaneni

Source: Free pattern from Pieknits

Materials: Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Chunky (75% Wool, 25% Alpaca) in Lettuce, 2 skeins; Crystal Palace Bamboo Single Points, Size 10

Size: 7″ x 70″

Started: September 9, 2006

Completed: September 23, 2006

This has been “resting” in my WIP basket‚ÄĒI just got around to blocking it a month after finishing it. Yay for laziness. I knit this as a birthday present for my sister; the birthday isn’t until December, but I figured I’d be in the throes of Christmas knitting by that time so I wanted to get it out of the way. It was such a fun pattern to knit. I was completely addicted to it the whole way through, a rare thing for little miss short-attention-span. The cable is really easy to memorize, and kind of has a rhythm to it once you get it. The yarn . . . . oh, the yarn . . . . so soft, the color is fantastic, and it’s just . . . squooshy. Yum. It gets even better after blocking, both the pattern and the yarn. It was a little stiff at first, and I was worried that I should’ve used a bigger needle. After I blocked it‚ÄĒit just drapes, drapes, drapes. It’s a single ply, though, so you have to be a bit cautious about splitting it.

ropes-cables-worn.jpg

*Sorry about the poor lighting, it’s hard getting home in time to photograph my knitting properly . . . plus taking a picture of youself is not easy.

Good thing my sister rocks, I totally want to keep this one!

This one shows the color best . . .

ropesladderscascade.jpg

*Unless I secretly photograph it at work!

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Me! Me! Meme!

October 23, 2006 at 3:50 pm (Meme)

I’d try to feign indifference, but what is a blog for if not for honesty. So here’s the truth. .¬† . I really like doing memes. It’s dorky, but true. For your sake, I’ll try to keep them to a minimum. But everybody’s doing this one, so I’m hopping on the bandwagon too.

48 things you probably never wanted to know in the first place

1. FIRST NAME? Maureen

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? My middle name is from my maternal grandmother.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY?  Saturday, while watching Steel Magnolias. That movie is so cathartic.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?¬† When I take my time with it, yes. 5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Boar’s Head Roasted Chicken

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?¬† I hope so. I’m a little quirky, though.

7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Sporadically, I mostly keep them when I’m down or¬†traveling.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?  Yes.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Absolutely.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Cold: Honey Nut Cheerios; Hot: Cream of Wheat.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?  Nope, and I try to jam my feet back into them with the laces tied too.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Mentally, I’m really stubborn, which can be a strength or a weakness depending on the situation. Physically, I think I can hold my own.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR?  Mint Chocolate Chip, Lemon Custard, Sweet Cream, Cookies & Cream . . .  the list goes on.

14. SHOE SIZE? 7.5

15. RED OR PINK? Red, preferably a deep claret or rustic barn red.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?¬† I wish I wasn’t so moody and I wish I’d think things through a bit more before I react. I’m getting better though.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My grandmother. I’d like to have known her as an adult.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU?  If you like. I do enjoy reading them though.

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?¬† Black pants, a beige cabled turtleneck sweater, black boots‚ÄĒI’m at work.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? Strawberry Yo Crunch yogurt.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?  The office white noise of other people typing and phones ringing.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?¬† I’ve always like burnt sienna and lemon yellow.

23. FAVORITE SMELL?¬† My husband, the forest‚ÄĒespecially pine groves, Oliver, wool, Keihl’s Original Musk.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?  My husband.

25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO?¬†A sense of humor and kindness. And¬†I’m definitely attracted to slight nerdiness just like Courtney.

26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from?¬† I don’t know her, but I enjoy reading her blog.

27. FAVORITE DRINK?¬† Alcoholic: White wine‚ÄĒnot too sweet, not too dry, not too oaky.¬† Non-Alcoholic:¬†Homemade¬†ice tea, Fresca¬†and Diet Dr. Pepper.

28. FAVORITE SPORT? I’m not into sports, but I don’t mind playing golf or tennis and I love going to baseball games..

29. EYE COLOR? Hazel.

30. HAT SIZE? I think I clock in at about 24″. I have a serious noggin.

31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?  Yes.

32. FAVORITE FOOD? I have a crazy sweet tooth‚ÄĒI really like cakes, cookies¬†and doughnuts.

33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?¬† Happy endings, definitely. I can’t watch scary movies, they make me anxious. I can’t even watch the Ghost Whisperer, and that’s not just because of my extreme dislike for the Love-Hewitt.

34. IF YOU COULD LIVE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHERE WOULD THAT BE?  New Zealand, Italy or the Pacific Northwest.

35. SUMMER OR WINTER?  Early summer, Early winter. The two most extreme seasons both get tiresome toward the end.

36. HUGS OR KISSES?  Hugs. 

37. FAVORITE DESSERT? See #32

38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND?N/A

39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? N/A

40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? I’m supposed to be reading Extemely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer for book club, but I’ve just been knitting in front of the tube lately. I do keep poking my nose into my¬†husband’s art history text book, the Gardner’s Art Through the Ages.

41. WHAT’S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?¬†I don’t have one.

42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? I was switching back and forth between Iron Chef America and whatever was on the History Channel.

43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? I love it when my husband laughs so hard that he makes a little gasping noise, anything¬†by¬†Debussy, my neice’s cooing, forest sounds.

44. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Beatles. 45. THE FURTHEST YOU’VE BEEN FROM HOME? Europe.

46. WHAT’S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? I’m really good at the “Hey, what’s that guy been in” game for movies and tv.

47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?  Upstate NY

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?¬† I stole it from Courtney of Yarn Tootin’.

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Saturday, That Great Day.

October 22, 2006 at 12:43 am (Finishing, LYS, oliver, Work in Progress, Yarn)

So all I have to do to wrap up principle knitting on the V-Neck Cardigan is knit one more sleeve, and then I can get started on the finishing. Just four more inches of stockinette. So what did I do today?

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Why I cast on for something else, of course. Say hello to my next project, the Hello Yarn‘s Irish Hiking Scarf in Debbie Bliss Merino DK. It’s going to be a Christmas present for my Dad.

Honestly though, it was the LYS that did it. You see, I went my wonderful LYS today to find buttons. While I was there, I got these size 7 Brittany Birch needles that I’ve coveted for some time now, and when I got home I just had to use them. Now, I don’t usually go in for the more expensive needles. I can’t justify Addis on my budget as much as everyone swears by them, and I really think the Susan Bates and Clovers are just fine. But these were only $7. And I love birch needles. So here now they are mine.

Anyhoo, the buttons. Aren’t these cute? These are reason enough to finish this project.

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Sorry for the crappy pictures, it’s a grey day, so getting anything good on camera is a reach.

I really had to restrain myself today, the LYS has been having these huge clearouts, and in addition to the greatly discounted stock of Noro and Debbie Bliss (I had a really close call with three beautiful hanks of Silk Garden, but thankfully was able to walk away), they have this whole bin of wonderful one skeins (my weakness), like Rowan Cork, Rowanspun DK, Plymouth Suri Alpaca, etc. I couldn’t say no to this skein of Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair in a lovely green, and so it came home with me. It will become soft, warm fingerless gloves post-X-Mas.

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After the LYS, I finally got to work on finishing touches to two projects that have been languishing in the craft room. I blocked the Ropes and Cable scarf from Pieknits, which I will show you once it dries, and I felted my Noro clutch. My first experience felting . . . was interesting. Maybe I shouldn’t have done it in conjunction with my first time seaming.

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See that? I felted myself a big ol’ hole in the bottom corner of my clutch. I’m pinning it while it dries to hold it in place, and I’ll just have to pull out some needle and thread to fix it. ūüė¶

The best part of the day, though, was coming home. Ollie has officially graduated from his crate. Today was the first time he was left loose in the house (which was heavily doggie-proofed) and nothing was chewed, eaten or otherwise destroyed. I think he was pretty happy about it too‚ÄĒafter all, this is what I came home to.

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I just love Saturdays. ūüôā

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On Knitting for the Wee Ones

October 19, 2006 at 3:53 pm (Inspiration, knitting, Work in Progress)

So I’m cruising through the Debbie Bliss V-Neck Cardigan. I’ve finished the back and one of the front panels and should be able to wrap up the rest of it by this weekend (hopefully). Although, once I’ve finished the parts I have to seam it (yikes) and pick up stitches for the ribbed collar (bigger yikes), two things I’ve never done.

 V-NeckCard Halfway

Here’s my uber-exiting progress shot, since I’m about halfway through.

I’m finding that I’m really enjoying the baby knitting‚ÄĒit goes so fast. And let’s face it‚ÄĒbaby knits are just damn cute. Since I do have the most adorable niece in the world (of course I’m not partial or anything) I’ve scouted out some patterns for future birthdays/landmark occasions. I’m assuming that not everyone is obsessive enough to have looked at every single pattern in the Knitty archive, but lucky for those baby knitters out there, I am. Knitty has a treasury of cute patterns, I must say. My favorites:

anouk

Ok, how freakin’ cute is that. It’s Anouk¬†by Kate Gilbert. It includes directions on how to do the little pockets with duplicate stitch or intarsia, if you’re feeling spicy.

Trellis

Trellis¬†by Britta Stolfus Rueschhoff. This would be nice in Knitpicks Main Line, which I’ve found to be a great sub for Rowan Wool Cotton (I’m using it on my Sesame, which is on hold until the X-Mas knitting is done‚ÄĒif I can restrain myself). What a great way to attempt aran knitting in a much less intimidating size.

And finally, if you have a hankering for picots . . .

missdashwoodalt.jpg

This is just a beautiful baby, first of all. I’m not one of those women whose uterus is ticking (not that there is anything wrong with that) and I totally want to snuggle this one. Back on subject, this is Miss Dashwood by Heather Ramsay. This is¬†a definite must knit for my niece, although the picots scare me a bit.

So that’s it. I’m so glad it’s Thursday and the week is winding down. Hopefully I’ll be able to clean up our craft room a bit to make room for some blocking action. Then I’ll actually be able to show you my Flower Petal Shawl and Ropes and Cables Scarf, which are done, I swear, they just need finishing.

Oh, and thanks so much to those people who have commented. The comments you receive make blogging¬†so enjoyable‚ÄĒyou put yourself out there for the world (at least the knitting corner of the world) to see, and you’re rewarded with such encouragement and warmth. It just makes my day.

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Finished Object‚ÄĒOdessa

October 18, 2006 at 2:27 pm (FO, knitting)

Yay! After yesterday’s debacle, I’ve finally finished Odessa.
Progress on Odessa hat.
Pattern: Odessa by Grumperina

Source: Magknits, February 2006

Materials: Knitting Fever Peru DK (70% Merino, 20% Alpaca, 10% Silk, 124 yds); Susan Bates Needles (16″ Circulars, Size 5 & 6; 7″ DPNs, Size 6)

Started: October 14, 2006

Completed: October 17, 2006

This is a great pattern‚ÄĒinteresting enough to keep your attention, yet it makes perfect TV knitting. It’s a small hat, the perfect size for my sister’s more delicately sized noggin, but if I were to make it for myself I’d probably add about an inch more before the crown decreases (I cart around the classic large Irish melon . . . thanks, Dad). I won’t use this yarn again, except to use up the rest of my extra ball. It’s soft and has nice stitch definition, but it actually broke while on the ball winder. Of course, that may just be a result of my bad juju yesterday!


Progress on Odessa hat.

Yay! Another Christmas present in the bag! Onward to the baby sweater!

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Knitting Gods Side with LYS Owners

October 17, 2006 at 8:44 pm (knitting, Work in Progress, Yarn)

This is what I get for buying Christmas-present yarn at A.C. Moore. Knitting Fever Peru DK’s 20 yards less than Rowan Cashsoft DK has screwed me.Progress on Odessa hat.

**sob** See that? I’m out of yarn! With only 12 decrease rows to go!

So I go again to A.C. Moore at lunch to pick up another ball of the Peru DK, which I’m not sure is the same color lot, because I threw away the ball band, which must have just tempted fate. It’s not so bad though, because I figure I have to get my size 6 DPNs. But¬†they were all¬†out of size 6 DPNs. All of them!¬†No Clovers, no Susan Bates‚ÄĒnot even the ridiculously priced Lion Brand plastic ones. And only the size 6’s were missing. Every other size was there. Grrrrr . . . . .¬†So to make an already too long story short, I did get the other ball of yarn, of which I will probably use approximately two yards, and I did manage to get some DPNs, although I had to go to another store and¬†ended up with¬†aluminum, not my favorite bamboo. Gah! Hopefully I can post an FO of this hat tomorrow, which will make everything better.

Sorry for the grumpiness today‚ÄĒit’s oogy out and I’m convinced that the universe is out to get me today, by tiny little increments of annoyingness. I’ll be better tomorrow, I promise!!

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Working for the Weekend

October 16, 2006 at 4:55 pm (knitting, oliver, Work in Progress)

I have FOs to show for my weekend, I really do. I have a completed Apple Cake, a well-exercised doggy, a clean kitchen floor and a roasted chicken. Sometimes life gets in the way of your knitting. I have found, however, that the knitting has made me much more goal-oriented. I want to get all kinds of crap done so I don’t feel bad about zoning out to the History Channel and working on a hat. Which is what I did post-baking, dog-walking, cleaning and roasting.And here’s what I have to show for it. Odessa’s about 60‚Äď70% done, I’m roughly an inch away from the decreases, so about¬†10 more rows and a trip to the store to buy some size 6 DPNs (the only dpn size I don’t have, wouldn’t you know it . . . grrrr).

Progress on Odessa hat. 

I also cast on for my niece’s V-Neck Cardigan, I’m about 4 inches into the back part. Plain ol’ stockinette for 11 inches . . . snnnnn . .¬† . what?¬† . . .¬† Oh sorry, I just bored myself to sleep. . .¬† Just kidding. I’ll really buckle down on this one once the Odessa is done. It’s pretty much a gauge swatch right now, since I refuse to swatch for baby-wear. I have to rip back a row too, since I decided it would be a good idea to work on the “plain ol’ stockinette” after having a few cocktails Saturday night. Needless to say the “plain ol’ stockinette” completely defeated me. Knitting after cocktails? Not such a good idea. Lesson learned.

Progress on baby v-neck cardigan.

And¬†on a non-knitting¬†note, something happened that weirded me out a bit. Ollie was acting a little strange last night. He kept trying to hide, under the dining room table, under my knitting chair in the craft room, the stair landing‚ÄĒjust like he does when there’s a thunderstorm. I actually said something about it to my husband, I believe my exact words were, “I wonder if there’s going to be an earthquake or something.” Yeah. What do I see this morning? This. I know it’s probably just a coincidence, but creepy, right?

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Love.

October 15, 2006 at 7:38 pm (Inspiration, knitting)

The preview for the Winter 2006 issue of Interweave Knits is up, and I’m in love.
Enid Cardigan
design by Véronik Avery
Yarn: Reynolds Whiskey (100% wool; 195 yd [178 m]/50 g): #59 charcoal (MC), 6 (7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 11) balls; #53 teal, #98 lavender, #103 green, #86 raspberry, #16 burgundy, and #4 light blue, 1 ball each. Yarn distributed by JCA.

Must add this to my already long list of potential future projects . . . sigh.

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