Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This is a test mobile post.

Okay - coolest thing ever. I know - I'm severely behind the times. But I just set it up so that I can post from my phone. The "This is a test mobile post" came from the phone. And now I can post from my phone. Amazing. This may (or may not) lead to more frequent posting..

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Sweet New Year

I don't usually post about non- knitting things, but last week, I made an apple tart for Rosh Hashanah and I was pretty pleased about it.

First I started with a mix of apples. A few Gala and a few macs, so that I had some sweet and some tart:

I was lucky that I didn't need to use all of the apples, so I got to eat a few of them! :) They were delicious. I mean, they were Gala and Granny Smith (oh, I crack myself up). But they were still delicious!

Here are all of the ingredients, waiting to be made into a tart:

A few closeups:

The recipe called for apple brandy, but the guy at the liquor store said I could use regular brandy instead of apple brandy because I had the apples in it themselves, so I did, and it saved me from having to buy a $20 bottle of apple brandy that I would probably never use again.

The pre-cooked tart:

And the tart after it came out of the oven:

It was pretty darn delicious if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Blocking Lace

I have never really blocked before. But I made this shawl for my mother, and it was all lace. I used silk yarn, and I knew that it really needed to be blocked. So I'm blocking. I followed the instructions on the Yarn Harlot's website and on Eunny Jang's website. I sort of combined the two. And I soaked. And I pulled. And I pinned. And pinned. And pinned. I think I have nearly 300 pins in this shawl. I hope it's dry by the morning.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Oh My God, I Love the Lace

Lace has always intimidated me. I made an entire shawl that I wound up ripping because I didn't know about blocking (it may still have been too small, even if I did block it). But then I started making the "Simple Elegance" shawl by Krystopher Dixon. Oh my goodness is it lovely. It's only a 16 line repeat with the even rows being purled across, so it's not too intimidating to get through a whole repeat of the pattern. I bought two skeins of the Tonos Pima Silk for it, and the first skein brought me 29 inches of pattern. So total, it would be about 5 feet long, pre-blocking. I have called the store to see if they have one more skein - I would love for it to be a little longer than 5 feet, but I'm okay with it being five feet if they do not.

But I am loving working the pattern. I am loving that a few little yarn overs brings me this fabulous curvacious pattern snaking up the yarn.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Frogging, Frogging, Frogging

I finished the baby blanket for my friends who had the baby. It was supposed to be a square. You start off with three stitches and increase one stitch each row until you reach the midpoint, then decrease one stitch each row until you get back down to three. See? Square. Mine? Um, not so much a square. It sort of looked square if you held it up but if you tried to fold it, it wouldn't line up right. So I ripped it. Ripped the whole darn thing. I tried blocking it, washing it in the washing machine and pinning it, steam blocking the heck out of it, killing the acrylic, the whole deal. Didn't work. So I ripped it. It was mildly painful, but not so bad because I hated the way it looked. I will re-do it as a regular striped blanket (with the stripes going the long way to look more like pinstripes). And I have a baby outfit and the shrek hat to give her right away, so she'll just have to get the blanket when she gets it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Under the Gun

I don't know why I always do this. I am always knitting under the gun. Friends of mine, L and S are having a baby (well, now, have had a baby). They are big Yankee fans, but it didn't occur to me to make a yankee-themed gift for their baby, so I made the Cotton Candy Jacket I mentioned on June 5th. And of course, at the shower, she mentioned something about how the baby, regardless of gender, would be a Yankee fan. So I started a Yankee blanket. Her due date was 8/9/10, but she had the baby yesterday. A little girl, everyone is happy and healthy. And now, I'm under the gun to finish the Yankee blanket! I'm more than halfway done - it's one of those where you increase until you reach x inches across and then decrease in the ensuing rows.

Monday, July 19, 2010


My mom always called me "pumpkin" growing up. And now, I have a friend who is pregnant and is due on October 27th. So I made her a pumpkin hat for her baby. If the baby is early or on time, it will be perfect for Halloween. If the baby is not on time, she may just have to tape the hat to her belly for that day :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Knitting at the Movies

Tonight, I have plans to meet a friend for dinner and a movie. I haven't been to a movie in a very long time (being that it is an expense I am trying to avoid). So mostly, if I watch a movie, it is at home. The lights are on, and therefore, I knit. Now, I'll be going to a movie, in a theatre, in the dark, with a friend. Who will most certainly look at me as though I am completely bizarre if I attempt to knit in the theatre. I'm wondering if it is worth trying anyway :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Babies, Babies, Part II

H's shower is Sunday. I finished the baby sweater for her:
and a baby hat: I have one and a half booties done. This is the one. Not the half. I love both the hat and the sweater, but I don't love the booties. I think I am going to see if I can find a different pattern to make for her. I used Lion Brand's Baby's First and although the yarn splits sometimes, in general, I really liked working with it. It's part acrylic and part cotton, totally machine-washable, and it's bulky, so it knits up quickly. I think I must knit really tightly, because I knit the sweater on size 10s, which it calls for when you use dk or light worsted yarn, and this is definitely bulky. I wish I didn't knit so tightly because I like the way things look when the knit is smaller.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Overpackaging, anyone?

And we wonder why we have so much landfill. I bought these big balls of yarn at Amazing Savings a few weeks ago. The yarn is very much like the old "Trellis" which I think has been discontinued, but which I loved using for a shawl. So when I saw these, I pounced on them. I was thinking "320 yards isn't *that* much - there must be something in the middle." Oh, was I right. There was a HUGE styrofoam ball in the middle. These pictures are in reverse order and I can't seem to get them flipped around right now, but what you have (bottom to top) is 1) the box of yarn, 2) the big styrofoam ball from the middle, 3) the wound ball of yarn and 4) the wound ball of yarn next to the original box.

Argh. If I didn't love this yarn so much and if it were still available from whatever company made Trellis, I would have returned these all right away. But I'll still be annoyed by it...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Babies, Babies, Babies

So two of my friends are having babies. I wasn't really expecting baby showers. One is Jewish, and Jews don't traditionally do baby showers (I was especially surprised because L is particularly superstitious, but I guess gifts trump superstition for her), and H lives abroad and I figured she wouldn't be able to come back for a shower. Wrong on both accounts. So one is June 19 and one is June 27. I'm making the Cotton Candy Jacket from the Better Homes and Gardens Hip Knits book because it is the easiest sweater ever. And it's downright adorable. It's all made in one piece and then you just seam up the sides. I do think that the arms need to be a little longer than they call for in the pattern, and the hood needs to be much smaller. So I'll modify. But the good thing is that I'm almost done with the first sweater. I just have to make myself finish it before I start the second one, because I'm really ready to be done with the first.

Someday, I'll think about these things in advance and have lots of baby sweaters made ahead of time like most smart people do...

This is the sweater:

And this is the close up of the super-cute button:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In October of 2008, I made the following knitting resolutions:
  1. Make at least one charity project per month. This can be as small as a chemo hat or a square for a blanket that will be joined together by others.
  2. Work down the stash before buying new yarn. I know that this is is a pipe dream, but i am going to make an effort not to just keep buying yarn. S o I am going to try to make at least two projects for any one project's worth of yarn that I buy.
  3. Make scrapghans out of whatever leftovers I have that aren't really enough for anything else.
  4. Finish UFOs.

So let's see. I have not really made one charity project per month. But I have made about 30 granny squares, and they are all going to other people, so I think that sort of counts. Not *really* but sort of. I have, been generally pretty good about working down the stash. Not amazing - not by any stretch of the imagination, but pretty good. I've definitely gotten rid of a lot of the stash by knitting it up and some by sending it off to other people. Scrapghans. Hmmm.. well, not so much, but again, granny squares. All in all, I'm using up yarn. And as for the UFOs, I ripped a few, and finished a few, and have a few left.

Final tally: I haven't *quite* lived up to my resolutions, but I'm not doing *horribly* with them, either. Making a few blankets for C's knitting group should help get rid of some of the stash, too.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Striped Ice Cream

When I was a kid, I read a book called Striped Ice Cream by Joan M. Lexau. I loved the book. It was sweet, and had lovely life lessons, and family members who truly looked out for one another.

Fast forward about 25 years, and my friend C is making blankets with her knitting group to be donated to newborns. I pulled out some red heart baby clouds in pink, light purple and the ever-so-faintest of light blues. I started doing two lines of each, rotating right around, blue, purple, pink, blue, purple, pink, and lo and behold, what I came up with was striped ice cream. Or, well, striped cotton candy is what I really think it looks like. Did 78 lines, then edged the whole thing in the pink. I love it. I want to give it to C., but I may wait to find out if either of my two pregnant friends are having girls... Or I may just make another.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Unfinished Projects

I had an unfinished project. I don't know when I bought the yarn. I don't know when I started the project. I think it was for me, but I can't be sure about that. It was a Sunday Market Shawl, in a deep purple. Different from the one I made for my friend L., but also purple. About two weeks ago, I found it, and decided to finish it rather than frogging it. It took a while, because I had it on size five needles, but last night, I finally finished it. Yay! I do have a bit of the yarn left, and it will be fun to find some things to do with the rest of it. I suppose this counts toward my stash knit-down because it was definitely yarn in my stash. I think it's a bad sign if you don't know where yarn came from or when you bought it. It's like yarn insomnia. Not a good sign. Just glad to be done with it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Granny Squares

Confession: I hate Granny Squares. I think they're ugly as sin.

However, I have been in stash-busting mode for a while now, and am trying to get rid of as much yarn as humanly possible without just sending it all to people (although I am doing a bit of that, too). To this end, on Ravelry, I joined a "Friendship Square Exchange" in which people trade 6" squares. I don't want any, I just want to be able to send them to people. So I contacted the moderator, and she said she would keep me as an "angel" which I guess is just kind of what you have when someone doesn't get whatever it is they are supposed to get in their swap. To be on "angel" status, I told her I would commit to one square a month, and would go from there. I was just going to make one straight-across six inch square, but I thought, "hmmm, let me see if I can make a granny square because then I know it will be 6x6 rather than 6x6.5 or 5.5x6 which is what usually happens when I try to make squares. So I tried it.

And O.M.G. Granny squares are SO MUCH FUN!!!! I made 20 of them this weekend. I blew through a bunch of my smaller balls of scrap yarn. I did different combinations. I did solid squares, squares of variegated yarns, squares of two or more yarns. I have ones that look like flowers because of their colors, and ones that are color-coordinated with others. I have ones that are so ugly that I cannot stand to look at them. I have five made out of the Lion Brand Imagine in a sea green that I think would work well as four corners and a middle of a blanket. As soon as I take pictures, I am going to post them and figure out how to get them to the best homes possible.

I still hate Granny Squares. I still think they're ugly as sin. But I LOOOOOOOVE making them.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just One More Row

I found this site:

Waaay down at the bottom is the "Progressive Procrastinations of a Knitter."

It is so me. When I was a kid, I used to do this with reading. My father would come in and tell me to turn out the light. I would say, "I just want to finish my chapter." He would make me show him how much I had left, and he would say, "Okay, I'll be back in a little bit." I would read voraciously until he returned, and would make sure I was into the middle of the next chapter. He would say, "Time to turn out the lights" and I would say, "Oh, but look, I just have a few pages left until the end of the chapter." I cannot even imagine how many extra hours of reading I scammed in this fashion while I was a kid. Now that I'm an adult, I have to be the bad guy myself. If I don't have work the next day, I have been known to stay up until 3 or 4 to finish a book. I'm not always such a good bad guy.

And yeah. Now I do it with knitting, too.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Frogs on His Nose

Passover is rapidly approaching. One of the parts of the story we tell on this holiday recounts the 10 plagues that God sent to entice Pharaoh into letting the Israelites leave Egypt. They are (funny, in my head, I can recite them in Hebrew, but for the English, I have to go look them up):
  1. Blood
  2. Frogs
  3. Lice
  4. Flies
  5. Cattle Disease
  6. Boils
  7. Hail
  8. Locusts
  9. Darkness
  10. Death of the Firstborn
It's not so much fun to sing songs about cattle disease or boils, maybe, but there's a really cute song we always sang as kids. It goes, "One day King Pharaoh awoke in his bed/there were frogs in his bed/there were frogs on his head/Frogs on his nose and frogs on his toes/Frogs here/Frogs there/Frogs were jumping everywhere."

Yeah. Sometimes I think we might be mildly ill, you know, as a people. But for my seder (the dinner and telling of the story) I wanted to make a couple of frogs. I decided to make them Amigurumi. I made one, but he looks a little funny. I'll take some pictures of him this weekend. He didn't come out as cute as Ralph the Octopus, but maybe I'll feel differently about him once he's completely finished.

And, no. I'm not knitting hail with which to pelt my guests...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Things I can do while knitting:
  1. Talk on the phone
  2. Watch TV
  3. Carry on a conversation at a cafe
  4. Listen to music
  5. Enjoy live sporting events
  6. Ride in/on trains, planes or automobiles
A new thing I have discovered (in addition to the existing list) I cannot do while knitting:
  1. Eat sunflower seeds with the shells on.
Again, lesson learned.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Blocking Lace

I've been reading all of these posts on Ravelry about how important it is to block lace, and how it really makes the pattern what it is supposed to be. Which leads me to a few dilemmas. First, I'm making this Easy Lace Stashbuster Scarf out of brushed acrylic. I know that acrylic doesn't really "block" but I don't know if this would be any different. So I don't know if it would work at all. I should just do a swatch and try to block it, but the lana polo that I'm using does not rip well at all -- it becomes tangled in itself and I just have to throw it away. I know that if I do that, I would wind up throwing away the swatch because there would be nothing else that could be done with it. Second, if it does work, I have no idea how long to make the scarf pre-blocking. I have trouble determining how long a scarf should be to begin with, before you throw this blocking stuff into the mix. Someday, when I can afford nice, natural fibers, I'll be better able to predict stuff like this.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I am NOT a Morning Person

Case in point. Last evening, I cast on the Easy Lace Stashbuster Scarf. I worked on it through a few television shows, and got about a foot into it. I was good, and at about 12:30, turned off the TV, and actually got into bed. If I had my druthers (such a strange word - dictionary.com tells me that it comes from the combination of "I'd" and "rather" - who knew!) I would stay up all night knitting until 5 or 6 am, and then sleep until noon. This is not limited to knitting. It is also my favorite way to read, clean, or do any number of other projects. I am, and have always been, an "owl" when it comes to circadian rhythms. I am not, however, a lark, never have been, never will be. In fact, after my shower, I like to crawl back into bed for a 15 or 20 minute "post-shower nap." This morning, however, I decided to do just a few rows on my scarf instead of indulging in the nap. Boy was this a mistake. I did a row, and then had to tink it back because I only had 19 stitches in between my garter border instead of 20. I think I did this three times before tinking back the row below and realizing where I had messed it up. Then I did a few more rows, and somehow wound up with 17 stitches. I had to tink back once again -- this time a few rows. Let me just share: mohair (or acrylic's mohair equivalent) does *not* tink well.

Lesson learned. Tonight, I knit. Tomorrow morning, I nap.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Under the Gun

Why must I always wait until too close to my deadline to start any given project? I have a party coming up on the 13th. Less than 2 weeks away. Have I known about this party long? Only, oh, since about the middle of January. Why did I not start on something to give the birthday girl before now? No answer to that. No reason. No valid reason, at least. I think I just wasn't thinking about it.

I figure, though, that I do have nearly 2 weeks, and I might be able to finish a nice lace scarf for H, my birthday girl. I am going to attempt this: http://hockeymomknits-donna.blogspot.com/2007/08/easy-lace-stashbuster-scarf.html -- I think it is beautiful, it looks fairly easy, as I do not have a lot of experience with lace, and it was made for a "fuzzy sport weight acrylic" which is exactly the yarn I have for it. So I hope I can do it, I hope I can get it done, and I hope she likes it. It's a friend from London, so I hope a hand-made gift looks charming and thoughtful, instead of cheap.

This is the scarf in progress:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Would It Be So Wrong

... to wish for snow? Two, three feet of wet, heavy, packed snow that blocks the roads and closes governmental offices and stops the trains and makes it impossible for me to go to work tomorrow and requires, instead, that I stay home and knit and bake? Since September, I have had exactly two days off from work, and have taken 2 sick days -- days when I was really, truly, unbelievably sick and couldn't get out of bed (stupid migraines). So really, would it be so bad if I could have a fun snow day at home?

Somehow, I don't think it's going to happen. Just like I don't think it's going to happen for me to win the 99 million dollar mega-millions jackpot. Doesn't keep me from wishing, though.


This is the cutest thing ever. I wouldn't have made it - I like functional things, generally, but I showed it to my friend and she loved him and said she would like one for her office. So I made an Octopus Amigurumi. He is made entirely of stash yarn - about 138 feet of it - and he only took an evening to make. I think he's rather adorable.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Peachy-Keen, Jelly Bean

Denise of Lost City Knits is giving away yarn through a contest on her blog, http://www.lostcityknits.blogspot.com/. In return for your contest entry, she would like to know how you eat peaches. Of course, I entered. What I said was: My favorite peach-eating method is fresh, with a nice somewhat firm resistance in the skin, and the feel of the fuzz against your lips. The kind that you eat with a paper towel or a napkin in the non-peach hand ready to catch the juices that escape the mouth and rapidly cascade down the chin threatening to drop onto whatever clothes you are wearing - no fabric avoids the peach nectar.

What I didn't add is that my non-baking grandmother had a recipe for peach pie, which of course she made with canned peaches, but the description of which was accompanied by a hand motion indicating how one is to lay out the peaches. Although my grandmother has been dead for nearly twenty five years, the hand motion survives.

Also the Body Shop used to have these perfume oils (they may still have them - I just don't know) and my friend and I used to go and get the sample paper things with the peach oil on them. We stuck one in between the pages of a journal we kept of important things, and years later, when I opened the book, I was instantly transported due to the lingering scent.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Elephant in the Room

If I don't mention how long it's been since I last posted, maybe no one will notice. Right?

I've been very busy knitting, and not so busy blogging. Since last post, I made a blanket for K, a bunch of scarves, two hats for L, a bunch of squares to send out to people on the RAK list on Ravelry, a blanket for K&L, a garter for C's wedding, and a scarf out of the Sunday Market Shawl Pattern that I wound up ripping because I didn't like it.

Last weekend, I joined up with the Ravelympics, and have been having fun challenging myself. The challenge for me hasn't been so much of the sort where I say, "I'm going to make three sweaters during the Olympics" but rather something where I can look at my stash and my projects and let the Ravelympics sort of guide it. I think it's been fun.

I'm also test-crocheting a pattern, and apparently, not doing it right at all... That will be remedied this week, I hope!!!