Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hey blog! I have a hat to show you:

That is Thorpe, made with the pretty dark red yarn I bought in Toronto & some leftovers from the vest I made ages ago. The knitting was very quick and only took a day or so once I got past the initial increases (the hat is knit top-down, something I hadn't done before). I didn't know how to do the crocheted edging, though, so today I went over to my beloved Aunt Andrea's house thinking she'd show me how. Instead she just did it for me while I ate all her crackers, cheese, and nuts, and drank hot buttered rum. What a relaxing way to finish a project! :) I may or may not add some braided straps to the earflaps, but for now I kind of like it the way it is (and, since I left that yarn at Aunt Andrea's, I don't have much of a choice for the moment). I am planning to block it a bit so the flaps no longer curl out, though. The pattern was a bit difficult at first because it starts with so few stitches, but in the end I found myself absolutely loving it. It has lots of potential, too -- there are some very creative interpretations on Ravelry, of course! I have no doubt I'll be making more of these.

Have you seen the new Knitty yet? It's so inspiring! I'm making these socks as soon as I can. I also, of course, loved the knitted wire earrings. I tried knitting with wire probably a year and a half ago or so and absolutely hated it but these are so lovely that I tried to push that memory from my mind & ran out today to buy wire and earring hooks. Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly), knitting with wire has not gotten any more comfortable or fun since the last time I tried it. My first attempt at an earring was very ugly and I still feel like I'm about to go crosseyed and my fingertips hurt. Plus the wire is a mess of tangles & kinks. Bleh. I might get the hang of it yet but I kind of doubt it. Tips would be appreciated!

Finally, remember the cookie contest I was going to enter? I spent all of last week experimenting in the kitchen until I came up with a decent recipe for pumpkin snickerdoodles. It still had a few kinks I could've worked out to make it absolutely perfect, but the cookies were definitely tasty & creative and I thought I'd have no problem winning. So I went to sign up last Thursday, only to be told I'd missed the sign-up deadline. I must've looked distraught, because the men who told me that started making phone calls & trying to find a way around the deadline for me. While they were doing that, though, it occurred to me that I might want to make sure the prize really was a decent sum of money, like I thought. It definitely was not -- it was a $15 gift card to some crappy chocolate store! I like gift cards and I like chocolate, but the chance to win that honestly didn't seem worth the extra drive up to campus, so I didn't enter after all. Oh, well -- at least I came up with a cool recipe. I will definitely post it here once I've perfected it a bit more.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Can I bake my way to a scholarship?

Probably not.

Can I try?

Yes!

My school is having a cookie-baking contest next Friday. The prize is some amount of scholarship money, I think. (Really there is like no infomration about this anywhere save a few fairly non-detailed fliers on campus.) I need to select & perfect a recipe in between writing papers and studying for finals!

(This is clearly why I should've stuck with my ill-fated 50-cookies-in-'08 plan, because then it would be like I'd been training for this moment all year. But, um, I didn't, so there goes that.)

What would you submit? I want to do something unique, something that will stand out. Right now I'm thinking chai snickerdoodles would be a hit if I could kick up the chai flavor enough, but something with pumpkin also seems like a good idea.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Home & done with National Blog Posting Month.

Well I made it to the end! Believe it or not, I posted every single day in November. Topics ranged from the election to links I liked to events around the city to, of course, recipe links & photos of my knitting progress. A few of the posts were only long enough for me to say that I didn't really have time to post, but, hey, they still count.

All things considered, just yesterday I was saying that I wouldn't do NaBloPoMo again. It was kind of fun but also another thing to worry about each day, and who needs one of those? More than that I disliked the feeling of posting just to post, rather than posting because I had something to share.

Today I found myself reconsidering that, though, when I read that December's theme is Thanks. (November didn't have a theme.) I still won't be participating, but that's one I like and could see myself having some fun with. I think that's what I need, actually, a theme of some kind to keep me going. So perhaps I'll do something like that in the future, but for now expect to hear from me a little less often. Thanks for taking this little month-long journey with me and I'll see you when/if I manage to crawl out from under the mountain of homework I should be doing right now. ♥

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hola! No time for a real post, of course. I leave here at 1:00 tomorrow morning so I need to fit lots of fun (and packing) into these next few hours. I'll have lots to post tomorrow though!

Friday, November 28, 2008

We went to Lettuce Knit today! It was so so cute and I loved the whole Kensington neighborhood. There were so many cool-looking shops and restaurants and I'd like to spend a lot more time down there someday.

Making a purchasing decision at Lettuce Knit was damn near impossible but eventually I settled on some big dark red wool, which will likely become the Thorpe hat (I have some brown yarn at home for the trim). I still don't have my camera cord but I just did realize that Linn's computer has Photobooth, which is quite novel to me, so I can show you the yarn after all:



Linn just called to say she's on her way back here, so maybe it's time to stop using her computer for silly yarn photos. Hope you all have an excellent weekend!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gratitude + food = a pretty good holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

My Thanksgiving dinner was just me & Linn at the very swanky 7 West Cafe, where I had pasta primavera, garlic bread, and some crazy blue raspberry martini and we split an amazing dark chocolate cake for dessert (I also had some of Linn's raspberry amaretto tea, which was delicious). I may be in the minority here, but to me that is at least 80,000 times better than traditional Thanksgiving fare (except maybe pumpkin pie). Linn's company also could not be beat, though of course having a holiday without family is a bit strange. Christmas is definitely soon enough, though!

Tomorrow we're going to Lettuce Knit and I can hardly wait! (Were I at home I'd be participating in Buy Nothing Day, but this is the best time for us to go and Black Friday isn't even that big here, so...it kind of doesn't count, right? Right. Oh, actually the website lists "international" BND as Saturday, so I guess it really doesn't count. Sweet.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hey I am in Toronto! I am also typing this on a Norwegian keyboard, which is...different.

Posting from here is not going to be easy -- I meant to bring my camera cable so I could just do simple photo posts each day, but of course I forgot it, so there goes that idea. I am going to try to put something up each day, though, if only so I can say I successfully completed NaBloPoMo.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Star-Crossed Slouchy Beret.


(stretched over a plate to block)

The good news: it's GORGEOUS!

The bad news: it's entirely too small for my head.

Some might say that the smallness is kind of a predictable result of using smaller needles than recommended, to which I suppose I can only say "...touche." I'm sure you'll all understand where I was coming from, though: I didn't have the recommended needles but I really really REALLY wanted to start the project right that minute and going out to buy needles is horribly frustrating and makes me grouchy and anyway lots of people on Ravelry said the hat came out big so maybe it would all work out? That thinking + a heavy dose of ongoing denial while knitting means I now sort of look like I'm trying to wear a yarmulke.

What can you do, though? I think I'll probably just donate this to some charity and try again soon with the proper needles. (I may get selfish & frog it for all that beautiful Malabrigo, but of course such soft yarn doesn't really hold up to frogging well, so I'm not sure that's a good idea.) Live & learn. The pattern is beautiful, easy, and quick -- not one I'll mind repeating.

In other news, I leave for Toronto early tomorrow morning!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Uh oh!

It's really late and I never did think of anything to post today, plus I'm in a serious hat-finishing frenzy. So I promise a real post (with hat pictures!) tomorrow. For now, look at this cute baby fox!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Everything about the pumpkin I cooked & pureed today was beautiful, even the stem:

Pumpkin Stem

This was probably the most productive Sunday I've ever had. I was actually out of bed & working on papers by 8 this morning. I kept that up for a bit, spent a happy hour knitting on my hat & listening to the radio, went to the grocery store, and then was switching between kitchen and computer for the rest of the day. My upcoming trip to Toronto means I wanted to prepare some good bus snacks and also that I really needed to use up leftovers.

For the bus I toasted pumpkin seeds and made these wholesome banana chocolate breakfast bars. They came out beautifully! If you have a sweet tooth like I do you might want to add just a bit of honey, especially if your bananas aren't yet in that super-sweet super-ripe state. I also think walnuts would've been wonderful, and I'm toying with lots of other ways to modify that recipe in the future. If any of them are great of course I'll let you know.

In the leftover using-up department, I reheated some of last night's crunchy cornmeal and topped it with garlicky sauteed spinach, which was absolutely the perfect thing. Now I'm getting hungry again so it might be time to pick at some other leftovers...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Splendid Saturday.

Today was pretty much fantastic. Here's some of what happened:
  • I tried to go to yoga at the Lab but horrible construction doubled my driving time and I didn't make it in time. That was a pretty big disappointment but I couldn't stay upset for too long. For one thing, I got to hear the last half of Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! and the first part of This American Life in the car, both of which had me laughing so hard I probably looked a little nuts to other drivers. (I can't wait to go stream the whole episode of TAM as soon as I'm done writing this.)

  • At Eastern Market I drank hot spiced cider, ate roasted chestnuts, and got lots of tasty things. Since I'm leaving for Toronto on Wednesday (!!) I really didn't need too much, but it's always fun to look around.

  • My friend Nick called while I was at Eastern Market and wound up coming downtown to meet me. We had no concrete plans, but a glance in the general direction of Campus Martius convinced me that ice skating was absolutely necessary. Eventually I talked him into it and we had SO MUCH FUN!! Well, ok, actually we were extremely awkward and sort of clung to the rail while small children zoomed past us at alarming speeds, but after a while we started to get the hang of it. Neither of us fell, anyway!

  • We wrapped up our downtown adventures with hot cocoa at the Cass Cafe and a visit to the Science Center, which was pretty cool.

  • Back at home I made a half batch of cornmeal crunch, using some local organic cornmeal from Eastern Market -- the farmer selling it assured me it'd been ground just this morning! I replaced the onions with leeks (mmmm, leeks) and I really like the way it turned out.
So maybe I didn't get through all the homework I meant to, but that's what tomorrow's for, right? For now I think it's time to go work on a hat & listen to some excellent radio. I hope you all had wonderful Saturdays, too!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Links.

I am feeling pretty sleepy & lazy right now, but of course I'm still doing NaBloPoMo, so how about some links? Various cool things I've bookmarked recently: ...in fact I just got sucked into reading a bunch more of those, so now it's definitely time to wrap this up. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Getting creative with junk.

I thought my habit of using old envelopes for all my little notes & lists was quite brilliant, especially since last time I cleaned I clipped all my envelopes together with a binder clip to make a cool little "notepad." Someone is ten steps ahead of me, though: Tutorial: Recycled Envelope Pocket Books. How cool are those? I love the idea -- so many possibilities! Right now I think they'd make cool little advent calendar-type gifts. (I am a little obsessed with advent calendars, even though I usually forget to get one before the season starts and I am never prepared enough to make one.)

I've been seeing lots of incredible ideas for recycling old things lately. Here are some others: What are some of your favorite ways to reuse old things?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Strays.

These are the kitties we have hanging around outside:


Aren't they precious? That picture's a few weeks old. The little one has gotten a little bigger & fluffier and the mama...well, she's either getting chubby or going to have another litter. We're trying to get them to trust us but it's not easy. As of now they eat the food we put out for them & they usually come into the garage when we open it for them at night, they sleep there, and then we let them out in the morning. It's certainly better than nothing but I hope we can get them to trust us more soon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Puppies or research? Hmm, let me think...

Yikes, I almost forgot to post yet again! Let's just talk about how cool it is that I've made it through 18 consecutive days of posting. I only have 12 more to go! I'm pretty happy just to have stuck with it thus far. Long-term goals/projects aren't exactly my specialty.

Speaking of which, this is an interesting week for me. I have nothing major due in terms of school work, which is incredible. (I was supposed to have a presentation but it was pushed back, thank goodness.) The downside is that I have like a million things I should be working on now so I don't die later this month. I am dreading the first week of December -- I have 4 major projects/papers/presentations due within 3 days. So really I should be using this week to get some of that work out of the way, but am I? No, I am watching puppy cam and reading unassigned books. It's the end of the semester, what did you expect?

The hat I'm working on is coming along really nicely. If I can get a decent picture I'll show you tomorrow!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lentils & Rice.

I very nearly forgot about posting today, oops! I did want to tell you about two great recipes I tried this afternoon, though. I finally tried this honey baked lentils recipe and the results were so, so much better than I could've expected! I used green lentils soaked overnight in water with minced garlic, some ground ginger (we were unfortunately out of ginger root), a generous pinch of allspice, a little honey & a little maple syrup. I love honey in everything & I'd just picked up some wonderful Michigan maple syrup at Eastern Market, so I couldn't decide between the two sweeteners and had to just use a bit of both! I also omitted the onions -- I'm usually the world's biggest onion fan but sometimes I overdo it and want to take a break from them; I happen to be in one of those phases now.

Anyway, I've tried preparing lentils various ways in the past & always had minimal success -- this way is SO much better (and easier, too)! The resulting dish is incredibly flavorful and I'm going to love finishing up the leftovers all week.

I also made baked rice along with the lentils, since it seemed too easy not to try. It came out perfectly! That'll definitely be my go-to rice recipe from here on out, and I look forward to experimenting with it a bit more in the future (and possibly using the leftovers to make butternut squash cakes soon...).

The only sad note is that the pita I was making to go with this deliciousness was a complete failure. I've had great success with the recipe before and I can't figure out what I did wrong this time around. It's driving me a little nuts, actually, but I guess you can't win them all, right?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Detroit Urban Craft Fair 2008.

The craft fair was a great success! I could not believe how many people were there, both shoppers & vendors -- it was tough to even see everything because there was so much there & such a crowd. That's definitely good news for all the people who put their time & energy into the event! I know some of you are pretty bummed you missed out, but luckily most of the vendors have websites (though so far most of the sites have a much smaller selection than I saw at the fair). A full list of the vendors is here and below are some of my particular favorites. Definitely consider doing some of your holiday shopping with these folks; not only do they deserve it, but the recipients will be overjoyed with their unique gifts:
  • Boh Bon Soap Company: I bought one of their gift packs for someone on my list and a little bar of peppermint soap for myself. I tried the peppermint out today and I LOVE it! Next I want to get my hands on the tea tree mint shampoo bar.

  • City Bird: Lots of beautiful city-themed gifts, from housewares to greeting cards. I picked up some awesome Detroit buttons for friends (like everyone else I met, I had a number of "Michiganders in exile" on my shopping list).

  • Dang Argyle: Cute wallets, pouches, jewelry, and cards. I absolutely adore the Michigan mittens notecards.

  • Wei's Open Secret: I loved their jewelry and I'm kicking myself for not picking up a set of the super-cute gratuity comment cards.

  • Always the Forest: Great clothes, accessories, & other gifts. I got a really cool Michigan flora & fauna t-shirt & am hoping I might get another chance to buy one for a friend or two for Christmas (they're limited edition & not on the website, so my chances aren't so great, but I guess that's just what I get for being selfish when I should've been thinking of others).

  • Glass Action: Makers of the famous stained glass Barack Obama & rockstar night lights! Too cool, though I really loved their Michigan charms.

  • Amepix: I spent entirely too much time poking through all the stuff available at this table and eventually came away with some cute little gifts I know my friends are going to love (ok, ok, and a little something for me too). I love the focus on food!

  • Bettula: Gorgeous accessories made from birch bark!! I have a weird thing for birch bark and am now coveting their cuffs and earrings.
I'm sure there are some more worth mentioning -- like I said, it was hard to even see everything with such a great selection! That's certainly a long enough list for now, though. Also, those of you who are sad you missed out shouldn't fret too much -- there are two similar events coming up in December: the Shadow Art Fair in Ypsi and the Holiday Baar Bazaar in Detroit!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

G-l-o-r-i-a.

Yikes you guys, I am super late on today's entry! (In real life it's after midnight, oops.) My excuse is that I was at the DIA seeing Patti Smith: Dream of Life, which I absolutely loved. For tonight I'll leave you with the trailer:


Tomorrow you get to hear about the amazing Detroit Urban Craft Fair!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Detroit Urban Craft Fair Tomorrow + Other Great Upcoming Events!

Sorry non-locals, most of this post doesn't quite apply to you. I just wanted to make sure that both of my readers were aware that the The Detroit Urban Craft Fair is coming up TOMORROW!

I am hugely excited for this -- it should be a great way to get some holiday shopping done while supporting your local economy and lots of very deserving creative folks. You can see previews of some of the goods available (including handspun yarn!) here, here & here. I'm confident that there will really be something for everyone!

As if that weren't enough, my friends Gregg & Angela from the Detroit Evolution Laboratory are providing an amazing selection of their award-winning vegan food. You can view their mouth-watering menu here -- I'm going to have a hard time deciding what to get!

I hope you can all make it to that -- I'll be volunteering there for most of the day, so look out for me. Either way, here are some other great events coming up soon:
  • Patti Smith: Dream of Life is showing at the DIA's Detroit Film Theatre all weekend. It looks like an incredible film and I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

  • On a similar note, the 2008 Arab Film Festival is happening all weekend in Dearborn! I'm hoping to catch tonight's films.

  • Finally, this coming Wednesday the 19th is the date of November's edition of Detroit Abides, a free monthly sustainability event put on by the Evolution Lab. This time around they're showing the excellent film The Future of Food. It's free, guys!
Finally, one that does apply to non-locals: If you believe in love & equality, you just might want to attend one of the many protests against California's Proposal 8 happening all over the country tomorrow. Find your location here!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Things I Love Thursday!

For those of you who don't know, Things I Love Thursday is an excellent little weekly ritual Gala Darling started. It's always a good idea to list the things you're grateful for, so I try to participate most weeks, but this semester I just haven't been up to it. As I mentioned last week, my Thursdays are long and after 12 hours on campus I usually can't think of much besides sleep. Today was actually great, though, and I am thrilled to say that I have tomorrow off from my internship, so I'm feeling lots of love! Here's some of what's making my week:
  • Jack Lessenberry: He's a columnist and radio personality whose work I've enjoyed for years, and today he gave a great talk on my campus. The topic was the election: what happened, why, and what comes next. It was a wide-ranging and excellent discussion, mainly focused on the auto industry and the economy...so not really a happy discussion, but an interesting one nonetheless! Best of all, on the way out he passed me in the hall and said "What do you call those kind of boots?" I looked down kinda dumbly at my boots and replied, "I don't know...just boots?" and he said "Well I like them." Thanks, Jack! Also there was free food and you can't beat that.

  • Linda: She's a very sweet school friend of mine who surprised me with a whole box of tea today! She works at Starbucks and gets one free every week, so she gave me some Tazo Refresh, which is made of peppermint, spearmint, and tarragon. It's absolutely perfect!

  • Wait Wait Don't Tell Me: If you don't already listen to this, you should! It never fails to crack me up. My cousin told me he downloads the podcast at the beginning of every week and then saves it so it can cheer him up on a bad day. I think that's a great idea but I don't have that kind of self-control, so I rarely make it past Tuesday without listening.

  • Honorable mentions: unexpected deadline extensions; bubble baths; the moon tonight; apple cider; chatting on Gmail with my aunt in California almost every day; Sandra Cisneros; puppy cam (!!!!); free food; those cookies I made the other day (they're even better if you add chocolate chips); exciting weekend plans; hot cocoa!
That was quite a bit shorter than I thought it would be, I guess because I am getting to the point where all I want want is to hop into bed.

What do you love this week?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Whoa.

This blog is a year old today! The date completely snuck up on me* so unfortunately I don't have any kind of exciting post planned (do I ever?), but...um...yay?

In completely unrelated news, I can tell you that I am officially visiting my friend Linn in Toronto over Thanksgiving!! I bought my bus tickets today so it's definitely time to start planning & getting excited! Mainly I'm looking forward to spending time with Linn and her friends, but if you have any ideas of fun things to do in Toronto I'd love to hear them.

*I realize snuck is not a word but "sneaked" sounds weird. :(

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mmm!

Today I made honey-peanut butter cookies:
P1070812

The flavor is very different from regular peanut butter cookies, but still good. I think my own reaction was mirrored by my friend Linda, who looked kind of puzzled at the first bite, took another, said "it's pretty good," and then, as she finished the cookie, exclaimed "I LOVE IT!" It takes a moment to get over the fact that they don't taste the way you expect them to, but once you adjust to that you can just appreciate them for their own unique deliciousness. I'll be appreciating them for a long time to come, actually, because those four in the picture are the only ones I made today. The rest of the dough is still in the fridge.

Oddly enough, you can see a scan of the recipe from the cookbook itself here -- hopefully that link will work for everyone. I'm dying to try the almond butter version but it'll probably have to wait a bit. Honey is expensive!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Yes, I did almost forget to post today.

The hat is coming along beautifully so far, thank you for asking! I'm using this pattern (Ravelry link, sorry) and this delicious yarn. There will be photos as soon as it gets a little more interesting to look at.

For today, here are two cool links:
  • Free calenders for you to download & print -- I tend to be a bit stingy with my ink & paper but these are so gorgeous that I might just have to do something with them. All of this woman's art is fantastic.

  • Multicolr Search Lab -- This allows you to pick up to ten colors and then it searches Flickr for public domain photos featuring those colors. It's about a billion times more fun & interesting than it sounds, I promise -- go play with it!
Anything interesting you've come across lately?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I'm glad I took a photo with breakfast this morning...

...because I am way too tired to think of any actual content!



Doing this every day is proving more of a challenge than I thought it would. I started a new hat today, though, so theoretically that gives me something to post about soon. If any of you have any other tips/thoughts/ideas I'd be happy to hear them!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Feeding ducks cowl.

So this thing is finally done! And it's pretty, but yet again I forgot about that whole "sunset at 5" thing and neglected to photograph it during daylight hours. Here is a kind of lame artificially lit picture instead:

P1070791

There's a really cute scarf pattern called Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks. I fell in love with it and knew it would look great with this gorgeous blue Malabrigo silky merino, but I wanted a cowl more than a scarf. I couldn't quite figure out how to do star stitch in the round at first, but luckily the matching hat pattern was there to help me make sense of it. So basically I just cast on somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 or so stitches and did star stitch in the round until I could no longer stand it! I'm fairly pleased with the resulting cowl & I do think it'll get some wear in the near future. Next I'd like to hunt down a pretty pin of some nature so I can sort of fold the cowl over & pin it more snugly around my neck, because I think it could look really great that way.


PS: I'm sorry to report that yesterday's apple cupcakes turned out quite bland. They're still ok but I don't think I'll bother using that recipe again. Oh well.

Friday, November 7, 2008

What did I ever do to you, kitchen?

I have finished my first project since AUGUST! Ugh, I never want to go that long again! It is the star stitch cowl, last seen here a zillion years ago, and you will see pictures of it tomorrow. (With this Daylight Savings Time thing the sun is going down far too early for me to get good pictures of anything.)

I can show you a new picture of my Chevalier mittens, though! I never photographed them too well when I first finished them, so I tried to remedy that the other day:
P1070640


There will probably be even more photos of them in the future, since I am a little obsessed with like them quite a bit.

Right now I have Apple Cake in the oven, in cupcake form. It smells great & I'll let you know how it tastes tomorrow. I have to say that the baking experience wasn't particularly fun. Today just was Not My Day in the kitchen, I guess. Highlights included large quantities of baking soda on the floor, accidentally cutting my thumbnail (thank goodness it was only the nail!), large quantities of flour on the floor, and, best of all, large quantities of flour in my eye. Uncomfortable! I hope these cupcakes are worth it -- from the current smell of things they just might be.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Phoning it in.

When I decided to do this NaBloPoMo thing, I knew Thursdays were going to be really difficult for me. I'm on campus for 12 hours every Thursday, and by the time I come home the last thing I want to do is come up with some kind of blog content. I think, then, that Thursdays will pretty much mean quick photo posts.

I hate to be seasonally inappropriate but here's a pretty picture I took in September and forgot about until I was searching for something to post just now:

Monarchs at Dearborn's Greenfield Village.

Tomorrow there will be knitting &/or food content! Have a great Friday, everyone.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yess!!

I have a paper I REALLY need to get working on so that I'll be free to enjoy dinner at a friend's house this evening, so I'll keep this brief. Yesterday was undoubtedly one of the happiest days of my whole life. You can bet I was excited & proud to vote in my first presidential election!

P1070782
(People kept thinking my sticker was a band-aid, haha.)

I celebrated at my aunt's house, which was PACKED with local Obama organizers & volunteers. We were a rowdy bunch, cheering like crazy for each state he picked up and we definitely lost our minds when he hit 270 electoral votes! I found myself shaking, crying, and grinning all at once as I fell into long hugs with both total strangers and people I've known since I was born.

Today I am beyond proud & happy. My face hurts from smiling so much. In class my professor asked for our reactions and all we could do was cheer & clap like crazy.

I really do have to go write that paper now! What was last night like for you? How do you feel today?

PS: Go check out Gala Darling's post Last Night in New York City -- sooo amazing!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Let's do this thing!

I can't believe today is finally here! I'm going to vote in just over an hour and I cannot wait.

Jay Smooth knows what's up:



Please please please go out & vote today!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tomorrow!

Believe me, I would love to post about knitting or food or yarn or my cats or something right now, but I just can't. There is only one thing I can think about for more than 30 seconds at a time, and you can probably guess what it is. It's happening tomorrow & I feel like I've been counting down to it for years. It is going to end in tears for me either way, but I'm hoping and praying they will be happy tears.

In 2000, at the age of 13, I watched in dismay as the Supreme Court handed the presidency to a man who would use lies to lead us into a disastrous war, who would use a national tragedy as an excuse to limit the liberties we Americans so value, who would ignore and dismiss the supremely important fact of climate change. (Believe me, I could go on.) In 2004 I fought hard against that man's reelection, though I was three months short of being able to cast my own ballot. I knocked on doors, registered voters, and asked them to please be my voice, to support a less-than-ideal candidate because he was so much better than the alternative.*

Now I'm finally old enough to have a say and how lucky am I to be able to work and vote for a candidate who really excites and energizes me? Who could actually bring some real change? Don't get me wrong -- Obama isn't perfect and I know that. We have many values in common, though, and I respect him for the incredibly intelligent, principled man I think he is and the well-organized and respectful campaign I have seen him run. I have been proud to campaign on his behalf, I will be absolutely thrilled to vote for him, and in the likely event of his victory I will be ecstatic. I'll spend a day or two celebrating, then the real work will begin: holding him to his promises and organizing in my community to fight for the issues that matter to me.

No matter who you are or which candidate you support, please go out and vote tomorrow! I know you've heard it a thousand times before but it is important, it does matter, and it's going to affect your life. This ad is from North Carolina but it gets the message across pretty well, I think (and it gets funny after the first few seconds):



Ok, I promise to return to non-political content in the very near future!

* This phase of my political life is probably best summed up by the fact that my favorite election-related website was the now defunct JohnKerryIsADouchebagButImVotingForHimAnyway.com.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fall yarn.

Do you feel like I end every other post here with "and then I bought some pretty yarn, which I promise I will show you soon" but then never actually show you any yarn? That's probably because that's pretty much what I do. In an effort to correct this (and because I couldn't think of anything else I really wanted to talk about for today's NaBloPoMo post), I photographed my two most recent yarn purchases. We all know I'm predictable as can be when it comes to most of my color choices (green, green, brown, green, blue, green, green again...), but something about the stunning leaves this autumn made me really want to branch out (no pun intended). I searched in vain for yarn that came even remotely close to capturing the gorgeous oranges, golds, and reds I saw around me. Nothing was really doing it for me until I finally found these at Knit A Round:

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That's Claudia's Hand Painted fingering weight yarn in the colorway Copper Pennies. I think it has a bit more orange in it than came through in this photo.

I still can't get over how insanely beautiful this yarn is, and I'm undecided on what to do with it. Claudia's is great for socks, of course, and this would make the most beautiful pair of socks in the whole world, but I might want to use it for something a little more visible. Any ideas?

During that same trip I picked up some lovely worsted weight Malabrigo, which will be a hat of some nature:

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It's more reddish in real life but just as deliciously soft as it looks.

Hopefully my neighbors weren't looking out their windows just now, but if they were oh well -- I mean, who doesn't balance yarn on a corn stalk & photograph if from time to time?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

National Blog Posting Month.

After waffling about this for weeks, I've decided to bite the bullet & announce that I'm going to spend November doing National Blog Posting Month, better known as NaBloPoMo. It's a pretty simple idea: post one entry every day for the whole month. This may seem laughable coming from someone who has only posted 42 entries in the last 10 months, but it's worth a shot! I figure some days will see long entries and others will just get a photo or a link. Most of the content will be knitting or food related, but I will certainly be branching out more than usual with photo posts, reviews, perhaps a bit of personal stuff, and likely some political posts.

For today I just want to show off my Halloween costume! Most of you are probably sick to death of seeing it, but I love it too much to stop spreading these pictures around. Before this I hadn't dressed up in several years and the costume was completely last-minute, which is why I'm beyond thrilled that it came together so well.

Yep, I was Frida Kahlo!


Here I am on the porch -- doesn't my mom do the best autumn decorations?

More tomorrow!

PS: Today is my Ravelry account's first birthday! What a fantastic site.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tasty Pumpkin Muffins!

I made the best muffins tonight! I might try to perfect the recipe later but here it is for now (it's basically a variation on the aforementioned pear bread recipe):
Pumpkin Muffins!
  • 3 cups flour (I used half whole wheat & half all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • generous pinch of allspice
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • splash vanilla extract

Mix together the flour, baking soda & power, salt, and spices in a large bowl. In another bowl combine the butter, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and vanilla. Stir until well combined, then add to the flour mixture, stirring just until batter is evenly moist. Fold in the nuts.

Pour batter into prepared muffin tins and bake at 350ยบ for about 25-35 minutes, until muffins are brown & crisp on the top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

(For the sugar this time I used a combination of Sucanat, brown, and white sugar because we were running out of white sugar. Then, of course, I discovered a whole new bag of it in the back of the pantry. Still, I'd like to try these with only Sucanat someday, I think it might work well (and be better for you). Also my pumpkin puree didn't come to quite two cups, but it was close. I'd also like to try substituting grated apples &/or pears for part of the pumpkin sometime.)
Go make these now & serve them with some good apple cider. They're the most perfect autumn muffins I've had so far.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hi internet!

Well, I still have no exciting knitting to show you -- I'm slowly plodding along on the same few projects I feel like I've been working on for years. I did just order a sweater's worth of yarn from KnitPicks, though! I'm hoping that'll help inspire me pick up the pace. I'm going to use this pattern but attempt to do it as a top-down raglan to avoid the hell of seaming. We'll see how that goes.

I have been cooking & baking a bit lately, though! I'm trying really hard to make a big dish or two at the beginning of each week so I can take leftovers to school or my internship as needed. It's a better plan than spending tons on eating out every day, anyway. Here are some of the best things I've made recently:
  • Broccoli Crunch Salad: I made this this week & it might be my favorite thing. The dressing is unbelievably delicious! There's really not much else to say about this except that it's awesome & you should make it right now. It's even good for you!

  • Orzo salad: I kind of made this up after having something similar at a grad party. I feel like it could be even better (and healthier) with some more veggies or something, but so far it goes like this: make some orzo and when it's finished stir in some butter, olive oil, feta cheese, fresh basil, and toasted sliced almonds. The version I had at the party had cherry tomatoes, which seem like a good idea for those of you who are into that kind of thing (I am not, unfortunately). I think I also added some chopped spinach once & that was pretty good. What I really love about this is that it keeps well and tastes fantastic at any temperature.

  • Pear bread: I used walnuts instead of pecans, halved the recipe, and made just under a dozen perfect pear muffins. They were moist and flavorful and very, very autumnal. I wish they hadn't all disappeared so quickly!
I do still have a huge backlog of pictures to show you, so here are some of the cute alpacas I met in Illinois when I was there in August:


This one never fails to crack me up.


Look at those eyelashes!


And this is an alpaca named Acorn eating out of my hand -- can you imagine anything more adorable?!

The alpacas at Kickapoo Creek Alpacas were all extremely friendly and not too shy, which I hear is uncommon. I feel very lucky to have spent some time with them & I am still dreaming of maybe having my own someday. I did buy some alpaca yarn, of course, which I'll show off soon!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Eek!

Hey blog! How've you been in the past, um, month? I've been busy! First I went to Illinois, then my new semester started up, then I got really sick, then my computer died, then I got an internship & a job, then the upcoming election ate the remains of my free time, energy, and attention span (sometimes it tries to get my will to live and faith in humanity as well, but I'm doing my best to cling to those!).

All of that hasn't left much time for knitting, much to my dismay -- I haven't finished a single project since the Ravelympics. :( I'm hoping to turn that around soon. Today I traveled to Lansing to spend a very fun day at Threadbear, where I fondled lots of GORGEOUS yarn, took a bit of it home with me, and generally had an amazing time celebrating Shorty's birthday. It was a very inspiring day and I think it's safe to say I'm back on the knitting bandwagon. I promise to post again soon, and I have all kinds of pictures I need to share with you, too! I hope you're all well.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Final Ravelympics Update!

After doing the first Chevalier mitten, the second one just sorta flew by! I didn't finish the thumb on it until this morning, though, so really I finished up just in time:
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I LOVE these mittens! That photo doesn't entirely do them justice, so I will certainly try to take some better ones soon. They are just perfect, though! The cable pattern is beautiful and they fit me just right. I do think some light steam blocking might be a good idea, so I'm going to give that a shot soon, but basically I'm thrilled with them as they are.

You might remember that I did have another Ravelympics project, the Juniper Mitts. Well, I made one. It knit up quickly and the yarn I had looked phenomenal with the stitch pattern...but I really disliked the construction of the mitts themselves. They were basically just knitted tubes with a little hole for your thumb to pop out, which made them fit awkwardly & not look terribly attractive. I'm waffling on whether to make a second one, but at this point I'm strongly leaning toward just frogging the one I did make and using the yarn for something I like better. Oh well.

I'm still so happy I participated in the Ravelympics! It was really fun and motivated me to actually start & finish two great projects that otherwise could've languished in my interminable queue for years.

Now that I'm slightly mittened out my thoughts are turning to socks & sweaters. I still really want to make myself a nice fall sweater and I've been spending truly ridiculous amounts of time on Ravelry looking through basically every sweater pattern in the world, trying to finally make up my mind as to which of them is worthy of my time & effort. My standards are entirely too high but I am starting to narrow it down and with any luck I'll be ordering some yarn & getting started before much longer!

First I need to find something small to cast on for today, though. I have a long bus ride down to Illinois coming up tomorrow and I definitely want to spend it working on some socks (or maybe a hat, or maybe another cowl...). I'll be in Illinois all week, so you may not hear from me for a while, but when I get back I should have plenty of fun things to show you. If all goes well I should be visiting an ALPACA FARM (!!!!!!!) during my stay, which means you can look forward to all kinds of adorable alpaca photos and, if I'm really lucky, some pretty new yarn!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ravelympics: one project down!

So I've officially finished one of my three mitten projects! Evangeline:

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Overall I'm pretty happy with them. There is a subtle error in the cabling on the left glove, though, which drove me nuts when I figured it out last night. Of course I was far past it when I noticed it, and frogging back would've involved unpicking the bind-off for the thumb stitches. After some contemplation I decided it wasn't really worth the trouble. Not that I don't want them to be perfect, of course, but the mistake is barely even noticeable. A few times I've looked down & been unable to find it for a minute or two, and I know exactly where & what it is! So at this point I'll be interested to see if Linn notices it without me saying something...

The yarn, Berocco Comfort, was easily the nicest synthetic yarn I've ever used. It's soft with great stitch definition & nice colors. If you're going to use it, though, be forewarned that it must the splittiest yarn in the entire world, which isn't disastrous but can make it a bit of a pain to use. Still, I think it was a good choice for this project!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ravelympics: halfway there!

So we're about halfway through the Ravelympics and I'm a little less than halfway through my projects. I did just finish the first Evangeline mitt, though!
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I think I like it! It's in between the wrist & elbow length variations and I completely changed the thumb. I wish I'd made the thumb part a bit longer, actually, but considering that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I decided to add a gusset, I think it looks pretty decent! Hopefully Linn (the recipient) will agree. Now that I've figured out how to do the thumb and the length I want, I'm hoping the second mitt will go by quickly.

I've only barely started on the Juniper Mitts. My brilliant plan was to save most of the work on them for my long bus ride to Illinois on the 25th. They're certainly easy enough for that and I'll want something to occupy the time anyway. It only occurred to me today that perhaps I should look into when the Ravelympics end. As I'm sure most of you smarter people were already aware, they're definitely over on the 24th. Damn! So much for my bus knitting -- time to get to work!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Quick Ravelympics Update.

I've almost finished my first Chevalier mitten! Only the thumb is left to be done. Here it is a few days ago:

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It's much more impressive-looking now, so new photos will follow before too long. I'm pretty ridiculously proud of it so far -- it's definitely one of the more complicated patterns I've attempted! Not that it's really hard to do, exactly, but you definitely have to pay attention.

Though the actual thumb isn't done yet, the little thumb hole looks good. I was nervous about this because the thumbs on Dashing and Fetching came out looking a little weird. On Chevalier you need to cast on stitches in the middle of a row to bridge the gap above the thumb-hole. I'd only previously attempted casting on in the middle of the row under the sleeves on my Cloud Bolero and, to put it as kindly as I can...it looked like crap. After some Googling, though, I found this marvelous tutorial on how to cast-on in the middle of a project. I followed it and everything looks lovely!

I've also made some progress on Evangeline. Here's the first mitt a few days ago:

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It's gotten just a bit longer since then.

No pictures for Juniper yet. I did cast on for it on the 8th, because I liked the idea of starting all of my projects on the first day, but it needs to be restarted. I was doing the medium/44 stitch version because I'm probably going to give the mitts to Brian, but it was coming out looking much too huge. It did look pretty cool, though, so I'm looking forward to restarting! After all of this cabling it'll be nice to do something a little mindless. (Honestly, even the phrase "miles of stockinette" is sounding slightly appealing at the moment...)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Anticipation + a new cowl.

Just a few more days until the Ravelympics!! I'm so so eager to start my projects. I bought the last of the necessary yarn & needles yesterday (or, more accurately, my supremely generous/enabling Aunt Andrea bought them for me during our day of adventures). Here's what I'm making (Ravelry links):
  • Chevalier Mittens for me, in a gorgeous dusty blue Cascade 220 Heather.
  • Evangeline, elbow length, for my wonderful friend Linn. (Usually I don't blog about in-progress gifts for friends unless I'm fairly certain said friends don't read this. Linn does read this, actually, but I'm making an exception for the Ravelympics & I'm sure she'll understand.) She's allergic to all animal fibers and I'm not too experienced with plant fiber so I picked up some beautiful turquoise-y Berroco Comfort. It's an acrylic/nylon blend and probably the softest synthetic yarn I've ever felt.
  • Juniper Mitts using the rest of my Mountain Goat yarn in the Juniper colorway (that's the stuff I used on my cowl). I haven't decided yet about keeping these or giving them away.
So do you think I can manage all of that in 17 days?! It'll be fun to try, anyway!

Last night I started a new cowl, since I loved the last one so much and I'd been dying to cast on for something with the Malabrigo Silky Merino I bought recently. This yarn, you guys! It is beyond perfect. I've gotten carried away and proposed marriage to it a few times. It's soft, it's squishy, it's a dream to work with, and the color is just beautiful:

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(That's my lavender plant creeping in at the top of the photo.)

The cowl is just star stitch, inspired by the Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks scarf. I had to practice the stitch a lot before I started this -- it's a little tricky! It's not exactly easy on the hands, either, what with all the p3tog. But isn't it lovely?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A few notes & questions.

  1. I've gone ahead & signed up for the Ravelympics. What are the Ravelympics? I'm not entirely sure. I think the basic idea is that you pick a project (or a couple) to complete during the Olympics, something that'll be a challenge for you to finish in that amount of time. I'm being super-ambitious with this and have three mitten patterns I'm going to attempt! Really if I finish one pair I'll be impressed with myself, but I figured I may as well aim high. So my event is the Mitten Medley, but I don't have a team yet. Are any of you on teams you'd like me to join?

  2. I reached the heel on my new sock today! Yay! Details & pictures as soon as there's actually something interesting to show you.

  3. For the rest of the summer I'm sticking to small, accessory-type items, but I've got my heart pretty set on making a sweater in the fall. At first I was really fixated on the idea of a hoodie, but now I'm thinking the hood isn't so essential (I never use the hoods on hoodies I own, anyway). I do want it to be versatile, though, something easy to wear that I can get a ton of use out of over the winter. I'm browsing patterns now but I'd love suggestions! I'm open to cardigans or pullovers. Here are just a few of the possibilities I've gathered so far (Ravelry links):

  4. Tuesday Panera crew, I miss you all! This summer hasn't been that busy for me or anything, but somehow Tuesday evenings are the one time I always seem to have something going on. I'm sorry that it works out that way, but I just wanted to note that I haven't forgotten you (quite the contrary!) & that look forward to being able to make it down there sometime soon. ♥!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Meh.

If two items can constitute a "spree," I think we can say I'm on a finishing spree! Or in a finishing frenzy, or something. Either way, this morning I dug out the hat that had been abandoned since May and took the 5 minutes to finally finish it off. It's Mary Jane's Pithy Hat. I was pretty in love with the pattern when I first saw it, but now I'm less sure:

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Maybe I should've made it slouchier? Maybe all hats just look kinda weird on me? I don't know. I'm thinking I'll keep it until it gets cold out and see if I come to like wearing it. If not I'll just give it away.

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The pattern was really easy but I didn't enjoy working on it much. Almost all the stitches are either k2tog through the back loop or p2tog. Both of those will kinda hurt your hands after a while! It's also riddled with errors, as I'm pretty sure you can see, because I did most of the knitting in public/I'm lazy about fixing things.

Oh well. Tomorrow = yarn-shopping and today I started a new pair of socks! More on that soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I actually finished something!

For the first time in months, I have an FO to share! It's that cowl I mentioned last time, and I think it might be the first of many cowls for me. To be honest I've always had somewhat mixed feelings about them. I never see anyone wearing one in real life, and many of the pictures I've seen on Ravelry make them look kind of awkward to wear. A couple months ago I was pretty sure I would never make or wear one, but then one of my favorite knit-bloggers, Lolly, went on something of a crazy cowl-making spree and I found myself more & more intrigued. Finally she shared her Sherbrooke cowl pattern/recipe and as soon as I got that gorgeous Mountain Colors yarn I knew they were a match made in heaven!

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The yarn is Mountain Colors Mountain Goat in Juniper. As always, full project details are on Ravelry!


The pattern was easy as pie, the kind of thing you could knock off in a day or two if you wanted to. I, of course, only knit on it once or twice a week, never for more than a couple minutes at a time, so it took me a little longer. The pattern recommends making the cowl 16" long so it can be stretched up over the head like a hood. My first thought was, "God, that would look really dorky" but my second thought was, "I live in Michigan, anything that might keep my ears warm is a good idea." So I was going to go for the full length, but last night I tried it on at about 10" or so and realized I wanted it much shorter. I frogged back to about 6.5" and that seems to be a perfect length for me. I can fold it over itself once and it looks really smooth and nice, or I can unfold it and have it look sorta wrinkly and floppy and cozy. Either way it's wonderfully warm and I know I'm going to wear it to death once it gets cold out!

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I do have to say that the yarn is a little itchy, which I didn't even notice until now. I think I was too smitten with the color to even think about how it felt.

Aunt Andrea and I are going yarn-shopping this weekend, so hopefully I'll have another new project to share soon! Or, you know, I could finish the hat that's been sitting untouched for two months, but...yeah, I'll probably just start another cowl or some socks!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

No, really! I mean it this time!

From now on I am updating this thing at least once per week, whether I have anything to say or not! Sound good?

I still don't have much to tell you about knitting. I'm working on a Sherbrooke Cowl, using Mountain Colors Mountain Goat yarn in the most beautiful colorway, Juniper. It's an easy, fun project but it's going slowly for me, since I only work on it about once a week, while I'm tutoring my brother Danny (who turned ten the other day, can you believe that?!).

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Here it is a few weeks ago -- it's grown several inches since then. I took that picture to illustrate my resourcefulness regarding stitch markers. See, I bought the needles for this project right before attending a belly dance performance at Crazy Wisdom (which was amazing, by the way). I had the yarn in my bag, of course, and I just could not resist casting on while waiting for the dancers to begin! I hadn't brought any stitch markers, though, so I made use of one of my rings. It was a little bulky to knit around but it got the job done.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Too hot to knit!

Oh, yikes, has it really been over a month yet again? It has, and I don't even have that much to show for it. What can I say, summer weather doesn't really inspire me to knit much. I know some of you make some really cute tanks and whatnot, but I just haven't found any of those that really grab me, at least not yet. Instead I've decided to use my summer knitting time on small winter accessories, some for me & some to give away when it gets a little colder out. At the moment I have a hat & a scarf on the needles, both of which haven't been touched for weeks & weeks. The hat's for me and the scarf is for a friend.

I've been enjoying my summer despite the lack of knitting, though! I've been reading constantly, of course, and doing yoga, cooking, baking, & working in my garden.

Oh, wait, I do have something I can show you! Here's my friend Steve modeling the hat I made him ages ago:

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I took way too long to send it to him, but since he lives in Alberta he said it's still useful, even this time of year. I'm glad!

Also, I had the good fortune to win a copy of Sew U Home Stretch from Dramatis Personae a while back! Thanks to that & some of the other beautiful hand-sewn items I've seen around, I'm itching to actually learn how to use my machine. With any luck, you'll see some sewing posts here soon!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cloud Bolero: SO much better!

I ripped out that silly picot edging and did garter stitch instead:

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I think garter was what I was originally planning when I started this 8 million years ago, but some Ravelers had such cute picot-edged versions that I guess I forgot. Anyway, yesterday a very helpful commenter suggested that garter would help tone down the flaring at the bottom without me needing to do any shaping (thanks!). It definitely did help. The loose fit still bothers me a little, but only a little. Overall I really like this!

I'll probably make another someday, with sleeves, but this one is really great for throwing over tank tops or sundresses. I'd love to find a nice brooch to fasten it at the top, but for now wearing it open is fine too.

The pattern is pretty great but I hated the way it was written & had some real trouble following it -- of course, a lot of that was probably just the fact that it was my first lace project. The thing that bothered me the most was that she has you cast on extra stitches to fill the gap created by binding off the sleeve stitches. Maybe it's just the way I did it, but it makes the underarm area of my sweater look horrible and just sort of adds unnecessary bulk to an already loose-fitting garment. So, next time around I'll be skipping that part. Still, I think the designer is a genius and I want to make more of her stuff soon! She has some great hats and I'm developing a slight hat obsession right now. :)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Cloud Bolero: Kinda Finished.

So I'm done with the Cloud Bolero & my feelings are very mixed:
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P1060458
(Try to ignore all those ends I haven't yet woven in!)

Don't get me wrong, I think it might be the prettiest thing I've ever knit! But I am much less than thrilled with the picot edging (translation: all those silly little triangles at the bottom) and also with the way it fits. It's perfect around my neck & shoulders, but it really flares out at the bottom. Soooooooo I think I have to rip out the picot edging (which I suspect will be a hellish endeavor) & maaaybe even go back farther to add shaping (which I am probably too lazy to do). I am totally not excited to do those things, which of course is why I am taking & posting pictures rather than doing them. :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

NOT DEAD! (+ my first pair of socks!)

Hi, blog, remember me? No? That's ok, it's been a million years and I don't really have a very good excuse. I know there were final exams in there somewhere, & then my wonderful friend Linn visited for a week, but really I could've taken the time to put up a post or two even in the middle of those things.

Sorry. I'll be better from here on out, I promise!*

The upside of me having abandoned you for nearly a whole month is that now I have lots of cool things to show you. I won't cram them all into one post, but for now I will show you my completed pair of socks:
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Aren't they lovely? I finished the second one while my friend Linn was visiting from Toronto. We took a trip down to Illinois to visit my beloved Aunt Deb while she was here, & on the way we knit & knit & knit. Here's the trippiest sock-in-progress photo you ever will see, taken in Chicago's famous "bean" sculpture:
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And here we are knitting in Millennium Park:
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A busload of senior citizens happened to arrive while we were doing that, and of course many of the women told us how happy they were to see us knitting, and one old man asked to take that picture. Cute! (Yes, Linn is borrowing a Calorimetry I made.)

When I finally did finish that sock, it might've attacked Linn:
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Ahahahaha! Best sock photo EVER!


You can see the rest of the pictures from Linn's visit here.

So, I think S. succeeded in her mission & got me a little bit addicted to sock-knitting. There will definitely be more in my future! For these I used the provisional cast-on, short row toe, & short row heel. I hated the provisional cast-on the first time around, but the second time I used a smoother cotton yarn for the crocheted part & found I didn't mind it at all. Also, the short row heel on my first sock is a little holey but on the second one I just picked up some stitches where the holes were threatening to form & it looks perfect. I definitely liked the toe-up method overall, but I am interested to learn some more toe & heel methods in the future!

Since then I've been working on a pair of legwarmers adapted from a sock pattern -- more on those soon. Cherie Amour is on hiatus still, but yesterday I finally picked the Cloud Bolero back up. It had been lying neglected & untouched for longer than this blog had, if you can believe that. Now I'm in the middle of binding off the body (woohoo!) & I need to hurry up & decide what I want to do about sleeves. The original pattern doesn't really have any & I keep waffling on whether I want to stick with that or not, and then of course if I am going to do sleeves I need to figure out how I want to approach them. Hmmm...

Anyway, I promise it won't be a month until next time!


* Maybe.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

In all its glory.

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My first sock!

I'm almost done with the toe on the second one.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

First sock finished!! (+ stalling on my other projects...)

Guys!!! I finished my first sock!! No pictures until tomorrow, I'm afraid (I tried taking some just now but the light is, of course, much too low), but trust me that it's spectacular and that I love it very, very much. The feeling of finishing your first of a certain thing is always so great. I still remember dancing around like a complete nerd after finishing my first hat, and the feeling of finishing the first sock is similarly wonderful. Hopefully that'll motivate me to get started & make some progress on the second one soon!

My other projects, unfortunately, are still kind of on hold. With the Cloud Bolero, I still just need to sit down with the pattern, but I haven't really had the time or patience for it yet. I've honestly been much too busy, and the next week is only going to be worse. In the next 7 days I have more papers and exams than I even want to list, so I don't think I can do anything with the bolero until those are finished...

Then there's Cherie Amour. I'm halfway through the waist shaping but the sloppiness of my ssk's on the bottom is really bothering me. They're really lumpy, but I rather stupidly assumed that perhaps that was just the nature of ssk's and that I shouldn't really try to fix it. Yesterday I read this thread on Ravelry, though, & now I'm thinking there might be some ways to fix up my technique. So the question, of course, is: do I start the whole sweater over, or just do the "better" ssk's from here on out? I can't quite decide.

Anyway, I mainly just wanted to share my delight over finishing that sock. :) I'll be back soon with photos + a new cookie recipe to blog about, FINALLY.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Springy knitting.

Hi, everyone! I'm sorry it's been so long. I still haven't been baking, unfortunately (except for bread), but I'm knitting a lot and kinda jumping from project to project. The Cloud Bolero has hardly been touched since my last post. My stitch count is way off so I need to sit down with the pattern & figure out where I went wrong and how to fix (or, more likely, fudge) it. Since I'm too lazy to do that, I started Cherie Amour & got up to the waist shaping. I don't have any very good pictures of it just yet, but my cat Bob seems to like it, at least:

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By the time I finish that and the bolero it will (hopefully) be too warm to wear either of them. I am 100% ok with that, believe me!

Most excitingly, though, I've been working on my first sock! I know, I know, it seems like just yesterday I was saying I would never do socks, but it turns out they're actually really fun and quick. Here's mine over the weekend:

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It's grown quite a bit since then, actually. I'm already up past the heel. I love how quickly it moves and it's great to have in my purse to work on whenever I get bored. And isn't the yarn gorgeous? These socks are my contribution to Lynn of ColorJoy's "Knitting Spring into Existence" project. I think it's working, too!

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Friday, March 28, 2008

A pretty WIP & some pretty yarn!

My knitting just made my day!! I picked the cloud bolero back up a few days ago and finally got to the part where I separated the sleeves from the body. This is my first remotely lacy project and it's been sort of tough to tell what's going on while it's on the needles, so I really wasn't sure how it was looking. Once I finally had the sleeves separated, I could try it on & find out, and it turns out that I LOVE IT!

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I can't believe it was actually making sense that whole time! The pattern as written would have that be all for the sleeves -- I was actually supposed to do a picot bind-off on the last row. But I think that looks kind of stupid, so I'm going to go for probably 3/4-length sleeves. I'll figure it out when I've got the body done.

Also, my yarn from HandPaintedYarn.com came yesterday!!

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It has more hot pink than I expected, and pink's not usually a color I go for, but isn't it beautiful? It's going to be Cherie Amour!

Have a great weekend, everyone!