Monday, December 31, 2007

Celebrating with an FO!

I'll be ringing in the new year sporting my just-finished Wildfoote socks! As soon as I wove in the last end, I popped them on my feet. They feel wonderful and I love the colors--royal, navy, forest green and scarlet (colorway is called Bluegrass).

I started these some time ago, but I feel like I have a new pair of socks with hardly any effort. I decided to keep a plain-stockinette sock handy to work on when other projects were at a "pay attention" stage, and I needed some mindless knitting. So, I picked them up now and then, without ever thinking of them as an official project. And now they're done, and I'm pleased as punch.

Happy New Year, everybody!

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Still recovering

We had a very nice visit with my family, and returned to St. Louis in time to take the b/f's father out for dinner on his birthday eve. His b-day is Dec. 25, and there never seem to be any restaurants open that day! On his birthday morn, we returned to his house bearing gifts, mostly edibles since he has decided at his age there doesn't seem much sense on spending money on durable goods. However, he got a new microwave, whether he wanted it or not. The old one was 25 years old, and the display was no longer legible. I must admit it was fun lugging in that big box, when he had been saying not to buy him anything.

After the whirl of traveling, wrapping and baking, I've been glad to relax a little bit the last few days! Still haven't picked up the Weekend Sweater yet. Part of the reason is that I want to re-measure all my sweaters to see if I need to add a bit more length to the body. Since this is an EZ pattern, such decisions are totally up to me, and since I don't have any sweaters that fit me exactly as I want this one to, there is a bit of guess-work involved. The rest of the reason I've been avoiding my sweater is because my brain still feels fried after all the planning and plotting to get everything accomplished in time. Whew!

Instead of sweater knitting, I've been enjoying mindless knitting on my Wildfoote sock #2; I'm about halfway through the foot:

I also started a pair of socks for CIC, based on the Little Sky booties from New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I sized them up to 32 stitches around, instead of 24. Not too sure how they are going to turn out; they seem rather big through the instep. I may end up frogging these:

But it has been nice to take it easy and not think too much. My brain is tired.

Yes, Yitzhak, you can relax now. We're home.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Home Alone

My Weekend Sweater is at an exciting point; it is nearly ready to have all its pieces joined together. But I'm visiting my family, and I didn't think it would make a good travel project, so it is languishing home alone.

Also home alone are the vermin, but not for lack of trying. First, Yitzhak tried to sneak into the suitcase:
Then, Hilfy tried to stow away:
Princess Daisy seemed to think such antics are beneath her:
I really hope they aren't trashing the house.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Work and poetry

As planned, I'm working on my sleeve at work today. The office is as quiet as a tomb, so I should be able to get a nice bit done. After a while, I think I'll take a break and enter the reward codes from those Coke caps. That is, if the snow holds off. We got a little last night and this morning, just an inch or so. Nothing to give me any trouble driving to work. But we're supposed to get more today and tonight, with a total accumulation of 6-8 inches. If it starts snowing in earnest, I'm gonna blow this popsicle stand.

The b/f is, apparently, somewhat at loose ends today (poor man--he doesn't knit). When he finds himself with time to kill, he tends to clean. Usually the kitchen, and you can bet money there will be bleach involved (operating rooms should be as sanitized as our kitchen when he's done with it). The cats seem to like the smell of bleach for some reason; if he cleans up a spot on the floor with bleach, Hilfy and Yitzhak will roll around on that spot. All of which I share with you so you can understand the poem he sent me:

Where are you?
You're not here
Bleach the kitchen
The tang
Draws a cat to my feet
Maybe I'll boil out the coffeemaker

I love that man.


Friday, December 14, 2007


I've already picked out the yarn for my next sweater; I've been yearning for this yarn forever, and I finally broke down and bought it. I didn't have a pattern in mind, so I just popped over to Knitting Fool and asked "How many skeins?" The Fool recommended 8, so I bought 9 to be safe.

How about an extreme closeup?

It's so soft and wonderfully squishy; I can hardly wait to be able to wear it. If it was in hanks instead of center-pull skeins, I'd probably walk around the house with it draped over my shoulders.

I was looking at the aforementioned issue of Knit 'n Style, and my eye was caught by this pattern:

Not because I liked the sweater, but because it is knit from the top down. That's the direction I want to go in for my next sweater, so I was looking at the instructions, and wondering if I could substitute my yummy, plummy, Silk 'n' Wool. It would be a tough conversion, since the pattern uses a gauge of 8 stitches = 4 inches, and my yarn recommends 19 stitches = 4 inches. I was doing some ciphering, when I noticed something. Checked a few numbers...aha! They used Elizabeth's Percentage System! Well, shoot, I don't need a pattern for this; what was I thinking? I'll just refer to EZ and use the yarn I want with the gauge I want. After all, it's just a raglan sweater with a simple rolled edge for the neck, cuffs and hem. EZ generally worked from the hem up, but she did cover top down construction in Spun Out #7. Once again, I'm glad I sprang for all the Spun Out designs; they just keep coming in handy.

So, my second sweater is poised in the starting gate...ready to start any time...but I have to finish the first one first! Well, I suppose I don't have to, but I want to, so I can evaluate decisions I made about length and width. I have to work Saturday, so I hope to make some progress on those sleeves.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

False Advertising

So, I bought this issue of Knit 'n Style because the cover promised an interview with the Yarn Harlot. What a disappointment! Apparently the article's author had a phone conversation with the Harlot, because there is a one-sentence quote from her. Otherwise, the rest of the article is a synopsis of her latest book and a few high points from her blog. Um, already read that, thanks anyway.

At least I did get some laughs from some of the "39 New Projects for the New Year". This one looks like it would make a very nice horse blanket:

This actually would probably be very cute if they didn't use such a fuzzy yarn. If it weren't for the name, you'd never know there was a cable there:

Can someone tell me why this woman is wearing an afghan?

OK, I'll quit being so catty now. I don't want to give the impression that there isn't anything worthwhile in this issue. It's just that most of the projects that I like are short-sleeve cotton sweaters suitable for spring. Right now, I'm all about the wool; it's cold outside! I have one sleeve almost done on my Weekend Sweater, and about half an inch of cuff complete of the other sleeve. Unfortunately, I left that cuff at work, so I can't work on it tonight. Grrrr. Guess I'll start a pair of socks for CIC; I haven't made anything for them for a while.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Cake and cold weather

Thursday was the b/f's birthday. We both took the day off work and lazed around all day, which I think is a fine way to celebrate. In the afternoon we went to his father's house, where there were presents:

and cake:

Even Peter had a little cake, although he wasn't allowed any of the chocolate icing:

We also took off Friday, since it seemed silly to go to work for one day before the weekend. So today is my third day off in a row, and I could seriously get used to this life. Especially since the weather has been ugly and cold and wet; I've been very happy to stay inside. I've been working on my Weekend Sweater; the body is ready for the sleeves to be added, so I've started one sleeve:

I plan for the sleeves to be my carry-around project for a while, to speed the project along a bit. With this cold weather, I seriously need another sweater or three. Times like this I wish I could knit faster. Because, really, I could use some more wool socks, too.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Multigrain rolls recipe

Debbie asked for my recipe for the rolls I showed off recently. This is just a variation of the b/f's favorite white bread recipe. I made the dough in my bread machine, but it could be done by hand as well.

1/3 c multigrain cereal (I used Bob's Red Mill Organic 6-grain Cereal)
1/2 c boiling water

Pour boiling water over cereal; cover and let sit for about half an hour. Then dump it into the bread machine pan and add the following:

1/2 c milk, warmed (I don't know what temperature it is, I just nuke it for 30 seconds)
1 tbl lemon juice (you can use vinegar if you don't have lemon juice)
3 tbl olive oil (or other oil, or butter)
1 tbl honey (or sugar, but I find honey makes the bread rise just a little higher)
2 2/3 c bread flour (I prefer King Arthur)
1/2 tsp diastalic malt (not absolutely necessary, but it does make the bread a little fluffier)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp yeast

Mix on dough cycle. Of course, watch it the first 5 minutes or so to make sure it is the right consistency. Add a little liquid or flour, if needed, to get it just right. When done, remove from pan and cut dough into 12 equal sections. I pat the dough into a circle, then cut into fourths, then cut each fourth into thirds. Keeps the sizes pretty uniform. Roll each section into a ball, and place on greased cookie sheet about an inch apart.

Now it's time to let the rolls complete their final rise. I have a gas oven with a pilot light, so I put them in there. Since I don't like covering the bread (because sometimes the dough sticks to the covering), I create a moist environment by putting a pie plate on the rack below the pan of rolls, and pouring boiling water into it. Close the oven door, and you have a nice, warm, moist environment for the bread's final rise. If you don't have a pilot light, I'm told that the hot water, plus keeping the oven light on, will also do the trick. But I haven't tried that myself.

When rolls have doubled in size, remove the pan of water, turn the oven on to 325 degrees F, and bake for about 25 minutes. Makes 1 dozen rolls, a good size for sandwiches or hamburgers.

You could also use this recipe to make a loaf of bread; just use the normal cycle instead of the dough cycle. Makes a 1 1/2 lb loaf. I made a loaf last night, part of my ongoing scheme to get the b/f to consume at least a little whole grain.

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Day Late

I'm afraid I didn't get my warm-up box out yesterday, which was the mailing deadline for the Warm-Up Box Challenge for Cheyenne River Reservation. It wasn't because I failed to finish up the last couple of items I wanted to include. I finished up the Little Sky Booties:

They only took about 32g of worsted, give or take a few g (since my postal scale isn't excrutiatingly accurate). Definitely a quick knit.

I finished a warm scarf for Mr. Teddy Bear:

I figure he can be counted on to warm up someone's heart.

It wasn't because I failed to fill the box; with the help of a few purchased items, it's nice and full of things to warm up a person inside and out:

No, I just couldn't get my chores finished on Saturday in time to get the box in the mail. So, it'll go out Monday. I guess, technically, that makes me two days late. Oh well, even if I missed the challenge, it will still be put to good use.

Now that that's done, I'm returning to knitting for me, since the weather is cold and I want more wool! I'm working today, but I brought along ILG Sock #2. I've downloaded a new audio book, Trent's Last Case by E.C. Bentley. If things continue as quiet as they have been so far, I should make some nice progress.

Wish me luck!

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Peace Process

I don't know how things are going in Annapolis, but the peace process has had a big breakthrough here.

Until now, I thought we were doing well when these two managed to tolerate each other, with only occasional episodes when the fact that one continued to draw breath was unbearable to the other. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered them not only sharing a chair (my chair, natch), but in actual, physical contact with each other. Without any bloodletting.

I'm hoping this is a good omen. Can world peace be far behind?