Saturday, March 29, 2008

Workin' for a living

Man, I had forgotten how tiring it is to actually put in a full day at work. Cuts into the knitting time in more ways than one. First, I'm not knitting at work much any more. Second, when I sit down to relax of an evening, half the time I fall asleep. I find that I don't get much knitting done when I am asleep (although more than once, I still had the needles in my hands).

I can't just blame work for my sleepiness, though; some blame also goes to the vermin in the house. Like when Hilfy inexplicably stuck a paw into my armpit in the middle of the night. Somewhat startling, to say the least. Not to mention the nights that Yitzhak decides to yowl about how much she likes the swatch I gave her. The desire to vocalize this joy seems to occur around 2 a.m. I've taken to sleeping with that swatch under my pillow, to prevent her from enjoying it too much.

In spite of all this, however, I have managed to get a little knitting done. I have about half of a sleeve for my Weekend Sweater:

I like the drape of the yarn better this go-round; the size 4 needles are definitely an improvement. I'm going to take the sleeve off the needles before I go any further, and check my gauge. Once bitten, and all that.

I also have just over half of a pair of socks:

Of course, I tried on the one sock as soon as the ends were woven in; perfect fit! It's nice to get something right. Knitting socks can be a real morale-booster. Just one more reason why I love 'em.

I should probably wake her up. Show her what it feels like.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Success in my quest

Recently, I've been in the mood to bake with sourdough. Once upon a time, I had a very vigorous, tasty sourdough starter, but I quit baking almost entirely for some time, so it died. I've tried several times to get another starter like that one, with minimal success. I've had starters that tasted good, but weren't what I would call vigorous, even when coddled with bottled water. A couple of weeks ago, I tried Carl Griffith's 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter, which is certainly vigorous, but only mildly sour; I wanted a tangy, sour sourdough! So, I decided to try the San Francisco sourdough starter from this site. I mainly chose this one because the seller wasn't charging exorbitant shipping rates; it really annoys me when someone wants to charge me $4 to ship a quarter-ounce of dried starter.

Anyway, the starter arrived Wednesday, so I followed directions and stirred it up with flour and water (just plain ol' tap water; if it couldn't handle that, I wasn't messin' with it!). I fed it twice a day for three days, then last night mixed up some No-Knead Sourdough Bread. Baked it this afternoon:

I almost left it in too long; next time I'll check it sooner. Even so, when I took my first bite I thought, "Oh yeah, that's what I've been looking for!" Tangy flavor, tender crumb, and a blissfully crisp crust. I'm in heaven. I think I'll just eat bread for dinner tonight.

Next weekend, we are definitely having sourdough pancakes!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Yes, I'm still knitting

Although not as much, now that I work at work, instead of knitting at work. I was very excited last weekend to complete the first decrease round on the yoke of my Weekend Sweater, which meant that I was halfway done with the yoke. Not far to go now!

After snapping that pic, I decided to measure it while it was spread out, just to check. I measured across the chest twice, because the first time I couldn't believe what I was seeing was correct. %#@! It was smaller than it was supposed to be; four inches smaller. Double %#@! How could that happen? While I had the measuring tape handy, I checked my gauge. Instead of the 6 stitches/inch I planned on, it was 6.5. That half a stitch really added up.

Not wanting to believe my measurements, I decided to try it on. While it was wearable, it was a lot closer fitting than I planned. I was going for zero ease across the bust, so four inches of negative ease made for a very snug sweater. The b/f would like it, but it wasn't really the look I was going for. So, I made a tough decision:

I started over. Looks like I won't be wearing my new sweater this season, no matter how slow spring is in getting here.

But my knitting time wasn't wasted; I learned a few things:

1. The body length was just what I wanted; I'll make it the same length again.

2. The sleeves were a little short. I'll lengthen them an inch.

3. I'll check my gauge often, to make sure I'm staying on track!


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

My days are numbered

Sunday it was sunny and 70 degrees; today we got 10 inches of snow. As a result, they closed the office early today, and I got home around 4:30. I was just starting to take off my coat when Hilfy went to the front door and demanded to go outside. Being a well trained cat owner who follows orders, I zipped my coat back up, scooped up Hilfy and took her outside.

I wish I could have gotten a picture of her enjoying the snow, but I was only about halfway down the front walk when she scrambled from my embrace and flew back to the door. I mean, I know intellectually that her feet must have encountered the ground somewhere along the route, but I never actually saw it. As far as I could tell, she was airborne until she was on the porch, her front paws against the door, her tail bushed out like a bottle brush, ordering me in no uncertain terms to let her the ^&%$#@! back in the house.

I'm pretty sure she's going to kill me; I just hope she takes me out in my sleep and doesn't torture me first.

Hilfy, obviously plotting my demise.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Hilfy likes to help

The b/f was running ethernet cable to the entertainment system. Hilfy, of course, had to help.