Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Quantum of Tweed

Or, rather, twelve quanta of tweed arrived yesterday.

Thanks largely to the kids sleeping on time and my husband bringing home Quantum of Solace, they have already become this gauge sleeve.

I really enjoyed Quantum of Solace, and I don't think it's just because we don't get much chance to watch grown up movies any more. I'll post more details on the yarn and the sweater, but for now... I've got to get back to it. It's addictive.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Whole Grain Naan

I am an avid reader of labels on packaged foods. In various times of my life I have avoided various things; in high school I was a vegetarian, when Sweet Pea was a baby I avoided all dairy for nearly a year. These days I avoid processed grains, added sugars, partially hydrogenated oils and whatever else strikes my fancy. Part of it is health concerns, but mostly it's just chemical curiosity.

Bread and baked goods have turned up as the biggest violators of whatever I'm trying to avoid (well, except for the meat in high school). I eat less grain products than I used to, but am not willing to give them up entirely. And my kids love bread, crackers, tortillas and I've been looking for a way to get them healthier stuff without spending a fortune at the grocery and going back every day, because the healthy stuff costs more and goes bad faster.

I've experimented with making my own bread, but had very little success (despite a fancy breadmaker). Then I found a great no knead bread idea and, after several searches through the internet and my local library, found this book, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a day. I have made my first batch of dough from this book, and simply love it. The idea book is modular, so you can keep one type of dough on hand and make whatever you need for that day - bread, hamburger buns, bagels or, in this case, Naan!

The Naan has been the fastest, because it doesn't require resting, and it turned out fabulous. I used the King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour that I discovered through Kalyn's Kitchen, and added some Irish Style oats, to make it more whole grain and South Beach Diet friendly.

The book is well written, with fun little stories, but what appeals to me most are the recipes. I've only tried one dough so far, but several of the baking techniques and am in love with it. They're coming out with a second book in the fall, focusing on whole grains, and I'm really looking forward to that. You can also see their blog here.

If you're at all interested in baking, you should totally check out the book. Or keep reading this blog, because I plan on making lots more of it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bright Side of Life

I started today's post, and nothing came out but negatives. I try to subvert that aspect of my personality, as it generally leads to a charming, dark spiral of angst that's unattractive enough on teenagers and I simply don't have time to indulge in myself. Rather than quash it down, I like to follow the advice of those Monty Python boys. Here are a list of things to cheer me up.

1. My graduation sweater is finished. While it is too big and perhaps the most unflattering sweater that I have ever knit, it has given me this fabulous picture. This totally showcases the best part of this sweater, which is where the cable I designed turns a corner at the shoulder to travel across the back. This was accomplished with the help of Elsebeth Lavold's straightforward directions in Viking Patterns for Knitting.
(Details: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, 1004 yards, Original Pattern which I would never inflict on another human being).

2. My kids waking up 2 hours before they usually do meant that I didn't miss the sound of the morning rain on the roof.

3. Any frustrations I have with the kids' resulting crankiness do not have to endure until bedtime, because it is Knit Night and I have a wonderful husband who will take the helm at that point.

4. I really like coffee. I get to drink more today than usual.

5. My kids are still young enough that getting out their favorite toys (Legos and cars) distracts them from how tired and cranky they are.

6. I am still young enough that getting out my favorite toys (knitting and coffee) distracts me from how tired and cranky I am.

7. Curry does not upset my stomach, so I get to have great leftovers for lunch.

8. The fact that I have gained 3 pounds this week means that I am 3 pounds heavier than the weekend, but more than 40 pounds lighter than a year ago at this time.

9. The fact that I can't find the pattern for my Scarf #21 means I'm mentally free to start another lace project.

10. I have an idea for how to use my qiviut in a project that I might actually wear, though I am scared of wearing things that cost over a certain dollar amount.

11. I have yarn for another sweater coming. I am stalking it, via its tracking number, and Ohio is not that far away.

12. Thanks to ravelry and all it's wonderful users, I am fully aware that there are errors in the pattern, that I should alter the pattern to knit in the round and that the resulting sweater is totally worth all the trouble.

13. My local librarians are both nice and smart. They figured out that it was me who returned my own cookbook with a stack of their cookbooks, and called me to tell me. And they didn't even call me dumb for doing it.

See? I'm all cheered up. Cheered up enough to show you the full picture of the sweater. It's not a bad picture, it's a bad sweater.

I may post more details on the sweater tomorrow, but now I'm off to make more coffee and play Legos.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Big Fat Crush(es)

Right now I've got two. The first is the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher. I finished book 2 last night and have book three standing by for nap time. This series has me staying up late and even (gasp) setting aside my knitting for hours, reminiscent of my favorite reading obsessions prior to having kids. If you like fantasy, especially character driven epics or those with a Roman flavor, pick these up and set aside a few days.

The second is this sweater. I finished it on Mother's day and wear it at any excuse, despite the warming spring weather. I'll hold off raving about the yarn (Telemark), since I've done that enough already. Well, except to say that the heathered brown is a fabulously beautiful, rich color that remind me of chocolate.

The basic pattern is EZ's Seamless Set-In sleeves from Knitting Workshop. I once again tried p2tog decreases for the sleeve line and love how it turned out. It makes the seam much less visible, which is handy with the colorwork. I added some purl twist edging on the cuffs, but that texture pulled in too much for the waist. Instead, I used moss stitch, which doesn't pull in as much. I also threw in some waist shaping. As usual, I knitted the sleeves first to get gauge, then the body. The first time I knitted the body, it was way too large, but I put it in the naughty basket for a month or so while I worked on other things. Once I frogged it and restarted, it was a really quick knit.

The colorwork design is my own. It's actually the same design that I put in a kids sweater, but done in different colors. I'm planning on making one more, so we can be the dorky family with matching sweaters. I think the different colors make it a little less obvious, but the kids seem to like it. If anyone shows any interest, I might be able to get the whole pattern put together. I like the Seamless Set In sleeves, and really don't think they get enough attention. They're not significantly harder than the raglan shaping and give a nice, fitted look.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Beach Footlets

I began these socks in the car ride to the beach, knitted them at every spare opportunity that weekend, and came home with the 2nd sock very nearly done.

The pattern is Padded Footlets, from Favorite Socks, but I left out the padding and the lace pattern is reversed because I superimposed the chart on my own, toe up sock pattern. The yarn is Risata, in grass and the stripes are done in the Dakota colorway of Felici. This means that each little stripe is a different color, and I really like the effect. The first turned out a little CSU, since the stripe was yellow, but the purple and brown evened it out. They weighed in at exactly 50g, making them 196 yards of the 12 mile quest!

I seem to be on a real sock kick lately. I've ordered 2 more size 2 circs so that I can have one more project going at a time. I think I may order more Risata as well. It's super comfy and cushiony and washes up like none of my other yarns (no pilling, tightening, picking up more cat hair than the broom). The colors are also deeper than the pictures really show.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


It's been a long and busy day here at Chez Book, and it's passed bedtime and the kids are still running around without pajamas, but I just wanted to say a couple words. Or rather, show a couple pictures (mostly knitting free).

My mom just visited us from out of town, and we had a great visit and took tons of pictures. In looking through them tonight, not a single one on anyone's camera has a picture of the two of us. So, instead, I give you a couple pictures of the amazing woman who raised me with the two crazies that I am attempting to raise. She loved the pictures in the last blog of her new socks, but I love these.

ETA: Due to mom-type responsibilities of my own, this post was not published until 8 hours post-Mother's day. I take comfort in the fact that, due to the time change, it's only 4 hours late on Alaska time.

I was taken by a photograph of you
There were one or two I know that you would have liked a little more
But they didn't show your spirit quite as true
-Jackson Browne

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Recent FOs

Things I have completed/achieved since my last post:

1. A garden bed containing two Moondance rose bushes and 4 tomatoes rather than 3 landscape bags full of ivy.
2. My first ever size 6 jeans (bought, not home made, But, dudes, size 6!)
3. A fabulous 4 year old birthday party, during which no one cried, but many ate tasty Costco carrot cake.
4. A wonderful, week+ visit with my mom.
5. A mini-vacation to the beach, in which a delightful time was had by all. Pictures already posted on Facebook.
6. A perfect for me, part time teaching job.
7. Some socks! Imagination, colorway: Frog Prince, size 3 needles, my usual sock pattern, 254 yards used. They're modeled here by my mom, who took them back to Alaska with her, due to their toasty alpaca content.
8. An entire set of world event achievements in WoW (Noblegarden, if you're curious) to get my first WoW title.
9. Several loaves of whole wheat and oats no knead bread, which is totally tasty, totally South Beach diet friendly and waaaay better than any of the tasteless bricks I've managed to make in my bread machine.
10. My toe up, faux heel flap sock pattern edited, converted to a pdf and available for free download on ravelry!

I expected there to be more knitting in this post, as my needles have been flying, but there just isn't! I have several projects near completion, but very little actually finished. I also blame my recently started sock blanket. And a frogged sweater. So, expect more knitting content in the future!