Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Fork in the Path

Today the Blueberry Cardigan and I made a choice. I would either add 'steeks' to its design feature or totally chicken out and change it's name from Blueberry Cardigan to Blueberry Abbreviated Henley. After about 2 inches of colorwork I have gotten quite tired of 1) having the color that I want be on the wrong side of the work when I start a new row and 2) color work on the wrong side. I knit in 2 colors by doing one in my usual 'English thrower' style and the contrasting color in continental style. This goes quite quickly, but I can only knit in continental, not purl. This made the wrong side color work slow, unwieldy and, most importantly, Not Fun.

Solution? I cast on 7 sts, barricaded with stitch markers, to close the gap. When all the knitting is done, I can either be brave and cut the middle stitch to make this a cardigan, or just pick up these edging stitches and make a henley. Right now, I'm planning on brave.

Unrelated (or at least only Vaguely Related):
We didn't read Blueberries for Sal last night, but did enjoy a rousing reading of Jamberry. While the story is not as intricate, there's more rhyming and the kiddos love it.

Summer seems to have arrived here and, despite my best efforts, I don't think I have enough shorts. I am beginning to panic that low rise is going out of style and I will be forced to wear 80s inspired shorts that come up to just under my bustline, making me look even shorter and shorter waisted than I actually am.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Birthday and A Hat

The Little Dude turned 2 last week. My knitted contribution was this hat. It's another, loosely based on Jared Flood's Turn A Square pattern, which I adore. I say loosely, because I'm not exactly sure where that pattern is anymore, so it's based on what I remembered from knitting 5 or 6 of these last year. The ribbing does continue all the way up, which actually turned out to be pretty cute. It's 92 yards of Andean Treasure in both Moss and Embers Heather, and yet another stash buster.

This hat has a matching scarf, which I actually knit first. But... the scarf is already missing. I'm hoping that it turns up before the cold does. I've given it several months to show its face.

There were plenty of non-knitting contributions to the birthday as well. The entire morning was spent baking. We made homemade carrot cake and a homemade flourless chocolate torte. Both were tasty, but the carrot cake shredded as I tried to get it out of the pan. It was a good breakfast, though! Next year - spring form pan.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Free Form Blueberry Cardigan

Blueberries for Sal has become a regular in our nightly story rotation, and I love it. It reminds me of the fields of blueberries across the street from and in the back yard of the house where I grew up. The mother in the book wears a simple, very 50s plain cardigan. It's light weight, with rubbed cuffs, waist and collar. Every time I see it, I want the cardigan (and the fields of blueberries, but those take longer to grow).

The kids miraculously fell asleep on time last night and we watched a movie with both swearing and violence in it. I wanted to start something new and I pulled out my box of Palette and a size 2 needle. We'll be calling it the Blueberry Cardigan, because it's a little more evocative than the 'Chronicles of Riddick' Cardi.

A bit about the yarn... At some point last summer I decided I wanted to try Palette for a mitts project. I ordered some. Then I ordered a little bit more, when it came back in stock. Then the Sipalu bag kits went on clearance. I don't usually go in for kits, but I really, really wanted that pattern. So... now I have a box of Palette without enough in one color for a solid sweater. There are, however, lots of colors reminescent of Juneau's blueberry fields - green, blues, browns and greys. I'm throwing these together with some raglan shaping and see what comes out the other end!

I skipped the swatch and cast on 144, mainly because that's 12*12 and I'm a math nerd. Here's what I had this afternoon:

I frogged back to the ribbing because I decided against the garter stitch button band that I had started. So now we've got some lovely green (I believe it's technically Edamame) ribbing and I am about to recreate some free form colorwork.

Normally I wouldn't mention anything until I had finished, but I thought I'd start blogging a bit more WIPs.

Unrelated: I finally succeeded in making hot wings and blue cheese dip. In addition to olive oil mayo and low fat cream cheese, it had sauteed onion, Worstershire sauce and garlic salt. Dinner was fantastic.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


After a day of general malaise induced by spinning-frustration, I dove into a variety of distractions. The sewing machine came back up from the basement. Sewing books went back on hold at the library. I found out what a felled seam was, and didn't even know I needed to know.

See that? It's a buttonhole. Buttonholes are, apparently, quite hard to photograph but ridiculously easy to sew on my machine (A Huskystar C10). At least, once you find the manual. Now I want to put buttonholes in everything. I've put them in all my project bags, so I can run a ribbon through them for closure. Next up? Grommets. Once I find my grommet-pusher-thingie.

I also rearranged the living room furniture and scrubbed out the utterly disgusting fireplace. It had a ridiculous amount of soot in it for not having been used for years before we moved in. I spent much of yesterday engrossed in HGTV activities.

But you know what? I still don't have a wheel.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Curveball

I don't play baseball, but I am given to understand that curve balls are hard to manage. To me, however, it's a somewhat overused metaphor for generic life challenges. I'd try to think of another, more interesting metaphor for you, dear reader, but frankly I'm a bit too pissy about the current curveball (and the excessive number of commas in that sentence. And the fact that I added some parentheses. But I digress).

The issue? Louet Julias are backordered. Really. I read the email about 5 times. I thought maybe the fact that I had not yet had coffee may have effected my brain. But, no. They're backordered until right before the school year and, not coincidentally, my new job begin. Fah. Of course, I still haven't had coffee, so maybe I'll try it again after the coffee maker earns his keep.

I am a planner. I have been planning on having a spinning wheel sometime in the next week. I have been planning July as a spinning month since about February. I have stashbusted. I have finished big projects (here, here and here). I have cleared out some serious psychic crafting space. I have put off starting new projects or getting very excited about anything. Yesterday I was trying to find something to knit in the car on the way to Little Dude's birthday dinner and very nearly came up short.

I suppose I just need something more interesting to knit. From stash, if I decide I want to keep my order in to get one of this round of wheel. My sadly depleted stash. Maybe another Brigid? Maybe this? Maybe I'll get all my sewing back out...

P.S. Little dude turned 2. There was much cake, silliness and fire truck themed toys. I'll post a picture or two if you're interested. He did not get a spinning wheel.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rain, rain

The rain continues apace. I am beginning to feel like I'm back in Juneau, only without the mountains, beaches or extended summer hours. I enjoy the cool weather, but it still feels slightly weird to be wearing long pants, despite being nearly July. I really am used to Down South weather!

Little Dude's moods have also been experiencing some bad weather. Or, rather, he seems to already be 2 in spirit despite his birthday not being until Monday. Two in a pushing the limits, testing the rules but separation anxiety kind of way.

I also finished some socks. These are from my Faux Flap pattern, no design other than a ribbed cuff. These are the second pair that I've knit from the 4 sock blanks that Sweet Pea and I dyed a year ago. They started out as a neon orange and green Kool Aid mess, then were over dyed with yellow, then forest green. I like the resulting color, but it sort of overrode the sock blank effect.

ETA: These were 254 yards. This leaves me plenty for my sock yarn blankie!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Picture Free Randomness

After knitting my Forestry, very little seems exciting on the knitting front. I am knitting, and I'm knitting some pretty darn nice things, but... nothing quite like that. Nothing worth an entire blog post. The cure? A random list! Whee! (C'mon, get excited, now).

1. I finished some socks. I'll take pictures and figure yardage later, but for now I mostly resent how long this one pair took. 2 months. I'm thinking of changing their name from 'Lime Rescue" to 'Slow Ass Boring Socks', but just doesn't flow the same.

2. I worry that normal people don't name their socks.

3. I worry that I'm turning into a neat freak. Our new, over the shower head organizer pleases me waaay more than I think it 'should'. And my current favorite Berenstain Bears book is the Messy Room.

4. I worry that I worry too much.

5. I am ordering a wheel this week, worry be damned!

6. I am thinking of turning into a part time food blogger. In one day, you get a much higher rate of cooking FOs than knitting FOs. And I really, really like making our own stuff. We now make all our breads, buns, pizza dough, etc and I'm thinking about branching out into the realm of ice cream. I just need to start taking pictures before everyone wolfs it down.

7. The lace stole and I have a rocky relationship. We are at the top of our sine wave and I think I'll go try to get a few rows in before the crazies need me.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Seamless Tahitian Forests

I have a new sweater. I lurve it. I lurve the fit, the yarn, everything.

The pattern is Forestry, from Vogue. Vogue is not my style, and I have never knit anything from them before. In fact, I had seen this sweater in the magazine and passed right over it. Then, I saw several on ravelry (lilalu's, okayknit's and jettshin's), and it had to be mine. I debated about the yarn for awhile, then received a Mother's Day gift card for knit picks only a week or so after City Tweed was released. I very nearly got the Desert Sage, but needed a sweater that wasn't green. Instead, 12 balls of Tahitian Pearl (yes, the same color as Jared Flood's fabulous baby blanket). This sweater came in at 1116 yds, so have plenty left for a feather and fan scarf.

This project consumed all of my knitting time. I knit almost nothing else in the 2 weeks it took me to finish. Totally worth it. It's the most wearable sweater that I have knit, to date. I made several modifications, which are detailed below. The most obvious are:
1. Knit sleeves in the round, body in one piece and joined for seamless raglan shaping. Totally worth it.
2. DK weight instead of Worsted (knit the small size numbers to get an extra small size)
3. Enormified the collar by several inches

A quick note about this yarn. I love it. I will totally be ordering more. Maybe even some of the desert sage...


Omitted the set up row (which was wrong). Instead, I did a modified coin cable on the first go around. When it says to hold 4 to the front (Or back), then knit 1, I k2tog. Then I proceeded with the rest of the cable. This decreased from 6 sts to 5 and kept the cable lined up above the bottom ribbing.

Did not use and smaller needles, because I really don’t like ribbing to pull in at the edges.

Knit in the round, omitting the stitches that would have been the selvedge stitches.

Knit as one piece. Following the Small size, but omitting what would have been the selvedge stitches. Thus, I cast on (left front + back + right front)-4 = 190 sts.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Challah challah challah

I have embraced my absolute lack of Jewish ancestry by making challah. This hasn't stopped me from making Italian, French or Thai food. In fact, were heredity predictive of culinary tastes, we'd likely be eating haggis, braunschweiger and Jello salad. And we don't.

Any way, this bread is totally tasty and makes good sandwiches. It's the recipe out of this book, substituting my favorite flour (white whole wheat) and adding a heaping tablespoon of wheat gluten from Bob's Red Mill. I've still got a bunch of the dough left in the fridge and plan on doing something a little less traditional with it. Stay tuned.

In other news, I have totally finished the best sweater in the world. Details to follow, once we have a fabulous photo session here at Chez Book.