Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pictures of SP goodies

Here's promised pictures of the wonderful goodies I received.

I feel silly asking this... but I could not tell what size needles to use with this yarn. Does anyone know? It's Superwash handdyed 100% merino from Lancaster County Yarns & Wools.

Beautiful colors.

I purchased a new book at lunch today (Ivanhoe) to break in my special K bookmark!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

bag o'knitterly happiness

I spied a package lingering at my doorstep and hopped out to investigate (and hoping madly it was not something purchased off ebay like a book on economics or something by my best friend). It had my name on it, and I could hardly wait to get inside to open it up.

I'd like to state upfront that I am not a yarn sniffer.... usually.

But as I opened up the package to reveal a black mesh bag o'goodies, I kept thinking wow- something smells so good. And I peeked in and pulled out some scrumptious yarn- 2 skiens of superwash handdyed merino from Lancaster County Yarns & Wools.

I can't tell you how gorgeous it is but I'm going to try! The colors are beautiful and autumny-plum. Browns, pinks, plum... I've never seen anything like it. And it smelled great- I was so suprised that I sniffed it cautiously and smelled the faint scent of vanilla. So I'm sitting here, forgetting the rest of the package and wondering how my SP8 managed to locate handdyed yarn that smells fantastic and how can I possibly make socks worthy of this gorgeous colorway.

Then I peeked in the bag and pulled out the vanilla pear soap I didn't see! Boy- do I feel silly. But silly or not I can't wait to take a bubble bath tonight after my homework!! The scent is perfect- not too strong but perfectly balanced.

And SHEEP Stickers... they deserve their own Squeee..... I can't wait to use them!

Yesterday, I was in Barnes & Noble and very nearly bought a bookmark, but didn't. I wanted to, very much, but it was just a splurge I didn't think I could make. But it was the right choice, because lo and behold... a lovely K bookmark was in the bag o'knitterly happiness as well! I think it's my first bookmark since high school... normally because I read books in one or two sittings. But with school, I can only read bits and pieces and this will be perfect to keep my place.

My camera is at work, so tomorrow I will take pictures to document all the loveliness (as well as my progress on the bow tie scarf with the lovely microcable I received from my other SP earlier this summer). Except the vanilla pear soap, because I don't think that will make it past tonight.

SP: Thank you very much. Everything is beautiful. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


I received my Denise needles yesterday, although I was too busy to do anything more than 5 minutes of appreciation. But today at work, I amused myself by thinking of all the projects that lay ahead (Felted Clogs! Suri Dreams Bella scarf! Socks!)

I can't tell you the relief I felt in finally finishing the scarf for my coworker (which I wrapped and gave to her before thinking to take a photo of it). I worried it was not what she envisioned (since she had requested it). But thankfully, she enjoyed it and wore it proudly through the halls at work.

I still think funfur looks like a muppet. I had hoped the finished product would change my mind and it didn't.

Tonight, I'm taking it easy and making a catnip mouse (or two) for a friend's cute kitties while watching a DVD. And then I'll figure out what's next to do on my list.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


We started off with this base recipe: but made a few modifications. The Splenda and applesauce really made it delicious.

3 cups grated carrots
2 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups Splenda
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup applesauce
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
3/4 cup chopped pecans

1 cup confectioners' sugar
8 oz Neufchatel cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease, flour baking pans (I used a 9” x 13”).
3. Mix carrots, flour, Splenda, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
4. Stir in eggs, oil, 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, pineapple and 3/4 cup chopped pecans. Spoon batter into pan.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, Neufchatel cheese, 1/2 cup butter or margarine and 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla. Beat until smooth, then stir in 1 cup chopped pecans. Spread on cooled cake.

The result? Not too icky-sweet, moist, flavorful cake that we really liked. The pecans in the frosting were a nice touch. We'll definitely make it again.


Here's some of my tried-and-true recipes.

Apple Salad

Cider Vinaigrette
3 Tablespoons apple juice concentrate
3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 olive oil (whisk together and refrigerate)

Toss over spring mix salad of your choice. This is the one I use:
tender spring greens, sprinkle of chopped pecan, crumbles of blue cheese, handful of dried cranberries and one chopped apple. I like to add a few mandarin orange segments as well.

Red Wine Mushrooms (wonderful with steak)

10 ounce low sodium beef broth
1/2 cup minced shallots
sliced crimini mushrooms
1/3 cup red wine


Mix beef broth and shallots in pan, simmer for 15 minutes. Add mushrooms and wine. Simmer additional 15 minutes. Drizzle leftover broth on steak, if you like.

Tuna Steak Recipe
We made this with yellowfin tuna steaks. This was very easy to prepare and it smelled great!

1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds tuna steaks

Combine oil, garlic, soy sauce, mustard, lemon juice and pepper in medium bowl and blend well. Rinse tuna steaks under cold running water and pat dry. Place fish in a zip lock bag; cover with marinade. Refrigerate for an hour, turning once halfway through.

Cook tuna steaks under a preheated broiler for about 5 minutes on each side, or until tuna is opaque.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Excellent sale at Knitpicks!

Various types of needles are up to 50% off, including sets. I had already committed to purchasing a Denise set, so I'm not in the market but I'm passing it along for those who might be looking for a good deal on needles.

I will, however, be looking at those new Knitpicks nickel plated needles when I'm able to do so... one of the things I'm having a very hard time with is findng smaller needles (size 0, 1, 2, 3) in either DPNS or Circulars, and they offer both those sizes for really reasonable prices.

I've made progress on the coworkers scarf and should have it done by her birthday this Sunday, and moved onto "socks without twisting".

Thursday, June 15, 2006

New books and neglected projects

I finally picked up a book I've been dying to read, The Overspent American by Juliet Schor. While at Barnes & Noble, I did peek at the many knitting books but reminded myself to be firm.

I've got a couple of knitting books I've picked up but not read yet, and I really need to do more sock book reading so I can get the hang of this! Knitpicks has a DVD for sock knitting which I may have to resort to if I can't wrap my brain around the written instructions sometime soon. I even checked Michaels for a sock knitting class but no such luck.

I have to start my suri dream scarf again. I kept stalling at the same point and making the same error, and finally frogged it back quite a bit. I need to work on my socks when I have the time to sit down and focus. I have a funfur scarf to finish (and never work with funfur again) for my coworkers birthday. And I have to finish my bowtie scarf this weekend.

Lots of options...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I've been working on my bow tie scarf when I have the time. The yarn knits up easily, but it tends to split so it's a bit slower going than I normally am used to (and I'm pretty slow). I'm not so sure I'll have enough for this particular project, but as I'm halfway through I'm going to continue and see how I fare.

I'd definitely use the yarn again, and am so glad my One Skein Secret Pal expanded my horizons. I'm already thinking of what I'll make out of the next purchase. Someone sent me the link of a fabulous halter that Heather did out of the same yarn, and it's absolutely gorgeous. I hope she writes up a pattern for it- it's flattering and she did a great job keeping the top tight and high around the arms.

Another project to add on my list. I have a feeling, though, that I'm going to get real about my yarn diet. Nothing else new for me until I finish some of these projects and attack some of the projects I've got waiting in the wings. Between my current stash and my secret pals, I should be set for several months and be able to start most of my planned holiday gifts. Not to mention the lack of time for any substantial knitting- which will change in mid-July when I get my one-month break from evening school. I won't know what to knit in all that spare time!

I don't mind making the yarn diet announcement today since my pattern for felted clogs arrived, along with last of the stuff I ordered for my SPs. No more ordering for them, no more temptation for me!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pictures of Micro Cable

Isn't this the prettiest green? I love it!

I think I'm making a bow tie scarf (pictured here) but I have to say, this is so silky and soft I might want to eventually make a garment out of it in a different shade. I've never worked with this type of yarn and am not sure what would be suitable. Any ideas?

Soooo soft! I need to hide it until I'm ready to work with it.

Monday, June 05, 2006

One Skein Goodness :)

I'm alive, just swamped with work and school and sadly, not enough knitting!

I'm reaching the end of this current bout of stress as of 11:55 pm tonight, when my homework is due. So this will be a short post since I still have one essay question to do and another one to polish up.

I saw a package peeking at me from the mailbox today on the way home, and lo and behold, my One Skein Secret Pal sent me the June gift! It's Schoeller Stahl Micro Cable, silky soft and in a beautiful shade of green- not too dark, not too yellow, just this rich shade that looks so refreshing! I've never used an acrylic like this- very nice to touch and I'm excited to see how it knits up!! And such a sweet card- Gypsy felt so special for being mentioned. :) Pictures to follow when I don't have a deadline looming ahead of me.

I have no idea what to knit with it, so if anyone wants to email me with suggestions, please feel free to do so! As it is, I'm going to have to put it away since I keep touching it while I am trying to research and it is distracting me! (so is google searching for ideas on what to knit!)

Thank you, One Skein Secret Pal!!!

And... I also got an email from my other Secret Pal! I am feeling so special today!! I'll be sure to write both of my Secret Pals tonight to pass on the goodwill :)