Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sock Progress!!!

The two circular method is so much easier for me. No twisting! I'd still like to learn how to use DPNs for socks, but maybe once I'm used to joining that first round without twisting.

I'm using a DVD to learn how to do the socks, and its making it much easier. I'm also using the new Knitpick circulars, size 3 (24"). I love these needles!!

I really prefer this color yarn over the other one (amazing how much difference that makes!)

Also: my Irish Hiking Scarf progress:

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Little tidbits...

The tracking numbers say both my packages arrived today to their associated spoilees- my final SP package all the way to sweltering Cali and my teeny tiny tote to my One Skein SP. :)

I visited a new LYS today, which I've been looking forward to because the only one I had thought was in the area was in a different town and was terrible. The hours are inconvenient, the employees are very standoffish, almost as if you were interrupting them, it always seemed hot, dimly lit and dusty. Plus I have to always drive around the blocks once or twice, looking for parallel parking downtown to get there. I had pretty much resigned myself to the local craft stores like AC Moore and shopping online, but sometimes I really miss getting to know other people in my area that also knit. (G is VERY sick of hearing about yarns and projects and colors and stash. He's patient to a point.)

But the new one... wow. So incredibly bright, clean, well organized, friendly. It was a tiny space but just well organized with these luscious yarns nearly bursting out to be stroked and fawned over. The kicker was that she had a project I want to work on (Lady E stole) out of Noro Transitions (which I've been dying to try... not on a Lady E but on a smaller project due to its cost). There were about 5-6 projects that I would actually WANT to do decorating the store. So we talked about classes and how to do socks, how I've learned so far, etc. Very friendly woman and I could easily see myself going there for an afternoon of shopping and knitting (and hitting the coffeshop next door). Oooh and classes each week are $10. Not bad. I'll still do a lot myself due to my schedule but for harder techniques, I'd gladly pay that.

I'm planning on working more on my cables tonight, but... or maybe the socks DVD. I haven't decided. Last night, I cast on for a ballband dishcloth but didn't make much progress (just enough to see the first layer of 'bricks'.

We had gone to a wine tasting before that- eight different sparkling wines and three types of champagne, strawberries dipped in chocolate, other assorted tidbits of yumminess and creme brulee. Heavenly! I came home and decided I just had to knit, but didn't want to mess up my cables. This was simple enough to do before I got so relaxed I nearly fell asleep.

That's one of the reasons I really enjoyed the KUI sticker my SP gave me... "Friends don't let friends knit drunk". So true!

Thank you, Secret Pal!

I received a lovely package from my SP, which was such a surprise waiting for me this morning!! Thank you, Secret Pal!!! I hope your summer's going well!

Inside this package was all sorts of goodies, starting off with a canvas bag with a "ways to tell you are a knitting fiend" list. This is a great size for me to carry with me when I travel next week.

Closer look at the contents of the bag: some awesome Shaker virgin wool in a beautiful shade (close up to follow), a cute bumper sticker about what I would call... KUI... Knitting Under the Influence. A pine sachet with a lobster on it, garden rub and herbs, notepad and even some treats for my pup!

At this point, I had to stop fondling the yarn and take my pictures because Gypsy saw me pull out the snacks and went CRAZY! She couldn't believe her good luck when she saw the dog treats!!

Now that she is all taken care of...
This is Gypsy's "You ROCK, Secret Pal!!" face

Saving the best for last.... Shaker Yarn. Gorgeous texture, and even more gorgeous color. Almost a plummy/black cherry color with all sorts of little variations blended in. It's quite a bit of yarn, so I'll have to find a good project for it.

Thank you for all the thought you put into this goodie package, SP. I love it!

Saturday, July 22, 2006


My garden is massively producing tomatoes and veggies at an alarming rate.
I'll probably have to find a good marinara recipe so I can freeze some.

But tonight, we're having steaks and a salad, and this is our side course:

Broiled Tomatoes
3 large tomatoes
Dash of pepper
3 Tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

Optional version:
Use 2 Tablespoons chopped basil and 3 Tablespoons feta cheese instead of blue cheese

1. Halve and core tomatoes, then sprinkle with pepper.
2. Top with blue cheese (or a layer of fresh chopped basil, then feta cheese on top).
3. Broil for five minutes, or until tops are golden brown.

Friday, July 21, 2006

too much time = trouble

This is what I do when I don't want to do schoolwork- I organize my stash and make my list of future projects.

Socks, of course, still a priority as is my Irish Hiking Scarf. But in looking over my works in progress, I made some painful decisions.

I have decided to frog two of my first projects: a garter stitched scarf that stopped when I got lost in a tangle or two, and my triangle shawl that I started but never seemed to make much progress on. However, since then I found a different shawl that I like, and I think the Alpaca can be put to better use than a garter stitch scarf.

Update: FO Gift for OS secret pal

All set and ready to mail!

I carried it with me to the local Joann's to find a button and it looks so cute! (cuter than the picture) A little nubby with a nice soft halo from the mohair.

You can also slide your forearm through the handles and wear it, if you want (it was easier for me to do that for a bit while my hands were full). It looks great next to jeans, with the soft colors.

Pattern: Teeny Tiny Tote (fits a tiny wallet, cellphone and lipstick) I added straps instead of using cord handles and a buttonhole.

Yarn: Fiesta Yarns' Watermark (I love this yarn and will use again! as often as I can afford)

Timeframe: did not take long at all, just a few night's knitting. Mostly it was delayed due to me forgetting to take the final picture.

I hope she likes it- she's got an elementary aged daughter who might like the purse if it is too small for an adult size.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The end is in sight!

And I'm celebrating... I was not sure how I would be spending all that free evening/weekend time during my month off from grad school, but I knew I had to teach myself how to do socks. I have that gorgeous yarn from my SP to try out, which I have set aside and sigh over occasionally. Before I even touch it, I have to make sure I am worthy of said yarn by making at least one somewhat normal looking pair on my Knitpicks yarn.

I tried twice with the veggie medley yarn, and I'm not any fonder of the colors. If it didn't remind me so much of a veggie medley, it would be "70s kitchen". I twisted it and just never made it beyond 10 rows or so. So... I have dusted off the Sensational Knitted Socks and a few tutorials, armed with two circs this time, and will be diving into it next week.

The cabling's going well. I've done 5 repeats and considering I'm only doing bits and pieces since I have a final due on Monday, I'm pleased. Stressed, but pleased.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Irish Hiking Scarf

For the KAL

I love the yarn- Lamb's Pride Worsted in winter blue. I did two rows of garter stitch before going into the cables, just to give it a nice border.

I've only done a little during my lunches, but it's giving me quite a sense of accomplishment. I can't wait until I can knit in the evenings starting next week! I'm only allowing myself 8 rows at a time so that I don't neglect my studies and screw up my final grade because I am obsessing over knitting. I like the pattern... it has a nice rhythm to it once you get going.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Quick update

My computer's here... just trying to salvage what I had left on the other one and tranfserring it over. Plus my latest project: A knitalong for novices to cables, thankfully I have two awesome people cohosting it with me who are great at teaching how to do cables!

I cannot wait to start mine!! I'm trying to hold out till the weekend although I only have 9 days left in school and I really need to focus on a monster final project. Ughhh.

I'm dying for some cotton chenille- it's really testing my yarn diet stick-to-it-iveness. I just got it in my head that I must have some super soft washcloths now! Luckily (or not, depending on how frustrated you are), none of my local yarn stores sell it! How can that be?

Saturday, July 08, 2006


My computer's demise means that I'm having to let go of some of my stash to help buy a new one, especially with my graduate program being primarily online. I was hoping to last it out til graduation next July but apparently not.

Edited to Add: Luckily, all the items went to good homes, and I can feel slightly less guilty about my new computer!

Pass the word...

A great cause and a great way to destash (or a great reason to go shopping)

From Mel's website: "Interim House is a 6-month rehab facility, with both in- and out-patient programs. Their social worker has added knitting (and crochet) to the therapy schedule, and it's doing amazingly well."

Please consider donating something from your own stash. For details about this opportunity, visit Mel's blog by clicking on the above button. There's a referral program, so pass it on to other friends, and let her know how you found out about it! (she's also got a wonderful etsy site linked from her blog- gorgeous stuff)

Want to see how the gifts are being used? Check out the Interim House Knitting Blog

I pulled together a little package and will mail it off on Monday.

Before and After Felting

Pre-felting. Instead of making a twisted cord for the handles, I knitted on two straps by picking up five stitches on either side of the flap. I also made a buttonhold instead of the crocheted cord to use with the button.

After felting and blocking (4 DVD covers fit perfectly in here!) there's a small amount of stitch definition but mostly just a soft, nubby texture with a halo from the mohair.

Teeny is right! There's room for a cell phone, small wallet and lipstick.

Now all that is left is to find the right button and sew it on!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

update, teeny tote

Interesting pooling pattern... the dove grey and light turquoise make identical stripes down both sides of the bag.

Too tired to write much, but I should be finishing the flap tomorrow, felting this weekend.

I must get more of this yarn... still loving it and wishing the project would not end.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Heavenly knit.

Just a camera phone picture to capture it until I have the time to take more. The colors are slightly softer and I'm not sure if a camera at all will capture the gorgeous sheen of the yarn, but it's there.

Every stitch of this is a joy.

I've never experienced a project where just the touch of the yarn sliding through my fingers makes me happy. I'm about halfway through the skein, the sides are nearly three inches tall, which is surprising because I've not spent that much time knitting. And when I do knit, its slow going because every so often I have to stop and just stroke the loose stitches. I'm so curious about how it will felt!

I really hope my one skeinSP likes the FO, because it really has been so much fun to knit for her.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Singing the Praises of Water Mark

I am using Water Mark by Feista Yarns on a project for my secret pal (I wanted to at least start it this four day weekend, since I worry how much time I will have available to work on it with my finals coming up). If you asked me about it last night, I would have sworn off it. We watched an episode of Boston Legal last night and I thought I would be proactive and wind the yarn while we watched. It tangled, badly- it didn't even get into knots so much as the mohair would attach itself. So... I worked it out. Slowly. For 2 and a half hours. Arrrgh.

But even in the heat of my frustration, touching this yarn was amazing. I have never felt anything like it. I knitted up a swatch this morning on my denise needles and was astonished at how much I loved it. It's just the right weight, perfect amount of slip, the stitches look plump and well defined, and the color is gorgeous. I had to make myself stop knitting with it so I can work on my assignments.

I may have just found an addiction.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Selecting the right project

I finally know what I am going to make for my One Skein SP! The third exchange for the program is to exchange a gift which only uses one skein. I'm been really mulling over the options of what I can make that she would like, but that also fits my abilities and skill level. I've never given anything I've made to a more experienced knitter, let alone someone I don't know that well. I hope I can do something nice for her to appreciate.

She likes cool colors and I thought this was a lovely choice:

Yarn: Water Mark, from Fiesta Yarns
Color: Glacier Mist
Fiber Content: 60% Mohair and 40% Wool (so incredibly soft and squeezable)

I considered a drop stitch scarf to show off the gorgeous changes in color, but opted instead of a Teeny Tiny Felted Tote which is big enough for a small wallet, cell phone and lipstick. I heard this yarn felts really well. We'll see how it goes! It's a relief to have picked something.

Recipe Listing

Here's an assortment of my tried-and-true recipes. This is an index page of the recipes I scatter throughout my log, so that those interested can find them all in one place. I'll update this page in the sidebar when I add new recipes to the blog.

Harvest Soup (Butternut Squash and Apples)

Apple Salad, Red Wine Mushrooms, Tuna Steak Recipe

Carrot Cake (using Splenda and Applesauce)

Fresh Salsas

Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes

Fresh Salsa Recipes

Summertime = fresh garden veggies and luscious fruits. And margaritas.
Add them up all together and it's time for homemade salsa fresca!

Pico de Gallo

3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
cilantro springs, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lime
salt, pepper to taste

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients together. Let stand at least 15 minutes before serving.

Mango Salsa
2 cups diced peeled mango
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (choose from mint, cilantro, or basil)
2/3 cup chopped green onions
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
optional: one chopped jalapeno

Combine all ingredients together, season with salt and pepper as desired. For an additional kick, add one jalapeno- the sweetness of the fruit complements the heat of the peppers nicely. Cover, and keep in the refrigerator.

This salsa can be made a few hours ahead, and will last in the refrigerator for 2 days. Great on fish or grilled chicken.

NOTE: Anytime you chop jalapenos and other peppers, remove the oils from your fingers with a paste of salt and water afterwards. Otherwise, you can burn your eyes or other senstive areas from the oil that lingers.

My other non-homemade favorites? La Fogata Salsa from my hometown, and Arriba Salsa in Garlic-Cilantro and Fire Roasted Medium.