Sunday, December 30, 2007


Hello my dear readers, I'm going to Pittsburgh for the end of '07, so I'll see you next year! (Aka, on the second or third. =P)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Past Crafting

So, in the rush that was trying to get things done in time, I've neglected to post about a few finished objects. Here's my catchup post!

Anna's Fetchings[R]:
Pattern: Fetching[R] by
Materials: Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran [R]; 90m/50g; 55% Merino wool, 33% Microfibre, 12% Cashmere; color: 300008 (brown) dyelot: 44
Purchased at: Woolworks
Amount: 1 skein, just barely
Needles: size 6 clover DPNs
Gauge: what's that? (aka, never checked)
Cost: $8.28

Started: First glove started:12/19 -12/20; Secong glove: 12/20-12/21
Finished: 12/21
Total time: 3 days

Finished gloves:
Finished Fetching

Gloves with care sleeve:
Fetching with Care Sleeve

Gloves with Artsy Clutch:
Fetching with Artsy Clutch

These were enjoyable to knit. I wish I'd read all the reviews on Cashmerino Aran before choosing to knit with it. It's a very soft yarn, and the resulting fabric is extremely soft, but everyone who says it pills is right. I will probably use this yarn again, but maybe not for such a high use object as gloves.

The pattern was exactly what I hoped for. It was interesting enough to keep me going and fast enough I was able to finish it in a few days. If I'd knitted more on a given day, I could probably even finish this sooner. The one thing I didn't love about the pattern was the picot bind off, and if I do these again, I will probably change the bind off. To me, it makes the bound off edge looser than I'd want it, though it does look pretty. Also, as you can tell if you look closely, I forgot to reverse the cables on the second glove. I hadn't realized it until I was in the main body ribbing part, and I decided I didn't want to frog it back. Next time I knit this, I plan on reversing the cables. All in all, a satisfying knit. Hopefully, the recipient will like it too! As you can see in the bottom picture, this will also be given with an Artsy Clutch. That's my second FO of this post....

Anna's Artsy Clutch:
Pattern: Artsy Clutch from Bend the Rules Sewing
Materials: 3 fat quarters; could be made with two
Purchased at: Dragon fabric and lining butterfly fabric were purchased at an open market in Hilo, Hawaii years ago. The black fabric for the front and the black button are from JoAnn's Fabric.
Cost: $3 for black fat quarter (still have a lot left); $2 for button (still have one left) other fabric (both prints as well as lining flannel) from stash; 3$ for elastic (still have a lot left) total: $8

Started: 12/23
Finished: 12/23
Total time: 2 hours, maybe less
Artsy Clutch
A closer look:
Artsy Clutch
A look at the lining (with a glove inside):
A Better Look at the Lining

I loved this project. Loved it. I see why it's as popular as it is! When I finished sewing, I was amazed and incredibly pleased by how polished it looked. I made my pouch slightly smaller than the pattern in the book, partly because of the size of some of my scrapps. It's just big enough to be a pencil or pen case, or as a small purse. I decided to have a 'cuff' of the dragon fabric instead of having the entire bag in that fabric for a few reasons. First off, I thought the pattern would be overwhelming if it was the entire bag. The way it is now, you have the two dragons looking down on the 'front' (aka, folded over) piece, and the rest of the black sets them off. One thing I did do, thanks to the suggestion of someone on the blogosphere (though I forget who) is reverse the pattern of the dragon on the folded over flap so that it looks right side up when it's upside down. Other than that and the size adjustment, I followed the pattern. I will make many more of these, I'm sure.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Branching Out into Lace

Okay, so all you knitterly people know the title's a pun. But, it's true!
Yesterday I started my first 'real' lace project, Branching Out[R] from Knitty, Spring 05. I'm using my Fibre Company Organik which I'd bought for just this project.
Organik yarn cakes 2
The color of the yarn is hard to see fully in the picture - it's a duo tone with a base of green and an overlay of brown. The colorway is 'Jungle' and it reminds me of forsythia shoots in the spring. It's a single ply, and it's amazingly soft and pleasant to work with. I'm very glad I got this yarn for this project - it's perfect, to me. It's a thick enough yarn that I suspect it makes the pattern easier than if I Douceur et Soie. but it has just enough life and variation to make it more interesting than the Silky Wool versions I've seen and not loved. The stitch definition is is nice, but not overdone.

As of right now, I have five pattern repeats done. The pattern is harder than I hoped it would be, but, easier than I feared it would be after reading some horror story forum posts on Ravelry. I had to frog my first row and a half and start over. After that, I put in a lifeline. In theory I wanted to move the lifeline every pattern repeat, but I haven't been doing that lately. I have been undoing all mistakes, which is somewhat new for me. I think that the final product will be much nicer this way, plus it's a useful talent to be able to unknit as well as knit! Other than the first time when I frogged everything, all of my mistakes have been fixable by unknitting a row or two. For some reason I keep having a problem leaving out one of the yarn overs in the first row, but I've lately been overly cautious, and that helps.

This scarf does not yet have a place in my imagination. Some projects, like La Vie de La Boheme, I have an image in my mind of either the kind of person wearing it could make me or an outfit I could wear it with or some other vision of the object in use. Branching out has no such associations - all I imagine is the finished scarf, hovering magically in mid air. I'm not too worried about the wearability; once it's done I'm sure I'll think of some excuse. Until then I just have to keep knitting! I think getting better at lace is going to be one of my knitterly resolutions for 2008. That, along with the standard of knitting from ones stash. (Don't worry, this isn't my resolutions post quite yet...that'll have a little more thought put into it. =] ) My stash hasn't grown out of control by any means, but there are enough planned projects that have yet to be actualized that I could afford to fix some of them before starting ALL that many more. Of course, I'll have to knit the hats for my step brothers, but, the story of that gift to to them will come later. For now, it's approaching past my bedtime. I just wanted to express my excitement over my new branching out. =]

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Wishes with a recipe

Well, it's Christmas! Merry Christmas, and secular happiness to all! I have more making things excitement for you, but, in honor of the holiday season, that will wait a bit.

My big 'family' celebration was last night. My older stepbrother had returned home from a multi-month-long trip around South America early (as in, 1am), so our happily blended family was all present for, I believe, our first Christmas together. Since my stepfather is ethnically Jewish and my mother and I aren't really all that Christian, our Christmas celebration was much more about family than Jesus. Personally, that's just fine with me. We had a very large, wonderful meal, a wonderful desert, and opened presents. I made half of the desert, and as a holiday treat, I'm going to include my (mostly made up, partly adapted from a bajillian sources) recipe for you.

Our menu:
Wilted spinach salad with canadian bacon, shallots, and a reduced balsamic vinaigrette
Roast beef tenderloin
Tomato Maidera Coulis
Roasted fingerling potatoes
Broiled tomatoes stuffed with breadcrumbs and herbs

And, for desert:
Chocolate soufflé and chai poached pairs with cream sauce

Now, for the recipe!

Chai Poached Pears with Cream Sauce
serves 6 (or as many as you please)
For the pears:
  • 6 pears, preferably Bosc
  • either 1 teabag or 1.5 tsp looseleaf Chai per pear (so, in this case, 6 teabags, or 3Tbsps chai)
  • 1/4 cup sugar or less per pear (so, in this case, 1 1/2 cups sugar)
  • 1 cup water per pear (so, in this case, 6 cups water)
The pears are very easy to make.
  1. Peel the pears. You may core them if you really want, but the desert is most attractive when you do not core them and when you leave the stem in.
  2. Bring water to a boil.
  3. Once water is boiling, steep teabags for 5 minutes. If using looseleaf tea, use a paper tea filter or some other contraption to allow you to remove the leaves once done steeping. After 5 minutes, remove tea.
  4. Add sugar and bring to a low boil.
  5. Once mixture is boiling, add pears. Reduce temperature to 'low' or such that pears can simmer.
  6. Let pears cook at least 20 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure liquid does not completely boil down, and when checking, roll pears over on their sides.
  7. Remove 2 cups of poaching liquid, and, in a separate saucepan, reduce. You may use this, reduced, as a sauce if you do not want to make the cream sauce. It will still be delicious.

For the cream sauce:
  • 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • 1 or 2 oranges worth of zest, reserve some
  • 5 slices of candied ginger
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups reserved poaching liquid
  1. Mince candied ginger.
  2. Combine ginger, honey, first portion of zest, and cream. Heat on the stove until honey is melted. Do not let cream boil.
  3. Simultaneously, cook poaching liquid to a boil and let it reduce.
  4. Once poaching liquid is reduced enough for your taste, lower the heat, and pour the poaching liquid into the cream mixture, stirring constantly.
To plate: In a bowl, place 1 pear per person. Pour cream sauce into dish. Finish with a pinch of the reserved orange zest, and, if you'd like, a drizzle of honey and a sprig of mint.

That's it! The pears are a very delicious and simple desert by themselves, but the cream sauce makes them a little more fancy for special occasions. As a big chai drinker I tend to have many different kinds lying around, and if you are able to choose, I'd recommend a chai with a hearty dose of cardamom and pepper. (If your family is adventurous, or loves heat the way mine does, the pears also are delicious with a grinding of black pepper.) Enjoy!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Unlike many other bloggers out there, I have no fear in blogging my holiday gifts. It's much easier when the intended recipients don't know about the blog. =]

I'm glad I've learned to sew, because there are some projects that are much easier to complete, time wise, sewing than knitting. Purses, for example. I wish I knew good gifts for guys! It's so much easier for me to figure out good personalized (hand made) gifts for the females in my life.

Here's a list of gifts, by friend name, with photos attached when the item is complete. Family gifts are different and will come later:

Anna J:
icecream pint cozy
beer bottle cozy
Cozy family

Anna B:
1 set fetching; artsy clutch
Fetching with Artsy Clutch

pink polka no cash wallet

pleated beauty in green fabric & sparkly tweed
Pleated Beauty II

InStitches clutch.
Hannah's Clutch

Hannah's Clutch: The Inside

actually reads this blog, but knows one of her gifts is going to be a mini sweater ornament. If only I had size 5 dpns!

teacozy with removable flower pin
Teacozy with Flower

Friday, December 21, 2007

Knitting Needle Case Inspirations

As I'd said before, there are so many great knitting needle cases all around the blogosphere.

It was only after looking at all of these awesome tutorials and examples that I promptly forgot them and made my own case. =] I wanted to make sure to give credit where credit was due!

Knitting is a Gateway craft

Okay, so, between last post and this one...

I made a pleated beauty bag!
My Beautiful pleated beaty!

I am very proud of this. When I look at it, it looks more polished than anything else I've sewn, and I love the colors. I was originally planning on making this with the same brown and paisley as my needle case, but I was worried about messing it up, so I figured I'd do a 'test bag' in this blue (which lined my dpn case) and the brown, which was a fat quarter I got at JoAnn's. Well, technically, if I include the inner pocket I made, it was two fat quarters, but out of one I was able to make the pleats and the straps.

If I were making this again, which I plan on, I'd add a magnetic snap closure. I'd actually purchased some for this very bag, but by the end of the bag I was so tired of sewing and so anxious to have a finished project I forgot all about it. I think I'd like to make another one of these in the brown/paisley, but maybe do some embroidery on that one. I've been wanting an excuse to get Sublime Stitching patterns for a while, and the Craftopia set has some nice knitting images that could look good on the front of what would be my knitting bag.

One more picture...
Pleated Beauty

I know the images aren't great. Sometime after I've *actually* finished it (I still have to sew the lining hole closed) I'll take better pictures. My photo set up is really only the right size for yarn. =]

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More about that sewing...

So, here is a picture of the outside of my DPN case:
DPN case!

I love the combination of brown and blue, and I like the blue paisley with both the other lgither blue and the brown. I *love* the blue stitching on brown fabric. True, it's much easier to see my mistakes that way, but I like to think it adds to the handmade quality. =]

Here is a view of the inside:
DPN case inside shots

You can see four of my five sets of DPNs in there. (My 7s are currently stuck in the still-in-progress not-touched-for-a-month second garter mug cozy.) I know I don't really have enough DPNs to warrant a case, but I somehow still manage to lose whichever one I need.

The case is almost but not quite done. I have two more seams to sew to connect the back paisley bit to the blue and brown pocket bit, and I have some iron ons to iron on. I hate wasting something as expensive as iron on material, so when I made my iron ons for my circular case, I made a bunch to use for these. For a while I debated not putting them on this case so I wouldn't feel bad if I end up with, say, two size seven needles, or the like, but I think I'd like the case better with them. I'll probably iron them on horizontally on the blue fabric.

Speaking of my circular are two pictures of that!
Circular needle case
And a close up...
Circular Needle Case
I am so proud of myself for both of them.

Though the circular case was almost exactly based off of the one in the back of Stitch n Bitch, the DNP case is my own design.

I couldn't find any measurements for pocket width of dpn cases, so I'll share what I did for mine!

I'm assuming that I'm going to store needles sizes 0-10, and then there are three larger pockets, either for more large needles or for other accessories. The largest pocket holds my metal gauge ruler.

To make the DPN case:
  1. I cut two pieces of the light blue fabric 22" long (as long as half the width) and 9" wide (because the tallest dpns I saw were 8.") I did the whole sew right sides together / turn inside out / iron thing.
  2. For the pockets, I cut four diagonal pieces of brown fabric. The diagonal goes from 2.5" on the short side to 4" on the taller side. I did the whole sew right sides together / turn inside out / iron thing for both of those, and I added a decorative zigzag stitch on the edge. Because I can.
  3. I sewed the brown pocket on the light blue fabric with the following pocket divisions:
    1. 1 small edge pocket, <1">
    2. 5 pockets 1" wide (for needle sizes 1-5)
    3. 4 pockets 1.5" wide (for needle sizes 6-9)
    4. 3 pockets 2" wide (for needle sizes 10+)
    5. 1 pocket ~2.5" wide (for accessories)
  4. After sewing the brown pocket to the blue fabric, I sewed the brown top flap to the blue fabric. Since I was going to attatch all the brown/blue stuff to the blue paisley, I didn't worry about the 'back' of the blue looking neat. The flap was cut on the same diagonal as the pocket, and it was sewn in with the longer part of the flap covering the needles with the shortest pockets.
  5. I cut out two pieces of blue paisley fabric and did the whole rs tog/stitch/flip/iron thing again. If I trusted my hemming abilities, I could've just cut this piece large and hemmed the sides. (Is that the right word?)
  6. I cut out 1 piece of brown fabric 4" wide and 44" long (aka, 4" wide on the 22" bolt, not cutting at the fold). I pressed this piece so that both sides of the long part were folded under, and I sewed (with a decorative zig zag stitch) the sides of the brown fabric down. This means I now had one piece of 44" long ~2" wide 'belt'.
  7. I sewed the belt to the back of the blue paisley. If I was a better sewer, I could've combined steps 6 & 7 to make the stitching nicer. As it is, I've decided it adds 'charm'.
  8. Last but not least, sew the blue paisley bit to the blue/brown pocket bit. Poof, you're done!
I know that wasn't much of a tutorial, what with no pictures or technical information, but since this is the second thing I've ever sewn, I'm pretty okay with the fact. Next up is sewing a tote (or two or three...) from the back of S 'n B.

As an early christmas present to myself (or, more accurately, an 'I have a 25% off B&N coupon to use up today' purchase) I bought Bend the Rules Sewing. Though most people tend to gravitate toward the bag on the cover, I have a MAJOR crush on the 'pleated beauty bag', and I happen to think I might have just enough brown and paisley to make one. I hope so! I know it's kind of silly to be all matchy matchy about my fabrics, but I love this fabric and color combination so much I see no reason not to...for now at least. Besides, this way if the bag turns out not-fit-for-pursedom, it can be a knitting bag, and it can match my other knitting accessories!

Allright, that's enough for now. If you're still bored, I updated my Ravelry projects page, so if you're on Ravelry, you can poke around there. Tata!

Monday, December 17, 2007

New craft excitement!

Now, I'm sure you're all wondering why I haven't posted anything about my knitting lately. Although I've added new untouched yarn to my stash and a new set of DPNS, and even some point protectors (since my rubber bands kept breaking) I haven't been knitting. I don't know if I knit a stitch this weekend. This is because I've been.....sewing!

I've never really sewn (with a sewing machine) before. I think this is for two reasons: I've never owned one, and I've never had things I wanted to sew. Being at home for a while solves problem one; I can use my mom's sewing machine. Problem two was solved the other day when I tripped over the circular needles that were living on my floor for the fifth time in one day. I needed a way to hold them, and soon. I was looking around the blogosphere and I found some beautiful cases for sale and some very nice hand made ones. Ultimately, I decided to follow the pattern in the back of Stitch 'n Bitch and make myself a nice hanging holder. I headed out to JoAnn's and got three different kinds of fabric: one that was a dark brown, one that was a periwinkle blue, and one that was a blue and white paisley. I only needed two (the brown and the paisley) for my circular case, but the back of SnB also had patterns for a totebag and a straight needle case, so I thought extra fabric would be a good idea.

Last night I finished my circular needle case. It's far from perfect, but it does the job well, and I like it. When I was debating what my next project should be, I decided on a DPN case. I only have five sets of DPNs but I somehow always manage to have lost whichever set I need. I modified the SnB pattern for straight needles to accommodate my needs. I'm almost done - all I need to do now is sew the patterned bit to the pocket bit. I suspect hand sewing is the way to go here, for various reasons. I also need to hand sew over the velcro for my circular case. Once both are done, expect to see pictures.

I'll get back to my regularly scheduled knitting soon. I'll have to if I want to finish all my holiday gifts!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Socks, p.1

In my search for the perfect sock pattern, I came across this wonderful article. It's a list of patterns that either don't pool or pool less than traditional patterns. Given my uncanny love for Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Multi, I think this list will be good to keep around. =]

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Two changes

Hello all. I say all, but I don't know if I actually have many readers out there. =]

I changed my blog title. When I'd originally chosen 'liberally educated' I was still in college, and back then my course of study defined me much more than it does now.

When I signed up for Ravelry I was able to get the username "lamb." The name Lamb has special meaning to me because - it's actually my initials! I thought that it was particularly appropriate to have the word 'lamb' as part of the name for a knitting site, for obvious reasons. I'll do a longer post about the blog name later, but now I get to the main point of the post....

I have Ravelry progress bars up! WHEEE! These bars will update themselves as I update things on ravelry, meaning they're much more likely to actually be up to date than the other bars I'd had. I'm still keeping those non-automated bars for now so I can keep track of my 2007 FOs. It's nice to see all those 100%s. =]

So, I was only able to get my ravelry progress bars working thanks to help in the forums. In my desperate plea for assistance, I promised a super cool graphic to whomever helped me. The winner was...jhankie! Jhankie is the proud owner of a new blog, so I thought I'd give her a thank you graphic she could put on her blog, should she so desire. (And if she doesn't desire? I won't be at all offended. It's kinda a dorky graphic, and I stole the sheep pic from the internets.)


That's all for now. I've spent far too long on Ravelry today...I'm now the proud 'parent' (aka, volunteer editor) for three books!

Winding Time! (and a bonus yarn review)

So, after all my difficulties the other day trying to decide whether or not to wait until my winder came to wind the second skein for socks I wanted to make...the winder and swift came!

The swift is gorgeous. It's much larger than I expected somehow, but I think that's just because I hadn't been thinking properly. It's only as large as it needs to be to do its job, after all. Well, I put the swift together without even looking at the directions, it's that intuitive and beautiful. (Once it was together I did look at the directions just to make sure I got it right. =] ) The yarn winder was somewhat less intuitive, and I was panicking it was broken until I read the bit about how the yarn feeder (or whatever the metal doohickey is called) needs to be snapped into place. Ohhhhh...suddenly it all made sense.

To test my swift and winder combo, the first skien I wound was a red skein of Cascade 220 I've been using for the flower pins I've been making. I'd been knitting 'delicately' from the skein and re looping after I was done each you can imagine, it was a bit of a mess. But, with swift and winder to the rescue, I now have a lovely beautiful yarn cake! After winding that skein, I promptly wound all the windable yarn in the house....except for that second skien of sock yarn I'd been really really really wanting to knit. Why? Because I can't find it! Argh! It's not that my stash is that big, it's just horribly unorganized. I remember this had been in *a* bag, but I couldn't for the life of me remember what kind of bag or where. Not a good thing. On the upside, this gives me motivation to work on cleaning up a little more!

One interesting discovery in winding was the nature of my Organik yarn from The Fibre Company I bought at Purl earlier this fall. I had chosen three skeins all in the same colorway and they all looked the same. Unfortunately, each has a very different character when it comes to how it was spun. The first skein had a lot of little things that at first I thought were knots, but that were really just over twisted bits. Once I untwisted those, this was a very even skein. The second skein had some bits that seemed not to have been spun at all followed by places where the yarn was almost threadlike. The third skein was much like the second skein, but the unspun bits were even fatter and the thread bits were even thinner. I'm a little dissapointed. This yarn I bought for the lovely dye job. I've looked at the yarn on the company's website and I can't find the colorway I have; all the colorways Purl has of this yarn that drew me to it seem to be Purl exclusives. It also seems like (and I could be mistaken here) these Purl exclusive color ways are different sized skeins. Ravelry tells me this is a bulky yarn that gets 85 yards to the skein, where as my yarn says it's worsted and gets 100 yards...odd. Either way, 100 yards for almost $13 is a bit much to have these large variations in ply. I'd bought the yarn originally planning on knitting a Branching Out, and I'll probably still do that, but this probably isn't the best yarn for lace. If only it wasn't so beautiful!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bear with me

I'm going to be changing the templates around again, because I still haven't found something I like. Bear with me, please, if the blog looks bad. =]

Sunday, December 9, 2007


So, let me preface my post by pointing out I'm aware this is a really lame thing to complain about. Lameness noted.

My birthday was back in November. For my birthday, I asked my mom for a yarn winder and a swift. I picked one out, and she said 'sure, I'll get them for you!'

It is no longer November. It is in fact, December, and almost a month after my birthday. In all fairness, I know it took me a while to pick out a winder, and I know it took my mom a while to get it, and we're getting it from a place that hand makes all the swifts, so I understand that the care that's going into it means it takes longer than two days (or two weeks, in this case) to get to me. That said, I want my swift! =P

I've finished up my La Vie de La Boheme, and I'm currently un-enamored of my Stag Bag, though that's only because now I have to sew stuff and I don't sew. This means that, other than my boring Holiday Presents (which are lots of little flower pins) I don't have all that much knitting going on. I really want to start a new pair of socks since I frogged my Columbine socks, but there's a problem...

I got this very exciting new book yesterday, Knitting Circles Around Socks, that has some not-s0-great patterns, but has an EXCELENT tutorial on how to knit socks on circular needles. Not just how to knit ONE sock on two circulars, no, how to knit TWO socks on two circulars! Only exactly what would solve my forgetfulness problem of not bothering to count rows as I know! The only problem with this is that it requires two balls of yarn. This isn't really a problem, since I have two skeins in each of two colorways in Lorna's Laces, a lovely yarn that comes one skein per sock. One of these skeins is already in something resembling a center pull lump, this is the skein that was once part of a columbine sock. The other skein is in its pristine skein-like glory, not-wound (i was about to say 'unwound' but that means something else entirely =P) and undefiled. I don't really want to spend the hours it would take for me to wind it into a center pull lump if my yarn winder and swift will be arriving soon.

Were they my own purchase, I'd have a way of contacting the company and asking nicely for an estimate. It's not that I'm rushing them, I'd just like to be able to plan my knitting around when it will arrive. Since it's a gift, I can't really do that, and I don't want to look a gift-swift in the spokes (heh heh) and ask my mom to check for me.

Alas alack what a terrible problem.

I think the solution will be either to finish my adaptation of the Interweave Holiday Knits mug cozy I was working on or start the Icecream Pint Cozy I've been admiring in the book Not Your Mama's Knitting. Let me say of this book: the name and color scheme dissapoints me. In many ways, this book is a much much better book than it seems. It doesn't just have the same basic 'how to knit' that lots of knitting books do, it has mini stitch pattern collections! Many of the patterns have variations that can get a whole new look out of the pattern - for example, the icecream cozy can be a beer cozy if you follow steps X, Y, and Z. The book's main problems are its name (which screams 'hip knitting book,' which makes me want to run in fear of fuzzy yarn) and the poor quality of the layout and the photos inside. The photographs, which are all in the center of this otherwise on normal paper book, all have odd color balance and look like they were taken by a beginning photographer. This wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that it's a KNITTING BOOK. I want to be able to look at the pictures and see this wonderful glorious knit object that I could imagine myself replicating and using. If the pictures aren't great, the object isn't going to look great, so I won't want to knit it. This isn't to say that I'd knit all the patterns in the book - there are a few of them, like the O'Gloves (arm length black gloves with garish silver 'accents) and the V neck sweater (a cute v neck that somehow was brutally mauled so it doesn't cover the model's belly button) I wouldn't wear if someone forced me. That said though, there are a lot of very nice patterns, and, though I haven't knit anything from it, the patterns look like they're well formated.

I don't own this book. It was one of my library books today. If it wasn't for the problems I'd mentioned above, I'd buy it in a heart beat, but right now I'd be a little ashamed to own something so seemingly garish. Silly and superficial of me, I know, but it's true.

Now, to go drool over the patterns in that silly book. =]

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Knitters Wishlist

The following is a list of patterns I want because I eventually hope to knit them but don't yet own the patterns. Have you noticed I like lists?

And, Knitting/Crafting books/magazines I would love someday:

  • Interweave Knits Fall 2007: for Tangled Yoke pattern (R) and the sock patterns purchased at LYS 12/13/07
  • Knitscene Fall 2006: for Central Park Hoodie pattern (R)
  • Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughn: all of it?
Knitting/Crafting books to get from the library:
  • Knit Wit: Okay, I only want one pattern (R), so I should just get this out of the library.
  • Last Minute Knitted Gifts: I only want the chevron scarf (R) and maybe hourglass (R)
I'll add more later, but, this is it so far.

Monday, December 3, 2007

December WIP Updates Continued: La Vie de La Boheme Shawl

Other than my Stag Bag, the knit that's been taking up most of my time (though little of my energy) is the shawl I've named my "la vie de la boheme" shawl. Yes, the name is a bit of a RENT reference...just a little one!

Technically, this is my first shawl. It's a very simple pattern and not terribly exciting to knit, but it's a very good fit for the yarn. As always, there's a bit of a story behind it.

Last winter I went up to Massachusets to visit my family up there, and for part of the time I stayed with one of my aunts who knits. She told me she'd take me to her local yarn store (where she'd worked for a while, and where she was friends with the owner) because I wanted a project to work on while I was there. I said I was looking for a one skein project that wasn't too difficult. They had a number of one skein shawls on display, and I saw one I loved, but it was on the ball band of a yarn I didn't. (I wish I remember what yarn it was... oh well.) Then I came across the La Boheme in a lovely poppy color. This yarn is a vibrant red with some streaks of rich purple. Though the red was gorgeous it's the sort of color that wasn't usually my thing, but I had to have it. Yeah, there's a story behind that too.

Most of my fancy dress up clothes are all black. While I have no problem with this, it's true it doesn't make for the most interesting wardrobe. I'd recently directed a production of Midsummer Night's Dream, and I'd worn a black dress to opening. My assistant costume designer (who was also an assistant assistant stage manager and everything else) decided I'd look good with a red shawl she had, so she brought it and draped it on me and it made me feel glamorous. I decided I needed a red shawl of my own, and when I was in the yarn store looking at the la boheme, it was as if fate plopped my shawl in my hands.

I bought the yarn as well as a pattern the shop owner had made and the saleswoman assured me would make a lovely one skein shawl from the la boheme and headed back to my aunts house. During that visit I knitted and knitted and knitted and didn't seem to be getting much of anywhere. My aunt was suspicious about the pattern and asked me if I wanted to start over (at that time I'd never frogged anything I'd knit) but, when I said I didn't want to, she said she did trust the people at the yarn store.

Well, I finished knitting the skein, and my 'one skein shawl' was barely large enough to fit around my neck, let alone drape on my shoulders! I was pretty frustrated - La Boheme is a pricy yarn at around $30 a skein. It was a planned extravagance, but I didn't want to invest that much more money into it, especially since the yarn, though beautiful, was such a pain in the ass to work with.

Long story short, I bought two more skeins of yarn, had a terrible run one night that ended with me undoing all my work and restarting knitting it, and spent hours and hours on the shawl. No matter how much more I knit, the shawl still didn't seem to grow. I gave up on it and left it sitting in my yarn pile for a while.

Thanks to lovely wonderful Ravelry, this October I decided to remedy my shawl situation. I decided ultimately I wanted a triangular shawl, not a rectangular one like I'd been knitting. I wanted something that was made for one skein, though I'd use at least part of my second skein, and I wanted something that'd show off the yarn. La Boheme is a two strand yarn with one strand of rayon boucle and one strand of mohair. I liked the eyelet portion of the Evil Shawl, but I didn't want to get much fancier than that for the pattern, since I knew the yarn itself was going to attract a lot of attention. I came across this wonderful one skein shawl pattern and, after reading that La Boheme was another recommended yarn, knew it was fate! I frogged the Evil Shawl, and got ready to bring new life to my la boheme.

The pattern is amazing, and just the kind of pattern I'm ready for. It's a simple and mindless knit, but it has room for variation for future knittings with different yarn. I've been dreaming of all the lace shawls I've seen, but never having done lace didn't feel ready. This will look lacy where I want it to, and it's given me an appreciation for how many triangular shawls are knit.

I've been working on this when I don't have the attention span or the patience for my stag bag. It's been a quick knit, and I've already used up one skein. My seconds skein broke into two chunks when I'd frogged the Evil Shawl, so I've decided to use at least half of this skein. It's going to be very large, but that's what I was hoping for. Pleasantly, it looks like it's going to be a warm shawl too, so I should be able to wear it for practical as well as aesthetic purposes.

I'll post some pictures as soon as I find my camera, but, for now, back to knitting!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

December WIP updates

It takes me far too long to get around to actually posting all the things I've been thinking about, knitting, and doing.

So, here is a WIP update:
  • Stag Bag
My stag bag is coming along quite nicely, and I'm proud to say I'm even adjusting the knit to be more what I'd like! The original pattern makes a flat tote like bag with a distinct front and back. The front has a picture of a stag in the woods surrounded by a chevron design, and the back has some pattern on it. Were I a more experienced knitter, I could describe the back to you just from reading the pattern....nope, not me. It being the back of a bag, people don't have many pictures of it, so I'm not sure what it looks like.

The most common complaint I've read about this project is that the bag ends up really really large. It seems almost carpet bag-esque in proportions, something I know I didn't guess from the pictures of the bag-with-girl with the pattern. As I was knitting the side chevrons, I realized (like many other people) that the size of just the stag portion was closer to what I'd want the finished purse to be like. I did, however, love the look of the side chevrons. So! I came up with an ingenious plan....the bag, rather than being shaped like a common tote bag (as a big tube) is going to have a front, a back, and sides - like a grocery bag! I tend to stuff my purses pretty full, so this should also make it easier for the bag to hold things without getting too lumpy.

So, I finished the front and two sides and I realized that maybe this bag, as designed, wasn't the best idea for see, I am a clumsy person. I will regularly put my current purse (which, like most purses, does have a 'back' and a 'front') on backwards. If I did that with this bag, it would be much less impressive. How could I solve this problem? Simple! Don't have a front and a back! I decided that, despite the extra work it'd take, it would be worth knitting up another stag pattern for the back. Since the pattern, particularly in my color choices, reminds me almost of a stained glass, I decided to reverse the pattern for the 'back'. This means that, while both sides have a deer, you could also see the designs as the 'front' and 'back' of the same deer - on the front it's looking to the right, on the back it's looking to the left. (If this doesn't make sense, imagine that you could put a 3D stag between the front and back of the bag, and it wouldn't have to flip around.)

I'm now in the position where I have my front and back stag portions, one of them attached to my two chevron sides. Still to go are attaching all the pieces, knitting the bottom, figuring out the straps, and choosing/sewing a lining. I've been delaying seeming the sides because I realized my chevron sides will be unbalanced - there are already two rows of knitted CC before the MC chevron design and after the MC chevron design. This means that, to use any yarn to attach the side to the back will add a third row of CC on one side, making the entire side asymmetrical. Since both sides will be asymmetrical in the same place it won't negatively effect the shape of the bag, just the look.

I'll admit I'm also nervous about the seaming because the seam is going to be in such a prominent place, and I don't have much (if any) experience in attaching the BO edge to a side edge. the handy little KnitSpeak book I got out from the library has some directions that should help, but I'll admit I'm still a little nervous, partly because this is my most impressive project yet, and one that will (hopefully) be getting a lot of wear. I figure if I mess up terribly, I can always knit a whole bunch of icord and go over all the seems in the end, like piping.

The other thing I'm trying to figure out is how I want to deal with the straps. I have never used bags with small straps - if the bag isn't easily accessible while still on my arm, I'm not interested. I've rarely used bags that don't have adjustable straps. This poses a problem, as most bag handles you can buy for knitted goods are neither long nor adjustable. What I'm thinking of doing is knitting a strap - because the chevron pattern is now the 'side' of my bag, I think I should be able to continue it up the length of the strap and down the other side to continue the look. I know there's no way a knitted strap would be strong enough on its own, but I was thinking I could knit a 'tube' (with the chevron on the 'right' side and solid MC on the 'wrong' side) and I was thinking I could then fill the tube with a strip of pleather or some other sturdy material. That way the bag could still have aesthetic continuity, but the structural integrity wouldn't be sacrificed.

Along those lines, (hah! joke!) I still need to figure out what I want to line the bag with. I think if I found a nicely patterned fabric, that'd probably be my first choice, but I haven't seen anything in the right colors. I don't like the main color enough on its own (it's a light brown) to want to line the bag in that, but I worry the contrasting color (a dark blue) would make the contents of the bag too difficult to see. I'm also a little concerned about the teeny tiny detail that I've never successfully used a sewing machine in my life....well we've all got to learn someday, right?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Ravelry Cup a Tea Swap

Sorry so long with no posts! I've been spending too much of my free time knitting, and not enough of it writting about the knitting. =]
Before I get to my new projects, I'm going to do a write up of the wonderful swap I participated in and the awesome package I recieved! (My poor recepient still does not have her package...I have to wait for the yarn to arrive!)

My 'upstream' swapper (I think that's the term) was CynthiaCC, and she gave me an amazing package!

This is the box - look how nicely everything is packed!

And this is my loot!

In there is:
  • Weekend Knitting (which I've wanted forever but never got around to buying)
  • Good Earth Organic Seven Spice Chai Tea (which i haven't tried but which smells awesome)
  • Yogi Indian Spice tea (which I brewed up as soon as I finished taking pictures)
  • Mirage tea (from her local tea shop - Cynthia kindly included a description: "A superior blend of coconut and pineapple bits with marigold and cornflower blossoms." It smells divine and I can't wait to try it!)
  • Cranberry Orange biscotti (how fall! Since yesterday was filled with Thanksgiving treats, I decided to wait before opening these, but I can't wait!)
  • Mirage Yarn from Twisted Sisters in gin blue(That Cynthia is smart - did you notice the yarn has the same name as the rooibos tea? They match!)
  • Blue Face Leicester Aran from Fleece Artist in Marine (So beautiful! It's an amazing combination of blue and green and purple - it's my favorite color mix!)
  • A lovely card (with beautiful blue and white flowers)
AND! Last but BEST!
  • A hand made teacozy!
I'd just finished making a teacozy as a gift for my friend's birthday, so I've been frustrated by how hard they are to make, especially to fit my teapot - a Personalitea from Adagio. Cynthia's cozy fit perfectly!

Of course, once I finished unpacking all the goodies I simply had to go make some tea! It was late afternoon, so I tried the Indian spice. As I was opening the teabag, the yogi tag gave me this bit of wisdom:

It seemed very applicable to the wonderful generosity of the knitting community in general, and, in this case, CynthiaCC in particular.

Here's a shot of my teapot enjoying its cosy:

Now, I'm sure you saw that and laughed, but my thought at the time was "wow, I've never seen a cozy pattern so smart! It keeps the top of my tea warm, but keeps the bottom flat to sit on my desk! I wonder if she made it up herself." After taking the cozy off I realised......I'd had it on backwards. =] Hey, whatever keeps my tea warm!

A million thank yous to Cynthia! This was a great introduction to the knitting swap world. =]

Expect another post about what *I* have been knitting later in the day, but until then, drink some tea! If you've never had Adagio tea and want to try it, you can get a free gift certificate by entering your name in the little box on the right hand side. (The aplet was designed by Adagio, so I won't see your email address, only them. There's no catch to the free tea; a similar certificate is how I started drinking them and they're one of my favorite tea places yet!)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful. —Buddha

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Start-itis, a Frogging frenzy, and my young Stag bag

Well, I've done quite a lot since I posted last! I had been hoping to accompany this post with photographs, but I can't for the life of me find the cord to plug my camera into my computer! This is what happens when I clean...
First off, I finished my Time of Your Life socks! Very excited. So far I've washed them and partly blocked them, but I haven't finshed sewing in the ends. I'd been waiting for darning needles I just ordered (which came in yesterday, so I don't have an excuse anymore...) but I do have a nice photoshoot of them! Stuck on my camera of course, but you'll see them soon.

I'd gotten so used to knitting while I watch tv that it was hard to go without something to knit. So I didn't. I knitted a 'garter mug cozy' from the Holiday 2007 issue of Interweave knits. This pattern is why I bought the magazine, and I was very excited to knit it, but I'm rather dissapointed! I tried the resulting cozy on every mug in my house, and there was only one it could fit onto at all, but it was too baggy to be useful. I started a second version of that, probably not in garter stitch (because I really don't see the point) and I'm paying more attention to the increases - I'm going to try knitting up a few rows without doing the last three inc rows to see if that fits my mugs better. I'd been hoping to give these for gifts, so it'd be nice if I could figure out some way to salvage the pattern. One thing I like about doing the pattern in stockinette instead of garter stitch is that I could (with my new found color work skills) have a design like a snowflake or an initial.

After my disappointment with the mug cozy, I cast on some Lornas Laces in Pioneer for a pair of Columbine Socks, from socks soar. For some reason it took me two times of starting the cuff before I was happy with it, but finally the cuff was done and I was in the first lace repeat...when I dropped a stitch. I tried saving my stitches four times, but in the end I had to frog all. So sad! I tried knitting the cuffs up AGAIN but I didn't like how the yarn was pooling - especially after seeing the neat spiraling I'd gotten it todo before - so I ripped it. Again. This is not the week for those socks. Needless to say, next time I finish the cuff, I'm putting in a lifeline!

SO! My birthday fell in the midst of all this, and, since I failed to ask for much specific, I got some money. Which promptly was spent on some Ultra Alpaca Light for my stag bag. I'd decided a while ago to do this in blue and brown - ideally a rich chocolate for the stag and a nice light blue for the background. Well, my trip to my LYS changed my mind. Thanks to the lovely women at Woolstock that day, I decided to use a fawn brown for the stag and a richer blue for the sky. I cast on yesterday as soon as I returned from the store, and I'm over halfway done the chart for the front. I can't decide how I want to do the back. My mom suggested I do another repeat of the chart, probably not realizing how much easier said than done, but I'm warming to the idea. I'll see how I feel when I'm done the entire front, and if I'm up to it, I think it'd be neat to do a mirror image of the front chart, so that, in theory, both stags would be looking toward the same side. (Another way to think about it - if the pattern was stained glass, you'd be 'seeing through to the other side'. )
I'm loving this knit and I'm loving this yarn. When I was at the store I bought the two colors of Ultra Alpaca Light that I'd been crushing on since, oh, September. I have no idea what I'm going to make with the two skeins, but for now, I'm quite content just looking at the yarn and occasionally fondling it.

That's all the knitting news for now. I've been doing a bit of reading lately too, and I've finished these since my last trip to the library:
Death by Chick Lit - Lynn Harris
Needled to Death - Maggie Sefton (I meant to start with Knit One, Kill Too but it was checked out.)
Both books were good easy bedtime reads. For me a bedtime read is something frivolous, so I'm enjoying it, something light so it's okay if I fall asleep while reading and miss a page or two, and something quick, so I can finish it in a week or two.

Now, time for bed! The sooner I get to bed the sooner it's tomorrow and I can knit more!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Knitting Update!

So, I finally decided to frog my evil shawl.

Here's the story of the evil shawl, for background:
I am mad about this pattern, hence the name 'evil shawl'. I purchased this pattern at a yarn store in scituate MA with my aunt; the pattern was written by the owner of the store. I was originally told that this was "an easy one skien project," and that La Boheme would work even better than the Kidsilk Haze it was meant for. Not so. A good ways in, my aunt was looking at my progress and said "this seems like this is way to wide to work on one skein. Weird. If I didn' t trust that store so much, I'd think this was a mistake" Now I'm over half way into my second skein, and it's still less than a foot long. The yarn (Fiesta's La Boheme) drives me crazy. The color way, poppies, is a beautiful rich red and purple, and my original goal was to have a nice shawl I could wear to brighten up one of my many black dresses. I know that once it's done I'll wear it a lot - that's how I originally justified spending so much on a single skein of yarn! I ended up purchasing two more skeins, and the thought of spending any MORE money on a project I'm not enjoying is not appealing. So I decided to frog it. The yarn has been rewound, and is destined for better things. For this shawl[R], in fact, which looks even more like what I'd wanted in the first place! (Plus, I think it really *is* a one skein shawl, and the pattern writer even mentioned La Boheme as an alternative yarn!) And we all frogged (and planned) happily ever least, happily until I get the size 15 needles I need and start working with this infernal yarn again!

After finishing frogging/rewinding (which was infuriating itself) I needed something to knit while watching Gossip Girl. Almost all of my next projects either require new needles or lots of mental energy, so I decided to start knitting a Garter Mug Cozy from this year's Interweave Holiday Knits. I decided to take the advice of (), from Ravelry, and I am doing the first two stitches on either side of bo in stockinette. I'm using some TLC Ultra Soft from who knows when. The name doesn't lie, it's ultrasoft. It was a tossup between the TLC and some more Wool Ease. In theory, this could get tea spilled on it, so I figured 100% machine wash with (hopefully) less chance of pilling was a better choice. After working on socks for so long, I forgot how frustrating larger gague bamboo dpns can be. The frustrating needles combined with the frustrating tendency of this yarn to split is making this a less than perfect knit, but it's still nice and easy.

I'm going to go listen to the rest of my book-on-mp3 and do some more knitting. Later!

Thursday, November 1, 2007


So, I know I still don't have pictures up of my one sock, and Soctoberfest is 'officially' coming to an end (though over at Ravelry, it looks like a bunch of us are going to stay in the community) BUT I'm happy to say I finally made it to the heel flap of sock two. I'm also proud that I was able to figure out how to transfer my dpn pattern to two circs! I'd taken Cat Bordhi's book out of the library to figure out how the two circs thing works, but I had to return it yesterday. Luckily, I think I've conceptualized what the changes are, so I was able to figure this out relatively easily.

Let's see, what else is new....I'm participating in the Tea Swap over at the Cup 'a Tea group in Ravelry, and I'm getting excited about that. I haven't had a chance to go shopping yet - I need to wait until the next paycheck clears - but I've been planing what I'm going to get. I won't spoil it here in case somehow miraculously my giftee stumbles across my blog, but I really hope she'll like it.

I've been planning out what I want/need to get, knitting wise. My birthday's coming up and, while I know I won't get yarn from anyone, I'm hoping I'll get the means to *purchase* some yarn. Here's my purchasing plan:
  1. Yarn for my swapee! No telling any more here...yet. =]
  2. Two more skeins of Habu silk/stainless steel(R) in color 3 for mom's scarf - more on that.
  3. Yarn for the stag bag(R)!
  4. One Skein by Leigh Radford(R)
  5. If I get a good birthday haul - a swift and a ball winder.
(The linked Rs are Ravlery links. Right now I think anyone reading this has ravelry, but if that becomes not true at some point, I recommend you get on the list. It's amazing. )

Why do I want all those? Well, the first one is obvious.
As for my mom's scarf - on my trip to Purl, as I said earlier, I picked up some lovely Habu yarn after having looked at the Kusha Kusha (R) scarf. I love the textural variety that the scarf achieved, but I didn't really like the way the yarns changed. It was too 'modern art' for me, and more importantly, not the kind of thing my mom would wear. Searching through Ravelry (do I sound like someone a broken record yet with all this ravelry talk?) I found this simpler scarf(R). As I was hoping, the steel qualities show well in this larger fabric, so I'm going to make a variation of this for my mom. This means, however, I have to get two more cones of yarn, since the silk/stainless has only 281 yards to the merino's 747.

The stag bag(R). Where do I start with this magnificent bag? Despite never having done any color knitting before, I saw this pattern and new I had to make it. It even inspired me to spend this past monday doing a stranded knitting swatch! (I'll post pictures of that once I find my camera's kind of funny looking.) My biggest problem now is deciding which colors to use. I do want to use the Ultra Alpaca Light, because the past two times I was at my LYS, it screamed out at me. I want to do a brown/blue colorway; ideally a dark brown light blue. I'm trying to figure out if the 'stonewashed' is a pure gray color, or if it's a grayish blue. If it's greyish blue, then I'm thinking stonewashed and woodland mix, but I need to check the colors in person.

As far as One Skein goes, there are just so many patterns I want to make! I love the cable footies(R) and both the cable hat(R) scarf(R). For me, the scarf kind of sells the book. I love cables but haven't yet made a cable scarf because I didn't know about reversible cables and I didn't have the time to knit a tubular scarf. I need this book! I'm just counting down until my birthday. =]

Allright, that's it for tonight I think. I know, still no pictures, I'm sorry, bad blogger, no cookie. I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! I did nothing special, and got no tricker treaters - which was good, because we had no candy. Sometimes a quiet night at home is best.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Things I Like Today

I'm sure you're all wondering what that white circular thing is, and why it's not a picture of my socks! I'm sorry I haven't posted a picture of my socks, I haven't been able to take a good one yet. It's been raining almost nonstop this week, which is great for the plants, because it's been very dry, but not so great for taking nice pretty outdoor sock pictures. In the meantime, I've started my second sock! I anticipated a bad case of second sock syndrome, especially since I have so many new projects I want to try, so I cast on and knitted half an inch or so immediately after casting off sock one.

I don't have all that much to say, so I'm going to do another list of things I like, which will include the weird thing on the side.

  • Method Aroma Ring (yeah, that's the weird thing)
    I was at Target today and I saw the Method had a line of Holiday scents. Now, I love most holiday related things. Their holiday scents were peppermint vanilla, holly berry, and cinnamon bark. I wasn't a big fan of the holly berry. I don't usually like fruit scented house things - the scent is almost always too strong for me. I was excited by the other options. I love most things cinnamon or spice scented in general, and the peppermint vanilla reminded me of one of my favorite candles. This candle is an Aroma Naturals soy candle I got last holday season. It somehow smells just like those after dinner peppermints - sweet and minty, and delicious. It's the first scented candle I've burned to within half an inch of its life. Anyhow, back to the aroma ring. I saw it was a scented thing that I didn't have to set on fire or plug in, so I decided I'd try it. I got it in pepermint vanilla, and got refills in....gingerbread spice! Seeing the gingerbread spice made me crave the similarly named Starbucks latte. The aroma ring...right. So, moral is, I took it home, unwrapped the foil bit and sat it there. It just sits there, people! I love it. Nice fresh scent. Cool modern looking weird vibe. That's that thing I like.

  • Blueprint Magazine
    If you are not familear with Blueprint magazine, I'd suggest you go to your local booksellers and pick up a copy! I say this despite the fact my local bookstore didn't *have* the newest issue and I had to get it at Target, but, that's neither here nor there. Blueprint is one of Martha Stewart's latest ventures. It's been around for over a year now - maybe around two years? I'm not sure exactly - and it's aimed at the 'early career professional' set. (my term, not theirs). Normally, I read a lot of magazines. My local libraries have always had a decent selection, and when they don't, I'm not above browsing through some at bookstores. My family subscribes to Gourmet and Food and Wine, so I get to read those when they're done. I also like to read style magazines (though those I don't subscribe to) and I've become a big fan of Women's Health. At the library, I also check out Martha Stewart Living and Real Simple. All together that's food magazines, craft magazines, fashion magazines and health magazines. The way I like to figure it, Martha (yes, we're on a first name basis; we're Facebook friends!) was looking through her stack of magazines and thought "I know, why not take ALL THESE THINGS and put them into ONE AWESOME MAGAZINE" and thus, Blueprint was created. That's my mind, at least. In reality, I personally think it's just plain awesome. I wish it were every month, not every two months, and I wish the issues were much longer, but as far as it goes, I'm a fan.

  • Thai Food
    Okay, so, this wasn't going to go on the list, but I just went out for an amazing dinner with my mom and stepdad. We had a whole fish, deep fried and then covered with sauce, and it was AMAZING. I had a beef salad as an appatiser. It wasn't what I meant to order, but I didn't want to give it back, so I ate it and DAMN was it spicy. Now, my stepdad loves spicy food, to the extent that when he goes to a new restaurant, he says "pretend I wasn't white and make it as spicy as you can, I won't send it back" or something to that effect, and they do. Tonight I could see the chilies on all his dishes from across the table. The restaurant we went to tonight is one of their favorites, and they have a favorite waiter who knows them well. Unfortunately for me, this means that *everything* ordered by the table is spicier than usual. I was somewhat convinced, for part of the evening, my lips would fall off. But, our fish was delicious.

  • Pumpkin Yogurt
    I'm sure to some of you that sounds disgusting. I'm sorry. For those who are wondering where they could get such a thing, I must sadly tell you you can't purchase it. This is an original recipe, so to speak...take some Fage greek yogurt and add a tablespoon or two of Trader Joe's Pumpkin butter. Mix, and enjoy! This is my favorite desert. I need to pull out the icecream make and make a batch of pumpkin frozen yogurt. I think that might end up being my favorite thing ever.
So much for lists. I'm sorry there aren't any good pictures - like I said, when the weather clears!

Monday, October 22, 2007

First sock!

My first sock is now DONE! I'm very excited. Tomorrow I'll take some pictures of it - it's not the most exciting thing in the world, and it's far from perfect, but darnit, I'm just glad it's done! Now....for the second sock. =]

New York, New York

I'm back from new york! It was an exciting five days, and very tiring.

Tuesday started earlier than I necessarily would have liked, but the ‘performance’ lifestyle, followed by my two weeks of vacation, does not lend itself toward early mornings. My friend M and I drove to Bryn Mar, where she’s currently a graduate student. We met up with her boyfriend and had lunch at Cosi. I had heard of the chain before, but never eaten there. I got the Chicken TBM and it was tasty! I’ll admit, I chose Cosi over other restauraunt possibilities because of the name - say it aloud! Cosi! Cosi cosi cosi! It sounds like cozy. Very friendly! We missed our SEPTA train so we just hung around a bookstore until the next one. I was able to get some knitting done on my sock in the train, so that was nice. We met up with D, the friend we were staying with for the first few nights, at Penn Station, and one wrong train later finally ended up at his house.
Wednesday M had plans to meet an old professor for lunch outside of the Met, so I was on my own. Where to go? Alice’s Tea Cup! Arthur, a similarly tea obsessed friend of mine from college, went to Alice’s sometime during school and brought back some of the Birthday tea. Delicious! I’ve wanted to go there ever since. I ended up having not just the tea, but high tea! It was delicious – a salmon sandwich, a pumpkin scone, the birthday tea and assorted cookies. I wish I’d purchased some loose leaf from them – M and I had planned to go to another of their locations later, but it didn’t happen; of course, my tea collection is currently overflowing so I didn’t need any more.
Tea was followed by the afternoon at the Met and dinner with M, M’s friend Casper, and D. As I was making my way to dinner, I fell down the last tier of steps at the Met. I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of those steps – there are a lot of them! I fell smack down on my ankles, and slid down the remaining steps. Oww! As I’m writing this up, five days later, my right ankle is STILL swollen, and my left leg is still VERY bruised. This did put somewhat of a damper on all the walking we did, but I survived. =]
We went to Hampton Chutney Co for dinner and Rice to Riches for desert. Rice to Riches is a rice pudding bar. I felt majorly under-hip, but the pudding was good. It’s right next to Pinkberry, so I convinced M we should come back later so I could try the Pinkberry I’d read so much about.
Thursday started with meeting D for lunch. Nothing exciting there – just Chipoltle in St.Mark’s Place. I have to say, as far as fast food goes, I’m a big Chipoltle fan. Then it was wondering around SoHo until I found Purl, the yarn store. I was overwhelmed! The selection was modest – at least, more so than my LYS – but it had new exciting yarns I’d never seen before! I bought three skeins of Organilk in Jungle, a lovely greenish brown heather that looks as though the green glows brown somehow, and two cones of Habu yarns, one of the silk and stainless steel and one of a matching mohair. Someone at the shop had knitted the Kusha Kusha scarf and was describing it to another customer. I’m not the biggest fan of that particular shape, but I loved the yarn combination. The steel gives some structure to the fabric. You can crumple it and have subtle folds, almost like paper. I’m very excited to work with this!
After Purl we poked around SoHo some more. I convinced M to go to Pinkberry with me. So delicious! I have to say, I think David Lebovitz’ version tastes almost as good, if not better, but the texture of Pinkberry’s yogurt was superior to my attempts at Lebovitz’ recipe.
We met our friend A for dinner at Crispo, and then he gave us a quick tour of his office – at Google! It was the second time for me visiting him, and all I’ll say is that it was awesome. Part of me still thinks of my future in terms of ‘how will this make it easier for me to work for Google’.
Friday was a much more relaxing day, and I was ready for it! M and I went to M’s friend Sarah’s house, and pretty much just watched Firefly all day. I’d never seen it before, despite being a Buffy fan, so it was lots of fun. We went to ColdStone for icecream and they had pumpkin icecream. Yay! As I think I’ve mentioned, I’m a fan of ANYTHING pumpkin, especially deserts. I got graham cracker crust and Heath bar mixins, and the icecream was delicious! We ended the day by watching more Firefly. A nice relaxing day.
The day started with homemade chocolate chip waffles, made by my friend Sarah. What could be a better way to start the day? M and I went back to Manhattan and unloaded our bags at our friend A’s before going to see Pygmalion.

The show let out about half an hour before we expected it to, so I convinced M to go to The Drama Bookshop with me. I bought way more than I should have:
The Viewpoints Book by Anne Bogart & Tina Landau
A Director Prepares by Anne Bogart
His Dark Materials by Nicholas Wright based on the novels by Philip Pullman (the ‘new’ edition, revised and with an introduction)
Rock ‘N’ Roll by Tom Stoppard
The Fever by Wallace Shawn (a signed copy! I didn’t nottice THAT until just now! Cool!)
Women Beware Women by Thomas Middleton

Dinner was with M, A, Sarah and I at Zen Palate. I had two different kinds of soy protein in my meal, and while I’m not stranger to soy – or to vegetarian food – I wasn’t the biggest fan of the mango entrĂ©e I got. M got ‘sweet and sour nuggets’ which were much tastier, and had a more enjoyable texture. After dinner it was off to Penn Station and home! I got some more knitting done on the train home, but then I made friends with my neighbor. Knitting can happen any time – train friends are unique.

Back home:
I’m glad to be back! Living in New York still holds an appeal for me, but I know realistically I wouldn’t be able to afford living anywhere I’d want to live. It was nice visiting friends and seeing art and having new food adventures. I do like travel, and I forget sometimes how much I miss it. It’s nice though, also, to be able to lounge around outside and enjoy the sounds of the birds (I heard our owl!) and of the trees moving. I’m not sure if I’m a city girl or a country girl, but for now, I think a nice mix of both is best.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Things I love about fall:
  • Pumpkins!
  • The smell of leaves
  • Cozy sweaters
  • Holding a cup of tea just warm enough to warm you up
  • Knitting! (Okay, I always love knitting, but it just feels *right* during the fall)
  • The color of the light (I swear it's more golden)
  • Fresh baked bread (I also like this about winter. Summer? Not so much.)
  • The way marigolds are mirrored in the foliage (This refers to specific marigolds and specific trees, yes, but I still love it!)
This year I haven't done quite so much baking. For September I was too busy (and too tired) to do much - just roasting brussel sprouts took all the food energy I have! Plus there's this whole trying to become more compact thing. Starting tomorrow, I'm going on an almost-week-long trip to New York with one of my best friends from highschool (hi M!) and I know whatever we eat will be less healthy than the nice meat or fish and two or three vegetable meals I've been eating at home. That's one thing I do like about being home - my family really has this whole 'cooking dinner' thing down pat.

I've been tentatively planning my birthday party (mostly in my mind) and I think I'll make my absolute favorite pumpkin pancakes then. The recipe makes somewhere upwards of 30 pancakes, and they're filling enough I can rarely eat more than two or three. Last year when I made them I froze the extras in little preportioned ziplocks - three mini pancakes per bag - and I'd just pull them out and defrost them in the toaster when I had a bit of extra time for breakfast - or just when I wanted something a little more decadent. They're great with yogurt and maple syrup with a cup of chai! The only thing I change in the recipe is I double all the spices. I generally double cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in any sweet recipe that calls for them, it adds a little spice.

Anyways, New York! I've been looking all around my bookshelves for my NFT guide (which I bought for my first tourist outing to the city, of course) so I could bring that along with my Moleskine City notebook. I don't know the city that well, having only been a few times. M, my friend I'm traveling with, lived there while she interned at a museum a few summers ago, so I'm counting on her to introduce me to all the fun places. My only plans are to hopefully hit Alice's Teacup and PurlSoho. Tea and yarn! Two of my favorite things. Oh! We're also going to see Pygmalion, thanks, in large part, to Hiptix, a program the Roundabout Theatre runs to make theatre more affordable for the under thirtyfive set. It's free to join, so if you're going to be in the New York area and fit the age limits, I'd encourage it. I have a special place in my heart for Roundabout after seeing their Threepenny Opera last summer staring Alan Cumming, Nellie Mckay, and Cindi Lauper. It was a Wallace Shawn translation! I do get what the critics hated, but I enjoyed it.

I think I'm going to play around with my template to see if I can't get something a little more fall appropriate. Later!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

So much for writing about senior year...

Okay, so I guess doing the actual homework (and socializing) took precedence over starting this blog. I’m okay with that. However, I do still want to *have* a blog. These days I’m leaning more towards a knitting blog (or an all inclusive blog) than towards the previously attempted foodblog. (see: )

So, how about I include some actual content…
Sometime toward the middle or end of this past August, I found myself in a strange city (well, not that strange, it was in New Jersey) with no knitting to speak of and time on my hands. I went to my LYS (local yarn store) and asked the woman for her recommendation on a one or two skein project that would be portable. She asked me if I’d tried socks yet, and when I said I hadn’t because I’d been afraid of them, she told me not to worry, everyone she knew tried the pattern she gave me (Yankee Knitters #29) to great success. She even let me borrow a #4 needle for casting on, since my needle stash was at ‘home’, still not unpacked from my move out of my apartment, post graduation.

Well, I’ve been working on those on and off (I had to take a break to knit a friend a squid, like you do) and here’s today’s update:

So, I’d left the socks mid heel-decrease (or, in the technical term, mid heel-gusset, but Coupling made that word make me giggle. Heh. Gusset.) and didn’t want to pick them up again. Two days ago I finished the heel gusset (heh) and went on to the foot!

Now, I’d been debating for a while wanting to try knitting on two circular needles. I like double pointed needles, but I’m always worried about taking the sock places. I’m somehow convinced one of the needles will fall out or break or something. SO I decided to try knitting the rest of this sock (or at least the foot part) on two circulars. With Cat Bordhi’s book in hand I transfered the sock over and I realized one of the other benefits of knitting on two circulars: You can try on the sock!

Well, I have to admit I’m not as pleased as I’d hoped. The mess ups in the ribbing (why is it I always mess up at the beginning of a project, long after I’d let myself rip it) are noticeable, but otherwise the socks fit nicely. They’re looser than my normal socks, as well as thicker (duh) but I think they’ll look nice peeping out from my Dansko MaryJanes.

I think on the next pair of socks I do I’m going to cary the ribbing down the top of the foot. It should help keep them a little tighter, and I personally think it looks nicer. Now, here’s hoping I finish this sock!

Thank you, loyal internet (I’d say readers, but I am pretty sure I don’t have any yet). Expect a picture of sock-on-foot coming hopefully soon.

Hello world

So, this is my first post. I’ve been thinking about doing this blogging thing for a while. I had a personal blog back in The Day, but it was embarrassingly more like a journal posted on-line than anything other people might want to read.

In the past four years I’ve been reading a lot of food and knitting blogs, as well as other random people-I-know blogs, and it reminded me how much the format appeals to me.

What will this be? I don’t really know. Hopefully, I will stick with it. I intended to start this earlier and blog the end of college, but that's done with.

The blog is called ‘liberally educated’ because right now I feel like my education (and what I can and can’t do with it) defines me more than any one particular interest. If nothing else, it's what I spent the past four years doing!