Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Happy Blogiversary to Me...and the winners!


We have 2 winners of the Aim's blogiversary contest! (Yay, winners!)

For the balls of Lang yarn, the winner is: blogless Mairi

For the [ETA] toilet paper cover pattern, the winner is: Lisa W of Midwifeknits

Please email me at [this has been removed] with your address so that I can mail you your prizes!

Congratulations, and thanks for reading my blog!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

New FO

Here are pictures of the penguin granny hat I made for my niece. I have to give this away soon, and the star blanket to her baby brother....

I hope she likes it :) Pattern was mentioned previously....look under my labels for "penguins."

Been working on a s'prise gift for someone, so can't say much about it. It will be a Christmas present. I know what you're thinking--didn't I say that 2008 was going to be the year of knitting for ME?! Well, every so often I start something that would be a great gift, so...let me re-phrase that: 2008 will be mostly about knitting for me. More backpeddling ;O

I just bought a copy of Knit1 magazine, summer 2006, the issue that has the butterfly shawl pattern to crochet. That's next on my list of things to do. If anyone is inspired to make one, don't forget to get the errata from knit1mag's website....Oh, and noreen is the designer of that lovely shawl, she has some cool design notes on butterfly things....That's interesting :) You can see a photo of the shawl at Noreen's post here.

I'm so happy with my Einstein Coat (Meinstein)...I wore it to my Grampa's up north this weekend, and I got comments wherever I went in it! That's fun :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blogiversary Contest

My one year blogiversary is approaching! Whodathunkit?!

To celebrate, I thought I'd have a contest. (Yay, A CONTEST!) CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

First prize is 3 balls of Lang Sansibar yarn:
(Yay, YARN!)

Second prize is this pattern:

To enter, just leave a comment on this post by midnight of April 28, 2008 (CST). I will then put every contestant's name into a hat. On my blogiversary date (April 29, 2008) I will draw names for the winners. CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

And, to celebrate the Aim-ness of it all, here's a meme that Shell tagged me with (a while ago--sorry Shell!)

Here are the meme rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

All About Aim :

1. I love to eat pickles with my peanut butter. The juxtaposition of tastes and textures is perfect :)

2. I love fossil-hunting and rock-collecting. Ever since I was a kid, wherever I am, I look at the rocks underfoot, and bring them home in my pockets.

3. I love jackets and coats. And I have a wierd compulsion to make them for myself. I have sewn at least 6, and just knit my first sweater-coat.

4. I love to garden, but I hate bugs. I loathe them. I have zero tolerance for bugs in my house. And sometimes if one lands on me while I'm gardening, or flies in my face, I'll let out a shriek and jump. Then I get embarrassed because the neighbors might have seen!

5. I am part tom-boy, and part princess. (see #4)

6. I am a closet dreamer, an aspiring writer and linguist (I have always loved the phylum and taxa of latin nomenclature of botany), a would-be
pharmacognosist, horticulturist, world traveler, importer of third world goods or rare plant seeds (like Heronswood Nursery's previous owners), a wool farmer in the upcountry of Maui, owner of a coffee plantation, a greenhouse, and a pattern company! How many lifetimes will all that take?!

7. I trained in fashion design, wanted my own sewing pattern company, (prior to becoming a dedicated knitter.) I felt my scientific left-brain suffering when all I did was right-brained artistic creation, so I decided to leave the textile love to hobby-dom and earn my living in a science related field. It's the perfect balance for me!

8. I am long-winded. I went way over the requested 5 facts about me. Bet your eyes are glazed over now! Heh

    Now to tag someone....hmmm. I will tag readers who I've not tagged previously:
    1. Rima
    2. KimT
    3. Susan
    4. sharon
    5. kristina b

    Okay, y'all. You're up!
    4/29/08 eta: CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Meinstein, DONE!

Allow me to bore you with a tale of sweaterdom:

I've made 2 knit sweaters now! Cool! That's been my goal--to be able to knit my own sweaters! SWEET!

Here I am, in all my green glory:

Sick of seeing me, yet?

I love this sweater/coat! I wore it this AM when there was frost on the car, and didn't even notice the cold! Oh yeah for wool!!!

And, even though it is officially done....I'm going to add the collar soon. Collarless is an option, but not this time! And, I wanted to wear it before the weather heats up--tomorrow it'll be in the 60s--too hot to wear it. Yay, I got one wear this season :)

Mods I made:
1. I made this in a size M (but I wear L) because I heard that it can stretch 4 inches in length. And even though it's meant to be oversized, I didn't want to look like I was swimming in it.

2. I had to adjust the cuffs: instead of decreasing to 30 stitches, and then switching to smaller needles... I decreased to 28 stitches and knit even with the same large needles. That gave me a cuff just the right size! (The other way was too tight in the cuff.)

3. I also removed about an inch worth of peplum length in the beginning, knowing that it would stretch out over its lifetime. Did'nt think I needed the extra weight of that pulling on it....Though I usually wear a size tall.

Things I learned:
1. How to slip WYIF as if to purl, then put YIB and knit across in garter st. That makes the most beautiful slip-stitch edge. I love it :)

2. How to kitchener stitch the slip-stitch edge to make a beautiful seam. I LOVE the way that looks on the top of the sleeves!

3. How to make a simple buttonhole. Hilarious how only 1 YO in bulky yarn can stretch to accomodate those honking huge buttons I found in my stash!

4. How to accent the peplum/bodice and sleeve/bodice joins by picking up stitches in only the back of the slip-stitch border. Cool!

I really love the overall easiness and tailored fashion of this pattern. I'd recommend it to anyone looking to make your first sweater!

And oh, how I love the wool. Cascade 128 ROCKS!

Nighty-night :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Can you find the birdie in the pic?


Just kidding, I won't start that again :-B

I need to sew up Meinstein sleeve seams today. Because then I can start wearing it, yahoo!!! It will need a collar and buttons, but I can't even try it on until I sew up those seams. And I want to watch Harry Potter (I think it's on tv tonight) so that will be a good collar-knitting movie!

I have been wanting to try my hand at mosaic knitting since Hakucho blogged about this (scroll down to 10/1/07). I love that washcloth. And follow her link for a mosaic blanket, if you haven't already seen it (I am about 6 months behind visiting you, Hakucho!) And I just found a cool online tutorial for it, so I think I'll be trying that technique this week.

I started the penguin hat Friday night at the knitting group. It is a fussy granny square, but I think the final result is too cute, so I will make a few of these for my niece's hat. I'd like to give those gifts this week (the star blankie to her bro).

Man is it bitter out today. Cold, snow flurries, and a biting wind--I'll bet the wind-chill is about 10 or 15 degrees. I just about froze my fingertips and ears off walking my doggie. I couldn't find my calorimetry--I made the darn thing to wear for just this thing. Grrr.

But even though it's like winter again, look at my daffodils. :) It's so nice to have a bouquet of flowers from my garden again! I baked today too. I made my favorite cookies in the world: thumbprint cookies. These things rock.

Thumbprint Cookies

(Oven to 325 degrees.)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 t salt
1 c softened butter
1-1/2 c finely chopped nuts
2 eggs, separated
2 c flour
Frosting (see below)

Cream butter & sugar. Add egg yolks and mix well. Add flour and salt.

Beat egg whites with a fork. Shape dough into small balls and dip in egg whites, then into nuts to coat. Place onto parchment lined cookie sheets; press deep indentation with thumb. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-15 mins til edges are golden. Cool 1 minute; remove from sheets to rack. (I usually have to re-press an indentation in them at this point, to make a deep well for the frosting!)

Frosting: In small bowl mix the following ingredients, adding enough milk for desired consistency; blend til smooth.

2 c powdered sugar
1/8 t salt
3 T butter, softened
1/2 t vanilla extract
food color OR 2 T cocoa powder 1-2 T milk

Spoon or pipe frosting into each cookie's indentation. Yum :)
Supposedly this recipe makes 5-1/2 dozen cookies, but I've never gotten that many. I'm lucky to get 3 dozen.

I also made a coffee cake from this book:

It was okay. I'm not in much of a baked-goods-eating-mode right now. The flavor was a little bland. But the best recipe in this book is called Gooey Butter Bars. Oh, yum. My daughter bakes it every time she has a pot-luck at work! There are never any leftovers--that's the cream cheese talkin'!

We are on a super tight budget this week due to unexpected demands. I am looking at it as a challenge. We have no milk, oj, or bread in the house, but I have tons of basic ingredients in the form of cans, boxed mixes, powders, and frozen stuff, so we are making due. (The thumbprint cookies frosting was made with buttermilk!Heh.) I refuse to use my credit card for groceries. It is really kinda nice; our freezer is nearly empty for the first time since we moved here! This budget thing is requiring some creativity in the kitchen, but I dig that. Bonus: it's like a spring cleaning for the pantry!!! :D

No worries about running out of things to knit with--nah, it'll be years before I work through the stash I've built! :) And there are always the recyclable ways to get 'yarn'--unraveling existing sweaters, using plastic bags, ribbons, old t-shirts, strips of bluejeans, etc. Heck, I could probably make some kind of grass fiber to knit with from my Miscanthus Sinensis clumps in the garden! If I really had to, that is. Heh. :)

Here's something interesting I just found: front, & back:

it's from when I was learning to knit about 15 years ago! It must have been from a pattern for a sweater or afghan, but I swatched it in cheesy acrylic yarn, just to try the techniques and get some practice. Then I stuck it in my hot pad drawer. You can tell I hardly use it (it's a bit thin for that.) And it just came to my attention today when I was the mad baker....

So, that's my ramble for this weekend. I hope this day finds you all healthy, happy and cozily knitting somewhere. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Granny swap

I didn't want to spoil the surprise, so I waited. Here's the pic of everything I sent to my swap pal in Belgium:

That there is a $35 skein of Socks That Rock yarn (with Tencel.) I hope my pal likes it. That's more than I've ever spent on a single skein of yarn. And an easy way to get to near the $50 minimum we were supposed to spend on our swappies. I sent her some Caribou espresso beans--yummy yum. The books are some vintage knit and crochet patterns I got on Ebay last year. I admit, I did photocopy some of the projects before sending them. Hey, they were in my personal pattern stash :) And of course, the granny bag I made.

I feel the urge to bake. I have no time, but I have the urge. Maybe I can do that instead of sleep tonight, heh. The problem is, I have been so bad about exercise. Basically I stopped doing it. These hips don't need me to bake.

I was belly-dancing, then somehow even that became too much for me to continue so I stopped over a year ago. I have such limited time after work. I think knitting has taken over my life =D And that's OKAY. But I do miss being slim. Thirty extra pounds is a bit much to carry around. So I am re-starting my efforts to exercise. Yoga. Dog-walking. Jogging. Dance.

That was one of my New Year Resolutions, let me remind you. I have, however, caught every infection that has come my way in the past 4 months, it being flu season and all. This put the kabosh on my plans (YOU try to do "downward dog" when you have diarrhea! Or work up a sweat with a runny nose and fever. N't!)

So, I'm starting AGAIN. Four months later, I can finally go outdoors and become physically active. I jogged with my puppy last night. And have been doing yardwork this past weekend. I feel rejuvenated...isn't that what Spring is all about?! YAY for spring!

P.S. The grass is the same color as Meinstein. Yay for green after months of brown!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hey Dudes

Dude, look at my garden. Spring is here, and with it the ups and downs of weather. I love spring and fall, they are my favs. I love the somewhat chilly weather, the newness of budding greenery, the birdies singing their hearts out, the brilliant warm yellow sunshine. So, I guess there's something to be said for our climate :)

Dude, I've been surfing Ravelry like a maniac these days--if looking could make your skills better, then I'm a master by now....

Dude, here are some cool things I've found there: DUDE look at this cute group of fun mushrooms to make! She's so talented. I think it's funny though--I remember when mushrooms were the popular decorative item in the 60s! Now it's back, along with granny squares!

This is the freakiest yarn I've ever seen....Someone on ravelry actually made a dress out of this yarn---Ha ha haa haaaaaaa!

Dude, look at the cool shopper's gallery on Etsy's chat site. It's kindof a shortcut way to see neat products sold there. I love the sea-glass bracelet....

Dudes, did I show you this cool sideways knit sweater I want to make? It's so cute:Dude.

DUDE, this rocks: Anyone interested in making a baby surprise jacket (that famous pattern by Elizabeth Zimmerman) might benefit from these notes about how to keep from getting lost. Kindof a nice resource, I'm a-thinkin'. :D Because, I really need to experience the BSJ myself. I'm after as many different projects as I can get, to build my confidence and understanding of technique.

Another sweater I'd like to make is Siobhanna. Sooooo pretty, and it's crocheted, which usually goes pretty fast. Dude, yeah.

I will leave you with a parting look at the first photo of my star blankie--I was remiss in not posting this before the FO pic, but you can see that it was a fun and colorful project with each addition of colors!
C ya


Monday, April 7, 2008

Granny Swap

Here are the pics of the granny square bag I made my swap pal. I was gonna line it, but decided that I liked it as is. It will work well for a knitting project bag, or even a shopping bag!

The flip side:

Specs: I used Caron simply soft brites--I find I like that yarn. It's not bad for an acrylic (spoken like a true yarn-snob). So, I'm cranking out projects in it :)

Next will be some kind of granny squares for a blankie or something, after the penguin granny I mentioned yesterday.

Happy Monday everyone >:|

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Spring at last

Oh, finally. It's here, it's here. We spent yesterday doing yardwork. Look what I found in my front garden!

I also found this hairy little dog covered in pollen:
Heh. Furry.

I received my swap package from the Granny Square Swap. Look what Rima sent me:

She made me a felted granny basket, how cute is that? And I got some neat looking cotton yarn, and goodies (there was candy and teabags in the wrapped packets), and coconut soap. Can't wait to try the soap :)
Thanks, Rima, you made my day :) I've never had some of those candy flavors before...!

I finished my star blankie for my nephew. It is a version of a round ripple blanket. I started it last weekend:
It ended up being pretty big for a 6 month old...not sure what I'm going to do :) I may hold it until Christmas, when he'll be over a year. But I want to make his sister the penguin granny hat from the pattern I purchased from Crochetroo.

I just started in on Meinstein again. It was on hold while I made my swappie a granny square bag. I mailed it a week ago, I imagine she'll be getting it any day now. I will post the pics here because she doesn't know yet that I'm her swap partner....
but you can't see it til tomorrow. Ha ha!

Gotta go be outside while the sun's out.