Saturday, January 31, 2009
F is for Fiber farmers!!! I can dream this, and live vicariously through others online....Watch this:
F is for Fabric! Woo hoooooo, the fabric. I am loving all the fabric designer's blogs I'm finding lately. I have a beautiful varied stash of fabrics of my own, but am always lusting after more, like a good quilter =D
Look at the beautiful fabrics Lila Tueller posted. Are they not stunning?! Drool.
I dream of designing my own fabric for a short run print at Spoonflower...what a cool thing!
Flowers are one of my favorite things in all the world. If there are flowers growing, they will find their way into vases in my house. I'm happiest when I can pick a handful of violets from our lawn to put on a windowsill in a tiny bottle. Flowers are reminiscent of all things good! Picnics, weddings, childhood, summer, sunshine....
Cutest sewing project: fabric flower bowls. How sweet those are! Don't know what I'd use them for, but they sure are cute :) Maybe I could take one to work and keep paper clips in it....(After this post, it's gonna seem a long time until spring)
F is for Free patterns. Specifically this free heart dishcloth pattern looks really cute, would be great to knit for Valentine's Day!
F is for Fairisle. This knitting style is full of color possibilities. I love the thought of charting my name, or some great saying and then knitting it up into a work of art that's personalized!
And speaking of which, look what someone did with Kate Gilbert's Bird in Hand pattern---adapted it to a hat! This is fair-isle at its cutest!!!
F is for felting, another technique I'd love to do more of. I'm thinking a felted blanket--wouldn't that be the bomb?! Nice and thick....
F is for fishies. Look at the great colors in this version of the fish blankie! Makes me want to get some of that Dream in Color yarn. Yes, I need more yarn, mm hmm. (And peripherally related to fishies, is this beautiful blanket made from dishcloth patterns!)
F is for Friday night knitting! Man do I love getting together with knit-friends. It is really nice at the end of a loooooooong work week. Thanks, Molly, for hosting us in your shop every week!
So, are y'all enjoying the ABCs? It's interesting to have an "assignment" to follow, and challenging to my blah-boring writing style to put something together cohesively....enjoy your F's!
Friday, January 30, 2009
Estonian knitting sure seems to be an amazing wealth of perfected techniques! Their well-documented culture of knitting has given so much to us. I am experiencing the knit-in braid on the Bird in Hand mittens, and it's kinda neat to see how that's formed. Though I'd like it better in a looser gauge I'm sure. Just sayin'....
I'd love to investigate the other Estonian knit techniques.
E is for "energized singles." Don't you love that phrase? I want to open a martini bar with that name!!!
I got up this AM(Jan 25) at 1:15 when DH came to bed, and since I'd already slept 5 hours, I started spinning. Go figure. This was the night to do it, after a 4-6 month hiatus!
I picked up again spinning this lovely Merino 4 oz top,
and finished it up.
Then I plied it.
My lumpy crazy yarn will be a collector's item someday, I'm sure, as it is AWFUL! So irregular--I better get practicing. Once every 6 months is no way to better your technique :)
Anyway, it was fun, and I am looking forward to knitting this stuff up someday, into something warm and soft.
Maybe a hat. How far will 4 oz go in this DK-to-bulky thick/thin yarn...? My guess on the yardage after spinning--about 80 yards.
This is not something I've done before, so I'm not sure if that's accurate. But I just measured: one trip around my niddy-noddy, when wrapped correctly, yields 2 yards.
My finished yarn totalled 55 trips around the niddy-noddy, which at 2 yards each, ought to give me some 110 yds total. But the yarn was really stretched out on the niddy-noddy; once off that tool, it sprang back quite a bit. So I'm guessing my yarn to be 1-1/2 yards each trip around instead...~80 yds.
Hopefully enough for one hat :)
Monday, January 26, 2009
I love that dogs are so amazing, and able to be trained to do such a thing. Wow.
And, doesn't this look like Chandi is completely in adoration of her trainer?! Their story can be found here on the sidebar.
Doggies. Doilies. Dessert. Dancing. Diving into the ocean. All very good things from the letter "D".
Anybody make doll-clothes? I have sewn a few items for DD's American Girl doll. But I never knit for a doll, other than this:
Last weekend, I found some great books at the library. All about knitting heirloom doll clothes.
The patterns are for all sizes of doll, but the items I want to make the most are:
This cape/poncho for DD's American Girls Kirsten doll. Isn't it cute?! What a great idea....and this:
What a great little mini-bedspread. Gorgeous!
And look at this lovely dress! What a nice gift for a child's doll.
D is for double-knit. I am so enamored of this technique. And I still have yet to complete even one project of that knitting style. Drool. This is one possibility for a first project;
from a previous post.
I love any double knit, really. Here's a cute scarf (I think I linked to it before), I'd love to make a double knit scarf--how warm would THAT be?! Oooh, I could make a double-knit scarf from the post-office knit charts, that would be cute! Maybe I'll try something like this amazing project soon!
Baking rocks. That was my first culinary love. Here is a recipe for No-Rise Yeast Dough. It is versatile, and great if you don't have one big block of time to spend on baking bread. You make the dough, cover it and refrigerate it 5-7 days, taking out what you need to make fresh dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, pizza crust and other yummy creations. Wanna know where I got the recipe? Remember "The Home Show" in the 1990s?
No Knead, Make-Ahead Roll Dough
2 pkg dry yeast
1/2 c warm water (110-115* F)
3/4 c butter
1 c boiling water
1 c cold water
c/4 c sugar
2 t salt
2 beaten eggs
7-8 c white flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water (I use hottest tap water). Mix butter & boiling water; cool slightly. Add to yeast mixture with cold water in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients IN THE ORDER GIVEN. Stir til dough starts to to pull away from the bowl. Put into greased very large bowl, seal airtight and put in fridge. Keeps up to 7 days there!
After 24 hours, uyou can roll it out for pizza dough, cut into rounds for biscuits, roll into balls and place in muffin tins (2 balls per tin = parker house roll shapes, 3 roll per tin = cloverleaf rolls). I find it easier to shape if you oil your hands with olive oil first.
You can brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter and sprinkle on poppy or sesame seeds. You can add 1 t cardamom to the dough for swedish rolls, but you have to do this prior to rising. You could add dill, rosemary or other herbs too for savory rolls. Maybe even grated cheese, mmm.
Form dough, let rise (1-2 hours) in greased pans. Bake at 375* F for 12-15 minutes, until brown. Let cool. (Adjust baking time for pizza dough--for pizzas, we use a clay stone and 425* with toppings in place for 8-14 minutes. Adjust this for your own best pizza method). Let cool.
Freeze rolls in plastic bags. To thaw, remove from bag and let sit on counter. When thawed, put in brown paper bag folded closed, into 275* oven til warm.
For cinnamon rolls: roll out 1/2 the dough into rectangle (18" x 12" is good). Spread with softened butter from edge to edge. Sprinkle a mixture of sugar and cinnamon over all the surface. Cut into 2 rectangles 9" x 12", then roll each up into a log. Slice into 1-1/2" slices, place into greased cake tins and let rise up to 2 hours. Bake as listed below. (Top with powdered sugar/milk/vanilla-extract glaze when cooled a bit.)
What I did the last time I made these: on Sunday I made this dough, Monday night after work I formed the cinnamon rolls and put them covered with plastic wrap in the fridge overnight again. Tuesday morning, I set the rolls on the stovetop while the oven preheated, and baked them before work. We had hot fresh cinnamon rolls and I still got to work on time!!! Woo hoo. It was also fun b/c I had made homemade butter on Sunday, and used that. YUM
Now for the bad things...
D is for d-oh! Here's a list of Bumpydoink's blogging Disappointments:
1. This can was a potential craft project.(scroll down) I loved the graphics. I wanted to make it into a planter. I saved it for months, until I couldn't bear to look at it anymore. I finally dumped it in the recycle bin. I should have at least used the canopener. Really. How hard is it to punch some holes with a nail?
2. My harvest of rose-hips. Yeh. They sat on my counter, then in my fridge til they were old and wrinkly. I tossed them.
3. Another wasted harvest. I HAD to pick these lovely serviceberries, because they are edible and they were on my property. I could've left them to feed the wildlife, but no. They rotted in my fridge.
4. This was such a mess. The product I chose for grout remains loose and wet FOREVER. It never hardened (well it might be hard now that it is 25 below zero outside.) The stones I so carefully laid out have moved, fallen, and been repositioned. This can't be used at all now. D is for DEBACLE.
5. Last year's garden. I bought seeds, just a few; I knew my time was limited. Guess what?! All the seeds I bought are still in their packets, unopened. Maybe this year?
Hope springs eternal.
It's sad to have a great idea that does not come to fruition. And I really hate waste. Maybe by reviewing these posts, I can do better this year =D
Dreams. I have very vivid dreams that seem to correlate with running a fever (and I have been sick a lot!) In the dreams, I am running and being chased by zombies/bad guys/robots/tornadoes/dinosaurs/grizzly bears. In some of the dreams, I have to turn and fight because the attacker is gaining on me. In my most recent one, I was being chased by a crowd of robot-clones of Aim from another planet, and at the end of the dream I was cornered and had to use a fireplace poker to defend myself! What the *#@%^ ?! I'd like to awaken refreshed after sleep. Not battle weary! I should lay off the vampire novels at bedtime....
D is for disturbing!
Hope you all sleep sound and dreamless tonight :D
Sunday, January 25, 2009
The Republic hat from my last post. Here's the pic. Cute hat, huh? It is not too tight, so it doesn't smash my hairdo, but it sure is warm.
Update on my WIPs...
Summer Sampler Stole: here's what I finally did. I looked in many of my great books for a narrower knit edging that would take up half as much yarn. Like this:
or one of these:
From this library book:
This is not my preference though, as it would require frogging the many hours of knitting I've already done on the original edging. I'm extremely reluctant to rip out all that effort. So yesterday, I went instead to Yubina.com, where I had purchased my original yarn from, and ordered the same item number that I'd gotten before. It should be here in short order. And if the yarn doesn't match, I'll have to follow my backup plan of frogging and re-knitting a narrower edge. I'll cry if I have to do that though!
My newest WIP is my Bird in Hand mittens from Kate Gilbert. First cuff:
I'm loving the colorwork, and I'm actually getting gauge with this. However, I'm not a big fan of knitting with worsted weight yarn on size 1 needles! I will most certainly have tendonitis when I'm done. Next time I use this pattern, it will be DK or sport weight on 4's or 5's. But this is making an ironclad fabric! Your hands won't be cold in these mittens.
Next up is: Junie Moon's bandage drive--knit or crochet a cotton bandage (4 feet by 3 inches) to send to lepers in Vietnam. There are links regarding this story at her blog--it seems a touching thing to knit.
If I had a knitting machine, I'd crank out lots of these for charity. Seems like that would be more efficient. But I don't have a knitting machine. So I'm knitting one "prayer bandage" for someone who I hope it will comfort. If you want to participate in Junie's bandage drive, better hurry. She needs your bandages by Feb 14.... I'm thinking superbowl knitting!
That's all the yarny news for now, folks.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Before January leaves us, I wish to publish the following brief note:
Dear Former President Mr. Bush:
Thank you for enduring 2 terms of thankless servitude to the American people.
Thank you for not placing your own personal desires before the responsibilities of your office.
Thank you for not demanding to keep your personal handheld communications device when for the sake of our national security you were asked to give it up as president.
Thank you for leading our troops with honor, for taking a firm stand against terrorism and the evils of Saddam Hussein.
Thank you for quietly persevering with decisions of nonsocialism in spite of media slanting against you.
Thank you for politely enduring the malicious devaluing of your service by the incoming regime's propaganda, especially blatant on the day of your departure. You have conducted yourself in a manner befitting a president.
And finally, I thank you for so graciously accepting your election defeat and stepping down with dignity. Compared to the childish manner in which power was relinquished by the Democrats in 2001, it was refreshing.
You have proven yourself and your Party civilized, controlled, and worthy of my respect. And I am proud to say I voted for you, and stood behind my decision while you were in office.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I can't believe there are so many different ways to cast on for your knitting. And they all have different effects in the finished product. Of course, I'm no master at them--I think off-hand I "know" 3 different ways to cast on. But I know where to find the others if I need them!
Now for a food topic. I love Cheese! (Glorious Cheese.) I wish I knew of a gourmet cheese shop close, but I'm satisfied with the offerings of Trader Joe's and my local Italian deli/imports store. There's a store in a neighboring town that carries about 6 or 7 different fresh Feta cheeses in it's deli. They let you taste it before buying. YUM. I got the most exquisite Bulgarian Feta once from there. (Now tell me, have you ever heard of Feta cheese described as "exquisite"? Well, this stuff WAS!!!)
Cheese-making has always been something I have a peripheral interest in, though I've never made anything more involved than farmer's cheese, or yogurt cheese. Here's a great link to cheesemaking instructions for many types of cheeses. (But don't read the link on rennet-making unless you want to gross out.)
Creativity is on my mind lately. In a nutshell, it's what makes me tick. Even if the things I make are not one-hundred percent original, the joy of creating something from scratch is what I live for! Especially in this season of "burrowing in", when the weather is bitter beyond these walls, the urge to surround myself with handmade creations runs high. It's better than sleeping all winter! And I love to share in everyone else's creativity--that's why I love blogging! =D
Crochet is one of my fav pursuits. Check out this lovely rug made by frydogdesigns. Man is that ever freakin' cute! I love the inspiration piece too, that she has linked to. Crochet is really free-spirited sometimes!
I don't know, guys...I think this ABC thing is falling kinda flat. Maybe I need something else to inject a little life into my posts. Like imagination, or something. Sigh.
Oh, I know! Cables. How could I forget Cables!!!! I LOVE them so much in the world of knitting. Do you know, I was making the photomosaic below, and was going through my flickr photos, and realized that in 2007, I CRANKED on cables. In 2008, not so much. Hmmmm.
Aim's "C" Projects:
1. DSC07378, 2. DSC07709, 3. DSC07948, 4. DSC08379, 5. DSC07414, 6. DSC08031, 7. DSC03396, 8. ripple crochet mat, 9. DSC07236, 10. cupcake hats, 11. DSC07007, 12. clapotis on bridal wreath in bloom, 13. DSC06611, 14. DSC06599, 15. DSC06973, 16. DSC07024, 17. DSC03519, 18. DSC03385, 19. crochet granny flag, 20. DSC03436, 21. DSC03416, 22. DSC07399, 23. DSC06524, 24. DSC05935, 25. DSC01103
I love Color. I have a general sense of color use; I'd really like some training in color and design, though. It just doesn't come naturally to me when creating from scratch, but I sure know good color combos when I see them! Such a sense of pleasure that gives....take for example this afghan by Kidd (rav link):
Isn't Noro stunning?! Love that stuff for its color(BTW, this pattern is a WIST)
I love Crafts, too! Lots of good things start with C!!!
I made myself a Cap: the republic Hat. (I know, that was Cheezy) And just in time for keeping my head warm in the 35 below zero windchills yesterday. I'll post a pic in an upcoming post (I don't have a photo yet, sorry.) Pattern also available in her sidebar here.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
B is for birdies. Specifically, the bird of paradise...get a load of this bird's dance! Ha ha haaaaaa!!! I know you bird-lovers out there will crack up when you see this! ETA new link
(DS told me this is his new favorite animal, heh!) I love his smiley face dance, it's sorta hip-hop!!
B is for Bagsmith Giant Knitting Needles and Crochet Hooks! These things are so awesome, I had to buy a pair after I saw someone at knit-night using them. They totally crack me up! My friend Robin bought a pair and was cranking out gorgeous scarves in about 2 hours total knitting time! WHAT?! I was stunned.
So I treated myself to a pair in November. I haven't yet used them (I was busy knitting Moderne, remember?!) With these big fat needles, you are supposed to hold 5 strands of yarn together. I will pull yarns from my stash and mix/match them; this will be a great use for that W#lm#rt craft yarn I bought en masse a year ago. I'm inspired to emulate Robin's style, she has such an eye for combining multiple yarns in a project! (and she's afraid of cables, go figure)
I thought I'd make bathmats, and scarves, blankets. There's a pic of someone knitting with them here, scroll down.
B is for blogging. I love this hobby. I have met some incredible people by surfing their blogs, and writing my own! You all rock!!!
B is for books. Fiction reading is one of my old favs, currently enjoying a resurgence! But I love books of all kinds, and I love browsing bookstores, new and used! In our early years of marriage, we could afford very little with our tight budget. We hardly ever went out, but every wedding anniversary DH and I went to a new restaurant and a used-book store. That was quite a day for us. I found some real treats on those trips, including an old hardcover copy of the Rodale Book of Organic Gardening, c 1959--purchased for $2.95!
Reading is such a peaceful thing to do, and helps me deal with stress by taking me out of my personal reality for a bit. And speaking of my personal reality....
B is for boss. Yes, that difficult man is my next subject. We had it out on January 2nd, after weeks of building stress in the office. He can be so selfish and awful to his employees, but I will give him credit for one thing: he learns from his mistakes. Last year I told him not to talk to me like that, and since then he hasn't. Instead, this year he stomped around the office in a temper tantrum, criticizing every move I made for weeks on end instead of simply telling me what pissed him off (back in early November.) So much for holiday spirit. But I offloaded my own thoughts during our blowout. I told him he's a bully, I told him to stop sending me mixed messages about what he wants out of me, and that I need more time off b/c I'm not a workhorse. And miraculously, we are now back on even footing. Everything's hunky-dory. (Do we really have to do this annually? Sigh)
So, as I was saying, B is for books. And B is for brownies. Yum....My fav recipe is this one, which has been a fudgey standard for years in our family:
1-1/3 cup flour
2 c sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Mix dry ingredients. Mix oil, eggs and vanilla together; add to dry mixture. DON'T OVERMIX. Spread in 13x9x2" pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes (pick inserted into center comes out clean). Makes 24 brownies.
B is for Butterflies. I love them! (This is really saying something, b/c I generally hate bugs...) I want to knit up the Butterfly Counterpane by Paula Levy--from an old issue of Knitters (summer 2000). Check out Jinjifore's versions of that pattern! She knit hers up in laceweight yarns on size 1 or 2 needles! What lovely baby blankies!
B is for "Ballerina" by Hanne Falkenberg. I'm enjoying this pattern...I am now onto the second segment, though this photo is from about a week ago. I look forward to knitting on this after a week of work. Especially now, when it is a blizzard outside! (B is for blizzard...)
I'm gonna go grab a plate of brownies and a glass of milk, and knit in my fav chair! "C" ya later :o)
Monday, January 5, 2009
I am really digging knitting socks at work. My lunch hour in the winter is spent stuck indoors at the hospital. While it is nice to get a free hot lunch, I prefer to go home. But wintry awful weather just means I get to either knit on the sofa in the doctor's lounge in front of the wide-screen plasma TV, or hole up in my quiet office and knit. It's nice in my office because I have two floor-to-ceiling windows, bright. I always keep the blinds pulled up.
Well--except after I had my eyes dilated. I had daily migraines for 2 months afterwards, and sat in my darkened office every day...I'm so glad that wore off. (I feel for you peeps that get migraines regularly--yikes!)
So, anyway, I am looking forward to knitting another pair of socks. The Jaywalkers I am making currently are of a stiff wool that can stand up on its own, which I find rather odd. I hope it will soften with washing. But the colors in it are glorious! Like a desert sunset, or autumn in the northwoods. I'm gonna go knit now, it's time to make room for spring :D
And I'm gonna do that knitting in my new armchair:
Yes, A is for Armchair, something we have been without for 15 years! What did I ever do without this cushy lovely leather seat?! Target is the bomb. I'd love an ottoman to match...soon. Knitting in this seat is wondrous! I now have a choice where I sit to knit =)
And, A is for Aran knitting. Oooooh, I love cables. I'd like to knit up some lovely cabled goodies soon, like a hat, and a blanket (I'm thinking the Great American Aran Afghanrav link). And as soon as I get on the stick and order more Cascade 220, I can continue work on my Aran Wrap Cardi...
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Saturday, January 3, 2009
Well. I guess I've reached that time in my blogging life where I need a writing crutch. It's not that I don't have stuff to write about, but I'm taking a new approach this year.
I'm going to attempt to polish my style, like some of the other blogs out there that are truly enjoyable to me. I love well-written posts, and I feel that mine have been somewhat lacking in quality to make up quantity. It may be because I had "the monster project" on the needles forever, causing me to not have any new posts on knitting...or the fact that I used my blog more as a sounding board for whining about life in general. Whatever it was, I'm a-gonna change it!
So, I've decided that now would be a good time to start posting my ABCs. It will be my framework for better posts, to inject some life into the blog. Hope you all enjoy....(more knitting content is always better!) See ya around with the letter "A".
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Wow, another year has passed. Can you believe how quickly the time has gone? And now another year of possibilities is looming!
Remember this kitI purchased? I have finally started work in earnest on it: Ballerina by Hanne Falkenberg. Has anyone else had this happen?--you look at a pattern and your mind boggles. You try to start it and your mind boggles. You put it down to rest and come back to it, but your mind boggles. You ignore it now, because you can't make out the instructions. Months later you pick it up again, and your mind boggles. Then, for no apparent reason, you have a miraculous breakthrough! You pick it up for yet another attempt, after more than a year of false starts, and all of a sudden it clicks! No more mind boggling! Was I just in a fog all of 2008?! Geez!
So, Ballerina is rolling along. I picked it up and I got it. Simple as that! I'm almost done with the first segment. And now I can knit on it while watching tv--bonus!!!
I popped in to Michael's craft shop yesterday, after my half-day of work. I found some Paton's wool yarn on sale, and bought enough for a couple pairs of mittens. Still waiting to cast on for my Bird in Hand mittens. And, I found a cute pattern for a simple lace beret that I may try to make (via Lucy). I'm into red this year.
Speaking of red. I'm exercising good judgement + restraint. But it's killing me! I saw the cutest bistro style table-&-chairs at Pier One yesterday. It's RED!!! Oh, I can't stop thinking about it, but there's no way. Our house is small and overloaded as it is, and there is no room for an impractical 2-seater dining table. But, drool!
Here's a link to some free knit leaf motifs. I heard of this at Acornbud's blog...
Anyone tired of hearing me cry b/c I don't have enough yarn to finish a project? Well, here's why I ran out:
This is recycled from a post last Christmas, when I made everyone under the sun matching hats and scarves. Lookie there, that's Cascade 220 in heathered gray. Gee, I wonder why I don't have enough yarn to finish the Aran Wrap Cardi.... Duh! I totally forgot I dipped into my stash of that yarn for the scarf/hat. Sigh. (I don't think I did any such foolishness with the summer sampler lace, except that I chose to use much larger needles than others were using, and subsequently ran out of yarn. Duh, again!)
I'm off to print all the purchased patterns I recieved by email, that were lost from my hard drive a couple weeks ago! Luckily I don't delete those emails, but save them JUST IN CASE! But before I go...
Resolutions I have none. But I will write, craft, live and love. I will choose wisely my free-time activities. I will try not to let the aggravations of the working day get in the way of living a joyful, inspired, creative, productive life! And I will pray that when my daughter gets deployed, she comes back to us whole and unharmed. (That last is truly all I want for 2009.)
Happy New Year everyone!