Friday, June 4, 2010

Adventures in Handspinning and KAL news...

So this week, I really haven't been doing too much knitting. Actually I don't think I've picked up the needles since I've picked up the spindle (don't worry, that'll change soon - I have some things I need to finish up already and I'll have to do it over the weekend to make way for other things). And let me tell you, I really think I'm getting the hang of this.

I'm sure you recall the blue BFL I had on my spindle at the last posting, right? All slubby and thick and thin?'s a picture of the finished yarn.
That's actually just one mini-hank of three that I managed to spin out of 4 oz of fiber - got a whopping (note the sarcasm here folks) 64ish yards of pretty much what you see in the above photo. Thick, thin, slubby - my splicing of new pre-drafted strips of fiber onto the spun yarn horrible. Still, I was damn proud of it and still am. It might not be knittable but it sure is purty to look at. And since I was having such fun, I decided to pull out that oh so fruity smelling merino/tencel fiber and see if I could spin that up! And here's what I got!
Still thick and thin, not really all that slubby, but my splicing still leaves a lot to desire. And yes, this time I managed to skein all my little mini hanks together to make one very short but very fat skein of heavy fingering to almost bulky thick and thin - this time managing 116 yards! I know, still not really knittable (though I might see if I can manage a Calorimetry out of it) but once again, very pretty to look at. :D And I was still having such fun!

So much fun that I decided to get ambitious. I had this 8 oz hunk of super soft,shimmering 50/50 combo of merino/tussah silk that I had purchased from The Sheep Shed's fiber festival booth at Rhinebeck of 'o7 hanging around in a plastic tote. Every now and then I'd take it out to sniff it, pet it, and rub my face against it, but whenever I got the urge to try and spin it, I'd hide it away quickly for fear that I'd try and fail.

You see, I knew when I bought that fiber that I wanted it to be a lovely delicate lace-weight (single ply would more than fit the bill), and well, I kept doubting my ability to be able to spin a yarn that fine. Well, after I finished with that fruity merino/tencel I pulled out that fiber and separated it into two strips - then I took one of those strips and split it into fourths, and then eighths, and then rolled those little eighths up into balls and went to work on drafting out those eighths into nice, thin strips workable for spinning up a nice shimmery lace weight. And well, I hate to sound cliche' but Eureka, I think I get it!

Ta-DA! Oh I know it's not perfectly even - still a bit on the thick and thinnish side (though not even close to the degree it was just goes from a lace weight to a slightly heavier lace weight) and I'm down to the last three eighths of that first 4 oz strip of fiber and I already have 143 yards spun up! If I keep spinning at this rate, then I think that I'll have surpassed my goal and possibly have spun up enough for the Calais Shawl - nevermind my original goal of 198 yds of heaven!

Speaking of the Calais Shawl(Rav Link) - apparently it's a FAIL in the KAL department for the official True Blood Group on Ravelry, BUT I still want to knit it, and a couple of my friends do as well. I'll be starting a group for the Calais Shawl KAL over on Ravelry and while we'll officially cast on on June 13th at 9 p.m. I'm thinking that it'll be more of an on-going thing, that way whoever wants to hop on in whenever they want to, they can. :D And like I said, if you're participating in the 10 shawls in 2010 KAL, this shawl kal does double duty. ;)

Now the only problem is, I only know of two people besides me that want to join in, sooo...if you're interested in participating in the KAL just shoot me a private message over on ravelry (I'm girlmeetsneedle there too) and once I get three people interested then I'll set up a group! Also keep in mind that while this will be primarily a KAL group - there will be other fun groupy type activities in the future! Like swaps, and possibly a contest or two! :D

Anyway, it's 3 am and I'm going to actually go knit a little bit instead of spinning up any more fiber and then maybe head off to bed. Don't forget to pm me on Ravelry if you'd like to participate in the KAL and wait!

One more thing. While I was digging through my stash of fiber, I found this.
This, is an Ann Grout support spindle - turnip based. Pretty, isn't it?
Sweet how it rests in that little bowl right? Well, you'll notice that there's a tiny bit of blue fiber attatched to the spool of the spindle - but let me hasten to assure you that only a very small amount of fiber was ever spun using that thing. It is not for me, which is why it remained hidden for so long. However, I found a group on Ravelry and put it up for trade. I got quite a bit more interest than I thought I would, but I made speedy arrangements to make the trade with a very kind lady named Stacey (the oh so talented creator of Spindipity yarns and fibers) - for a 4 oz braid of her very aptly named "Pansy" colored SW merino. So recently, that support spindle has become this.
Don't the colors just make you happy in your soul? As soon as I got it, I sniffed it (smells vaguely of lavender and soap with the deep down earthy smell of sheep...mmmm) and petted it, and hugged it. And I squeed for about fifteen minutes. ANd then I squeed even more about the little post card she sent with a little code to use to get 15% off my next order from her (and oh there shall be plenty). Yes, I tucked the pretty away before I abandoned spinning up my lace weight to get that all drafted. And yes, I'm hoping I can hold off on spinning it for a while because I'd kind of like to savor all that happiness. :D She thanked me for the trade, but really I'm feeling like I'm getting the better part of this bargain here. Totally.

Now...I'm going to bed for realz. Night folks!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

In other news...

I'm blaming this on a certain someone who shall remain nameless (however...I'm sure you know who YOU are as I type this - evil foul temptress of spindling), but well, I did a crazy thing. I decided to take some of that fiber that I bought years and years and years ago at the only MDS&W I ever had the good fortune of attending (a super soft, scrummy braid of BFL) and actually attempt to spin it.'s not pretty. In fact, it barely looks like yarn - and actually, now that I think about it, I'm not entirely certain I'm even remotely doing this properly. But here it is. My first, yarnish type thingie...


Ta-Da!!!! Erm...I know. Hardly impressive right? First off, allow me to critique myself here, but this "yarn" is incredibly thick and thin. Oh yeah. Goes from a thickness that vaguely resembles sewing thread to an outright bulky. There are slubs, despite the fact I did pause (spindle clamped between my knees) and attempt to draft out the super thick parts of already pre-drafted wool. Actually, there are lots of slubs...and I'm not sure the twist will even stay really, but it kinda, sorta, almost does look like yarn, right? RIGHT?! Just agree with me and humor me people. :D Oh well, at least the colors are pretty and if I've wrecked this beautiful BFL roving beyond all reason, at least it was already pretty well wrecked from my prior attempt at spindling it a couple of years it's okay if I wreck it even further. To think I'd daydreamed myself into believing that I could get a lovely, even fingering weight single my first about ambitious.

On the home front, DW is doing well. Recently she partook in the physical aspect of testing for SRT (Sheriff's Response Team), and managed to pass it on her first try - much to her apparent astonishment (not so much mine - I knew she could do it), and is just waiting for an interview before she finds out whether or not she actually made it onto the team. DW is acting uncertain about her place in it - but she's not fooling me. I'm pretty sure she's a shoe-in.

I have a few more FO pictures to show you, too as I kind of held some back from my last post so...without any further ado, here they are!


Pattern: Baby Rollin' Beret by Woolly Wormhead
Yarn: Lane Cervinia Madrid Multi in colorway #2011
Amount Used: About three quarters of a skein.

This pattern was a very fast and very pleasant knit, and I think it could make just about any baby's head look adorable. A big bonus for me was that it took on a very Strawberry Shortcake kind of feel when it was done, because if you're as old as I am you actually remember when Strawberry Shortcake wore a beret-hat instead of the floppy brimmed monstrosity she wears now. I'm not entirely sure what Ms. (or Mr.) Wormhead meant by a "dinky knot"...but the little knot on top really is a cute addition. I think the knotted top is actually what drew it to my attention! :D


Pattern: Striped Baby Halter Top by Shelly Hattan
Yarn: Lane Cervinia Madrid Multi and Solid in colorways #2011 and #2003 respectively
Amounts: About 3/4 of the skein of solid, and about 1/2 of the skein of multi

This halter is easily the cutest little baby item I've knit. I don't know why, but I love it and I really think that it complements the little beret above. However, I suspect this project has cured me of my love of ruffles for a while. No need to be knitting and binding off that many stitches any time soon. However, the cuteness of the beret and the sweetness of this little top/sundress left me kind of at a loss for what kind of little shoes to make. I had intended on knitting yet another pair of Mary Jane Booties But for some reason (though I knit this with the same needles I knit the last pair in) when the first bootie was finished it was fully twice the size of the first pair I'd made! Sooo...that was a no go. I did however, finally manage to find a nice, simple pair of little footies that did just nicely.


Pattern: Organic Cotton Knit Booties by Bernat Design Studio
Yarn: Lane Cervinia Madrid Multi #2011
Amounts: Two walnut sized balls of leftovers from previous projects. :D

Aren't these just so sweet and cute in their simplicity. I think after all the ruffles and decreases and increases and picking up stitches I just wanted something kind of plain...something that would keep baby's foot warm without taking away from the ornateness of the little halter. I think they fit the bill, and on top of that were an incredibly fast knit - one that I can easily repeat over and over again (which is good as I plan on knitting a rainbow of them for my own hypothetical future child - hypothetical mind you because we have yet to find a suitable clinic with a suitable donor as of yet).

All the pink stuff above is intended as a belated baby shower gift to a friend of mine, along with two sweet little crocheted sets that my best friend's mother in law made out of the goodness of her heart for little Aurora Jane. Now if only we can agree on a time and day to meet so I can give them to her...well, we'll be in like flynn!

The last thing is the first part of a gift that DW requested that I knit last minute for her friend at work who is also having a baby (well, now we know exactly how most people entertain themselves during winter, right - dangit, where's that evil grin plurky face when I need it the most!)- this one a boy.


Pattern: Caterpillar by Kimberly Chapman
Yarn: TLC Cotton Plus - not sure who makes it - blueish green color and white.
Amounts: Uhm...scraps really. I used the rest of the skein of blueish green for a hat and booties (which I'll be showing in a later post due to the fact that the current pictures I have of them both really really suck)

This was an easy, fun toy to knit, though I wish that a) I'd had brighter, more crayola inspired colors to work with (next time - oh yes, there will be others to follow!) and b) I'd had noise making implements like bells, rattly things or squeaky things to put in the different sections. It would have made it way more of an interesting toy for a baby - but even though this toy will most likely be relegated to a shelf somewhere, it'll at least be one of the cutest toys on that shelf. Even if the antennae didn't quite do what I wanted them to do and flopped over...and my sewing of the legs kind of stinks, and my embroidery is awful! :D

I have a couple of other things on (and off) the needles, but once again, later posts. I can't just give you all my goodies right away. It's just not lady-like. Besides, I have a mouth full of BFL and my eyes are closing as I'm typing. It's looking like it's just about time for me to hit the hay for a bit of a kip. DW will likely be forced into OT tomorrow, or take, so after my kip, I'll spend my morning baking whoopie pies as kind of a last hurrah, if you will. A so-long to those cold wintery nights. And a delicious one at that! :D

Saturday, May 22, 2010

KAL and other things...

So, at random on plurk, my friend KnitChick and I were chattering away about True Blood Season 3 - and needless to say we're both super psyched and pretty much impatiently waiting for it to just start already! And of course, being as we're both obsessive knitters, the topic gradually turned to just that - and then moved on (quite rationally I'd say) to the idea of having a Knit-a-long (KAL) for Season 3.

Okay, so I know that this idea is not a new one, and that people have been having KAL's forever, and that there's been one for each season of the show (which I hadn't had the fortune to jump in on), but I can't seem to locate one for this season so we thought we'd try and get the ball rolling.

The tough part was finding an appropriate pattern (as the other appropriate patterns for such a tv show had already been used in previous KAL's - or were *gasp* Twilight related), so I plugged the word "vampire" into the little pattern search bar on Ravelry and went rifling through - and managed to discover this little gem : Calais Shawl . It's beautiful, the lace pattern isn't overwhelmingly complicated and looks to be repetitive and thus easily memorized - and it looks great in red, black or just about any color you'd want to knit it in! And after a few moments of discussion with Miss Chickie, we decided that it was just perfect for what we were looking for (plus as an added bonus, it ties into the 10 shawls in 2010 KAL that we're participating in as well).

So here's the info for the KAL

WHAT: Calais Shawl by Judy Marples
WHEN:Sunday JUNE 13th (edited thanks to a kindly reader) :)
CAST OFF: 10 pm SHARP on the day of the Season's last episode (or at least, that's our goal :) )

And believe me when I say that we'd really, really love to get as many people in on this as possible, so feel free to join in. And yes, we want to see pics of your FO!

Speaking further of knitting, I've been knitting up a storm lately! So much so that I actually need to take a break tonight so I can let my forearms rest. I don't know why, but they're killing me today! But...I do have plenty of FO pics to show for the aches and pains!


First up, we finally have here a complete, FO picture of the Bubbles Wrap I mentioned eons ago. The yarn again, is Acero by Brooks Farm yarns , and let me tell you it is some of the prettiest yarn I've worked with. Slips right through your fingers and is a dream to knit with. The model would be the woman that I actually wound up gifting it to - my Aunt Sharon - and let me just tell you she loves it. She wears it with everything and says that it even looks good with everything. It even looks nice with that bright, floral dress she's wearing! I'm just glad it went to someone who will actually get use out of it. Although, I fear I've turned her into a handknits addict. She's already looking through the magazines I have at patterns and plotting out when to take me yarn shopping her next hand knit piece. And my mom's super jealous because I've never knit her a stole like that (because I thought she wouldn't wear it) now I absolutely have to knit her a sweater. Hehehe. Soon I'll have projects coming out of my ears.


Up next is my Citron. I know this is meant to be a winter type shawlette, but around here, it still gets cooler at night occasionally so I thought it'd be nice to wear out in the evening - and the color is bright enough that it'll still be noticed. This I knit up in Mmmmmalabrigo lace. It was my first time ever working with this yarn, but I have to admit that I now see what all the hullaballoo is about. This is hands down the softest, skwooshiest, prettiest lace yarn I've had the pleasure of petting,and it almost seemed like a waste to remove it from it's oh so squeezable skein to wind it into a ball. The color I chose, was Tiger Lily. I'm a pink person by nature - and as such I tend to gravitate towards just that pink. Sooo...with this I took myself out of my color comfort zone and I have to say that I really, really love the result. I think I'll have to do this sorta thing more often!


The above is some baby stuff I knit up for my cousin's baby shower. They were a last minute, quickie gift, but still came out beautiful. I used yarn from my stash for this - as I was able to locate about 9 skeins of Madrid (6 of the multi and 3 solid pale pink). The hat, sweater and booties took me a combined four days to knit, and let me just say that they were a HUGE success. The patterns (in no particular order) are: Mary Jane Booties by Lucie Sinkler, Ruffled Baby Hat by MaryAnn Hwee, and Confection Baby Shrug by Tonya Wagner. I matched them with this cute little ruffled denim dress bought at Wal Mart and the result was adorable. I knit a blanket buddy for her too, but I can't seem to locate the pictures!

Now on the ruffled hat - I know my "flower" doesn't even look remotely like the ones in the pattern - and that's because I can't crochet for crap. So, if you like it, all I did was knit about 3 1/2" of a 3 stitch I-cord and then sewed it into a spiral and then proceeded to sew some beads into the center for sparkle. My cousin loved the result. So easy and yet so little work. <3

I have a few more FO's to post pictures of, but I think those will have to wait for another post as I'm kind of drifting off to sleep here...and I still need to get my butt in gear to do some cooking for tomorrow's family BBQ. But I absolutely have to leave you with this:


DW! Freshly showered, scrubbed, smelling oh so nummy and looking oh so sexilicious! Is it any wonder I love this woman? She's HAWT!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Food, sticks and can you go wrong?

First off, I have something to say and I'm going to say it. Some people, are inherently morons. There. I've gone ahead and done it. I'm not naming names or anything, but really now. Some things are just a matter of common sense and if you have none, then basically, yeah, you're screwed.

So, for those of you not "in the know", I now hold down a part time job at a bakery. Now, I don't actually do any of the baking as we have big, strong men in the kitchen to handle all that heavy lifting (and I mean heavy - you should see the size of these bowls the guys whip up various batters and frostings in, I'm talking HUGE!). My job is to stand out front at the counter, smile prettily and ask if the customers would like that in a box or a bag. That's right. I'm a pastry peddler. And generally, I like it. It's exceptionally fun because I can call my MIL down at the main bakery when she's working and harass her whenever I feel like it because, hey, she's the cake decorator!

Anyway, this past Sunday I get to work at 6:30 a.m - as usual - and start putting out trays of glossy, powdery, flaky pastries and the day starts per the norm. Nobody comes in until about 8:30 a.m (usually the woman who lives across the street asking for her large coffee hold the sugar please). This particular Sunday, there seemed to be a LOT of birthday parties. At least thirteen that I personally had knowledge of as my little store was in possession of the stars of those shows - the cakes. Now my mother in law, she does beautiful work. I've never had a customer complain about the cakes they receive. In fact, they all say "Wow, that came out so much better than I expected!" and generally,they leave with shiny happy faces which, in turn, makes me put my shiny happy face on. I love seeing the people walk away happy, you know? I mean, there's so much misery in the world already, so if a little thing like a doughnut dripping with glaze or a ten pound marble cake loaded with buttercream icing, stuffed with strawberries and topped with about ten million beautiful frosting roses makes people cheery then I'm all for it!

Sounds like a pretty decent day, right? It was, until the BIG IDIOT walks in. Now, he's a young guy - obviously out of his depth. I mean, you can tell when a customer's comfy with being in a place and he was so NOT comfy. He walked quickly up to the counter, eyes darting nervously (most likely this was a ploy to emphasize the fact that yes, he'd almost forgotten to stop by and thusly was in more of a hurry than he usually would be - sneaky devil) about the place until he finally arrived right in front of me.

ME: "Hi there! How can I help you?" ::smiling pleasantly::

BIG IDIOT: "Uh...I'm here to pick up a cake?" ::looking at me quizzically, as if unsure that this is in fact a place where you could find cakes::

ME: "Okay...what's the name?" ::still smiling::

BIG IDIOT: "Uhm...*Smith*?" ::looking more confused by the minute::

ME: "Oh sure thing! Let me just box it up for you!"

At this point, I head into the back to do just that. Meanwhile I can hear him reciting his errand list out loud...and I'm trying not to giggle. After all, laughing at the customers is rude right? At least, it is while they're in earshot of it.

ME: "Here it is Sir! Isn't it nice?" ::grinning, ignoring the fact that BIG IDIOT has registered that I heard his little littany and is now actually blushing and trying to avoid looking me in the eye::

BIG IDIOT: "Oh yeah, it's great!" ::takes a peek inside and nods as if he knows what the damned thing is supposed to look like::

Now please, take note. This cake wasn't your average marble birthday cake. It was stuffed to the gills with our home made chocolate custard with loads of our real whipped cream piled and whorled on top of it. Not to mention the inch-thick colorful balloons on either side of this thing. Needless to say, I could not close the top of the box all the way for fear of smooshing my MIL's lovely work. So I closed it as much as I could and taped the sides down. Now...since we've already established this man's idiocy, I'm sure you can only guess what this guy did next.

BIG IDIOT: "Uh...why's it open?" ::untapes the sides and puts the box top completely down and then starts PUSHING the top down on top of the cake::

ME: "What are you DOING?!" ::no longer smiling, but rather looking on in horrified fascination...and yes, my voice did raise into a bit of an incredulous shriek on that last word::

BIG IDIOT: "Uhm...trying to close the box." ::this said slightly condescendingly, even as he pushes the box top down a bit further:: "But it ain't closing all the way..."

ME: "Well no kidding!" ::grabbing the cake from him and lifting the top, showing the now totally smooshed top of the cake. The balloons? Totally flat and smooshed into the cream and smeared all over the place. The pretty whorly trim? Pretty no more. It was a mush pile!:: "See why I didn't close it all the way? You probably would have been fine if you'd just left it closed but look! You squished it!" ::looking at him like he's the biggest moron on the planet::

BIG IDIOT: "Oh shit..." ::eyes bugging out of his head, disbelieving:: "Can you fix it?!?!" ::panic is definitely setting in. Oh yeah, he's gonna get a HUGE earful when he gets home with that mangled marble cake::

ME: "Uhm, no, I can't. I'm not a decorator. And we don't have one in the store right now. You're going to have to take it as is. Sorry." ::not smiling, shoving the cake receipt in his face:: "But I want you to sign this so we know that you did see it in EXCELLENT condition. Please."

Of course, he signed it and took the cake as it was. So what's the moral of the story here? Never let a man pick up a cake that you took the time to painstakingly choose colors, filling, and flavor for or you'll essentially end up with trifle. you can well guess, names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Speaking of pastries and doughnuts and things, I have been working in my own kitchen (as usual) - whipping up what I hoped would be a rather tasty concoction on my stove top only to find them to slightly fail at the finish line.

The culprit: Zeppole by Giada de Laurentiis

There mine are, frying up in their two inches of oil. I didn't use olive oil, like the recipe suggested, but rather canola. I did cut the recipe in half as it was just me that would be eating them (DW having been forced to work over time that morning, but well, they look the way they're supposed once they hit the hot oil. They puff up, and appear to promise a light, airy confection that will be crisp outside and soft and puffy in the middle and when sweetened with some vanilla sugar and cinnamon? They promise to be heaven, right? Well, while the dough did exactly what it was supposed to, I found they lacked any bit of true flavor (except for the eggs...I could definitely taste egginess in them and maybe that's why I found them to be a bit blech). Also they were far too dense. More like a deep fried pancake (despite them puffing up in the oil) in texture than a doughnut of any kind. The cinnamon sugar was a nice touch...but I think they're just not for me. Needless to say, next time I get the urge for piping hot, home made doughnuts, I think I'll go for the apple cider variety - rolled hot out of the oil in cinnamon sugar and then served with a cream cheese glaze for dipping. Yeah, now that's the stuff. Anyhow, here's the finished, yet disappointing, zeppole.
Notice the amount of sugar that I applied to make them palatable...

Aaaanywho, moving on to the world of knitting. I've finished my Swallowtail , and can safely say that I am absolutely addicted to lace. It took me a bit to feel "brave" enough to attempt it, but when I successfully completed my Ishbel, I realized it was time to step the lace up a notch and I really feel I did.


There she is boys and girls, and I have to say I'm pretty darn pleased with myself. Granted, I didn't bother with the nupps (being as no matter how loose I worked them they still seemed to need enough force to push the needle through all five stitches to cause pain in my shoulder after four or five of them), and opted to use beads instead. My only regret is that the beads were size 8 mm instead of 6...I think the larger size would have shown up better...but still, for a shawlette of this delicacy I still think it came out beautifully. I don't really understand how people who knit this pattern wound up with full sized shawls (maybe they used much bigger needles than I did?), but I'm happy with the size anyway as I prefer scarf-like shawlettes to big wraps anyway! :D


There's a closer view of the beads. Hopefully you can see them. It was tough trying to figure out what color beads to use, but I think I chose well.

Conveniently, the day I finished this shawl, the needles I'd ordered from Knit Picks came in, which allowed me to cast on the socks I promised I'd knit for my Aunt Sharon. She was so delighted by the wrap I gave her for Christmas, that when I mentioned I really liked to knit socks she promptly bought me enough skeins of Happy Feet to knit herself and my mother each a pair of socks. They're thrilled. Now I ordered two sets of needles from KP. Both size 2, each a set of 5 DPN's. One is nickel plated and the other is a true blue indulgence - Knit Picks' Harmony Wood. I haven't used them yet, but I'm looking forward to it. I've heard lots of good things about the Harmony Wood and I thought I'd give 'em a test. The nickel plated are mostly for practicality as one of my dogs has a fondness for stealing my wooden DPN's out of my knitting bag and chewing them up until they're nothing but splinters - thus the reason for my having to order new DPN's in the first place!

Either way, I'm really liking this sock pattern so far, and I absolutely love this yarn. Yes, I know it's not Wollemeise, STR or any of the other "BIG NAMES" that I'm in sock yarn lust with, but this yarn is still awesome. It's soft, it's squishy and while the other yarns I suspect might be lust for me, this yarn seems to be true love. I chose a semi-solid...more like a dark grayish blackish blue with hints of a lighter color that add subtle highlights to my stitching. Sooo pretty. Here's what I have done so far:
Pattern: "Embossed Leaves" by Mona Schmidt as presented to me in "Favorite Socks"
Yarn: Plymouth Happy Feet - Color #18 - 2 skeins
Needles: Size 2 - 2.75 mm DPN's
Adjustments: Rather than knit the full 18 rounds or whatever she suggests for the cuff, I knit a mere 10 and with all the repeats of the chart for the leg I still got the 6 3'4" length that she suggests!

And do you see what I mean about prettiness? Check out that subtle glossy sheen! Those lovely little highlights from the lighter parts! I mean, you can't beat it for what it cost - a mere 5.99 per hank! And it's really, truly delightful as it runs through your fingers while you're working with it.

On the home front, DW's been sick lately, but I think she's starting to come around to being better. She's sitting on the couch right now, playing a hack 'n slash game and delicately sipping some coffee. She's also managed to find time to thumb through Favorite Socks and pick out a pair of socks that I absolutely "MUST" knit for her.Of course, I'm a little nervous about them because she's picked out a pair of socks that require colorwork (luckily only two colors I think but still)and I've never successfully knit with more than one color in the round before. Well, I guess there's a first time for everything, right? And of course, DW's still thrilled with her job. She's going out for SRT soon (the jail's version of SWAT) and is looking into taking the Hostage Negotiation class their offering, as well as the gun safety course so she can legally carry. DW with a gun - I almost shudder to think of it! Just kidding - I know she'll be very serious about safety with that thing, and even though I'm not sure how to feel about the Hostage Negotiation thing..I know she'll be great at it and will think before putting herself in any dangerous situations. I'm just a worry wart and I can't help it. :P I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I'm off to head back into the living room, knit a few more rows and listen to the rain drop all pitter-pattery on my roof! Keep knitting, baking, and reading! :D I love having makes it so worth it to me to keep this blog up, so thank you so much!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Where's Waldo?

Here I am! Well, okay so I'm not a tall, geeky looking male with glasses and a penchant for wearing candy cane print clothes...but here I am nonetheless. You may be wondering exactly why I've been gone so long...and well, frankly I have no excuse other than sheer laziness. So this post is gonna be a bit of a doozy - because there's a LOT to catch up on.

First off, let's go all the way back to Rhinebeck, 2009. Once again, I didn't make it. This year however, I have a very, very good excuse. The night before we were going to leave, I had a gallbladder attack that lead to a very stressful 8 days in the hospital and a gallbladder removal surgery. It was quite upsetting because I was completely prepared to go too! And, being the sweetheart that I am, I gave the people I was going with my share of the hotel room anyway because I didn't want to screw them. And what did they do? They repayed that kindness by being triply kind and using the money on yarn for me instead!!!!


There it is, three squishy, gorgeous, PINK skeins of Brooks Farms Solo Silk. The only yarn I was really interested in purchasing and they bought it for me. They even picked out the perfect color! Now I just need to figure out what I'm going to do with it! I've been told to "make it something good" because, well, they spent a looooong time picking out just the "right" color for me. Apparently, I'm hard to shop for when it comes to yarn because my taste in colors is considered unusual by them. While they for the most part blatantly favor earth tones or fire-y type colors, my taste tends to run all over the spectrum (but skipping a few shades in the color wheel just because they bore me). But I think that they did a superb job!

And, on top of all that, they got me this nifty little goodie bag from the Rav party and had people sign it for me and stuffed all kinds of fun little goodies in it!


I was, and still am, blown away by their thoughtfulness. It was something I wasn't remotely expecting, and it really made my hospital stay that much less stressful.The months after that stay - well that's another story. There was a bit of a leukemia scare due to high white blood cell counts, but after umpteen million viles of blood taken out of my poor, bruised arms, they were quite happy to tell me that I was cancer free...but still, it was a bit harrowing. Thankfully, things have settled down where my health has concerned.

On the knitting front...I've been doing quite a bit of it, and even managed to successfully complete my first actual lace stole - the previously mentioned Bubbles wrap! I, however, do not have a FO picture as of yet because it was gifted to my fantastic Auntie Sharon (who got all teary eyed when I gave it to her because it was the "best Christmas present" she'd ever received). However, I told her that I needed to nab her for a picture with the stole...and she has agreed! So one should be coming soon! In the meantime, here are some of the things I've cranked out!

Pattern: Baktus
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn - Happy Feet - Color #04 - 2 skeins
Needles: US size 6 / 4.0 mm
Difficulty: Easy - a mindless knit.
Alterations: Instead of leaving the ends plain, I added some fun tassles.
Made for: My Mom!

Pattern: Ishbel - the smaller version
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug - Color "Fire" - 1 skein
Needles: US 6 / 4.0mm
Difficulty: Intermediate.
Alterations: None
Made for: Myself!

This was my second "real" lace project and my first lace shawl. It was such a fun knit, that I really want to make another one, but this time I think I'll add some beads. I just need to find the right yarn. Might have to get some more Jitterbug because I really, really like the feel of it and it was awesome to work with. No splitting or anything! My only regret is that I didn't block the points out more aggressively. Maybe if I get unlazy, I'll re-block it and do so. We'll see.

Pattern: Brigid
Yarn: BMFA STR Mediumweight - Color "Alina" - like maybe 1/2 the skein if that?
Needles: US 4 / 3.5mm
Difficulty: I considered these easy. They took me like two days to knit!
Made for: My friend Lee-Ann!

These were a thank you gift for feeding DW while I was in the hospital and feeding us the day I got out of the hospital. My only problem with these, were the way the colors pooled...and also, belatedly, I discovered that I'm not actually fond of this colorway at all. Next time I make these I will do two things: Go down a needle size and knit them in a solid, semi-solid, or heathered yarn.


Pattern: Swallowtail Lace Shawl
Yarn: Merino Lace - Color "Warm Spirit" - a little over half a skein
Difficulty: Intermediate for me...but so far so good!
Made for: Dunno yet, but it's the first of my 10 shawls for 2010!

I started this originally back in the beginning of January, but I dropped a stitch so far down while working the nuppps that I had to frog it...and while I was frogging it the yarn decided it was going to pull the entire shawl up into one, big unmanageable knot. So I had to scrap it and start again. Took me a bit to re-cast on...but I decided I'm not letting this beat me down!

Also, as you can see from the photo, I've been doing some baking! In that photo is a chocolate cupcake with toasted 7-minute frosting! I used this recipe for the cupcakes, and the following recipe for the frosting. I then put them in the oven to bake and at about 7 minutes till baking time was over I took them out and piped the frosting on then put them back in the oven for the frosting to toast up a bit.

7 Minute Frosting - courtesy of

1 ½ c White Sugar
1/8 tsp Salt
1/3 c Water
¼ tsp Cream of Tartar or 1 tbsp. of White Corn Syrup
2 Egg Whites
1 ½ tsp Vanilla

Place sugar, cream of tartar (or syrup), salt, water and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a hand mixer for a total of 1 minute. Place pan over the boiling water (but make sure it doesn’t actually touch the water as this may cause crystallization of the sugar) and beat constantly on high for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and beat in vanilla.

Some things I would have done differently: First, I would have only filled the cupcake cups up halfway rather than 3/4 as my cupcakes kind of overflowed their little holders. I had to cut away some of the edge so they would be perfect icing size. Also, I would have cut back some of the milk in the recipe even more than I did. I cut it back from 1 cup to a little over 3/4 of a cup of milk...but still they almost disintegrate when I pull the paper off. So maybe next time I'll do a 1/2 cup plus a tablespoon or two. Secondly, I would have left them in the oven to toast some more to get more of that crisp, cooked sugar flavor! However, these are still yummy, and with only a scant 3 tbsp of butter in the cupcake, even someone on a diet can afford to splurge with these! Here's a closer picture of the cupcake (and yes there's a bite missing)!
Here are some other things I've baked up in my kitchen on the pond...
Apple Pie!
Chewy,crispy, chocolate chip cookies (courtesy of
Miniature Soft Pretzels (also courtesy of
And the only pancakes I'm allowed to make ever...Aunt Edna Rae's Sour Cream pancakes (recipe found via

As you guys can plainly see, GMN is back in business! Knitting and domesticity is ensuing! And yes, there will be more blogging in the future! I promise! But for now, it's back to knitting...and maybe consumption of another cupcake or two! ;) Be safe, happy and make sure if you're being bad that you're at least good at it! >:)~