Tuesday, December 29, 2009

you're living through another year

resolutions of all kinds spark and catch in my mind at this time of year; i suppose it natural to approach blogging with the same sort of goal-setting. but this blog? well, i'm not sure of what to think as i sit here, staring at the blank(ish) dialogue box, knowing that i've only posted 18 times this year. are 18 posts a sign that i'm blog-fail? are 18 posts indicative that life only gets busier and more chaotic each passing year? are the mere 18 posts a testament to my lack of consistency? how do i reconcile my occupation of this space with the obvious lack of voice? do i renew the vow to be more diligent, etching out the time to publish in this little part of the interwebs? rather, do i just cast aside the feelings of disappointment in myself and push onward, not looking back and dwelling on the quiet that was?

in reality, these days have been anything but quiet. the weeks of november, and then especially the first two weeks of december, were filled with the nutcracker commitments. laurel danced again this year, with the regional professional ballet company, so not only was she rehearsing and performing a lot, but as a family, we are required to donate time on tasks that help the production run smoothly. the calendar was peppered with nutcracker responsibilities, and everything else was fit in around them, too.

holidays came and holidays went. many pictures were taken. lots of goodies were baked and cooked. i made lemony snickets and pumpkin cheesecake, spatchcocked a turkey and rocked turkey gravy, decorated sugar cookies, perfected shortbread (finally), and indulged in peanut butter cups. we hosted a traditional scandinavian smörgåsbord for christmas. we will be having a quiet but happy new year's eve celebration.

spatchcocked turkey... it's roasted flat.

and though not as prolific as last winter's knitting session was, i've had the needles going. november saw the finish of the beautiful chevron love mittens, one of my favorite knits to date.

over thanksgiving break, i whipped up a cable comfort throw for annika's teacher (and now need to make another, bigger one!) in bulky yarn. when knitters tell you this is a quick and economical knit, believe it! and, at last, i earned my seaming badge with this project.

an unseasonably cold december made everyone's soft california bones ache, but especially those of our chihuahua-dachshund mix, stitch. i carefully measured her, then knit her a wool sweater, only to find it too tight to be comfortable. i am not going to give up, however; other design options are being explored.

stitch is not so happy.

the only handknit i really wanted complete for a christmas gift was a pair of socks for the dear husband. but what's that about always abusing those we love the most? well, i don't abuse him, but he isn't getting his socks for another few days...

reinforced heel -- the first one i've done...

the pattern is roger sock, the yarn is heritage sock. partly due to a hectic schedule, and partly due to backordered reinforcement thread, i'm only about 75% finished. as always, it took me a few repeats to "get" the pattern; i'm *so* not a one-glance-at-the-chart-and-i-get-it knitter.

as this post and year come to a close, i want to thank those of you who do stop by once your blog readers flash that i've decided to make an appearance. every one of your comments make me feel like there is a reason i eke out the time to write. each of the readers that take the initiative to reply earn a new blog reader themselves. blogging is fun, once i sit down and get to typing. i'll have to remind myself of that more often.

happy holidays, and the best new year's wishes to you and yours.


Monday, November 2, 2009

half WIP (alternatively, half FO)

sort of like "glass half empty, glass half full", right?

i am so the "glass half empty" girl. not as bad as a debbie downer, or cathy, but still pessimistic in my own right.

this mitten, however, might make me a more optimistic knitter. since technically it's one of two mittens, it's not a finished knit, but it's off the needles, with the ends woven*, and free to be put on, admired, taken off, and repeated as necessary.

amidst what is already a crazy busy week, i'll find some time to cast on the mate. (that's optimism for you!)

*i carried the yarn up the inside of the mitten. there were very few ends to be woven.

Monday, October 26, 2009

floating through space and time

floats. my new challenge.

i'm still working on the chevron love mittens. it's a good thing i'm head over heels in love with the pattern and the yarn, or this first mitten would have ended up thrown in a corner and left to become a den for dust bunnies...

i had to frog the first attempt, as i was pulling much too tightly on the floats during that first go round.

things are going more smoothly now, though i haven't had a whole lot of time to knit lately, much to my chagrin.

i can, however, share a finished knit with you. not surprisingly, it's another mitten set, and again, not a shocker, the pattern is nothing short of perfection.

i've now knit two pair of phenomenon. the first pair was to test knit the pattern for it's designer. i thought it was pretty great at that point, but after additional tweaking, the newest version of phenomenon is absolutely phenomenal.

cascade 220 superwash in grey (816), held double throughout

it's a free pattern, but one you must have a ravelry account to access. a previously released pattern will do the job, but phenomenon mimics the patterned palm featured on the mittens used in the movie.

what challenges you as a knitter? colorwork? cables? finishing work? carving out time to devote to your craft?

Monday, October 5, 2009

round and round we go

circulars. dpn's. when knitting in the round, what is your preferential tool?

i've mentioned the wanted to learn magic loop before. as always, someone in the knitting blogosphere was willing to share. the generous leslie sent me her unused booklet. she bought it thinking she'd teach herself... sometime. well, sometime turned into "not yet, and it's been a while!" so it made its postal journey across the country.

i tried. i tried really hard. and i discussed it here. not in depth, but discuss it i did. but i failed. in the end, i ripped the sock off the circular, threw it on dpn's and went to work. of course i thought of old dogs and new tricks, and decided that whatever method was successful for me was the method i was going to stick with. (and let's be honest: if a fabulous knitter like leslie doesn't feel the call to learn the magic loop, why should i?)

fast forward 18 months. last week, while on a chartered bus, i learned that there is a serious benefit to knitting socks (or whatever) on circulars: you cannot drop your needle and lose it when it rolls to the very front, very back, or in the crack of a 60-seat bus filled with fourth and fifth grade students who will gawk and point if you crawl around on the floor.

thankfully, i had brought a few extra dpn's, as i planned to knit the cuffs of both Mystery Sock '09 socks, and complete the first clue for the month. Mystery Sock KAL is my favorite. i participated last year and really loved the socks i ended up with at the end of it all. this year, i dug through the stash, hoping that kirsten will again provide a great pattern that looks divine in a semi-solid.

dream in color smooshy, gothic rose

on a whim, i bought a 12" addi turbo in a US 9 to work the sleeves of my february lady sweater. i had size 9 dpn's but i was really loving the ease of a circular throughout the body of the sweater, and although at the time i didn't know i'd use it again so soon, i'm glad to have it. i am using it to knit laurel a pair of phenomenon mittens (ravelry link) for halloween, when she dresses up as bella from twilight.

so am i a circular convert? i don't know that yet; however, i do know that i'm going to give the magic loop another whirl.

if for nothing else, it will keep me off my hands and knees on the floor of a bus.

Monday, September 28, 2009

the call of fall

so the weather here in sunny california isn't exactly fall-like, but there is nothing but cozy autumnal knits on my mind.

is there anything better than a finished project that you can actually wear and like? the february lady sweater (which i loving call my "finally, a lady sweater") is finished, buttons sewn, and blocked. there is not much that i can say about the sweater that others haven't already. it's a simple knit, which makes it easy to pick up and knit whenever you've a free moment; it's a lovely raglan design so there is no finishing work on the sleeves; and it's been knit so many times, there are a multitude of tips available and tons of inspiration regarding yarn substitutions.

my fls required only 3.5 skeins of dream in color classy "cocoa kiss". knit at gauge on size 9 needles, there are 22 repeats in the body and 17 in the sleeves. now that it's done, i would have knit one more repeat in the sleeves; however, i did wet block the sweater, stretching the sleeves that extra inch. the large, wonky buttons are plastic, and a completely different color than that of the yarn, but complementary. and here it is, modeled:

if i'm not the last person on the planet to knit this, and you, dear reader, are thinking of casting on your own fls, you might find these links helpful: the buttonhole tutorial listed in the pattern is a great one; for the eyelet increase in the yoke, go to this great calculator (though lots of great looking february lady sweaters don't even have the eyelet row); and of course, the ravelry pattern page is a great place to start.

and because the fls is officially finished, chevron love mittens is replacing it on the works-in-progress list. (i have a rule of three. three projects are always on the wip list. one is always a sock, one is a no-brainer project, and one is an involved project.) i can't wait to have the mittens ready for winter wear with my new charcoal pea coat.

chevron love mittens (natural neutrals kit)

Monday, September 21, 2009

non-creative convalescence

thanks to a great live-in nurse (the husband), I have been able to thoroughly rest and begin to recover this week.

as desirable a week off from household duties, kid carting, and general responsibility might seem, I can't say that I made great use of the time. most activity made my already aching head pound that much more. I know I couldn't have done anything more than I was able to accomplish.

yesterday, I finished the first of my "just another sock" pair. this is the project that sits in my purse, ready for action when I'm sitting and waiting for the kids to finish school, sports, or art classes. the sock couldn't be more simple, planned that way so I don't need to have a pattern nearby, and it was that easy, second nature design that made this an appealing project yesterday.

sKNITches syncopation yarn in "Collegiate". 2x2 rib cuff, heel flap and stockinette foot.

I did polish off the remaining books in my Young Adult queue. the five book Jessica Darling series (sloppy firsts, second helpings, etc.) kept me busy for a couple of days. I was impressed with the first and second books: the voice is witty and sardonic, and I befriended the main characters quickly. as with most episodic designs -- movies, television series, books -- I was disappointed as the saga continued. the next book on the nightstand was the curious incident of the dog at night-time. a quick read, I found what I enjoyed most was the perspective that the high-functioning autistic narrator provided. less of a mystery than a coming-of-age story, the curious incident kept me turning the pages.

so this week, I plan to take on the real world slowly. hopefully I don't burn up upon re-entry.

Monday, September 14, 2009


so of course I said I would update every Monday.
and here I am, sitting in bed, knitting very far from my mind, without energy to pick up the sticks.
I have been diagnosed with the h1n1 virus. I know that it's not terribly serious, that more people are negatively affected by the regular seasonal flu, but I can't help from feeling as though I've invited a predator to dinner.
maybe once these medications kick in, I'll be able to take advantage the quarantine time to knit. until then, friends.

Monday, September 7, 2009

a labor of love

phew! it's been a while, hasn't it? at my last blog entry, spring was on its way out, and i was busy knitting socks. now, autumn has almost arrived and i'm in a sweater knitting frenzy!

i've spent some quality time with my february lady sweater lately. seeing this grow, row by row, repeat by repeat has been so fun, and the prospect of a completely wearable sweater is captivating. i've knit sweaters before, but either they went unfinished or were not worn for more than a photo op. this one will be different!

most of the knitting projects that have kept me up until well into the early summer mornings of were socks. the crosshatch lace socks were completed. audrey's sweetpeas were finished. 40 summers long are now ready for wear. just cast off were the "and they call it poppy love" socks. if you follow my flickr stream or are a friend on ravelry, you've maybe already seen them. if you haven't, here's an index:

i also made two felted berets for a school project, worked heartily on my february lady sweater, began a "simple sock" for when i'm in the car waiting for the kids to get out of school (or dance or art...), and test knit a fabulous mitten pattern.

so many thanks to those friends who took the time to e-mail me or re-post to a previous blog entry throughout the summer. the idea that you missed my ramblings here in this little space made my days even brighter. no major life changes kept me from blogging; simply put, writing became difficult to prioritize when the kids were on break -- and underfoot! -- and while a bounty of delicious vegetables was growing in the backyard.

cooler weather lured me out yesterday, and i spent the morning and early afternoon pulling out the spring-planted crops to make room for the fall crops i intend to plant in just a couple of weeks. but don't worry: that endeavor won't keep me from blogging through the busiest of knitting seasons. it's my hope to blog every monday, between loads of laundry and occupying the last kidlet at home. we celebrated gavin's fourth birthday just yesterday. it's quite possible that this is his last year at home with me all day... i can hardly believe it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

tooting my own horn

i'm throwing any self-restraint out the window: welcome to the most narcissistic blog post ever.

there are a few things i can do really well. a few of them, just in case you're still reading:
  • a side-kick that can plant a heel into the nose of an adult at standing height
  • coax the thickest, most plentiful foam out of a pitcher of steaming milk
  • make a damn good guacamole -- even for a gringa
  • justify any shoe purchase
  • research random bits of info, regardless of pertinence
but i have never been good at inciting love fests over at ravelry. until now. (and yes, i know that there are projects that have been favorited hundred of times, but remember, this post is all about me and my fabulous WIP.) my newest project has been loved on so much in the last three days i'm beginning to feel a little light-headed.

i had e-mailed sarah, my favorite yarn dealer, a few months back, asking her to dye up a yellow-ish yarn in anticipation of may/june's project spectrum feature color. she happened to just have a couple of skeins of "honey wilkes" in her gorgeous merino/cashmere/nylon base. (amanda had commissioned the color, so i should properly thank her, too!) i took sarah up on her offer right away...

it was hard to wait for may to come round. even with a really gratifying project going for march/april's project spectrum, i couldn't get the honey wilkes out of my mind. i was itching -- positively itching -- to cast on. from the beginning, i was all set to knit netherfield. then i realized the pattern is written toe-up, which is not something i know how to do, nor do i care to learn how to do (yet). i pulled out my two favorite sock pattern books, more sensational knitted socks and more sensational knitted socks, and leafed through. as soon as i'd spotted it, i knew it'd be perfect: crosshatch lace.

it really is just the most perfect harmony. yarn+pattern=love.

i kitchenered the first toe last night and will cast on for the second sock as soon as i'm done here. like other things lately, i'm utterly consumed with this, gorging myself on the obsession of the pattern and yarn.

and those socks from the first round of project spectrum? well, they're lovely, and they'll have their place in my wardrobe. but they're no crosshatch lace... more like the sturdy jacob to my exquisite edward. ;)

green stems, also a more sensational knitted socks pattern, and dream in color smooshy "happy forest".

Monday, March 30, 2009

cookies and a week's worth

I'm never in a cookie rut...
Chewy Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies. Dee-lish-us!

But I have been in a dinner rut. Hopefully, this week's menu will revive my family's palate:
Monday: Annie's Mexican Gumbo (crock pot!)
Tuesday: Fuddrucker's restaurant (school fundraiser)
Wednesday: Tiffanie's Pot Sticker Soup (can't wait!)
Thursday: Holli's Tofu Sugar Snap Pea Stir-Fry (sounds delightfully simple!)
Friday: Katie's easy and humorously named "Dog Food"
Saturday: Kylie's Oven Baked Sausage and Tomato Risotto (uh-huh. seriously.)
Sunday: Stacey's kid-tested but still a little fancy Chicken Marsala

Sadly, there aren't enough days in the week to share all of the recipes that you super-duper readers sent me. I'm looking forward to trying them all, and am anticipating the thought of making some of these meals with veggies from my very own garden once summer comes round.

Now for what you've visited for: the giveaway! Using a completely un-scientific method (known as my active preschooler reaching into a bowl with names on them), I'm excited to announce that Donna has won. Donna shared three recipes with me -- yum! -- and we've already tried her biscuit-topped leftover casserole. It was pretty dang good for revitalizing leftovers!! Here are her directions:

  • either make biscuits from scratch, the bisquick box, or buy the pillsbury biscuits in the can
  • roll out each biscuit to about 5-6" circle
  • what ever cooked meat you have in fridge-chop finely...add to a bowl
  • add any cooked veggies left over, chop finely...add to the meat
  • add shredded cheese...muenster is good for this...but anything really will work
  • now you need to add a sauce...you could use a few spoonfuls of any canned cream soup (celery, mushroom, chicken) or the greek yogurt mixed with hummus or mustard
  • mix the sauce with the meat mixture
  • drop a spoonful on to the rolled out biscuit, fold biscuit pinch edges w/ fork
  • spread a little egg wash over it
  • bake until golden brown 375 degrees
(I used cooked and cubed chicken breast for the meat and mixed veggies from a freezer bag. The baking time was about 30 minutes.)

Donna, I've e-mailed you, so let me know which skein of yarn you would like.

Thank you to everyone who shared! Thank you also for such warm birthday wishes!! Stay tuned for more surprises...

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Time and Tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of thirty.
~ Robert Frost


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

wants vs. needs

This girl wants yarn... I'm a yarn stasher. I'm also a yarn snob [officially now, since I was labeled by another knitter and not just my own family members]. In any case, stashing snobby yarns is what I do. It's my mode of operation to spot a delicious yarn, lust from a distance for just a short time, and then pounce. Thus was the course of events when I spied this in early February:

The Plucky Knitter Merino Cashmere Nylon Fingering in "Special Fella".
(Plucky's photo better captures the color.)

Since my own special fella, Mr. SheepishOne, has a birthday in March, I figured that I had just enough time to knit up a pair of squooshy Retro Rib socks for his special day. I had them done just a week before the deadline, and like a giddy school girl awaiting Santa's arrival, I couldn't wait for his birthday and gave them to him early.

What this girl also wants is more time to knit. I have two different sock projects on the needles at the moment. The first, at 50% complete, is Mockery Socks. The other is Stems. Both have 4 row repeats to their patterns, which keeps me on my toes, since often I set a sock down mid-row so I can see to the needs of one of my children.

Mockery was decided upon by the Malabrigo Junkies (Ravelry) for a sock KAL during Malabrigo March. I've had a skein of Malabrigo Sock in Chocolate Amargo for a while, so pulled it out of the stash and cast on. I had a few problems with this sock out of the gate, but they were all absent-minded mistakes that I had made. Almost always I use a size 2 needle for socks with a fingering weight yarn, but this Malabrigo Sock is a very light fingering and to get gauge I had to pull out my rarely used size 1's. Size 1 dpns make me feel like I am working with toothpicks, and my experience with them is not stellar: I've broken an entire set, one by one, so they make me a bit nervous. However, the Mockery pattern is a lovely one, and effective yet simple. Unfortunately, I've only been able to access the pattern through Ravelry, so those of you without a Rav account will need to sign up straightaway.

Stems -- only about 25% complete -- is my first Project Spectrum 4 knit, and most likely the only for this direction of PS4. I'm using Dream in Classy Smooshy, Happy Forest colorway, and though I'm enjoying the color variances of the DIC, I don't like the hand. In my opinion, the yarn is pretty stiff when knit, but maybe that will change with washing. As always, Charlene Schurch is a pattern writer master, and I find that anything I choose to knit from her books is always fabulous.

What this girl needs is food! Lots of you have responded to my previous post begging for family-tested recipes -- even the lurkers! I appreciate the time you take to e-mail me your tried-and-trues. Please keep sending them. Remember, there's a giveaway to entice you... And to play fair, here is one recipe I keep in rotation, ingredients always on hand in the pantry: Sticky Coconut Chicken. Mmm, mmm, good!

Monday, March 23, 2009

in need of a few good ones

I've now gotten so far down into the recipe rut that I need some rock climbing gear to get out. With so much information at my fingertips, one would think this impossible. "Search online," I hear you whisper; "Crack open those cookbooks," you think aloud. Alas, those routes have been taken...

I don't think that my children are especially picky. Then again, I've never lived with other small people for a long run of time and paid attention to their likes and dislikes. (Belated apologies to my brother and sister.) My children will eat what is served -- maybe not a lot of it -- but what I'm looking for are rave reviews, a few dishes that everyone loves. A few dishes that don't cut it: baked ziti, lasagne, or anything else drenched in a lot of dairy.

Do you have a recipe you'd be willing to share? E-mail me with your family favorites (using the e-mail address at the left of the blog) and you'll be entered into the very first give-away chez sheepish one. If you're the winner, you may choose one of these three fabulous prizes:

Debbie Bliss Pure Silk in coral (2 skeins)

Scout's Swag Superwash Merino Tencel sock in Hedgehogs.

The Plucky Knitter Worsted Merino in Harvest.

You've a week to e-mail me those recipes. Drawing to take place on Monday, March 30. Winner will be posted to the blog by 3pm PDT. Thanks in advance!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

other crafts

it's only taken me eight months to tackle this project. sadly, it wasn't even a project that was so big it required tackling. if it only took 30 minutes, start to finish, wouldn't it be considered so lightweight it only needed a gust of wind to come and blow it down?

each member of the family selected a color of floss. i sat at the kitchen table and went to work. the girls were right there, quite amazed at how quickly and effectively their napkins were finished. obviously, one initial is much simpler than an intricate flower design, but i think i needed one of those instant gratification projects.

it's taken me a long time to appreciate needlework, in all forms. knitting is of course my passion, but sewing has come to be a close second, and last summer, i was in awe of what crafters were embroidering. the sublime stitching patterns sucked me in, and after purchasing the book and a kit, i found myself in the same state of mind whenever i am embarking on a new endeavor: i can't begin this project because i'm too afraid it will fail.

for being my first project, this tea towel didn't turn out too bad, but i didn't love it.

honestly, i think it had more to do with the size of the towel (it was entirely too large) and that it was very lightweight. the embroidery needle tore through the weave, and god forbid if you wanted to remove a stitch, for it left a gaping hole that no amount of strategic stitching could hide. i'm now hunting for a good-quality, heavier tea towel, similar to this product, but maybe a bit more economical. do you know of any?

what other crafts do you enjoy, or wish you could do well? or are you a purist, knowing you can only tread the waters of one hobby at a time? happy crafting!

Monday, February 16, 2009

(or, alternately titled) socks+bread=contented

Although it did not include picking up the Slouchy Cardigan, this week was about checking off the to-do list. The mundane -- wiping down the interior of the fridge, dusting blinds, reconciling calendars -- was not put-off, rather done with a bit of self-imposed bribing: if a is done, I may go knit the cuff; if b is done, I can go mix the dough. Two projects consumed me this week...

The first was a special pair of socks. I won't say much about them (yet), but will give you a glimpse:

The yarn is The Plucky Knitter's fabulous Merino Cashmere Nylon base, and the color is much more of a rich brown in person. This pattern is simple, and is exactly what I'm after. I did follow the pattern and knit the leg 8" long, and then completed the heel flap, the gusset, and a few instep rounds before frogging back. Worried I would run out of yarn, I ripped the leg to 6 3/4". Should be good to go now.

The second obsession was the Master Recipe from the book everyone else has already blogged about. Unfortunately, the book had only moved from the county library shelf to my tiny kitchen shelf until this week when I finally purchased a food-grade container for the dough. Today was finally baking day, and I have to say, I am so pleased with the results.

...so pleased, the kids and I ate the first loaf for lunch and I promptly reached in to the fridge for another portion to bake off. So, so good! And honestly, the crust was so perfect, it did "sing" as it hit the cool kitchen air, just like the book said it would. The book also promised that there would be quite an oven spring, where the bread would rise considerably during baking, and the book did not lie. One lesson learned: I definitely need a pizza peel; a wooden cutting board does not substitute as well as I thought it would.

One snoozing project I did revisit this week was Sweetpea. I am in love with this pattern, especially paired with The Plucky Knitter yarn in "Audrey's Socks". The below photo was taken last summer, during my first attempt:

However, this pattern kicks my ass. Pardon my french. Last summer, I had started these on a size 1 needle, and of course the result was a sock that would fit one of my children. (I knit tightly.) After ripping, I began again on size 2's. Again, too tight. Then I put it aside. Fast forward to this week: Cast on with size 3. Perfect. Knit lovely flouncy cuff. Check. Begin first pattern repeat, make mistake, rip out. Begin first pattern repeat, make mistake, rip out. Both times, I had screwed up somewhere along the line and the yarn over zigzag gave the mistake away. I must have forgotten a make one, but for the life of me, I could not see it in the stitches. Again, this project is in a time out. Does this ever happen to you? Has there been a pattern that just gets under your skin?

Here's to more conquering of the exciting and the not-so-exciting in the coming week.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


I am the type of knitter who doesn't mind having multiple WIP's going: a mindless project for TV viewing, a portable project for school-pickup-line knitting, a more involved project (cables, lace, or some other pattern) for quiet times when the kids are busy. While the logic in this is obvious to me, even as I try to talk myself out of it, I realized a while ago that I really should be more monogamous with my knitting. I have two projects that just sit in dark corners of my home, hibernating, making me feel a little guilty for running around with all of those socks and cowls and not thinking twice before doing so.

That Slouchy Cardigan I began last summer is not quite half-way done. I have the back panel knit, and one front panel finished. I love the (soon to be discontinued) alpaca-silk blend yarn that I'm using -- it really does feel heavenly in my hands -- and I do love the image of myself curled up in this particular knit; however, it is the resounding complaint of how poorly this pattern is written that kills my want. Apparently, the sleeve caps and armholes are very cumbersome to piece together in the end and though I had made note of the modifications, those notes did not find their way into the knit process. This project might soon be frogged, or at least tinked back to the beginning of all armholes, and put on top of the WIP pile once my sister's socks are done. If I can find something else to make with all of this yarn, maybe I'll do that, instead. Minimalist Cardigan, anyone?

Also socked away in a drawer is my paneled afghan. It's sort of an homage to this cabled afghan, but I'm not necessarily following the particulars, just finding cable patterns and knitting them into squares. This has been left at its current state for well over a year... It's not a project I plan to rip out, though. I just have to make it more of a priority.

Monogamy does have its rewards. I mentioned the beret that was blocking in my last post, and here it is, done and modeled:

It really is fun to wear, but I'm always at a loss with what to do with my hair when I have it on. The beret is rather different than the other utilitarian hats I've knit. As someone who runs around town in jeans and a sweatshirt, this new accessory pushes me a little out of my comfort zone. I'll have to work on that one.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

saturday's mish mash

Seems to me that I might have a few things to catch you up on, dear reader...

December seemed like an usually chilly month for my California-bred bones. Rain is the wintriest precipitation our area receives, but if there's not a wide band of weather protecting us from Arctic air, Canada sends down her chill. Once the gift knitting was finished, I started knitting up all sorts of things for sheer warmth.

Gavin loves to play outside, and his poor fingers feel like popsicles. For him, I found a perfect mitten pattern -- one that allows full coverage but a flap-like opening at the palm for quick gripping ability. I used the pattern to an extent, altering the thumb gusset and changing the decrease placement. Because he is three years old and teeny, I only knit six rounds between joining the flap and beginning the mitten decrease. They fit perfectly, and I love that he knows I knit them just for him.

Playground mittens knit in Mission Falls 1824 wool, Pistachio colorway.

Back at Christmas, Annika had swiped the pair of Toasty I had knit my mother-in-law before I could wrap them up. Of course that pair was too loose and too long, so once I finished Gavin's mittens, I cast on a pair of mini Toasty. ("Melba Toasty", I call them. Oh, I crack myself up.) She's worn them to school and while playing... The allure of Toasty continues, regardless of age.

Toasty in Malabrigo Worsted, Continental Blue colorway.

Last night, I wove in the ends of a Katie's Beret. I fell in love with Kirsten's pattern and yarn, so I shamelessly copied. The pattern is fabulous, and I can't wait to wear it, for the hat is drying now:

Not Just Katie's Beret in Indie Dyer's Supersock Select DK "Fairy Forest" colorway.

I also knit two cowls: a Luxe Neckwarmer in The Plucky Knitter Bulky Cashmere and a Purl Cashmere cowl in The Plucky Knitter Laceweight Cashmere. Neither are ones I'm exactly excited about, but if you're on Ravelry, you can check them out yourself. If nothing else, they'll keep my neck warm.

It was November when I last had socks on the needles. I could tell I needed to cast on soon... My wood dpn's were chilly in the winter air, too. First, I cast on for Herringbone Rib Socks in The Plucky Knitter Superwash Merino "Summer of Love". There's a January KAL in the Ravelry Plucky Knitters Group, but these will not cross the finish line because...

...the kids have had colds, which means that they're clingy and want to be held. A lot. And I don't really mind, even though it definitely cramps the knitting style. To combat that, I had to cast on a simply knit sock, one that doesn't require a lot of thinking and can be set down the second someone needs a ginger ale or more grapes. My go-to pattern for socks is the Adult Basic Sock #12. Sounds fancy, huh? It's an Ann Norling pattern, and the first sock pattern I paid for back when there was a LYS around here. I've made enough socks to know which elements of which patterns are best: I use the Ann Norling pattern for basics, then the Charlene Schurch garter-edge heel flap, and the Charade toe.

Basic 2x2 rib sock, sKNITches Syncopation in the signature sKNITch colorway.

Do you have a favorite sock pattern?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

a loaf a week

Remember last week, when I was sitting here considering which bread recipe to use? And remember how I then decided upon the "Homestyle White Bread with Poppy Seeds" from The Bread Bible? Well it was a good one. So good I made it again today. Because the kids and I had eaten it all. (The husband, who has food allergies, got his own loaf.)


exuberantly baking
i cut these excesses off during the first few minutes of baking.


As you can see, there are no poppy seeds. Not because I don't like seeded bread, because I really do, but because this loaf is our standard jack-of-all-trades bread. It has to be versatile: the canvas for a good ol' pb&j, the warm and thick toast of cinnamon toast, the body for a great chicken salad sandwich...

There is a serious possibility that I may make "Fresh Lemon Muffins", also from The Bread Bible, later in the week... They're even glazed.