Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hearts and Cookies

I've completed the lace border of Greta. I had to rip about three rows because I wasn't happy with the nupps. (By the way, did you know "nupp" is actually pronounced to rhyme with "soup"? I did not know that until I watched a video on Knitting Daily with Nancy Bush to see how she made hers.) Anyway, I'm much happier with the nupps (rhymes with "soups"; I have to remember that) now. Although they don't seem very prominent now, I think they'll be wonderful when all blocked out. For now, see the heart:

I've also been in the kitchen again. I recommended the book "Super Natural Cooking" a couple of weeks ago and I'm telling you, the book is well worth it, if for nothing more than the desserts. The popcorn from Monday's post was from there as are these delicious thin mint cookies:

Chocolate and mint, two of my very favorite flavors together. They're made with whole wheat flour. Okay, they have a bit of butter, but cookies just aren't cookies in my house without real butter. None of that fake butter-wanna-be stuff here.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Greta Garbo Shawl

I started a new shawl. It's the Greta Garbo Shawl from Nancy Bush. It was originally supposed to be in the Estonian Lace Knitting book and I was very disappointed when I got the book and realized it wasn't in there. I was very pleased, however, to find out it was available as a kit (and 8 pages of pattern). It's a beautiful shawl and I love the color I chose. The color is funny though. It looks a deep red in some light and it has an orangish tint in other lights. It's very pretty though and I thought it appropriate for a shawl with hearts, just in time for Valentine's Day.

I've also been doing a little cooking here and there. Here is a picture of caramel corn made with maple syrup and toasted pecans and almonds. It was really good.

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Monday, January 19, 2009


I seem to be acquiring a bit of bamboo as of late and I haven't shown any of it off. First up is some Madil Eden that I acquired a few weeks ago from Webs; these colors were on closeout. The pink is a bright pink and the blue is a little lighter than the picture, more of a bright azure.

I got enough of each for a Kimono Top from Knit so Fine (click here if you're on Ravelry). I'm not sure which color I'll be using yet. Maybe I'll get around and do a swatch of each with the butterfly stitches, then decide. The other will be another top, yet to be determined. (As I said, it was on closeout. I couldn't resist.)

The second bamboo I've acquired is Regia Bamboo color, apparently the "tundra" colorway. My husband had an errand to run the other day and asked if I'd mind waiting in the yarn store right there for a few minutes. (How silly was that question?) Anyway, I came across this colorway, not really my usual colors (in other words, not glaringly purple, pink or black), it's quite neutral with a bit of white, grey, blue, green and just a hint of purple. It called to me. It said, "I need to be woven into a lovely scarf." I happen to have a light purple shirt almost the exact color of that hint of purple in there.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Five for Friday

Absolutely no knitting was done this week, but I have a few neat discoveries I made this week (none of which pertained to knitting, though one is fiber-related).

1. Heidi Swanson. I discovered this name over at Fiber Fool a couple of weeks ago. She has a wonderful vegetarian recipe website. "I'm not vegetarian," you say. Well, neither am I, but go on over and check out a few of her recipes and come back. I'll wait. Personally, I think the Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa sounds delicious. I had to have Super Natural Cooking. It came yesterday and even though I'm not vegetarian, I think I'd probably eat most of the recipes in the book.

2. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes. I found out about this book from Missouri Star. (Blogs are very dangerous, aren't they? Especially when I not only find out about wonderful knitting supplies, but also cookbooks and more.) The bread is supposed to be made from a high moisture, no-knead dough that is kept in the refrigerator for about a week. You just cut off the amount needed for a loaf as needed and let it rest for a while, then bake. I haven't tried the recipes yet, but I plan to try one today.

3. I found a wonderful weaving program. It's a free download, but if you want the "save" and "print" options, you have to pay for the registration code. It's not cheap, but if I find myself using it a great deal, I might spring for it, but for now it's just a novelty. It helped me see the twill design for my scarf.

4. Anki is a flashcard program. It's a little different from traditional flashcard programs in that it is based on memorization theories. Basically, let's say you're learning a language and you have 10 new words for today (you put in your own material). If you get 5 of the words without a problem, you might click the "easy" button for those. That would put the initial review for those words at something like 8 or 9 days (default), so you would see those words again in 8 or 9 days. When you see them again, if you hit "easy" again, the review time will be greater the next time. Let's say you can't remember one of today's card at all, you can hit "again" and it will show it to you again at the end of today's review. The other options are "hard", meaning it will review the card again in a day or two and "good" which will review in a few days. Each time, as long as you get it right, the card has a little longer before it's reviewed, so you'll be reviewing it, just not as often as the new cards, or the ones you're having trouble with. I'm not sure of all the details; there is a demonstration on the site, but the documentation/manual is a little sparse. I've started using the program for my Latin and Greek vocabulary and it seems to be helping already. I can see how it will be useful for languages and some homeschooling applications. It's also a free program, but donations are accepted.

5. Just in case the fact that I find Anki really cool didn't clue you in on what a geek I really am, I also found Type Greek. If you were to type in Alison, it magically becomes Αλισον. (This should be in Greek letters; if it's not, you may not have the fonts on your computer to display it. Don't worry about it; it's not a big deal.) It is also designed so that you can put the accents and breathings in the right place. Yes, I find this very cool, don't you?


Monday, January 12, 2009

Making Sweaters

Work on the sweater has temporarily stalled. I've made it to the sleeves, but as I increased the diameter of the armholes, it also requires a bit of calculation on the sleeves. Not that I mind making the calculations, it just requires a bit more concentration than I've had the past few days and I want the sweater to work out well. I feel that it is very important if you make sweaters for yourself not to blindly follow patterns; if you want sweaters that fit (and if you go to all that trouble to make a sweater, you know you want it to fit), you need to take a bit more time and planning than just reading the pattern. You need to know your measurements (and you need to be realistic about them; just because you were a size ? in college doesn't mean you still are). You also need to know where your body is going to usually differ from patterns for your size. My two problem areas are usually the shoulders/armholes and a long waist. Store-bought shirts can fit me perfectly in every other way, but they are often too tight in the armholes for me and they also are often just too short. Thank goodness longer shirts seem to be back in now. When I make a sweater or top, I often have to add room in the armhole and I nearly always add an inch or two to the waist length. And I'm always willing (however much I may complain about it) to rip the sweater if it's not working and start over. You have to be willing to frog if it's not working out. That's important. Yes, it may be twice the work to start over, but honestly, are you really going to wear a sweater that's two sizes too big (or small)?

Anyway, since I don't have any knitting to show, I'll tell you what I have been up to. I didn't want to start any new knitting, so I decided to repair some of my socks. I had three pairs that I haven't been able to wear because they had rather small holes, so I darned the darn (groan!) socks and can now wear them again. (Now, before you start sending me all your socks that need darning, keep in mind that one pair had been sitting in my repair bag since last winter.) I really don't mind darning, it's just finding the motivation to actually start the process. Boredom seems to work.

As for my weaving, I've been spending the weekend warping the loom for my new scarf (see last post). I'm about halfway done with the warping process and I hope to finish that today and get started on my weaving. I came across some really cool weaving software over the weekend and have been playing with twill patterns for the scarf. I hope it turns out as nicely as I think it will.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Woven scarf sample

I don't know why it's impossible to get an accurate representation of purples, but it is and seeing as how purple is probable the color I use most, it gives me no end of grief taking a dozen pictures, then trying to correct the color in Photoshop. Sometimes, it just can't be done, especially when it's next to other colors. So pretend that the purple in the following picture is actually the color in this shawl, because it is. It is not a blue-ish purple; it is a royal purple.

This is a sample I did from the lovely alpaca silks from Webs I have in my stash. I started this sample just to see how the colors played together. I decided as I was working that I loved it and needed a scarf just like it. But I wasn't sure I had enough of that amethyst. I have plenty of the pink, dahlia and eggplant, but the amethyst. And Webs has discontinued that particular color. AAAARGH! But you know, when I cut the sample off and brought it upstairs, I realized something. As much as I like the purple, I think I might like the other three colors together by themselves:

(It is much prettier in person.) It's just a simple twill pattern and I think 6 blocks across (2 patterns) will work up beautifully. It will take me a while on the warping board for this one. Now if I had a few more hours in the day...


Saturday, January 03, 2009

New Year, New Goodies, New Project

I ordered some earrings from Opal (she's got some gorgeous stuff over at her shop).

The earrings are silver (like purple, I can never seem to get an accurate representation, but they are very silver). They are delicate and very light, even though they dangle to nearly the shoulders. As for the stitch markers, they have a lovely unicorn charm on them. When I purchased some stitch markers from Opal before, I had asked her about unicorns. She didn't have any at that time, but had some a little later and made markers. I had just purchased my loom when she posted them on her shop and couldn't really get anything else at that time. But I coveted them and just a couple of days before I was planning on purchasing them along with my earrings, they were sold. When I opened my earrings, I found not only the other goodies (chocolates and stickers with Opal's own handspun), but she had gifted me with unicorn stitch markers (in purple). Thank you so much, Opal! My unicorn marker is now on the next project:

This is another Sahara. I made one for summer without sleeves. This one will be with long sleeves and it's in a lovely merino angora blend called Cascade Cloud 9 that I got last year at Webs on a color closeout. It is just heaven to work with. It's a very light purple and working up very quickly. (After doing a shawl on size 2s, how can worsted weight and size 6s NOT be quick?)

I've nearly finished another small relic mini purse which hopefully I'll be able to show soon.

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