04 December 2008

Not a ton of knitting finished so far this week but I'm hoping that will change with the start of my weekend.

Now if only my house would find a way to clean itself...

29 November 2008

Knitting Goals 2009

We celebrated Buy Nothing Day by a trip to our local thrift store. In addition to the 5 wool (1 cashmere!) sweaters, we found these vintage sewing books. I think they'll be perfect for J's clothing modification projects.

I've started thinking about knitting for 2009. With all the hats I've been making, I'm itching to start something more challenging and interesting, though I feel that, in fairness, I shouldn't start on anything until after holiday knitting is over.

So, here's my preliminary list of what I'd like to knit in 2009:

*Hemlock Ring Blanket by Brooklyn Tweed
*Kusha Kusha Scarf by Habu Textiles
*Myrtle Leaf Shawl from Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby
*sweater for J, possibly the Woven Bands Pullover in the new IK or Smokin' (another Brooklyn Tweed)

I think that's enough at the moment. I know this won't be all, or it could change, but this is what I'm thinking of now.

28 November 2008

Thanksgiving + After

Well, luckily, I'm feeling better today. I've heard from several people in the area that there's a weird bug going around--runny nose, aches, slight fever. The good news is that it lasts a couple of days and it's gone, so I can return to doing laundry and knitting.

Of course, not that knitting ever ceases:

... there's the owl-cabled hat. The dark wool makes the cables a bit difficult to make out, but they look like little horned owls.

And, of course, Thanksgiving Day knitting, where I was joined by an unexpected visitor:

(He's usually too busy with his sleeping-under-the-bed routine to bother with us humans)

And the results of what I was working on:

I wouldn't say that I designed this baby hat, as it was based off a picture of someone's Wists and I just used it as a guide. The original creator sells them on Etsy, so I wouldn't say that I created this at all--BUT, there are parts of this hat I am really proud of + excited to have figured out. I think it turned out pretty cute, wouldn't you agree?

26 November 2008

The Flu.

Yep. Leave it to me to get the flu right before a holiday. My poor achy bones and Pig will be found snuggling on the couch, watching repeats of cartoons we've seen before.

23 November 2008

Food and Fiber

Here is 1/4 of the food I made in preparation for the first meeting of the supper club--homemade hummus, homemade spiced walnuts, homemade vegan chicken wraps. I also made rice pudding balls, salsa, roasted carrot and curry dip, goat cheese with walnut and cranberries canapes. In addition, there was cider, mulled wine and homebrewed beer. We have more than enough leftovers to eat for the next couple of days... finger foods are my weakness, so I'll have plenty of healthy snacks to munch on.

Another felicity hat in what may be the worst picture ever. (Note to self: wake up, drink coffee, shower and watch the shadows.) I am a felicity hat factory over here--I've already got another one on the needles for someone else.

A close-up shot of some homemade granola! Inspired by a friend of mine, oneredboot, I made some delicious granola in my slow cooker on Thursday. You know it's a hit when there's already a request for more (and the first batch isn't finished yet!)

Finally, mom! Look what I found!!!

17 November 2008


This weekend was pretty productive. I finished almost all the projects I had hoped to... more, even. I didn't go to the grocery store. I made vegan strawberry/banana muffins Thursday morning and by the end of my weekend, I even made a vegan chocolate cake. I'm rather proud, as I used only ingredients I had in the house, the strawberries are from our May strawberry-picking adventure and the beer was homebrewed by J. Delicious!

(I will say that taking an attractive picture of a chocolate cake is tougher than it may seem!)

The royal blue kettle dyed cashmere from Sunday afternoon turned out beautifully! It's fingering weight, 100% cashmere that I've recycled from a men's sweater. I've got probably another 1000+ yards to unwind and dye up, but perhaps that's a good project for this weekend.

15 November 2008

Weekend Knits + Watching the Fall... Fall.

Yesterday was fall... today looked like winter. It was as if, overnight, all the leaves decided to fall to start preparing for winter. Luckily, the cats find it strangely entertaining--they'll sit and watch the leaves fall to the back deck for hours.

With the rainy and overcast weather, I've been able to finish up some projects: Le Slouch, an unimpressive off-the-needles finish, but when on, quite cute!

And also the world's worst socks:

Yes, they're made to be huge. And yes, they really look terrible. I'm glad I have posting proof that I can actually make pretty, nice, delicate socks as these are almost shameful.

Left to do today: recycle two sweaters' yarn, make chili, start handwarmers, start a felicity hat.. and even kettle dye some fingering weight cashmere. Whew!

13 November 2008

More Knitting?

Oh, ladies and gents, I've still been plenty busy with new projects, but I did want to share some of the other things I've finished up to be sent along to their new homes before they get lost in my Flickr photostream forever:

Closeup from a pair of socks from Vogue Sock Knitting. I lose knitting points as I can't remember/I'm too lazy to recall the pattern name.

Monkeys! Everyone has a pair, right? This was knit using one of the kettle dyed Knit Picks sock yarns. The yarn was soft and squishy, but although my two balls were from the same dye lot, there was a significant difference in color. I'd recommend alternating rows if you are the type that would care about stuff that like. Personally, I'd rather deal with the block of color difference than with all those damn ends.

I hate this hat pattern so much I can't even talk about it.

Okay, finally. Something for me. This is the Shalom Cardigan which I knitted for myself. Terribly cute and simple pattern ruined by terrible yarn. I have only worn this cardigan for the pictures.

I'm feeling guilty about all the things in life that should be and shouldn't be and trying to overcome inaction with action.

10 November 2008

Knitting O.D.

Cast on and bound off both mittens in four days. I'm exhausted.

31 October 2008

Halloween in the Life of Pig

There was only one of us who decided to get decked out for Halloween... and that was Pig.

I walked into the room, Pig had put on a cape.

Was he Magician Pig?

Nope. Here's J showing Pig what his superhero cape would look like if he were flying.

Obviously, it left scars on his soul.

Yes we can! Er, carve!

26 October 2008


I'm exhausted! I've spent all day weaving in ends for some knitting projects that have accumulated and then I spent the rest of the afternoon in the dye pots. The project above is the "Morning Surf" scarf I mentioned several posts back. It's knit using a Three Irish Girls sock yarn in a colorway called "Baltic Sea." I think it was September's colorway, but it could have been August--the months just kind of leap into one another.

The reason why Runt isn't often photographed is because she's too active to accurately capture. She's usually using the sofa as a swinging vine, teasing Pig to play with her, or asleep in a dark corner where a photo wouldn't do her justice. This photo caught her napping in a bag of yarn. Naughty, naughty.

We've renamed Sir Stinky Bottoms (Pig) to Flowers in hopes that he'll live up to his name. I never knew cats could have room-clearing flatulence, but I'm sad to report it's true.

In other news, we found out today that Runt growls like a dog.

25 October 2008

A Rainy Afternoon

  1. Laundry.
  2. Dishes.
  3. Bathroom.
  4. Catbox.
  5. Laundry. Again.
  6. Bills.
  7. Library.
  8. Patsy Cline.
  9. Cup of Tea.
  10. Knitting.
  11. Update Blog.

24 October 2008

All the News

Woo! I voted yesterday! Woo! I have to say--it was an amazing feeling walking out of the voting booth and feeling like something good may happen for the country soon. GO VOTE if you haven't already!

I've been trying hard to capture Pig's water drinking habits. Often, he'll sit in the dog's bowl as he drinks, but always, he leaves with a tiny water droplet attached to his tiny chin. Ack, what cuteness! It kills me.

And to those who think I never do anything but blabber on about the family, here's proof! A knit bonnet--the first pattern I ever changed so much. I took a baby's bonnet pattern and rewrote it for an adult-sized noggin. I'll post the changes over on Ravelry, but I would do things differently next time. I forgot how much cotton stretches.

23 October 2008

You Can't Buy Happiness...

...but you can sure snap a photo while they're asleep.

Cream of Garlic Soup

Besides honeycrisp apples, one of my favorite things about fall is the excuse to eat lots and lots of soup. Though I really can't stomach tomato-based soups, I absolutely love cream and broth soups, so it's no surprise when I started fantasizing about cream of garlic soup earlier in the week. I've never even tasted a cream of garlic soup, so I was left on my own to create Wednesday night supper. The picture above is what resulted--recipe below. If any of you have had a good cream of garlic soup, let me know how this recipe compares with what you've eaten or how it can be improved.


Approximately 60 cloves of garlic (I cheated and bought the already peeled garlic from Whole Foods, $3 wisely spent, in my opinion)
4 T butter
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cubed (peeled, if you like--I like the skins)
1 small yellow onion, cubed
1 bay leaf
3 cups vegetable broth (this was based solely on what I had sitting around)
1 cup dry white wine (I used an organic sauvignon blanc)
1 cup heavy cream
Crusty Baguette


Melt two tablespoons butter on medium heat in a large stock pot. Reduce heat to low, add 60 cloves peeled garlic and braise until browned and softened. (Mine took approximately 30 minutes.) Add 2 cubed potatoes, 1 cubed onion, bay leaf and addition 2 T butter and sauté for approximately 5 minutes.

Add 3 cups stock, 1 cup wine to mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat again and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove bay leaf, puree with an immersion blender and add cream, season with salt and pepper. Heat thoroughly and serve with a crusty bread.

I'm not sure if that's how cream of garlic soup is made in the rest of the world, but this did pass the husband test. :)

12 October 2008


I do believe someone has fallen in love.


What may become my new addiction.. recycling yarn from sweaters!

I've got 100% wool (bulky weight, 9 WPI, maybe 1000 yards or so?):

100% shetland wool (sport weight, 13 WPI)

...and can you believe? 100% cashmere laceweight. I could SWIM in this stuff, it's so gorgeous!

10 October 2008

I know, I know, but...

I realize my intention in starting this blog was to keep up with crafts, knitting specifically, but I always find one reason or another to only update it with animal photos.

So, in keeping with my new tradition:

P and R yesterday afternoon. I think R is showing P something. She's now the boss.

I will say that it's utterly EXHAUSTING having added two kittens to the household. I feel like I'm always cleaning out litter boxes, feeding the cat, or feeding the kittens, or feeding the dog, or taking the dog out. Knitting can't happen while the kittens are awake, or if I try, I'll end up with a knitting needles in the mouths of one of the two.

But... even still, they've settled quite nicely into life with the rest of us crazies. R is absolutely IN LOVE with her big brother, Q. I've snapped a couple photos of the two snuggling on the couch, on the floor. She LOVES him.

They're both very affectionate, sweet, sweet kittens. The only one not completely sold is still O/M. He's being a bratty older brother, but the kittens are wearing him down by chasing after his tail while he's on the stairs. I'm sure he loves that.

Eventually, I imagine all six of us on the bed, sleeping in on a Sunday morning. For now, my knitting needles and I are trying to find a safe hiding spot where I can knit without the curiosity of kittens nearby.

Coming off the needles: secret project #2 and Morning Surf scarf (and who said knitting a scarf with sock yarn was a great idea?).

Going on the Needles: Secret Projects #3, #4, and #5, and the Owlie Bling Scarf for Suzanne.

05 October 2008

A Spoonful of Sugar

I have been knitting a lot lately. How much is a lot? So much that it has caused a very, very, very uncomfortable back/shoulder/neck spasm.

Of course, my husband was the first to ask me if my pain was in any manner related to knitting, and, of course, I denied it because it was obvious that I had slept wrong. But... almost a bottle of Advil later and the constant aching that's occurred anytime I go near my knitting... I have to admit. He was right.


I have gotten so much done. (Is that surprising?)

And now, I'm in so much pain that unless I'm every-four-hours-guzzling-Advil, I can hardly move. (My four hours is almost up and every muscle in my back feels it). Am I really that old? Is my posture that bad? (Yes.)

Runt is sitting at the top of the keyboard swatting at my fingers. I think I'll leave any bits she feels like adding--obviously, she has something to say. I will say that the kittens are about the cutest creatures ever designed. (Bad for the knitting, too, I may add.) Monkey is PISSED about the kittens, but Q LOVES them! He'll come in the room, sniff at them, and they'll walk right up to him, snert him, rub up against his head, swat at his Ho-Chi-Min Beard and he's very, very patient d2wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww (sorry, Runt) with them. I can't wait to catch them snuggling on the couch.

So.. does anyone have any good home remedies that will have me knitting again in a couple hours??

27 September 2008

Pig and Runt

Well, it's been an unfortunately long time since I last updated, and I'll spend the rest of my day flogging myself for being lazy.

But, guess how J surprised me for our first anniversary?

One kitten with eight legs?

Nope. Two kittens with four legs each. Brother and sister. Pig (on the left) and Runt (on the right). Their names are not only perfectly suited for their behaviors, they're named after the two characters in my favorite movie, Disco Pigs.

How could you not be completely, utterly in love with them?

Pig, the little boy, is brave, gregarious, fearless, but very watchful of Runt. No matter where she is, he will know. He's a bit reckless and I think he's been showing off a bit, probably for her as much as for us.

Runt is a tiny, tiny thing. She's very alert and engaged, but she has an inner peace or sense of self I think Pig won't have. She's social, friendly and I think she calms Pig.

They are very in tune with one another. I'll watch them swat things with the same paw at the same time. They sleep curled up. Very often, they move the same way at the same time. They are each other's best friends and I can't help but feel overwhelmed watching them. Completely amazing.

05 September 2008

Red Rover, Red Rover, Send Hanna Right Over

Two pictures of note:

#1 - How I prepare for hurricanes:

and #2 - How Q-jamins prepares for hurricanes:

31 August 2008

Through the Cracks

A couple weeks ago, I went out to the back deck to find J hunched over a tiny insect, very focused. As I got closer to see what was going on, J told me that there had been a large spider web and that he had pulled the insect off the web to free it. Though initially what seemed a good idea turned both of us inside out as we were left to watch the insect unsuccessfully struggle to break from the web that had encircled it.

Is the act of compassion rescuing the insect, or is it limiting its suffering?

Before we made up our hearts, the insect fell through the cracks in the back deck.

I think the true nature of compassion is to remain detached from your own feelings. More than anything, I wanted that insect to live, but that insect, I realize now suffered more because of our actions, despite the fact that our intentions seemed noble. Buddhism teaches us that all beings want to be free of suffering and that true compassion takes strength to cultivate. Our own feelings of rescuing and freeing the insect interfered with what was the more compassionate decision.

I've remembered that beetle every single day since that incident.

29 August 2008

Saturn Return

For anyone who isn't into astrology, the next little bit may be a little.. full of hoopla for you.

We had a staff meeting Monday night where it was announced I would be part-time (I won't amuse you to think this was the reason for the entire staff meeting.) Since Monday, though, several of my co-workers have approached me to ask about my wool dyeing, asking what I'll be doing, etc. One of the approached me today--she's a wonderful photographer--and commented that it made sense. Of course it did. It was my Saturn return.

The Saturn Return marks one complete orbit of Saturn around the sun. Usually, this occurs between your 27-30th birthday. Saturn is known as the "House of Troubles" or "The House of Karma" and so, according to astrologers, knowing where my Saturn was at the moment of my birth will help me understand what type of roadblocks I face. At the moment of my birth, it appears that Saturn was in Virgo--a sign marked with restraint, discipline, limitations, and structure.

As my sun sign is Capricorn--a sign ruled by Saturn--I'm curious as to how this may impact this Saturn Return.

Anyway. Hoopla. But it's interesting. It'll give me something to think about.

No new knitting news... but tomorrow is my last day in a full week's schedule! Hallelujah!

18 August 2008

Some newly dyed fiber:

(I'm just doing this to capture your attention!)

I won't lie... this week has been tough. As I'm inching closer and closer to going part-time, I'm starting to feel scared. A bit grumpy. And, to be honest, a step or three further away from my goals.

I really need to stay focused, but my mind keeps wandering. Reading through my last month's worth of blog posts is helping, but there's a lot of help I still need.

There are positive developments. One, I made my own seitan. I won't say it was a pretty or a fun experiment, but it sure smelled good. I froze the entire batch and learned a valuable lesson: use wheat gluten next time. I started with whole wheat flour and it takes forever (not to mention the water waste that was created by all the rinsing). Next time, I'll use gluten and I can skip all those water-wasting steps.

Still pulling through Walden. Interesting man, that Thoreau. I can't say I agree with everything--and he's a bit contradictory in places--but reading his philosophies really helps center my mind.

My goal for the next month: to start a dinner co-op. I've got several friends that are interested, but what better way to save money and eat home cooked meals every night? The crock pot easily cranks out a meal big enough for multiple sittings, or people, as the case may be, and I think it would be a fun thing to look forward to every week.

I really need to start cutting down on things and stop pretending that our lives aren't going to drastically change. Otherwise, this time next month is going to be really, really tough.

11 August 2008

Falling for Ewe Autumn Yarn Swap

Do you knit or crochet? How long have you been at your craft?

I have been knitting for over 10 years, but only seriously for about the last two. I don't crochet well enough to call it a skill.

Do you spin? What type of spinning do you do?

Yes, I've been spinning since November, though not as often as I'd like (though hopefully that will change). I tend to stick to wool, worsted weight yarns. I like single ply yarns but I'll ply 'em, too.

Are there any other crafts that you participate in?

I dye and card my own fiber, and occasionally sell it on Etsy. I make melt and pour soaps, but that's about all.

What are your favorite yarns/fibers?

I love any wool or alpaca. Squishy yarns are always good. Mmmalabrigo, of course, but I also really like scratchier wools like Peace Fleece.

What are your LEAST favorite yarns/fibers?

I don't like acrylic or novelty yarns.

Are there any types/brands of yarn that you are dying to work with but haven’t gotten a chance?

Yes--I'd love to try Socks that Rock/Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Malabrigo Organic Cotton, or any Green Mountain Spinnery yarns.

What are your favorite types of projects to knit/crochet?

I have a lot of sweaters/tops/shrugs in my queue, but I'm usually a smaller project type of person. Hats, mittens, socks, even. I'm going to finish some sweaters.. yes, yes I am.

What are you currently working on? Anything you plan to start this autumn?

I'm currently working on some top-secret swap packages, but I'm also trying to find time to make a pair of "Squirrel and Oak" mittens for myself, as well as catch up on some of my Ravelry queue.

What is your favorite FO? (Please, post a picture if you would like.)

I am really happy with the Noro tam I made for a previous swap--picture's below somewhere.

What is your oldest UFO?

That damn Buttony sweater. I am trying to delay frogging it.

Are there any knitting/crochet techniques that you would like to learn?

I'd like to learn to steek, only because the more I stare at Ysolda Teague's new cardigan pattern, the more I think that maybe I need to learn to do it. But it puts a pit at the bottom of my stomach.

Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Yes. I have tiny feet--size 7-ish.

Do you have a yarn winder and/or a swift?

Yes, both.

Where/how to you keep you needles/hooks?

I keep my circulars (Denise and loose Addis) in a basket, all my bamboo single points in a needle roll and my DPNs in a jar.

Do you collect anything?

I collect garden gnomes, but I'm also trying really hard to limit the amount of stuff I bring home. (Is it possible to collect nothing-ness?)

What is your favorite type of music? Are you MP3 ready?

Sadly, I don't really keep up with music like I used to. I like Iron and Wine, Mice Parade, Boards of Canada, Mouse on Mars, Mum. But, I listed to Old Time Radio more now--particularly the suspense shows.

Do you like sweets? What are your favorites?

Yes, but I'm more of a salty person.

What is your living situation like? Any pets? Children?

My living situation? I am married and I have a cat and a dog. We live outside town limits, nestled away from busy streets. We're not far out enough to get lost in the world, but far enough that people like to pretend they can't get here. No children. And that's not likely to change.

Are you allergic to anything?

Nothing that would be important.

Do you have an online wish list (Amazon, Etsy, Loopy Ewe, etc.)?

Not anything that's updated enough to count.

Are you having a birthday during this swap?


What is your Ravelry ID?


03 August 2008


Lots to update here...

First, the menu of the week-ish. It's a week"ish" because it didn't start when it was supposed to and it won't end when it is supposed to, so it's a week-ish menu:

Lemon Pepper Tofu with Quinoa, Corn and Onion (we had this last night and it was delicious!)

(tonight's menu) Italian-Style Kidney Beans, Green Salad, bruschetta

Mideast Bean Pita with fresh spinach salad

Tofu Supreme (this sounds scary but it's a tofu sandwich) with a garbanzo-bean and tomato salad

Seitan Braised with Cabbage and Onion on a bed of Quinoa, Green Beans

While cooking dinner last night, I sauteed the rest of the tofu with barbecue sauce that became lunch today -- barbecue tofu sandwiches with tri-color potatoes and garlic. I am also going to make some eggplant curry, as I have eggplants that are begining to look a little... sad. I need to find something to do with them before they go bad entirely.

In one of my packages from my secret swap partner, I received the book The First Modern Book of Lace Knitting. It has several really amazing lace patterns and I've started (and almost completed) the first. My success with my first project has led me to sign up for the Mystery Stole #4 which begins the first week in September. You have to join the Yahoo group to receive the clues.

I've decided to knit the MS4 with Baruffa Cashwool in a gray heather. The materials list advised that we should also get 8/0 seed beads of ca contrasting color, so I've ordered black matte beads, translucent ruby and opaque green ones. Once everything gets here, I'll swatch them with each of the beads to see which looks best (and to practice this whole beading thing, since it requires you to loop them on individually with the world's tiniest crochet hook).

And here's some recent knitting, now that it's been received. The picture of the hat was taken without blocking and before it was completely finished. I think if I were to knit it again, I'd do a couple of things differently, but both the mitten and the hat were fun! Of course, I still have another mitten to make... but it'll get done soon!

28 July 2008

Unnaturally Hot

"The luxuriously rich are not simply kept comfortably warm, but unnaturally hot."

Walden has been on my mind several times over the last weeks. It's been a little voice in the back of my mind, though I thought my copy from college had found a better home and was long from my possession. Imagine my surprise when yesterday morning, as I reclined on the floor and J was spoiling me with a head scratch, my eyes, like a beacon, found the book nudged between others on my bookcase.

I've been carrying it around with me since, though in respect to our weekend company (J's mom), I've resisted the temptation to lock myself in a room until it's been read, cover to cover.

The issue of shampoo came up this morning. As I've amassed an unfortunate collection of the crap, I'm destined to be using it for probably months (and even perhaps years) until it's gone completely. It's not that I dislike clean hair, or shampooing my hair, or even being clean, but I am skeptical of the idea that humans couldn't exist without these stupid things. People have been procreating and snuggling and interacting for thousands of years. Bumble and bumble was only invented in the last 30 years. I think time is on my side here. Besides, I happened to look on the labels of all the potions and cleansers in my shower.. holy crap!

I think J is trying very hard to balance out my penchant for turning off the electricity, lighting candles and singing Kumbaya. I appreciate it.

So, other news...

I told work that I needed to go to part time as soon as possible. Part-time here meaning no more than 3 days/24 hours a week. Financially, that will cover our current bills and give us still a bit to put away. Surprisingly, I wasn't met with any resistance and I think I may actually succeed in making that transition. That will give me 4 days a week to live and 3 days to make that living until I can convince J to cover ourselves with leaves and run off for the mountains.

I think that leaves me about 80% of my life to myself and the other 20% (giving myself time for getting ready, traveling, etc) to work. It's a much better balance.

I'll be spending the rest of the day making peach and blueberry jam, as it's the season here for both.

Oh! Knitting news.. Some secret projects to share now:

These are pictures of the blanket I made for Craftster's IYP Round 9 swap for lilyvanilli. I was inspired by her favorite color (green) and her love for cables.

AND a knit tam from the Three Tams pattern from a past Knitty. (Sorry, too tired to link to the pattern.) It was a quick and fun project and I'm really happy with how it turned out. It's inspired more colorwork, too.

Thank you to everyone who has made a point to come up to me over the last couple of weeks to share your experiences, post blog comments and to email me. I've got a lot of email catching up to do and I'll be in touch as quickly as I can. It's really, really a wonderful feeling.. to be honest, I don't know if I've ever felt so alive.