01 October 2009

New Blog!

Hey, everyone! I've moved over to a new blog that I'm hoping to keep updated more regularly and start up my Etsy again.

You can find me now here! I hope you'll come over and join me! :)

24 May 2009

Joining the Club

It never fails that every time I sit down to update my blog, Miss Runtlets has an unstoppable urge to sit on my lap. She really is the sweetest little girl--good thing, too, because it makes it impossible to toss her off.

So, dear blog readers, for this post, and all future posts, you can imagine a happy, purring, snuggly brown tabby kitten on my lap. I, on tne other hand, am going to try to happily ignore her.

It's only Sunday morning but this weekend has felt so long. J had dental surgery on Friday that's left him swollen and in a lot of pain. I went to a "total body conditioning" class on Saturday and got my ass handed to me. A good friend of mine had, in the words of her psychologist, a "mild manic break" that's left me both worried and scared about her road to recovery. And, of course, what's a summer weekend without a wedding? Another of our friends has joined the "old & married" club.

We clean up nicely, don't we?

It was a nice wedding--an outside, small-ish garden wedding and there really is nothing more romantic than watching two people exchange vows. I'm a closeted wedding cryer, but I managed to hold it together to take pictures (thank goodness for busy hands).

Today, we're left cleaning and starting food prep for my parents to visit tomorrow.

17 May 2009

Notes From the Weekend Kitchen

I've spent the majority of my weekend in the kitchen--I love the sudden bursts of culinary productivity!

It started with picking up my CSA box from the farmer's market. Inside were these amazing sugar snap peas--they are the perfect raw snack.. crispy, slightly sweet. I stocked up on two extra quarts to last me through the week!

After picking up our box, I decided to pick strawberries before the season ends. We've been getting steady supplies through our CSA, but I like to freeze them so we can have strawberries throughout the year. The 40 lbs I picked last year lasted us until about a month ago. And, of course, nothing beats homemade, strawberry jam!

The nearly constant rain from this year has been really difficult on the strawberry crop. There were a lot of strawberries with rain damage and it was sad to see so many otherwise ripe strawberries going to waste. As I tend to clean them up as I prepare them for freezing, I tried to pick some of the not-so-beautiful strawberries. I didn't realize I had done that until I returned home and started cleaning them up. I spent almost 4 hours in the kitchen with 20-lbs of strawberries!

While I was cutting, chopping and washing the strawberries, I got inspired to make some garlic herb bread for dinner last night. As I was occupied with the strawberries, I thought that finding a bread machine recipe was the way to go. I found one that looked decent and I faithfully loaded it into my bread machine. As I checked on its progress, it seemed too soft, so after an hour or two in the machine, I took it out, kneaded it by hand and added flour until it held together better.

Was it a success? I suppose so, because as of this morning, this was all that was left:

Since I altered the recipe so much from its original form, I feel pretty good about posting the recipe that I ended up with. Some of the measurements aren't exact--I'm sorry bakers, but I am not a baker. Measuring ingredients precisely is one of the reasons why I don't bake more than I do. :)

Garlic-Herb Cheese Bread:

In a bread machine, add the following:

1 1/4 c warm water
3 c unbleached flour
2 T sugar
2 T softened butter
3 T cheese (est.) (I used sharp cheddar)
1 T yeast
5 t total - your choice of seasonings. I used two cloves garlic, oregano, salt.

I let my bread machine mix the mixture for about an hour and a half until I couldn't stand watching it any longer and thought I could do better if I kneaded it by hand. When I pulled it out of the machine, it was a very, very soft and sticky dough. I added 1/4 c flour and kneaded it until it was still soft, but less sticky. All together, I'm guessing I added a total of 3/4 c - 1 c flour.

After I was happy with the dough consistency, I folded in some extra cheese, probably about half a cup. I patted it into a medium bread loaf pan to rise for about 30 minutes.

In a preheated, 350 degree oven, I baked it for about 30 minutes and then checked it every 5-7 minutes. It took about an hour to cook altogether, but as your loaf pan may be a different size or material, I'd recommend keeping an eye on it.

The end result was delicious--the bread has an amazingly soft, light texture and as we will be fighting over the last piece, I imagine I'll be making more soon!

If you try the recipe, please let me know how it turns out!

03 May 2009

Forgotten Knitting + My Dog is Trying to Tell Me Something

It's been one of those... well, what do you call it? Weeks from hell? Yes, one of those. Not that anything has happened that's so terrible to me, but it seems like everyone around me is grappling with some enormous personal struggle. It feels like there's one giant inhale.. and no one wants to exhale.

Me? Things are okay but life can just be exhausting sometimes. I have piles of to-do lists and less than 5 hours before my weekend ends.

My mother-in-law spent the better part of the weekend with us. It was a nice visit, punctuated with frequent thrifting, a perfect trip to the farmer's market and delicious meals. She left this morning and I've spent the day doing laundry and trying to get the house ready for the week.

One of the things that concerns us most is, always, Q's behavior. I will admit to being a tad partial, but he IS much better than he used to be. Of course, with company, you always hope that your "children" are on good behavior. And Q started off the visit with a bang. So to speak.

Q frequently has joint problems, so I try to give him Happy Hips that have Glucosamine supplement to keep him nice and strong. Runt, who is immensely curious about anything bigger than her that she can jump on, likes to sometimes jump on the fridge and knocks down gifts to the grateful Q below. Of course, these things don't happen while we're at home. Oh, no. They wait to happen until we have guests (and my MIL, at that), and then they're not just tiny problems, but larger, longer-lasting problems.

Long story short, it appears as if Runt knocked down an ENTIRE (read: brand new) bag of Happy Hips, to which Q ate all of. Every last one. This not only led to swollen-belly Q, but also farting Q and the Q that got to sleep alone downstairs. Which in turn, led to difficulties with the outside life, too. Because Q is so hairy, he, ahem, sometimes gets things stuck which leads him to an immediate bath. I will spare you the details, but I'm thankful that I have an awesome husband and a pretty good dog, and with some snipping and some other disgusting maneuvers, we managed to get everything cleaned up.

Everything good, right?

So, jump forward to today, when I gave Q a toy for being (mostly) good during the weekend. A nice innocent toy..

I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard when I turned the toy around to find this greeting me:

I think my dog is trying to tell me something.

19 April 2009


Well, the "thing in the wall," I guess, has found its way back outdoors. It's been over a week and I don't smell anything unusual seeping from the walls of the den, so we can put that saga behind us. Thankfully.

Adjusting back into a 40-hr work week has been difficult. I feel like I haven't seen J in about three weeks. I haven't knit a stitch. My energy and patience for almost everything have waned. Strangely, in some odd ways, I'm feeling more productive, but in others, remarkably less so. It's a strange middle ground and I know that things are not going to get better.. ever, really. So, I need to prioritize, find peace and strength in times where I'm roaring on the inside and unstable on the outside. I need to carve out little niches of time that are for me only.

But enough complaining, as I actually have exciting news that I haven't shared with you yet! My fiber (from my sadly empty Etsy store) made it into the Spring 2009 Spin Off Magazine! How cool is that?

Anyway, in one of my oddly productive ways, I've started making these tiny little batts. They are usually a bit over half an ounce and I think they're fun and really, really cute!

06 April 2009

There is Something Alive in My Wall.

For the last three, no, four, days, the kittens have taken to staring at this particular wall. At first, of course, we wrote it off to the kitten crazies. (I can't tell you how often I've walked into the room and Pig has been on his back feet catching nothing between his front paws.) Runt is prone to being overly curious about everything, so staring at the wall, really, just seemed the next in line of her unexplainable hobbies. Then, we started tossing around the idea that perhaps it wasn't CRAZY, but maybe they were having a religious experience? Do kittens have those?

Last night, as J napped on the couch and I, instead of deciding what to knit, poked around on Ravelry, I heard scratching. I look over the "the wall" and Runt has curiously twisted her head, her eyes gazed upwards. Next, we hear a thump. A couple more minutes of listening and I know we've got something...alive. In our walls.

Seeing that it's been there now for four days, I'm pretty certain its end will follow the path of every other animal that's been caught in a wall: look for path outside, scratch at the wall, look for food. What, no food? Death. Decomposition. Unusable room due to death stench for two months.

I sent J on a man mission today to find whatever animal has lodged itself within this wall. I have three cats. Three. I shouldn't have to deal with ANY animal problem. Three cats! What am I feeding them for?

Pig is staking out the wall, now cutting in front of whomever happens to be closest. Runtlet is doing belly dances and flips around the ottoman, pretending like she doesn't care (though she's the watchman). I have three cats and a husband. I shouldn't have burrowing animals in my wall. It's a bit... disturbing.

I just hope it's big and fat and had some reserves before it kicks the bucket.

And because I don't just want to talk about death smells, it seems that my carder and I are on speaking terms again:

Ack! The game has started! I can already hear the helicopter outside!

04 April 2009

Spring Fever

See, the thing about spring is that you can have a room full of options and still be indecisive. Should I work on the front panel of the Fair Isle Yoke Sweater? Or start a pair of socks? 13 hours later, and I still haven't made up my mind, so I've done nothing. Great, isn't it?

I did sprain my ankle falling down the front stairs Wednesday morning. No, Q was not involved--I just fell on my own graces. This morning was the first day I've walked without a limp, but it my ankle is feeling better.

I'm also on the hunt for the dress. You know, THE dress. My very amazing husband has even given the okay to spend an ungodly amount of money finding one. We'll see. I looked through a bunch of websites and haven't found it yet. I'd prefer something vintage, knee-length with a nice, summery print. Either blue or green. And it has to be spectacular. I will know it when I see it, but I haven't seen it yet. I did find this beauty at Nordstroms, but I hate that it only comes in navy, so I'm still looking. I'm scoping out the vintage site where I found my wedding dress--if it worked once, it'll work again... right?

31 March 2009

March Charity Knitting

A snap of my March charity knitting. I've completed one baby hat and 5 afghan squares. Once all those annoying ends are sewn in, they'll be going to their new home in Durham and then donated to local charities in need. I hope to complete more in April, but with the recent changes afoot here, we'll have to see.

I finally saw a bird in our new bird feeder. The kittens were instantly on the feeder. I imagine their reaction was something similar to the coyote looking at the roadrunner, but seeing only juicy, tender meals. At least it gives them something to do other tha playing Tarzan on the couch.

30 March 2009


I think the most amazing part of nuno felting is how something so organic, so freeform can become so beautiful. It's well worth all the rolling and arm aches to see wool and silk mingling to form a solid fiber. This is my newest creation, made with a coworker yesterday afternoon who wanted to learn to do it herself.

Our felting engagement became quickly an impromptu dinner date. Her husband came over and we shared a spur-of-the-moment dinner (isn't that the best kind?) and a bottle of wine, good conversation and I then spent the rest of the evening pulling out different yarn and sharing my passions with someone who shared my fiber-y enthusiasm.

Our new (squirrel-proof, at least according to the box) bird feeder is hanging up outside our living room window. I have yet to see a single bird feed, but J said earlier that there had been several... and that they had caught the eye of two curious kittens.

I start back in the real world this week, my luxuriously long weekends now gone. With the economy the way it is, I am lucky to have a job that wants me to work MORE, not less. I'll need to spend the next couple weeks readjusting my time, my time management and my priorities. It has been, however, a beautiful weekend to end with.

27 March 2009

Making Butter

What do you do on a rainy weekend?

Make butter!

Making butter is really easy. I followed some online tutorials , but basically, you start with heavy cream and shake and shake and shake until you end up with butter. Not only did I get two delicious crocks of butter, we've got buttermilk for pancakes tomorrow morning!

In knitting news, I've finally cast on for for the Fair Isle Yoke from Stitch in Time (warning for link-followers--it takes you to Ravelry which you'll need an account for to see the pattern.) I've also got the yarn for Katarina which is part of the Knitmore Girl's podcast's knit-a-long. I'm not typically a joiner, so we'll see how my enthusiasm keeps up.

Other than that, it looks like it's shaping up to be another weekend of house cleaning and laundry. Not much else to do when your 5-day forecast looks like mine.

22 March 2009


Congrats to Monique! She was the closest to guessing my stash mileage. Monique, would you be so kind to email me (lapoliknits at gmail dot com) with your address and I'll see that your squishy, beautiful sock yarn hits the mail this week!

21 March 2009

Last Chance! Sweet Pea Blanket and Charity Knitting

Today is the last day you'll have to enter the contest to win the fabulous Chameleon Colorworks sock yarn! (Believe me, I don't part with yarn easily.) If you're not signed up for Blogger but still want to enter, please email me at lapoliknits at gmail dot com. I'll give everyone until noon tomorrow!

I feel like I've had a pretty productive weekend, so far. I've really been in the mood to cook! The two loaves of homemade bread I made on Thursday are practically gone (and can I mention here how much I forget how wonderful homemade bread is with a little honey?)

The tofu jerky I made yesterday survived the night, so we'll be able to enjoy it today. It rarely lasts more than 12 hours--I usually wake up to find that my husband has eaten it all night before!

Finally, I started on the Sweet Pea Blanket for a fillet-sized baby (not yet born!) (Oh, and mom and dad, definitely not mine.. don't worry!).

I've finished up a bunch of charity knitting this week, too. I'd like to find some time each week that I dedicate only to knitting for charity. Documenting all my stash really made me realize that I'm fortunate to have so much and made start thinking about sharing with others. There are a lot of really wonderful charities you can knit for (and I'd encourage anyone interested to check out Knitting for Peace as a great resource/starting point), but I was interested in finding a local group that needed knitters. I emailed several people I had found online and finally (!) I heard back from one. I've finished up two afghan blocks and started on a preemie hat.

Anyway, it's early Saturday and I'd like to get a good start for the day. I think I'll be making some more bread, but I also think I may make some peanut butter/maple cookies, too. Hope everyone has a lovely weekend, and I'll announce the contest winner tomorrow!

19 March 2009

The Prize for the Stash Contest

Keep the guesses coming! We're up to 7 now, but you still have until Sunday to pick a number (any number!)

I've picked out a prize for the winner, too. I've selected the Chameleon Colorworks Footsie sock yarn in a colorway called "Klee." I thought it was a perfect springtime sock yarn and since it's languishing in my stash, I will happily add it to the contest winner's stash. It's a 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon yarn and approx 400yds in the skein.

Keep your guesses coming! There are still three full days left in the contest. I was going to help everyone along by taking a picture of my craft room but the cats have made up their own contest this week to see how quickly they can destroy my spinning fiber stash, leaving the craft room in a state unfit for pictures. If, by some miracle, I can clean it up enough that it looks presentable, I'll be posting a photo here. If not, you'll just have to use your imagination.

15 March 2009

Lordy Lordy, Ain't It Great!

Q-jamins is turning.. four?

See what a patient puppy he is?

For his birthday, I made four homemade tartlets for Q. One was banana, one was banana/peanut butter, one was pb/carob and the last was carob. Spoiled!

Thank you for all who have more faith in my destashing than I do.. stash contest is now up to 4 votes! There's still a week left--I'll be posting prizes soon, too. I will say that it's good for me to have now listed mostly everything in a giant excel spreadsheet. I can sort by weight, I can see everything in my stash at once, and I can record everything I knit this year to see how much I knit up in a year.

Still raining.. J has a friend in town, I think we'll be meeting up with her soon.

13 March 2009

The "Is Anyone Reading?" Stash Contest

Because of a ball winding debacle this morning, my fibery pursuits have been limited. I've long wanted to know how many miles of yarn I have, so today, I've begun the documenting process necessary to find an answer.

So, my dear reader, I am having my very first blog contest.

I haven't determined a prize as of yet, as my brain is a little frazzled, but I will post the prize to be awarded before the end of the contest.

The question you have to answer is simple: how many miles of yarn do I have in my stash?

You should know the following: I am not counting the acrylic yarn I have stashed under our bed upstairs, miscellaneous handspun from a fiber festival that was labeled only in weight, not in yards. I am currently "in progress" on a project, I will not count the skein of yarn that is attached to my needles. I will, however, count the rest of the yarn not currently in use. (Does that make sense?) I will also not count half-used skeins, as I have a scientifically sound method of organizing the yardage, I'm just lazy.

The closest person to guess without going over will win.. something. The contest will end next Sunday, March 22nd.

Hap Blanket

The hap blanket is finally finished!

I love it! It's soft, beautiful, and I think I may go curl up underneath it with all this rainy weather. I didn't have a chance to swatch for Coraline yesterday. I think I may try that, as well as swatch for the Wakame Lace Tunic from last year's summer IK. I figure that I may as well cast on for something that seems.. seasonal?

12 March 2009

I am thankful this week that I have my full weekend to unwind, decompress and to knit! Last weekend, I spent elbow-deep in mucky sheep fleece. This weekend, I intend to finish up some UFOs (do you see that side bar over there?!) and maybe start on some new ones.

I have finished up two projects this week.. a pair of socks and a pair of soap holders. The soap holders are a remake from a lost int'l package that will be resent today (and hopefully this time they will make it to their destination). The socks are for a swap, too.

Yesterday, the mailman was kind enough to leave my package of warm wooly goodness at the doorstep for me. I ordered four skeins of Shelridge Farms DKW for Coraline. Reading the pattern more closely last night made me a little nervous that I don't have enough yardage, but I think if I find that's the case, I may do 3/4 length sleeves.

I am hopefully going to swatch for Coraline this weekend. Otherwise, I'll be working on the last twenty rows of my Hap Blanket.

08 March 2009


Many of the tips from the fleece need to be flicked open... I was feeling a bit frustrated this morning until I looked over at a pile of discarded, raw fleece on the side of the deck.

I do say there's been an improvement, no?

Yesterday afternoon I got impatient, so I quickly carded up some of the gray shetland so I could begin spinning:

It's spinning so finely. I think I'll be able to get a DK/Sport 2-ply of it, which is probably the finest I've spun so far. I'd like to be able to get a fingering weight 2-ply (or even try for a 3-ply) but my spinning skills are still lacking.

07 March 2009

Saturday.. nom nom nom

2.6lb of a fawn-colored shetland fleece. It's drying in the sun now (this was before picking and washing) but it's nice and squishy and oh, I can't wait for it to dry!

Nom nom nom. Delicious moorit gray/brown shetland. Here, still raw, but it cleaned up so beautifully.

What else, you ask? Handmade pie crust (a la Mastering the Art of French Cooking) in the fridge for tonight's custard pie. 5 skeins hand-painted yarn. 5 inches of sock knitting. Isn't that enough???

06 March 2009

A Stitch in Time

A Grade 2 AC Joint Separation has J temporarily without hobbies. The ortho doctor said yesterday 4 weeks no motorcycle, 6 weeks without skating. Of course, the doctor didn't say anything about driving oneself to the "Watchmen" midnight showing down the road. I'm thankful to have sat, or slept, that one out, as he didn't make it home before 3am.

In yesterday's mail, I was surprised to find my copy of "A Stitch in Time" which came surprisingly fast from the UK. I had promised myself I wouldn't get excited about it until week three but now, I can easily spend all weekend flipping through (and drooling over) the gorgeous patterns. The book is absolutely gorgeous, complete with beautiful photography. I'm happy, too, to see that the book contains both the original knitting pattern as well as the modern rewrite, as it will certainly impact how I look at vintage knitting patterns from now on. I saw, too, on Ravelry, that there is talk of a second volume within the next year, and I'm already eagerly anticipating the next installment. The only downside to such a terrific book is trying to decide what to knit first.

17 January 2009

On and On

"Spring is Coming?" - handspun yarn spun from Spunky Eclectic roving. South African Fine Wool--beautiful and fun to spin. About 63 yards.

"Toxic Avenger" from art batts by Craftster's frankierevolver--made of wool, silk noils and glitz. This came out to about 25 yards. Fun spinning as I just let the universe have its way with it.. I think this is enough to make a funky neckwarmer, or to use as an accent on a hat or scarf.

This week, I've spent plenty of time browsing over on BookMooch--I highly recommend everyone running over there to try it out. It's a free website to join and use and the only costs you'll incur are costs shipping paperbacks/magazines/etc to people who have requested them. You are awarded points for adding books to your inventory that you're willing to part with. Each time a book in your inventory is requested, you get a point that you can then turn around and request another book from someone else. Because it's an international community, you also have access to books in other countries that you wouldn't in the US, or if you're looking for a book in another language, it's much easier to find. Have I mentioned, too, that it's a terrific way to recycle all your old books?

I, shamefully, haven't knit a stitch since last Sunday. I think today's a day to devote to the couch, Hank Williams, and a bunch of long-forgotten projects.

12 January 2009

Armless Wabbit

New year, new crafts. Soy wax votive candles, a nuno felted scarf and an armless rabbit are all parading around here while my knitting waits.

Don't worry--I haven't forgotten my goals this year. They're just on the back burner for a little bit.