Monday, December 31, 2007

Naughty new year

Aaah, the weekend before the New Year holiday.

I decided the weekend offered a chance to look at how I've spent my down time since the wedding. Sure, I've tried to organize the apartment and to attack what will be my craft room. I've made progress, but I'm still finding it all so overwhelming.

I could have gone to the back room and organized boxes and put stamps on the shelf, but I decided instead that I'd start a knitting project. I grabbed my needles and some super soft and stretchy purple yarn that I got on the trip with Cindy, NolaMom and Tracy earlier in the year to see the Yarn Harlot. I did about two, maybe three inches. Not a great start, but hey! I was knitting. I felt yarn through my fingers. I was crafting!

But I got sleepy.

So I went to bed.

This is what I woke up to.

Yarn. Over my pants I threw at the laundry basket in my bedroom (I missed.).

So, I followed the string.

Here's a big clump outside of my bedroom. Yes, out the door and around the corner.

And then I found one needle. And then the other.

And last, but not least, I found the guilty one. Grande, my new kitty. Doesn't she look guilty?

So much for knitting progress. But I have learned a valuable lesson. With kittens in the house, it is very, very important to put away all knitting projects.
By the way, Grande does have a sister, who was sleeping with me in the other room while Grande did her thing with my yarn. Here's Mocha and Santa.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Baring it all, plus a dishrag

I finished Carey's alpaca socks. They turned out very nice, if I do say so myself. They would have been done even sooner, had I not been trying to prove to Alex I am smarter than he is on Brain Age. It is addicting. And yes, he is smarter than me, for now.

Anyhow, the socks are the diagonal cross-rib socks from Favorite Socks. Great book. The pattern was fine, looks good, but it got a little boring at the end. The yarn is an alpaca blend sock yarn I purchased at Imagiknit in SF. I lost the tag to further identify it.

Look what I got in the mail! More Christmas goodies!

I am having trouble deciding what to do next. I think I am going to finish my Twisted Flower Socks to get that UFO off my Ravelry page. It is nagging me, can you hear it too?

I am also in a year in review kind of mode. I thought I should get my act together during the Christmas break and organize my yarn. It is in various places throughout the house, including many, many knitting bags which are like little snapshots in time. You don't want to know how many knitting bags I keep. Won't tell ya.

However, in the interest of full disclosure, I took this photo. Brace yourself.

This is the extent of it, except for maybe one knitting tote which may have a skein or two.

Now I do not plan on declaring a "knit from stash" kind of New Year's Resolution. I could not stick to that because I am going to Stitches in February and I like buying yarn. Sorry. I do. But I do plan being VERY choosy when contemplating a yarn purchase, meaning no more silly yarn or ordinary yarn unless there is a concrete project it is for. And I will try very hard to use yarn I already have when starting a new project. That should be easy because I have lots of good stuff.

I need to knit faster.

I ran across a lot of cotton from my crochet phase (lasted a month or two). I have never made a dishcloth that seems to be very popular, so I thought I would give my new rosewood needles a spin and I cranked out one today. Fun. Didn't use up much of the cotton stash. But I have a new dishcloth! I may also check out the market bag pattern I think is in the No Sheep for You book, or somewhere like that. Maybe it is destined to be a whole supply of market bags to help this family go green. Maybe.

Next post: Year in Review

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Nolamom got the Hemlock Ring Blanket

Which is not really blanket-like, full of holes and kind of smallish. More like table topper thing. But it is beautiful!

Gary liked his fingerless mitts and they fit fine.

Carey got a sock. Yes, one sock. And then she had to give it back so I could make the second one look like the first. True sister love when she didn't even bat an eye. Photos when they are done, which should be in a day or two. I have to quit the after Christmas shopping and dishes marathon for much knitting to happen.

Cindy got lots of knitting books, some fine sock yarn, and some beautiful rosewood needles. And a hint that something is backordered. Hmmm, what could Knitpicks have that is on back order? I'm hoping it is a harmonious little shipment....

What to knit next?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Actual Knitting Content

Yes, it is true. I have been knitting, and therefore neglecting the computer, and most definitely neglecting the photographing of the knitting.

But, it is a rainy day and things are starting to come together for these few things I am doing for Christmas. I don't have time these days to knit everything I want to for gifts, so I chose a few select smaller items.

First, for Gary, some Dashing fingerless mittens. Don't know if he will really want them, but he can always give them to Carey. Or just pretend. I'll never know. They were fun to knit. And they fit me really better than the ones I made myself last year.

Then, for Lisa, the black hat for her trip to England. She has promised to photograph it in a very cool location for blog purposes, but for now we will see it displayed on Alex's head. Sorry Lisa, but he did wash his hair this morning! As you can see, it is another Koolhaas Jared hat. Go Jared! Create more hats! Love them! I am a little tired of the crisscrossing thing though, since I did it about 3 billion times with black yarn, but that feeling will be a distant memory soon.

Now, there are a few more things on the horizon that I have not posted here yet, but will post some of them to ravelry. Sneaky that ravelry thing, being in beta and therefore easy to hide photos of presents from those not on ravelry. Anyway, if you want to see them, I'm yarnpaperscissor.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Recipe for Lisa

Here is the recipe for my cookies I made for the Good Things Cookie Exchange.

Cranberry Crackle Bars
By Cindy

6 cups tiny pretzel twists
2 T. packed brown sugar
½ c. butter, melted
2 c. dried cranberries
2 c. salted mixed nuts, coarsely chopped
1 c. white chocolate chips
1 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. butter
2/3 c. light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a jelly roll pan with Pam. Combine pretzels, brown sugar and melted butter in food processor, pulse until mixture resembles crumbs. Press into pan and bake for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle cranberries, nuts, and chips over crust.
Combine granulated sugar, butter, and corn syrup in saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly (this will take 5-10 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour syrup evenly over cranberry nut layer.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until syrup is bubbly over entire surface. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 60.
Store in airtight container. Can be frozen.
This is a modified recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookie Magazine from this year. I doubled the amount of syrup, chopped up the nuts, and made it in a bigger pan to make a thinner crust layer.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I smell a monkey!

A Christmas pair of monkeys no less!

Monkey socks made with French 75 yarn (local goodness) and started on Thanksgiving Day. I finished them and wore them last night to the Good Things cookie/gift exchange night.

Carey will have to blog that event. I didn't have my camera. It was lovely, as always, and everyone did a great job with their cookies! I made cranberry crackle bars and they turned out good too, but I gave away every last one of them so I am feeling the need to make more. Maybe I will take them to work. My friend Isabel has been hinting for me to bring her some goodies.

Onward to the rest of Christmas knitting.

I am still trying to recover from the trama of jury duty. I was an alternate, so I sat through the entire trial (until 5:00 on the dot on Friday afternoon) and then was released pending a "real" juror getting sick, etc, by Monday. That didn't happen, but neither did I get to hear how the whole thing ended up. Talk about a waste of valuable time. At least I know I did my job as a citizen of this fine country and set a good example for my children by not trying to "get out of it."

I did finish "The Alchemist" by Coelho. Emily had to read that for school this fall and I must say it was a nice little book. I have been going through the shelves of the library at school and I am getting the urge to reread lots of books from my childhood.

That would seriously cut into my knitting time.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I have jury duty. ARGH. I have managed for my entire adult life to avoid it one way or another, and so now was my time to bite the bullet and do it.

And, yes, I got chosen. Double ARGH. I get to miss going on a holiday home tour with my two best buds tomorrow while I do my civic duty.

Now I actually have a lot to complain about, but I am trying to handle it with as much grace as I can muster.

EXCEPT (you saw that coming) when reading this-

"The lobby has a metal detector and an airport type x-ray machine for screening purposes. All weapons, including pocketknives of all sizes, tear gas, stun guns, scissors, knitting needles, etc., cannot be brought into the courthouse. Even the smallest of these objects will not be allowed."

I was telling Maurice that I should take two ball point pens and some chunky yarn and whip out a quick scarf, and he informed me I was nuts and would get thrown in jail for contempt of court.

I opted to take a book.

So not fair.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Next on the List

I'm on a roll. Next up is Dashing, a pair of "manly" fingerless mitts for a guy who drives a lot. Hmmm.... wonder who that could be.

Started them last night, and they are going quick. Should have one done today. Don't you love school vacation?

Sunday, November 18, 2007


If your name is Jean and you live in Wisconsin, do not read this post. God is watching you.

My Koolhaas hat is done. And quite lovely too, if I say so myself. My crush on Jared Flood is going strong. Hopefully Jean will like it. It is her color, periwinkle, and the pretty TrueLove Fibers yarn feels very nice.

Don't you think she needs a pair of mittens to go with it? I do. Problem, of course, is that there is no pattern for the Koolhaas mitten. So I made it up. I've made up things before, but this one I'm particularly proud of, since it was a little more complicated.

Since I in no way want to infringe on Interweave Knits or Mr. Flood, I won't claim this is my pattern, but here is how I did it:

Cast on 48 stitches on #5 needles. Do 2x2 rib until you like it. Do one more round, switching to #7 needles. I used the magic loop with Addi Turbos since I couldn't find my Knit Picks Options needle tips in size 7. Probably on something else I have forgotten.

Anyway, start the Koolhaas lattice pattern for two rows. Then start thumb gusset as follows:

Gussett round 1:Knit needle one in pattern. On needle 2, knit 11 in pattern, place marker, k1 f&b, k1 f&b, place marker, knit in pattern to end of row.

Gussett round 2,3,5, and 6: knit in pattern

*Gussett round 4: Needle one knit in pattern. Needle 2: knit 11 in pattern, slip marker, k1 f&b, k2, k1 f&b, slip marker, knit 11 in pattern.

*Gussett round 7: Needle one knit in pattern, needle 2: knit 11 in pattern, slip marker, k1 f&b, knit 4, k1 f&b, slip marker, knit 11 in pattern.

continue increasing like this every third round until you have increased a total of 8 times.

*Note: the pattern stitch right before and after the marker was knit through the back loop most of the time, and crossed when it made sense. This is why I don't write patterns for a living.

Next round: knit in pattern to first marker, remove marker, slip stitches onto waste yarn, remove second marker, knit to end of round in pattern.

next round: when you get to thumb gap, cast on 2 stitches using backward loop method to allow for pattern to flow right.

Continue in pattern until you have completed chart a total 4 times, do row 1 again, then follow the hat pattern for the decreases.

Pick up thumb stitches and knit in stockinette until long enough, decrease a while and end.

Easy as pie! Thanks Jared!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Still knittin' blue

How weird is that?

I don't like blue. It is my least favorite color, except for maybe grey. And I've been knitting the giant blue jellyfish (or some may refer to it as the Hemlock Ring Blanket) for awhile now, and I'm getting bored. I'm on row 100 of 117, which sounds like I'm almost done, but I'm not since each row has over 400 stitches and growing. When I look at the project, I like how it is coming along, but I'm amused that I am knitting in blue.

I finished the striped socks. They were blue! And grey. And I liked them a lot, mostly because the self striping yarn striped very well. I haven't taken a photo of them yet, mostly because they are in the knitting bag which is in the car and not by the camera. Lazy. Sorry.

Then I went and started the Koolhaas Hat, you know, my Jared Flood hat from Holiday Gifts. Its blue too! Well, more like periwinkle, but what's going on? Am I crazy? I like this a lot too, the yarn has bits of purple in it and is very pleasing to look at while I'm crossing a zillion little cables. It makes me happy.

I missed Naughty/Knotty Knitters this morning since I was at training this morning for work, but I hear that we had a visitor that had seen us knitting at the coffee shop and this morning brought her knitting to join us. How fun is that? I am way too much of a chicken to do that, but it sounded like it went well. Aren't knitters cool? The funny thing is that when she arrived, it forced the "Cindy's gone let's talk scrapbooking/photos instead of knitting" girls to get back to the task at hand. Ha. Ha Ha.

I taught a person at soccer practice (a coach that I didn't know) how to do magic loop. That made me happy too.

Friday, November 02, 2007

By the way...

Happy Birthday Emily. I do hope you like your Pirates loot from Disneyland. You're the best. I love ya babe!

Post-wedding panic = need to shop

Oh. My. Goodness. I've just received two DVDs filled with images from my wedding. The photos are lovely. I will post the cream of the crop when my panic attack is over. How on Earth will I make a scrapbook of normal size from literally 900 images from my wonderful wedding day? Not to mention photos from showers and all that. YIKES!

This type of problem will only be solved with serious shopping. Shelly! Mom! When exactly are we going to that scrapbook store in Bakersfield?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'm married!

There are about a billion things to do when planning THE social event of the season. I'm choosing to blog the creative few that I managed to take pictures of during the crazy season before my wedding. First, the cookies. NolaMom, the cookie-baking fanatic mixed up batch after batch of cookie dough, chilled it all, rolled it out and baked close to 200 wedding cake-shaped cookies. For a while there, cookies covered the whole house. Cindy and I got together and frosted and frosted and frosted and then we decorated the cake cookies to look just like the beautiful cake Melinda from Dede's Decor created for me. (I'll post those pictures as soon as I get them back from the photog.) The result:

After two whole days of packaging the cookies, I started work on the guest book. (I feel I should mention here, in the interest of full disclosure, that I started the book the day before the wedding) I do realize that you can hop on over to Michaels and buy a guest book for 12 bucks, and have little to no stress about the whole thing, but really, is that me? I think not.
I made a 6 by 6 album using just a few papers and embellishments, added photos from our engagement shoot and left space for my guests to sign. The result is so fun. I just can't stop looking at it. And, it is great that people wrote more than just their name. Instead of getting just a record of attendance, Gary and I have a book filled with wishes from our closest friends.

So... after guests signed the book, this is a little video of what they got to see, thanks to the oh so bouncy camera work of my co-worker, Shawn.
I can't wait to show you the scrapbook I'll create for the wedding and the honeymoon. Want to know about the honeymoon? It was truly wild...

Sea lions in San Simeon, just across the street from the zebras. Yes. Zebras, right off the highway.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hangover cures

Is it possible to have a wedding hangover when you aren't the bride or groom? I feel like it has taken me all week to get back to normal and I'm not quite there yet.

I have taken up the "sock-er" practice socks again just to have something easy to knit. The wedding may be over, but kids and sports schedules are busy and this week started with some unhappy news at school that left everyone with the blues so knitting helps lessen the stress. Is it a coincidence that my two WIP's are blue, not a color I knit very often? Hmmmm...I do like the stripes of this yarn.

I haven't blogged about some of the things I am working on because they may (will) end up as Christmas gifts. Blogs aren't good surprise keepers. However, I haven't nailed down what I am making for whom yet, so if I show these and Santa ends up delivering it to you, please pretend you've never seen it before, ok?

I have a knitting crush on Jared Flood. I started the Hemlock Ring Blanket a few weeks ago and have been enjoying it a lot. This is a design that is based on a vintage doily pattern, just made with worsted weight yarn and with a few more repeats added in. The photos on Brooklyntweed (Jared Flood's blog which is excellent) make you want to cast on everything immediately, so I decided to jump in with this one. Right now mine is in the "looks like a jellyfish" stage since it is on circulars, but many photos on Ravelry and the Yahoo group make me hold out hope for greatness once it is off the needles. I'm not using wool since I want it to be washable. Cross your fingers.

He also has a hat featured in the new Holiday Gifts from Interweave Knits. I want to make that too, but don't really have a hat wearing audience to knit for. Any requests? I may make it anyway, being the process knitter I am.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

It is Wedding Day!

And the pillow was done six hours before the rehearsal. No sweat.

Congratulations Carey and Gary!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Clear the Cobwebs!

I'm back!

It is all Carey's fault. Really. She had to go and conjure up a wedding full of opportunities to create things. We have all taken the bait. Tracy masterminded the shower, Cheri is helping with the flowers, Mom has made the flower girl basket, and baked, oh, a billion cookies for wedding favors in between keeping Carey on task (Not an easy task) and supplying Dad with a never ending Honey-do list. We girls got together last weekend to decorate those cookies, and Carey swears she will blog the photos of that.

Carey herself is, of course, doing lots too. She designed and printed the invitations and programs, and along with Mom, is putting together the whole sha-bang. I'm sure I have forgotten to mention about 80% of what they have done.

Anyway, having waited until the last minute (did anyone expect anything less?) to do the ring bearer pillow, I figured I should get busy. I intended to do a silk ribbon embroidery in the corner design, but it has been a very long time since I did any silk ribbon embroidery and my supplies were a little dated looking and not all the right colors for this fall wedding. I looked all over town in the usual places and was very disappointed to find most every place had stopped selling silk ribbon. Crafting fads! By chance I found a beautiful supply at the new quilting store in town, Cottage Quilts. She printed me a pattern of a heart that I immediately knew was perfect for the pillow.

Here is what it looks like so far -
Still have to finish the beads.

I'm really liking it. I had a few fits of indecision on what to do with the pillow edges. A ruffle would be too busy I think, so I am making some tassles. I will also try to put a little ribbon or strap type thing for little Patrick to hold on to.

Will post finshed photos sometime before the wedding. Ha! Like I'm not going to finish seconds before the rehearsal.

We had October Good Things last night. We decorated little monogram letters. I chose H for Halloween. We had a lot of fun, almost everyone was there, and the projects were cute. Tracy made raisin pound cake, yummy!

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I got my stuff back from the fair. My socks had in fact gotten a first place - I thought they hadn't received anything, but apparently it wasn't labeled or something.

And, the biggest shocker was I had an extra jumbo ribbon in the bag. I won the People's Choice award for the Home Arts Building! Way to stuff a ballot box friends and family! You make me proud.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Scenes from the County Fair

My Mystery Stole won best of show! I was very surprised and happy. My chicken also got a first place. My socks (and the other socks I saw) got nothing, which helps keep me humble in spite of the purple ribbon. Such is the luck of the fair.
Ribbons, corn dogs, cinnamon rolls, and Chris Daughtry. Quite a night at the fair.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Eye Candy for Fall

I love the Bay Area. Always something to do, great yarn stores, just wish it were not 3 hours away. This weekend the three Musketeers (Carey, Nolamom and I) went up to see a quilt show in Livermore and the TKGA yarn show in Oakland.

The Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore was decked out for fall. I love the pumpkins and fall flowers. Aren't they great?

The yarn show in Oakland is much smaller than Stitches, but this year it seemed even smaller than before. We took our time, but were done looking in the market after an hour and a half. I was happy to see Terilyn Needlecraft there, I got some of their laceweight yarn at Stitches at the Bay Area Knit Coop booth at Stitches, and that was what I used to make the Mystery Stole. This time I got some pretty green silk/wool that I am leaning toward using to maybe make the Forest Path Stole. I also got some silk laceweight at another booth that was incredible. Lace seemed to be the yarn of the day.

Since we were done early, we made a detour to Bake Sale Betty's (fab bakery and Betty has very interesting electric blue hair) and Article Pract. I was just there not too long ago, but managed to see some nice stuff. I really like their selection. It is probably a good idea that I don't live closer. I did manage to restrain myself pretty well.

Now all I have to decide is what to start first. I am working on another pair of plain socks ("sock"-er practice socks) and have a Twisted Flower to finish, but I'm ready to start a big lace project. Or mittens. Or a blanket. Decisions Decisions.

Doesn't Maurice look like he's guest hosting Blue's Clues?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

September Socks for School

I'm taking a complicated sock break. I'm actually cheating, since I need to finish a pair of socks in September and the Twisted Flower socks take so long I may be in danger of not finishing in time. I decided to finish up the pair of plain Koigu socks I started when I went to the Teacher retreat in August.

There is something very satisfying about plain stockinette after a run with lace and cables. Interestingly, I feel the same in reverse. I guess I crave variety.

These socks are on their way to be a silent auction item for Emily's high school auction fundraiser. Being low in self esteem, I'm terrified no one will bid on them. Not everyone understands the joy of the handknit socks from handdyed merino. Maybe I can pay Lisa or Tracy to bid on them just to save my ego. Don't you love friends?

In other news, today was the red-letter day for registering for next year's Stitches West. I was poised at the laptop at 7 am this morning and of course couldn't get through on the internet so was reduced to phoning them over and over until I finally got through at 7:26 on the cell phone on the way to school (my co-pilot Alex did the dialing). I signed up for classes from Cat Bordhi, Candace Eisner Strick, Melissa Leapman, and Lucy Neatby. Two full days of sock knitting classes, plus a half day of knitting backwards (totally cool) and a half day of knitted borders. Plus a ticket to see Vickie Howell. Plus, I got in at the good hotel this time. Total knitting heaven. I wish it were February now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Patience is a gift from God, so is a sock to knit

Does knitting make you a more patient person? I have read all the mystical spiritual things about knitting and agree with them for the most part. When I am knitting I am happy (unless I have messed up, then I may be uttering less than happy sounds) and even thinking about yarn or my next project can transport me into a better "place." Yes, I don't count sheep, I count balls of yarn. Close enough.

Anyway, I like to always have knitting with me when I have to wait. I seek out car trips (and hate to have to be the driver) and don't mind waiting for the kids as they are shuffled about town during their activities. I am very proud of the fact I have something productive to do, no idle hands, yada yada.

However, I have noticed that when something dreadful happens like I finish my project at hand and I have nothing to do, I am more impatient than ever. To the point of wanting to strangle the person responsible for making me waste my valuable time THAT I COULD BE KNITTING. Yes, I know it is my own fault for not packing two projects with me at any given moment, however I usually shove my sock du jour in my purse and heaven help me if I try to cram even more than that in the abyss of my handbag.

Anyway, today I was waiting at the doctor's office and worked on the toe of the Twisted Flower sock. Then I got sent to the lab and got down to the final stitches, and since I didn't have my kitchener cheat sheet and needle with me, I had nothing more to knit. I looked around at the other 7 or 8 people in the room all doing absolutely nothing but staring at the ceiling and waiting and I wanted to say "People, where is your knitting?! I know my problem, but how can you just be wasting your lives away like that?"

Maybe they were praying. Maybe they noticed the woman who finished her purple sock and was sitting with them with a crazed look in her eye. Or maybe they were counting balls of yarn in their mind's eye. I'll never know.