Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dog Heavy Post

We had a lovely Christmas at my parents. The doggies were decked out in seasonal bandannas awaiting my husband's cinnamon buns.

I don't know what got into Penny but she was unusually snuggly. Archie is often afraid of her but he tolerated a few minutes of cuddling before her bark scared him off.

By the end of the evening Penny had moved on to snuggling with Harry. These two crack me up, what an odd couple to watch play. We've come to the conclusion they have a love-hate relationship. They love to play and cuddle but, and if you are a Jeff Dunham fan you will understand, sometimes Penny is in an "I keel you!" mood.

This was the seen as we were packing up to leave, I totally understood.

Yesterday we watched as the neighbor's tree fell on the power line in the wind. What's a girl to do with no power? Go use the Woolworks gift card her husband got and check email at the Victoria Station Cafe! The yarn was for me, the coffee for my husband. He needed to check in with work after acting as my personal shopping cart. They were having a sale so I came home with two skeins of Malabrigio in Pearl for a just enough ruffles scarf, one skein of J. Knits sock yarn in Massachusetts for some cable heart socks, and two skeins of a wonderful merino and silk yarn for the instant glamour hat from Custom Knits. My mom got me this book for Christmas and I like it so far. The customization tips are great and I like the idea of afterthought sleeves. I'm using some leftover white Zarina and kidsilk haze held together but I'm just not sure I like it yet. It isn't as sparkly or marbled as I would have liked. We'll see how it goes.

I also started Selbu Modern in some Rowan 4ply soft from WEBS. This is one of my favorite yarns for colorwork. I seem to be on a bit of a colorwork kick, and a hat kick. I lost my Trinity stitch hat but nothing seems to be taking it's place. I may just have to make another.

Well, the snow is really picking up here now. I'm so glad the Internet starting working this morning so my husband could work from home. I'm off this week and the company is nice. That and now I have all the patterns and recipes I need :) Next time, I'll try to wrap up all the gifts I made this year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hey Mother Nature

What the heck. I thought we had an understanding. You snowed over the weekend while I could stay home and the skies were clear by Monday morning. But then you had to go and make it 8 degrees and freeze everything including my windshield washer fluid. Mother nature my road is still not cleared and someone just went into a tree. Now the town has something to do with this but come on, let it melt enough to drive. Four treacherous, icy drives to get to and from work is not cool, I don't appreciate this. I am exhausted and have a giant crack across my windshield. Please plan your weather patterns more carefully in the future. Itty Bitty Bear is watching you.

Happy Holidays and safe drives to all!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Block Party

Christmas knitting is done and everything that needed a bath is drying out. Phew, done early for once! Now can I manage to give it all away... I would like to thank mother nature for holding off on the snow until I got home Friday and keeping me inside to knit all weekend. I now have some cool winter accessories.

Pattern: Plum Blossom Mittens by Kristin Hipsky
Yarn: Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky
Needles: US 10.5

I fell in love with this pattern the minute I saw it in the WEBS catalog and I've finally gotten around to making it with some leftover Berkshire Bulky I had in the stash. I picked up the off-white color on my last trip to WEBS just for these. This is such a cool, easy pattern. I have made two pairs and the hat since Friday. They really go fast. After the mittens I had so much yarn leftover that I made hats, the one you see above and a slightly different one Ill show later. This really is one of my favorite yarns, it is soft and thick and makes a nice warm hat. The mittens are shedding a bit after cleaning up the massive amount of snow outside so I think they will be for times when I'm not doing too many activities outside. Actually, maybe if you felted them a bit they would be pretty nice... Anyway I highly recommend this pattern. I'm very happy with the way the hat came out too. My first successful pattern adaptation! This will serve me well until I replace my beloved trinity stitch hat I lost a couple of weeks ago :( It was my favorite but at least it is quick and I have another skein of the same yarn. I still miss it though. Well, the lights are flickering so I better post this in case the power goes out.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

FO: Danica

Pattern: Danica by Jesse Loesberg Knitty Winter 2005
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden color 226 3 skeins
Needles: Knitpicks Options US8

I really didn't mean to be away for so long, a had a bad reaction to a tetanus shot and work has been insane. Working from 6:30am to 9:30pm and returning at 7:30am on a Saturday wiped me out. I have the week between Christmas and New Years off and I'm just trying to get there.

Enough of my complaining, on to the knitting. I finished Danica over the Thanksgiving weekend. I am so smitten with this scarf, it may just be my most favorite knit. The pattern was fun and easy to follow once you get the hang of it, and it is so thick and warm. Noro is made for this pattern, the color changes are great and the bright turquoise bits that appear sporadically are really cool.
This is a great way to try entrelac and Noro, I highly recommend it. I did not block it because I like the puffiness of the squares and wanted to wear it. My trips to WEBS was great but I am too embarrassed to show you how much came home with me. It will come out here in small bits over time I'm sure. Well, its late and my one day weekend is over. Hopefully this week will allow more blogging time. I am nearing the end of holiday knitting a bit early and have much to show.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mmmmmm Cheeeeese

I don't think I've mentioned that I like to bake. We had a great dinner this weekend and I had to share, it would make a good appetizer and I can come back to the blog to remember what I did. This goes much faster than you would think.

Baked Camembert and Mushrooms en Croute

Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add some thinly sliced onions and saute until soft. Add ~4oz sliced mushrooms, I used white button since that is what we had, and saute until the mushrooms have given off most of their water. Toss in 1 finely chopped clove of garlic and some sherry and continue to saute until the liquid is gone. I stopped short of really caramelizing the onions but I'm sure it would be good either way. Season with a little salt and pepper if needed and set aside. Roll out a sheet of puff pastry and cut a circle big enough to enclose the Camembert. I scraped the rind off the top of the wheel just to give the filling a place to sit and not spill over when assembling but that is a matter of preference. Top the wheel with the mushroom mixture and enclose in the pastry, folds on the bottom. Trim excess, spread with nutella and bake later :) I baked the wheel at 350 for about 25 minutes, until the pastry is lightly browned. Serve with slices of this bread. We didn't wait too long to dig in so the cheese was pretty runny, but that makes if very spreadable.

For dessert I suggest the nutella scraps and some cranberry dark chocolate chip cookies based on this recipe. Food is good :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I don't know what got into me (FO: CoCo)

It started because I wanted a simple hat, and I wanted to use some leftover Berkshire Bulky that matched my coat. I've never been a huge fan of garter stitch but when I saw CoCo I had the "I have to make that now" urge. I don't know, maybe I have a thing for big ears

Pattern: CoCo by Chloe Sparkle
Yarn: Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky 1 skein in Olive
Needles: Knitpick Options US 10

I took of knitting and in a couple of hours had a new hat. It is ridiculously simple and I think pretty cute. Unfortunately I think it makes me look a little....stupid, for lack of a better word. I'm not sure I can leave the house with it on which is a shame because I love the yarn. So soft and warm. My husband says nothing but he is looking at me a little weirdly. Oh well, they can't all be winners. I think Penny is tired of me exploiting her cuteness on the blog, she says to knock it off with the pictures and knit another hat.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

FO:Gathered Scarf

Pattern: Gathered scarf by Maryse Roudier
Yarn: Bristol Yarn Gallery Buckingham ~1.5 skeins
Needle: Susan Bates US2 DPNS and Clover Bamboo US7 DPNS

Work has been hectic the past couple of weeks but my lack of ability to focus on anything complicated resulted in finishing my gathered scarf. I love everything about this scarf. The pattern is simple, the yarn is both soft and easy to work with and the look is really cute. I didn't block this because I like the puffiness and the way is curls so you can't see the wrong side. It took awhile but this has become my favorite scarf, I've worn it everyday since I cast off.

I may have mentioned here that I don't particularly like knitting scarves and that has been the case for awhile. I'm pretty much eating my words now, I don't know what has come over me but as soon as I finished this scarf I had the urge to start another. I think it may be that I like to have one simple project that I can pick up at any point and knit a few rows without following a chart. So this week I stopped in to Woolworks which is always a good time. We had a good laugh when my total came up as 48,000.00. I assure you I didn't have that much in my hands :) I've always liked that store and I plan to make that my first stop for yarn even more so next year. I don't order too much off the Internet but while this year has been the year to try many new yarns next year will be more shopping locally. Anyway, I've jumped on the bandwagon and scummed to my inexplicable urge to knit the Noro Striped Scarf. I liked this when I saw Brooklyn Tweed's last year but I didn't have the scarf itch at that time. After scouring Ravelry I decided to go with Plymouth Boku. This is a nice, inexpensive yarn with pretty colors. I'm just not sure I like the way the colors are striping, I 'm not sure if I will continue on or start over.

It had just gone on sale for 25% off that afternoon so I really lucked out, which kind of gave me an excuse to try Noro Silk Garden. This is another reason Ravelry is both cool and evil. I never liked Danica when it came out but while researching self striping yarns I came across some versions with Noro and I fell in love. Entrelac is really cool and I love watching the colors come out. I'm totally smitten with this scarf and it is just the right simple project to take on our Thanksgiving trip next week.

Adding to the scarf craziness is this out of Rowan Kidsilk Haze. I'm loving the look and feel of this yarn, I can understand why people talk it up so much. This requires chart reading but is pretty easy once you understand the pattern.

I did restrain myself and not buy yarn for Cosmicpluto's just enough ruffles scarf but I suspect I will break down eventually. Of the three scarves above one is a gift, one is for me and the other...I'm not telling. Bwa hahahaha. This below is definitely a gift, do you know what I am :)

Well, that was a pretty big update, I'm off to knit some more and make my WEBS list for our stop on Wednesday! I'm excited, my birthday gift certificate has been taunting me for over a month and I do love going to my other favorite yarn store.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bitten by Brioche

I'm sure that title has made it's way around the internet but I can't seem to come up with anything else that fits. My Family is being sneaky and is now reading the blog to figure out if they are getting something for Christmas so I've decided to give it right back :) I'm not going to say what projects are for me and which are gifts, I may not even show the entire finished project here. Bwaaa hahahahahah! Anyway this is almost done and it is my first Brioche stitch project. It's a great pattern and works up quickly. The yarn is Mirasol Miski that I got from Yarns With a Twist in Chaplin. It is the softest baby llama yarn, it is like knitting with a cloud and feels amazing next to the skin.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

FO: Phases of the Moon Sleeping Cap

My husband asked for a sleeping cap about a year ago and I've finally finished it. We worked together to create the chart and after a few starts it came together. Unfortunately my stranded knitting sucks over long areas of one color so the background color shows through. He says he likes it, I think he's just happy to have a soft hat. It was tested out last night and it stayed on throughout the night. Phew glad to have that monkey off my back! The yarn he chose was Filatura di Crossa Zarina, it is a washable wool that is wonderfully soft. I love knitting with this yarn and the Zara, both hold up well and are soft against the skin. It did grow after I washed it but a tumble in the drier shrunk it back nicely. Needles were Addi US3 16".

I'm hoping the full moon evens out with some wear, boy did I make that section loose.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Remember me?

I had to rip out just about everything I knit last week so I went back to an old project, my arabesque blanket. This simple hexagon gave me the small sense of accomplishment I needed. Now that the weather is getting cooler I really wish I had kept to my goal of one hexagon a week. I doubt this will get finished before Christmas.

This lovely skein of Classic Elite La Gran Mohair is evidence of how I have the greatest parents ever. They spent a weekend at the Cape for their anniversary and brought me back this gift from Adventures in Knitting. It is amazingly soft and I can't wait to knit with it, unfortunately I have a long long queue of things to get to. Sigh, I need few more hours in the day. I have finally started the phases of the moon sleeping cap that my husband asked for last winter, I'll have pictures once I get past the colorwork portion.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

FOs and Frogs

To make up for the fact that we weren't going to Rhinebeck this weekend we decided to take a trip to the beach to enjoy the great weather. Penny loves running in the sand. Unlike our trip to the farmer's market she was very good. We kept her off the leash and she only strayed when someone started to reach out and pet her. That dog amazes me sometimes.

I took that opportunity to have a little photo shoot of my new fingerless gloves

Pattern: (Ravelry down, I'll edit later- based on Hello Yarn Socks)
Yarn: Jewel in Indian Corn from Mocha's Fiber Connection
Needles: Inox US 2 40"

I love them, perfect fall gloves. I cast on 49 stitches carried the twist over 6 stitches and had 1 purl stitch between the twists. I only wish I had done more than 4 pattern repeats before starting the thumb gusset.

I must knit more for my husband since he really enjoyed posing for me.

These are a simple 3 x 1 garter rib stitch sock. They are magic loop, toe up with a slipped stitch heel. The yarn is Valley Yarns Huntington in Charcoal. I really like the yarn and will be getting more soon. Now that the weather is cold I'm loving my hand knit socks and want more.

Now on the disappointment. I had settled on a pattern for my new yarn but I need to start over, my tension is horrible and the white yarn is too thin, you can see the red yarn through it. Sigh, now I have to knit the same thing three times. At least this gives me an opportunity to fix all the little things I didn't like about these arm warmers.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sneak Peak

After buying some really nice Merlot colored yarn at the farmer's market I spent ages searching for the perfect pattern. I couldn't find anything I thought did the yarn justice so I sat down with excel and have been messing around with charts for the last couple of weeks. I think I've finally settled on something I really like. We'll see how it turns out :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Positive rogress

After starting and ripping several patterns I've finally decided on one I like.

Unfortunately I don't have any US1 circs long enough for my beloved magic loop so it's DPNS for me. It makes me appreciate magic loop even more. My sister got me a gift certificate to WEBS for my birthday so when we go up around Thanksgiving I'm going to invest in more 40" circulars. If I can hold out that long.

I don't think I've mentioned the scarf I started awhile back. This was originally a lace ribbon scarf but I didn't like how it was coming out. I really love the simplicity of this pattern and the cool affect changing needle size has. I'm not crazy about scarf knitting but picking this up when I need something mindless should get it done for the winter. That and I really need a scarf. This yarn is Bristol Yarn Gallery Buckingham and is so soft, I love it. I don't know why this picture is upside down but I'm not in the mood to try and fix it.

My Printed Silk Cardigan is also growing slowly, I have the back and just about one front done. This is what I really want to work on and wear, it just keeps getting pushed aside for other projects I want to wear sooner. I really enjoy seeing the twisted stitch pattern emerge.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Do I like it?

I've been playing with a fingerless mitt design but I'm not convinced I like it. I wanted to show off the yarn but I think this is just too simple. I'm keeping the picot cast on but other than that i guess it is back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why I love my husband

My birthday is still a week away but this came in the mail a few days ago and he gave away what it was. This was the one item I begged for and after the tangled nightmare last time he tried to help me wind skeins it wasn't going to be a surprise. I love it. It is the best thing since sliced bread and it is honestly taking restraint not to wind up every skein I have in the house. Look at the nice tidy yarn cakes! Unfortunately I want to use the wine colored skein with a very light grey so I had to unwind it and wash it so it wouldn't bleed. The dye just kept coming out, I soaked it with vinegar but the water still wasn't clear after two days of washing and rinsing. I just hope I've gotten enough out so that it won't bleed in the final project. He ordered the swift and ball winder from WEBS, the small set in their catalogue and it arrived in one day. Now that is fast. I could never say enough good things about WEBS, or about my husband :) To thank him I have finished his socks, I just need to get a good photo of them.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Aquisitions and Dilemmas

This weekend we went to the Coventry Farmer's Market annual fiber twist. It turned out to be a family affair as my parents and sister came with us. Even Penny made the trip though her attitude toward other dogs likely made that her only trip. She did love all the people. I had been looking forward to this for a while since I've decided Rhinebeck is just too far to go this year :( There was way too much to choose from, I wish I had more money and had been better prepared. Here is what I got:

From left to right: Shimmer a merino tencel/blend sock yarn from The Painted Sheep in Mocha. Jewel a merino/bamboo sock yarn from Mocha's Fiber Connection in Indian Corn and an unknown semi-solid wine colored yarn in what I think is a fingering weight. I can't for the life of me remember the vendor and the tag only lists the price. I think it might be some kind of goat fiber. I know the mocha colorway will become socks but I'm not sure what to do with the other skeins. The Indian corn yarn is soooooo pretty and the skein is 550 yards. It just seems too pretty to put on my feet but what else to do? I'm not sure I'd wear a cowl so I'm thinking either fingerless gloves or a shawl. I'm worried I wouldn't wear a multi colored shawl, I'm really conflicted. The red skein may go into some color work items since I think it may not be soft enough for a shawl/scarf. My sister was quick to note she liked the color so I may see if I can work it into a gift for her.

I was bad and also stopped into Woolworks last week to get yarn for the house sweater from Charmed Knits that I really want to wear. I ended up not finding the right color gold for the small stripe it calls for and came home with 9 skeins of black Ultra Alpaca Light. This yarn is great, I loved the Ultra Alpaca so I'm sure the Light version will be nice, the price sure is. The only issue is that I don't think the black will look good with gold and maroon so it won't become the house sweater :( I'm really torn now between the Gathered Pullover and the Vintage Pink Cardigan. I think the color would work with the cardigan but I had planned on a Christmas splurge for the Blue Sky Alpaca Silk. I'll have to swatch and make sure the drape is ok with my yarn. Pretty funky bag too :)

And because I think this picture is hysterical here is Penny after her bath the other day. So spikey.

And for her humiliation she got some couch time after she dried. I shooed her away from my WIPS three times before I gave up and let her bury her face in them. She had a rough day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

FO: Banded Peasant Blouse

Pattern: Banded Peasant Blouse by Mary Jane Mucklestone IK Spring 2008
Yarn: Louet Merlin
Needles Susan Bates US5 and Inox US 3 40"

I meant to post this last week but my computer decided to stop booting up completely. This was a nice straight forward knit. The neckline is too big and that makes it unwearable at work but I really do like it. I wore it to the Coventry Farmer's market this weekend and it was very comfortable, not too hot at all. Say what you will for summer knits but I have been very pleased with mine this year. I absolutely love the Merlin, I have a bunch left over and I'm going to find some way to use it all. WEBS has the worsted version on closeout and it has been very hard not to snatch it up. A word of warning thought, my yarn bled a bit. My only complaint about this sweater is how tight the arms are, if I were to make it again I wouldn't decrease as much before starting the color work bands.

Well, I'm all up to date on my FOs and now that I have inherited my husband's old laptop I hope my blogging will be more frequent. Next time I'll show my new acquisitions from the Market.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

FO: Guinevere

Pattern: Guinevere by Melissa Wehrle
Yarn: Garnstudio Lin 105
Needles: Susan Bates US4 and 5 Inox dpns US1

This was my Ravelympic sweater and this post is long overdue. I had some issues with the pattern but now that the error has been fixed and some more directions have been added I suspect it won't be as problematic to future knitters. My gauge was off with this yarn so I knit the smallest size to get about zero ease and it worked out perfectly. The yarn was a bit stiff but didn't hurt my hands at all and it softened up with blocking. I really like the color (a little more rich in real life) and feel of the linen, I have worn this sweater a ton and it has held its shape wonderfully. As much trouble as this was I really love the sweater and I'm thinking of using the white Merlin I bought at WEBS for a longer, 3/4 sleeve version. I'd have to do some math to make set in sleeves but I think the style is really flattering and I do love the Merlin. We shall see, it is time to turn to fall and winter knits so my mind may change. I have one more FO to show and then I'll be all caught up, as long as I don't wait too long to post it :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Where have I been?

I really didn't mean to stay away for so long. Being camera-less for a few weeks really threw me off and it's been hard to get back in front of my computer. I've been knitting a lot recently, my husband was working hard to finish up his PhD which gave me time to finish up a few WIPs. He's done now so I'm not sure how his free nights will affect my knitting but for now there's much to show. Two things motivated me to get back into the blogging thing, my husband is going to upgrade his computer for work which means I get his old one. So only a week or two of my lovely yet very slow computer. The second is my awesome new camera, I got an award from work and we decided to treat ourselves. It's a fabulous blue Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS, the one Maria Sharapova has in the commercials. My family has had great luck with Canon and I do love my new toy, my knitting pictures are much improved. Here's an example, picture one from the old camera and picture two from the new one.

You can see the stitches! Granted the first is a bit dark but I love that Penny looks so surprised I finished these socks. These are my first magic loop toe-up socks on Inox US2. I used Judy's magic cast on and a slipped stitch gusset heel from a free pattern on the Knitpicks website. The yarn is Lane Cervina Forever that I picked up in Maine. It's nice and I think it will wear well. It is more busy than I would normally like but I like it enough.

I have started some toe-up magic loop socks for my husband using Valley yarns Huntington, the new sock yarn from WEBS, for my husband. I'm really liking this yarn a lot and when we go to WEBS around Thanksgiving I plan to get some for me. I can't say I love knitting socks but they are a nice change when I need a distraction from a sweater. I'm totally smitten with two at a time magic loop, I don't think I'd be knitting socks without learning this.

I've got plenty more to show soon, if you can't wait you can check me out on Ravelry (katiekakes).