Monday, March 27, 2006

Moving on...

So, that's Tempting II. Impressed? Yeah, me neither. To end the suspense, I still had 35 live stitches when I ran out of yarn. I have no idea why it took so much yarn. But on a whim (and based on a weird feeling that caused me to check the pattern every few rounds, muttering, "no decreases on the yoke? Really?), I tried it on. Biggest. Sweater. Ever. I would have needed the shoulders of a linebacker (sorry, not a football person--are those the ones with the big shoulders?) to hold this sweater up. Darn it for ignoring intuition. So, I ripped out the band and the [k2tog,k1] row below the band. I re-knit the last row as k2tog all around and changed the band to a 9-stitch instead of an 11-stitch to conserve yarn. And, voila, I finished. I found a button that is either cute or ugly (jury's still out) and took my FO picture. Running out of yarn was not my fault--I had gauge, and I was making the smaller of two sizes that called for 5 balls of yarn. Here's what was my fault: 1. I made the wrong size. I should have made a medium, and I made a large. 2. I should have listened to the nagging voice in my head that kept asking how this top was going to stay on my shoulders with no decreases in the yoke. (Is that a load-bearing buckle? Because I had thought it was decorative, and now I think it's holding up the top.) 3. I did not LOOK AT THE PATTERN PHOTO closely. If you look, you can see the top barely hanging on to the model's shoulders. If I had noticed that, I would have either done a couple of yoke decreases or skipped this one. 4. I underestimated the tedium of miles and miles of 1x1 rib. I prefer my mindless knitting in stickinette, which is faster. Good things: I *love* the knitted-on band detail. It makes for a cute, neat finish, and I'll be incorporating it in other places. I love Rowan Calmer, which is soft with a bit of flexibility. I actually mostly like the sweater, too...just not the off-the-shoulder look. So...what now? I may rip back half the yoke and work in a couple of decrease rows. I may rip out the whole thing and make something else. I think the pattern and I need a cooling-off period.

I did get a start on Picovoli. That's Knitpicks Shine in Sky, and I'm doing the picot trim and adding short rows.

This was a birthday present! It's 2 666-yard skeins of Cherry Tree Hill Cascade Fingering Silk in Indian Summer. I've decided it wants to a shawl, and I'm going to swatch a few lace patterns and design it myself.

Reading: Same. My next book club book is The Love Wife by Gish Jen, which I should start before too long.

Writing: Same. Marie asked if I would be sharing drafts of the murder mystery. I hadn't thought about that. I think probably not. I have a few readers in the draft process, but I want to have it polished before I share with a general audience.

Cooking: Lee has tagged me with a cookbook-related meme. So, here we go:

How many cookbooks do you own? The counting would be scary. 20? I'm willing to hazard that as a guess. To give you an idea, I have a spreadsheet of recipes in books I want to try or will make again, that I can sort by category and subcategory, title, source, calories per serving, and main ingredients. I also have a loose-leaf binder with my own recipes and recipes I've collected from the internet.

Which cookbook did you buy most recently? Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2006

Which is the cookbook that you read most recently? The Provence Cookbook by Patricia Wells

Name 5 cookbooks that mean a lot to you.

Cooking Light: I subscribe, I use their web page, I get the Annual Recipes collections every year. Note: The annual recipe collections are indexed hardbound books with every recipe from the previous year's issues. These are not to be confused with their themed cookbooks, which I've found lacking. Nutritional info on every recipe, creative substitutions, lightening without taking out all the flavor. And even if the cover story is something completely unrelated to my cooking, like "Pork Recipes Galore", I know there will be *something* in there for me. And the learning! Last year, one of the issues featured a whole section on homemade ricotta cheese, which I made a ton of and used in three of the recipes.

The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen: The first curry I ever made was the eggplant version in this book, and I first made samosas from here as well. Yes, the format's quirky, but several of the recipes have stayed on my "favorites" list, and I enjoy her writing style. And it was my first vegetarian cookbook, so I thought it was great that I didn't have to skip whole sections.

Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East: This is the book that got me started on Mediterranean food--my first hummus was from this book. It also got me started on Indian food, which is a delightful challenge, and led me to Indian Vegetarian Cooking at Your House. Sadly, it has not improved my Chinese cooking, which is confined to basic stir-fry.

The Professional Chef, Seventh Edition and The Professional Pastry Chef, Fourth Edition: Both are amazing references and learning tools for when I want a new challenge. And PPC has a killer recipe for strawberry-lime sauce that is a *perfect* match for my Margarita Angel Food Cake in the summer. Yum. Plus, each is so heavy, you feel like a serious chef just carrying it into the kitchen.

Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook: I'm not generally a huge Martha fan, but this book is great for two reasons. First, it tells you how to make fiddly-looking hors d'oeuvres in mere hours. Turning out dozens of cute little one-bite tartlets is a special kind of fun. Second, it helps me with my greatest cooking weakness...presentation. My food generally tastes good, but I'm not great at decorating or arranging. This leads to culinary creations like Elephant Poop Cake, an amazing-tasting chocolate mousse-filled layer cake that looks like its namesake. And if anyone is a master of image, it's Martha.

If you read my blog and you cook, consider yourself tagged!

Tomorrow: More kitty pictures than you can handle. Stay tuned.


Rachel said...

I think Tempting really looks quite nice! Yeah, it's off the shoulder, but not ridiculously so. It's lovely.

Speaking of lovely, that silk is gorgeous. It will make a stunning shawl.

Areli said...

I think your finished Tempting 2 turned out really well, maybe you will like it more after a little break from it. It's such a nicely flattering top.

I really like the yarn you chose for Picovoli, I just received yarn today to make the same top.

And your cherry tree hill is so gorgeous! Makes me want to reach through my screen and touch it!

String Bean said...

Tempting II looks good! Admittedly, I'd never wear an off-the-shoulder anything because I'm not a fan of flashing my bra straps, but that's just me.
I think it looks fine how it is now, but if you're not completely happy, go ahead, rip back, and do
more decreases. Either way, it will still look good.

I've had the yarn for my Picovoli for a few months. I won't get to it for a little while yet.

Cristi started the ring and set up a blog for us Knitting Crazy Cat Ladies. Here's the urls:
Once you join the ring she'll send you an invite to the blog. Hurrah!

I'll have to do the cookbook meme. I have The Provence Cookbook by Patricia Wells! I love it, but rarely use it.

Rain said...

I think it looks ok, but obviously I don't know how it feels on. I tend to leave things for a while after I've made them as I get sick of looking at them and decide I don't like them. It may grow on you with a little break. It doesn't look baggy around the shoulders or anything.

lee said...

Hey, if you don't want it I'll buy it off of you! I love the color. How about a close up of the button? Thanks for doing the meme. I used to have that Martha book too and I loved it.

Stefaneener said...

I think maybe a trial separation will allow you and Tempting to figure out your relationship. Maybe you need a little more commitment in the shoulder area? I love the color, though. Have I mentioned how much I like the color?

I can't wait to see the shawl. No more ribbing, off you go in to laceland.

Elizabeth said...

There are sweaters that I look at with a seamstress's eye and wonder why everyone is on the bandwagon to make them. Marilyn was one and Tempting another. I like your reference to the "load bearing buckle."

I think yours turned out lovely, but I agree, it seems like a flawed pattern. Maybe one is supposed to use double-sided tape on the shoulders to hold it in place?

KnitPastis said...

Wow, Love the Knitpicks yarn in the color sky!! I hope to make this top also one day!!