Thursday, December 09, 2010

Check it out - it's a blog post!

This has been a rebuilding year. I'm very open about my recovery from depression (which is ongoing), but that's not really what I wanted this blog to be about. It's meant to be a journal of my hobbies. This year, my primary hobby has been recovering from depression. I kept up the knitting-related posts because they gave a sense of normalcy, and there was something satisfying about documenting something positive, even if it was just a cute top I'd knitted. Cooking and writing are very difficult for me during periods of depression, and I've mainly documented my reading on LibraryThing and On My Bookshelf, so content-wise, once I went off knitting a few months ago, there simply wasn't any 'there' there. I am still not back to writing, though with an adjusted dosage of meds, I am now hopeful that I will be, at some point. My reading has been sporadic this year. For about half the year, I mainly re-read old, comforting favorites or genre novels that wouldn't have any emotionally wrenching surprises. This year, I looked at my LibraryThing entries for 2010, and I'm nowhere near even 100 books, which is odd for me, as I am generally somewhere close to 100-200. Books took longer for me to get through, and I would occasionally have difficulty with emotional content that was upsetting and put my book aside in favor of other activities. I was also sleeping a lot more, napping whenever I could. I am still in treatment, and I expect to be for some time, but a glimmer of interest in blogging popped back up around Thanksgiving. I found myself, for the first time in months, thinking, "I can't wait to finish this and get it on the blog." Anyway, rambling over. Onto the knitting.

What derailed my knitting was a colossal failure in a custom-sized top for my sister-in-law. It was based on Ballet Camisole with some measurements tweaked for a good fit. I used Knitpicks Simply Cotton, which I find quite nice to work with. I was pleased with how the size-tweaking was going, and happy knitting it...until the end, when I noticed a couple of flaws. I am just now taking it out to see if it's as bad as I remember, and how I can fix it.

I finished it, folded it, and set it aside...and didn't pick up a new project for ages. Finally, I pulled out some of my special-occasion yarn stash, a skein of Handmaiden Sea Silk I'd gotten for my birthday. I wanted to make a scarf, but without the least bit of inspiration, I decided to simply cast on for a narrower Lace Ribbon Scarf. I can do it without looking at the pattern, so it's great purse knitting, and while it may not be the best pattern to show off the Seasilk, well, at least I was knitting something. And when it occurred to me that the color is, shall we say, not suited to my complexion, I realized it's spot-on for my mother-in-law's coloring. Voila! Christmas present.

Meanwhile, I picked up some handspun, handdyed yarn in a rainbow of colors from a neighbor. (This is her etsy shop! Gorgeous, plant-dyed, yummy yarns!) Well, Lilah picked it out, for a new hat and scarf for this winter. Super quick project. Basic ribbed scarf, basic ribbed hat knit in the round.

Since I couldn't knit the Lace Ribbon in front of my MIL, I pulled out a skein of Malabrigo Sock in gorgeous blues and greens and cast on a Branching Out. I've knitted several of these for gifts. It's a fun, simple pattern, and it's lovely. And I hadn't yet made one for myself!

We went shopping at the yarn store near my MIL's house over Thanksgiving (a lovely spot called Fiddlehead Yarns in case you're ever in Kenosha, Wisconsin), and Lilah picked out some Noro Taiyo and asked me to make her a blanket. Again, not wanting to do anything over-complicated that would be set aside and never finished, I started a diagonal blanket in stockinette with a garter edging. Very, very simple, but then, Noro doesn't need much in the way of texture or pattern. The colors speak for themselves. Lilah's very pleased with it so far.

Reading: I'm slowly adding to On My Bookshelf. There's one emotionally difficult literary novel (a quite excellent one, FALL ASLEEP FORGETTING by Georgeann Packard) that has taken me half the year to review. I've been lucky at how understanding the authors and publishers with whom I've established reviewing (and personal) relationships have been as I say yet again, "I'm behind on the book blog...I don't have time to review that..."

Writing: Absolutely nothing in a while, following a period of not-very-productive attempts.

Cooking: Again, not much of note here. I didn't even make my vegetable stock for the freezer this winter, instead relying on Rapunzel's vegetable stock cubes. I did make a nice tweak of classic (read: Quaker box recipe) oatmeal cookies by replacing cinnamon with cardamom and raisins with dried cherries. I added chopped pecans for a bit of crunch and to round out the flavors, and I loved them. I started musing about a cranberry-orange zest version, maybe apricot and almond, and Matt said, "Stop messing with my oatmeal cookies!" But playing with perfectly good recipes is a symptom of mental health for me :)

So, that was a blog post! Will there be more? Who knows? As my recovery progresses, I'm hopeful I'll have more to share.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Master of the Obvious

I appear to be on hiatus. I just thought I'd post to acknowledge that :)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Hello, summer

After this point, I will not be properly dry until late September. Yes, the humidity has hit, the mosquitoes are biting, and summer is upon us. The garden is going nicely, despite some piggish squirrels and/or birds, and we've opened the grill for business. Lilah and I had our first beach afternoon. Time for me to finish up Sizzle! The back is done and the front is clicking along. Edited to add: And it's done! Squee!


Pattern: Sizzle by Wendy Bernard
Size: 38"
Yarn: Rowan Calmer in Coffee, between 4 and 5 skeins
Needles: Size 7

Notes: I love this pattern! It’s simple and cute. I made the 38” size (for an actual measurement of 36”), but I should have gone with the 34”. Two inches of negative ease made me nervous, but I probably should have done the math to make it 36”. I added an inch to the length before waist decreases, and made the neckline an inch higher so I wouldn't fall out of there. I realized that I screwed up the trim - you’re supposed to pick up and knit 2 stitches for every 3 rows and I picked up every stitch. The armhole edging is looser than it should be, but not terribly so. I would make this again in a heartbeat. Wendy’s patterns have never let me down. Cute, simple, ingenious stuff.

Reading: I'm working to get caught up on the book blog. I'm currently reading Fall Asleep Forgetting by Georgeann Packard, and it's fantastic.

Writing: Eh.

Cooking: We grilled! Matt made ribs, and I made stuffed poblano peppers for us vegetarians. I made an absolutely divine dessert from Screen Doors and Sweet Tea, a frozen custard-truffle-thing called Darkness in the Delta. Man, that's some good chocolatey stuff. Whenever we grill, I throw on extra veggies, corn, and tofu to eat in lunches during the week. This time, it was tofu slabs (marinated in lemon juice and garlic), baby artichokes, and zucchini. And extra cobs of sweet corn. I used the corn, some brown rice, and a can of black beans as the basis for a yummy salad, finished with a simple lime vinaigrette. Oh, yeah.

I was not impressed with Godiva's pistachio ice cream truffle. Not nearly nutty enough. So I shall embark on the quest for the perfect pistachio truffle once we get back. From Paris. Oh, yeah, I'm going to Paris. Did I not tell you? Matt has a conference there, and we had frequent flier miles and grandparents to babysit, so we're going on our first trip alone together since Lilah was born!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Front Porch Blogging

So, instead of the one front and one back photo Matt usually takes, I talked him into taking a few of Camisa I could choose between. And I suggested the front yard instead of the back of the house, with siding as a backdrop. I started out standing in front of a tree, but you'll see he ended up getting cars in the background. I'm a terrible model, and he's no great shakes as a photographer, but I think we did better this time. After I said, "That's probably good," he even took a couple of angled shots.

The front:

More of the front:

The back:

Lilah frequently interrupted the photo shoot with demands that her own picture be taken. No shrinking violet is that one.

Here's the one detail I'm not crazy about in the pattern, the side vents instead of proper hip shaping:

And a close up of the reverse stockinette top, basketweave center, and stockinette bottom.

And a couple of angled bonus pictures:

Pattern: Camisa, by Kat Coyle (Knitscene, Fall 2006, available for purchase here. Size 36.5"

Yarn: Rowan Calmer in Garnet, 6 skeins (I had at least half a skein left)

Needles: Size 7

Modifications: I have finally accepted that I have a long torso. So, as a matter of course, I simply add two inches in length to every sweater I make for myself. In this case, I added an inch below and above the basketweave pattern (concerned about having the basketweave cutting across the bust - I suggest the extra inch for anyone above a C cup).

Notes: I really enjoyed knitting this. It's a clever design, easy but not boring. The edges do curl, and blocking din't really fix it entirely. Neither did ironing, though at least the bottom edge is sitting relatively flat. I'm not sure that side vents are my favorite hip shaping technique, but I don't think they're awful. The crochet edge isn't the neatest. Probably my fault, as I'm crap at crochet. I'm never sure I'm doing it right. I think applied i-cord would look neater as an edging. Overall, I like this. I think I'll wear it.

Other knitting: Waiting for yarn for a Ballet Camisole, so I cast on for Sizzle in Rowan Calmer in Coffee Bean. I didn't bother to take a picture, as it's just an inch of seed stitch so far.

Reading: Not anything terribly exciting.

Writing: Some progress, not a lot.

Cooking: I have tackled sourdough! If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may recall that I had some success with sourdough while living in Wisconsin, but have had one disaster after another since moving here. Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice had the answers I needed. I have another batch rising now.

I made pesto to go with pasta and roasted red peppers and asparagus. No recipe, though. And my Triple Almond Brownies. I made them for friends and fancied them up by baking them off in tartlet pans and serving with a side of cream whipped with amaretto and a bit of powdered sugar. Very nice.

The garden is coming along. The zucchini and squash are in bloom, small green tomatoes and baby tomatillos have appeared. Strawberries are producing. My cilantro is growing so fast, I need to chop it down!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Day 7: What a Yarn

Today's topic is: What a Yarn
There’s one love that we all share: yarn. Blog about a particular yarn you have used in the past or own in your stash, or perhaps one that you covet from afar. If it is a yarn you have used you could show the project that you used it for, perhaps writing a mini ‘review’. Perhaps, instead, you pine for the feel of the almost mythical qiviut? You could explore and research the raw material and manufacturing process if you were feeling investigative.

My go-to yarns are Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool for sweaters, Malabrigo sock for scarves, and Rowan Calmer for summer tops. I love the drape of the Silky Wool, and it's soft, yet durable. The first project I made with Silky Wool was Somewhat Cowl. I made an unfortunate choice to do a short-sleeved version, so I never wear it. I suppose I could try layering a long-sleeved t-shirt underneath. I also weighed at least 25 pounds more than I do now. When I tried it on recently, it was ridiculously big. When I run out of yarn with which to knit, I will frog it! I also made Gathered Pullover out of Silky Wool. That one is more forgiving on the fit. It's just more slouchy now, and less fitted, but doesn't look ridiculous. Matt's Hjalte is my latest Silky Wool project. Someday, it will have sleeves. SIlky Wool is lovely to knit with, and it's reasonably affordable because the skeins have decent yardage.

I made the Tesla Scarf and Love Bites Scarf out of Malabrigo Sock. I was SO happy when Malabrigo started a sock weight line. I like the worsted for sweaters okay, but a scarf out of Sock is absolutely divine. I have three more skeins in various colors for future scarves.

Calmer is not a go-to yarn for me, usually. It's more one I covet from afar because it's on the expensive side. If you've been following my blog, you know how ridiculously excited I was to find discontinued colors for about half off. I snapped up as many as I could. I first worked with Calmer for my Tempting II from many moons ago. I wore that top once or twice this summer, but it's sort of big now, and I was never crazy about it. When I run out of my Calmer stash, I'll rip it out because the yarn is too nice to just sit in a drawer with the other unworn sweaters. This year, I've already made Tomato and Audrey out of Calmer, and I'm nearing the finish line on my Camisa. Love, love, love this yarn.

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Day 6: Blast From The Past

Today's topic is: Revisit a past F/O
Bring the fortune and life of a past finished project up to the present. Document the current state and use of an object you have knitted or crocheted, whether it is the hat your sister wears to school almost every day, or a pair of socks you wore until they were full of hole. Or maybe that jumper that your did just didn’t like that much…

Darn it, I was going to do a photo shoot, trying on all my sad, unloved past projects, but the weekend was busy and Sunday, when I had the time, was too humid for me to want to parade around in one wool sweater after another. I talked about all my sad, unloved past projects in this post but I would like to add photos. I think I still will, sometime this week when Matt's around during daylight hours.

Besides the sweaters I made for myself, there have been other disasters. Like the Einstein Coat I made out of Pakucho Organic Cotton as a newbie knitter (yes, a coat made out of worsted cotton weighs about 42 pounds and stretches like made), the fair isle cardigan I made out of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride for my mother who lives in California (where 50 is considered cold), or the red and white striped sweater I knit for my father-in-law, which promptly acquired pink stripes with the first wash. When I was pregnant, I also made weird yarn choices for baby knits, so I made three sweaters and a dress that she NEVER wore. Argh.

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 5: Where do you like to knit?

Today's topic is: Where do you like to indulge in your craft? Is your favourite arm chair your little knitting cubby area, or do you prefer to ‘knit in public’? Do you like to crochet in the great outdoors, perhaps, or knit in the bath, or at the pub?

I knit pretty much wherever I'll be sitting around without anything to take my complete attention or requiring the use of my hands. I keep knitting in my purse and pull it out at the playground when Lilah is busy building sand castles. Or in waiting rooms, at my book club, in the car (not while I'm driving). Since I started knitting, I can't stand to sit and just watch television anymore - I knit while I watch. Same with the movie theater. Stockinette in the round is really the best for movie theater knitting. Nothing ruins a movie like dropping a stitch half an hour in! One of my favorite spots to knit is on our porch swing while Lilah plays, but that's not as common as knitting down at the playground/lake because when I'm outside our house, I tend to feel compelled to make a dent in the endless supply of weeds. With the right book (hardcovers are easiest), I've found that I can knit sitting cross-legged while reading, using a toe to keep the book open if it's uncooperative.

Possibly the weirdest place I've knit is at Wrigley Field. I got some odd looks, but the guy next to me started asking questions when he realized I was able to follow the game at the same time (I was knitting a Booga Bag, which I could do in my sleep). I knit the whole way from Bratislava to Budapest in a rental van on vacation with my husband's family. I've knit standing in line at the DMV to get my license renewed.

I don't have any qualms about knitting in public. Sure, sometimes I get weird looks, but I don't particularly care what random people think about it. But I do draw the line at events like weddings and graduations, because it just seems rude. Even if I know I can pay attention while knitting, other people don't get that, and may interpret it as not caring about the event. Same with therapy. Any time it's important enough that I feel my attention shouldn't be divided even a little bit, I leave the knitting at home.

Knitting by the lake:

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 4: Wild Card

Today's topic is: Today's topic is about what other related crafts we'd like to learn someday. Knitting blog aside, I am actually not a particularly crafty person. So I decided to use the wild card question for Day 4.

Do you have a particular knitting/crochet tool or piece of equipment that you love to use? Maybe it is an old bent pair of needles that used to belong to someone special, or a gorgeous rosewood hand-turned crochet hook that you just love the feel of? Write about what you love about it.

Yes, I do! When I started knitting, all my tools were of the pink and blue plastic stitch marker variety, because they were cheap and I didn't know if the knitting thing would stick. After I'd been at it a few years, I decided I really wanted nice tools that made me happy to use. Here are some of my favorites:

The bag was a gift from KnitPastis, a knitblogging friend. When she started selling her creations online, I bought some stitch markers - the lovely beaded one is hers.

The lovely wooden needle case was made by Stefaneener's father-in-law. The sock measuring tools, gauge square, wooden stitch markers, and Knitter's Rule are from KaratStix's Etsy Shop. I had coveted these after seeing them around the blogosphere, but it took me a long time to get mine. For the same reason I don't have a tattoo - I couldn't think of something that was so me I wanted it on my tools, and I didn't just want to get sheep and yarn. Finally, it hit me, and I asked her to design a Jane Austen-themed set, with tea things, pen-and-ink, books. Lovely, isn't it? And so much more substantial than my cheap plastic gauge. The notions bag is from Katie Fleck Designs on Etsy, replacing a freebie cosmetics bag that had served in that capacity.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 3: One Great Knitter

Today's topic is: One Great Knitter

Write about a knitter whose work (whether because of project choice, photography, styling, scale of projects, stash, etc) you enjoy. If they have an enjoyable blog, you might find it a good opportunity to send a smile their way.

I love all the knitters to whom I link off to the left. No, sorry, the right. I've always had a problem with that. I could pick any of them, really, but I'll talk about Stefaneener. I want to be Stefaneener when I grow up. She's a knitter, spinner, and dyer (from her homegrown indigo, no less). Gardener and beekeeper. Mom to four. Wow. She also got me into one of my culinary loves, preserving, with her talk of the fantastic cooking she does. And she runs. I've always wished I wanted to run...

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 2: Aspiration

Today's topic is: Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so!

I choose to learn knitting skills in order to make the projects I want to make. I learned to cable when I found a pattern I really wanted to make that required it. I learned lace when I found a lace pattern. Knitting is a relaxing and satisfying hobby for me, and I don't have any particular level of mastery I want to achieve. However, one pattern in my queue really fits this "aspirational" question, and that's Shipwreck Shawl. I love this shawl, and I really want to have one for myself. It involves beading, which I've never done, and it's BIG. After I'm done with my summer tops kick, I would love to get this on the needles.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 1: How did I get started?

Today's topic is: Starting Out
How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?

Sometime in late 2003, after getting married, moving to Wisconsin, and starting a new job, it got in my head to learn to knit. I remember knitting was getting popular at the time, but no one in particular inspired me. It just sounded fun. My grandmother has crocheted for as long as I remember, but aside from making some long chains, it never stuck with me. I approached learning knitting the way I approach most things: in books. I combed Amazon for promising-sounded introductory books and ordered Folk Shawls The Knit Stitch, and Vogue Knitting. I didn't yet know about the magic of online yarn shopping, so I went to a craft store and bought some chenille yarn and size 10 metal needles. Yeah, I know. Chenille. Ugh. After trying and failing to cast on about a dozen times, I went to the craft store and switched to wooden needles and Lion Brand Wool-Ease. I noodled around with knitting and purling, and then I picked a stitch pattern from Vogue Knitting (St. Charles Brocade) and did a scarf. It curled dreadfully because I hadn't learned about needing an edging on stockinette projects. But it was recognizable as a scarf, and I was hooked. Then I did a scarf from The Knit Stitch (the Dr. Who Scarf, lots of fun), using Patons Wool I bought online (yay, online shopping!). Next, I did a hat from The Knit Stitch, my first project in the round, in Mountain Colors, and that was when I turned into a yarn snob. The Mountain Colors was so soft and pretty and so very much nicer than the Lion Brand or the Patons. Not an exciting story, by any stretch!

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Catching Up

It seems like I am always catching up. Here I go again. This time, it's in preparation for:

Hosted by Eskimimi Knits, it runs April 26-May 2, with a different topic every day. I am not a joiner. I rarely do knit-a-longs, read-a-longs, or any other-a-longs. But I first read about this on a lovely blog I recently discovered, Untangling Knots, and I thought, well, I'll at least SEE what the topics are. Then I can grumble that I don't like them and not participate. But...the first day's topic was sort of fun. And the second day's. And well, I could use an excuse to try daily blogging for a week. It beats monthly blogging! This isn't necessarily a knitting blog, but knitting is a big enough part that this seems like a good fit.

Speaking of knitting: Still going on Camisa. I'm knitting the bottom of the back. Stockinette. Not much to say there. I'm not sure I'm going to like the side-vent approach to avoiding waist shaping. We'll see.

Reading: I'm more or less caught up on the book blog. I did just finish a fantastic book, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant, which takes place in a fairy-tale-like German village where girls begin disappearing...and not for the first time. The ending was literally a nail-biter.

Writing: Indeed! I dreamed the opening line for my murder mystery and magically found the exact voice I need. I'm re-writing chapter one in the new voice with some major changes. It feels like I'm finally writing the book rather than background. Much less wordy, less convoluted plot, much more divorced from reality. Um, not that it's based on any real-life experiences working in an insane theater company. Ahem.

Cooking: So we had friends over for dinner, and I used Wine Bar Food for all the recipes. I made Parmesan Flatbread, Faux Gras (yes, faux! not a goose part in sight!), Crispy Toma Cheese With Eggplant (no Toma at my store; I used a goat's milk Brie), a spinach salad with crispy shallots, a stuffed wild mushroom pizza, and Amaretto Polenta Cake. Everything was lovely, though I actually didn't care for the faux gras; it was too meat-ish for me. I really like this book, written by Tony Mantuano of Chicago's Spiaggia restaurant. I haven't been to Spiaggia, but we have been to Mangia, his restaurant in my husband's hometown. The book is nowhere near vegetarian, but I love it anyway. It's organized by region (all vaguely Mediterranean) and explores the wines of each while providing small dishes to accompany them. I mix dishes from several different regions, and I've never cooked a dud from this book. I pull it out for entertaining; it's really not an everyday cooking source.

We have a new Lilah-approved family meal standard. Sesame Noodles With Broccoli has been a favorite recipe for me for a while, but Lilah was less enthusiastic. I revamped it a little and had her help me stir in the sauce, and she ate a big bowl and asked for more. It's also the only way I can get Matt to eat broccoli... Modifications: I leave out the hot chili paste when I make it for Lilah. I always leave out the honey. I don't like raw onions, so I leave out the green onion (although I sometimes stir-fry tofu to accompany this and will stir-fry the onion with it). I also use at least double the veggies (I had three broccoli crowns and four large carrots, which I used up) and don't bother matchsticking the carrots - I slice them and add them to the water when I add the broccoli. I always double the sauce for a pound of pasta, and we use whatever pasta is around (though I personally love soba, Lilah loves corkscrews and bow ties, so we use those a lot).

Lilah stirring:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Long Time, No Blog

Oops, I went forever without blogging again. It happens. Part of it is that Audrey has taken forever. It's actually quite a quick and easy pattern, but I wasn't knitting much, and then I spent some time after the front and back were finished dithering over whether or not to attempt short sleeves instead of the three-quarter length in the pattern. But I'm pleased with the result.

Also, note the hair. I finally made it to shoulder-length, which means I can stick it up in a clip or a ponytail, so it's not driving me nuts anymore. I've convinced myself it looks breezy rather than messy.

I can get Matt to take decent pictures, but he's not very artistic about it. You get the front:

The back:

The lace edge:

The increase line:

Pattern details:

Pattern: Audrey from Rowan 35, size 36"
Yarn: Rowan Calmer, in Carnation, 5 skeins
Needles: Size 7 and 8
Notes: I really like this pattern. I like the visible increase/decrease shaping. I like the easy ribbing. I love the detail of the lace at the neck. It fits very well and it's comfy, but nice enough to wear with a summery skirt.

Modifications: I decided on short sleeves. I cast on the number of stitches for each sleeve at the point of sleeve cap shaping, worked four rows, then started cap shaping. It worked beautifully, and I’ll use a short-sleeved top much more often. Based on past comments about the neckband being too big, I made the lace edging shorter than the circumference of the neckline. I really had to stretch the lace around to sew it on. It worked perfectly - I love the neckline on this. It stays up well, but isn’t too tight.

Other knitting:

The start of Camisa in Calmer in Garnet:

Oh! The garden has been coming along:

We built two raised beds, each 4 feet square, using this template. One is a salsa garden, with tomatoes, tomatillos, onions, peppers, and cilantro. The other has squash, peas, strawberries, arugula, and carrots. Lilah and I are having a great time with gardening.

Reading: I'm behind on the book blog again. Hope to catch up this week.

Writing: Some. Lilah had her spring break last week, which is the opposite of spring break for me. I'm producing on the murder mystery, and noodling with snippets of other things.

Cooking: Oh, two months of cooking? Geez. Of note are the Natural, Homemade Thin Mints, which are a bit of a pain but absolutely fantastic. I also made Dutch Crunch Vienna Bread from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Lovely, delicious bread. I'll be making it again, along with Reinhart's sourdough and bagel recipes. Love him. I also made pina colada muffins, which I've posted about before. I think those are the highlights. I'll try to remember to blog more so I can remember recipes :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Progress Report

I had a great time in the 2006 Knitting Olympics, and I've really enjoyed watching other knitters in this years' Olympics, but I decided not to attempt to start and finish anything in such a short period of time. I have enough challenges without challenging myself with knitting. However, I have been busy with my knitting during the Olympics...

We haven't seen much of Hjalte around here, and there's a good reason for that. That sweater is my Everest. I thought I'd finished the front, but realized I'd bound off too soon and had to rip back and re-do the last few inches. I slogged along on the back for what seemed like eons. There's also the lack of a ball-winder and swift, which means I interrupt knitting time to hand-wind balls of yarn periodically. And it requires me to pay some attention, what with the 52-row cable pattern, so it's not suitable for all television knitting. Depends on how visual the show is. But, I have actually finished the front AND the back. Yes, that's right. If I seamed it, it would be a vest right now!

Here's the front:

And the back:

And a closeup of the cables:

And just so you don't think I'm pulling a fast one by photographing the same side from different angles, here are the front and back together:

The next sweater I make Matt will be stockinette. Maybe rib, if I'm feeling REALLY ambitious. I like the cabling, but it seems like every row takes forever. I'm really excited to have finished the front and back, though. I'll cast on for the sleeves tonight. I haven't held this up to Matt yet, but this is a big sweater. I hope it's not really really big on him (I would cry). He's a medium, and I'm making the Medium/Large size, but it's a big sweater. It seems bigger than a Medium/Large. I'm slogging along anyway, because it's not like I'll rip the whole thing out and re-size it, even if I could (and a 52-row cable pattern would make that an ordeal). So I'm just going to keep going and hope for the best. I started it just shy of a year ago (February 28, 2009 - thank you, Ravelry), so it's high time it was finished.

Meanwhile, Audrey is my easy knitting. It's in Rowan Calmer, in Carnation, one of the discontinued (cheap!!!) colors I picked up. It's a nice bright pink with a hint of orange. Like a pinker version of coral. It's easy and even kind of boring. I'm nearly to the armholes on one side, and really wishing I'd thought to do it in the round.

Here's a close-up of the increase/decrease line:

I really think I'd get more use out of Audrey with short sleeves. I think she'd go well with a couple of my summer skirts, but it's too hot here for 3/4 sleeves in summer. However, I've only seen one project on Ravelry that adapted it for short sleeves, and I wasn't crazy about the look. Maybe it's the length, which is longer than I'd go (I'm thinking cap sleeves). Any suggestions? Is this a bad idea given the neckline and general appearance of the sweater?

Reading: I just started Apple Turnover Murder, the latest Joanne Fluke mystery. These are really pretty fun. I'm WAY behind on my book blogging. I have a review to get up for The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley. It's the second Flavia deLuce mystery, and an utter delight.

Writing: Some. Not a lot. But some.

Cooking: Not a ton. Let's see, I did a mushroom pasta. I made these olive oil crackers for snack at Lilah's preschool, along with cheddar and apple slices. The crackers are delicious. I made them fairly thick and not really crunchy at all, but I think they'd be nice either way. Delicious.