Posted in Cooking, Current Projects

Food, Knitting, and the Holiday Season

Wow! It’s been two weeks since I last blogged? I’d say I’ve been busy, but I haven’t felt very busy. I think I’ve just been go-go-go for a while with so many things going on, that when I finally had some down time, I just went with it and took some time off from keeping up with things online. Last week, I was pretty pre-occupied with Thanksgiving plans. I did a bunch of cooking and baking the weekend before Thanksgiving and even the day of. I was recently reminded of how much I love to be working in the kitchen when I spent most of the day baking a cake, making bread (rolls actually, but the process was about the same), and making lasagna.

326/365: Delicious Cake
Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

Rustic Rolls
Rustic Rolls
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

Lasagna with Meat Sauce
Lasagna with Meat Sauce
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

All three recipes turned out fantastic! The rolls were really hearty and not quite what I was looking for, so Monday I tried out a yeast roll recipe I found. Maybe the Best Yeast Rolls.

327/365: Yeast Rolls
Yeast Rolls

They were exactly what I wanted! SO GOOD. I highly recommend this recipe. I think the potato flakes really make it. I also made Apple Cake in a Cast Iron Skillet for Thanksgiving. It came out pretty decent. I ended up having to sub 1/3 cup whole wheat flour because I ran out of white flour. I’ll probably try it again, but cook the apples in the butter/sugar longer, possibly bake it a little longer, and use all white flour.

330/365: Apple Cake
Apple Cake in a Cast Iron Skillet
(Photo from before flipping it over and out of the pan)

I’ve been knitting, too! I started Liesl. I need an updated picture because I’m just past where you separate the sleeves off, but here it is with the first one I made.

316/365: More Then One
Liesl, Take Two (Long sleeve version)

I finished Multnomah. I’m hoping the sun will peek out again soon so I can get some FO photos to share.

332/365: Multnomah, blocking
Multnomah, blocking.

I started a scarf for Matt. He liked my striped Noro one and wanted one in “guy colors” for himself, so I picked out these two sock yarns. When I first attempted the scarf, I found that I needed to work it on size US 2 needles! That was not about to happen (scarf on 2’s? NO WAY). I finally got around to winding the yarn doubled up and started it on US 5’s. It’s moving right along and holding the yarn double hasn’t created any issues other then the occasional missing one of the yarns when knitting. So far, he likes it. 🙂

Matt's Scarf
Matt’s Scarf

There’s a few other projects I’ve been working on (only one that I can’t blog about), but I’ll save those to share next time. I also have a pattern I’m going to share and a few in the works! Stay tuned. 🙂

Hope your holiday season is off to a good start! I worked last Friday, so there were no Black Friday sales that I went to. I wouldn’t have gone even if I did have the day off. It was quite at work with so many people taking the day off, so it wasn’t too bad to be working anyhow. So far we have a few holiday parties in the works, but only traveling within the area we live and most of the gifts I’m giving are knit. What about you? Any plans for this Holiday season? Traveling? Knitting/making gifts?

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Posted in Current Projects, Life

Veteran’s Day, Project Plans, and Weekend Plans

I’m going to be serious for a moment here. I know I don’t get very serious about any sort of issues here, but this is one that is close to my heart. Yesterday was Veteran’s Day. I don’t talk about it a whole lot, but I’m a Navy veteran and serving in the military really changed me in ways I didn’t expect. Now, on Veteran’s Day, I feel rather emotional. I feel a deep loss for those who have lost their lives during wars, I feel for the friends and families that stand by their soldier’s, sailor’s and airman’s side while they are away, and I feel for the friends of mine still in the service. Yesterday, on NPR, they talked a lot about veteran’s, the recent shooting at Fort Hood army base, military personnel currently serving or recently back from the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and various veteran’s issues. I had a hard time listening to some of it and at points had to turn it off. Regardless of what you believe about the wars currently going on, please support our troops and veterans as much as you can. Volunteer with veterans organizations, host a soldier/sailor/airman for a holiday (there are many “adopt” programs if you live near a base. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be able to spend the Christmas I was in boot camp with a host family.), and do what you can to show our military that we care while in the service and while out. Trust me, you will touch their lives, even if they never tell you so. I’ve been the recipient of kindness of strangers while in the service and as a vet and I try to pay those kindnesses forward to others whenever I can. I hope you will (or do), too.

That said, I don’t know about you, but holidays mid-week really screw me up. I feel a bit out of sorts today! (I’m sure yesterday’s emotional roller coaster didn’t help much.) Anyhow… on with the knitting stuff. 🙂

Since Sunday, I’ve finished two projects I can’t talk about (gifts). I have one more secret project I’m going to start very soon (another gift). Looking at my projects, I feel like I need something else on the needles. I’ve lost momentum on the colorwork socks because I’m not sure how to work the next part of the design, plus they take quite a bit of concentration, so they have been put aside until I figure out what to do next. I like the Spooky sock I’m working on, but I think that the colors aren’t really doing it for me right now since Halloween has passed, so I haven’t been working on those much. Multnomah is seeing some progress because I absolutely love the yarn, though pictures aren’t showing much since I haven’t reached the edge pattern yet. I need something that will catch my attention again like the two projects I can’t show here did.

I looked through my stash and there was a yarn that caught my eye.

DIC Classy - Spring Tickle
Dream In Color Classy in Spring Tickle

I bought this yarn with the intention of making another Liesl since I enjoyed knitting my first one so much. I think I’ll cast on tonight. 🙂

After that, I think I’ll get back to Waves of Grain since I finally bought bigger beads yesterday and I have plans to knit some pillows for our living room. The dress I showed my last post is now dry and I’m pretty happy with how it looks after blocking. Still needs buttons before I take pictures, but I’ll have some soon. I know what I’ll be changing in the next version and hope to have the pattern up once I knit a revised version.

Plans for this weekend include Game Day at our place with some of my knitter friends, possibly going to Jungle Jim’s wine festival (which was featured in The Wall Street Journal), and lunch with family. Should be fun! Do you have anything planned this weekend?

Posted in Completed Projects, Current Projects

FO’s Galore, WIPs, and Sweaters

FO’s – I’ve got them! I finished a beret this weekend (I don’t think I even posted progress pictures here), I have pictures of my finished Springtime Bandit, and I’ve knit two doll dresses.

Pattern: Springtime Bandit (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: October 13, 2009
Completed: October 20, 2009
Yarn: Tilli Thomas Plie in “Midnight Borealis” (I used about 2 2/3 skeins)
Needles: US 6 bamboo circular
Notes: I added one body repeat to the shawl since I knit this with smaller yarn/needles then the pattern called for. Still made it a decent size and you could really add as many body repeats as you want without messing up the last chart (as long as you knit a full repeat of the body).

Springtime Bandit
Springtime Bandit

Springtime Bandit
Springtime Bandit, detail

309/365: Me and the Bandit
How I usually wear it.

I finished up this beret on Saturday. It’s the first beret I’ve knit and first hat I’ve knit for myself that I think I’ll actually wear.

Pattern: Periwinkle Beret (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: October 29, 2009
Completed: November 7, 2009
Yarn: Oasis Farm Fiber Mill Angora/Silk/Merino (I think this yarn is 170 yards)
Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm) Knit Picks DPN’s and US 2.5 (3.00 mm) Addi circular and Knit Picks DPN’s
Notes: I purchased this yarn at Rhinebeck and I can’t remember what the percentage fiber content or yardage is. I believe the yardage is around 170 yards per skein and I didn’t use up a full skein on this hat (pattern calls for 200 yards DK/Sport weight). I will say to trust the pattern for the tubular cast-on. I couldn’t figure out how it would work, but I trusted the pattern, did what it said, and I really like how the edging turned out. I will definitely make another beret with this pattern sometime! (Pictures are all pre-blocked, it’s currently drying.)

My Beret
My new beret!

My Beret
Side view.

My Beret
Back view.

Last week, I knit Olive a dress. I used some left over yarn from my Secret Garden shawl (Unique Sheep, Green Sheep Fingering in the “Hearts on Fire” colorway) and the Lati Yellow Dress pattern. I modified the pattern to fit my Dal (Olive) by adding 4 rows after the sleeve bind off, then joined it in the round to work the increases then skirt portion. I added a piece of yarn to tie a bow around where the increases are to add some waist shaping. The edge of the skirt rolled a bit, so I blocked it which helped a lot. I closed it in the back with a snap, but next time I think I’ll do buttons instead. It gave me a good idea of how to knit clothing for my dolls and I think I’ll be able to use what I learned to knit clothing for them in the future (since there aren’t a lot of knit patterns out there). My Ravelry project page can be found here.

"Do you like my new dress?"
Olive shows off her new dress.

I didn’t get a picture of the back of Olive’s dress, but it looks similar to Penelope’s (see below).

Friday, I started what was going to be a top for Olive, but turned out to be a dress for Penelope. I made this pattern up as I went. I wrote down what I did and I want to make another one, but with more waist shaping, then I’ll probably put the pattern up on Ravelry. I did two button holes on this one (instead of snaps), but I haven’t sewn on buttons yet, so I’m not sure how I like those results over snaps. Here’s Penelope modeling the dress pre-blocking. I did block the dress to hopefully spread out the skirt some. We’ll see how that turns out once it dries. My Ravelry project page can be found here.

Penelope's Knit Dress
Penelope shows off her new dress, pre-blocking.

Penelope's Knit Dress
Here’s what the back looks like, pre-blocking.

Since I finished up the beret, I started on some Christmas knits, which I can’t share until after Christmas, just in case the intended recipients don’t see it. Aside from that stuff, I’m working on a pair of socks and a shawl for myself.

The shawl I’m working on is Mulomah in Little Red Bicycle’s Cupcake Sock (80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon) in “Princess Whatever.” I think I’m in love with this yarn. It’s great to work with and I definitely want to get another skein to knit socks out of sometime.

Multnomah
Beginnings of Multnomah.

The sock I’m working on is a plain striped top-down sock. I’m using Vesper in “Spooky.” I know I’m a little late for Halloween, but I did start them the week before Halloween and I still plan on wearing them regardless of if it’s Halloween or not! 😛 I’m actually getting close to the heel of the sock, though I don’t have an updated picture of it.

305/365: Halloween Sock
Spooooooky sock!

I do have the Featherweight Cardigan on the needles, but I’m kind of board with it and thinking about ripping it back to do the increases differently, so it’s been put aside for now. I’m considering casting on for a different sweater since that one is on hold. I can’t decide if I should wait until my Christmas knitting is done or just start it now. I also can’t decide on which sweater to start! The three I’m wanting to knit are: Little Birds Cardigan, Climbing Vines Pullover, and Cottage Garden. I also have yarn I want to knit the February Lady Sweater with, but I’m planning on doing that for the Ravelympics in February. Thoughts anyone?

Off to a fairly good start this week. It’s only a 4 day work week, there will be sushi on Wednesday, and a game day on Saturday. Hope your week is a good one!

Posted in Life

Rhinebeck 2009

It’s been about 2 and a half weeks since Rhinebeck, but earlier this week I finally got all my pictures uploaded. It took me so long because we’ve been having internet issues at home (a significant amount of packet loss), so try as I might, I couldn’t upload anything. Anyhow…. Rhinebeck photos!

I stayed in NYC (and DC) with some fantastic knitter folks. (Wishing we had a group shot… maybe some day!) A lot of traveling overall, but a great time was had.

Of course there was a lot of yarn…

IMG_6638

IMG_6635

Yarn!

The biggest whoopie pies I’ve ever seen…

Whoopie Pie, close up

Which Larua and I thought were the most delicious thing ever!

Om Nom Nom Nom
“Om nom nom nom!”

I met Sharon and Sairy (it was great to meet you both!)….

IMG_6653
Sharon (left) and Sairy (right)

And a little while later, I met Jessica!!

DSCF7260
Me and Jessica (Picture from Laura)

After all the time we’d spent chatting online before my surgery, during my recovery and then when she had surgery not long after me, it was great to finally meet her in person. At the Ravelry meet up, I got to meet a lot of other folks (who I sadly didn’t get pictures of, I think I might have been a little overwhelmed seeing so many folks I’ve talked with on Ravelry in person). It was so great to meet everyone and put so many faces with names. I really wish that I could have had more time with each of you!

One of the best things at the Ravelry meet up (besides all the awesome people I got to meet) was Bobsolda. Ysolda designed, knit, and wore this Bob costume.

Bobsolda!

There were all kinds of animals there, of course. After all, it is called New York Sheep and Wool!

Sheep, Alpacas, Goats, and Bunnies
Sheep, Alpacas, Goats, and Bunnies

You know I came home with yarn, right? I will say that I was pretty selective with my purchases, but I’m very happy with everything I bought. I tried really hard to stick to things that I can’t easily get online and to pick things out with a pattern in mind. I think I did pretty good on both counts. My one splurge was the angora/silk/wool blend that I bought 2 skeins of with no real plan on what to make. Didn’t take long to figure out what to do with it once I got home, though!

Here’s the whole haul.

The Loot
Everything I came home with from Rhinebeck.

Rhinebeck Yarns
Top: (L to R) Brooks Farm Solo Silk for Cottage Garden, Brooks Farm Solo Silk for a hat,
and Wild Apple Hill Farms worsted
Bottom: (L to R) Sheldrige Farm worsted merino in pink and teal for hats and
Oasis Farm Fiber Mill angora/silk/wool

The Wild Apple Hill Farms worsted yarn has since been given to someone else because I had a bad reaction to something in or on the yarn that didn’t go away after washing. I had intended it to become the Oblique cardigan, but it seems it wasn’t meant to be! Karen now the new owner of the yarn and is turning it into a Central Park Hoodie. The yarn from Oasis Farm Fiber Mill is currently being knit into a hat and fingerless gloves for me, which I’ll blog about soon. The rest is still waiting to be knit!

Speaking of knitting, I do have some finished things and some new projects to show you. I think I got a little out of the habit of blogging for a bit because life got all crazy and busy for a while, but I hope to start posting more often again.

Have a great rest of the week everyone!

PS: You can see all my Rhinebeck pictures here.