November 30, 2009

What I Did on Vacation

Bread! I finally made bread. Both of the loaves here are from the first basic recipe in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Easy as pie and just as good! It took me about 15 minutes to mix the basic dough. JB was a doubter. He said it didn't look like any bread his grandma ever made. On baking day (the dough will keep in the fridge for up to 14 day) you whack off a lump of dough, shape it and let it rest for 40 minutes. Preheat the oven and then it only bakes for 35 minutes. The traditional loaf shape needs to rest for longer than 40 minutes. But it still only bakes for 35. I don't have any non-stick bread pans so I baked this in a glass pan. It did stick a little bit on the bottom. Sunday night I might a chicken and wild rice soup from our left over T-day dinner (I made Cornish game hens) and served it with the bread. There's less than a third of the loaf left. I'm quite enjoying this.

November 27, 2009

Let's Wrap This Up.

Okay - the final two pairs from pile o' socks. First up: Wisteria Waterfalls (pattern: Waterfall by Wendy Johnson). Cast On: May 8 Cast Off: May 17 - that's more like it! Needles: 2.00mm 47" circular - two at a time, toe up. Yarn: Mini Mochi. The yarn was a gift and I love the colors and how soft it is. I hate that it doesn't have a twist. It's rather like what I would expect knitting with roving would be like. I wish I had matched the stripes up. Because I have a thing for odd numbers, I modified the stitch pattern to have 5 lace patterns running up the foot. To do this and not make them huge - I decreased the number of stitches between the lace. All notes can be found in Rav. The final pair is Creative Mystery (pattern: Mystery Sock 2009 by Kristen Kapur). Cast On: October 12, 2009 Cast Off: November 7, 2009 Needles: 2.00 mm 47" circular, two at a time, top down. Yarn: Creatively Dyed Ocean. this yarn was gifted to me by Channon for my birthday last year. I put the yarn aside because I've decided I really don't like multi-color yarns. However, this one just has little tiny spots of color. To me - it doesn't say multi-color so much as a semi-solid. It's fabulous. I don't know why I put it aside so long. In fact, I probably would have forgotten about it altogether. Except another Rav Friend told me how fabulous this pattern was. So - I sent her into my virtual stash and had her pick a yarn. She picked out 5, I pulled them all and had JB pick one of those. So this pair was a true mystery and I loved every minute of it! thanks girls. So - did I get them all?

November 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today is Thanksgiving in the U.S. I got up this morning with a kink in my neck. When I went downstairs to get the dogs up - I was greeted by a puddle. I threw the dogs outside for about an hour while I considered moving out or selling the dogs. Then I let them in and fed them. Today I am reminding myself of all the reasons I am truly blessed. These 4 <--- over there. Miss L, JB, The Princess and The Musical One. While they can all make me crazy at time - I'm very lucky to have 4 wonderful people in my life.
My ability to create - it helps keep me sane and grounded. The four hounds. I'm thankful that we are financially able to fix them when necessary. They bring me far more joy than grief. I'm blessed to have one goober boy who chose me. I lucky to have enough. We landed on our feet after a rough summer. I have a job that pays the mortgage and a husband who loves me. It's good.

November 25, 2009

Grape Leyburn

According to Ravelry I started this pair on April 7th and finished them on May 3rd. The pattern is Leyburn and it's a freebie. It's a great pattern that uses slipped stitches and floats to create a pattern. Just be careful to keep your floats really lose over your heel - otherwise you can't get them on. Don't ask how I know. As is my usual - these were knit toe up, two at a time, using 2.00 mm 47" circular needle. The yarn is Malabrigo sock in the grape colorway. The color is truest on the mini pair. This yarn is really soft and thin. The socks are super warm. but I'm not sure how well the Malabrigo sock will wear as socks - it might be better suited to stoles. For the record - the socks actually fit me. I was just in a huge hurry to get 5 or 6 pairs of socks on and off, cook dinner and get everyone fed before we had to get the Princess on a flight and she was snap happy!

November 24, 2009

We Interrupt This Parade

to bring you this public service announcement. Go See this Movie! JB and I are on vacation this week. While we chose to "fix" the dog earlier this year and forgo the big 50th birthday bash in Philly - we still took vacation. For some reason we only see movies while on vacation.
Today we went and saw The Blind Side. This movie was fabulous. It was about football without being about football. It was a chick flick - but not so much that JB didn't enjoy it. It's based on a true story and I for one will be paying much more attention to the Raven's #74 this Sunday while football is on.
Sandra Bullock was wonderful, strong and believable in the role. There were plenty of times when I was choked up during the movie and it held my attention enough that I put my knitting down. If you go see it - let me know what you think.

November 23, 2009

The Next Float Is. . . .

Koigu Cloverleaf Socks! My friend VeeDogKnits send me the pinkish red Koigu for my birthday a year or so ago. I love Koigu - the colors the twist - I mean really, what's not to love? After caking this yarn up I looked through my knit stitch a day for something to wake the sock up a bit. I chose the cloverleaf cable. I started at the toes and was halfway up the foot when I freaked out thinking there wouldn't be enough of the red koigu to finish the socks. So I searched my LYS for another hank or two of a contrast color to work with the red. I went with yellow - there was a fair bit of yellow in the red. I believe accents should come in three (it's a sewing thing) so these socks have yellow toes, afterthought heels and cuffs. If you remember - I was worried about not having enough yarn for nothing - I had plenty left over and made VDK a matching short pair!

November 20, 2009

Let The Parade Begin

You might remember that this summer I made JB more socks - after swearing that he was no longer hand-knit sock worthy. Well - when you make short little ankle socks - those knit picks balls go pretty far. So - after winding one ball off so I
could make the stripes match - I started a pair of Channon's heel huggers.
I got almost to the heel - about 3 rows from grafting when I ran out of yarn! UGH! So down to the sock stash in the Studio and up I cam with the some dark grey. You can tell that the heel and cuffs are a different yarn, if you look really - really closely. But who's looking that close? Since the socks were so dark, I decided to do a rolled edge rather than the picot edge as designed. Channon liked the idea so much - she added it to her pattern!

November 19, 2009

AJ

Abigail Jane - thinks everything in life is about her.
Is she wrong?
Which of your dogs has to be the center of attention?
this isn't the post I had planned
but I didn't feel like vacuuming to get the required photos
so - you'll just have to wonder what it is.

November 18, 2009

Teaser!

Pile o' hand knit socks.
all for me.
this is sorta how I threw them on after their glamour shot on Sunday.
Parade of Finished Socks to begin on Friday.

November 17, 2009

More Birthday Love

The Princess came home for a long weekend on Thursday. Thursday afternoon she sent me a text saying I had a box. This box was from CoffeeYarn and I was excited before I even opened it!
We had planned on having salmon for dinner on Thursday and I knew there would be fresh bread to have with it. You don't
get photos of that because it's almost gone!
Also in the box: a lovely card, some stickers to identify who's wine glass is whose, a puffy basset scrap booking sticker, fun candles, kettle puff-corn, treats for the dogs, a knitting pattern - and my favorite - Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.
I have been itching to bake bread all summer and now that the cold weather is upon us, I'm ready. I'm taking this book to bed with me to study up and hopefully soon - I'll be making my own fresh bread to serve with soup and stews for yummy filling week night dinners!
Thank you so much - everything is fabulous and I can't wait to try out your recommended bread recipes.

November 16, 2009

Dear Rowenta

My dear Rowenta - I was thrilled beyond words when I decided that you were going to come live with me. Tickled pink with your features - promises of your stainless steel soleplate stole my heart away. The promises of your extra large water tank were thrilling. 90 minutes of ironing - without running out of steam? You must be joking! The fact that you have a stable base and your own iron rest. Well that was just fabulous. And then there were the whispered works about adjustable steam output and and your extra long cords. So in March 2008 I bit the bullet and spent a fair bit of money buying you. I loved you. I packed you to 3 retreats and I was devastated when you quit heating. It was the strangest thing ever - one day you were pressing and the next you were stone cold. Why yes, I had plugged you and turned you on. But I loved all your features - your 33 ounce water tank and especially the fact that you didn't turn yourself off. Huge! There is nothing worse than being ready to press a seam you've just sewn only to find out your iron has turned itself off and you have to wait for it to heat up again. So - I headed out to purchase another. I'm sure you can appreciate exactly how devastated I was when after one and a quarter tanks of water you just quit producing steam. Seriously? I'm sure you'll also understand that after I return you to the store where you were purchased less than 2 weeks ago I'll be looking for a different brand of iron. Right now this one is in the lead.

November 15, 2009

Surprise!

to the left you see JB and The Musical One - to the right, JB and The Princess. They are at the surprise party that the girls organized and pulled off to celebrate JB's 50th birthday. As his birthday was 3 weeks ago - he was quite surprised. He thought nothing of it when he walked in and saw a friend from work. I mean we all live in roughly the same area, but then he started looking around and realized he knew a lot of people there - and finally got it. It was tons of fun and he got quite a lot of gag gifts for old folks. JB was taking advantage of the Mr. Magoo glasses to read a card that were gifted along with the new fangled hearing aid. Our neighbor decided to see if it helped. The party almost didn't happen. See JB has to work one Saturday a month and he signed up to work yesterday. I told him I didn't care what he did - the Princess was only in town for 4 days and he was not going to work. Plus we had a busy morning - but the girls pulled it off without a hitch and surprised he was.

November 13, 2009

Jeans?/Pants?

Okay - I'm asking for help from my sewing blogger friends. Do I have any left? Hello? Anyone out there?
One of my goals for 2010 is to start making pants. Up until now - wearing nothing but skirts and dresses to work wasn't that big of a deal. I have always driven myself - parked in the garage, walked 10 feet in the worst of weather. Now however - I ride the bus to downtown Seattle. Then I have a 10 block walk to the office. I need pants. I need pants that are nice and flattering.
I am a triangle. I used to think I was an hourglass. If you are in doubt - look at yourself from behind. I know! Okay have a friend do it. You will really be able to see from behind if you are a triangle or an hourglass. The other fitting challenges that I have are a full-behind, protruding front thighs, and the dreaded saddle bags. Lots of fitting challenges there.
Now you know why I make skirts - right?
So I'm asking those of you who have made jeans - which pattern? jalie? If so - the regular jean, which are described as being bootcut or the stretch. Or J Sterns?
Debbie? Dawn? Shannon? Angie? Carolyn? Sue? You've read my fitting issues, my tummy is still fairly flat - for the most part, but I am wide - through the ribs. My goal is to have a muslin made to take to the December ASG meeting to get fitting help - but I'd like to have a good start when the pattern arrives.

November 12, 2009

Like Nobody's Kid

You all remember Dudley right? The title comes from a co-worker telling me a story one time. His parents used to say to him when he was quite young and had just started dressing himself. Well you know how little kids just throw anything and everything together and half the time they are mis-buttoned and nothing matches? Well his parents used to say to him - "you look like nobody's kid." Seriously? You say that to your child? Isn't that a bit rude? Oh well. When I see Dudley running around with tufts of fur sticking out all over the place - it's the first thing I think of. I don't say it - normally I say come here and I grab a brush and we sit down to try and get some of that soft white undercoat off of him. I have spent at least 30 minutes a day brushing him with a combination of the curry comb and the fake furminator that we have and he still looks like nobody's kid. Any ideas on how to make him looked like he belongs to someone? Just for the record - he's our kid!

November 11, 2009

Many Thanks

Today is Veteran's Day. While I don't personally know a great deal of people who have served and lived to tell stories - I know enough. I am forever grateful for the sacrifices made by so few so that many could do what they want, when they want (within reason, right?).

I do however, know many more people who are currently active duty in many branches of the military. And while not all of them have gone off to war - it's becoming more and more common. What many of us don't realize is the sacrifices made at home. It's not easy being a single parent while your partner is thousands of miles away seeing and sometimes doing unspeakable things. It's also not easy reuniting the family into a cohesive unit upon return. Again - for that I'm thankful. Rambling - will be quiet now. Just make sure you let someone you know - know that you appreciate all that they are doing. Please.

November 10, 2009

Book Review

Absolutely A-Line Publisher: Lark Books (October 2009) Author: Wendi Gratz Flexibound: 132 pages/ pattern included This is a delightful book full of patterns for making adorable dresses for the little girls in your life. I'm a bit disappointed that my girls aren't young and cute enough to pull off this style. However, I might know a few girls who need some sunshine and everyone loves a dress. A-lines are one of the easiest things to sew as they can generally be made without zippers or closures of any type, especially when you are sewing for youngsters. Anyone who has no shape yet. The first chapter gives you the basics that you need to start sewing garments (trust me they aren't scary). The Overview of Sewing Techniques provided is clear and easy to understand. The author explains when and why to use each stitch. The dresses in this book included color blocking, appliqué, cross-stitch, embroidery, reverse appliqué and patchwork. There is a fabulous dress made out of dad's old denim shirt - perfect for a daddy's girl. Variations on the theme include adding beaded or gathered ruffle trim. Adding a contract band at the waist for accent and fit. They even cut the dress apart and made a top, skirt and apron all from the same starting point - a simple A-Line dress. The author sent a request out to several sewing friends and my favorite of the bunch is by Beki Lambert, author of the blog Artsy Crafty Babe. I have been reading her blog for years. I emailed Beki and asked if she's be willing to do an email interview. Me: Where does inspiration strike? ACB: My inspiration comes from everywhere. I keep a notebook with me to jot ideas down when I get them. I really love transforming something rather than coming up with something from scratch, which is why submitting ideas for the A-line book was appealing. I never see something "as is". I'm always thinking about how I can change it up to put my own spin on it. Right now, I'm challenging myself in this manner with one of my own patterns - the Phoebe bag. Every month I want to try something new with this basic bag design. Last month I did appliqué. I have something in mind for my next one, but I'm not quite there yet. Me: Where did you learn to sew? Do you just start wacking up a pattern when you have an idea or do you reach for a technique book? ACB: I learned to sew pretty much on my own by trial and error. I watched my mom and grandma sew while growing up, but they never formally taught me. I'm very much a hands on, jump in there kind of learner. I do use reference books (or Google) if there is something I have a question on, but when I have an idea I usually jump in and try on my own first. As a recovering perfectionist, I've learned that I learn much more from my mistakes, so I'm not afraid to make them. I know I'll be keeping this book to make some cute things for eventual grandbabies and also keeping an eye on ACB to see what she does with her Phoebe bag (which is a free pattern). Review courtesy of Nic/Lapdog Creations who has a sweet deal with Lark to review books - only problem is she doesn't sew - so she forwarded the book to me. Thanks Nic - it was fun.

November 9, 2009

Firsts!

Remember way back in May when I told you about getting all the materials to make this hat? No? Okay - here it is again. Its been getting cold around here so I decided it was time to figure this two-handed knitting out. Sp last Sunday night I went down to the studio and wound up a ton of yarn - 3 hanks for the hat, 4 more for another 3 pairs of socks. Crazy - I know. Anyway - after sitting with JB, the pattern and the yarns - we decided which yarn was suppose to be which letter - A, B, or C. I think we blew it because looking at it now, I think C (the brown around the braids) should have been A. The only one I know for sure is B - the noro. Anyway - I did okay tensioning one color in my right hand (as normal) and one color in my left - hello! Strange. But my floats were nice and even and not too tight. That is until I switch to double pointed needles at the top of the crown. I don't know if it was the double points or changing from metal to wood, but it got tight at the top. A good soak in soak and a blocking over my pot bellied stove cookie jar made it even out. But since I have plenty of the yarns left - I might try it again. JB - says it fits good, long enough to cover his ears. He's not finding the noro scratchy at all. I really enjoyed knitting this. The braid was a PIA - but very impressive looking when finished. I might get some girly yarn and make one for me.

November 5, 2009

Argh!

So we have a friend who is a pirate - no really - a Seafair Pirates. The Seafair Pirates are a Seattle icon and have been since 1949. Well - this young man (he's young enough I could be his momma) asked if I'd make him a new sash when he heard that I sewed. He wanted a plain black sash - how boring is that? So I made him a plain black sash. But when I was shopping for it - I found this fabric in the Halloween selection that is black with silver skulls on it! Perfect - I decided I would also make him a new pirate vest. Then I took the left over skulls back it with gold costume satin and made a two sided sash.
Funny, funny story about our pirate. About 5 years ago JB and were at a little local parade. We were sitting on the curb visiting with some friends waiting to see their daughters march by.
All of a sudden a pirate comes up to JB and starts visiting with him. JB says - you are a pirate. To which the response was some along the lines of 'Yup I'm a pirate' said with tons more dirty words and pirate voice.
Then this pirate makes some comment about how I must the beautiful wife and would JB mind if he kissed me. Well JB says "No, go ahead." The pirate bends down - he's a tall dude and we were sitting on the curb - kisses me full on the mouth, pins a button on my chest that says "I've been had by a Seafair Pirate" and saunters off down the road.
I look at JB and ask "who was that?"
He says - "I don't know."
It was a good year and half before we put our neighbor's son together with the pirate.

Beauregard James

You all have seen my boy before - in fact if you've been reading for very long at all you should be intimately acquainted with him. He's had my heart since we first saw him. Any of you who have had the pleasure and privilege of being loved by a dog, know how special that is. My friend GoldenTracks has been working with Ray at knitivity since early September to create Beauregard James colorway. It showed up on my kitchen counter yesterday with a sweet card from Y via Ray. When I first saw it - I thought it was a bit too dark to be Beau, but when you put it next to him it's completely his coloring. I'm totally knitting something with paw prints from this one. I would have loved to have a better photo of Beau and his yarn - but JB was getting ice cream and his attention was not on me. edited to add link for Knitivity - sorry this went live without it -- g

November 4, 2009

Tea Anyone?

I'm almost at the end of the birthday love and I thank each and every one of you. Today's little vignette is brought to you by my dear friend - Miss D. She's blogless, she works too much, she's a tireless advocate for dogs, an awesome knitter, and a fabulous friend. Last year she went shopping and got me that lovely embroidered runner. This year it's the lovely china tea cup. Me thinks she might think I need a lovely, relaxing day at home. Also included in the package was vanilla tea (my favorite flavor) and a pumpkin spice candle (my all time favorite scent). I have a great china teapot that I purchase a zillion years ago in England and wouldn't that just make for a lovely afternoon - load up the tray with tea and cookies (?) and enjoy them both with some knitting. Look at how pretty this cup and saucer are. Fantastic - white china with lovely gold scroll work and beautiful red flowers. And those feet - seriously? I've never seen a footed teacup before and I adore it. Fabulous package - I'll feel the love each time I use it.

November 3, 2009

Thank You Bubbles!

I am a very, very bad blogger! On Friday night when I got home there was a wee tiny box sitting just inside the front door. JB looked at me and said - you have more boxes! Well I very carefully cut through the roll of tape holding it closed and look at all the lovely goodies inside! First there was a fantastically scary dog card. Just under that - some 3 Irish Girls yarn
I bought from Jessi as part of a destash sale she had (do click on the link - she also dies yarn and she has some absolutely stunning semi-solids up right now).
She also sent along some birthday goodies. There was a lovely lemon grass soap that Beau couldn't stop smelling - I've put it upstairs so he won't eat it - that wouldn't be good on his surgically altered tummy I'm sure.
But the best? That fabulous blue yarn - it freakin sparkles! It's a lovely semi-solid and has a nice tight twist - I wonder what it will tell me it wants to be. Thank you - Jessi - I love it all.
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