Friday, December 3, 2010

Sock it to me...yeah I went there.

Recently, the hubs and I took a trip to Illinois to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family. I usually bring knitting with me on plane rides, but I couldn't fit the minimalist cardigan into my carry on bags without freaking out that it could get messed up.
I had decided to try and run a Thanksgiving Day 5k while we were there, so we went to pick up our registration packets and stuff for the race the day before at a nice little running shop in the Arlington Heights Neighborhood. Low and behold, there was a local yarn shop right across the street called Fuzzy Wuzzy Yarns. I went in to check it out and decided to buy a little souvenier of the fibrous persuasion, and felt it was time for me to tackle the art of sock knitting.
The woman working in the shop was nice enough to print out a free pattern from ravelry for self striping socks and point me in the direction of a basket full of self striping sock yarn.
It took me a second or two to remember how to use dpns, and adjust to the very tiny needles but I was able to get a bit of knitting done while we recuperated from the gigantic feast my mother-in-law had made for Thanksgiving dinner.
Although I am back to focusing on the minimalist cardigan, I am pretty pumped to get these socks going. It's a bit of added incentive.

Minimalist Cardigan update

Well, I am very very close to having the back piece finished so that I can move on to the front panels. I just finished the sleeve holes and all I have left are the shoulders. Which is great. Except....I messed up a few rows a little ways back! Blarg! It is at the very beginning of the sleeve hole area. I messed myself up on the pattern when I was decreasing stitches. I caught myself a couple of times and ripped rows out, but I must have thought that I had ripped all of it out...oh man.
Here is a shot of it...

You can see a small line right at the beginning of the sleeve holes. You can also see the small indentations made by kitty feet at the very bottom. Apparently someone thought I was laying out a blanket for them to get comfy on.

So now I am debating on whether or not I should rip out all these rows to fix the ones that are wrong, or if I should let it go and keep going.

Part of me knows that I will see that flaw anytime I look at the thing, and part of me is going to be very upset if I have to re-do all those rows. Another part of me wants chocolate...but that really doesn't have anything to do with me eff-ing up the sweater.

It is the back of the thing....but this stitch pattern really seems to show any wrong-doings.

Any suggestions or words of wisdom are welcome from anyone who may stumble across this post.

Friday, November 5, 2010

the moths made me do it

Yep, there it is. My freezer stash. After reading about moth prevention on the ravelry discussion boards, I found out that freezing your fiber is one of the better ways to prevent moths from setting up shop. It isn't pretty, but it works.

Just thought I would share this sad state of affairs. 

On a positive side, it keeps me from hoarding frozen pizzas and ice cream.

making some progress on minimalist

After about a week and a half's worth of an unintentional knitting hiatus, I have made my way back to the minimalist cardigan.
I have about two more inches to go before some more shaping comes in to play on the back piece. I am almost through my first yarn ball!

I really need to keep myself moving along on this, as I would like to finish it before the intended recipient gets back from her travels. KNIT, WOMAN, KNIT!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

knitting with headphones

Knitting and reading are some of my favorite things to do. Unfortunately they are quite hard to do at the same time - at least for this gal.  I can, however, walk and chew gum at the same time, so at least I've got that going for me!

While knitting gives me a productive excuse to sit my butt on the couch and watch marathons of old tv shows (Veronica Mars-a-thon, anyone?), the elitist book worm in me keeps trying to play matchmaker with audio-books and knitting. Unfortunately it just hasn't seemed to work out. I find that my attention span wanders when listening to someone reading a book - and that is only after I find a reader with a  voice that doesn't make me want to think of ways to contact them and let them know they should stop reading out loud into microphones.

I have been trying to find some auditory entertainment, none-the-less, and managed to find some podcasts that have been fantastic. Books on the Nightstand, Sword and Laser, NPR's Fresh Air,  the Book Slam podcast, and The Moth are a few that have been successful at keeping my attention.

About a month ago, I decided to try audiobooks again. I used an itunes card that remained from last Christmas to obtain Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games. It worked! I listened (completely hooked on the series now) and managed to get a good amount of knitting done, too! The woman who reads the books is a bit annoying at first, but the story is so good that I made myself get over it. I am now halfway through listening to Mockingjay right now. I have also had success with listening to Neil Gaiman reading his book Neverwhere, and the really awesome Jim Dale reading the Harry Potter books (some of his voices kind of kill me though...namely Hermione).

So, if interested in auditory adventures while working away on some WIPs (I am down with the crafty lingo, my friends), I say LIVE THE DREAM! I highly recommend any of the podcasts I named above, as well as the Hunger Games series and other books listed, especially if you are as geeky as I am.

If anyone is reading this and decides to give them a go, let me know how you like them, and please do recommend any others that you like to listen to.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Progress check - minimalist cardigan

Progress? What's that?!?

Yes, it's true, I have actually found a pattern, gathered the materials for that pattern, casted on, AND have been working on the project! Wonders never cease!

I present to you the beginnings of the Minimalist Cardigan. I am using Cascade 220 wool in a really beautiful blue, that I think will look pretty wonderful on the intended recipient.

I hope that the size is correct for her. I wasn't able to get measurements before "Needles" left for China - even though I sent her a very awkward text message requesting her bust size before she got on the plane. She's pretty tiny, so I am thinking that the sizing I have picked ought to work out just fine. Plus, it is an open front sweater, so that provides a little room for least that's what I am hoping.

Friday, September 10, 2010

scarfie hoodie thingie

Here is one of the projects I managed to finish over the last month. A simple scarf knit on gigantor needles (felt like I was knitting with those giant crayons they use in preschools) with some stash yarn that I had bought with no real intention in mind a few years ago.

This was a great airplane project and knitting group project, since it didn't require too much brain power on my part to make. I ended up with a pretty wide scarf, so I folded it in half and stitched up two sides of it. This makes the whole "hoodie thingie" part of it work. If I am wearing it as a scarf and my ears get cold I can simple transform it into a hood. It's just that easy! Feel like you are watching an info-mercial yet?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Casting On: Minimalist Cardigan by Ruthie Nussbaum

I have more or less gotten most of the knitting projects finished that I have been working on (fish for blanket, scarf thing, hemp shopping bag <----need to finish straps), so it is time to cast on a new project!

Once upon a time, I decided that I was going to make someone a sweater. I settled on a good friend that was just entering grad school to become an acupuncturist. I was going to finish that sweater for her and present it to her upon graduation day, come hell or high water. Fast forward approximately 3-4 years later. That friend of mine has graduated. In fact she just left for a 3 month adventure in China. Guess what wasn't packed in her suitcase...a sweater that I made. D'oh!

So, now I will attempt to knit a sweater for my buddy (we'll call her Needles from here on out, with the acupuncture and all that) while she is away on her adventures in China. Three months from now, upon her homecoming, Needles will be presented with a sweater (dare I say it?) come hell or high water (oh, snap, I said it)!

I will be knitting the Minimalist Cardigan by Ruthie Nussbaum which was printed in Interweave Knits magazine (Fall 2007). Here is a pic:

Here we go...

Friday, July 2, 2010

...and then there were slugs

First there were moths, now there are slugs! I am plagued by pestilence!

The slimy guys invaded my garden boxes about a week ago, where I found them feasting on my romaine lettuce. Little buggers.

After flinging them away, and harvesting what was left of my romaine, they seem to be leaving things alone...for now. My main concern is for my next planting round for Summer. Slugs are known to make seedlings vanish overnight, as if nothing had ever been there.

At the moment, I have been placing "beer traps" in the boxes. Supposedly, the slugs are drawn to the fermented liquid, get drunk on it, and then proceed to drown themselves. That's the way to go, I suppose. I haven't actually found any slugs yet, though. Perhaps they are beer snobs and are turning their slimy noses (do slugs have noses?) away from the pie pans full of PBR. Hey, if it's good enough for me, it's good enough for them. Sheesh.

I have also read that placing copper flashing around/on the boxes will help deter my slimy enemies. Apparently, the slime from their bodies and the copper react with each other when they come into contact with it, giving the slugs a shock which sends them on their sludgy way. Oooh, science. (o.o).

Another tip from a friend has been to boil garlic cloves in water, then mix that water with a little soap in a spritzing bottle and spray all around the plants. I will be giving this a go as well, when I plan my Summer crops.

Slug, thou art my enemy. Beware.

Any other tips for keeping slugs away? Please leave a comment!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Is my thumb green yet?

A few days ago, I realized that I haven't really written about our garden in the backyard much at all. While not as experimental as my indoor windowsill garden attempts in our old apartment, the new backyard garden is still quite the learning experience for me. Especially since I have no idea what I am doing.

We are following Mel Bartholomew's square foot gardening method and learning about it all from a book that I received for the holidays last year. It's been great so far, especially since our backyard is not all that big, and I would eventually like to do more landscaping with flowers and such. This method allows us to grow a bunch of stuff in a very small amount of space, as you'll see from these pictures.

I learned my lesson about thinning my sprouts from this first crop. As you might be able to see from the photo above, some of my radishes are rather puny and thin. I didn't have the heart to pull something out of the ground that worked so hard to get there. I did thin out my pole bean and bush beans, though. I also went ahead and clipped a few from the cauliflower squares today, too. We'll see if it helps or hinders at this point in the game.

All in all it has been a blast. I am absolutely loving the whole "growing stuff" thing.

We'll be slowly harvesting this spring time crop for the rest of this month, and replacing what we take out with some summer time veggies. I have a few seeds started for pickling cucumbers (an adventure in itself if they grow), eggplants, and bell peppers. I have a bunch of space for other things, too. I might even see if I can grow some things through the winter as well.

Here's to veggies!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wedded Bliss is a Piece of Cake

Yesterday, the hubs and I celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary. Here is a glimpse at the celebratory spread...

I made a creamy spinach, mushroom and pepper lasagna, we opened up a delicious bottle of red wine that had been a gift from some family friends, and I splurged just a bit on a Gateau Basque (cream filled cake) from a lovely place in Olympia called The Bread Peddler.

Needless to say, we stuffed ourselves with all of these delicious things.

Here's to plenty more anniversary feasts to come!

Recipe for creamy spinach mushroom and pepper lasagna:

3 cups milk (I used 1%)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups shredded blend of mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, and romano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ( I love pepper so I used a bit more)
10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup ricotta ( I used a low fat version)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
1 onion sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped (I used cremini)
1 cup pre-browned TVP/vegetarian "meat" crumbles (optional)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes ( use less if you want it less spicy)
approx. 8 lasagna noodles

1. In a large saucepan, heat 2 1/2 cups milk over medium heat until steaming. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of milk with the flour. Whisk into the hot milk; cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce comes to a simmer and thickens. Continue to cook, stirring, 1 minute. Remove from the heat; whisk in 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese and the black pepper.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together spinach and ricotta. Set aside.

3. In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil. Add the onions and garlic, stirring for about a minute. Add the bell peppers and mushrooms. Cook, stirring as needed until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the TVP if using, fennel seeds, pepper flakes and 2 Tablespoons of water. Cook until heated through, approx. 3 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or use olive oil to coat the bottom. Spread 1/4 cup of the cheese sauce on the bottom of the dish. Line the bottom with noodles. Spread with half the spinach mixture, then another 1/4 cup of the sauce. Add another layer of noodles. Top with all of the sauteed vegetables, add a 1/4 cup of the sauce. Add another layer of noodles and the remaining spinach mixture. Finish with another layer of noodles and the rest of the cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese on top.

5. Spray a large piece of foil with nonstick cooking spray, and use it to cover the dish tightly. Bake about 30 minutes; uncover and bake until lightly browned and bubbling, about 10 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy.

- Note - I did not pre-cook the lasagna noodles and the cooked just fine in the oven.

This makes super tasty leftovers, too, since the flavors really get to mingle together.

I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Help me Irish Spring, you're my only hope...

Turns out I have some little friends that covet my yarn stash even more than I do...yep, I got moths! Boy, do they suck!

I managed to get rid of a few skeins that seemed to be their breeding ground this past weekend (ewwwww)have a few balls of yarn in the freezer (I read that that can kill off any eggs/larvae things?) tucked my stash in plastic bins and bags, and have dried lavender and irish spring soap to deter any winged creatures. Yep, I said Irish Spring soap. I read on Ravelry that if you take a bar and cut it into pieces and store it with your fiber it will deter the moths. Who knew?

If anyone out there happens to stumble upon this blog and has any tips for moth issues, please do share!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

books and fish and books and fish

I've been pretty horrible about posting lately. But, for once, it is not due to lack of crafty projects/stuff being worked on! Thank goodness for my weekly knitting group (big shout out to the Lakewood Area Knitters, what WHAT!!!), my little garden out in the back, and the public library for that.
The lack of posting is more about my brain going in multiple directions at once, and getting myself working towards some sort of semi-structured day now that I am working from home.
I definitely plan on more regular posts. But for now, here is a glimpse at some lovely things of the moment...

One of the latest (of many) books from the library, A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg - the creator of the Orangette blog, which seems to have slipped past my blog radar somehow. The knitting is a project the knitting group is working on for the charity Project Linus. We are all making fish that create a tesselated pattern and form a blanket.

More to come soon.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another handy video. Kfb.

I have really found theknitwitch youtube channel to be very clear and helpful as I start to explore new things to knit.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

good morning, muffin

The last few days, I have been attempting to get myself (& the hubs) into a better breakfast routine. This is my first week of working at home (yay!), which has made the coffee drive-thru soy-latte-and-blueberry scone-or bagel-a day habit something that needs to be given up. As much as I will miss getting scone crumbs all over myself and my car, this is a welcome change.
Along with making sure we're both getting "the most important meal of the day", making breakfast at home helps lessen the rush of snooze button pressing, showering, and heading out the door to hit the road. I am definitely NOT a morning person, so setting this up as a routine where the hubs and I work together to make delicious food while chatting a bit helps me have a bit more motivation to drag my butt out of bed.
Plus, getting us both set up with food and coffee in the morning will help us avoid hitting that coffee drive-thru a block away from the house. This is a good thing, since we are working on spending less money these days (this budget don't budge, baby!). I added up my spending on caffeine and pastries on a typical stressful week of the past and I was spending $25 a week just on a rushed breakfast. Cha-ching. That's not to say that I will be giving up my soy hazelnut lattes completely. A girl needs a treat every now and then, no?
Pictured above are a couple of our new breakfast staples...vegan apple bran muffins (from How It All Vegan cookbook) and an "Anything Goes Berry Shake with spirulina" (also from How It All Vegan). The spirulina makes the shake green, which is also kinda' cool (yep, I am easily amused).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

moving right along

Progress is slowly being made on the hemp shopping bag!

It feels so great to be sticking to a project and knitting on an (almost) daily basis. Joining the knitting group has really helped. Not only am I sure to be dedicating a couple of hours a week to knitting while I am at the meeting (as long as I don't completely get caught up in the conversation and completely forget to pay attention to what I am doing), but I am motivated to make progress in between our meet ups, so that I can feel like I have gotten somewhere when I show up for the next one. It's not just me and the hubs watching the project take shape and get closer and closer to the finish line. There are other people that might be semi-interested in seeing how the project turns out, too. Kind of cool, if you ask me.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

a new buddy...

This catalog is my new's going to hook me up with all sorts of awesome stuff like veggies and flowers to grow in my yard. Yay!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

casting on!

Feelin' mighty productive, people!
The pattern is from a kit I got for xmas a few years ago. "Shop Till You Drop Bag" from Hemp for Knitting.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Reversible Garter Rib Scarf aka Bamboozled FINALLY FINISHED

It took three years (hence the crazy eyes in the self portrait) but it is finally finished! Now I will need a new airplane project...

What's with the Widget?

As you'll notice from the widget in the upper left, I have joined a knitting group! I've only been to one meet up so far, but I had a great time! Hopefully, this will keep me on a motivated path for finishing projects and trying out new stuff. Yay!

Spring Has Sprung!

Saturday provided some lovely sunshine, which I took advantage of by getting some much needed weeding and pruning taken care of in our front yard. This is the first Spring we've lived in this house for, and it's pretty cool to see what kind of things pop up that we had no idea were in existence underground. I noticed these flowers popping up about a week ago. What a pleasant surprise!

Friday, February 26, 2010

the never ending project

So, I kind of suck at keeping this thing updated regularly. Wanna' know why? It's because I kind of suck at actually working on my projects! Hahaha. Oh well...I think about them quite a bit. That kind of counts, right? I look forward to them. I even write them down on my "to do" lists for my weekends (yes I am one of those nerdy list writers). I would definitely like to change, and make "making stuff" a more regular part of my days and weeks. So, I will try again. Just like riding a bike, right?

The green scarf is task #1. I have been slowly making this bad boy for about 3 years now. It's actually had quite an adventurous existence, as it travels with me on all of my airplane rides. It's been to Ohio and Illinois a few times, and recently accompanied me on a ski trip to Tahoe. I think once it is actually finished I will have to make a point of wearing it on any other adventures I go on by air...for old time's sake.

Rather close to the finish line...about half a yarn ball left! I am even attempting to multitask on my goals for 2010 and combining my crafty accomplishments with my "read more" accomplishments-I am listening to audiobooks while knitting.

Onward to victory...