Monday, December 22, 2008

Cookie Madness - Sour Cream Pastries

Sour Cream Pastries are MY cookies. I'm very surprised that I even share a single one. I am very generous apparently. They are prefection in a cookie, light flakey dough, sweetness, coconut... anything with coconut is good in my book. This year, conroversy erupted when Little Sister decided to pervert the goodness by using raspberry jam. Why meddle with perfection? She's crazy. So we had to make two batches so that the originial goodness would not get corrupted with her new-fangled ideas.

Please note that the overnight rest for the dough is critical. The dough must be COLD. This is the one cookie that can only be made in winter. I tried making them in summer, in Japan, during the rainy season. I will not even describe the mess for fear of tainting your ideals of cookie perfection.

These are the best cookies ever.

Sour Cream Pastries

1 c. butter
2 c. sifted flour
1 beaten egg yolk
½ c. sour cream
½ c. apricot preserve
½ c. flaked coconut
½ c. finely chopped nuts
granulated sugar

With pastry blender, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Combine egg yolks and sour cream, blend into flour mixture. Chill overnight. Divide dough into 4 parts, keeping each refrigerated until ready to use. Roll each part into 10 inch circle on lightly floured surface. Spread with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves, sprinkle on 2 tablespoons coconut, 1 tablespoons nuts. Cut each circle into 12 wedges. Starting from wide end, roll each wedge into a cresent. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake on a ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or lightly brown. Cool on rack. Makes 4 dozen.

Christmas Cookie Madness - Nowacoski style

The ubiquitous Christmas Cookie - The stuff of legends. I think every family has a story or a tradition of baking up bite-sized morsels at holiday time. Our family is no different. I don't think I can remember a Christmas without buckets of cookies. Some of these treats are only trotted out for the holidays, some are year round favorites, some are experiment and empirical tests (oh the failures are plenty!) This year, the Cookie Madness began on Thursday of last week.

You see, the youngest daughter of the clan got an idea into her head. Yes, that is as dangerous a proposition as you would suppose. She has been obsess with cooking blogs of "The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie". I'm sure she'll post the link to the original article. "Let me esplain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up." A crucial component of these goddesses-cum-cookies are the fact that you are to let the dough "mature" by several days of resting in the icebox. So in order to have a true blind-empirical-taste-test, I flipped to the good old Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip recipie and whipped up a bunch for a 48 hour rest in the fridge. More on this experiment later.

Then on Friday, the Mamajama declaired that we simply had to have Oatmeal Carmelitas. I have vague memories of this bar cookie. When Cookie Madness would roll around I would say "Mom let's make those carmel things" and somehow they never actually got made. So its been like 20 years since these cookies have graced our holiday preparations. But since that is where Cookie Madness began this year, that's the first recipe I'll post.

I give you....

Oatmeal Carmelitas
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soad
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
1 (12.5 oz.) jar (1 cup) caramel ice cream topping
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 (6 oz) pkg. (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Heat oven to 350F. Grease 13x9-inch pan. In large bowl, blend all crust ingredients at low speed until crumbly. Press half of crumb mixture, about 3 cups, in bottom of greased pan. Reserve remaining crumb mixture for topping. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in small bowl combine caramel topping and 3 tablespoons flour; set aside. Sprinkle warm crust with chocolate chips and nuts. Drizzle evenly with the caramel mixture; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
Return to oven and bake an additional 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool Completely. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until filling is set. Cut into bars.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

All has not been quiet on the crafting front

Life has been busy, and the blog has suffered. I hope to remedy that shortly.

First up - Today is Thanksgiving! On the menu is turkey (of course), mashed potatoes (of course), Brussel sprouts, butternut squash, cheese, snacks all sorts of goodness. The kink in the system was Claire. She decided to practice her knife skills at 6am yesterday and ended up with 5 stitches in her hand. Thus we have a new Nowacoski Family Cooking Rule - No handling knives unless you have had 2 cups of coffee or it is after 10am. The first Nowacoski Family Cooking Rule is only one Nowacoski in the kitchen at a time when boiling water is being transferred from one location to another. I'll leave you to ponder why that rule was instated.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Steffi Linden - A Sock Retrospective

One of the choices for the October Sock for the Sock Knitters Anomyous Sockdown is a sock by Steffi Linden. When I googled Steffi Linden, I didn't turn up much. With a little google/ravely magic and my mad search skills, I found her ravelry page. The first problem is most of Steffi's stuff is under her proper name - Stephanie van der Linden. And boy, does she have some nice stuff. I'm sticking to socks for this post.

Binsenkorbchen Socks
Binsenkorbchen June 2007 001
These are quite lovley. I love color work and I love geometric shapes. I don't think I'll do these tho since i'm doing Ziggy right now. (photo by punkin541)

Esther Sock
Esther sock #1
Whew this is very airy and dreamy. I love the flower look. (photo by schrodinger212)

Another colorwork wonder! I love the texture and there's something about the stripped sole that I really like. I'm not super keen on the rolled cuff right now tho. (photo by steffilinden)

Glamour Socks
There's a cute touch of bead work at the cuff on this lovely sock. Very pretty, but its not doing it for me right now. (photo by steffilinden)

Grun ist die Hoffnung
WOW! Just wow! I might have to do this one. Look at that construction! You knit the top of the foot first? What? How is that possible!! (photo by steffilinden)

Honeybee Socks
Awwwwww. This are just simply adorable. Very romantic and quaint. (photo by knitchickmelly)

This is nice I guess, but I'm not in love with it. I like my socks to lay smooth. I'd be afraid it would be too puffy on my foot. (photo by steffilinden)

Livia Socks
Click the Twist link for the pic!
Simple, delicate, intricate twisted stitch loops. Simplicity at its best! This is a sock feature in the premier issue of Twist Collective (and the only patter Steffi has you have to pay for).

This sock makes me think of gothic catherdirals with those crazy arches. I love the detail on the instep. I'm thinking of doing Lizzy for the Sockdown. (photo by steffilinden)

How cute! I love the optical illusion-y effect of this sock! (photo by steffilinden)

More stripy colorwork!?!? This lady loves her stripes!! (photo by knitsynthesis)

Tanz in den Mai
OK, I'm sorry, I can appreciate the prettiness but I just don't like the nubby pokey out parts. (photo by steffilinden)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Adventures with the Mamajama

The Mamajama and I spent a FABULOUS day in the city yesterday, shopping an schmoozing our way up the West side. We hit up Macy's first, then up to the UWS for a inaugural trip to Knitty City . Yes, ok, I've lived here how long and I was Knitty City virgin? But now I've gone and I loved it - Great selection, good prices and friendly staff. Even though i almost decapitated another customer by starting a falling-domino chain of events from one shelf to another finally knocking a kit off a top of a book case, I think it was great...

While I was there I picked up some Lambs Pride Bulky in Onyx for the BF's hat - I think I might finally finish it this time! Ok, it started as the Anarchy Irony Hat from the Happy Hooker. He really wanted it but he has a bit of a big head... and when I say a "bit" I mean "gigantafrickenoremous". So I tired the original pattern and it was no good. Tried using a bigger hook and it was way too lose in the stitches to act as any sort of warming device. Failure abounded... So I finally gave in, bought the bulky wool, and it's going much better. I'm doing a simple beanie-style pattern (so not the original from the book) but I'm still going to add the anarchy symbol when it's all done. So now he can stop harassing me :)

I also picked up "Not your Mama's Crochet" from Amy Swanson - love some of the funky patterns - after I finish the hat and Frou Frou I'm going to start either the Straight Laced Shrug or the Pseudo-Kimono... thought he Pea Coat is awesome too...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Omnivore’s Hundred

I just found this little list of The Omnivore's Hundred - a list of 100 things for the adventurous foodie to try. The idea is you copy and past this list (in your own blog or in the comments section here!) and bold the items you've tried. I'm pretty impressed. I guess living in Asia for so long introduces you to the wackier side of food (hands down, the strangest thing I have ever eaten was whole deep fired baby sparrow on a stick. Beak and all.) The things on this list I haven't tried I don't have a burning desire to taste. How about you?

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (I have had aligator. Does that count?)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich

14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian (yes, it is stinky)
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Sockdown by Sock Knitters Anonymous – Yes, The Mamajama is Crazy

The Mamajama has roped me into another insanity project. Well, ok, the arm twisting wasn’t so tough, after all, if I could complete a sweater in SEVENTEEN DAYS for the Ravelympics2008, nothing is impossible right? Right? C’mon people, agree with me here.

So here’s the concept – There is a Ravelry group called Sock Knitters Anonymous (SKA for short, not to be confused with SKP) and they run this yearly competition. Well, it’s not really a competition, it’s more like a challenge (don’t believe everything you hear, especially if it comes out of the mouth of a younger sister – I am NOT competitive). They post a schedule for socks, one a month, and you have a two-month window to finish the assigned sock. The choice of patterns is meant to challenge you or introduce you to new designers or to get you to knit out of the box. There will be prizes, however I’m not sure how that all works. I think they just pick a random FO (finished object) and send that sock knitter a gift. Kind of cool huh? I know I wanted to be part of this when I saw that Yarnissima was one of the featured designers. The first day I got on Ravelry, Yarnissma’s Firestarter sock hit my queue and I just haven’t gotten around to knitting it yet! Now is the time! So here is the schedule and my thoughts and mad-capped plans so far:

September 2008“Orange Socks or Cookie A or Mystery Sock”
Apparently every other month they will have a “Mystery Sock”. I’m not sure how this will work. Will it be like the Sock Knitter’s Pentathlon where they just surprise you with a pattern, or will it be more like a Mystery Shawl where you get clues once a week. We shall see. This is a tricky month. September is when the Sock 4 for the Sock Knitters Pentathlon (SKP not to be confused with SKA) is released. The requirement for Sock 4 is two colors for some stranded color work. Now, I could easily knit two pairs of socks this month, one for the Pentathalon, one for the Sockdown, but I do have other things in my life I’d like to do (like SPIN! Like DYE! Like DO MY DISHES!), so I decided to kill two birds with one stone (Note: No actual birds were harmed in the production of my socks). So that left me with a problem – Orange. Since I have to do the SKP sock pattern, the only way I can make this work for SKAis to knit the SKP sock in orange (ahh acronym-y goodness) . Ok, sure, orange is not my most favoritest color, but I can live with it. However, finding nice orange sock yarn is a challenge. What to do! What to do! DYE MY OWN! And hence “Molten” and “Pele” were born. More on that later.

October 2008 – “Holiday Stocking or Steffi Linden
I’m not excited about the “Holiday Stocking” idea. Sorry, but my Christmas Crafting does not express itself in stockings. So a Steffi Linden pattern it is! I found Lizzy that looks delightful! Yarn choice will be a bit of an issue. I have decided not to buy any more yarn until Rhinebeck so I will either have to do this in Knit Picks Woodland Sage (loved the color online but now, meh), or dye some more (YAY! Are you sensing a theme here?)

November 2008 -Slip Stitch/Mosaic Knitting or Wendy Johnson or Mystery Sock”
November will be tricky with a double whammy of the Pentathlon. Unless there’s a nice cross over with the two like there was in September, it looks like I’ll be doing two socks. This “Mosaic Knitting” is intriguing, must do research – To the Google we go! Hm, I wonder if “Bellatrix” counts as “slip stitch”??
December 2008 – “Socks made with leftovers or Almost Socks or Yarnissima
A’hem. I do not have leftovers for socks. My leftovers are already dedicated to another insanity project. I have no idea what “Almost Socks” are but unless they are more kick ass (er, butt. Kick Butt. This is a family friendly blog, sort of) than Firestarter by Yarnissima, Firestarter will be my project of choice!
January 2009 –Beaded Socks or Socks form a pattern from an online magazine or Mystery Socks”
Hmmmmmm What to do what to do. Online socks are not really novel as most of the stuff I knit is from an online magazine of one sort or another (we love you Knitty and Twist Collective!). Beaded might be an option for some super fancy socks like knit out of silk maybe? Cashmere? Or we might have figured out this Mystery Sock concept and give what a whirl.

February 2009 – “Socks for a Cause or Gigi Silva or Entrelac”
Entrelac Entrelac ENTRELAC! I love love love Entrelac!!! I started an Entrelac sock in the Springz colorway from Brooklyn Handspun and LOVED LOVED LOVED knitting it. Unfortunately it met the frog pond because I was a bad knitter and a) did not swatch and b) did not read the ball band and discovered late in the game that Springz was DK weight and not fingering. Well, February will be the perfect time for a do-over!

March 2009 – “Lace Socks or Cat Bordhi or Mystery Socks”
Again, another tough choice. It’s my birthday month so I’d like to do something nice and fancy for myself. Cat Bordhi might be a good choice. We do have some time to do a little research. Duh.

April 2009 – “Knee Socks or Under-appreciated patterns”
I’m not sure what qualifies as under-appreciated. Don’t know if I’m really into knee socks. Knee socks for the Nieces? Hmmmmm I’ll have to think on this one.

May 2009 – “Cables/Twisted Stitches or Anne Hanson or Mystery Socks”
I can’t say that I know of any Anne Hanson patterns and I’m not too sure if the Rivendale socks will qualify for “twisted stitches” but Rivendale would be my first choice here.

June 2009 – “Design Your Own Socks or Nancy Bush”
I feel a secret project coming on!!! (said in singsong)

July 2008 – “Fair isle/colorwork/Intarsia or Homegrown Designers (including DYO) or Mystery Sock”
See above

Yeah, I know what you’re saying “OMG Amy is this bizarre obsessive compulsive nut who plans out a year of knitting in advance??? Back away slowly!” No, I’m not a nut (keep your comments to yourself Little Sister!). Here’s the brilliant intention behind this planning spree… RHIENBECK. The New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck is coming up in October and frankly, I need a shopping list. I’m going to one of the Northeast’s biggest fiber festivals so I’m hoping I’ll find good deals, and great yarn and I can stock up for up coming projects. More on Rhinebeck later!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ravelympics 2008

The Ravelympics 2008 have come to a close. There was struggle. There was victory. There was defeat.

Team GlassNeedle competed in, and won medals in several events

The Mamajama 3 won medals in WIPs Wrestling.

I won a total of 4 medals in WIPs Wrestling, 2 in Hand Dyed Hurdles, and 1 in the Sweater Sprint.

Smells like wet sheep and boiled Kool-Aide!

Mmmm... a smell like that means that I've been up to some of my own dying! There we some serious tangle issues with the skein - due mostly to my own fault - but I finally got it all undone after the cat got regulated to the bedroom (to her dismay) and I worked from the back to ball it and then got around to skeining it correctly.

As you can see from the pic, I was attempting to do a gradient fade from dark grape (mm - warm artificial grape smell!) to purple. However, I don't know if it was the yarn I used or if it was the vinegar I added to the dye bath but it soaked up much quicker than I thought it would... so instead of a gradual fading it goes from a super dark quarter to a much lighter quarter to a basically un-dyed half. I kinda like it though - looks really nice as it dries. Hopefully it'll be all set to go by the time I get home so I can take better pics.

I think my next set are going to be a series of "monster" colors for gifts - I'm thinking of designing little monster cozies for friends cellphones/MP3 players for the holidays. So a purple and green mottled one, a red and orange set, and maybe a yellow-green-blue mix... Any other ideas?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dying Fun

Dying Fun
Originally uploaded by amynowacoski
I had some fun with Jacquard Acid Dyes over the weekend. I have a secret project I'm working on (no, this is not the super secret super fun project, its just secret!) and I wanted some colors that pop! So I busted out the dyes. I bought the Jacquard started kit from Knit picks and then a bottle of Chartreuse. I mixed up a dye stock of 1/2 tsp and 1 cup of water for all the colors.

For Rosey (the first one on the left) I did Vermillion, probably about two or three tablespoons of the dye stock into three cups of water on the stove. I put in about a third of the yarn for about 5 minutes, the next third for 5 minutes and the last third until the water was clear. I did that with Pinky (the other pink) and the yellow color) Oh also with the chanteuse.
For the yellow and green skein, I started off with yellow for 5 minutes and then added a few tablespoons of blue. I did the same with the blue and red one. I wanted it to go from red to purple, but it was very interesting. I wanted a progression of red to darker and darker purple, but the yarn sucked all the red out and left me with blue. It was odd.

OH and I have to remember that I added vinegar to the pot, about 4 tablespoons. This dying stuff could become addictive.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ravelympics 2008 - Sweater Sprint - DONE!

I'm done! I'm done!

I can't believe I actually finished it. I don't like the seams, the next sweater I do will be in the round because I just don't like this sewing nonsense. I'm not too fond of how I did the collar either, but I'll live with it becasue - I KNIT A SWEATER IN 14 DAYS! FOURTEEN DAYS!!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ravelympics2008 - Hand Dyed Hurdles

I have my second medal in the Ravelympics in the Hand Dyed Hurdles!

Knit Pick's Customer Service MAGIC!

As you might remember, I had a tragic episode involving Options Needles from Knit Picks. I got home from work yesterday and there was a package in my mail box. Don't we just love packages in our mailboxes!! Its like Christmas in the middle of the week!. I tear it open and LeeLuu dances around my feet. Obviously she does not understand the delight in mystery packages in the mail box (probably because she lacks thumbs). In said package were my replacement cables! 5 little days since I contacted customer service and my cables arrived. Now that's good service!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

How to dye with Koolaid - SUCCESS!

The Mamajama and I, with the strict supervision of Poppy and LeeLuu, had our first dying workshop! We had hoped to use both Jacquard and Koolaid for dying, but we had so much fun with the Koolaid that we never got to the Jacquard.

The Mamajama took Notes:

KoolAid Workshop Aug 15 2008

Yarn: Treadsoft 2ply Superwash merino wool.
Mom bought a cone of yarn. I'll have to get her to add the website to the comments. I skeined up approximately 50 grams of the yarn with my trusty niddy noddy. Its a bit thinner than fingering weight, which was frankly a bit of a disappointment. We had great debates about if we should keep it or not. Mom also got some bare "worsted" weight for Claire, but my wraps-per-inch tool told me it was more like a DK weight. But, it should work regardless.

The Procedure:
We soaked the yarn in warm tap water for about a hours. Actually, it was probably closer to two. I put the yarn in to soak and then we decided to have dinner (Three Cheers for Kelbasa! We had a culinary celebration of our Slavic roots!). Once dinner was done, we covered the table with news papers and got ready to go!

After we squeezed out the yarn skeins, we laid them out on a double layer or plastic wrap. For the first two skeins, we mixed one cup of water with one packet of Koolaid. Then we went to town with foam brushes! One thing we did notice was that the dye did not soak all the way down so we had to flip the skeins over to get even color distribution.

Mom did Little Girls Dream. She used 1 package of pink lemonade and 1 package of grape.

I did Morning Grasshopper (named because we met a grasshopper the next morning who was the exact same shade of green!). I used 1package of Lemon lime. and 1 package of ice blue with 1/2 a package of grape mixed in, that produced a lovely periwinkle.

After we painted the yarn, we sprayed it with full strength white vinegar (I bought a gallon jug of it for $1.89!) .

With our next experiment, we laid out two more skeins. This time, we added a tablespoon of vinegar IN with each cup of color. Mom said she did not notice any difference. I felt like the dye got immediately sucked up exactly where you put it. I found it more difficult to "push" the color around.

Mom did Tropical Sunrise with 2 packages of cherry, 2 of orange, 2 of lemonade, mixed into individual cups with 1 cup of water and one table spoon of vinegar.

I did Tropical Sunset using the same orange and lemonade but with 2 packages of black cherry. As you can see, the reds do make a big difference!

The last skein we did was Shaken Not Stirred - Bombay Sapphire and I'm not telling how we did this one!! Trade Secrets!!!!

After we dyed each skein, we rolled them up in the plastic wrap and steamed them for about 30 minutes each. Then we rinsed and dried! Its very exciting. We had so much fun, and we have to restrain our selves from immediately dying more!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Rents are coming! The Rents are coming

The Parents, the Mamajama and Poppy, are coming for the weekend. Of course I have a sink full of dirty dishes but I did manage to wash sheets and vacuum so my house isn’t a total wreck. And I just realized that I forgot to leave them a key to the house! OH NOS! It will work out one way or another!
We have an action packed weekend planned.
The Mamajama and I have some serious yarn dying plans. In one of her wacky plans, the Mamajama convinced me to participate in a KoolAid swap. In short, you send your partner Koolaid packages so that they can dye some yarn, then you dye yarn with the packages you receive and then you send your partner some of the yarn you dyed. It’s very complicated and I’ve already screwed up several times (mostly because I did not read instructions fully). Then we want to dye some yarn for the upcoming Sock Knitter’s Pentathlon. We need two colors for a stranded color work sock. Also, the Mamajama has roped me into participating in the Sockdown. Sockdown is another year long challenge (with prizes!) with each month having a designer or specific technique that you have to conquer. There will also be Mystery Socks! I’m not sure how that will work. So, September’s sock for the sock down needs to be orange. Now, I’m considering dying orange yarn in two different shades so that this one sock can count for both the Sockdown and SKP2008. Whew. That’s a lot of socks!
But the weekend will not be all yarnie goodness We’re going to this HUGE antiques show on Saturday. The weather should be cool and sunny, which will be perfect. But that also means there should be HUGE crowds! I’m hoping we can get out of the house early as I have a feeling that parking will be a nightmare.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Letter to Knit Picks

"Game on! The Ravelympics began on Friday! I'm competing in the Sweater Sprint (OMG a sweater in 17 days? Am I insane? Wait, please don't answer that.) knitting the Plain Vanilla Pullover from More Big Girl Knits (bought on Sale from Knit Picks!) with Swish Worsted (it's so yummy!). I'm knitting like a maniac, then tragedy strikes!

The 32" interchangeable cable for my Options needles breaks - it separates at the metal-meets-purple-plastic joint right when I'm in the middle of the row!!

OH NO!!!!!

Stitches dropping left and right!! KNITTING CARNAGE!

I manage to calm myself and implement a crisis plan to pick up the stitches, wiggle out the needle and swap cables with no damage (and little time lost, I have a schedule to keep if I'm going to finish in 17... no 15 days! YIKES). Thankfully, I have another 32" cable handy in my tote that my mom got when she gave the Options needle set to me (mom's are the best!). Sleeves and Back of the sweater are done! Whew! I might actually make it even though one 32" Options cable gave up it's life in the herculean effort...

I cast on for the front and get two rows done and disaster strikes AGAIN! My remaining 32" cable separates right at the joint just like the first cable!

OH NOOOOOOOO! Oh the Horror! Oh the Humanity!!!!

Thankfully, I have 24" cable that's not occupied with another project. So I was able to recruit the 24" cable into service I feel like Rocky at the top of the stairs!"

The above was part of a letter that I sent to Knit Picks Customer Service. The very next morning, Amber sent me an email letting me know replacements would be on the way!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ravelympics 2008 – Sweater Sprint

Now that I’ve had a few moments to breathe… more about the Sweater Sprint and the Plain Vanilla Pullover.

I have no idea what possessed me into thinking about competing in the Sweater Sprint for the Ravelympics2008. Knit an entire sweater in SEVENTEEN DAYS? I must have been hitting the sauce big time. Whacked out on coffee. High on chocolate. Something because 17 day is a relatively short period of time in the Knitiverse. People talk about sweaters taking MONTHS if not YEARS to complete. So who am I, a lowly intermediate knitter, to think that I could accomplish such a Herculean task? The other insanity factor in this is that I have never successfully completed a sweater before. I attempted one other and it became a lovely throw (the Ex made so much fun of it and me that I frogged the whole thing) So yes, I see that I am completely nuts. BUT I’ve made EXCELLENT progress… let me explain…

Le Chandail
I’m doing the Plain Vanilla Pullover for More Big Girl Knits. Long-sleeve, scoop neck, hour-glass sweater. In straight Stockenette. See? Plain Vanilla. No whiz-bang-fancy-dancy-knitting-jedi stuff. Just a nice plain everyday sweater. It’s one of those patterns that you take your measurements; do a bit of math, and – Voila, le chandail! (OK, I did not pull “le chandail” out of the depths of my cloudy highschool French brain archives. I looked it up. All hail le Google!) You have a sweater pattern! Mom and I had a frenzy of measuring one day so I have the first part of the equation. I decided to go with Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Truffle. The yarn is super soft, however I’m a little concerned that it will get “pilly” after some use. I had a terrible time getting a decent gauge swatch for this. The test swatches were all over the place – bigger needles giving me more stitches per inch than the smaller needles! It really made me manic. So, with a deep breath, I jumped up a needle size and closed my eyes, cast on, and hoped it would come out ok. Gulp.

I started off with the sleeves. And for some reason I didn’t do them at the same time. I figured this was the easiest part of the project and if I could get it out of the way first. Then I could focus on the harder parts. I’m not sure this is the best strategy but hey, this is a learning process (albeit on a crash course!). Next I planned to tackle the back of the sweater. Again, this piece should be a fairly straight forward. Then will come the front which will be a tad tricky. MBGK uses short rows for the bust shaping. I’ve never really done short rows before so if anyone has any tips I’d love to hear them.

Problems and Progress
I was in between two sizes measurement wise, so the book said to go with the smaller size (“Hey, knit stretches”). That might not have been the best choice. I fear it will be on the small size. (more incentive to get in shape right???). Also, I think I did some of my calculations wrong. The increases for the waist shaping would have made the top WAY too long. (I think) So I frogged back and decreased the number of rows between the increase rows. I’m hoping this will solve the problem so long as I do the exact same thing on the front (RIGHT???). I think there was a mistake on the instructions for the shoulder cap. All of a sudden 10 stitches disappear! It says to bind off a total of 7 stitches, but the stitch count for the end of that row is 17 stitches different! I think this was just a typo. I hope so, if not, I’ll have slightly misshapen sleeves. (Frankenstein Sweater here I come!).

So I have both sleeves done. That’s a huge relief. And I am up to the armhole decrease on the back. THAT WAS A LOT OF KNITTING! Seriously, I did very little but knit this weekend, but if I’m going to complete this sucker in 17 days, I needed to get a jump start. I should be able to get the back done today and tomorrow. And cast on the front by Wednesday. The folks are coming to town this weekend and I’m not sure how much knitting I’ll actually get done (the front with all that short row nonsense is NOT mindless knitting).

In three days, I’ve made awesome progress! I still have a full two weeks to get this done. I will not however, procrastinate with this sucker. I will bust this out as fast as possible. I should have been keeping track of the amount of time I spent knitting to know exactly how long it will take. Oh well. Next time…

And speaking of next time… I’m thinking of doing the “Bountiful” sweater next as in like order the yarn this week!!). It’s a yolk style sweater with cute cabled ribbing AND a bit of color work on the yolk. AND it is steeked. Gulp and double gulp. Hey, if I can knit a sweater in 17 days, steeks should be no problem!!! As Yoda would say “There is no try, there is only do”

Sunday, August 10, 2008

WIPs Wrestling Complete!

I have received my first medal in the 2008 Ravelympics!! I completed the Rainy Day socks for WIPs Wrestling. And I'm making great progress on my sweater for the Sweater Sprint.

Friday, August 8, 2008

None of us are free until ALL of us are free

This blog really isn't the place for political commentary. And I know I talked about this yesterday. However, Tibet just pokes a hole right in my heart AND the Dalia Lama is just adorable. PoMo Golightly is running a contest to bring awarness about the Tibet issue. So I thought I'd pop up a post to participate!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ravelympics, Olympics, and Tibet

The Olympics and the Ravelympics start tomorrow! This is exciting (and problematic) for me on several levels.

I’ve always been a big fan of the Olympics. We got our very first color TV just in time for the 1980 Winter Olympics. My brother was sick at the time, like stay-at-home-from-school-for-a-week-and-whine-on-the-couch sick. So the new color TV was a delightful acquisition in his eyes I’m sure. The remote control was a delightful acquisition in my eyes. (muah ha ha haaaaa). You see, we’re talking the OLD DAYS here, where you actually had to get up and walk over to the TV to change channels. We had never had a remote control before. I don’t even think we knew what it was. Well, I discovered that I could sit at the top of the stairs, unseen by my cranky-sick brother and point that little remote at the new shiny TV


Bro: WTF (or whatever teen aged boys said in the 80s). Stumbles up and changes the channel back to what ever he was watching, slumps back on the couch.

Me: Giggles evily.

Five minutes later.


Lather Rinse Repeat

This went on for quite some time until the Mother caught me and well, we know how that turned out.

But it was an Olympic year. We watched the hockey team win. And since the RemoteControl-Torture Olympics, I really get into the event every time it airs (Big yays from me for splitting the summer and winter events to happen in different years!). I love the obscure events like shooting and judo. Women’s Hockey is the best. Watching the distance running events? Not so much fun. There’s so much drama! It brings out all of my all-american-flag-a'waving pride!

As I have previously discussed, one member of my household is none to fond of certain aspects of the Olympic experience (namely, the theme song, gymnasts and horses. Oh and the kung fu fighting which is very limited despite her impression).

However, I’m especially torn about the China Olympics this year. Regardless of the fact that my company is hosting a lunch in honor of the beginning of the Olympics (that is very sweet) as we have large facilities in China, I just can’t really support the Olympics this year. I highly respect all the Chinese people I have known over the years but I can’t get behind anything sponsored by the government of the People’s Republic of China. The genocide in Tibet , the atrocities of the revolution, there are countless examples where the government has trampled human rights and have decimated cultures. I will celebrate Chinese as individuals, but not their government as a whole

But I will rally behind the Ravelympics!!
This is a fantastic event on Ravelry where you sign up for Olympic Teams and compete in events! I’m in the Sweater Sprint, the WIPs Wrestling, and Hand Dyed Hurdles. I’m concerned about being able to finish my sweater in time, but I will try my best!! That’s what counts in the Olympics, er, Ravelympics, I’ll certainly get an A for effort!

More on the sweater as I progress…

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cardinal Sin of Coffee.

I must confess, and I know that this will break my sister’s heart, but I am guilty of the cardinal sin of coffee – I pour my cup before the whole pot has finished brewing. GASP! I know there is a special level in hell for people like me. I shall wallow in burnt dregs crunch with grounds for all eternity. And I know it only takes like 6 minutes for the pot to finish however a) its not really great coffee to begin with and 2) OK OK I’m selfish!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fiber Mania

This is my week of Fiber Mania! I met Bev (AKA emmasdaughter) at the College Street Café in Clinton on Monday. I think we might make Mondays a regular meeting! Then I met Vanessa (AKA DivaMissV) at Panera’s on Tuesday. I hope to make this semi regular too! Yes yes, I know! Three days of knitting (because we can’t leave out the Rome Wednesday’s group!) might be a bit much (especially when MissV and I forget all about the time and leave poor hubby sitting in the parking lot for HOURS! Sorry MrV!!). But I think I’m going to need the inspiration. I’ve got a lot going on:

The Sock Madness:
The Mother has roped me in to some sock insanity. We’re in the “Pair-a-Month” challenge on Ravelry. I joined a few months late, and the Mother has convinced me I need to catch up. I have 5 and a half pairs done. So in the next 5 months I have to do 6 more pairs. August will be tough to double up on this challenge (see madness below), and Sept and Nov are reserved for the Pentathlon. But if all goes well, this should be no big deal (so sayeth the madwoman).

Ravelympic Madness:
The Ravelympics – sign up, choose an event, cast on during the opening ceremony, cast off by the closing ceremony. Mom has convinced me I can knit a sweater in 17 days. You know, its insane and an almost impossible task, but I’m going to go for it!

Secret Surprise Project:
This one isn’t going into Ravelry, and I have to get some yarn for it. But it shouldn’t take too long.

Claire’s Jawbreaker:
I’ve finished the back but the front is giving me some trouble. I just have to concentrate for a bit. I hope to have this done for her way before Rheinbeck (crosses fingers)

The Super Secret Super Exciting Project:
This one is going to throw a wrench in all my plans! I’m so excited about it that I’m obsessively tracking my LoopyEwe delivery (see above). I just can’t wait for the yarn to arrive so I can get busy!

The Shawl(s):
I got it in my head that I wanted to spin and knit a shawl for myself in 2008. Then I thought I’d spin and knit 2 shawls for 2 of my girlfriends. Well, that might have been a bit ambitious. I’m not even all the way thru the first 4oz of fiber. Its just been too hot an humid to spin! The stuff just felts in my fingertips! So I’m not sure I’ll get THREE done, but I do want at least 1.

Whew, that’s a lot of stuff!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gymnasts are forces of EVIL

LeeLuu: So Mommy, we're going to the Olympics?

Me: No, LeeLuu. We're doing the Ravelympics?

LeeLuu: Is Poppy coming? Because he has peanut butter and you never give me peanut butter.

Me: I give you peanut butter all the time

LeeLuu: Poppy's tastes better. The Olympics are filled with forces of evil.

Me: No, there are no forces of evil in the Olympics, just gymnasts.

LeeLuu: They Kung fu fight.

Me: Gymnasts are not kung fu fighters. Can I knit please?

LeeLuu: I don't like knitting. You should stop and give me peanut butter. You never give me peanut butter.

Me: Yes LeeLuu.

Friday, July 18, 2008

OOPS! Too many fiber dates!

I have a lot of projects I want to get done and not enough knitting time. I accidently set up three extra knitting events with three people who can't all be in the same place at the same time. I might be in trouble!!

Monday 7/21 Clinton Knit! College Street Cafe 5pm - 7
Tuesday 7/22 Utica Knit! Panera (New Hartford) 6-8pm
Wednesday 7/23 WeKnit in Rome! ‘Spressos 6:30-8pm
Saturday 7/26 Utica Knit! Panera (New Hartford) TBA

Monday, July 14, 2008

Knitting Madness

Midnight Surf Scarf2
Originally uploaded by amynowacoski
This was a Knitting-Madness-Weekend.

I finished up the Sock Knitter’s Pentathalon Rattlesnake Creek sock. I’m not in love with it. I made some boo boos on the foot that of course only I’ll ever notice. The cable traveled over 6 stitches and when you do that in fingering weight yarn on tiny needles, it’s tough. So it wasn’t a fun knit per say. But it’s done and I think I’m ranked like number 33 or so. The Mamajama and I have decided that we’re going to knit 12 pairs in 2008. I’ve got 4 done, so I need to play a little catch up. I don’t mind at all, I’ve got some fun things in the queue.

I also finished the Midnight Surf Scarf out of the Inferno roving. I <3 this scarf. Not just because it’s my very own handspun, but the pattern is filled with awesome! It uses wrapped stitches to create a wave like pattern. I’m just so excited to have it done. I did 4 pattern repeats in each on my color sections (each repeat is 12 rows I think). Friday night I got bit by the MUST-FINISH bug. Was just wrapping up the last few rows of the first color section so I knew I had two more colors to go. MUST FINISH MUST FINISH. So I knit like a madwoman and I had finished and was ready to block Sunday. I really have to stop knitting things that are longer than my bed! Very tricky to block when you run out of space.

I had to get these two projects out of the way, because there is much insanity coming down the line.

I started Claire’s Jawbreaker sweater. It’s a great color and super nuzzely. I’m very nervous about it. It’s my first official sweater. I did a test swatch and had to go up in needle sized to get guage. I’ve finished the first ball of yarn so I’m well on my way! I really hope Claire will like it.

I also cast on my Vanilla Pullover, but I’m very concerned that its going to be too big. I might have to go down in needle size. I cast on and have a few rows sitting happily on the needles. But I’m thinking about frogging it and doing another test swatch. I just want to make sure it’s done well.

Friday, July 11, 2008

SKP2008 Sock3 DONE

SKP2008 Sock3 DONE
Originally uploaded by amynowacoski
I'm done! I'm done!

I'm not totally in love with these socks. When I did the heel flap, the pattern said to do it for 34 or the 36 stitches, so I just looped the stitches to the other side of the needle. I did them 2-at-a-time on 1 circular needle. So slipping these two stitches meant that the cable pattern was not centered. So its a touch funky but I will survive! And I think I'm like number 30 on the list or something. Not too shabby.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Originally uploaded by amynowacoski
The fierce Huntress stalks her prey. No berry is safe.

We had a Strawberry Extravaganza a few weekends ago. I promise to post about it, but LeeLuu says it's bed time because she doesn't want me to tell everyone how she discovered that berries do not taste so good the second time around.

LeeLuu's Big Adventure

LeeLuu and I went to visit Nana and Poppy for July 4th. LeeLuu was quite excited about the prospect because, well frankly, Poppy sneaks her unlimited treats and Nana lets her sleep on her head. Really, in the Pugiverse, you can't beat that. She was excited. WAS. Until the seatbelt appeared. You see, after LeeLuu decided that she could drive and shifted the car into neutral one too many time, I decided it was safer all the way around if seatbelts were involved. After all I have to wear a seatbelt. I can't go all loosy and fancy free while operating a motor vehicle. It only makes sense that the pug passangers wear seatbelts too.

LeeLuu did not agree.

She whined and wiggled but finally got buckled in and endured the ride to the Isle of Long.

Then commenced three whole days of puppy bliss. LeeLuu made it very clear to all those present that she does not adhere to Halal customs nor does she keep kosher by eating all the ham she could possibly get. She was rather put off that she did not get any lobster. Finally the dreaded seatbelt made another appearance and it was time to drive home. LeeLuu protested and said she wanted to stay and have more fun (eg. eat more ham) but within moments, it was very clear, she was tired.

She could not even appreciate the truckstop sunset.

Have you ever seen a more tired pug?

Thankfully, I had to work the next day. I assume she had herself a wee (8-hour) nap.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Here we go!

Originally uploaded by IdoruNYC357
After a LOOOONG hiatus, I'm finally crocheting again. Got my yarn via the GlassNeedle Post office Delivery system (i.e. it was delivered to Mom's house and dropped off by the Awesome Sister since I can't get packages here :)). It's Incense via and it's a very lovely wool/silk/bamboo blend.

The pattern is the Frou Frou Sweater from Happy Hooker - all done in one piece in a granite stitch - so I should be able to figure it out with out the Mamajama (although I've called her twice already, but that's ok)

I also splurged on Brittany Crochet hooks - Sustainable birch ones. they're lovely to work with so far, but they have a much different grip than the aluminum one's I've used so far, so getting used to them has been interesting.
Now, all we need is the Ms. Kitten to stay out of my yarn - I've already kicked her out of the bedroom twice and pulled a large amount out of her moth...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

SKP2008 - Sock 3 Corrected Chart

Sock 3 for the Sock Knitter's Pentathlon was released today! Woooo hoooo! BUT there's a row missing in the pattern, so I figured I'd retype it here!!

R1: k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2
R2: k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2
R3: k2, p2, c3 over 3 left, p2, k2, p2, c3 over 3 right, p2
R4: k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2
R5: k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2
R6: k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2
R7: k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2
R8: k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2
R9: k2, p2, c3 over 3 left, p2, k2, p2, c3 over 3 right, p2
R10: k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2
R11: k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2
R12: k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2
R13: k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2
R14: k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2
R15: k2, p2, c3 over 3 left, p2, k2, p2, c3 over 3 right, p2
R16: k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2
R17: k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2
R18: k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2
R19: k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2
R20: k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2
R21: c3 over 3 right, p2, k2, p2, c3 over 3 left, p2, k2, p2
R22: k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2
R23: k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2
R24: k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2
R25: k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2
R26: k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2
R27: c3 over 3 right, p2, k2, p2, c3 over 3 left, p2, k2, p2
R28: k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2
R29: k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2
R30: k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2
R31: k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2
R32: k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2
R33: R27: c3 over 3 right, p2, k2, p2, c3 over 3 left, p2, k2, p2
R34: k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2
R35: k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2
R36: k6, p2, k2, p2, k6, p2, k2, p2

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I have a serious case of “cast-on-itis”. I ferret out all these cool little projects that I simply must cast on right this very second or I will die, my heart pounds, my fingers tremble, I swoon. Then I take a few breaths, chant and the terror passes. Let me explain what I have going on (“no there is too much, let me sum up” bonus points if you, Dear Reader, can NameThatQuote!)

OTN (On the Needles)

The Punk Shrug: Status – Hibernating.
This was started for baby sister and is on hold until I find her measurements so I can see if it will actually fit. I’m hovering in this looooong section of stockentte and well frankly it gets a tad boring after awhile.

Jawbreaker Cardigan: Status – Unknown.
I am filled with deep dark premonitions that this project will soon find its way to the Frog Pond. I adore the pattern. I adore the yarn I bought for it… however…. After skimming “More Big Girl Knits” in the bookstore a while back – I am coming to the conclusion that Chunky Knits + Chunky Girl = Not So Good. I absolutely refeuse to knit a garment saying to myself “well, I’ll lost 40lbs and look perfect in it!”. I’m going to hold off on final judgment after serious conversation with the Mamajama… and after buying and devouring “More Big Girl Knits”.

Midnight Surf Scarf: Status – WOW.
I can’t stop knitting on this. It is so very awesome. The pattern is sooo much fun to work with and of course I love my Inferno Monster Yarn. I actually have to start holding back and savoring the experience!

Recent FO (Finished Objects)

Branching Out AKA Spring Mix Leaves Scarf
I’ve actually made some great progress in the finishing category, because you see, it is finished completely. AND I BLOCKED IT! Yes, I actually blocked it. That is a big deal to me. Usually I burn out of big projects by the time it comes to the finishing details like sewing on buttons (see “I’m a little teapot Cosy”) and sewing in ends. I have a horrible terrible confession to make. I don’t sew in the ending yarn in the toes of my socks. I know. I’m a terrible knitter. I should shun myself from knitting society and live a solitary life of penance…. But I digress… So this is why I’m so proud of the Branching out scarf… I SPUN it from roving. I PLIED the singles into a 3-ply yarn. I KNIT it into a lovely LACE pattern. And I sewed all the ends in AND BLOCKED it. Proud. Proud indeed.

Stretchy Sport Socks
I am not a fan of these socks…. Fade to black with telltale flashback music. The Mamajama and I were on a yarn-crawl thru the smaller yarn shops of The Isle of Long. There are times, I have to admit, that I get this pang of guilt in my gut when I just browse in smaller local shops. I know very well how hard it is for LYS to stay afloat so when I pop in, I feel obligated to buy something… so anyway… in this LYS the were some balls of this candy colored cotton stuff with elastic. And the shop gal assured me you could get two socks out of the tiny ball. I think it was under $10 so I could satisfy my guilt and have a pair of socks to boot! I figured the color would grow on me. Well, I might have been a touch “glass-half-full” on this one as the color didn’t grow, actually it kind of shrank and shrivled… now add that to some serious pattern frustration, makes for not a happy project experience. I did manage to finish them up during WWKIP Day. So they are done. Done! They will probably never see the light of day, but they are done.

What I WANT on the needles

Oh, I’m in such dilemmas. The Mamajama has roped me into not one, but two, count ‘em TWO sock knitting KALs – The Sock Knitter’s Pentathlon and The Pair-a-Month Challenge. SKP2008 I’ve talked about before (to sum up- a speed knitting challenge of 5 socks over the course of the year, quickest overall knitter wins). A sock is released every two months. The Pair-a-Month challenge is well, pretty self explanatory and if you need me to explain, let’s talk. Now, the Mamajama and I have agreed that we can double count the SKP socks for the Challenge. Now here’s my dilemmas… THERE ARE TOO MANY COOL SOCKS TO CAST ON! The Summer Knitty just came out and the nanosecond I saw Ziggy, I was balling up my skein of Noro. I cast on and knit a good portion of the annterloc sock in the Brooklyn Handspun Sprinz but HATE how it’s coming out. It’s far far too poofy (Yes, that is a technical term). So, to the frog pond it went and I found the Rainy Day Pattern to cast on that should match up nice with the yarn weight. Picot edge, people! It has a Picot edge!!! And then there is the Bellatrix sock. MUST MAKE HARRY POTTER SOCKS! And I LOVED the, but I just have to find a suitable yarn. But I know myself, if I cast on all these projects right now, I will run out of steam before the pair a month challenge is up. And there is NO way I’m losing to the Mamajama. Not happening. Nope. Never! So I’m booked up on socks for-like-EVA. July will be the SKP Sock3. August will be Ziggy. September will be SKP Sock4. October could be The Romantic Lace. November is SKP Sock5. And December is Belletrix. January is Anntreloc????? How crazy is that?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mini Sock Sampler

Mini Sock Sampler
Originally uploaded by amynowacoski
There had been quite the bit of crafting madness going on. One of the things I dislike about knitting (there aren't many things I dis like but bare with me) is left over yarn. I hate having all these tiny unsuable bits rolling around all over the place. So for my left over bits of sock yarn, I've come up with two projects - The Mini Sock Sampler & the Insanity Blanket. The Mamajama bought me a key chain mini sock blocker so I'm going to do a mini sock out of each of the sock yarns that I make and shadow box them. I'm also going to knit squares for a blanket out of the left overs. Yes, I know that is insane. Hence the name "Insanity Blanket". I think it will be a cool family heirloom one day far off into the future that I can recall all the socks that went into Blanket. The Mamajama will also be donating yarn to this project. The blocks are only 31 stitches so the take like no time to knit.. Yes, I realize this is crazy to do a full sized blankie out of sock yarn, but it will get rid of those little bits of yarn!!.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why I have not been so crafty and why I might have to start again (or The TV knows me too well)

So I’ve been the third and rather quiet one here, and that’s because I’ve been rather slow on the crafty front for a while. No big projects, just a small stroller blankey for a friend who just had her first baby (modified version of the Sock Monkey from Happy Hooker) and seriously not much else. Instead of craftyness, I’ve been more into cooking recently, but that’s the topic for a different post or even a different blog.and I’ve been in 2 weddings and all the prep for them, all sorts of family stuff from my side and the BF’s and works been cookoo. And miss kitty, Her Highness Spyro Von Mittendorf has been making a royal fool of herself recently in her tiny little cone after getting fixed.

But now I don’t think I can use the excuse of chilling in front of the television to veg out, because, well, I think I’ve spent a little too much time there. It’s now responding to my thoughts.

See last night, I was curled up on the couch, nursing my cold and the BF gets up to go to the bodega next door. I’m reading but he has the Mets game on in the background.

BF: “Do you want anything?”
Me: “I kinda could go for some ice cream”
BF: “Well they have the bars downstairs”
Me: “Nah, I want like a tub of Ben and Jerry’s not the tiny little bar”

Then I SWEAR I hear one of the Mets announcers – pretty sure it was Ron Darling – say “Did I just hear you turn down Ice Cream?!?”

The TV is now not only listening to my conversations, it’s commenting. I had to hide from it for the rest of the night because I was freaked out by it.

I think it’s time to pick up the hook again before Keith Hernandez adds his 2 cents in. Because then I’ll REALLY be freaked out.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A slow few days

Things have been quiet on the crafty front. Well, that’s not exactly true.

Remember my Inferno Monster plans.

Well, I got Phase 1 and Phase 3 done. I like phase 1 a lot. Not so happy with Phase 3. It didn’t turn out the way I expected. I wanted solid colors with a hint of accent color. It’s certainly a lesson learned! I can’t wait to see how it knits up.

Phase 2 of the Inferno Monster is by far the easiest. It’s just solid sections of color with blended sections in between. My problem is to figure out how big each section will be. Since I’m Navajo plying, the color sections will shrink to a third of the length of the single. I’m thinking I might do fairly small sections, break it up the way I did for Phase 2 so that I’ll get short color changes and less of a stripy effect. I hope. So far, little has turned out the way I wanted it to. It’s supercool, nonetheless, albeit not how I predicted (Oh how I love words that are actually more than one word mushed together ie., none-the-less) I think am going to have to try and get good pictures of how to Navajo Ply. It’s a very cool technique and I’m sure if I don’t do it for an extended period of time, I’ll forget. Handy thing about blogs, they are like your own personal reference guide!

I’m off to visit the Mamajama for the weekend! I’m bringing the Inferno Monster but I probably won’t work on it. Spinning is kind of a solitary obsessive process for me. I have to figure out something to do with the Spring Mix. I’m just not happy with the scarf. It will probably meet the frog pond for the second time. I’ll show mommy and then decide.

Monday, May 19, 2008

You spin me right round Inferno Monster!

Between Defensive Driving and a Bachelorette party, I got in a ridiculous amount of spinning.

Before I talk about Inferno Monster, I need to dish about the driving course and the party.

$50 an hour.
My eyes teared up and my stomach dropped when I bought my first 6 months of car insurance. I was so excited to learn it was JUST $500 but I didn’t fully understand, that was for a 6 months policy. I had a swift learning curve. It does seem a tad goofy that at 35, this is the first time I’ve bought car insurance, but until 2 years ago, I lived in great cities with great public transportation rendering a car, not only not smart, but completely foolish. I’ve never been a big car person, never really felt that apparently All-America desire to drive whopping gas guzzling vehicles. Then I moved here, the Ex bought me a car (which will shortly be nicknamed POC short for “piece-o-crap”) and I had to buy insurance. Once I figured out how it all works, the buying of the insurance wasn’t a problem. Watching $500+ leave my account was painful however, especially when you consider that in a blink of 6 months, I’ll have to pay that all over again. And basically the only way to lower your insurance is to take a defensive driving class. Now I have heard people lament about the horrors of sitting in a room for 6 hours listening to some guy wax pathetic on the rules of the road, but honestly, 6 hours of my life is totally worth expending in the strenuous activity of sitting in a chair knowing that I’ll get to keep about 100 smackers in my wallet. Nice ROI there don’t ya think?

Bachelorette Parties
I’ve never been to one before. This was an event for a co-worker. I wouldn’t consider us “friends” but we are certainly “friendly” and I was glad to go. There is an odd tradition in these parts that Bachelor/Stag/Bachelorette parties are paid events, meaning that you, as the guest, buy a ticket and pay for the privilege of drinking with the future Bride or Groom and stand witness as their ‘singleton’ days fade into the sunset. This is how most couples raise money for the wedding I’m told. How odd is that? So in essence, it’s like paying to go to the wedding. Very strange. I had a good time regardless and rediscovered my love for Stoli. No, there were wild tales to tell for the nights proceedings, although I did find myself in the peculiar position of molding penises from purple playdo with my co-workers (silly games are apparently required at such events). That was fairly uncomfortable (more for them, less for me).

Back to the spinning!

I’ve mentioned my 3-part-plan to spin Inferno. I started off like gang busters and got the first part done. I divided up the roving into three separate colors and spun each color separately. It was much harder than I anticipated to separate the fiber. And no, I am not quite that anal enough to sit there with tweezers and pull out each fiber individually. I wound up with bunches of little wisps of roving that had two colors in it. So I decided to spin these bits at the beginning and the ending of each of the solid color batch. This fiber was a tad more difficult to work with than other stuff I’ve been using. It’s VERY soft, VERY poofy, VERY silky, and will start to felt just from the pressure of my fingers and the moisture off my palms. This is not a “gnash-teeth-rend-garments” type of problem, but does lead to slubs and mild irritation (that’s mental irritation, not physical). I’ve adjusted the way I hold the fiber a bit to help with this problem. The end yarn doesn’t suffer that much because of it. OH, also, this stuff breaks like mad. I’ll be spinning happily, la la la, twirl draft twirl draft twirl CLUNK - the single will breaks and the spindle will crash to the ground. Clunk. I think I’m going to need a new spindle soon, as this one has bellyflopped quite a bit. This stuff is so poofy that I’ve had to add a lot of twist to it of it just breaks for the weight of the spindle. But I did get to ply it all.
And I’m happy to report that the yarn is delightfully soft and fuzzy. I’ll have to let Claire give it the nuzzle test. But it seems quite nice. I can’t wait to knit with it, but wait I must! I need to find a pattern that I can show off the three different patterned yarns. Well, I HOPE I’ll have three different patterned yarns.

I’m not too sure how this will all work out yet.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Sock Reincarnated

So the sock I completed out of my Spring Mix handspun met the frog pond. And i wanted to do something to get a good feel for the color change. I also wanted to get some lace work in. I'm not 100% happy with this patter either but I'm pretty committed to the pattern at this point. I can always gift it I suppose. Its a fairly easy lace pattern. Which mean I can go back to continental style knitting. Its so much faster than throwing your yarn with the right hand.

Robin Update

The babies are growing! Yukkie weather kept the parents in the nest but Ron was able to get a few shots. I think they were napping:
Napping robins

And they don't seem to expect food from the camera:

Saturday with the babies

Stuff is out of focus as it's hard to keep the camera steady when Mom is watching

Robin Mom

Ron even served them dinner one night

dinner is served

I think I should get Ron some goggles in case decided they had it with our intrusion.