Monday, July 30, 2007


Turns out we stole our roommate's camera cord and it's identical to ours. So, picture time, and a full FO post.

Pattern: Lelah
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport, in Grass (6560)
Needles: Clover circulars US 6 & 4
Notes: This pattern was wonderful to work. While the pattern called for worsted weight yarn and needles twice as big as the ones I used, I went down to sport wright for a more summery feel. I think it turned out wonderfully. I also really like the small stitches in the stockingette part above the ribbon.

I obviously added straps, following the beautful example of indieknitter. Since they're knit straps, they're awully stretchy. I am probably going to put in some fabric of some sort of lining on them, since bra-strap-coverage is needed. I also added a garter stitch border before I started the straps. I did it once without the border, and the edge curled horribly.

I was afraid that the lace part was going to be too short, but it turned out perfectly. I just have a short torso, and big boobs, so the proportions look off when I'm not wearing it. Actually, it's a good thing I did exactly the number of repeats I did, because I have less than a yard of yarn left. Seriously, the ball I have left is about the size of a nickel.

The ribbon is just something I found at Jackie's house- I love it though. It's a shiny, semi-transparent yellow. I think I'll also get a length of green/white polkadotted ribbon, just to change it up when I'm feeling a bit sassy.

Remember all that knitting in the car I was talking about? Well, here's a story for you. We were in the giant moving van, and for the first part of the drive, it was full of Mike's aunt's furniture. Since the van only has two seats, I got the princess treatment and rode in a throne in the back, surrounded by boxes. For the second half of the trip, we bought a plastic lawn chair and took turns sitting in it, driving, and reading Harry Potter aloud (even better than a book on tape, although being the primary reader definitely cut into my knitting time!). All went well, until around 10 pm I was in the chair, dozing off, and the driver took a turn a little to fast and I went sprawling across the back of the van. I ended up upside down, smushed against the door, my neck at a very strange angle. The first words out of my mouth were, "I can't move!" which I realize, was not the most comforting thing to say, as I certainly hadn't broken my neck. I twisted myself around and they pulled the van over. All was fine in the end, but no one got into the lawn chair again! Here's the lesson: wear a seatbelt! And next time, get one of those lawn chairs with short little legs. Or, just lie on the sleeping bag in the back.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

J'ai finis!

Lelah's done! I'm gleefully wearing her right now.

One of the better things about being in an extremely dry climate (as opposed to the bad things, like dry, itchy skin, allergies, watery eyes, and dehyrdation), is how incredibly fast blocked knitting dries! I rinsed Lelah and pinned her out at 10 this morning. I set her out on the porch to dry, and at 4pm, she was ready to wear!

Unfortunately, I didn't bring the cord that connects the camera to the computer with me on this trip to California, so we'll all have to wait until Tuesday when I get home to see pictures. I'll also have to wait until then to knit something else, because I have no more yarn with me! I might just go get some, because a 13 hour drive just begs for some knitting!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

All about the Benjamins...

Last week, I was inspired by Green Apples and the Interweave Fall Previews she posted on her blog. So inspired, in fact, that I went ahead and subscribed to IK! Nevermind the fact that I'm trying to make my $700 from working through June stretch until my loans get dispursed at the end of August. That's what a credit card is for, right? As long as I have enough cash to pay rent...

That necessity covered, I can now dream about knitting these:

Eunny Jang's Tangled Yoke Cardigan, The Minimalist Cardigan (which has a really great texture in the stitch!), and the Cinnabar Pullover.

Until then, I can be found on the couch with Lelah- just an inch or so of stockinette and then the straps!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Blackberries for Sal

We've been exploring our new neighborhood, and one of the things we've found is blackberries. Everywhere! We've been going out (ok, Mike has been going out- I went once) and picking blackberries. Just a few minutes of picking reaps a whole bowlful of berries. It's really wonderful to find these up here, because growing up we had a huge patch of raspberries and it was so wonderful to have fresh berries anytime you wanted!

The abundance of berries has resulted in a flurry of baking. First up, Mike baked a fresh blackberry pie. It was a chilled pie, with a graham cracker crust. As you can see, it didn't last long!

Next I made blackberry scones, which are just now cooling in the kitchen. I had planned to substitute yogurt for the heavy cream called for in the recipe, but discovered that the container I thought held yogurt actually contained jaggery, an ingredient for Indian cooking! I ended up using soy milk instead and they are just delicious. We have guests coming over the next few days, and these will be great to share with old friends.

We froze the rest of the berries and are planning many smoothies and more pies! We're planning a baked pie next, with a traditional pie crust & top crust.

The cookbook we used for both these recipes is the New Best Recipes from Cook's Illustrated. I love this book because just like the magazine, they detail all the variations they tried in order to get to the very best, most ideal recipe included in the book. It gives insight into what makes a good recipe, and has many good tips for attaining perfection in baking. Everything we've made out of this book has been absolute perfection.

I also want to make a note about the butter we've been using. We got it at the Farmer's Market yesterday and it is just incredible! Organic and local and sustainable just makes all the difference. It's so creamy, so lucious, and so flavorful. I'm in love.

In the midst of all this baking, knitting continues, although it is not very exciting. I'm working my way through the second skein for Lelah. It spends its days at the top of my brand new knitting basket.

Also flying off the needles are cupcakes, for all those August birthdays. I had high hopes of knitting everyone socks, but I only got through one pair. I turned one slightly ugly cupcake (darn you, acrylic yarn!!) into a much cuter pin cushion. And for my brother, I tried to make a slightly more manly cupcake. I tried my hand at imitating the swirls of piped on frosting. It's the vanilla frosted chocolate cupcake on the left in the photo. The cedar chest is the one made by Poppy, my great-grandfather, and is where I'm storing all my yarn.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Busy day!

Today was such a great and busy day. We started off going out to pick up some furniture, and on our way out the door, she off handedly asked if we wanted anything else... trash cans, yarn, board games... We halted in our tracks and turned around. Of course I want yarn! What I got follows: the red is soft and fluffy boucle, and the other three are worsted weight with sparkles and fluff- stuff I'd never choose! But I'm having visions of a shell tank for my mom...

So, the yarn went from this... a big tangled mess on my kitchen table....To this! Nicely tamed and waiting patiently in a ball to be weighed, bagged, and stashed in the Stash Chest with his fibery brethren.
Next up was baking! I started off with some pitas. While they were rising I made some hummus. While they were in the oven, I pulled up a stool and pressed my face up against the glass watching them puff up.
And finally, Anadama bread. The loaves didn't rise very much, but they're quite cute and smell delicious. (Anadama is molasses & cornmeal based.)

Group Knitting

Last night I went to my first ever knitting meet up. It was at a great LYS- I didn't get a chance to look around the store much, but the sheer quantity of yarn was excellent. About 20 people showed up, and as far as I could tell they all knittogether a lot. Everyone was chatty and very familiar with each other. There was free champagne, which was an excellent bonus. (I didn't bring my camera- the photo is from thier website.)

I got a repeat and a half done on Lelah, and finished the first ball of yarn. I only got 3.25" out of it, so it's going to be very close. Five balls of yarn gets me 16.25", which goes from my hips to my shoulder, so I'm crossing my fingers I'll have enough. I'm toying with ideas about adding in a stripe of white cotton (from my stash) at the eyelet rounds, then using a green ribbon.

Speaking of my stash, I organized it the other day. I took all the random balls out of the box and shopping bag we moved them in, put them in labeled ziploc bags, and then into this beautiful cedar chest my great-grandfather made for me when I was born. I even weighed them all, so know how much I have, since none of them have bands anymore (i inherited most of the stash in college). It's a lot of acrylic, so I'm thinking more and moreof learning crochet so I can make a ripple afghan.

And, baby Faust's booties arrived and he is a studly stud, sporting them all over Germany!

You can tell in the picture that my grafting at the bottom of the foot left a bit of a ridge, but luckily he won't be walking until he grows out of these!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Settling In

After almost a week in my new home, things are looking good. We're (slowly) acquiring furniture, and exploring our neighborhood and city. Mostly, though, we're searching craig'slist for furniture and jobs. So, there's a lot of time for knitting and playing games, two things I love.

Progress has been made on Lelah, and I love it. I realized I didn't have to wait to cast on until I had the size 4 circs, because I don't need them until I get to the bodice. This you see here is three pattern repeats, and I'm almost finished with the first ball of yarn- it's probably about 2-3" long so far. I hope five skeins is enough! I don't have a very long torso, so here's hoping.

I love the way the green yarn looks against the color of our new futon. It's a really beautiful maroon thin-wale corduroy. I found it on craig'slist this morning for free, so we rushed out to pick it up. The ad said "futon bed" and I didn't stop to think they probably really meant it was a bed and not a couch. Why anyone would willingly sleep on a hard, lumpy futon is beyond me, but we got it anyway. Who says no to a free futon? But, really what we need is a couch, so we're going to try to get rid of (sell? barter?) the bed-frame part and get an actual futon couch frame.

In addition to craig'slist, I've been using, but haven't actually gotten anything from it yet. I tried to post some things we were looking for, at the end of my email noting that we have some things we'd be willing to trade. I got summarily reprimanded by the moderator, because I'd violated rule numero uno about Freecycle. If I offer to barter or trade, no one is giving anything for free and that's bad. I was also told that, as a show of good faith, I should offer something before asking for something. The funny thing about moving 800 miles (and being a poor almost-student!) is that I don't have much extra just lying around.

In any case, Law School City is great. Our kitchen faces east, and the sunset clouds get reflected nicely in the building across the highway from us. It's quite lovely.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Look what came in the mail today!

My books from the KnitPicks summer sale, and my yarn for Lelah! It's five balls of Shine Sport in Grass. I love it.

I flipped through The Opinionated Knitter and I love Elizabeth Zimmerman's prose. She writes about knitting in an incredibly captivating way. I can't wait to read the whole thing and attempt one ofher designs.

I've also glanced at the patterns in Fitted Knits- they seem rather repetetive. All top-down raglans, and all the cardigans are practically the same! They're pretty cute, though.

I knit up a (teeny tiny) swatch for Lelah, on the smallest circulars that I have (US 6), and got a gauge of 6 st / inch. It's a rather loose fabric, so I think I'll use the 6es for the lace and go out and get myself a pair of US4 circs for the bodice. I think I saw on Ravelry that's what someone else used for this top when they used sport weight. The pattern calls for worsted, but I want it to be more delicate than that.

I'll probably knit up a swatch in the lace pattern on the 6es, just to make sure that's what I want.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Sorry for the break in posts. I moved to Oregon!

I knit a bunch in the car on the way up here (13 hours!!!)- but haven't taken any pictures. It's the Swell hat from Knitty. I'm doing it topdown, so it wouldn't take a nice photo, anyway.

I know what you're thinking- a hat? Out of wool?! In July?! You're crazy.

But, this is what Mike requested, and I know I won't have time to knit once school starts (in six weeks! Yikes).

I did do something cute and crafty lately- I made curtains! I got the fabric back in Berkeley, planning on making pajama pants out of it. But it is just perfect in the kitchen. It's on two windows, on opposite ends of the kitchen. We have neighbors on those sides, and on the other wall there are two windows, overlooking the highway. We won't put curtains on those, since they let in all the light! It's a wonderful kitchen, and we're very pleased with it (and the apartment as a whole!). We were prepared to use a very funky and old electric stove with a strange griddle on one side instead of burners, but when we moved in, it had been replaced with a brand new electric stove! We are a little disappointed at it being electric, but the house isn't wired for gas, and we can certainly deal with only having one utility to pay for.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Day Off Perfection

I finished the Chevron / Jaywalker Socks! I absolutely LOVE them, and love how perfectly matched I got the stripes. (I pulled from the second ball of yarn until I had it at the same starting point in the dye). I don't think I can bear to give them up. Kitty loves them too.

Pattern: My own, using the Chevron-Feather stitch
Yarn: Cascade Superwash Sassy Stripes fingering weight in colorway 707 (I like to call it "Juicy Fruit")
Needles: Clover Takumi Bamboo US 0s (2mm) dpns
Started: June 9, 2007
Finished: July 7, 2007
Notes: I made up this pattern, finding my own feather-and-fan Chevron stitch online and using it in a pair of top-down socks. Then, I realized I was knitting Jaywalkers. With a little more lace. These were so easy, but I am thrilled to be done with working on needles the size of matchsticks.

I also found time today (amid my busy schedule of This American Life listening and air conditioning absorbing) to bake brownies! We got a big bunch of mint on my birthday from my friend's organic farm, and I turned it into brownies! With the help of some flour, sugar, baking chocolate, and magic, of course.

I also found time to cast on a cupcake for a dear friend's birthday.

It's too hot to live.

Seriously. It's been 107 degrees for two days straight and I don't think I can take it any longer. Heat like that is bad enough on its own, but it's far worse when you have to work outside on the scaffolding, painting a building all day. And, it's even worse when you have to be on said scaffolding under a dark green awning (aka "Heat Trap of Death"). I swear, I haven't been so hot, or sweat so much, since I lived in Africa for four months (where they put on down jackets and mittens if it drops below 80). Thank goodness for the weekend, even though Mike's at work now and I might go in tomorrow- the restaurant we're building opens in a week!!

The only thing we've had energy to do around here is knit and watch movies. I'm the only one who knits, actually. But since Thursday, we've come home from work, collapsed on the couch with a cold beer, taken a cold bath in the amazing outdoor bathtub that Mike just fixed, and gone back to the couch to watch a movie. Thursday was Munich, then Friday was the second half of Munich and the first half of Brokeback Mountain.

So, out of the misery of triple digit heat comes at least three inches of Jaywalker/Chevron* sock number 2! I'm now only six stripes (about an inch and a half) away from starting the toe. I think these are going to be my favorite socks I've knit so far. The gauge on the Anastasias wasn't quite right, and I just don't know how much I'm going to wear them. It also doesn't help that the only socks I wear these days are for work, and when that work is construction, you can bet I'm not wearing handknits! (In case you can't tell, I think I've decided to keep these. I really think they'll be too small for my friend, and I don't want to give her something totally useless. So, I've decided to continue the trend of knitted-cupcakes for birthday gifts. Clearly, a useful item.)

*In the interest of having my socks included in the Ravelry count of number of Jaywalkers being made, I decided to count them as such.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Zwei beutes!

I finished the booties- and just in time! Little baby Faust was born June 29. Perhaps by the time these arrive in Germany, his little feet will be big enough to fit. I don't think I'm going to get the hat in this package, because I don't trust myself to get the hat knit in a timely manner.

Pattern: Circular "seamless" Bootee that I found on Ravelry
Yarn: Reynolds Utopia Sport, in 2131. (Pulled from the stash- last used for a sweater-coat I made 4 years ago)
Needles: Good ol' Brittany US 2s in white birch
Notes: I initially thought there was a mistake in the pattern, but I realized on the second bootie that I just can't read correctly. But the mistake blends in- a little blip in the garter stitch, but no big deal. I like how cute these are, and I love the color of the yarn. It's ok that it's 100% acrylic, because it's soft, and is machine washable. The pattern calls for an optional ribbon / icord to thread through the eyelets, but I'm going to let that pass. I really like letting the lace be it's own decoration. My only bone to pick with the pattern is that these are called seamless, and I don't think any pattern that usees a Kitchener stitch finish can really be called seamless. That might be knit-picky, but I think that Kitchener is harder than seaming. I am quite proud of my garter Kitchener, though. It's much nicer than my Kitchener when I'm joining two pieces in Stockingette. I might make these again, but I think I prefer the booties I made for the first baby-of-a-friend, out of a vintage pattern book my mom gave me.

In other news, I was able to work on the Chevron Socks today. We went down to one of the old mining towns around here for the 4th of July "parade", family picnic, and town band concert. I put parade in quotations because it consisted of several small groups of people, sporadically walking down the street. Most were dressed in red, white and blue. There were also kids riding bikes & scooters with approriately colored streamers. The highlight was the end, though. A rowdy group of biker/woodsmen (the cockroaches and earwigs of the area, as Mike's mom refers to them), having imbibed throughout the hot hot morning, carried an enormous American flag down the street, stopping every 50 steps to shout the Pledge of Allegiance. Special accent was placed on the "under God" bit. Oh, Amer-ka.

I was a bit apprehensive about it, both for the heat and the family politics of it, but I wore a t-shirt I got from an anti-war artist's collective that says "We will not be silent" in English and Arabic. (Initially coined by Germans to protest Nazi treatment of Jews and others, and now used to protest the war, Abu Ghraib, Bush in general, Guantanamo, etc, etc, etc.) I was more worried about the Arabic script than anything else, but maybe I have too little faith in rural Americans.

All in all, it was a lovely July 4, even though it was over 100 degrees and there will be no fireworks because of the forest fire danger.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

You Say It's Your Birthday?

It's mine! Well, yesterday. I'm now solidly into my twenties, at the grand old age of 24.

We went to the beach, north of Bodega Bay. There was much kite flying, grilling of fish and fresh organic veggies, and playing of Mancala. No photos, because we forgot our camera. No photos of our trip to Portland or through Redwoods National Park, either. Sorry.

But you don't care about any of that anyways, do you? Let's get to the knitting.

First presents!

From Mike's mom, a copy of Law School Confidential, the crucial book for 1L law students, I'm told. A rolling pizza cutter, to supplement the pizza stones I got for Christmas (I say stones, plural, because both Mike's mom and his dad got me pizza stones! I also have one of those long, rocking pizza cutters. Good thing I love to make pizza!)

And, some amazing knitting ribbon, that I have been lusting after since seeing it on someone else's blog. Those are the only visual presents, as my own mom is buying me health insurance until I get into school (thanks Mom!) and that is just not very photogenic.

Ok, now we can talk about knitting.

One sock, two socks.

Old sock, new sock.
Big sock, little sock.

I've gotten quite far on the second Chevron Sock. I think the reason I'm not a car knitter is due to the poor shocks on Mike's truck. In the giant van with the smooth ride, I knit almost a whole sock! In the truck, I can hardly knit two rows. At least on US 0s. I started the short row heel and the bumps just got too much.

So, I cast on something new! I recently found out that an old friend of mine both got married and had a baby in the past week or so. (She lives in Germany and I haven't seen her - or talked to her, for that matter - in about four years, so that explains how the baby could be a surprise). I got her address and am going to make her some baby booties. Also, probably this hat (Deb- no cheating!) I said I wanted to make one for the next person I know to have a baby, and Deb is the winner!

The booties are a pattern I found on Ravelry- a seamless bootie knit in the round. The pattern calls for a ribbon or i-cord to go through the eyelets at the ankle. Some sort of tie is probably necessary to hold the booties onto a squirmy baby's feet, so I'll probably go with an i-cord. After US 0s for so long, these booties on US 2s are a breeze! I can't wait to get to something on needles that are bigger than toothpicks! I think the only thing holding me back at this point is money. I just can't afford yarn.

What I can afford is flour. And I can turn that into delicious shortcakes (my grandmother's recipe). These will probably be dinner tonight, supplementing an entire flat of organic strawberries from County Line Harvest in Petaluma, CA, where a friend is working. She also gave us a few bunches of basil, mint, and thyme, so maybe these shortcakes will accompany some sort of pasta-pesto dish.