Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Greeting me when I got home from my second day of law school were these lovely presents! In undergrad, they used to deliver flowers to the reception desks (from the olden days when you had to sign boys in and out of your dorm) and I would always walk past, knowing the flowers were never for me. When the flowers are delivered to your front door, there's none of that disappointment!! Thanks Mom, they're beautiful.

In the red package (with the adorable, and tiny, Lorax sticker), was a knitting shirt (Resistance is Futile) from the very talented (and local) NeitherHipNorFunky! She was having a sale, and I love handmade silkscreens, and I am surviving law school (so far), so I bought myself a present. She even sent along a postcard with some of her paintings on it! Not only is she a very talented knitter and silkscreener, she is a painter as well! Me? All I can do is read casebooks and knit a few rows a day.

I've managed to stay on top of my readings (it is only day two) and have completed all my work for tomorrow. Mike has a music lesson to give tonight, so I'm planning on doing a little Contracts work, due Thursday, watching L'Auberge Espagnol, and knitting! I've started the shoulder decreases on The Minimalist, and perhaps tonight I'll try to finish up the back. I'm still on the first ball of yarn- 220 yards in a skein of Cascade. It's amazing.

This picture pretty much captures the color, but makes it look like I have a very short torso. I do actually have a short torso, but I'm less square-shaped than this picture implies.

I do believe I picked the right pattern to be working on for the beginning of school. It's easy to pick up, and I don't mind doing only a few rows (or a portion of a row). I've just been picking it up right before going to bed- in bed, actually. My knitting basket has even migrated from the living room & office into the bedroom. We'll remedy that tonight with some serious knitting & movie time.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Law School and Knitting

Law School and Knitting
Originally uploaded by castonacupcake
So far, it looks like starting a sweater at the beginning of law school hasn't been such a bad idea. It's been nice to come home to a few rows of moss stitch before hitting the books. Even though I've only gone through the first two days of Orientation, I feel like I'm already in the fray.

I've got almost 10" done on the back of the sweater, so I'm almost to the armholes. This will be my first seamed sweater since I've actually learned what I'm doing with knitting. I'm looking forward to a wearable finished project.

(I'm also testing out the posting-from Flickr set up, so bear with my if this page looks a little crazy)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Am I Crazy?

I started a sweater! Two days before law school begins... am I crazy to think I'll have any time to knit in the next four months? It's not a very complicated sweater- the Minimalist Cardigan from the new Interweave.

I've got about 3" done so far, and I'm already wishing I knew how to knit Continental (is that the style where you hold the working yarn in your left hand?), because all this k1 p1 is a little tedious with the working yarn in my right hand.

Even if I only get to work on this a few hours (minutes?) a week, I think it will be a mindless escape from hours and hours of legal reading. And perfect for fall. Just look at the wooly, nubbly goodness!

I'm using Cascade 220 in a lovely heathered shade called Garnet that reminds me of a good red wine. Maybe mulled, to fit with the fall theme.

While I was buying the yarn, a gorgeous, sunny yellow sock yarn caught my eye and I just couldn't resist. Even though I won't be making socks anytime soon (I don't think), it was just sitting there on the shelf, calling to me while my Cascade was being wound into cakes. So I got it. It's Shubui, 100% superwash merino in a colorway called Finch. I'm thinking it will be the perfect antidote to the dreary, gray, rainy, wintry weather I'm facing for the next several months.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Gee, That's Swell

Pattern: Swell from Knitty Summer 06
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease in Maroon and some gifted acrylic goldenrod color
Needles: Clover US 4 circulars, and some aluminum dpns from my mom
Notes: It took me a long time to get this project rolling. Mike asked me to make him a hat, oh, I don't know, in June, and he picked out this pattern. Then, we had to pick colors. We went through my stash, which is mostly acrylic yarns I was gifted in college, and he originally picked dark brown and this goldenrod color. That color combination was far too ugly for me to handle, so I convinced him to go for this maroon as the main color instead.

Then, I tried to work the pattern top down, since I wasn't convinced I could work the casting on after knitting the earflaps. Luckily, it worked (third time's the charm)- I used a backwards loop caston instead of my usual longtail, and all was well. It only took two days after that: one for the flaps and the hat, and another for the finishing.

This pattern come out really really small. Even though I was knitting the large size, the first time I finished the hat, using the pattern as written (beginning the crown decreases immediately after the wave design), it came out more skull-cap sized than winter-hat sized. So I ripped out back to the design and added another twelve rows of maroon before starting the decreases. Then, the earflaps were teeny tiny and I had to work some magic to enlarge them after the hat was done. I picked up stitches along the edge of the flaps, and worked garter stitch for five or six rows, with some strategic increases to accomodate the triangle shape.

After all the modifications and restarts, it's a huge success. The night before I fixed the earflaps, I went into the bedroom to find Mike lying in bed with this hat on! He's been calling it his Favorite Hat and wearing it pretty much constantly around the house. It's also been in the high 80s here, so him wearing a wool hat is an even bigger compliment!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Let Them Eat Bread

We ran out of storebought bread yesterday, so today I decided to make some bread that would work for sandwiches. I used the very first recipe out of Beth Hensperger's Bread Bible, for White Mountain Bread. I usually have trouble (especially in our fairly cold kitchen) letting the dough rise enough so that the loaf will be of a size appropriate for sandwiches, but I think I found the key this time: leave the house! I went out on some errands downtown while the dough was doing its first rise, and it had definitely doubled by the time I got back. This might also have to do with some highly active yeast- I don't think I've been using hot enough water and my little yeasties aren't usually able to make enough babies. Today, I had just boiled some water, so I removed my quarter cup that I needed for the yeast, and ta-da! Ten minutes after mixing in the yeast and the sugar, I had a full cup of foam and froth. A veritable yeast orgy had occurred in that steamy bowl!

The cold kitchen makes for a very difficult second rise, after the bread has been split and put into the loaf pans. I've tried to remedy this by turning the oven on for just a few minutes, then popping the loaves (covered in a clean cloth) into the slightly warm oven. This works well, until you have to turn the heat up to preheat! Even so, my loaves turned out taller than any I've made in a non-professional bakery.

Instead of making these out of just white flour (unbleached, thankyouverymuch), I used a 1:2 ratio of whole wheat and white flours. This left the dough nice and soft, but added the lovely flavor of whole wheat. The recipe called for honey and milk, which also led to a very soft dough. I didn't want a wimpy bread, though, and about ten and twenty minutes into the baking, I opened the oven door and used a spray bottle to spritz the loaves with water. This simulates a professional steam oven, and gives the bread a really nice, crisp crust.

After letting the loaves cool, I ate a slice just slightly warm with butter, and another slice toasted with butter and (local!) Cascade Farms Blackberry Jam. Perfection.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


27.98. That's the reading on my bike's odometer after our ride today. It's the most I've ever biked at once, ever! Today was the Bridge Pedal, and it was so much fun. There were over 20,000 riders, and there were bands set up on some of the larger bridges. It was so cool to see bikes pedaling over all the major roadways, and even on the interstate!

We started at 7:30 and finished around 11. When we got home, we pretty much just collapsed and napped the rest of the day. We were especially tired because yesterday we biked all over the city and then to school for a picnic. Then, we stayed up way too late drinking and playing board games with our new law school friends. And, we forgot to eat dinner last night. Six hours of sleep + no pre-ride dinner makes for a very difficult morning when you have to get up at 6:30 am! Luckily, there were plenty of free (and soy-based!) energy bars to be had throughout the ride.

Since we got home, we've only had enough energy to make some grilled cheese sandwiches, nap, and sprawl o nthe couch to watch the Daily Show clips at One Good Move. I also managed to pick up some needles and knit the earflaps for Swell.

Yesterday we went to the coop grocery and they had the Fall Interweave Knits in the magazines at the checkout counter! My first issue (Summer) is supposed to ship on the 15th, so I'm not sure when I'm going to get the fall issue, but I had a good time flipping through it while we were in line. I'm thinking that having a sweater on the needles will provide a good excuse to take a break from studying when I need it.

Also added to the queue are some bedroom slippers for Mike's mom- I'm thinking of using this pattern from Craftster. What do you think, Jackie? Maybe I'll find something a little more intricate on Ravelry- I've been too pooped to look so far.

Here's me, when I had way more energy. Yay bikes!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Things That Shouldn't Look The Same...

A hat and a placemat. A hat and the first square of an afghan. A hat and a doily. Apparently, I missed the memo.

In trying to work the Swell hat top-down, I somehow ended up with this.

I'm hesitant to work it bottom-up because I only know how to do a long-tail cast-on, and I'm not sure how to make this work with picking up stitches from the ear flaps. This is my goal for today, before we set off on our adventures.

These adventures include: making our first venture across the river via bicycle, finding the coop grocery store, fixing Mike's free computer, picking up our registration materials for the Bridge Pedal tomorrow in which we will bike 23 miles and across 8 of our city's 10 bridges, which will be closed to cars!, and heading off to the law school picnic.

I'll be back when I catch my breath!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Blueberries for Me

Ta-da! Start to finish in just six days, the Rainy Day Socks! Shown here with a bowl of blueberries, picked straight from the farm last weekend. First, let's talk socks.

Pattern: Rainy Days from MagKnits
Yarn: Patons Astra in Teal, colorway 2945 (it's 100% acrylic- a leftover from a sweater coat I made when I first took up knitting and didn't know anything about fiber)
Needles: Brittany US 2 (2.75 mm) dpn

Notes: These went quickly, and I didn't get too bored with the pattern. I think I actually beat the second sock blues by finishing these so fast. My kitchener is really improving; The only part I have to perfect is the edges of the seam. I get lumps on either end of my seam, but if you smoosh them into the sock, they pretty much go away.

I started the heel flap in a different place on the second sock, and had to make some adjustments when I finished the gusset and started the pattern stitches again, but I think it all worked out. The pattern flows nicely down the leg and onto the foot. I thought I was a strong short row heel enthusiast, but these gussets look great- and there's no wrapping of stitches involved!

How, let's talk baking. Like I said, we went to a farm this weekend and picked, among other things, blueberries. Lots of blueberries. Several pounds of blueberries.

When we got home on Saturday, I made a pie, and today I made blueberry-corn muffins. The pie was really easy- even the crust was easy! The New Best Recipe book has a really great crust recipe and a great technique for rolling out the dough. They also have an illustrated, step by step guide to making the lattice top.

The corn muffins were also from the New Best Recipes book (can you tell it's my favorite) and I just added frozen blueberries as I mixed the batter. I think they should be a little sweeter to make them a good blueberry muffin, but they're great as corn muffins.

I know the pictures are sort of backwards, but the pie is just so much prettier!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Rain Drops Keep Fallin On My Head

In a record 3 days, I started and finished a sock! I'm quite proud of this, especially since a good friend was in town for the past few days, and we spent much of our time drinking delicious local beers and making delicious, elaborate feasts. There was Moose Drool, two pizzas, a large skilletful of egg scramble, and an immense pot of deliciously creamy and cheesy macaroni and cheese.

However, amidst all this gluttony, there was also the playing of board games. I like to knit while playing Scrabble, because otherwise I get sleepy and bored while it's not my turn. Not playing against Mike was helpful, and I finally was able to win (he usually beats the pants off me)! I also played a Bingo (all 7 letters) for the first time in a long while (again, usually the provenance of Mike). I'm so proud of this, the only photo from my friend's visit is of our Scrabble board.

We're going to a law school summer orientation activity today- a trip to a local farm for u-pick produce! Including blueberries, which I am quite excited about. We haven't finished all the blackberries we picked last week, but I do love me some blueberry pie. And how cool is my law school that we go to a local farm for orientation! At some other school, I bet they go to a local securities firm.

I'll leave you with a close(r) up photo of the stitch pattern from the Rainy Day socks. I love the way the straight ribbing and the wavy rib play off each other. Until we can afford a new camera, I can only dream of getting close-ups like those available elsewhere, but I can try.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Mornings Are Looking Up

Lookie what I got! Mike's Mom found me an espresso machine! It's probably the greatest present ever, especially given that I had forgot she was looking for one! (She had already given me a french press, so I certainly wasn't expecting anything else.) This is going to make getting up early - or being woken up by the traffic on I-5 or the major bridge right next to our house - and biking to school much easier!

I tried it out today, and it made for pretty much the greatest morning ever. Knitting, a soy latte, the sunshine, NPR... what more can a girl ask for?

The sock is Rainy Days from MagKnits, and I'm using some acrylic sport weight I had in my stash. They're for a friend's birthday, in about two and a half weeks. she lives in Austin, TX, but my empty wallet wins out over her hot climate, so thick and toasty socks are what she gets! She's not planning on living in Texas forever: in fact, her heart belongs to Maine. I think these will get some use out of them!