Monday, December 22, 2008

Snowed In!

Since I last posted, we've gotten another 14" of snow! Portland hasn't seen this much snow since 1968, or so they say. We're most definitely snowed in. Not even the garbage collectors or the mail carriers have been by in days!
I've started on my second annual Winter Break Sweater. This year, I chose the February Lady Sweater (Rav link), which bears a striking similarity to last year's sweater. Top down, garter stitch raglan with lace bodice. Maybe I'll branch out in 2009 and try something different. But, because I'm the last person on the planet to cast on for the FLS, I'm just running with it.
Lamb's Pride, because I had a gift certificate and a specific gray in mind. Even though I desperately wanted Malabrigo or Dream in Color, the yarn shop didn't have gray Malabrigo and doesn't carry Dream in Color. So I settled for a wool/mohair blend. I think it will work out just fine.

And, lastly, a momentous occassion.
My very first (successful) pair of socks have finally worn through! They got felted (you lie, Lion Brand!), and I think lasted longer than they would have otherwise. Mike got two years of good, hard use out of them and I think this is a man who deserves another pair of socks.

Maybe even a sweater, now that the curse is broken!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dec 15, 2008

Dec 15, 2008
Originally uploaded by castonacupcake
It snowed today! Not quite three inches and the whole city shut down. There was a sign on the highway, telling everyone chains were required in the Portland metro area.

I drove to church this morning and felt pretty good that my winter driving skills lived up to all my talk about other people not knowing how to drive in the snow.

Since Portland has no plows and no sand trucks, and it's not supposed to get above freezing until Wednesday, which means the snow is not going anywhere, school is canceled tomorrow!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Playing Catch-up

Oh jeez- almost a month since my last post! I am so sorry.

There actually has been knitting going on around here.

I started & finished a Koolhaas with yarn my mom gave me last year. Handspun from North Carolina! It's single ply, and gives the hat a nice fluffy aura and plenty of comfy squishiness.

I meant to be knitting the hat to donate to an auction I am co-directing at the law school, but I ended up loving it too much to give it away! So, I immediately cast on for another.

This one is in Cascade 220, in the color "straw wheat" (I think). I bought a sweater's worth back in the spring and when it arrived, I decided it was too bright for a whole sweater. So, I made a pair of fingerless mitts for a friend for Christmas (no photos yet, sorry!) and started this hat.

I am planning on knitting a cropped sweater out of this yarn anyway. I have 5 or 6 skeins left, and just have to pick a pattern. And finish up Christmas knitting.

This holiday weekend has been quite relaxing and (mostly) wonderful. We spent Thanksgiving at our house with roomie Liz - 12 pounds of turkey for the three of us!! It was an amazing traditional feast, and a great day. We swore off the internet and computers all day and challenged ourselves to play every single board game we own. We made it through 5 or 6 games- not nearly all we own, but a big chunk anyway!

Friday we decorated our mantle (I love having a fireplace!!) and hung some lights up outside.

Then, yesterday, after a fairly grumpy and cranky morning and a rejuvenating walk through the arboretum, Mike gave me a ring and asked me to marry him!

We've been engaged since July when I asked him, and I've (especially lately) been really wanting a ring from him. It's a gorgeous deep red stone on a sterling silver band. We both expect these rings to be worn only until the wedding (in a year an a half), so the soft metal isn't a problem. His is sterling silver too, and I think they really look lovely together!

Reading period starts next week, so don't expect to hear from me until right around Christmas!

Have a lovely December, everyone!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Super Secret Knitting

Attention: If your name is Mike, STOP READING NOW!!


Is he gone?

I've been working on some super secret knitting for Christmas. Luckily, Mike has been spending nearly 12 hours a day working with the marching band at a local high school for his student teaching, so I've had a lot of time to knit when he's not around.

I wanted to knit him a stocking last year, but just didn't have time. This year, I am much less dedicated to my schoolwork. And, I received a gift of red and green wool yarns, one skein of each. Perfect for a stocking!

The pattern is the Falling Snow Stocking from Jennifer Hoel. I'm making a few modifications: contrast band with Mike's name in white, short row contrast heel in green, and continuing the small snowflakes down the foot. I'm also planning on a contrast, perhaps short row, heel.

Mike finishes marching band this weekend, so I'm knitting my little heart out to get this done!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post, the Placed Cable Aran Sweater!

I feel a little guilty now that I didn't post a full FO post on the sweater. Without further ado, the full details. (To see the sweater in question, look to the post below this).

Pattern: Placed Cable Aran, from Interweave Knits, Fall 07
Yarn: Cascade 220 Wool, about 5 (maybe?) skeins, in color 4009 (Aporto).
Needles: US 8 / 5 mm circulars
Started: August 19
Finished: October 16

Modifications: I left off the cable design from the back of the sweater (easier to tell front from back, so I won't be afraid of wearing it backwards!), knit in the round, and added some simple waist shaping. I think I did 5 paired decreases and then five paired increases. After blocking, they ended up in just the right place!

I knit the sleeves to the suggested length, 17" I think, but when I tried the sweater on (pre-blocking) the sleeves were about 4" too short! I unpicked the bind-off and knit down four inches. After blocking, the sleeves were too long, but after a few days of wear, they are now just right.

I love this sweater. It was so easy, with minimal finishing. Sew up the sleeves, attach em, and weave in some ends! I highly recommend knitting this in the round, if you're inclined to do such things.

The yarn is great - Cascade 220 wool is a good standby. The color is amazing, a deep bright blue with flashes of green if you're looking at it in the right light.

All in all, a resounding success!

I apologize for not responding to everyone's comments individually - I have not figured out how to get Blogger to give me the email addresses of those who comment. But please know I greatly appreciate each and every comment and compliment! Thank you so much!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Wool Sweater in Time for Fall

I finished a sweater! And I've been wearing it constantly since I finished it! But, I'm a slacker-blogger and have neglected to share it with you.

I finished it last week (except for two ends I've since discovered I forgot to weave in) and Mike snapped some photos while we were on a walk with our room mate's dog and Mike's aunt and uncle who were visiting for the weekend. (Hi Renee!)

It's the Cable Aran. And I love it. I love the collar, the color, the cables, everything!

I left the cables off the back and had to extend the sleeves by 4" and it is now the perfect sweater! Just in time for fall.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Knitting: Go!

I've been so delinquent in my blogging! I truly apologize. Fall is here, and I've been knitting.

First, the cable aran. I finished both sleeves last night (debate knitting) and am about to pick up the stitches for the neck. Then, it's just finishing!

This isn't the world's most illustrative photo, but I think it shows one important thing: it fits! I think the rolling hem makes it a leeetle too short, but hopefully a good blocking will correct that. I also didn't do the maths to place my waist shaping exactly where my waist is, but at least it isn't an entirely shapeless sweater.

Next, gift knitting!

I sent these out last week, so hopefully they have arrived.

My friend Damaris (check out her awesome cooking blog, Kitchen Corners) asked for a cupcake toy for her two year old back in the beginning of the summer. I finally sat down and cranked this baby out two weeks ago. Red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and a cherry on top. Yum!

The booties are good luck booties, as Damaris wants a baby girl when she gets pregnant again.

Funny story: one of my professors has granted me permission to knit in class. The day I brought in the booties was the day we were discussion gender nonconformity and transgender legal issues. I felt so conspicuous, knitting highly gender-conforming and gender-stereotype-enforcing bright pink baby booties. However, hopefully that class just infused the booties withe kick-ass gender nonconformity vibes and the (as yet still wholly potential) baby will wear them, no matter its gender, and will grow up in a gender equal society.

Here's hoping, anyway!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Placed Aran Cable front

Yesterday we made our first fire in the fireplace and I curled up with some law books. When I finished those, I made a soup and sat down to make some serious progress on the Placed Cable Aran Sweater.

It was such a relaxing and productive day. Just what the first day of fall called for.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In Which I Ramble On About Some Things On My Mind

I really apologize for the lack of postings recently. Life is just getting in the way - of both blogging and knitting!

Fortunately, my seminar professor gave me permission to knit in class, and yesterday I was able to complete about four inches of the front of the sweater I'm working on! I love knitting in class- I stay focused on the discussion, and because we don't have to take notes (a huge relief in law school), I get to make productive use of the time!

I don't have a picture to show you because Mike just left with the camera- he's going on a bike ride tonight, which he's very excited about.

I tried knitting socks again out of the Shibui and it is just really not cooperating. I think I might have to give up on the yarn - at least the first few yards. I've now knit it up into the cuff of a sock at least four times, and it has just lost its spring. I am also so frustrated with the pooling! I may have to stop buying Shibui, it's just impossible to knit with and not get ugly pooling (not my socks, but an example of someone else having the same problem with the same yarn).

It just doesn't matter how many stitches you put on the needle, if you alternate skeins, what needle size you use- nothing will stop this yarn from pooling, and it is driving me crazy.

Especially since I have a lot of gift certificate money to use up at Knit/Purl and everything else they stock is ludicrously expensive. Maybe I'll see if my gift certificates contain enough money for a sweater's worth of malabrigo and call it a day.

Except, I've just joined BlueGarter's group, Knit Local, which is a network of knitters striving to knit from yarn produced from local sheep, mills, spinners, and dyers. And Malabrigo, as delicious as it is, comes from Uruguay (I think- somewhere far away, at least). Unfortunately, as it always goes, local yarn is way more expensive than yarn from, say, those online yarn repositories- they're like the CostCo of yarn stores, and I just can't help buying from them because of the price.

Oregon has a great resource in the Oregon Wool Grower's Association, a directory and community of local yarn and fiber producers. I plan on doing some poking around in there and hopefully planning some projects based around that yarn.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Which Comes First?

The Chicken?

Or the egg?
For us, the chickens came first. On Monday, we went out and bought two Araucana chickens from a family in Washington. There was some drama when we got the chickens home- we got one in the coop and the other managed to get away before we could get in inside. We chased her down Monday evening, then gave up after we got her out from under a neighbor's deck, but lost her in the bushes.

Luckily, yesterday the one who got away came back! I was at school, but the roomies chased her down and caught her. Less than 6 hours later, these two eggs were in the nesting boxes in the coop!

Can you see the light green tint in the shells? Yummy.

Also, check out these yolks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back in the Saddle

I'm knitting again! It's marvelous, just sitting in my chair, listening to the radio or watching a movie, and knitting away.

I'm working on two new projects, having essentially abandoned the Eliza Bennett until I have the patience to work out the sleeve cap shaping.

Up first, a new sweater! From the Interweave Fall 2007 magazine, the Placed Aran Cable (or, if you'd like, a Ravelry link). A lovely Cascade 220 color, deep blue with flecks of green. This should be a fabulous pullover with a great cowl neck. Lots and lots of stockinette (I'm knitting it in the round), and then some fun cables.
And next, a pair of socks, using Grumperina's Helical Stripes technique. Using the ever-pooling Shibui sock yarn in Peacock and some leftover Shibui in Canary yellow. So far, I love them. I forgot to do all the k2tog I meant to when I switched fromthe ribbing (and size 0 needles) to the stockinette (and size 2 needles), so I'm going to rip back all the stripes you see and start over.

We spent most of the day yesterday working on building a compost bin and a chicken run. (By "we" I mean "Mike with about an hour of help from me") Right as we were starting out, we noticed these little guys in the neighbor's tree.

We know you're getting chickens, and we want your eggs!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Coming Home to Roost

Pooling = bad.

I started work on a pair of Monkeys using some delicious bluegreen Shibui sock yarn. It was nice to be working on a project again, as I hadn't knit a stitch since finishing the Charades (below).

Unfortunately, as you can see, the Shibui + 64 st pattern = hideous pooling death.

I ripped back, adjusted the stitch count, and tried again. Same result. Boo. The socks are currently sitting in time out in my knitting basket, and I'm again casting about for something to knit.

In some exciting house news, we got a chicken coop tonight!

Now all we need are some chickens! We're debating whether we'll get baby chicks (super cute) or older pullets (fresh eggs now!). But whatever chickens we get, they'll have this beautiful home.

Another thing we have is a really cute cat. I hate when bloggers just post photos of their cats, as a regular feature, but I promise I won't do that.
Hello- I make very cute facial expressions!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Let's Play Charades!

One word. Two syllables. Sounds like parades.

Pattern: Charades, from I May Be Knitting a Ranch House.

Cast on: June 17

Finished: July 27

Yarn: Whimzy Pinzy Creations 2 Socks At Once, in Tea Roses. A beautiful combination of pink and lavender, in a wonderfully soft superwash merino.

Needles: Us 2 Addi turbos

Notes: I felt like these took forever, but I think taking a 3 week vacation in the middle of knitting a pair of socks makes it feel like longer.

The Charades pattern is simple, easy, and make a beautiful finished product. I love these socks, and will probably make another Charade at some point, after I get through all the other sock patterns I have on my list!

I finished the first sock while in Europe, and knit the second mostly on the plane on the way home. I forced myself to sit down and work on the other sock last night, and discovered I only really had the toe left! I finished in an hour or so, and did the photo shoot tonight before dinner, in some excellent light.

I love that our mantle makes just about the perfect light box (the first photo was taken there). I'll have to buy some new yarn to take its portrait there!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Europa, Europa, Cont.

When we last left our weary travelers, they were in Florence, admiring the beauty that is Michaeangelo's David.

Next stop... Nice, France! We took the train along the Italian coast to Genoa, paid our respects to Christopher Columbus, and continued along the French coast through Monaco to Nice. Nice is very nice. The water is bright blue and warm, the waves are fun, the antique market is great, and the fountains are pretty. There are better beaches around (Nice's are rocky - smooth rocks, but fist sized rocks nonetheless), and there are less touristy places around, and there is probably better food around (see the "touristy" part), but all in all, a lovely place to spend a couple of days.

We took a day trip to Aix-en-Provence, to see the Provincial countryside and a smaller town in Provence. We missed the flea markets, but did see some lovely fountains.

And then onto Paris!! The train to Paris was wonderful- the French sure know how to run a train system. (President Obama, please take note.) The first thing we did was run straight to the Eiffel Tower. Then, of course, we ate some bread and wine. This cafe looked out at the Seine and the Ile de la Cite.

In Paris, we stayed with a wonderful French family who had been Mike's host family when he studied abroad in high school. Although he hadn't seen them in almost a decade, the family was most welcoming and friendly. We stayed in a guest cottage on their property, and they even took Mike & me up to their vacation home on the North coast on the English Channel. It was very windy and cold the first day (reminded me of the East Coast, Cape Cod area), so we took advantage and flew a kite. A double-stringed stunt kite, even!

On Bastille Day, we took advantage of the Louvre having free entrance, then took a boat ride down the Seine at sunset. We got to see gorgeous light on all the old buildings and bridges. Then, right when the boat got back to its dock, at the base of the Eiffel Tower, the tower light up with sparkles and the fireworks show started! I don't have any photos because my battery was dying and I don't have a tripod, so fireworks photos don't come out very well. But, you'll just have to believe me that it was the most amazing fireworks show I've ever seen!

All in all, it was a magical, wonderful vacation. We took over 1,200 pictures, and I narrowed the show down to 250 over on Shutterfly. Feel free to wander over there if these few photos have whet your appetite for more.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Welcome Home!

What a trip! I had an amazing time, and have many wonderful stories to tell and photos to share. Not so much knitting, though. I finished one Charade and got through the heel of the second.

First things first. We left our camera in Boston in our frantic rush to make our plane, which we realized was taking off much earlier than we thought. Like, five hours earlier. We realized this 45 minutes before it took off. Luckily, the people at Aer Lingus rock and got us on the next flight, 1/2 an hour later. And luckily our friends in Boston also rock and express mailed our camera to us in Tuscany. Which is where these photos were taken.

We stayed at Spannocchia, a family run agritourism farm / bed & breakfast, that is preserving the 700 year old Tuscan farming way of life, and working to be totally sustainable and self-sufficient. And they make the best olive oil I've ever tasted in my life. So amazing.

The photo on the right is a castle we hiked to called The Castle That Only God Knows, and it's where (wait for it)... Mike and I got engaged! I asked him on top of one of the towers. It was beautiful and romantic and wonderful, and we managed to keep it a secret for the whole rest of the trip until we met up with my mom and brother and told our moms and siblings at the same time. Magic.

Then we went to Rome. We saw the Coliseum and the Pantheon. Other things we saw included the Palazzo Venetzia, much art at the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel, the Trevia fountain, and delicious wine. I wish I had gone to Rome right after high school, when I knew more about art.

While Rome was beautiful and all the old buildings were amazing, it was also very hot and very crowded. I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed all the other places we went to.

Florence was our next stop. We saw the Duomo, which has many more amazing things about it than just its dome, and the David, which is incredibly impressive. We ate some amazing paninis in Florence, and also saw some recreations of Leonardo's inventions (a bicycle and a drawbridge) and a page out of one of his sketchbooks. I loved Florence and would definitely go again.

Stay tuned for more...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My bags are packed...

Well, no they're not. But we are leaving on a jet plane in 5 hours. We're off to San Francisco, then Boston, then Dublin, then Paris, Bologna, Siena, Rome, Nice, and back to Paris, Dublin, Boston, Star Island, San Francisco, and finally, home on July 20.

Needless to say, I will not be blogging while I'm gone.

I will however, be knitting!
Charade, in Tea Roses by Whimzy Pimzy Creations, and some Shibui in Dragonfly (I think - I didn't check the label). The Charades should get me through at least one international flight and overnight train ride. Hopefully the Shibui will get me through the rest of our travelling!

Have a wonderful July- I'll see you on the flip side.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Magic Loop 4-Eva!

My knitting has slowed to the speed of molasses in January since finals time and the move. I don't know what's wrong with me- I don't have anything to do after work, so theoretically, I should just sit in my backyard and knit all evening, but I don't.

Since I'm uninspired by the Boot Socks (and my substitute yarn is too cottony and not wooly / acrylicy enough, so I have to find a different yarn with which to finish off the foot of Sock #2) and I can't bring myself to figure out the sleeve-cap shaping on the Elizabeth Bennett cardigan, I cast on for some more socks last night.

Except I had left my Addi circulars at my office, attached to the Boot Socks, so I cast on with dpns. I used to love dpns. I swore by dpns. I scoffed at magic looping.

No more.

Five needles, ten needle tips. No thank you.

It's all magic loop, all the time for me now.

I may have to skip over to the yarn shop on my lunch break - it's one block away and I haven't gone even once yet! How's that for self control? - and use my gift certificate to stock up on Addis. (The G.C. is from helping out with inventory back in March. $40 for four hours of yarn fondling? Yes, please.)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Me! Me!

I may or may not have posted a rule at the beginning of this blog, stating I would never answer a silly questionnaire just to fill up a blog post. Well, consider that rule amended. I was tagged by lupinbunny for this one. That makes me quite excited, because I love her blog and aspire to her gardening and sewing greatness!

"The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer."

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?
I was a sophomore in high school, 14 years old. School probably hadn't let out yet, so I was probably reading my yearbook, thinking of creative things to write in other people's yearbooks and trying to figure out how to get a cute boy to sign mine. I was also scheming how to meet these guys. Don't judge me.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today?
Figure out the shoulder shaping on Elizabeth Bennett, go to the farmer's market, vacuum the carpets, have some friends over for board games.

3) Snacks I enjoy:
Chocolate chips; honey dijon Kettle chips; stove-top popcorn with nutritional yeast, parmesean cheese, oregano, cayenne, and garlic; apples; Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Pay off my house, get another bike for cruising around town, travel (Australia, Central and South America, Eastern Europe, and a return trip to Mali are on my short list), pay for law school without any more loans and pay off my existing loans, donate & invest.

5) Places I have lived:
Ann Arbor, Michigan; small town New Hampshire; small college town Massachusetts; Senegal; Berkeley, California (and some in the north bay); small rural town California; Portland, Oregon.

6) Jobs I have had:
Working at a homemade candy shop, drive-through bagel shop, TJ Maxx, receptionist, payroll assistant, administrative assistant, Pelican (waitress, hostess, garbage hauler / compost expert / landscaper, front desk supervisor at a hotel), baker, and law clerk.

7) Bloggers I am tagging who I will enjoy getting to know better:
Jenne and George, Claudia, Molly, Feministy, Neither Hip Nor Funky

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Presenting... my home!

We finally have internet in the new house, so I can share some pictures!

These are just snippets- I haven't gotten the house in a clean enough state for long enough that I can take pictures to share with you! But, we do have furniture in all the rooms and can stop trawling Craig's List constantly.

The view - The mantel (wood burning fireplaces! Two!) - Our bedroom

Banana muffins (new gas stove!) - Reading chair - Flowers on the table

The bathroom and cat - Baker's cart - Dream stove

All in all, we absolutely love this house. We couldn't have asked for a better home. As someone who hasn't lived anywhere for more than six months since my first year of college, I am very excited to nest and be here for many years.

I've also been knitting, although not as much as I imagined. I thought once finals ended, I'd have the Elizabeth Bennett cardigan finished in no time. But you'd be surprised (or probably not surprised!) at how much time moving and starting work takes up!

I had the cardigan out blocking a few days ago (back and two fronts), and took pictures, but apparently I deleted them before uploading. Ooops! Photos soon, I promise.

Now that I have internet, nothing can get in my way!