Thursday, January 31, 2008

I'm Knitting a Sheep

This yarn! It's literally a sheep. It smells like a sheep, it feels like a sheep, and it looks like a sheep! Complete with sticks, oils, and maybe a stray lamb or two.

I counted one of the skeins and I've got about 125 yds / 8 oz of wool. So, I've got about 625 yards here. I swatched tonight, on a size 8 and a 10. The 8 gets gauge exactly for the Cozy V-Neck Pullover With Deep Ribbing (Ravelry) from Fitted Knits (not Ravelry), which is a book I bought and from which I have yet to knit something. However, I'm supposed to use a needle two sizes smaller than the 8 for the ribbing, which is the majority of the sweater, and my wrists hurt from just knitting those two swatches.

Do you like my swatches? And my cute little label?

The swatch on the 10s wasn't much easier on my hands, although they are now quite soft from the oils in the wool. Does anyone know if I can wash this yarn before working with it? Is that bad? Should I just proceed as is and enjoy the feel of down-to-earth, honest-to-goodness wool?

Also, I think this yarn deserves some cables, so I should do something other than the V-Neck Ribbed Pullover. And to preserve my hands and to make the most out of the yarn, I think I should use size 10 needles.

The ball ended up the size of my head!! I had to wind the second half of the skein by hand, because my ball-winder maxed out. This picture is now my avatar on Ravelry, because it's too hilarious not to. That is some bulky yarn, baby.

Tonight's dinner: homemade pita chips, hummus, and broccoli-cheddar soup.

PS- Anyone know anything about html and why, after the pictures, the text switches to single spaced? I like it better double spaced, and I've looked at the code, but I can't figure it out.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I was trolling Craig's List last night, minding my own business, and happened on a post advertising "Linen & Handspun Wool Yarn to Knit, Crochet & Weave - $8." I emailed the woman, and stopped by tonight to check out what she had. What she had was a trunk full of single ply wool and various and sundry cones of linen, tweeds, and a lot of unidentifiable stuff. She was selling it all for $8 / lb. I walked out of there with 5 8-oz. skeins of single ply wool that smells and feels like sheep. Yummy! And who could resist a cone of lace-weight mohair?! No one with a knitting soul.

The haul.
Gratuitous close up.

After weighing it all up, the total cost was $25. $25!!! Perfect for a poor little student. I'll use the wool for some sort of chunky, lovely sweater- and if I need more, the woman told me just to send her an email and swing by for more!

The mohair will be for socks, most likely held double. I plan to try my hand at dying with this as well. Mike has requested more socks, and with this much yarn, I could knit socks for the whole family, the kitten included!

I also baked last night. Delicious Chocolate Chocolate (er- Carob) Chip cookies, from The Post Punk Kitchen (that taste exactly like Nabolom Vegan Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies). Have I told you about these? They're yummy, easy, delicious, and good for you. I think the flax seeds definitely cancel out the canola oil and sugar. Definitely.

I also finished and blocked the Endpaper Mitts. FO post when the sun comes out and I'm home during the day! Perhaps tomorrow will be the day, if it snows like they're predicting.

We had a two hour delay on Monday, due to snow. Half the public schools in Portland were outright canceled. There was literally less than 1/2 an inch on the ground. These west coast folks are snow wimps. Back where I come from, we drove ourselves to school in 5' snowdrifts, uphill both ways, no snow tires, and no chains. Ok, just kidding. But we certainly don't cancel school for a dusting of snow.

PS- I changed the comments so you can post a comment anonymously, meaning you don't have to have a blog or an account to comment. I'll be moderating the comments though, so you might have to wait a bit for your comment to show up. Maybe this will bring some of these mysterious readers my mom tells me about out of the woodwork.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Familial Undertakings*

I believe I just contracted with my brother to knit this:
The Dillon family sweater. Apparently, our ancestry traces back to this clan. I've always been skeptical of our Irish / Scottish roots and erred more towards our German ancestry, but my brother's red beard might be enough to convince me. Maybe I'll even get some Irish street cred if I pull this off and knit it before I'm 85.

This company will either sell you a handknit sweater for $200 or the yarn and pattern to make your own for $90. Keith gets more than 50% off the price of the sweater, and I can never again complain that I have nothing on the needles.** I told him I couldn't guarantee finishing this before his 30th birthday (he's 22).

I tried to make a sweater like this once. I bought a boatload of Red Heart Super Saver acrylic yarn and set out. I think I got about 5 rows through the pattern before getting horribly and utterly lost and confused. Hence, all the green, acrylic things I've since knit (Ravelry links), and several still untouched one-pound skeins lining the bottom of my yarn chest.

Just the fact that I intended to make an Aran sweater out of Red Heart should indicate about where I was on my knitting trajectory.

In other familial undertakings, my mom is crazy. Evidence: every year she does what is called the "Penguin Plunge." She and her teammates swim in the Atlantic Ocean in February. Did I mention she lives in New Hampshire? I think those are the prima facie elements for crazy (law school talk, in full force!).

However, I support this crazy. Because it is a fundraiser for the New Hampshire Special Olympics. Her team is a team of doctors and nurses, and they're currently in 4th place for their fundraising. Help a good cause, and encourage the crazy! As my mom says, every $1 counts. Which is good, since that $1 will be coming out of my loans and I'll be paying it back at least until I finish this sweater project.

Click here to donate.

*Apologies for any morbid connotations. Although, it may be just me, since I've been watching Six Feet Under recently.

**Although I reserve the right to complain at any time. And knit sweaters for myself while knitting this beast. J/k Keith- I'm totally excited to take this on.

Friday, January 25, 2008


What a week! Even with the day off, resulting in just three days of classes, this week was terribly long, and I spent most of it seriously considering dropping out of school. I think the worst of the second-semester slump has passed, though, and I'll be sticking with it, and not being so grumpy about it.

One strange feature of the week were all the sports I watched! There were the two football games on Sunday, which I watched at a friends house, with lots of junk food and champagne. I worked on the Endpaper Mitts there, and got about 4" knit before the food, football, and drinking kicked in to end the knitting.
Wednesday we went to see The Decemberists play. This doesn't count as sport, but it was an event on a schoolnight, and the one that may have dragged me out of my funk. It was a fantastic show. They're my favorite band, and Portland is their hometown, and it was just all around fantastic.

Then last night I went to see the Portland Lumberjax play. Who knew there was a professional lacrosse league in the US? The game went into overtime, 11-11, and the sudden death finish was very exciting, as everyone in the crowd would have gotten free donuts at Krispy Kreme if the Jax had scored 12 goals! Unfortunately, the Colorado Mammoth scored first and everyone went home sans donuts and a little dejected.

Some other exciting things about the evening though: we got in for free (a woman who worked at the Rose Garden approached us with her extra comped tickets, for the swanky Club Level!), and we sat next to this guy:
Lumberjax superfan!!
He gave us all high-fives every time the Jax scored.

Mike's out of town for the weekend, and I have big plans to sit on the couch and knit! Goal: finish the Endpaper Mitts by Sunday.

I also have a telephone job interview this afternoon with an affordable housing advocacy group in Oakland, for a summer clerkship. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I don't have classes on Fridays, which in itself is awesome. This being MLK's birthday week means that this weekend is a 4-day weekend, which is even more awesome. It's only Saturday, and we've already been bowling, been to a great party / fundraiser, I went shopping downtown (and bought a really cute shirt at the library store- it says "I'm a friend of Ramona" as in Ramona Quimby!) and I finished the first Endpaper Mitt.

I haven't blocked it yet, but I think it still looks pretty good.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


No knead bread, from the New York Times in November 2006. So easy, so delicious, and so beautiful.

1 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. all purpose (or bread) flour
1/2 t. quick rise yeast
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. water

Mix dry ingredients together.
Add water.
Mix to form a shaggy dough.
Cover in plastic wrap and let rise for 12-18 hours in a warm place (about 70*).
Pour risen dough onto floured surface.
Fold four times (as best as possible).
Flip over, seam side down.
Sprinkle with flour and wheat bran.
Cover with floured cloth.
Let rise another 2 hours.
1/2 hour before baking, turn oven to 500*.
Place cast iron pot (or oven safe pottery bowl!) & lid (or pizza stone!) in oven as it preheats.
When oven is hot, pour dough into pot (or bowl) and cover.
Bake covered for 30 minutes.
Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.


Peanut Butter Cookies, from the New Best Recipes.
Rolled into a log.
Covered in plastic wrap.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Last Night

Classes start tomorrow. Yuck. There goes all my knitting time, all my time for sleeping in, watching movies, and mucking about online. Le sigh.

However, to get me through this difficult time, I have some new yarn!

90 yards of handspun, luminous blue bamboo from Cast One On in Welches, OR

We attempted to go skiing on Friday, after hearing all week about how much snow was falling on Mt Hood. Halfway up the mountain, it starts pouring. Turns to big flakes as we pull into the parking lot, so we're hopeful. We were there for night skiing, so we thought it would stay snow as the temperatures fell. No such luck. We were soaked through after the first two runs. Then my lift ticket fell off, so we decided to just call it a day. Luckily, we were able to exchange our tickets for vouchers for another day this season, so not all was lost.

On the way to the mountain, we stopped at an adorable log cabin yarn shop that I had tried to shop at over New Years while we were up at the condo. I don't know what I'm going to do with this yarn, but it was just calling out to me. I couldn't not buy it!

180 yards of handspun wool, a gift from my mom from the Folk Art Center in Asheville NC
*ETA: correct origination of yarn

This came in a box with my winter coats and Christmas tree ornaments a while ago, but I've just now photographed it. It has a lot of depth in the color- blues and purples. The color is exactly what I was looking for when I was buying yarn for my mom's Foliage. When she was here, I gave her a choice of yarns- this one she bought me, or the Indigo Malabrigo. She chose the Malabrigo, and the Foliage came out beautifully. I don't know what I'll use this yarn for, but it will be gorgeous when I do use it, I'm sure.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Adventures in Photos

Adventure #1: (Nearly) vegan birthday cakes, ironic Christmas presents, and new cake decorating sets.
My friend Charan celebrated her (second) 25th birthday yesterday, so I baked her a cake. I got Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World for Christmas (along with Vegan Vittles and, from Mike's grandparents who clearly don't know me very well, The Hamburger Cookbook), and I used the recipe for the basic Vanilla cupcakes, but baked it in my new springform cake pan, and used butter instead of margarine. The frosting is the basic Vanilla Buttercream from the same book, again, with butter instead of margarine. Yummy!

Adventure #2: Swatching! I never swatch. Never. I think it's a waste of yarn and time. I'd much rather be working on the actual project!
However, I'm making Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts and needed to decide whether to do a yellow background or a navy background. I think navy (er, rather, Midnight).

I really like the colors together- I got the Finch when I bought the yarn for the Minimalist, and the Midnight yesterday with a gift certificate Mike got me for Christmas. We both really like the colors together, so I'm trying to think of these as Starry Night and not Hannukah. It's like putting red and green together- you can't help but think of Christmas, even if it's July.

Adventure #3: More Christmas gift certificates!

An enormous, lap sized tome of the complete novels of Jane Austen. I have visions of being curled up in a nice overstuffed easy chair, snuggled in with a blanket, the fire crackling in the background, this book open on my lap, Lizzie Bennett dashing over the moors to Mr. Darcy's estate... but switch out the overstuffed chair for our garage sale recliner and the fire for our electrically-troubled ceiling light. (Our house has been crazily dim this whole winter and I finally went out and got new lightbulbs, to discover that fully HALF of all our lightbulbs have been burnt out!! I replaced them all, and all the sockets that were burnt out seen to have some sort of electrical problem that results in flickering and buzzing when the lights are on. Mike says he has an idea to fix it.)

And, Interweave's Favorite Socks! I'm quite excited for this one, as I love all the projects from it I've seen on Ravelry.

To sum up: Christmas gift certificates are great, because you get to keep getting new stuff for so long! Christmas cameras are also great, because you get to show everything off!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Help me win some yarn!

I entered some photos of the Tree Jacket into a contest to win some yarn- the people with the most views win! So go check it out and help me get some yarn!

Please, and thank you.

FO: Foliage

Pattern: Foliage, from Knitty Fall 2007
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted Merino in Indigo, about half a skein
Needles: US 8 circulars
Started: some time last week, January 2008
Finished: January 6, 2008

Really fast, cute hat. And Malabrigo is amazing. Why anyone would ever make a hat out of anything else, I don't know. However, I don't think I could justify making anything bigger than a hat, since I can only afford one skein at a time.

The pattern is great, but once I got into the lace section (beyond the crown increases) I had a really hard time following the pattern. I made at least one mistake in just about every round. It was very frustrating. However, I was able to go back and fix everything, so the finished project is error-free!

And, I actually followed the pattern exactly as written, which may be a first for me. If I made it again, I'd only do 2 1/2 repeats of the pattern and 5 rounds of ribbing at the end, because this hat is way too deep for my head! I think it's the right circumference, but it covers my eyes when I try it on.

The hat took just under 1 ounce of yarn, leaving just under 1 ounce left. I might be able to squeeze another hat out of the remaining yarn, especially if I make the next one just a little bit smaller.

Now, the only thing I have on the needles is a camera case for the new camera. (I hope you're noticing better pictures!) It'll be my first experiment in felting, so we'll see how it goes. I'm planning on hand-felting as I really don't want to spend the money on using the washer for a little camera case.

I have one skein of ShibuiKnits sock yarn in Finch (a lovely bright yellow color), which I now realize is definitely not going to be enough for a pair of socks. I have a gift certificate to Knit/Purl, where I bought the yarn, and I think I might get a second skein in another color (Peacock, Midnight, or Mulberry are the three I'm considering) and make a pair of Endpaper Mitts.

Also coming up is Danica, which I'm going to make in Paton's SWS (so it will look similar to this one [Ravelry link]). I got two ball winders for Christmas, and exchanged one of them for the yarn. I'm still waiting for it to arrive, and I can't wait to try out entrelac!

Monday, January 7, 2008

FO: Tree Jacket

(Excuse the funny look on my face - it was quite cold today!)

Pattern: Tree Jacket, from Zephyr Style
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold, Classic AL in Aged Wine, 8 skeins
Needles: US 8 circulars
Cast On: 12/23/07
Finished: 1/6/08

Notes: I made my goal of finishing this sweater over winter break- and with one week to spare! I raced along on this, at a speed at which I suppose normal people knit when they don't have school all day then piles of homework to do.

I used the lace as written for the neck, then blocked it straight. I used the modified lace pattern, found on Ravelry, of [k2tog, yo, k1, yo, skk] for the body. I also decreased 10 stitches the first ten rows of the sleeves (dec 1 each side of every other row), then followed the sleeve directions as written.

Perhaps because I was knitting so fast, I made a number of silly knitting errors. I kept knitting into the stitch from the row below, and didn't catch all of those mistakes soon enough to drop the stitch and fix it, so there are a few wonky places. Luckily, I think I will likely be the only one who examines this sweater close enough to find the mistakes.

The collar is less cowl-y and more turtle-y than the pictures in the pattern suggest, but it's still loose enough to work. I really like this sweater, and the yarn is a dream. How could you go wrong with baby alpaca and merino?!

I also finished the Foliage hat while the Tree Jacket was blocking. I didn't get pictures of that today, so I'll do a post on that some other day. It's far too big for me, so I hope it fits my mom! I only used about half the skein, so maybe if I modify the pattern to be smaller, I can squeeze another hat out of the same skein for me!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sweater Update

... aaaand we're blocking! Finally!

We cleaned up all our crap from Christmas and vacation, vacuumed, and I finally had a surface on which to block the Tree Jacket. I laid it out on the table and sprayed it with the spray bottle we use to punish the cat- she was staring at the sweater, wondering what it had done that was so terrible to deserve such a spraying! I didn't want to soak it, because things take FOREVER to dry here.

I'm trying to straighten out the lace on the collar, but I don't care too much if it stays twisted. I'm lengthening the body a little, and just trying to even out stitches.

Once it dries, I'll sew up the sleeves and have it finished for my first class on Monday!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Heaven, I'm in Heaven

Why didn't anyone ever tell me how wonderful Malabrigo is? It's amazing!
I started my mom's Foliage hat out of a skein of Indigo Malabrigo Merino Worsted I got with my Tree Jacket yarn. The yarn is amazing. The pattern... not so much. I only have a set of four size 8 dpns, so I had to make do on the increases, then my size 8 circular is 29" so I'm semi-magic-looping, and it is impossible for me to keep track of the lace pattern. I had to do the first row after the increases four times! And I've had to go back and fix at least three more rows since, and I'm not even through one repeat of the pattern!!

Granted, I shouldn't be trying to knit lace in the round while watching Heroes. I admit it.

Another wonderful thing that happened today: two of my good friends here in Portland had the civil ceremony portion of their wedding (dress / cake / family ceremony to come in a year or so), and it was wonderful to be able to share that with them. It was the first wedding I've been to where the couple were people I really know and care about. I'm very grateful to have been a part of it!

It also was helpful in kicking off my resolution for 2008: Drink more champagne.

This is the cake I made for their engagement party. I got two decorating kits (frosting bag & tips) for Christmas, so decorations will be better in the future.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

In Review

Several Cupcakes, gifts for birthdays and Valentines
Verdict: Perfect, and the inspiration for the blog.

Ice Princess Headband, for Laura
Verdict: Great.


Squirrel Mittens, for Liz
Verdict: Great. She loves them, and I loved doing the colorwork. I didn't know much about picking up stitches or weaving in ends and left the ends way too short and gaping holes at the base of the thumbs. Oops.

Buttony Sweater, for me
Verdict: Boo. Yucky acrylic yarn, poor fit, worn very infrequently. Not even worth frogging.


Unbiased #1, for me
Verdict: Great. Holds my wallet perfectly. The strap stretched out considerably and I'm still thinking about adding a button or some sort of closure.

Long Socks, for Mike
Verdict: Perfect. Mike wears them nearly every night to bed and tells me almost daily how perfect they are.

Red Wool Socks, for me
Verdict: Meh. The heel flap is about an inch and a half long, and the turned heel is about an inch wide. They're very uncomfortable for walking, even just around the house.


Birthday Cupcake, for Rachel
Verdict: Perfect. Pink and white birthday party theme, pink and white cupcake. Induced the proclamation by Rachel's boyfriend that he was "an island if pain surrounded by a sea of cute."

Birdie, for Puppy (Liz's best friend, her stuffed dog)
Verdict: Great. Easy, quick, cute.

Anastasia Socks, for Emily
Verdict: Great. Wonderful, springy color, and an easy pattern for my first socks out of sock yarn and on small needles. I could have gone even smaller, but I felt like a giant gorilla.

Unbiased #2, for Mom
Verdict: Perfect. She loves it, and says she gets compliments on it all the time.

Baby Booties, for Deborah's baby Faust
Verdict: Great. So cute, so tiny. Sehr gut!

Jaywalkers, for me
Verdict: Perfect! I absolutely love them. I wear them when I need to feel extra special (like the first day of law school and the first final)- kind of like wearing your lacy lingerie under a t-shirt, just to feel better about the day.

Lelah, for me
Verdict: Great! Since I knit straps instead of inserting elastic, I could have decreased or added some darts or some kind- it's a little baggy in the boobs. I might go back and shorten the straps and add some elastic in the sides.


Rainy Day Socks, for Anne
Verdict: Perfect! I used up some old stash yarn on a fun and interesting, but quick and easy, pattern and gave socks that fit to a wonderful friend. Couldn't ask for anything better.

Swell, for Mike
Verdict: Perfect! Much like his Long Socks, he wears this hat practically every day and tells me just as often how perfect it is.

Ballet Slippers, for Jackie (on commission)
Verdict: Great! Super cute, and super great yarn. I'm not sure how well they actually stay on Jackie's feet, since I've never seen them in action.


Ribbed Lace Shrug, for me
Verdict: Great! Exactly what I was imagining when I decided I wanted to knit a silver shrug for a southern California September wedding.


Minimalist, for me
Verdict: Perfect! I love it, it fits perfectly, and I love the accidental pouffed sleeves.

Coffee Coozie #1, for Katie
Verdict: Great! The picture is terrible, but the end product was great.


Coffee Coozie #2, for Claudia (on commission)
Verdict: Perfect! The picture is better, and the end product was too. Claudia reports from chilly DC that her fingers are cool and her chai are hot.

My So-Called Scarf, for me
Verdict: Boo. Not enough yarn, so the scarf is too short and too skinny. I wear it when I don't feel like wearing my monstrous 7' long acrylic scarf.

Fetching, for Shannon (on commission)
Verdict: Perfect! Used up some stash yarn (Minimalist leftovers) and made a good friend happy!

Ribbed Socks, for Keith
Verdict: Perfect! Love them, and my guesses at his foot size were right!

Squishy Earflap Hat, for me
Verdict: Perfect! Love it, and wear it nearly everyday.

Tessellating Socks, for Mom
Verdict: Perfect! Excellent yarn, colors, and pattern. A great distraction from school and a great filler of time in the post-finals lull.

Boo- 2; Meh- 1; Great- 10; Perfect- 13
Gifts- 16; Me- 10