Saturday, October 9, 2010


not my strong suit.

Last weekend had such big plans. Oh well, let's focus on the good stuff.

I finished my September socks on Saturday.  Yes, I finished them on October second but I did not really think I could manage a self imposed sock club until days before these were finished so I am forgiving myself.

For months I have been duly impressed with the YarnHarlot's ability to pump out sock after sock and additional beautiful knits along the way, but as much as I wanted to I never planned on starting that up myself.  Just two weeks ago I finally finished my OLYMPIC socks.  I am convinced that I would have finished them on time but my skein ran on out the the second toe - minutes into the closing ceremony.  I had a second hank of yarn on hand but no swift and everyone close to me has sworn off ball winding - especially if the finished knit is not for them.

Pattern:  Sweetheart Socks, Chrissy Gardner, IK
Yarn: Sundara sock yarn

Since we bought Big Purple in April the only thing I have knit was a stuffed bunny for a friend's baby shower and that was in May.  My weekends have been filled with painting, unpacking, painting, cleaning and more painting.  Now we just have to paint S's office and the kitchen ceiling.  Woo hoo!

Three weeks ago we sat down to watch some Dr. Who and I realized that aside from a few SNL clips or Autotune the News this was the first time in months that we were going to be sitting, next to each other, alone, awake and not in a moving vehicle for five months!  Oh, I needed to celebrate this by breaking the knitting fast! 

My studio was (read is) still in boxes so I told S to pause the video and give me three minutes to locate something to knit.  I ran in and immediately found my one finished Embossed Leaf Sock (IK), needles and remaining yarn. 

Ugh! I did not love this sock - it took me too long to knit.  I am not sure why but I just was not into it; then after I had it off the needles I realized that I did not like the fit at all.  It is not the pattern's fault just a personal preference.  I have large feet (size 11) and often the patterns say use a larger needle for a bigger size.  I rarely do this because I don't have larger ankles or wider feet, just longer feet.  I up sized in this instance because I was not sure how it was going to work out with the leaf pattern; in retrospect I should have just added another repeat - maybe next time.  I had a feeling about the sizing half way through but it was such a pretty pattern that I ignored the impending outcome and soldiered on.  Sure enough I was right and no amount of willing me to be wrong was going to change the outcome; it is a slouchy sock.  I was a teen in the 80's and I did not like slouchy socks then and like them even less now. 
But the seconds were ticking away and S was about to call time.  Okay, I told myself that I was going to open the next box, take first pattern for socks I could get my hands on and start a new pair with the remaining yarn from the Embossed Leaves (IK Winter 2005).  The finished socks could duke it out for complete pair when I was done.  On the top of the box was IK Fall 2005, I flipped to the Rib and Cable Socks and fell in love. 

Pattern: the fantastic Rib and Cable Socks by Nancy Bush (IK Fall 2005)
Yarn: Sundara sock yarn a fabulous green (I cannot remember the colour)

One Dr. Who, an Mi-5, and a Rescue Me latter and I was turning the heel.  Seriously, me 1/2 way through a sock in one evening's time.  I love the simple repetitive pattern.  Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy a complex, intricate sock for knitting in the car, on the train, or in a cafe.  But I have been searching for the perfect TV watching sock pattern and this is it.  I plan on knitting dozens of these.  By the end of the weekend I had one well fitting, squishy, comfy sock and frogged the beautiful, sloucher in record time!

The only reason I just finished them is the demands of Big Purple.  But the fact that it only took 2 1/2 weeks with all of the house stuff in the mix convinced me that I could pull off a self imposed sock club.  So I sat down, printed off 12 patterns and teamed up the first 5 months.  I have front loaded the lot with some simple quick knits to get me through the rest of the house stuff and the holidays and teamed them with yarn that has already been balled.  The more intricate patterns have been paired with hanks of yarn.  Now to finish making the swift.  Keeping my fingers crossed!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

no photos :(

I have lost the charger to my camera but I am here to announce that I am joining the Yarn Harlot in the knitting olympics.  I am attempting to execute a fabulous pair of Sweet Heart Socks over the next 17 days.

People are knitting sweaters and amazingly large projects but I have never finished a pair of socks in less that 2 months!  So I am off.  I will report back with photos soon (I hope).

The hardest thing about this is that I get so taken in by the competition I notice that my needles have been motionless for quite some time!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Giving Back

I am making my way through those bags  of knitting, but today is about giving something back to the blog-o-sphere.

First I must say that I get the inspiration for 60% of my suppers from bloggers.  During my lunch break at super-corp I log in and let the pictures do the talking.  If it were not for 101 Cookbooks, Joy the Baker, Vegandad, The Wednesday Chef, Orangette and countless others we would eat beans and rice almost every other night.
The other 40% comes from the cookbooks I read and having grown up cooking and eating with my mom.  My mom is truly one of the best cooks ever, period.  I can count on one hand the number of times I ate over at a friend's house.  Part of that stems from my parents wanting to see all of us at the table each and every night (this was not always a fun time for all, but now that I am older I love that they were there every night, good times and hard) and part of it is because the few times I ate my friend's mom's cooking I was disappointed.  I grew up in northern, rural New York which is a serious meat and potatoes place; my mom hailed from a strictly British family in Montreal.  She took her serious butter, sugar, flour roots and mixed them up with urban flair so our suppers were unlike anything served at my friend's homes.
On Sundays we did not tie ourselves to our home by spending the day cooking a roast; instead we went to the beach or out exploring and came home to make your own Italians (Maine style) or my mom's famous hot wings.  We had chicken cacciatore, fantastic soups, calico beans and always a salad; sometimes we only had a salad.  Each meal had at least two vegetables, no more than four ounces of meat (if any) and I cannot remember eating potatoes.  We did not have tons of excess cash but my mom bought (and still buys) food in season, from roadside tables while chatting with the farmers.  We picked strawberries, blueberries and apples and ate corn our in July and August.
You may not know this but the best peaches in the world come from the Ottawa valley in Canada (sorry Georgia but I have tried them all and it is true).  We always scheduled a trip to my grandparents during the height of peach season; my mom comes up to Massachusetts every October to pick apples and brings me a huge bag of South Carolina sweet potatoes from "her guy" packed in her suitcase (I am sure she is on a TSA list) and to her mind there are few things better for breakfast than a Saratoga Hand Melon (these are not sold in stores and I think that makes them all the more tasty).
I love when my mom comes for a visit because I get to cook for her.  I spend weeks planning out the menu; she likes simple, fresh meals with a bit of cream, butter or cheese (she is British).  This past apple picking visit I wanted to make a lasagna because she loves a good pasta dish and because I could make it ahead of time and we would just have to heat it up after a day of exploring.
 Many years ago I came across a recipe for spinach, artichoke lasagna that had no ricotta cheese just a great stew of spinach and artichokes, tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella between the pasta layers.  It was a great hit and we still make it for friends and parties. I wanted something just like that but with fall vegetables.  I looked around the web and at all of my cookbooks and could not find exactly what I wanted, so I bought some fresh whole wheat lasagna sheets, inspected my pantry and fridge and just had at it.  What came out of the oven was the best lasagna I have ever made.
I just wish I had taken some pictures...  You'll just have to trust me, it looked like lasagna.

Friday, October 23, 2009

hello me

I am home alone thanks to radioactive iodine therapy for a hypERactive thyroid. Everyone needs to keep a 8 ft distance from me for four days as I am radioactive. I live in a Cambridge apartment with my husband and two cats so this is not an easy feat. Please let me get a cool superpower for having to endure time away from my man. The cats are off to my sister's house and S and I are orbiting each other during the time he is home.  This is as hard as I thought it would be.

To fill my time I have dedicated the weekend to tackling the many little organization projects that have been piling up around the house.  I spent this morning sorting my knitting bags.  Yes, BAGS! I started putting my current knitting project in one of my many totes and bags so I could easily gather it together and bring it on the T, in the car, to a friends house, on vacation...   Yes, it proved to be convenient not only for carrying projects but for completely forgetting about them. Here I'll show you...

The tan woven basket has 6 skeins of Lion Brand Jiffy in slate waiting to be knit into a cable pocket shawl for my MIL. This is the newest member of the bunch so it will be sitting there for a while.

The green and white Clinic bag holds a half finished Monteagle Bag, knit in a natural hemp from the deep reaches of my stash, started last Christmas day.

The plastic ziplock baggie is home to two completed soles for Aran Isle Slippers.

A 75% finished Christmas stock for S, a 90% finished cup sleeve, one completed sockette and a mess of yarn live in the turquoise bag.

The pale turquoise (yes it is my favourite colour) clutch is for carrying around Embossed Leaves socks.

The denim courier bags is a mess of intarsia.  A pre-felted, 1/3rd knit trivet and 47% finished felted bag.  The bag might be the longest running project; I started it four years ago! 

The red heart bag has a completed (except the bind off and seaming) Cobblestone.  It was my wedding present to S. I finished in August on our honeymoon and when he tried it on it was too big.  Proportionately huge.  I knew this would happen... It was my first sweater; I was on gauge but he is a tall, fit guy whose chest measurement is not indicative of his real size.

It is on the frogging block and I will re-knit it over the Christmas holiday.  The positive is I now fully understand the pattern and I get to knit it in a SMALLER size. I will never, ever knit a surprise sweater again.

On the floor in a plastic grocery bag is an almost finished Kitty Pi.  I started this two winters ago just after I brought home a dog bed big enough for a Saint Bernard for our two cats Gin-gin and Moon-moon to share.  (an aside: we adopted our cats from a Vietnamese/Japanese couple who were moving back to Asia.  This is the Americanization of their original names - they have answered to them for six years now and it sounds totally normal to us) 

Within five minutes Miss Moon, who weighs all of SIX pounds, claimed this entire bed for her own.  Gin will not set foot on it even for treats.  She is twice the weight of her sister so that is saying something.

It looks like I have crazy start-itus but I have actually finished a lot of knitting projects since I started these.  Just last night I finished a pair of Dashing and a pair of Fetching fingerless gloves for ever lovely Kelly and Jody.

Plus two shawls this summer and a host of other things the past four years.  However, I must admit this bag-itus is getting ridiculous so I swear not to start another project until I have emptied at least three of these bags.  Yikes!