Thursday, March 29, 2007

Secret Pal 10 contest numero uno.

Robin, my group coordinator for SP10 has posed a question to the group:

Please post about your favorite yarn and your least favorite yarn (if you have one!) What have you made with it? Tell us about your experiences!

So here goes:

My favorite yarn to date is hands down the Lisa Souza Superfine Superwash Merino. It is sooooo soft, and her colorways are fabulous.

It's a treat to work that I'm knitting I'm going to have to get me some to make socks out of! Here's what I've made so far:

(it's the sour grapes scarf from CrochetMe, loverly tentacly goodness. one skein is creating quite a monster. am hoping to finish it up on vacation next week...more pictures soon...)

The Pam Allen Misty Meadow scarf from the Interweave Holiday Knits 2006. Feather and fan is fun and can you believe how perfect, perfect the color repeats are?!?!?!? This one's going to take the other 2 skeins I think. I want it really long and loop-able.

Least favorite isn't hard at all , though it came as quite a surprise as I've really never really thought really seriously bad thoughts about a yarn before. But the Lion Brand Microspun pushed me to it. I had bought a bazillion colors to make a floral motif granny square blanket for my daughter. Soft and washable, right? Bright fun colors, right? Yep, but also splitty as splitty can be and the ends are weave-in resistant it apprears. The yarn is so slick they just worm their way right out. You can imagine how frustrating that is with granny squares. So I have a bag of it stuffed in a closet awaiting some greater purpose. No pictures, it was too painful.

Thanks for the game Robin, off to stalk other responses and hopefully oggle me some yarn!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Secret Sender Person Swag!

My Official Lime and Violet Pron Exchange Secret McSenderson (undoubtedly the greatest person in the universe) sent me a package! (button at left links to the Flickr group) And it came today! When the shock of finding a package to ME wore off (sadly now a rare occurence in kid-land), I sat right in the big puddle 'o sunshine streaming in the front door (freakishly 82 here March. In Minnesota. Did I mention it was March still? And that it's 82 today? Dance of joy for warmth!) and sat there in the sunny-ness oggling. Then I ran for the camera. Here's the swag:

Be still my heart. Count them with me now, ONE, TWO hanks of ALPACA. SQUEEEE! I've never worked with alpaca! Some gorgeous stone stitch markers. YEAH for rocks! I've been rolling them in my hands and they feel soooooo good. And oh my goshness, ONE, TWO Knitpicks circs perfect for magic looping accompanied by a luminous bamboo US G crochet hook. And a very nice knitterly note card with very nice secret exchanger things written inside. And they say more is coming. I may faint! THANK YOU, THANK YOU SWAPPY MCSWAPPERSON IN TALLAHASSEE! (or then again maybe you're not there after all, but that's where the swag came from...I must say, the return address made my little Lost-infatuated heart skip a beat too...)

On to the details.

Stitch marker loverly-ness in snowflake and picasso jasper by Zero Markers. "Jewelry for your knitting." As seen in the latest Knitty! I got me a pal with great taste. The pics don't at all do the stones justice. Zero has a great pic of them here.

And onto the pRon itself. 100% hand-dyed alpaca from Atacama. Colorway 511. Full of mauve/pink/purple/brown with some loden green thrown in goodness. It's soft. I love it.

The pictures don't at all do the colors justice, not to mention the halo on this stuff.

I've got me 220 yards. What to do, what to do?!?!??! Gauntlets perhaps...dashes off to pattern search without even saying goodbye...

Friday, March 23, 2007



Same lame song, much more excited lyrics:

"I've got a giiiift certificate. I've got a giiiiift certificate. To the Loopy Ewwwwwe. To the Loopy Ewwwwwe."

Dare to dream, but hide your credit cards first:

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ode to my new cookbook

OK, so me and my stuffed up head are really not up to an ode right now. But I would so write an epic one if I was.

I received Simple Suppers, one of the newer cookbooks from Moosewood Collective from my mother-in-law for Christmas. Or to be more precise, I told her to buy this and she did. In any case, I have it and it's mine and I am newly in love with it. Head over heels.

And I'm something of a food snob. Have I come clean on that yet? No? Comes from having an Italian-American mother I think. Everything from scratch spoils you.

I have several other Moosewood cookbooks and have several "regulars" I make out of them, and they are perennially a source of inspiration and desperation "what can I make with a few eggs, some condiments and the remnants in the veggie drawer" dinners. I was intrigued by the "simple" as the others, though I love them dearly, can be heavy on ingredients and not terribly easy to put together with 3 kids hanging off of me or even more likely falling apart totally at 5pm. Not able to concentrate on much else in my snuffly state, I pulled this off the shelf for some good browsing over the weekend and rapidly (OK, really pretty sluggishly) ran for the sticky notes (or just tore bits off of odd magazine inserts laying next to the bed) and easily marked up a weeks worth of meals to try out. Excited, but a bit leery of the very minimal ingredient lists, I slogged to the store and came home with the fixings for 5 new meals.

Normally I would reserve judgment until we had worked our way through them all, but man have we been eating well the last few nights with a very minimum of effort on my part. Pasta with lemon cream sauce and peas (who would think red pepper flakes would work, but they do!). West Indian red beans and rice (I have tried many recipes for this over the years and have always been disappointed, but with like 5 ingredients I had a taste sensation in the time it took the rice to steam). I gobbled them, my husband MOANED, and best yet THE KIDS ATE THEM TOO! And had seconds. I almost fell out of my chair.

And both recipes were almost "dump and stir".

Still in the wings, "Rarebit Risotto" (made with cheddar and beer!), a cheesy veg chowder and some yummy sounding rice noodle dish.
Definitely will keep you posted.

(knitting aside: I dug this out of the depths of my WIP pile. Mmmmmm, love the Lisa Souza!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sock, sock, who's got the sock?


Thanks for all of the words of encouragement that literally propelled me over my fear precipice of grafting the toe. Despite a few starts and stops and curse-filled tear backs, with many, many misgivings, I finally snugged it all up and presto-chango, here 'tis, my first grafted sock toe:

Sorry it's a tad blurry, but I was working solo. The wee ones are not to be trusted with the digital camera quite yet. Looks a bit like some sort of sock creature, doesn't it? Happy coincidence. The one side is a tad lumpy, and I think I snugged the stitches a bit too much, but hey, I can live with it. I think the yarn kind of masks it too. I still have qualms about whether or not the whole thing will unravel once I finally get #2 done and try wearing them. The whole tie off and weave in thing seems a bit dodgy to me. But overall, for my 3rd knitted FO, I am over the moon pleased.

Here be the details. Yarn is Crazy in color 013. Everything on the label is in what I imagine to be German, except for the word "superwash" of which it is 75%. The remaining 25% being polyamid. The skeins are 50g with about 125 m, which I now know is not enough to make one sock for my chunky foot and ankle. Needed probably 1/4 of another skein. Good thing I have 3 since I was crocheting socks at the time I bought the yarn. Don't ask me why I chose black and grey. For some reason I thought "well, I wear a lot of black so this will be perfect." It's fine, but will most definitely be looking for something a tad more exciting next time around. I do however, have a deep appreciation for the less than dental floss nature of this yarn. Thicker yarn, size 3 needles highly recommended for the beginner. Am now fighting with some Tofuttsi on 0s and am not really having much fun. Hopefully will get the knack soon. Worked it on size 3 40" Addi circulars, magic loop style and am pleased to say that you cannot tell where the cables went through at all. With the cursed Tofuttsi it seems to be another matter. Perhaps certain yarns work better with magic loop than others?

The pattern is the 4 stitch out of Charlene Schurch's fabulous Sensational Knitted Socks. I used the baby cables pattern option. Nice little stitch trick to get you some cabling action with no extra needles needed. I highly, highly, highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn socks. She walks you through everything. Her directions are very clear. AND she has directions for every sock style written out for 5 DPN, 4 DPN and 2 circular knitting. (and you can use the 2 circular direction for magic loop) BRAVO for recognizing there are many ways to do the same thing and making life just a tad easier on us all! I would only ask for some actual photos of the grafting process, as the illustration given helped me not one bit. My allergy stuffed brain could not follow it. However, the wonderful Sally Melville has precisely that in her equally fabulous second volume of her The Knitting Experience series: The Purl Stitch. Yeah Sally! (and if you want to learn to knit, I cannot more emphatically recommend her books to teach you the ins adn outs of how. These books are amazingly complete references, with actual photos of most everything...even weaving in ends!)

So, Mission Sock-o One-o completed, on to the sequel. (which may take a bit as I am ever distracted by the traditional crochet phenomenon keeping my inbox full of wanna-be ripplers and my hooks blazing with ripples and granny squares. must. make. time. to. knit!)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

OK, so I've been a tad lost in ripple-world

The new blog, it's been gobbling up a lot more time than I had ever thought. It's really, really fun though. People keep popping out of the ether, crochet hooks or knitting needles in hand, ripples at the ready. There are even some newbies inspired to try it out. Ah, the power of the ripple. Here's what I have to this point:

A several times ripped back to this stage large blanket:

A star lovey for the babe which grew out of my obsession to figure out how to make a soft wave ripple work in the round:

(pattern here, thanks to Beth Parsons, whomever she may be!)

Click the button to get the way too long to repeat stories on those, and you should definitely check out the other ripplers. Creativity runs wild with the traditional crochet! It's funny,but I really don't think I've ever, ever done a ripple before. Never ever. Though I have some recollection of making those kitchen towels with the crocheted tops that hook around the fridge handle with my Grandma Allaria, and those tops may just have been a ripple. I can't remember for sure though, and I know they no longer exist, I've checked all my mom's drawers and hidey holes for them. Not that I really want them, they were awful. Cheap, cutesy hand towels replete with little animals and florid holiday prints. I do however, want to remember how to make them. I think there's huge update potential there...must remember to work on that. Done right, what a great hostess gift that would be!

And while you're at it, be sure to pop by the Granny-Along, hosted by the fabulous Kim Werker of CrochetMe fame and now crochet cheiftess at Interweave. Once she put the granny bug in my ear, these popped out of some languishing Plymouth Wildflower DK:

Gorgeous stuff on the blog, and yet another trip down memory lane for me. It's still hiding in the basement, that giant granny gone wild I took on at some point after my grandmother taught me to crochet oh so many eons ago. I wish I remembered more about working with her or what she made herself. I do remember how her hands looked holding the hook and the yarn, her filed to a lethal point nails picking out strands of yarn, pointing out where I went awry. Trips to I don't even know where to pick out sherbet toned scratchy acrylic. A g-hook of my very own. Hmmmm, those towel tops just may have been a granny-type pyramid...really must make a point to play with that a bit.

On the knitting front, am almost needing to figure out how to graft the toe of my very first ever sock. Thank the crochet goddesss for keeping me too busy to reach that point! Have also started knitting a coat out of my regrettably too small and now frogged cinnabar coat. Eco Wool knits BEAUTIFULLY btw. It's a pattern out of Classic Knit for Real Women that #1 caught my eye and #2 has instructions I can understand with one read through. Score for them. The book came home from the library with me this week, and while I am most definitely NOT in love with it as a whole, very little instruction/explanation, even of their sizing, and over all what I consider fairly frumpy patterns, there are a few like this coat that caught my eye. There's a super simple (or at least seemingly super simple) cable scarf that's clean and linear. And a knitted ripple scarf with a 2 row repeat that seems too goodly easy to be true. And a crochet motif they work into a bag and scarf that I will definitely play with. The sweaters I'm not in love with at all, just not my thing, and the pictures, while flatteringly posed, just don't give you a good clear look at the designs. In my opinion, worth a look, but not a buy.

It's all provided some much needed stress relief in some very trying mommy times. We had #1's 6th birthday which sent #2 into a tizzy of middle-child angst. We found out our classical school plans for the fall may just well be totally crumbling out from under us. And #3 has managed to fall just so and put his bottom teeth through the skin under his lip. At this point, am just hoping to make it through the week without anything else wonky. TGIFT my dears. TGIFT.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Happy dance, hap-happy dance!

The song goes something like this "I haaaave a paaaaaaal, I haaaaaaaave a paaaaaaaal, and it's gonna be fuuuuuuuun, and it's gonna be fuuuuuuuuun."

Lame but true.

Why all the jubilation? The Official L&V pRon Exchange is up and running. I'm stalking my pal and my pal is stalking me and soon packages will be flying. Whee!

And pal of mine, if you're out there, here be the survey-age:

1.What kind of fibers do you prefer? Naturalish ones. Buttery soft wools or cottons.

2. What kind of weight do you prefer (sock, worsted, bulky)? Sock or worsted, though come on now, it’s yarn and I love it all!

3. Do you spin? Lusting to.

4. Do you crochet? Compulsively.

5. Are there any books, patterns, magazines would you like to own that you don't? Am a beginning knitter, and Sally Melville’s respective knit and purl books are my ones and onlys.

6. Are you participating in any themed a-longs like the Project Spectrum? Violet’s Pink Ribbon and the No-End-In-Sight Ripple-Along. Project Spectrum was just too much purchasing temptation for me!

7. Do you have a wishlist on or (provide a link)
Yep. Here.

8. Any Etsy stores that you would love to get something from? Oh baby, I’ve only heard rumors (and you know which ones…), but I’ve thus far kept myself from browsing and busting the budget wide open. I LOVE the idea of supporting individual artistic efforts though. Surprise me.

9. What other crafty things are you involved in (quilting, drawing, painting)? Some beading, scrapbooking (self-confessed Creative Memories snob though…), and then there a ton of wanna-be-but-don’t-have-the-time-and-resources-now-to-bes.

10. What is your favorite sort of scent? Soft and spicy. Earthy.

11. Do you have a sweet tooth and what kind of sweets do you like best? Bring on the chocolate! Mmmmmm, and icecream…mmmmmm…spumoni…which takes me to mmmm….cannoli….mmmmm.

12. What kind of music do you like? I’m fairly eclectic. Some days it’s rock, some days punk, some days world, some days classical…it just has to be good!

13. What do you like to knit? And for whom? I tend to knit/crochet for everyone but myself, though I’d like to start being a bit more selfish! I can crochet just about anything I set my sights on, but to date have only knit a scarf, hat and ¾ of one sock. Loved them all.

14. What sort of things do you like to collect? Rocks and stones…polished, plain, colored or not…love them. Rocks rock.

15. Do you want needles? And what kind do you prefer? I’m a beginning knitter, so have VERY few needles and would LOVE additions of any sort, though to date DPNs and I don’t get along so well…