Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cables! Cables! Cables!


Have I mentioned that I love cables???

I have?

Well, it's true. I LOVE cables!



Aren't they pretty?

This is about halfway up the left front of the sweater, the last bit of cabled knitting. I will miss knitting it, odd as that sounds considering how many problems I have had and how long it has taken me to make this sweater. (I started it on August 17th 2014. Yikes.)

So I think that because I will miss these cables, I should make a cabled sweater for ME next time!



Sunday, December 14, 2014

I Am So Disillusioned...

I have always had complete faith in blocking. Blocking fixes EVERYTHING!!!

No. No it doesn't. My faith is shattered.



These are the sleeves for the State Fair cardigan I am making for my daughter. When I was knitting them, the total length measured around 16" more or less. Now that they are blocked, they measure 24". That is seven inches longer than they should be! 

Blocking stretched them to their actual length, I guess.  

I also guess I will be frogging the sleeve cap and seven inches of the sleeve. 

I just finished the right front and have started the left front. I thought that I was nearly finished, but my daughter is a human, not an orangutan.

#$%^&*()_!

Update:  Dumb, dumb, dumb. Put your glasses on, knittergran. The problem just didn't seem logical to me, so I checked again. I had read the measurement chart wrong and had not added the cap measurement to the sleeve-up-to-the-cap measurement. The sleeve is the correct length.  

Whew...


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cables

I LOVE knitting cables. I'm a bit slow to get going on a cabled project because all the twists and turns intimidate me a bit, but once I get going........I'm still slow. I am now knitting the right front of H's sweater and then I'll just have the left front, blocking, sewing the pieces together, picking up stitches for the neck and button bands, knitting them, and voilà, I'll have a sweater.  Or rather, H will.



Maybe even before Christmas!!!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Coma

Baxter and I are in a sweetness coma. ...   ..  ...........  . . . . . ..... . . . ...


Sorry, I've recovered. I just made PW's rice pudding and as she promised, it is sweet, and then sweeter and then sweet some more AND DE-licious!




I made the topping as well, and that has a half cup of butter, a half cup of brown sugar and a half cup of corn syrup.  And some pecans.

And some bourbon. 

I think that the liquor store guy might think I have a little drinking problem. I knew that the recipe called for brandy, right?  So I went in the other day and asked for the smallest bottle of brandy that they sold, because it's for a recipe. But when I got home and looked at the recipe, I realized that I needed bourbon, not brandy. So today I went in looking for the smallest bottle of bourbon that they sell, because it's for a recipe.

wink, wink, nudge, nudge.




Yes, the bottle is small enough to carry around in my pocket, but really, I did use it for the pudding and the topping. I soaked, as directed, a half a cup of raisins in a half a cup of BOURBON and then put them in the pudding.  I've never been a fan of raisins in pudding, but PW (we're besties, did I tell you?) guaranteed that raisins soaked in BOURBON, not brandy, are a whole different thing.  

Well, turns out, they're not.  But I can eat around them.  Ick.  

Other than the raisins, the pudding is delish but really, REALLY sweet. Baxter licked out the remainder in the dish, agreed it was sweet, and is currently searching for more.



(So where did wink, wink, nudge, nudge come from? First one to guess right gets a half a cup of previously-used bourbon-soaked raisins.)


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Finally!

The Nuvem is finished. Its been months and months. Of knitting 1,800 yards of lace-weight yarn on size 4 needles. All stockinette, i.e. BORING. And I won't be making another one because I've always said No more baby blankets since those are miles and miles of knitting. So, since I proclaimed that, I've made I don't know how many wraps, which are miles and miles of knitting.

But I do love it and it's very, very soft.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Talk to the Hand? Really?

Yes, really.  And remember, it's Christmas shopping season.



You are very welcome!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I'm Too Sexy for My Shirt.


Nope. That's not it. Definitely not it.

I'm too clever for my kitchen?

Probably not.  

But I did get clever enough today to turn the leftover pumpkin pie filling from the previously-mentioned William Sonoma pie recipe into these cute little mini muffins.



I had about two cups of the pie filling left over and there was all kinds of good stuff in it: pumpkin purée, heavy cream, dark brown sugar, eggs, and various spices. 

So, thought I, why not add some flour, salt and baking powder and see what happens!

I used a random muffin recipe, added half the amount of flour, baking powder and salt called for and the mixture seemed to be the right viscosity (Is that a cooking term? Or just for oil? Viscous. That sounds gross.) and filled up the cups.

And now I have two dozen pumpkin mini muffins and they taste just fine.

Perfect!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Annnnndddd....


One of these things is not like the others,

One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?


I promise not to sing.




So, what do we have here?

A floured stone countertop, nice and cold to roll out dough.

A silicone rolling pin.  (Best invention ever)
A metal ring to protect the pie edge after it's been awhile in the oven.
A pretty pie plate.  (You can't see it but I know it's there.)
All are items I use to make pies.

And....


a Plunger???


Which I DON'T use to make pies, but the garbage disposal clogged up with all of the apple peelings and parts. My husband says that this plunger, which he promises he has thoroughly cleaned and sanitized (uh huh), is exactly what he needs to clear the clog.  


I persuaded him to wait until I was finished and had the pie in the oven.  Phew.


It's a holiday, so of course, something has to go wrong or there would be no stories.


And now, two Thanksgiving stories:


We go to two friends' home each year for Thanksgiving and have been for 25 years. There is always a great gathering of their various friends from various stages in the hosts' lives, and often we visit with "friends" we've known for 25 years, but only see once a year because they don't even live here. But there have been incidents.


One year there was an oven fire caused by some drippings from a dish a prospective daughter-in-law had brought to the future in-laws' home. It would have gone out on its own soon enough, but some people (men) kept opening the oven door to see if the fire was out yet, giving another burst of air to the fire. The host ultimately deployed his fire extinguisher and that was the end of that.


Then there was the year that the police almost arrested a couple of the male guests.  The host mentioned during the dinner that the alarm at a house two doors away had been going off all day.  A couple of the guests went to the house, saw that the front door was open, and from there they could see a dog peeking out of the laundry room from behind a door that was not on the hinges, but was leaning against the doorway. One of the men came back, called 911, and while the others were rescuing the dog and trying to see if anything else looked amiss, the police arrived. The police checked out the rest of the house, but were understandably unhappy that the men had even gone in the front door and said to one of them, "How do I know you haven't taken a Rolex?" 


Wise guy guest replied, "How do I know YOU haven't taken a Rolex?"


Things went downhill from there.


The other men quickly returned to the hosts' home, and wise guy was left to deal with a now angry police officer.



So tomorrow is another Thanksgiving and maybe, but I hope not, another story.




(Song lyrics from Sesame Street) 



I Think I Should Drink

when I cook or bake.  

I am making two pies today, one apple pie from the Silver Palate cookbook and one pumpkin pie from William Sonoma. I've used both recipes before, but only once a year and I tend to forget small details. Apparently.

So I ended up with two pre-baked pie shells. How I ended up with two is a long and confusing story, even to me, and I was here to witness it. Realistically I should have ended up with only one, but...never mind.



In my defense (have you noticed I ALWAYS have a defense; I should'a been a lawyer), the recipe for the pumpkin pie reads as follows:


The list of ingredients clearly calls for a pre-baked and cooled piecrust.  Right???

Right.  

So I work on, mixing all of the ingredients while letting the pre-baked  pie crust cool.

And then I get to the part about pouring the filling into the piecrust and I read this:



Do NOT pre-bake piecrust.  

What the #$%^&*()?

So anyway, I am currently baking a pie in an UN pre-baked pie crust.  And I am going to put a note on my copy of the recipe, so that I don't do this again next year.


I wish you a lovely Thanksgiving tomorrow, and I wish you a sober cook!

Unless, like me, the cook SHOULD drink.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Only 14,000 stitches to go!


Only?

I just turned 1,000 stitches, more or less, into 2,000 stitches, more or less. Mostly more, I think.

Because I'm crazy?

No, because I'm in the home stretch, yo!

I started working on this Nuvem months ago, and have finally reached the FINAL SEVEN ROWS!!!

14,000 stitches!!!  yikes.


Update:

It takes 1 1/4 episodes of Poirot to knit 2,000 stitches in stockinette on size 4 circular needles with lace weight yarn.  6,000 down, 8,000 to go.  Lots more Poirot!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I Know This to be True

From the New Yorker Magazine

as a result of the British mysteries I have watched:

Inspector Morse (ugh. Morse is depressed. Makes the series depressing. And then he dies.)

Inspector Lewis

soon to be?  Inspector Hathaway???  Make it so, PBS.

Worricker

Agatha Christie's Miss Marple

Inspector Lynley

Foyle's War

Sherlock Holmes (a few of the old ones.  Don't like that Sherlock.  Love the newest one: Benedict Cumberbatch)

Endeavour  (Covers the younger years of Inspector Morse.  He is not depressed yet, apparently, and the episodes are watchable.)

And last but not even remotely least:

Poirot.  But I understand all of the conversations in this series; after all, Hercules Poirot is not British (or French).  He is, as he so often says when he is accused of being French, Belgian


Sunday, November 16, 2014

From This:



(This had been in a hank, but a certain feline got to it and had too much fun.)

To this:



To ?

I don't know yet. A generous friend brought me this yarn from Santa Fe but I don't know how much there is; my husband and I measured some out and weighed it, then weighed the whole amount to determine the yardage. I didn't write it down because I would remember, only I don't. I think it was somewhere around 400 yards. I don't know the fiber content but I suspect twisted and untwisted 100% wool. A burn test is in the works.

Now I will search through Ravelry to find the best pattern for it. The colors are pretty true in the photo, sort of pastel Santa Fe-ish colors, my favorites.  


At last Thursday's knit night I made this cowl:



from Malabrigo Rasta.  Easy, easy, easy!  And the yarn is the softest, a joy to work with.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

To My Fashion-Challenged Daughters,


Just so you know.  The Wall Street Journal style writer says:


And don't forget my Birkenstocks.  They are IN too. They are CUTE!

You are very welcome for the fashion tips.

Sincerely,

Your stylin' mom

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dear Reader, I Am a Fiber Artist!!!


How do I know this?

Well, quite honestly, I've always suspected it, but on Saturday it became official. I was wearing this:


and I was on an elevator at the High Museum.  A totally random (but very knowledgeable and intelligent) woman looked at me and said:

I have one of those (ponchos) and held out a blue one.

FA (fiber artist, me) said:  Oh! Did you make one too?

RW (random, but very knowledgeable and intelligent) woman: You MADE that?!

FA: Yes.

RW:  Oh! You are a fiber artist!

FA:  (modestly) No, I'm a knitter. 

She said that I'm a fiber artist, and just like when the Internet says something, it must therefore be true.

Although, and this is a big although, I didn't actually make it. Explaining this to her would have been complicated and a longer conversation than the two-story trip in the elevator would have allowed. I did intend to make it, but as Sallyknit was laying hers out to block when were all at a house in Asheville, Anna (Knitting Wizard) said: I could make that in an afternoon on my knitting machine. (Knitting it by hand takes forever!) I raised my hand to stop all conversation and volunteered to make mine on her machine. She agreed.  

Back in Atlanta, we did try to have me make it on the machine, but the machine is tricky and it kept jamming. So Anna (Knitting Wizard) had me leave it with her, and she worked on it bit by bit when she had time and patience.  

So I didn't actually make it, but I totally could have.

Sincerely,

Your Fiber Artist

Sunday, November 9, 2014

HEY YOU KIDS...

GET OFFA MY LAWN!!!



So I realize that I'm entering into crabby old person territory here, but c'est ça. That's the way it is.

We went to a concert Thursday night. I won't say who the bands were, the first one because I don't know who they were, and the second because I'm told they are actually good. I couldn't say because I COULDN'T HEAR THEM over the noise they made. My husband says it's the venue's fault for not getting the sound system correct; I'm suspicious that it's laziness on the part of the groups. If they don't feel like performing well, all they have to do is play so LOUDLY that nothing other than the base comes through. The venue shook, like a car with a large speaker system in it does in traffic. Just imagine lots of cars with large speaker systems surrounding your car and you almost get the idea.

Kind of crazy thing to do: no one who heard the bands for the first time Thursday night would go out and buy the groups' music. 

AND my second get offa my lawn observation:  

I hope that when I was young and had long hair I didn't fling it all over the people near me. Seats were not assigned at the venue and my first seat was next to a young woman with long, long hair, which she flung around ON me, so I moved. The woman who moved into the seat in front of me was a hair-flinger too. She and her date appeared to be in their late 40s or early 50s and spent their time there...what's the current word?...canoodling? 

Geeze.  Get a room.

Maybe they did.  They left after the opening act. 

OK, so that's three get offa my lawn moments.  

Chill, knittergran, chill.



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tacky? Who, me?


I have mentioned that some people in my family (my two daughters and very occasionally, my husband) have accused me of having tacky taste.  My daughters say that this jacket proves their point.  



I, of course, disagree; otherwise, I wouldn't have bought it. I LOVES me some fringe and this has fringe yo!

Normally, buying something is not a blog post, because who cares, really? But this was an unusual purchase because I literally bought it off someone, as in, off someone's body. I had been admiring it from a distance while I was at the Country Living Fair at Stone Mountain, and when I walked by the woman wearing it, I noticed a price tag on it. Weird. It turned out that she was a vendor at the fair and she WAS hoping to sell the jacket. So I bought it. Legitimately. I did not wrestle it off the woman and run.  

The price was great. She was happy; I was happy and I just retrieved it from the cleaners.  (Vintage clothing bought off someone else's person is not necessarily shiny clean.)  

I have fringe!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Easy,


said one of the reviews for this recipe for Cottage Pie.

Well, I suppose it was.





But I think that messy might have been a better description.

My husband gets to clean it up; that was the deal I made (with myself) when I decided to make cottage pie for dinner. 

Two dinners actually---the recipe serves 10.  

Update:  It was yummy!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

And at the Same Time as


Every knitter's most dreaded words. Well, maybe not every knitter's, but most. Ok, so maybe not most, but MINE for sure.

I have reached the point on the back of State Fair where I begin the decreases for shaping the armholes and neck....and at the same time as...I continue the cables. It could drive me to drink, but then I would be guaranteed to mess it all up, instead of just likely to mess it all up. 



Heeeerrrrre we go.  

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Charcoal Anyone?

When I was at Stone Mountain last week for the Country Living Fair, I had delicious Brussels Sprouts for lunch. They had been flash fried and then coated with a mixture of Thai chili sauce, honey and garlic.

Really delicious!

So I just tried to make them, but I roasted them (too long at 40 minutes) at 400 degrees and then put the sauce mixture on. They are a good bit blacker than they look in this photo and some really are just dust.

Others, however, are great. Next time I won't cut such small sprouts in half and I WILL watch them as they roast.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wouldn't You Think



That friends would tell a friend as they were all leaving knit night together that she was WEARING the knitting needles she had pulled out of a project?

Said aggrieved knitter went to Publix on the way home from knitting and bought Halloween candy...WEARING the aforementioned knitting needles.

She did not discover this until she arrived home.

Thanks guys.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Progress and Bad Boy Baxter



I've been knitting and knitting away, and finally, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am almost at the point where the decreases for the sleeves begin and I have knit the sleeves to that point also. Yesterday I got a bit cocky confident and knit so absent-mindedly that I made a mistake and had to take back one of the cables, AGAIN. I really need to pay better attention. 

I apparently do love knitting cables and watching them form; I keep choosing cabled sweater patterns to make and this is my third in the past two years. I have knit some lace and keep buying lace weight yarn and lace patterns, but never seem to get around to making them. I'm beginning to suspect that I don't enjoy lace-knitting. 


Now for Bad Boy Baxter.

Early last summer my husband built a tall gate so that Baxter could spend time on the deck and not escape. A couple of weeks ago, twice we thought he was on the deck, but we couldn't see him and assumed he was in the house. Hours passed and we would walk past the windows that overlook the deck and there he was! How on earth could we have missed him?

Turns out, we hadn't, because we finally saw this:



He climbs the gate! And then climbs down the other side and goes off on an adventure. Bad, bad Baxter! There are coyotes and foxes around here, as well as one orange cat that likes to fight and that had pretty thoroughly beaten Baxter up when he escaped a year or so ago. 

My husband has put a section of lattice, about four inches deep, along the top of the gate, at a 90-degree angle to the gate, and Baxter is so far defeated in his efforts to escape. He meows, rams himself against the gate, puts his head through the holes, but can't get out. 

We win! 

For now.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Do You Know a Knitting Wizard?


I do!  Her name is Anna, and she just saved me from having to rip out many rows of the State Fair Cardigan I have been working on, oh, forever.

After I thought I had repaired the wrong-way cables, I had some long strands of yarn that I couldn't figure out. Where did they come from? Where should they go? Anna poked around, pulled strands here and there, and diagnosed the problem. I had knit the new cables too tightly and the yarn strands really belonged IN the cables. So she ripped the six stitches back, got them started again with the correct tension, and I was able to work up the columns correctly. Whew....  I had even put in a lifeline in case I had to take the whole piece back about three inches. But now, thanks to Anna, I don't!

Do you see loose strands here?

or here?


No, you do not.  And that's because what appeared to be extra yarn is all back in place in the cables.  

Thank you, thank you, thank you Anna!



Last week at knit night a woman wearing a completed State Fair came into the shop. I recognized the sweater right away and it was nice to see it since I had only "seen" it in the Interweave magazine. The knitter said that she had made it in six weeks. 

Sigh.......I wish I were that fast a knitter.



Bonus: 

Did you know that unwaxed dental tape works perfectly for lifelines? It doesn't break or shred as you pull it through the stitches.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Time on Your Hands?



Here you go:

Weirdness.

It is gorgeous today, and I am lethargic.  I blame the flu shot I had yesterday.

Days like this---what the internet (and knitting) is for....

Friday, October 17, 2014

Why I Do Not Live in Texas, part 3



This spider, a Death's Head according to my daughter's biologist friend, is currently about the size of a silver dollar, and has built a web three feet in diameter.

It is building this web on my daughter's porch and she has enjoyed watching it work. Contrary to the recommendations on this spider guide:



she is leaving the spider alone.  She has named it Vincent, although it is probably a female.  

A large female. I bet it is waiting to have babies, zillions and zillions of babies.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oh, Sweet Mother of Purl

I have gone from this:


To this:

 To this:

It only took three size 1 double pointed needles, a crochet hook, two cable needles, a couple of pins, an OTT light, more time than I wish to think about, and nerves of steel. No wine allowed.    

The stitches are kind of stretched out, but I believe, Ah Believes, in the miracle of blocking.  


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

My friends all drive Porsches.  I must make amends.

No, they don't. No, I must'nt. (Is that even a word?) My brain is trying to distract me by putting Janis Joplin song lyrics in my head. Seriously. I am trying to figure out how to fix this:



And suddenly I hear Janis Joplin in my head.

Very weird.  

Have I ever told you that we went to see her in a tiny bar in Schenectady, New York, just a couple of weeks before she died, and a week or so past my due date for daughter #1? Well, we did.  And that my husband thought that if I went into labor during the show, we should name child (if it was a girl, of course) Janis? And that that is my name, although I spell mine differently?

Well, it's true. But I vetoed it. (You're welcome, H.)

Anyway, back to the problem at hand. I am struggling with fixing this. It's many, many rows of cable that I had crossed the wrong way, and now I have to figure out how to knit them back correctly, crossing them on the correct rows and ending up on the same row as the rest of the stitches. And my mind is taking detours.

Maybe the solution will just come to me in the lyrics of a song. It's as good a way as any I can think of at the moment.  

Just as long as it's not Llama, Llama, Duck. Yes, it's knitting related, but it would not be helpful.  

I'll wait for delivery, each day until three.

Just stop!!!


Saturday, October 11, 2014

But Wait!

There's more!




annnnd....I see a mistake. No, a design element. 

 @#$%^&*%^&

Nope.  It's a mistake.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Major Concentration and No Wine

That is what my knitting friend, Lucille, told me a few minutes ago when she saw what I have gotten done on the back of H's sweater so far:



It only measures about five inches in length, but it took ages to get this far. The cables are tricky and it took me awhile to figure out a system to keep track of what is what. 

Tip #1

This is the stitch guide:



There are TEN, count them -TEN- different cables in this pattern. Yikes! They use anywhere from four to six stitches apiece, some with all knit stitches, some with knit and purl stitches, some where three of the purl stitches are done into what had been three knit stitches, and some increasing a stitch IN the cable (WHAT???). Sorting out the cables was confusing. At first. Then I wrote in the number of stitches each type of cable requires so that I don't have to look through all of them to see what the pattern calls for, and from then on, Bob's your uncle.

Maybe.  Do you have an uncle named Bob?  If so, I must be psychic!!!

Say Hi to Uncle Bob for me.

Tip #2

Have I ever mentioned that I love, love, love Knit Companion?  Because I do.
The chart for the cable pattern is tiny, but with Knit Companion and my iPad, I can embiggen (official internet word) the chart on the screen, and then scroll up and down, back and forth, do the hokey-pokey, and see where I am working.  No magnet boards, no magnets, no writing on paper, no losing paper, no misplacing of pencils....

All I have to do is remember to keep the iPad charged.  

There are 68 stitches in the rows of this cable section, and I just scroll to where I need to be, and it's simple, YO!



When dH gets back from his bike ride, we'll have chili for dinner, but I don't think I want wine with that. I'll have a beer, which IS, after all, alcohol, and so that precludes any and all major concentration.  

No more knitting tonight.

Sorry, H.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Year Ago Today

Exactly one year ago yesterday was my youngest granddaughter's fifth birthday.
Exactly one year ago yesterday, while I was in Texas to celebrate her fifth birthday, I fell and broke my ankle.  Ouch...

Exactly one year ago today I went, on crutches and with a plaster cast on my ankle, to Hill Country Weavers in Austin, TX to buy this yarn:


Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed
It is sold in very few places in the US and no place in the Atlanta, GA area, so I HAD to go to the store in Austin, no matter what the doctor at the ER had told me. I hobbled up the ramp to the store (Which came first in indoor living? Ramps or stairs? I bet ramps. A ramp is a wonderful thing.) and the saleswoman took me directly to the Shelter yarns. I had planned on a neutral color, but when I saw this Thistle color, with the help of my daughter and the saleswoman, I changed my mind.  Pick the color you love, one or both of them said.  And I did.

SO, would you like to see the sweater I bought the yarn for one year ago today?

So would I.

This is all there is so far:



In my defense, I have knit two zillion things---well, maybe seven or eight things---since then, and I am working on another sweater at the same time.  

But it WILL be finished some day, maybe by the first of the new year.

More importantly, however, this itty bitty baby girl:



born five weeks early six years ago yesterday,



is now a very sturdy, lively, completely charming six-year old!

Good things come in teeny packages!