Sunday, December 19, 2010

Oh, hey guys!

With all of this luxurious time on my hands, I managed to finish a whole hat in only a couple of evenings, instead of a month! Huzzah! I haven't blocked it yet, but I just know that as soon as I do, it's going to get wrapped and then I'd never get a picture. And we all know that what the Internet really needs is a picture of a plain black knitted hat!


It's Turn a Square by the incomparable Jared Flood. I used Mission Falls 1824 Wool in Black. I'm hoping it'll become my brother's favorite hat and I can prove to him that wool is not the devil.

I've been a baking fool this weekend! I went to a party last night, which in itself doesn't sound like much, but guys... I didn't know anyone there! I'd never even met the hosts before! If you know me in real life, you probably understand how incongruous this is with my personality. But when you're in a city where you don't know anyone, you have to start somewhere. I'm learning that I'm not as socially awkward as I've always thought I was. I've been holding actual conversations where the person I'm talking to appears to be engaged and interested in what I'm saying! I'm not mumbling or staring at my feet or looking desperately for a book or a magazine to read! It's pretty incredible. I also met a fellow knitter at this same party. His LYS is the same as mine! Such a small, wonderful, knitterly world.

Anyway, I obviously couldn't show up at this party empty-handed, so I decided to make a gingerbread. I've made a couple of gingerbread loaves in the past and wasn't happy with them. They were both dry and not nearly flavorful enough. I was set on gingerbread though. It's my favorite, and I figured no one else would bring it. Then I remembered that Deb at Smitten Kitchen had posted a gingerbread I wanted to try. Of course it was decadently delicious.


It's the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread and it's everything she promises: spicy, rich, sticky, and extremely dangerous to get out of the pan! I was pretty sure I had oversprayed my pan and still lost a chunk. Not so bad though. I cut it up for transport anyway, and then I had a built in piece to guiltlessly devour. I mean, I couldn't very well bring an untested recipe to a party without quality control, right?! If you make one thing this Christmas, make this. You won't regret it.

Today I did some serious shopping (just searching for one elusive gift right now), and made some cookies to bring into work and bring home with me on Thursday. I made two kinds. Both unspeakably delicious.
Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cherry Cookies by Isa Chandra Moskowitz


and Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies by the one, the only, Martha Stewart


Now, I don't like to pick favorites, so let me just say that I wasn't planning to give these away, I'd have the whole tray of the molasses cookies in my lap right now. The chocolate cookies are delicious, but they're very rich. They're a lot like a brownie in cookie form, so one or two will do ya. The molasses ones though are very light, chewy, with a crisp edge, and a buttery, spicy flavor. Must... resist....

I'm deciding right now between casting on for some mittens, or getting some wrapping done. Sigh. I'll be kicking myself Wednesday night if I don't get the wrapping done. Heading home Thursday! I can't wait!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wow... Really?

Has it really been nearly a month since my last update?! Time sure has flown by, and here I am at the very end of my first semester of graduate school. Tomorrow is my last class, and I have a couple of things to finish for that, but I thought I'd come over and give a shout. And show off my latest FO! But first, some quick catch-up.
Thanksgiving happened, and so did an 11th birthday.


That cake is 100% vegan, and the most delicious chocolate cake I have ever made or eaten. The frosting was amazing too, but the cake! It's accidentally vegan, no egg replacers, no soy. It's a recipe called Wacky Cake, and there are versions all over the Internet. The recipe was created during WWII rationing, when home cooks had to get creative. Try it!

Speaking of food, we had a pretty delicious Thanksgiving breakfast of Vegan Pumpkin French Toast. The kids ate every bite with singular focus, something that never happens.


I squeezed in a visit to Purl Diva for a chat and some stash enhancement.


And Christmas draws nearer and nearer.


I'm making a hat for my brother. Partly because he's always complaining that I've never knit anything for him, and partly to see just how serious is his wool sensitivity. He wants a Cobblestone Pullover, but no way am I embarking on that project without testing out possibilities first. I think Mission Falls 1824 might be the way to go. We shall see.


And I finished something! I somehow managed to pull off a sock in between trips home, fifteen page papers, reading two short story collections, and critiques. No wonder they took a month to finish!


I used J. Knits Superwash Me in Florida. I really like this yarn! It's comfortable to knit, doesn't get too twisty. It's also very comfortable to wear. I haven't taken the socks off since I took these pictures this morning. I used the Hourglass Eyelet Socks pattern by Cindy Putnam. This pattern was formerly available on the defunct MagKnits site, and is now available for download on Ravelry. It was a nice, fun, easy pattern. The stitch pattern is easily memorized, and they go quickly (when you're not a first year grad student). I chose to use this pattern with this yarn because I was concerned about pooling, but I didn't need to be! Check out the soles, no pooling here! I don't regret my choice, but it would be sorta nice to have a pair of plain jane socks in this bright, cheery color, don't you think?


Whew! So that's what happens when you have to play catch up! After tomorrow, I'll have a blissful month reprieve from homework before the Spring semester starts. Let's see how many projects I can churn out during that time!

Monday, November 15, 2010

And so we meet again, Monday.

I spent the weekend in Austin, Texas visiting my BFF Michelle and meeting her baby (my goddaughter). I basically ate my way across the city, which is exactly how I like a vacation.


Some standouts included the Pumpkin ice cream with Pecan Praline sauce at Amy's Ice Creams; the most amazing grilled cheese of my life at the all gourmet grilled cheese restaurant, Chedd's; cupcakes at Quack's 43rd Street Bakery; and, of course, Frito Pie at Dog Almighty. Dog Almighty was my favorite place, narrowly beating out the grilled cheese. They can make anything on the menu veg, so it was the perfect place for me and my omni friends to eat. The hot dog I had was the juiciest veggie dog I had ever tasted. Seriously, if the inside hadn't had that distinctive veggie dog look, I would have been nervous. The Frito Pie did not disappoint! I'd heard of this Southern delicacy, but figured I'd never try it unless I made it myself (which just isn't the same). For those who haven't had it, it's basically chili and cheese on top of a pile of Fritos, so it's important that the chili is good. Dog Almighty boasts about all of the awards they've won for their dogs and veggie chili, and those awards are well deserved! The chili was rich and heavy, and had some kind of crumble in it (maybe TVP?) that gave it some serious heft. Deeeeeeelicious!


Since I spent the bulk of my time in Texas lazing about in a food coma, I didn't get any knitting done. But I still have something to share! I made a pretty delicious baked squash before my trip. I had bought a package of squash on impulse at the grocery, thinking I'd make some sort of chili or stew. It was a ridiculous idea, of course, since in the days leading up to my trip were filled with homework, packing, laundry and tying up lose ends. The squash languished in the refrigerator, threatening to go south before me. Baking to the rescue! I love baking/roasting root vegetables and squash in the winter. It's easy, relatively fast (almost no prep), and infinitely customizable. You can pour pretty much whatever you feel like over those suckers and it'll taste good. In this case, I started out looking at cookbooks and found a recipe for pumpkin that called for soy sauce. I thought I'd follow that recipe, but quickly went off course and made my own thing.


Baked Butternut Squash
(this made two servings for me, over rice, but as a side it'd go a lot further)
2.5 lbs squash (any kind you like, or sweet potato would be good)
1 Tbsp canola oil
1.5 Tbsp sake
1 Tbsp tamari
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
1/2 tsp minced garlic
Pour sauce over squash and bake! My baking was a little wonky. I started it out at 325 for about a half hour, but it wasn't cooking fast enough for my level of hunger so I turned the oven up to 400 for about 15 minutes, and got perfectly cooked squash. So maybe use a temp in between?

So now it's back to the grind! I've been spending all morning thinking about how I should be working on a paper. I think I've officially used all of my procrastination resources at this time. Better get to it.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


The weather here has been mostly gray, windy, cold and wet. Sometimes it feels like it's rained every day since I got here, which I know isn't true. I suspect I just notice it more since I walk everywhere now. Still, on days when the view out of the window looks like this:


It's awfully nice to knit away on a project that looks like this:


I knew I was onto something when I chose this color! I have to give the dyers at J. Knits props, as this yarn has not been pooling at all. Even on the bottom of the foot, there are gradual stripes coming off of the heel turn, but no unsightly blotches. The colors in general blend together quite nicely. I think I could have even done a stockinette sock in this yarn. Of course, this is sock #1. We'll see if sock #2 cooperates in the same way.

I've been working myself silly for school, trying to get ahead in both of my classes. Next weekend I'll be in Austin, TX to visit a friend (and finally meet my goddaughter), and then two weeks later is Thanksgiving. When I have the opportunity to spend time with friends and family, I hate to have work looming over my head. After Thanksgiving, there are only about three weeks left in the semester, and then a beauteous month stretches before me. Seems like a good time to knock out a sweater. Question is, which one?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

See My Vest!

As I rounded the corner to the finish line on this project, the same song repeated endlessly in my head:

To the best of my knowledge, no puppies were harmed in the making of this vest.


To recap: This is the Wood Hollow Vest by Kirsten Kapur, knitted in Cascade 220 in... uh... pale gray. Oh wait! I have a label! It's color number 8401, Silver Gray. I used US 5 and 6 needles, as recommended by the pattern. I recklessly did not do a gauge swatch. Rebel!


I really liked working on this project. The cable repeats are all divisible by four, so although they're varying heights, it's still easy to keep track. After a few repeats, I didn't even need to refer to the pattern anymore, which really helped with speed. I love the texture in the side panels. I love that the finished garment feels heavy and sturdy and looks rustic with the cables, but doesn't add a lot of bulk, and compliments dainty puffed sleeves. It's versatile, I can see myself wearing this a lot this winter, with everything from long sleeved oxfords to turtlenecks to plain t-shirts. The vest and I went out to lunch today and I wore it as shown with a cropped motorcycle jacket and boots and felt very fashionable and together. I can also report with authority after my long windy walk that this vest is warm! I highly recommend it.

The greatest thing about vests? NO SLEEVES! It was so nice to finish the front and back and get right to seaming. I always struggle with sleeves. Do I knit them both at once? Do I make them first and then do the body? Do I knit the front then the sleeves then the back? The sleeves are always sitting there in the pattern glowing neon orange up at the knitter tedium ahead, save yourself, turn back now! Oh, I suppose I'm being melodramatic, but still. Notice I've not yet casted on a sweater, although I have several at the top of my queue. Instead, I've entered sock country.


Now, there are knitters out there who find nothing worse than the prospect of a second sock. To each their own! This yarn is J. Knits Superwash in Florida, which I bought a hundred years ago at Purl Diva with the intention of making some jaunty socks for a gray February. Maybe it's the snack sized Snickers talking, but doesn't this yarn look like candy corn? Whenever I wear these, I'll think of October. The pattern is theHourglass Eyelet by Cindy Putnam. This is a former MagKnits pattern, now available at Ravelry (which is where the link takes you). I'm only one repeat in, but these seem like they're going to be quick and fun.

I'm still scheming over some hats, but I'm getting stymied looking for yarn. It was a lot easier when I had china cabinets or shelving for the stash. Right now it's housed in totes, which is trying. Most of them are clear, but still! That only means I can see what's on the outer edges. Who knows what treasures lurk within? I'm thinking about forcing myself to just work through one tote at a time. It would certainly be more manageable!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chugging Along

I went home this weekend (two weekends in a row!) to help out at the annual Wolfe's Neck 5k for Maine Teen Talk. I ran it last year, but I'm not exactly at peak performance right now. I haven't run since July! So I helped out with registrations.


It's a fun event, and the location is just beautiful! It made me miss Maine all the more. That few acres of park in the middle of the city just isn't a replacement for views like this:


It's always a little hectic when I'm home. I haven't been able to get away for longer than a weekend, which doesn't leave a lot of time for things like knitting. That said, I did make some progress on the Wood Hollow Vest since I last posted! I'm on the front now, and the top of the front at that! One or two more good nights of knitting and this puppy should be ready to go!


I made a deal with myself this morning that I'd finish the right front and then get to studying. So I suppose I should do that! 'Til next time! Happy Knitting!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Movin' Right Along

My bargaining system with myself seems to be working. I'm ahead on my homework, and this vest is about 3/4 finished!


Maybe the next time you see it, I'll be wearing it! We can hope.

I went home this weekend for a special event. When someone says "roller skating birthday party," one typically doesn't say no. Even when one doesn't get to actually skate. It's hard work wrangling a handful of seven year-old boys!


The adults weren't very impressed with the venue, but the kids had a great time! The funniest part was watching them all take spills all over the rink and getting up with the biggest smiles on their faces. My older nephew wants to have his birthday at the same place. We'll see. My sister was really not psyched. Me? I have my fingers crossed for another bowling party!

Since I was home and down Brunswick-way, I was really hoping to get in a stop at Purl Diva, but it wasn't meant to be. I did get to visit the bunnies though! They're staying with my dad until I can get a place where I can have them. I miss them so, so, so much. Seeing them again was bittersweet.


I hope you had a great weekend! I'm going to try to squeeze in one more assignment before bed. 'Til next time!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

True Confessions

I know I'm not the only one who does this, but my favorite procrastination technique right now is to troll through the recently added patterns to Ravelry and add projects to my queue with wanton abandon. My main motivation for doing homework these days is the promise of a few rows of knitting squeezed in afterwards, which sort of makes this procrastination nothing but self-masochistic cruelty. The longer I day dream, the less time I have for knitting!

That said, I love seeing the trends in knitting come and go (though I have to admit to a recoil upon seeing an ad for ponchos on TV). Remember when the big thing was novelty yarn (I was never much for eyelash, but I loved ribbon yarn and cushy, velvety yarn)? Or what about when Stitch 'n' Bitch came out and it was all about intarsia skulls and devil hats? It seems like the current big rush is for cute cowls and slouchy hats. Personally, I love both! I'm a little nervous about my ability to pull off a slouchy hat (won't it be constantly slipping off?), I'm making serious eyes at the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret. Other contenders in the queue: Trinity Stitch Hat by BreadnButter, and the Meret by Woolly Wormhead.

Cowls are great because there are no ends to flip around like a scarf, and they don't make that big hump in the front of your coat. With the recent spate of cool weather we've been having in Boston (finally!), I've been craving the simplicity of a cowl. I love The Birthday Cowl by Nova Seals, Good Luck Cowl by Christianne Gerstner, and (especially) Crofter's Cowl by Gudrun Johnston.

Of course, you could also have the best of both worlds with Super Cupcake by ChicKnits!

I want to finish my vest before I cast on for anything else. I'm having a hard enough time juggling required and pleasure reading, let alone keeping track of multiple projects! I'm thinking I really need that slouchy beret though! Now to choose a color....

Saturday, October 09, 2010


So suddenly today I was taken by the desire to blog again. I've missed blogging. I've missed talking about knitting and being part of a community, and blogging was a big part of that for me. I abandoned my other blog (referenced in the last post of this blog) so long ago that it turned into an unsavory site somehow without me, so I planned to start a new one. But lo! What a surprise to discover that this blog has been slumbering peacefully for almost exactly three years now, just waiting for me to come home. Waste not, want not, I always try to say. And with that spirit, I'm jumping back into the pool!

I can't guarantee that the majority of my posts will be about knitting. I'm a graduate student now, living in Boston. My life has gone through deep, incredible changes in the last three years. But I still love to knit. And I still love to talk about it.

So I'll get to work on cleaning house over here. The blog feed in particular needs some major renovations. And I'll share a few photos of my current wip, the Wood Hollow Vest by Kirsten Kapur. I have the back finished now, but not yet photographed.


I'm using Cascade 220 in a really pretty light gray. The pattern is fun to work, quick to learn, and sleeveless. The best part about knitting a vest!

Welcome back! It's so nice to see you! Come over again soon.