March 2005

Work has been more all-encompassing than usual lately, and I haven’t been knitting much of interest. So all I have to post today is a picture of my toe-hat progress and a picture of the eggs I dyed on Saturday at Elaine‘s.

alas, none of the pictures were in focus, and you can’t really see the glitter on the bottom two. at least the colors are fairly accurate

In case anyone’s interested, here’s an approximate recipe for the cookies I baked on Saturday and took to the SnB yesterday:

3/4 c oil
1/2 c blackstrap molasses
1 1/2 c white sugar
most of 3 bananas
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 1/4 c peanut butter <– I use the kind that’s just ground peanuts, no additives at all
1 1/2 c carob powder
1/2 t baking soda
3 c flour

Bake 7’30” at 375ºF. (If I were going to make these again, I’d cut back on the flour, maybe add some milk, and bake them a bit longer. You should also bake them longer if you don’t like your cookies gooey and squishy.)

It’s spring, time to hurry up and knit with wool before packing away the sweaters.

I’m not sure I’ll get to wear this before it gets warm here:

That’s really not much of a sweater yet, but maybe I can take it to Maine and Vermont this summer and wear it there. If nothing else, it’ll be done for next year…

The green to-be-felted bag now has a complete base and the beginnings of sides. The original plan called for this bag to be a way to experiment with interesting and complex cables. However, I think the B&BP is filling my need for a cable pattern that requires attention, so this can just be mindless knitting. Maybe I’ll put in a cable or two, just to see how it looks after felting, but there won’t be much patterning. Ooh, maybe I can put in a stripe or two near the top, in the gold or orange that I have of the same yarn.

This toe-hat is my newest “project”. I started it at the PhillyKnitters SnB yesterday. Anj, our generous and talented hostess, prepared a handout and lesson on toe-up, two-circ socks. I’m not really planning on finishing this one, just getting past the heel, and I’m not planning on making the matching one, so it’s really more of a learning exercise than a project. With any luck, though, I can make myself finish the cabled silja sock within a few weeks, and then I can start its mate as a toe-hat.

The main lesson from yesterday? Knitting on two circulars is really, really easy. I’d been not trying to learn because I figured I’d need either a demonstration or a couple of hours to figure it out, and I wasn’t motivated enough to set aside a couple of hours. I got a demo, but I don’t think it would’ve taken me more than twenty minutes to get it going properly by myself… (That is, I think I’d’ve done fine with the internet as a resource for knitting a tube on 2 circs. The figure-8 cast-on kind of wanted a teacher.) So, now, I’m going to try to hunt up appropriate needles for knitting Natalya on two circs–no chance of one of them falling and clattering in class!

A secondary lesson from yesterday: Charting patterns is a good idea. I spent a while trying to figure out precisely where I want to start the next flower motif in the lacy flower shawl, for the most efficient fit on the horizontal without having the flowers be too close to the ones in the previous repeat. I eventually decided that my indecision and tinking didn’t go well with participating in the conversation and switched to the green bag. Picking up stitches takes way less concentration than “charting” a pattern in my head…

I’ve actually been cooking over the last couple of days. Last night was Chinese-ish, this afternoon was cookies, and this evening was Indian-ish. It does cut into the knitting time, but it’s really great to cook and eat real food, even if it doesn’t come out perfectly. Cooking is actually a lot like knitting*, enough about the process that I don’t always mind if the product’s a little wonky.

Most of my recent yarn work hasn’t been knitting. I ripped out the green manos scarf I made a couple of years ago and wore once, and I wound the warm brown koigu for Natalya and the rest of the second skein for the green felted bag. I have, however, started a birthday present for my mom, only a week after her birthday…

*except that I don’t have to wash my knitting needles between uses, thank goodness

…the promised pictures. My computer stayed in lab last night while I went out for Thai food with some friends from work.

gifties from my SP4 pal: a mug, a mini cookbook, candles (lavender and vanilla-berry), furry eyelash yarn, a pair of dancing frogs, and an i-cord maker thingy

The yarn is probably going to become a felted bag reminiscent of the monster slippers from Stitch ‘n’ Bitch Nation. I may even add eyes…we’ll see.

the hat made from PKSP2 yarn, finally finished. It needs a good blocking, since it kept trying to squinch up my head, but I like it.

So, does the red yarn in the sweater-to-recycle (courtesy of Rosemary) go with the blue variegated yarn? I’m thinking not, which is kind of too bad, but the sweater isn’t superwash–I think–and the blue is. So I should just wait a few months and get me some encore.

I stopped by the library on my way home and got sucked into rereading David Brin’s Glory Season. No knitting content tonight.

I got my first SP4 package this afternoon, and virtuously waited ’til I got home to open it. I’ll post pictures tomorrow, but highlights include two flavors of tealights, a tool for avoiding knitting i-cord, and the excellent German gummy bears that we’ve had in lab sometimes after Thomas has visited with his relatives in Germany. Thanks, secret pal!

Go look at these crocheted models of hyperbolic planes, designed for a geometry class.

I stayed up late last night, waiting for my hair to dry after washing away the smoke-reek, and I managed to knit cables without screwing things up. I think the row counter helps with that–I could just count rows, but I’d worry that I’d miscounted, and I’d probably be right. Especially at 2am.

It’s starting to really look like something…

I’ve been working a bit on the B&B pullover, but it’s not strikingly different from the last photo. I’ve been thinking more about what to do with the blue-variegated Vulcano, which I was going to try to use for Klaralund. What I think I’m going to do is get some Plymouth Encore in one of the colors from the Vulcano and combine the Klaralund pattern with the color scheme of LiteBrite: solid body and stripy arms.

Anyone want some blue variegated wool-acrylic blend in exchange for some solid-colored wool-acrylic blend? (If no one wants to swap, I’ll probably just postpone this until either the end of May or the completion of all of my current projects, whichever comes first. Maybe even all of my current projects except either the B&BP or the cabled bag, since they’re large and may require charts the whole time.)

To end with something accomplished instead of ideas floating around in my head, here’s a recipe for the muffins I baked this evening:

1/4 c oil
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c honey
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 c milk
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp powdered ginger (or to taste)
1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)

Bake ~15′ at 400ºF. Makes 12 muffins that sit neatly in muffin cups.

Sophia (my version of Magknits‘s Sophie) is felted. Ordinarily, that would be finished, but the felting didn’t come out the way I’d anticipated.

It’s a cute little bag, emphasis on little, but the i-cord is just a bit too long and the flap is too narrow. Sometime soonish, I’m going to add an edging to the flap (maybe crocheted, if I’m feeling really brave). I’m also going to cut the straps, shorten them, and adjust the twist before I sew them back together. I may do a bit of hand-felting to try to make the seam sturdier, but I certainly don’t want the bag itself smaller!

If I were going to knit something like this again, I’d probably do the flap all in 2×2 ribbing (like the edge) and maybe increase a few stitches in the first row. I would also do everything possible to avoid knitting the i-cord. Some other kind of strap should be fine.

Today’s continuing-knitting photo is of the B&B pullover:

I’m in the middle of row 5 of the first half of the chart for the main cable panel. (How’s that for a series of prepositional phrases?) It’s definitely something I can’t knit during movies or lectures, but it’s coming along reasonably well. I’ve also been working on the decreases for the cabled Manos hat. I think I’ve been a little slow so far, but I’m coming up to the point at which I’m going to decrease the middle strand out of at least half of the cables. Maybe I’ll cable the other half and wait to decrease them until after another row or two… Ah, the joys of inventing the pattern as I go along.

Being me, and not having much mindless stuff on needles, I started another project yesterday afternoon. I needed something I could knit at a movie theater, where I couldn’t turn a light on, so I started in on the cabled totebag I’d been planning on making with my naturgarn. After two hours (Bride and Prejudice), I have about half of the base. I really ought to decide on the cables for the sides before I get there.

And, for the re-starting, that’s Natalya. I’ve decided to switch to the other koigu colorway and use these two for a pair of pop-top mittens. They may be based on Marnie MacLean’s Hooray For Me gloves. Or maybe not. I’m going to make sure the Natalyas are finished before I embark on yet another design-as-I-go. Still, I think it’s pretty clear that koigu is my handwarming yarn. By the time I’m finished with these two things, I’ll have mittens, fingerless gloves, and pop-top mittens, all made of koigu.

It’s a new project, of course. I’ve finally started the B&B Pullover from the winter 2003 IK:

The color’s pretty accurate, because I messed with it in Photoshop until it looked right. I’m having minor problems with laddering when I switch from knit to purl, but I like working with Briggs and Little yarn. It’s so woolly…

And, while I’m posting pictures, here’s one of the reasons I’ve been as contented as I have been this week (i.e. why I haven’t been even crankier):

Kippered salmon on an Ess-a-Bagel multigrain bagel. I picked up some real bagels and smoked fish (including pumpernickel and whitefish) while I was in New York on Saturday to see the Gates (and my parents and some friends). Ahhh, real bagels, properly chewy. I wish I could get real bagels and good fish in Philadelphia.