Monday, February 18, 2008

I finished something

It's a day off for me, which means that I have spent the day hanging out with a 4 year old, and also finishing up knitting Sprout. Technically it's not quite complete. I ended up knitting buttonholes and then deciding I would never wear it buttoned, as I was intentionally playing with ease on this one, and have knit a size which has too much negative ease for me to dream of ever buttoning. Despite that, I think it's kind of cute, it knit up very quickly, and it didn't use much yarn. I'll probably make something like this again, to test out how best I can use short rows, and to better determine what ease and styles really work on me.

Sprout front

Sprout side

Sorry for the not so hot headless photos. I took a nap, and my hair is doing something that would have been fascinating in the 80's, and is frightening me right now. I also need to give this a bath to even out the stitches - it's fresh off the needles, with ends woven in.

So what did I learn? Well, the 36" is just too small. Although it fits me through the back and the waist, there's just no way it's ever going around my bust. For a fitted garment, going up to 38" would be better, but I need short rows. Anything larger, and I definitely need waist shaping so I don't look thicker and stockier than I already am. I think the cropped length is cute, but I would be happier with another 1-2 inches of sweater (around 14-15"). I am short-waisted, and this length hits just above my hipbone. Oh, and if I were to knit this again, I would make the sleeves a little bit longer - about an inch, just to break up the lines a little bit.

Anybody else have any opinions?

I also started a mindless sock when I should have been studying to prepare for TAing a lab tomorrow. Whoops.

Note to self - cast on 56 stitches. Heel flap inexplicably worked over 23 stitches, 5 stitches for heel turn. Decrease to 12 stitches per gusset.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It slices, it dices, it can save the world!

Chevron Scarf1

Ok, not really. But the seemingly never-ending Chevron Scarf is finished. Ends have been woven, and the scarf has been blocked (yes, you do need to block it even if the pattern doesn't explicitly state that. Otherwise it puckers, for obvious reasons.)

Chevron Scarf 2

There's not that much I can really say about it. It's a simple, boring knit. Size 5 needles. 2 skeins Lorna's Laces. Knit until you run out of yarn. It took me about 3 weeks of working on it sporadically. Mindless, but the final result is kind of pretty, although too thin. Reminds me a bit of the marbleized endpapers you find in old books. It's rather purple, and a little moody, but I could see myself wearing this with a black sweater. I won't be going out of my way to make this again, but I would consider making one for a friend if she asked for one. I did use up some stash that I wanted to go away.

And just for fun, this is an in progress shot of the Rib and Cable sock that just seems to have happened. Simple, but with enough going on to keep it from being totally boring. This is my wandering around knitting, something I throw in my bag for spare moments.

Rib & Cable

Juno Regina is the current television knitting. I've knit about 6" of the 42" of a two-line pattern repeat. I have a feeling this will be sitting next to me for a while.

Oh, and if you were wondering about the last post - it's not me, but I don't really want to talk about it, at least not now.

A short list of words I don't like


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Garage sales and living rooms

Clearly, it's still not done, and I'm getting kind of bored with it. The nice thing about the pattern is that it's so completely mindless that you can work on it anywhere, at any time. So my scarf has been worked on with my morning coffee, while listening to NPR, during the 10 minute intervals between doing something in the lab, while watching TV. But still, not done.

I have no idea why it's so important to me to finish this one over other things. Finishing my sweater would be less effort and more rewarding, but I never said I made any sense.

I guess the weekend is over already, and I spent most of it in the lab. I had really hoped to do more cooking, but I ended up out of the house for more hours than I had anticipated. I really wanted to make brownies, as I like chocolate very much. However, I forgot to get ice cream, and I figure if I'm going to make brownies with chocolate sauce, I might as well get ice cream to go with it. I still got to something though - in the oven right now is a pan of breakfast bars from Nigella Express. The recipe is extremely simple, essentially having you throw a bunch of solids into a bowl, mix with condensed milk, plop in a pan and bake for an hour. They're not done yet, but they smell good. Photos and a report on the taste tomorrow, when there's some light in my house, and if I have time to post after I run.

Elizabeth posted about recent kerfluffles regarding rude comments, and whether or not a blog was like a garage sale or a living room. I was somewhat surprised to find out that I have an opinion about this. I don't think I would ever tell someone their knitting sucked, but if they asked, I would (and I think I have) commented that a color combination isn't for me. I don't think it's the nicest thing to tell someone what they're knitting is fugly, and I don't know that I would do it. But I wish there was more constructive commentary on blogs. I think the lovefests on blogs get to be a bit much. I don't think everything I see other people knitting is great, and I've certainly cranked out some crap. I've still got a lot to learn, and I wouldn't mind it if people suggested better ways of doing something, or a means of fixing a problem that I may not be aware of. The key word here is constructive. Criticism is a big part of my job, and it's not always a negative thing. I do think it can be a challenge to find the balance between saying something overly critical and useless, being sycophantic, and actually providing constructive critique. I should do this more myself. I've gotten out of the habit of commenting. Blogging too.

Oh - but just for the record - I still can't stand the comments on how one should blog. The blog isn't my hobby, neither is photography. I don't have a great camera, I'm barely home when it's light out, and well, I'd rather knit than write or take pictures of my knitting. Nor do I really want to be told how often I should post or what topics I should or shouldn't address. Many options are out there. Read or don't read as you choose.

Friday, February 8, 2008

More knitting

I realized that I didn't actually publish the last post I wrote, so this one is a double-header.

Most of my attention has been taken up by Juno Regina.
juno 2.JPG

Juno 1.JPG

I've finished the fun lace part for a while, now I'm on a two row repeat for another 40 inches or so. I continue to be frustrated by the multi-colored yarn. I have a lot of it, yet I find I don't love it. This skein would be great if it wasn't for the blue. I think the reds and the purples are lovely, but the blue just seems too far off. I'm going to finish the knitting and assess what it looks like, then see if there's anything I can overdye with to dampen down that blue a bit. The yarn is Helen's Lace - purchased as a present for me. It's great to work with. The combination of wool and silk makes it crisp, soft, and shiny. I really like it, but I'm thinking that the lace is getting eaten by the color. I won't really be able to tell until the end, and I might like it better by then.

In other news, there's a lot of not so great stuff going on in my life, but I don't really want to talk about it. I might not be doing much more than putting pictures up for a while, with little explanation. On the up side, there will probably be lots of knitting to look at.

Hit a milestone recently - I ran 25 minutes straight. And then my next run I could only go for 20 minutes, and felt bad about it. Then I realized that I could run 20 minutes straight, and that's a big accomplishment for me.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Small and blurry photos

Of small and blurry finished things.


Top photo is the first sock in the new Cat Bordhi book. Neat construction, strangely written instructions. I might knit a second sock, I might not. My level of motivation to make a baby-sized sock is pretty low, at least at the moment. On the bright side, it didn't take very long, despite feeling a bit fiddly.

Bottom photo - speaking of fiddly, a miniature sweater knit out of leftover sock yarn. No, I don't know why. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I have a second one in progress out of more sock yarn, but I stalled at the second sleeve and forgot I was knitting it. Mini sweaters take about an hour, pattern slightly modified from the one in LMKG. I'll get a better photo once I finish the second sweater, add something for scale.


Most of the knitting this past weekend was the Chevron Scarf. Mindless knitting that required no brain power, but was good for nervous hands. Something I could do over the weekend while not feeling so hot.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Weekend food blogging

I'm not as good about cooking during the week as I would like to be. The weekday schedule is highly variable, and it's questionable on any given day as to when dinner is going to happen. Even living in the south, it gets chilly, so I had been on a soup kick. Last weekend I made squash soup, which was excellent.

First you chop up some vegetables, and soften them in some olive oil and butter.

Then you cook them in chicken broth until the vegetables start to fall apart, puree them with a stick blender, and add a little salt and pepper to taste.

I've also been in cookie-baking mode, but I don't have the recipe perfected for these lovelies yet.
Once I get it just right, I'll share, but I'm still working out the details. Nothing better than a chocolate oatmeal chocolate chip and dried berry cookie. Yum!

I was hoping to do a bit more cooking today, but I'm feeling a bit under the weather.

I've also been reading a new book that came in the mail on Friday - Nigella Express. Thanks Bells, for introducing me to her recipes. I've been getting a kick out of reading the cookbook, and dreaming up what to make next. The recipes all sound mostly like guidelines, which is fine with me - she's got some lovely sounding ideas. I just read two reviews commenting about the refined sugar and fats found in the recipes, but I think that I can live with the occasional splurge... Food is for eating and enjoying.

Finished The Historian today. It was okay. I wouldn't recommend running out to find the book. Lots of atmosphere, not much in the way of a plot or character development. It wouldn't have suffered from some more judicious editing.

There's been knitting, but flickr is being strange and I can't see my photos, which means I have no idea which photo is which...