Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Goodies

We had Christmas a day early at my mom's, because my niece will spend tomorrow with her mom.  I would show you the small amount of Christmas knitting and crocheting I did, except that I didn't bring my camera cord, so you will have to wait to see the cute knitted elephant and the crocheted birdie.

Instead, I'm going to share a couple of my favorite recipes of the season.  Although they are both candy, they are very, very simple.  Pretty much anyone can make either of these, even if you only have a microwave.  No candy thermometer needed!

I got the first recipe, Tiger Butter, from my friend Nancy in San Antonio.  She used to bring it to work, and after she moved to Houston in 1990 (twenty years ago!!), I started to make it.  Back then, white chocolate was hard to find - I had to buy it at the chocolatier.  You can still use bulk white chocolate if you like, but white chocolate chips work just fine.

Tiger Butter

2 2/3 cups white chocolate chips (this is one 12-oz package, plus 2/3 cup more.  Or use one pound of bulk white chocolate, chopped into chip-sized pieces.)
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup (that's a 6-oz package) semisweet chocolate chips

Line a rimmed cookie sheet/jelly roll pan with foil and set aside.

Melt the white chocolate together with the peanut butter.  If you do this in the microwave, use 80% power, and zap it for 1 minute, then stir it, then zap another 30 seconds.  Stir it good -- chips like to hold their shape -- and if it's still not melted and combined, keep zapping at 30 second intervals, stirring well after each, until the mixture is smooth.

Next, melt the semisweet chocolate chips.  The same microwave technique applies here.

Pour the white chocolate mixture into the pan and spread it to the edges.  Drizzle the semisweet chocolate over it, then use the tip of a knife or a toothpick to swirl it all together.  This is my favorite part -- it looks like paisley!

Refrigerate for an hour or so, until it's firm, then break it up into small pieces and store in a tin.  It doesn't have to be refrigerated, but it's best to store it somewhere fairly cool.

Cherry Almond Fudge

This recipe was clipped out of a magazine, probably around 1990.  The recipe calls for almond extract, but I always use vanilla instead. It also uses candied cherries. These are the cherries used in fruit cake - there's usually a special area in the grocery store devoted to fruit cake ingredients starting around Thanksgiving.  I know some people worry about the dyes used in candied cherries; if you're one of these people, just make a different recipe!

12-oz package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
14-oz can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup candied cherries, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla

Line a 8 inch square pan with foil and set aside.

Combine the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk, and melt using the zap-and-stir method described in the Tiger Butter recipe.  When the mixture is smooth, stir in the almonds, cherries, and vanilla.  Pour into the pan and smooth the top.  Refrigerate for a couple hours, then cut into 1-inch square.  Store in a tin -- I always put the Tiger Butter and the fudge in the same one.

So there you go - a couple easy peasy candy recipes.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Catching Up

I promised myself that I wouldn't do any Christmas knitting this year, and I almost stuck to it!

At least six weeks ago, I offered to make my niece a hat.  She chose the pattern and yarn (from a selection I offered, of course), but then asked for a flower on it.  This is what's holding me up.  I'm making two or three flowers, on pins.  The hat and two flowers are done - except for the actual making up of the flowers.

Hat + Unfinished flowers

The hat is Everglade in Tempted Yarn's Good Grrl (colorway VaVaVoom).  The flowers are the Ruffle Rose and the Cabbage Rose from Knitted Flowers by Nicky Epstein, knit from Cascade Ultra Pima in color number 3749.  (She asked for a purple hat with orange flowers.  Really!)

My niece is also crazy about elephants, so I thought I'd knit her one.  Sigh... like the roses, the problem with the elephant is the putting together.

Elephant pieces

These are most of the parts of this elephant -- 4 legs, a head/body piece, a trunk, and one ear.  I still need to knit the second ear and the tail.  I'm using Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Oxford Grey and a sparkly white they call White/Multi.

I need to get these done.  I'm also planning on crocheting my mom a couple of pot holders.  All in all, this is very manageable.  I just need to do it!

When not working on these projects, I've been working on a co-worker request.  I'm knitting Ysolda's Peaks Island Hood out of Manos del Uruguay Maxima.  Kelly, in the next office, saw a hooded scarf on Etsy, and asked if I would knit something like it for her.  Last Saturday, we went to Crazy Girl, where she chose the yarn and the colorway, neither of which would have been my first choice.  However, the yarn is amazingly squishy, and the colorway (M8881 Beehive) is working beautifully. 

Kelly's hooded scarf

If you check Ravelry, you'll see that some people have issues with this pattern, but I'm really enjoying it.  Instead of making one end longer, to be buttoned, I'm doing both ends long, with no buttons. From the pictures, it looks like getting the button holes in the right place is hard, and Kelly thought the buttons were a little odd anyway.  I need to finish up those roses and the elephant, so I can work more on this.  It's cold here!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Still here!

Just a quick post to let y'all know I'm still here!  The last few weeks have been busy, with company (my sister and her hubby visiting), a few days at Mom's with them, a little stash acquisition, and, to top it all off, an 1850 page manuscript to review!  Yes, that's what's been keeping me busy!  However, it's done and I'm knitting again.  I've finished a hat for my niece, and just have to finish the knitted flowers she wanted on it.  (Flowers are hard!)

More (and hopefully pictures) later...

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Knitting Resumes (plus, Happy Kitty News)

Actually, knitting never stopped, although it did slow down some.  But first -- happy kitty news!

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, Harley was about a year and a half or two years old when I adopted her.  She was living in a feral colony in an apartment complex in San Antonio, and a friend was feeding some of the cats in the colony. Harley was the 'friendliest' of them, so my friend caught her and I brought her home.

Harley has never been very trusting - I suspect some of her interactions with humans in her early life were not very much fun.  But she likes me - she sleeps with me every night and likes to be petted and brushed.  She'll sit next to me or behind me, on the back of my chair.  But she hates to be picked up and has never sat on my lap.

Almost every evening since I got back from my vacation/conference trip, she sat on the back of my chair and sort of peered at my lap.  I really figured that she was trying to decide if stepping on my lap was a safe shortcut to the couch.  Then, Saturday night, she stepped into my lap and laid down!

The first night, she only spent a few minutes on my lap.  But most evening since, she has spent a couple hours there.  She even lets me wiggle and move my legs.  You cannot believe how happy this makes me -- and it only took eight years!

Harley on my lap

So -- knitting -- while I was on vacation/at my conference, I worked on Boneyard, which is perfect mindless conference knitting.  And it doesn't look like much, either -- just a large blob of knitting on circular needles.  I'm making it larger than described, using two skeins of Malabrigo sock yarn.  I also have some ideas about how I want to finish the last several rows, so by the time it's finished, it will really just be Boneyard-inspired!

I also finished one Cotty sock.  I have a habit of making socks too large, so I really worked on not making this one too big - and now I'm afraid it's a bit short!  However, I'm going to cast on to sock #2 and not panic yet!


Last weekend, I cast on a hat for my 14-year-old niece.  She chose the pattern (Everglade) and the yarn (Tempted Hand Painted Good Grrl in Va Va Voom, which is actually more purple than pink).  She wants an orange flower on it - she chose a cabbage rose from Knitted Flowers.  I'll attach it to a pin, so she can move it around.  I also may make a yellow one - I'm not so sure about the orange and purple!


And, finally, I am dying to cast on a pair of gloves -- I think they'll be Entangled Stitches.  Or maybe Glows - love that ruffle!

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm Baaaack!

I didn't mean to be gone for more than three weeks but since I spent two of those weeks in Texas, I don't feel so bad about that!

There wasn't a whole lot of knitting done during that time. My trip included vacation time -- camping on the Texas Gulf coast and visiting my sister in San Antonio -- and a conference in Austin.

We camped for two nights at Goose Island State Park, near Rockport, and spent most of one day on the beach in Port Aransas.  It was a gorgeous day -- sunny, about 85, windy --and the water, which during the summer is frequently a little too warm, was the perfect temperature.  The day was also just right for sunburn.  It didn't seem hot, and our spray-on sunscreen apparently blew right away.  I had stripes of sunburn on the my right arm and leg, and both shins.  But it was worth it.  Port Aransas is one of my favorite places - a beach town with absolutely no pretense, a beach you can drive on, and great seafood.

The big new tent, replacing the rather raggedy old pop-up camper.
A pelican, greeting the ferry as it arrives in Port Aransas.

A flock of pelicans, looking for lunch.  We saw more pelicans on this trip than ever before.

My niece, helping to deflate the self-inflating air mattresses (which inflate a lot easier than they deflate).

Unfortunately, I have no good pictures of the San Antonio part of the trip or of the conference.  I think I was too busy having fun!

Next time:  knitting!

Sunday, October 03, 2010


Larkin is finished and blocking/drying!  It's very pretty and it's going to be hard to give away.


I didn't pin it out to block - I just sort of stretched it out on the floor.  True blocking would have fixed that little ruffle at the edges, but since I doubt the recipients of this blanket - the parents of a new baby girl - will have time to do anything more than throw it in the washer and dryer, severe blocking seemed unnecessary.


I used about 8 and a half skeins of Knit Picks Comfy Sport in Whisker.  I really like this yarn - it's a cotton/acrylic blend.  It's a little splitty but not so much so to be really annoying.  It's nice and soft and machine washable/dryable.  I'm sure I'll use it again.

I had planned on casting on immediately for Myrtle, but..... I didn't!  Last week I was in Madison for a conference and had just enough time to visit one yarn shop, The Knitting Tree. I was looking for a sagey green sock yarn to use for Pea Vines by Anne Hansen, but as soon as I saw the Dream in Color Smooshy in Cloud Jungle, I knew that was the yarn.  That swatch-picture doesn't do it justice, but it's better than I could do.  At first, the color reminded me of the old-fashioned green/brown army fatigues, but then I noticed the rosy smudges.  It's just gorgeous.

ETA: Okay - I tried taking a photo with my iPhone - and it turned out closer in color than they one I took with my camera!

Cloud jungle

I cast on for the medium size last night - Pea Vines is worked from the bottom up, which means it gets smaller and smaller.  I've never knit a shawl this way, but I have to say, it's kind of fun!  The casting on was a bit tedious, but it's not nearly as many stitches as you would have for a full-size, lace-weight shawl.

Next week I travel again - first to San Antonio to see my sister, then to Austin for a conference.  There may be more yarn shops in my future!

Friday, September 17, 2010

6720 to go


I am still slogging through Larkin. It's beautiful - but why do I knit blankets??? I'm a little more than half-way around the border, which is knitted on. Larkin is knit in the round (or, more precisely, in the square). I did 14 pattern repeats on each side, instead of the recommended 15. Each repeat is 10 stitches. So - we have 140 stitches per side, and 560 stitches around the whole blanket. 560 isn't so many. I've knit plenty of shawls with longer rows.

Each pair of rows of the edging is knit onto one of those edge stitches -- 15 stitches out and 15 back. 30 stitches x 560 = 16,800 edging stitches. This is obviously math I should never have done, because 16,800 is a LOT of stitches. I keep recalculating how many stitches I have left. Right now, I'm about 60% done with the edging, so I only have 6720 stitches left to go.

6720 - that's not so many. Of course, the baby this blanket is for was born last night, about 3 weeks early...

(And also, I cast on for a pair of Cotty socks. With what felt like very little knitting - even though it included a picot cuff -- I'm almost to the heel of the first sock. But now there will be no sock knitting until Larkin is done!)

Thursday, September 09, 2010


I hate for this to become "Janna's Sad News Blog," but that's what I have, again.


When I came home from work last night, I discovered that Dolly, my little tuxedo girl, had died during the day. I don't know why, although I do know that she had always been small and a little bit frail. When she was a kitten, or maybe a young cat, years before she came to live with me, she had been seriously ill with bladder problems. I don't know exactly what the problem was, but she had to eat expensive Prescription Diet C/D catfood as a result. In the last few months, she had actually gained a little weight and her coat had gotten thick and shiny. I thought she was doing really well.

Yesterday morning while I was getting ready for work, I heard her throw up. This isn't unusual -- she would throw up two or three times a week -- but yesterday morning, the amount thrown up seemed like a lot. I even asked her how such a little kitty could possibly throw up that much. But she seemed fine, nestled in her little pink kitty bed, which she loved, on the guest room bed. Sometimes she would even lay next to the cat bed, with her head propped on the edge of it.

When I got home, she was stretched out on the guest room bed, with her right front paw resting on the edge of the kitty bed. I have no idea what happened, but am glad that I decided to come home 20 minutes early. That meant that, after I calmed down a little, I still had time to call Pet Memories before they closed. The nice woman there waited until I could bring Dolly to them.

Poor Harley keeps looking for Dolly, who was her BFF (well, next to Simon, maybe). I came home early this afternoon to keep her company. We both need a little TLC, I think.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Yay, Snowden!

If you read the comments to my last post, you already know this from Steven's comments, but in case you missed it --

Snowden Becker, the designer of both Larkin and Myrtle, was featured in an article yesterday in the Daily Texan, the campus paper at UT Austin, where Snowden is a grad student. Except for the fact that it seems to say that Jimmy Beans Wool is in Austin and that they got the name/url for Ravelry wrong, it's a great story!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Slow Progress

Sorry - didn't mean to drop off the blog-planet for so long. First - thank you all for your kind thoughts about Vinnie. It's amazing how attached I got to him in just a year.

PIle o' Larkin

I've been knitting, but have no pictures to prove it. That's the same photo of Larkin that I showed you 6 weeks ago, but I do have progress.* I've reached the edging, which right now seems less boring than the lace, although I'm pretty sure I won't feel that way after a few evenings of "k2tog, k14, turn, k15, turn" and repeat, around and around!

However, since I had reached the edging, I decided I would let myself cast on for Myrtle, a cardigan by Larkin's designer, Snowden Becker. I cast on Saturday night. By the time I finished the bottom edging on Sunday evening, I suspected it might be too big. Monday evening, I had finished the first pattern repeat, so I kind of finger-blocked it and measured. Oh, yeah -- waaaay bigger than it was supposed to be! So I frogged it all. I will be casting on again, going down both a needle size and a sweater size. But for now, I think I'll work on that blanket some more. Blankets are always the right size!

* Despite the fact that I know that blanket knitting is not my thing, this is the third blanket I've knit in just over a year. I'm pretty sure this one will be the last for a while!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sad News

Just a quick post to let you know that my fears about Vinnie came true - he passed away sometime early Sunday morning. I stayed up with him until about 1:00 a.m., because I knew he was doing really badly. I considered taking him to the emergency vet, but I knew that would be traumatic for him, and I was fairly certain that there wasn't much that could be done. When I got up at 7:30, he was gone, laying near where he was when I went to bed. Harley was sitting a few feet away, waiting for me.

The posts about how Vinnie came to live with me last summer are here. In the time since, he went from grouchy old man -- I was warned that he was a scaredy cat and not terribly friendly to most people -- to one of the sweetest cats I've owned. If I was in the room, he was usually in my lap, even though I've heard that he wasn't a lap cat in the past. Although he and my other cats weren't exactly friends, they all tolerated each other. He had even become fairly social -- if he heard me talking to someone, he would come see who it was. He would even model my knitting.

I miss him a lot, and feel lucky that I got to have him for the last year.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Brief Update

Two weeks ago, I spent the weekend at my Mom's. I had a nice weekend, include a quick trip to Champaign with my 14-year-old niece to the new Sephora there. And we ate lunch at the Chick-Fil-A in the nearly-deserted Illini Union. (I'm beginning the "you must go to Illinois" indoctrination!)

Waiting for lunch

It was a nice weekend and when I got home Sunday evening, all the kitties rushed to the kitchen to greet me. I looked straight down at Vinnie and realized that he had suddenly gotten very skinny. Actually, I'm sure it wasn't really sudden; I just didn't notice it until I had been away for a couple of days.

As the week progressed Vinnie ate less, and stopped coming to the kitchen to eat. In mid-week, he started peeing on the floor and stopped going downstairs to the living room. He camped out under the sideboard in the dining room, so I moved food and water and a littler box there for him.

Friday afternoon, I took him to the vet, and my fears were validated -- he has advanced kidney disease. For the last week, he's been getting subcutaneous fluids, an antibiotic, and special kidney disease soft catfood. The sub-Q fluid administration hasn't been too bad, although he hates the antibiotic. I kind of see his point - the antibiotic smells like a pina colada gone bad.

For a couple days he rallied. He loved the food and the fluids helped. Tuesday evening, he even came out to greet one of my co-workers who stopped by to borrow a cooler. But now he seems to be declining, not eating much at all. So I don't know how long it will be. He's a sweet old boy, and seeing him this sick is hard.

Vinnie in better days

Monday, August 02, 2010

Sweaters and Me

You may remember how, in September 2009, I finished my first adult-sized sweater, the February Lady Sweater.

October Lady Sweater

One thing I haven't mentioned is that last spring, I accidentally felted it a little. It still fits, but is too short for my liking. :-(

I've been thinking for months about making myself Snowden Becker's Myrtle Cardigan. I even have the yarn and the pattern. But, in addition to all those WIPs I've shown you, I've been nagged by the fact that I actually have two sweaters hibernating.

Back in March 2007, I cast on for A Cardigan for Arwen, a hooded cabled cardigan that was very popular at the time. I finished the back and over half of the left front. The yarn is a beautiful sort of nubbly wool from Beaverslide, the Fisherman Weight, in Wood Violet.

Then, a year later, in April 2008, I cast on for Tussie Mussie, a more spring-like cardi with bobble bouquets, in Knit Picks Swish DK in asparagus.

Sooo..... despite the fact that I love, love, love the yarn I'm using for Arwen, I think my excitement for knitting a hooded cardi has passed. I've decided to frog it and save the yarn for another use. That way, I can begin Myrtle without increasing the number of sweaters on the needles. I believe I will be getting out the swift and winder this evening!

Monday, July 19, 2010

But wait - there's more!

(I can't believe it's been almost 2 weeks since my last post -- I think about posting all the time!)

From a couple of the comments to the last post, I think some of you are under the impression that I've got a lot of WIPs going. And you're right, because there are even more!

For example, there's my Boneyard Shawl. This is truly mindless knitting and great for conference and group settings. It's destined to be my work shawl, taking the place of the ugly store-bought woven shawl that I've worn at work for years. I'm making it from two skeins of Malabrigo Sock (in Stonechat), so it will be good-sized and cozy.

I need to take another picture - it's much larger than this now!

There's also Stonewall, yet another beautiful Anne Hansen design that I'm knitting out of an equally gorgeous merino-tencel sock yarn by Jessie. I really want to get this done by winter - I need a new scarf!

Again, it's bigger than this now!

There's Feather Duster, which is perfect for this Kidsilk Haze in Candy Girl. Knitting with KSH drives me nuts, but it's so pretty!

very pink Feather Duster shawl

And finally, over the weekend I pulled out my Hedera Socks. I'm just starting the second one. I started this pair so long ago that it was before I figured out that I need to knit socks a little smaller than it seems, so the first one is a little big. And even though I've seen lots of beautiful Hederas, I'm not so sure about this slightly busy Blue Moon Socks that Rock (Medium) in Gypsum.


So you see why it takes me so long to finish anything! Lately, I've been fairly faithful to the baby blanket, Larkin, to make sure I get it done before the baby arrives in October.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Slow Progress

I wish I had something completed to show you, but since I have been incredibly non-monogamous in my knitting, I have little to show.

There's Larkin (rav), the baby blanket. I think I'm about a third done with it. It also now has a recipient -- one of my co-workers is expecting a baby girl in October and I think this would be nice for them.

PIle o' Larkin

There are the Hedgerow Socks (rav), which I began last October, as conference knitting. They've been hibernating, and I've just started the second one.

Hedgerow Socks

There's Whispering Pines (rav). I'm on the second of 11 charts (plus a knitted-on edging). I'm hoping to finish this by Christmas (for me).

Whispering Pines

There's another Crocheted Birdie. This one will have non-matching wings.

Another Birdie (partial)

A few weeks ago, I visited Helen, and we made a quick trip to Klose Knit where, in addition to a little bit of cotton yarn to use to make birdies, I bought this gorgeous Lantern Moon knitting bag. It's very small, but bit enough for a sock project (although at the moment it's holding Whispering Pines). It's also reversible -- you can see the darker pink there at the top -- and has a pocket both inside and outside.

Lantern Moon bag

In a fit of startitis, I also cast on a pair of Rivendell socks, but knew immediately they would be too small. I think I've figured out how to add a few stitches to the circumference, but am no longer dying to make them, so they will wait for a little while. But that's okay - I've got plenty of other projects to work on!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

More crochet!

Crocheted Birdie

Pattern and lots of handholding-helpful hints on Attic24.

One of these days, I'll get around to an actual post again.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hey! It's crochet!

Pattern borrowed from Through the Loops, and execution inspired by Turtlegirl.

It's the first thing I've crocheted in about 30 years. It's a two-sided coaster, made from Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Dyed Cotton, in Coral, Sprout, and Glacier. It took about 3 hours, which included re-learning how to crochet. Obviously, I need a little improvement in the color-changing. I think I may go buy a crochet book tomorrow....

Thursday, June 03, 2010


The last few weeks have been busy, busy, busy! Like I said in the last post, I finished up the boring green blanket -- which I have to admit is very pretty, even if it was boring -- for the WRAP project. You can see more of the afghans and quilts (gorgeous quilts - I especially love Laurie's) there. And in case you are wondering, the book I gave along with mine was Life as We Knew It, recommended by my 13-year-old niece.

As I was packing the blanket up, I realized that I had "double-twisted" several cables!

That project had to be finished in time to take it to the annual MLA conference in Washington, D.C., which began on May 21. Around the end of April, I decided I should knit my friend Melissa a small shawl for her birthday, which was at the beginning of May, because I knew I would see her at MLA.

The color is closer to what's shown in the "blob" photo in my last post.

I decide on the small size of Centrique, using Handmaiden Camelspin in Rose Garden. Except, when I finished the small size, I still had lots of yarn left, so I figured I would do another pattern repeat. Of course, I ran out of yarn half way through the last row. I ended up ripping out the last row and knitting it and the bind-off using Elann Peruvian Baby Silk in Peridot. The green was very similar to the green in the Camelspin. I actually has some Camelspin leftover from Brambler, in a kind of golden brown that would have worked, too, but I really liked the idea of green "tipping." Too bad you can't see it in the pictures!

And thus completes my "obligation" knitting. It's not that I don't like knitting for others -- I do, or I wouldn't do it -- but it feels like all I've done since last fall is knit for other people. So, although I have plenty of projects on the needles, I immediately cast on for Anne Hanson's Whispering Pines (in the very same yarn as the one pictured). I've had the pattern and the yarn in my stash for a couple years, but because I knew it was a huge project that was just for me, kept putting it off. So now, without knitting that must get done by some deadline, I'm working on things for myself (with Vinnie's help!).

Whispering Pines Shawl (and Vinnie)

The other two projects I'm working on for me are the Larkin baby blanket -- which may actually go to a baby, but may stay here with me -- and my Boneyard shawl, which is what I worked on during sessions at the MLA conference. There were lots of knitters at MLA this year -- my non-knitting friends kept telling me about knitters they had spotted. There were so many of us, in fact, that, after the meeting, an MLA group was started on Ravelry!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


The boring green blanket is done!

lap blanket
I haven't measured it yet, but I think it's about 3 1/2 feet by 4 feet.

Pattern: Cable Blanket (that link should make in possible for anyone to see my Rav page for this project. The Bernat website makes you register even to look at free patterns.)

Yarn: 10 skeins of KnitPicks Swish Bulky in Honeydew, which had been languishing in my stash

Needles: Giant size 10 circs

Mods: I only cast on 206 stitches rather than 230, and pretty much knit until I was out of yarn. That happened half way through the bind-off. I tried weaving in ends and using the trimmings (some of those ends were pretty long), but even then, I didn't have enough to finish. So I ended up picking out the bind-off and tinking one row, then binding off.

This is charity knitting for WRAP, and I finished it a whole 13 days early!

And now there is stealth knitting....

stealth knitting

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


The big green blanket is now about 85% done. Maybe this weekend....

However, I did start, and finish, a little project this weekend.

Vinnie wearing Sweet Pea
That's my head behind Vinnie's - see my hair sticking out?

Okay, so, no matter how cute he is, Vinnie isn't the best model. Actually, it's probably because he was happy to wear the hat as long as he was sitting on my lap, leaning against me.

Vinnie wearing Sweet Pea

The pattern is Sweet Pea, and it's for my hairstylist, who is due in about 2 weeks and doesn't know if she's having a boy or a girl.

Sweet Pea

The yarn is Mission Falls 1824 Cotton, (colors Frost, Lemongrass, and Wintergreen), which I'm not really crazy about - too cottony! And if I were to do it again, I'd use size 6 needles, rather than size 7.

I do like the peas in the pod, though.

Peapod on Sweet Pea

My other FO of the weekend was Rachael's book, How to Knit a Love Song. Even though I pre-ordered it from Amazon, just because it was Rachael's book, it's been lying on my table ever since it arrived. I just don't read romances. But Friday night, I wanted something light to read, so I picked it up -- and I loved it! It's well-written and has a story full of people I really liked. I'm not giving up my murder mysteries for romances, but I'll certainly read Rachael's next one.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Isn't it odd...

that I live in Iowa but have never been to Minnesota?

visited 31 states (62%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Anyway -- I am still alive. Within a couple days I should have one - and maybe two - FOs to show you. I'll admit that the knitting has been a little sparse for the last couple weeks, but my excuse is my new toy.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

It's a miracle!

Apparently all it takes to bring peace to my kitty-kingdom is a pouch of Friskies Gravy Sensations, split three ways and doctored up with a little Pro-Pet Skin & Coat Care Formula (soy bean, cod liver, and wheat germ oil, plus vitamins -- it works wonders on dry kitty skin).

Kitties all together
Yes, that is a snow boot next to a sandal there in the corner.

That's Vinnie in front, Dolly in the middle, and Harley at the back. While they were waiting for me to get it all divvied up, Harley and Dolly huddled together, then at the same time, turned toward Vinnie and hissed. It really looked like they were discussing their options, and decided a good hiss was the best answer!

Vinnie has been getting much braver, exploring the whole house. I really think it's just a matter of time before they're all getting along -- or at least tolerating each other.

In knitting news, have you seen Snowden Becker's pretty Larkin (rav) baby blanket? After I admired it, she asked me if I would like to test-knit it. I explained that I have to finish the big green blanket, and that I'm a really slow knitter. She said that was okay, so Saturday evening, I cast on for it in KnitPicks Comfy Sport in a wonderful shade of grey called Whisker. Actually, I tried to cast on Friday evening, after the yarn arrived, but realized that I didn't own any size 4 DPNs, so I had to work on the big green blanket until I could get a set of DPNs the next morning.

Beginning of Larkin

Even though this is supposed to be a baby blanket, I think I'll be keeping it for me!

I'm still slogging along on the big green blanket.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Miss Me?

I realize that you don't expect a post from me more than once every week or 10 days, but this time, I was really out of town!

With my mom, brother, and niece, I went to San Antonio to visit my sister and brother-in-law. I'm really lucky they still live there, because it gives me a good reason to visit the city I lived in for 23 years! Our visit, which was timed to take place during my niece's spring break, also coincided with my sister and BIL's move to the house they just bought. I'm sorry to say that I didn't take a single picture of their new-to-them house, which is adorable -- built in 1959, hardwood floors throughout, built-ins in every room, original tile (and not ugly colors!) in both bathrooms, big trees in the back yard -- you would love it!

I did get a chance to meet up with some of my knitter friends. We went someplace new to me - a great Chilean restaurant called Chile Lindo (that's a Yelp link - I thought they had a website, but can't find it). The empanadas were great and, of course, so was the company!

San Antonio knitters

The family also made our usual pilgrimage to Rudy's (the original one, in Leon Springs). There, I only managed to take pictures of the meat (turkey and brisket) and the remnants of the amazing creamed corn, although I also ran into some former co-workers. I also had lunch with some co-workers at Thai Taste, one of our favorite lunch places for years. (That link goes to CitySearch, where it seems to be one of those places reviewers either love or hate. I have to say that I love it - the food is great and the service is excellent. It's not fancy, but then again - it's also really cheap. It's also always busy at lunchtime, so it's fine with me if those people who don't like it stay away!)

I also had Tex-Mex at least four times (breakfast tacos twice, Taco Cabana for lunch, and Perico's for dinner). And when not eating, I was yarn-shopping! First I stopped by the Yarn Barn, where I bought Alisha Goes Around sock yarn (merino/bamboo/nylon) -- Alisha is from New Braunfels, just north of San Antonio --

Alisha Goes Around sock yarn

and a skein of the very decadent Hand Maiden Casbah (merino/cashmere/nylon) in Midnight, which will be a thank-you gift for my cat caretaker.

Hand Maiden Casbah in Midnight

And then, at the insistence of all those knitters up there, I made a trip up to Comfort to The Tinsmith's Wife. Wow! What a great place -- well worth the 90 mile round trip! There I met Bill, the owner's father who holds down the fort, and Laurel and Noro, who are extremely laid-back cats. The shop is very cute (as is, frankly, all of downtown Comfort) and they have a wonderful selection of yarn. I came out with three skeins of Mission Falls 1824 Cotton destined to become a baby hat,

Mission Falls 1824 Cotton

two skeins of Kollage Creamy (80% milk and 20% cotton!),

Kollage Creamy (Milk and Cotton blend)

and a skein of String Theory Caper sock yarn (merino/cashmere/nylon) in Bowmore, which will make a beautiful shawlette.

String Theory Caper Sock in Bowmore

And -- I finally finished the Bougainvillea socks! Love them! The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in cranberry.

Bougainvillea socks