Monday, January 07, 2008

flu-tastic + cocoa swap questionnaire

I was supposed to spend the whole weekend at an academic conference, learning and schmoozing. After two days at the conference, a nasty strain of the flu sent me home, and I instead did the following:

Garter Stitch Cardigan, from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies (not yet photo-worthy)
-Tulip Baby Cardigan, still a WIP (kit ordered online from ThreadBear Fiber Arts, a shop I would love to visit in person)
inspired by Nicole's beautiful version quite a while ago
The i-cord bind-off is marvelous! What a great touch -- it looks very classy, and it's much more fun to work than a standard bind-off.

-Newfoundland Mitts, finally achieving FO status
Project Details
Pattern: Newfoundland Mitts, a free pattern by Creative Whimsy
Yarns: Noro Kureyon #156 (2 half-skeins) & Patons Classic Wool Merino
Needles: Brittany US4 birch DPNs

Notes: It's a great pattern, but I had some stress-related gauge issues that made these take much more time than I had anticipated. If you want the contrast colors to be consistent between the two mittens, you need two skeins of Noro. I ended up doing a lot of cutting because one skein had a knot in it that screwed up the color repeats.

Quartet in Autumn, by Barbara Pym
Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books, by Maureen Corrigan
Death in the Garden, by Elizabeth Ironside
Not the End of the World, by Kate Atkinson

All great books; I highly recommend each one. Mini-reviews may be forthcoming, provided that the beginning of the quarter isn't too frantic. I'm in the midst of reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love, and I'm not terribly impressed so far. Kind of flaky and superficial while aiming for depth and enlightenment, perhaps?

-Knocked Up (cute and funny, rather crass)
-Notting Hill
-Love Actually
-Gilmore Girls (a few episodes from season 4)
-The Office (a few episodes from seasons 3 & 4)

Good old flu... nothing beats chills, aches, pains, sniffling, sneezing, and a roiling stomach to increase one's appreciation of the finer things in life -- books, yarn, and the couch.

Mmm… Hot Cocoa Swap Questionnaire
(Unless you're my swap partner, the rest of this post is most likely not of much interest.)

1. What is your favorite way to drink cocoa? Prepared with milk? Water? from home made recipe or store bought?, In a tea cup, or big mug?
My favorite way is for someone else to make me homemade hot cocoa prepared with milk, served in a pottery mug! In reality, I make cocoa with milk and a store-bought mix. Lately I’ve been using Cadbury drinking chocolate or Serendipity 3 mix, but those are splurges.

2. Marshmallows or whipped cream?
Neither! If I had to choose one, I would go with whipped cream and a dash of cocoa powder. A real treat would involve a healthy dose of Bailey's.

1. What is your favorite type of yarn? In what colors?
Soft worsted weight wool in shades of blue. I also like wine, scarlet, plum, chocolate brown, aqua, lavender… Solid or heathered colors are my favorites right now, but I like some variegateds, too (usually ones that are more subtle). Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and Malabrigo are my favorites, but I also love Rowan 4 Ply Soft and just about anything by Fleece Artist or Hand Maiden.

2. Do you knit or crochet (or both)?
I mainly knit, but do some basic crocheting.

3. What are your favorite type of needles, would you like to try something new?
I like wood needles best. Bamboo runs a close second. My one pair of Lantern Moon straights is my favorite, but they’re too expensive! I always need more 16” circs for some reason (mostly US 5 and 6), and I like straight needles quite well. I don't like plastic or metal needles.

4. Do you have a healthy supply of notions?
Yes – too many fancy stitch markers (I only use plain ones with no dangly bits). I can always use more double ended stitch holders, though.

5. What one thing do you keep thinking you need to buy for your knitting habit (outside of yarn)?
Wooden or bamboo cable needles, like the Brittany Birch ones. I don’t like my Clover plastic ones very well.

6. What is your favorite 'quick knit/crochet' pattern (quick gratification)
Hats! I like Ruthie Nussbaum’s Owl Hat pattern (free on the net).

1. What is your favorite thing to do in the Winter?
Go for a long walk while it’s snowing and pet all the neighborhood dogs.

2. What is your favorite animal?
Bunnies! Followed closely by cats, hedgehogs, and puppies. Sheep are nice, too.

3. Do you get the 'winter blahs'?
Not too often. Chicago winters aren’t nearly as pleasant as Minneapolis or Madison winters.

4. What is your favorite way to beat the blahs?
Getting outside and enjoying the snow when it’s nice and sunny. Otherwise, snuggling up in front of my red wood-burning stove with a book or some knitting.

5. What is the thing you are most looking forward to this spring?
Watching all the spring flowers emerge, especially the crocuses.

6. What are your favorite treats?
Good chocolate (especially with mint or hazelnuts), biscotti, scones. Not too many treats, though – I’m trying to watch my waistline. I’m not a fan of gummy or hard candies. I love trying new recipes, too.

7. What is your favorite board game?
Taboo or Cribbage.

8. Do you have any children (furry or human)?
2 beloved tabby cats – Kylie and Capricha. No kids yet.

9. Do you have any allergies or special considerations you partner should know about?
I'm afraid I'm developing a sensitivity to some alpaca -- it can make me itchy. Some types of mohair make me sneeze! I don't enjoy knitting with cotton yarns -- too hard on the hands and wrists.

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