mod bkgd

Friday, August 28, 2009

new math

6+6+6=24
WTF????

Oh no, I used to be good at math! I have three new patterns in the works, and the equation listed above managed to foil me this afternoon. Yes, apparently 6+6+6 does really add up to 18. Sigh...
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a different sort of math...

We have cable, mainly because Paul's such a big enthusiast of Wisconsin sports and we're out of market for the Badgers/Packers/Brewers games. Plus the new Dr. Who's are on Sci Fi. :) I'm horrified by the price tag, however, especially since our special sign-up deal expired.

Last week Paul managed to get the cable company to lower our rates by following these suggestions from the Consumerist. Nice! It's definitely worth a try.
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Apparently Kylie Cat was abducted by the Interweave Knits crew for a photo shoot..
Actual Kylie shots:


Uncanny resemblance, eh? I suppose brown/black tabby cats are a dime a dozen. The Kylie-lookalike is modeling the 40 Winks Basket for the new Interweave Knits Weekend special issue. Check out the preview here. I especially like the Gooseberry Cardigan.
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Kristen Rengren is sharing two super-cute vintage-inspired baby patterns for free -- the Stella Pixie Hat and Cleo Kitty Slippers.

Monday, August 24, 2009

delightfully saucy, both metaphorically and literally

I managed to knit, sew on buttons, wash, and block this little baby sweater all in one weekend. That's a record for me, as I usually drag out the finishing and blocking processes as long as possible.

I dug out some "precious" hand-dyed sock yarn that had been marinating in the stash for quite some time. What an unusual and beautiful combination of colors! At least that's what I think... Paul thought they were kind of weird. Then again, he's red-green colorblind.
Pattern: Boheme, by Allegra Wermuth (free!) ~ rav
Yarn: Brooklyn Handspun Instant Gratification
"April Showers," about 2/3 skein (~ 200 yds.)
Needles: US 5 circs
Size: 6 months

Notes:
The pattern's very easy to follow, and I especially loved knitting the garter stitch bodice. Only a few minor modifications:
- moving the buttonholes closer to the edge – just K1, then k2tog, yo, etc.

- instead of decreasing 1 stitch where specified (after the bodice), increasing 3 stitches evenly, then using the extra stitches to do a 2-stitch garter border on the front edges. I think a 3-stitch border would be even better.

- skipping the picot bindoff and did 4 rows of garter stitch and a regular BO knitwise instead.

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Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
adapted from Jeanne Lemlin's Main Course Vegetarian Pleasures

perfect for pizza!

1/2 lb. roasted red peppers, either roasted yourself (yum!) or from a jar (easy!), patted dry
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1.5 T. olive oil
1.5 tsp basil, chopped (or .5 tsp dried)
dash of cayenne

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree, scraping down as needed.
simplest pizza dough recipe here ~ I use the breadmaker's "dough" setting

topping ideas:
- shredded pepperjack
- cubed fresh mozzarella
- thinly sliced zucchini or yellowsquash
- sliced tomatoes
- pepperoni

Saturday, August 22, 2009

star-spotting at the Green City Market

We ran into Rachael Ray (and her filming crew) at the Green City Market at Lincoln Park this morning! I picked up veggies for carrot coriander soup and a Parmesan tomato tart. Yum!
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I tried a new brownie recipe -- Emily Martin's favourite brownies, from (Inside A Black Apple).
Very sweet! You can really taste the brown sugar, which is nice, but the sheer sugar overload is almost gritty. I still prefer my tried-and-true recipe from Land O'Lakes, with or without the raspberry swirl.
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On the Minnesota front...
The upper midwest's representin' on Project Runway! Christopher and Ra'mon live in the Twin Cities. This was my first time watching Project Runway, and I enjoyed it immensely. That Tim Gunn's a hoot.

Also, good news from the ELCA's big meeting in Minneapolis.

Friday, August 21, 2009

21 songs

Tentenknits and cocoknits posted their top 21 favorite songs today, and I'm following suit. This is pretty unscientific and off the cuff, as I didn't even look at iTunes. Like Nicole, I'm pretty sure this list would be different on any given day.
  1. There's a Light that Never Goes Out, The Smiths
  2. Skyway, The Replacements
  3. Fall on Me, R.E.M.
  4. Running to Stand Still, U2
  5. I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man, Prince
  6. People Got a Lotta of Nerve, Neko Case
  7. Red Right Ankle, The Decemberists
  8. Laid, James
  9. Valerie Loves Me, Material Issue
  10. Boxful of Letters, Wilco
  11. I Will Follow You into the Dark, Death Cab for Cutie
  12. Cecelia, Simon & Garfunkel
  13. Get Me Away from Here, I'm Dying, Belle & Sebastian
  14. Train in Vain, The Clash
  15. Hope I Never Lose My Wallet, Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  16. Anchorage, Michelle Shocked
  17. See a Little Light, Bob Mould
  18. Mrs. Potter's Lullaby, Counting Crows
  19. Pictures of You, The Cure
  20. Love My Way, The Psychedelic Furs
  21. Furr, Blitzen Trapper

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PSA for those of you in the Chicago area, the Music Box Theatre is showing 16 Candles as a midnight movie both tonight and Saturday. "Life is not whatnot, and it's none of your business"

Monday, August 17, 2009

happy to be home again

A cup of coffee, a new knitting project, and a snuggly kitty at my side...
The Tiffany blue yarn is well on its way to becoming Damson, Ysolda's first pattern release from Whimsical Little Knits 2. Lots of garter stitch made this great car knitting over the weekend as we traveled around Wisconsin. I'm using the Plucky Knitter's merino superwash fingering weight in "Audrey" (aptly named, indeed).
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Madison was awesome, as usual. Super hot pizza at Paisan's, Spotted Cow and a live band on the Union Terrace, a Brewers victory, and lots of family togetherness.

Madison truly has the best farmer's market.
All around our beautiful State Capitol. We didn't get there quite as early as we should have, though, so it was awfully busy. After 9 am it slows to a snail's pace, but it's still worth it.
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As summer draws to a close, so many wonderful new knitting patterns are being released:

- Multnomah at Hello Knitty (free) - rav - I'm picturing it knit up in my Plucky Knitter Container Garden merino/silk

- A Little Ruffle at Sadie & Oliver (free) - rav

- Laurel at whatifknits (free) - rav

- new Twist Collective
I'm quite taken with Cottage Garden, Vine Yoke Cardigan, and Twigs & Leaves Cardigan

Friday, August 14, 2009

Off the needles:
Pattern: Autumn Leaves, by Nikki Van De Car
Yarn: RYC Cashsoft DK, 1.5 skeins
Needles: Clover US 4 bamboo circs

Notes: The yoke is so cute and fun to knit! I made the seed stitch button bands 4 stitches wide. The shaping of the body is a bit odd. I looked at versions on Ravelry and decided to cut down on the post-sleeve body increases. The pattern doesn't call for any extra stitches to be cast on after the sleeves are put on waste yarn, so the body seems narrow. And the sleeves seem very big! I think it will actually be a very cute almost puffed-sleeve effect. It might work out a bit better to do as one Raveler did and switch to basically a February Baby Sweater at the sleeve divide.
I spent 99 cents total for all 6 of these buttons at JoAnn. They're pretty much perfect, in that they're machine washable and they have a shank, which is always easier for me to sew onto handknits.
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And then there were two...
Another Packers hat, this time for my brother-in-law, who's turning 30 this weekend.
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Speaking of Wisconsin, I'm about to hit the road for a weekend in Madison and Milwaukee. Beer on the Union Terrace, browsing the farmers' market, coffee and knitting at Lakeside Fibers, a family picnic, a Brewers game... should be great fun.
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I picked up this cute little hand-embroidered pouch from Tiny Happy's etsy shop, and I wasn't quite sure what to do with it at first. I couldn't resist, since the embroidery reminded me so much of my grandmother, an inveterate crafter who had a penchant for bedecking projects with little brown-eyed Susans and daisies. Anyway, the pouch turned out to be just perfect for packing jewelry for my trips this summer. I put the little individual boxes and bags within.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

if you leave...

Ism's, in my opinion, are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus but it still wouldn't change the fact that I don't own a car.
John Hughes' death last week marked the end of an era. I have watched 16 Candles and Ferris Bueller's Day Off so often that the dialogue is permanently emblazoned in my brain.
the ever nerdy yet dreamy Colin Meloy

Much to my delight, the Decemberists reeled off an impromptu version of "If You Leave" at the Metro on the eve of Lollapalooza. They were fabulous! One of the best Decemberists concerts I've attended, and I've been to quite a few. They did not play The Hazards of Love all the way through (which is pretty much standard on this tour), but rather they played a set-list voted on by fans on the interwebs. "Red Right Ankle," baby! Two rather decorative-seeming girls were on stage for much of the show, clapping rhythmically, swaying strangely, singing some background vocals, etc. They seemed quite unnecessary and distracting... until they got to a cover of Heart's "Crazy On You." Yep, Shara Worden and Becky Starck can really sing. I had to eat my words, and they must sing a lot more in the full-on Hazards shows.
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A feather and fan scarf is in the works to coordinate with my Beanpole Beanie.
The yarn's Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Pagoda, and the pattern's Misty Garden from Scarf Style. Not that you really need a pattern for a feather and fan scarf...
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PSA: If you somehow acquire a sofa that's upholstered in Schumacher cut velvet (whatever that means), be prepared to cover it up with a quilt pretty much 24/7. Sigh.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Thanks so much for all the kind comments on my 3rd blogiversary post! The Count (AKA the random number generator) has announced the giveaway winner:
#3

#3 is barefoot rooster! I hope you enjoy the books and other goodies.
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Speaking of goodies, I received the nicest parcel from Mia:
Gorgeous bulky handspun yarn and cute cards from her own photos! Mia's opening up an etsy shop soon, I think. Now to find the perfect pattern to showcase the yarn...
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Jodi and Sarah helped me pick out buttons for my Debbie Bliss drop collar cable jacket at Josephine's Dry Goods in Portland.
I *think* they're going to work out well, but I haven't worked up the courage to sew them on and give this sweater a final blocking yet. The muggy, 100-degree weather isn't exactly putting me in hurry to finish this up.

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Getting ready for Packers season...

A new Packers hat for Paul! Two more to go -- one for me, and one for my BIL.
Pattern: House Hat (beanie)
Source: Charmed Knits by Alison Hansel
Yarn: Cascade 220
Needles: US 4 and 6 Clover bamboo 16" circs; US 6 Brittany birch DPNs

Notes: Great pattern. I used the directions for size small, since I'm a loose knitter, and just knit it a bit longer. The decreases are very nice for a men's hat -- not too frou-frou. I knit the narrow stripes closer to the ribbing than specified.

Monday, August 03, 2009

blogiversary + various sundry

Holy cow, it's my third blogiversary! Has it really been that long?
Art is long, and time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still like muffled drums are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
On that cheerful note... how about a contest? I offer up two books -- The Gentle Art of Domesticity and Mocha:

a little something handknit by me out of heather green alpaca:
and perhaps some yarn.

Just leave a comment on this post if you'd like to be entered. I'll pick a name via the random number generator this Sunday, August 9. ETA: US and Canada only, please, due to shipping costs.

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My knitting circle holds an annual Christmas in July party, and I really lucked out at Yankee Swap and ended up with some gorgeous Malabrigo that I cast on immediately:
Pattern: Beanpole Beanie, by Rachel Weaver
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted, Pagoda, .75 skein
Needles: US 4 circs, US 6 circs and DPNs, US 3 DPNs
Notes: Great, clear pattern, fun to knit, plus it was designed by a fellow Chicagoan (not that I know her personally, but I support the Upper Midwest in a general sort of way). This was my first time doing bobbles, and some of them are a little wonky, but that's just fine with me.

This style of hat is a little "wild" for me, but I'm going to try to branch out from my usual plain ol' stocking caps and try some new things this winter. Rose Red, I'm looking at you!

I worked on this while sipping an almond latte at the cutest and friendliest coffeeshop in Portland -- the Dragonfly. A woman still in her running gear came over to me and wanted to talk knitting -- turns out she had knit with this exact colorway of Malabrigo and had just loved it.

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I just got back from Portland, and everyone else is gearing up to head there for Sock Summit. A few highlights:

- Jade Teahouse & Patisserie
- Tilde (I found a wonderful Orla Kiely handbag on sale there)
- Ken's Artisan Pizza
- Caffe Mingo (mmm... prosciutto e melone)
- Dragonfly Coffee House

Knittingwise I met up with Sarah (Blue Garter) and Jodi (who made the trip down from Seattle! so great to catch up) at Knit / Purl, which is a very elegant knitting shop with a carefully edited selection of beautiful yarns. Lots of Shibui, of course.

I also made it to Abundant Yarn, conveniently near Jade Teahouse and Tilde in Sellwood. They have a wonderful, wide selection of yarns, and it's nice and roomy, with a coffeeshop inside. The ambience, however, leaves a bit to be desired. [I'm probably just spoiled by the atmosphere at Nina here in Chicago and Lakewood Fibers in Madison.]
While driving up to Mt. Hood from the east, I noticed a little sign on the side of the road for Cascade Alpacas and Foothills Yarn. I managed to sweet-talk Paul into taking a little detour (best. husband. ever.), and we followed the signs through a few turns to get the loveliest alpaca farm and yarn shop. The alpacas were darling (I got to feed them), the workers were friendly, and the shop was pleasant, stocked with some handspun and micro-mill-spun alpaca yarns, amongst others.
Paul has informed me that if we ever get an alpaca, he's naming it Samuel L. Paca. Love it! Too bad I'm allergic to the cuties.
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on the hi-fi

NPR is featuring some great free downloads from the 2009 Newport Folk Festival:
- Neko Case
- The Decemberists
- Fleet Foxes
- Iron & Wine

We're passing on Lollapalooza this year (too much heat + sun + crowds + expense), but are seeing both the Decemberists and Fleet Foxes at pre/aftershows at Metro this weekend. Should be great!
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in the kitchen


The Maroni meatballs were OK, but the sauce was a real dud. Not a rave review... perhaps these recipes are too traditional for me? I'm a big fan of cayenne and bold flavors. I will, however, give a rave review to this five minute tomato sauce recipe, which is very versatile (and easy). It's even great on pizza.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

gorey fabulousness

Thanks to Ravelry, I just discovered an Edward Gorey font! How awesome is that? You can download it here (gratis).

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Mmmm... the whole apartment smells wonderful because Paul was inspired by Bobby Flay's Throwdown show to make Grandma Maroni's Meatballs. Gotta run because I'm in charge of making the sauce.