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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

 Capricha's enamored of my festive pumpkin cushions.
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in the kitchen ~ autumn edition
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Here I am, standing on the bumper of my big brother's Jeep back in 1985 or so.  It should have been a sign... 

Yep, Paul and I just bought yet another black Jeep.  Now we're very matchy-matchy. Wish me luck selling the old Malibu!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

mmmm... peanut butter

I'm back from another whirlwind trip to Minneapolis.  My dad turned 70 (!!!), and we had a lovely family party.  Sadly I forgot my camera, so no photos of the 2-layer devil's food cake that I frosted and decorated with candy corn and the like. There's something so festive about a fancy layer cake!
Most of the weekend was spent with family, but I did manage to meet some dear friends for Sunday brunch at Hell's Kitchen. Their peanut butter is just as amazing as everyone says. I bought a jar for my parents, and I'm planning to make it myself sometime soon (recipe here)! 
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All that garter stitch for my Greenfield Cardigan is beginning to seem interminable:

I've divided for the arms, and am now chugging along on the increases after the waist.  It's going to be cozy, but that's one heck of a lot of K stitches.
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Kylie tried out her new harness and leash recently!  When I first put it on her, she melted into a kitty-cat puddle on the floor and refused to move.  Once we got her out on the deck she was emboldened and did some exploring. Too cute. We haven't tried Capricha yet, as she's a bit faster and more curious.
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I'm a notorious over-packer when traveling, and while my new-ish Kindle has helped me carry fewer weighty tomes, I still need to change my ways.  One thing that I thought might help was a smaller (cute!) carry-on bag that I'd feel motivated to use.  While this Orla Kiely number was calling out my name, its high price tag didn't work with the budget. I found this Le Sportsac Weekender at Marshall's last week, and it worked like a charm for my Minneapolis trip.
My first time traveling with just a carry-on since 9/11!
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I try not to be too political here (hey, it's a knitting blog), but I can't resist pointing to this piece from James Fallows at the Atlantic in support of NPR.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

busy, busy

There are lots of baby showers on the horizon, so I'm back to knitting wee little sweaters and the like. This is my favorite kind of knitting --  baby knits go quickly, use small amounts of yarn, and let you try out new techniques, as well as styles that are just too twee for grown-ups. Here's a Pebbles baby vest in progress.  Just a couple more ends to weave in, plus buttons and blocking.
This doesn't take much yarn at all!  I'm using a skein of Brooklyn Handspun Instant Gratification DK-weight merino sock yarn that has been marinating in the stash for quite some time. The colorway is "slate." I actually think I could squeeze a second vest out of the skein, too!  Really a neat little (free) pattern -- I like the garter stitch details. We'll see how well I like sewing on all the buttons, though.
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This is a busy week.  The start of the quarter has seen me running around like crazy, including a few frantic, crabby days. Poor Paul... our suburban Ikea odyssey (to look at bookcases) was not our best Sunday. That said, almost every Ikea trip makes me nuts.  I always feel a bit like a salmon swimming upstream, surrounded by all the carts, frantic people in decision-making mode, and cheaply-made goods.  
The one upshot of our shopping trip? I'm very much looking forward to cracking open this bottle of Crispin hard cider, an artisanal reserve edition fermented with Trappist yeasts (called "The Saint"), on Friday night. Crispin is a Minneapolis-based business (short Star Trib blub here).
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The Elsie cardigan was hastily blocked and finished (with little white flower buttons), just in time for a certain someone's first birthday:
Yep, it's too big... and it was too darn hot to get good modeled shots of a baby in an overly large wool sweater on an 85-degree fall day.  Hopefully her mom will send me a better photo this winter! 

The details are on my Ravelry project page.  I loved the pattern, and the crochet edging was very easy and quick.  I'll definitely try more of Jane Richmond's designs. In fact, I'm already dreaming of an Oatmeal Pullover, just like Amanda Soule's. When I'm done with my Greenfield cardigan, of course...

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

autumnal

Sweater-wearing season has begun here in Chicago (hurray!). What better time to cast on for a new cozy cardigan? 

I'm making a Greenfield Cardigan from the book New England Knits:
photo from Interweave
The design reminds me a bit of the February Lady Sweater, without the lace, but with a bit of waist shaping, plus that cute leaf detail. The yarn is Kimmet Croft Softie, which is 25% angora and really neat (plus it's from Wisconsin).  I think it's woollen spun? It has little bits of VM, which don't bother me, and the yarn really blooms and changes texture when you wash and block it.  Yes, I actually did wash and block my swatch for once. Mia sent me the yarn a couple of years ago, and I'm so happy to be using it!
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knitting in unexpected places

- Design*Sponge with a pattern for a handknit lampshade.  It's actually pretty cute, though it does strike me as a possible fire hazard.

- Apartment Therapy on knitting-inspired home decor

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recipe round-up

Apparently October's the time for comfort food! The greatest hits from the past two weeks are not exactly health food, but they're delicious:

- Squash, Bacon, & Goat Cheese Pasta with Basil from the kitchn
Sadly my fresh basil had gone south, so I had to settle for sprinkling in some dried basil.  Fresh basil would elevate this from very good to awesome, in my book. 

- Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni & Cheese
I made a half batch, since the original recipe seemed like it would feed an army.  And indeed, the half batch made 6-8 servings rather than 3-4. I cut back on the butter a bit, and I cooked the chicken breasts myself, as rotisserie chicken is really high in salt (and as a former vegetarian I'm super grossed out by bones).