Friday, April 24, 2009


First, the knitting front...
Pattern: Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl, by Sarah Bradberry
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden #269, 4.75 skeins
Needles: US 8

I accidentally grabbed size 8 needles instead of 9 when I left for my knitting retreat last month. D'oh! This pattern has more drape when it's knit at a little looser gauge. The subtlety of this natural/white Noro colorway really appeals to me. It does seem a little less soft than my other Silk Garden projects, though.
I ordered this very cute handcrafted fabric cat basket; as soon as I opened up the package, each cat took a turn in it. Here's Kylie:
Yep, both girls are a little too "robust" for the basket; neither has given it a second try. No matter, I'm repurposing it into a knitting basket:
P.S. That's my Debbie Bliss drop collar cabled jacket in the works. I shouldn't have worried so much about the yarn. The cables are popping quite nicely, and it has a wonderful, nubby, but still soft, texture. Mmmm... Beaverslide.
I've got an awfully good feeling about this weekend...

- seeing Neko Case at the Chicago Theatre tonight
- walking down the lakeshore to the Green City Market, where Alice Waters (!) has a book signing tomorrow morning
- heading to the 3 Floyds Brewery in Munster, Indiana, for the annual release of their award-winning Dark Lord beer tomorrow afternoon

Hey, it's a pretty good weekend already, as I've already gone for a walk with a friend along Lake Michigan in the sunshine, enjoying this unusually lovely, warm day (80s!). I also got to try out the air conditioning in my new-to-me Jeep -- it actually works! [The Malibu's a/c hasn't worked since 05 -- stupid GM -- I don't really want any taxpayer dollars funding their lemons, although I feel awful for the workers, the state of Michigan, and the related industries. Also, now the Malibu's windshield wipers have gone haywire -- they won't turn off!!!]

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ishbel the second

Ishbel Mosaic

Pattern: Ishbel, by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino ~ Teal Feather ~ 2.75 skeins
Needles: Clover US 8 bamboo circs
Size: small

I've said it many times, but I'll say it again -- Ishbel is a wonderful pattern to knit. The Silky Merino is soft and has a fabulous sheen. This yarn was calling out my name loud and clear while I was at Nina, my favorite Chicago yarn store, in March.

Two more projects have jumped off my needles over the past two days, and I'm on pace to finish up my Malabrigo cowlneck tonight or tomorrow.
There are tons of wonderful new patterns right now. Here's just a few of the things I'm dying to make:

- The Purl Bee's Checkerboard Lace Scarf
- Leslie's Package Pillows (the tutorial is up!)
- The Purl Bee's Sunny Tied Quilt
- The Yarnigans' Marisol Mouse
- The Shetland Trader's Moch Cardi (I'd love to use Silky Merino for this, but it would be too expensive and impractical, so I'm thinking about budget-friendly Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

blue violet

Right now spring seems like the green light in The Great Gatsby -- something wonderful that's always out of reach... Oh well, at least my mother-in-law sent me home from Easter with a cheerful bouquet of tulips.
The tulips may be pink, but I'm in a blue-violet knitting mood right now:
On top, another Opera Scarf, this time in Mirasol Hacho (#306). This merino yarn feels very soft in hank form, but when you're actually knitting, you notice how tightly spun and crisp it is. It feels a bit like a sport/DK-weight Koigu. Sarah from knitting group gave me this yarn as a birthday present last year. :-)

On the bottom, a swatch for the Drop Collar Cable Jacket from the fall/winter 2008 issue of the Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine. I'm using Beaverslide's McTaggart Tweed (the old 2-ply version), in "Wild Myrtle." I'm concerned that the yarn may not have enough stitch definition for the cables. Any thoughts?
Take a glimpse behind the scenes at Netflix. So that's how the DVD magic happens!
I made a valuable culinary discovery while I had the flu. When it comes to soothing a sore throat, the only thing that rivals hot tea with honey is a cool, sweet mango lassi. Both fresh and frozen mango work for this; I might actually prefer the frozen. Trader Joe's sells very affordable bags of frozen, cut-up mangoes.
Mango Lassi

1 C. mango, coarsely chopped (frozen is fine)
1.25 C. plain yogurt
1/4 tsp. cardamom
3 T. sugar (or less, to taste)
6-8 ice cubes

Combine everything in the blender and blend away. You'll probably have to stop and push things down with a spatula a couple times.

Serves 2-3.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Ishbel and the dragon

Ishbel the first is done and dusted! I'm in love with this pattern. Seriously. I've already finished knitting a second one that just needs blocking. On a related note, a case of the flu has seen me camped out on the sofa with hot tea, my knitting, and the remote control for the past week. How's that for a great spring break and start to the new quarter?
Pattern: Ishbel, by Ysolda Teague, size small
Yarn: The Plucky Knitter MCN fingering, "Nicholas & Alexandra" (Plucky Favorites), 1.1 skeins
Needles: US 6 Clover bamboo 29" circs
Dimensions: 57" wingspan, 18" depth

Wonderfully easy pattern to follow that makes perfect sense. I'm a loose knitter, so I used more yarn than recommended and ended up with a significantly larger scarf/shawl. Many thanks to raveler browncurls for sending me a little bit of yarn for me to finish binding off!
I did a little stashbusting to whip up this little sock puppet for a certain little guy's first birthday:

draco, draconis (m.): dragon
Pattern: Elliott the Dragon, by Jil Eaton (Interweave Holiday 2007)
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted in "Dublin" & "Dark Navy," under 1 skein each
small amounts of Patons Classic Wool in "Red" and "Paprika"
Needles: US 6 bamboo straights

The end result is pretty darn cute -- how can you go wrong with a fire-breathing dragon? The pattern itself, though, leaves a bit to be desired. I shortened the length of the body to about 7" and omitted 1 whole repeat of the crest. I added 5 or so extra garter stitch rows at the beginning of the head to make it bigger, and added 10 or 12 to the mouth. It still looks odd -- he's all gums, if you know what I mean. Next time I would join the head to knit the face in the round to eliminate the awkward seam that goes up his face. On the plus side, crest assembly was quite easy.

The flames are a little silly. Draco looks more like he just ate Raggedy Ann. See what I mean?
Or maybe he's gobbling up a big plate of spaghetti? No matter, it was a fun and quick little project.
Did you see that craft goddess Alicia Paulson (of Posie Gets Cozy fame) has designed a new line of fabric, "Oregon April"? You can find it here. Portland's totally calling my name. It might be able to give Madison or Boulder a run for the money.
The latest installment in our "cat yoga" series: