Wednesday, July 29, 2009

portland and back

Oregon was beautiful, and it was such a treat for Paul and me to take some time together and just enjoy things.

the peace of the Japanese Garden...

beautiful vistas...

Paul's version of bliss...

my version of bliss...

More on my trip and knitting to come, I promise. Look, I'm already hard at work on a new design project. Yep, it's hot enough here that I've moved all my stuff to the dining room table to be closer to the air conditioning.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

black bean festival

When I announced to Paul and our friend Andrea that I was going to the Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair this past weekend, they were stunned. Yeah... it turns out that regular people think of dietary fiber, not wool, when they hear "fiber." Paul then unofficially proclaimed it the Black Bean Festival. Muggles!

One of the highlights...
So cute! I went with a few girls from my knitting circle, and a great time was had by all, especially at the Briar Rose booth... talk about swoon-worthy fiber.
(L) Sea Pearl (merino/tencel), (R) Celebration (merino/bamboo), plus the After Hours Shawl pattern
Kylie's in love with my now-complete Hap Blanket. See how she's cuddling up to it?
I've even seen her burrow under it and hide behind it. I haven't washed and blocked it yet, since I'm wondering if that's some of the cat appeal, and I'm enjoying the show too much.

Pattern: Hap Blanket, by Ysolda Teague (from Whimsical Little Knits)
Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool, Natural (1.25 skeins) and Coffee (.25 skeins)
Needles: Clover US 11 bamboo circs

Hmmm... I wish I liked this better. The yarn is great -- very lofty and soft, marvelous price and yardage, wonderful natural colors. I usually love Ysolda's patterns, but this one isn't my favorite. There are serious errata. Row 5 should be P (not K); more significantly, the last page of the pattern doesn't seem to be necessary and was ceremoniously disregarded by me. The written-out instructions are rather annoying -- they often refer back to other rows that themselves refer back to yet more rows.

Feather and fan is usually my absolute favorite stitch pattern to knit, but here it's a pain. Switching colors after YOs is nearly impossible to do well. I don't like knitting F&F in the round on those big needles, either.

The blanket is an odd size. It would make a great (if slightly large) baby blanket, but I knit it up in hand-wash-only wool. It kind of covers your lap. It would work best as a decorative item over the back of a chair. Or as a cat blanket, apparently.
Finishing up the Hap Blanket (as well as a scarf that I'll save for another post) sparked a bout of cast-on-itis! First up, a Milkweed Shawl:
I'm using Impulse of Delight's Superwash Merino/Silk in "Aubergine." Ashley used this yarn for a beautiful Ishbel a while back, and I couldn't resist the allure of those gorgeous inky blues. Yes, yes... usually aubergine means purple, but the color makes me so happy that I won't complain. It has a lovely sheen, and it's a nice, springy 2-ply. I have found a few odd spots in this skein though.
Also, since my friends are procreating at an alarming rate, a raglan baby sweater in Cashmerino, inspired by Lolly's two cute versions.
This needs to be done for an early August baby shower, which I don't think will be a problem. I'm subbing YO raglan increases:

knit to within 1 st of marker, YO, K1, slip marker, K1, YO

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I'm back from a whirlwind trip to Minnesota. Some highlights...
- spending time up north on Roosevelt Lake (NW of L. Mille Lacs)
- visiting a new cidery in Stockholm, WI -- Maiden Rock Cidery. Their Honeycrisp hard cider is delicious!
- seeing Public Enemies -- the scenes of Billie's apt. along the El tracks were shot in my back alley! I enjoyed the movie; that Johnny Depp can really act. It's a pretty straight portrayal -- not overly stylized, as many gangster movies are.

Strangely enough, I didn't knit much on my trip. Staying at my parents' house causes me to revert back to my teenage self -- lots of reading and listening to the Smiths.
moderne log cabin blanket mosaic

Pattern: Moderne Baby Blanket by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne
Needles: Clover US 8 bamboo circs
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Cotton, many skeins
(305 lemongrass, 207 chili, 102 ivory, 400 fog, 209 maize, 401 chicory, 403 sky)

Notes: Great pattern - very fun and easy to knit. It's a yarn-eater, so be forewarned. I started off using leftover skeins, so I didn't follow the number of rows in the pattern -- I just knit until I ran out of yarn or thought it looked good. This blanket was a great opportunity to play with color. I hate doing actual colorwork, so this was perfect for me. Mission Falls is great to work with -- not too much wrist/hand fatigue considering that it's 100% cotton.

Time to pop this in the mail to Colorado!
My cousin adopted a new cat while I was home last week. Such a cutie. See those paws?
Yep, he's polydactyl. He looks like he's wearing big mittens. :-)
The Hap Blanket is almost done... I'm still loving the Eco Wool.
We've reached the amorphous blob stage where it's all bunched up on the circular needles.
In the kitchen
I whipped up a Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese pizza for dinner last night. Yum! I substituted thyme for basil, and I added a sprinkling of shredded Parmesan. Next time I'd cut back on the lemon juice a bit. I used Smitten Kitchen's simplest pizza dough recipe, too, but I made it in the breadmaker on the "dough" setting, which worked perfectly.