Monday, June 28, 2010


Last Saturday started off perfectly with a trip to Chicago's Green City Market. Berry season is in full force. When Paul admitted that he'd never tasted a black raspberry, I was flabbergasted.
Not only did we eat 1/2 a pint immediately upon returning home, I turned the rest into a (Black) Raspberry Buttermilk Cake. The Kitchen Aid's virgin run was a success, though using it feels like cheating. Monsieur Kitchen Aid just churns away and does most of the work for you. I'm pretty sure my arm muscles will now turn to limp noodles as a result.

The cake was good -- not too sweet, nice and moist, plenty of complexity from the tart berries and lemon zest. That said, it's really more of a coffeecake than a dessert-type cake.
On the topic of new things, I did something rather wild in our new place. I threw caution to the wind and did NOT paint our bedroom blue. Shocking, I know, but the whole open living/dining area was already a peaceful shade of light blue, and it opens into our bedroom. So more light blue could have been overkill.

We went with Behr Premium Plus Ultra ("paint and primer in one") in Sliced Cucumber, a very "Martha" shade. I wasn't that impressed with the paint -- it still took two coats plus a good amount of touch-up work, and it didn't seem to want to stick to the wall. That said, painting conditions were less than ideal, as it was super humid (and we were working at night part of the time). In retrospect, I probably should have manned up and done a third coat.

Doesn't Kylie look alert and kittenish in this picture? My ferocious old biddy is mellowing as she reaches 15 years.
Wonder of all wonders, I trimmed almost all of her claws over the weekend! The girls' previous owners had never bothered, and the cats were resistant to it when we first adopted them, so I gave up. But now we have a whole lower level of brand new carpeting, and I thought it was time. Oddly enough, Kylie (the fierce one) minds it less than sweet Capricha, who's generally good natured and friendly.

And the knitting in the background?
A Shalom (with sleeves) for my mom, knit in a discontinued shade of Cascade Eco +. SouleMama just knit a second one that's even more beautiful than her first one, and I couldn't resist the pattern any longer.

A parting shot of my kitters, curled up in a sunbeam:
shalom, indeed

Thursday, June 24, 2010

FO: second in a series

Today has been a very good day. Beautiful weather, the end of a taxing project at the journal, the start of a new round of guitar lessons tonight, and I just had a nice telephone chat with my wonderful parents (it's their 49th wedding anniversary today, holy cow!).
first the knitting...

Second in a series of FO posts, but fourth in a series of Opera Scarves (see #1, #2, and #3).
Pattern: Opera Scarf, by Deb Peterson (rav)
Yarn: The Plucky Knitter Merino Cashmere Nylon Sport, 1 skein
(sadly I'm not sure of the colorway)
Needles: Clover US 9 bamboo straights
~ my ravelry project page ~

This pattern's always a quick and easy knit, and I love this yarn! Sarah's MCN sport yarn is so soft and buttery. I only had 1 skein (250 yds.), so the scarf's on the shorter side.

I wish I had dug out my blocking wires, as you can kind of tell where I pinned it out. We moved recently, though, so I'm counting myself lucky just to have found my blocking squares and pins!
then the swapping...

A lovely, thoughtful parcel arrived on my doorstep today, from Lauree:
So many lovely goodies! This is for the Super Crafty Swap, which I loved doing because it wasn't just an excuse to buy things. It truly was a swap. It's a way to send on perfectly nice things from your stash that you might not get around to using, but that someone else will appreciate. You can include up to $10 worth of goodies, too, but that's not the emphasis. I sent a parcel to Debby.
Not only did Lauree send me a nice array of yarns (including LB Nature's Choice Organic Cotton, which I love), books, super cute ribbon trims, wool for felting, and embroidery floss and designs, but she made me the sweetest little tea carrier, stocked with tea of course. Perfect to pop in my purse for tea on the go! Plus she made a very cute envelope-style needlecase.

I already have plans for the whimsical kitchen-themed fabrics -- a quilted cover for my new/used Kitchen Aid stand mixer!
and finally the thrifting

Yep, I can't believe I didn't already have one of these either... I stopped by a moving sale on my way home from campus today and picked up this lovely lady, a vintage Kitchen Aid K45, still chugging along just fine.
One other item came home with me from the moving sale. It's a surprise for Paul (for which I've already enlisted the help of my handy father), so I can't reveal that one just yet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

FO: first in a series

Pattern: Verdaia, by Jodie St. Clair
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss Sock, Pumpkin, 2.5 skeins
Needles: Clover US 5 bamboo circular
~ my ravelry project page ~

Verdaia deserves better photos than these, so I'll revisit it with a modeled shot sometime soon when the photographer (AKA Paul) is free and not busy playing summer sports. The pattern was a delight -- very easy chart to follow, the leaves are fun to knit, and the main body zooms along quite quickly.

The cast-on method didn’t work terribly well for me, but I muddled through somehow. I knit 3 repeats of Chart 2 rather than 2. This was not the best plan, as now it's truly shawl-sized. I prefer shawlettes that I can wear as scarves.

While in progress, Verdaia looked like a lumpy mass, but blocking really worked wonders. In fact, next time I'd block it even more severely, just to open up the pattern even more!

This color is just gorgeous; sadly KP has discontinued it. What fools these mortals be...

All in all, a very affordable and successful project. Note to self: do not embiggen shawls!!

While almost all of my books have been unpacked (especially my research materials), my knitting supplies have suffered a different fate, sadly. Still in boxes, alas...

I did dig up some cotton yarn (hurray for using up leftovers!), and knit up some quick washcloths:
Two Grandma's Favorite Dishcloths and one Corrugated Cloth. Perfect to knit while watching Miss Marple on Masterpiece Mystery. Guilty pleasures...
things I'm loving:

Take a gander at the NYT slide show -- it's even funnier than the article! I'm sure Capricha would love one, but it's definitely not in the cards.
I checked out Mary's on Wed. night, and it seemed awesome. Anyone have any experience with them? 26 lbs, collapses in less than a minute, would most definitely fit in the back of my Jeep.

The BBC has done it again -- something simultaneously nerdy, hilarious, and wonderful. You can stream it via Netflix.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

back in the saddle again

Phew, I've spent the past few weeks running around like a crazy person. We moved into our new place, spent a week unpacking and organizing, then hosted house guests (including an adorable 2 year old boy) last weekend.

I started going through knitting and reading withdrawal about a week ago, with my fingers just itching to SSK and K2tog and to page through books rather than simply arrange them on shelves.

Kylie's still enamored of my long-term crochet project, the stripy (human) blanket:
2/3 of the boxes have been unpacked, and it's now completely livable around here, though not exactly ready for a Martha Stewart photo shoot. I rather get the impression that the last 1/3 of the boxes aren't exactly essential for everyday life, as we seem to be managing just fine without them.

Next on the agenda is tending to the blocking pile:
That's a lot of knitting, my friends. Prepare for a number of FO posts over the next couple of weeks!