Thursday, September 30, 2010

the wearing of the red

Any idea where we went last weekend?

Yep, a quick weekend trip to Madison, where we watched the Badgers slaughter Austin Peay. Yikes, that was quite the game, not really fair (70-3).
Still, it was a beautiful fall day, full of Wisconsin spirit, Michael's frozen custard, and time spent with friends. My only regret is that we couldn't stay for Obama's speech on Library Mall in Madison.
Despite the craziness of the last couple of weeks (fall quarter has now started), I knit this little Elsie cardigan in Badger red (oops, I mean Knit Picks hollyberry).  The crocheted loops at the hems are a cute detail, and they are very easy to do. Great, clear pattern by Jane Richmond. I just need to find buttons! Then I'll take better pictures. Our new apartment, while delightful in many other respects, doesn't have nearly as great of light as our old place, so photography is much more of a challenge now. On a related note, I have quite the knitting backlog to blog.
Besides being perfect for knitting, Badgers football, and long walks amidst the leaves, fall is perfect for tea.  I found the Pumpkin Ginger Tea at World Market -- very nice, but best when made with 2 tea bags, especially if you're using a mug rather than a dainty tea cup (we're not really dainty people chez Caffeinated Yarn).  The loose-leaf Bourbon Vanilla Kusmi tea, which I picked up in Paris, is absolutely amazing! Highly recommended -- I think there's a Kusmi tea shop in NYC here in the states, too.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

sunshine on a cloudy day

It must be fall -- there's a cool, crisp bite to the air, my Jeep's covered in leaves, and pumpkin spice lattes are back in season. I baked pumpkin cream cheese muffins yesterday afternoon, and they turned out quite well!
The recipe is here.  I added some extra spices in addition to the cinnamon -- nutmeg and cardamom. Ginger would be nice, too, or substituting 1 T. pumpkin pie spice for the 2 tsp. cinnamon.  These are pretty light on the cream cheese filling, so if that's your favorite part, I recommend making a 1.5 batch of the filling. What else... I used half olive oil and half canola oil, as my olive oil was perhaps a bit more full-flavored than would be ideal.
other sunny things

A Whippoorwill shawlette (rav link), in the scarf size.  I'm using the rest of the grey Plucky Knitter yarn from the contrast edging of my Damson, plus Yarntini in "honeytini" for a splash of accent color. 
These are from the Renegade Craft Fair here in Chicago last Sunday.  Sofia Masri makes these lovely porcelain earrings and pendants.  I picked up two pairs of her earrings at last year's Renegade, too!
pumpkins growing in the vegetable garden at Chenonceau, an amazingly beautiful castle spanning the Cher River in France
Capricha, looking as gorgeous as ever

Monday, September 13, 2010

stateside again

Sorry for the blog silence, but Paul and I were off on holiday in France!  We spent a week in the Loire valley, sipping wine, visiting chateaux, and spending time with family, then a few days in Paris seeing the sights!  Having a bowl of Cheerios for breakfast today was a real downer after so many lovely mornings of pain au chocolat. :-)  Better for the waistline, though.
Here's Paul rockin' the plaid at the Arc de Triomphe. I got to trot out my terrible French, and it did actually improve (hey, I took 8 weeks of French 7 years ago, and I can struggle through journal articles, so I didn't expect too much from myself).
There's a pretty major backlog of knitting projects to photograph, blog, and ravel.  Here's the first of many --  Hemlock Ring, from my mini KAL with Barefoot Rooster
Kylie looks a little surprised at the woolly beast next to her.  This was a joy to knit despite the hot weather this summer, and the end result is so snuggly.  I can't wait to curl up under it with a mug of hot apple cider and a good book.

Pattern: Hemlock Ring, by Jared Flood
Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool, 2.3 skeins, natural
Needles: US 10.5 circs (magic loop at first)

I knit the larger size, and it's nice and cozy, perfect for fully covering your lap. Really quite fun and surprisingly quick to knit.  Next time I'd switch to a larger cable for the last third of the blanket, as it was kind of crunched up on my needles. As usual, the Eco Wool softened up after a good soak in Eucalan. I blocked it lightly, not overdoing it with the pins.

Yikes, I can't believe it's mid-September already.  So much to do! Remind me not to go on long trips at this time of year again.