Tuesday, June 26, 2012

diagonal stripes

The diagonal striped blanket is washed, blocked, and ready to go! (Now to tackle the weeding in the back garden...)
pattern: diagonal box-stitch stripey crochet blankie
two skeins each of green tea heather, haze heather, golden heather, dogwood heather, wave heather, and marshmallow
hook: G/4.0 mm, Clover Soft Touch

I love how you work this pattern from corner to corner -- it eliminates the foundation chain, the worst part of any crochet project. The yarn is soft, organic, and cozy, not to mention cheery and colorful. The (admittedly) garish shades may not be to everyone's taste, which I totally get.
While the ball band suggests that you can machine wash and dry this yarn on low, I found that even on the "hand wash" super gentle cycle, there was some fuzzing. I didn't brave the dryer with this one!
If your retinas have been sufficiently seared by the vivid stripes, how about a classier, more tasteful version of the same pattern?
This one's for me. I did most of the work last winter, but didn't have enough yarn to do the scallop border and had to wait for Knit Picks to restock. The afghan still saw plenty of use even in its border-less state. Same details as the colorful version above, aside from the yarn. It's Knit Picks Bare Swish Worsted, which comes in nice 220-yard put-ups (unlike the dyed version, which comes in skimpy 110-yard balls). This is one of the nicest and snuggliest things I've ever made, with the exception of my very first crochet project, a cozy cashmerino giant granny square.

Also, we've made progress on our rustic back sun room. This pair of handmade rocking chairs from an old farmhouse in Indiana was a Craigslist score.
Mini German pancakes for Sunday brunch. Yum! A new weekend favorite recipe. Be aware that though they puff very nicely, they fall quite quickly. I whipped up a strawberry rhubarb compote with bounty from the Lincoln Square farmer's market.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Olympics kerfuffle

Oh joy, another Olympics kerfuffle. Chicago's failed bid for the summer games was maddening enough. This time the USOC is going after Ravelry for the light-hearted and whimsical Ravelympics. See a Gawker article here and more info here on Ravelry. (Tip o' the hat to Tinks & Frogs, btw.)

Not only is law clerk Brett Hirsch’s phrasing poorly chosen and condescending, I am pretty peeved by the cease-and-desist part of the letter, too. As a classicist, I’m horrified by how the USOC tries to protect a “brand” created by the Greeks in 776 B.C.E. The bit about 4-year intervals is especially addle-pated — hence the Greek system of dating by olympiads.

All in the name of profits, of course, while “amateurs” compete. I'm not a huge fan of the modern Olympics in general (esp. the summer games), and you can guarantee that I'll keep the TV off this summer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

summer solstice heat wave Rx

Yeeesh, Chicago has endured quite the heat wave. My Nordic blood renders me ill-prepared for prolonged stretches of 90-degree temperatures, but we've been making the best of it.

Puttering around in the garden...
My herbs are actually thriving! This is the first time I've successfully grown herbs since we moved to Chicago many moons ago. Turns out we never really had enough sunlight in our outdoor space before.
Grilling out back...
 Sipping iced tea while reading a good book on the front porch...
Making lots of salads, including this delicious zesty tortellini salad (who knew that salami would go well in a salad? yum!)...
Crocheting up a storm...
This wildly stripey diagonal box-stitch baby afghan is blocking -- I'll post  proper photos and full details soon, along with a couple more crochet projects. Cotton yarn is great for the summer, but it's awfully hard on my wrists for knitting. Crocheting seems to be much easier.
Other things that are making me happy these days:

my Saltwater Sandals  -- cute and comfy!

Bunheads -- Amy Sherman Palladino's newest show -- not as good as Gilmore Girls, but still entertaining

Miss Potter -- awfully twee, but charming and full of beautiful photography of the English countryside

looking forward to  Lifeline Theatre's adaptation of Pride and Prejudice