Saturday, September 29, 2012

home stretch

Shalder is almost done! I picked it up last week after letting it languish for over a year, so this feels like kind of a miracle.

Last year I bailed in the midst of the lace pattern on the yoke, which is admittedly kind of complex and requires undivided attention, at a point when the whole weight of this bottom-up sweater awkwardly fills up your entire lap. This is my first adult bottom-up sweater, and while I like not being stuck on sleeve island at the end, wrestling with attaching the sleeves and doing the yoke can be a challenge.

Now to graft the underarms, block, and add some buttons!
in the kitchen

- chicken and brie sandwich with roasted cherry tomatoes, a perennial favorite chez moi

- French apple cake, a new autumnal favorite
 Moxie, enjoying some fresh air on our sun porch

Thursday, September 20, 2012

wee little cardi + garden goodness

Another FO! This sweet little cardi languished in my knitting basket, patiently waiting for its (lone) button for months.
pattern: Mignon, by Loop London
yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK, 2.2 skeins
needles: US 4 (3.5 mm) Clover circs
size: 3-6 months

The cables were fun to work (as most cables are), and the knitting part of this project went very quickly! I recommend the pattern, but be aware that this is definitely a cropped length. It would look lovely over a full little floral dress, but rather odd with jeggings.
I managed to capture Sugar mid-sneeze. Sugar, like most cats apparently, is drawn to crochet; she has staked a claim on this afghan on the sofa. Moxie, on the other hand, has claimed the ivory diagonal box-stitch afghan for herself.
I tried something new for dinner -- 15-minute creamy avocado pasta. Yum! Very rich and creamy, indeed. I used basil, but also a little parsley, and I topped it with halved cherry tomatoes. It's kind of like a guacamole-pesto hybrid. Next time I'd reserve some cooking water from the pasta to thin it out a bit.
I'm dying to tackle another crochet project, maybe this retro circle afghan (inspired by a post by one sheepish girl, a new-to-me blog that I'm really enjoying), but I don't have enough yarn that would work, and I'm trying to work from the stash these days.

On the knitting side of things, I'd like to cast on for this cute chunky star blanket from Pickles. And a Whisper or Wispy cardigan (inspired by barefoot rooster breaking hers out for the season), though I haven't yet figured out which pattern to use. Apparently Wispy is a revised version, with some modifications and additional sizes. That probably bodes well, but do I really want to shell out more $ for the new version when I still have the old issue of Interweave?

Before I cast on for another cardi, though, I MUST knit the last sleeve for Aidez and seam that bad boy together, as well as finish up my Shalder. I have visions of snuggling up in my beautiful Aidez while sipping coffee out on the dock amidst the fall colors while we're in Door County next month. We're staying in this cute cottage:
on this lovely island:
I cannot wait!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

delicious autumn

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.

-- George Eliot

With September has come a hankering for autumnal flavors. Mmm... I whipped up a batch of my favorite pumpkin chocolate chip squares last night, and they are just as delicious as I remembered. I've tried a few different brands of canned pumpkin, and Libby canned pumpkin seems to yield the best results. The pricey organic pumpkin from Whole Foods is a dud, both in terms of texture and flavor. I've tried making my own pumpkin puree in the past, but it's labor-intensive, and the texture is unpredictable for baking (but great for soups).
The temperature has been dropping at night, and I've been waking up to a snuggly marmalade tabby perched atop my chest. Delightful! Taking in Sugar and Moxie is one of the best decisions we've ever made.

Moxie is modeling my latest granny star afghan (pre-washing and blocking, of course). I'm still not tired of the pattern! This time I used Knit Picks Simply Cotton, which washes much better than CottonTots and doesn't produce quite as much fluffy residue. 

hook: Clover Soft Touch G (4.0 mm) 
3 skeins green tea heather, 2 skeins marshmallow
my Ravelry project page

So much fun to make! I did a single crochet border this time, and it made for a nice finishing touch.

As with the other ones I've made, the pattern required a little tweaking to make the star shape work. I skipped working a 2 DC “cluster” at the inner angles of the star.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

bigger on the inside

I *finally* picked up 311 stitches for the TARDIS section of Bigger on the Inside. Definitely not my favorite task, but now that I'm knitting the charted pattern I'm happy as a clam. Despite fingering weight yarn and size 3 needles, it seems like it's going to be big! Also, here's my new-to-me antique chair. Still deciding where to put it!
Wow, is it different having young, spry kitties again! When you walk into the kitchen, you see things like this:
 Which means that someone most definitely jumped on my counters to get up there. Naughty kitty!
Even with the frisky young ones, there's still plenty of naptime. Everyone is settling in quite nicely, although Moxie (the marmalade tabby) hasn't really warmed to Paul yet.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

good things for September

Back from a wonderfully long, relaxing weekend, with good things to share:

thing 1
 Sugar, age 3

thing 2
Moxie, age 6

Two lovely kitties have come to live with us, and they're adorable and hilarious. Moxie is still a little nervous around Paul (she seems to be a lady's cat); Sugar's already a lap cat and diligent houseplant excavator. Wow, do they have a lot of energy! The house just didn't feel right without kitties underfoot.
The Avett Brothers' new album, The Carpenter, is streaming in its entirety for free now at NPR.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

a new leaf

Thank you for all the kind words about Capricha. They really warmed my heart during a really crummy month. 
The prospect of fall has me so excited that I'm actually knitting socks again (and drinking hot tea, despite the 90+ degree temps)! Basic 64-stitch afterthought heel -- no fancy pattern, but I love the yarn, Madelinetosh sock in turquoise (frogged from an old lacy Baktus, for which I had planned unwisely and run out of yarn). The linden tea is amazing and always reminds me of Proust (if only we had madeleines on hand).
This book by Jane Brocket is absolutely charming. It made me want to revisit some of my old favorite books, like Anne of Green Gables, and it also piqued my interest in a few I hadn't read. I've been giving copies to all of my book-loving friends with kids!
in the kitchen
I've been cooking a lot lately. I have not, however, been taking good photos of what I've been making:

- a wonderful pesto recipe
- delicious frozen yogurt, made with Greek yogurt
- whole-wheat spaghetti with Italian sausage and fennel recipe from Cook's Illustrated
I didn't have quite enough sausage, so I threw in some pancetta, which was delicious but maybe didn't have enough heft. Next time I'd cut the pasta down to 12 oz. rather than a full pound.

- Trader Joe's canned smoked trout is amazing (I know I'm late to the game on this one!)
I've just been draining it, flaking it, and mixing it with a little bit of mayo, a squeeze of lemon juice, and snipped fresh chives from the garden. Perfect sandwich for weekday lunches!
- Anchovy paste is all new to me! I used it in a spicy red clam sauce the other night, and it really added wonderful complexity and flavor. Plus who doesn't get a kick out of squeezing a mysterious fish paste out of a tube? Reminds me of Scandinavia!
Back soon with more knitting photos, I promise. Three projects are blocking on my dining room table as I type this post!