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Preview: cashmere blend

cashmere blend



a boy knitter's yarn blog



Updated: 2017-11-29T09:05:24.108-06:00

 



Running, Malabrigo, and other things

2009-03-15T14:33:55.530-05:00


I keep describing my 5k as insane and awesome at the same time. I woke up Sunday morning and looked out the window... it was snowing. Hard.
Now, I expected pretty chilly weather but I was not expecting snow at all. I still went for it. ^_^
It wasn't as bad as I thought it could be; once I got running I warmed up pretty quickly. The snow was falling in my favorite type: big, puffy, drifty, clusters. The only things I really had to contend with was the strong gusts of wind (usually blowing against me), the slippery ground from the snow, and potholes ... covered by snow. But, overall it was an awesome experience--like running in a snow globe.

Maybe this wasn't the best idea but I signed up for an 8k coming up on the 29th. I barely made it through the 5k... I don't know if I'll be ready for an extra 2 miles in 2 more weeks. o_O


So, it's March. For the Malabrigo Junkies group on Ravelry, March means casting on projects in Malabrigo's Merino Wosted.
It's Malabrigo March!
I didn't Cast On anything on the 1st. I had a few ideas in mind but nothing really set. I didn't pick out yarn or finalize any patterns... I was being a bad Junkie. After a few days I pushed forward and got the pattern, some new Malabrigo, and finally CO the Dr. G's Memory Vest. It's a really awesome design and in order to get the pattern you need to make a donation towards Alzheimer's research. It's an awesome way to give.

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I haven't done cables in a while so this is fun and refreshing. The cables are small enough that you can do them without a cable needle and once you work through an entire repeat of the center tree chart you'll probably have the pattern memorized. It's not moving as fast as I'd like... but, I spend an average of only 1 or 2 hours a night working on it.

I'm also planning on Casting On for a Brioche Stitch scarf... I just need to decide on my colors.

I received the Malabrigo March prizes straight from Tobias and Antonio of Malabrigo. Here are some pictures:

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This is their new line Dos in Caribeano.

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This is an un-labeled orange in Merino Worsted. I'd say it's very similar to their Apricot colorway.

We finally have some beautiful weather here... I can't decide whether to run outside or go to the Sunday knitting group. Hmm...

Knit hard!



Fitness Goal

2009-02-09T13:10:54.063-06:00


I don't knit as much as I used to. I still knit some every week but it's not enough to keep up a regular knitting blog so I think I'll start transitioning cashmere blend into a more... all around blog. =)

I've had personal blogs in the past but they have all retired. I actually love going back and reading what I had been doing with my life so I'll definitely be picking up the blogging again.

Lately I've become very ... intent on becoming healthy.

I've probably told this story before and I seriously tell it every time I talk about weight loss but back in high school I weighed an enormous 110 lbs. Enormous. hahaha, I was a stick. I used to actually pray to be fat so all the working out I was doing in gym class and as a swimmer would have actually have purpose: burning fat.
In college I stopped working out regularly and I would brag about how I could eat anything and not gain weight. And I would prove it by ordering and eating extra food.
It all came around and bit me in the behind.

I hit my highest weight about 6 months ago at 185. According to the BMI I was walking the line between simply over weight and obese. Yikes.
I managed to get it down a bit to 181.. just by becoming a bit more active... but, it was pretty much stuck at 181.

On December 28th, as sort of a pre-New Year's Resolution, I decided to start counting calories. I've never counted before... so I downloaded a cool little app on my iPod Touch and it's really been helping. So, a little over a month later I'm down 11 lbs! That's completely diet.
I have a 5k coming up on March 1st so I've started incorporating running again and hopefully that running will speed up the weight loss.

My current goals:
Lose about 2 lbs per week
Gain muscle
Hit my goal weight (145) by mid-April
Run the entire 5k on March 1st (I've done previous 5ks but always run/walk them)
Run the entire 8k at the end of March
Do an indoor Triathlon in July

That's a basic summary of where I'm at right now. Last week I only lost 1 lb so I'll have to crank it up a bit this week. Running should help.




On the subject of knitting... I was looking through a few projects on the Guy Knitters group on Ravelry and they always re-inspire me to push hard at finishing stuff. =) I have 2 sweaters on the needles, 1 waiting to be Cast On, yarn for 2 afghans, and a ton of other skeins waiting patiently to turn into something.

I'm working on the sleeve for my blue sweater. I'm hoping to finish tonight at Knitting Group and then Casting On for the 2nd sleeve and hopefully finishing it by next week so I can Cast On for the collar and assemble.

It's starting to get warm already so this might have to wait until next year for me to wear.



Long Time, No Blog

2009-02-05T10:46:06.479-06:00


I'm back... not sure for how long though. But, I'm re-inspired to become a regular blogger once again.

I haven't knit much since my last post. The grey/burgundy cardigan is still in the works. Technically it's on hold. The sleeves turned out really wide and ... billowy almost. They're like wings. I'm considering ripping back some inches and re-knitting them narrower but, I'm not a good ripper. hahaha. The girls in my Monday night group keep telling me to bring it in and they'll do the dirty work... so, I'll probably end up doing that.

I'm working on another sweater, however. It's coming out pretty well.

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That's the front. It's a pretty deep V but it actually gets a very awesome looking scarf collar. I'm working on a sleeve right now. I adapted the pattern so I could knit it in the round instead of flat... and I wasn't about to do 2 sleeves on 2 circs so I'm doing 1 at a time with DPNs. ... I love my DPNs.

I've also become obsessed with making stitch markers. I joined a swap through Ravelry and decided my partner was going to get a set. I did a search for a bead store in my area, found one, drove there, and picked up some fresh water pearls and a few Swarovski crystals. I originally planned to pay Nina and/or Ivi to do the actual making... but then I thought I could probably do it myself... so, drove over to Joann's and picked up the whole aisle of pliers and got to work. Out of the 9 I purchased I actually only needed 3. Go figure. But, I examined a few of the stitch markers I already owned and was able to construct my own set of stitch markers.

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I already sent my partner her set... but this is a set I made for myself. I found Swarovski pearls... very inexpensive but they look great. Also found some magnetic beads made of Hematite... and, those are my manly stitch markers. =)

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They stick together! Yay magnets!
I can't stop making them! Not counting the magnetic markers, and the markers for my swap partner... I've made 4 other sets and I'm working on another 2. o_O
I should probably start selling them?



Right Front (among other things)

2008-09-23T16:27:29.737-05:00


The Right Front of my cardigan is looking pretty awesome. Didn't get a chance to snap any pictures but I'm really digging the construction. It's very different from anything else I've knitted. But, who knows, maybe all cardigans are built similarly?

The "cool" parts are the button band and the pocket. When I first read through the pattern I was bit surprised at how tedious all of it sounded, but, now I'm glad I'll be able to learn new techniques.
So, with the button band... I knit about an inch at the bottom of the Right Front (and even made a button hole!) and then they had me put 12 stitches onto a holder and continue knitting the body. Once it's finished you'll pick up the live stitches and knit the button band while sewing it to the body. CrAzY! ... but awesome. The button band becomes the collar so I'll be knitting it up and attaching it around the neckline. Is that insane or what? ... I guess the "or what" would be that most cardigans are constructed the same way.

The pocket is another nifty little trick. Basically they had me knit a flat stockinette square. Once I got to the pocket hole on the Right Front I put 32 stitches from the RF onto a holder and knit the 32 stitches of the St st square in their place. Once I finish the RF I'll pick up those stitches and do a few rows of color, bind off, flip it over, and sew down the 3 remaining sides of the pocket. Tedious but AWESOME! =)

Enough of this cardigan construction excitement... how about a nice, simple, cotton dishcloth:

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I keep feeling like I blogged about this already. Hmm.
Well, during the whole Log Cabin Blanket there was a point when it became to heavy and ungainly to carry around to my knitting groups so one day I showed up to Monday night with nothing. I had been wanting to do a wash cloth for a while so I picked up some cotton (forgot what it was called, but it's really nice) and a pair of needles and cranked out a wash cloth.

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It's just some seed stitch and stockinette. I love seed stitch.

Knit hard. =)



Tastes like Cotton

2008-09-22T10:17:58.270-05:00


I gained 6 lbs over the weekend. Yikes. I was surprised 'cause I kept pretty active all weekend... I did, however, indulge a bit on the eating side on Saturday and Sunday. Oops.

Well, I have more pictures for you. =)
I mentioned before that Deb @ Fishbed was having a Summer sale which mainly consisted of cotton yarns. I really don't use much cotton in my knitting. I did that one Coachella top in cotton but that was the only thing. .... actually... now that I think of it... those crochet bookmarks could be cotton. Hmm. I'll have to check.

Anyway, I was at her store for hours trying to decide what to buy. I could have skipped out on buying anything since I had no pattern or project ideas in mind but it was a sale! ... It wasn't just a sale it was a damn good sale. The yarn was 40% off!

I spent my whole afternoon there. I got in around 10:30 and stayed until 4:15 (with a lunchbreak in between).
I ended up buying this awesome cotton from Araucania.

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I originally was drawn to the variegated. The colors looked so smooth. So, I grabbed a couple skeins and pondered for a while and decided on a granny square afghan. I figured I'd throw in a few other colors so my first instinct was to grab some browns or blues. Unfortunately none of the browns and blues in the Ulmo worked with the yarn I had. On a whim, I grabbed a skein of the purple and it just worked.

I played around with colors a bit more and decided I needed a 3rd... so, picked up a skein of red and it balanced everything out.

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I still haven't decided on the exact squares I'm going to use. I 'swatched' the variegated in the traditional granny square and I'm kinda digging it. There's another square I want to try out where the only open spaces are the corners of each 'round' so you create an X of open spaces rather than a checkery-grid thing. I'd rather have the variegated be the more.. dominant color so I think the more solid X square would work best and then I'd use the traditional granny square for the solids. We'll see. =)

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Knit (and crochet) hard!




Pictures for the last post

2008-09-19T15:27:14.388-05:00


I took pictures this morning (at the cost of being quite late for work).
I'm actually still at work so for now I'll just share my sweater.

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Mmm, RYC Cashsoft. It was one of the first 'nice' yarns I ever purchased. I loooooved it back then and I still love it today. It's really soft and it has an almost silky feel... plus it's machine washable. Go figure.

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I finished the back last night. I had hoped to finish it earlier but I encountered a few setbacks.

1) I got engrossed in Stargate SG-1. I think for each sweater I'll watch a new TV series. I've never seen Stargate so I started from the beginning and I've been using it as a knitting aid.
After shaping the armholes I needed about 9.5 inches of ribbing. After watching a good third of the first season I realized that I had 12 inches of ribbing. Oops. I considered ripping back but instead chose to meticulously tink.

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2) During the 9.5 inches of ribbing a ball had run out and so I joined a new one. On my return row I knit one of the tails that crossed my needle and resultingly increased one of the 7 stitch rib columns to 8 stitches. I didn't realize it until I had reached the top and was doing shoulder shaping and couldn't figure out why my 2 shoulders weren't decreasing symmetrically. o_O So, I ended up ripping back about 5 inches.

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3) I shaped the first shoulder completely wrong. For some reason I was decreasing at the beginning and end of each row... I was actually only supposed to be decreasing at the neck side. I bound off the shoulder and realized my count was all off so I ripped back and realized where I had gone wrong.


So, that's the back. =) I was going to Cast On for the Right Front last night but decided to knock out early. I will be casting on tonight though. Hopefully all the mistakes I've made in the back have fulfilled the karmic error quota and the rest of my pieces will flow a bit more smoothly.




Update?

2008-09-16T12:52:23.789-05:00


I haven't had a chance to take pictures but I have some new projects and yarns going on. I thought I'd share.


On the needles:
I have this awesome cardigan from Knitting for Him. It's mainly grey with a dull lime-green edge. I ended up using an eggplant-ish color for the edge. Totally digging it. I'm about 3/4 finished with the back.

Did I mention my insane idea to attempt a sweater a month? So far it's looking pretty doable. Actually... I still have 2 fronts and 2 sleeves to go. Hmm... and of course the whole putting together of. Yikes. I think I'll try to finish the back tonight so I can get started on the rest.
The sleeves are done flat and then seamed... but I'm thinking of doing them in the round... 2 at a time. Is that crazy? I'd imagine the pattern wouldn't be too hard to adjust, and I have about 20 rows of 2 round things at one time (on one circ!) under my belt. Hmmm... although... 2 flat pieces at the same time would be super easy... I'd just have to seam later. Well, I'll look into it and let you know what I decide.

I have yarn for...
I bought a bunch of chunky wool for my October sweater... which will be the sweater-a-long I'm doing with Nina, Ivi, and Amy7. The pattern for that is from this little pamphlet I bought from Wool & Co. It has an awesome collar.

Deb @ Fishbed had a big cotton sale... so I bought a ton of Arucania cotton in 2 solids and 1 variegated to crochet an afghan. I'm gonna be doing two or three types of really basic granny squares and putting them together. I still have to work out exactly how this will be assembled (e.g. can I connect a square to another as I'm working on it? ... can you do a square from outside in? etc).

For November, I found a cool Fair Isle sweater in a magazine... I think I might do it... just to be able to conquer Fair Isle and stranding... I have a feeling that it might actually take me more than a month to do a sweater like that though. We'll see.

Last night at knitting Deb got in this knitting magazine from Europe. It had about 8 sweater patterns for men (and 2 scarves!). So, I think one of the cabled sweaters will be for December.

So.. yeah, those are my projects right now. I also need to finish Amy7's grass, my double knit mittens, and an Irish Hiking Scarf. I think my enormous pile of hibernating UFO's will be frogged before the end of the year so I can move on with my life and not feel any project guilt. =) I actually have a Malabrigo sweater in that group that might end up being my January sweater.

Hopefully I'll have pictures for my next update!
Knit hard!



Forever!

2008-08-29T10:37:06.154-05:00


I haven't blogged in FOREVER!
I'm still alive and still knitting. Definitely not to the capacity that I used to. I was cranking out projects like there was no tomorrow... but, now I have a job and not a whole bunch of free time.

So, my project of the summer was the Modern Log Cabin Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting. It was calling to me and I answered. It seriously took me all summer.

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These pictures are before the blanket was completely finished. I was half-way through the red block on the right. I actually ran out of yarn before finishing the red. I think I got 40 ridges instead of 66.
The blanket is gonna be for my bedroom and I actually don't have any red so I wanted to keep red to a minimum and ... running out of yarn ended up being a good thing.

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The final block would be at the bottom of the blanket. You'll have to imagine it for now until I get pictures. =)
It's actually a 2 color block so you work a bit of Intarsia. The final block took 5 whole seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to complete. Granted, I wasn't knitting 100% through each episode... and I'll admit that sometimes I'd knit 1 row and quit... but, I worked through 5 whole seasons of DVDs to knit that last block.
Similar to the red block I ran out of yarn less than halfway through. I needed 99 ridges but ended up with like... 45. o_O The size of the resulting blocks is kinda distracting to me... it doesn't really balance out, but, overall it still looks nice. I can't wait to start using it for my bed.

I'll try to get a picture of the completed blanket ASAP. I even gave it a single crochet border!

In other news, I'm in this baking phase of my life. I'd like to expand this blog beyond knitting and incorporate baking and possibly the social aspects of my life.

Knit hard? =)



Yarny Prizes including Superwash Malabrigo Sock Yarn!

2008-03-26T16:39:40.285-05:00

The prizes for Malabrigo March came in last week. Tobias and I had agreed on 20 skeins of their soon-to-be new Superwash Merino wool and 10 skeins of their fairly new Silky Merino. Aren't they generous? They seemed willing to donate more but 30 skeins is about all I can handle at the moment in terms of organizing and mailing. Plus, many of the Junkies were donating prizes as well. =)20 skeins of Superwash yarn! Isn't that insane? I've never even knit a complete pair of socks yet... but, having Malabrigo sock yarn is definitely inspiring me to do it. Here are a few closeups as well: The yarn is so new that the colors aren't even named yet!Want some Silky Merino action too?Yum!The 30 skeins were not all that I found in the bag however...They included 4 skeins of their limited edition Organic Cotton! I love the natural colors they used for this yarn. I haven't done much cotton knitting, but, of course, since Malabrigo has cotton yarn I might as well start. ^_^A few days after receiving my package I found another notice on my door left by DHL. The tag said that the package couldn't be delivered w/o my signature... and that it was from Uruguay. I figured they were confused but the notice came again the next day, so, I called and it turned out that there was another box waiting for me. I went to pick it up after work and it definitely was from Uruguay.I could already sense Malabrigo as I opened the box. It was packed with more skeins of yarn! Another batch of sock yarn, 5 3-skein packs of unnamed worsted yarn (which I later found out was from a new dyeing technique), and 3 full packages of their Merino Worsted in 3 colors... Hongos, Purple-Lime, and one I don't remember. The first thing I did when I got home was send a message to Tobias to see if it was a mistake... but, it wasn't. He said that Antonio actually 'smuggled' the extra skeins of yarn for me to do what I choose. I decided that I'll be saving these for future Malabrigo celebrations. =)I'll take pictures of this new batch of yarn soon!For now, enjoy a bit more yarn pr0n: Yum. =)[...]



Lightbulb!

2008-03-16T22:39:43.860-05:00


I changed out the light bulbs in my bedroom today.
A few months ago I was listening to this guy talk about going green and one of his ideas that really hit me was switching out the typical incandescent bulbs for florescent. Mainly the idea was that they save energy and many of them are made now to mimic actual daylight. So, the next day I bought bulbs, and, me being me didn't actually change them until months later... two days ago actually. The result is tRiPpY. It's almost a very cold, stark, padded room in a hospital feel.
During the day though, when the sun is at the right point I'll flip on my lights and it'll get brighter but I won't notice any change in color... it's almost like the bulbs add to the sun. But, yeah, at night, which is when I mainly use the lights, it's weiiiiird. I feel good about saving energy though, AND the bulbs are supposedly able to last 5 years. Definitely a good thing.

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This is my Koolhaas. I cast on for Malabrigo March in Paris Night. The pattern is easy, and quite easy to memorize, but, I've had to purchase whole new sets of needles. My Clovers were just too blunt to work the tight cable stitches and to constantly knit into the back. Luckily Wool & Co had great 16" Addi Naturas available so I first bought a set of 4's... and then after realizing my Clover 6 wasn't sharp enough bought a set of 6's in Addi. Hopefully my DPNs will cut it once I start decreasing.

Sorry about the blurriness in the picture too. The sun was going down when I took this and I just couldn't get enough light to make my camera focus on the dark color of the yarn. So.. yeah, don't look too closely and don't blow it up. ^_^



Still here!

2008-03-12T17:07:26.324-05:00


I'm still here! I'm back from my very long 'hiatus'. That was almost 3 months of not posting! Working a 40+ hour week is really draining. I'm back though with a goal to post at least once a week. I'm thinking Sundays will become my official posting day.

A lot has been happening in my knitting life. Well, sort of. My main project since the last time I posted was the Uncle Argyle Scarf from Son of a Stitch & Bitch. I love how it turned out but knitting it was a long process. I almost quit until a random comment made towards Ivi resulted in a race between Nina and I to finish our longest projects. My argyle scarf and her yellow sweater. Who knows how far along I'd be if home made ice cream wasn't on the line. =)

Here are 2 pictures. One from the start and one at the end.


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Twenty three whole pattern repeats = Fourty six argyle 'diamonds'!


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Here are a few more Finished Objects:


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My first Shifting Sands in Malabrigo



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A buttoned neckwarmer for Idyl in cashmere



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A scarf for Jazz in alpaca



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A Noro Striped Scarf!


There are others but I think I've posted enough pictures. ^_^ You can find the rest on my Ravelry. I'm "simplethings" by the way.

In related news, in the Malabrigo Junkies group we're having Malabrigo March. Basically, there are loads of KALs and contests going on--the only requirement is that you use Malabrigo yarn. =) Many people were generous enough to provide a few prizes, Tobias (from Malabrigo) came through again and is donating 20+ skeins of their soon to be coming superwash sock yarn. I think I might just have to become a sock knitter and knit myself an actual pair. =)
Feel free to join the celebrations on Ravelry.

I'll have to spend some time now to read through my bloglines and catch up on everyone.




New Year!

2007-12-31T14:43:51.677-06:00

Once again it's been a while since my last update. Working full time really takes up a lot of my hours. I have a few purple-ish things to share:A few weeks back I shared the story of my sad sock knitting experiences. I made a plea to fellow knitters for a pair of socks in exchange for a scarf. Two awesome bloggers came to the rescue: Eikon and Charles.Eikon and I exchanged our knitted items the week before Christmas. I knit him a Shifting Sands scarf in Malabrigo (sorry, no picture!) and he knit me a pair of purple socks in Araucania's sock yarn.They're awesome! ... and, miracle of miracles (to me at least), they're the same size! They also fit me perfectly and are quite warm, so, now I have a great pair of socks to keep my feet comfortable this winter. Having this pair has actually inspired me to attempt socks once again, but, we'll see. Charles and I will be exchanging knit-goods soon! =)I had a bit of a purple... problem this Christmas. My cousins and I do a grab bag for Christmas now and since I only have one cousin to purchase/make gifts for I'm more than willing to knit something up.I originally planned to knit a scarf. Because I think scarves are such a useful and basic accessory. Well, I got my job and my knitting time was severely decreased and as Christmas came closer I realized that I would only have enough time for a hat.I had been eyeing this cool hat in a men's issue of Knit.1. It had ribs going in different ways and a brim. Tehcnically, for a guy, but, I thought it would be great on a girl too.I ended up using some of that Vanna White yarn because I wanted something washable, thick, relatively soft, and durable. Knitting it up moved a bit slow, but, I was at a good pace.So, I finally knit up all the pieces and began the seaming process... I got the edges done and I tried the hat on and it was HUGE. Now, I have a big head... when a hat says "one size fits all" it means it won't fit me. But, this hat... it was large. I thought maybe I could take in the seams a bit more so I pulled in a good half an inch on both sides and it was STILL too big. It looks cool in this picture, but, in reality it's horrible.I decided it was time to go to plan B... I actually didn't have a plan B so in a fit of terror I searched the internet for a quick hat and decided I would just do a simple hat in the round. A good 4 inches of ribbing on the bottom and stockinette all the way up through the decreases.I ended up loosely following Crazy Aunt Purl's Brangelina Hat.The hat was finished in time, unfortunately I didn't have the opportunity to take a picture before it was gifted. I actually double stranded Vanna's yarn to get a nice, chunky gauge. For added... 'fun' I added other shades of purple into the mix... so, one strand of the original purple and the second strand was a different shade. It turned out pretty cool looking and it ended up fitting her.I also started on the Half-Pipe hat from Son of a Stitch and Bitch:I actually finished it, but, I'll provide you with more details on that next time because this is the Purple post... and that lovely grey, camel yarn hat is not purple. ^_^[...]



busy!

2007-12-17T23:16:19.850-06:00

Yikes. I went from posting every single day to posting never. A large portion of this lack of posting is that I finally have a full time job. Since it is winter the days are super short and there isn't enough light for me to snap some pictures, but, things have been moving along. After the whole month of crazy blogging and casting on new projects I think I had a momentary knitting burn out. But, I'm back on the ball (of yarn). I'll attribute this knitting revival to Knitting Groups and to Ben who encourage me to attend. ... I've become quite the... stitch and bitch man whore.Friday I drove straight from work to The Gifted Purl. ... well, I stopped at Starbucks along the way. There were A LOT of people. At least 20 and a few in&outs. I started off as the only guy, but was later joined by a new guy who was learning to knit that night. Good crowd, lots of food, and very lively. We sat in a large sort-of circle and there was much knitting going on. I probably arrived there around 6:30 and stayed until almost 11! Needless to say, I got a lot of knitting done. The people there were really supportive so it was cool. Definitely something I'd attend again.On Sunday I drove over to Wool & Co. I hadn't been there for a while and I needed to grab a few yarny gifts for some people. My other LYS's didn't carry the yarn I was looking for, and, sadly neither did Wool & Co. But, while I was there I ran into Ben who suggested I stay for the knitting group. So, I did.The Wool & Co. group was significantly smaller. It consisted of me, Ben, another guy at the group for his first time, an older woman, Anna Lisa who was running the store at the time, and her roommate's daughter. I spent a good 2 and a half hours there. It was quieter, but, still a cool experience. Plus, Wool & Co. has a huge yarn selection so there's a good amount of eye candy... I think it keeps us well insulated too. ^_^Today, I drove straight to the Fishbed Knitting Emporium after work... well, technically I stopped at Barnes & Noble and got Starbucks coffee and a book... Deb was there and I bought some yarn and a magazine subscription and she walked me to the basement and introduced me to the girls. There were 5 there at the time. I was a little afraid at first, but, they turned out to be all really friendly and funny. As the night went on more and more women started piling in... we had a good 12 or more there. We mostly sat around a table so it made the experience more intimate, in a sense, and it was much easier to hear everyone's stories. It was cool. I also ran into DeannaC from Ravelry. I saw her walking down the stairs and I was thinking to myself, "she looks familiar."Another woman in the group was actually at the Purl's knitting night and was like, "I saw you on Friday!"So my first idea was that Deanna had been at Friday's group... but she came up to me and was like, "You're simplethings from Ravelry, right?" and then I realized where I had seen her. She also mentioned to me that she was pretty sure she saw my picture on the Panopticon's blog. He was doing the 1000 knitters project and he had been selling a few items... one was a knitting bag with a pictures of about 30 random knitters and I happened to be one of them. So, I got home and of course I ordered one. ^_^Well... hopefully I'll find time, and daylight, to take a few pictures. I have a ton of Christmas gifts that need to be knitted up. Hopefully I'll set aside more time in these next few days to get more done. For the most part there won't be anymore knitting group meetings until after Christmas... so, I'll have to really focus and knit hard. [...]



ravelry tea swap goodness

2007-12-07T18:26:51.997-06:00

I received my Tea Swap box from my once secret swapper Chelle aka nosheep4chelle on Ravelry.The box actually came in yesterday but I guess I wasn't home when Sonia, our delivery person, brought it to the house so she left a note that said to pick it up at the post office after 8:30 on the 7th. It was about 4:00pm on the 6th and I rushed over to the post office (because it closed at 4:30) and, while standing in line, realized that today wasn't the 7th... I checked anyway and my other favorite postal worker said that Sonia had not come in yet and I'd have to pick up my package tomorrow.So, tomorrow is actually today and I woke up all early and picked it up. ^_^A pretty blue theme straight from Canada.A few things were wrapped and a few others were not. The unwrapped items include two tins of tea from T in Garden Party and Vanilla Bean. They both smell delicious and come in really awesome cannisters. After this post I'll be putting the kettle on. =) I also got two boxes of Bacetti. I love these! I love chocolate and I LOVE hazlenuts. This is the best of both worlds. ^_^On the yarny side of the package I have 2 skeins of SWTC Soysilk. Which, interestingly enough, happened to be the same yarn I sent to my swap partner. =) I was tempted to buy some for myself but decided against it in order to save money... luckily I did because now I have some for my own!I unwrapped all the other packages and here's what I found:Some Lush bath bombs! Yay! Chelle had obviously been doing an awesome job of keeping an eye on my blog because I'm totally going through a Lush phase right now.On the bath theme I also received some almond handmade soap:And finally the last two things, which are easily the coolest things ever:This is a bag of flower tea from Steeps Tea. Basically it's a hand tied ball of tea that blossoms when you begin steeping. I've been eyeing these for a while and now I can finally try them! I'll have to get a glass teapot though for the full effect. I saw an awesome set on-line that I might just have to purchase. I'll definitely take pictures once I brew it.Last, and definitely not least, is a gorgeous skein of Hand Maiden Sea Silk! I have been coveting this yarn for a while now. It was totally out of my budget so I just gazed at it from a far... but, now it's in my hands and I'm blissfully happy. I originally wanted to make that Montego Bay Scarf that had been going around, but, now I'd rather make something for myself. Any ideas? Yum. =)Big thanks to Chelle who did an awesome job choosing gifts! Now it's time to have a cup.[...]



Almost done with number one!

2007-12-03T08:19:04.292-06:00


I'm almost at the halfway point with my first mitten. It is taking looooooong. No major mistakes though, and my double knitting skills are definitely improving.

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Aside from a simple 3x3 check this mitten is my first... foray into the world of color work. As well as my first attempt at designing color work. ... I swear it looked better on my Excel spreadsheet. o_O
Maybe it'll make more sense once I add the thumb and finish the rest of the body.

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Yum. Don't the insides look all soft and warm? Mmmmalabrigo. =)
The brown stitch markers are the ones from EarthChick. They look almost like wooden beads. The pearly one on the left I purchased from Zero's etsy shop a while back.
Right now the brown markers are placed where the thumb should be coming out from and the white signifies the start of the main color work pattern. I decided that the back of the hand would have all the design and the palm would be very simple. I hope I calculated the stitches correctly.

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I'm estimating another two days of good, hard knitting to finish this first mitten. And maybe the 2nd will go faster. Sort of like when you're driving to a place you've never been to--it seems like it takes forever to get there, but, when you drive back home it seems like the distance was cut in half. =)

On a completely unrelated topic... I've mastered the art of sounding awake when a phone call takes me out of a deep slumber. ^_^ It spares me the shame of people knowing that I actually wake up a 1pm. ... oops. I always thought the only person I wouldn't be able to trick was my mother, but, this morning she gave me a random wake up call and her first words after hello were, "I'm glad to hear you're already awake."
The only things that give me away are my one word answers, my excessive agreeableness, and the fact that I barely remember the call once I fall back asleep and wake up again. Most of the time I'll have to call the person back when I'm actually awake and have a real conversation with them. I've left a notepad by the bed though to jot things down during these dream-like phone calls. This doesn't always help though... I seem to write down really random words that obviously mean a lot while I'm on the phone but mean nothing to me when I wake up. For example, some of the words on my notepad are: period, kitten, olive garden, embarrassed, violin!!, general. Hmmmm.

Knit hard(er). =)



NaBloPoMo Recap

2007-11-30T11:51:26.818-06:00


Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo. I successfully blogged once every day during November. It was a cool experience. I was hoping my writing skills would get better... maybe I'd sound more fluid and more intelligent... but, I don't think that happened. What I did gain from daily blogging was a better sense of time management, planning, and organizing. I had to make sure to set aside time every day to post a few words and I'm glad I managed to do it--even when situations were a bit difficult.

For my final post of November I have a sort of ... rebirth? ^_^
I frogged my Scrunchable Scarf in the Whale's Road color way. For some reason the way it was knitting up just wasn't as pleasant as I had hoped. In the Malabrigo Junkies group on Ravelry I had a random drawing--the way you enter was by answering 3 'questions'. One of them was to talk about a Malabrigo project (not one of your own) that you thought was awesome. Some people mentioned the drop stitch scarf, so, I checked it out and it turned out I had added to my favorites a few weeks back.
I decided Whale's Road would become the drop stitch scarf. Here's how it looks so far:

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I don't know if I like this manifestation more than the Scrunchable Scarf or less... I think Whale's Road looks best in hank form. o_O
The pattern gives a really cool effect... but, the single ply-ness of Malabrigo is actually unwinding and 'blossoming' in the dropped sections. It's getting all poofy and separated... I don't know if I like the look of it.

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I think I'll knit a few more repeats and see if it starts growing on me.

Congratulations to all the successful NaBloPoMo Bloggers! I plan to NOT blog tomorrow. =)



A tree

2007-11-29T21:45:42.690-06:00


The house is in the slow process of becoming decorated for Christmas. The tree is up and trimmed, for the most part. It's in need of a topper though--probably a star. There's also a thick gold ribbon swirling around the tree candy cane style... I ran out before I got to the bottom so I'll have to find another roll.


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My knitting pace has decreased severely... I might just have to purchase gifts this year. o_O Beau, the Olive colored sweater in Malabrigo has been on hiatus for a while now. He was originally supposed to be the sweater I would wear for Thanksgiving, but, when I realized it wasn't going to happen I said he would be the sweater for Christmas... that's looking a bit iffy right now as well. I need to pull him out of his useless hibernation and get those needles clicking.

Speaking of hibernation... my body is in store-the-fat-just-in-case-we-get-snowed-in mode. It's not pretty. I think I'll have to hit that treadmill pretty hard. x_X I am already 4 lbs over my self-imposed weight limit. Right at this moment in time I've weighed the most I've ever weighed in my whole life. ... yikes. I guess a bit of running at the gym will keep me warm. =)

Knit (and run) hard!



Mmmmittens

2007-11-28T16:38:27.210-06:00


I started on my pair of double knitted mittens. It's my own design so I'm assuming there will be much trial and error. I'm only about half way up the cuff and already I think I might have to frog... the cuff seems a bit too wide.

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The outside is Cascade 220 Tweed and the inside is Malabrigo worsted in Glazed Carrot. Yum. I tend to knit tighter on DPNs and ... I'm definitely knitting tighter here.. so tight that my fingers are sore. I feel like I've been knitting forever (I knit through The Waitress, an episode of: The Simpsons, Family Guy, and King of the Hill) and I only have these ~2 inches. o_O Double knitting is insane!

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I'm planning a bit of colorwork once I get up to the main body of the mitten... I don't really know what I'd do though. My first idea was to have it look like the thrummed mittens... because those were my original inspiration for these mittens... but, I think I'd like something cooler. I plan to keep most of the outside in tweed and have the orange just be a pop of an accent color. I was thinking either diamonds or crosses with the middles left out. I guess I'll decide when I get to that part.

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It's almost December... I really need to put more work towards my Christmas Gifts. o_O... yikes.

I see a lot of sleepless nights in the near future if I don't knit hard.



Another 25!

2007-11-27T21:47:33.470-06:00


I really have nothing to blog about today. I'm so glad the month is almost over.. and thank goodness for memes. ^_^

Presenting: 26-50.


26. I can only read music. I don't have any talent in the direction of playing by ear or composing.

27. My favorite author is Oscar Wilde.

28. My favorite 'word' is iambic pentameter.

29. I used to be bone thin... and then college came along...

30. I like my bed made in a certain way and I like to be surrounded by pillows.

31. At most, it'll take me 10 minutes to fall asleep once I get in bed. This 'skill' developed right before I got into college.

32. Sometimes I'm not sure if I'm a night person or a morning person. I definitely like to stay up late and sleep in... but at the same time I love the newness of morning. I think I'd prefer to stay awake all night and leave my house once the sun comes up.

33. I'm a Virgo. I generally don't believe in Horoscopes but I've run into a few birth charts that have been spot on.

34. Most people who know me think I'm extremely creative and very artsy-craftsy... I am.. but only to a certain extent... a fairly low certain extent.

35. I moisturize my hands and arms daily.

36. I wear my contacts for extended periods of time.... unhealthily long periods of time.

37. I never wanted a tattoo until I became a knitter. I would always say, "I could never decide on something to have on my body for the rest of my life." But now I can.

38. On average I type about 90 wpm.

39. I love singing, I can sing in tune, and I can even follow a harmony but, I do not have a singing voice what so ever.

40. I consider myself a Gamer. I love RPGs.

41. My preferred genre of movie is action. Especially when the main character is a woman who kicks ass.

42. I think that's why one of my all-time favorite TV series is Buffy.

43. I love the flavor onions bring to a dish... but I cannot stand to eat them.

44. It's the same with tomatoes. I enjoy pasta sauces, pizza, and ketchup... but if it's chunky pasta sauce or pizza with actual tomatoes on it... it's over.

45. I eat salsa weird. It brings together my two love/hate foods... so, I generally just dip my chip and pick up the 'juices' rather than scoop.

46. Me and cilantro are not friends. His flavor is just too explosive, distinct, and overpowering.

47. I prefer knitting with animal fibers... soft animal fibers.

48. I prefer knitting with straight needles.

49. I prefer knitting with wooden needles. A nice merino wool knit with wooden straights = bliss.

50. I'm obviously a process knitter.


Ta-da! Maybe something better tomorrow. =)



Some stuff...

2007-11-26T22:02:12.957-06:00

For some reason I really don't want to blog today... but I must.Let's see... I'm finally packing up my swap partner's package today. I'll be sending it out tomorrow morning. Hopefully it gets there in good time.I also bought a stack of padded envelopes in order to mail out all the Silky Merino awards from Malabrigo Cast On Week. I didn't realize that sending out this yarn would be costing me quite a large sum of money... oops. One of the international winners offered to pay for her shipping. Isn't that a nice gesture? =)I didn't mention this in my last blog but that's my current notebook. I like to write things down... not necessarily useful things... but, I just like the actual process of writing. A lot of pages consist of me just writing out a page in a magazine or the ingredients in a bar of chocolate... or making random lists. I just like to write non-creatively. Having a cool ass notebook around (as well as awesome pens) makes this easier. I do have some useful information in there. Like when I was doing the Knitter's Tea Swap 4 I had a list of things that I had purchased and was considering purchasing for Suzie's package. I make a lot of knitting notes in there as well. And then when I'm hanging out with friends I have them write mini journal entries. =) It's a nice all-around stack of paper.In the picture the notebook is open to my Christmas list. You can sort of make out a "7, 8, 9, 11"... those are the needle sizes of Lantern Moons I want. ^_^I've been tagged for the 8 things again... except when I did it I listed 7. I've been wanting to do the 100 things meme so, I think I'll start that off today... in installments of 25. ^_^ I guess they'll make good fodder for the rest of NaBloPoMo.1. I'm left handed with some things and right handed with others. For the most part my left hand writes, eats, and talks on the phone. I think my right hand does pretty much everything else.2. I think I adapt easily. I'd actually attribute a portion of this adaptability to being left handed in a right handed dominant world. A south paw really needs to go against his initial desires to make things work properly.3. I'm afraid of heights. x_X I push myself once in a while in hopes of conquering the fear... like looking over ledges or standing near windows in high rise buildings... it doesn't work.4. I LOVE espresso drinks. Originally because of the ambiance of coffee places. Now they're a comfort drink and somewhat inspire me to be creative.5. Despite my love for espresso I actually don't like coffee flavored anything. Candy, cookies, ice cream, etc.6. I also love tea. This has also grown from a sense of ambiance and serenity.7. In highschool I was a swimmer. I always swam backstroke and in freestyle relays I always swam anchor. I used to get offended that the coach always made me swim last. It wasn't until later that I found out I was put last because I was a strong swimmer.8. I quit swimming after my 2nd year because I thought it was "too hard". 9. I'm a knitter. ^_^10. In highschool I was the editor for the school's Literary Magazine. I loved writing and reading... that has since changed.11. I don't keep in contact with any of the friends I had before college.12. I'm an introvert. High energy crowds drain me--I need my alone time to recharge.13. I don't mind doing things alone. You can always find me eating at restaurants, visiting museums, shopping, etc. all by myself.14. While I don't mind being alone, I do love doing things with people I care for.15. I'm very generous. This doesn't go along with my current income howeve[...]



does crochet thread count as yarn?

2007-11-25T14:47:59.115-06:00

Here are my fiber-related purchases from Black Friday:This is a ball of Royale Classic Crochet Thread. It's a cool variegated color. And, as you can see it's already being used for a bookmark. I think the hook I'm using is a little on the big side though, so, I'll have to go smaller.Another ball of the crochet thread, but this one is in burgundy. And it too is being used for a bookmark. That bookmark pattern is the only thing I like to crochet. =) This is a 1.25mm hook.. and I think it works the best for this project.This is a smaller ball. I think it's un-dyed. This too will be turned into a bookmark. (Can you guess what the majority of my Christmas presents will consist of?) ^_^I could be all luxurious and crochet them all out of Malabrigo lace... but, my previous Malabrigo bookmarks turned out too flimsy. I demand stiffness in my bookmarks. Any attempts to spray starch the Malabrigo lace left me with a fuzzy, sticky, mess. ... I think this cotton thread will work much better.I grabbed these 2 skeins of Patons SWS. Haven't tried soy yet and this seemed like the best entrance into the world of alternate fibers. =) I have no idea what I'll make with these though... and ideas? It doesn't seem like I get much yardage, so, at the moment it looks like a scarf is out of the question... plus I have like 7 scarves OTN right now and adding another one would make me VERY unhappy. ^_^ Maybe a pair of wrist warmers? We shall see.This wasn't from Black Friday but I figured I should take a picture of it anyway. This was a birthday present from my friend Idyl (pronounced 'ideal'). I had been eyeing this calendar a few weeks back--good thing I didn't buy it. =)Finally, another picture of Shifting Sands. The excessive white sections of the 2nd skein of yarn are starting to show. The yellow/gold hues are the same but now there are many lines of white... it's kind of an obvious change. o_O I'll keep going though. I have a bit of the 1st skein left over so maybe I'll add it in every so often to decrease the speckled look.Hope you enjoyed this dose of yarny goodness.I think now is time for a power nap. =)Knit hard![...]



Pieces of me?

2007-11-24T19:41:20.019-06:00


I don't really post many pictures of myself so I thought I'd share a few. Also, I needed to blog for NaBloPoMo and I'm out of material. Now you can say hi if you see me at a yarn store. =)


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Me, Anne, and Kevin. For a few semesters we started a 'band' of sorts. We called ourselves "Acholyte Trio". ... don't ask.






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Kevin, Lora, Carlo, and Me. This was during a photoshoot of Carlo. We got majorly rained on. Fun times.






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Pillow fight! This was us dressed up for an Alumni Banquet we were going to.






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Me, Lora (fave!), and the other Kevin. This is at Millenium Park in Chicago. We had just left the Art Institute and were sitting at this little "watering hole" to cool off.





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Joe, Anne, Lora, and Me. This is @ Oakbrook Mall. Anne, Lora, and I had an outing and Joe just happened to be there.





So, that's me and a bit of insight into my odd life. Now you can recognize me if you're ever in the Chicago area or in a yarn store or a some yarny conference. =)
I'll try to get some knitting pictures together for tomorrow's post. Only 6 more days of November left and I'll be free from the everyday blog obligation. ^_^

Knit hard!



Black Friday

2007-11-23T17:19:04.913-06:00


This year was a crazy one. I decided I wouldn't sleep last night after Thanksgiving dinner. The stores were opening early and I needed to bust some doors.
At 12:30am I was in line at the mall near my house. It was opening at 1. Last year I missed out on all the opening festivities so I swore that I would get my VIP pass and coupon book this time around. I reached my goal but it was pretty useless. There was free samples of Pepsi and the coupon book was actually just a listing of all the sales that were going on pre-11am. I browsed a but and fought through crowds and entered a few raffles, but, all I ended up purchasing was a gift for one of my cousins.
At 2:10am I left the mall and went across the street to wait in line at Best Buy. According to the weather application on my phone it was a cold 24 degrees. For those of you who haven't done Black Friday at stores like Best Buy it's not just a rush-in-free-for-all... it's actually quite organized. You wait in line and at 3:00am they start handing out tickets for their limited supply door busters. They walk down the line and ask if people need a ticket. People had been camping out since midnight... and I mean camping out... so I was pretty far back in the line. The employees will hand out the tickets starting at the front of the line and they stop when they run out of tickets. I was hoping I'd be able to get what I came there for... which was a 42" plasma TV, a TomTom GPS system, a Sony laptop, and an e-Machine. Finally at 4:00am I had a ticket for the plasma and the GPS. The laptop tickets didn't make it to my section of the line and I hadn't heard about the e-Machine... so, I left. I drove home and dropped off the tickets for my parents. With the ticket you're guaranteed the item as long as you pick it up before 9:00am. Best Buy still technically wouldn't open their doors until 5:00am and I wasn't about to wait another hour.
So, dropped them off, and drove out to the outlet mall about 15 minutes from my home. My cousin had been working since 12:00am--the time the outlet mall opened. I stopped in to visit her at Banana Republic which was having a 40% off sale. I picked out about $250 worth of clothes and she offered to buy them for me with her employee discount which would be an extra 30% off. I ended up only paying $110. Good deal. =)
Left the outlet mall and headed off to Michael's to use a 25% off coupon. I had been hoping to get my hands on some Lion Brand Cashmere Blend... but, they didn't carry any. So, I ended up getting some crochet thread (I'm gonna be churning out those bookmarks this Christmas) and I decided to try some Paton's SWS. I had been seeing and hearing a lot about it so I allowed it to jump into my basket. ^_^
It was now about 6:30am so I went home, dropped all my purchases on the floor and crashed into bed.

That was Black Friday 2007. =)

Knit hard!



A Thanksgiving story

2007-11-22T12:53:43.255-06:00


I love all the cold weather holidays. For me they're always very family-oriented. Both of my parents came from very large families, my mother has 8 siblings and my father has 6. This meant celebrations like Thanksgiving were always big events. Every year my family would actually attend 3 separate parties, one for my mom's family, one for my dad's family, and one with friends.
One of the things I looked forward to every year was going to the party on my dad's side of the family. My grandmother made the best stuffing and she would only make it on Thanksgiving. It went perfect with the turkey and the mashed potatoes and gravy. It was bread-y and herb-y and just delicious and her own secret recipe.

One year, my dad's family decided to do a non-traditional Thanksgiving and ditched the turkey and cranberry sauce and all the fixings... including my beloved stuffing. My grandmother knew how much I loved it so the next week she invited me over and made it for me.
I never asked her for the stuffing recipe nor did I ever ask her to teach me how to make it because like many great cooks (and she definitely was a great cook) it was all up in her head without exact measurements... she just knows how much of each ingredient goes into each dish.
It was common knowledge in our family to never give our grandmother a cookbook and never ask her for a recipe. Giving her a cookbook was the ultimate offense--basically, to her, it meant that we thought she wasn't a good enough cook and needed guidance. The recipes, on the other hand, without knowing the exact measurements came out like: "Mix some water with a lot of flour and a little salt and herbs and bake until done."

Fast forward to maybe my Junior year of College. It was November and Kevin and I were either attending a Thanksgiving party on campus or throwing one of our own... but, we both were cooking some food. He decided on stuffing and I told him about my grandmother's delicious version and how I needed to have it every year. He told me he was going to make it from a box and that he thought I would enjoy the boxed brand as well. I doubted it.
So, we make our food and have our party and I take a scoop of stuffing onto my plate. It had a similar look and consistency to my grandmother's with all the crumbly bread bits and herbs. I took a bite and pleased said, "This tastes like my grandmother's stuffing!" Kevin laughed and I continued eating.
A few days later, I was at my dad's party and there on the table was my beloved food. I looked at it closely and it actually looked exactly like the version Kevin made. "Weird" I thought to myself.
I tasted it... and it tasted like it always did and it also tasted like Kevin's. Flustered, I made my way into the kitchen, marched over to my grandmother and confronted her, "How do you make your stuffing?"
She looked at me and said, "I thought you knew... I always made it from the box." And she pointed to the stove and sitting there was the same box of stuffing Kevin had introduced me to.
She shrugged and added, "All I have to do is add water."

Happy Thanksgiving! =)



Still dark and cloudy

2007-11-21T16:52:56.332-06:00

I forced my camera to take pictures today. He wasn't happy about it. The sky is still dark and completely overcast. We were supposed to get snow today but no sign of it yet. Definitely a lot of rain though.I tried to get a few self-portraits of myself in my new Ravelry beta t-shirt but those turned out the worst. I'll try again when we get some sun.I DID manage to get a few shots of the WIPs that I'm actually... wip-ing. ^_^ And also the yarn I bought the other day.Let's start off with my current favorite: Shifting Sands.Can you sense the darkness? hehehe. I had to push my table right up next to the biggest window in the room and pump up my ISO. Then I made sure to take at least 5 shots from each angle and hope that at least one of them turned out in focus. I ended up with about 3 out of 40 that turned out okay. Ahh, darkness... the enemy of the photographer.I started my 2nd ball of Malabrigo--you probably noticed the lack of the cake's gaping void. Some yards before the 1st ball ended I started alternating skeins every 2 rows to add a transition just in case the two skeins were different colors. Luckily they're quite similar. The biggest difference seems to be that the white sections are slightly longer on this 2nd ball (about 5 stitches worth whereas ball #1 had 2-3). No big worry though.You may have also noticed that the yarn is chilling on my Hemlock Ring. It makes a cool background. For some reason I'm unable to successfully use a round blanket. I think I need to find myself a similarly-awesome square/rectangle shape.This is the diagonal knot stitch scarf. It's coming along slowly. I still can't get the purl side to work smoothly. It reminds me of my struggles with the purl side of My So Called Scarf. I managed to work through that and actually find a good rhythm so hopefully I'll be able to find a similar rhythm with this. On a positive note, I now memorize the pattern... not that it's much to memorize, but, every little bit helps. =)I don't know how my camera does it but these colors are really close to the true colors of the actual yarn despite the overwhelming darkness. I had to ditch the Hemlock Ring for these pictures because the overall hues of the yarn were so dark the camera wouldn't even focus. So, I needed a brighter background to ... help it along. These are 2 skeins of Noviembre, a very fitting autumn color way. One skein will be a prize for the Malabrigo Cast On Week and the other will be going to a secret swap partner. ;)These two yarns will soon become a pair of double knit mittens. I tried to develop a technique to get ribbing double-knit style.. but, it didn't work. I'll have to figure something out. I'm also unsure about how decreases/increases will work... but, I'll tackle that challenge when it comes time.The orange skein is Malabrigo: Glazed Carrot. Delicious. =) My favorite color is orange... but, for some reason orange yarns never call out to me. The other day Mr. Glazed Carrot screamed "mittens" so I bought him.The 2nd skein is Cascade 220 Tweed. He looks nice. Hopefully they become friends and work together in my mittens.That's all for today. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! Hopefully I'll have time to post. Oh! I recently received a HUGE influx of visitors to my blog... I'm curious about where they all came from... but, more on that next time.Happy Thanksgiving![...]