The fall season is upon us here in the NW, and it brings with it a lot of my favorite things. Crisp days, falling leaves, stew & soups, and holiday fun. It's also means a switch from ice tea to hot.
I love perfectly brewed tea in a beautiful mug. It makes me feel cozy, calm, and warm. Add a seat by the fire, a fresh baked scone and a book or some knitting and you have one of my favorite ways to spend a fall afternoon.
A lot of my favorite teas come from Leland Tea Company, a great shop in San Francisco. I was introduced to their tea through a tea swap on Ravelry, and have been mail ordering from them ever since. The tea is lovely, reasonably priced even with shipping, and the service is fantastic. I especially like their Kookiedoodle (black tea with cinnamon, hazelnut, and vanilla), Kisses (black tea with Scharffen Berger Chocolate), and Pear Carmel (black tea with pear and carmel). They also have a great selection of herbal teas (I like the Pepperminty Chamomile) and just about every other kind of tea you could want.
If you get a chance to visit them in person, they do a very nice tea lunch for two. You get a pot of tea, little sandwiches, salad, scones and cookies all for around $20. They are even within walking distance of Artfibers.
Since I usually drink one cup at a time, my favorite way to brew is a tea maker from Tevana. It's like a bodum, you dump in the the loose tea and the boiling water, brew, but then you just place it on your mug and it drain out the bottom into your cup.
No scones today, but I do have pumpkin muffins. I think it's time for a break.
First off thanks for all your comments and suggestions last post. I know you all are concerned over the fate of the Market Vest so I won't make you wait. It has a new home!
Seaming or steeking would still leave the shoulders to wide and was likely to make the armholes too small and the V neck just plain weird. It turns out it fit my friend Chandria perfectly, so it's hers now. I'm a little bummed since I was hoping to wear it to Rhinebeck, but my kids end up at her house just about every time I have an emergency so she deserves a hand knit.
I forgot the camera when I gave it to her, so pictures will have to wait.
Moving on.. Remember way back to last Christmas? Hubbo gave me a CSA share for Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm. The yarn arrived on Monday!
It's not much to look at, but if you could touch it and smell it, the sheepy goodness is quite obvious.
I received 6 skeins of kid mohair/cormo blend (4 oz /200 yard) and one skein of cormo (the lighter one on top of the pile). The blend is pretty rustic (can you see the little nature bits?) but not overly scratchy. You can really feel and smell the lanolin. What a joy to work with. Just touching it makes me feel like I've put lotion on.
Should I dye it or leave it natural? I don't want to take away from the natural beauty, but the idea of a white sweater is pretty scary. Plus yellow ivory is not the best color for me. What sweater should I make with it? I'm thinking something kind rustic and casual. Cables maybe? 1200 yards is not a lot to make a cabled sweater out of though. If not a sweater then what?
The cormo is much softer and more refined. I'd say pretty close in feel with merino. It still has that wonderful farm smell and the feel of lanolin. Good stuff. With only one skein I'm pretty much limited to a hat or scarf. Of course, I now have the urge to drop all my other projects and cast on. Thank goodness I can't decide what to knit with it yet. I sense more time surfing Ravelry for just the right patterns. Cuz, 4 pages of queue isn't enough pressure.
I promised you a finished Market Vest and I promised to share my successes as well as my failures. Guess which one this is?
Doesn't look too bad here. Well, that's assuming you're able to ignore the sweat pants and crazy hair (hygiene was not a top priority today).
Notice the hand clutching the miles of extra fabric is removed and it looks a little bigger. See the gapping, the way it sticks off my shoulders, how it's not fitted at all and looks more like a sack. I think it's possible my husband could fit in this vest. Don't believe me?
How about now? And that's not even close to how far it can stretch.
So the real question is what now? The options I've been able to come up with so far are:
1. Rip it. Not to likely, because all those stripes mean lots of cut yarn. Plus a 22 row stripe sequence while adding neck and armhole shaping is not something I'm ready to repeat. Ever.
2. Try to shrink it. The yarn is Blue Sky Alpaca worsted so it should shrink/felt, but how much? Do you think it would be controllable? Would the fabric be too stiff or thick to wear?
3. Give it away. I'm not sure who to give it too or how to approach the whole "it's too big for me but maybe not you" thing with out making anyone feel bad, but it would be so much better if someone had a chance or wear it. The thought of all the yarn (6 balls!!) going in the trash is enough to give me heart palpitations.
4. Felt it and cut it up for something. Coaster or a pillow maybe.
Any other ideas, besides check my gauge better next time?
I even did a swatch for this thing. Stupid, stupid gauge and stupid, stupid me for not stopping to think a little more after I finished the front and thought "hmm.. that seems a bit big". Also the next time I tell you I'm planning to knit stripes, please stop me. Smack me, sit on me, something. I love the way they look and hate knitting them. How can I keep forgetting that. I'm going to stick to self stripping yarn and purchased sweaters with stripes from now on. Stripes bad, gauge bad, stupid knitter bad. I need help.
Homemade caramel corn has always been one of my favorite treats. It used to take a candy thermometer, precise timing and a lot of dishes to satisfy my craving, but a couple years ago a nanny of ours showed me how to make it in the microwave. Now I can have a fresh batch in under 15 minutes. Look out.
Here's how to get your own fix.
4 quarts popped popcorn
1 c. brown sugar
1 stick butter, melted
5 Tbl dark karo syrup (light works fine too)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
mix ingredients in microwave safe bowl (make sure it's big enough to prevent boil over) and microwave on high until it starts to boil. Cook 2 more minutes after boiling starts. While sauce is cooking place popped corn in brown paper bag.
Add 1/2 tsp baking soda to cooked caramel mixture. Stir. Mixture will foam and thicken.
Pour sauce over center of popcorn and give the bag a good shake. Shake it again.
Microwave for 30 sec.
Shake some more and then pour out on waxed paper to cool. Eat. Eat some more. Check to see if anyone is looking and have a third helping.
It's addictive and so simple to make it's dangerous. Make at your own risk.
There was much complaining this summer about the weather around here. Apparently someone was listening. For the last couple weeks it's been clear, sunny, warm (70s-80s) and absolutly perfect. All I want to do is be outside. While I can't sit around on the patio knitting and reading all day, I have managed to fit in as much as humanly possible.
What have I been knitting? For one I started a basic sock.
It looks a little funny at the moment, I just finished picking up the heel flap stitches last night, but I like the way the colors are coming out. It's a STR rare gem in mediumweight I picked up at camp. I try to always have a very simple project on the needles for exciting TV (Terminator: The Sara Conner Chronicles last night) and afternoon homework, or any other time brainless knitting is needed. I'm using size 2 US and doing the most basic sock construction ever. It's my first project with mediumweight and I'm really liking the fabric. I can't wait to wear the socks, it feels so cushy and I know it will be cozy.
The Manos afghan I've been working on for 3 years. I actually pulled it out and managed to get through 7 rows before my arms gave out. Are you still with me? Anyone need smelling salts?
How about this? Ring any bells?
It's the Market Vest I started last fall. I discovered it in the basket with the blanket and was inspired to finish it for Rhinebeck. All it's wonderful fall colors were calling to me. The top right side and the ribbing at the collar and armholes is all I have left. Hopefully I'll have an FO report for you by the end of the week.
Other then my stitch of the week blanket for the Chum, that's all the knitting for last few days. But, I did start another project on Saturday.
It seems my motivation to be rid of WIPs leaked over to my household projects. The garage specifically. We have a three car garage and so much crap in it that you can't even fit in one car, let alone three. Normally I'm a pretty organized and tidy gal (some might say a little OCD) but I've been holding out on the garage hoping for hubby's help. Well the 3rd summer of waiting is just about to be over and I couldn't wait anymore. So I told him that it was what I wanted for my birthday (next month) and then I started on it myself.
Here's what I did Saturday..
What? That doesn't look like a garage? Well, you're right, it's the covered porch on the front of our house. It's been empty and never used since we moved in, 2 1/2 years ago. How does that have anything to do with the garage? Well, obviously it's not empty anymore and everything on it came from the garage. Yup, all the furniture has been sitting in a garage for years. My own personal flea market.
I've had my butt in the chair, a drink on the table (beer or iced tea depending on the time of day), and knitting or a book in my hand every chance I got since Saturday. The chair and the bakers rack need to be painted, and I'd like to make a felted cushion for the chair, but over all I'm thrilled to have use of such a lovely space and more room my garage. Win Win! The kids even had a fantastic time, with their buckets and scrub brushes, cleaning up the railings and floor.
I'll have to bring the chairs back in when the rain starts but I'm just enjoying it for now. In fact I think I'll go eat some lunch out there right now.
I am truly blessed to have a wonderful family. Not only my own, but my husband's. For the most part everyone gets along, is kind, supportive and fun. My family on my mom's side is small, but very close. We manage to all get together every couple years and my big trip in August included a stop in Boise for a family reunion.
I'm sure all the women will now hate me, but it's seems I only remembered to take photos the day we were at the pool.
It was 105 that day and the whole gang had a fantastic time being silly, playing games, and hanging out together.
Part of being a family is being there for each other and giving help when it's needed. Unfortunately it's needed now, this week we found out that my cousin has cancer (that's her on the right of the photo). The only thing she asked the family for was prayers.
I am not much of a prayer myself, but she strongly believes in it's power and is comforted to know that others are praying for her. So I will pray. I ask that you pray for her as well if you are comfortable doing so, and send well wishes her way if you are not.
Thanks for being my knitting family.
Not me, my sweater. Here she is..
Last night I powered through the last little bit of knitting while checking out Fringe (weird but interesting). Buttons, ends, and a quick couple of photos this morning and Ta-Da!
When I started this project back in July, I was sure I'd be done in a couple weeks. HA! It ended up taking me almost exactly two months. It's not that the knitting was hard, just finding the time. In any case, time well spent.
My Lady is still in need of blocking to polish it off, but over all I'm extremely pleased and as usual impatient. The fit is great, the weight and color combo make it everyday wearable, and I enjoyed knitting it. Finishing a project I love always make me want to knit a second. I very seldom do, but I could really see myself in with a red one, with maybe a different lace pattern. No time now though (must finish Urban Aran next). I'll probably be distracted by another new pattern or idea before I can make my dream a reality, but for today I'll imagine making the sexy red one.
The only thing I might do differently is to make the sleeves a bit longer. When I tried it on they seemed just right, but looking at the pictures I'm thinking they are a little short. I suppose I could still pick them out and just add a bit, but not today. Today, I'm going to enjoy being done and hope for cooler weather.
For those who want them here's the details (or check them out on Ravelry)
Pattern: February Lady - Size M
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts - Socks That Rock Heavy weight - Color: Lunasea . I used just shy of 3 skeins.
Needles: US 7 - Magic Loop method used for the sleeves
Time: 2 months start to finish
Modifications: Knit the garter stitch top about and 1 1/2" longer than called for.
Proof! I have been knitting. It's never as much as I'd like or as much as I think I'm going too, but it does happen. So, today I give you my finished Pacific Diamond Cowl.
If you've been paying attention the pattern probably looks a little familiar.
It's the same pattern as my Pacific Diamond Scarf only shorter, knit from Handmaiden's Silk Maiden yarn (picked up during the pre-sock camp yarn crawl), and then laced together at the ends with a twisted cord.
I used the yo holes to lace the cord through and ta da! Cowl instead of extremely short scarf. It's long enough that I can unlace it and wear it with a pin as a more traditional scarf, but I like the ease and interest of a cowl. Plus the kids and I had fun twisting the yarn to make the cord.
I did the large diamond pattern at the cast on edge (just like the pattern), but finished with the smaller diamond stitch, 4 rows of moss stitch, and then the same yo, garter finish. In other words I just left out the second large diamond section.
The yarn is soft, lustrous and I love the interplay of all the colors. It's a perfect light accompaniment to our slightly chilly NW fall days.
The cowl was knit using size 5 needles (US) and used all but about 3 yards of one skein.
I can't imagine when or where I'd ever wear it like this, but I had a pretty good chuckle over the look, so I thought I'd share. Plus this picture is the most true color of the 30 or so I took.
I'm a circ gal through and through. I honestly can't remember when I last used any other kind of needle. In the past the only downside to never using straights or dpns was that I didn't have any reason to buy super cool and beautiful needles. Well look what I found..
Asciano Circular Needles. They are not only beautiful but a dream to knit with.
Look at the join, perfect! I really like the fatter cable as well. It makes sliding the stitches back to the needle very smooth.