Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I have been feeling the need to do some nesting lately. This has manifested in the way I do my house cleaning, and in baking projects. So when I stopped by the drug store a few evenings ago and saw these in the clearance section, I had to bring them all home. Especially since they were only 99¢ each!

They are Roasting, Gifts from the Kitchen, Blissful Brownies, Toast It!, Brunch, Cupcakes, and Cookies & Bars. I spent a delightful evening going through them and making menu plans. And there were only 2 or 3 recipes that were repeated. I'm excited to get started.

But instead of using the cookbooks, I decided to bake a family favorite last night - Gingersnaps.

This recipe makes the most delicious gingersnaps ever. Even my DH who isn't overly fond of this type of cookie loves them. They have the perfect texture of slightly crisp on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside. And the seasoning is just right too.

My own personal indulgence, however, was not cookies.
I LOVE Greek food.
So today's baking project featured one of my favorites: Spanikopita (otherwise known as spinach pie).

The seasoned spinach and feta filling wrapped up in layers of buttery phyllo dough are so delicious. Add a dollop of homemade tzatziki sauce and I'm in culinary heaven. Of course, the baking isn't doing anything to help with the weigh down challenge, but I figure if I leave the cookies to the men and work a bit harder, the spanikopita indulgence won't throw me too far off.

All of this doesn't mean that I've been ignoring my fiber projects. I have two bobbins of superwash merino singles ready to be plied, and a bobbin of alpaca singles for Navajo plying.

Since both are birthday gifts, and a teensy bit late, I'm hurrying to get them finished and delivered to my friends. I hope they enjoy them. I've had fun working on them, spinning a bit thicker than I usually do. I'd heard from Bams on The High Fiber Diet podcast (sorry, I don't remember which episode) that it's a good idea to vary the thickness of your yarn or you may forget how to work with other thicknesses. Good advice, indeed, as I did struggle some with making the adjustment. Well worth it though.

I've also made quite a bit of progress on my Lines 'N Vines Cardigan from the Fall 2008 issue of Knitters Magazine (it's the cover sweater).

I've got the back and both fronts finished, and am just over halfway through the first sleeve. I'm really enjoying this pattern. The lacework ribbing adds just enough interest to keep from being boring, but not so much that I feel like my brain might explode. I'm looking forward to being able to wear it next winter. The yarn is stashed Mary Maxim Starlette in Chocolate Brown.

So, that's what's been happening with me. What's been happening with you?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Oddball Baby Blanket

The other baby blanket we're working on is based on the Oddball Blanket concept. Each of us will knit or crochet for a certain number of inches in whatever pattern we want using a worsted weight yarn. I didn't have worsted, so I did a sport and a fingering held together.

First section of the Oddball Baby Blanket

I worked my section using the large basket weave pattern using Bernat Softee Baby in Baby Pink Marl and Patons Beehive Baby in Baby Blue (I'm using a fingering weight which has apparently been discontinued). Originally the plan was to do an all pink blanket, but I decided to add a strand of baby blue to complement the pink. Also, that actually made it more a worsted. I'm pleased with how it came out, and I'm certain that the recipient will love the concept behind the blanket, and be able to laugh about the color if she ends up having another boy.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Baby Squares

A couple of my friends are currently pregnant, and so a group of us are making blankets for them. Not the usual baby blanket size blankets, but twin size personal blankets that can grow with the children.

The first blanket we are all working in primary colors using Caron Simply Soft in Red, Lemonade, and Dark Country Blue. We are each making squares that are approx. 12", and one lovely woman has volunteered to attach them all together. I did two squares.

My first square, I decided, was an excellent opportunity to try my hand at entrelac. I'd always been intrigued by the look of the fabric, but a little hesitant to believe it was really as easy as everyone said it was. You know, everyone was right.

Primary colors entrelac square

This was a technique that I really enjoyed doing. I love the way the fabric looks, and I will definitely be doing another project that uses entrelac at some point.

My second block I decided to go with a geometric intarsia pattern that I designed.

geometric blocks square

It turned out to be colorful, bright, cheerful, bold, modern - and I love it. It was fun to watch it come together as I was knitting it, and I'm very pleased with the finished product. It also moved me to figure out how to knit backwards, since turning with 5 active bobbins of yarn was a bit of a tangling nightmare.

And speaking of tangling nightmares, look at the lovely work you get when your puppy decides to help you with your knitting:

We were NOT amused. I swear it took me 5 hours to get that mess undone. What's worse, I apparently didn't learn my lesson very well because while I was cleaning this up, I had left my knitting bag on the floor, and my puppy stole a second ball of yarn to play with.

*Sigh* Here's hoping I finally figured out that I need to keep ALL of the knitting out of the puppy's reach ALL of the time.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Weigh Down Challenge

My delightful sister is getting married in a few weeks (Woo Hoo!!!) and I've decided that this makes for an excellent deadline to do a weigh down challenge. Over the next few weeks, through a healthy diet and exercise, I will be striving to lose 20 lbs. Each Friday I'll be doing a weigh in to keep track of my progress. Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tree of Life Afghan - Reloaded

The Knitwits have been working on a KAL for the Tree of Life Afghan by Nicky Epstein (Ravelry link). I had already made this (also a Ravelry link), and wasn't going to make it again, but circumstances arose that caused me to part with the original, so I joined in.

Lovely cabled twin trees and bobble flowers

I love the beauty (or according to some - barrenness) of the trees.

I added a crocheted edging instead of sticking to the pattern, as I had before, but this time I made it just a little bit lacey.

Lace edging detail

I love to cuddle under the blanket on a cold morning or winter's day.

The completed blanket

Too bad it's summer and 100ºF or more.

Ah well, it's only 6 months 'til I can really use it.

The yarn is Mary Maxim Starlette in Med. Willow that was left over from the original blanket. Which makes a different edging the only way to tell the two apart. Good thing I loved the first one so much.