Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gone To Pieces

It appears that everything I'm actively working on right now is knit in pieces, then seamed together.

A LOT of pieces.

Take, for example the Nautical Blanket (this is a Ravelry link, because KP is no longer selling the kit, so it's not on their website), knit with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes:

And that's not even all of the pieces!  It's 27 of the 30 the pattern calls for.

I still have another 3 of the star squares to make. 

Then there's the edging of each square, the seaming, the edging of the blanket, and possibly the addition of some backing material.  Did I mention I'm making this as a Christmas present?  I must maintain my diligence.

I'm also working on two baby blankets.  I VERY slightly modified one of the Nautical squares, and am knitting up each square the same but with complementary colors.  I've decided to call them the Moderne blankets.

I'm pleased with the way each square is coming out, and I think the finished product will be perfect.  They will be a little late, though, as the twins they are for are already about 3 months old.   I LOVE this yarn.  It's Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima, and it's a dream.  Soooo soft and lovely.  It's not like working with cotton at all. 

There is also another secret project that I've finished and will (hopefully) be able to share soon, and another that I'm busy working on.

Speaking of work, it looks like I need to get back to it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

3 Things

3 things that I learned today:

1) I have diabetes

2) I will beat this (as much as it is possible to do so)


3) I really hate that it took this diagnosis to get me to do the things I know I'm supposed to.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Peach Crisp

One of my favorite desserts as a child was apple crisp.

Now that I'm older, I've realized that it's not just apples that work deliciously in a crisp.

This lovely bit of tastiness is the peach crisp.  I'd gotten some lovely, and very ripe, peaches that needed to get eaten.  This was the way I went about it.
 As they were so ripe, they were extremely easy to peel and seed.

 I cut each peach into even slices,

then tossed them with some granulated sugar, a little powdered ginger, and a bit of flour.  I added some pats of butter to the top, then covered with some strussel. It was then baked and served warm from the oven with some vanilla ice cream.  Perfect.

Here's the recipe, but it's really more like a guideline, as I didn't really do any measuring.

8 very ripe peaches, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. plus 2 T. all purpose flour
1/2 t. ground ginger
1 stick (1/2 C.) butter, divided
1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
1/2 C. old fashioned rolled oats
1/8 t. baking powder
1/8 t. baking soda

Preheat oven to 375º F.  Combine the peaches, granulated sugar, 2 T. of flour, and ground ginger in a 9"x9" baking dish.  Cut 3 T. of the butter into pieces and evenly place on top of the peaches.  In a medium bowl, combine the remaining flour, brown sugar, oats, baking powder, and baking soda.  Melt the remaining butter, and add to the oat mixture.  Mix well with a fork until all the mixture is moistened and is coming together in clumps; sprinkle evenly over the peach mixture.  Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 min. or until the top is browned and the filling is bubbling.

This is best served warm over vanilla ice cream.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, A Review

The story is about a hardscrabble farmer named Ethan Frome, his unhappy marriage to his hypochondriac wife Zenobia (Zeena), and his love affair with his wife's cousin, Mattie Silver.

Ethan is broken in body when he is introduced, but his spirit had been broken long before.  As a young man he had a promising future, on his way to leaving the farm he was raised on and becoming an engineer, until his father was in an accident and he was left to care for his ailing mother.  Help came in the form of his cousin Zenobia, who knew what to do to help his mother, and stayed with her until she died.  At this point, fearing being alone, Ethan proposes to her and they marry.  They make plans to sell the farm and move on to bigger and better things, but time passes with no sale, Zeena shows herself to be a miserable hypochondriac, and remorse over a hasty marriage soon sets in.

Then along comes Mattie Silver, an orphaned cousin of Zeena's with no place to go.  The Fromes take her in to be a help for Zeena.  Mattie, however, having been the beloved daughter of a wealthy merchant and unacquainted with work of any kind, was deemed "delicate" and failed to make even an adequate showing at her duties.  This left Ethan to pick up the slack, but because she was so beautiful and cheerful, he didn't mind.  Well, that, and the fact that he'd fallen in love with Mattie -- a sentiment she returned.

Zeena, a miserable, complaining woman obsessed with her "ailments", truly excelled at making the people around her miserable as well.  She was not, however stupid, and saw what was going on.  To deal with it, she hied herself off to yet another doctor for treatments they could ill afford, leaving Ethan and Mattie alone together.  It is during this trip that they share their feelings with each other, and that a treasured wedding item of Zeena's gets broken, giving her cause to send Mattie away.

Neither Ethan nor Mattie can deal with being parted, so Ethan hastily conceives a plan for them to run away together.  When it becomes apparent to Ethan that there are too many hindrances to his plan, it is discarded, and preparations for goodbye are made.  On the way to the train station, they stop at a particularly dangerous sled run (it's winter) that they had decided to go down earlier feeling confident that Ethan could keep them safe.  As this is their last opportunity to do so, they decide to make the run now.  After safely making it down the hill, their time of parting is at hand.  Instead, Mattie asks Ethan to take her down the hill again, but this time to purposely crash so that they would never have to be parted.  And so their suicide run commences.  Spoiler Alert: They fail.

They both end up badly injured and disfigured, but Ethan heals enough to work to support them again, while Mattie becomes an invalid.  Zeena is left to take care of them both.

Spark Notes

I understand that Ethan and Mattie are meant to be sympathetic characters, and Zeena isn't, but I must say that I couldn't stand any of them.  I could find nothing redeeming in either Ethan or Mattie, and the only redeeming quality that Zeena had is that she did, in fact, stay and care for them after their attempted suicide.  I didn't care at all for this story.

I had never read anything by Edith Wharton before, and all I knew of her is that she was unhappily married, making me wonder if this book was at all autobiographical (apparently, it wasn't).  I find her writing to be everything it is purported to be -- a rare occurrence.  Clear, engaging, descriptive without being verbose, her use of symbolism is impeccable.

Her talents are, however, wasted on this story that wasn't worth the telling.

I would dearly love to have back the hours that were wasted on reading this. 

If you would like to read it yourself for free, you can do so here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

15 Years Ago

On this day, fifteen years ago, I was blessed.

On this day, my precious son arrived.

Through the years I've watched him grow,
Had the privilege of getting to know and love him,
And been blessed by the man he is becoming.

I am so grateful that he's mine.

Happy birthday, Jordan!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Test Knit: Gallitan Sweater

I'm sure that most of the knitters who stop by here have received their Oct. 2010 Knit Picks Catalog.  Well, you know that gorgeous colorwork sweater on the front?  I didn't knit it, but I did test knit the Gallatin sweater.  I did it in the largest size -- making sure the yarn amounts were correct for the kit.

This sweater is knit with Wool of the Andes Bulky.  That means it knits up VERY quickly.  Colorwork?  Intarsia? And quick?  YES!  And the end result was a sweater I think is very beautiful.  Hats off to Nina, for a lovely, well-written, and easy-but-looks-complicated pattern!

The body is seamless, and the sleeves knit separately in the round, until the two parts are joined for the raglan shoulders.

Knit on the collar, do the belt, et voila!

Please excuse the dirty mirror.  My teenage son cleaned the bathroom, and guess what he forgot to do?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Time Passes...

And so much has been happening. 

We have a new addition:

His name is Bogey.  As in golf, not boogers.  But he kinda is one and we call him that too. ;D

More books have been purchased:

And these are but a few of the additions.  I haven't photographed the rest.  It's the book sale, you see.  I just can't control myself.

But I haven't just been buying books.  Oh no, I've been reading them as well.  Don't worry, you'll hear more about that in a bit.

Then, of course, there's the knitting and spinning.  Oh!  So much has been done.  So much is left to do.  For all the hard work I've put in, I have very few finished objects to show for it.  It seems I've burdened myself with a whole lot of projects that are large and knit in pieces.  I'd love to show them to you anyway, but I've misplaced my camera.  (Sigh)

There's also been baking.  Lots of baking.  I even have pictures of some of it.  Here's a sneak peek:

More photos and a recipe to come.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's Bountiful

For several years now, my friends have been telling me about a food co-op called Bountiful Baskets.  Okay, so it was more like them singing their praises and urging me to join too.  The only caveat?  There is so much food, my little family of 3 may not be able to eat it all.

So I finally did.  And this is what I got on Saturday:

2 bunches of celery, a head of Romaine lettuce, broccoli, green beans, 7 sweet potatoes, 3 tomatoes, a package of champagne grapes, a bunch of bananas, 3 Valencia oranges, 2 mangoes, 7 peaches, and a lot of small plums.  In the back you see the 5 loaves of 9 grain bread I added to my order.  So much good food!

And all of it for only....


The produce basket is $15.  The bread was an optional add-on, and was $10.  All orders have a $1.50 processing fee.  And for new people, the FIRST time you order, you will also add a $3.00 new member fee.

The real deal is this: It is a lot of produce for the money.  I personally have had some quality issues with some of the fruit being spoiled, but it is generally not much.  The produce is generally ripe and ready to eat when you get it, so you will need to be able to use it or store it within the week you get it, and you don't get to select what you will receive.  Also, remember that this is a co-op, so everyone working is a volunteer.  You also have to make your purchase online, and there is a deadline to do so -- generally it's no later than Wednesday, and pick up is on Saturday.  There is a 20 min. window to pick up your order, and if you miss it, your food will be donated to a charitable organization, with no refunds or exchanges available for any reason.

Bottom line is that this is a good deal on produce if you can use it up within the week, especially if you don't have a Farmer's Market nearby.  You may have some quality issues, but, since I'm the only person I know that's actually found any rotten fruit, the odds are that it will be okay.  So, I do recommend it, but it's not for everyone, and I won't be participating anymore.  And since it's available in 8 states, there may be one near you.  If not, and you wanted to participate, you could always check into bringing it to your area.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Refried Beans

Living in the southwestern United States, one thing that we are blessed to have is excellent and authentic Mexican food.  Since I enjoy cooking, re-creating this food in my own kitchen is a must.  Before we get started on the recipe, I will share with you the secret to authentic, delicious Mexican food: Lard.  Yes, it must be lard.  Yes, it really does make a difference in the taste.  No, you really can't substitute.  No, it won't kill you to use it.  Okay, now that we've sorted all that out, let's get started.

You will need:
1 lb. of dried beans (pinto beans are traditional, but you can make it with other types.  For this recipe I used small red beans and navy beans, in the past I've used black beans.  Feel free to experiment.)
1/4 - 1/2 C. of lard
fresh garlic cloves, to taste
water (or stock of your choice)
salt, to taste

Rinse and sort the beans, then soak overnight and cook according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.  Place the lard in a large sauté pan.

Mince the garlic and add it to the pan.

Add the beans to the pan, as well. 

Turn the heat to medium high, and keep stirring everything together so it doesn't burn. The lard will melt, the beans and garlic will start cooking, and your house will begin to smell amazing.

When the beans have started splitting, get out your potato masher and coarsely mash those beans.  Then add the water (or stock).  Add enough that the beans can continue to cook and become creamy as the liquid evaporates, but not so much that they are swimming.  When it's done it will look a little something like this:
Serve warm with some cheddar cheese melted on top, a dollop of sour cream, and a spoonful of salsa or sprinkle on some chopped green onions.  So easy, so tasty.  Make some tonight.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Peanut Brittle

I love the alchemy of making candy.  I'm always amazed that such simple ingredients and a bit of heat can turn into something so tasty.

I used this recipe, substituting dry roasted peanuts for the raw, because that's what I had in my pantry.
The recipe made about 1 1/2 lbs. of the candy.  So simple, so good.  Make some, but make sure you have a cup of ice water nearby when you do.  When cooled, it is a taste of heaven; when molten it burns like hades. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

And The Winner For Best Music Video Goes To...

Well, Hello Again

I've always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with technology.  On the one hand, it's a wonderful way to keep in touch, find things I'm looking for, and, in some ways, simplifies writing.  On the other hand, it is another thing I have to deal with and, for me, a bit of a time thief.  It's the discipline I lack.  I'm working on it. ;)

I also tend to be a bit of a procrastinating perfectionist, who lives what is, to my mind, a very happy, full, and ordinary, life.

So what does that have to do with anything?  Well, when the two get together I decide that nothing much is happening, so why write about it.  So I don't.  Then, of course, it's just easier to continue not to, even when there's bunches of things going on. 

And all that to say, yeah, it's been a while.  There has been a lot happening, I'll be updating as I can, and trying to stay a little more up-to-date.  I warn you, however, that this blog may be in serious danger of becoming a cooking blog in the process.  What can I say?  There's been a lot of cooking lately.  Maybe it's the weather.

Anyway.  Storms have damaged the local dog park, so I've been setting up playdates for Gypsy, and we've been taking some early morning walks.  The sunrises have been particularly beautiful.

Jay and I spent much of the summer focused on golf tournaments, where he did okay.  No, he didn't take home the top prize, but his game improved and he had an excellent time.  After the regular, local season came to a close, Jay opted to participate in the Oakley Challenge tournament in the big city, to extend the season, and the fun, for himself by another week.

It was very well run, the course was in excellent condition, Oakley and the course were giving out some participation prizes, and his teammates were all lovely people.  It was better ball format, and Jay had the best game of his life.  Despite not finishing it.

Jay was injured on the second to last hole.  He was scooping up his ball from the moving golf cart when he fell out, landing on his shoulder.  And breaking his collar bone.  Seriously.

Unbelievably, it looked even worse a week later.

The one on the right was the first one, the one on the left was after a week of "healing".  It's doing much better now, though he's going to have to wear the brace for another 5 weeks.  And stop falling out of golf carts.
There is a big change around here this year.  Jay decided he wanted to attend public school this year, for the first time in his life.  He had several reasons for wanting it, so after seven long hours spread over two days that were separated by a week (it was a nightmare, but at least we didn't fall out of any golf carts!), he's now a freshman at one of our local high schools.  Go Spartans!

One of the reasons he had for wanting this change was to join the golf team.  Yeah.  Considering the fact that he can't participate in ANY sports for the next 5 weeks, and that the golf season is only in the fall, well, that's not going to happen.  Poor kid.  Maybe next year.  If he stops falling out of golf carts.

Okay, okay.  I'll stop with the falling out of golf carts.

For now.       Tee hee!

Otherwise, he's enjoying the change and doing well so far.  It's only a week in, but still...

I, however, have been spending my time baking, cleaning, baking, crafting, baking, cooking, oh, and did I mention baking?  Good thing I enjoy it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Blueberry Cookie Bars

Yesterday afternoon I decided I needed to make something for dessert.  I was tired of the usual fare, but wanted some type of cookie.  What to do, what to do.  I opened up my refrigerator and saw some fresh blueberries, and that's when it all came together --- Blueberry Cookie Bars!


    For the bottom layer:
        1 1/2 C. all purpose flour
        1/2 C. powdered sugar
        3/4 C. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into pieces and at room
    For the blueberry layer:
        2 C. fresh blueberries
        1/2 C. granulated sugar
        1 1/2 T. cornstarch
        1 t. lemon juice 
        1 T. butter, cut into small pieces
    For the streusel layer:
        1 C. all purpose flour
        1/2 C. firmly packed brown sugar
        1/2 t. ground cinnamon
        7 T. butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature

Preheat oven to 425ºF.
In a medium bowl, combine the 1 1/2 C. flour and powdered sugar.  With a pastry cutter, cut in butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Press into a 13"x 9" baking pan.
Place the blueberries in a medium bowl, and toss with the granulated sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice, trying not to crush the blueberries.  Spread evenly over the shortbread mix in the pan and dot with butter pieces.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly combine the 1 C. flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon; cut in the butter until well mixed.  Sprinkle in a even layer over the blueberries.
Bake in the oven 20 min., or until the blueberries have broken down into a lovely jam and the streusel and bottom are golden brown.
Let cool, slice into bars and serve.

It's also delicious served warm with vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

The Declaration of Independence, a transcription:

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Column 1
   Button Gwinnett
   Lyman Hall
   George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
   William Hooper
   Joseph Hewes
   John Penn
South Carolina:
   Edward Rutledge
   Thomas Heyward, Jr.
   Thomas Lynch, Jr.
   Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
   Robert Morris
   Benjamin Rush
   Benjamin Franklin
   John Morton
   George Clymer
   James Smith
   George Taylor
   James Wilson
   George Ross
   Caesar Rodney
   George Read
   Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
   William Floyd
   Philip Livingston
   Francis Lewis
   Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
   Richard Stockton
   John Witherspoon
   Francis Hopkinson
   John Hart
   Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
   Josiah Bartlett
   William Whipple
   Samuel Adams
   John Adams
   Robert Treat Paine
   Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
   Stephen Hopkins
   William Ellery
   Roger Sherman
   Samuel Huntington
   William Williams
   Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
   Matthew Thornton

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Gentlemen (and Ladies), Start Your, er, Pedals?!?

The Tour de France got started today, and that means that the Tour de Fleece did, too.

I'm participating in 3 teams this year:
Peleton 2010
Sprinters 2010  and
Team Sasquatch

My goal is to spin every day, making yarns I want to work with.  In lace weight, of course.

These are the fibers I have selected to work on this year:

This is 4 oz. of baby alpaca that I have washed and hand carded.  The recommendation I received was to spin alpaca dirty.  This fleece was so filthy, with an unbelievable amount of vegetable matter (even AFTER washing and carding), and was bleeding color so badly, that that just wasn't an option.

6 oz. of merino roving.  Soft, natural, and lovely.

2.4 oz. of mystery fiber that I think I was told is alpaca combed top.

8 oz. of beautiful, soft, lustrous, wonderful, and yummy Tussah silk top.

6 oz. of bamboo top.  This was the last of a supply that was had at an LYS, and will never be offered again.  I was told their supplier had a bunch of it catch on fire (bamboo is HIGHLY flammable) during the dyeing process, so they decided not to dye bamboo anymore.  I will add the finished singles (I am keeping this one as singles) to the hanks I'd previously spun, and am hoping it will be enough for a sweater.  We'll see.

I only have projects in mind for the green alpaca and the bamboo, but I love lace weight yarn, and knitting lace, so I imagine it won't be terribly difficult to figure something out for all of it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Trellis and Flowers Stole

Being both lace and intarsia, this project moved a little more slowly than some.

But it did slowly grow and blossom into a thing of beauty,

and as it did, I fell more and more in love with this yarn

and, specifically, these colorways.  The Alpaca Cloud yarn in Midnight Heather, with its blues, blacks, greens, and purples that really only come out in the sun, like a raven's feathers.  The Tidepool heather, with it's greens, blues, and yellows, has a depth that pictures just cannot do justice to.

This project was a challenge for a few reasons, most of which I hope were corrected by the time the book went to press.  Even so, this project would still be challenging, so if you've never knit lace or intarsia before, I wouldn't recommend starting with this.  If, however, you are comfortable doing both, the final project is truly stunning.

Stunning enough that I'm tempted to knit another one for myself.

To really see it in all it's beauty, do checkout the July/August 2010 Knit Picks catalog, or you can see it on the website.  The photographer did a fabulous job.

Oh, and get yourself some of this yarn.  You won't regret it. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Swap the Seasons, June Edition

Yesterday when I went to my mailbox, I had a wonderful surprise awaiting me.  A box from my swap partner!

I ripped off the brown paper wrapping and lifted the lid to see this:

I took out the envelope

and opened it up to see the cutest card ever!

I then took out the small brown box in the center on the top and opened it to find, carefully wrapped in golden tissue paper,
Wollemeise 100% Merino Superwash fingering weight wool!  The color is stunning and one of my favorites, and the yarn is sooo soft!  I've heard a lot about Wollemeise, but never experienced it before, and I must say it is, indeed, as lovely as I'd heard.

There was another box underneath that when opened revealed

An adorable Lantern Moon sheep that is really, when its tail is pulled,
And a beautiful red Chinese take-out box from Summit Tea Company filled with 
the most beautiful and delicious smelling Jasmine Blooming Tea.  

Most of my favorite books are 18th and 19th Century British and American literature, and among them, I have a soft spot for Jane Austen's writing.  Especially Pride & Prejudice.  I am, therefore, really looking forward to getting started on this book.  Perhaps with a cup of Jasmine Blooming Tea.

Finally I took out the pretty purple box and found it to be
GreenAir Lilac Blossom scented reed diffuser.  I love the smell of lilacs - they remind me of my Grandma K., and the many happy hours I spent at her home as a child.  Perfect!

As you can see, my swap partner spoiled me yet again.  I have been truly blessed to have been partnered with such a wonderful and thoughtful person.

So, who was it?  margokp!

Thank you so much!