Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day, Bad Weather and a Vest

It's Leap Day and I have to say it got off to a pretty rocky start. Our dog Emma freaks out about high wind, thunderstorms, rain, snow, sleet.... and is VERY reluctant to go out and do her business in the morning if any of these conditions are happening. This morning we happened to have most of these conditions all rolled into one. So I (still in my pajamas with garden gnomes, glasses on, and hair flying in 17 directions) throw on my husbands giant boots, tuck my gnome pajamas into the boots, put on a wool coat and cap and start the "Come On Em! Let's GO OUTSIDE! WEEEE" Game. This resulted in me standing out in a couple inches of slush, at 4:45 in the morning, with sleet/rain/snow pelting me and soaking my gnomes, while Emma circled the yard looking for some magic spot to go potty. This is how my day started.

Next I got to drive my car in this crap to work. This also sucked donkey balls. Seriously. Every time one of those trucks would drive by me on the freeway it was like someone opened a dump truck up on top of my car of slush. It was terrible. My hands and shoulders just ached from the tension of holding the car on the road with my mighty knitter hands by the time I got to work. My 30 minute commute took just over an hour. YUCK. AWFUL!

I really feel like I shouldn't complain either. We have had one of the mildest winters I can remember. Still. YUCK! Blessedly the drive home was MUCH better. YAY!

I have made a little progress on my vest. I am into the color work portion now and am anxious to keep going. I am still finding the pattern REALLY annoying. When I got to the point where I was able to join in the round I was finally given a stitch count. I was supposed to have 162 but I actually had 186. I reread the pattern to see if I could see where I picked up so many extra stitches - but I am at a loss. So I decided that I would knit a few stitches together to bring my count down to 180 which would put me one size up from where I wanted to be. Since this is the chest area and I am pretty busty, I think this will work out. Also, I know if I rip this thing out and start over I will not start over - so I am now in the "Winging it" portion of the vest.

In the back of my head a little voice tells me it's ok if it ends up too big because it's all knit in wool and if it's too fugly I can always felt it a little to shrink it up a bit. I have not yet decided if this little internal voice is a white hat or a black hat. We shall see!

Izzi snoozing the afternoon away.

Does anyone have any Leap Day Traditions? It didn't occur to me to do this until the day was pretty underway, but I thought I would see if anyone had any that they did on this "Extra Day" every year. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have it be a "me" day where you slept in, gave yourself (or went and got) a pedicure/manicure, maybe a massage if you like that thing.... I see possibilities here!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Let's Get it Started!

I have begun my George Sand Vest! I had been avoiding it a little bit and once I realized that I was a bit afraid to start I kind of had to jump in and go! I re-read the pattern cover to cover twice, gathered all my supplies and started. For the record, this is knit with Cascade 220 and the color work will be with Noro Silk Garden.

I find that I am having a hard time understanding what the writer of the pattern wants me to do rather than the actual execution of the pattern. (The stitching is the easy part  - the reading the pattern is the hard part!) The Vest is a top-down construction and it is knit flat and then joined to work the body. The pattern does not give a stitch count through any of this top part. It also has you do increases by saying things like 'Do 2 (4,6,8,10,12,14,16,18) neck increases.' (numbers were made up by me for example purposes) and then of course - no stitch count to verify you are on track.  So I feel like I am on track with the pattern - but I have no way of knowing if I really am or not. I REALLY get frustrated with patterns that you pay for that you have to spend all your time trying to figure out what the author wants you to do. The stitch execution on this has been really easy - but the pattern itself could be better written in my opinion. All that being said - this is really the first complex item I have knit so some struggle is expected.

As you can see I just got the arm holes created. That was kind of exciting. :) I could finally hold it up to my hubby and say "See! Vest!" and have him not look at me like "Crazy lady waving yarn! Crazy lady waving yarn! Back away slowly!" So that was nice too. :)

I have spent about 6-8 hours knitting on this so far. Would LOVE to stay home all week and just knock this guy out. I have to say it's pretty exciting to knit something that is NOT a hat or scarf! :) I can see how people might get kind of hooked on knitting sweaters and vests!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Something Something Hat

You can tell I am sort of running out of names for hats. I was looking for a pattern in Creative Knitting, Fall 2010: Accessorize with Style and came across this pattern for a simple cap in a Single Skein of Blizzard Yarn. Why I would have purchased a single skein of a yarn with only 66 yards on it - I have no idea. I think the color and the squish factor made me do it. (Apparently this yarn is now discontinued which just makes me sad. It was so yummy!)

So I cast on and quickly got through the body. And then as I was getting ready to knit the last couple rows I noticed a twisted stitch half way up the hat. On sock yarn this would not be a big deal - but when you are working on something this bulky it REALLY stands out. So I frogged it and started over. Second attempt I got into the final rows of decreases and realized my stitch count was off and it looked BAD. Frog frog frog. Third time I managed to knit the hat correctly! So really I made the same hat three times in one day. It's a wonderful pattern. Very simple and I really only used about 50 yards of yarn.

It's one of those hats you just want to pet because it's so soft and cuddly. The rib keeps the hat from rolling up. A really warm hat. Instant gratification. I think I will keep the pattern handy as it would be excellent for one of those "Oh crap!" moments where you need a hand knit gift immediately. (Shocking how often that really does happen!) I might need to troll the Internet for more of this yarn.... It's really nice!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

And then some Veggie Soup

Sunday I was still in a cooking mood so I made a huge pot of Veggie Soup. I started with a bunch of broth and then cut up a red pepper, 2 zucchini, a bag of shredded cabbage, a bunch of mini carrots, an onion, a bag of broccoli, ( I know -  A bag - I was lazy!) and half a lemon that I did bother to cut and juice. (Awesome smell - a REAL simple pleasure that!)

The house smelled so good! Steaming boiling veggie yum! I let it cook for an hour or so, and then I went crazy with my Immersion blender. Yeah - I love that thing!

I ate a steaming bowl before I put them all in freezer safe containers. YUM! It was almost a little sad to chop all those veggies down to nothing. But I got over it quick. I have this theory that it will be easier to digest broccoli and cabbage if it's cooked to within an inch of it's life and then chopped to high hell. :) Yup. Way easier to digest cabbage you can drink.

I put a little cracked pepper on top of each one before I froze them. Yum! I am SO Betty Crocker lately! WOOT!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Immersion Blender - Where have you been all my life?

So I have been looking at a few toys quite a bit lately. Kind of chewing on the idea of them like a dog with a bone. One of them is a Dutch Oven. I don't own one and I want to. But do I buy a cast iron one? Do I buy one from Rachel Ray? Tough decisions and a lot of time spent looking at them in stores and on-line. The other one is an immersion blender. I have wanted one for awhile, but recently got really obsessed with the idea of one. So I finally leaped into the abyss and ordered one on Amazon that was in my price range (Under $30.00 US and free shipping), had pretty good ratings, and was easy to clean. This is a picture of my new immersion blender and since I ripped off the picture from Amazon - here is a link to look at it on Amazon as well. 

I got my blender yesterday and we ran to the store a few hours later to get the makings for soup. My first soup is a Butternut Squash Soup recipe that I got off A simple soup with just a few ingredients: Squash, Vegetable broth, an apple and an onion. The recipe called for a Vidalia onion - which I couldn't find at my local store, so I just chucked a yellow onion in there. It was really easy - although it took longer to cook than the recipe suggested as I would not crank the heat up to high until I got a good boil on. Bad for the stock pot! So I had to wait a good half an hour to get a boil at medium heat. Then I had to let it boil until the onions were translucent. Then I got to play with my new toy!
I hauled the pot over to an outlet (placing a pad on the counter for the pot to sit on) and placed the immersion blender into the pot almost touching the bottom of the pot. There is a nice guard on this model so I was able to rest it on the bottom of the pot without hurting anything. Oh was it fun! I had to use both hands to control the blender and it just went to town on the soup! Soon all those large chunks were blended into a smooth as silk soup. YAY!

I poured myself a bowl and had to taste it immediately. Good but it needed a little something. The recipe said to garnish it with a little nutmeg, but I didn't have any on hand so I ended up adding a dash of cinnamon on top and then threw in a small handful of oyster crackers. Perfect! I think a side of homemade Rosemary bread - thick crust and full of butter - would be the perfect side to this. But since I am making this to sublimate my Weight watchers diet, that is out for now. When I get into maintenance mode I will so make some crusty bread to go with this recipe! I am thinking about using it as a low cal sauce to top some ravioli though. I think that could be very tasty!

I ended up with 12 double servings (One Points + per bowl!) and froze all but two. Now when I am craving a snack I can grab a bowl of homemade soup from the freezer and have a healthy snack. Go me!

Now I am off to the store. I saw a wonderful recipe for Vegetable soup......

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A return to normal

This is our last morning with our mother-in-law's Dog Minnie. She will be gone when I get home from work today. It's amazing how fast you get used to having another critter in the house. We developed a routine and I have to say I think I will miss the little beast. :)

Conversely I cannot wait to come home today and hit my Zumba! I have only been able to do it once in the last week with Minnie staying with us. Tom took Minnie out of the house for an hour so I could get a workout in. Minnie is a great dog but she is so excitable - we just new me flaying around like a crazy Zumba Warrior would cause her to go into fits - so I did more on the treadmill this week. I miss my Zumba!

I have had a lot of insomnia this past week. I woke up at 11:30 pm one night and could not go back to sleep. Last night I woke at 2:30 and could not go back to sleep. Hopefully that stop pretty soon. It's hard to not be crabby when you are sleep deprived. I suspect it's also hard on the diet and health in general. I am more prone toward a binge when I am in a Zombie state. Zombie eating is nobodies friend!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mail Call! Mail Haul!

OOOH! Look at the pretty thing waiting for me when I came home today!

I present "Enchanted Evening" which is a Superwash sock yarn I purchased at wooliebullie's Etsy shop. Here is the description from the web page:

Enchanted Evening is now available in our new line of RAZZLE SOCK handpainted yarn. Deep and rich teal, black and blue - it will light up your night with the bit of twinkle.This yarn is beautiful and a luscious and easy care blend of 70% Superwash Merino, 20% Nylon and 5% Razzle.   

This yarn is SOOOO awesome looking. I am tickled to add it to my stash and wondering already what wonderful thing (shawl) I will make with this.

There was a lot of temptation on this etsy shop!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Plop Plop Fizz Fizz - How delish a baktus is!


I worked on this on and very off and then on again. It took me 11 months to finish. Argh. Not that the pattern is a burden or anything - it's a very simple pattern and it's wonderful. This is actually my third time making this and I love each one. I wear them all the time. They are super simple and they show off a yarn wonderfully. Just love them! Here is a link to the first one I made and a link to the second one I made. So it looks like I have made this three times in the last year. It's just such a wonderful pattern and a great way to bust your stash as it will work on pretty much any gauge. I just love it. Here is the Ravelry link to the pattern if anyone is interested. This pattern is to me as Toast is to Knitting Nix. (Although I suspect she has made more Toast than I have made Baktus. She wips out amazing Toast on a regular basis!)

When Tom and I went to the alpaca fiber festival in November I spotted someone wearing a striped Baktus and Tom thought it was quite the thing - so I am tempted to make my next Baktus striped. I have no doubt there will be another baktus in my future. I don't knit socks you see, and yet I can't stop buying sock yarn! It's just so flipping awesome! So this is a great use of it.

I know it looks like I took my poor dog and kind of forced her onto this in a posed manner. Not true! Any fabric  - knit item. towel or blanket - that I throw on the deck she immediately comes over to and sits on. It's crazy. She was snuffling in my hair and walking all over this thing as I was taking pictures. I think she is all hunched because it's still kind of cold out. We have been in one of our few cold snaps this weekend and it's tough on Emma. She loves it outside but is pretty much bald in her girly regions. Huh. Maybe that's why she is always sitting on my knitting....

So at the widest part my Baktus measures 12" and the length comes in at 82". Almost Seven Feet long! I am 63 inches tall (5'3") so you can tell how long this is on me. BUT - Because its sock yarn it's really light and because its so long I can wrap it around my neck a bunch - so I think it will be a really "Go to" item.

Also - This is so girly Pink that it really looks awesome with my black leather jacket!

Am very pleased with my newest FO!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dog Sitting

We are pet sitting my Mother-in-law's dog Minnie currently. She is a Jindo that my Mother-in-law adopted from a shelter last year and she is still a young dog. (I think under two years old? I get Teenager energy from her.) It's very interesting having another dog in the mix here. Emma is very calm and submissive where Minnie is very aggressive and strong. We have been having to spend a lot of time keeping our energy calm and doing simple things like walking slower and not gesturing as much and just really keeping the state of energy in the house very low and mellow.

The first couple days of her visit I had a hard time doing anything other than being with the dogs. Emma is my girl and she is territorial over me, so of course Minnie wanted to take that and would nudge Emma out of the way when I was petting Emma and would just sort of be on me. This caused Emma to Hump Minnie in a show of territory. So there was a day or two of figuring out the pecking order around here.

Now that the circus has settled down things are much more mellow. The cat is out of hiding under the table and is hanging out in her Kitty Tree in the front window. We have figured out how to handle the feeding time and the outside time to keep the energy good. Yesterday Tom took Minnie out of the house for an hour so I could do my Zumba in peace. That is very high energy and frantic and I think something to avoid doing with this dog around.

I am really pleased with how smart Minnie is. I was making a sandwich yesterday and Minnie was under my feet in the kitchen. (Movement of the Human female AND food smell - hard to resist!) So I kept telling her to leave the kitchen. Every time she came in I would stop and back her out and tell her no. This morning when I went to make breakfast she came to the threshold of the kitchen and looked at me. I shook my head no and then went back to cooking. When I turned around again she was laying on the floor next to the entry of the kitchen. So smart!

It's very interesting having a different animal here. I am enjoying this but I also look forward to having the natural order of our household restored!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Busy day!

I had a very busy day today! I woke up at 3:00 this morning and could not go back to sleep so I got up. As is the hazard of getting less than enough sleep, I ended up buying a little something something on-line. (Oops!) More on that when it arrives. Insomnia is getting expensive!

Since I was up early I decided to go in to work a little early. And then I had the "Can't stand my job-idis" hit and ended up taking a half vacation day. (Again - Insomnia and impulse control!) On the way home I stopped at a gas station and filled my car up and got a MUCH needed car wash. Then home to a light lunch and a hello to the hubby and kitty. I then made an appointment to get my hair cut this Friday (WOOT!) and managed to get my dog in to the vet today! Love it when I can get an immediate appointment! So Emma got poked and prodded. She has put on a little weight since last time (She was 34 lbs and is now 37) but she gets less running time in the winter. We are naughty parents and don't take her for many walks. Partly because she is cold sensitive and mostly because we are lazy people.

Emma was great at the vet and is in really good health. She has a cyst that showed up a couple months ago - which they said to watch - but that they didn't think anything needed to be done at this point. So yay for that! I picked up her heart worm and her flea and tick stuff while I was there since there are already reports of ticks! That is insane!

One other thing I did today was to organize my cowl bin. I have this in my closet in my den and it's been just a hot mess. Today I got fed up and dumped the whole thing out on my table and sorted it out. I had not only cowls in here but headbands, a pair of slippers, a pair of leg warmers, several hats, several scarves... it was a mess.

And I have a few things in there that I really should just donate or ... something. I know when I made this pink and black striped cowl I was thinking ooh la la french something. Yeah. I never wear this because it's just straight up a hot mess. This might actually be a cute purse with the right lining? Or a good item to go in the donation bin. :)

 In the end I have all my cowls neatly folded in the large bin and the smaller bin is all headbands and one pair of leg warmers that I had no idea where to put. This is MUCH better! I actually tried on several of my cowls that I didn't love before and found that they look much better (and fit much better) on me now that I have dropped a few lbs. YAY for that!

And to top all this off I hit the treadmill on my new program tonight. I have been struggling with wanting to hit the treadmill lately. So when I was watching the Biggest Loser this week I had the thought of changing my approach to the treadmill. So now I am going to do 5K (which is only 3.1 miles!) every time and I am going to try and do my best every time - pushing my speed and my length of runs and so forth. I am hoping to get to the point where I can jog the whole thing. This is just shocking to me. I spent years telling people I would only run if I had a bear chasing me, and now I am trying to get to where I can run on my own - without the aid of giant hostile wildlife spurring me on! Who the heck am I turning into?!?! :)

If anyone reading this has any treadmill tips or motivations that work for you I would love to hear them!

In the meantime - I am off to a MUCH needed shower. ;)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lucky Scarf

I wore my new scarf yesterday. To work, home from work and out running errands. It's a little scratchy but not too bad. I like how light and fluffy it is. I wear it folded in half and then looped through itself. It fills up the neck hole on my jacket pretty nicely.

I am calling it my lucky scarf because I wore it in to the liquor store to get some wine and when I handed the clerk my card to pay he asked me for my ID. Hu? I haven't been carded in years! I assume it's actually the diet and exercise making me look a little younger, but since I was wearing this scarf for the first time in public when it happened I will claim it was the scarf which MUST hold magic properties.

It also allowed me to catch this giant metal May Fly. You can see it's at least a 15 pounder and I am tired from the fight this bugger gave me.

Of course Emma had to try on my scarf too. As always she looks smashing in it!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Yelcho Feather and Fan Scarf

I finished blocking out my Yelcho Feather and Fan scarf over the weekend and was very pleased with the end results. The yarn did bleed some dye out during the soak process for blocking, but I feel like the colors have remained fairly true to what I fell in love with at the yarn store. I found my wool long coat in the closet for picture taking.

When I did my rough measurement of the end product I came in at 68" x5" which is a pretty nice length. I thought it would be much shorter than that - so I am pretty happy. The scarf is really light and airy but I think it will still be warm. I will give it a test run this week. I love the variegation in this pattern. Seems on trend with the Zig Zag craze that is going on.

Here is a close up shot of the scarf. Obviously the blocking stretched the feather and fan into more of a Zig Zag, but I like it. Really enjoyed working with this yarn and loved the pattern as well.

One more WIP completed!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Frosted Pines

We are having a really warm winter this year. I am loving the lack of arctic temps and the lack of snow. This weekend we had fog overnight that froze to everything. When I let the dog out this weekend I was greeted with frosted Pine Trees in our back yard. It was so pretty! Later when it warmed a little and a breeze would go through the tree's it "snowed" off of the trees. It was kind of magic.

I snapped a shot of Emma just as she blinked. Go figure. She has been enjoying running around in the yard this winter with out freezing her paws off. We still have months of winter left so we might still get some serious snow and cold, but to have made it this far and still see grass in the back yard is pretty remarkable.

On the knitting front, I finished knitting, sewing in the ends, soaking and am now blocking my Yelcho Feather & Fan scarf. I did the trick with folding my scarf in half and using a rolled up towel to block it in a smaller space. I just know if I lay this on the floor in the basement with all those fun colored pins I would be rushing my cat to the vet with any number or terrible ailments. This seems less likely if I have this up on the table. I am doing a light blocking - only pinning on the ends and then the towel at the center is pulled up somewhat firmly.

I am anxious for it to be done done. I can't wait to wear it! The pattern was so easy and would be very adaptable to a shawl or blanket. Definitely a keeper! I think this will be used a lot to work down some of my single skeins in my stash. Hopefully I will have a picture of me modeling it in here very soon.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Get ye back January!

January is over and I rejoice! Although I have to say this was the warmest January I can remember. I am thankful every day for the warmer than normal winter. After last winter's 8 months of snow I thought I would go out of my flipping mind. So to have a very mild winter after that year? Yes please!

Emma and I are both looking forward to the spring and getting out and hiking trails and camping with my Hubby. Although I have to say we had some pretty awesome snow trails in the back yard last year with the feet and feet of snow we got. It was a blast watching Emma run the trails! She would actually build up speed and bank around the corners! Awesome to watch. 

I haven't posted much about my knitting lately, so I thought I would show my WIP's I am feverishly working on. Above is the Yelcho Feather and Fan scarf I am working on everyday at lunch. It's a great portable project. I am using Araucania Yelcho yarn to knit this. It's a pretty new yarn and there are only 6 projects using it on Ravelry at this point. I really like it! It's a thick and thin yarn with 60% Wool, 20% Mohair, 10% Nylon, and 10% Silk for it's make up. It's texturally interesting to work with and I love the colorway I chose.

My other big WIP is my Cedar and Spice and Everything Nice wrap. This is a free pattern on Ravelry (as is the Yelcho Feather & Fan scarf Pattern) and I am using a different yarn than the pattern calls for, so mine is coming out fairly dense and is eating more yarn than the pattern calls for. I am doing mine in Lion Brand Hometown USA in the color Spice and I really love how it's looking. I just hope when I am done it looks like a wrap and not a baby blanket!

I think it will be really warm to wear in the winters around the house. Maybe even when I go camping to wrap around me at nights by the fire. I have one more skein of yarn to add to this and I will call it good and bind off and think about buttons.

And I had to show my Izzi stalking my yarn while I took a picture. She is a wily one. I didn't even know she was there until I saw a little hand with claws extended reach out for my yarn. To be fair, I can't imagine many cats would be able to resist such temptation.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...