Thursday, April 23, 2009

Picture Day

Completed Sam socks in Sundara Sock Yarn in Deadly Nightshade. They are delicious to wear and the pattern was very pleasant to knit.
It's interesting how I'm more prone to make mistakes on the second sock than the first. It's probably because I get cocky and think I've memorized the 24 row pattern with multiple jogs - yeah right! The second sock took a little longer than the first due to distraction with family, weather, classes and multiple ripping back which is not the easiest to do with slick-ish yarn and multitudes of cables.

I know it's a pathetic picture. I snapped it really fast after the attempts of a certain four year to take pictures miserably failed. New hair cut, new color with new bangs. I decided that bangs were cheaper than Botox as it appears that with each child I have developed a deep furrow on my brow (four to be exact). Some appearing so deep that I've considered planting potatoes in them. Hopefully the bangs will help.

Do you recognize any of these socks? Yes, they are the ones from Cat Bordhi's book - New Pathways.

Here's a very poor picture of Cat and I with one of THE socks at a class I took with her on Saturday. Her class was wonderful. I love teachers that don't hold anything back. They love teaching and sharing all they can with their students. I have had classes with some teachers who seem very guarded that they are giving too much away. Cat is a very generous teacher and loves to empower her students to take what she has given them and improve upon it.
I would highly recommend taking a class with her if you ever get the chance.
Now, what should I knit on next? I think I have an idea of what I'd like to cast on, but I have those pesky UFO's who keep calling out to me - they're so rude. Can't they tell I'm trying to ignore them?!
Also, am strongly considering taking up weaving. Spinning just doesn't have the appeal to me, but weaving is definitely on my mind lately and I have been doing some research. I don't think going to the Leigh Yawkey Museum and seeing Chiluly's collection of Trade Blankets helped tame the weaving bug from trying to take hold. Any suggestions for starting?

Monday, April 20, 2009


Update: it's snowing! Well, snow mixed with sleet. As I was just folding some clothes and had the tv on, they just had the alert flashing on the screen that our county had a Winter Weather Advisory. But isn't it spring already????? Just to keep us thoroughly confused, it's supposed to be 70 F on Thursday.

I don't know about you, but I'm going to take this all in my stride with some nice sock knitting that needs to be finished up and shaking my head as I look confused out the window. If all else fails... start knitting.

To come tomorrow: pics (sadly a very few, I was too engrossed in the class and samples we were knitting) from Cat Bordhi's class and hopefully Sam's finale.

Mother Nature, I hear you laughing

That Mother Nature has a very annoying sense of humor.

This weekend, it was 75 F. Even those of us who enjoy the winter were happily trotting around our yards. Woke up this morning and it's snowing, well trying to - it won't stick fortunately. The high should be around 45 F.

I know you think you're funny, but I think your just plain bloody cruel.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Heard at the Drive Thru

Picked up the littlest guy from Preschool today and had a bundle of things to do and not enough time to do them and desperately wanted to have some play time with him rather than just ignore him and tell him Mummy was busy. So, I swung by McDonalds with the promise that we would eat it outside on the deck together and I'd push him on the swings for a while. He quickly ordered at the Drive Thru his Happy Meal (which always makes me feel rather unHappy at cheapening my food standards for him, but that's life, sometimes something has to give). I then thought maybe I'd order a salad and pretend to be healthy and following my diet (ignoring fact that had wolfed down a couple of handfuls of oreo's earlier in the morning).

In case you haven't been to McDonalds lately they have attempted to have some healthy choices and have a few salads on the menu. One of the salads was called Southwestern Salad and I wanted to know if the salad had olives on (I despise olives - no, I'm not exaggerating - I literally despise them.) so I asked at the window "Could you please tell me what exactly is in the Southwestern Salad?"

The girl responded, with a blond 90210 duh attitude of "Uhhh, I think it has salad and dressing?"


I thought maybe she misunderstood what I was asking (maybe my accent was a little strong at that moment, I had just finished talking to my dad and that tends to whip out the old limey accent pretty fast) so I asked again "well, obviously it has salad, but could you tell me what exactly that consists of?"

I couldn't see, but I was sure she rolled her eyes and said "well, lettuce and maybe southwestern ranch dressing?"

I gave up and told her not to strain herself with adding anything else to the order.

The smart four year in the back seat commented after we had picked up the order "Mom, that girl wasn't very smart. She was a dumb rock."

My thoughts exactly.

Good news: Managing to squeak in some time late at night to work on Sam. Should be finished with second sock tomorrow.

Bad news: Managed to drop cell phone in Target on Saturday where it was ran over, twice. Still works, if you pound it first against the steering wheel and threaten to flush it down the toilet.

Good news: Insurance on phone, meant new phone shipped promptly to me and received next day. Have cell that works again, all is right in the world.

Bad news: Some arse stole my credit card info and ordered a bunch of stuff online. Spent most of day closing accounts or putting freezes on them. I have their email information though. Wish I knew someone who could send these buggers a virus and mess with their lives.

Good news: Received some traded Sundara yarn on Monday.

Bad news: Dad suffering chest pains and seeing specialist, while his baby girl lives across the Atlantic.

Good news: Dad receiving care and doing good. Just a scare, fortunately.

Bad news: Tax Day. 'Nuff said.

Good news: class with Cat Bordhi on Friday.

This could go on forever. I tell you, a lot has been happening lately. Major Ups and Downs. I feel like I'm on a See Saw (English name for a teeter totter)

Monday, April 13, 2009

That Toe Socks!

One of the Sam socks is down, now to hurry and get the other finished. I have a class on Friday with Cat Bordhi, so I want to whip out one more of her socks from the New Pathways books. To be honest, I might only get it started at best. I have a large to-do list this week so I'm not sure how much knitting will get squeezed in. That tends to make me a little grumpy, so I'm sure I'll find some time each day or ignore my to-do list so that I'm kind to my family.

Quick Question: any tips on making the last two stitches on your kitchenered toes of your socks not look strange? (i.e. loose, baggy, not lying flat, just plain annoying.) The tension is perfect on the rest of the kitchenered stitches. I'm sure there is some handy dandy technique out there for making these stitches behave. I know I can always get rid of it when weaving in my ends, but just wondering.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Therapy is Sweet

We had snow last weekend. Yes, I said snow. I keep seeing pictures on other peoples blogs of flowers growing in their gardens or windowsills with their cut flowers and I'm starting to get a little jealous.

I love winter. Love living in the Northwoods. Enjoy the fact that our winter lasts at least six months. Don't mind that it usually snows in April. Well, not until recently, when I felt the need for some sunshine and brightness, some pretty flowers.
I prefer not to whine about what I don't have and make do with what I do.
Here's some sweet therapy I put together for me to drive out those common winter blues that occur in this part of the country.
Don't have flowers (or anything for that matter) growing in the garden/yard, so I headed to the store and found some bright smiley flowers. They help cheer things up around here.
I decided that the flowers were pretty in the kitchen, but could look prettier next to a pretty cake. So, I borrowed the recipe that AngryChicken had made, and whipped up (seriously, this is soooo easy of a recipe) a Almond Cake. Yum Scrumptious!
Last weekend I whipped up a quick no bake pie that has become a family favorite. I've made it three times already. A Banana Caramel Pie. I've made it a couple of different ways.

The first time I made it by melting 24 caramels with a couple of tablespoons of milk to make the Caramel layer. It turns out very nicely.

You can also make the Dulce de Leche (much better than regular caramel) by boiling a can (still in the can) of Sweetened Condensed Milk for three hours and it becomes magically Dulce de Leche. You feel rather clever doing this method and might feel the need to call your mum long distance and tell her how clever you are, but I wondered about how much money it actually cost to run the stove for three hours, and then I went for the best method....

I ran to the store and bought some Gourmet Dulce de Leche and this turned the pie from good to truly heavenly without all the work. (10 minutes tops to make it)


Make or buy one 9" graham cracker crust (or you can make a crust by crushing up one of those many girl scout cookie boxes you have, or in our case, gluten free cookies)

2 banana's, sliced

1 cup Caramel (you decide which kind you want to use.)

1 Vanilla Pudding Instant Pudding

1 cup milk

1 cup of thawed Cool Whip

Layer one banana on the bottom of the pie crust. Then cover the banana's with the caramel. Top caramel with the other banana slices.

Mix pudding mix with one cup of milk. When thickened, fold in the Cool Whip.

Cover the banana/caramel layers with the pudding mixture.

Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Can decorate pie with banana's and whipped cream, if desired.

The flowers on the counter wasn't quite enough flora for me, so I whipped up some quilt squares for a rag quilt with lots of flowers on.

I no longer feel gloomy and have a spring to my step, if not in the chilly Northwoods air.

We'll see how long this tides me over before the real Spring shows up.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sam, I Am

I know that I have a bazillion projects that need to be tied up, but after getting Sock Innovation by Cookie A., I just couldn't hold on any longer. So last night while the littlest guy did strange and funky things to my hair (I may possibly have a bald spot on the back now from how he was yanking that comb through) I cast on Sam in my yummy Sundara Sock Yarn.

From the past couple of posts you can tell that I've been building up quite the Sundara stash, but hadn't let myself cast on a project with it yet as I've been trying to get other things tied up. It was worth the weight. It's beautiful. The colorway is gorgeous. No funky color splash surprises that sometimes you get with hand-dyed yarn. It glides on the needles and produced a beautifully even fabric. Love it!

As for the sock pattern, I am thoroughly enjoying it. It keeps your interest, but you're still able to listen/watch TV while knitting it. I like that the pattern doesn't continue past the ankle. I usually wear my socks with boots and find patterned feet a tad uncomfortable sometimes.

I completed the ribbing and the set up rows last night. This morning when I woke up and discovered at least a couple of inches of snow outside (yes, that's Wisconsin for you - no jacket weather Saturday and then snow overnight - it is Spring isn't it?!) I curled up in a comfy spot and happily got some knitting done. Now, I have the almost the second repeat done on the leg.

I'm looking forward to trying a few of the socks from this book and also give the designing part a try to.

It was late when I took these pictures and so had a hard time getting the color to show correctly in the dim light. The color is probably closer to the dark/slightly unclear picture below, but it has more sheen to the yarn - giving it almost a silky looking texture.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Back in February I had the opportunity to attend a class in Eau Claire with Elsebeth Lavold. Actually two classes. The first one was about Viking Knits, which admittedly I have knit one of her Viking Knit patterns before and love it, but come on, I was actually going to hear it from Elsebeth Lavold herself. What else would I want to do on yet another snowy, windy, cold day in the Northwoods?

The second class of the day was on Cabled Mitered Corners.

I always find it very interesting to see how a designer/artist of any kind found their "call" and what draws them to a particular part of knitting, such as Viking Cables. Her style of teaching is very brief speaking and then just get down to samples and projects, with her there to guide you. You learn a lot, because there is little initial direction. She provides you with a starting point, and then adds at little teaching moments that crop up throughout the project. She did shock a few of the people in the class when she said "here's a shape, now knit it in cables on your swatch - no need to chart it, just knit it." After a moments pause, we did.

I did preview some of her pieces for her upcoming book that looked beautiful and that I'd be interested in doing one of them. So keep your eyes peeled. The way she whips out books it should be out soon.

The day of class it was a nasty snowstorm, and we had to drive an hour and a half to get there. It was that thick slushy kind of snow that makes you wish you hadn't even bothered attempting to look presentable, because it was wasted the moment you stepped outside. As evidenced, by the picture of Elsebeth and I at the end of class. Don't we both look like we need to go and take a nap in front of a nice warm fire?!
I do wish I were more photogenic, but alas I seemed to not have that gene - I'm more of the "oh quick, they're taking a picture of me, I must look as strange as possible. I wonder how many chins I can make myself have for this picture? or Quick, do that goofy grin that cameras like you to do." Please excuse the moment of vanity. But, maybe my knitting bag should include a mirror. Remind me, when I pack for camp.