Monday, December 31, 2007

Winding up, winding down

How do you like my crown?

My street is filling up with RVs and vans. People are pouring in from all over to line up for the chance to view the Rose Parade. It makes for a lot of noise and disruption. Getting out of my driveway is a high-risk adventure.

I'll be at A Stitch in Time for part of the day. We're closing early but I don't know how early. I have a few people that have said they'll be in. I have some patterns and books to share and a sock or two to work on. It will be a pleasant way to end the year.

Here's Lisa wearing the finally finished Chevron Scarf. I'm not sure I'd ever make another one of these even though I got lots of compliments when I was knitting it. I don't know. I might. Two skeins of Colinette Jitterbug and some US5 needles. And it is pretty mindless so is a great take-a-long project.

Another Jitterbug project. The plain socks from the ball band. I had to buy a second skein to finish these because I made the legs longer than the pattern allowed. But I have enough left for some ruffle topped anklets. These were knit using US1.5 (2.5mm) and are quite firm. They should last forever.

The finished fingerless gloves. They fit really well and are doing the job of keeping her hands warm. I hope I don't get any more calls for gloves with fingers, half or otherwise.

I finished the Fiesta scarf but I'm waiting for some sunshine. And I have some new stuff to share tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a happy new year to one and all. I'll be home minding my knitting tonight. Wild parties are definitely a thing of the past.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Final Friday

Well, here it is almost the end of the year. I don't have much of anything new to write today. I worked a lot on my Fiesta scarf yesterday and only have seven rows of K2, P2 ribbing plus the bind off to go. That may happen today, depending on how busy I am at A Stitch in Time. I'm going to a party tonight so there won't be any knitting time this evening.

I made another pumpkin bread yesterday morning using a different recipe. I took it to knit night last night and it was heartily approved. There was also some zucchini bread from the batch I made last week. Likewise approved. So I think that's it for the baking this year. Except for some brownies I'll probably make tomorrow.

I haven't made any definite lists yet but I'm thinking I will. I'd like to see if I can select a few, say maybe five, projects for the coming year. And then see if I can stick to the list. So far I just have some vague inklings of what I'd like to knit. How about you? Anything definite for the coming year?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Moving right along, again

Looks like a ruffle, doesn't it? It's actually a scarf knit lengthwise. It's from Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton Hand Knitting Collection, Book Number Two for Noro/
One of my students made the complete ensemble, leg warmers, hat and scarf for one of her grandchildren, using Silk Garden instead of the Kureyon the pattern stipulates. And then my friend Mendy decided she wanted to make one, so I thought I'd just join in on the parade. I just happened to have the right amount of Kureyon, 4 balls, in my stash to make the scarf. I'm using color number 182. There's a lot more brightness going on than I'm used to. I think this looks a lot like a fiesta skirt. Not my usual somber preference.

Here's another view. I'm just about done with the second skein and hope to finish this by the end of the year, or before. I'll get a lot done today and tonight at knit night. I have some socks in the works as well that I'll like to finish by next Monday although there's no real reason to rush.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Knitting break

A break from knitting actually. I didn't knit a single stitch yesterday. I had planned to. Even took some socks with me when I went to Lisa's house for our annual gift opening ritual. But it didn't happen. There just wasn't any time available.

But there was knitting related stuff. Just look at that pile of books. Every book I had on my Amazon wish list showed up in my Christmas haul.

From the top:

Knitspeak Andrea Berman Price
Knitter's Almanac Elizabeth Zimmermann
The Ultimate Sock Book Vogue Knitting
Runway Knits Berta Karapetyan
101 Designer one-skein wonders
Judith Durant
The Knitter's Book of Yarn Clara Parkes
Knitting Classic Style Veronik Avery
Indigo Knits Jane Gottelier

My knitting break may extend a while longer. Not a complete break though. I've already started a scarf for next year's gift stash.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Santa's on his way!

It won't be long now! My stockings are not hung but are ready to be wrapped. All my knitting is done. And the holiday baking was finished on Saturday. Woot!

I'm going to be at A Stitch in Time today but only for a few hours. The shop will close early. How early depends on the traffic. I have to remember to pick up the packages I left there to be wrapped. And maybe I'll go do a bit of window shopping this afternoon, if I can find a reasonable parking space. Then I'll come home and listen to some holiday music while I finish the wrapping. And try not to fret over whether I got the right thing for everyone.

I finished the Christmas knitting last Friday. So now I get to start some new projects. So far I've made two hats, cast one for one scarf, started a pair of socks and tried swatches for several others. Now I think I can calm down and get back to all the things I left on hold while I was doing the Christmas gifts.

So, a Merry Christmas to you all! And all the best for the coming year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

High winds and home made holiday stuff

Talk about your bleak mid-winters! It's not only cold here but the winds have taken over. The palm trees are in such a dither that I thought it was rain, hard rain. I hope the oranges aren't blown off the tree.

Thanks for all the good wishes for Patrick. They worked. He's back to his usual brush-begging self. We've already played chase at least once this morning. Mendy said I could keep the carrier since Patrick liked it so much. I have to find a place for it since it's pretty inconvenient having it sitting in the middle of the living room. Maybe it would make a good footstool though.

The pecan pie was a success. It looked pretty and tasted even better. Not many people showed up for knitting night so we got larger pieces than we might otherwise have. And it made a perfect birthday cake for Renee. The shop holiday dinner was fun even though a number of people who had said they'd be there didn't show up. I had pork tenderloin with Gorgonzola sauce. Tasty but a bit overdone. Like the pork chops my mom used to make.

I finished another holiday gift. A hat using a pattern from Hip Knit Hats by Cathy Carron. I like this book even though most of the pattern instructions are flawed. I got a couple of skeins of organic alpaca and have enough left over to make another hat. Perhaps foolishly but I think I'll have time before Christmas. I still have all those ends to weave in on the gloves. Maybe today while I'm at A Stitch in Time.

Now for the recipes.

Zucchini, Nut and Raisin Bread

Makes two loaves.

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups raw zucchini, grated
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

Beat eggs until fluffy, add sugar, oil, zucchini and vanilla. Mix well.

Sift dry ingredients together. Add to egg and zucchini mixture. Stir until well blended.

Add nuts and raisins. Mix lightly.

Pour into two lightly greased and floured loaf pans. (9 by 5 inches).

Bake one hour at 350.

Pumpkin Bread

Makes two loaves.

1/2 cup corn or vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons soda
1 3/4 cups canned pumpkin
3/4 cup chopped nuts ( I usually use walnuts.)

Cream oil and sugar in large mixing bowl.

Add eggs and beat well.

Sift flour with other dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture, alternating with pumpkin. Add nuts and mix well.

Pour into two well greased 9 by 5 inch loaf pans.

Bake for one hour at 350F.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Of cats and carrot bread

Patrick is feeling poorly today after his trip to the vet yesterday. He had his annual check up, he's getting overweight, and had a booster shot. He's always been a bit sluggish after he gets those shots but he seems to be suffering a bit more this time. But he's having a fine time napping in the pet carrier than Mendy loaned me for the trip. He took to it almost instantly and hasn't been out of it except to eat for the past day and a half. I may have to get him one of his own.

He wailed the whole way over and back. It's heartbreaking to hear him. And no amount of talking to him and telling him everything is going to be OK reassures him. Wait 'til he finds out that I have to put him on a diet.

I was asked to post the recipes that I'm using for my holiday baking so this is the first one. This is a very old recipe. All my recipes are old. So I don't have metric equivalents. I'll probably post the other two recipes tomorrow.

Carrot Bread

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups salad oil
3 cups unsifted regular all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups finely shredded raw carrots

Beat the eggs, and add the sugar gradually, beating until thick.

Add the oil gradually and continue beating until thoroughly combined.

Stir in the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon until mixture is smooth.

Stir in the carrots until blended well.

Turn into two well-greased 5 by 9 inch loaf pans.

Bake the bread in a moderate oven (350F) for 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Makes two loaves. (I usually let these quick breads rest for ten to fifteen minutes before I take them out of the pan.)

I have a pecan pie in the oven right now. I had exactly the right amount of dark Karo syrup so it seemed like destiny. If it comes out OK I will take it the knitting night after I go to the shop dinner party.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Things I still need to do if I'm going to be ready

Things are starting to fall in place. I finished a pair of socks. I got the yarn for the hat I still have to make. And the second glove is well underway, except some of the stitches came loose when I was taking out the scrap yarn that was supposed to be holding them. That's fixed and ready for the second attempt. Later today.

I have a bunch of errands to do today, starting with taking my cat Patrick to the vet for his annual physical and booster shots. That'll be fun. And then to Kaiser to pick up a prescription refill for me. And I can't find my 10.5 dpns so I'll probably go get some of those so I can start that hat. And then it's on to the market.

I always bake some quick breads to take with me to Lisa's house on Christmas morning. I've been wanting some pumpkin bread so that's on the list. And some carrot bread which is the one I use for people who don't like nuts. And some zucchini bread. So I need to get some basic ingredients like flour and sugar since I don't usually have those things in my cupboard anymore. And I need a couple of ducks because that's what my friend Robert wants for Christmas.

I still need a few things for Lisa but I'm not saying what since she reads this blog. And of course there's the wrapping.

I guess there's more to do than I thought. But it will happen.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Feet!

Plymouth Yarns has a new sock weight yarn called Happy Feet. I just happened to be in a yarn shop when the rep came in. She had samples of all the colors but I chose these two for myself. The yarn is 90% merino and 10% nylon. It's very soft. I'm not sure how it will hold up but it sure feels nice. You need two skeins for a pair of socks.

So far I've only seen this yarn at Unraveled but the rep says that several shops in and around Pasadena have ordered it for their stock.

It'll be a couple of weeks before I can sample this yarn. There's still some other stuff that needs to be finished by next Tuesday.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A yarn a day, or thereabouts

Who needs to go shopping when you have such great friends? People who know me know that yarn acquisition is my passion. And they also know that I like nice stuff. For example this X-mas Rock Socks that Rock yarn. A Christmas gift from one of my knitting buddies. The red part is actually a lot richer and deeper than you see here. I'm almost done with my holiday knitting and I'll be free to start some more socks.

And how about this? The two skeins of Colinette that I got at last week's knitting group party. Still mulling what to do with this. Possibly something in seed stitch to show off the colors. And maybe alternating the two yarns every two rows. What would Jared do?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Actual knitting content

It's been days since I've been able to post a picture of my current knitting. But here's where I am now on the fingerless gloves that I was talking about yesterday. I decided to use some 100% alpaca that I found in my stash. The gloves were originally going to be in red Dale of Norway Falk. Those three skeins will become something else at some point.

I found the pattern at Knitting Pattern Central. The link from their page is to Interweave Knits Online. Of course I added this to my projects page on Ravelry so it's all over the cyberworld.

I'm ready to start the fingers and thumb on this first glove. This one went pretty fast so I expect to finish by the weekend.

There's another holiday knitting party tonight, hosted by Unraveled. I went to Trader Joe's yesterday to pick up a few dessert items. Well, really, just some cookies. It's really hard to find cookies that don't have nuts in them. Avoiding bananas in cookies wasn't so hard. It's helpful to know people's food preferences and aversions/allergies so you don't end up with a lot of stuff that no one can eat. I wanted some of those chocolate covered coffee beans but they didn't have any. But just about everything else. Chocolate covered edamame anyone?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The almost really awful knitting day

It started off well enough. I finished the heel flap, turned the heel and completed the gusset decreases on the Jitterbug socks. No problems. And that's where things began to fall apart.

I had started a pair of half-finger gloves. I've made these gloves before. In the same yarn but a different color. I was well into the pattern without any problems. But the whole thing was just too big. Way bigger than the last time I made them. Started over on a smaller needle but the yarn is just too thick and splits like crazy when worked on the smaller needles.

So I abandoned that pattern and started looking for something that would work. I found a pattern I could modify and got started over, using a different yarn this time. Cast on and started knitting. With the tail. Started over and worked two rows. The next row I did with the tail. Started over and got about ten rows done and then dropped a stitch that I couldn't recover. The yarn I'm using is very soft and it's easy to fray it if you're not super careful.

Spent some time looking for a different yarn. I know it's here but haven't found it yet. I'll be looking some more this morning. And for a different pattern as well.

But all was not lost.

It was delicious. Just the right juiciness. And sweet but not too sweet. I hope those other ones are ready some time soon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Orange you glad it's almost Christmas?

This was on my kitchen counter when I got home last night. The first orange from the tree that I got for Father's Day last year, or maybe it was the year before. My daughter had stopped by before I got home and had done some clean up work on my balcony. Thanks, kid! I just discovered that part this morning when I went out to take a picture of my well decorated tree.

If I weren't so cold I could believe that it's summer. Does this look like Christmas? Well, it is Southern California. It's still in the low forties as I write. That's cold? By our standards.

Monday, December 10, 2007

What's on your wish list?

I'm almost done with my holiday knitting. Finished, temporarily, another scarf last night. I made one of the scarves from One Skeinbut I don't like the cables at the end. They're supposed to be mirror images but mine don't look so hot. I'll look at the scarf again tonight and them decide if I want to reknit that part.

There's still a pair of socks that and 75% done. I'll work on those today while I'm at A Stitch in Time. I have to find that second skein of Jitterbug just in case. Next up is a pair a gloves and a ribbed hat.

I don't have a wish list other than the books I've listed on Amazon. I like surprises and I can't think of anything that I want. Some Addi lace needles would be nice. I also like nice soaps. I think I'm pretty easy. I still have two people to buy for that I have no ideas of what to get. Other than that I'm done. Well, there is the wrapping.

Thanks, L, for the funny serviettes.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The party's over

The Thursday Knitting Group Holiday Party was a lot of fun, even if a certain nameless person forgot that he had promised to bring a potato casserole and didn't come to the party. His present from me is still in my car, waiting for me to decide if I will keep it for myself, or give it to someone else, or, if said person is contrite enough, I will give it to him. I don't really need another gorgeous hand knit scarf anyway.

There was plenty of delicious food and excellent wine. And two luscious desserts. Both of which I had to have. Mendy's peach glazed pork tenderloin was fantastic. (Maybe it was apricot.) Mario brought his justly famous Risotto Pie which is actually a main dish, not a dessert. Thom's traditional broccoli salad, Renee's corn pudding, also not a dessert, Estelle's butter steamed green beans, so crunchy and bright, and Judy started us off with some crudités followed by the Salad Diane that Susan brought. Lammia brought her tiramisu and I made a chocolate trifle. Normally I wouldn't write about all the food but I just wanted to let those folks who didn't show up know what they missed.

After we had overindulged or gorged ourselves we played the gift exchange game. You know, the one where you draw a number and then get to select a gift that you might or might not get to keep. I got some wonderful Colinette Iona Print and Prism that is still in my car waiting for me to take its picture. And then there was a major yarn destashing provided by Lammia. (Where does she get all that yarn anyway?) My haul is likewise still in my car.

Even though I remembered to take my camera I didn't remember to take very many pictures. But I did remember to take a picture of these fingerless gloves I made for Susan. They were a major hit. You can get the free pattern here. Look to the right and you'll see her free patterns. This one is called Kyla. One skein of Koigu with some left over. The bauble edging is unusual but makes sense once your actually get started. I had a few knitting mishaps while making these mitts but they had nothing to do with the pattern. Just my failing eyesight and trying to knit in poor light.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Just a few more things to finish

We're having our knitting group holiday party tonight. I think I'm covered for that. So long as no one shows up that hasn't responded to the invitation. That happens.

I've spent the past couple of days looking at Trifle recipes. I never did find the one I used a long time ago (and it was a lot of work) so I ended up with a fairly quick and easy version. Got up early this morning and put it all together so it has time to firm up. And then I wrapped all the gifts for this evening. Well, bagged them is more accurate.

I made another Tilted Squares scarf yesterday because I needed one more gift. And now I'm about halfway through one of the cabled scarves from One Skein using some of the Blue Sky Organic Cotton. It's nice when you have the yarn that's called for. I'm probably going to make it longer since I have the yarn.

I hope I remember to take my camera tonight.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Moving right along

Another finished holiday gift. Recipient undecided but I have a couple of options. I still have a pair of mittens to finish before Thursday. Almost done with those. And a couple of scarves that may be gifted on the needles. Or maybe I'll delay the whole gifting until next week when we're going to meeting at Unraveled.

Oh, about the scarf. It's the Parallelograms scarf from Knitting New Scarves.