Archive for Knitting

Re

Happy New Year!

Sorry it’s taken me almost a month to update.  I spent the remainder of my vacation both getting ready to return to school, and doing nothing but reading and watching movies.  It was so relaxing.

I’ve been decidedly un-crafty since my last post.  I did manage to knit a scarf while watching the Cowboys get creamed by the Eagles. It’s my New Years scarf.  It’s a beautiful white and silver yarn by Lily Chin, done on big needles.

newyearscarf1jpgnewyearscarfcloseI worked a little on my mom’s afghan.  I added a golden yellow color, because I realized two skeins in that I didn’t have enough green.  I haven’t picked it up since I’ve been back to school; with conferences, mid-year assessments, and report cards coming up I’ve been stay at school late.

Yesterday I did get motivated to put together a card for Maggie’s birthday.  For X-Mas my mom sent me the much wished for Doodlecharms and Indie Art Cricut cartridges. I used the cupcake border to make Maggie’s card:

magsbdayI have been all about food, though.  Food is one area where I don’t slack!  A few weeks ago I made cabbage rolls, inspired by Kiki’s post.  My mom used to put cabbage rolls in the slow cooker and we’d come home from school to the best smelling house.  Chris has never had them, so I undertook the intensive preparation for him. I’ll let you get the recipe from Kiki, I pretty much followed that, except I used veggie beef.

cabbagerollsI also reintroduced myself to the Sunday Farmer’s Market. I LOVE citrus and ’tis the season, right?  I could wax poetic about Cara Cara oranges, Oro Blanco grapefruits, Satsuma mandarins, Meyer lemons.  Here’s my fruit basket from on excursion:

fruitbasketKalrabi, Cara Caras, Pink Lady apples, persimmons, bananas, avocados, oh yum!

All the yummy root veggies in season has made eating healthy at lunch really easy!  Just chop and dip in hummus!

bento6It’s carrots, cukes, and sliced turnip, with kalamata olive hummus, wheat pita, hard boiled egg, and left over lentils.  I’m attempting a “beefless stew” from The Cooking With PETA Cookbook tonight. I’ve never made stew, but anything that holds all my favorite roots and tubers is worth the work!

I finished the Lionel Shriver book I was reading.  Post-Birthday World was pretty entertaining, though mildly depressing and predictable. I did like the dichotomy of chapters where one was the cheating world and one was the faithful world and the writing was good.  

After that I read Truman Capote’s Breakfast At Tiffany’s which wasn’t what I expected.  Maybe as a child of the 80s, I’m jaded, and this book was shocking for its time, but I found Holly pretty annoying and the book was again, predictable.  The short stories at the end of this version of the story were far better than the classic itself!

0679745653Then I read Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I wouldn’t say it’s high on literary value, but the story is endearing and interesting and I like the juxtaposition of the various situations the characters are in.  I also liked that the couple who had a mixed race daughter talked openly about their family’s prejudices. I was left bawling at the end.

fridaynightknittinglge

Now I’m reading Killing Time by Caleb Carr.  I read both the Alienist and Angel Of Darkness in high school and college and like what Carr did with stories from the past.  This one is set in 2023 with a criminologist/historian trying to solve a friend’s murder and being taken in by the group that murdered him. It’s not something I’d usually read, but I thought if I liked what he did with he past, I’ll probably like what he does with the future.  It took me a few chapters to acclimate myself, but I’m enjoying it now despite it’s poor reviews on Amazon.

0751530751

Next time: Stew? Cross-Stitching? A new knitting project?

Comments (2) »

Absent

It’s been an interesting school year so far.  I’m exhausted and feel like I’m on a roller coaster.  One day is amazing and the next is horrible.  I took Friday off to clear my head and rest my nerves.  I feel way better, so I thought I’d come here to to update.

I’m trying to get back into exercising more frequently.  When I do that I tend to cook more often, or rather plan meals to be cooked.  My husband and I have a sort of unspoken argeement that the person who gets home first makes dinner.  Recently, that has been him, because I’m up to my neck in meetings and paperwork.  When I’m trying a new recipe, though I’m eager to come home and cook. We’ve been eating go-to meals for a few weeks now, waiting for things to settle down- spaghetti, veggie burgers, etc.  This week we bought garlic naan at Trader Joe’s to make with those vacuum sealed Indian curries.  The next day my honey made veggie meatball subs on garlic naan.  The bread was chewy and yummy and delicious! I couldn’t resist taking a bite before getting the camera!

meatballnaanI’ve been yearning for autumn weather for a while now.  It’s hard to be thinking Thanksgiving when it’s mid-80s outside.  I’m not complaining, just wishing for a little cool down.  Since this weekend was forecasted to be cooler (mid 70s), I broke out the crock pot today and made potato soup from The Simple LIttle Vegan Slow Cooker cookbook. I stirred in some colby-jack cheese when I served it (so much for vegan) and had a veggie Italian sausage and green beans with it.

tatersoupFor lunches I’ve been having chickenless nuggets, apple slices and grapes, vegan chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joe’s, pita chips, a hard boiled egg, and string cheese. I don’t eat it all at once. It’s spread through the day- snack, lunch, after school snack.

nuggetbentoI’m still reading the Wind-Up Bird Chronicles.  I’m about half way through and I still love it.  I highly recommend it! I’m also still reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  I haven’t gotten too far in it, because I took a break to read a knitting mystery that I borrowed from a colleague.  That’s right, a knitting mystery. It was simple, and quick, and made me want to knit.  It was particularly interesting or well-written, but it’s the first in the series and I’ve already started the second one, so I guess I got suckered.

knit_160bI’ve also been spending a lot of time playing Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir on my Nintendo DS.  It’s a hidden picture game.  I’m totally addicted. I could play for hours at a time. My honey brought it home for me because I loved Professor Layton and the Curious Village so much.

13373

Today I worked on my holiday cards.  Since we’re looking at moving in a few months, my husband and I are sending homemade Christmas cards out as gifts, rather than getting anyone anything.  Just sending our love through time spent on crafting.  Here are the first four I came up with with a little help from scrapbooking paper, charms from the dollar store, and spray adhesive from the Japanese market.

xmas1xmas2I spent a good part of the morning updating my ravelry account.  I’m not even close to filling out all my projects, WIPS, ideas, and stashes, but I added a few things, including my finished Windy City Scarf! I love finishing knitting projects.  They just go so slow, it feels like a big deal to finish something!

windy1I’ve also made some progress on my shawl. It’s increasing pretty quickly. I’m not sure how long I’ll make it. I bought enough yarn to make it LARGE, maybe it’ll be more of a throw.

knitshawl2I’ve been doing a little crocheting this weekend, as well.  We’re currently obsessing over the TV show Jericho. We’ve had it on DVD for a long time and never watched it.  We started it a few days ago, after finishing Painkiller Jane. So I’ve been trying to crochet during the new box set, but it’s one of the few shows that I’ve seen recently that has kept my attention. 

I haven’t cross-stitched or embroidered in a while, but I never posted my most recent pics of the big cross-stitch project. It’s starting to look really nice, but I’m out of practice with counting my stitches and the last time I sat down to work on it, I made a ton of mistakes.

xstitchI’m still working on my ribbed knitted hat.  I started it over and made the rib smaller. But I think my focus for the next few weeks will be crocheting and making cards.

Next post will be after Thanksgiving, so have a happy holiday. I hope you get to spend time with family and friends and delicious food.

 

Leave a comment »

Yarn Therapy

After a difficult week, I couldn’t bring myself to update last weekend, so I have lots to share with you today. This past week was much better- better patience, better focus, better breathing.

Yesterday was my last knitting class and I’ve become completely obsessed.  All other crafts have been put on hiatus while I’m working on a myriad of knitting projects. I finished my sampler scarf. It turned out beautiful and so soft once I washed it (Reality yarns).  Last week in class we started hats.  I finished mine yesterday. It’s a self-patterning yarn.  I chose the colors because they look cozy and wintry (I’m longing for fall in the 95 degree heat).

My knitting WIPs are the windy city scarf, which I’m making some progress on.  I’ve switched the new color, and have about 90 rows to go.  I began a new hat with beautiful Tonalita sunrise yarn.  This beanie will be ribbed all the way up. And yesterday in class we began a shawl.  It starts at the point and increases each row.  I’m not very far into it, but it goes pretty quickly. It’s a deep gray color from Comfort yarns.

My next two projects are a skinny scarf (white with silver sparkles), and leg warmers (pink, green, gray). I’ve also been working on two crochet projects, but not as often as I’d like. Crochet goes much fast than knitting so I’ve got to get working on those projects, they should be done soon.  You’ll see them after the holidays.

I’m about 3/4 of the way done listening to the Hound of the Baskervilles on librivox. I think I’ll listen to Little Women next. I finished Native Son and Devil Bones.  Now I’m reading Missing Mom by Joyce Carol Oates.  Its not great, but it’s an easy read.  It’s about a woman in her thirties, named Nikki, whose mother was murdered.  Nikki fancies herself a rebel with a short, punky hair cut.  It’s actually pretty obnoxious how often the author mentions the short, spiky, purple hair.  Anyway, the mother was a wonderful, giving, loving woman who was always helping people in the community and ends up being killed by someone she offered a ride to.  It seems that story is going in the direction of explaining how Nikki thought her mother was foolish and naive and through the grieving process learns that she wants to live like her mother (but I could be wrong). I’m about half done. I’ll probably finish it, though I don’t love it, just because when I commit to a book, I like to follow through.

I also began reading the Tao of teaching.  It takes Taoist principles and shows how they are applied by teachers.  It’s really inspiring and helps remind me of what kind of teacher I want to be.

I haven’t been to my book club in months, but now that I feel like I’m getting more comfortable with this year’s routine I’m planning on going to the November meeting.  I don’t know what the book is yet, but I’ll probably try to get back into it regardless of the book. 

I’ll leave you with my favorite new Japanese snack:

They’re little cookies with a chocolate “burger” and vanilla fudge “cheese” feeling The cookies are even coated in teeny sesame seeds.  So cute!

Leave a comment »

It’s Elementary

With the weather in LA on the chilly side (by that, I mean in the 70s), my crafting and cooking yearnings are at an all time high. I’ve also started getting into football in preparation for our impending move to a place where football rocks. If you had told me even a few years ago that I would be spending my fall weekends knitting, crocheting, embroidering, and cross stitching while watching football I would have laughed in your face.  And now I think back and wonder what I was doing over the weekends.  My first three years of teaching I taught Saturday school for the extra money. Sundays I must have just watched movies, read, and done my work for my Master’s program. These last two years I’m not sure what I did.  I’m guessing reading and movie watching are about right.

So this week my beloved made dinner every night. As much as I love cooking and baking, I will NEVER complain about coming home to a cooked meal! So last night I made a version of the Quick Pierogi Bake from Vegetarian Times. I changed it up and it ended up as sauteed onions and veggie sausage over potato and cheese pierogis, covered in soy bacon and cheese.  I know I know.. how many breakfast (fake) meats can one meal include? I had mine with pureed squash.  It turned out really delicious, though the house still smells like onion and bacon. Here’s a picture. Why is it that the ugliest looking foods are the most scrumptious?

This week for lunches I made tofu, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese sandwiches, veggie crackers, mini pickles (they’re so sweet, like a dessert!) and sweet green grapes. Mmmmm.

One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday is wander around the Japanese market and find fun new Japanese snacks.  Last week is was Crunky brand candy.  I found a Crunky bar and Crunky Balls.  Really, life is good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I worked on my cross-stitch project a little this week, but didn’t make too much progress.  It’s slow going. I know I need to set a little time aside for it each day, and that I’ll see progress soon, but I’m so caught up with my yarn crafts, especially those projects that are for others (those that you won’t get to see for a few months because some of those others read this blog), that I keep choosing knitting and crochet over cross-stitch. On Thursday I went craft book shopping and picked up a bunch of knitting and crocheting books.  As you know from previous entries, I love the Stitch and Bitch Happy Hooker book.  So my first purchase when I learned to knit was the original Stitch and Bitch book.  I started the Windy City Scarf yesterday.  

The scarf has a little keyhole in it to wrap the other end through so it doesn’t blow away in the windy Chicago weather.  To see a finished example here’s one on a blog I like.

One thing I’ve discovered this week that doubles my crafting pleasure is Librivox.  It’s an archive of audio books of public domain material.  I’m able to catch up on my classic literature while I’m knitting. Some of the readers are awful and some are great, so it’s hit or miss.  I’m currently listening to the Hounds of Baskerville by Sir Author Conan Doyle.  I’ve actually never read any Sherlock Holmes mysteries, so I’m thrilled to be able to listen to them while I’m working on other things! I highly recommend checking this site out.  You can get the files as mp3s or it links you to subscribe in iTunes to a chapter a day.  If you’re interested, you can also volunteer to be a reader.

Oh, and go Dodgers!

Comments (2) »

Dem Bones

Oh my aching fingers.  I got back from my first knitting class about 3 hours ago.  I kept on working on the project I started in class (a scarf- shocking, I know.).  Then I realized I had picked up an extra stitch somewhere along the way, so I attempted to pull out the rows up to the mistake.  Then I looked at it, and thought, I have no idea what to do with this now that I’ve found the mistake.  So, I kept unraveling and eventually just decided to start over.

So here’s the beginning of my first knitting project ever!

I’m practicing different kinds of stitches- so it’s a few rows of garter, a few of stockinette, a few ribbed rows, and back to garter. The yarn is gorgeous merino wool, and the needles are bamboo #13. I picked up knitting a lot more quickly than I though I would.  Even this morning, I tried a little from a book I have, and nothing.  But after just seeing it and doing it a few times I felt relatively comfortable with it. Except that I’m gripping the needles SO hard my fingers are aching.

Nice picture, though, huh? It’s my new camera. A teeny tiny Sony Cyber-shot. My mom sent it to me as a belated X-Mas gift. It only holds 8 pictures, so I have to go get a memory card for it tomorrow.  You’ll be seeing plenty more pictures now!

Along with the camera my mom sent me the new Kathy Reichs books, Devil Bones. Kathy Reichs was trained as a forensic anthropologist and I believe continues to consult in the field, when not busy writing books and overseeing the TV show Bones (based on her books).  I was first introduced to her books in college.  My degree is in anthropology and for my forensic class, we had to read books that incorporated the science and review them for accuracy. I chose a Kathy Reichs book and have since read all her books.  They’re spot on scientifically, which makes her already more likable than Patricia Cornwell, though the narrative often leaves something to be desired.  Anyway, I love her books, and they’re easy to fly through.  I’m alreadya quarter done with this one, and I got it yesterday.  There’s a dead body found in a basement, along with artifacts from a Santeria ritual.  The investigation is ongoing. I’d recommend it so far, as I would any of her books (and yes, Candace, I will pass it along when I’m done!)

I’m about halfway through Native Son. It’s getting better and better.  It’s amazing how likable and unlikable at the same time characters can be when the author is good.

We’ve actually made a few yummy meals this week.  Monday was baked potatoes with veggie bacon, sour cream, and cheese. We were going to make asparagus with them, but forgot (no   Then Thursday the hubby made Mamwich meatloaf- Gimme Lean Sausage mixed with textured soy protein, mixed with mamwich sauce and baked like meatloaf, with twice baked potatoes and corn.

I finished my friend’s baby blanket. I just have to wash it and then it’s off to see her beautiful baby girl!

I liked this pattern a lot.  It worked up quickly and was repetitive enough that I could keep one eyeball on the Amazing Race or the Cowboys, and one eye on the blanket.  I have more yarn like this in blue, so my next donated blanket might be blue and white.  Maybe I’ll use that star motif from this summer as the middle…

We have Thursday off this week, so I’ve got a date with the hubby to stock up on knitting books at the book store.  I’m also looking forward to getting to the craft store to pick up some holiday-y paper to start making our holiday cards.  I figure if I start now, I should finish by the new year!

Leave a comment »