Monday, November 28, 2011

Manic Monday

Today I dyed the last of my undyed stock.

I have the West Marine Craft Show on Wednesday and I'll be bringing all of my stock to the show to hopefully make some extra money for another yarn order before the 2nd.

This now means I have to dry the yarn, re-skein it and then label it.

Which because I'm so busy I have barely any time to write the blog today so I'm going to give you this gem that is an older blog post of mine that somehow never got posted. I don't know why it was never posted but I feel that the manic tone it was written in hints to the idea that I might have been a wee bit busy when I wrote it.

Written 11/11/11:

Can we sing Christmas Carols yet?

Yesterday I spend a lot of time on my recumbent bike knitting while I rode it.

In the latest book by the Yarn Harlot she talked about adding layers to make something more interesting. I found that when I have to do plain knitting, for lets say a scarf, then I do need to add a layer or two to keep it interesting. I'll listen to books on tape and ride the bike without really noticing the mile's I'm clocking.

I also finished up the menu for Christmas Eve and the Christmas list.

The Christmas menu was something on the to do list since I like to make sure I can get all my dry goods before the holiday rush happens.

The Christmas list was not planned and a little worrisome.

I had my Christmas schedule open on my computer that I rarely ever shut down and when I folded it up and went to bed I had not saved the file thinking it would be there in the morning just like the last few days, or it would auto save. However, my computer had updates and needed to restart and I was using Notepad which does not auto save so I lost all of it.

In my usual Santa Cruz upbringing rather then flip out, like I wanted to, I remembered to "Breathe deep, seek peace." Its my favorite line out of a book ever and it reminds me that just because one little thing has gone wrong does not mean the world will stop moving (even if that funny feeling in my stomach makes me feel like it might). It ranks up there with the phase "Dude, chill."

I could not remember what was on that schedule because I knew some stuff had gotten added recently, but I had the booklet list and the actual Christmas list still so I pieced it together. I still have about 1 week unclaimed, which is odd because I know from my sticky notes that I'm really 3 days behind.

At this point all I want to do is be able to hum Christmas songs while planning the lists.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A little catch up

I know it might feel like I've been ignoring the blog but I actually have not. I've been knitting like a mad woman and to keep myself on track and not knitting while on the computer I've switched to knitting while riding my stationary recumbent bike.

A few of my friends at knit night have been wondering how I do it. How do I listen to a book on tape, knit and ride a bike? Well its simple. I've trained myself to knit while doing other things to the point that simple knitting can be as easy as breathing for me. Also, it took me a while but I have finally mastered the purl stitch without looking and this makes knitting rib a lot easier. These two things have made it so I can be in a dark theater and knit a plain sock, or read a book while knitting the ribbing of a hat.

When biking I always choose something simple that has to get done but I might find boring to do while I listen to Harry Potter. Since I've had 3 Gryffindor scarves to knit since mid October I've had plenty of things to keep my hands busy while I ride (it also keeps me from getting off the bike since I find riding it fairly boring). Here is a picture of the last scarf:

Its not blocked
It's my own pattern for a house scarf that is knit in 1x1 rib so that it looks like knit on both sides but takes up half the yarn then one of your fancy tube scarves that you see in Charmed Knits.

Using size US8 needles I cast on 35 stitches in the main color (in this case red) and then knit 1x1 ribbing till it reaches 3" on an odd row (I average 19 rows). I then count how many rows it took for me to reach 3" and then change colors and knit 1x1 rib that many rows. I then keep changing colors and knitting 3" stripes till I have 19(21) stripes total then cast off.

Using a hardbound book (I used my copy of Cara Black's Murder in the Palais Royal) I made the fringe for the edges with the plan for 7 tassels in the red on each side and 6 in the gold with 7 strands per tassel (for those of you that hate math it means you need 98 stands of the red and 84 strands of the gold).

It's a rather quick pattern and I found that to knit a scarf it takes 64 miles or about 6.5 hours on my bike. The weaving in of ends takes about an hour then about 30 mins for the fringe. You can also block it if you would like.

I've also been spinning like a mad woman and decided to bring my spinning wheel to knit night and spun up some lovely blue wool alpaca I had dyed:

The color transitions are just stunning

I'm wearing my reunion cowl

The picture above does not do it justice, but I've found that when I take pictures at knit night the lighting is just so yellow that even editing the photos does not help all that much.

I'll share pictures of the finished yarn on Friday and I have a new pattern out that I hope you'll love!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Busy Weekend

This weekend was all about friends and creating things.

It started out with going to a class to learn to make these really useful yarn cozies that keep your center pull balls from tangling on the outside and when made with yarn containing elastic they shrink as you use up the yarn:

Made with Cascade Fixation and is trapping a ball of
Encore Worsted Weight

Then Saturday night I made this yummy 168 calorie per slice quiche for brunch with friends on Sunday morning:

Before adding the cheese on top

I call it "Leftover Quiche" (though its technically a frittata), because I use what I have on hand and make it the night before while I cook or put away dinner. I avoid using high fat ingredients like a crust, sausage, cream, butter and whole milk, and instead I toss in handfuls of vegetables and sometimes chicken (Ben gets the chicken quiches). This particular recipe is from Saturday night and I prepared it while I was making pizza and added some Morningstar sausage to give it more of a breakfast flavor!

Here is the recipe:

1 tbsp olive oil
8 eggs
1/2 cup mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped roma tomatoes
1/4 cup 2% milk
1 cup shredded mild cheddar and monterey jack cheese
1 cup red, yellow and green bell pepper strips
4 Morningstar veggie sausage patties

Coat a 9" pie pan with olive oil.
Pan cook morningstar sausage then chop into small pieces. Set aside.
In a large bowl with a hand mixer blend the eggs and milk together.
Begin to add 1/2 cup cheese, all vegstables and sausage. Mix well and make sure everything is coated in egg.
Pour mixture into a 9" pie and let sit in fridge uncovered over night. If you have extra mixture you can pour it into a ramekin.
In the morning preheat oven to 350°F. Bake 9" quiche for 1 hour. You will know it is done when you tap the side of the pie tin and it does not jiggle in the center. Turn off oven, cover quiche with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and put back into cooling oven for 5 mins.
Let cool for 5 mins then cut into 8 slices.
Nutrition information: Serving size 1 slice - 8 servings per quiche, 168 calories, 10.1g fat, 3.8g sat fat, 224mg cholesterol, 277mg sodium, 4g carbs, 1 gram fiber, 2g sugar, 14g protien, vit a 36%, vit c 37%, calcium 11%, iron 10%

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Don't tell me its not Friday

This morning I woke up so sure it was Friday. It was short lived when I realized it could not be Friday because Ben is not in bed with me because he does not work on Fridays.

Sadly its Thursday and I'm a little behind on my Christmas and booklet schedule.

Here is what I'm behind on:
1 Cowl
1 Pair of Mittens
12 oz of Fiber Spun Up
Designed a Hat and Knitted It
Designed a Shawl
Designed Fingerless Mittens

I have finished the tea cozy and all I need for it is a button, I have casted on the the mittens, I have roving soaking and roving dyeing for spinning tonight and I have the roving for 4oz of yarn ready to go to spin. My plan tonight is to get all the spinning done because though it looks like this:

Dyeing it a darker blue

and this:

Rinsing with synthapol which helps gets out the extra dye

I can dry it quickly in the oven, blend it on the carder, then spin it into the worsted and DK weight I need. Till then I'll be on my recumbent bike making a scarf that is not on the schedule but needs to be done anyhow.

HP update: I'm on chapter 6 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This books is a total of 21 hours long!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


A few weeks ago when we had our first few rainy days Ben and I started to poke the thermostat. When it stayed at 74°F even after a night of keeping the windows open we started giving each other worried glances and muttering about how it might need to be replaced. However, it got warm again and we forgot about it.

Now I grew up in a house where when your cold your told to go put on a long sleeve shirt or a sweater, but I'm almost always cold so I usually take a hot water bottle to bed with me (actually I have one warming my feet right now). Ben on the other hand will suck up the cold because he's responsible for the heating bill and I respect that and don't ask to turn on the heat, I just make comments on how cold it is.

The last couple days its been cold to the point that Ben had poked at the thermostat and yesterday when he had no luck with it he told me that if I could get it working I could heat the house as much as I wanted all day! I jumped to the task, and after playing with it I noticed that the low battery sign was blinking and replaced the batteries. Well seems the rechargeable ones do not give off enough voltage so Ben got some other batteries from his secret hiding spot and tried it again.

Well this morning it was even colder and he extended the deal so I went online and started reading the manual. I carefully started to work through it and got the day set but could not get the time or anything other then the lock to work. I then realized that our touch screen must be dead from a certain point to the bottom because nothing else would work.

It says it is 62°F in my living room (which I think is a big fat lie), and outside its 36°F (I have a thermometer out there) and we're expecting more rain in the next few days.

I think I'll spin yarn and bake for the rest of the day to stay warm.

BTW: I've just finished chapter 12 of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Friday, November 4, 2011

Warping the Time and Space Continuum

Its currently 1:30 in the morning and I'm currently taking a break from knitting while listening to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Why might you ask.

Well it all started out with Ben getting off work early and us heading off for a nice lunch of nachos (which turns out was about 12 hours ago now). After nachos we decided to give into the food coma and take a nap. Since Ben's ankle has been bothering him nether one of us has slept through the night. He will often get uncomfortable after a short time and when he moves it wakes me up (we have a waterbed).

3 hours into this nap I got up because I had realized it was raining and I wanted to enjoy the sounds and smells of it. Ben kept sleeping even after I told him it was raining. I also decided that this cold wet winter weather was the perfect time to look at the Christmas knit list and felt rather proud of myself for already starting one of the projects I was dreading.

That feeling did not last very long.

How I put together my knitting schedule is first I make a list of everything in priority. I then begin to look at my patterns and if I have already started the project then start assigning days to things. My first few projects look like this:

Mom's gloves (the dreaded second glove, she knows about it)
11/3 - Finish Chart D - Done
11/4 - Finish Chart E
11/5 - Finish Chart F
11/6 - Do 3 fingers
11/7 - Do Thumb and last finger

Reunion Cowl (me, gotta add something in for yourself)
11/4 - Do 2 rows
11/5 - Do 2 Rows and Cast off

Mittens for "Someone"
11/6 - Cast on and do Cuff
11/7 - Work to Thumb
11/8-9 - Complete mitten
11/9 - Cast on and do Cuff
11/10 - Work to Thumb
11/11-12 - Complete mitten

I take into careful consideration of what parts of what I'll be knitting and what I can do while knitting them. Such as I can ride my recumbent bike while I watch TV and do simple knitting like cuffs and garter stitch. I also know how quickly I knit so I know a pair of mittens in a week is doable. However, what I did not plan for was a couple additions to my holiday knitting list, like all the spinning.

As of my current schedule I will be finished on the 27th of December and that is if I can do crazy things like knit a sweater vest for someone with a 50" chest in 2 days. I'm also going to be in Colorado for 5 whole days  and have set those aside for doing some simple weaving with my friend's awesome loom, visiting my old friends, eating at my favorite restaurants and going shopping at this lovely yarn store that gives you discounts if you spend over $250 (which when I got my loom I did).

So tonight I don't plan on sleeping. I have some silk hankies dyeing for the mittens, I'm almost done with chart E of the glove and if I get chart F done tonight I plan on spinning while the hankies dry.

Who wants to bet I'll have listened to all the Harry Potter books on tape before Christmas? Put your best guess as to the date I'll finish listening to the series in the comments and whomever is closest will get a free skein of any sock yarn in my shop!