Thursday, December 29, 2011

The List

Last night I had the symptoms of startitis. I know that I caught it when I realized that I was going to be at the museum all Tuesday and had no plain socks on the needles and needed one.

I went stash diving and grabbed a ball of Seaweed with the intent to make myself some plain toe up socks. Well I finished the toe and realized that this yarn did not want to be plain toe up socks! It wanted to be some 2 stranded argyles instead!

Its want to be these socks caused me to rip out my perfectly worked toe and hunt down a yarn that would not mind being plain socks but as I hunted down the yarn I got to thinking...

I should cast on both the argyle's and plain socks because this year is all about mastering 2 handed knitting and I need a plain sock!

Before I knew it I had my printed copy for the argyle socks in one hands and a needle gauge in the other while trying to hunt down a black ball of Cascade 220 Fingering (I don't know how they can still get away with calling it "220").

Then it hit me while I was looking for a set of size 2 needles that THE LIST that lives on my computer was not getting any shorter and that maybe I needed to finish something on it before I went and dove into 2 new projects.

The List is a list of all my projects, on the needles and need to start, and hours estimated to complete them. Currently I'm at 190 hours estimated and 19 projects.

Some of them only need things like a second fingerless mitten because I whipped up the first then acted like a floozy on caffeine when another pattern or yarn caught my eye. Some of it is epic projects like a shawl that I think needs 60 hours to complete as I only have one border done. But the shameful thing is that some of it is so simple that if I just sat down for a couple hours I could have a finished project. Like the afterthought heels on a pair of socks.

So I sucked up the startitis last night and put a heel on a sock while having a glass of wine (the wine helps me forget about the other projects).

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Perfect Gift: A Shawl

Every year there are a few people I have no idea what to make or get for them so they tend to linger at the bottom of my knitting list till I realize on the big day that I have nothing for them.

I usually panic, feel sick, think about not attending important family functions to avoid them, and then stash dive till I find a yarn that they might like and print a pattern that has some kind of meaning.

This year it was Ben's mom. She is the woman with everything and wants only more time with her family, but i feel she is knit worthy and therefor needs to be gifted with wool.

Last year I knitted her and her husband the Hemlock Ring Blanket in Ultra Alpca

Now my own rules state that because she got a masterpiece last year this year I get to tone it down a little. So a couple days before Christmas when I had no idea what to do for her, and was thinking about not attending Christmas morning with Ben, I was winding the balls for the last of the Christmas knitting and saw a skein of Hushed Purple. I also had a pattern that Caren wrote, and being that they knew one another I knew I had a perfect gift. I mean really, who can say no to a shawl?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


We all have them.

Leftover food
Leftover knitting
Leftover cleaning

And we're all expected to deal with these things along with out normal lives.

Today I nearly have the house back to rights. There are still piles of boxes, the table needs to go back in place, my recumbent bike needs to come back in, and there are dishes to dry. Yesterday there was not a single clean fork or plate in the house because we used all of them Christmas Eve, so I set up one of the folding tables in the kitchen, put a towel on it and proceeded to wash nearly all the dishes in the house. Took well over an hour but it got me to start going through the  kitchen and get rid of things we don't use.

Once I have the house back to rights I'll get back to the leftover Christmas knitting. There is 2 pairs of slippers, a shawl and a pair of socks to be done. Normally I try to get it all done before the New Year, but this year it might not happen.

Lastly there is a ton of leftover food, so today I am taking the cranberry sauce I made and making it into fruit jerky.

Here is my cranberry sauce recipe:

* 1 12-ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup frozen cranberry juice cocktail, thawed
* 1/4 cup water

Stir all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil 3 minutes. Press mixture through sieve set over large bowl, pressing firmly on solids.(Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.)

Then to make jerky pull the cranberry sauce out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. 

Preheat your oven to 170°F.

Line rimmed baking sheets with heavy Saran Wrap (its the same stuff I dye with), leaving extra to go over the edges of the pan (but not too much it touches the oven racks or the side of the oven).

Pour cranberry sauce into lined baking sheets till it is spread evenly and about 1/4" thick. 

Bake in preheated oven for 8-12 hours till it is dry and the top is not sticky.

Let cool, remove from pans and cut into strips using a pizza cutter.


Monday, December 26, 2011


If your like me then the last 72 hours have been intense.

Christmas eve I had only had 3 hours of sleep and was expected to make dinner for 7.

Over all things went well but here are the highlights and left me giggling like a mad woman while my mom tried to make sure I had not lost my mind:

1. When there was not enough drippings from the roast beef to make yorkshire pudding so I used my grandmother's trick of using butter, but the butter dripped in the oven and filled the entire downstairs with smoke. I just stood there giggling figuring that if that's the worse that happened I was okay.

2. The roast beef could have been rarer. I tend to like it with a lot of pink in the middle but it came out with only a little.

3. I forgot to serve my cranberry sauce, so we'll have a lot of cranberry jerky and now I have the task of drying it all.

4. The vegetarian gravy was very peppery. To the point it was spicy.

On the upside there was enough food. Actually there might have been too much. There was mutterings and guesses about how maybe I had a second family coming.

The kitchen is also a disaster today as after eating dinner Christmas eve I sat back with a glass of wine, my nook, and played suduku till I was ready to sleep.

Yesterday we went to Ben's parent's house and then his family party so only a load of dishes in the dish washer have been washed and we used every single dish in the house. I was very lucky my parents gave me a 17 piece French corningware set because I was worried how I was pack the leftovers. I ended up using all but 3 pieces of the set and all of my storage containers. There is zero room in the fridge.

The next few days I'll just be making things out of the leftovers and getting the late Christmas gifts knitted up.

Look forward to split pea soup, corn chowder, shepherd's pie and a line up of the knitting related gifts I'm loving.

Harry Potter Update: I'm halfway through Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I have 2 pairs of slippers, a single skein shawl and fingers on a glove to knit. Feel free to put in new guesses for the date I'll be done!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What it has come down to

I had to dye a single skein of yarn because I decided that the orange I bought was not orange enough for Giants and dyed it yesterday only to use my oven to dry it today:

I'm refusing to go to the store to get groceries till the knitting is done so we had pasta again for dinner last night and lunch was waffles today:

Tonight I'm serving soup and fresh bread. The only thing I have to say in my defense is that knitting is getting done, our cupboards are getting organized and that I'm proving I can cook from scratch!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

At the Speed of Light!

Today I was so fast at getting some yarn spun up that before I remember to take a picture the yarn looked like this:

What were you expecting? A picture of yarn!

Yep. Another sucker down!

Currently I have to turn this into three pairs of slippers, fingerless mittens, a shawl, a scarf, finish a cowl and maybe a sweater.

I'm guessing that I have 60 hours of knitting left and 78 hours till Christmas.

Lets see if I can do it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

When an Injury can be a Good Thing

You know when you hear about a knitter that has had an injury to the leg and foot and you almost envy them because you think of all that time they get to sit around knitting and it just can't be helped? Well what about a reoccurring injury to the foot? Wouldn't you love to have one of those around this time of year?

Years ago when I was young I was hit by a car and one of the things injured was my foot and it never really healed properly. On occasion my metatarsal 1 on my left foot likes to pop out of place and it can happen randomly without pain or, on occasions such as this one, its out of place but does not fully pop in or out of place and there is much pain.  My doctors have always told me that when this happens just to stay off it till it works itself out one way or another.

So my plan today is to knit like a mad woman while listening to Harry Potter and since its my left foot I can still spin.

Go ahead and feel envious

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

We only have a handful of days till the big man is here!

Things are rocking and rolling over at my house as I get the last minute knitting done, cookies baked, cleaning the house and presents wrapped.

Every year Anna and I usually spend an entire day in the kitchen baking cookies, however this year I drove up to her house and we only baked a double batch of my very popular chewy gingersnaps:

Gingersnaps are the top ones

These cookies disappear almost as quickly as my pumpkin bread (only a little slower as I bake more of them then the bread).

I'm also baking sugar cookies as per tradition and peanut butter cookies per Ben's request to make the fork marks in the top of them.

Baking  and cooking is a very big deal in my family because our family motto is "Food is Love." You can hear us whispering this to each other as my Grandma P tries to get my dad to take a third helping of turkey, or reminds me that she has just refilled the peppermint patty jar. When I do my rounds for the holidays you will always find me with a small thing of cookies or bread to give to friends and family.

This year is also a very special one because Ben and I are hosting Christmas Eve dinner and I'll be cooking for both our families. You might have even noticed that one of my previous post had pictures of yarn in front of our very first Christmas Tree out our place.

With all this baking, hosting and cooking I've been very busy and have to say that the knitting schedule has gotten somewhat disorganized. I'm to the point that one project completed a day is a wonderful day! The good news is that I finished the Christmas shopping on Thursday so now all I'm waiting for are packages in the mail and the gifts I do have are already wrapped and in or under the tree.

Today and tomorrow I will be knitting slippers!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Back at it

Well I'm back from Colorado and man was I busy out there.

First there was the Caer Galen Midwinter feast which was the reason I went during this busy time to visit my good friends Jeanne-Marie and Jim. We had originally met at the 2008 Midwinter when my ex and I had seen a sign for SCA, and being the sword fighting geeks we are we followed the sign. The first person we met was Jim who turned me over to Jeanne-Marie and from there she and I became close fiber friends.

Jeanne-Marie is a wonderful weaver as can be attested by these towel:

While I currently don't have pictures of myself at the Midwinter I do have a picture of myself at the archery practice:

All was well and good till the string of the bow caught on my arm:

Immediate swelling and bruising
I'm actually a left handed archer so the entire thing was rather awkward but I did hit the bulls eye a few times and had tons of fun.

I also knitted this lovely Honey Pot One Skein Shawl  in San Fran Shops for Jeanne-Marie:

 I knitted Jim slippers and finished them at 3am the day I was leaving which I think was really my first "IT" moment of the holidays.

On Wednesday I was determined to finish the slippers and stayed up really late to finish them, then before going to bed I packed up at which point Jim got up for work and gave me that look that said that he thought I was crazy. Around 4am I got to bed and woke up at 7:30am so Jeanne-Marie and I could have a cup of coffee together before she dropped me off at the airport for my 12pm flight.

I slept the entire time on the plane and then drove from SFO to Santa Cruz just in time for my Macroeconomics final.  It went well and at this time I have caught up on sleep just in time to stay up all night knitting a hat that has to be wrapped and presented as a gift at 10am tomorrow morning.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Flying Knitter

This knitter is about to take off for Colorado tomorrow and being that its the holiday season  I have to take knitting with me.

I have the following:

Yarn and patter for Fiber Trends Slippers

Yarn, 1/3 done Birds Nest Smoke Ring Cowl and matching yarn for Mitt Envy

Yarn that I will weave into a scarf
Leftovers from last years SF Giants Blanket

Yarn and magazine with pattern for 1846 Gordon Highlanders Regimental Socks (aka Tartan Socks)

Yarn for a Slytherin Scarf:

And I have yarn for a shawl and a pair of socks

All of this fits into one compartment of my backpack and my backpack is not that large and here is a picture of all the yarn in it:

All you can see is the baggy containing the cowl and the rest of the yarn is sitting in the first compartment right behind the North Pak Logo.

How did I do it you might wonder. Well there is a small trick I learned when trying to organized the stash. I baggied all my yarn and then kneeled  on it to push out all the air and zipped it shut! THis is what the yarn looked like after I baggied it and before putting it into the bag:

A few other things that you might think about packing when leaving for the holidays or traveling is a interchangeable needle set with case. I adore my Boye NeedleMaster  and I have also tossed in a small pair of scissors, a nail file, tapestry needles, nail clippers, stitch markers, sticky notes, 1 set of sock needles, measuring tape, a pen, a stitch holder and crochet hooks. With the zip up case I can keep all these things in there and whenever I'm running out the door for knit night, or traveling I can just grab this case and know I'm set (just make sure you put everything back in the case after using it).

Another tip for knitters that are flying is to travel with your knitting in an easy to reach pocket. There might be times your stuck in lines, or they might want to see the knitting at security and if you put it someplace accessible you'll be able to whip it out with a problem.

My last tip is to make sure you have a book just in case. I'm borrowing a friend's Nook for my trip just in case there is a problem with me knitting on the flight. You never know if one of the people sitting next to you or your stewardess might have a problem with your knitting.

Now I'm all set!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Just keep swimming

This morning I woke up with a bad headache, but I'm lucky to have such a wonderful man, because when he came home for lunch he got me a cup of tea and after it I was able to slowly get out of bed and start the day.

I leave for Colorado on Thursday morning and I have tons to do between now and then.

First I started the pork cooking for tamales. As some of you might heard this last week we're had wind storms and my grandmother, who lives in the mountains, was without power from Wednesday till yesterday, her road is blocked and she's out of "everything" as she puts it. So I'm making the tamales to take to her tomorrow morning when the road is hopefully clear, or I'm going to be taking a very long hike uphill to make sure she gets these.

I'm knitting a hat and a glove today as well and tomorrow an entire pair of slippers! Don't you just love holiday knitting schedules?

While I knit I'm going to bake Pumpkin bread today. Phat Fibers is having an open studio of sorts where every participant is offering a recipe for free in their shop.

Here is my Pumpkin Bread recipe:

There are also many other yummy looking items like:
Christmas Cheese Balls from the Tomorrow Farm

Butternut Squash, Barley and Kale Stew from the Phat Fiber lady herself
Holiday Studio Tour Butternut Squash, Barley and Kale Stew Recipe

Corn Chowder from Real Life Knits
Holiday Studio Tour - Corn Chowder Recipe

Friday, December 2, 2011

T Minus 22 days

Till Christmas!

Are you feeling the pressure?

I'm actually not freaking out yet.

I have not even been knitting that much. I'm more freaked out over how to cook roast beef and heat up the spiral sliced ham for Christmas Eve dinner then I'm worried about the knitting (oh and I solved the cooking crisis but finding directions on how to heat ham in a crockpot then glazing it in the oven).

Maybe by sharing the list with you I'll freak out like I should and get on it:

Behind on:
Spinning for a cowl and knitting it
Knitting slippers
Spinning a scarf
Knitting a pair of socks
Pair of mittens
Knit a hat
Fingers on gloves

Need to start after Colorado:
Pair of slippers
2 pairs of socks
Fingerless mittens these are really due after Christmas)
2 sweaters
Pair of mittens
1 Scarf
Finish a cowl
Spinning dk yarn

If I try really hard tomorrow while we get a Christmas tree I think I can get the hat and a mitten out of the way. Then Sunday knit the slippers and spin the yarn for the cowl. Monday knit the cowl and do 3/5 fingers on gloves. Tuesday the rest of the fingers and finish the second mitten.

Then I'll reserve Wednesday for anything I let slip through the cracks and be back on schedule for the holidays and knit the pairs of socks and finish the cowl in Colorado.

How is your Holiday knitting coming? Are you feeling the pressure yet?