Tuesday, July 24, 2007

tweed & stripes...

after this i might need to take a small knitting breather. introducing the brea bag in all its tweedy goodness. i have been complaining forever about needing a purse (picture me when i grocery shop, trying to juggle produce and my wallet, keys, phone, ipod, and sunglasses), but never seem to find one i like. i found this gem on ravelry (what did i do before ravelry?), and promptly added it to my to do list. i reallly enjoyed the knitting - was brainless but interesting nonetheless. i am a little disappointed with my choice in yarn, but only because i feel the fuzziness of it hides the lovely cables. reading other's comments after knitting this bag, i knew my best bet was to line it and add a zipper if i wanted real functionality. however, between my temperamental sewing machine and my general issues with sewing something to a knitted product, i think it's best if no one examines my handiwork too closely. the strap is just a scrap of beautiful leather i had.

next on the docket are my new candystriper socks. i started these a few weeks ago as an easy but fun project after the lacy challenges of the flower basket shawl. basic toe up, with a 2x1 rib at the top - 34 rows of it, but only because that's how much i needed to use up all the pink yarn (leftover from the shawl). again, a project that has a few quirks, such as discovering that the red wool is finer than the pink, so the sock with more pink is slightly larger, but given that they are pretty funky looking anyway, i won't be losing sleep over it. i'll just be enjoying them when i succumb to wearing socks again - but hopefully that won't be for a couple more months! rain and wind came roaring back last week after a brief few days of heat, but sunshine seems to have returned again so i am trying to actually believe maybe it is july, and not october as it is trying hard to be.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Well, that was quick. Obviously I've been a bit preoccupied with this one. Start to finish took one week. Pattern is the Circular Shrug from Peony Knits. I made some significant modifications in that I abandoned the mock rib pattern used on the main body of the shrug, and instead used a the Vinnland Sock pattern from The Anticraft down the centre, bordered on each side by stockinette. Yarn? Oh, yes, the lovely Noro Silk Garden in #203. I knew the Noro striping would never match up perfectly for seaming, but was also unable to visualize where the seams would be while knitting this. When I discovered they pretty much run across my breasts, I wasn't sure I had made the best choice. But I decided to work with it, and used a three needle bind-off to create a nice but obvious seam figuring it was never going to be invisible anyway, so might as well go with it.

For my first adult sized sweater (albeit a small one) I am pretty happy, and the the commitment required for future large projects seems less imposing. But nonetheless I have a few small projects in the works for now - finishing my fun candystriper socks (yup, that's what I'm calling them) and a few other ideas spinning around in my head.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

sweet treats...

I have been eagerly watching the developments of the garden, especially the zucchini. We have three kinds appearing: standard dark green, yellow, and a pale green variety that I've never seen before. There are so many things I love to make with zucchini, but here featured is a little something yummy, but with plenty of goodness in it too.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
3/4 cup butter
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (or, in a pinch, mix some sour cream with some milk)
2 cups grated zucchini
2 tsp vanilla

Beat together butter and sugar; slowly add other wet ingredients. Then add:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves or nutmeg
a generous sprinkling of chocolate chips

Mix until blended. You can make muffins or bake in a loaf pan - I actually made six muffins and a medium loaf. Scoop into muffin tins until they are 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees F - I baked the muffins for about 15 min and the loaf for about 35 - bake until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool on a rack. While cooling, add a little extra zing by putting chocolate chips on top - I usually use about 12 choc chips on each muffin (I have memories of my mother getting me to count out neat piles as a child), and a bunch on a loaf. Wait till the chocolate chips are softened, then use a knife to spread smoothly over the top.


ps - the lovely quilted potholders in the photo were made for me by my (also) crafty sister.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

some kind of sickness...

I keep reading about knitters who love their Noro, but I had no idea. Now I'm seeing what happens. I bought five skeins of Silk Garden 203 on Sunday, and since then I've become obsessed. I'm knitting the Circular Shrug, and it seems to have taken over my life - I can't seem to get anything else done as all I want to do is knit. In this shot I am about 14 inches along - I'm sure it will be more before the end of the night. And to top off the craziness, it is 36 degrees out! Who on earth would knit a sweater in this heat? Thankfully, my apartment is wonderfully cool compared to the stagnant wall of air that hits you outside.

You may also notice I have abandoned the faux rib on the body and am doing straight stockinette on each side (the better to show off the yarn) with the vinnland socks pattern in the middle. I'm loving the result so far.

My only hope at this point is to keep going, so when I'm done I can actually pretend there are other things going on in my life!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

the heat of summer...

I've been thinking lately that I am giving a bit too much focus to my knitting on this blog and ignoring all the other things I love to do. Not that I couldn't blather on about knitting all day, but I forget to post about all the sewing I do too, and how much I love to cook, and anything else that happens when I'm not parked in front a computer. So in an attempt to change this, here's a little something I came up with for dinner tonight. I find it a bit hard to get inspired when A is away and I'm cooking for one, but am trying to make an effort and make sure I still get something healthy into me.

Summer calls for nothing too heavy, full of fresh, crisp veggies and flavours. I had been thinking about coconut milk, but a curry seemed too rich. So here is a toss together, with nothing measured, but with yummy flavours and a good hit of spicy heat.

Coconut-lime Veggies & Rice:
First, cook some rice (I used brown basmati) - quantity and type up to your preference; cook according to package directions. While that is cooking:
• Medium-sized chunks of bell pepper (I used red and orange)
• Finely diced jalepeno (use more or less depending on your heat tolerance - I used 1/2 of one)
• A bit of finely diced ancho pepper (also catered to your heat tolerance)
• A can of diced green chilies (not spicy)
• Chopped snap peas (I cut them in half or thirds)
• About half a can of corn
• Maybe 3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
• Half a can of coconut milk (I used the organic stuff)
• Juice from half a lime
Saute veggies in a pan with a bit of olive oil, then pour in coconut milk and lime and let simmer while you wait for the rice to cook. When the rice is done, scoop some into a bowl and top with the veggie mix. Enjoy!

But....there certainly has been some knitting. I am well into the second of my striped socks, and have also cast on for Peony Knits' Circular Shrug with some beautiful Noro Silk Garden. And did I mention that Ravelry is sooooo much trouble? But in a good way ;)

By the way, it is finally summer here (no gradual change for us!).

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

other uses for a crashpad...

also titled: is it ever going to stop raining so i can go climbing? another FO - Evelyn Clark's flower basket shawl. this was pretty much my first real attempt at lace knitting, although i had a good grasp of the basics from doing some smaller lace patterns on all those fingerless gloves. it was definitely a challenge trying to figure out what tension to have, and to keep track of the pattern. i think if i attempt another shawl i will need to spring for some lace needles, as the straight 5mm were not ideal. there are a few errors in the finished product, but hopefully only i will notice them, although one is fairly obvious. i added one extra repeat of the lower flower basket chart.

the yarn i love - fleece artist merino sock, after i decided it was far too beautiful to hide on my feet. i think it works well for this pattern. and what else do we ahve going on here? little more than half an hour's work and some leftover classic merino and i have a little protective pocket for my new ipod nano, as well as an extra pocket for my fm tuner or a pair of headphones. basic stockinette knit in the round, with a top flap done in moss stitch.

what's next? a few things, but i need something definitely less lacey, although am still in love with the fleece artist. with that in mind, i have decided to combine the leftovers with the leftover red yarn from the diamond socks made earlier this year and create some fun basic socks with a simple stripe pattern. mindless, but i think the result will rock.