Tuesday, January 27, 2009


A story that, though not yarn-related, I thought the world should hear:

Today I was really annoyed by the actions/conversation of a few people in my class and so when Peter got home, I ranted about the situation to him. (On my behalf, I was PMSing, so I normally wouldn't have been quite as peeved.) As I was finishing my rant about these three annoying people, I just happened to be opening a delectable fortune cookie (my favorite). I uttered a last "SO ANNOYING!" and glanced down at the little slip of paper which read:

"Your respect for others will be your ticket to success this year."

Note to self: Don't badmouth anyone I will be forced to see everyday from now through December.

Thanks Universe. You keep me honest.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

FO: Aubergine Gauntlets

FO: Aubergine Gauntlets
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca DK
Needles: 4.0 mm/ US 6 Bamboo DPNs

Loved the yarn and the pattern.  The result is surprisingly warm!  I was knitting while wearing them today, and they kept my fingers toasty warm.  Usually I have to grab a cup of tea to hold onto to unfreeze my fingers after an hour of knitting!

I have been wanting to make these for my friend Jess for about a year.  However, I this was my first pair of fingerless gloves, and I don't like to gift my first try at something, since I haven't worked out all the kinks and gotten the hang of things.  For example, the first of these gauntlets I knitted has a sloppy thumb, but I worked it out on the second one.  Jess, the next pair is for you!

This was a speedy quick project.  Each one knitted up in less than 2 hours-- a great instant gratification project.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tofu Time

I have 1.5 Symmetrical Braided Gauntlets knitted up in some lovely alpaca, hopefully an FO post is coming soon!

One of my goals in 2009 is to cook more from recipes, and to cook more vegetarian dishes. I like meat, but its simply not healthy to eat it everyday.

Last night I tested out my first tofu recipe of 2009 and it was DELICIOUS! The recipe is from Epicurious.com, and is called Spicy Thai Tofu with Red Bell Peppers and Peanuts. I will certainly be making this again.

Today I broke out one of my favorite baking cookbooks, Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. Another goal for 2009 is to find a delicious and easy home made pie crust. I used the Pate Brisee recipe from Martha Stewart's cookbook as part of her Tarte Tatin recipe.

My crust did not quite have the structural integrity one looks for in a pie crust, but it tastes so good, so buttery, and the texture is flaky and good. I think with one or two more tablespoons water, this could be the ticket to delicious pie town.

The Tarte Tatin tastes ok...the caramel came out a bit bitter, and I am not sure why. The caramel called for a dash of lemon juice, and I might have over zealously dashed. Overall, the result is just okay. I will definitely make it again, aiming for more cohesive crust, and perhaps cutting back the dash of lemon juice. I must overcome the bitter caramel!

A couple more shots from the Botanical Garden, in Golden Gate park. I can't wait to go back during summer, if there were this many gorgeous flowers in January.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Nantucket Purse

This afternoon I cast off my Nantucket Purse. I am using the DROPS pattern 98-54. This is my second version of this bag. The first was a tighter knit, as I was using Rowan's Cotton Rope, which is fatter than the yarn I chose for this project, Peru Naturtex Partners Pakucho Organic Cotton. I wanted this to have a slightly looser, beach bag kind of look than my first bag.

I ended up calling it the Nantucket purse for two reasons. First, the beachier, loose, casual tote look, and second, the recipient had visited family in Nantucket every year of her life. In recent years, she has hauled her surfboard(s) out to the island.

The recipient of this bag may be a hard core brainiac law student sporting bus cas at a prestigious Boston school, but I know she is a beach loving California girl at heart.
Buttons purchased at Britex, in San Francisco.
The bag was a bit hard to photograph as a whole right now, as it has yet to have its lining sewn in, or its handle attached. As before, my friend at Sew Bella will be adding these last touches, and then there will be a proper FO photo shoot and post.

Until then, enjoy some shots taken at the botanical garden in Golden Gate Park.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Time Out

OMG Rose. You are going blog crazy and putting me to shame.

Just a quick timeout from my medical math homework (blech) to post a couple of pictures from my excellent vacation.
Here are my finished moss gloves. (Pattern may or may not be coming.) Dream in Color Smooshy is so amazing. These took less than half a skein of smooshy.

I finally finished my Mad Color Weave socks. It's funny how fast you can finish a pair of socks when it's one of the only projects you are able to work on.

I started and ALMOST finished a drops cable bag right up until someone said it looked like a Santa hat. The red with white accents looked much better in my head. In March. When I wasn't thinking about Christmas.
I think that's three strikes for the cable bag. It just wasn't meant to be.

If anyone knows what I can do with two skeins of Catalina Yarns Baby Pima (one red, one white) please let me know. And don't say a Santa hat.

Here are a couple of San Francisco teaser pictures:


Golden Gate Bridge

More on the vacation later. Back to Henke's Med-Math.

I'd rather be knitting.

Question and answer time

With a general lack of FO's (hopefully two coming soon) I thought I would take a minute to answer a few questions from the last couple months.

q: Mike asked if the Mariam Scarf was machine knit.
a: Nope! All the knits you see on this sight are hand knits, unless otherwise noted. Neither Kristina nor I have a knitting machine.

q: Wendy asked if there is a crochet version of the Mariam Scarf.
a: I have not done one, and I do not know enough about crochet to know if there is a crochet stitch that resembles a knitted rib. Any crochet geniuses out there feel free to lend your knowledge!

q: Sarah asked if I was doing a pattern for Claire's Cowl
a: Hi mom! Nope! I just picked a stitch pattern, knit for 18 inches, and attached. No feat of intellectual creativity here. I certainly can't take credit for the gorgeous stitch pattern, but it can be found in Knitting Stitches by Mary Webb
q: Sarah asked for some more details on the Noro Scarf.
a: Love you mom! Here are the specifics on what I did. Like I said, I used Brooklyn Tweed's tips for slipping stitches along the edge.

The Yarn: Noro Silk Garden Chunky. This set me back $11 per skein, 4 skeins for the scarf. Pricey for a scarf, but it was a graduation/birthday/Christmas/ILOOOOVEYOU present that I have been wanting to make for this specific person for a while, so it was completely worth it. It is currently on sale at Webs for $6.50 a skein HERE, wayyyyy cheaper than I got at my lys.

The concept: manually striping Noro. Use 4 skeins total, 2 each of 2 different colors.

The Instructions:

Cast on 41 Stitches with your first color.

Knit in a K1, P1 rib for two rows. Slip the first stitch on the second row.

Tie on your second color (you can untie the not later when you are weaving in the ends.) Do not cut first color, let it hang, and wait for you.

Using your second color knit in a K1, P1 rib for two rows. Slip the first stitch on the second row.

After knitting 2 rows in your second color, let that yarn hang, and wait. Pick up the first color and knit in a K1, P1 rib for two rows. Slip the first stitch on the second row.

Proceed as such until the yarn is gone. When you change skeins, make sure you are keeping things tight, just tug on the yarn a bit.

Bind off, weave in ends. Unite the knot where you attached the second color, weave that end in.

Sit back, and watch the Noro do its thing, to glorious results. This pattern is quite generic. If you want a thinner scarf, cast on less stitches, if you want wider make it wider. There is tons of room to make it a cowl, add button holes, etc.
And to top things off, some more pictures taken as Kristina and I journeyed across San Francisco by foot.

The Bay Bridge, from the Embarcadero

The Ferry Building

A church in North Beach

The windy bit of Lombard Street

And a view of Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower, from the top of Lombard Street.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Seeing the sights...

In the Mission District, home of Imagiknit

The oh so Golden Gate

Grace Cathedral
Sunrise over San Francsico

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Stash Resolution

I am happy to report that my yarn diet is over, and I am back on the buying wagon! I haven't bought any yarn in longer than I can remember. It was back when Kristina and I went in on an online sock yarn order together at least 5 months ago. Around September, I vowed no more new yarn until 2009. Well folks, I made it. And here are my rewards:

Cascade 220 in a chocolate heather, for a second Boy Hat. Purchased at Imagiknit in San Francisco.

Malabrigo's new lace yarn, in a delicious cashmere blend, purchased at Imagiknit. I think it was a sample sale for select retailers-- I could not find this blend on the Malbrigo website. I am head over heels for this unique colorway. On top of that the yarn in lush, soft, and so warm. I hope to use it to make my first lace shawl, which is one of my 2009 knitting goals.

Classic Elite Yarns' Lush in a SUPER SOFT angora wool blend. Purchased at Imagiknit in San Francisco. This will become a cute hat for moi. Most of my hats are worthy for the slopes, but not the streets. I am looking for a pattern that will look cute with my pea coats and winter outerwear. I see cables in the future here.
Mirasol's Sulka, a silk based yarn at a very reasonable price (just $7 per skein), from Knitterly, in Petaluma.

Malabrigo merino worsted in Bobby Blue, from Knitterly.

My yarn buying diet may be out the window, but I do have a new stash resolution for 2009. For every new stash enhancement I buy, something must have recently left the stash, preferably in the form of FO. If I am not using my stash (and therefore not knitting!) no new yarn comes in.

The last new item in my stash is a gorgeous skein of Dream In Color Smooshy, in Chinatown Apple. I have been coveting this colorway for months of yarn dieting. Kristina brought it to me this weekend as a Christmas/congratulations on school present. I LOVE IT! Thank you again, Kristina. Miss you already!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yarned Forces Post #101!

FO: Stripes for Sara
Pattern: Manually striped 1x1 rib using two colorways of Noro. I used Brooklyn Tweed's guidelines here.
Yarn: 4 Skeins Noro Silk Garden Chunky, 2 each in the colorways 10 and 7. 45% silk, 45%kid mohair, and 10% lambswool.
Needles: 7mm Bamboo Straights

It is hard for me to find colorways of Noro that I love, but I really wanted to make this scarf for a friend. So I sat down at the Silk Garden Chunky bin at Knitterly, in Petaluma, and scoured their stocks. I settled on one colorway that was dark--blacks, browns, dark purple, and red-- and one that was light I absolutely love the lighter colorway I picked (I think its the #10). The colors are saturated, but pastel and elegant. Each skein reminded me of a Monet painting.

Enjoy the Noro pics! Back to mini vaca...clam chowder in a bread bowl calls.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

bring on the mini vaca!

Kristina arrives today, with some other college friends in tow. I have taken off work Monday-Wednesday to chill with my knitting buddy and tourist about San Francisco!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Last night was not a good knitting night. If you do not want to hear a verbose and sordid tale of a knitting related brain fart, go ahead and scroll down to the shiny pictures at the bottom. I settled in to get a big chunk of my Ranger Hat done, and instead frogged the whole thing. I was happily knitting along in a 4 x 3 rib, and when it was long enough, I went to start the pattern row. I looked up how to do the twist stitches online, and set about it. I knitted about 4 repeats when I noticed the twists looked a bit wonky. The first row of twists should have been making a little V shape, which comprises the bottom of the diamond in the pattern. My V shapes were upside down. With out giving a single, fleeting thought to the chart, I was reading left to right like a book and not right to left like a pattern. So I frogged that row.

I set about it again, going quite slowly, as I was meticulously checking my twists for correctness (meticulous= obsessive compulsive....I checked them repeatedly.) I got to the end of the row, finally, and found myself with an excess of 3 stitches. The twist repeats are 3 stitch twists, so I figured I must have missed a twist, despite the utmost obsessive attention I had paid to their correctness. I looked back at my work, and found what I thought was the problem (the presence of the word thought does not bode well here). I frog back to that point, and can't for the life of me find the error. Then it dawns on me.....the math. The counting. In a flash I thought of all the times I had giggled at the Yarn Harlot's hilarious accounts of being foiled by counting. I cast on the wrong number of stitches. In fact, I cast on for 7.072 pattern repeats. Nice. Ranger hat was frogged. To make myself feel quasi useful, I wound a hank of yarn into a center pull ball and called it a night for knitting.

Starting January 20th, I will be heading back to school to earn a teaching credential. I am so excited to be starting on the same day as President Elect Obama. Perhaps I am just a sucker for eloquent, intelligent rhetoric, but his expanded definition of social service and belief in the ability of every American to make the US and the world a better place truly does give me hope. And goosebumps!

Anywho, here are a few shots I took on campus today. Who says California doesn't have a bit of fall color here and there?

Monday, January 5, 2009

No Pics for You

It's 2009! Woohoo!!!

I'm on a little vacation in Northern California which means a LOT of knitting time. I put the finishing touches on a couple of projects today. The first, a pair of Mad Color Weave socks that I will be gifting to my mom, since the last pair I made her were ridiculously small. Whoops.

The second project is a pair of fingerless gloves of my own design. Sorry, no pictures. I have no way to upload them from my camera. I'm not sure if I will put up a pattern for them. I charted up half of it, but just improvised the other half, so we'll see. They are made with Dream in Color Smooshy though. I highly recommend it. And it only takes up about half a skein. I might try to get a pair of ankle socks out of the other half.

I have nine more days of vacation. Pictures will follow.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

FO: Claire's Cowl

FO: Claire's Cowl
Pattern: Improvised from the Twisted Plait Stitch in my new stitch dictionary Knitting Stitches by Mary Webb
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Shocking Pink (kettle dyed), about 1/2 a skein
Needles: US 10/ 6mm bamboo straights

A belated Christmas gift for my little sister, this cowl is soft, squishy, and extremely pink! The Malabrigo colors are super saturated and gorgeous, and I seem to be drawn to their ultra brights.

I used a single crochet join to make an elegant ridge where I joined the fabric. Single crochet does not work if you favor a smooth, invisible join, but I like the braided look of a single crochet edging.
I cast on 41 stitches, knit in the pattern until the piece was 19ish inches, cast off, and joined! Piece 'o cake pattern. Not even really a pattern, just slapping a stitch pattern onto the basic cowl template. It was an enjoyable, quick knit, and I cannot say enough about the how amazing Malabrigo feels on the needles! No wonder there are Ravelry groups dedicated to knitting one Malabrigo project per month!

I still have about half a ball of the Malabrigo leftover, perhaps for shocking pink cowl part deux!

Another shot of the crochet seam:

Some eye candy shots of my newest WIP, the infamous Striped Noro Scarf: