Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

We hooked up the spooky music tape and the fogger tonight for the first time. Very atmospheric and pretty - the only problem is every time the fogger sends out a burst of fog, I think the porch is on fire!

There has been plenty of knitting going on this week - I've turned the heel on my Sugar Maple's On Fire socks and now I'm on the home stretch - yea!!

Youngest Boy went out trick or treating with Mr. Daisy. He's Harry Potter and Mr. Daisy is Hagrid. I, on the other hand, am paying homage to another Halloween pantheon. I'm a medical school researcher at Miskatonic University's Orne Library. I do believe the library stays open past midnight . . .

(As for the pumpkins - they are all vampire pumpkins in honor of "Twilight." In fact, the sign says, "This is the rind of a killer." I guess this is a Vampire Weekend - tee hee!)

You would think that I weeded all these tee shirts out of my wardrobe when the seasons changed and I pulled out all the turtlenecks. Alas, I simply found all these in my ironing pile. They've been there since the summer time. And with three black tee shirts, two brown tee shirts, a cream colored one and a blue tee - I generally wear a limited color palette.

Time to go back to my knitting and enjoying the left over "Good and Plenty"s. Good thing I like licorice!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Much as I love Halloween . . .

I'm getting a little tired.

First the Multnomah Autumn Shawl,

then, the first Halloween Party of the season,

followed by the yard decorating (we're big Harry Potter fans, you know!)

all bring about an urge for one of these! (actually I was just practicing using my new Joby Gorrilapod.

In honor of Halloween week, I give you Boilerplate!

And a "Make your own goggles" video over at Threadbanger.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

From top to toe

Since finishing my Multnomah Shawl earlier this week, I've been on a slippery sock slope. I've ripped back my Gentleman's Socks in preparation for making Two at a time Socks (two socks on one long needle) only using the Gentleman Sock stitch pattern.

It's a complicated story but I just didn't like the heel from the original pattern and I knew I needed serious help to get both finished so . . . time to learn how to do two at a time. Actually the "two at a time from the toe up" sounded even better but I thought, "One step at a time, girl, one step!"

I bought this book, 2-at-a-Time Socks: Revealed Inside. . . The Secret of Knitting Two at Once on One Circular Needle Works for any Sock Pattern! by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, some time ago. I love all the patterns but I don't love how the initial pattern is shown worked in worsted weight yarn. I've no time to make socks that no one will wear. Just start me out on a plainer pattern but using real sock yarn and then I'll do just fine.

Because I jumped right into a pattern, it was a bit tricky to start. I couldn't believe that my sock would actually fit. I think that was because my needle was very new and straight out of the bag. Now that I've been using it a bit, it lies flat more easily and that's made all the difference.

For my practice pair, I am making the Sugar Maple pattern out of Mountain Colors' Bearfoot in the Firestorm colorway. For me.

As of Wednesday, this is how far I'd gotten. I've found that carrying the yarn from individual bags - both on one side of my lap - has kept me from getting too tangled. I've been watching old science fiction series online and the knitting is actually going pretty fast. As my needle cable has loosened up so has my knitting and that is working out well. I'm working on the Yarn Harlot's "Inch at a Time" plan of sock knitting. Every time I pick up the socks, I'm determined to get in an inch of knitting.

I think this spiral bound book is easy to handle and I already have my eye on a few other patterns such as the Classic Sock or the Sailor's Delight. By the way, Knittymama is collecting craft book reviews for a contest over at her blog so you might want to skip on over there for some other good pattern ideas.

This week was the Minnesota Knitters' Guild's Fall Yarn preview meeting. That's where we have yarn shops come and talk about the trends and patterns new for fall (this time the shops were Coldwater Collaborative and Lila & Claudines) but all this yarn exposure comes at a price. $$$!

I picked up a pattern and some lovely Araucania Panguipulli for a shrug for a birthday present. The pattern is very simple and if I'd used the yarn called for, quite inexpensive. But the Araucania Panguipulli called to me. It's a mix of blues, browns and Burgundies - very usable!

Since Friday was a day off school for Youngest Child - AND a snow day to boot! -

I made delicious oatmeal raisin cookies. The best so far - straight out of The New Best Recipe Cookbook from Cook's Illustrated. Love those guys!

Today being Saturday and all - time to clean out my own closet. A jean jumper, a turtleneck, jeans, three teeshirts, and a polo shirt. Farewell!

Now, time enough to find my knitting bag and get in an inch of knitting!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday night bites

After yapping about the delicious looking Mini Savory Cheesecakes over at Eat to Blog, I decided to use my afternoon to make some. It actually took very little time - mostly spent looking for the ingredients! - and we'll be having them on top of spinach salad alongside Mr. Daisy's home made pizza.

After whipping the cream cheese, you simply add in the other ingredients. Except the blue cheese! After I took this picture I had to fish out the blue cheese I crumbled up. It was North Country Blue from Wisconsin and I used a little more than the recipe called for - about 1/2 cup instead of 1/4 cup.

I did remember the bread crumb coating but I used Ian's Panko Bread Crumbs instead of making my own.

My oven seems to run a little low so my mini cakes cooked about five minutes longer than called for. They were still quite runny in the middle when they came out.

We each ate one of the "sad" looking ones right out the pan but we'll have plenty for salads to come. The red pepper is one of the last ones from our CSA and it was some sort of cross over between sweet and spicy - delicious with the blue cheese and a beer!

I think today's Friday Film should reflect food: Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Blue like - cheese

Having a small blue cheese obsession lately, I thought you might like to participate as well.

I found my latest taste treat over at The Saint Paul Cheese Shop - tiny mini-cheesecakes made with blue cheese. While their mini-cakes are great, I can't eat just one. So, I've been exploring for my own recipes.

That's when I found Eat to Blog's Savory Cheesecakes!

These funny foodie guys are my Cool Wednesday link. They are very witty and are both adventurous eaters. One is a vegetarian and one is more of an omnivore. Even though they are based in New York City, I love their restaurant reviews.

Now, back to stalking blue cheese. I may have to even take it a step further . . .

Oh, man, do I need to buy another set of pots for this?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Boo - tiful dreamer

I couldn't resist the silly title but I am so happy this is finished in time for fall wearing!

Parts of this Multnomah Shawl were extremely easy (garter stitch center) and some a little trickier (the increasing Feather and Fan section) but I think knitting it in the daytime instead of late at night would have made it go much quicker. I kept losing track of my end increases and having to go back and rip it out. I probably would have been finished by Friday if I had kept my mind on my work!

Part of the problem was that this yarn is so soft. I would set it down to watch something on television and just start stroking it like a cat. I have a tiny bit of the skein left so the yardage was lovely and very little color bled out when I washed it. I highly recommend the J.Knits Superwash Me Light Sock Yarn!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Holiday give aways!

Okay, it's just one holiday - Halloween - and the giveaways are to either going to the Daughters of My Monday Night Book Club (that sounds like a whole 'nother club on its own!) or St. John the Evangelist Church sale. Since Youngest Child has no interest in a box full of "girl costumes" as he called it, I'm passing on the mexican skirt, the two witch costumes, the dragon costume (complete with glittery wings!), the smiley ghost, the stretchy purple lace and a book on getting organized. That wasn't in the box but it certainly has helped me along the way.

I also kept this:

A Winnie the Pooh teeshirt and ears left over from Halloween 1991. Yep, the night of the big Halloween blizzard - only we were in Pennsylvania then and there was no snow in sight. Oldest Daughter was the robot and Middle Daughter was Winnie the Pooh. Ah, the good old days . . .

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday films - the view from my elbow

I'd like to just say "Happy Weekend" and go back to my regularly scheduled sick day. I've had a flu shot already - maybe it's just life catching up with me.

In the meantime, check out this video about knitting two socks at one time on one needle:

I'm thinking of redoing the Gentleman's Sock using this method. I've been reading "2 at a time Socks" by Melissa Morgan-Oakes and it's giving me ideas again . . .

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Giving it away, Saturday by Saturday

The latest edition of the Twin Cities St. Paul Angie's List Magazine is headlined "You can't take it with you: Where will your stuff be laid to rest?"

While this month's edition is mostly concerned with appraisers and home cleaners - it also goes the extra mile and discusses how families often have to clean out their deceased loved elders' homes and who actually cleans up if someone's body isn't found for a long while. That one would be "bio hazard remediation." Ick.

Now, I've been working on the (Saturday) Seven Things Project for quite some time - I started way back in August 2006 after I found Earthchickknits' Seven Things Project. She really touched on the what I hated about throwing things out - they were perfectly fine things but who would want them?

So, 160 weeks or so (I didn't actually go count but I think I've been pretty faithful getting rid of stuff even if they turn into Tuesday Sevens instead of Saturday Sevens!) times 7 equals 1,120 items that:

a) went to some one who needs them
b) often raised money for good causes because I donated them to groups that sell the items via rummage sales
c) didn't end up in the trash.

Now, some of those items are pretty small (anyone remember the toddler underwear?) but some things were big (a television and a couch) and no one but me had to figure out what to do with them.

Dear Mr. Daisy has asked me if my children will have anything to remember their childhoods with and the answer is, "Of course."

I save important papers, favorite items that show up in a lot of photos (blankies!) and toys/books/dolls they loved. The other clothings, toys, books move on to be loved by other children.

The Seven Things Project made me recognize that, while I would never have the time or interest in scrap booking all my old photos, I certainly could find a way to box them up year by year. That was one fun project!

We always shred papers that might cause banking/personal problems later on but I think I'll be culling the financial records again this winter.

And (because this is knitting blog!) I also take a hard look at my yarn stash once a year. The Minnesota Knitters' Guild has a silent auction at its holiday party every year (December 15th this year!) and the money raised goes to fund the MKG Service Committee. That always gives me an out for yarn and fiber that need a good home!

So, while I am hope that our ends will be far, far in the future - I really recommend you all take a look at what surrounds you and think long and hard about where and when you would want this organized! I am kind of looking forward to helping the Three Dear Daughters set up their first apartments some day. Kitchen table and chairs - begone! Spare bedframe from the attic - vamose! Sporting equipment - fly! What is really funny is when Mr. Daisy pulls something out of the cupboard and say, "Oh that came from my parents' house." Twenty five years ago!

This week's Saturday Seven is not from 25 years ago and it is pretty small - both in size and weight. Two pairs of Youngest Child's shorts, a polo shirt and four pairs of pajamas and on their way to St. John the Evangelist's Big Sale

Friday, October 09, 2009

Snow, anyone?

I wish I had something more interesting to show you - perhaps a shot of my Multnomah Shawl or some socks - but all I've got is a film with some real snow:

Some of the best short films are on YouTube as part of the British Film Institute's National Archive.

BFI says about this film:

Comprising train and track footage quickly shot just before a heavy winter's snowfall was melting, the award-winning classic that emerged from the cutting-room compresses British Rail's dedication to blizzard-battling into a thrilling eight-minute montage cut to music. Tough-as-boots workers struggling to keep the line clear are counterpointed with passengers' buffet-car comforts.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

One zucchini at a time,

Now, I've heard stories about people getting giant zucchinis dropped off on their porches. Since my zucchini plants never did more than bloom and die, I've never had that problem. I did, however, finally get a little zucchini present of my own.

I went outside to clear away some of my frosty garden plants and found one last ripe tomato and one lone zucchini. Yippee!

In the meantime, I am working away on the Multnomah Shawl. I am close, oh, so close to getting to the interesting parts. The yarn I'm using (J.Knits Superwash Me - Light Sock Yarn) is now my new best friend. What makes it even better is that I submitted a question to the J-Knits podcast and it was used. As a result, I won a skein of yarn! I am so looking forward to seeing what it will be. This winning thing is pretty addictive . . .

My Cool Wednesday site is Antony Gormley's One & Other project on display on the Fourth Plinth. The Fourth Plinth is the name given to the empty plinth in the north-west corner of Trafalgar Square in London.

My link is to podcaster Brenda Dayne's Plinth Moment on Saturday, September 14. She's giving it her all for knitting!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Baa, baa, black sheep

I have a new fleece! An all-purpose, no name, possibly a Jacob's Sheep fleece! GFMelissa had an extra one lying around (you don't want to see her garage!) and she passed it one to me. It looks like this one never wore a jacket so it will require a lot of washing and combing but still - free wool! Yea, GFMelissa!

I'm out of town this weekend but since the weather has changed, I've got quite a collection of too-small items to give away. Five little boy shirts and two craft books. Bye, bye Saturday Seven!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Friday films - from my sisters to yours

We are heading out of town to Mr. Daisy's college reunion - we both went to the same college but it's not one of "those" years for me.

He was a few years older than me and I first heard of him when he asked one of the girls across the hall from me Freshman Year to go out to a concert. She was pretty but - dim. It colored my views of him for a long time - thank goodness I got over it!

Unfortunately, his fraternity doesn't seem to have much online but the lovely ladies from my own sorority (a local group but lots of fun!) does have this film online. Let's hear it for the TAs!

Enjoy your weekend and don't forget to go to Knit Out!

The Minnesota Knitters Guild will be hosting the 6th annual Twin Cities Knit-Out on Sunday, October 4th at Southdale Center.

This celebration of knitting will take place from 12 – 4 p.m. in the Macy's Courtyard. There will be free knitting lessons, door prizes, hourly fashion shows, a fastest knitter contest, community service knitting projects, expert knitters to answer questions and local yarn shops displaying the latest in yarns, patterns and tools.