Thursday, November 26, 2009

smooth as silk....

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! at least, Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the US and happy Thursday to my friends in the rest of the world, since Thanksgiving is an American holiday based on when the original Pilgrims arrived on these shores and (supposedly) celebrated the first harvest with the Native Americans here. Living so close to Plimoth Plantation, I hear a lot about the assumptions we've made about that first Thanksgiving, but it's an American tradition now and we love it. It's one of our few holidays that hasn't been moved to a Monday or Friday! I'd love to hear about holidays in other countries that we don't celebrate here.

I've been away from the internet for at least two weeks because I lost my wireless! I finally got the laptop part I needed to connect again - what a relief! But... not having ready internet access did increase my knitting. I was knitting first thing every morning while I watched the news, instead of checking the webs. Lots of pre-Christmas knitting and crocheting has been going on. Unfortunately, since so many of the people that I knit for read my blog, I won't be able to share that with you for a few weeks...

I do have a new pattern for holiday knitters, though! Here's a little preview:


The pattern has been written up and will be in my Ravelry store soon, but I left the PDF at work so it may be a couple/few days before it's posted. This is crocheted and is very quick so makes a great last-minute gift. My sample, above, was made in fingering weight silk similar in size and twist to perle cotton.

I got the silk at the old Fiber Studio when they used to have weaving yarns - lots of silk, really inexpensive, made up into huge cones. I'm so glad I stocked up before they sold the shop. (It's still a great shop but focused now on commercial knitting yarns instead of the wild and woolly weaving fibers).

For my Thanksgiving knitting, I think I'll start the dog-walking gloves I'm making for my boyfriend - easy to transport and don't need a pattern... What are you taking along for your Thanksgiving knitting or crocheting?

Monday, November 9, 2009

more domestic

There is nothing like small projects to restore your confidence, your inspiration, and your general interest in life around you. This last month - October - was so difficult as I struggled to re-enter my usual cycle of days and occupations after a month on the west coast with my far-flung family and new family members. Work responsibilities, phone calls from friends, my bf's lovely dogs... nothing was sinking its hooks into my heart and I felt restless, sleepless, and dissatisfied.

Some months ago when I was at a loose end, my friend Briley had suggested "small projects". His advice came back to me, so for the past four weeks I've concentrated on finishing those little WIPs and starting up fast-moving fiber snacks - hats, the long-neglected second sock, the final rows of a project never completed. This project is one of those results:

More Domestic
Fine Cotton Dish Towel

Each towel: 2 balls Filatura de Crosi Millifili Fine or Filatura de Crosi Dolce Amore, 100% mercerized cotton

Needles: Size 5 (3.75 mm) straights


Cast on 56 sts, leaving a tail twice the width of the towel (you will use this to sew down the picot edge later).
Knit 5 rows in stockinette stitch. You will end with a wrong side (WS) row.
Next row: Knit 2 together, Yarn Over. Repeat across row.
Knit 5 rows in stockinette stitch. You will end with a wrong side (WS) row.

Begin Pattern:
Row 1: Knit 5 stitches, (Knit 1, yarn foward, slip 1 purlwise, yarn back as if to knit) repeat to last 5 stiches, knit 5.
Row 2: Knit 5, purl across to last 5 stitches, Knit 5.
Row 3: Knit 5, (yarn foward, slip 1 purlwise, yarn back as if to knit, knit 1) repeat across to last 5 stitches, knit 5.
Row 4: Knit 5, purl across to last 5 stitches, Knit 5.

Repeat these four rows for 5 inches, then change to stockinette stitch, keeping the five edging stitches at beginning and end of each row.

When the towel is the almost the length you like, repeat the Pattern for 5 inches, then repeat the 11 rows of the beginning picot edge. Bind off fairly loosely, leaving a tail twice the width of the towel.

Finishing: Fold the beginning and ending edges at the Yarn Over row and neatly sew the edge down on the wrong size of the towel, using the tails of yarn attached. Weave in ends.


These cotton towels are soft immediately, but will get more soft and more absorbent with use. That's the nature of this beautiful, fine gauge, vibrant cotton yarn. I love the colours it comes in. Sadly, my LYS has discontinued stocking it so I'll have to find an alternate source but it's well worth it.

Finishing this project marked my re-entry into my east coast life. I immediately felt that gratification that only a quick project that results in an item that is lovely way beyond its effort of creation can give. I smiled. I looked forward to other, more complicated projects. I made plans for the future.

Holiday knitting. Ahhh... that's the ticket!

On another note, if you're on Ravelry, we are all gearing up for the 2010 Ravelympics - that wonderful time when we join a team and challenge ourselves to complete an entire project within the confines of the broadcast winter Olympics. The Winter Olympics in 2010 span February 12 to the 28th, so... not many days, but oh so fun!!

I am a co-captain of Team Blue Moon, and all of our projects, both knit and crochet, will be made out Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarns. We already have 50 team members. Blue Moon has given us permission to use the BMFA logo in our Team Ravatar and, in that email, Tina - the dyer extrodinaire of Blue Moon - asked an innocent little question that sent my heart soaring: "Do we need a colourway for this?" Oh, my! Imagine - a Ravelympics colourway! Stay tuned, because you know if this does happen, that colourway will show up here on my blog!


If you want to join the Ravelympics - and I sincerely hope you do - the official group is Ravelympics 2010. In the Team lists of that group, you will find many Team threads, including Team Blue Moon, our official team thread. Do you want to be team member 51?

Friday, November 6, 2009


I finally decided to post my summer sweater project, which I finished last month. I've been waiting to see if I could get someone to take a photo with me wearing it, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. So, here is....



Yarn: Lyndon Hill from Plymouth Yarn, 85% Pima Cotton, 15% Silk, 218 yds per skein, colour 101. I used 6 skeins because I wanted extra length.

Needles: Knitpicks Options circular, US size 6

Modifications: I added an extra half-skein to each sleeve and finished the sleeves with one lace chart repeat. They are 3/4 length on me now. I also used one extra skein for sweater length and just kept repeating the lace pattern. It's pretty long now - lower hip length.

This yarn is fingering weight and very drapey and light. The pattern calls for a bulky yarn or a worsted weight held doubled. Obviously I just ignored that and made a more lightweight summer sweater. I think it's going to be perfect for wearing over my sundresses at my air-conditioned work. I'm not really a fan of garter stitch sweaters but on this design it works and certainly makes it a very quick knit! Or... it would have been quick if I hadn't set it aside for a whole month.


I plan to put just one button at the neckline - I doubt I'll ever wear it closed. But, wouldn't you know, I had a beautiful green glass button that a friend gave me quite a while ago set aside to use and as soon as I finished the sweater, I lost the button! I have an alternative and will make a crocheted loop at the neck edge, as the pattern advises.


Making this sweater was so gratifying! I hardly ever knit or crochet anything for myself so it's almost a guilty pleasure. I love it inordinately and think I'm really going to like wearing it next year!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Quiet Halloween and a Recipe

It was perfect weather for Halloween. The air was warm - unseasonably warm - but the sky was a ominous white/grey with dark clouds racing from one horizon to the other. The wind was tossing its hair petulantly and yellow, red, and burgundy maple leaves wove a Persian carpet on the streets and sidewalks.

At about 4, my bf and I took the dogs out to walk. It was just barely spitting rain - a few light drops as though the wind was lifting beads of water from the park fountain and breezing them into our faces. We saw several high-schoolers in costume and in couples. They seemed to be walking to a party downtown.

By the time we got home, the first trick-or-treaters were out. The first wave is always the babies, whose parents bring them out before it gets full dark. We saw a ladybug, and a green lizard in a stroller. One of my favorites was a tiny tiger - less than a year old. When they came up the steps to our door, the Mom whispered, "What do you say?" and the tiny tiger said: "Grrrrr! Grrrr!". It was mega cute.

My boyfriend had gone really overboard with the Halloween candy-buying. We had a huge basket full. I was sure we would be stuck with a million calories to hide on our thighs because last year we had only 2 or 3 costumed kids. But this year, everyone was out! The wind picked up, the porch lights went on, and crowds of ghouls roamed the streets. We were saved from the weight-gaining leftovers - hurray! Our basket was almost empty in an hour!

I made Chili and cornbread for our Halloween dinner. We had mulled cider with Courvoisier and pumpkin doughnuts. I gave the dogs doggie yogurt - apple & cheddar. We watched past episodes of The Vampire Diaries. It was great.

My Chili Recipe:


One Sweet Red, Yellow, or Orange Pepper (or all three)
One sweet Vidalia Onion
Fresh Mushrooms
2 cans dark red kidney beans
1 large can diced tomatoes (no spices pre-added)
Vegetarian meat subtitute or 85% ground beef or ground turkey or chopped chicken
1 package McCormack Original Chili Spices (if you don't have this you can use garlic powder, onion flakes, parsely, papprika, ground chili pepper, salt, pepper)
Olive Oil
Worcestershire Sauce

Saute the chopped peppers, onions, and sliced mushrooms in olive oil. Add ground meat (or substitute) and cook until done. Sprinkle with Worcestershire Sauce (about 1 teaspoon). (if you're Jule, add Grammie's Salt. If not - you can skip this step). In a large pot, mix beans, tomatoes, and Chili Spice mix. stir gently to mix. Add vegetables and meat to this. (I add one small can of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes to this because I like Chili with lots of broth, but most people like it dryer, so you can leave out this step). Simmer gently for a while so the flavours blend. (if you're hungry you can eat as soon as its hot. If not, you can keep it on low heat for an hour. I cooked mine in the Slow Cooker for an hour on high and an hour on low).

Serve with a spoonful of sour cream on top and with Cornbread that has Parmesan cheese added to the mix. Or serve with grated cheese on top and Blue Corn Tortilla Chips.