Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Hitchhiker, nemesis socks, and a cowl for my MiL

I have more projects than usual on the needles right now, and I'll share the main three today.

I've been really digging the Hitchhiker pattern, but was stressed about the fact that I don't have 500+ yards of any one sock only means I'll have a shorter piece, so I eventually bit the bullet and cast on. I'm using the 'Whale Watching' yarn that I got in Juneau that's been burning a whole in my stash for 2 months. Love. It. Love the way it's knitting up, love the flecks of silver, love the pointy points in the pattern. Overall, huge success. My pal Mel is also knitting this right now (in a gorgeous deep green), and she has nicknamed hers "dragon tail". Not to be outdone, I've named mine "stegosaurus tail".  I love dinosaurs, the points look like plates...why not? (Also, pretty sure a dinosaur would destroy a dragon in a street fight).

My nemesis socks. Seriously. I rue the day that I picked up this yarn and couldn't put it down. Because that's how it was - ask anybody that was there. I was all torn about it, like 'oh, I don't want to spend the money' but also all like 'gosh, I've always wanted a nice pair of pink striped socks' I bought it. And I hate it. It's not the color, I really do love the color. It's the fact that it's not plied. And this is my first attempt at 2-at-a-time socks, and the two strands just keep trying to grab each other and hold on. Ensue tangling, swearing, and throwing of project. I had intended to rip it out, but then I realized I was already halfway through the heel flap, so I really need to just finish. But for the record: hate.

And my MiL's cowl. This is surprisingly fun to knit. I say surprisingly because I traditionally like patterns that I can knit while not paying attention. This one requires a moderate amount of attentiveness, but I've got it under control. She picked out the yarn and approved the pattern...I really hope the finished product is perfect!

Monday, August 13, 2012

stripe study: complete

I actually *have* been knitting, just not blogging much. Major props to the creative folks who do both on a regular basis.

The stripe study was my Alaska/Seattle travel project, and it shows. There are some minor bobbles here and there where you can tell I was knitting while toasting the bubbly, or trying to knit on a bumpy flight. Ultimately, I'd rather spend my time knitting and not un-knitting, so I left it as-is.

My only other complaint is that I ran out of red yarn and couldn't include the last stripe. That's partially my fault...while I had more than enough yardage, I did go up a needle size since I'm a tight knitter. So I bought 440 yards of the gray and 440 yards of the red - ran out of red, had a whole extra skein (220) of gray. Snap. I'll definitely knit it again, with different colors next time. I'm thinking gray and a bold raspberry or maybe gray and a deep purple. Or maybe I'll go outside of my color comfort zone and do something really different (riiiiight...we'll see!).

More FOs and UFOs to come...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

i knit a sweater, yo!

I have unofficially declared 2012 "the year of finishing stuff". I actually have so much to do that I don't even know how I can finish it all. And that's assuming that I don't start anything new (ha!). One of my 2011 goals was to knit a wearable, so I started the Asymmetrical Raglan Cardi from the Fall 2010 issue of Knit Simple. At a certain point I got a little bored with it and it was cast to the side. For months and months. So I put it on my 2012 list of things to do (or in this case, finish).

And I did. And it is lovely.

I love the textured detail at the edges and collar:

Ends are weaved, but the buttons haven't been sewn on just yet. I got some lovely brown buttons made from coconuts. I think they will bring out the brown flecks in the tweed yarn. Love, love.

Now all I need is cooler weather so I can show 'er off!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

yarn love - Alaska edition

I loved Alaska. I could have been blogging every day since my return about how incredibly incredible the trip was, but to be honest, a picture's worth a thousand words, so check out my trip pics on Flickr.

One part you won't find in the photos is my visit to a local yarn shop in Juneau - Seaside Yarns. Incredible spot (a 3 minute walk from the dock), with a fantastic yarn selection and an even more fantastic shop owner. By the way, she has her own ETSY shop, because she hand dyes some really gorgeous stuff. The shop is empty now because it's high tourist season, so go and fav it now and revisit it in the Fall/Winter. Or email her with requests and she'll help you out.

The green on the far left is a sock weight, hand-dyed wool blend. The middle skein is also a hand-dyed sock weight, but it also includes flecks of sterling silver. I HAD to buy it because the colorway is "Whale Watching", which is what we were going to be doing that day...and also because it was the most beautiful yarn ever. And as it happens, it was the most amazing whale watching trip ever. The yarn on the far right is a qiviut (muskox wool) blend. SO soft, so amazing.

Can't wait to get started with the knitting...and then probably order more. I love supporting someone so passionate about their work and their product! Seriously, check her out.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dueling stripes scarf

When I started planning out my 2012 projects, my favorite brother-in-law put in a request for a scarf. Easy enough, right? Surprisingly, picking a pattern and a yarn was much tougher than I thought it would be. If you're giving a handmade gift, there's pressure for it to be right, and doubly so when it was a special request. Triply so when it's for your favorite BIL. 

I finally decided on the famed Noro striped scarf that uses two colorways of Silk Garden. I fell in love with two Chroma colorways, and off I went! It was a fun knit, and I love the way it turned out. It stood up to the Alaskan wilderness, so I'm calling it a success. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

eggplant and goat cheese "sandwiches"

I am completely on a roll with Pinterest recipes. I saw this eggplant and warm goat cheese "sandwich" recipe last week and I knew. I just knew. I don't have much experience with cooking eggplant (read: I have zero experience cooking eggplant), but I love eating it. This recipe inspired me to get over my fear of the mysterious purple gourdish vegetable - and I'm so glad I did!

First, let me say that the recipe is a little spotty on details for someone with no eggplant experience. Ultimately, I just tossed the 1/2 inch slices in egg, then in gluten-free bread crumbs mixed with parm. Then I fried them in olive oil until they were tender and golden, laid them on a cookie sheet with a 1oz scoop of goat cheese in the center of half the slices. I baked at 350 for about 8 minutes, spread the cheese around and topped with an un-cheesed slice of eggplant.

For next time, I will lightly salt the eggplant ahead of time, add some extra herbs into the egg mixture, and I will top the goat cheesed slices with some super sweet maters, sliced. (Jose garnished his with bacon and seemed to really enjoy it).

Also, I'll use a tomato-based sauce next time. I had just whipped up a batch of pesto, and I just couldn't pass up an opportunity to have some.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WIP: Stripe Study Shawl

My latest obsession, er work in progress, is the Stripe Study Shawl. I needed a good knit for my Alaska trip and my friend Mel suggested this one. SUCH a good suggestion! It's involved enough to not be boring, but not so much that I need to concentrate much. Very social! I'm about halfway there and really looking forward to finishing!

Monday, June 25, 2012

zucchini tots. winning!

We have so so so much zucchini in the garden right now and I know there's much more to come. I've been on the lookout for new zucchini recipes on Pinterest and yesterday I found a winner. Zucchini tots. The tots require a mini muffin pan, but we don't have one. I doubled the recipe and made them in a regular muffin pan...the result: delicious zucchini cakes. WOWZERS! Only a few ingredients and very minimal prep work. I decided at the last minute to try them and I had all of the ingredients right here (including zucchini fresh from the garden). I'll be making these again - probably this week! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An Evening with Charlaine Harris

Over the past few years I've come close to meeting Charlaine Harris (at conferences or events close to home), but something always comes up and I keep missing my chance. I read her blog a lot for book recommendations and we have similar tastes, combine that with my love of the Southern Vampire books, and it's obvious why I really wanted to meet her.

I had to go to Winston-Salem to get it done, but it was well worth the drive. She was gracious and sweet and everything you would hope for when meeting a favorite author. She signed my copy of Deadlocked, and I had some delicious blood orange  punch. Following the signing, I went to "A Conversation with Charlaine Harris". A few of my fun takeaways from the evening (possible spoiler alert - not from Deadlocked, but other books in the series):

The Harper Connelly series is being made into a show for SciFi. I haven't read it yet, but it's on my list.

After the final Sookie Stackhouse book is written, she is starting a new series called Midnight Pawn and it will feature some of her favorite characters from across all of her books.

She said she actually enjoys killing off her favorite characters sometimes, and apologized for killing Claudine. She said she was really in a housecleaning mood and that she made a mistake there.

One audience member asked what fictional character she would want to have her back in the event of a zombie apocalypse and she said Jack Reacher. I'm still trying to figure out what my answer is.

She said that the Sookie books will end the way she envisioned them ending from the time she began writing them. Also, she never planned to write in were-animals and witches and fairies, but she got bored and spiced things up.

15 publishers rejected the first Sookie book before one finally accepted. Crazy, right? she said their concern was where to shelve the book since it's a cross-genre piece.

The moderator took some questions from the audience (including me!). She had mentioned that Alan Ball has creative control over True Blood and that she liked some things that he's done. So I asked what changes she liked most and which ones surprised her (I told her my fav was the retention of Lafayette). She agreed that Lafayette is great and that Alan's interpretation of him is more fabulous and fun than hers had ever been. She said she really loves Jessica's character, that it adds a lot to the series. She said Alan will never introduce Bubba because he's afraid it will be too over-the-top cheesy, and she agrees.

So, yeah. It was great, and well worth the money to get the VIP package. I'll never flip flop on whether or not to meet a favorite author...I think it's always worth it. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

31 things to do before I turn 31

Melanie got me on the idea that I should make a list of 31 things to do before I turn 31 (September 23, 2013). So I have time, I just need the list. Check out what I have so far and help me add to it!

1. knit with buffalo yarn - I've heard it's marvelously soft and luxurious. And expensive. I must acquire some and knit with it.

2. finish two quilts - I've started a few, but I need to come full circle. Finish strong!

3. make and can apple butter - For two years I've said I would do this and I haven't. I need to buckle down and make it happen.

4. go snorkeling - I love the water, but I've always been scared of it. Scared of drowning, scared of sharks. Now that I can actually swim, I want to make my snorkeling dreams come true.

5. paint/organize the hall closet - This has been on my to-do list since we moved into the house (three years ago!). Has to get done.

6. participate in a color run 5K- These look ridiculously fun...and there's one in Charlotte this year. Gotta do it.

7. make pickles - Again, I say every year that I'm going to make pickles and I never do. Boo. Now is the time!

8. finish the Game of Thrones series - I'm stalled in this series because I'm watching the show and alot of the content aligns. I need to just commit and get through the first 1.5-2 books to new storylines!

9. catch a drumstick from Fred - CHECK! Did this just a few months ago. Been trying for a while, which made my success THAT much sweeter!

10. make progress towards writing a book - This has been on my to-do list since I was 7. I think it's time to just do it.

11. get Puggie to the beach - When we thought Puggie might have cancer, all I could think about was the number of things I wish I could do with/for her. She loveloveloves the sunshine, and I think she'll love the beach. We're on our way there this weekend, with BOTH dogs in tow! Hope she enjoys the warmth, the sand, and the salty air :) Oh, and she definitely doesn't have cancer. She's a healthy girl!

12. get a facial - I always say I'm going to treat myself and I never do. But I should. Before turning 31.