Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Blue Skies

This the shawl that I knit for my church's Harvest Festival Silent Auction. I am happy to say that the church raised $13,500 for Steppingstone Scholars. Steppingstone Scholars is a Philadelphia based organization that helps under-privileged children prepare for college.

The pattern is the Lavellette Shawl, which I first saw when my friend Andrea did a test knit (RAV link) for the pattern. It was an easy lace pattern and made a very elegant piece. I used one skein of Tess' Superwash Merino Lace Weight. I think of the color as being Virgin Mary Blue, but my Catholic friends have corrected this Presbyterian girl. Oh well.

Most importantly, I chose it from my stash because it reminded me of Nan Somerville, the force of nature that started the Harvest Festival and ran it for 30 plus years. Nan passed away this past year and left a huge hole in our congregation. Her daughter, Margaret, stepped into the breach and did a brilliant job organizing this year's festival. This blue was one of Nan's favorite colors and I know she would have approved. And then asked me, "So what are you going to make for next year?"

Saturday, October 31, 2009

More Picots, Please

When I first became aware of the Landscape pattern I only knew it as a huge shawl, not a scarf. As a shawl, I had zero interest in the pattern...endless stockinette, endless seed and moss stitch... ick. Then Marissa the Marvelous started knitting the scarf version. She was using lots of Koigu millends, some of which I had enabled the purchasing. I'm a good friend like that.

We were having coffee one afternoon and she was knitting away on it. I had never done picots before and was a little fascinated by them.
The pattern calls for picots on every other row. Marissa, who thinks that more embellishment is always better, was putting them on every row. I too became a little obsessed.

She kindly and trustingly let me wear her scarf one afternoon. I loved it. She pried it out of my hands before we parted company. And I began planning my own.

I dug into my cache of millends and selected a bunch to mix together. I started knitting, randomly switching yarn and using a Russian join for the transitions. Love that Russian join!!
Mine also had to have a bazillion picots. Knitting them is so much fun! Particularly in Koigu, because you are always looking to see what color they are going to be. This is one time where surprise in knitting is a wonderful thing.
I love my little scarf...so jaunty...so insouciant! My friend, Suzanne, thought it was pretty cool, so I made on for her too. I cannot wait for her birthday! This time I upped the needle size a smidge and hers has better drape.
You would think that after all these picots that I would be done. You would be wrong...Bring'em on! I have been eyeballing the Boneyard Shawl's (Rav Link) picot edged version for some beautiful alpaca lace weight that I scored at Rhinebeck. Now I just need to be disciplined enough to get my Christmas knitting done before I cast on. I'll let you know how that goes...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A First Time....

...some good, some questionable, some weird.

Many, many thanks to my dear friend Anj, who invited me to drive up to Rhinebeck with her and stay with her delightful Aunt Judy and Uncle Wynn at Herron Farm. I got to pet the llamas, feed the alpacas, check out the chickens and threaten to make soup from the rooster who woke me up every half hour both mornings. Who knew that roosters come with a doze function?

The weather report for the weekend was grim and it looked like the Nor'easter was targeting Rhinebeck. Amazingly the rain skirted the festival...not a drop landed. The sky was overcast, but the lack of sunshine meant it was cool enough for all of us to show off our hand knits!

Not all of the hand knits were equal. Dude, I hope your friends don't see my blog. How could you let her do that to you? Guess we know who wears the pants in that family.

I spent a lot more time with the animals then I ever have at MDS&W. There were tons of cute sheep, goats, alpacas and llamas. I got in some serious heavy petting...met a new boy friend, Buster Brown. I was too busy petting him to take his picture.

A couple of us made out with this llama, Biscotti Chips. She was pretty promiscuous and doling out kisses to everyone. I think Judy was trying to figure out how to get this cutie into her car. First time I have ever had llama kisses or seen one so affectionate and approachable...to everyone.

I fondled a lot of yarn, but bought very little, just enough to not feel deprived and not too much, so no feelings of guilt. I try very hard not to mix guilt and yarn.
Now, on to the downright weird. Have you ever seen an egg that didn't have a shell?

It was a little old by the time I got to see it. It was shriveling up and drying out. The membrane felt like really fine grit sandpaper.
They have had other egg anomalies at the farm. One of the eggs had three yolks. Does that mean it has triple the cholesterol?
I am already looking forward to returning to Rhinebeck!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Pattern: James Dean Hat (Ravelry link) - designed by Lisa R. Myers

Yarn: Noro Kureyon ( one gallon ziplock bag full of scraps leftover from the huge Hexagon Blanket....yup, a lot of spit-splicing in these babies! God knows how many colorways are in the mix.)

Needles: US7 24" circulars

I whipped these hats up in a few days for donation to charity. It was the perfect use for my ziplock of scraps...some only slightly longer than a yard. As I said above there was a lot of spit involved. When I was all finished I had about a yard left over.

This is a great pattern, and my first time knitting it in the intended gage. I have knit tons of these using Koigu and giving them away as baby gifts. Those are always a hit.

Its a fast knit, but not entirely mindless. The skills needed for the project are a provisional cast-on, short rows and a 51 stitch Kitchnered finish. The good news is that you jump into the kitchner groove at about 7 stiches and cruise from there.

A huge thanks to my oh-so-fabulous models that I met in Rittenhouse Square. BTW, they lovvvvved my hats!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


The girls who knit, know that I haunt the window at Rittenhouse Pet Supply. They use their window for kitty adoptions and I love me some kittehs. When I was working and having a horrible day, I would stop by and hold a kitten. Purring kittens make all evils go away.

There have been many close calls, when I thought yes this is the one I want to add to my family. And many times that I talked myself out of it...wrong sex...bad timing...whatever. Then I saw this little man in the window. Adopted yet? No- Check! I asked, boy or girl, with my fingers crossed. Little boy- Check! And the second I picked him up he started purring loudly. He was totally at ease and content to hang out in my arms, staring up at me. I was smitten.

The night I brought him home, he went to knitting circle first and met his knitting aunties. He got passed around the room and everyone got a chance to hold him. Everyone approved my choice.

Coincidently my mother and I both hit on the same name, Ajax. Think hero of the Iliad, not the cleanser. Its hard finding a good boy name...pull out Bullfinch's Mythology and give it a try.

Here he is checking out my fathers mustache for leftover dinner morsels. Mmmmm....is that mushroom soup? Maybe a little au poivre sauce? Delish!

Ajax was the only boy left in his litter when they were in foster care. They would all curl up in a kitty pile to sleep and he was missing his sisters. Artemis is not the snuggling type, but he has high hopes for Toscabelle. This is Ajax in the middle of a yawn and roll--his goal is spooning with Toscabelle. On his next roll she bopped him on the head with a mighty hiss and sent him running.

She still will not snuggle with him- poor lad. But they do have a fabulous time chasing each other around the apartment. Its pretty funny. Now that he is completely at home he has also found the voice that no one heard at the pet store. He talks more than Artemis and Tosca combined...nonstop. Its such a funny little voice for a kitty with so much swagger.

I love my little man!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Hexagon Finale

Once upon a time a talented designer, Megan Rogers, got the Noro bug and knit a hexagon blanket. I was mauled by the bug...badly. My hexagon fascination grew by leaps and bounds. There was no stopping me.

I knit through mountains of Noro and thought I was only going to make this blanket the size of a couch throw. It was wonderfully warm knitting it this fall with Toscabelle often nested in its folds.

Well, the blanket was a Christmas present for my parents. It was not quite finished on Christmas morning, but almost. This beast, even when I thought it was throw size was too big to block in my home, so I knew it would be unblocked under the tree. Washing this blanket was a huge challenge...several trips through the bathtub with Soak and a spin cycle in Mom's front loader.

Blocking was a family affair-- mom, Muffy and I stretching and pinning, EB supervising. It grew and it grew. The finished product was big enough for a twin-size bed.

Here's EB happily snoozing under his new blanket! Snug as a bug...

I don't think I will ever invest the time and huge amounts of dough into making one for myself, but my fixation with hexagons continues. Now that a crochet hook has been put back in my hands, I have visions of small crocheted Koigu hexagons wrapping my neck.

And for those who love Meg's designs...check out her two new patterns in the Spring Twist Collective.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hearts and Flowers

Happy Valentines Day, everyone! Valentines Day is traditionally not my favorite day, probably because I am without a sweetie...le sigh.

I have however finished my Hedgerow socks. Yeah, it took me almost a year to finish these. I cannot tell you why. Love the color--just look at this yumminess. It is Socks That Rock light weight in "Bleeding Hearts". I will confess to being a bit disappointed that after very little pooling on the ankles that it did start doing way funky things once I turned the heel. Next confession is that I managed to screw up a simple four row repeat, but at least I was consistent through the whole pair and they still look great. The socks are comfy and warm. I am now looking forward to knitting up more of my STR stash. Next time I will go down in needle size just a smidge...Addi's vs anything else in 1s. And I will go toe-up, I have short feet, only size seven and the cuffs weren't particulary long, but I finished with only about a yard to spare. It was a nail biter!

Well, no sweetie in sight, but these beauties arrived yesterday...

Tosca was very appreciative.

And no, I did not mug a delivery guy on the street.

Thanks, Daddy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Comfort Continued

So, in the midst of this freakishly warm weather I am still in comfort mode. I am a realist and know that by the end of the week I will be back to mad layering. Last year Marissa made fabulous leg warmers from Noro Silk Garden in a handful of colorways. I coveted those leg warmers and settled for making my own. I am using Noro Kureyon for mine in two colorways, 188 and 207. I am doing mine in a k2p2 rib and knitting two rows of each color ala Jared Flood.

I knit them long enough to pull flat over my knees or pushed down slouchy below. They are knitting up fast and that is a good thing...I may need them this weekend.

Comfort part deux has come in the form of food. I am not sure what has come over me, but I have been cooking. First I made a killer batch of chili in my slow cooker. Next came two dishes of pumpkin chocolate bread pudding. I took one to my first attendance at Anjeanette's Fiber Night. Anj and her wife Sue are fantastic hostesses. I was really impressed with the bread pudding if I do say so myself. I found the recipe on Epicurious.com, it was from the October 2007 issue of Gourmet magazine.


1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
5 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old baguette or crusty bread
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 generous handful of chocolate morsels (this is my twist...everything is better with chocolate, right?)
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Whisk together cream, pumpkin, milk, sugar, eggs, yolk, salt, and spices in a bowl.
Toss bread cubes with butter in another bowl, then add pumpkin mixture and toss to coat. Mix in chocolate morsels. Transfer to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


There has been a little too much comfort food this week. First I read Pozy Gets Cozy and became obsessed with her Coconut Custard. I have never baked a custard before--can it be done and still jiggle abit? Apparently, yes...

Turns out that it sets up after being out of the oven for a bit. (Its so good to have an aunt who is a cooking whiz!) The recipe is easy-peasy and really yummy. Bake up a bit of comfort for yourself.

Wednesday for dins, the girls and I went to Devil's Alley. I indulged in their mac and cheese. So so fabulous...my arteries are clicking shut just thinking about it. The crowning touch to their mac and cheese is tomato jam. I know a lot of people serve stewed tomatoes with theirs, but I often find the tomatos really acidic. This was sweet yummy bliss.

And because I cannot seem to get enough coconut this week, I had to stop at Brown Betty Petite and get a cupcake...chocolate with cream cheese icing and coconut. Somebody please stop me.

Fortunately not all comforting things this week were food related. I knit up this cozy hat using some of the alpaca from the visit to Southwind Farms. The pattern is Felicity (Rav link) by Wanette Clyde. Super quick knit, nothing tricky--my only suggestion is that it seems to run a bit on the small side. I got gauge (I know!) but ended up ripping it out and going up a needle size so the hat wouldn't shoot off the back of my head. I might give this another go, adjust for a chunkier yarn and add a little more length in the top to give it more slouch.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oh MY!!!!

David has a huge unit!
(giggle, giggle)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cuckoo for Cowls

They are everywhere, everyone is knitting them, and Ravelry has a zillion patterns. What could be better for a quick, cozy Christmas gift? Oh yeah, and an excellent stash busting exercise as well!

Here is Sherry, modeling the Tamarind Cowl (Ravelry link). I knit this using one skein of Manos del Uruguay. This is a free pattern download! Loved knitting this, very easy, quick and visually interesting. The recipient loved its lipstick red color...Philly in the winter needs some punchy color.

Cowl number two was knit with one skein of Manos as well. The pics of this, not so good. This is the Darkside Cowl (Ravelry link). Not a bad knit, but I am not certain that this was the right pattern for the right yarn. Love the color, but it might have needed a yarn with less substance and more drape than the Manos.

This is the Aibhlinn, knit with some modifications. The original pattern is for a very loose drapey cowl that you could pull up over your head, like a smoke ring. I cast on only 101 stitches to make a much closer fitting cowl. The yarn is from the fabulous alpacas of Southwind Farms, that I scored on last year's New England road trip with the girls. It is so soft and smooshie, I have started knitting a hat with some other yarn I got there. The other thing that I love about this cowl is the bobbles...my very first! Now I am almost as much of a bobble fan as Marissa. Okay, maybe not quite as bobble-crazed, but I am working on it.
Having knit three for girlfriends, I decided that I needed some for myself. This is the Stacked Eyelet Cowl. I bought this skein of medium weight Socks that Rock in the Hard Rock colorway several years ago. We had a love/hate relationship...so ugly that surely it was cool. I couldn't visualize this as socks and had no brilliant ideas on how to use it. Then this cowl came along and it looked like the design would hold up well to a high contrast yarn. I zipped through this one, and really love the results with one small catch. When I washed it, all umph left the yarn and now I have a yarn necklace rather than cowl. I'll be ripping this back and taking about 2 1/2 inches out of the circumference. There was a ton of yarn left over, so I made myself some wrist warmers to match. They have been a big hit since I have the heat turned down low.

This week's cowl is a modification of the Bubbles & Cables Cowl (Ravelry link), knit in Plymouth Suri Merino. The color....why Lisa Blue...of course! I have been wearing this all week. LOVE IT! Alpaca, Lisa Blue and bobbles, what is there not to love?
I don't think this is the end of my cowl kick. There are way too many great patterns out there, and lots of yarn in my stash. And right now I can use some instant gratification in my life.