Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pay it Forward

I saw this on Needlefinger's blog.

Thought I would play along.

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise!

The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

I won't go so far as to demand you be a blogging reader, I know the premise is to make it visible in blogdom. But there are ways blogless readers can pay it forward. They are connected through knit groups and friends. It would be easy for them to continue the movement without a blog.

So, who's game?

Monday, December 10, 2007


Photos of the finished sweaters...


Handspun Sweater, I did weave the ends in last night.

Briggs & Little


Tree Jackett

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Knitting on Cabblestone is Finished

I finished the knitting on Cobblestone last night and tried it on. I love it. Big and comfy but not too big. Pink but not too pink. Waist shaping would make it better but even so it's a good sweater. Maybe even a great sweater. Tonight I'll graft the underarms and tuck in the ends and it will be done. I can wear it on Thursday since I don't think we will be painting in Color Theory class.

Today I am wearing the other sweater I cast on and finished in November. I bought 4 skeins of Briggs & Little on sale and was so excited that I started swatching that night. 6 days later I had a finished sweater. And this time I was smart. I took out my favorite sweater of all time, a cotton sweater bought at Penny's a few years ago. I measured everything. The width, the armhole depth, the waist shaping and drew a schematic before I started. Then using knitting Without Tears I did an EZ percentage system saddle shoulder sweater with wast shaping and a panel of lace and cables down the front. It matches my schematics exactly and yet the hip shaping is a bit too abrupt and the waist shaping too high. Goes to show that measurements from a freshly washed cotton sweater don't transfer over well to wool. But overall this sweater is a succes. And the minor problems it does have can be fixed with a steam block. I'm wearing it right now.

I want to post photos but next week is the last week of school. That means 3 final projects, a paper, and portfolio review. I have very little motivation and have squandered my morning online. Having typed that I might be motivated to start working for the day.

Anyway, no photos this week or next. Maybe photos the week after. I have so much to show. It seems that I've been buying some yarn.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Just checking in

I haven't been blogging because my knitting is gotten in the way. I can't put it down long enough to download the photos. But I've finished the Tree Jacket, the Spartan Pullover, the Lopi Sweater, a Sweater of my Own Design out of Briggs & Little, and am 90% done on Cobblestone that I started since posting last.

Take that NaKniSweMo.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I've been Tagged. I'm of two minds about this. First was Whoohoo someone does read this blog. Love you Needlefingers. The other was dang I now have to do this.

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night? I didn't laugh last night. I was knitting. Fun but not funny.

2. What were you doing at 0800? Stopping at the store to buy cinnamon rolls for class. Mondays where I haven't finished my homework needs a little something extra.

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Playing around online.

4. What happened to you in 2006? Nothing good.

5. What was the last thing you said out loud? No, I did not bake the cinnamon rolls.

6. How many beverages did you have today? Just my coffee. I'd better go find some water.

7. What color is your hairbrush? Don't know, don't care. But my toothbrush is pink.

8. What was the last thing you paid for? Cinamon rolls.

9. Where were you last night? Knitting while listening to Kim by Kipling. I love books on tape.

10. What color is your front door? Gray.

11. Where do you keep your change? In a coffee mug, a bowl, another bowl, a carved wooden box, and the pockets of my coat.

12. What’s the weather like today? Dark, windy, and warm.

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? Rocky Road.

14. What excites you? Buying yarn, learning new things, and having people over.

15. Do you want to cut your hair? Yes, it needs a trim.

16. Are you over the age of 25? Yes.

17. Do you talk a lot? When I have someone to talk to I'm a chatterbox but I can go all week without talking to anybody.

18. Do you watch the O.C.? No, it's not still on, is it?

19. Do you know anyone named Steven? Steven and Stephen and if there is another spelling I know him too.
20. Do you make up your own words? All the time.

21. Are you a jealous person? No, I don't think so.
22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’. Anna

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’. Needlefingers

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list? Is that on my phone? I try to leave my phone alone. We are all happier that way.

25. What does the last text message you received say? See above. I like to leave my phone alone. If it rings I answer it. That's all a phone should do.

26. Do you chew on your straw? Yes.

27. Do you have curly hair? No, it's limp and thin. It could use a little curl.

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to? I haven't decided. Maybe Half Priced Books to turn a few of my books into cash.

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life? I can't think of anyone. I usually don't dwell on such things.

30. What was the last thing you ate? Cinamon rolls, already.

31. Will you get married in the future? I think not.
32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks? I haven't watched a movie since, what did I go see this summer?... Right! Spiderman 3 sometime in July. I don't care that much about movies.

33. Is there anyone you like right now? All my friends, but my family is giving me pains.

34. When was the last time you did the dishes? By hand? I think not. I ran the dishwasher yesterday.

35. Are you currently depressed? No, thankfully. That doesn't happen until mid winter.

36. Did you cry today? No, why would I?

37. Why did you answer and post this? Because it's my very first tag.

38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey. No, I think not. Let it die here.

Monday, November 05, 2007


I knit the sleeves up. Since the body of the sweater was so big I may have knit the sleeves a bit big too. Maybe by an inch, maybe even two inches. But when I was happy with them I did the math and I was right at 33% of 190. I used this as an excuse to do nothing to the body. It must be fate. Or me twisting the information to be what I wanted not what it really is. But is there a difference? So I’ll have another oversized sweater to add to my closet.

It could be pointed out that I don’t wear either of my 2 other oversized sweater and I rationalized this way. Both of them are 44” around this one is only 42” I’m sure those 2 inches will make all the difference. Also I’m going to knit 2 or 3 more inches to the body so it’s a long oversized sweater. I’ve learned my lesson that a 44” really short sweater never gets worn because it makes me look stumpy and heavy. The other one is long but I don’t wear it either. The ribbing flares out at the bottom after felting it a little bit in the machine to make it smaller. I am ignoring that it went into the machine because I wasn’t wearing it.

I’m just sure that the 2 inches will make all the difference.

No really, it will.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

At the Crossroads

Ok, there are a few ways I can deal with this.

Pull it all out and start over

Pull it out to the color work band, decide where around my hips it should rest, measure and map the inches to my waist, decrease away 30 stitches, the do the same and increase back up to the bust to 175 stitches or so.

The second is more complicated and much more prone to error and of course is the one I’m leaning toward. And do I want 160 stitches at the waist or more? Do I want my original 160 at the bust or do I now think that would be too snug? I’m pretty sure it would be too snug. Would 175 be better? Tinkerbelle was a Luster Longwool/Romney cross. Not soft at all, but surprisingly, not scratchy either and the yarn is shiny and smooth and a little crunchy with almost no drape. I’m now thinking 160 wouldn’t have been what I wanted either. All ready I’m scribbling out equations and feeling all sorts of unsure of myself.

I do know I want to make the saddle shoulder sweater from EZ No More Tears. So for now I’m putting the body aside and I’m knitting a sleeve to fit. EZ says the sleeve should be 33% of the body for this sweater so when I have the sleeve I can then figure out the bust size I want.

I really should just knit the sleeves first. I did that with the lopi sweater and it seems that I didn’t learn my lesson that ripping out and reknitting a sleeve is much nicer than doing that to the body of the sweater. I think I was too absorbed with the fact I had to rip out the sleeve. Now I know.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Some days I hate my brain. Oh, usually it works well enough. It gets me by in regular life. It has even garnered me an invitation to join Mensa. But in some ways, It. Just. Does. Not. Work.

I was knitting along on the Spartan sweater having a grand time listening to The Fellowship of the Ring and then The Two Towers on tape and at an inch an hour had finally almost finished the body. Well, the tape measure said the body was almost long enough but it sure looked a bit stubby to me. But who can tell all bunched up on circular needles. I kept on knitting. 2 inches later it was for sure long enough and the stubby look was still there.

With growing dread I pulled the knitting off the needle and beheld an incredibly wide sweater and not the slim sweater I had cast on. Hmmm, gauge problem? I had been checking my gauge all along and it was spot on. I check it again. Nope, it’s still fine.

I measure it, I try it on, I push it and stretch it. Nothing comes to me. I count my stitches 3 times. It is the perfect 190 stitches. Somehow it is still too big.

I finally pull out my calculation card with all the scribbled and crossed out and erased math bits. And right there. Right in the center. With a big circle drawn around it and little stars marking it was my cast on number.



Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Handspun sweater

We are going to avert our eyes from the fact that I have 2 almost finished sweaters on the needles and I will show the new sweater I cast on. We will also ignore the elephant in the room that I don’t have anything close to gauge and that I may not have enough yarn. We will refrain from speaking of the amount of math I will need to do to make this one come out ok. Instead we will talk about the lushness of the handspun and the shinny happy joy of casting on a new sweater.

I bring you Spartan Pullover in IK Fall 2006.

The white yarn is handspun wool from the sheep Tinkerbelle and the brown yarn is handspun Shetland Llama blend. The soft hairiness of the brown yarn against the silk like shine of the white yarn gives me chills.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lopi Sweater

With all of the talk about the Tree Jacket my Lopi sweater has fallen by the way side. But I still pick it up from time to time and am now almost done with the yoke.

But look at the yarn I have left. I bought the recommended amount for size M but I'm knitting the size S. I should have more than plenty. I'm almost done with the white part of the sweater and have barely used half of the first of the 2 balls it calls for. I guess if I was knitting the M I might have needed 2 feet or so from the second ball, maybe. But that is being generous I can't imagine even in the size M using more than one ball of white.

That is my last ball of blue. It's half gone and I still have plenty of knitting left. Now I'll have to knit faster so I can finish the sweater before the yarn runs out. I would have been in big trouble if I had actually knitted the size M. I seriously think sweater patterns designers just take wild guesses when saying how many balls of yarn a sweater will take. I will ignore the fact that my sweater is actually 3 to 4 inches bigger than the size S should be so my running loose with my gauge is what is causing this yarn shortage and not bad record keeping by the designer.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ok, it’s time to graft the tree jacket back together. I’m not sure about the arm shaping. The red circle shows were the first decrease is but the arrow is where I now think the first decrease should be. And the funny shape that the increases made (pointed to with the green arrows) I have a bad feeling about those. But I just can’t tell until I put the sweater on and I can’t do that until the sweater is all back together.

The 2 pieces of the tree jacket waiting to be grafted.

Grafting the first stitch.

Tangles happen all the time.

A few inches in, so far so good.

Woot! Two hours later and only a few inches left.

It’s all done and surgery scar shows. I hope that a good washing will relaxes the grafting edge. But it may not relax enough. My tension varied wildly as I grafted the two pieces back together and the extra knit row before the eyelets starts shows more than I hoped. I thought of that before I started but decided I wasn’t ready to learn to graft garter stitch together. I’m going to see if I can get used to it and if I can’t I bet I can cover it up with a bit of beading or embroidery or maybe a ribbon.
But look at the funny edge from increasing at the bust. It looks just like my Photoshop drawing said it would but I had sort of thought it wouldn’t be that drastic. I hope it falls better when I’m wearing it.

Good it does. The grafting scar still shows but the fit is just right.

Oops, not the arm. I need to give that another try.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Taking apart the Tree Jacket

The first step of reducing the bulk of the underarm on the tree jacket is to take the perfect body off of the very imperfect yoke. I started with snipping one stitch right above the body and pulling one row of stitches out. The live body stitches are put onto a circular needle and DP needles are used to tease the yarn out of its row. Doing this isn’t complicated but it does take care and with a clingy, furry, white yarn is a very slow process.

The first few inches are done.

With my fingers to see it better.

Look how well it is going.

Finally it’s done.

Sumi-e approves.

The next step is to unravel the Tree Jacket back to the safety pin that marks were the armhole should be. Then to join the body there and keep increasing at the underarms to bring the body stitch count back to the right number of stitches for re-joining and to knit new smaller sleeves. Once the sweater looks something like the Photoshop image I will try to graft the body back onto the yoke of the sweater.

I considered putting the increases in as bust darts for a more elegant fit rather than just increasing in the underarms. But I decided against it for all sort of reasons I can’t think of now. But it boiled down to keeping the raglan line going and that I wouldn’t have to think to do it this way. I won’t know for sure how it works out until I get the body back on.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tree Jacket

I finished spinning the alpaca yarn and have spent the last 2 weeks knitting it into the Tree Jacket pattern by Zephyr Styles.

It looks pretty good strait on with my arms to my sides.

I love the fit of the shoulders and the body but the armhole is too big around causing it to look sloppy and not feel very nice either. I like this sweater enough that I want to fix it. After 7 years of knitting I am a bit disappointed that only one of the 10 sweaters I’ve knit fit better than a sweater bought off the rack at the mall.

I’ve decided that if I want to change my average not only do I need to take more care in my knitting I need to go back and change things I’m not happy with. So right now when I try on my knitting I think “Would I pay $10 for this at Old Navy?” If the answer is “No” then I try to fix it. After all I’ll buy almost anything for $10 at Old Navy it’s not like I’m compairing it to $30 at JC Penny’s or $80 at Macy’s and as we all know the yarn cost a whole bunch more than $10 so I think it’s a fair test.

So now I just need to decide the best way to fix this. The neck is pretty good, the shoulders are just right, and the body is perfection. It’s I just need to remove about 2 inches of increases at the arms while keeping them at the body. More to come later.

This is what I want it to look like when I'm done. I want a size extra small armhole on the medium body without reknitting the whole thing.

Now to see if it will work.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Spinning Alpaca

This weekend was a good one. My first set of modular classes are done. My second ones are just starting and had very little homework this weekend so I was able to put it off. I was lucky enough to have friends come to visit and we went to the Renaissance Festival. It’s been 5 years since I last went and I am happy to say my favorite shows are mostly the same. I find it comforting that the performers change very little from year to year and that I can watch the same shows I watched back in 1998.

I did lots and lots of good cooking. All of it on the food stamp budget. I did have to save up all month to pull it off but I did. I should have taken photos since much of it was pretty. The Cherry Crepes with Kiwi and Pomegranate especially so.

Sunday morning once I had the house to myself again I sat down and spun this. It’s from a white alpaca fleece I bought at an alpaca farm. The alpacas were so cute and the price was right. I’m working on spinning enough for a small sweater. I think I’m half way there. Really, I should spin the whole fleece so I have a bit of room in my closet but a small sweater is a good place to start. I have a pattern picked out that calls for heavy worsted. I spun some yarn swatches and washed them and picked the one closest to heavy worsted to match but I didn’t bother knitting and checking drape or gauge with any of the yarn swatches. Yes, I realize that only doing half of the preparation work will likely give me the same bad results as doing none but I was ready to just start spinning. So cross your fingers for me.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Lopi Sweater

Tamara is knitting the Einstein Coat and after she mentioned that she liked the Lopi I pulled mine out of the stash to give it a try. Right away I had a problem. The Icelandic yoked sweaters come in a very few sizes. I had the choice of too small and too big. What to do? After all too big can still be worn and even if it’s sloppy looking it’s still warm. Too small is just too small. Negative ease looks good but there is a point it’s not going over the head. Would the smaller size still fit? Would I wear the bigger size? I started to swatch.

While swatching I had concerns about the color. I picked it online and I didn’t realize the tweed flecks were about the size of Tic Tac mints. I think it detracts for the color work. But I don’t have enough of the tweed to make a solid colored sweater so there was no choice but to go on. I picked a size and started on a sleeve. And while I still wish the blue wasn’t a tweed I think it’s ok.

But look at this.

That is my upper arm. I went with too big. There is no way I will ever wear a sweater this big. I’ll have to rip it out and start over on the smaller size. I think I’ll use larger needles to bump the spi down a bit so it will be small but not tiny.

Friday, September 14, 2007

How fast do you knit?

Yarn Harlot has asked on her blog how fast do we knit? I went home and gave it a try.

First I knit on the fixation socks on size 1 bamboo needles. I don’t much like these needles and I very much don’t like these socks. I got 28 stitches a min.

I then knit on my trekking socks on size 000 turbo circs and I got 34 spm.

But I thought I knit faster than that. I haven’t ever measured it but after 7 years of practice I’ve noticed I’m at the faster end of the knitters I know. Having read the comments I already knew most knit in the high 20s to the low 40s. Also most said they were knitting cold as I was and that they got faster as they got warmed up.

I decided to test that. I pulled out my wood dp size 0 needles. The needles that after years of use have just the right bent to fit my hand perfectly. My favorite needles. I dug out onLine sock yarn that I know knits with no splitting and cast on. In ribbing right out of the gate I got 34spi. After the ribbing I timed myself again. 40spi. That is more like it. I timed my self a few more times for longer durations and got 40 spm every time.

After tiring of that I picked up the trekking on 2 circs again and got 40spi. Ok good. Back to the fixation, 40 spm there too. Now that was gratifying. Warming up made a huge difference there.

This morning I started out cold again and still got 40 spm on my favorite needles and a bit surprising on the circs that I got 40spm there too, but was back down to the 28 with the fixation on bamboo.

So there it is. I knit socks at 40spm with whatever I use. Either right away or a after a bit of knitting. I knit at 40spm while relaxed over 10 min and while tense going as fast as I can for 2. It seems to be a constant.

I could be faster since I change dp needles with a bit of a flourish and a yarn flip that eats up 2 seconds each time. But I liked watching my hands doing it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Moby Dick

I have friends visiting in September for a long weekend. I can't wait and with the varied diets that we all need I'm planning now for the food. I love company. I love cooking for them. Cooking just for myself is dull, cooking for others is fun. So I'm going to cook fancy. To do that yesterday I went grocery shopping with last week and this week money and was able to put over 40 meals in the freezer. No recipes to post since it's nothing you haven't already seen here. My basic staples. But I also bought the ingredients for granola. I'll put that up when I make it in the next few weeks. Now that I'm set for me for a good long time I can start buying the things I need for that grand weekend. Wild Oats here I come.

The library didn't have The Tale of Two Cities. I was looking around and almost picked up The Great Gatsby which I have read several times. But I found Moby Dick. On Morning Addition every saturday Leann asks a person what they are reading. At the end of the segment she asks "what would you read if you have all the time in the world" My answer has been Moby Dick.

When I was in college I transferred from the biology department to the art department after my third year in school. And before you think that a bad choice since my biology degree was almost done, let me point out from flunking the math and chemistry and upper level biology courses and taking them twice, and a for a few 3 times, to pass I was barely past the freshman biology courses. It was high time I left that college since it was obvious to everyone but me from the beginning that I was never going to get through any chemistry classes and unlikely any of the upper level biology ones.

So I hit the art department with all of my electives done and only art classes left. Taking more than 2 art classes a semester just wasn't possible while working full time like I did. But I needed to take at least 9 credit hours to be a college student and keep my job. So I took every literature class taught by Mr. Gillespie.

Literature classes had a fairly light load of only meeting 3 hours a week and reading one book every other week with only a paper for each book as homework and a term paper for the final. So writing a paper every other week, a paper about my own observations, was a breezes against the right and wrong of chemistry or the full out long hours that had to be putting into painting. It's not that writing papers is easy for me. It's actually a struggle and I knew that I needed to read each book twice to understand it but Literature taught by Mr. Gillespie was something I looked forward to. Even after all of his years teaching he still had passion.

When taking American Lit from him we read some short stories by Herman Melville then moved on to Emily's poems. Mr. Gillespie was sad that Moby Dick was too long to read in class and even sadder that such a good book was not being read at all. That maybe pretty soon nobody would read it and it would be lost along the way. Exstict as a book. That stuck with me and I picked it up from time to time but never made it past the first page. But it was always the book I would read if I had all the time in the world.

Well with books on tape I do have all of the time in the world. I listen to something all day long anyway. Why not a book instead of the TV or the radio? There is nothing nicer than knitting to a good story. And Moby Dick is good. And funny. I would never have guessed. I'm laughing along with (and sometime at) this book more than any of Douglas Adams'. I thought I would make it through the first few chapters then put it aside after giving it a god try but I'm loving it. Already I'm thinking to the next time I'll 'read' it.

After all I was working on homework and concentrating and missed the why of the mystery men in the hold. Herman talks so much I was sure they would be explained again later so I didn't rewind. Well instead I have had harpoons explained to me 3 different ways, the ways to draw whales explained twice, the weather in china, the way to eat whale steak, what whales eat, how to name them, how to fall asleep while on watch, but not why these extra mystery people are in the hold. Hilarious!

I'm now well past that part and am waiting eagerly for them to pop up again. But I am sad of the foreshadowing in this book. Not subtle Herman. It's sad to know who is a goner by the end of the first disk. And did you say? Is Mr. Starbuck single? Not many hansom quakers in this part.

Ernest Hemingway is next and he will bring shorter clearer posts.

Monday, August 20, 2007

First Week of School

Lookie at that. I have been linked to. Thanks Needlefingers.

This is the first day of the first full week of class and I'm feeling good. You know that feeling when the whole semester is full of promise. When each class is just the teacher reading aloud the syllabus and letting us loose with the class supply list. When the homework is only reading 2 chapters. The best week of school. Give it two weeks and I will be gasping under the work load, I'm sure.

I have been knitting on a baby sweater of my own design. Since it's a gift I can't post photos but I'm surprised how hard this easy sweater has been to knit. I do think it's turning out well.

I have been sadly neglecting that sock I promised months ago. That sock that has been knit so many times I'm just done with the whole idea of knitting it. I still have to finish the pair since I traded for it. It goes to figure that after going through all I have with this sock I lost the ball of yarn for the second sock. And that right there sums up the whole fug this pair has given me.

The books on tape have turned out very well. After the Hobbit I listened to Sense and Sensibility and and am now listening to The Skies of Pern. I have to say that the classics are so much nicer to listen to than read. I'm thinking about a Tale of Two Cities next. You know, for the knitting in it. I tied to read it twice for fun back in high school but got bogged down in the writing style. I've found Jane has so much more flow when read aloud so I'm hoping for the the same with Charles. Doesn't it just sound wrong referring to them by there first names. They are much to proper for that, so it makes me giggle.

Off to buy a pica ruler.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Golden Chicken

After a summer of taking photography I don’t feel like taking photos. First, because I gave my life over to that class for 9 weeks and I am burned out on photos. Second, there is no way that the crappy digital photos I take with my little cheap camera can compare to those black and white photos. I’m mighty proud of them and I would show them to you except that it’s not worth the bother of scanning them all in. But so you know I’m showing everyone one I meet. Strangers even. But that ended over 2 almost 3 weeks ago so I expect to be over it all soon.

While I haven’t been posting I am still living the food stamp challenge. I was listening with half and ear but it sounded like that went to be voted on last week. I never went to check. But for myself I have learned if all you want to eat is natural yogurt, trail mix with M&Ms, fruit juice popsicles, and frozen burritos that $21 of food lasts 2 weeks. So I succeeded in 2 of my objectives this summer; not going over budget and not cooking anymore than I wanted to. I think it can be agreed that eating healthy didn’t make it.

Most of it isn’t worth commenting on but I did do 2 note worthy things in the last month. First, in July there was a meat sale at Price Copper and I went and picked up a whole bunch of meat after class one day. It appears that when I am working on 4 hours of sleep that I am completely unable to do basic math in my head. I added it up 3 times coming to $19, then $21, then $19 again. So I thought it was good. Once I get the same number twice I figure I’m probably right. I wasn’t. It came to $25 at the check out. Since I didn’t spend the full $21 the week before or the week after it was ok, but really that whole thing left a sour taste in my mouth. And I now have pounds and pounds of meat I have to cook. I’m not much looking forward to that. But I’m set for when I have company over.

And having company over brings me to my next story. Last week. No, maybe 2 weeks ago now. I invited my game playing friends over for supper and some games. 5 people if you count the baby. I went shopping that day and spent $25. See a trend there? $25 seems to be a recurring theme. Anyway that $25 bought a bag of onions, 10 lbs of potatoes, 10 lbs of chicken, 4 lbs of carrots, 6 cans of Cambles Golden Mushroom soup, and just because, a dozen eggs.

I go home and put everything but the eggs in my electric roster. That is 25lbs of food for those of you that are counting. 25 lbs of food for 5 people (one is a baby) and that’s when my Pickett gene kicked in. I looked at that 25lbs of food. I thought of the 5 people (one is a baby) and decided it wasn’t going to be enough. So I walked back to the store to buy snacks. $12 more for grapes, celery, gram crackers, and the fixings for pineapple gram cracker dip.

After all of that, one person was a no show so after 3 people and a baby ate all we could I had 30 meals to put in the freezer and all the gram crackers and dip I could eat the next few days. So I didn’t even bother getting more food the next week.

Golden Chicken
10 lbs chicken
10 lbs potatoes cut in fourths
4 lbs carrots cut in 3rds
4 lbs onions cut in fourths
6 cans cambles golden mushroom soup

Place all in roaster and cook until done.

So you are wondering at what temp to set the roaster aren’t you? So am I. I cooked it for 4 hours and in that time I set it for everything from 250 slow cooker temp so it wouldn’t burn (but would it be done in time? Would it ever be done? Would I die of food poisoning from the cold chicken?) to 400 roasting temp (but what about the poor potatoes? They will burn to a crisp). For most of the time it was set at 325 and I think that worked well.

I haven’t posted much about knitting lately. Well, this summer while taking 2 classes I didn’t knit much. I didn’t have much time, but more importantly than that since we can always make time for knitting. I had already used up all of my creativity with photography. I just didn’t have a need to make anything else. I was satisfied with that and with the design work I was doing in Intro to Graphic Design. So I spent whatever free time I had reading. I did knit one sock 3 times to get it right. That too added to my not wanting to knit much. And when I say ‘to get it right’ I don’t mean fiddly little stuff but so it would actually fit a human foot.

And I have read Harry Potter! A friend loaned me his copy. Isn’t he a sweetie? Because of that I know longer have to avoid spoilers for a year. And we all know how successful that would have been. In just the 2 week since the book had come out I was already quickly closing browser windows on knitting blogs and sticking my fingers in my ears and saying lalalala while listening to NPR Saturday shows. That last part burns me a bit. If you can’t even listen to public radio without running into spoilers who can you trust in this world?

When I was loaned the book I was getting ready to spend the weekend with my family. I knew I wasn’t going to have time to read it there. I decided to not read it until I got back on Monday. I picked the book up from Ted at noon on Friday. I stuck to my guns until 5pm. I started reading it then and finished at 4am. About 1am I realized that even trying to wait had been silly and that I should have started reading as soon as I got it and that I might have gotten at least a little sleep that way.

But back to the knitting. The last 2 weeks during break I started a few sweaters but none of them were holding my attention. I did do a lot of spinning. I spun while listening to 5 of Douglas Adams books. But after all of that I hadn’t made a dent in the fiber and only had about half of what I needed and I sort of wound down on that too.

Then while listening to the Hobbit I knitted mittens. I am almost done with mitten number 4. I had thought to knit mittens until this cone of yarn was gone but I with mitten 3 it started to loose its charm and besides the book was over. Maybe with my next book I can pick it up again.
I had been reading about books on tape on spinning blogs for a while now and they are fantastic. The trick is getting one with good readers but that is a crap shoot.

Oh, and while listening to the Douglas Adams Hitchhikers series I also knitted 3 felted bags between spinning 8 ounces of alpaca and 2 ounces of silk. See? 2 hard weeks of work and I’m still only half done, if that. But I’m spinning the silk at work night and that is fun. I should finish up with the other 2 ounces in the next 2 or 3 weeks. Then it’s back to doing finishing work there.

I really dislike the finishing work but just a few days ago I noticed I only had 5 things that needed the ends tucked in and buttons sewn on left in my FO drawer. That is amazing and it’s because of work night. Although, I feel sorry for everyone else there since I have to announce at least 3 time a night I hate finishing work and wish I had brought my spinning wheel instead.

I don’t think I will be ready for TGIF this Friday with the camera but I’ll try for next week since I do have quite a bit to show.

School starts tomorrow. Two days after summer classes finished I was burning to get back. Now after two weeks off I’m dreading it.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Just Dropping In

Summer classes are taking every second of my time. I have no time to knit, I have no time to cook, just no time. But I did find the time to read all of the Harry Potter books again. The buzz made me do it, even though I always wait for the paperback to come out. Yes, that is about a year, and yes, the wait is hard.

I haven't cooked or bought food since the last time I mentioned it. I have been out of town a bit but still the food I had lasted me about forever. Maybe because I'm spending about 11 hours a day on campus and I forget to eat lunch most days. That is very unlike me but I'm in a dark room (literally, I'm taking photography) and I loose complete track of time until I'm kicked out at 6pm and have to go right to my night class. I grab a bag of M&M and that's my lunch/supper for the day.

This morning deciding that if all I was going to eat was M&M at least I should buy them in a big bag instead of dropping 75 cents into the vending machine I got up at 7am to go shopping before the photo lab opened. I spent $22 and something cents and while it's not real food (no cooking needed) it will get me through the week and maybe next week too if I don’t have the time to go shopping during finals. However, it doesn't seem worthwhile to take photos or yogurt, cheese, frozen burritos, trail mix, soy milk, and fruit juice popsicles. But it's so hot in my apartment that nothing else sounds appealing and all of that I can throw in my bag and eat on campus too.

Knitting is in the same boat. I have absolutely no time to knit. So instead of knitting I'm starting. It only takes 20 min to start a project after all. I have started mittens, two pairs of socks (I put a pair of socks onto string so I could use the needles. I have that many sock WIPS right now), a shawl, arm warmers, and a sweater. There are only two weeks left of summer school. The thought of that actually leave me week and gasping. I haven't even started on my 15min presentation yet. Anyway, in two weeks I should be able to finish the sweater and maybe unravel the other started projects and get back into really knitting again.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Middle Eastern Stew

The first week is over and it went pretty well. I did eat out with friends at the café in the art museum for lunch one day. That whole day was spectacular. All other meals I ate at home. I had plenty of food and ended the week with 6 servings of lentils and rice still in the freezer. However, I missed my sweets. I finished off my lemon drink mix and had a spoon full of honey over nuts a few times too. I will make sure and keep some in the house from here on. I will try for healthy sweets like fruit, but this week I went strait for the snack cakes.

Grocery shopping was easer this week. I spent $20.95 and came home with 8 lunches, 8 snacks, and the ingredients to put 25 meals in the freezer. After cooking I still have half of my canned vegetables left to use a different week.

Middle Eastern Stew

1 T. oil
4 onions coarsely chopped
12 potatoes coarsely chopped (leave skin on)
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
6 cloves garlic crushed (4 cloves for a milder stew)
2 15.5oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ bunch parsley chopped (about a cup)
1 bunch green onions chopped (about 6)
cayenne pepper to taste

Add onions to hot oil in a large pot and sauté for 5 min. Add potatoes, tomatoes, and crushed garlic. Cook until potatoes are done. Add the chickpeas and heat until hot. Turn off the heat and add the parley, green onions, and cayenne pepper. This stew is even better the second day.

Serves 10

Curried Potato Bake

8 potatoes, boiled and mashed with skin still on
6 eggs
½ bunch parsley chopped (about a cup)
1 bunch green onions chopped (about 6)
1½ t. curry powder
1 t. hot red pepper sauce

Mix together and spread into an oiled baking dish. Bake at 375 for 40 min.
Serves 5

This recipe also makes excellent potato pancakes.
Spray a large skillet with vegetable oil cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Spoon 3 mounds of potato mixture into skillet. Flatten into pancakes. Cook flipping once. Takes about 5 min.

Corn waffles

2 packages Jiffy Cornbread Mix. Make according the package directions for waffles.
1 can corn, drained
½ cup chopped parsley.

Makes 20 waffles.

I like these plain but they are also good with ranch dressing, salsa, or honey.

Friday, June 15, 2007

T.G.I.F Friday

It’s TGIF Friday again. This week I finished a baby sweater. It’s a modified Baby Ole’ knit out of Sockotta. None of the babies that were waiting to be born when I started this sweater turned out to be girls so I’ll hold on to this one. It’ll be nice to be ahead in the baby knitting.

I’m farther along on the Weekend Sweater after having some gauge issues I’m now having problems with my yarn. It’s my handspun and I must not have been paying attention when I spun it, or maybe I spun with a long break between the batches. Whatever, but I have seem to have run out of the fat yarn I need for the sweater. The rest of the yarn is worsted weight instead of bulky. I’m now holding 2 strands together. It’s not affecting my gauge much but this part of the sweater is quite stiff. Bullet proof even. I’ve thought about ripping it all out and starting over with different yarn but the sweater is half done and looks so good. I’ve pretty much decided to keep going until it’s done. I’ll wash it before weaving in the ends so I can frog it to reclaim the yarn if it’s unwearable. So far this has not been a good year for me and sweaters.

I’m knitting fixation into rippled socks. Have I mentioned that Betsy said her socks are too itchy to wear? So she sent them back and I’m trying again. This project also is giving that little gnawing feeling in the back of my brain as I knit. I knit and washed a gauge swatch and it shrunk a full stitch per inch. So I took that into account when I cast on. But the socks are now so big I just don’t feel that it’s possible for them to shrink enough to fit. I’m going to wash the first sock before I start on the second to get that little negative voice to shut up.

My final sock I’m thrilled with. This sock is knit 100% while doing school work. I knit the ribbing and the turned the heel while reading the many chapters I’m assigned every night. The strait parts I knit under the table during the lecture portion of class. It’s sort of ironic that this is yarn is just the best to watch the stripping and that I’m knitting these socks where I can’t even see them. I’m also having to knit them on bamboo size 0 which I think is a little thick for this yarn. But I can’t handle 2 circs without looking. The fabric isn’t as firm as I like my socks to be but being able to knit during 4 hours of lecture is worth it. Summer classes are intense. May I point out that is 4 hours, 3 times a week, for 1 class. Intense.

The yarn I’m using is On Line and I think it will be my new go to yarn if all of it stripes as nice as this. Now that Opal and Fortisama and even Regia have priced themselves past the amount I’m happy paying for a commercial dyed sock yarn I have been looking for my new basic yarn. This is still moderately priced and the colors of my sock are stunning. Although, the display sock in the store was pretty hideous so they aren’t all winners. And it’s a bit hard to find. I have 4 LYS and only one of them carries the yarn. I mentioned to the owner that I appreciated her carrying it since it’s so hard to find and she said that it was a difficult company to work with. That makes me sad because in my fantasy world of yarns, yarn stores, and their suppliers everything is all milk, honey, roses, and fluffy angora bunnies.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Buying and Cooking The Food

The bones made 2 batches of broth. Or at least I thought I was making broth. As I cooled it before measuring it out into containers to be frozen, it gelled. It turns out I made meat flavored jell-o or consommé if you want to fancy. I’m going to use it as broth anyway and see how it goes. I saved 2 cup out for cooking and froze 8 more cups.

I went and picked out the recipe for this week. It’s very inexpensive and good, Lentils over Rice. I also picked out other things I might want to eat. I put it all in order of importance and headed to Wal-Mart Market the closest grocery store to my home.

In the parking lot I found a quarter, this must be my lucky day. I quickly picked up the ingredients for my big cooked recipe. I hope to get extra meals in the freezer right away. With the rest of the meals there were some hard choices and math but I got it figured out.

Since my kitchen is basically empty I won’t have a lot of variety this week. I’m ok with that. I actually like to eat that way on my own and will get into periods were I only want to eat the same thing over and over again. But this time I’ll have to and maybe that’s not as much fun.

I carefully added up what I was buying but mistook how much tax would be. When it came to $21.24 I decided it was fate that I found that quarter on my way in and used that instead of putting anything back. I have to say, that the last 4 years I lived in IL and they don’t tax food.

I was able to get one of my fancy foods. My daily snack will be Dannon’s All Natural No Artificial Anything Low Fat Yogurt. A 4 containers pack cost the same as 4 containers generic but each container is smaller. I’m ok with that because this is the only yogurt I like (and I love it) and whenever I buy the generic or even the other fancy brands I never finish a container anyway.

I need 28 meals (counting my snacks) and I figure I have 38 not counting the sausages. I’m also a hearty eater so we will see if I have 10 left in the freezer at the end of the week or not.

I feel that I did pretty well. I’m only disappointed in breakfast where I was only able to get eggs. My yogurt snacks might be used as breakfasts instead. I just can’t see eating eggs for breakfast every day for a week. Although, I should say now, I’m not really concerned. I haven’t eaten breakfast food at breakfast time in years. Like 10 years now. I’m more likely to have a pot pie for breakfast and the eggs for dinner.

Health wise, I think it is a little light on vegetables with one serving of broccoli a day plus the fruit in the yogurt and whatever is in the pot pie and egg rolls. That is typical for me but I will try to do better.

This week’s recipe is really inexpensive but one of my favorites. I’m aware of copyright and will only post my own recipes. This one is mine and I am pleased with it.

Lentils Over Rice.

1lb rice (use basmati if you have it, I didn’t)
1lb lentils (I like the black ones the best, but tan was all they had)
10 c. water (replace any amount with broth, I used 2c lamb consommé)
2 onions- sliced thick
4 cloves garlic- crushed
3 t. cumin (it costs less if you buy it in the Mexican aisle instead of the spice aisle)
4 hot smoked sausages- sliced (Bar S Hot Smoked Sausage package of 16 stocked next to
the hotdogs. Freeze the rest for later)

Wash lentils. Combine lentils, water, onions, and garlic. Cook in a crock pot all day on low. Half an hour before serving slice the sausages and add it and the cumin to the crock pot. Cook the rice according to package directions on the stove. The lentils and the rice will be done at the same time.

To serve, dish up the rice in individual dishes and top with the lentils.

I ate one meal and froze 9 more. After freezing, the lentils will not be as saucy and good. Add some water, about 1 tablespoon or so, before reheating in the microwave. And really, use basmati rice. Without it the dish just isn't the same.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

I cleared out my kitchen

I cleared out my kitchen. I decided to keep my opened containers of food since throwing them out would be wasteful. But I haven’t gone grocery shopping since April 28th so there wasn’t that much left.

My secret weapons.

An apartment sized deep freeze.

A crock pot, large stock pot, and a roaster.

A whole bunch of gladware freezer containers.

Open the deep freeze. I have a bag of lamb bones from the last time I roasted a lamb. I’m going to make homemade broth with it. There is also a pound of mystery meat.

It took a good long while but it’s done. I’ve cleaned out the science projects growing in the back of the refrigerator. I have condiments and some string cheese left. Yes, I do have 4 types of mustard, what of it? You can’t see the labels but I also have 3 types of vinegar in the bottom shelf in the door. And, yes I do need to buy my salsa by the gallon. Don’t you?

Inside the refrigerator freezer I have a package of hot dogs I keep on hand to give my dog medication. While it’s not for me I’m not against eating it if I have to. I also have a little bit of shredded cheese left. I do keep a lace shawl in the freezer. It is pretty, isn’t it?

The freezer door is full of nuts. They are just too good to let go of. But seeing as I am hoping to do this for a year and not a week I’m keeping them. I have pecans, almonds, walnut, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds all bought for a stuffing and baking I didn’t do last thanksgiving. Maybe now I’ll find a use for them. There is also half a bag of raspberries also bought for thanksgiving.

I put away all of my canned goods. Some I am donation to a food pantry but most of it I’m keeping just in case this doesn’t work out. If it does it will get donated too.

3 bags I donated to my apartments food drive.

7 bags that I will keep until the next apartment food drive or I realize that this actually is impossible.

I have a cabinet holding open containers of sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, and honey. There are also jars of home made jam that I am keeping. They were a Christmas gift and don’t count. On the bottom shelf there is an open box of tea and a container of lemon aid drink mix.

My cooking cabinet. The top shelf is baking supplies. The middle is red pepper and garlic and other savory spices. The bottom shelf is sea salt and pepper and, may I brag a bit, a container of saffron.

I there is the spice rack on the counter. Along with vegetable oil and spray and some pancake syrup. It’s that syrup that decided me on keeping the open containers. There was no way I was going to toss out any amount of Mrs. Butterworth’s.

The dry goods cabinet with corn meal and some black wild rice.

My flour canisters. It turns out I only have corn meal and a little bit of whole wheat left.

There you go a practically empty kitchen. Now to buy a week’s worth of groceries.

I’ll go ahead and start the lamb bones for broth.