Saturday, December 30, 2006


The flight home was delayed, not by the blizzard in Denver, but by the rain and tornadoes in Texas. Unwilling to heed the weather gods, we got on two planes, finally flew on one, and our luggage still hasn't made it home. Not much knitting action to report. Must sleep...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Lesson learned

So maybe posting a lukewarm book review and then offering up a copy of said book as a contest prize wasn't my brightest idea. Reading back, I see that my review may have come across as a bit harsh. (Note to self: refrain from using the word "yargh" in a book review. The statement about the dog sweater was probably due to my dislike of dog sweaters in general.) I do like the book enough to keep one copy in my library; I just don't need two copies. Honestly, I wouldn't dream of trying to fob off second rate goods on you fine people! Besides, my opinion of the book seems to be in the minority.

The contest will still be open through January 2nd. And yes, the winner will receive some yarn in addition to the book. It'll probably be sock yarn, if that's any incentive.

1.5 socks with tea

The Trekking socks are still in progress. Work slowed somewhat due to some discussions about fit I had with the Professor. Apparently he likes his socks to fit a bit more loosely than I like mine, resulting in some minor frogging. At any rate, these will be finished tonight. He already loves them. So do I.

We're heading to Colorado to spend a few days with the Professor's side of the family...that is, if we're able to fly into DIA on Sunday. The main reason for the visit is to celebrate his parents' 45th wedding anniversary on the 27th. Forty-five years! I want to be like them when I grow up.

Anyway, I'm trying to figure out what knitting to take with me. I've been longing to dig into this yarn ever since I got it.

Fearless Fibers superwash merino sock yarn, Brick House colorway
(it's a warmer red than shown here)

Oh yes. My fingers are actually twitching with anticipation. This is going to be good.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Book review and a contest

I wanted to love Knitting Loves Crochet. Really, I did...but I don't. I don't hate the book, either. My opinion could be summed up as, "Eh, it's OK."

First off, I think Candi Jensen is a great designer. I have all three books from her "Candy" series: Candy Babies, Candy Tots, and Candy Blankies. The faux shearling hat on the cover of Candy Babies is so cute it makes my uterus hurt, and Candy Blankies contains one of my all-time favorite blanket patterns. Based upon the high regard I have for these books, I ordered Knitting Loves Crochet sight unseen. After all, I love both knitting and crocheting, so this book should be perfect for me. Maybe my expectations were too high.

The Good
There are some cute knitted baby washcloths with crocheted edgings. I don't feel like I would need a pattern to reproduce them, but they're very pretty nonetheless. Also pretty are the beaded wristwarmers, although I would probably lengthen them should I ever make them. The tank on the cover is nice too.

The Bad
A granny square dog sweater and leash? Yargh. Likewise, I can't imagine either of my little nieces using the granny square backpack. I'm also scratching my head over the granny square afghan with the sewn on knitted border. Honestly, I would never sew a border on to an afghan when it's so much easier to just crochet (or knit) it on.

The Verdict: Heavy on Knitting, Light on Crocheting
Although not explicitly stated, this is a book geared toward knitters who have some interest in crochet. The book does contain some very useful information about picking up knit stitches to crochet (and vice versa). It also sheds light on an idea that many knitters already know about: It's easier to crochet a button band than to knit it. There is a wide range of projects in this book—women's tops, hats, scarves, pillows, bags, an afghan, and even a Christmas stocking. The bottom line, though, is that I'm unlikely to make many projects from this book. Your mileage may vary.

The Contest
After reading this review, you might be surprised to learn that I own not one, but two copies of this book. One I bought for myself, and one I received as a gift. Now, I don't need two copies, so I'm going to give one away. Just leave a comment on this entry for a chance to win. One entry per person, please. (Not a lot of people read this blog, so your chances of winning are pretty good!) Since I'm going to be out of town for a week, I'll leave the contest open through midnight, January 2nd. On January 3rd, I'll select a winner at random. The winner might also receive some know, to cushion the book.

Monday, December 18, 2006


I seem to be a bit of an oddity in the knitting world because I rarely have more than one or two projects going at any given time. Honestly, I'm floored when I see the lists of projects other knitbloggers have in the works. Am I really so utterly single-minded and unimaginative? Perhaps. What it really boils down to, I think, is that I like to finish projects quickly. I don't like having projects languish for months or even years. However, being faithful to one project doesn't mean that I'm not thinking about the next project or two!

Now that my holiday knitting is complete, I feel a bit of a let-down. I don't have that driving sense of purpose anymore. At the same time, though, it's nice to be able to relax and work on things at a leisurely pace.

still life: sock and tea

I've started on a pair of socks for the Professor. The poor man has been very patient. Of the 10 pairs of socks I've made so far, only one has been for him. He seems to be very fond of that one pair, too. In fact, he's started making sad eyes at his own feet whenever I wear a pair of my own handknitted socks. Now it's time to shower my dear husband with socks. I'm using Trekking XXL for the current pair. This yarn has been in my stash for quite a while, and I've been anxious to knit with it. It's a bit thinner and less squishy than other sock yarns I've used, but I like it. I have read comments from other knitters complaining about this yarn being splitty, but so far it hasn't been a problem for me.

It's quite fun to knit socks for the Professor, actually. He likes color! When I suggested gray, brown, and navy socks, he wrinkled his brow. No, he wants greens and blues and multicolors. What a lucky woman I am to have married the right man.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I see the light

The light at the end of the tunnel, that is. Here is my final piece of holiday knitting.

It's a London Beanie. This is the replacement for my nephew's failed Star Wars hat. I like it, although Lamb's Pride Superwash is quite a hairy yarn. It's almost like knitting with alpaca.

That's the final holiday knitting pile (minus one Clapotis that has already left the building). It isn't as large as I had planned it to be, but reasonably respectable. Next year will be bigger and better! Famous last words...

And now for some Friday Eye Candy, literally.

Homemade caramels! (I cut and wrapped almost 200 of them last night—very traumatizing). These don't last long in my house. Anyone want the recipe? Well, you're getting it anyway:

Creamy Caramels
2 cups sugar
2 cups half & half
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon liquid lecithin (optional)

*Do not omit the salt. It's essential for the flavor of the caramels. I actually add a heaping half teaspoon.

1. Line an 8" x 8" baking dish with parchment paper or nonstick foil. If no paper or foil is available, butter the dish liberally.

2. Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt, lecithin, and 1 cup of the half & half in a heavy saucepan. The mixture will bubble up considerably during cooking, so make sure the pan is large enough. (I use a 5 quart saucepan.)

3. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils, stirring frequently. Add the remaining cup of half & half, and turn the heat down to medium-low.

4. Cook at medium-low, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 247-248°F on a candy thermometer. Resist the urge to turn the heat up. The more slowly the mixture cooks, the darker and richer the caramels will be. (It takes about 45 minutes to reach the correct temperature on my stove.)

5. Remove pan from heat and stir in the vanilla. Immediately pour mixture into prepared baking dish.

6. Allow to cool completely, preferably overnight. Cut into 1 inch squares and wrap in wax paper.

Yield. 64 candies. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Episode II: Attack of the Clapotii

Two Clapotis scarves in one weekend! All right, it was one long weekend—Thursday night to Sunday. (Hey, I'm unemployed; a weekend can be any length of time I want.)

The green one is knitted in Lisa Souza Superwash Merino in the Olive Tones colorway. This yarn is deliciously soft, and the resulting scarf has an elegant drape.

The blue scarf is made from Reynolds Odyssey in the Denim Mix colorway (507). I love the subtle striping in this yarn. In fact, I would really like to keep this one for myself, but alas, it's destined for my sister. She'd better like it!

I've just about had it with scarves. Unfortunately, I may need to make one more...but at least it won't be a Clapotis. Also, I'm nearly finished with my nephew's replacement (non-Star Wars) hat. Socks are what I'd really like to work on, though. I'm going through sock withdrawal.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Two down

It was a productive weekend—more on that later. Today I'm helping the Professor with some work. It's finals week, and he got absolutely no sleep last night.

P.S. Thanks to Deb for featuring my scarf on her customer project Monday series. And many thanks to everyone who popped over here from her blog!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Hallway floors are good for blocking scarves. (Note to self: In future, warn husband about blocking-in-progress so he doesn't nearly impale his feet on the pins.)

I can't afford a cute French model.

To recap, this is a mini Clapotis knitted in Fearless Fibers Alpaca/Wool DK in the Navajo colorway. This yarn knitted up like a dream. Look ma, no pooling!

All folded up and ready to be given away.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


The Star Wars hat is finished. It just needs blocking. Whether it gets blocked is up in the air, because I sort of hate it. The size is not quite right—too deep and not wide enough. (Gauge swatches lie!) It's all my fault. This is what I get for not knitting it at the same gauge Carolyn did. (I used Knit Picks Telemark, a not-so-lovely yarn. The deep navy bleeds like crazy.) Since I need a hat to give to my nephew, I now have two options: (1) knit another Star Wars hat using a different yarn; or (2) knit a different hat entirely. Option 2 is sounding pretty good right now.

To remind myself that knitting does not, in fact, suck, I knit something I knew would turn out well.

It's an unblocked, rolled up mini Clapotis. The yarn is Fearless Fibers Alpaca/Wool DK in the Navajo colorway. It's fabulous stuff.
While this colorway isn't something I would have bought for myself—it skews a bit pink—I do think it's quite beautiful. I'm pretty sure the intended recipient will be pleased with it.

Yes, I know I'm late to the Clapotis bandwagon, but in my defense, I didn't know how to knit when the pattern came out. A couple of months ago I made a full-sized Clapotis for my mother-in-law. Must get a photo of that one before I wrap it up for Christmas. And, um, I'm about to start on another mini one. At this point I can knit the pattern in my sleep, and since I need to mail all my holiday gifts next week, I can't be too adventurous. (Besides, I get some kind of weird guilty pleasure out of dropping the stitches.)

Maybe I'm odd, but I like the purl side as much as the knit side.

I'll post better photos of the scarf once it's blocked. Life is good again.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Spurred on by Mary-Heather's comment, I joined the Stranded Colorwork KAL, which officially starts today. The KAL hostesses have asked a couple of questions:

What are your projects for this knitalong?
I'm making a Star Wars hat, inspired by Carolyn (pattern here, based on motifs found here). So far I've made a fair bit of progress.

My stitches look like hell. I'm hoping for some miracles to happen during blocking.

Carolyn's hat uses only the R2D2 motif, but I thought my nephew would also like to have some Storm Troopers. You can see in the photo that I started a row of Storm Troopers, but I didn't like how different in scale they are from the R2s, so I ripped them out. Anyway, I don't think my hat will turn out as nice as Carolyn's, but I'm hoping at least it will be wearable.

Is this your first colorwork project? If it isn't, what was your first, and has it survived the test of time?
Yep, this is my first colorwork project. I'm sure it won't be my last.

In other news—more bread.

Honey Wheat & Oat bread

I love to bake, and as a consequence, I make nearly all of my own bread. Nothing makes the house smell better.