Monday, July 24, 2006

Monday is Snack Day

Everyone seems to be blogging about food today, and I'm no exception. I made chocolate-chip banana muffins yesterday, and felt that I should share the chocolate goodness with all the other bloggers out there. So, without further ado,

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 squishy mashed bananas
2 eggs
1/3 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 c flour
About half an 8-oz bag of chocolate chips

You know what to do. Mix it all up in the order given, spoon into a muffin tin (a measuring cup works well for this), and bake at 350 F for about 20-30 minutes. (For my fellow Coloradans who live above 5000', I set the oven to 345 and baked for 25 minutes.) Makes about 24 muffins. This time I happened to have mini chocolate chips on hand, and they distributed nicely throughout the muffins, but regular chips will work just as well. The best thing about these muffins is that they allow you to have chocolate for breakfast and pretend that it has nutritional value. In the words of the Doctor, "I like bananas. Bananas are good."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

¡Cuidado, las llamas!

(it's a beautiful sunny Saturday - perfect for taking pictures!) The latest handspun from my newly-fixed wheel:

Left: 2 oz. of local llama (Kelly from Livermore, CO). Some of it was dyed green, and a hint of sparkly synthetic was combed in. This wasn't de-haired so it's a bit rough in places, but the downy fiber is amazingly soft and smooth. It's a nice rustic yarn. The fiber was a little slippery to spin because of the lack of crimp in the fiber, unlike wool.

Right: 1.2 oz of silk hankies, hand-dyed by Stefania. The silk hankies are a pain to work with in some ways; they don't draft very evenly, you have to be quite forceful when pre-drafting, and silk fiber catches on everything and floats through the air. Once it's pre-drafted, though, it spins quickly, the joins are very easy, and the end result is soft, smooth, lofty, and generally divine. And this color makes me swoon!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ooo, shiny

My new KnitPicks needles have arrived! I ordered one set of #5 Options needle tips and a pair of 24" cables. As I mentioned before, I'd been having a hard time with the North Sea shawl; it's a lace pattern, so I need pointy needles, but unlike a lot of lace patterns, the yarn is a stiff, sticky Shetland wool. (No slippery Kidsilk Haze here!) The verdict: they're AWESOME. The tips are exactly sharp enough, without being excessively dangerous. The plating is nice and smooth for fast knitting. The join is smooth and feels sturdy. I've never used interchangeable needles before, so I also appreciate that once I finish the first half of the shawl I'll be able to just put end-caps on the cable and use it as a stitch holder while I knit the other half. I didn't need to use the tightening key on the joins, but I can see how it would be handy if you can't get a grip on the needle. I'm not rushing out to buy a full set quite yet (okay, mostly because I've been in a frugal mood lately), but I'm sure I'll accumulate more pairs as I find other projects that require them.

Meanwhile, I'm getting plenty of use out of the #1 bamboo needles... I finished the first pink sock! That's less than two weeks toe-to-cuff. Of course it helps that it's plain stockinette stitch with a garter-stitch cuff, and it would have been done last night if I hadn't had to contemplate how I wanted to do the cuff. But now it's done, except for weaving in the ends, and I can start the second sock. Which I had better do soon or else my attention will be taken up by the newly-back-in-favor North Sea shawl and the shiny new needles.

I would be taking pictures of all this wooly goodness, but it's been dark and rainy by the time I get home every single evening this week, so there's no good light for photos. Don't blame me, blame the Rain Gods.

Monday, July 17, 2006


It's been warm here lately. Of course, this meant that yesterday I foolishly hopped on my bike and rode 9 miles along the creek path. I didn't collapse from heat exhaustion, I didn't wipe out (though I did nearly get taken down by a dude taking a curve way too fast on his racing bike), and I saw: two red-winged blackbirds, a goldfinch, several ducks and geese, a tiger swallowtail, a bunny, about fifty prairie dogs, and a couple taking wedding pictures by the creek. (Awwww.)

After all that work, though, I spent the afternoon passed out on the couch, so I'm afraid there are no new knitting/spinning pictures to post. The first pink sock is ready for a heel, and the red silk and gray-green llama are all spun and waiting for their photo-op. Today, perhaps, if the light is still good when I get home from work.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I'd like to thank the Academy

I've been nominated as a finalist in the Amazing Lace poetry contest!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Yet more socks

Finished: Pastel ankle socks. Yarn: Koigu PPPM, color 100L. Pattern by Alison, except that I knit it toe-up. Two socks at once from the same ball of yarn was a big pain, so I ended up knitting each separately until I'd finished the heel, and then I knit the cuffs at the same time (on one long circular needle). This is one skein of KPPPM, plus a bit of reinforcing thread, knit on #1 needles. They're cute and comfy, but I'm looking forward to the yarn softening up a bit.

Started: Howlingly loud red/pink Regia socks. Toe-up, short-row heel/toe, plain stockinette, maybe a picot edge if I'm feeling adventurous.

Back-ordered: The KnitPicks Options needles. I'll post my opinion on the #5s as soon as they arrive.

Fixed: Wheel. I took it in to Maggie, she couldn't figure out what to do with it, so she called Gord Lendrum himself and he suggested tying a piece of string around the rod where the footman attaches to the wheel, to cushion it and tighten the joint a little. Fortunately, I have a few pieces of string here and there... the extra Rowan Handknit DK Cotton that I have left over from my first ChicKami worked perfectly and my wheel is smooth and quiet once more. To celebrate, I spun and plied the rest of the red silk hankies from Stefania. It's drying now but I'll take a picture soon - it's wonderful yarn.

Monday, July 10, 2006


A whole week has gone by and I have completely failed to post. Bad blogger!

I have: not worked on my lace project at all; picked up the sleeves for the Bonny sweater again; and nearly finished the pastel ankle socks. In fact, I would have finished them, except I foolishly cast off on a #3 needle. Bad move. They barely fit over my arch, much less my heel, so I'm tinking the cast-off edge and doing it over on a #6.

I would post a picture of my new toy (mine is red, and even cooler than that picture) but wouldn't you know it, I picked it up Friday after work and of course the entire weekend has been gray and soggy. Given that this Does Not Happen in Colorado, I fear that the weather gods have it in for me. Oh well, I got a lot of sock-knitting and sports-watching done. And miraculously, the poppy and nasturtium seeds that I tossed in the yard after I'd been weeding a month ago have sprouted! Since my other nasturtiums were destroyed by the hailstorm, this is especially exciting.

That's all the news here, and since my computer is behaving badly after I made it do some very memory-intensive things this morning (just tracking the path of Saturn and its moons, that's all) I think it's time to log out and reboot. More sock pictures coming soon!

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Yarn: Handpainted sock yarn from Kate at Zeitgeist Yarns

Pattern: Embossed Leaves Socks from Interweave Knits, Winter 2005

Modifications: Knit on US#1 bamboo DP needles. Added 4 stitches to compensate, so the purled sections are larger. Worked heel flap in slipstitch pattern rather than plain stockinette. Only worked 2 repeats before starting the heel, to make the leg shorter, and worked fewer repeats on the foot as well.

Thoughts: Kate makes gorgeous yarn. :) I almost wish I'd picked a simpler pattern so the colors would stand out more. As for the pattern, I may be the only knitter on the internets who doesn't like the star toe. Yes, it saves you a lot of grafting, but with this version of the star, you have this big ridge of purl stitches right under your toes! I think I'll be sticking with short-row toe-up socks from now on.

Progress report

The Amazing Lace project is coming along... very, very slowly. Due to some stupid mistakes, this is the third attempt, but I think I finally have the hang of it and it looks just like the picture. That's 1.5 repeats of the pattern; I have to do 18.5 more repeats, then kitchener the ends together so it's a ring, and pick up about 300 stitches along the edge. This may take a while.

Much simpler are my Koigu socks. Toe-up, short-row toe with pink reinforcing thread, stockinette on the top of the foot and reverse st. on the sole, for a nice smooth feel underfoot. Yes, I have sensitive feet, but I also really like the way this is turning out. I was knitting 2 socks at once but it was starting to annoy me, so I'm just doing one at a time now, at least until I get to the cuffs. Next up: short-row heel.