mod bkgd

Saturday, June 28, 2008

ubiquitous

knitting :: Pam's February sweater

listening :: Vampire Weekend

watching :: Incident at Loch Ness, The Secret of Roan Inish

What else is in store?
A trip to the Green City Market, a show at Second City, and a rooftop party. All in all, it's shaping up to be an excellent weekend.

Also noteworthy:
I met the Yarn Harlot last weekend! She was down-to-earth, very funny, and just plain awesome.

A friend gave me this fabulous button:
She bought it here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

read. knit. repeat.

Father's Day weekend found me in beautiful Minneapolis. Perfect weather made for a relaxing weekend -- going for walks, sitting on the patio, visiting family, and playing with dogs. I almost had a stowaway on my trip!
Yep, that's Kylie cat in action.
When I visit home without Paul, I revert to my old ways. Lots and lots of books.Here's the cream of the crop from my past couple weeks of reading. All of these I highly recommended. Cryptonomicon is Paul's favorite, and Staggerford is by Jon Hassler, a Minnesota author. Alicia (Posie gets cozy) is also reading the Mary Stewart books right now. They're quite charming and definitely a product of their times.

More blue ("air" ) knits in progress:
Take 2 of Plain or Flowery Slippers
Mission Falls 1824 wool, aster


Take 2 of my owl vest pattern
This time I'm using Rowan wool cotton, my new favorite yarn for baby knits. If only it weren't so pricey! I picked up these 2 balls from Laura's destash a while back. I had to go down a needle size (4) to get a fabric I liked. The first version was knit with Elann's Peruvian Luxury Merino Superwash, a pretty thick DK-weight. So while DK works for the pattern, I wouldn't recommend sportweight after all, and I think you could easily get by with a worsted weight yarn like Cotton-Ease or Comfy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

lumpy, bumpy, lumpadeedo

I've got a little puzzle for you...
Exhibit A
Inspired by (AKA shamelessly copying) Leah's beautiful Malabrigo wrap, I cast on for my very own Ostrich Plume wrap (pattern from Interweave's lace poncho, but most definitely not in poncho form).
Lumpy and bumpy, indeed! None of my previous lace projects have seemed so uneven. Can a serious blocking straighten it out? This pattern has one row of lace pattern followed by 3 rows of stockinette. I also may have cast on a bit too tightly. Opinions? Anyone knit with the Ostrich Plume pattern before?

Exhibit B
In a similar vein, check out this Breeze ankle sock.Looks OK so far, but...
the toe is one hot mess. Lumpy AND bumpy. What's wrong with my grafting? I had the same problem last time I knit a pair of Breeze socks.

Any input would be much appreciated.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

mosaic madness


My creation, originally uploaded by jodi at caffeinated yarn.

Sarah's post on the game designed by cast on cast off prompted me to join mosaic madness.

The rules:

Using fd’s Flickr Toys,

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker).

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

Note: I actually owned a Little Professor calculator once upon a time.

Monday, June 09, 2008

kitchen knits swap + a trip down memory lane

Emily was my partner in the lovely Kitchen Knits Swap organized by Marisol. What a wonderful parcel of kitchen-themed goodies!
All sorts of things that I like and will use! Coffee, fancy champagne vinegar, a clever kitchen shopping list pad, silicone muffin liners (incredibly handy), dried chili peppers (as well as a chili pepper puzzle), Silky Wool in a lovely light grey-blue. There was also some delicious chocolate, but I'm afraid that has already disappeared. Emily even knit me a dishcloth! I love handknit dishcloths, but have too much wrist trouble knitting with cotton to make them for myself.

A few of Emily's favorite recipes:
Quinoa salad, Tomato Lentil Soup, Tomato Spinach Risotto, and Greek Spinach and Orzo Soup. Exactly my kind of cooking!

I whipped up the quinoa salad for dinner tonight. Very delicious and healthy.
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As I was cooking the quinoa, I remebered my first experience with this ancient grain. When my eighth grade "nerd class" (AKA g&t lang arts) organized a future fair, my partner and I designed a booth on "foods of the future," complete with poster presentation, nutritional info, and samples. The two highlighted foods? Soy milk and quinoa. Back then our regular suburban supermarket didn't sell prepared soy milk, so we reconstituted a powdered mix and served both plain and chocolate. We also served very blandly flavored quinoa (hey, it was Minnesota in 1991 after all).

Can you guess how the soy milk and quinoa went over? One word -- poorly (or four words -- like a lead balloon). We were visionaries, I tell you. ;-)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

summertime

Not only is today the last day of classes for the quarter, the temperature has climbed into the 80s! I've already turned in grades, and I'm free from teaching until late September. It truly feels like summer now. This summer I'm working only ONE job, and only part-time -- what a luxury. That means more time for my research and writing, as well as for knitting, hitting the farmer's market, going for long walks, and petting all the neighborhood dogs. ;-)

I picked up a couple delicious heirloom tomatoes at the Green City Market yesterday, and put together a Parmesan Tomato Tart for lunch today. Wonderful recipe -- it's all about simplicity and high quality ingredients.
I've switched to Trader Joe's frozen puff pastry rather than the standard Pepperidge Farms stuff after reading Nicole's review. It's packaged flat (rather than folded), so it's much easier to use; also, the ingredient list is much less frightening.

Other recent successes in the kitchen:
- Low Fat Fudgy Brownies ~ semisweet Callebaut chocolate worked very well
- Chicken Souvlaki (from Cooking Light) ~ I doubled the amount of chicken so that we would have leftovers for lunch.

Alison (AKA brainylady) sent me this beautiful sage-green yarn as part of her laceweight leftovers swap. It's just lovely! There's a pretty good amount leftover -- perhaps enough for a whole scarf.
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Is anybody else having trouble with Ravelry and Gmail in Firefox? I've had to use the dreaded IE lately (shudder).

Monday, June 02, 2008

redefining "air"

Project Spectrum is partly about trying new things; however, the "air" theme of grey, white, and yellow for the next couple months is just not doing for me. Grey just makes me think of dirty city smog, and white is not practical for crafting.

When I think of air, I think of the sky. So this round of Project Spectrum is going be all about the sky here at Caffeinated Yarn.
Exhibit 1: Denim Sky
It's a belisama scarf, designed by Lori Law of Oceanwind Knits. I purchased this as a kit from her website, but I don't think she sells them anymore. The silk noil yarn has a neat, slubby texture, and the "denim sky" colorway is an amazing mixture of blues with hints of pink, purple, and even green. Lori's truly a color whiz.

I added Peter Rabbit Buttons to the little Mason-Dixon baby kimono just in time, as my friend gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on Friday.

Exhibit 2: Sky
Pattern: One-Piece Baby Kimono by Cristina Shiffman
Yarn: Manos Cotton Stria, Sky, just under 2 skeins
Needles: US 5 bamboo circs

Anybody else catch Death Cab for Cutie at the Pritzker Pavilion last night? It was a pretty good show, but the real scene stealer was the beautiful Frank Gehry pavilion, partially shrouded in fog, reflecting the setting sun.