mod bkgd

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

framboise

Done and dusted! I enjoyed knitting Hilary's beautiful Citron pattern. Miles of stockinette, perfect for knitting night or catching up on a boatload of Masterpiece Mystery episodes.
yarn: Sweet Georgia Yarns Superfudge, 1 skein (~550 yds)
needles: Clover US 7 bamboo circular

notes:
Easy, classic pattern that will be very wearable. I intended all along to give this shawlette to a friend, but parting with it will still be difficult. I didn't get to knit the whole ruffle -- 100% my own fault, as I substituted a fingering-weight yarn (for laceweight), upped the needle size, and blissfully ignored gauge issues. I'll definitely revisit this pattern for myself.
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So, back to Masterpiece Mystery...  this is an addiction I've cultivated since childhood (credit the Edward Gorey intro for that one), and luckily I married someone who enjoys it, too.

The most recent Poirot episodes have been beautifully shot, and the wardrobes and sets are magnificent, but the actual stories... oy vey. I know that David Suchet would like to finish the entire Poirot catalog, but I get the impression that they're now scraping the bottom of the barrel (not the best Agatha Christie has to offer).



I'm also getting caught up on Wallander -- Kenneth Branagh is fantastic, and the whole milieu is evocative (plus that amazing theme song by Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo). That said, Scandinavian crime fiction and TV series seem particularly awful to read and watch given the terrible events in Norway this past week. My heart goes out to my family's homeland.
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On a more uplifting note, my friends are in the midst of a baby boom! So many opportunities to knit wee sweaters and the like.

I'm branching out and trying a new pattern, the little garter cardigan by Ragga Eiriksdottir (from Knitting Iceland). Don't worry -- the shocking pink yarn is all waste yarn -- there will be no gaudy contrast in the finished product. I absolutely love how Ragga incorporates an i-cord edge as you knit the body. It's very clever, and Elizabeth Zimmermann would highly approve! The pattern is pithy and expects you to use your noodle as you knit -- it would be very easy to miss the instructions for buttonholes. Susan B. Anderson just posted a very handy tutorial on how to do a crochet provisional cast-on that works well for this cardi.
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in other news...

- Spotify is now available in the U.S.! Are you using it? I am! It's pretty handy and user-friendly.

- Brooklyn Tweed's new Wool People pattern collaboration is just beautiful! It makes me long for autumn. Gudrun Johnston's Levenwick assymetrical cardigan pattern has captured my fancy. I'm not sure I'm ready to cough up the cash for Shelter, though. I wonder if some stashed Cascade 220 or Rowan tweed might do the trick?

- The fall 2011 issue of Knitscene is out, and some of the projects are just lovely! I've let my Interweave Knits subscription lapse (there's never anything in there that I want to knit anymore) -- perhaps it's time to switch to Knitscene.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

winner + ginkgo

The winner of the Larry Crowne movie pass giveaway is...
 *drumroll*

Celtic Cast On!

Congrats! I'll be in touch with you about details.
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I finally dusted off the ol' blocking squares and set to work! 

yarn: The March Hare Fingering Superwash Hand Paint, "pumpkin patch," 2/3 skein
needles: Clover US 5 bamboo circular

notes:
Another great free pattern! I'm so appreciative of the awesome knitters who post patterns gratis. I followed the directions to a T and made a small shoulderette. It's pretty tiny, but that's perfect for me, as I like to wear shawlettes as lacy little scarves. The pattern is clear, and you could knit the stockinette portion in your sleep. The lace edging, however, does not have a "rest" row, so it keeps you busy checking the chart. I'm not in love with the bind-off; it seems kind of hole-y and odd, but it is quite stretchy. I used larger needles to bind off, and I'm not sure that was a good idea.

The yarn is soft and lovely to knit. I had oodles of yarn leftover. Little to no dye came off while I was washing it, which is wonderful. I'd definitely use The March Hare's yarn again! The leaves of the lace pattern are organic and lovely.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

giveaway

Knitting is awesome, as everyone from your grandmother to Julia Roberts knows.  While filming Larry Crowne, Tom Hanks played a pretty darn cute practical joke on Julia Roberts:




That's a lot of newbie knitters! Julia Roberts looks genuinely pleased, doesn't she? I've always loved Tom Hanks as bookstore mogul Joe Fox in You've Got Mail, opposite the ever-adorable Meg Ryan.
The folks behind Larry Crowne have generously offered a prize! Want to see the movie?


One (1) winner will receive:
·         $25 Fandango Gift Card to see Larry Crowne
·         Larry Crowne t-shirt and notebook

Prizing courtesy of Universal Pictures
Giveaway is open to US and Canadian mailing addresses only

 To enter, leave a comment by this Friday (7/15). I'll draw a winner on Saturday morning!

Monday, July 11, 2011

more rhubarb goodness

I made the most of rhubarb season this year. Not only did I make rhubarb compote (recipe here), a fantastic lemon rhubarb buttermilk bundt cake emerged from the kitchen yesterday.
Moist, tart, and delicious. I only wish it had a little more rhubarb! The recipe's originally from the cookbook Rustic Fruit Desserts, but you can also find it here.

The ice cream maker has been getting a workout, too.  I tried Minnesota Locavore's recipe for strawberry rhubarb ice cream. It's yummy, tart, and very fruity! The high fruit-to-dairy ratio means that it tends to get a little icy and hard, so it's best to eat fairly quickly. The recipe makes a fairly big batch.
Jeni Britton Bauer, the genius behind Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, has a new cookbook out, and it's very charming. It emphasizes daring pairings of flavors, using local, high quality ingredients, and trying some new techniques.  Cream cheese and a little corn syrup seem to be the key to many of the recipes. I have mixed feelings about corn syrup, but I'm willing to give it a try.  I'm also intrigued by this elderflower ice cream recipe, but St. Germain is curiously absent from our liquor cabinet at the moment.

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My aunt kindly handed down my grandmother's china hutch to me last weekend, and it was a treat to move it into position and actually display some of my pottery. The arrangement could still use some tweaking, but I love having something sturdy and well-made that served at family dinners for seventy years.

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Knitting in air-conditioned splendor was a true highlight this past weekend (along with a couple of BBQs, the sidewalk cafe at Tiny Lounge, and a few choice episodes of Arrested Development), especially as the mercury kept rising.

I finally knit myself a star crossed slouchy beret. I love the pattern! I've made a couple of these as gifts, and they were very well received, so I'm thrilled to have my very own. Now I just need to block it.
This time the yarn is Malabrigo Rios in "teal feather" (which I picked up last spring at the grand opening of Windy Knitty, a very cute and well-stocked yarn shop in Andersonville). Full details are forthcoming...

I've also just joined the arms to the body of my Shalder cardigan and am about to embark upon the yoke's lace pattern! The cardigan's suspiciously covered in cat hair...

Saturday, July 09, 2011

bears, yarn, and cats, oh my!

Phew, I finally feel back to my usual self. Why do these short weeks sometimes seem like the longest? We headed to Minneapolis for the holiday weekend. Visiting family and friends was delightful, but the drive was, well, harrowing. A semi nearly ran us off the road on the way there, and on the return voyage, a car just a few ahead of us hit a bear.
 Yes, a bear. In southern Wisconsin, crossing I-94, in broad daylight. Yikes! The people seemed fine, though their Subaru was quite a bit worse for the wear, and the bear looked decidedly no longer animate. I know that climate change has been affecting wildlife patterns in the Upper Midwest, and that wild animals are becoming increasingly comfortable in populated areas (e.g., coyotes now roam the city of Chicago), but this was quite the startling example.
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For car knitting, I tinkered around with a hybrid of Springtime Bandit, with a stockinette body à la brokeknits' gorgeous version.

I'm running out of yarn (as per usual), and need to either rip back or find a coordinating yarn to finish the bind-off. Then it can enter the basket of shawlettes in need of blocking!

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Kylie Cat made herself the cutest little nest out of clean laundry last night:


 What a sweet pea.

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a few chuckles:


- Unhappy Hipsters, where we learn more about the maudlin hipsters who populate the pages of Dwell and ReadyMade
- Catalog Living, especially the post string theory