Archive for August, 2009

Silver and Pearl Drops

Here is some jewelry I made earlier this week.  I considered shortening the necklace but then I tried it on with a certain top, and it’s perfect with it.  So I’ll be making a matching bracelet later on today to complete the set.

Silver and Pearl Drops

Silver and Pearl Drops

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Knitterings of the week

We have spent a lot of time being bored this week.  It’s funny- even though we have some things we could work on in the yard and what have you, we have remained bored.  I have done quite a bit of knitting this week to combat the problem, and have made a good deal of progress.  I finished my knee high socks, though I’m not super happy with them.  It was impossible to get the ribbing and hem at the top to be tight enough to stay to stay up on their own but loose enough so as to prevent cutting off circulation below the knees.  I ended up doing the ribbing several times and ripping it out when it didn’t work, doing various bind offs, including a thread of elastic in the ribbing… nothing was sufficient.  So I settled with them being loose enough to put on easily, and made a drawstring that threads through the lace just below the ribbing, and called them good.

Sand and Sky Kneehighs

Sand and Sky Kneehighs

I also started a mohair lace scarf this week from a pattern in the Interweave Knits summer issue.  It is supposed to be a very short scarf, and at less than 3 feet long, it’ll be more of a neck accessory than a real scarf.  Mine came out to be about 2″ longer than the one in the pattern, since you just use one ball of mohair and mine was not the same as what the pattern used.  I have completed the knitting portion, but in the magazine the scarf has a crocheted border and crocheted lace on both ends.  I don’t yet know how to crochet but I am going to teach myself as soon as I remember to pick up the right size hook.

Mohair Lace Scarf

Mohair Lace Scarf

Finally, since I was still in the mood to knit by the time I ran out of the mohair and had to stop work on the scarf, I went through my folders of pattern PDFs to see if there were any patterns that appealed to me that I’d already paid for but had not yet used.  I found Kira K’s Bas Relief hat pattern, and got to work on it.  I’m using some of my leftover Red Heart Soft Yarn in a lovely jewel tone of purpley fuchsia.  (I have become a fiber snob in recent years and normally I’d never give anything Red Heart a second glance, but when I was sent out to find yarn in a specific shade of teal for a friend’s hat, this brand was the only one that was THE color I was charged with finding.  I picked it up, and was amazed to find how soft and lovely it was!  I have since made over a dozen hats in as many colors of Soft Yarn, and still have a few balls left over.)

I normally would make myself the smallest size of an adult hat pattern, but after doing some research on this pattern on Ravelry, I found that almost every person who had knit the hat complained about the pattern producing a way-too-small hat.  So I’m making the medium size instead, and while I got gauge with a single strand of the Soft Yarn on size 7 needles, I decided to knit with the yarn held doubled on the same needles to make it more the way the pattern was written.  (Kira used a super bulky silk.)  Knitting the ribbing with the yarn held doubled on size 5 needles was a true test of the strength of my fingers, but switching over to the 7s for the body is a little less painful.  I’m knitting the cables with the No Cable Needle method and it’s making it go quite quickly.  Kira has a method for doing it without a cable needle as well, but it’s torturous with the thickness of the yarn and the smallish needles.

Fuchsia Bas Relief Beanie

Fuchsia Bas Relief Beanie

Be free, chickies!

Well we had planned on keeping the girls in the old laundry room aviary till they were at least 6 weeks old to make sure they were big enough to be outside 24/7 (even though all the literature says they’re fine at 4-5 weeks) but today we decided they were making too big a mess and were starting to stink, so out they went!  It’s a nice mild day (breezy and low 80s) and they seem to be enjoying their new eglu home.  Happy 5-week peepday, chickies!

Alex put posts around the eglu and its run with 2 strands of electric cattle fencing wire around them to serve as added protection in keeping unwanted critters away, and we’re going to get some tent stakes for the “lip” of the run, to ensure it stays flat and secure on the less-than-level ground.  We’ll be closing them into the coop portion of the eglu at night so as to prevent predation from raccoons and the like, who do awful things to chickens.

Ruth has scratched herself out a little depression through the layer of hardwood mulch and into the dirt, into which she decided to take a nap.  Ilse kept stepping on and pecking at Ruth, however, so the nap didn’t last very long.  Later, they both stopped fussing and stealing one another’s treasured leaves and bits of mulch for a snack.

We’ll ultimately be constructing a 5-sided hardware cloth run that they’ll use for excursions into the rest of the back yard.  We’d like to just let them be completely free range chickens during the day but we have too many dangers around in the way of hawks, foxes, and raccoons, and I wouldn’t trust my Akita Byron for a second with them.

Green Jade, Glass, and Pearls

I haven’t made any jewelry since the stuff I made for my bridesmaids and myself for my wedding, and I felt the urge to do so today.  I picked up an interesting variety of beads at my local bead shop, The Joy of Beading, during their anniversary sale a while back, and came up with a simple but lovely design that I churned out pretty quickly!  Maybe someday I’ll be able to produce some jewelry to sell on Etsy, and not just keep it all myself.

Green Jade, Glass, and Pearls

Green Jade, Glass, and Pearls

Sand and Sky Fishnet Knee Highs

Check out the latest knitting project!  Super quick (especially for socks!), quirky and fun 🙂  I’m knitting them two-at-a-time on one long Knitpicks Options circular needle from the toe up.   They’ll eventually be knee highs and have ribbing at the top, and I plan to knit an ivory elastic thread along with the Wick soy yarn in the ribbing to (hopefully) help keep them up where they’re supposed to be!

Sand and Sky Kneehighs

Sand and Sky Kneehighs

4 Week Peepday!

Today the ladies are 4 weeks old and looking like some sort of pheasants.  I can still pick them up with one hand but overfill my hand and they wiggle out pretty quickly!  They’ll be spending at least one more week in their laundry room aviary but we’re looking forward to introducing them to their new elgu home!

Ilse at 4 weeks

Ilse at 4 weeks

Ruth at 4 weeks

Ruth at 4 weeks

Lovely ladies in their messy home.

Lovely ladies in their messy home.

Naked Tomatoes

I thought I’d share a trick my mom told me about, which I just tried today.  When it comes to peeling tomatoes, lots of sources tell you that you must douse the tomato into boiling water for 15, 30, even 60 seconds, and then put it in an ice water bath for 5 minutes to remove its skin.  One site I found warned against all of the above- the water dilutes the tomato flavor- and to scortch the skins over a gas flame (!!!) to intensify flavor and remove the skin “easily.”

Instead, save your eyebrows and fingerprints, and try this: using the dull side of a butter knife blade, rub the entire surface of the tomato from top to bottom in narrow bands.  You’ll probably see air pockets starting to form under the skin.  Make a small slice just through the skin, peel, and voila!  Naked tomato.

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