Archive for December, 2009

Christmas Gift Knitterings

Now that the gifts have been gifted and Christmas has come and gone, I can finally blog about the knitterings I made for the season.  These included the felted Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted napkin rings, coasters, and necklace for my aunt that I blogged about a while back, a purple Manos del Uruguay Cloud Bolero for my littlest sister Katherine, a blue Berocco Jasper Dizzy Hat for my other sister, a cell phone sock for my brother’s Motorola Karma, a Robin’s Egg Blue Hat in Vanna’s Choice Baby for my sister-in-law, some Soft Yarn Bike Helmet Earmuffs for my husband’s best friend, and a basic ribbed hat made from some slate Soy Wool Stripes for one of our roommates.

For this, I CO 22 sts and knit in st st until I ran out of yarn.  I put this through the washer for 2 cycles until it was felted nice and thick, which reduced the size of the rectangle from 6 1/4″ x 39″ before felting to 4 1/4″ x 31″ after felting.  I cut out four circles at 4 1/4″ across, then four strips 2″ x 4 1/4″ to make the napkin rings.  I used the remainder to make disc beads for a necklace.

The necklace is laced on goldtone nylon-coated jewelry wire, and the felted discs and ice blue Swarovski crystals are held in place with goldtone crimp beads.

Katherine’s Cloud Bolero was knit with about 1 1/2 skeins of a lovely lilac variegated Manos del Uruguay.  I found some plastic buttons that match quite nicely without distracting from the sweater at my new favorite LYS called Uniquities.  I need to get a photo of her wearing it- it looked perfect on her!

Mary’s Dizzy hat was also just right in terms of size, and she seemed to like it a lot.  I had just a few yards left of the skein of Jasper when I finished this hat.  This yarn is so soft and buttery!

Matt got a new cell phone recently but was using a cell phone sock I made for one of my sisters ages ago.  It had been purple and yellow striped, but after Matt got a hold of it, it turned a dirty brown gray.  His phone is a strangely-shaped Motorola Karma, so I made sure to knit the sock so the phone stays snugly inside.  Hopefully the color helps hide dirt!

Stephanie forgot to bring any decent winter outerwear home with her from North Carolina, and got home just in time for the most snow Virginia has seen in one day on record.  I couldn’t knit her a coat to help her out but I thought a hat would help somewhat.  It’s knit with just a few yards under 1 ball of Vanna’s Choice Baby in color Goldfish held doubled.

Joe’s helmet ear muffs were made with about 1/2 a ball of Red Heart Soft Yarn.  I usually hate those cheap acrylics but I love Soft Yarn and have made a ton of hats with it.  Joe tried this on and it seemed like it’ll definitely keep his ears warm while he’s cycling around!

Jesse’s hat was knit with less than a ball of Soy Wool Stripes in color Slate.  I CO 92 sts, knit in K2 P2 ribbing for about 2,” then knit in st st until 6″ long.  Then I did a hat decrease I’d never used (or seen in a pattern before) by knitting 20 sts, sl 1, k2tog, psso, till the end of the row, then doing the same decrease every row when I got to one st before the decrease in the row before.  It makes a slightly flat top, but this guy has a pretty big head so I think it’ll fit pretty well!  I like how the decreases look… a little something different.  I wrapped this hat in boxes I made with scrapbook paper and an origami technique.

Finally, for myself I knit something I’m calling a scarflace- a cross between a necklace and a scarf.  It has a bit of cowl going on as well, maybe it’s a scowlace?  Hmm.  The pattern is called sev[en]circle, and it’s pretty ingenious.  It was a simple knit that was relatively quick, but tedious in that for every loop, you have to CO and BO over 100 sts with only 10 rows of st st in between.  The end result is luxurious, funky, unique, and warm.  I knit this with one ball of KnitPicks Swish Worsted in Copper and a little less than a ball of Swish DK in Cinnamon.

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Chicken Torture

So apparently chickens don’t like snow very much.  In The Natural History of the Chicken, I definitely saw some chickens out in the snow, pecking and scratching and not looking too upset about things.  Apparently this was all CG animation, because Ruth and Ilse were making some very unhappy noises at us just now, some even unhappier flapping-in-our-faces, and other rude chicken gestures.  Maybe it had something to do with the fact that yes, we did kind of set one in the snow against her will, and then we took one away from the other to see if she too reacted in the same manner as the first.  Which she did.  And being separated surely didn’t help their mood.  However, they looked awfully cute, and got a chance to stretch their wings for the first time in days.  So I guess it wasn’t really chicken torture, but they might tell you otherwise.

Bramble Cowl Sweater

With the blizzard over the weekend, what better than knitting almost an entire sweater to prevent cabin fever?  I had knit to just below the arms of my version of Francis Revisited prior to the weekend, and completed the sweater to a wearable point (pre-cowl) by yesterday afternoon.  I ended up wearing it out to dinner last night!  Now school has been cancelled for the remainder of the week/ year, so I have plenty of time to knit the cowl, bake cookies, start new knitted projects… I love snow!

Here’s my Bramble Cowl (knit with Rowan Soft Tweed) in its various stages of progress:

I ended up hating the way the sleeves looked, so I frogged them and reknit them straight.  I knit the st st portion for 10″ before starting the seed st edging.  The only issue now is that the seed st on the sleeves and hem of the body flip up easily, since it’s not as dense as the st st fabric.  Anyone have any suggestions for combating this?  I don’t really want to frog and reknit the seed st with smaller needles, as it’s appropriately sized the way it is.

Check my Ravelry page for mods on my Bramble Cowl and let me know what you think!

Snow Storm Fun

Right now we’re up to 13″ of snow outside with more falling as we speak.  We put a tarp over the chicken run last night before the started, and good thing… they’d have nowhere to move if we hadn’t.  Also, for your enjoyment, Byron and Scruffy sniffing out the rats weathering the storm under the shed.

Chicken Snuggling

This evening Alex managed to grab both of the girls for picture.  They seem to maybe be getting a little more snuggly and OK with being held.  Still no eggs though!  From what we have heard, there’s a greater chance for eggs after the days start to lengthen again.

Naked Trees Updated

Best appetizer ever.

Today I had a craving for one of my old favorites, shrimp ceviche.  This is a dish that is traditionally made with raw shrimp, which are cooked in the acidity of the citrus juices.  I’ve done it this way in the past, and it’s great.  You can actually see the shrimp cooking through the color change they undergo.  If the idea of cooking shrimp via chemical reaction (without heat) bothers you, you can always boil the little buggers for 60 seconds before adding them.  I wouldn’t do any longer though, or you’ll end up with overcooked shrimp after adding them, since they’ll continue to cook in the citric acid. In any event, I keep a bag of frozen, cooked 100-150/# shrimp in my freezer for just this kind of thing, and try to keep a bag of Nonni’s Panetini from Costco in my pantry.  I once had an open bag for over a year that was still crispy and delicious, so it’s something good to have around, even if the bag looks too big for your immediate use.

Today’s recipe went something like this:

  • 1/8 c lemon juice
  • 1/8 c lime juice
  • 1/8 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c white vinegar
  • 1/2 c water
  • A few spashes of Cholula hot sauce
  • 1 large cucumber, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 white onion, cut into 1/4″ pieces
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 6 smallish tomatillos, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 smallish tomatoes, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • about 30 shrimp, cut into 1/2″ pieces

All measurements are approximate, as I didn’t measure a thing.  I also bought some kind of peppers that were green, thin, kind of dry when chopped, and that the guy scanned as green beans.  They have a fair amount of kick; if I did it again I might only add 3 or 4 of them.  Recipes I’ve found call for serrano peppers, but I’ve never seen them in the store when I need them, so I just go with whatever looks interesting.

Another note: some recipes call for red onions instead of white.  I can’t remember if I’ve ever tried that one out before.

Finally, I would have added an avocado cut into small chunks if the ones I had bought were ripe.

Mix all this up in a large storage container, snap the lid on, and put in the fridge.  It’s good immediately, great after an hour or 3, and incredible after a night in the fridge.  This makes quite a bit, so I’m planning on having it for lunch for the week as well as a snack here and there.  It’s *gotta* be good for you in some regard, with it consisting of something like 90% fresh veggies.

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