Thursday, March 28, 2013


Apparently I've been in an end of winter hibernation.  Since my last post I have just stopped pretty much everything.  I've been tired and have been struggling to just get through a normal work day, going home, eating and spending a little time on the internet for my down time before I go to bed.  It's been frustrating, but I try to listen to what my body is telling me and apparently what my body needs is some sleep, dammit   Very little knitting has been done, much less anything else.

Now that the days are getting warmer, I am hoping to pull out of this hibernation that I've found myself in.  The last few weeks I have been pining for spring more than other years.  The time that I've spent online has mostly been spent looking at gardening and seed websites.  Garden ideas, plant lists, composting, walkways, the list goes on and on.  I have very big, grand dreams for my garden and yard this year.  I haven't been able to give my yard and garden the love that I've wanted to the last four years since I have only been here for a few weekends a month, sometimes hardly at all.  Everything was put on the back burner, and now it is all ready to come boiling out.  Each day I monitor how much snow has melted, how much ice has melted and how much more of my yard that I can see again.  It's been a very long winter, I'm still knee deep in snow in most places, but I'm starting to see rings of grass around trees, lines of grass along fences.

Common, spring!  I just want to dig in the dirt and grow stuff!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Yarn Along: Knitting Ennui, Elf Slippers & Portland Hoodie Cowl

This last week brought to me something new in knitting.  I did not have anything to knit. I did not know what I wanted to knit.  No matter how many hours I searched through patterns, I could not find something that jump out at me and scream KNIT ME.  Sure there was a few things in my queue that I liked but honestly, I can't afford to buy new yarn right now.  That was a big part of the problem.  Though I have tons of yarn in my stash, it was like Goldilocks and the Three Bears:  Not the right weight, not the right yardage or just not the right yarn for the projects that were jumping out at me.  Finally I brought one tote at a time to my computer and searched patterns by the yarns that I did have as I also photographed the ones that weren't in my Ravelry stash and updated amounts in Ravelry that I forgot to update as being used.

Eventually I came across in my stash a yarn that was the perfect weight, the perfect yardage for a pattern that I had recently fell in love with and had I been able to buy yarn, this pattern would have been at the top of my list to make.  It is the Portland Hoodie Cowl by Neeka Knits.  It's cute, it's useful, it may just solve my hat dilemma that I've been in for the last year.  Only problem, this yarn is just not something I would make something for myself out of.  However, it was a yarn that I would knit something for my roommate out of and this pattern is perfect for her as well.  She is a walker and a traveler.  She puts on miles.  And is unexpectedly back in Minnesota after fleeing it for climates that aren't quite as brutal.

Portland Hoodie Cowl

I cast on immediately, only to realize that the fabric I was getting was lumpy and just not what I wanted for this pattern.  Because this yarn is a thick/thin yarn, I was expecting this in a small amount, but not the amount I was getting.  I also was ending up with huge gaps in between some stitches that would make the cowl no where near as warm as I wanted to make for my roommate with all of her winter walking.  What to do, what to do.  I remembered that I still had a ton of the black Reynolds mohair in lace weight that I made my cowl out of last month.  If I knit both yarns at once, the Reynolds may just fill in the empty gaps that I was getting. I ripped out what I had and cast on a second time with both yarns.  After a few rows, not only was I pleased with the results that I was seeing, I was completely falling in love with it.  The second yarn filled in the gaps, but the contrasting color made the Gedifra Cicco yarn that I started with stand out and look nothing like the yarn I had started with.  I'm about half way through the cowl section, hopefully this weekend I'll be ready to start the hood!

I also stopped procrastinating this weekend and finally felted the Elf Slippers that have been waiting for some time to be thrown in the washer.  After taking these photos I realized that I need to clean them up a bit more after felting, however they are felted dammit and finally dry enough to wear.

Jenifgrr's Elf Slippers

Julian's Elf Slippers

I made Julian's slippers first and left off the edging on purpose, however, didn't realize that I needed to add i-cord to the tip of the toe to make the elfness of the slippers pronounced.  The pair that I made for myself I added both and will from now on if I make them again.  And I have a feeling that I will be making these again.  Everyone loves them that has seen them and they are an easy knit for a gift.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Yarn Along: Finished!

Up On Top boot toppers are complete!  Woot!  I'm going to see my sister this weekend and made myself stop procrastinating finishing them this week so I could give them to her.

Now I just need to get going on that felting business that I've been procrastinating.  Hrmm.

I've found myself in a weird spot.  I'm not sure what to cast on next.  Crazy, right?  I have bunch of things in Ravelry queue and favorites, but since I'm still getting back up on my feet since the job change I've been trying to not buy yarn and use the yarn that's in my stash.  What I really want to cast on is this.  A hoodie and a cowl?  Sign me up!  I think it looks adorable and could really help me in my quest for finding a knit hat that I would actually wear and looks good on me.  I know, technically not a hat.  But it would keep my head warm in the winter and I would totally wear a hoodie!  Unfortunately, I do not have the necessary yarn and need to decide if I buy some yarn or cast on something else that I actually have the yarn for. 

I also have been itching to cast on a sweater.  I've gotten some great recommendations, however, again I would need to purchase yarn.  If I'm debating if I have enough extra cash to buy yarn for the Portland Hoodie Cowl, I certainly don't have enough extra cash for a sweaters worth of yarn.  My mom tipped me off to a yarn sale that's happening this weekend, I may just go and see what they have and if they have what I would want to used for the hoodie cowl, may just end up purchasing yarn for it.  We'll see.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Good Eats.

Curried Fish, Cucumber Salad & Naan.

One of the really nice things about my roommate (besides that I've known her for years and years and has always been a good friend) is that we both like to both make and eat good food.  When I live by myself I get into food slumps where I just eat whats easy, quick and the same couple of things over and over.  In the last month and a half since she has moved in, I have gone back to cooking a larger variety of foods and enjoying a much bigger variety of foods because she is also doing quite a bit of cooking for us as well.

This past Thursday I made something for her that she was skeptical about, but ended up loving it as much as I do:  Curried Fish.  I discovered the curry recipe a few years ago on this food blog when I had a lot of delicious salmon in the freezer and went to the internets in search of new ways of making salmon.  It's become one of my go to curry sauces that I use in a variety of ways.  I like to lay a nice bed of rice, add a variety of steamed or stir fried vegetables (I used carrots, cauliflower, snap peas, mushrooms and water chestnuts in Thursdays dinner), lay the fish on top of the rice/veg and then pour the curry sauce over the top. Garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro.  Yum!

A previous version, with salmon, of the same meal.

The cucumber salad recipe I also found by combing the internets and it is a lovely accompaniment to the curry.  I try to make the salad either the night before or the morning of to allow the cucumbers to let the flavors mingle. 

This last item on the menu was garlic naan.  Oh, naan, how I love you.  So very lovely and always so surprising how easy you are to make.  The recipe that I make was given to me by a family friend.  The first time that I made it, it was with the very lovely Elly.  I share with you the recipe that Elly and her mom were so generous in sharing with me.

Nann rising.

Garlic Naan

Prep Time:
30 Min
Cook Time:
7 Min
Ready In:
 3 Hrs Calculate
Original Recipe Yield 14 servings

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.

Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.

At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Yarn Along: Day late, Oh Well?

Apparently, structured posting is not my thing. Could also be that Thursday mornings just work better for posting because I have a late start at work on Thursdays.  Either way, I've been able to get a bit of knitting done this last week even with fighting off sickness and desire to just sleep anytime I haven't been at work.

I was able to finish knitting the Elf Slippers from my last Yarn Along post.  They haven't made it into the washer yet for felting (along with Julian's that have been waiting to be felted for oh, a year or so now), but I'm pretty confident that by next week I'll have pictures of felted slippers to share.  Here's how they look while they're waiting to be felted:

This weekend I started my sisters Up On Top boot toppers that she asked me to make for her way too close to Christmas this past year for me to complete in time to give her as a gift.  Not because they themselves would have taken too much time to make, but because I had too many other knitting projects already slated to be knit by Christmas and I already had a gift for her.  But, bonus for my sister because I have the time now and since her birthday will be too far off to gift to her then, she will get the next time I see her after I finish the pair in hopes that she can still wear them this winter.

This pattern is well written and very easy.  Previously I had tried another boot topper pattern that I started no less than three times trying to make the pattern work, but gave up in frustration.  I normally don't have issues following a pattern and I love patterns with cables, I don't know if it was me or the pattern but it was frogged and the pattern was thrown in the recycling bin.  In the time it took me to knit, frog, knit, frog, knit, frog I could have made several pairs in the pattern that I am currently using.

Next week I should have photos of the completed boot toppers with the felted slipper photos and hopefully another project on the needles.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Yes, We Have No Knitting.

It's been a very exhausting week and I have no knitting to show for it. Instead, a quote that I recently came across this quote and it really hit home with me. There is much debate online if this is quote is from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe or Haim Ginott. Either way, I wanted to put it here as a reminder. 

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Snow Day.

I am going to say something that most people look at me like I'm crazy when I say it.

I love snow.  Snow.  Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow.  I love snow.

There, it is out in the open.  

Light snow, heavy snow.  Blowing snow, dancing snow.  Huge fluffy flakes, little tiny crystals.  

If it were possible marry snow, snow and I would be on our 40th wedding anniversary.

While a lot of people mutter and grumble about snow, I take child like delight in it.  I love waking up in the morning to the world around me covered in a beautiful white blanket.  Watching snow flakes fall, big or small, makes me grin ear to ear.  Shoveling snow?  Love that, too.  Just found out recently, my father loves to shovel snow as well.  I'll even go out multiple times during the day to shovel again even though I know it's just going to need to be done again because it's still snowing.  Just because I enjoy doing it so much.

Every snow day is a treat for me.  Even if I wasn't scheduled to work, I feel like I'm playing hooky.   I sit with a hot cup of coffee and my knitting or laptop near a window that I can look out at the snow as it falls and blows around.  I don't think my love affair with snow will ever end, no matter how many people in my life may grumble or mutter about it.  

I thought that we were pretty much done with major snow falls for the season and the rest of winter would be light dustings of snow.  This morning I woke up to a treat.  It had started snowing in the middle of the night and my entire world had a beautiful fresh covering of snow.  All day long I've been going window to window like a cat to look out at the snow falling down.  All plans were cancelled, driving conditions are terrible and there was no way to make it where I needed to go.  There was happy shout of joy inside of me when I was on the phone mother and she told me that no one was able to make it today and we would make plans for another day.  As much as I was looking forward to the plans we had today, the cancellation made it an official snow day for me and I was now free to revel in the snow.

Now, I'm going to go and enjoy my present.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Yarn Along: Elf Slippers

I finally wore through the first pair of felted slippers that I made when I first learned how to knit, which meant that I could finally cast on a pair of Elf Slippers for myself!  I made a quite small pair last year coughthatstillneedstobefeltedcough and ever since have been planning on making a pair for myself.  I've been working on these off and on since the beginning of the year, but once I started my new job in January, I really didn't have much brain power left at the end of the day to even knit.  Now that I've been there for over a month now, and I finished the black cowl that I decided to make after I started the slippers, I suddenly have both the brain power and the time to finishing these up!

Tonight I was able to finish knitting the second slipper and all I have left to do is the top flap on both slippers.  By this time next week, hopefully I'll have a lovely pair of felted slippers to show.  Granted, my weekend will be taken up by this craziness.  We'll see how much knitting time I'll actually end up with this next seven days.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

New Job Dreams.

About four weeks ago I started a new job where I am on the phone all day long.  Recently, I've started having work related dreams.  Let me tell you, dreaming about being on the phone is pretty damn boring.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A New Year, A New Adventure.

The first post in a new space.  How daunting.  I was once a live journal girl, however, in the last few years I've stopped posting there and just go to read other peoples postings.  I wanted to start a new year, my new life, my new outlook with a brand new space.

I've decided to join Yarn Along each Wednesday as a way to both start posting more about my knitting and a way to get me back in the habit of at least once a week writing and posting.

This week I finished a cowl that I made after another cowl that I had purchased a few years ago.  It is made out of stretchy, soft t-shirt material and drapes beautifully.  I knew using yarn, the drape would be different, but to make up for that I alternated rows of knitting and purling hoping to give it a similar draping effect.  It looks nothing like my other cowl, but I love how it turned out.  So soft and snuggly, and so crazy long.  I finally used two of the skeins of the Reynolds no 1 mohair that I found at a thrift store a few years ago.  It was a perfect choice.  Now I just need to figure out what else to make out of the remaining 11 skeins!

This weekend I'll work on better photo's, I took these last night after a long day at work on my phone.  And yes, that is white cat hair in my knitting.