Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Santa Knows Me Well

I am so incredibly excited about the fantastic gift my mom bought me for Christmas. Are you ready for it???
 Yep! That's right! I got this cute little sewing machine for Christmas. I have never used one before, but I have wanted one for a while. I did however take the plunge on Sunday by sewing an entire apron! I tend to just jump into things like that. I mean how else am I supposed to learn what I am doing. I did get a great deal on the pattern at Hancock's only 1.99 instead of the sticker price of 15.95! Sorry for all of the exclamation points I am just super excited about this present. I can wait to learn more and make some more awesome stuff. Back to my apron. The fabric is super cute, it cost about 15.00 for everything, it isn't made perfectly, but it will serve it's purpose and I can say I made it!! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Looking Up!

Well it seems as though things might finally be looking up. We have decided that we will move in with Walt's dad, which will free up about 380.00 a month. We are still going to pay him some money to live there of course, but he did not ask us to contribute a lot. I am excited. The apartment complex and very nice with a gym, pool, hot tub, etc... But mostly I am excited about the opportunity to save some money and buy some things we have really been wanting. Also, I think it will be good for his dad to have someone there with him most of the time. He is getting older and is unstable on his feet. I like knowing that someone will be there is something bad were to happen. However, we probably picked the worst time of year to attempt to do this. I mean Christmas is just around the corner & I have swap packages going in and out. I want to move by the 1st so that we don't owe another 500.00 in rent, another cable bill, another electric bill etc... We had to submit applications to the office so they can make sure we aren't child molesters or serial killers. We are waiting to hear back on that (not that we are concerned) before we actually start packing. We also have to pay a 200.00 pet deposit for Abby. She discovered herself in the mirror the other day and well she isn't very fond of herself. She also had her picture taken with Santa this past weekend. It is such a cute photo of our little family.

In other news with the year coming to a close and income tax time around the corner the one thing I really wanted to do with my income tax this year was to sign up for the Master Knitter course through The Knitting Guild Association. There are 3 levels in which you have to knit swatches and do research papers and just learn a lot about knitting and the way you knit. The first level seems like it is doable for me and I am hoping to learn enough during that time to feel confident tackle the next 2 levels.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lucky!

So I have just been sitting here at work all day listening to music & updating my playlist. I guess it is that time of year when I feeling all warm and fuzzy inside so I have been adding a lot of love songs. :) So of course I have been thinking about Walt all day. I have just been thinking about how fortunate I am to have him in my life. He keeps me sane on those insane days. I get to wake up every morning knowing that at some point during the day he will make me laugh so hard that I cry. He is always there to comfort me when I am having a bad. He encourages me to do the things that I love. He teaches me new things. He makes me a better person. He loves me. I am just really lucky to have found someone that really gets me. Someone that can truly make me happy & I can truly make him happy. So yeah that is it....just needed to say something amazing about him because he is!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why is it December Already??

With the holidays just around the corner and so much going on I am trying to accomplish a million things at once. This means that I cast on for a pair of socks today during my lunch break. The pattern is Breeze. It is a short anklet sock with some lace and cabling. It should be a quick knit (a week or two). I also need to go home and dye some yarn for a KAL for a swap group. I will cast that on tomorrow. I still have Tiger Eyes to finish, Walt's socks (which sadly keep getting put on the back burner due to other pressing knits), roving to finish spinning, & several projects for swap boxes to finish! Not to mention Christmas shopping and menu planning. Why is is December already??!!?? Why am I so unprepared!!?? Ack! I need to figure out some solutions quickly or I am really going to let some people down & I don't want to do that.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Overwhelmed!!

Well, with only 25 days until Christmas I am feeling so overwhelmed. I have not bought the first Christmas present. I have 2 swap packages that are due for Christmas both of which require a handknit item neither of which I have begun to knit & I have only done a small bit of shopping for them. I also need to start shopping for Christmas dinner. Last year I was not financially able to cook for Christmas which was the first time in 6 years that I was not able to do that. This year I refuse not to cook for Christmas!! Even if it means the adults do not get gifts. I love cooking for Christmas. I love making food that everyone enjoys and I love sitting down with the family and just enjoying a good meal with good conversation and lots of laughs. I don't get to spend much time with my whole family and Christmas is really important to me for that reason. So I am feeling like I need to make some kind of game plan. I need to pin down what I want to knit for the 2 Christmas packages and put Tiger Eyes on hold although it is so close to being finished I could possibly finish it tonight. I have begun creating a Christmas dinner menu it's a little different this year as my step-dad found out he has diabetes I want to try and make a few things he can eat lots of & also remember to make plenty of vegetarian alternatives for April. I need to get to work on figuring out gifts and knitting.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Learning A New Trick

So ever since I began knitting I have wanted to learn to crochet. I have picked it up and attempted a few times, but it never really seems to sink in. I try telling myself it will take some time just like knitting did, but I get frustrated and put it down. I mean I can knit so why do I really need to crochet too? The answer simply is Amigurumi! I love all of the cute little amigurumi things.




Those are just a small sampling of the amazing amigurumi patterns out there. There is an amazing designer on Ravelry. Linda Potts who has the most amazing free amigurumi patterns. Things such as Mario, Luigi, & lots of other Mario Brothers items. She has lots of other amazing things, but the Mario items appeal most to me because I grew up playing Mario. So I have spent the better part of my morning on Ravelry adding lots of amigurumi patterns to my queue. Not that my queue needs anymore stuff added to it. It is already 11 pages long with over 300 patterns/projects. Hoping all of the cute patterns will inspire me to pick up the crochet hook and give it another go. This is on my list of things to learn in 2011.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Moment To Rant

Okay, so I need everyone to bare with me for a moment while I rant about our visit to the vet's office yesterday. So let's start from the beginning. Abby had some running poo off and on for about 3 days so we called the vet and they told us to gather a stool sample and bring her in. So when she finally decided to go poo again we gathered it up and took her to the vet. Once in the room with the vet we had a long discussion about what could be causing the problem. So ideas were that she ate another dog's poo, her diet could be to high in protein, or it could just be from the immiticide. So they did a full blood work up as well as testing her stool. The vet also did a complete physical exam. We talked for a while about the raw food diet and why we thought this was best for our dog and why the vet thought this was bad for our dog. Let me say that Walt and I spent a lot of time reading and researching this before we decided to put Abby on a RMB diet. The vet recommended Science Diet in Lamb & Rice. Which is fine with me I have no problem feeding my dog regular dog food as long as that is what is best for her. So after Abby's blood work came back we learned that she was dehydrated which was probably due to the diarrhea, also her protein levels were really high which could be due to either her diet or the immiticide. The vet recommended giving her a subcutaneous injection of fluid. I agreed because I just want what's best for our dog. So when the vet tech brought Abby out after the getting the fluid she decided it was her turn to berate us for feeding our dog RMB. She was in the room when we spoke to the vet about. She knows that we are aware of their opinion on this, but still she felt the need to talk to us like we were a couple of 1st graders that just got permanent marker all of the wall. So at this point we are already slightly irritated. We then end up waiting about 30 minutes at the counter to check out and pay because no one came seem to locate Abby's chart. So once that is cleared up the receptionist tells us that we owe $15.00 dollars from the last time. Walt and I both look at her very confused because she has only been in for heartworm treatment and that is covered by the SPCA where we adopted her from. The receptionist then tells us that we called the last time and stated that there was a family emergency and asked if they could keep her overnight. THIS NEVER HAPPENED!! We have never left her there longer than they tell us. She has not stayed the night there. I am already dreading that when she goes back for her last treatment on the 23rd that she does have to stay overnight. So I ask the girl if maybe the put it on the wrong screen. There was another Abby there the last time our Abby was there. The girl then tells me there was not another Abby there. "Yes, there was. You brought me out the wrong dog the last time!" I have no problem paying for services that we received, but I am not paying for something we did not do even if it is just 15.00. I just gave you over 200.00 for her visit today. Apparently, the overnight stay was entered by the director so they could not over ride it and he was not in that day. So they will have to get with him and see what he says. Also, let me note how poorly you keep records. You did not record her weight the last time she was in here. You called me on the 8th to verify her appointment for the 9th. She never had an appointment scheduled for the 9th. This is the second time you have screwed up the appointment date for her final treatment. You SUCK at keeping records and I am not paying 15.00!!!!

Seriously, this is the worst office that I have ever been to. I feel bad. The vet himself is fantastic! He is super polite and really informative, everything you could want in a vet. The staff is terrible. Not the entire staff of course, but the majority that we have encountered. I value what the SPCA does for animals, but once Abby's heartworm treatment is completed I will not be returning. Now I am concerned that I need to ask for a receipt before I leave the next time even though there is no bill for the treatment. Also she is now on a antibiotic for 10 days and I have to trust that when I take her in for her heartworm treatment on the 23rd that they will remember to give her, her antibiotic.

::End Rant::

Sorry that I had to put you all through that I just really needed to get that out of my system for a moment. In other news. The tiger eye lace scarf is moving along so well and growing quickly!

Monday, November 15, 2010

What's on the needles?

So in trying to get back into posting more regularly and getting back to more knitting I am here with my most recent project the 'Tiger Eye Lace Scarf'. The pattern has been a breeze thus far and the scarf seems to be growing rather quickly considering I am using fingering weight yarn and size 5 needles. The upside is it does not have be be knit super long as blocking will make the scarf grow about 20%. I must admit that I had sworn off scarves for a while, but this was one that I have been wanting to knit for a long time. Not one that someone wants me to knit for them. "Hi, my name is Brandy and I have a hard time saying no". Yes, this is my problem. I don't like to let people down and when I tell them I can't do something I feel like I am letting them down. What happens? I am overbooked and hate knitting. So here is a picture of the scarf so far about 30% done at this point.
Tiger Eye Lace Scarf
The yarn is a beautiful aqua blue and lime green dyed on a surge base by the fantastic Julie!!

I also still have Walt's stripped socks on the needles. I really want to finish these for him, but they have been such a challenge. This is my 3rd attempt at knitting them and hopefully it will be right. I had to go buy another set of US 1 DPNs because I had lost one and could not knit them.

I also have some yarn on the spindle. That I have been spinning for what feels like forever. I know there have been weeks where I have no touched it which is why it is not done, but also because I was aiming for a lace/fingering weight. So more yards = more time! My right shoulder has been killing me lately so that kind of detracts from the whole spinning thing. Although, I did spin 2 sections of roving last night.

So this week I spun 3 sections of roving & knit 10 pattern repeats on the scarf. Oh yeah, I did some math on the scarf. If I knit 30 repeats that will give me 60" inches pre-blocking. That will be  480 rows knit, which amounts to 14,880 stitches.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lace Lust!

It has been a while since I talked about knitting on here other than just in passing. I started this blog expecting it to be a knitting only blog because that was really all that was going on in my life at the time. Life sure has changed a lot in the past year. Well, I am dedicating this post to knitting only. I recently completed my first lace project. I have always found a lot of lace shawls and scarves really beautiful but I was so intimidated by the charts. I think the charts scared me because you read them from right to left which is not how we are used to reading things. I guess though when you are holding you needle up in front of your chart your are reading in the direction that you are knitting. The chart for the pattern that I was working was pretty simple and I did write it out just to ensure that I wouldn't mess it up too much. So here is a crappy cell phone picture because I forgot to pull out the camera while it was blocking.
BatShawl
I am really proud of it and it was such a fun knit. For any knitters out there who might be reading along you can find the pattern for this shawl the anti-craft blog. I have also finished another small project recently, but I am unable to share because it will be going into a swap package as well. I feel like I have so much knitting to do, but I am kind of uninspired by anything lately and when I am inspired I just don't have the materials available on hand or the time. I think in the new year I will be taking a break from swapping and focusing on knitting and spinning for myself and loved ones. While I truly do enjoy swapping it has just become very time consuming and overwhelming. It will certainly be hard to stay away. I still need to finish my Gail which was going so well and then just crashed and burned. I think I will frog the whole thing and start over. I also need to find a size 1 dpn to finish Walt's socks that are so overdue. I have some yarn I need to finish for a swap package. Hopefully, there will be lots of photos of finished objects in the near future.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Loss

So I guess I have been thinking about loss a lot lately. It has been a year since we lost my grandfather on my mom's side of the family. It was really tough for most of us as my grandfather has always been really active and spent lots of quality time with all of us. Especially for my sister and me. We both grew up not spending much time with our fathers so our grandfather quickly took over that role. We were always his babies. I remember taking summer trips in the RV to New Jersey, North Carolina, & other places. I remember him at all of my soccer games cheering me on. I remember all of the amazing stories he used to tell about when he was a kid. My grandfather was always there to help when you needed it. He was a strong and gentle man with lots of love to share. One of the things I always admired about my grandfather is that he never dated anyone after my grandmother passed, which was 17 years before my grandfather. He never took off his wedding ring either. I hope to find the kind of love that he had for her. I hope to have his kind of strength and his amazing character. He taught me that life can teach you so much more than any book. My grandfather who only had a 6th grade education was one of the smartest people I knew. He had lived life. He had seen so much change in the world. My grandfather was born in 1927 so you can imagine all the things you read about in history books that he was actually around to see and experience. I can't think of a day in the past year that I have not thought about him. I know there is so much of him in me and I am very thankful for that. I know that I am a better person because of him.

With that said we are now dealing with the possibility that my mom may have breast cancer. I can't think of anyone other than my mom who has had more of an impact on my life. We are still waiting to hear the results of a mammogram she had this past Friday and I am hoping for the best, but I am expecting the worst. My mom is the most amazing woman I have ever known. She is strong, loving, funny, beautiful, & so much more. She taught me how to be me and that it was okay to just be me. She has allowed me to express myself even if it meant I would have green hair and black lipstick. I love her for that.

Friday, October 22, 2010

BIRTHDAY!!

Yay! It's my birthday! I am officially 25! Had to share some of my birthday awesomeness! First, Walt got me a new cutting board ( I desperately needed a new one) & a set of Paula Deen Santoku knives like these:




I also got some awesome penguin cupcakes from Amanda!
Cupcake
I have received many 'Happy Birthday' wishes from my friends and loved ones! So far it has been a great day!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Help My Friend

Please help my friend Crystal win the Florida Etsy Street Team contest by going here and voting for her copper shawl pin. The poll in the side bar to the right. Her shawl pins are beautiful! You can find Crystal's blog here and read more about the contest and see some more of her beautiful work.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

All At Once

So a lot of things have happened in the last 24 hours. Most of which were bad.
1. Found out yesterday that I will no longer be doing the cleaning for the company I work for so I will be losing about 250.00 a month.
2. Came home from work to find that our refrigerator had quit working. ( I went grocery shopping Sunday night.)
3. Went to work on my secret knitting project to discover that my Zephyr knitting needle had broken.

All of that in 24 hours....really! Well, I can't do anything about number one other than try to find a way to make up for that lost money every month. The good news is our landlord is on his way to look at our refrigerator, bad news is our apartment is a MESS! Which, means Walt has to try and clean before Jack arrives, I am pretty sure this is the 2nd time Walt has cleaned since we moved into our apartment over 2 years ago. Other good news, KnitPicks is going to send me a replacement needle. The only downfall was that I really needed to be finished knitting this project tomorrow and well I probably won't have my needles until at least Thursday. Seriously, though I originally thought that our refrigerator was not covered by our landlord so I looked for a cheap used one. Yeah, they don't exist. They cheapest one I found was $195.00....OMG!! That's it for today. Let's hope the next 24 hours get better. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Art!


So as most of you know Walt is an artist and has been struggling for a while to make his mark in the local art community. Well, I think things are finally starting to unfold for him and I am starting to unfold.

Two weekends ago we attended/participated in Platform Art Party, which is probably one of the biggest art shows in Lakeland aside from Mayfair. Well, of course Walt being who he is waited until the day before to start building his display for his art works. Granted Abby was kind of an unexpected distraction from preparing for Platform, but still I am sure he would have procrastinated. So here it is the day before Platform and we have 3 (8x4) foot pieces of Styrofoam that needs to be painting black, and then attach boards & hinges to it. Of course, it is also First Friday which means that we need to go check that out. So we were up until about 2 am Friday night working on the display, then we had to get back up at about 9 am Saturday to finish. So by this point Walt is stress and I am tired. Walt is really cranky which I am not used to at all so what might have been a fun team building project really became a nightmare. Fortunately, we have amazing friends like Marty Jones who helped up transport this massive piece. So then we are trying to find time to shower and make ourselves presentable and we still have no idea what we are going to do with Abby, we can’t possibly leave her home by herself yet. So we get ready and go to the venue and I finally just decide that I am tired, stressed, & over Platform. So Abby and I went home. We felt bad for missing Dad’s big event, but he didn’t mind. He even won a ribbon!!





Last weekend we had Walt’s Artist Meet and Greet at The Gallery at Lake Mirror. Which didn’t start out so stressful and I am not sure that the event was ever actually stressful. I think it was that Abby was very restless in the Gallery because her Daddy was moving around and talking so much so she took lots of extra attention. We had also been up for quite some time and the event went a bit late and we also went to Starbucks afterword. It was really nice to have lots of our good friends show up. Some that we have not seen in a while, we also met some new people and made some new friends. Most importantly thought, WALT SOLD HIS FIRST PAINTING!!! Yay! I was so shocked and so very proud of him. 



So as you can see it has been an adventure these past few weekends and well I am sure there will be more adventures to come!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Life With Abby!

I can't even begin to explain how much joy this sweet little dog has brought into our lives. She is so well behaved and mild mannered I can't get over it. However, I feel so stretched thin and stressed out. I am not used to waking up and having to immediately get out of my warm cozy bed and taking the dog out to pee. I am used to be able to hit the snooze button on morning that I really need it, but now not so much. I mean we are still working hard on this whole potting training thing and I don't want to blow it. Then on nights like last night where I worked until 7:15, then had to go to the grocery store, then had to cook dinner, had to feed the dog, had to give the dog medicine, hoping to get everything done by 8 so I could watch House! Whew! Fortunately, Walt is really great about covering the late night potty times. So he takes night shift and I take day shift. Next week Abby goes back for her first injection for her heartworms and we have to drop her off at the vet at 7:30 am. Which means we will have to wake up at 6:30 am....uggghhh! We also won't be allowed to pick her back up until 4pm. I am going to be so worried about my baby. She got to go to the dog park this weekend and meet some other dogs. I think that is going to take some time. She is also super protective of her mommy. I can't help but to smile when I watch her sleep and she starts to dream. I love when she sees that her daddy is sleeping in the morning and whines really loud to wake him up. I love our new puppy.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Welcome Home Abby!!

Where to start? Well, early Saturday morning Walt received a phone call from his brother Phillip. Phillip asked if we were allowed to have pets. Walt told him that we were, but it probably wasn't a good idea. Well, shortly after hanging up the phone with Phillip all Walt could think of was 'Olga' (that was Abby's name before). Phillip had told us that she had been at the SPCA for a long time because no one wanted her because she only had one eye.
So we decided that we would go take a look at 'Olga'. Granted there were some reservations. She is heart worm positive and there can be some danger in the treatment. We got to the SPCA and instantly fell in love with 'Olga'. She was so mellow and shy. So we decided we would take her home. First, things first though, we would have to change her name. So we named her Abby! After filling out all of the paperwork and getting all the necessary paperwork we walked next door to set an appointment for Abby to see the Vet and get her heart worms taken care of. (Her first appointment is tomorrow, I am so nervous). Next stop, PetSupermarket!! I then decided to spend entirely too much money, but how can you say no to that face! She has been so great these past 2 days and has brought many smiles & lots of laughter into our home!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Quick, Quick!!

Not much time to post, but I just felt the need to share what we had for dinner last night. Zuppa Toscana (which you will usually find at Olive Garden) made at home from scratch. It was so yummy! It is Walt's favorite thing from Olive Garden so I found the recipe here on CopyKat.com. I also made corn fritters which can be found through the Hillbilly Housewife blog. So that it is it. Just wanted to share yummy dinner.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Back To Knitting

My knitting world has been very strange lately. Lots of new techniques and unexpected projects. I started working on my first every lace project, which is Gail this beautiful shawl that kind of looks like peacock feathers when it is all finished. I am using this beautiful yarn that Francesca sent me.
 So, things started really well. I was really shocked and concerned that I hadn't had any issues. I mean so many seasoned lace knitters where really having problems with this shawl. So 1st repeat done, and the 2nd, and the 3rd, and the 4th, and the 5th, and then the 6th repeat came and something went so wrong. Not really sure what happened but I was suddenly short a stitch. So I tinked back a few rows and things were good and then suddenly I was short 1 stitch again. WTF??!!?? Well, the last lifeline (so thankful I used these I tend to skip those extra steps like swatching) was at the end of the 4th repeat which meant I had to take out the 5th & 6th repeat. Not that big of a deal because I am certainly a process knitter and well I am really enjoying the process of this shawl. Got almost to the end of the 5th repeat and I was short 1 stitch again all of a sudden. I feel like I am losing a stitch somewhere on my purl row but I can find it. Hmmmm. I am starting to get frustrated just because I hate not being able to do something right. I CAN follow directions! Well, Gail is currently taking a backseat since I working on a top secret project for Francesca. I will say that it requires about 700 yards of fingering weight and is Halloween themed to go with the theme of of next swap package. It is going really well and rather quickly. Walt even really likes and he doesn't often drool over the things that I knit. Speaking of Walt his socks are still on hold. They will be the death of me. They have become a project knit instead of a process and well I have just kind of been avoiding them. I know they will be fantastic when they are finished, but I have frogged them about 3 times now and just can't really stand to touch them at the moment. They are also plain socks which can be so boring at times. Lastly, I recently made a bunch of coasters to sell at the First Friday event. I was only given a weeks notice and had to whip up what I could as quick as I could. I also made a ton of soap in different scents, bases, colors, shapes, etc... I still have some lace/fingering weight yarn that I am trying to spin that has been sitting on the back burner since my spinning section of the couch has been blocked by a tote full of randomness.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Can't Get It Off My Mind!!!

What you ask? Food! I have recently reawakened my passion for food and cooking. I remember being really young and always wanting to make sure the food my mom had prepared was placed on the table just right so that it would look as beautiful as possible. I remember getting in trouble for “playing” restaurant with my Great Grandmother’s fine china. I was never afraid to try new foods and that still stays with me. There are some things that are so visually appealing to me that even though I have tried them several times and not enjoyed them I will continue to do so, I guess I am hoping it is a taste that I will acquire. Sushi is one of those foods for me, it is beautiful, so meticulously made, I mean people spend years trying to perfect their sushi making skills and well, it shows. Unfortunately, for me I just can’t seem to enjoy it. I do try it every time we go to a Chinese buffet. Lately, I have been really eager to improve my cooking skills (what few I have). I find that getting recipes and cooking them aren’t usually too hard; I mean I can follow directions, but I would like to have more finesse in the kitchen. I would like to understand why things cook the way the do & if I can improve upon that. I want to be more creative in creating my own recipes. So to try and improved my creativeness I decided that I would need to learn more about other cultures and what they eat and different cooking techniques they use. So I have spent the better part of my day looking at French recipes and techniques and it looks like we will be having a French food day at home soon!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cooking Bug!


So lately I have really had a serious cooking bug. I mean I have always loved to cook and create new dishes, but lately I have wanted to find new recipes & buy giant recipe books with cool tips and tricks. I have also been really drawn to international cuisine lately. So I have been cruising around lots of websites such as allrecipes.com and some blogs such as hillbilly housewife. I really would like to get a bread maker and start canning stuff (such as pickles and my own red sauces). I am finding that I have a hard time branching out. I like to try lots of stuff, but so many recipes call for ingredients I don’t have on hand and can’t afford to get on hand. So what’s a girl to do?? Well,  my plan is to buy one jarred/bottled spice every week when I go grocery shopping as these are the things I always seem to need and not have especially when trying to recreate international cuisine. So what have I made lately? Well, 2 weekends ago we had a total Middle East lunch that consisted of Fried Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce; Homemade Hummus; Couscous with Baby Portabellas, Onion, Bell Pepper; & Tabia Polo. It was so good! Walt really liked the Fried Cauliflower. We had homemade Tacos Sunday & Monday, Breakfast for dinner last night which consisted of scrambled eggs; sausage, biscuits, & gravy; & hash brown casserole. It was so good. Tonight’s menu is spaghetti with lots of mushrooms because we love the little fungi, sausage instead of groud beef because it was on sale, and homemade garlic bread. Forgot to mention I also recently made vegan chocolate cupcakes with vegan peanut butter frosting. They were super yummy! Well, I am off to find some more recipes. Any ideas please share…..

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

DB: Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake

This month's Daring Bakers' challenge was the Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake!

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.-

Since I currently do not have internet at home I will not be able to get the pictures up until this weekend when I am at the coffee shop. This challenge made me feel really proud of myself and was also very yummy. I was really excited to be making ice cream from scratch both with out eggs or an ice cream maker. I didn't know that you could make ice cream without an ice cream maker. So not only did I make both chocolate and vanilla ice cream from scratch I also made cake, whipped cream, & fudge sauce from scratch. I am telling you this recipe was so yummy. It was a bit on the time consuming side because of having to wait for the ice cream to set. You can find the recipe for the Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake here! This was so yummy. I loved the ice cream and the whipped cream although I wasn't too fond of the frozen cake & I think I would have like for it to have more of a chocolate flavor. I promise I will post pictures by the end of the week, so check back for yummy photos.



Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tour de Fleece & The Daring Kitchen

Let's start with the TdF. I have slowed down my spinning speed a bit so I don't run out of roving before the tour is over. I recently starting spinning lace/fingering weight yarn (trying to at least). I guess actually it is going pretty well. I am getting rather consistent singles and I am now able to draft and spin at the same time instead of having to draft in advance. So here is a quick picture of where I am at with my lace/fingering singles:
 So there you have it! Okay on to the Daring Kitchen. I will be blogging about July's Daring Bakers Challenge on Tuesday. Hopefully, I will get lots of pictures taken this weekend of the yummy challenge. This one is much more intensive than the last daring cooks challenge. I think baking is harder than cooking anyway, but that is what I love about it. Lots of people cook well, but few bake well. I also just found out what the Daring Cooks Challenge is and I must say I am so excited about it. I am doing four different variations on it & it is going to be so yummy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

DC: Nut Butters

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

Okay so I am a day late posting this and did not take any photos of my finished dish at the time. I will remake this weekend and update this post with pictures.So the challenge was to make you own nut butters. Think peanut butter but using other kinds of nuts (i.e. Walnuts, cashews, pecans, etc.). I chose to make Walnut White Bean Dip With Rosemary & Sage. I chose to make this for a few reasons. Number 1 being that we were on a tight budget this past month and this seemed the most economically friendly. Number 2 being that this one gave me the most use of my magic bullet. I love my magic bullet unfortunately, it just doesn't give the love it deserves sometimes.

So what were my thoughts:
1. I really need to invest in some teaspoon & tablespoon measuring devices.
2. The nut butter from the Walnuts was really yummy and had a really cool texture.
3. It was so yummy with chopped celery.
4. I guess my only complaint is that it was a bit thick for my preference. I am sure I could leave in some of the liquid from the beans next time.

You can visit the Daring Kitchen website here and read about the challenge as well as view the recipe that I used.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Underestimated!

Okay so remember how my original goal was to just get one 4oz batch of roving spun during the TdF. Well, I did that in the first 5 days and decided I better slow down or I would run out of roving before the TdF was over. I just fell in love with spinning. I get to take it everywhere and I always seem to feel comfortable doing it. My arm no longer gets tired, my back doesn't hurt, it just feels right. I spent the 4th of July downtown at Black and Brew spinning away on the Sexy Hotness which was fun because there was a lot of red, white, & blue in the fiber with bits of pink and purple. Several small children walked by and admired my "cotton candy," that's what they called it. We then watched the Fireworks over Lake Mirror. Here is a picture of the "cotton candy" off the spindle but before being plied.
It really did turn out to be absolutely beautiful. So, what have I been spinning since. Well, I had some sample braids (0.5oz) from Into The Whirled and I figured they would be a good way to practice spinning thinner yarn. I really wanted to go for a lace weight but would be totally happy with fingering. So I spun one of the Into The Whirled sample braids and was pretty happy with the thinness. Last night I decided that I would start working on some more roving dyed by the fantastic Julie and aim for a lace/fingering weight. So this is where I am at with my spinning. I will be posting about the awesome shawl pin I won from Crystal who actually hand delivered it since we both live in Florida. Much more about that in the next post when I have take a proper picture of her fantastic shawl pin.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Just a quick Tour de Fleece Update.

Here is the Sexy Hotness (80/20 Wool/Bamboo) that I have been spinning for the Tour. Dyed by the incredibly talented Julie!!

50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind (41-50)

This is the last segment in the 50 questions series and away we go:

41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today? I would throw a party and invite everyone. 

42.  Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous? No.

43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living? Truly living is experiencing things. You can be on life support and be alive but that is not living. You are just there. You have no way to experience things.

44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right? There are probably lots of moments where this should apply however, I think from a really young age we are taught to way the risks and rewards of things (i.e. don't touch that it's hot!).

45.  If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake? Well, some mistakes could be fatal not only to you but to others. Plus, you are often shunned for making mistakes. You could be fired from your job, laughed at in class, not graduate. I guess basically mistakes could lead to failure and most people (myself included) are afraid to fail. 

46.  What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you? Nothing really. I don't really live my life based on others opinions. I am fortunate enough that those opinions that do matter come with very open minds.

47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing? When I woke up in the middle of the night last night.

48. What do you love? I love lots of things. I am guessing since the question is not 'who' do you love that it is referring to things. I love spinning.   Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love? Yes, I have been spinning a lot lately, made a niddy noddy, & I am participating in the Tour de Fleece.

49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that? I think there are moments that I will remember. I tend to cherish the little things and I hope that I will be able to remember lots of them when I am older.

50. Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you? I am making them for myself. Not saying that some of them aren't influenced by other things but ultimately I am making them myself. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tour de Fleece

So the Tour de Fleece officially starts tomorrow! It runs from July 3rd to July 25th. Am I really going to take a 21 break from knitting?? The answer yes! I am still a super new spinner and to be able to accomplish anything during the tour I am going to need to spend every waking moment spinning. That means during 15 minute breaks at work. My hour at lunch. While dinner is cooking. And so on. My goal is to just get 4oz of roving spun, plied, & set. It probably doesn't seem like much to those people spinning on a wheel or those that have been spinning for a long time. I just finished my first 4oz on Tuesday. It took me about 2 months, granted there was lots of knitting going on in that time and a lot of learning taking place. Hopefully, I will get this done and maybe even be able to start on some other roving. For those of you who are not spinners and are not aware of what the Tour de Fleece is you can read about it here! Basically, it is a challenge to see how much you can complete during the Tour de France. You are not competing with other spinners just seeing what you can accomplish for yourself and there are others spinners there to motivate and inspire you along the way. I really excited about the inspiration portion. Seeing new techniques that I haven't seen or stumbling upon tips that will make me a better and more efficient spinner. You can join different teams...I have joined the rookies since this is my first year and I have also joined a wild card spindlers team. There are prizes to be won and so much more. If you are on Ravelry and have not yet joined you should do so. Since I will already be spinning for 21 days I am going to go ahead and extend it an extra 9 days to complete one of my 101 in 1001 challenges, which is to spin everyday for 30 days.  

In other news I have picked up some ingredients for the daring cooks challenge and I just found out the daring bakers challenge. I went to the store without my daring cooks challenge recipe list and lets just say I had looked at 2 recipes and kind of got a few of the ingredients mixed up. That's what I get for shopping without a list. The good news is I was planning to make them both anyway so I already have a few ingredients on hand for the second one. I can't wait to share pictures and recipes with you unfortunately the rules state that I am unable to do some until July 15th. Well, off to get some knitting done before I am cut off!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind (31-40)

So here I am again tackling those 50 questions. I feel like I should have finished this by now. I don't know what happens to all my time. I wake up at 10am on Saturday and think okay I have 14 hours to get stuff done today and before I know it the 14 hours are gone and all I have done is knit or spin. I really want to get some cleaning done. It's hard for me to do when Walt is home. Sometimes I want to just ship him off for the day and get some work around the apartment done. Not that I don't love him because I do, he is just so darn distracting. :) Well, onto the 50 questions.

31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive? Two days ago when Walt was wearing the Jackson hat that I had knit. It is the first thing that I have seen him wear that I have knit. I was so excited I was jumping up and down on the bed like a little kid. He looked so cute in it.

32. If not now, then when? Hopefully soon. Somethings got to stick, right?

33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose? Everything! I don't have a lot which makes achieving lots of things tough at the moment but I certainly don't want to lose everything I have by making stupid mistakes.

 34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever? No

35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars? They are always going to be going against people that are naturally violent. The spoken word doesn't seem to count for much anymore. People lie.

36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil? Nothing is black & white.

37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job? Absolutely!!

38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing? More work that I actually enjoy doing. I enjoy being busy.

39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before? Yes.

40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in? Three years ago, when I decided to date Walt. It was a great decision but a very scary one. There were lots of challenges in the being and lots of unknown but it was the best decision I have ever made and I don't regret it for a single minute.


Those are the questions for today. Maybe I will do the last 10 tomorrow and will have one more thing to check off my list. I am 5% complete on my list. I only have 66 items currently and a lot of the task span the entire time so a lot will be checked off on the last day (hopefully).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind (21-30) & A Few Other Things

I will just jump right into the questions:

21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton? As important as I feel being happy in life is I would absolutely want to be a worried genius. I don't want to be happy because I don't know any better. 

22. Why are you, you? I just am. I don't really know how to answer this question. Maybe I am me because of my mom. Maybe I am me because of my friends. Maybe I am me because of where I grew up. Maybe I am me because of me. Maybe I am me because of everything I have been through. I would like to think that everything in life affects you in someway. 

23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend? When I was younger, no. Now that I am older I think that I have. My friends mean so much to me and I would do anything for any of them. 

24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you? When a good friend moves away. When you lose touch with a friend who live right near you that is a choice. When a good friend moves away that is out of your control. 

25. What are you most grateful for? My mom. She has been everything to me. She has been my mother, my father, my best friend. She has loved me when I was at my worst and never judged me for anything I did. My mom has always allowed me to express myself (even when that meant dyeing my hair black, wearing black lipstick, and painting my face pale white) and even helped me express myself. She taught me how to stand on my own to feet and how to love someone unconditionally.

26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones? This is a really tough one. I have some pretty awful old memories but some really great ones too. Having recently lost my grandfather who was basically my dad losing every memory of him would be tough. I also think a lot of those memories make me who I am. That being said I would say lose my old ones. I see great things in my future and many amazing memories to come (I can pet a penguin for 25.00 a the Florida Aquarium). 

27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first? No! How can you know it is true without making sure yourself. 

28. Has your greatest fear ever come true? No. 

29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Yeah.  Does it really matter now? Yes and no. The anger is no longer there but that time 5 years ago really changed me. 

30. What is your happiest childhood memory? A trip we (Grandfather, Sister, Aunt, & Myself) took in our RV to North Carolina, New Jersey, & Pennsylvania.  What makes it so special? Being with my family!

On to other stuff. I now have my first Daring Cooks challenge in hand. Unfortunately, I can't disclose any details until July 17th. I will share details and hopefully lots of pictures. As mentioned in the above questions I discovered that I can pet a penguin for 25.00 at the Florida Aquarium. I honestly thought this was one of those things I would always want to do but never get to do so it is nice to see that it is possible. The rain has been insane and it is making it really difficult for me to clean my apartment the way I have been planning. The good news is Walt's brother can use our other couch for his new apartment and our extra microwave so yeah that is 2 things out of the apartment. I finished knitting the second UF scarf. NO MORE SCARVES for a while. Unless they are mindless garter stitch scarves that I can pick up and knit when I need a break from a project or I can knit while walking. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Yay!! I did it!!

I actually accomplished all the goals in my blog from yesterday plus some and well, our kitchen looks great! It is so freeing to walk into our kitchen and it is clean and uncluttered. Maybe I will tackle our bathroom when I get home today. Bathroom cleaning list:
1. Take out garbage.
2. Throw away old razors & empty shampoo bottles.
3. Clean sink, toilet, & bathtub.
4. Pick up dirty laundry from floor.
5. Put up towels.

Seems like a longer list than the kitchen but it is a much smaller room and the projects are a lot easier. On to other exciting news....

I am still working my way through a few projects on my Day Zero Project list which you can view here. The project that I seem to be making some good head way on the past few days is the list of 1001 movies to see before you die.
 The list contains the recommended 1001 movies plus a supplemental 64 movies. You can view the list I am working from here. I am only attempting to watch 1001 movies from the complete list. They can be the suggested 1001 or include any of the supplemental movies to total 1001. I decided to do it this way for fear of not being able to find copies of certain movies as some of them date back as far as 1902. I have watched a total of 120 movies from the list so far. I watched 2 today on Hulu (Animal Farm & Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer) and yesterday I watched Dances With Wolves. The other 117 movies I have already seen.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Daring Kitchen

So I recently discovered this sited called The Daring Kitchen. After reading all the rules and FAQ I decided that both the Daring Cooks & Daring Bakers challenges would be going on my 101 in 1001 list. It's a very interesting site indeed. Basically, once a month you are given either a baking or cooking challenge (both if you select both when signing up like I did)to complete and then blog about on the end date. This will be my first one of both challenges. The cooking challenge will be announced on Thursday ( I am so excited). I looked at some previous challenges and they included making things such as Pate, Enchiladas, Brunswick stew, & Risotto. So while I am excited about the cooking challenge, it also means that I need to seriously clean and organize my kitchen to even have a chance at completing the challenge. I do not yet have access to the Daring Bakers private forums as the challenge will not be listed until the end of the month. So a small to-do list for the evening. Wash as many dishes that will fit into the dish drainer, take out all garbage, & clean refrigerator. Sounds so easy and simple in my head at the moment but I know I will arrive home drained from the brain numbing day I have endured here at work, unwilling to do anything, but eat and watch TV.

Friday, June 11, 2010

50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind (11-20)

Here I am again answer the next series of questions that should free my mind. I have enjoyed asking both loved ones & friends these questions. It has sparked interesting conversation & helped me to learn lots about them. Let's begin:

11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do? Honestly, I don't think I would ever respect and admire these kinds of people but for the purpose of the question I do. I would say something. That is just who I am. The only time I have ever been in trouble in my life was for fighting for someone who could not fight for themselves.

12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be? This one is really tough. I feel like there is so much you need to know coming into this world. I have heard various answers from my friends including things such as: Good Luck! Live, Laugh, & Love! I think for me I am going to go with Bobby McFerrin and say "Don't Worry, Be Happy!"

13. Would you break the law to save a loved one? Yes! Yes! Yes! I would do anything to save a loved one.

14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity? I see this everyday in Walt.

15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people? I don't know that I do anything different from everybody. It is impossible to know that I am the only one who does something. Our world is very diverse and I sure there is somebody out there who does things just like me.

16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy? We are all different. We all enjoy different things.

17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back? Take a vacation. I don't have any vacation time or the funds to take a vacation.

18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? Nope.

19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why? A state: Illinois. I would love to live in Chicago. Yay for snow & the bears! A Country: Ireland. I would love to get in touch with my heritage.

20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster? No. I have never even heard of this.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind (1-10)

So as part of my "101 in 1001" I have decided to answer the "50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind." In an attempt to not bore you to much I will be answering them in increments of 10 questions. You can find the complete list of questions here! Let's begin shall we:
1. How would you be if you didn't know how old you are? I say it depends on the day. Some days I am a carefree 3 year old who wants to watch cartoons and play on the slide at the park. I want to be tickled and laugh until I cry. Other days I am 40 and all I can think about is how our bills will be paid, what to make for dinner, & work. The good news is I have more 3 year old days than 40 year old days.

2. Which is worse, failing or never trying? This was a quick and simple answer, failing. I don't like to fail, I don't even like for people to be better at things than I am. Also, I am not one of those "what if" people so the never trying thing doesn't really bother me. There are lots of things I have waited to try for fear of failure.

3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don't like and like so many things we don't do? Well, for starters life isn't as short as everyone makes it out to be. Second, we have to, to survive. Would I love to quit my job and move to Ireland......sure I would, but how would I eat, where would I live, etc...

4. When it is all said and done, will you have said more than you've done? I hope not!

5. What is the one thing you would most like to change about the world? The hate. I would like to take away all the negativity that comes with hating someone or something.

6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? Anything with penguins. I love them so much. They are the cutest thing ever!!

7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing? At the moment I am settling so that someone I believe in can do what they believe in. I know soon I will get do what I believe in.

8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently? I would spend more time with those close to me. I would be more open about my feelings.

9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken? I have controlled everything. I tried to think of things about my life that I wasn't currently fond of but if I really break it down it all comes back to some decision I made at some point.

10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things? Doing the right things. Doing what I feel is morally correct is what is important to me.

Hopefully, that wasn't too boring and some of you are still awake. I need to get on some other 101 projects so I am off to read the Wiki featured article of the day. Hoping to increase my brain power.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day Zero Project

I just recently learned about this. I mean like 20 minutes ago recently. It is a really neat concept and I am excited to see how I do with it. I am naturally a list person so this is right up my alley. So, basically the way it works is you make a list of 101 things you would like to accomplish in the next 1001 days. Blogging everyday for 30 days is on my list so I really better find something interesting to talk about. I have a lot of knitting related goals because that is where I feel I can improve the most & those will be the most fun to accomplish. Here you can read all about what becoming a master knitter is. I only plan to complete the first level as part of my 101 project. This is offered through The Knitting Guild Association. Among my other knitting goals are: Knitting from my queue, organizing my stash, knitting everyday for 30 days, & designing a pattern. I have also added learning to crochet to my list for many reason but mostly because I love all the cute amigurumi animals.


I will keep you posted on new additions to my list as well as completions on my list. You will also see some blog post that correlate with task I am working on completing such as: 50 Questions that will set you free & 1001 Movies to see before you die.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pattern Designing

So recently my good friend Julie was talking about designing some more Florida friendly designs. I agreed to help her with the numbers (I'm a numbers geek!) & any test knitting she may need to have done. I am excited at the thought of more Florida friendly patterns. It is so hot here 75% of the year and it would be nice to know there are other things out there to knit that I could wear all year. I am missing winter and being able to throw on my garter stitch mitts, a scarf, & some smooshy hand knit socks. So I have been browsing lots of patterns for inspiration, ideas, looking at sizing information, etc.... It's very exciting I may even make an attempt to design one or two items.

On another sort of designing note. I started making my own stitch markers. I made 4 sets for a relatively small amount of money. Yay! I have been coveting other peoples stitch markers for quite some time now. I used to make beaded necklaces and such so I thought I would find some stitch markers instruction and go from there. I am really excited about them. It didn't take long to make them and they are super cute. I can't wait to make more of them.

My current WIP (work in progress) is yet another UF inspired scarf. Boo! How do I get talked into these things. I do love how pretty it is and well it reminds me of Charlie Brown. I used the Chevron Scarf pattern so there are nice zigzags instead of just plain stripes. It is for Jeannie's niece who was recently accepted to the University of Florida. While I hate the football team it is a very nice school and tough to get in to. I am very excited for her.
 
I used Cascade 220 which I always enjoy knitting with. Walt's socks are in time out. I was really okay with frogging them, but now I am so paranoid they won't fit the second time around I can't bring myself to finish them. Hopefully, I will get there soon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Knitensity?!?

Knitensity. Is that a word? Well, Walt sure seems to think it is. He says this is when I am knitting intensely. Is there such a thing? Can one be knitting intensely? For me, this is when my knitting mojo is spot on; the lighting is good, there is a cool breeze, stitches are flowing off my needles, & I am completely comfortable. I don't find this perfection very often. Usually, one thing or another is off. I either can't be outside or my hands are hurting or I'm knitting to tight. So when I find that zone nothing else can break in. If I could feel like that every time I knit I am sure I would get much more accomplished.

On another note. Finished the first of Walt's socks yesterday. I was so excited to have the first one finished. Had to figure out how to do the super stretchy cast off which wasn't to bad. Unfortunately, the sock did not fit. It fit my foot like a glove so I knew there was no way it was going on his big manly foot. He tried and failed. So I frogged the sock last night and started over. I left the toe increases intact because well up until the instep the sock fit fine. So I am going to try and add some more stitches before the instep and see how it goes. I think it needs to be longer as well.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Yay!! I CAN Spin!!

So I recently received my first drop spindle. Thanks so much Francesca!! Not only did she send me my first spindle but also sent me some beautiful pink roving that I was terrified to destroy. So I made a few attempts at spinning after watching a bunch of different videos and reading lots of instruction. It wasn't going well and being the perfectionist that I am, it didn't take long for me to put my spindle in time out. For those of you who may not be familiar this is what a spindle looks like:

So we went over to Paul & Julie's Wednesday night to watch the new Sherlock Holmes (great by the way). Julie then gave me a one on one lesson about spinning. How to draft, attach my leader yarn, etc....So yesterday when I got home from work I was so eager to try spinning again. Yay!! I CAN do it. My roving actually looks like yarn. I was only able to spin for about 30 minutes because my arms had just had enough. Oh did I mention Julie also gave me a bunch of roving to practice with. Some easier to spin than others so that I could try my hand at spinning different fibers. Thank you so much Julie!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Smokey & His Carrot

I am aware that this is not the best quality photo but it is hard to get a picture of a sleeping bunny without waking him up. So here he is:

Walking & Knitting

This morning I learned that I have the ability to walk and knit. Amazing? I know. I expected it to be much more difficult than it actually was. I think at one point I had discovered that I had added and extra stitch. No biggie. I just knit two together and carried on. Some of the ease could have come from the fact that it is a scarf that is only 10 stitches wide being knit on giant size 15 needles. However, it is a fun fur scarf for my niece so that in itself adds some extra frustration. I really enjoyed my walk to work this morning. I decided that I would let Walt sleep in and not bother him a bit until I kissed him goodbye. I started walking and said "Hey. I wonder if I can walk and knit??" I pulled out my scarf because I wasn't about to try it with Walt's socks on size 1 needles. Like I said, it was pretty successful. It's nice to find something to do in the 20-30 (time depends on how many baby alligators, turtles, bunnies, & dogs I am distracted by) minute walk to & from work. I feel less guilty working on the scarf then as well.

I am really making an effort to only knit on Walt's socks. He asked for them a while ago, but I really didn't wanted to alternate between a skein of black yarn & a skein of white yarn so I searched & searched for some self-striping black and white yarn which I was unable to find. So, I decided that I would dye my own. I hadn't ever dyed any yarn before but I thought taking white yarn and dyeing alternating sections black should be no problem. Then Julie told me about all the things that can go wrong with black dye. It being to purple or brown or just some yucky muddy color. Apparently, Jacquard doesn't use black pigment it is a mix of all sorts of colors. Julie kindly invited me over to help me with this process. I had already done my calculations ahead of time to determine how many yards would be needed per stripe (I just love my math-y side). Julie then measured out the length of yarn using a nose to fingertips technique. I started wrapping it around (hmmm....not sure what that thing was) this PVC knitting contraption. Once finished I decided what side to dye black and what side to leave white. Julie said adding some navy blue dye would really help get a black color and avoid the muddy brown. Once the yarn was in the pot we then began to peel apples for some apple pie. I was really impressed by my sudden ability to be able to peel apples so quickly and nicely with a plain old knife. Next, thing we knew it was time for knit night and off we went yarn still in the pot (we turned it off). They yarn didn't come out muddy brown but it was more of a dark gray than black. So I went home and a few days later after picking up some vinegar I redyed the black part and it looked perfect. I was really nervous about felting the yarn as it isn't superwash, but all was well. It then took me several weeks to get up the courage to actually wind the yarn. As I don't have a swift or any other fancy knitting equip and my center pull ball skills are a bit lacking. It turned out to not be such a terrible task and my ball looks okay. After that I got caught up knitting a birthday scarf. Then a knit along. A baby hat. A baby shower cake. And well the list goes on. So once I was actually able to cast on his socks I have tried to avoid touch any other project.
Walt's sock thus far:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Try, Try, Again....

I am currently making my second attempt at toe up socks. This time using a traditional heel. Last time I tried using a short row heel and well.....I just can't ever seem to see the wraps. It could be the solid colored fingering weight yarn on size ones that is causing my problem....I just can't get it. I will have to practice short rows on something else in maybe a variegated worsted weight fiber. The upside to the first pair is they were going to be for a friends baby so I made it to the heel part rather quickly before learning that I just couldn't do it. When I tried to frog back my yarn got all tangled up and well I just cut it off and tossed it. This time though the socks are for an adult male. They are Walt's first requested knitted item since I started knitting. I have put lots of love in to them so far. I even hand dyed the yarn. My first hand dyed yarn. I am feeling enormous pressure from myself to make these the most perfect pair of socks I have knit thus far. I want him to love them and wear holes in them (seriously I want him to want to wear them all the time!!) Hopefully the heel will go fine and it will be smooth sailing from there. Had a slight mishap with these last night. I dropped stitch and it tinked back about 2 rows. Usually, not a huge deal, but when you are knitting with size 1 needles there aren't a whole lot of things you can find to help pick up that stitch. I didn't want to move my working needle at all for fear of making the stitch fall further so finally a found a safety pin and all was well. They are black and white striped socks with rather wide stripes (Walt's request) and I am on my second black stripe. I am actually really enjoying knitting on these and can't wait to see the finished product. Special thanks to Julie for helping me dye self-striping yarn!!!

In other try, try, again news. I got my first drop spindle last month. A swap partner on Ravelry sent it to me. It was her old one. It is so beautiful and I have been dying to learn to spin. She also since this B-E-A-UTIFUL pink roving. This is where the problem begins. First, I am a perfectionist. I like things to be perfect! I like to be GREAT at things! Second, the roving is such a pretty color that I just don't want to waste it. I want it to be beautifully spun yarn that I can actually knit with. I have watched endless youtube videos and I just can't seem to get it right. I am having a hard time drafting. I am going to try to predraft & see if that helps. I am just so frustrated with it that I can't even pick it up. I want to do it, but I want to do it well. So I am pledging to try, try, again!!