Friday, December 28, 2007

Purplish Socks

The socks that I started at O'Hare are now done. They're in Essential Meteor Twist with size 1 needles. The pattern is from the Yahoo! Sockamaniac Sockalong group and is called Fire on the Mountain. (A second picture of the socks is at SaM KAL4.) I really like how the feather and fan design changes how the shape of the top of the sock.

As to the color: Shortly after knitpicks.com came out with their Essential Twist colors, I decided to try them out. This is the first of the colors that I've knit up. (It looked loud while still on the skein.) I'm pleasantly surprised at how relatively muted the color knit up. The dappling is really nice.

My next sock project is Errant Lace Socks using Shoreline Twist.

I'm also taking the time between lace shawl KALs to work on sweaters. Until I made a list of the sweaters I finished this year, I didn't realize how close I was to finishing the goal of 12 sweaters in a year. So, I decided to work on a couple of quick sweaters. I've almost finished OJ, a drop-sleeve boatneck -- and, in doing so, discovered changes that needed to be made to my pattern. I also discovered that seaming isn't terrible after all. In fact, after getting over a reluctance to thread a needle, I had fun weaving the side seams together. Then, I used the crosswise bars in determining where to pick up sts for the sleeves.

I've started working on a short-sleeve v-neck raglan in CotLin with size 5 needles. I don't know whether or not I'll get it done by the end of the year. But, it's quick and something I'd been wanting to do.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have the Happiest of New Years!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Blackout

We had a power outage last night. It lasted from about 5 minutes before midnight to 5:38am. (DS2 was up with the kitties when the lights came back on.)

I was surprised that the house stayed fairly warm during that time. Of course, I did put a couple extra quilts on the bed.

The kitties didn't like the power outage. They were ok as long as one of us (DS2) was up with them and had a candle lit. But, the one that gets in most of my knitting pictures and helps me knit a lot of the time especially didn't like the house without electricity -- which is sort of surprising since cats are nocturnal. Maybe she likes having at least one light on in the house.

The picture at the right is a circular dishcloth made from a pattern Ruth gave out (with size 6 needles). I started it while waiting to leave from Newark about a week ago. I finished it in Chicago. It's the first circular one that I've made.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Year of Sweaters

At the beginning of the year, I joined a sweater KAL with an aim of making 12 sweaters this year.

Here's my progress:
1. a smocked raglan sweater in a wool/alpaca blend and on size 3 needles. The pattern I used is here.
2. T-squared, a square-neck sweater knit sideways across the top -- similar to Tubey (in acrylic and size 7 needles). The pattern I used is here.
3. another T-squared. This one was knit from yarn I frogged from the Tubey I'd made the previous year (in acrylic and size 7 needles).
4. a basket-weave raglan -- in acrylic from the local post office to our previous home in Broadstairs and size 3 needles
-----May was the month that I started my first shawl (in Homespun Prairie and size 10 needles). It turned out more like a throw than a shawl, and so I frogged it this month.
5. a short-sleeved raglan, ribbed at the top. This was the first time I'd tried Paton's Wool Merino. I love the yarn. (I used size 7 needles.) I also really like the pattern.
July was the month when I discovered lace stoles, namely MS3.
6. Summer square, a ultra-short-sleeved wide-boatneck raglan (my own pattern)-- in KP Shine Worsted and size 7 needles
7. Tomato (in KP Swish Superwash and size 6 needles)-- and I see that I can't count. (Well, I never claimed that I could.) This was the first colorwork that I'd ever tried. It was fun. The pattern is from Knitting Daily.
8. Festive -- a yoked sweater with a wide neck and ultra-short sleeves, a pattern of my own creation (in acrylic and size 7 needles) -- which is not written up yet.
-----I tried to make Festive with KP Swish Superwash, but it didn't turn out. The pattern may work with cotton, though. It definitely didn't work with wool.
-----October was the month that I discovered that I really like knitting lace shawls. I finished knitting MS3 in September. I started Chrysopolis just before the beginning of the month and finished it in December -- just in time for my DD to take both shawls back with her. The second was made with KP Shadow; the first with KP lace-weight bare.
-----I also knit my first capelet (from the Bits and Bobs Yahoo group) and my first Faroese shawl (from Knitting Daily). Both were made with Wool-Ease -- another of my new favorites.
9. test knitting -- a short-sleeve scoop neck raglan (for which I'll post pics when the pattern comes out)
10. test knitting -- a short-set-in-sleeve v-neck (for which I'll post pics when the pattern comes out)

So, I guess I could conceivably finish 12 sweaters this year. I've got yarn to make a couple simple long-sleeve sweaters. ..... And the Spring Shawl Surprise doesn't start until New Year's Day. ......

The baby blanket for charity is finished. Some pics are at my crochet tutorial. (I used a crochet edging.) Other pics are at my Ravelry page.

Then, while waiting for a plane at O'Hare, I started a sock from the Sockamaniac Socknitters Yahoo group. I'm doing the Fire on the Mountain sock in KP Essential Meteor Twist.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fudge

For the knitting guild December party this past Tuesday I was going to make some fudge. So, on Tuesday morning, I got out my old recipe and mentioned to whomever that when making candy one has to follow the recipe exactly and that the only time it turns out for me is when I make it around 10:00 pm.

The first thing I did was to say I might as well substitute 1% milk for the evaporated milk -- which would mean I wouldn't be following the recipe exactly. I was asked whether there was a can of evaporated milk in the pantry, and I answered in the affirmative. So, I used the evaporated milk. Well, I cooked it to too high a final temperature, and it turned out hard and crumbly.

The next afternoon, I decided to try again. I used the rest of the evaporated milk plus some 1% milk. I didn't cook it to a high enough temperature, and it turned out syrupy. So, I brought Oreo cookies to the get-together.

When I got home, the fudge was still syrupy. So, I poured it back into the pan and added the first batch to the pan as well. I cooked it just as I would have if I had been starting from scratch -- except there was almost twice as much in the pot (another no-no when making candy). The other bad part about this is that the nuts and butter were already added. (They're supposed to be added at the end.) This time I did cook it to the right temperature, the soft ball stage. The soft ball stage is determined by dropping some of the candy (while still hot) onto a surface (like a pan lid). If it forms a soft ball, it's at the soft ball stage.

The fudge turned out perfectly.

So, I guess the morals of the story are: First, I can only make candy late in the evening. Second, candy making rules can be broken -- but only some of them.

A couple more comments. I use terms like "soft ball stage" instead of a temperature since I've lived in places that water doesn't boil at 212F. In Colorado Springs, it boils at a temp just under 200F. In Stockholm, it boils at a temp just above 212F. Because of the way the earth is shaped, sea level isn't always the same.

Second, if one pours the fudge mixture over popcorn without doing the last steps of adding butter and letting it cool (and then lightly mixes to coat the popcorn), one gets chocolate covered popcorn. My grandmother used to make it, and many family members still do. It's good.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Chrysopolis

My Chrysopolis stole is finally finished -- just in time for my DD to take it back with her to London. It turned out a little bigger than it was supposed to. I probably should have used a size 3 instead of a size 4 needle. KP Shadow seems to have different springy-ness from color to color. Size 4 worked well with Vineyard, but size 3 might have been better with Redwood Forest. I used size 5 with KP Laceweight Bare. But, I'm very happy with how it turned out. And the extra length is nice.

I finished a lot of knitting while she was here. I finished a top in her size which I was test knitting. Then I also finished a scarf -- another of Chrissy's creations. (As far as I know these haven't been added to her website yet.) I had knit a foot or so of the scarf as test knitting -- with Wool-Ease Dark Rose Heather. My DD liked it so well that she asked me whether I'd be so kind as to make the whole scarf for her.

My DD also loved the Swan Lake stole. So, I gave her both Chrysopolis and Swan Lake.

It's not as though I'll run out of stoles. Besides Bad Nauheim, dem-Fisher-sin-Fru, and Secret II, I've also joined the Spring Surprise shawl KAL. I think I'm going overboard with knitting shawls. It is addicting.

I've decided that I do like the KP chart keeper. I can put one half of a shawl pattern on one side of the chart and the other half on the other and not have to worry about losing my place. The charts are also kept at a nice angle for viewing. The magnets are also strong enough that I can put dishcloth directions (for example) on top of a shawl chart and use one of the smaller magnets to keep track of where I am on there as well.

The flowers next to the chart are from my DS1's girlfriend and her mother as a Thanksgiving present. They are such nice people.

The cats and the rest of us miss DD a lot. The cats were so sad to see her leave that they didn't eat their evening meal. They did join us at the table for some left-over turkey, though.

Finally, the charity baby blanket is going along well. I really like how it is turning out.