Monday, January 29, 2007

Like California, hell must have recently frozen over

Because get this - not only did I use the specified yarn for a pattern, I even used the specified color. I think this might be the only time I have EVER used the called for yarn, which could explain why I run into gauge problems so frequently. Although maybe using KP shine sport for Picovoli counts, since that was one of the suggested subs.
Of course, this using of the specified yarn was a total coincidence. I had 2 skeins of Filatura di Crosa 127 Print sitting around for a year, and then the Winter Knitty came out with the Calorimetry pattern in it in the same color as I had bought. I don't think I would have looked twice at that pattern otherwise, but when I saw it I thought, hey, I have that yarn! Here it is:

Calorimetry back
This pattern is really cute and creative, but as many people in the blogworld have noted, the instructions as written will make a really gigantic headwrap. I'm so glad I have the internet community to do my work for me! I used size 7 needles instead of the called-for size 8, cast on 90 stitches instead of 120, and knit 24 rows instead of 40. I think it could stand to be even a little smaller, but it's not too big as is either. I only used 2/3 of 1 skein and I have another skein, so I can make a few more until it's just right!

Calorimetry on me
Verdict - cute, comfy, and fast (took me a few hours, I'm sure actual fast knitters could churn it out in much less).

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A day late and a dollar short

Ashley informed us that the 23rd was National Pie Day. January strikes me as an odd time to have National Pie Day - I always think of pies as a summer thing, when all the fruit is around. I guess apples are still sort of in season, but apples are always available. Anyway I wanted to make some pies too! But I didn't get around to it until last night.
tomato-basil-spinach pizza
This one is half margherita, half tomato-sauce-olive-spinach-mozz.

I don't think this is exactly the kind of pie The American Pie Council had in mind. In fact, I'd be willing to bet there is a separate American Pizza Pie Council.

pizza di patate
This one is potatoes, onions, and rosemary. I was trying to recreate one of my favorite snacks from when I lived in Rome - pizza rustica alle patate. Italian pizza is justifiably famous, and I'm sure most foodies even know the difference between typical Roman pizza (really thin, almost crackery crust) and Napoletan pizza (thicker and chewier). But there is another kind of traditional Roman pizza, pizza rustica or pizza a taglio, made in giant rectangular sheets and sold in little take away type shops in slices. You ask for it by weight, which I always thought was hilarious - "I'll have 150g of cheese pizza, please". My favorite was just a totally simple crust with delicious super thin slices of potatoes on it. But I think the traditional version must be made with buckets of olive oil - mine was good but nowhere near the potatoey ecstacy I remember.

Not much knitting has been happening around here. Yes, the thesis is partly to blame, but this new addition to our household has played no small part itself:

It's so little and cute! You could almost put it in your pocket!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Thesis shmesis

Wedding shmedding.
It's cold outside (and inside) and I want to knit a sweater.

cable sweater from VK holiday 2006

Hmm, maybe I will.

VK cable sweater back

The upshot of my horrible week of last posting is that I get to start writing my thesis. This is a really good thing, because it means I'm almost done. (The bad part was the crap I had to take from my advisor to get him to agree to it.) But it also means I am to be trusted sitting at home in front of my laptop all day with buckets of yarn and projects sitting just feet away. Who are we kidding? If there was yarn in lab, I never would have got anything done.

Anyway once the temp dipped into the 30s here in San Francisco (gasp! shield your pets and children!) the lure of the unknitted sweaters was too hard to resist. I started this sweater from the 2006 Holiday VK a week ago and have already finished the back and a few rows of the front, which seems very fast for me. At this rate, I'll be done just in time to start panicking about how I have so little time left to finish my wedding stole. Or maybe I'll just start that panicking right now.

I'm doing it in Cascade 220 in Lichen, one of the heathered colors, so pretty. I originally bought this yarn for a simple cowl neck sweater but apparently that is not to be. Do other people ever really use yarn for projects it was originally bought for? I seem to change my mind pretty quickly after buying the actual yarn.


These cables are so solid and organic looking. I feel warmer already. (That pets and children comment wasn't actually a joke, well on my part it was, but the news around here has been ridiculous recently - one news show the other night said "Freeze warning is in effect for the Bay Area! Protect your pipes, pets, and children!" Come on. I may have become wimpified after living here for a few years, but I still remember what it's like in parts of the country where freezing is a normal winter event. Although I do feel sad about all the ruined citrus.)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

What I did on my vacation, by Rachel

I meant to post this stuff ages ago, I'm sure showing off my Christmas presents on Jan. 6 is way behind the times. But I was way too lazy at home over vacation to figure out how to blog from my parents' computers, and this week back has been craptacular in ways I can only begin to describe. I won't bore you with the details, nothing to do with knitting, just another chapter in the horrific adventure that is my PhD.
Anyway, show and tell time! Lookie what I got!

xmas books

Knitting books! Victorian Lace Today and the Ann Budd from my folks, and the Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road from J.'s sis. How did they all know exactly what I wanted? Ah, the wonder of Amazon wishlists.

pile o knitpicks

A big ol' mess o' Knitpicks sock yarn, from my dearest Sienna, who has clearly been paying attention to all my ranting about sock yarn adulation. There are 4 skeins each of KP Palette in green, which I'm thinking might be fun for some colorwork (one of my New Year's resolutions - learn Fair Isle) which obviously means I'll have to find another color to pair with it, and KP Gloss in Burgandy, mmmm. 3 skeins of KP Essential Tweed in plum, uber soft and lovely, and 2 skeins KP dancing (I'm not sure what this colorway is called) which has the neatest looking round ropey structure. The Essential Tweed feels so much softer than the plain old Essential I used for my Dad's socks, I don't know if it's just the tweediness somehow imparts softitude, or if they really have changed their formula somewhat.

More more more!

handspun alpaca/merino/silk - from J.'s mom

2 skeins of gorgeous alpaca-merino-silk blend, handspun and gifted by J.'s mom.
Look at the lovely subtle color variations:

alpaca closeup

I have several skeins of her handspun in various shades of cream and fawn sitting around the house, and I have been afraid to do anything with them because I want to think of something really special to use them for. But I think I have so many now (at least 5 or 6 big skeins) that I need to just dive in with something.

And finally, last but the bestest:

Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed - from J.

12 skeins of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed in Dove from J. Mmmmmmmm. I had been admiring Ashley's progress on her Demi in this yarn and really wanted to make one myself. Then I saw that the yarn was on sale somewhere and I really really really wanted it, and thought just maybe I would break my yarn diet to get it as a Christmas present to myself, but J. convinced me to stay strong, and then he went and bought it for me himself. He is the best one.

silkroad closeup

Mmmmmm tweedy. This colorway sort of reminds me of balled up wet newspaper. But in a good way.
And now, I really am really serious about only knitting out of my stash for the next thousand years, my stash boxes overfloweth.

Oh yeah, I also did some knitting on the vacay.

LL sock

1 sock completed in Lorna's Laces shepherd sock in Forest. Boring stockinette with a ribbed cuff, but it fits so nicely.
I was so scared about pooling the whole way down, but seem to have gotten away with minimal damage. Now I can only hope the second skein will treat me so well.

LL socky

Remember all that complaining I did about Christmas knitting, what with the deadlines and the stuff not being for me and all? Well, now I have jumped right into the wedding knitting:

Baltic sea stole in progress

I started the Baltic Sea Stole in Zephyr laceweight wool/silk in Sage. Of course, this project is for me (to wear at the wedding), but there's still the whole deadline issue. There are also 2 or 3 sweaters that I really wanted to make for myself this winter (and already have the yarn for), but I'm afraid to start them because of this other stupid deadline I've imposed on myself. Wah wah. Well, maybe I can make them in time for the foggy San Francisco summer.

But the good news is, here's what it will look like against a white dress (that's not my wedding dress, just a white comforter):

baltic sea stole closeup

The pattern is not nearly so obvious, so I can make as many mistakes as I want. Which is good, because I've already made several.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Le contest

Happy new year all!
The surprise Christmas presents were enjoyed by all, and seemed to be truly surprises (maybe my parents have forgotten about my blog). I have lots of things to show you but not the energy to go take pictures of them right now.
But it is time to pick a winner for my first blog contest! This fancy pants random number generator picked comment number 6, or Necia, as the winner. Congrats! I haven't quite decided what the prize should be, but maybe I'll find out from her what kind of things she likes.