Saturday, October 29, 2005

Can I Get a Hand?

Ta Daaaa!
They're finished! I wore them tonight and they're nice and warm. You may notice that the one on the left seems a little smaller than the one on the right. If so, mighty observant of you. I think I was concentrating so hard on reversing the pattern that I knit a wee bit tighter on that one. But they work and they look pretty good, if I do say so myself.

But . . . if I were going to make them again, I would start them from the outside of the skein, which had the colors I liked the most. I would also start a new skein for the second one, so the colors matched a little better.

Here's a closeup so you can get a better view of the leaf pattern (you can see it better when you click to enlarge):

And now, I have a little confession to make. When it comes to yarn I have no self-control. Here's the evidence:
In my defense, it was on sale and I've been wanting to play with it for a long time. It looks mostly black and white, but there's some blue in there, too. It's the kind that makes the fair-isle effect and there's enough to make a sweater.

What's with the two red ones in the middle? Why socks, my dear!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Half a Scarf

OK, so here's the picture of the half-scarf I promised a couple of days ago:
I've been working on it since then and it's about 3/4ths done. In the meantime, I whipped out a seed-stitch scarf that only takes a couple of hours to make.

Bonus: I'm watching the movie Grace of My Heart with Ileana Douglas, who plays a character that seems loosely based on Carole King. Chris Isaac just walked in for a bit part. I really like him. I didn't watch his show at first, but after a while I started watching it and thought it was really funny.

It seems like I've been working on the same projects forever. I want to start something new, but I want to finish something first. I'm on sleeves . . . nothing but sleeves. I want to finish Mavis before I start anything new.

I just found out about the DIY Trunk Show here in Chicago. It looks cool. If I'd known about it sooner, I might have tried to participate. I'm going to try to go.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What's Cooking

Next to knitting, I love to cook. In many ways they are similar, at least in how I approach them. I get the same high when I've mastered a new technique in the kitchen that I get from mastering a new stitch pattern. I'd love to have a food blog but I probably wouldn't maintain it regularly enough. There are two that I check out regularly. They're on my sidebar: The Accidental Hedonist and Chocolate & Zucchini. Both have good recipes, good info, and lovely pictures that make me drool.

Over the years I've been trying to incorporate whole, healthy foods into my diet. I have to admit it took some doing, but I now prefer whole wheat and grains to processed foods. I use olive and canola oils almost exclusively and rarely use butter. I drink fat-free organic milk and try to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Although I'm not a vegetarian, I try not to eat meat too often, and will choose fish over meat if I'm eating out. Unless it's lamb. It's almost impossible for me to say no to lamb.

I've come up with a handful of healthy dishes that I think are really good, but it's a challenge to be diverse. Now that I have more free time at home, I'm starting to expand my repertoire again. A couple of years ago Lynda started a winter project where she had to make at least one recipe from every one of her cookbooks. I have way too many cookbooks (don't ask) to accomplish that, but I did follow her lead and decided to make something new out a different cookbook at least once a week. I found some good recipes that way. I think I'll try something along the same lines now. I'm going to try a new recipe and post the results here. Since it's not knitting, I'll put the word "Recipe" in the title so you'll know not to read it if you're not interested.

This week I made a recipe I got from Vegetarian Times, called Curried Sweet Potatoes with Spinach and Chickpeas. I was a little leery because I haven't had much success with sweet potato recipes, but this actually came out pretty tasty, even though I misread the recipe. I read that the spinach, chickpea and tomato mixture should cook for 30 minutes (which seemed excessive to me, but you know, it was a recipe . . .) instead of 3. I actually cooked it for more like 15 minutes because it just seemed like too long, so the spinach cooked a little more than it probably should have. As a result, though, it was really smooth and silky so I might keep cooking it that way. It has a good blend of spices. I've been looking for recipes with cinnamon in them because a friend recently told me it's good for your cholesterol, and the cinnamon works here. It's not spicy and I was tempted to add some heat, but sometimes it's nice to have a dish with a little less heat. The sweet potatoes I used were huge; I'll probably pick smaller ones next time so they don't dominate quite so much, but they go well with the chickpeas.

I usually follow a recipe pretty closely the first time I make it, so I can assess it on its own terms. Then I'll make adjustments the next time based on how it came out. I don't know that I would change much about this one. I don't know that it looks all that appetizing:

but it does taste really good. I'm using up some whole wheat bread right now so I'm eating it with toast, but it would probably be good with whole wheat couscous.

I'll definitely make it again.

Now this doesn't mean I don't enjoy a good hamburger now and then, or feel the need to recharge with some Ben & Jerry's. I try to do that 80-20 thing where you eat healthy 80% of the time and have what you want the other 20%. Sometimes, of course, the percentages reverse.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Color Me Excited!

I was feeling like I didn't have much to show for myself these days so I took a picture of the half-done Charm and Eyelash scarf just so I would have a picture to post. But then I got a package in the mail. A friend sent me these goodies to give me something to do with all of this new free time I have: (Note that the wall of scarves is still there just to the right.)

I don't know which ones to look at first! Can you see there on the top left is the new edging book, Knitting over the Edge? And all the Vogue on the Gos? There are some crochet books and stitch pattern books and a great Anny Blatt collection. I gave her a wish list to pick from and I think she sent almost everything I put on the list! I am truly blessed to have such generous friends.

Obviously, this post will be short . . . I have some books to play with!

Yesterday I went with some friends to see a production at the Gallery 37 Storefront Theater called Six Stories up on Mt. Everest. It's part of a mentoring program that pairs six school children with six mentors to write a theater piece based on their personal experiences. This is from the program: "Adults and children with and without disabilities, of all races and income levels work together on equal terms." It was terrific, funny and inspiring.

I'll post photos of the scarf tomorrow.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sleepytime Gal

I was going to post something last night but I went to sleep instead. Had one of those ten-hour sleeps where the last couple of hours is composed of weird dreams that are all designed to make you wake up feeling doomed, depressed, and like you've done something really, really bad. So I threw some laundry in the machine downstairs. Doing something productive always makes me feel better.

I got a ride home from the knitting shop yesterday and it was a good thing--the slight drizzle that we walked through to get to the car turned into a full-fledged rainstorm on the way home, culminating in hail just as we got to my door! That just doesn't happen that often in Chicago. We thought the game might get cancelled, but apparently they were able to play and I guess the Sox won, judging by the news this morning. I slept through it.

Needless to say, I also didn't knit much last night. Yesterday at the shop I worked on the second sleeve of Mavis. I have about nine inches of stockinette to do before I shape the cap, then I'm ready to put her together. It's going to be really pretty.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

That's Funny . . . I Thought You Wanted My Business

Tonight one of my friends took me to Trader Joe's (Fire-Roasted Sweet corn! Frozen Organic Brown Rice! Anti-oxidant Nut and Berry Mix!). Afterwards, we decided to go to Joann's new location. It turns out they just moved two doors down into a bigger space. I guess with the scrapbooking, knitting, cardmaking, and other craft explosions they're seeing more business. As most knitter are wont to do (and you know who you are), I ran across a pattern for a crocheted grocery bag on the label of some Sugar and Cream yarn and decided I must buy the yarn because all of a sudden I couldn't think of anything I needed more than some hand-crocheted grocery bags. So I grabbed up some balls and the kind of stitch holders I like and we headed up to the checkout area.

So I get to the register and the very nice young lady starts ringing me up. As she's scanning the balls of yarn she asks if I have a coupon. Coupon? I ask. Yes, she says, for 50% off the regular price (I should mention here that more than half of the items in the store were already on sale). I tell her I don't have one and ask where I can find one. She points to the flyers on the wall and says there might be one in there. So I go get one and bring it back to her. She flips through it and doesn't find it. So now I'm thinking how much do I want these balls of yarn and stitch holders, especially when I could be getting them for 50% off if I only had that coupon in my hand. And I realize, I don't want the stuff that much. So I tell her to forget it unless she can find me a coupon. So she calls some guy over (the manager, I guess) and asks him if they have any of the coupons. He says no. I smile, say OK then, no thanks, and walk out of the store.

And saved myself 100%.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Go Astrox!

I'm really not that much of a sports fan although I do enjoy the occasional baseball game. If I had to pick a Chicago team, I'd say I'm a North Side Girl so must support the Cubs. But being a Chicagoan, I'm happy the White Sox made it to the playoffs and are in the World Series.

However . . . I was born in Houston and my earliest baseball memories involve family outings (and they were O-U-T-I-N-G-S) to the new Astrodome--the "Eighth Wonder of the World" as they called it at the time--to watch the Astros. It was better than the circus and no animals were hurt. Unless you count the time they had the cow milking contest during the Seventh Inning Stretch.

Unfortunately, they mostly lost. Then there was the time in the early '80s ('81?) when they almost made the playoffs, when I was living in Austin. Me, my housemates, and various boyfriends were all gathered in front of the TV in the den and every time Pete Rose did *anything* Peggy's boyfriend Ron would yell "PETE ROSE EAT SH*T AND DIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEE!!!!" Needless to say it had absolutely no effect and the Phillies went on to . . . the playoffs, I guess. I told you I wasn't much of a sports fan.

So I suppose I will always be an Astros fan at heart. I'd love to see them win. But I'll be just as happy if the Sox win.

I didn't knit much today. This evening I went to a dinner at La Piazza in Forest Park. It was an incredible meal with beautiful presentations. I had zucchini flowers stuffed with a goat cheese and olive spread then fried tempura style--yum! Then for my entree I had fettucine with lobster tails in a cognac and shallot cream sauce--molte benne! Add a cosmo and several glasses of wine and you have a pret-near-perfect dining experience.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

What's Cooking

There's a big pot of Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup simmering on the stove. That will be dinner when I get home from teaching tonight. It's a really easy recipe that takes just a few minutes to throw together and then just simmers for the rest of the day. It pretty good by itself, but once in a while I'll add meatballs and it's really good that way too.

Last night was the October Windy City Knitting Guild meeting. Mary got her newsletter a couple of days ago. I haven't gotten mine yet; I suspect it might come in another "We Care" envelope from the post office.

Mary and I went to the meeting together. We stopped at Reza's on the way, though. Lamb kabobs and dill rice were just the thing. I also tried their hot sauce for the first time and it was really good. We were a little late to the meeting, but it was worth it.

Corrine Neissner and Bonne Marie Burns each gave presentations on "fusion" knitting--a combination of machine and hand knitting. They're both expert knitters and designers. Now I'm kind of jonesing for a knitting machine. I can see how handy it is if you want to create prototypes for designing. I'm big on prototypes but have given up on them becuase by the time I've finished the prototype I don't always have it in me to knit the actual item. So a machine seems like a pretty good idea.

There was quite a crowd there. It was nice to see so many people sitting and knitting in the same place. Mary worked on the collar of the sweater she's making for her brother. I worked on the second sleeve of Mavis (!).

I just checked out Mary's blog. She's excited because her new ipod just arrived. She's been obsessing about that thing ever since she ordered it, and she ordered it the day Apple announced it. I'm glad it's finally here so she can start playing with it.

In the meantime, here's the front of Anya:
Now it's just the sleeves and I'm done! (Note the wall of scarves to the right. I'm still working on those. I cast on another Charm and Eyelash. Those take the longest. I hope I can do two more of those before the end of the month.)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Wrapping Up

I've been talking about these scarves I'm making so I figured I'd go ahead and take some pictures. The challenge was how to photograph them. Then I remembered this tape holder a friend made me several years ago (remember tapes?). I set it up on my table and I think it makes a beautiful scarf/objet holder for the taking of pictures.

So here are some of the scarves I've made:
And a little close-up:
I'm watching Everyone Says I Love You. They're singing "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" in French. Woody Allen is always hit or miss with me; I think this is a miss Besides, Jeopardy is on. Gotta keep my priorities straight.


What a day. I went to bed relatively early last night (after staying up so late the night before). I woke up early this morning but went back to sleep and drifted in and out of strange dreams until Mary called to see if I was going into the shop. I said I'd meet her there and went in about two hours after the store opened. The only problem is that I completely forgot that I was supposed to be working and should have been there at noon.

It's not like me to forget things like that. I guess I'm still a little unmoored. My whole schedule has come unstuck since leaving work. I know I'll get used to it, but until I do things are going to be strange.

I'm halfway through the second arm warmer. It's really cute. I've also worked a little on Mavis and Anya.

I was going to do nothing but work on scarves this month. Oh well.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

How Sick Is This?

Hello. My name is Dejamo and I'm a knitaholic:

Yep, it's official. I'm a knitting geek. I should have been in bed hours ago, but once the end was in sight there was no stopping me. I'm a little disappointed in the colorway--there's a beautiful maroon and purple still on the skein. That's what I get for deciding to go from the inside out.

So I Lied . . .

But you didn't really think I wasn't going to start anything new, did you?

One of my project class students is making this pattern from Stitch 'N Bitch Nation; it's called Hurry Up Spring Arm Warmers. She started them Monday night and brought them in this morning to work on them. They looked so cute that I decided I just had to make some myself. And even though I have tons of Kureyon at home, I couldn't wait and had to get some right then and there (and needles and the book, which I'm surprised I don't already have--I could have sworn I already bought it). See just how deep the sickness goes?

Here's the evidence:
It's not the best picture. The closeup's a little better:It's a lot of fun. But the pattern is wrong in the book. Two of the symbol definitions are mixed up, and it matters. You can find the corrections here (Click on the link below "Ooops I Knit it Again"). Apparently, there are are mistakes on several of the patterns.

This is the second time in as many weeks that I've found a mistake in a pattern I've been trying to work out with a student. The first was a beautiful cable cardigan pattern in an old Vogue Knitting International. The two of us pored over the chart for over an hour trying to figure out where to start. There was supposed to be a nineteen-stitch pattern repeat, but the black lines indicating the repeat didn't line up with any visible pattern, and try as we might we couldn't get to the correct number of stitches. We added, subtracted, divided, counted little graph squares until our eyes glazed over.

Finally, I said "Look. We're two reasonably intelligent adults. If we're not figuring this out, there's something else wrong." So I went online and sure enough, they had redone the entire chart in the errata section. Let's hear it for the internet!

So if you're struggling with a pattern and just can't make the numbers work, check out the source. Chances are good you'll find a correction.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I finished Lorene. I left it at the shop so I can't take a final picture. But I think it came out cute. We found some shiny orange-metallic buttons that worked really well with the yarn.

I also finished two children's sweaters for the shop. Now I can focus on making lots of scarves for the craft fairs. I have no idea how that's going to go. This year is the big experiment.

I'm also determined to finish up some works in progress. I have three sweaters that need to be sewn up (including one that's a Christmas present), one baby sweater that needs to be finished (for a baby that's already born), the socks, and a couple of sweaters that are still on needles.

I know better than to say I won't start anything new until I finish something already started, but I'm going to try to work on a two-to-one ratio. I think I just might be able to stick to that goal.

And if not, I won't feel too guilty.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Not Exactly Twiddling My Thumbs

Day two of not working at my old job. Yesterday I slept until 9:30, then got up and started working on some finishing I'm doing for the shop. It felt strange to be home during the day without being sick or it being a holiday. Today was the same.

Not that I'm being idle. I'm teaching Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights and Friday and Saturday mornings. This afternoon I met Lynda at the hair salon and we had our hair done--a cut that was long overdue for me. I cut my hair on average once a year. Not because I want to grow it out; that's just how often I get around to it.

I finished Lorene today. I'm not sure the buttons are aligned right, but I'm going to wait for someone else to take a look before I decide I need to resew them. It took me almost a week to get the damned things done. I kept getting interrupted.

What's still on the needles: Mavis for the store, Anya for me, the last pair of socks I started on my bus rides to work, and as many scarves as I can make to try to sell at craft fairs next month.

And since I don't have any pictures, I leave this kaleidescope for you to play with.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I'm Ready

I started this blog because I was quitting my job and have decided to see what I can do with my knitting. After thirteen years, Friday was my last day as a bookseller here in the Chicago area. My co-worker, co-conspirator, and most excellent good friend Lynda gave me a card and a poem. The poem was so perfect it made me cry. Here it is:

You Reading This, Be Ready

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry wherever you go right now?
Are you waiting for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, standing here, lift this new glimpse that you found;
carry into evening all that you want from this day.
This interval you spent reading or hearing this,
keep it for life--

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here,
right in this room,
when you turn around?

-- William Stafford

Thanks, Lynda

Saturday, October 08, 2005


See this?If you look closely at the bottom left, you'll see that little piece of white yarn sticking out over the cast on. That's because I thought I was going to be smart and sewed the little ruffly cuff onto the sleeve edge before I sewed the sleeve seam. The only problem was I didn't read the directions carefully enough and didn't line it up right. So I had to take it off.

But I had already woven in the ends and had some trouble finding them. When I finally pulled it out, I was horrified to discover that I was pulling out the cast on! Yikes!

So I pulled out a crochet hook (once I found the right end and had taken off the cuff) and got creative. I don't think I did too badly--that one little piece of white is the only giveaway. And the cuff gets sewn on top of it so it won't show.

Here's how it looks with the cuff on it:
It's not the best picture, but I hope you get the idea. I've actually got it finished. I just need to sew on the buttons and it's ready to go!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I Think I Might Go Postal

When I was at Stitches Midwest I decided it was time to join the Windy City Knitting Guild. A couple of days later I got a package with the latest newsletters. Then yesterday this comes in the mail:
What could be inside that envelope from the Post Office? Why, this:And this is what was on the other side of the envelope:It's so nice to know they care, don't you think?

Lorene is progressing. Pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Nothing Much That's New...and Baa

I haven't had much time to post lately. I'm almost finished with Lorene and I'm still working on Mavis's sleeves.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this:

Which flock do you follow?

this quiz was made by alanna

One of the reasons I've wanted to do a blog was so I could post these quiz results. Now I can!
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