i've been having weirdness with my left hand/arm, so i'm going to be laying off the crafting for a bit. unless i can think of brilliant things to do one-handed. maybe back to quilting for a bit? i don't think i need my left hand much for that...



it fits!!

well, it fits me at any rate! earl grey is far enough down the foot that
i tried it on and it is lovely! and my feet are big enough that i am
confident that it will fit tg as well. yay!!


sock party

after a near-tragedy in which i lost a dpn (from a set of 4, not 5, so no backup) from the thuja socks i just started, i managed to find it again - outside, in the grass, by the side of a busy road - by retracing my steps. yahoo! and, i have for the first time ever just turned a gusset heel on the earl grey socks by yarnharlot. woo! progress progress progress!



not sure how that happened... a conversation at work about patrick swayze's death led to a discussion about cult classics and first memories of seeing movies... i slept through all the disney classics as a tot, but the first movie i really remember seeing in the theatre was a local community hall screening (that's what you get when you live in the middle of nowhere) of play it again sam with de düva: the dove when i was maybe 8? or 10? i begged to go because i was mad for humphrey bogart at the time.
the other early memory i have of movies is magic shadows on tvo, and i was very please to discover just how easy it was to find the opening



it kind of amazes me to think that rosary and i have been friends for this long without actually knitting together. we've talked about knitting in an abstract way, but i never actually saw her knit until last night. whoa! she is fast! and she can wind a beautiful centre-pull ball on her thumb in no time! and seh can identify just about any yarn in my house) on sight! i am in awe, and madly jealous. crazy.
in other news, i cast on thuja last night and worked on it this morning and somehow even though i've got only an inch done managed to pick up an extra stitch somewhere. sigh.


more tired than i have ever been

not counting when h was first born. lots of horribly long days and not enough packing-a-nutritious-lunch and getting-dinner-on-the-table, so i have vowed to make up for it this week - have added to the freezer stash with beef stew and mac-and-cheese with broccoli and individually-frozen-servings of beef/barley/vegetable soup. iron deficiency, you are on notice!


i'm either crazy or brilliant

probably crazy. not my fault, it's crazy week at work.
anyway, this crazy is xmas-flavoured, which is the best kind.

yes, not only bought, but wrapped. i bought a bunch of cheap xmas fabric and ribbon on sale for half price at fabricland! i hate how much paper gets wasted at xmas, but i also hate gift bags. they're alright, they have their purpose, but i want to unwrap something with a bow, dammit. so i figured out what size rectangles would wrap the most common-sized gifts (books, standard boxes they give you when you buy a shirt or something at the bay), cut my fabric into those sizes, zigzagged the edges, and ironed with spray-starch. voila! even if i get hit by a truck tomorrow, xmas won't be ruined completely, as long as people know to look on my closet shelf.


home again, again

back in town again after a long weekend away - a much overdue visit home to see mum, nicely timed to avoid the horrible hateful airshow (hate it as much as i do? call 416.263.3653 to let them know! so many people hate it that they set up a special complaint line, yet it still drones on... sigh).
i freestyled a few garter-stitch leaves to go with the felted poinsettia wreath i am knitting. whee! i made 3 holly-esque ones, and 3 smaller, more generic "leaf" types. and here's how i did it:

holly style:
cast on 2
row 1: k
row 2: k front and back of each st
row 3: k
row 4: k front and back of st, k to last st, k front and back of st
repeat rows 3 & 4 till you have 12 sts; repeat row 4 again so you have 14 sts
next row: k
next row: dec 1, k to end of row, dec 1
repeat these two rows until you have 8 sts in a row
continue knitting in garter for an inch or so
next row: k front and back of each st
next row: k
repeat these two rows until you have 14 sts
next row: dec 1, k to end of row, dec 1
next row: dec 1, k to end of row, dec 1
next row: k
repeat these last two rows until you have 2 sts
k 2 tog and bind off!

generic leaf
cast on 4
row 1: k
row 2: k front and back of each st
row 3: k
row 4: k front and back of st, k to last st, k front and back of st
repeat rows 3 & 4 till you have 8 sts
continue knitting in garter stitch for another 3 or 4 rows
next row: k to middle of row, k 2 tog, k to end
next row: k
repeat these two rows until you have only 2 sts left
k 2 tog and bind off!


sock success!

well, i haven't actually *finished* a sock or anything, or even turned the heel, but i have finally mastered the dreaded purl-behind-knit (aka "CL") in yarnharlot's earl grey sock pattern. woo! the trick is that after you purl the second stitch on the left needle,you lift the whole stitch along with the right needle over to the back before moving on to the knit stitch. i am probably not describing it very well; i am just happy it works! and happy there aren't too many of those in the pattern.


two words: stretchy cast-on

the dreaded ujein is finally finished! i realised that because of the pattern, i couldn't pick up and knit extra at the bottom without making a mess of it all. so i did a nice stretchy long-tail cast on, knit an extra couple of inches following the pattern, and grafted it on. argh.
stretchy cast-on!! stretchy cast-on!! i can not stress this enough.
also, if you are making this out of something springy instead of something drapey, knit it longer.
other than that, it's great!


mmmm... raisin bread

sunday's raisin bread experiment made me want more (there is never a point to making less than two loaves of bread at a go, as you inevitably want to eat a full loaf with butter on whilst it's still hot from the oven). i used a recipe from delia smith's christmas, which appealed to me because there is only one rise, and the whole thing start to finish is no more than 2 1/2 hours (as opposed to days, like the wonderful new york times no-knead recipe). that means you can actually make bread in the evening after work! but although it was good, it didn't have the richness i was looking for - it was made with whole-wheat flour and water, and i wanted something more! so here's the recipe, so re-written as to be unintelligible, but using one magic step i'd never heard of before delia, and still very quick.
magic gas-oven raisin bread
4 1/2 cups unbleached hard wheat flour
3 oz tap-hot water
1 tsp + 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 package yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups milk, scalded and still warm
2 lightly beaten eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups raisins
butter two loaf pans (9" x 5" x 3") and set aside.
here's the magic bit - set your oven to 150F and place the flour in a glass bowl to warm. dissolve the teaspoon of sugar in the water; stir in salt and set in a warmish place (i.e. on the gas oven). wait 5 minutes, then turn off the oven. wait 5 minutes more till the yeast is spongy.
take the flour out of the oven and stir in salt and cinnamon. dissolve the remaining brown sugar in the scalded milk.
dump the yeasty liquid and eggs into the flour and stir. dump the sugary milk in and stir vigourously with a big wooden spoon.
dump the dough out onto a floured countertop and knead for 5 minutes. roll out into a big rectangle, sprinkle with 1 cup raisins, and roll up like a jelly roll. knead a bit more to distribute the raisins.
cut the dough in half. working with one lump, roll it out into a rectangle about the size of a standard sheet of paper (8 1/2" x 11"). sprinkle 1/4 cup raisins over 2/3 of the surface. fold the empty third over the raisiny bit, then fold over once more to cover all the raisins. place fold-side down in a buttered loaf pan. repeat with remaining dough and raisins.
(alternatively, you could use 1/2 cup chopped nuts at that point.)
brush the tops of the loaves with a bit of milk and set in the still-slightly-warm oven to rise. leave a light on to help them.
after 1 1/4 to 2 hours (i waited 1 1/4 hours following delia's instructions last night, and 2 hours tonight simply because i was putting h to bed), turn the oven on to 450F (this another magic gas oven bit, one that i made up myself - because gas ovens get hot right away. if you're cooking with electric, you'll want to take the loaves out and preheat the oven). after 10 minutes, drop the heat to 375F. after another 30 minutes, you will have two lovely loaves - one to eat right away, and one for breakfast tomorrow.