Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cooking Sunday and "Why Didn't I Think of That?"

My Sunday has been all about what I got at the farmer's market yesterday. I brought it all home and staged it for processing because I was running back out the door to attend "Fantastiks" performed by Thin Air Productions at the Butte Opera House in Cripple Creek with my sister and the folks. We had a great time and the play was wonderful. It came complete with a huge, pounding hail storm about halfway through the second act.

My produce waited at home for me patiently until I decided to prep/process it all this morning while having my coffee. I cleaned and chopped the basil to freeze and used a bit of it fresh in Scrambled Eggs Caprese with pancakes for my breakfast. It was a mix of fresh from the garden cherry tomatoes my sister brought me yesterday, chopped basil, green onions and shredded mozzarella cheese. It was very tasty. Then I cleaned, chopped and ran through the blender the roasted chilis. They and the basil have been put into separate ice cube trays to freeze for use this winter when I am craving that taste in my spaghetti sauce or soup.

In the "Why Didn't I Think of That" I found a picture from a vendor at the Portland Market that sells these really cool metal sculptures made out of kitchen utensils. How fun are these?

I hope everyone has had a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Prairie Boots Become Fodder

My mom is a huge Croc fan. She wears them everywhere and in all seasons. She especially likes her lined ones she wears in the winter as house shoes/slippers.

Recently, when I showed her my work-in-progress on the Prairie Boot, she tried it on and suggested a single weight idea that she can use in her non-lined Crocs as footed legwarmers.

I agreed that was doable and decided that this was a knit that needs to be in washable wool. I did some research on that kind of yarn and found, to my delight, superwash worsted wool from Brown Sheep - Lamb's Pride Superwash Worsted; and from Cascade - Cascade 220 Superwash.

I will be pursuing this idea next month after the Reversible Vest is done.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Progress on the Reversible Vest

I am happy to report that I am making great progress on the shop sample of the Reversible Vest from Knit One Below.

It is going to be a fun sample and the colors I chose will go great with jeans. I have plans for my own vest and hope to find some recycled sari yarn to blend with a purple shaded yarn.

I am still looking for that combination.
I hope everyone is having a great week!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sock Knitters - It's Quiz Time

How much do you know about sock knitting? Would you say you speak fluent sock or just a smattering? If you are a non-knitter, how much would like to learn about the art of sock construction?

Let's begin with the quiz and you can let me know in the comments what you think of sock knitting. Click here for the quiz. Good luck!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New on My Needles

Today I spent the majority of my time getting the Knit One Below Reversible Vest on my needles. I started and ripped out the cast on about 5 times before I had it the way I wanted it. This vest will be the casual version and in a size small because it is for a shop sample. I reasoned that if it is on display at the shop there is no reason to make it in my size because I won't get to wear it.

I really like this technique. Once you get the cast on and about two repetitions of the pattern going it is almost a mindless knit. You still have to remember where you are but you can "read" your knitting to know what is your next stitch.

This is one technique that you do not want to "tink" if you can avoid it. It can be done however it is not an easy thing to do correctly. My recommendation is: if you are in the early knit stages, frog it and begin again. And don't start a larger project until you have mastered the technique. And for a vest or other clothing item, do the recommended swatch. The technique knits up much looser than stockinette.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and have fun, new projects lined up for their week!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

More Fiber Madness

In just three weeks the Quilters Above the Clouds Quilt Guild will be holding their annual Quilt Show in Woodland Park on Saturday, September 12th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This year's event will be held in the Ute Pass Cultural Center and the adjacent Woodland Park Public Library.

The theme for this year's show is Quilts in the Aspens and will feature quilts on display, quilting demonstrations and historical displays.

When I have attended in the past I have been awed by the talented use of colors and shapes the guild members portray in their quilts. It is a day worth spending the "City Above the Clouds." and the locations are side by side so it is easy walking distance once you are parked.

It should prove to be a wonderful reason to visit Woodland Park in the fall.

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's All About the Feet

In my quest for all things related to knitted footwear I have discovered that it is not that easy to build a one size fits all.

My mother and I are debating between felted clogs and knitted Prairie Boots for holdiay gifts for my nieces. The difficulty, as with the spring sweater project, is what size do we make and there is no possiblility to see them during the knitting process to have them try them on.

So I have resorted to asking the parents to have the kids trace pictures of their feet and email them to me so I can do the measurements from that. I even asked my mom to do that so I can determine her foot size for the socks that I owe her (is it August already?)

So, with this in mind, I am working on socks and boots for future gifts. Warm feet and happy hearts, who can ask for more?

And while I am concentrated on all things feet, I am showing off and working on my first sock in progress on two circs. It is fun to show along side the second Monkey sock that is being knit on dpns, at this time on 4 plus 1 dpns.

So many patterns, methods and yarn, so little time.

I hope everyone has found fun projects to fill their time and add enjoyment to their lives!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Have Your Cake and....

Since I have not referenced my Cook section in a while, I thought today might be the day. Especially since I found this picture and the story about it over at Baker's Banter, the King Arthur's Flour blog.

I am so impressed by the creativity and detail someone put into this piece. No wonder it won.

My cooking endeavors are getting fewer and fewer in frequency and here is why:

1. Cooking for one person is the pits.

2. See #1

My favorite recipes now include: ramen, meatballs and spaghetti, carbonara, salad, tacos, mini burgers on the George Foreman grill, tomato soup and grilled cheese. Egads! you'd think I was still in college.

However, with all that said, I have discovered a wonderful magazine - now discontinued in print however online, called Cooking for 2. It gives you the recipes and amount of ingredients to make small meals that will create a dinner and lunch for me. That is at least more reasonable.

So, my goal come fall weather it to try and do better about cooking for myself. Maybe if I prepare a menu for a couple weeks at a time and shop for everything, then plan to cook every other night I can accomplish a more interesting variety of meals for myself. It is worth a try.

Or I can just take up cake decorating (cupcake size) and "Let Me Eat Cake."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Things I Missed While in Portland

Sock Summit was very a busy time for me with five classes at the Convention Center and one downtown at Knit Purl. No matter, I tried to cram as much sightseeing into the none SS09 time that I could.

It seems fair to say that I did not succeed in completing my personal list of must sees that I had posted to Ravelry during my uber optimistic moments. Here are some fo the things that I did not accomplish:

Food carts like Rick's Wild Seafood came highly recommended and I was unable to find it in time for lunch. And in the same area was Voodoo Doughnuts that I had high hopes of a maple bacon bar.

Then there was the Aerial Tram that I made the command decision not to go to because the weather was gray and socked in with clouds the whole time I was there and I knew that I would not be able to get the picture of Mt. Hood that I wanted.

I did get to the zoo and the International Test Rose Garden however did not have time to go to its neighbor, the Japanese Gardens.

I rode by the Portland Saturday Market twice while it was in full swing, however was on my way to classes and could only gaze out of the MAX windows as we went by. It looked completely full of fabulous things and fun people.

And the one thing I really wished I had seen was, from what I have heard, an ad gimmick for an extreme sports event - Ducks in VW - pictures provided by the Knitmore Girls that happened upon the display when they were on their way to Powells's. This was a clever idea!

Oh well, I have plenty of reasons to make another trip to Portland in the near future. Besides all the sightseeing I did not get accomplished I also have plenty of knit shops to visit. Happy living to all!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Prairie Boot Update

The Prairie Boots from cocoknits started out looking like this, the sole knit from Patons Classic Merino held double. Next I added on the Patons Shetland Chunky held single and about 12 rows in I decided that it needed to be doubled as well.

So I frogged the top portion and began again at Friday's knit class where I was knitting it along with a student. She got hers to the add the next color for the top before we had to stop for the day.

It is a really fun knit. I will say that you do not need to add the second circular needle until further into the progress of the top of the boot. Once all the stitches are picked up and you start knitting from the heel all the way around then the real form of knitting on 2 circs will come into play.

Now I have made progress to the picked up stitches mid-foot and will be working the next section which is to get the heel parts going. I hope to it to the ankle portion by next class on Friday.

I am liking it better with the top yarn doubled as well. It will be a fun house shoe for those cold winter days that I get to stay home, watch movies, snuggle with Pedro, cook a delicious pot of soup and knit.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weekend Update: Socks and Movies

I enjoy knitting while watching movies. Today I watched Seven Pounds and had to put down the start of the second Monkey sock so I could cry. Yesterday I took a break and went to see Julie and Julia. It was wonderful. I even went out and got the ingredients for the mushroom chicken dish they cooked and had that for dinner this evening. Yummy!

The first Monkey Sock is finished and the second one is on the needles for lunchtime knitting. Next project is to get to the ankle of the Prairie Boot we are knitting in class on Friday. I find that I have become very self-entertaining. I am trying to knit lots, watch movies and read the Julie and Julia book after I put down the knitting and finish my movie in the evening before I head off to bed.

Summer is coming to a close and I am looking forward to fall days, cooler temps, heavier knitting projects and making the Beef Bourgonion from the Julia Child recipe. I hope everyone is planning great things for the fall season!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Most Excellent Sock

My current progress on the my first Monkey Socks is: I am finishing the first sock and am at the toe decreases. I plan to have it on the new sock blockers from Chappy tomorrow for pictures.

I am really enjoying this knit. Cookie A writes a wonderful pattern. It is very easy to read and follow. I will be starting the mate to this sock tomorrow so that I have a car project for lunchtimes next week.

Since I purchased her new book, Sock Innovations, while in Portland, the plan is to attempt to knit those patterns in the order they appear in the book. And while I am at it, I will try to knit strictly by the graph instead of the written pattern. My thought is, it should be fairly easy since I used to cross stitch.

I hope everyone has fun plans for future projects in the works!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bilingual Sock Knitting

Today I took a mini class on knitting a sock on two circular needles. The method is described in Cat Bordhi's book, Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles. It was published in 2001 and is the book prior to her bible of sock knitting, New Pathways for Sock Knitters.

The instructions are well written and clear on how to set up and knit socks on two circs. I have the first few rows on 12-inch Hiya Hiya needles and like the compact effect of these smaller circs. I have also ordered 16 inch length needles of the same brand to see if I like those. The book calls for 24-inch but I find that to be too much to fiddle with.

I understand that learning how to knit socks on different needles from dpns will make me bilingual. I will have to see if I can get that needle size in bamboo so if I want to take this type of project on the plane I can. Until then, back to learning a new language for sock knitting.

I hope everyone is learning something new and exciting!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sock Stash Additions Revealed

Guess I have to reveal the purchases I made at the Summit. Besides the yarn and sock blockers pictured here, I also purchased a set of Hiya Hiya circular needles in size 1, 9-inch circulars to see if I can knit sock legs in the round. No idea what I do when I get to the heel. :-)

Also brought home some Lantern Moon Sox Stix in rosewood and a couple patterns for not socks that can be knit in sock yarn. It does not have to be all socks all the time, believe it or not.

Loopy is wearing his new hat that I made for him in Chrissy Gardiner's short row heel class and a bracelet I bought from my new friend Knitchotchkes from Crestone.

Most of all, I brought home lots of great memories of fun events related to all things socks, sightseeing on Portland and time to concentrate my energies on my favorite things - knitting, writing, and going (no cooking on this trip, maybe next time).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Coming Down Off A Sock High

Today was an early trip to the airport to go home. I hated to leave the Sock Summit and all those magical yarn fumes but work and pussycat and more projects at home called me to return. The Oakland Airport, where my connection was, had a herd of Southwest planes. It was a fun landing and takeoff because you come in over the bay and for a brief moment you imagine this is the "water landing" they tell you about during the safety review.

I had a fabulous time meeting new friends and learning a lot of new techniques that I can now incorporate into my own sock knitting. I am excited about trying some of the Japanese stitch techniques I practiced at Judy Sumner's class at Knit Purl yesterday. I can see the possibilities that these are not just for socks.

When I get home I have lots of sorting of projects and new supplies to do. I will be reviewing my new list of knitting soon. It was fun to get some repeats of the Monkey lace pattern done on my sock while I traveled today.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and found fun, new things to learn!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sockapalooza: This is Footy Stuff!

Started out the day with a visit to the Marketplace to find the wonderful 3M tape that can be used to mark your place on patterns and charts, like using a much more reusable post it note.

I found it at Chappy's booth and had to buy a set of her wonderful sock blockers as well. Once I found it I took it around to those I had asked and they did not know what it was so they can order it for themselves.

Then I was ready to head downtown and look for the food cart that I had heard so much about, Rick's Wild Seafood, which I did not find as I ran out of time to get to my class at Knit Purl. The ladies there are wonderful and it was a real treat to meet and learn some stitch techniques from Judy Sumner. Her book is lovely and has interesting facts and history about the Japanese culture that includes the story about how and why karaoke was invented.

I hustled back to the convention center for my last class on short row heels with Chrissy Gardiner. Then I stopped in the marketplace to visit with a couple new friends before heading to the hotel to repack and get ready to head home.

I have really enjoyed my visit to the City of Roses and to worship at the altar of all things socks.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Help, Sock Yarn Fumes -- Making Me Dizzzzy.......

Officially this is the first day that the public gets to come in and see what the Sock Team Royalty has put together in honor of all things related to sock knitting and the sock knitters who worship the "sport."

There was a line outside the marketplace doors when I got here this morning to pickup my bright lime green ticket to participate in the Guinness World Record attempt. They were camped out like you do for concert tickets, it was a sight to see.

My first class was with Cookie A and how to create the perfect rib to complement the leg pattern you choose for your sock. It was very interesting to hear her explain and demonstrate the process she goes through to design her fabulous sock patterns with just the right ribbing that blends into the design rather than detracts like a last minute stick on. She is lovely and self-effacing, receiving giggles from the class when she mentioned that there was a flyer for her next book coming out in 2010 "in case anyone cared." We were all ready to sign up for the pre-release party.

Then I went back into the marketplace to check the door prize list to see if I had won anything, no luck yet. I headed over to Cat Mountain's booth to give her a much deserved coffee fetching and pit stop break. She has really yummy yarn and has just opened a new shop in Alamosa, Colorado called The Yarn Gallery.

The Guinness World Record attempt drew over 1000 eager knitters to try to break the recent record set by 256 knitters in Australia of continuous knitting for 15 minutes on two straight needles (NOT circulars or two of your four double point needles on your sock project) as the Yarn Harlot said "Four does not equal two."

We made it through the attempt and were on the local news at 5 p.m. on, at least, Channel 8 which we were watching. Yay for us. We should know in a week or so if our attempt made the grade with Guinness. Black and Tans all around!

After that my roommate and I made one more pass through the marketplace to look at things we had heard about before heading out for downtown. We went to Button Emporium and had lunch at Jake's Grill, then went to Powells's and found goodies at Cupcake Jone's to bring back for dessert. All in all, a great afternoon seeing the sights of Portland.

My big purchase of the day was a wrist bag called Sock It Suze (there is a story behind that) for my sock project. It is from FriendyWendy, she is on Etsy and can be contacted through her website for custom orders. She also sells her stuff at the Pike Place Market in Seattle. She is fabulous.

I also found sock yarn for a sharf (shoulder shawl that doubles as a scarf) and a lace scarf, plus at least two pairs of socks. I know that does not seem like a lot but with the overwhelming amount of stuff available it was too many choices.

I hope everyone is having fun!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Reporting Live from Sock Summit 2009

The first official day of the Sock Summit is over and what a day it was. There were many sitings of "socknitterati" from Lucy Neatby and her very cool hair and Birkensocks to seeing the Yarn Harlot in the control booth observing the goings-on of lunch and marketplace set up.

I attended three classes today and learned Judy's Magic Cast On with Judy Becker, some really neat bind offs that can be used for more than just socks with Chrissy Gardiner and how to spontaneously add beads to your knitting with Sivia Harding.

The big event of the day was the opening of the much-anticipated Marketplace. One woman compared it to "the running of the bull." It did have that feeling as the doors opened and the crowd moved in. The scope of this thing is overwhelming. I delivered the sample socks I knit for The Craft's Meow and got to meet she and her grandson who was doing a great job of helping in her booth.

There was so much to see. It is everything related to sock knitting and, according to the Sock Team, the largest gathering of independent yarn dyers on the planet. I believe them.

The topper to the day was Opening Ceremonies when we got to hear the tale of the dream that has become Sock Summit 2009 where Blue Moon Tina and the Yarn Harlot defied all odds and people thinking they were "crazier than a bag of wet weasels" when they thought up the idea for this event.

It was gratifying to experience the magnitude of what six amazing women achieved against all odds. I will be interested to hear what the final number of attendees is for this shindig.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Help, I Need Sock Yarn!

And so it begins, For me it started around 4 a.m this morning with last minute housecleaning (I hate to go on a trip and come home to a messy house) and packing. Then it was off to the Denver airport for my flight to Portland. Since I am travelling to a convention of like-minded people I figured I needed an identifier that fit the situation. The part you cannot see under that post-it is the fact that I did run out of sock yarn about halfway down the foot of the sock and just knit the toe to finish. It looks like a sock for a club foot baby. So I will be looking for some fabulous yarn that I just cannot leave in Portland.

On the flight I met a great gal from Crestone who is attending the Summit to help a friend with her booth. We had a lovely visit and knit while we winged towards Portland.

MAX trains are great. The light rail system in Portland is recognized as award winning and I totally agree. It was so easy to buy a ticket and get on board right from baggage claim and arrive at the Convention Center. I am staying at a hotel across the street and within walking distance of all things socks for the next few days. Ahhh, the luxury.

I left my bags at luggage storage at the hotel and hopped the MAX to the Oregon Zoo, Washington Park Railway and International Test Rose Gardens. What a fun time. I will share some pictures here and then go on with my adventurous tale...

And my favorite picture from the zoo is of this Stellar Sea Lion performing for the folks in the underwater viewing area. I believe he thinks they have put in a people aquarium just for him.

The train winds through the hilly expanse they call Washington Park to the stop at the International Test Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden. I remembered as we wended our way through the huge trees and acres of ferns why I liked the Pacific Northwest.

And the scent of the Rose Gardens was indescribable. I reminded me of my childhood in California and the roses my grandmother and mother tended in our yard. It was amazing.

Then I came back and checked in, saw all the teachers for the Summit gathering in the lobby, and went out for a fun visit to Trader Joe' for now $3 buck Chuck wine and snacks with the gals I met from Colorado.

Before I called it an evening I picked up my registration and swag at the convention center under the Dragon Boat...

and found some dinner at Burgerville. Yummy fresh blackberry smoothie.
Tomorrow I have three classes and the marketplace opens for students only for a couple hours of high excitement. After that is Opening Ceremonies where we will get to applaud the hard work and visionary efforts of the Sock Team.

I will be adding other pictures from my adventures in future posts especially more from the Zoo and Rose Garden. I hope you are having a fabulous week as well!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Travel Tips for Knitters

This upcoming trip to the Sock Summit has me stymied. I have my suitcases ready to travel. I have whittled done my basic necessities in regards to clothing and bathroom essentials, and packed my knitting homework and all sharp or "potentially dangerous" knitting tools (according to Homeland Security and TSA) into a bag to be checked.

Now I have to commiserate with the Yarn Harlot - what to I pack for travel knitting? I want something that can keep me in knitting for at least 6-8 hours, in case there are delays and can be done on non-threatening type needles. And for this trip it should probably be a sock, since I am going to the premier, now globally known and cheered, all socks all the time, Sock Summit in Portland.

With that in mind, I chose a sock pattern I have been meaning to knit ever since it was published in Okay, now don't laugh, it is the Monkey Sock by Cookie A. This will be my first attempt at any of her patterns. I have the first sock on the needles and two repeats of the Monkey Lace pattern completed so I know what I am doing and it will not require lots of pattern page turning while crammed into an airline seat. I even have another skein of yarn in case I finish both socks and need to cast on another pair for the trip home. Imagine, I have to take a spare on the chance I won't see any sock yarn on my travels. Okay, I can hear those loud guffaws from here. :-)

Since I am going to a place I have not been in years I plan to do some sightseeing outside the Summit. To accomplish that and stay within my budget I have devised some money-stretching ideas into my plan, like stopping in at Trader Joe's and stocking up on some foodstuffs for the room fridge.

I am staying at a hotel that is walking distance to the convention center and sharing the room with a gal I know from Ravelry to cut that cost. Being based there will allow me to not need to rent a car and have the added experience of learning the highly-acclaimed public transportation system.

My souvenir plan is to buy some postcards to mail from the Washington Park Railway which has its own cancellation stamp, send some to friends and family and one to myself for my collection. And, of course, bring home some signature sock yarn. I plan to take lots of pictures to share with my blog of my adventures both in fiber land and out.

My thought is this: the very idea of going on vacation means treating yourself to a special experience, seeing new things, and meeting new people. If you refuse yourself that museum admission, or that meal at a restaurant you’ve been dying to try, or the tour you’ve dreamed of taking, then what is the point of even leaving home in the first place?

As you can see, this trip is all about the bags and the yarn. I have packed and repacked this weekend trying to keep it compact and easily moved from baggage claim to MAX light rail cars and back. I think I have managed to accomplish this goal. Time will tell.