Friday, February 27, 2009

Would You Like some Coffee with those eggs?

Those who know me know that I drink coffee pretty much every morning. They also know that I am NOT a morning person.

Well, this morning, I got up and staggered bleary-eyed to the kitchen to start the coffee. Now, I should mention that, since my kitchen is really tiny, I use a little canister to keep the coffee grounds in, then when it gets low or empty, I refill it from the canister in the pantry. That way, it is easily accessible every day and I also don't have to try to find a place to make the larger canister easily accessible.

Today, I took the last scoop of coffee from the little canister to make this morning's pot. That means I have to refill it. (I will spare you the drama of the fact that what was left in the larger canister was not even a full small canister and move on. That means I'm almost OUT of coffee though. That could be a very dire situation.)

For scale (and also for the people who could care less about this story and would like a little fiber content) the canister is pictured here with the Nanners sock that I am working on.

Yes, I am past the heel turn and I am doing the gussets. Thank you for asking.

So, I start the coffee maker and wander to the rest room to brush teeth and wash face. If I don't brush teeth before coffee, it tastes funny. Then I head back to the kitchen and decide to fill the canister while waiting for the coffee to brew.

What I probably haven't mentioned is that I am not the greatest housekeeper. (Takes away from knitting time) I believe in washing dishes only every other day or so and my kitchen is very, very small. (We have talked about that before.) This means that there is a crock pot sitting on my stove waiting to get put away from the other day when I made the soup and that I still had the frying pan sitting on the stove from yesterday's breakfast. The frying pan is not altogether unusual, I often use them several times before I wash them. They are pretty clean and they get heated up so there shouldn't be a danger of food contamination (depending on what you cook in them of course.)

I refill the canister. (Only halfway, but I'm not bitter) and manage to only spill a tiny bit of coffee grounds on the floor. Like 1/8 teaspoon so I am pretty proud of myself. I put the canister away. I get my coffee and go sit down. Once I have drunk about half of the cup of coffee, I am awake enough to begin contemplating breakfast.

Well, I'm trying very hard to be a better person, a person who actually eats breakfast and doesn't just drink coffee until lunch time so yesterday morning I took a small handful of hash browns and made them in one side of the pan while I made a couple of eggs in the other side. It worked really well and was a really filling breakfast. It worked so well and was so good I decided to do the same thing today. Lucky for me, the frying pan was still sitting there.

I sprayed a little no-stick cooking spray in it and put a tiny bit of butter on one side so the hashbrowns would brown nicely and put them in. Then I got out the eggs and waited until I flipped the hash browns (I like them nice and crispy) to add the eggs to the other side of the pan. Pretty soon, it was time to flip the eggs over so I went to do that. Only, there on the back side of the eggs were a few little brown flecks. For a moment I thought, why is this pan cooking things strangely, then I realized, it was coffee grounds.

I'm pretty frugal and I was getting hungry so I didn't want to waste the eggs. There were also quite a few speckles of coffee grounds on it, enough that I didn't want to pick them off. I decided to eat them anyway.

Let's just say I don't think anyone will be inventing coffee-eggs any time soon. It didn't taste quite right.

Maybe tomorrow's breakfast will go better.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spring walks in growing gardens.

So, last night I pushed a little and managed to finish the first Kew sock.

It looks pretty good huh? Please excuse the poor pictures, its snowing here today and its kinda hard to get decent light with the white stuff falling from a grey sky.

Remember how I talked about the striping and how I wasn't sure about it? Yeah, the bottom of the foot striped exactly like I thought it would.

Want to know what I did to get that? Instead of 16 stitches per needle like the top (I knit on 5 dpns) I went to 14 per needle for the bottom of the foot. Overall though, I think the whole sock looks pretty nice and I am very happy with it. It reminds me of spring and that is exactly the push I need this time of year to buck up and get through this last stretch of winter.
(Yeah, today it is snowing and we are supposed to get 6". Winter is definitely not over yet, at least not here.)

I'm looking forward to making the second one and having that elusive "pair" but I am so busy enjoying the yellow of my Nanners socks that I think I will set this one away for a couple of days and knit the sunshiney yarn.

It feels pretty good to actually have one finished though. Lately I have been knitting on so many different projects, some of them larger ones that I just work on here and there, that I haven't been able to finish anything and I needed a little finishing mojo. I'm feeling better now. I will run off and continue to knit on 25 different projects one row at a time now.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Story Time

Once upon a time there was a sort of obsessed Crafter who came home from Crochet Night exhausted. She stepped into her tiny urban apartment and gratefully smelled the soup that had been simmering away in the crock pot for hours and hours. Since it was 9 pm, she was so glad she had thought ahead and put this soup in the crock pot because she was hungry and had no desire whatsoever to cook. She stepped into her tiny urban apartment's tiny kitchen and ladled some delicious-smelling soup into a bowl, took a piece of cheese and a slice of ciabatta bread and picked up the bowl with the idea that she would sit down and eat. She then spilled extremely hot soup broth all over her hand. At first the Crafter used some unladylike language that will not be repeated here and then she ran cold water over her hand. She managed to get out the ice pack and move to the table to eat but the hand still hurt so she may have been slightly distracted when she finally finished eating her now-cold soup and returned to the kitchen to make some tea for her sore throat. She put the kettle on the burner and turned to find her favorite tea cup. (Please note that the cup this Crafter uses for tea is not the same one she uses for Coffee, although she has no real reason for doing it this way.) At first the Crafter looked in the cupboard but the cup wasn't there, so she looked in the dish rack with the clean dishes, in doing so, she sort of jostled the pile of clean dishes and a frying pan fell down. Not wanting it to fall onto the favorite tea cup (and break it) which she realized had been drying in the sink because the dish rack was full, she grabbed the frying pan. With the sore hand. As she yelped out in pain, the cupboard door, which must not have been shut all the way swung slowly open and as she leaned forward to put the frying pan back on the dish rack (not wanting to deal with clean dishes after the day she was having) she banged her forehead on the corner of the cabinet door. That was when the Crafter picked up her tea cup and filled it with hot water and a tea bag and went to bed. She just plain old gave up on the day. Good thing too.

(Don't worry, the Crafter didn't burn her hand so badly as to impede knitting today.)

I had hoped to have a finished sock to share today but I don't. Instead I will share a picture of what it looks like when you accidentally stand on your ball of yarn while getting up to get another cup of coffee because you are tired because you inexplicably got up when your husband left for work.

*sigh* I might just go back to bed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why aren't you Knitting Nanners or Hey, you're up, why aren't you dyeing some yarn?

The original post was written on January 31. I edited and added pictures after I was finished with the yarn on Feb. 24)
This post could also be called: "When you start drinking coffee at 5:00 am, you will need a second pot by nine." But I digress.

For reason I cannot comprehend (but that make me REALLY angry) I woke up at 4:00 am this morning. I thought I would get up for a bit and go back to sleep. At five I gave up and made a pot of coffee. This meant that I could make breakfast for hubby before I sent him off to work his little half-day. Which I did. I had planned to get up at 9 am, so I had a little list of things I wanted to do before we went to visit friends this afternoon, like planning what knitting projects to bring along, etc. Since I was up so early, I played on the computer for a bit. I balanced the checkbook, I basically did everything on my list before 9 am.

As a result, not wanting to get too tired out before leaving town, I decided to find something to do. Well, here this yarn was staring at me from my dining room table where I had wound it up into a nice hank. Hmm, I thought to myself (yes, I frequently have conversations with myself when I am home alone, why do you ask?) wasn't I going to do something with this? Oh yes, I remember. I was going to dye it up yellow with some Easter Egg dye I bought last year and use it to knit up some Nanner socks. (Since I now plurk I have been granted access to the fabled Nanner sock pattern) Tomorrow begins the Lime & Violet Sock Marathon 2009 and even though my plan is to knit 8 pairs of socks in the next 6 months and I have plans for at least that many pairs, I had this white yarn lying around that I bought expressly so I could try dyeing using Easter Egg Dye. I even prepared last year by buying 8 boxes of dye on clearance.

Technically, I have already tried the technique I planned to use and liked it but we'll talk about that another day. So, what did I do? First I put the two hanks of yarn into a bowl with some cold water and regular old White Distilled Vinegar. I let them soak for a good hour. Since I'm impatient and unlikely to wait, I set a timer and made myself walk away.

Next I prepared the dye in a large glass measuring cup. I just put in a splash of vinegar again and 4 yellow dye pellets. (I had already dyed some yarn and so I knew that making about 4 cups of dye water would be enough for the 100g of yarn I'm dyeing.)
Please note that I am using 100% food-safe ingredients or I would be using a bowl, spoon and measuring cup that I would NEVER use for food again. This is very important.

I carefully drained the yarn and then carefully (so I didn't splash) I poured the dye water over it.

See how pretty and yellow it is?

I next put the bowl in the microwave and made sure it was in the center. (My microwave has a turntable and if you don't center the bowl just right, it makes an awful racket as it turns, thump, thump, thump, because it's off-balance.)

I didn't want the water to boil at all so I microwaved it for 5 minutes then checked it. Since I didn't care if it was somewhat mottled when it was finished (as a matter of fact, I kind of wanted that to happen) I didn't stir it AT ALL but I had a non-reactive (read: plastic) spoon nearby and ready just in case.

After the five minutes I open the door to the microwave and let it cool slightly (so it won't boil) but you want it to stay hot. Then I put it in for another two minutes. I continue this until the dye "exhausts" (Please note here that none of this is from any research I have done on my own or from my own knowledge. It's a kind of glommed together whack of knowledge I've gotten from reading blogs. But it's been a fun experiment.)

The water will basically look clear at this point?

Now carefully take the bowl out of the microwave. Being careful not to spill it and dump the yarn into the sink. The dye water will drain away. Leave the yarn to cool for at least 15 minutes. Again, I set a timer because I am VERY impatient.

Then rinse well in cold water.
(Please ignore the brown sink. It came with the apartment but if I could I would change it to Stainless Steel. I have always had a stainless steel sink and now miss it.)
Now, you will want to get as much moisture out as you can. It helps if you wrap it in a towel (preferrably one that's darker than the dyed yarn or one you don't care about, just in case the dye bleeds although the vinegar should prevent that) and squeeze it out. Some people like to step on it to squeeze out water.

Now hang it up to dry.

Mmmm, nanners.

Now, do you think I have time for one more cup of coffee before hubby gets home?

After the original post was written, I decided the yarn had too much of a color change. Very bright yellow and too much white. I wanted some mottling but it was too much. I therefore waited to post until I had finally redyed and was ready to start knitting. (I simply made a softer yellow dye and repeated the process to get rid of some of the garish white.) That would be yesterday. Looks much better doesn't it? And here we have the Nanners. Started up.

These would have been bigger except I made a couple mistakes and had to rip back. All the way to the cuff. I also sort of modified the pattern. (It's a sickness) I am doing them top-down instead of toe-up and I made a picot edge instead of normal ribbing. I think they are quite bright and still GORGEOUS. I love them.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Can't Talk Nanners are calling me.

I had this whole blog post planned today.
But now I can't talk, the Nanners are calling me.

I'll be knitting them tonight.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Monkey Love

Well, yesterday I sat down for about 45 minutes and managed to finish the first of the Monkey socks.

Whew, it feels good to be showing off something actually finished.

Yes, yes, I know it isn't a pair. I will get to it. I am loving them right now. They are very silky and soft but I will give a better review of the yarn when they are both finished.

Outside the snow is falling down and I am absolutely freezing so I think I might be retiring to the bedroom for some reading and knitting and tea-drinking. There may be some television too but I can't be sure.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I tried, I really did.

Yesterday after I blogged I had this plan that I was going to at least finish one of the socks in a pair so that I would have something I could post today.

I wasn't feeling well last night though. Kinda stuffy like I might be getting sick and I kept sneezing so I went to lie down. I took the knitting, I swear I did but I didn't get much done because I didn't seem to have enough energy to pick up the needles. Yeah, to pick them up. Maybe I am getting sick.

Then today I conned hubby into doing the dishes by offering to warm up some lunch for him. He is washing right now! (insert evil laugh here) Actually, he does try to help (sometimes) so it was nice of him to do that.

I am on the toe decreases for the first Monkey sock so I *should* have that to show off tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I feel like I'm totally slacking in the blog content lately. (Probably because I have been.)

I have actually been knitting, I promise. Check it out!

This is just some hideously colored acrylic I had lying around that is a plain old garter stitch square. It will eventually go to the animal shelter as a donation. At least its cheerful.

Then there's this:

This is some gorgeous Lamb's Pride Worsted weight that was on sale recently and I got it to knit a one-row handspun scarf. I've knit the pattern before and I like it and it's easy. I thought it might be for me but I may change my mind later.

I've been knitting along on my socks too but as I have so many on the go right now, I haven't really gotten to a noticeable place on any of them and I thought you might all track me down and beat me with my own camera cord if day after day I post pictures of socks that look EXACTLY the same as the day before.

It probably doesn't help that I have been working on getting into art journalling too. I so miss having art be a part of my life and I think that would be a wonderful creative/emotional outlet for me. I feel so unworthy of all the beautiful art journal pages I see online though. Someday, I may share something truly personal but for now, the best I can do is this:

Last month while we were at my parents I was flipping through one of their Bird & Blooms magazines and found this beautiful close-up of a rose and it just spoke to me so I sat down with my pencils (that I currently make myself take EVERYWHERE so when inspiration strikes I can feed it.) and I totally zoned out for about and hour and drew this sketch. I love that total zone-out while drawing or thinking or whatever.

Well, I'm gonna go knit some more. Maybe I'll have something interesting to show tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Birthday Celebration with Grandpa

Things have been crazy busy around here lately.

I helped my parents with the fish fry at their church then came home to a message that our apartment would be having the City Inspector coming in to check it out and while it probably was just to make sure we weren't living in squalor/meth heads or somesuch, I got totally freaked about it and yesterday we cleaned pretty much ALL day! Um, yeah, at least it's clean.

I have been doing a little knitting but it has mostly been here and there, nothing huge to show for it yet. I'm mostly knitting socks but the weather has been pretty decent here and ya know, it was Valentine's day this past weekend.

Valentine's Day is my grandpa's birthday so we went down to see him on Sunday and went to church with him and then had lunch with him. Including a DQ Ice Cream Cake. YUM! It was nice.

Here is Grandpa Valentine (a.k.a. Val) with his little dog Cricket.

With him being 84 now, and with some pretty big health issues, you never know if that will be the last pic I get to take of him.

Love to grandpas and grandmas everywhere.
I'm gonna go crochet because it's Tuesday.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wishing For Spring

Long about this time of year, I start to get really sick of winter. As in, I start thinking of moving somewhere like Hawaii where it doesn't get cold in the winter.

I don't mind it at first. I love the first snowfall and I love to have snow at Christmas but right now is just a waiting game. Waiting for the earth to start waking up again and turning green.

Right now we are having some lovely grey weather too. That certainly doesn't help and we still have the whole month of March to go. I need something that's cheery and that makes me think of spring and gardens and the sun shining to get me through.

Since I finished my Sheri's Lace Socks the other day, I can start something new right?

Enter some Cascade Fixation yarn that I've had lounging around in the stash for awhile and you get this:

The start of a Kew sock. I am already at the heel flap after just 3 evenings of knitting while watching TV. The pattern is interesting but I don't find that I've memorized it or anything and it's a lovely green.

So I can think of spring. I wasn't sure about how the colors are stacking up. The medium green alone for a few rows and then the darkest and lightest in rows for a bit but I think it looks okay.

So, come on Spring. I'm ready.

P.S. I'm almost done with those Green Lantern Socks that have been hanging around forever.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Sheri's Lace

I have officially finished the first pair of socks for the Lime & Violet Sock Marathon 2009.
This yarn is some alpaca that a friend got from a co-worker. When I got it, it looked like this:

Now, it looks like this:

The Specs:
The Pattern: Sheri's Lace Socks from Sockbug
The Yarn: Alpaca Fingering Weight. Dyed pink and overdyed sort of raspberry by me, using food coloring and Easter Egg dye.
The Needles: US Size 2 (2.75mm) Bamboo dpns.
The Size: Knit to Ladies size Largish Medium.
The Recipient: Jamie.
Notes: I've had this pattern in the queue for quite a while and I'm glad I got to knit it. I made them toe-up as opposed to top-down as the pattern states to utilize the yarn to its full advantage. The deal with Jamie was that I would knit her socks from one skein and I would get to keep the other skein. Hah! One is mine, all mine. I have no plans for it currently. I knit a short row heel and two pattern repeats after the heel followed by about 1 inch of 2x2 ribbing. They will make a lovely addition to Jamie's sock wardrobe.

One more gratuitous sock picture? Okay, a close-up that got a tiny bit fuzzy.

Good thing they are too big for me or I would be wearing them right now!

Ahh, the thrill of victory. Off to knit now.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Off and Running

I arrived home from my parents' house last night with a bit of knitting finished. Not nearly everything I brought along but then again, I always overpack.

The first of Jamie's socks is past the heel turn and now I'm thinking about starting the other and getting it to a similar place.

The Plain ONline sock is somewhat bigger although not even to the heel flap yet. It did have some misadventures though. I popped it into my purse yesterday when mom and I went out to lunch with a family friend and I ended up getting it caught in the purse zipper. Not once but like 3 times. Once it was so badly tangled up that I ended up with broken yarn in two places. I guess I will remember the zippy bag the next time. Oops.

I haven't really touched the Monkey socks at all in the last few days and I haven't even dug out the Pomatomus pattern. I'll get there. Maybe I'll have some free time on Monday while hubby is at work. (hope)

Well, I'm off to get some things done. We're gaming tonight so I should at least try to get ready so I don't look like a fruit loop in my pajamas at a restaurant tonight.

If you see me, I'm probably the one yelling at my yarn because it's stuck in the purse zipper again. Approach with caution.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Okay, so I clicked on something on blogger yesterday and now I am looking at it as though it's really far away. I have no idea what I did or how to undo it. It makes editing quite a challenge. Why does that crap keep happening to me and why does drinking more coffee never help?

Last night I cast on another pair of socks. I had to stop myself from casting on another pair of pink, toe-up, lace socks. How sad. I managed to cast on something else. Another tried and true Monkey. Here are the three pairs currently on the radar.

At the top is the pink Sheri's Lace Alpaca socks. They are coming along. I just get bored with the solid color thing. Then to the right is the newest sock. It's a Monkey of course. In Panda Soy. A very different yarn. I'm liking them and they are to make a gift for someone. They will be pleasantly surprised I think.
Then, on the left is a plain old vanilla sock knit of the Online yarn I got for babysitting. That's my computer sock. I can just knit round and round while reading blogs or whatever.
So, there are my current 3 socks. Pomatomus is on the radar too but hasn't been cast on. I just find I really have to pay attention to that one and I don't know that I have the brain power for that today.
Well, I'm off to wash dishes and do the laundry. Bleech. The good news is that if I get that stuff all done today, then I get a fun day off tomorrow.
(I'll explain later.)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Tuesday's Crochet Fodder

As the Crochet Instructor over at Crafts Direct, I try to spend my Tuesdays (the day where we have Open Crochet Night in the evening.) doing something crochet-related. This doesn't always work out and often, I don't get to crochet until I head over there for the crochet night but today, I thought I'd mention what I'm working on.
A lovely lady that works at Crafts Direct brought to my attention a magazine about a month or so ago. Crochet World. I've linked to their website but what they have pictured is not what I had in mind. I have this issue:

February 2009.

You will note the interesting blanket on the cover. It's called the Sweetheart Ripple and I like the pattern a lot. Here's why. It's like a regular ripple stitch afghan only on one row it has an unusual stitch. That's what makes the "heart" shapes, as well as a sort of dot shape too. I'm not thrilled with the cutesy color so I chose something different for mine.

Here's the back:

See how it's a normal ripple?

Now, here's the front:

(I have no idea why it is sideways and I can't figure out how to fix it. Sorry.)

Want to see it closer? Okay:

See the hearts and the dots? Well, I do. I think it's really interesting and very nice.
I'm using Lion Brand Jiffy Yarn which is a little bit thicker than called for so I went up to a size K (6.5mm) crochet hook.
I had originally planned to give this to a cousin who is having a baby but I changed my mind and started something else for her. I don't know what I will do with this but I like it.

Monday, February 02, 2009

How did this happen?

I took my Monkey socks with me to our friend's house on Saturday night. It was fun to sit and finish them off (all they needed was part of a toe.) and they were done well before midnight and the start of the Sock Marathon.

I waited until I got home to do their "photo shoot" so here we go:

The Specs:
The Pattern: Monkey by the amazingly talented Cookie A.
The Needles: US Size 2 (2.75mm) bamboo dpns.
The Yarn: SRK On Your Toes 4 Ply Sock Yarn with Aloe Vera in the romantically named color ON223600
The Size: These are about a Ladies Size 8.
The Recipient: These are Mine, All Mine.
Notes: This is the first pair of socks I have finished since Christmas. I love them. I did modify just a tiny bit.
1. 2x2 ribbing on the top for 15 rounds (about 1.5") instead of 1x1 ribbing for 1"
2. 5 Pattern repeats before heel flap instead of 6 (the foot also has 5 so it makes it more even in my opinion.)
3. Short row heel turn done with a few more stitches in the center. As written it just seemed too pointy to me.

I love, love, love them though and even though this is the 3rd time I have knit them in 2 months. I still love the pattern and could totally see myself casting on for some more very, very soon. Like, maybe this afternoon.

What was that? We need a closeup? Here you go.

In other news. I sat knitting my husband's green socks that will eventually be Green Lantern Socks (while rereading old blog entries. Other people's not my own.) and suddenly, I was at the toe. Now I just have to knit the toe, wash and block them and duplicate stitch the Green Lantern Symbol on them. I was shocked. I thought these would go on forever. (Note: Never knit men's size 13 socks on size 1s. Okay?! Good.) Now I am almost done. Very weird.

It had to happen sometime. I was requested to knit a Dr. Who scarf from a friend of mine. I said, um, yeah, if there's no time limit. (He will buy the yarn so I don't have to worry about that.)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

And We're Off...

Today begins the Lime & Violet Sock Yarn marathon 2009. We have six months to knit up as much of our sock yarn as we decide we would like. First you own up to you stash. (suck it up, you can do it.) and post a picture. Then, you figure out how many miles of sock yarn you actually have. (I may have added a bit over the weekend so I will have to cop to that tomorrow when I've re-added it all up.)

Here's mine. You actually can't see all of them, but they are all there.

Then you set your own goal. Mine is to knit 2 miles of sock yarn (that comes out to about 8 pairs of socks in 6 months. I should be able to do that, no problem.)

Today, you can cast on.
I have. With this lovely alpaca yarn.
Sheri's Lace Socks

I'm off Anyone else?