Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Yarn Along: Lent

Pete and I wanted to do a little spiritual reading together for Great Lent.  We chose Unseen Warfare, which he reads to me while I knit yet another soaker, this time out of wool I dyed the perfect red.
I cannot express how much I love this time together.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Though I won't be keeping a strict fast this year, I can't break the old habit of thinking of ways to use up every last scrap of dairy. After my sister Emily mentioned the galette recipe on Posie Gets Cozy, I decided it would be the perfect way to use up the leftover pie filling from our blini party.  I whipped up a half raspberry, half cherry one that turned out to be absolutely delicious.  The layer of creamy filling was so decadent--yet incredibly easy!
 So between the galette and and a couple of quiche that just came out of the oven, our fridge is getting sufficiently barren in preparation for Great Lent. 

Two Paths...

Remember the concert in Philadelphia that Pete participated in?  You can watch the whole thing on youtube now!
There's also an article about it on the diocese website.
Okay [endbragging...]

Friday, February 24, 2012


My friend Joanna and I got together this afternoon and whipped up a huge batch of blini, or thin, buttery Russian pancakes.    
We lost count of how many we churned out, but our best guess was about forty, for a veritable herd of 12 seminarians.  We wound up having only a few blini left over.
 I was mainly in charge of prepping all of the fillings.  We had all of the savory staples:
sour cream, chopped hardboiled egg, scallions, melted butter, smoked salmon, and herring.
But we also did something a little untraditional, which Pete condemned as downright unorthodox.  We supplied all of the sweet options that I prefer--fruit fillings (raspberry, cherry, and homemade blueberry sauce), nutella, maple syrup, cottage cheese, cinnamon, and whipped cream.  

Our Muscovite friends assured me that in Russia, they put absolutely anything on blini, so I don't think we need to worry about excommunication just yet.
When my amazing sisters threw me a baby shower, we decided to invite guys.  As Juliana put it, "Guys like babies, too."  As a result, we got a very creative gift.  My friend Greg and Juliana's boyfriend Alex actually ventured into a fabric store and bought Stormy some San Francisco 49ers fabric.  I wanted to make something the baby could wear next season.  Enter The Bib:
I used this free tutorial from the Purl Bee, but with the paper pattern from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing for Baby.  It calls for laminated cotton or oilcloth, but I used the cotton fabric backed with some pale grey flannel.  It was an incredibly fast, satisfying project.  Now that I know how easy it is, I plan to churn out a multitude of them.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Knit Along: Soakers!

I am in serious nesting mode.  Only 10 more weeks until Stormy shows up!  Now, while other mamas might use this time for childproofing or spring cleaning, I am focused on the essentials--creating as many handmade baby items as I can.  I made a list of a few must-have items and am churning them out at top speed.  I've become a soaker-making machine.  I've nearly finished a seaweed green one made from some Manos del Uruguay Classica that's been in my stash far too long.
I knit it up on our trip to Philadelphia this past weekend for the Two Paths Diverged at the Wood Concert, which Pete participated in.  Knitting definitely calmed me down when he broke out the sheet music and drove with his pinkies.
I just have to finish up the ribbing on the leg holes--the work of a moment.
 While Pete practiced with the choir, I spent a lot of time with friends I haven't seen in far too long.  On Sunday, a few of us went to Loop, a pristine yarn store right next to Spool, a little fabric shop.  Needless to say, I used Stormy as an excuse to enhance the fabric/fiber stashes.  I found some beautiful fabric to make a pair of Quick-Change Trousers from Anna Maria Horner's book Handmade Beginnings,
and a copy of Lotta Jansdotter's book Simple Sewing for Baby.  I've been poring over both of those books ever since I got them.
My friends helped me pick out two skeins of Noro Kureyon for a striped soaker at Loop.  Best of all, I got a discount--$5 off!
If you've ever striped two different colorways of Noro, you know how addictive it can be.  Laundry may pile up, dinner can burn, but I just need to finish one more stripe.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

When life gives you lemons...

I started this baby blanket back in early September, but worked on it so intermittently that that hardly counts.  The fact is that I did the bulk of the knitting in the last few weeks.  I dragged my feet for a number of reasons.  While I do love Kira, I have to admit to being more interested in creating for my own baby.  It's only natural, I suppose. 
I also struggled a good deal with the materials.  I didn't pick the yarn (Bernat Softee Baby-held doubled) or the colors.  Though many people prefer easy-care acrylic for baby items, I have found that superwash wool or even a wool-acrylic blend is much more satisfying to knit with and produces a more beautiful finished product that can still be easy to care for.  I tend to prefer more saturated colors, even for babies.  It was challenging to successfully combine the yellow and pink yarn Kira's mom chose because the two colors are so close in value.  I was doubtful about them, even as I knit with them, until my sister Anna said the yellow and pink reminded her of lemonade.  She made me feel a lot better about the combination.
By knitting this blanket, I've learned to consider carefully before I agree to knit for someone else.  In future, if I agree to do so, I will make sure to guide the recipient in yarn and color choice.  I am certain I could have helped Kira's mom find higher-quality yarn for about the same price.  If I'd been able to do so, I would have enjoyed the process so much more, while providing a more lasting product.
 When it comes down to it, though, as Pete remarked when he saw these photos,
This made it all worth it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Yarn Along: red

So of course I'm still reading Green Dolphin Street, but at least something is new around here.  I've just cast on for a kicking bag for Stormy.  
I'm using the free pattern Kicking Bag for Babies by Annika, and some Knitpicks sock yarn in the gorgeous colorway Gypsy.  
It is just. so. red.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Worth every stitch

Sugar Plum has been wearing the shawl I knit her all weekend long.
It is just the right size for her little shoulders.  But that hasn't stopped her from using it as a doll blanket, a skirt, a head-covering, and picnic blanket.
She said that it feels like a hug whenever she wears it.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hey girl.

So Ginny's post about this site made my day.  I couldn't wait to come up with my own version:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Research: The Office

There has never been a shortage of knitting moments in The Office.  You can often catch a glimpse of Phyllis knitting away during a sales call.  But this week's episode included a subplot that I found particularly spot-on.  Darryl receives a hand-knitted beanie from Val on Valentine's Day, which he hopes means she returns his feelings.  He goes down to the warehouse to thank her and give her a gift of his own:

Darryl: Notice anything different about me?
Val:  You're wearing the beanie!  Do you like it?
Darryl:  Super comfortable!  Like sweatpants for my head.
Nate: I love it, too, Val.  It's really itchy, but to be fair my head is constantly itching, so I can't really peg it on the hat.
Darryl:  Wow.  It's like the Nation of Islam in here.
Val:  I like to knit.  Don't hate!
It reminded me of when Pete and I first started dating.  It was December.  A big group of our friends gathered together, many of whom were wearing hats and scarves I had given them over the years.  Poor Pete was wearing a raggedy store-bought hat that didn't even cover his ears.  I had resisted the urge to knit for him, fearing the boyfriend curse.  But after seeing him beside my cozy friends, I was so ashamed of my stinginess that I immediately cast on for a luxurious alpaca scarf that I finished 5 days later.
I gave it to him on Christmas that year.  I am proud to say he now has quite an extensive collection of knitted accessories.  Now I just have to make him a sweater!

Thursday, February 9, 2012