Monday, November 30, 2009

Low Light

Project 365: Day 241

We have had our camera for nearly two years now and I have always felt that it performs pretty decently with the exception of photos in low light situations. If there isn't a very generous amount of light, it takes dark and blurry pictures. Well, tonight while messing around with the camera settings, I discovered an entire menu I had never seen before. This menu has a long exposure option, which is going to rock my world. Hooray! This is an especially good discovery considering that we are now entering the time of the year where it is easily possible to go an entire day without seeing daylight.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Minnehaha Falls

Project 365: Day 240

This afternoon, while Paul and Tchazo were at the dog park, Jack and I took a long walk from our house to Minnehaha Falls Park. It felt so great to get out in the brisk weather and get some exercise. The walk made me realize how old Jack is getting. He has always gotten a little limpy if we push him too far. His limping used to show up when we took him on major hikes in the mountains, where he would climb up and over big boulders and be in constant competition with Tchazo to smell everything first. Now, apparently it happens to him if he takes a fast-paced, 45 minute walk on flat ground. I headed off to book club after the walk, but Paul reported that both dogs slept for the rest of the afternoon.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Long Weekend of Productivity

Project 365: Day 239

This long weekend has allowed time for Paul and I to take care of a bunch of things on our to-do list. Today Paul organized the storage area of our basement, while I took care of some Christmas shopping and errand running, we discussed paint colors in our house and went to the paint shop to find paint swatches (with a cloth napkin and a leaf from our plant in tow), I have been working on making my 5 Things for 5 People and a slew of Christmas gifts, I'm making more decoupage switch/outlet covers and probably a whole bunch of others things I have already forgotten since this morning. Phew! It feels really good to be able to check all of these things off of the list.

Chunky Earflap Hat

Thanksgiving has come and gone, so it is now time to kick the Christmas gift making/buying/planning into high gear. Since my dad is not an internetting fellow, I can post about what I made him for Christmas and he won't see it. Paul is modeling the Chunky Earflap Hat in Malabrigo Chunky. The pattern was a freebie from Depth of Field Yarn.

In past years, I have knit my dad a few cotton hats and an alpaca helmet hat. The cotton hats are for when it is just a bit chilly and the alpaca hat is for when it is really, really cold. I felt that he would like to have a hat that would work for weather that is between a bit chilly and really, really cold. Hopefully this Merino earflap hat does the trick.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas Tree

Project 365: Day 238

Paul McScrooge was kind enough to accompany me to Mother Earth Gardens today to buy my very first Christmas tree as an adult. Because we have a fairly small house, I went with a tall and narrow Balsam Fir tree. We have it all set up in the house waiting for my mom and sister to come over for a tree trimming party. I am glad that I was able to buy my tree from a local, independent business that sells locally grown trees from a company that plants 3 trees for every 1 that is sold. It is a win-win for everyone. Plus, our house smells so good!

Cottony Neckerchief

This little neckerchief was inspired by the Silk Kerchief pattern. My version uses Knit Pick Shine in Harbor and Plymouth Yarn Sundae Swirl. I made it by starting with a few stitches and increasing at 4 points every other row, while also alternating colors and texture. It was more simple than I am making it sound. What resulted was a medium-weight, small-sized scarf that I can wear without getting an itchy neck. Man, knitting would be so much easier if I could wear animal fibers against my skin, than I could just use the yarn the pattern calls for and follow the pattern.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Project 365: Day 237

The Thanksgiving Shoe Pile.

Lacy Baktus

Yesterday I posted about a project that came to existence based on a whim and started. That project originated with the yarn and the pattern followed. Today's project had the exact opposite beginning. When I went to Rhinebeck, I was on the lookout for yarn to knit myself a Lacy Baktus. I knew that it was going to have to be a buttery soft yarn and I wanted it to be a semi-solid color. I knew that I wanted it to be worsted weight or smaller. I was on the lookout for this yarn the whole time I was at Rhinebeck. I eventually found Oasis Yarns Seduction in Ruby, which is a 100% silk yarn. Buttery soft, it is.

The Lacy Baktus pattern is a very elongated triangle that is created by working spaced increases on one side of the project until the center and then working decreases to mimic the increase side. The garter ridges are separated by rows of yarn overs and knit two together lacework.

This project has become a favorite of all of the knitters that I work with. The pattern can be adjusted for a variety of gauges and yarn weights. Many of them have been knitting this pattern with sock yarn. The have achieved the most beautiful results by alternating two different colored skeins of sock yarn to reduce any potential color pooling.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Prep

Project 365: Day 236

I'm currently roasting these veggies for a creation I'm calling Balsamic Barley Salad as my contribution to tomorrow's potluck Thanksgiving.

Knitting Craving

It is very rare that I knit something solely for the purpose of knitting it. I usually knit projects with clear intentions of keeping it for me or of giving it to a particular person. Recently, I was looking through my yarn cabinet and was overcome with the urge to knit a lengthwise scarf where I changed the yarn on every row and left the tails as fringe. So, I did. This made for great TV knitting, the color combination pleased me and I sated my urge to knit a garter stitch project. Now, I just have to wait until the right person/gift giving occasion comes along for this scarf.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Knit Night

Project 365: Day 235

Christmas is coming up really quickly and I have a lot of things on my "to-make" list. So, to Tuesday Knit Night I go (went).

February Lady Sweater

After my dissatisfying experience with Clifford, I really needed to make a successful sweater to restore my knitting mojo. Luckily, the next sweater on my needles was the February Lady Sweater. It turned out how I wanted it to and has already received a lot of wear.

I used Araucania Nature Wool Solids yarn and the buttons I bought from Etsy.

Thanks to Sally for taking these photos during our weekly lunch date. It was a nice sunny day outside so I took some pictures of her for her blog and she took some pictures of me for mine.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Waiting for the Train to Come

Project 365: Day 234

Monday night is gym night, which means I get home late. I have wizened up and now wait at well lit train stops. The first week I made the late evening trek home, I made the mistake of taking a bus to a sketchy train stop and had to tell toothless, middle-aged, male, drug addicts that I did not wish to converse with them while I waited for the train. Apparently reading my book didn't translate to leave me alone as well as I had wanted it to. This other route is way better.

Wooden DPN Case

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I bought a wooden DPN case when I was at Rhinebeck and it is not a Knitzi. Although the Knitzi is quite beautiful, I am very happy with my new case. This one is handmade by John Douglass of Indiana, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, he has absolutely zero internet presence, so I can't link you to anything. But, because I bought the wrong size and had to make an exchange, I do have their contact information. I contacted Autumn House Fiber Works, the vendor that was selling them at the festival, and they put me in touch with John's wife Delores. Delores and John were kind enough to ship me a new one at no charge. They told me that I could share their phone number with people who may be interested in buying a case. So, if you would like to buy one and don't want to wait until Rhinebeck 2010, feel free to email me. Being that a Knitzi is $40 and I only paid $25 for my case, which I think is equally as functional and beautiful, I am glad that I went with the one I got.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

November Crafternoon

Project 365: Day 233

November was a great month for the Crafternoon. We had a big and lively group including, clockwise from the left: Sally, Casey, Kathy, Jamie, Meg, Missy, and Cyrus. Jill was also there but didn't arrive until after the photo. We had a lot of knitting, some cross stitching and some jewelry making. Thanks to all the Crafternooners for making it such a fun event this month!


Project 365: Day 232

On Saturday afternoon, I babysat for Sylvia while Jamie and Adam went to look at some houses. It was a pretty sweet gig, because I got to watch TV, knit and cuddle with Lucy (the pug) during Sylvia's 2 hour nap, then Sylvia woke up and we got about an hour of playtime. Sylvia is a very happy little girl who wasn't at all weirded out when she woke up from her nap and I was there. She just rolled with it and we had a good time playing with her stackable alphabet blocks and reading books about pigs and shapes.

Later that evening, I enjoyed a birthday celebration with Jessy and her friends. We attempted to go see a show, but apparently that wasn't in the cards. Instead we had a night of hanging out at her apartment being goofy. I dropped the young folks off at a club on my way home around midnight. It is a very rare night where I can hack staying up and partying into the wee hours of the night and Saturday wasn't one of those nights for me.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Say Hello to My Push Points

Project 365: Day 231

This is what happens when you PUSH PUSH PUSH trying to get the hoop to rise up enough to hoop on your chest.

Paul's Wristwarmers

One of the few knitted items that Paul really likes and uses are wristwarmers. He has worn out the other two pairs I have knit him in past years, so it was a time I knit him a new pair. This year's version is made out of Cloverleaf Farms Merino/Mohair blend yarn. I bought this skein of yarn at Rhinebeck in 2007.

The pattern is Dashing from Knitty.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pratt is Where It's At

Project 365: Day 230

Hoop dancing, that is.

Clifford (Oblique) Sweater

I have finished a lot of projects lately that I have not yet posted about. So, over the next week or so, I'll put them all up here. First up is the sweater I wrote about in September. It has finally been allowed out of the corner and even has buttons!

In order to allow it out of the corner, I had to accept the fact that it doesn't fit how I wanted it to. The whole sweater grew when I blocked it. It got longer overall and a bit wider. The arms are the biggest problem, since they are way too long. I have remedied it by folding them over a few times.

Now that the weather is colder, I have actually been wearing it as an extra layer at home. It is a warm and cozy sweater, but the fit is not very flattering. I imagine it will continue to be used as a cozy, house sweater, but will not likely get much wear outside of that category. Oh well. At least I am getting some use out of it, rather than leaving it balled up in the corner on a permanent time out.

On a positive note, I like the yarn (Cascade Eco Wool). It was nice to knit with, has good stitch definition and is very well priced. I just need to remember the next time I use it that it grows a lot when used in openwork patterns.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pineapple on Pizza

Project 365: Day 229

Some people (Paul) feel very strongly about pizza toppings. Some of these people (Paul) feel that pineapple should not be a pizza topping. Some other people (me) grew up eating pizza that occasionally had pineapple atop it. Those people (me) may occasionally like pineapple on their pizza as an adult. Sometimes those people (me) have to wait until their husband (Paul) goes to a Timberwolves game to order a pizza with pineapple on it. The upside is that the people (me) who like pineapple on their pizza do not have to share their leftovers with those people (Paul) who do not like pineapple pizza.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Striking it Rich

Project 365: Day 228

Jessy's birthday is this Friday, but tonight was the night we got together to have a birthday dinner for her. I gave her some scratch-offs with her birthday present and she won $15!

We made a little bit of a scene at the Old Spaghetti Factory, what with our singing, joking and inappropriate dinner conversation. Our very sincere and kind waiter was not quite sure what to do with us. Luckily we had a whole corner of the restaurant to ourselves.

Happy Birthday, Jessy! Let's celebrate it again on Saturday, ok?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Scholar's Walk Installation

Project 365: Day 227

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Blackberry Breakfast Muffins

Project 365: Day 226

Since we have now past the time of the year where local, fresh fruit is abundant, I have started to dip into my frozen fruit supply. The strawberries, raspberries and blackberries that I picked during the summer have been coming in handy this week for a series of tasty smoothies.

Today, I was craving a very specific flavor combination: almond, blackberries and crystallized ginger. I baked these hearty muffins that totally hit the spot. In case you would like to make some of your own, here is what I did:

Blackberry Breakfast Muffins
(yields 24 muffins)


2-2/3 cups of all-purpose flour
2 cups of rolled oats
1 cup of packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/3 cup of sliced almonds
3 tablespoons of crystallized ginger, minced
2 cups of milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 cups frozen blackberries

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Oil/grease muffin tin
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, almonds and ginger.
  4. Add the milk, eggs and oil. Stir until well blended.
  5. Add blackberries and stir until evenly distributed.
  6. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
  7. Bake for approximately 19 minutes. Muffins are done when they are light brown on top and spring back when touched.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Almost 5 Things

Project 365: Day 225

This is the starting point for my 5 Things.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I Love My Wife

Project 365: Day 224

Paul and I saw this license plate on the car in front of us while we were driving home from dinner tonight. He suggested that I jump out of our car at a red light, run up to a strangers car in the rain and take a picture of their license plate. So, of course I did it. My first shot used a flash and totally obscured the license plate, so I quickly turned the flash off and took another shot. I ran back and got in the car just as it was time to get moving again. I'm not sure if the person who loves their wife in the SUV in front of us saw me or not. I have learned that to get the shot that I want, I sometimes have to make a bit of a scene. It is totally worth it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hey Sugar

Project 365: Day 223

to work, to cupcake cafe, to hoop dancing class, and now to bed

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Just Two People

Project 365: Day 222

There are only two people that live in this house. Why is our refrigerator so full?!
Also, today is 11-11 and this is Day 222. Weird.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Night on East Lake

Project 365: Day 221

I pulled over and took this photo on my way home from knit night at Borealis. I love the old signage that remains on many of the storefronts on Lake Street. This bright sign on the dark night caught my eye.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Whack Rec Building

Project 365: Day 220

I have started to take classes at the Rec Center. What I have noticed while going in and out of the building is how ridiculous the building design is. Is it a parking garage? A disco? A theater? It has typical qualities (industrial grates, plastic strips with multi-colored lights, regal columns) of each of those types of buildings which are all mashed together with what seems to be the typical brick facade of all of the nearby buildings. Yuck-o.

The classes are fun, though. I am taking Zumba and Bosu Ball classes. I have found that exercise has to be fun for me or else I will find many excuses to avoid it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Not a Knitzi

Project 365: Day 219

Better photos of my newly arrived wood DPN case will be posted soon, but for now, I have put it to use.

Fall Flavors

Project 365: Day 218
November 7, 2009

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Minneapolis. As I was running errands, I noticed that the nice weather prompted tons of people to take care of necessary fall yardwork. Paul was among those people as he spent the day raking leaves and cleaning out the gutters. While he was doing that, I was inside with the windows open, preparing a meal while enjoying the fresh air. Last night we had our new friends Meg and Cyrus over for dinner. The menu included a lot of fall foods: pumpkin hummus (I subbed the sweet spices for cumin and cayenne and added fresh parsley), sweet potato spread, baked squash, brussels sprouts and apple crisp. After dinner, we headed outside to sit around the fire.
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