Wednesday, March 19, 2014

knitting funk

I have officially finished the dahlia cardigan and I even wore it. I think it is going to be a great spring and fall sweater (maybe even for cool summer evenings). And now I'm, well, stuck.

I don't have any thing in the works. I don't have any ideas. I don't have anything just begging to get made.

I have yarn! I mean I got some great sock yarn both for my birthday and for Christmas (quince and Co and Modeknits yarn). I have a gift card to my local LYS that I got for Christmas. But I am feeling a little burned out on socks. Perhaps it is because I have 2 weeks worth of socks already. I just finished a sweater, and so despite having three ideas for sweaters, I'm feeling a little sweatered out. I especially don't feel like taking on the cardigan that would make another great light sweater--the dollar and half cardigan. I'm hoping that my need for a hat or a scarf, or mittens is nearly over.

I asked my daughters if they wanted anything and of course they have a list. Yes, they'd love socks! They both also expressed a desire for a beret (one pink, one purple) and when I asked if they would wear a beret, One daughter replied--"Not to school! It would be my weekend beret!" The same daughter wanted a sweater, but not any old keep me warm sweater--no she wants a pretty sweater, like the one I just made for me. So, now I realize that love for ones children does not extend to picking up and knitting a second dahlia cardigan.

Socks though are a very real possibility. They are still growing enough that they have outgrown the last pair I made them. I worry a little that I'll get socks done just in time for summer and then they will outgrow those before fall. And of course, I'm not in a hurry to use up my fun sock yarn on still-growing feet. So I asked what colors, thinking I'd buy some more inexpensive sock yarn, and got one that wants lacy socks in a greenish yellow. The other wants purple. I think though, I’ll wait until summer for the socks--maybe aim for the first day of school or something—so they fit throughout the winter. I know if I start now, we’ll hit barefoot time within a month of completion.

No, really the only thing that is in any way striking my fancy is something felted. I don’t know exactly what though. A bag maybe? I have two small felted bags and that seems like plenty. I have felted slippers that I rarely wear, preferring my hard soled slippers. I keep thinking messenger bag. Maybe I’ll go with that.

As you can see, I am really really torn about what will be next on the needles. Maybe I need to knit some baby hats while inspiration strikes? Or penguin sweaters?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

dahlia picture post

Cue fanfare trumpets

Cue drumroll

The dahlia cardigan is DONE.

Well unless by done you mean ends weaved in and blocked. Because I totally still need to finish that. Still, I think it was a good plan to add more onto the sides. Now I'll block it and decide if I am satisfied with the sleeves, which feel a bit short to me. But I leave you with pictures. Please notice that I have totally morphed into someone cool and hip.

backdahliadahliabackdahlia

I started this back in June, and took some massive breaks from it. US size 5 needles, Pattern is here. I used Sirdar Country style DK. I lost count of skeins. I still have most of one left. I may do more pictures after I block it.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Just a quick update

I picked up the Dahlia cardigan again. I ripped back the ribbing on the sides, and am knitting out 4 more inches or so. I'm hoping between that, blocking, and spring weather (promised to me by a wooly bear caterpillar --little lying bugs who also said this was going to be an easy winter) I'll have a nice sweater for those cool summer nights.

Recently, we had a special election to renew school funding and I signed up to be a poll watcher. What this meant was that I sat in my polling place for a few hours, checking to see if a group of people who committed to voting in favor, actually voted. It was promised to be dull work, and I was told to bring a book or something. I was also told, I couldn't talk with voters, especially before they voted, as my job was not to campaign. I brought my cardigan and sat in a corner. I swear at least 5 voters came up to me and wanted to know what I was working on and basically talk knitting. It was weird, how I suddenly went from being quiet and stay out of the way, into a distraction for one woman in particular who zeroed in on me BEFORE she voted. (Most people voted and then talked to me) It must have been ok though because I wasn't asked to leave and they kept letting me see the names.

Lesson learned: you want to start a revolution, bring your knitting. DSCN2396

Monday, February 03, 2014

Socks!!

I finished my socks. The ones on Ravelry I called my "Socks to take my mind off stuff" the "Stuff" being my Dahlia cardigan. I think I might have an idea about what to do next on that, so maybe this spring, I really will have a new sweater.

DSCN2325

The yarn has flecks of silver, which didn't show up great from a distance, but sure made them fun to work on.

DSCN2329

Details (needles, yarn etc.) have already been given. It is my favorite toe up pattern, by Ann Budd which was in Interweave Knits, Summer 2007.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

screaming green socks--again


I can't remember if I mentioned that I had a few socks to repair or not the last time I wrote.  I did.  I had 3 pairs.  One pair needed darning to shore up a thin heel.  One pair had a hole that needed a patch and one pair.... well I should have probably pitched them.
This pair of socks, I had patched before and they are not even that old.

The socks in question are my screaming green socks, which as you can see from the ravelry project page I linked too were completed in July of 2011.

I featured them in an entry on darning.  I wrote about them multiple times (including here when I thought they might be too big.  They have felted slightly). And again, they had both a hole and a place that needed some darning.  I fixed them, but this is it.  This is the LAST time I am fixing this particular pair of socks.  They get another hole, and I'm .... doing something else with them.

The problem is, that I have a lot of the yarn leftover. I usually do have sock yarn leftover after making socks.  Usually not enough for a full pair.  And I've toyed with making multi-yarn socks, or fraternal twin socks, or something from all my leftovers.  But I don't know what.  I do know this, even though I have 49 grams of this left, it will never be a sock, as I cannot imagine that I'll ever be happy with a sock made out of this--even if I had enough for a full pair.  I still love the color, and I'd like to have something that bright and lively.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

sock it to me.

I almost forgot about rainbow loom. My girls both got rainbow looms for Christmas, and we had a fun fun time over their break watching youtube videos, and making things. Our favorite tutorials have come from Made by Mommy if for no other reason than we can pause it after a direction is given and say "yes, Mommy!" Cracks us all up. I only have one picture of a charm we made, but hopefully the girls will give me more of the gazillion pictures they took.

panda charm

And yes, I did need my own loom. But it was good one on one time for each girl to do a video tutorial with me. And I gave the other girl whatever I made, so win win. Unless someone wants to buy me one of my own (along with 1 billion rubber bands).

I mentioned that I started a sock on the driving portions of our vacation. I finished one:
vacation sock
I love love love the colorway. Although you can not see the silver. I don't care. They match my favorite ugly green sweater and so I am looking forward to finishing the second sock. I probably should have made the cuff a tiny bit wider and longer. Oh well maybe the second sock!

The yarn is Kraemer yarns, silk and silver. Estate Green is the colorway name. I'm using my US 1 needles. I called them on ravelry, "Socks to take my mind off things" which is pretty much what they are doing. I need to make another big sock repair push though. One of my pairs recently blew a big hole and I fixed it right away and then felt so virtuous about it, I vowed to fix the other two socks that need repairs.

Monday, January 13, 2014

the great caramel post

One of the terrible things about my dropping off the blog map for the month of December (while everyone around me did Holidailies and wrote DAILY) is that I'm not really sure where to start back up. It would be great if I had a finished item to show, but I do not.

I wanted to finish the dahlia cardigan in time for Christmas. And I did, sort of. I am not crazy about the fit, and I have some adjustments to make, but I am also majorly frustrated, so I put it aside and picked up a sock to make it through my post-holiday travels. I have one sock done and the other started, so I'll report on that next time. Let my initial report say, this yarn has silver in it and it is exactly what I have needed to get through the dark days of winter. SPARKLY!

Mostly I wanted to deconstruct, mostly so I'll remember it, my sea salt caramel adventures.

This is the second Christmas I have made a batch of caramels from this recipe I clipped out of the Oprah Magazine. And yes you can mock me if you want. The recipe is here and they are really good. But I have learned some things about this recipe and so I'm putting them all out here so I'll remember them, and maybe you won't make my same mistakes.

Ok, I have made three batches of this stuff and they all had two things in common. First, they take a way bigger pan than you think. My best result came with my second biggest pan. Although I tried it in my biggest pan and that wasn't too shabby either. The reason? I guess all caramels do this, but that cream and sugar just acts like a huge volcano. Second, they all burned to some degree. I think I have a solution for that, which I will get to later.
DSCN2115

First the differences:

Batch one did not set right. In fact batch one was more like a caramel spread than wrap up pop in your mouth caramels. And in making batches two and three, as well as reading on the internet, I have discovered why.
salted carmel shortbreads Batch one on cookies covered in chocolate--if like gives you gooey caramel, make these puppies (you can sort of see the burnt bits in this)
Have you clicked over to Oprah and seen the recipe yet? Well, if you had, you might have noticed that one of the ingredients it calls for is "one can of evaporated milk." But it turns out that Meijer at least sells 2 different sized cans! (and yes, I saw the comments section on this issue--and they are just WRONG). So this year in preparing to make batch two, I went to Meijer and bought the supplies, which mean that because I do not usually do the shopping, and I easily get overwhelmed at the store when people are pushing me (yes really--today I kicked an old lady's cart because she rammed into me in the checkout line) I bought what I thought was the only size can they made--a 7 oz size. ANd Lo and behold, batch #2 set.

Now, batch number two also was a little bit of a learning thing for me, because when the hot lava of sugar and cream threatened to boil over in my second biggest pan, I TURNED THE HEAT DOWN. Oh yes, this was an epiphany for me. It still had burned bits on the bottom, but not as many as batch one AND ironically as many as batch three. In fact, I was able to isolate the burned bits to one side of my pan and so eatprevent gift recipients from receiving burnt bits in their caramel. And also amazingly, the caramel set to a great texture.

Then we ran low on salted caramel for some reason, and I was implored by my husband to make another batch. And so HE bought the evaporated milk and he came home with the standard 14oz can. Now, I know the Oprah comments say the 14oz is what they meant, and one commenter says she raised the temp and used 12oz, but honestly I really think 7oz probably works better. I did some internet searching on this and found out that it isn't always the temp that effects the texture, but the milk products, which I guess makes sense. So for batch 3 I used 7 oz of evaporated milk. I got the consistency I wanted, but sadly, batch 3 also burned a bit more.

I think though, that the problem with the burning is something I can control. You see every other carmel recipe I've found has two steps, 1) you get your sugar syrup up to close to temp, and 2) you add your warmed but not boiling milk products and get it up to temp. So batch 4, which is coming as soon as I can justify eating so much caramel, perhaps after the dental work I need is complete. And I'll be trying a two step method. Hopefully, I'll remember to report back.