Saturday, July 14, 2007

I Have a New Home....

Don't be shy. Click here and you'll be directed to the correct place.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Week ? thru ? of 2007 in Review

Wow!!! It’s been a while hasn’t it? I don't have a clue what week it is but I do have a good reason for neglecting to post for so long. Not only was my school demanding my complete and undivided attention every spare moment I had, I also had to fulfill other priorities, which left little to no time for knitting. I will say, this did not prevent me from increasing my stash since, buying yarn and knitting related items via Internet takes a lot less time and effort than the actual knitting itself. Sacrificing knitting these past couple weeks has paid off though. I can brag I have successfully completed a MPA program with flying colors and my diploma will soon hang from a wall. Yay for me!

Now let me clarify that some knitting has taken place since I last posted. How else was I going to stay sane during the last few weeks of the hectic semester? Thank goodness Sarah’s Yarns had an awesome sell on Art Yarns Regal Silk because there is no better therapy than silky goodness flowing through your fingers while stressing to get an exit paper done. My four hanks of silk wanted to be nothing else but a Clapotis.

Although it's hard to tell, I’m almost done with the wrap and I know it would have been completed last Wends. while I sat through three full days of the most boring class I ever had the misfortune of experiencing. My god, I wanted to run out of there screaming like a mad woman but that’s the sacrifice I made in order to become a Registered Accessibility Specialist in Texas. The only positive note was that I took advantage of my stay in Austin to pay my first ever visit to the Hill Country Weavers. OMG!!! What a place!!! Room upon room of colorful fiber goodness. Their selection is impressive to say the least. I even had the pleasure of holding a teeny, tiny ball of qiviut in my hand. Soft doesn’t even begin to describe it. I quickly backed away from it for fear irrationality took hold of me and I had one of the salesladies ring it up. One day I’ll return and become the proud owner of this luxurious fiber.

Until then, happy knitting and stash building to all.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Salsa Recipe

Salsa Guisada (or Salsa Borracha)

Since I don’t have time to knit but have to cook no matter what, I am sharing my favorite salsa recipe. This recipe calls for fresh ingredients and tastes great over breakfast eggs, grilled steak or freshly cooked pinto beans and corn tortillas. You can use white, yellow or green onions, and the amount of jalapeño used will depend on your taste, especially since the heat of the pepper will differ from jalapeño to jalapeño. The Salsa Borracha version substitutes beer for water, hence to borracha or drunk label; and is equally as good.


1 to 2 tsp cooking oil
½ onion coarsely chopped
½ to 2 jalapeños thinly sliced crosswise
2 garlic cloves diced
1 large tomato coarsely chopped
salt to taste
water (or Tecate beer/similar beer for the Salsa Borracha)

Heat enough oil to cover to bottom of a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until soft. Stir in jalapeño slices and sauté 3 to 5 minutes to soften. Add diced garlic, sauté for 1 minute. Add tomato and salt, stir and pour enough water (or beer) to just cover ingredients. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to medium and continue to boil until tomato is cooked through and begins to thicken, about 10-15 minutes. Serve warm on the side or pour over your favorite entrée.

Serves 4

A Quick Report

School has been keeping me BUSY these couple of weeks. I've had little time to knit and even less time to post my knitting/stash building progress. I did manage to knit a pair of socks for socktopia's March theme, but will have nothing to submit for the month of April even though I have the perfect yarn for …Orange you glad I didn’t say bananna? Oh well, the summer should be a good time to put the yarn into good use.

Dance Dance Revolution

Socktopia's March theme brought to mind flashes of vibrant and electrifying colors. Regia's 6ply in Crazy Color seemed the perfect choice for these socks.

I'll confess I didn't pay attention to the first sock I had completed, so half way through the leg I realized I knitted the cuff in 1 rib instead of 2. Oh well, I was on a deadline and not about to frog the entire sock. With this yarn, the 1 rib worked a lot better anyway and will make a note of it for future reference. Please excuse the lousy image, but I had been wearing the socks before photographing them, hence their stretched out look.

Regia 6 ply was nice to work with. What really stood out in this yarn was its scent. No other yarn I have worked with has given off such a woolly and comforting aroma. I would buy this yarn in the future just for olfactory pleasure even though it did satisfy my sense of touch and sight as well. Did I read somewhere that yarn was being scented for aroma therapy purposes? Can you imagine knitting while the calming scent of lavender or mint surrounds you? Not only would the rhythmic motion of knitting soothe you, so would your favorite fragrance.

Wishing you happy knitting and stash building!!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Week 10 of 2007 in Review

On Knitting…

“Slow” is the word for the week, since it pretty much sums up the knitting action that took place. Apart from having BO these, which were put into good use as soon as they were done, nothing new has been started and only managed a few rounds of Dayflower. I predict this week will be no better since not only does my exit paper need some TLC, I must also work on a 10 page take-home exam due next week which the prof. assigned over Spring Break. So much for a Spring Break filled with excessive knitting. Nope, that will have to wait for some other time if I am to graduate in May as planned.

My Take….

Since there isn’t much else to report let me provide my impression of KnitPicks Bare fingering weigth:

1. The price can’t be beat and the chance to play/experiment with dying is such a perk. Really, you’ll feel bad if you mess up the colors but for less than $5 the feeling won’t last that long.

2. The softness factor is there. Bare felt good to touch and was a breeze to knit with. I experienced zero splitting, breaking or unexpected knots. I was a little disappointed upon closer inspection that the yarn does have a little halo effect. For some reason I was expecting a smoother yarn.

3. While the yarn felt nice and toasty on my feet, it did not feel as soft as I expected. Call me crazy, but the socks felt a little crunchy when I stepped on them. Could it be the bit on nylon in the material, the tight gauge or am I being oversensitive? I also noticed at the end of the day that the socks had stretched a tad and had a slight fuzzy factor. Being only the second pair of socks that I knit and wear, I really don’t know if this is normal. Enlighten me if you can.

4. The yarn is superwash and it did OK during my washing machine test. For testing purposes, the socks went into the regular cycle with warm water. The socks came out fuzzier but it’s nothing a sweater stone won’t fix. They retained their shape and gauge. In the future I’ll test a swatch in the gentle cycle to see how they do. Yes, I know hand knits should be either washed in the gentle cycle or by hand, but I wanted to push the limits; and yes I should’ve sacrificed a swatch instead of my socks, but curiosity got the better of me.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 dpn’s. I would not hesitate to buy this yarn again. Not only is the price reasonable, the fun dye able factor makes it a big plus.

On Stash Building…

Did I mention that I lost one of the Pony Pearl dpn’s I was using while knitting my second sock? I lost it in a blink of an eye somewhere in my sofa. I looked high and low for it, but nada. Luckily, I was still left with 4 so I was able to keep knitting but for some reason I prefer knitting with 5.

A few weeks ago I was able to score my first sets of Pony Pearl’s for 50% off at my LYS. Not only did I like the price, I liked the fact that they were 6” long, which made them perfect for knitting socks. After sacrificing the lost one to my hungry sofa, I thought it would be a good idea to head back to the LYS with the hope that I would still find these clearance needles in stock. As you can see from the image, they did.

I manage to find the last set of size 0’s in 5” after meticulously searching the box they were in for over 10 minutes. Who knows what the staff and customers thought of me as I dug and re-dug through that box, but I was determined to find what I was looking for. In the process, I figured I should get a back up set for the 2’s I already have since loosing one is always a possibility plus got the last set of 0’s in 8” because you never know when you’ll need those. One day I’ll knit a sweater in the round using chunky yarn. That justifies the purchase of the 13” size 19 dpn’s, in the mean time, they just add interest to the needle collection. Oh yes, that is a skein of Sirdar Snuggly plus some Interweave Press word play magnets which were clearance items as well. All this as the result of one little needle. Tell me, is this justifiable?

Until next time, happy knitting and stash building to all.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Shake, shake, skake....

Shake your booties, or anklets, or whatever you call them. Here lay my “Short and Sweet” “Bed of Roses” submission for February’s Socktopia theme. In this case I’ve managed to kill two birds with one stone. Whether two themes in one pair of socks is allowed or not doesn’t matter because I feel I’ve accomplished my own objectives.

About the booties:

Pattern: The inspiration came from Pom Squad and the “leg,” heel, and toe came from Embossed Leaves. Since I didn’t want to distract from the yarn’s coloring, I decided to knit in plain old stockinette for the foot.
Yarn: Approx. 200 yds of KnitPicks Bare hand dyed by yours truly with Kool-Aid in lime, lemon, berry blue and by accident: tropical punch. Feel free to read about this little mistake in my previous post.
Needles: US size 0


I found these socks a lot more enjoyable to knit than my first pair. Maybe it was the different yarn, or maybe the anticipation of seeing how my colors fell into place.

I really digged the little details of these socks. The heel and gusset are easy to do plus look nice and clean. Notice the way the gusset came out on these socks. The stitching has some definition to it.

Unfortunately I only managed that look on one side. The other side looks like this:

My goal is to find out a way to make both sides of this area to look the same and get a symmetrical looking sock.

I did cheat a little in the rejoining of the leg and heel since I hate weaving in loose ends. Instead of cutting the yarn at the point where the turn heel is completed in order to start the pickup of stitches at the flap, I continued using the method used in Knit Dorm Socks. This modification worked out well for me.

The forming and finishing of the toe is awesome. I’ll likely use this technique again since it gives a very clean result and there is zero grafting involved. Yay!!!

I’m off to plan the next pair of socks for this month.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Week 9 of 2007 in Review

On Knitting....

Knit, knit…frog. Knit, knit…frog. That’s been the theme for the past couple of weeks. Luckily it’s been more knitting than frogging and a little bit of dyeing as a bonus.

Let me start with my WIP. The Dayflower Shawl has progressed in baby steps since I first started. There have been a few little bumps along the road but nothing to justify frogging more than a few stitches back. I’ve been lucky to catch my errors sooner than later and the ease of the pattern really helps with that. At this point I am 2/3’s done with the second repeat and am truly enjoying the pattern.

Here are some things I’ve learned along the way:

My stitching became very loose at one point after moving on to circulars. I just couldn't control the silk’s tension since it is so slippery. As it is, I am a very loose knitter and have to go down at least two needle sizes to get the correct gauge. I hadn’t tried wrapping the yarn twice around my finger because past experience proved useless, not only did the yarn not move, I’d end up with a blue finger. In an act of desperation I tried the double wrap with the silk. OMG, it actually worked!! The silk’s slipperiness helped it flow even with the tighter tension caused by the two wraps around my finger. After knitting a couple of rounds this way, the pattern is looking so much better and I am more excited and motivated than ever to keep on knitting this baby.

Stitch markers are really needed for this pattern and believe me, I gave in and place one after every repeat. Now I can tell where I’m at and what I should be knitting; plus, if I make a mistake, I can easily locate the error and fix it. Stitch markers quickly become a necessity when you knit in the round and have a lot of repeats present.

Socktopia’s February theme is almost due and I got into gear only two weeks ago. I dyed 2 hanks KnitPicks Bare. Once hank I wanted pink and purplish in honor of Valentine’s Day and the other one I planned for shades of green and some blue for March’s “It Ain’t Easy Being Green” theme. Well I got the results I planned for pink/purple hank. The green/blue was turning out nice until I got a pack of Kool-Aid I thought was blue. I froze when I dumped some of the contents into the pot where my green/blue masterpiece was soaking. OMG!!! The water was turning red. OMG, the yarn was soaking that red like it was starving for color. OMG, my green socks weren’t meant to be. Oh well, “Life is like a box of chocolates…”

Waiting patiently for the yarn to dry and be run through the winder.

Closeup of my little cakes ready to be knit into some toasty socks. Notice how sparse the green became after that little hank decided it loved red Kool-Aid.

While my yarn dried and waited to be wound, I selected IK’s Winter ‘05 Embossed Leaves Socks for my “Short and Sweet” Socktopia submission. I modified the pattern to make ankle socks. Unfortunately, once again, my loooooose knitting was an obstacle. I was able to finally get the correct tension halfway through the sock but at that point I did not feel like frogging and starting the same pattern over again. Instead I opted for something different even though I loved knitting the pattern.

I got my to be green/blue yarn and decided to knit some booties instead using the basics in the Embossed Leaves. I was sticking to the “short and sweet” theme. As I knitted up the bootie, I liked the mistake yarn more and more. I couldn’t wait to see what the next color effect would be produced and the little hint of green was a lovely touch IMO. A “Bed of Roses” comes to mind when I see the yarn knitted up. I’m ready to start the gusset and hope to be finish with the second bootie by the end of this week.

On Stash Building….

I couldn’t resist offer of 100% Bamboo at the price they had so I broke down and ordered the lilac. All I have to say is that the color is exquisite. I hope everyone took advantage of this offer and has some of this pretty yarn in their stash.

Until next time. Happy Knitting and Stash Building to all!!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Week 6 of 2007 in Review

On Knitting…..

Due to pain in my wrist and arm I had to take a knitting break on week 5, hence the lack of posting. I would rather postpone knitting for a few days than aggravate the problem and have to give up the needles and yarn all together. But by Tuesday of this week I felt well enough to start what I call my fuggly week. I decided to kill two birds with one stone, (maybe three) by using yarn that has been sitting in my stash and knit gift or charity items as per my Challenges for 2007.

I got two scarves done with patterns of my semi-own design.

The multi-colored scarf was knit from a novelty yarn called Crinkle which I bought at Big Lots for a dollar. The scarf took a skein and a half of yarn knit on size 6(US) needles using a garter and slip-stitch pattern. The yarn wasn’t too bad to work with and I find the colors rather cutesy. The scarf is destined to a little girl who can use it to play dress up.

The reddish scarf is knit with one skein of CTH Filaro using size 6(US) needles. I achieved the lacy design I wanted by testing several patterns and finally settling with one I liked. I was happy since the pattern not only gave me a look I wanted, it also produced an unexpected waffle texture making the scarf a little more interesting. The yarn made its way to my stash over a year ago in grab bags I ordered during CTH’s year end sale.

While I love the colors, I found Filaro a tad tedious to work with. Maybe I should use the recommended larger needles sizes to make knitting with it easier because as the picture below shows, I still have three skeins of the stuff left.

I think I will stick to the waffle pattern for the remaining Filaro and would like to test it on thinner mohair such as Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze.

Pattern (if anyone is familiar with this pattern, please let me know its name and who to credit.):
CO an odd number of stitches
Row 1: Knit all.
Row 2: k1, *yo, k2tog,* repeat * to end.
Row 3: Purl all
Repeat rows 1-3 until desired length is reach and BO loosely. Blocking not required.

On Stash Building:

Boy did I get lucky and order yarn from Colour Mart before their prices went up. True to their word, the low prices were temporary which means I saved anywhere from $4-$10 per cone. My stash has 4 more cones of lace weight silk. Too bad the mauve color never got listed.

I think that’s it with the stash building, at least for a while anyway. I’ve got plenty of yarn to keep me occupied for a good length of time.

Happy knitting and stash building to all!!