Because the yarn was bulky, this set worked up quickly. I did the mittens on US 9 needles and the 2x2 ribbed hat on US 8. Simple patterns made extra-special with handspun yarn.
As always, if you click any of the pictures on my blog, you go to my Flickr account. But I usually only upload pictures to Flickr just to post them here.
Knit a pair of bulky mittens:
It's handspun that I made back in 2008 and the colorway is Desert Brush. The picture above is a bit dark; I'll take a better picture after I weave in all the ends and finish a matching ribbed hat.
I did the Basic Mitten pattern from Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns. The only change I made was to shape/decrease the top of the mitten the same way that I would do toes of a sock and then grafted shut the top. As written in the book, you evenly space decreases around the mitten top, kind of like decreasing in a swirl. I've done this before with bulky yarn and you can feel nubbins on the inside of the mitten where the k2togs happen. I found it to be annoying. Probably wouldn't be as noticeable if you were using thinner yarn but little bumps under the pads of my finger tips detracted from the design for me. It was one of those "looks nice but feels kind of weird" situations which leads to you not wearing the mittens.
Had a great weekend. Went to see Man of Steel and thought that it's AWESOME. Really, really, really good Superman story. Saturday I made a fast run down to H-mart for Korean food (needed staples like rice, soy sauce, oils and kimchi). Sunday was spent sleeping. Like, way too much sleeping. Sleeping in, then napping, then a quick little sleep with the cats, then laying down on the couch and resting my eyes for a bit, etc. I'm not sorry.
Wanted to make a pretty bouquet for the kitchen yesterday and we have shasta daisies everywhere around the house.
I set the vase on the counter and... sniff ... sniff sniff... What's that smell? I pushed my face into the daisies and inhaled.
Wet dog. The flowers smell like a wet dog's fur. I was surprised. I had Dollar smell them and he agreed. Ugh. I brought the vase outside and the flowers are decorating the front porch. How did I ever not know that these flowers smell bad? Maybe when you're only dealing with one at a time while playing "He loves me, he loves me not..." you don't notice but with so many grouped together... Woof woof. Wet dog.
Some animals around the house. A deer in the driveway:
A wee little snake on crushed stone:
I bought a hummingbird feeder and hung it off the deck. I filled it with nectar and as I was hanging it, I thought, "I hope hummingbirds come, I'd like to-AGH!" That AGH was me being dive-bombed by a hummingbird before I even finished hanging the thing up. Here the feeder is nearly empty:
I've seen three hummingbirds at the same time. One is a bully, who sits there all day, gorging himself and chasing off anyone who tries to get a sip. A female, who gets chased off all the time. And a fairly smart male who will sit on the deck railing below the feeder and wait for the bully to chase off the female. Then he'll come up to the feeder and drink (and chuckle to himself about how smart he is).
There's also a critter inside the house who demands warm, clean laundry:
Caught up on my mystery stitchalong this past weekend:
Just have the creepy-ass eyes and mouth left. And words. Don't know what the text will be yet but I'm hoping it's all of Ezekiel 25:17.
Pattern is by Steotch.
Finally captured a catbeard picture with Murderface:
He's the most amicable to catbearding. If I tried this with Santana, I would have new facial scars and Penny's too hyper/ADD to sit still long enough.
I like how his nose looks like my nose.
Need to get my knitting mojo back. I'm not sure where I left it but I only have one project going at the moment: an afghan block that I'm feeling "meh" about. Simple hats knit with handspun yarn always make me feel better and productive.
Most of my craft time has been taken up by a mystery cross-stitch-along. Need to take a picture- it mostly just looks like brown blobs at the moment but it should be pretty awesome when it's done.
Deer in the back yard:
During my vacation, I started to put together a fire pit in the back yard and for some reason, the deer were drawn to it.
One foggy morning:
I usually just shake my fist at them from inside the house, saying, "Get out of here, you damn dirty deer!" All they do is poop on the lawns (all. over. the lawns.) and spread ticks. I'm not a fan.
Had a small Game of Thrones viewing party for the finale and had fun coming up with the menu.
First, a wheel of brie baked en croute. The brie was topped with cranberry jam and toasted walnuts. All wrapped in puff pastry and baked at 400 F for 20 min. Looks a mess but LOVED this. Runny brie is a wonderful thing.
Then, we had lots of homemade mojitos and cherry caipirissimas.
I made individual pork pies and a side of beans for dinner. No picture of the pies but the beans and bacon and onions were amazing!
Finally, a maple cheesecake with maple butterscotch topping:
This was the best dessert I've ever, ever made. I used this easy cheesecake recipe from KAF and used two packages of neufchatel cheese (for 1/3 less fat) rather than cream cheese. In place of vanilla extract, I used vanilla bean paste. In place of sugar, I used pure maple sugar. And I added 1/2 cup of Grade B maple syrup to the batter.
For the maple butterscotch topping, I followed this recipe. I realize that it was probably pointless using neufchatel cheese when I used an entire stick of butter for the topping but... you gotta pick your battles, I guess. The sauce ends up being quite runny but after a day in a jar in the fridge, the butterscotch separates a bit and I used the thicker stuff that rose to the top to put on the cheesecake. It was a good consistency.
Anyway, from brie in pastry to pork in pie shells to bacon-y beans to cheesecake to most of an entire bottle of white rum for the libations... I'm having quite the food and beverage hangover. But it was totally worth it. Now if I can only remember what happened in the Game of Thrones episode...
When the weather is right, I spend hours outside gardening. It's good exercise, I enjoy planting stuff and transforming ugly sections of lawn into landscaped areas. I received some hens and chicks from a friend and cut away some turf along a rock wall to create a little succulent rock garden:
The picture is a little weird- Instagram artsy filter set to something. I don't know. I had to use my iPhone to take the picture because my beloved (but old) Canon died. RIP PowerShot G7 from 2006.
Anyway, the hens and chicks are soooooo cute. I mixed some sand into the soil before planting for better drainage. And I collected various rocks around and dropped them randomly on the dirt.
Want to give me sempervivums? Or any (ANY) perennials? I'll trade you- handspun yarn? Know where I can get plants cheap? I feel like a drug addict- jonesing for plants, but come on, man. I know you know where I can get some... a little boxwood... ornamental grass... coleus... I'm dyin' here!
I've been draping a sheer batik tapestry over two stools and a chair to make an indoor tent for the cats to play under. They love it but occasionally pull it down. I caught Murderface under it:
He wasn't stuck or distressed. He was just... well, I took a video:
And a shorter one where I did manage to lift up the edge of the fabric. He didn't want to come out:
Penny didn't know what to think.
Knit up some quick, cotton houses for a dishcloth swap.
Yarn: Elann Sonata, various colors
Needles: US 6
Good pattern! Fast and easy; each cloth only took 1 - 2 hours to make. The design is fully charted, so it's easy to take a quick look and see when to make the windows, when to start the door, etc.
Just need to wash, block and mail these out. They're not due until late July, so I have some time. Can't wait to see what I get back!
Finished up the new biscornu pincushion over vacation. Here are the two sides:
Man, the hardest part was sewing in all the ends. I don't sew-as-you-go, so it was hours and hours of sewing in stupid little ends. Once that was done, I sewed the two pieces together during a movie.
I found small, square red buttons a Joann's that worked well with this design/color.
I worked this project on 14 count Aida cloth and it's quite large for a pincushion, ~ 4 in x 4 in. I would recommend stitching it on 16 or even 18 count.
It took a few months, but I finished the sparkly cowl:
Pattern: Milanese Loop (rav link)
Yarn: Universal Yarn Star Light (now discontinued)
Needles: US 6
Mods: I cast on many more stitches than the written pattern because I was using a fingering-weight yarn. After doing the garter stitch edge and the first round of the pattern, I realized that I added an extra stitch to each little shell stitch. I kept going and made it work for the entire project, but that's why my pattern doesn't look exactly like all the other finished projects.
Pretty cowl. Subtly sparkly. Wraps around the neck comfortably twice. I don't mind that the yarn is mostly acrylic- it feels soft, it just didn't block out as severely as I would have liked it to.
I'm back. I was on vacation for the week of Memorial Day and it was sublime. I usually take Christmas Eve to New Year's off and it never feels long enough or relaxing enough. I now realize that this is because it's too busy- making sure everything gets wrapped in time, visiting friends and family, etc. This past week was fewer days off but 100x more productive.
I stayed at home to do work around the house. My new catch phrase is "I mulched it!" Oh hey, look at that over there. "I mulched it!" Look at that bush- "I mulched it!" What kind of plant- "I mulched it!" I weeded, ripped up turf, raked, mulched, planted, mulched. Dollar went around on the riding mower and showed me three spots at the edge of the lawn, near a rock wall. He was like, "Are these bushes?" I said, "I... I think so." We had planted them when we first moved to the house and they were so overgrown and hadn't ever been mulched, so... "I mulched it!" It was good working outside for 4+ hours a day on the sunny days. During the rainy days, I stayed inside to soak my aching body in a bubble bath.
Best. Staycation. Ever.