Sunday, December 31, 2006

Nupps Ahoy! (Swallowtail Shawl)

Ever since the cold weather and the holidays set in, I've had difficulty motivating myself to knit. I also have a head-cold so I'm coughing, snotting and just not as sharp as might normally be. The good thing is that I'm off until Tuesday so I have a rare opportunity to just sit and knit, providing I can stay awake long enough while doped up on codeine cough syrup to do anything. I've been working on the edge to Mountain Pines and have started on the third side, but this is hardly inspirational. I can knit the edge for the shawl because my poor querulous mind can just manage it without loosing track. There are some brave knitters out there who have resumed their knitting already. I know that Jason had the blahs for awhile but is back hard at work on his Lotus Blossom Shawl for his mother at his blog site. ( Missalicefaye never stopped knitting at all and just finished her Unst Stole in beautiful cobweb weight Shetland.( Though I have several projects going ,I want a short project that will give instant gratification. Something to kick-start my knitting. I have started the Swallowtail Shawl as you can see above. I'm using some old lace weight yarn I bought from Crystal Palace a long time ago and then never used. It's not a big shawl and it gives me an opportunity to try out "nupps" which I've never really done. Now I know Alice has already knit this shawl and warned that these nupps are difficult. Purling 5 together will give my pointy new Knit Picks needles a good work-out. I will make sure to do the yarn-overs loosely in order to have the best chance in purling through that many stitches.

I must go now and drug myself into insensibility. Good evening to all.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Siren Song of Koigu (Or How I Spent My Christmas Gift Certificate)

Everyone knows about Koigu. Beautiful hand-painted yarns that try to lure you into buying them in spite of their fairly high price tag. You say to yourself as you look at the pretty little skeins (and I do mean little), "They just can't be worth this kind of money. I mean, come-on, it's just merino wool from Canada!" You try to convince yourself that you can live without their subtle shadings, their soft hand, their unique colors . You hear tiny little yarn voices calling out to you from the shelves, "Me! Buy Me!" begging you to take them home because they instinctively know you are sporting your yearly head-cold and your resistance is low this day. They even try flattery, claiming that only you can do them justice by knitting them into a shawl so lovely that others will stop you in the street to comment on their yarny magnificence. Usually you are able to step away from the Koigu with a sigh and move on to more reasonably priced yarns. You congratulate yourself on your practicality and economy in dealing with your only real vice, knitting. Then someone gives you a gift certificate for Christmas and all bets are off.
As soon as I opened the envelope containing the gift certificate to "Imagiknit" in San Francisco I knew I was a goner. In an entire shop filled to the gills with yarn, the first thought that popped into my mind was was "Koigu, I could buy some Koigu!" Of course I could have bought that Koigu long ago. It's not like I can't afford it, but somehow, getting a gift certificate gives you permission to splurge, to be be extravagant. That gift certificate helped to defray the cost of my beautiful Koigu (see above). I'm thinking either the "Flower Basket" lace shawl or the "Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl". I will have to give it some thought. Since I'm still suffering with some kind of walking, snotting crud that I caught at work, I'm only able to knit the edging for Mountain Pines. Anything more challenging will come out poorly I'm sure. Still, one can dream of better days!
Happy New Year to All!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Knit and bake and knit and bake

So I'm still doing the edge for Mountain Pines. I have rounded the corner and I'm working on the second side. I just pinned it out a little to see what it looks like with the edge. I'm also assisting my sister in baking more holiday cookies and quick breads. See "Ginger Cookies" from the "Stars Dessert Cookbook". These are the only ginger cookies I like to eat and they are very addicting! Very buttery, crunchy and chewy. We also baked "Joan's Pumpkin Loaf" from "Maida Heatter's New Book Of Great Desserts". Moist with raisins or dates (Your choice, we use raisins) as well as either walnuts or pecans (We used pecans this year). It only tastes better the longer it sits there so it"s a great make ahead treat. We gave cookies to our co-workers, some of our friends and to our Veterinarian's office. Between baking and knitting, there is also reading my backlog of paperback's. I love paranormal romances and Sci Fi. What can I say. Reality is very harsh sometimes. I appreciate being somewhere else mentally from time to time. Right now I'm reading "Sunshine" by Robin McKinley and it is extraordinarily engaging. The female lead is reluctantly heroic, living in a world where vampires and other creatures are now commonly acknowledged. Soon vampires will outnumber humans in numbers and the balance of power may be shifting. Sunshine can work magic, though she has not been trained in magic due to her mothers divorce from her magically talented father. She is abducted by a gang of vampires, ostensibly to break the will of a vampire prisoner who has chosen not to kill or torture humans while taking the blood he needs. He's old and very powerful, hence his rivals desire to break him. They tether Sunshine and the vampire, Constantine with leg chains and leave them together, hoping he will lose control. Instead, they show one another compassion and form an alliance to escape with Sunshine using powers she never tried to tap before. There is much more to the book and it's an enjoyable read as Sunshine and Constantine find that they now have a bond that goes beyond their initial crisis as they battle the evil vampire who would have them both dead. It's such a good book that I wish there were more than just the one, but Robin McKinley does not really write series, she writes stand-alone novels. I am, however, grateful for the one book. It's a keeper! Well, back to the cookies! Have a nice evening and hope you are enjoying the holiday season!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Xmas Diversion

Yeah, I know it's not lace. It's what I'm doing instead of my lace at the moment. If you want the recipe, link out to "Jane's Reality" (see my side-bar for the link). It's really very tasty. I have been working on the edge for Mountain Pines and added a few more rows to Fir Cone. Not enough to post a picture though. Tomorrow I will start to pick-back the 3 or 4 rows needed to fix the Peacock Feathers Shawl. Once I do, I know I can finish it up before Stitches West in Feb. Same for Mountain Pines. My reward will be to wear one of them to Stitches. Vanity, thy name is Jane! I smell like sugar at the moment. Must Shower!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Endless Edge

During the holidays I've only really been doing a little knitting. I'm almost done with one side of the Mountain Pines edging and I've added a few rows to the Fir Cone Shawl. I'm reading my backlog of books (see sidebar for new element to the old blog) and baking for the holidays. I'm going to have to take pictures of some of these things and post recipe's but I will do that on my other blog, Jane's Reality since it's not lace. Hope everyone has a Happy Holiday!