Celtic Cable

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hurrying to Beat the Deadline!

NaKniMitMo is almost over .... so close! Must hurry!

So close ...

I still have to do the thumbs!

(Yes, I screwed up halfway through the finished mitten. I didn't notice till now)

I'm not really all that worried about getting caught at the end of NaKniMitMo with an unfinished pair ... I just like to tie up loose ends, is all.

What's February? Anyone know? Any National Knitting for February?

In other news, my quests to make good homemade bread continues. I followed someone's excellent advice from last week ... well, modified it, anyway. I cooked soup in my microwave for 7 minutes, then put the dough in the microwave -- now nice and humid -- to rise. It rose wonderfully. And it rose wonderfully, while baking. The problem is my shaping of the bread ... it's too dense and moist in the middle, and the top burns before the middle is done.

In other news, my smoke alarm works.

Here are the before-and-after loaves:

I followed the directions I found online, which instructed me to roll the dough into a rectangle and then fold in thirds. I did that. I didn't pinch the edges down very tightly, though, as you can see. I think the one on the left looks obscene.

I also slashed the top, as instructed, which makes it much easier to cut afterwards, and should have contributed to the loaves rising so high.

So do you all think I just have to shape the loaves into a broader loaf? Do you all think that's what needs to be done to fix the too-dense-in-the-middle issue? I'd welcome any tips!

I leave you with Coraline and Mamma Girl in their favorite spot.

Don't forget to stop by Tamis Amis  for Work in Progress Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I'm a Bit Hooked on These

"These" being color-work mittens ...

I finished the Daisy Mittens by String Theory and gifted them today.

And promptly started looking for another pair to cast on. Now I am still determined to use up my stash, so I had to find a pair that would use the same knitpicks yarn, 7 st per inch, which is what I have in abundance. I settled on another pair by String Theory, Flower Mittens:

The only difference I made is that I chose to make a ribbed cuff, rather than the doubled-stockinette stitch cuff, which involves sewing (something I am spectacularly not good at).

I haven't yet decided who these will go to for a gift, I really just want to knit mittens right now. Heaven knows, the last thing I need is more mittens in my cupboard.

In other news, I was off work Monday and spent the whole day baking and cooking! I made this delicious Savory Tart, from my favorite non-knitting blog, "Reading my Tea Leaves." If you like rich, delicious, savory-sweet tarts, you will love this. It's made with mushrooms, carmelized onions, eggs, cream, goat cheese, and a touch of fig preserve on the goat cheese. In a delicious pastry shell. I don't often bake, but this was totally worth it.

(recipe here)

And since I forgot to buy bread, I baked some.

(Ignore the hole)
It is very hard to find a warm place in my house for dough to rise when it's January, so it didn't get very big. 
What are you all up to? How are the resolutions coming along? 
Don't forget to stop by Tamis Amis for Work in Progress Wednesday!  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Daisy, Daisy, Give Me Your Mittens, Do ...

Am I old? I know that song (although it's supposed to be "give me your answer," not "mittens"), so yeah, I guess I'm old!

In any case, the Daisy Mittens are done. Here, they're resting after a warm bath.

I really enjoyed knitting these ... probably because I finally figured out how to carry the yarn in both hands, and that made it a lot easier. No tangled yarn, no fiddling around with two strands in one hand.

I'm going to go find something else to knit in colorwork, while the mood is upon me!

I actually do not have a project to start ... this has got to be the first time I've ended one project without another in mind. I'm off to scour the Ravelry pattern searcher. I might even try another lace project ... maybe.


Or not. Lace has kicked my rear-end twice in the past, I'm not sure if I'm up for round three just yet. But I am still ferociously determined that 2013 will be my de-stash year, so I must find something I can apply to stash yarn. I've done a lot of shawls, scarves, cowls, socks ... what else is there that only takes up a skein or two?

And in closing ...  


Thursday, January 17, 2013

To Block or Not to Block?

Block, definitely!

Blocking turned this ...

To this!

Voila, citron!

I'm not sure how many inches longer it is now, but it made a huge difference.

I have blocking wires and t-pins; I used the wires along the top, and the pins at the edges. Rather than soaking first and worrying about having to handle sopping wet yarn, I use a spray bottle.

Yarn is not-crazy Zauberball.

Sometimes I'm lazy and don't get around to it right away, but eventually I do, and I'm always so pleased with the result.

Here's another, the Elizabeth's Diagonal Scarf...

I only blocked this one to show the patterned edges. Yarn is Berocco Boboli.

So there are two completely finished objects, for a lovely Tamis Amis Finished Object Friday! Stop by and see what everyone else is up to!

This *is* my thrilled face.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Back to the Drawing Board!

The color-work mittens I was knitting for NaKniMitMo just weren't working out. I was knitting too tightly, and they were getting constricting. So I frogged them and then went fishing in Ravelry's wonderful pattern searcher, and found ...

Daisy Mittens, by String Theory!

Notice how the top is narrowing ... I have so much trouble with tension! It's not blocked yet, I'm just now decreasing the top. Still have to pick out the waste yarn for the thumb gusset (on a scale of one to five, how much do you hate picking out waste yarn?)

I am steadily burning up my pile of acrylic, in an epic Cat Mat Destash ...

These are shiny because of a shiny purple acrylic yarn combined with the other colors. I think I can make maybe one more mat, and then I'm down to the novelty yarn that wouldn't withstand kitties. Don't know what I'll do with that stuff.

I have some lovely finished objects, but that's for Friday. Ta ta for now!

 Thanks for the nice padded and warmed boxes on the sheltered porch ... we prefer to sleep on your car roof in a cold wet mist, though.

Don't forget to stop by Tamis Amis for Work-in-Progress Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Woman of Many WIPs

Hello, I'm Beth, and it's been 39 days since I purchased new yarn ...

Haha! I'm not precisely sure when I last bought yarn, but I can assure you all that my pledge to buy no yarn in 2013 is still unbroken. (Yeah, I know, it's barely out of the first week of the new year ...)

In honor of NaKniMitMo, I am of course knittin' mittens ...

I use a build-your-own-mitten template from a magazine ... Knit-n-Style, I think it is. You start them just the way you start a toe-up sock! I am not fond of their thumb gusset, so I will try to find a different one to use. The pattern is supposed to be a flowering vine, copied from "Ethnic Knitting, Lithuania, Iceland, and Ireland." Yeah, I know ... those three places are geographically nowhere near one another! Anyway, after they're blocked, you'll be able to see the vine.

They're for a co-worker who is retiring this Spring. I'm going to put a ribbed wrist section in, and then a flared cuff.

I am knitting the color-work with both hands. I taught myself to knit right-handed over the Christmas vacation, while I worked on the Citron, and now I can knit ambidextrously! Which makes color-work that much more fun. Just have to watch that the gauge stays the same between hands. (I'm not left handed, I just knit that way because it was easier to learn that way.)

I recently frogged a scarf I knit with Berocco Boboli, and am re-knitting it as an Elizabeth's Diagonal scarf, pattern from "Luxury One-Skein Wonders."

This is a very easy pattern to knit -- and it is interesting to see it on a diagonal.

Finally, to destash my acrylic, I crochet cat mats.

I can't babble on about these enough. Here are three, made in a couple of hours. Four skeins of yarn, and a Q-hook. Cats love these.

Here is an example of a ball that makes one cat mat ... 25 x 30 stitches, roughly. I just set all four skeins up somewhere and wind into a big ball. When I can no longer manage winding it, I stop. It's generally big enough then.

And the people who run cat shelters love to get these. They're washable, durable, and defy kitty-claws.

Georgie Girl and Molly Cat (look at her dainty crossed paws!) remind you to stop by and visit Tamis Amis on Wednesday, for Work-in-Progress Wednesday!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

First Finished Object of the New Year!

Of course, I started it a month ago, in 2012.

Of course, it still needs blocking. This was a fairly easy and fast knit, until the last row where there are 540 stitches and I promise I won't gripe about that again!

It took a whole Zauberball and about 1/3 of a knit-picks skein. The ruffle is from the knit-picks, but you can't really tell unless I point it out. So I won't. 

I am now working on hexipuffs, trying to get closure on the Bohus (&$*#^&), a scarf I frogged and am redoing ... oh, yeah, and mittens for NaKniMitMo! I don't have enough done on the mittens yet to show you.

Oh, and a shout-out to one of Molly's favorite blogs, the McGreen Experience.

Don't forget to stop by Tamis Amis for Finished Object Friday!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Craft Resolutions?

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a great time ringing in the new year! 

I'm still plugging away at the Citron, which was speeding along ... until I hit the 540 stitches in the last 11 rows. It takes me a long time to get through one row. I have 4 more to go, plus bind-off, and I'm not naive enough to think I'll finish that today.

 I ran out of Zauberball when I started doing the last 11 rows, but I had some knit-picks that matched it closely enough.

Which brings me to my 2013 resolution ...

Must! Destash!

I was going to take pictures of my stash to post, but honestly, it's embarrassing. I really don't want you all, my knitting, crocheting, and crafty friends, to know what a gluttonous stash I am hoarding.

I hereby vow that I will not buy any more yarn in 2103.  No Matter What! There is nothing I could need that I do not have here now.

I could gift more, but I've found that most people who don't knit, really don't want to be gifted with something that would have to be hand-washed and coddled. Most muggles want to just throw something in the machine and be done with it. So I could be knitting all sorts of lovelies for people, but as soon as they hear about the hand-washing, pressing-dry-in-a-towel, gently-stretch-out, air-dry ... well, it sort of takes some of the pleasure out of the gift when you have to add so many disclaimers.

I gave a co-worker a beautiful patchwork baby blanket when he announced a child on the way. It was knit entirely from Cascade 220. Hand wash. I told him this, and he said with an absolutely straight face: "That's okay, babies hardly ever spit up."

So! What are your resolutions? Destashing? Taking on a big project? Learning a new technique? Do share!

Georgie Girl and Petunia vow to be better friends in the new year ... 

And Benjamin the Tomcat vows to try not to be so suspicious of me ... even though I feed and shelter him. 

Don't forget to stop by Tamis Amis for Work in Progress Wednesday!