Adventures in cross-stitch

April 15, 2016 § Leave a comment

It’s not that I’ve stopped knitting. Quite the opposite, as I realized when I recently moved house, and 90% of my belongings were either knitted or knitting-related.

But I’ve been branching out into the wonderful world of embroidery, and with my recent addiction to The Adventure Zone, a hilarious D&D podcast with three brothers and their dad (and a half-real spectral unicorn called Darryl) came a truly inspirational cross-stitch to hang in my apartment.

So without further ado, here’s the

Abraca-fuck-you cross-stitch (right-click, save)

You’re welcome.

Its fleece was white as snow

August 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

People, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is: I’ve had the second part of the Mitten saga mostly done and in draft form for about a month, and with handing in my Bachelor’s thesis, the urge to procrastinate and write 1700 words on mitten cuffs has sort of evaporated. I’ll try and get to it sometime soon, I promise.

The good news is: not only did I get the Gryffindor mittens as far as I wanted to in time for Adam, but it was a very good thing I didn’t entirely finish them: I had to rip back the tips and add almost 2 cm to each hand to make them fit. I can’t even imagine the pain of unpicking the woven-in ends and splicing new yarn to the whole shebang.

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It’s really hard to find a flattering pose for both gloves and the recipient’s face. I managed to fail on both counts.

The best news is: within two hours of arriving in Leipzig in the middle of the night (i.e. 6.42 am) last Friday, Adam had learned the knit stitch, and over the next days proceeded to knit like a madman, first on a little green garter stitch practice swatch, then on a project that made not only me go ‘holy shit, now that’s one hell of a first project!’: Susie’s Reading Mitts. Even with substituting the picot edge for a more manly straight edge, those mitts have it all: working in the round on DPNs, knit, purl, increase, decrease, yarn over, counting rows, fixing mistakes, casting on and binding off, sewing a hem down on the wrong side… and probably a couple of other things.

When knitters will have taken over the world, I’ll have done my part. Nobody spends more than a couple of hours here without at least trying a couple of knit stitches, but to say that he took to it like a fish to water is sort of an understatement.

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I remain suitably impressed, as I wistfully glance in the vague direction of my abomination of a holey, green cotton garter stitch first-time scarf…

But yeah. Apart from showing him around the city (and boy, did I go all-out on that. I think the walking tour around the city center took a good three hours), I tried imparting as much knitting wisdom as I could: from how to use stitch markers to the brilliance that is the Yarn Harlot, from medieval knitting guilds to the boyfriend sweater curse, from how to wind yarn cocoons to washing your woolens, from the story behind the Spanish Armada shawl to how to spend more time on Ravelry looking at patterns instead of actually getting any knitting done. Although come to think of it, he didn’t need all that much instruction for that last bit…

I also took him for an afternoon at Annelie’s, where I quickly plied my yarn and then proceeded to coo over the baby and tell her the story of Bilbo and the thirteen dwarves, switching between English and German every time I was distracted or needed for some light interpreting, because I could never remember which language I’d started off with. My sanity didn’t take too well to the constant language mix – it’s a good thing I’m not becoming an interpreter after all. But spinning always makes the confusion a bit better. (Also, shininess.)

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Anyway. I had a wonderful time, and I hope he did as well. There’s a slightly upsetting lack of photos, since he doesn’t have a camera and I seem to have very localized dementia when it comes to gadgets, but I made sure to get at least a couple of us, over the roofs of Leipzig.

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And let me just say: I’ve never had quite as much alcohol in as short a time period as the last week. Holy moly.

Oh yes! I am very good!

April 11, 2010 § 3 Comments

So, double knitting.

I’ve expressed my incredible delight before, and I will again today, because I figured out a pretty way to bind off all by myself. You know, without any icky dots whatsoever, to match my cast-on, to look good as a contrast-colored border… to quote the Doctor, I am VERY good!

Boy, I just love feeling smart. I love knitting. And I love when knitting makes me feel smart.

Granted, it took me about 20 minutes to knit the first row of BITCH, because I had to backtrack about six times, but hey.

Anyway. The project I’ve been double-knitting this weekend is a pair of potholders that I’d been planning for a long time.

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And because double knitting is awesome like that, the backsides look like this:

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(Rico Design Creative Cotton Aran, nougat and pistacio, 3.5mm bamboo circs)

I’d thought about working them in a way where both sides said the word the right way around, but then I wouldn’t have been able to contrast the two of them, plus I would’ve had the hassle of making up a chart and actually having to concentrate more than TV knitting should require. So color-wise, the two potholders are mirrors of each other – you can read the JERK in green because Dean’s eyes are green, you can read BITCH in brown because that’s Sam’s eyecolor. At least this time around, there’s no purple in there anywhere.

Either way, I cast them on with a technique I found via practical application of google-fu, namely here, where you cast on however many stitches you want on one side (plus two edge stitches) with the CC, and then on the first row, knit through the front of the loop with the MC and, without slipping the st from the needle, purl through the back of the stitch with the CC. Prettiest first row in the universe.

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Now, at that Stitchdiva site, they had a matching cast-off, but I didn’t like it for one big reason: there were icky spots. The cast-on was so nice and clean, a contrast border on one side and just a tidy cast-on on the other, the works. I wanted a clean look on both sides for the cast-off too, and after some (okay, a lot) of trying, tinking back, knitting another row, tinking that back too, breaking my fingers trying to slip-slip-purl… I realized I was making it more complicated than it was.

So I took a deep breath, broke the MC, worked an entire row just with the CC on both sides, slipped the edge stitch, and then bound off via ssk-ing two stitches together, and pulling the right st on the right needle over the left.

The result? – on the left is the cast-on, on the right the bind-off. It’s as close to a perfect match as I could’ve imagined.

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Now all I have to do is find my darning needle to weave the ends in.

Wilf’s Hat

February 14, 2010 § 13 Comments

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Since there seems to be some problems with the Wilf’s Hat Debate – just to clarify, here’s my shiny PDF of my chart of Wilf’s Hat.

When Doctor Who: The End of Time aired, there was a lot of attention on and discussion of the red cabled beanie Wilfred Mott, gramps extraordinaire, wore. This pattern is the result of a bit of a community effort over at the Who Knits group on Ravelry: the very first draft was made by Anushka, but after test-knitting her chart and swatching around on my own for a bit, I realized I’d made enough changes to justify putting them up myself.

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True to the original, this is a six-panel cabled beanie with a folded-up brim. Knit it in red and find an airplane charm for maximum geeking pleasure!

Stay in the kitchen when the kitchen gets hot

January 15, 2010 § 2 Comments

Grey’s Anatomy is back on! I hadn’t quite realized how much I’d missed the weekly drama. While enjoying Lexi walking in on Callie and Arizona in the shower (mmmh) and Cristina kicking ass in the OR and Meredith angsting on Izzie’s behalf, I whipped this up:

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It’s a little sugar bowl cozy to go with my tea cozy! Good thing I have no more Nimbus, or I’d probably continue with a cream jug cozy, teacup cozies and a pan cozy for my pan. Then again…

Also, I made the bestest dinner ever last night, chicken with peanut sauce and coconut rice. I’d love to share a photo, but if there’s an appealing way to photograph thick peanut sauce, I haven’t found it yet. However, my new, shiny, cast-iron pan is doing pretty good in my kitchen:

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And the chicken, well, it went something like this:

Chicken with Peanut Sauce and Coconut Rice

Ingredients (serves two)

2 chicken breasts
1 cup of rice
1.5 cups of water
desiccated coconut
1 yogurt
150 g peanut butter (roughly)
2 TBS soy sauce
100ml water
Sambal Oelek
Oil (I used olive, sesame would probably be better)
salt, pepper

*

Wash and cut up the chicken breasts.

Cover the bottom of a small pot with olive oil. Pour the rice in, stir till all the grains are covered in oil. Add water and a pinch of salt, bring to boil. Cook on low flame till all the water has evaporated and the rice is done (around 15 minutes). After about 12 minutes, add coconut to taste.

While the rice is cooking, heat up your frying pan and fry the chicken strips. Season lightly with salt, pepper and garlic. Just a hint of curry might also work well with that, but if you’re gonna do that, don’t add it in too early, because curry gets bitter if it burns.

In another pot, mix peanut butter, soy sauce and water. Bring to a boil, then slowly add in yogurt, stirring constantly. Season with sambal oelek until you get a nice, slow burn. If the sauce is too thick for your liking, just stir in a little more water.

I had too much oil in my pan to just mix the peanut sauce and the chicken before putting it on a plate, so I just poured the sauce over chicken and rice. Serve however your want, as long as it’s hot.

You can also leave out the chicken; just the rice and the sauce are delicious together.

I have waited so long

January 14, 2010 § 1 Comment

Today is a day I’m catching up with stuff I’ve been putting off for a while. Like darning, changing my sheets, upending my hamper and looking what’s what, studying vocab, organize away all the random half-balls of yarn I have hanging around everywhere, vacuum… all those little household chores I cannot fucking stand.

However, with the hamper-upending came the discovery that I have about 10 pairs of handknit socks more than the five or six I wear on a regular basis, they were just sort of forgotten in my big ol’ hamper. Also, I own more underpants than I can remember buying, ever. I need to do more laundry.

Another thing I also need to do is stop procrastinating when it comes to darning. After sleeping on it for six weeks or so, the teeny tiny hole in my bedsheet got so big there’s now a two-inch seam in the middle of the sheet. It’s a good, sturdy one, but damn.

The second life lesson of the day is that I am really, really awesome. Anyone remember the Wilf’s Hat that I did? Well, I made another one, widened the cables, shortened the intervals between cable rows, and did some perfect crown shaping. Usually, that’s my weak point, I can’t figure out how to incorporate it gracefully into the pattern. But I charted a bit while watching Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, and laid a lifeline I didn’t end up needing, and I’m pretty damn charmed by what I whipped up.

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Excuse me while I go sit in the corner all smug about how the small cables run straight up all the way and the big cables cable one more time before gracefully running into a point and then there’s only one more row before the whole thing is done. Truth to be told, I’m pretty much insufferable right now.

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I’ve already charted everything out, but I’m still waiting on what the girl who did up the first chart says before I (hopefully) wrestle it all in a nice, tidy PDF and put it up here.

The yarn is Lang merino something-or-other. I don’t like it quite as much as the Lana Grossa merino, and I don’t like the color quite as much as the bright red, but it’s still an okay yarn and I don’t need two bright red hats. (Not that I need any more hats, period, but… y’know. At least none of those turned up in the hamper.)

Also, this little thing also makes me feel very smug and crafty, even though technically it’s a travesty, because, a crochet holder for DPNs? There’s gotta be some law against that. Still, it’s kinda handy.

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Now, more cleaning and darning and folding laundry and possibly even some cooking, to wear down that damn smug smile in my face.

Plus, Grey’s Anatomy is starting back up! And next week, SPN too!

Zwischen Mehl und Milch

November 25, 2009 § 4 Comments

Advent is just on our doorstep, and since my first Advent weekend has just started, I decided to bake some cookies. Two kinds, both perennial favorites in my family: tons of Schokolis and vanilla crescents are traditionally baked around this time, and then just before Christmas, we have to rebake because they’re mysteriously all gone.

The Schokolis are all but done – they’re little chocolatey balls with a hazelnut inside, and all that’s left to do is for them to cool off enough so I can coat them with chocolate. Mmh. The dough for the vanilla crescents is still resting in the fridge, and as soon as I’m done messing around with the chocolate, I’m making those.

So, by far, I’m still not done – but I have some downtime right now, cause you don’t hurry cooling – but I wanted to share a couple of impressions from the last day or so, cause the Christmas market opened last night and… Christmas is coming, baby!

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Christian, yours truly, and Saskia, just before we got kinda smashed on hot cider. | Augusteum in the morning light

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Adjusting my color scheme.

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Hazelnuts prior to roasting | baking cocoa

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Beating butter till my arms hurt. Beating butter, by the way, is not a euphemism. I wish!

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Roasted hazelnuts | Schokolis not quite as Prussian and orderly as I would’ve liked them to be

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There’s a reason my family always makes at least a double batch.

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Yesterday sucked, sunset-wise (and generally weather-wise, let’s be honest), but today… man.

Oh! And also… the original Winchester Washcloth charts.

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Red and green just contrast well, it’s not Christmas colors on purpose | After dicking around with the big ones for what felt like forever, I decided to do some actual math for the small one.

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