If I go crazy then would you still call me Superman?

November 9, 2010 § 4 Comments

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As always, I can count on my desk to be a pretty accurate snapshot of my life. Mostly because I just pile stuff on there, pull things that I need from the bottom to the top, until everything’s arranged in a kind of organized chaos.

My life seems to be a pretty even split between knitting and Spanish right now. Which… is kind of what it’s been for the last year, to be honest. Except now it’s more fun and less fun at the same time – more fun because I read books in Spanish now, even if my dictionary is never particularly far – less fun because my Spanish course kind of sucks, for several reasons I won’t go into.

But those rather vague lumps in the picture, that’s top to bottom: Henry scarf (for Adam), Vespergyle Mitts (for me), Watson sweater (tan-colored lump, for me), Girl Friday (grey, for my sister). Featured in the background: Thermal sweater, for me, which I haven’t touched in a while due to, well, the big pile in the middle.

I’ve tried rotating working on them by day, which was a veritable shipwreck due to my project ADD, so I mostly work on each of them every day. Which sounds like I’m getting a lot more done than is actually the case.

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Which is weird, because I’m actually more lazy recently than in a while. I love knitting, but with Christmas at the door it’s mostly a low-level stress factor, along with something that kind of feels like a chore. Plus I have Smallville and Psych to supplement my usual shows, so more knitting time there. Plus I ordered a webcam the other day and it should get here this week, which means I can knit while webcamming with Adam.

And gosh, doesn’t that sound naughty.

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Ad-mitt-ing defeat

September 6, 2010 § 3 Comments

A couple of days ago, I started a mitt. It was a thing of beauty, clever and gorgeous on the palm as well as on the top; even the thumb gusset was delightful.

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And even though the outside was great, I loved the inside even more, for all the cleverness and how you could see the pattern reflected in the floats.

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It was also too tight. I’m not really a tight knitter with most things, so it always comes as a complete and utter surprise when I do colorwork and suddenly my gauge pulls in by a quarter and I can’t get anything to fit. And stretched colorwork just looks silly. Not to mention I’d really like to retain blood flow in my hands this winter.

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So I frogged it. Well, down to the cuffs, because surprisingly enough my wrists are smaller than my hands, and the cuffs don’t stretch out. I’m slightly frustrated, but to be honest, not as much as I could be. If Girl Friday and Balmoral have taught me anything, it’s that ripping back to do it properly will pay off every single time.

Oh, speaking of which. Girl Friday?

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I’m wearing it right now.

And my favorite part, even better than the bold pattern, or the huge collar-slash-buttonband I knit no less than four times (yes, four), or the way it fits me perfectly and looks so damn cool… is the little ‘Handmade’ charm Saskia gave me a bunch of last Christmas, hanging proudly on  the edge of my collar  where everyone can see it.

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It started out as a feeling

July 16, 2010 § 3 Comments

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So, despite almost being done with seaming Girl Friday, I’ve experienced a major setback. AGAIN. And it again consists of me having to rip back the collar/button band (all 80-odd grams of it) and reknitting it with more stitches. AGAIN. I’m pretty much at the point where I just wanna throw the damn thing in the corner and let it rot.

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(Girl Friday as of yesterday around noon)

At least my seams are going well, which is a relief. I’ll have to find another technique for the ribbing on the sleeves, but! I do have to say, I like the actual motions of seaming, it’s just that it takes so damn long. Especially if you make the cardigan even longer to fit your long-ass body.

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But yeah, I’m good at seaming. That wonky column of stitches isn’t the seam, btw, it’s a randomly wonky row. No idea why it looks so weird.

Oh well. To counteract the frustration that is the cardigan (and to procrastinate from the Swallowtail Shawl, which needs to be done in a week) I started a toy owl in some gorgeous alpaca I had lying around since last year’s Wollefest.

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It came to me in a dream – it’s basically a truncated cone, with a flat-knit panel (consisting of eyes, beak, ear-feathers and colorfully embroidered belly) attached to the front. We’ll see how that goes. Right now I’m at the cone part, and it’s going swimmingly.

I really should be working on the Swallowtail Shawl. I’m kind of in the mood for a bit of math, maybe I’ll sit down with it later. It’s probably an issue even a mathematically challenged person like me can figure out in less than two minutes.

**

And now… for something completely different. Like guacamole.

Now, I didn’t even like avocados until last summer, until someone (most likely Christian) convinced me to try the guacamole on the taco platter we shared at a cocktail bar, and va-voom. Just like that, I was hooked.

So last night, I made a half-recipe’s worth of Pioneer Woman’s tortillas and used the recipe from my new Spanish dictionary to make some guacamole. (Yes, at G like guacamole, there’s a little info window with a recipe. How cool is that? Langenscheidt rocks.)

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Not that that recipe was totally extraordinary. It was pretty much like every guacamole recipe you’ve ever seen: an avocado (mashed), a tomato and an onion (finely diced), cilantro (which I can’t get, so I use parsley), a goodly amount of garlic, and lemon juice, salt, pepper and tabasco to taste. Mmmmh.

And then this morning, I used up the leftovers and made a truly heart-stopping brunch.

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Seriously, I wish there wasn’t so much lard in that tortilla recipe. Because they’re the best tortillas I’ve ever made.

Speaking of Spanish, I scored a 2.0 in my oral exam! Which is awesome, especially if you consider how I was convinced I’d fail it. So, cheers, guys.

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Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba

June 24, 2010 § 2 Comments

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(views worth being up at 5am for)

Things I learned this week: the African beginning of ‘The Circle of Life’ can be summarized as ‘HOLY SHIT IT’S A LION’.

Summer is the time for light entertainment, so I’ve been on a bit of a Disney phase. Except The Lion King isn’t that light a movie (apart from Timon and Pumbaa) and I downloaded it in Spanish. Which… was a surprise hit. And led to me downloading a couple of other favorite Disney movies in Spanish.

Anyway, with my *cough* avid studying in the face of the Spanish exam in less than three weeks (shut up! watching movies in a foreign language totally counts as studying!) I’ve been having a lot of time to knit, which, yay. It also helps that the temperatures have dropped to a tolerable level, and that I’ve been dragging Girl Friday everywhere.

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I just noticed, though, that I made the armholes slightly too long on the front parts – half a repeat, to be exact. Apparently I can’t count. I wish saying this came as less of a shock to me and everyone who has ever met me.

Ah well, it could be a mistake much harder to fix. Which, I’ve been thinking… maybe I should rip both the fronts back to the beginning of the arm holes. I just realized knitting them a size bigger might not have been the smartest idea, not because the sleeves have taken a bit of calculating, but because due to the different depths of the backs and fronts of the armholes, it might get… funky and kinda weird sewing fronts and backs together. Is that fixable by blocking? Hm.

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Anyway, everything from the heel flap down I knit yesterday down at the pub, watching Germany almost flunking out of the world cup early. Well, kinda almost. Also, Dalek is coming along, even if I’m kind of worried about the vertically striped middle section. My latest sketches kind of require intarsia with about 36 bobbins, if I remember correctly. Shudder. But I’ll be working on that some more when I watch ‘El Método’, the movie to go along with ‘El método Grönholm’, later this evening. (Or, you know, something more… animated.)

In other news…. recipe recs!

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These babies are Stuffed French Toast, breakfast food of the gods.Now, I make it no secret that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, provided I don’t have to get up earlier than about 9.30 for it, and I’ve been doing my damndest to establish a tradition of a big Sunday Morning Breakfast in this apartment. So far, it’s working, and this is partially due to this easy, quick, absolutely delightful dish. I deviate from the recipe and make them with English Muffins, and add chopped strawberries to the cream cheese filling. Now that’s what I call breakfast!

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Aside from possibly being the most dorktastically-named cookies in the history of mankind, snickerdoodles are also easy, fun and absolute comfort food. I loved these when I was in the US, but I never found a recipe that came up to my standards of deliciousness and chewiness (while being crisp at the edges). And then I spent too much time on Tasty Kitchen and was bored and had two eggs left in the fridge, and… here they are. Delicious, chewy, and still crisp at the edges. Snickerdoodles. I had two of these with a glass of milk for breakfast the other day, and oh man, my college life is what every 8-year-old dreams of.

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This is… a recipe for disaster. (ba-doom-tshhh!) I was cleaning out the cubby that holds a couple of scarves and many, many hats and gloves, and just kind of shoved a pile of wool at my roomie – ‘Here, hold this!’ *topples*

There’s the distinct possibility I need to knit a little less.

Back in… Beige!

June 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

Guess what I just finished with spot-on gauge?

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That’s right, the back of my Girl Friday cardigan. I wanted to start the first front piece down at the canal, but I forgot to pack the yarn after making sure that I had the pattern page. Still, go me.

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It’s still a lot of fun – granted, I said that about the miles-of-stockinette Weasley Sweater at this point, but having finished a third is still a pretty good feeling regardless. Plus all nice and pinned out, the pattern is almost hypnotic… or like one of those Magic Eye things. Autostereograms?

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Anyway. I come bearing recipe recs, cause it’s summer and it’s nice and finally not as terribly humid yet still sunny and…

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That’s Buttermilk Biscuits (which are the best I’ve ever made, three times in a row in about a week) and pearl oat salad with tomatoes and scallions, and a nice light vinaigrette. Seriously, the biscuits are awesome, but you need to add a little more flour, otherwise they dough is just a tad too runny.

Also, and this is a definitive oh my god, make this, STAT is Chicken Tikka Masala. It’s the British national dish (as mentioned in Robin Cook’s Chicken Tikka Masala Speech) and I’d heard a lot about it but never made it before.

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Oh my god. This is easily the best dish I’ve ever tasted. No kidding. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’m a pretty decent cook – but this, this just knocked it out of the park. Seriously, I could eat this every single day of the week and not get sick of it. I made my own Garam Masala and everything for it, and oh wow. Everybody should make this at some point. I’ve already invited Christian over for Chicken Tikka Masala next weekend, and I’ll make some Naan to go along with it, too.

So, yeah. Chicken Tikka Masala. In other news, I’m still neglecting my Garden shawl (although I did do about 4 rows this morning during Doctor Who), but at least I’m… photographing cherries.

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Hot blooded

June 8, 2010 § 6 Comments

Summer’s picking up speed, all I do all day long is sweat profusely, and my brain works only sluggishly – which must be the reason for this insanity: worsted weight. merino. cardigan.

Yes, in what must have been a momentary lapse of reason, I started Girl Friday last night, and I already have a good six inches. It’s kind of ridiculous, I’m so used to hundreds of stitches that I laughed out loud when I saw the back was only 107 stitches in the 2XL, which I’m making. 107 stitches! The front parts are slightly smaller than a round of a sock!

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So, thanks lace knitting for putting things in perspective. I guess. Still, the pattern is ridiculously easy to remember, makes for great TV knitting. I basically looked at it, knit the first half repeat, and had committed it to memory. Very nice. TV choice last night: first two or three episodes of ‘Pushing Daisies’ until Chuck annoyed me too much to bear, then as a contrast ‘Shortbus’, which I hadn’t seen in ages.

Also, despite the utter annoyingness that is Chuck, Emerson Cod the PI is hilarious AND awesome. He’s this big, burly, black dude who… knits. Which explains my squee. In stressful times, he apparently finds the stockinette stitch especially calming, and he also freed himself, the Pie Maker and Chuck from a rather precarious situation involving body bags, wrist ties, and a car running on dandelions – with the help of a straight, purple knitting needle. Yay!

He also has a drawer full of money cozies in a lovely shade of light green. And he says things like ‘I’m gonna do XY… once I’ve finished purling this row.’

Working vigorously on the cardi means I’m abandoning the Garden shawl (aka the DicksWithWingsShawl) a bit, but that’s okay, I guess. I still have all summer for that. I should be concentrating on the Swallowtail anyway, that thing’s due in a month and a half.

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Sadly, the warm weather also means the Tilting Tardis Cowl hasn’t seen any action yet apart from me camwhoring a bit.

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And here, exclusive photographs of the socks I cast on the same day as the other pair of socks:

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It’s the old song-and-dance with the SALT line where I’m the only one who can actually read it, plus the dark blue has some lighter spots that make it even more hard to read, but I still find it highly amusing and don’t give a damn if I’m the only one who thinks so.

Now, one of the few good things about summer that I’ve discovered… I can pretty much live off fresh fruit and vegetables. I’ve had this for the past three days:

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Never mind that it was my side for biscuits and gravy today. *facepalm*

Always half a step behind

April 13, 2009 § 1 Comment

I uncovered the mystery of why the Tempest cardigan had this ginormous off-the-shoulders neckline that swooped down way below where it was supposed to be. I realized what was wrong when I was on the third row of the neckline for the second time, this time on smaller needles, and had just finished all my tidy little button holes, also for the second time.

I missed one simple instructions. And what was that instruction?

Sew shoulder seams. D’oh.

So I’m trying to fudge them in. I did one just now, and I’ll have to find a way to deal with the gaping hole between arm and shoulder seam, but at least now I know what the problem is. Things are looking up.

Plus I got Tyler’s letter today! With my lost class ring in it! I read it in the park, while getting my first real sunburn of the year. Such a special feeling, getting an actual letter in the mail. I wrote my response right there, on my blanket in the grass. The more I think about this whole letter thing, the more I’m positive emails will never completely drive handwritten letters into extinction.

Five rows plus bindoff to go on the European Python.

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