Thursday

[misc] Mmmmm, raw eggs.

[playing] Deadwood. Scored this game in a Yankee Swap before Christmas and I've played it 4 times. This is a cute game- you've got a gang of cowboys that go to Deadwood to annex various buildings: the bank, town hall, newspaper, gold mine, casino, saloon, etc. There is some player interaction in the form of shoot-outs. If you don't want to fight and you have a horse, you can skedaddle to the abandoned mine. Players gain infamy in the form of wanted posters (but you better go to the church and get rid of as many wanted posters as you can before the Pinkertons arrive). It's a fun game and only $23 from Game Surplus.

[reading] A Game of Thrones. I'm late to the series but have become so obsessed with the story. It's so well written. It took a little perseverance on my part to get over the fact that bad things happen from the very beginning. Bad things happen to people you like. Bad things happen to people you don't like. Bad situations abound. But it's so. well. written. And compelling. I only get a few chapters in every couple of nights, so I should be done with it by the time the first HBO season comes out on dvd in March.

[cooking] Ice cream. I received an ice cream maker for Christmas and I've made the best homemade ice cream. I ordered the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream recipe book and their sweet cream base is awesome but uses raw eggs. Beat 2 eggs, add sugar, add heavy cream (hurg, this stuff has the consistency of white paint) and milk. Then whatever flavors you want. Then you add it to the ice cream maker to do it's ice-cream-making-thing. When I made my first batch, I told Dollar, "There's eggs in it." He said, "Weird." I said, "Raw eggs. Not cooked. Just... raw eggs blended." He said, "Uh... Oh... kay." I've been pretty careful about only using local eggs when I made this ice cream (from a farm two towns over). I don't know, we eat rare meat and runny eggs, so this can't be that different, right? ... I was a little apprehensive about the raw eggs but the ice cream is coming out so amazing that with worth the threat of salmonella. Also, this might help me to screw up my courage to make some homemade beef tartar with a raw egg yolk on top. Dollar has already told me that he will not eat that. Which is good, because I'll probably need him to drive me to the hospital.

[knitting] I made a little sample for a pillow cover:



Honeycomb test

Penny! Sigh. Anyway, I did a small test using yarn scraps to get exact measurements. Now I'm ready to cast on to the actual 16" x 17" pillow. I don't often swatch but I do know when it's important to.

[weaving] I hate weaving. What a tedious nightmare.

[crocheting] I can't get the idea of a mega doily rug out of my head. I just think this one is a little too mega. The .5 inch cotton cording that the artist uses appears to make a 1 - 1.5 inch thick rug once you crochet it up. I know a rug so thick and a lacy would be an open invitation in my house to trip and smash your head on a piece of heavy furniture. I think I'd go with 8/32 cotton cording and a slightly less open design.

[cross-stitching] Yeah baby, you know what I need? A new craft. I ordered some books and aida cloth. I am ready. 

Wednesday

[misc] Penny

Penny's napping spot (formerly Murderface's napping spot):

Penny



Tuesday

[crochet] Penny... the Panda!

I finally finished a cute little amigurumi panda:


Penny the Panda

I whipping up the body back in May but never got around to making/attaching appendages. I don't know why, it took less than an hour to make, stuff and sew on two ears and four legs.


Penny the Panda: Rear

Pattern: Penny the Panda from Lion Brand. 

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease (black), Plymouth Encore Worsted (white)

Hook: E (3.5 mm)


Penny the Panda

The safety eyes and nose came from the 6060 shop on Etsy. 

Santana doesn't seem too interested:


Penny the Panda

But when I handed Penny (the kitten) Penny (the panda), she immediately started to chew and tried to rip it apart viscously. I quickly scooped up Penny (the panda) and said, "Stop! You're hurting her!" to Penny (the kitten).

I don't know, this might get a little confusing. 

As confusing as a panda riding a horse?


Penny the Panda

That musk ox definitely looks confused.

Monday

[misc] Murderface Monday

Hmm... things look a little different around here. What do you think Murderface?


Murderface in a basket

Yeah, well, I like it. Blogger told me that it was time to update my template. Some of my widgets are gone, so I'll be adding to the right-hand menu over time.

Friday

[knitting] Shaelyn

I finished up this shawl last summer:


Shaelyn Shawl

I was waiting until I blocked it to take pictures. But... it's still not blocked. 

Pattern: Shaelyn by Leila Raabe

Needles: US 8

Yarn: 5 balls of Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca DK.

The pattern is very good- easy to memorize and it works up quickly with DK or even worsted weight yarn. I like the finished shawl- simple but feminine from the lace.


Shaelyn Shawl

I put the shawl on the floor to take a picture and Penny has to come in and show me how boring my knitting is:


Shaelyn with Penny

Thursday

[knitting] Purple Handspun Hat

More handspun knitting! (It helps that I wound 4 various skeins of my handspun all at once- and I can't use them up fast enough.)

Handspun hat


The fiber originally looked like:

Purple Batt

Fiber by DyakCraft (formerly Grafton Fibers).

I spun it into a bulky single ply:

Dyak Craft Corriedale Batt

Love this hat but the rinky-dink pom pom is... unsatisfactory. I used my largest pom pom maker and it only ended up being about 2 - 2.5 inches across. What I really want is a 4 - 5 inch pom pom. The only tool that I found that looks like it fits the bill is this Clover X-Large pom pom maker but c'mon... $11.50 for one pom pom maker. I need to find it cheaper somewhere else...

Wednesday

[knitting] Handspun Zen Mittens

One of my craft-y goals for 2012 is to knit 50% of all my projects with my own handspun. I spin yarn that I love and hold and pet... then I put it into a bag. I have two gigantic plastic zip bags full of my handspun. I keep adding to it but I don't use it. WHY?! It make no sense. So, I'm using it up, one skein at a time.

Here's the crazy, three-ply that I spun last year:

Morph

Morph

I remember I was more than a little "meh" about the finished yarn. But as I worked up a pair of mittens, the colors really worked together:

Zen mittens

And the finished mittens?

Handspun Mittens

LOVE. lovelovelovelovelovelovelove! They aren't twinsies but any means but they are so great- so soft, so colorful. I'm so happy with that quick and satisfying project this is, that I've started another pair of handspun mittens. 

I used the basic mitten pattern from Ann Budd's book The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns. I kitchener'd closed the last 8 stitches at the top of each mitten because the pointy top didn't feel right when I had the mittens on.

Tuesday

[misc] Murderface and Penny

Murderface is smooshed to the back of his napping chair because Penny wants to share the spot:

Penny and MF

Oh Murderface, you're so accommodating and polite.

Friday

[knitting] Another Lotus Hat

I made another Lotus Hat during Christmas break:


Blue Lotus Hat

This is at least the 3rd time that I've done this pattern but this time I added an extra repeat to add some slouch. Look how slouchy:


Blue Lotus Hat

Slouch FAIL. Not slouchy at all, just a bit longer. Meh, it's okay.

The yarn I used is a nice 45% merino / 55% silk by Claudia Hand Painted Yarns, called Worsted 55. I bought it as a closeout at Webs a while ago, wondering why this pretty denim colored yarn with a nice sheen was on closeout. Knitting with it, I realized what the problem was: the dye had not saturated all the yarn plies completely, so if you untwisted the yarn a bit to uncoil the plies, you could see that it was white on the inside. No biggie but now it's something that I might pay more attention to and check for in the future.


Wednesday

[cooking] Dinner Rolls

My little mini-Zojirushi bread maker is one of my favorite kitchen appliances (second only to my rice cooker). I use it about twice a week to make dough. This smaller model doesn't take up much counter space and makes a 1-lb loaf of bread.

I wanted to make some pull-apart dinner rolls this past weekend. It was so easy, I felt like I was cheating.

1. Make the dough in the Zo. 2 minutes of measuring/adding ingredients, wait 1 hour 45 minutes.
2. Cut the dough into 8 pieces, form into balls, put into 9in cake pan. 3 minutes of doing stuff, let rise 1 hour.
3. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
4. Eat. 

So, while it takes just over 3 hours to go from "ingredients" to "mmmm bread", it's only 5 minutes of doing stuff manually. I would say "How easy is that?!" but I think Ina Garten may have copyrighted the phrase. Instead, I'll say, "SO F'ING EASY, RIGHT?!"

Here are the rolls after the final rise:

Dinner rolls have risen

Here they are after baking:

Dinner rolls- done.

One mini Zo, one batch of dough, in one cake pan- I think this could become a regular thing. I usually just use the dough for pizza but these rolls were the bomb. 



Tuesday

[weaving] Golden Runner

So here's the first for-realsies project that I wove. Weaved? How do I say 'weave' in the past tense? Uh...

Here's my first woven project- a small table runner. ... Or is it a dresser scarf? 

How do I not know how to say what I'm making or how I'm making it?



Golden table runner

It doesn't matter because I love it. My woven'd thingie to put on stuff.

Here it is, all tied onto my 24" Kromski Harp. There's only ~60 ends, which ended up being about 5 inches wide.



Weaving, I will conquer you

The paper on the back is nice, thick plotter paper that I was able to nab from work. It's excess cut from a map that I printed and is just the right size and weight for weaving.

The yarn I'm using is Aslan Trends Class, in a pretty golden color. I picked it on in Florida when my sister and I were down visiting our mom. It's a cotton/rayon blends with nice sheen and drape.



Tied on

After some weaving and rolling weaving and rolling:



P'shaw. This isn't so hard. OMG YES IT IS.

Not bad. Not bad at all. My selvedges on the left side were wicked wonky, but I attribute that to my noob skillz and the tension not being tight enough. Weaving is not something where you can go, "Bah! Tension Shmention!" No, the tension needs to be. just. so. OR ELSE.

The finishing wasn't so bad. I cut the project off and tied knots a either end:



Gold table runner

The thing that's hard for me to get past is that there's a lot of waste. Or, there feels like there's a lot of waste. All those ends where the project was tied on are cut. And I'm left with ~120 4 - 6 inch short bits of yarn. 

Interestingly, these ends are called "thrums". Which automatically makes me think of thrummed mittens. I guess I could use these yarn ends as thrums for various projects but I usually think of unspun roving for thrums. If I used these leftovers, it would feel like lots of loose ends hanging out inside the mitten. Right?

Currently my plan for the ends (because, yes, I will obsessively keep them and not throw them away) is to use them either:

1. Tie my handspun yarn after I skein it.
2. As stuffing for toys, like these little dumplings 
3. Cut the thrums much shorter, put them out in a cage/mesh bag for the birds to take in the spring to build their nests.

Any other ideas for short lengths of yarn?

The runner in the entryway:



Golden table runner

Yay! 

Monday

[misc] Murderface Monday

Some recent videos of the kitties. Waiting for supper:




Murderface and Penny playing with a new cat spinner toy:




Penny, chittering at a fly on the ceiling:



Tuesday

[misc] Happy 2012!

Happy New Year! I had a nice, long vacation which I spent doing... uh... doing... what did I do? Not any of the house stuff that I had planned (painting, sanding, staining). I knit a lot and started weaving.

WEAVING IS SO HARD. SRSLY. No one told me that 60 - 70% of weaving is prep work and set-up. The actual weaving, passing the shed and beating it down, is after hours and hours of measuring, threading, warping, drinking, taking a break by watching an episode of Entourage and eating chocolate. You have to ask yourself, "You know what I'd like to do 8 hours from now after non-stop, painstaking fussy work? Weave."

Siiigh. The upside to this is that once you actually sit down to weave, the project moves along quickly. I made a little table runner/dresser scarf and just started a simple scarf.

My new year's resolution (more like a 2012 challenge) is to knit 50% of all my projects with my handspun. My handspun is accumulating and I'm not putting it to any use. So. I started a pair of mittens and they are turning out omg so cute with my own handspun.

It was nice having a week off to hang out with the kitties. Santana, who's the meanest B-word in house, was really sweet and cuddly all week.


IMG_1120

Penny's growth makes me sad. I didn't take enough pictures of her as an itty-bitty-stinky behbeh kitten. 


IMG_1103

Murderface is a good boy as always. So handsome. So sweet. The best kitty ever.


Murderface

Got to take pictures of all the recent and current projects...