[knitting] Rose and Thorn socks- halfway there

I feel like the slowest knitter in the universe right now:

Rose and Thorn socks

Deadline to complete these is Sunday night (provided all the spots on my team to make it to the next round don't fill up by then). Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...


[vermont] Simon Pierce

Went to the bar at Simon Pierce after work on Monday with a friend for some drinks. We had the place to ourselves:

Bar at Simon Pierce

Since this is a glass making, glass specialty, handmade glassy-glass place, there's glass everywhere. The drinking glasses, the light fixtures, the beer tap handles, vases, candle holders- so much glass. Since I can't afford to buy any of it, it's a treat just to drink a fruity cocktail out of one.


After some drinks and charcuterie, we went to browse through the store (while I silently repeated "You break it, you buy it" over and over in my head). Then we went downstairs to see the craftsmen working:

Making glass at Simon Pierce

Making glass at Simon Pierce

The work area is completely open (apart from a railing around it to keep people at a safe distance) and there were three men working. It's nice that they open this up and allow the public to watch and ask questions.

Then we went out onto the back patio that looks out across the raging Ottauquechee River and Quechee Covered Bridge:

Quechee Covered Bridge

Perfect way to spend a Monday afternoon.


[misc] Easter Bunny

Easter Bunny

This was our first year with an actual Easter bunny. We decided Easter will be Rocky's birthday from now on, since we don't know when his real birthday is. None of the cats were particularly pleased with the attention he received all day. I'm not sure he was either.


[misc] Murderface Monday


Great weather this past weekend. Spent Saturday morning working on my socks. Then Dollar's bandmates arrived for practice and I headed outside to start cleaning up the flower beds. It's so nice to see small green shoots coming up. I don't want to jinx anything but I haven't seen any woodchucks yet. I'm nervous about woodchucks eating all the young plants. Rather than stress about it, I'm just going to spray what I can with liquid fence and move on to planting seeds, dividing established plants and working on the vegetable garden.

At least I know that the woodchucks don't like catnip:


I cleared off this little plant and it has a lot of nice growth already! I brought in a few green leaves for the cats to enjoy in bed. The first fresh catnip of the year was nearly too much for them.


[gardening] Crocuses

Crocuses blooming in the front lawn:

Hey, it did bloom.

I planted these bulbs here and there a few years ago. I can't even describe how happy it makes me to have things blooming. I'm ready to start some seeds but we've had a cold snap the past week or so. I think things might start warming up again. I want to start cleaning up the flowerbeds and planning where things are going to go this year.

TGIF. This week was so busy, I'm looking forward to a weekend of knitting in my jimjams. I've got to catch up on my sock madness socks.


[knitting] The Joy of Winding Yarn

Hulu recently added some seasons of Bob Ross' The Joy of Painting.

Winding yarn, watching Bob Ross

I think winding yarn and watching Bob Ross is just about the most relaxing thing for me. After I finished winding yarn, I laid down on the couch under a blanket and watched episode after episode. Dollar eventually came into the living room and asked what I was doing. I could only reply, "I'm... sooooo... relaaaaaaxed."

I signed up for another Joy of Painting class in April. I think I'm going to invest in some Bob Ross supplies to start painting at home- now that I have the episodes to guide me!


[knitting] Rose and Thorns Socks - The Beadening

I got a relatively late start to casting-on the next Sock Madness pattern:

Rose and Thorn socks

I say relatively late because the pattern dropped Sunday evening and I cast on 48 hours later. By then, several knitters had completely finished the pair. There are fast knitters in this competition but you're placed on a team according to your own speed, so I'm on the second-to-slowest team (whomp whoooomp).

Anyway, I wound my yarn, strung my beads, watched a couple instructional videos and was able to complete the beaded cast on without incident. I'm ready to join the first hem; then I'll switch out to DPNs and use the same circulars to immediately do the second hem. Best to get them both out of the way at once.

My picture above doesn't show any of that, other than the pre-strung beads. I was pleased to find the match with material I already had in my stash. The yarn is a pretty, ever-so-slightly-semi-solid coral color and the beads are dark copper. When the beads are on the yarn, you might think that they are transparent smokey gray and you can see the yarn through them, but that's the copper-colored core.


[vermont] Green Mountain Fiber Festival

This past weekend was the 8th Annual Green Mountain Fiber Festival. I went early Sunday morning. I particularly enjoyed seeing samples from Fallingblox:


I bought a couple of his pattern books. I also got a new needle gauge from Katrinkles:

Needle Gauge

I first saw her buttons and knitting sundry at the VT Sheep and Wool Festival last year. Now whenever I see her, I have to get some buttons or a little something else.

Many great vendors at this event. I saw the cuuuuuutest yarn bowls:

Kitty Yarn Bowl

Kitty Yarn Bowl

Those were at the Kick the Moon Studio booth.

I didn't buy any yarn/fiber because I keep reminding myself, "I have enough yarn. I have enough fiber. I have enough yarn. I have enough fiber." But many of the vendors were selling bundle of mini skeins in gradient colorways. This seems to be the hot trend right now. They were so hard to resist! 


[cooking] Pie-nisher

Dollar's favorite comic character is the Punisher. We've both been looking forward to the the new season of Daredevil being released, which features the Punisher. I made a blackberry pie to celebrate:


The words around the outside are latin: Si vis pacem, para bellum. "If you want peace, prepare for war."

In this case, I've been telling people that it means "If you want a piece of pie, prepare for war." Or, "If you want peace, prepare a pie." Both are true.

Before baking:

Punisher Pie

Made a double crust as normal and rolled out the top and bottom a little larger than normal. I cut away some of the excess and re-rolled to cut out the Punisher skull. I used a pizza cutter to cut thin strips of dough for the letters. I didn't plan spacing too well, so the pacem/bellum words are a little scrunched together.

I brushed the top crust with milk, which made a nice adhesive for the skull and letters. Then I cut away through the eyes for steam to escape. Overall, it was a success!


[knitting] The Great American Aran Afghan

Started laying out the afghan squares, trying to figure out placement for everything.

Cat photobomb

Santana, as always, has to get all up in my business.

Santana has already claimed the blanket.

TGIF. This weekend is the Green Mountain Fiber Festival at the Hotel Coolidge in downtown White River Junction, VT. I'm planning to go on Sunday to check out the vendors. Otherwise, I'll be work on a little doily and starting to sew these squares. And maybe start cleaning up the flower beds.


[misc] Penny Thursday

 Penny, taking my seat on the couch as soon as I get up. 

"Why don't you take a picture; it'll last longer."


[cross-stitching] Teal Deer

Finished and hung:

TL;DR Teal Deer

TL; DR that I charted and stitched. A white plaster deer head that I pained teal.

I think I'd like to stitch more internet slang / acronyms and hang them all up around this. kthxbye. OMGWTFBBQ. U WOT M8?  NSFW? NSFL! GTFO. I like the juxtaposition of online text in an old fashioned medium.


[knitting] SlipStripeSpiral Complete

I finished the qualifying pair of socks for Sock Madness 10:

SlipStripeSpiral socks

The pattern is SlipStripeSpiral on Ravelry. I blocked them, took a picture and submitted them about 6 hours before the deadline. They were accepted and now I wait to be placed on a team.

This was an interesting pattern. The toe, the heel, the bind off were all techniques that I hadn't done before. The third heel wedge that I knit (where the heel meets the leg) is too big. I was meant to stop the heel sooner but I did three complete wedges. When I tried on the socks, I thought the heel was too big and I went back and re-read the pattern. Oops. Well, the socks are too big for me in general anyway so I told Dollar he can have them. These big, glittery, colorful socks. He said he probably wouldn't wear them to work but would be happy to around the house.


[misc] Santana Monday

Brought Santana down to the vet on Saturday for a check-up.

Santana at the vet

She actually handles vet visits the best out of all three cats. She mews a little on the drive down and that's it.

Santana at the vet

Last year she was diagnosed with early kidney disease. She's been (mostly) on special food ever since that is high fat and low protein. As such, she's gained 1.5 lbs in the last year. Which isn't ideal because she wasn't underweight to begin with but I think she should stay on this food if it is less taxing on her kidneys. She also had blood drawn but I won't get the results until later this week. That will also tell if the food is helping.

Overall the vet was impressed with how bright and alert and healthy looking she is. Santana came home and slept off the ordeal.


[cooking] No-Knead Pizza

I found a new way to do pizza and I'm not going back to the old way:

No knead pizza

A few weeks ago I started to constantly keep a tub of no-knead bread dough in the fridge. I use this recipe strictly for ingredient ratio because it makes a lot. It's easy to keep it on in a plastic tub in the fridge and tear off a hunk now and then. When I do bake a round loaf, I just use a preheated dutch oven (I don't want to futz around with putting in a tray of water into the oven, etc etc).

Anyway, it was pizza night at home and I looked at my tub of no-knead dough in the fridge. Surely I could use that. I found another King Arthur Flour recipe for artisan no-knead pizza crust. It had some good information regarding shaping (don't work the our edge of the dough as you shape it for a nice bubbly crust) but I simplified things further by preheating my pizza stone at 500 and baking the pizza for 10 min at 500 (rather than switching over and using the broiler).

I was astonished at how nice the pizza came out. A waaaaay better crust than the dough I've been making forever in my mini-breadmaker. And now that I practically always have no-knead dough in the fridge, we can have nice pizza like this whenever.


[knitting] Aran Afghan Square #16

Finished and blocked:

Afghan Square #16

That's the last one. Time to start sewing them all together. In a few months. Would love to have this afghan complete in time to enter it into the fair in the fall.


[knitting] For Whom the Bell Tolls

Finally, finally, finally finished the Round 5 socks from last year's Sock Madness 9:

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Knee-high kilt hose with a lace fold-over top. At the time I set this project aside last year, I had one sock complete and the cuff done on the other. Essentially all I had left to do of the 2nd sock was the leg/foot. The yarn is a sport weight and I used US 4 needles so the knitting does worth up quickly. I was able to knit the entire leg during my flights to/from DC last week, then it only took a couple evenings to finish the foot. I have multiple sock blockers and used the small size for the foot and turned the medium sizes blockers upside down to continue blocking the calf/cuff.

Pattern is For Whom the Bell Tolls and I don't think it's available any more on Ravelry. The designer was pulling off a rather gigantic charity scam and pretending to be multiple people. The yarn is Reynolds Whiskey, 3 balls, and it's not machine washable so these will be handwash-only.


[knitting] SlipStripeSpiral

Weekend progress on the SlipStripeSpiral socks:


It's a good pattern. The toes were interesting, the foot goes quickly. I just started the heels which uses a method I've never done before. Can't say I'm a fan but this competition is all about learning new techniques.

It's hard to capture in a photo but the black yarn is sparkly. Using it every other row for the foot still creates a nice, all-over sparkly effect to the sock.


[misc] Penny Friday

Penny, asking for food with her sad little eyes.

Penny. On me.

TGIFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF. Going shopping with my sister tomorrow. Working on the SlipStripeSpiral Sock Madness Socks. I've finished a few other knit things and blocked them- just need to take pictures.


[knititng] Sock Madness 10

The first pattern for Sock Madness 10 dropped yesterday. We have until March 14 to finish the pair. Our finishing time will determine what team we're placed on for the actual competition. I don't think I'm a particularly slow knitter but I was placed on one of the slowest teams last year. Here's my progress from last night:

Let the madness begin

Well.... maybe I am a slow knitter.

I made it through 4 rounds (i.e. 4 pairs of socks) last year- and I'm actually juuuuuuuust finishing up the socks from Round 5. I basically stop knitting anything once the weather turns nice and I spend all my free time gardening. I'm not sure how many rounds of Sock Madness I'll make it through this year since the snow is pretty much gone and I already have hyacinths poking up in my front flower bed.

By the way, that thing on top of my cup of coffee is a stroopwafel, the (un)official food of Sock Madness. I found a box at Stella's in Lyme, NH. It's two thin waffle-y cookies with caramel on the inside. You warm it up above your steaming drink. It's crazy good. I realize now that the European knitters are, in fact, doping and are hopped up on caffeine and sugar. That's why they're always the fastest knitters.


[art] National Museum of the American Indian

The reception for the conference I was attending last week in DC was held at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. It was a great museum. There were so many artifact and textiles to see.

Beaded belts made from wampum shells:

National Museum of the American Indian

A more modern beaded piece:

National Museum of the American Indian

A woven pouch:

National Museum of the American Indian

A knit hat (I love all the vibrant colors and the scalloped edge):

National Museum of the American Indian

The gift shop had a basket of colorful handknit sheep (I think there are pigs and roosters in there, too):

National Museum of the American Indian

Lots of textiles to be inspired by. I've love to make a knock-off version of the bobble sheep- they would make the cutest ornaments.