Friday

[spinning] Hello Yarn Misc Ends

All the recent handspun yarn plied and washed and dried:

Handspun Yarn

The horizontal skein on the bottom was chain-plied, which preserved the colors. I was spinning VERY thin on my Kromski Minstrel but it was just taking forever. I switched to my Ashford Joy wheel and started spinning thick and casual. The four vertical skeins are that two-ply bulky yarn.

I think I'll have to use them all for different projects- they all look different. The colors kind of lined up during plying on that 3rd skein from the left.

Handspun Yarn

The fiber is Hello Yarn misc colors ends.

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TGIF. Work is so stressful and I have to say that coming home and stabbing my needle felted tapestry over and over again is just what I need to relax. Perhaps I should have a needle felting project going at all times.

I'm planning on attending the Vermont Knitting Guild annual meeting tomorrow in Waterbury. Any snow/rain should hold off until 4 pm or so. I think I'll bring a crock pot of vegan doenjang jjigae.

I had some retail therapy at King Arthur Flour yesterday- a shopping spree with a gift card from Christmas. I got a jar of vanilla bean paste, a new Nordic Ware pan (it was only $15!), some baking spices, a dough whisk (no more using an over-sized spoon to mix dough like an animal!) and I splurged on a 1lb bag of Valrhona chocolate fΓ¨ves to make those NY Times Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookies. These are going to be the most expensive cookies I've ever made. I've got to start them tonight to bake them on Sunday. 

Thursday

[knitting] D'Artagnan Sock Progress

I cast on for sparkly, white socks this past Sunday:

New socks. Sparkly white yarn with cable and purl texture. ✨✨ #knitting #sockknitting #dartagnansocks

I cast on 72 for the smaller size on US 2 needles and didn't increase before starting the leg pattern. I think I'm going to love these!

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I didn't do anything crafty last night. I bought Rammstein tickets as soon as I got home. We're going to the Montreal show, rather than Foxborough. The hotel prices for ONE night at Patriot Place were ridiculous ($1400 for ONE NIGHT!!!), probably because of Pats training camp. Montreal is the same distance away and I found a hotel room for $150. Plus, I can visit Espace Tricot while we're there. Win-win. 

Wednesday

[knitting] Baby Booties

I made a couple pairs of baby booties for a coworker:

baby booties

baby booties

This pattern is free on Ravelry- Baby Boots by Frankie Brown. They are knit back and forth and then seamed up the back. I used leftover sock yarns and US 1 needles. They are so cute and fast. I haven't knit booties since before my niece was born.

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I finally finished the biased cowl, which has been washed and is blocking/drying. I wound some skeins of yarn in solid colors and started a new pair of socks in sparkly white. 

The handspun yarn I spun in December is washed/drying now.

I have lots of craft projects in the works: map magnets (for work), a lamp shade, the needlefelted sheep tapestry from this past weekend. I have some plastic canvas and I want to make a tissue box cover (why is it so hard to find a free pattern online for the larger sized Kleenex boxes?) and I printed off a pattern from Ravelry for a Yip Yip to hold my dry erase markers at work.

Lots to do...

Tuesday

[needlefelting] Tapestry Needle Felting Class

Saturday I took a trip with my sister up to Littleton, NH to the Littleton Studio School for a needle-felting class. It was very fun, informative and relaxing. The artist is Neysa Russo and I've done one of her kits in the past. I was looking forward to learning some new tips and tricks- especially ideas on how to finish the edges and hang the tapestry I've already done. 

I picked out a sheep image and this was my progress for the day:

Needle Felting Class

Neysa had the idea of using real sheep locks for the body of the sheep, which I loooooove.

Needle Felting Class

I like the 3D effect and that it's touchable. I imagine people would want to pet it (I would). I showed Dollar when I got home and asked him to touch it. I expected him to pet from top to bottom (like how you pet an animal!) but he went in fingertips first and kind of... rubbed the locks like how you sprinkle salt on food. So, I've got to make sure these locks are attached well. People will be feeling this thing differently.

During lunch, my sister and I walked down to Schilling Beer Co. for lunch. It was a five hour class and I don't think many of us left for lunch but since I never go up that way, I really wanted to check Schilling out. It was excellent.

I loved my fruity gose- it was a nice sour, not like other goses I've had which can come off as... salty.

Schilling Beer Co.

The food was so good. We got the hummus of the day (Buffalo) with vegetables and pita chips. The "pita chips" were wedges of garlic-y flatbread from the brick oven. And the pizza was great- sausage, bacon, jalapeno, cheddar cheese, maple syrup. 

Schilling Beer Co.

I have to try recreating this pizza at home. 

Walking back to class after lunch, we stopped into the pedestrian covered bridge over the Ammonoosuc River:

Littleton, NH

Littleton, NH

Littleton, NH

It was pretty cold out, so we didn't stay on the bridge long.

I didn't stress out about not finishing my project by the end of class- we were able to keep all of our supplies so we can finish at home. I have sat down with this sheep once at home and I've started filling in the negative space with a neutral background color. If I need more supplies, I can stop by Neysa's new shop/studio in Bradford, VT.

Friday

[knitting] Advent Socks 2019

The advent socks are ready to be worn:

Advent Socks

I love them. They're pretty, interesting to look at and, since I used leftover sock yarns, a pleasant reminder of all the many socks I've knit in the past. They were a challenge to work on- only because there were so many ends to sew in and the color palette was limited to solid/tonal colors. 

Advent Socks

But these socks actually make me want to knit more pairs of socks in solid colors- just so I can add more leftovers to make next year's advent socks!

Advent Socks

Advent Socks

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TGIFFFFF. I... have had... a week. Work is overwhelming. Also, we've had more problems at home with Santana's health (she went to the vet- nevermind the stroke, her renal disease is worsening and now she has pancreatitis). This three day weekend is so what I need. I'm going to an all-day needle felting class with my sister tomorrow in Littleton, NH. There's a brewery next door to the school. It's going to be the best day ever. And then TWO more days off? This three day weekend is just what I need. Maybe snowshoe around the woods in the new powder and then reward myself with a bubble bath.

I hope to be able to finish the cowl this weekend. I've been puttering around, trying to figure out what to start next. I think I'd like to do a curtain panel (for the window above the kitchen sink). I have an old Modern Lace Knitting book and there is a pretty pattern (that's even charted) for a rose lace curtain.

It was around this time last year that I did the linen lace curtains for the downstairs bathroom. January giving me curtain feelings...

Wednesday

[embroidery] $ hankies

Not much time to craft after work but I did manage a quick project for Dollar:

Some quick embroidered hankies. πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’²

He received some cotton hankies for Christmas and I embroidered a little dollar sign into the corners. Easy and fast. Each dollar sign only took about a minute- I felt guilty, like I should be doing more. Then I got over it.

Tuesday

[misc] Santana Tuesday



Santana had a stroke about a week ago. I woke up at 5:30 am and she was kind of falling down the bed-side steps. I turned the light on and she was walking bow-legged and unevenly. She had a stroke last May, which was much worse. I went to the guest room and set it up (or broke it down) the same way we did last time: take apart the bed frame, set aside the box spring, put the mattress on the floor and cover the floor with blankets and pillows. Bring in a litterbox, space heater, water and food dishes. 

I was rushing because I had to fly to DC that morning. I felt bad leaving but Dollar would take good care of her and we had been through it before. Santana just needs food, rest and not be in danger of falling. In the end, I was only away for a couple nights.

It's been a week and she's doing much better. We're keeping the room warm and I'm sleeping on the mattress with her at night. She seems more confused than last time. She has come out of the room a few times (we're keeping the door closed when we're not with her) but generally wants to stay in there. She'll come out when she's ready.

Monday

[cooking] Arancello

Finished making the arancello this weekend:

Homemade #arancello. 🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊🍊 I’m mixing it with seltzer because omg

I kept the orange peels in grain alcohol for a week. Some recipes say to not let the mixture sit longer than 5 or 6 days, some recipes insist on 20 days. I don't know. Maybe next time I'll let it steep longer but I like the orange color and flavor I achieved after just 7 days.

I strained the peels from the Everclear and mixed in three cups of simple syrup. It makes the liquid look cloudy, which I think is pretty. The big bottle is in the freezer, the smaller carafe is in the fridge and I've been nipping away at it. I have to mix it with seltzer because I took a sip of it straight and immediately felt drunk.

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I noticed that Hulu has all of Season 2 of Making It. I watched it all over the weekend. It's so good and funny and inspiring. Also, after watching a couple episodes, I start to feel antsy and have to go to the craft room to make something. 

My office at work is pretty sterile with NO decorations. Someone could move into the office after only about 5-10 minutes of getting rid of stuff. There was a cubicle decorating challenge on Making It and I feel like decorating the crap out of this space now. I started with a pencil holder- I added some washi tape trim around the top and slipped some cut maps into the photo holders. It's very cuuuute. I'm going to get a spool of pompom fringe from the craft store to tack into the top of my corkboard.

I finished the Advent Socks and they're currently blocking. I'm more than halfway done with my totally biased (totally boring) cowl. I stitched a few Dollar signs onto the corners of some new hankies for Dollar.

Over the weekend, I defrosted a bag of leftover ham from Christmas and made some homemade deviled ham. I don't know how you feel about the canned stuff but I like it. This homemade stuff is different but also good. More like a dip than a sandwich spread, though. I also made some potato, ham, corn chowder. We had ham and eggs for breakfast. The last bit of ham will go into a quiche. Then I need to wait a month and defrost the OTHER bag of leftover ham... I'm feeling a little hammed out.

Friday

[cooking] Marmalade

My local coop grocery stores had their annual citrus sale and I went last Friday to get a 20 lb box of cara cara oranges. I used a dozen for marmalade:

20lb box of cara cara oranges

Pre-marmalade

It turned out pretty good, if a little thick. 5 pints total.

Marmalade

I was so looking forward to toast with peanut butter and marmalade but I couldn't find peanut butter. I tore apart the pantry, sure I had a jar of that teddy bear brand. Siiiiiigh. Whatever, I just had toast and marmalade (eyeroll).

I also cut up some slices of a mozzarella/prosciutto roll and had some on crackers with the marmalade. THAT was amazing. 

marmalade with crackers and cheese

I also started some arnancello with a whole bottle of Everclear:

Started arancello

orange peels and everclear

It's been five days, I'll finish it this weekend. Hopefully I didn't get too much of the bitter piths with the peels... 

And I squeezed all the peeled oranges for screwdrivers all last Sunday. No regrets.

Plenty of oranges left... I might try zesting a dozen and then freezing the zest. I wouldn't mind another day of screwdrivers but I feel like I can do something else with the juice. A marinade, perhaps...

Thursday

[knitting] Advent sock... ends to sew...

All the knitting is complete for the advent socks:

Advent socks are done.  Only 7,000 ends to sew in. I’m saving this tedious job for a plane ride. #knitting #adventsocks #sockknitting #strandedknitting

Now to sew in all the ends. Ugh.

I was in DC for a couple days this week- I was able to sew in all the ends of one sock on the flight down. I didn't get as much done during the flight back. Once the second sock is done, I'll just have to wash/block.

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I made a couple pairs of baby booties for a co-worker that I'll take a picture of and send off tomorrow. I started my usual I-don't-know-what-to-knit project: totally biased cowl. I'm using a ball of sock yarn.

I have some star wars knitting charts printed and I have an idea for a hat... I just need to get all the yarn and charts together- and figure out how to make it.

I signed up to take a needle felting class with my sister next Saturday! And the Green Mountain Knitting Guild annual meeting is the following Saturday. Lots of fun stuff to do this month!

Friday

[quilting] Jen's Quilt

The other quilt I finished and gifted for Christmas:

Jen's Quilt

I've been working on this quilt for years. Jen picked out random fat quarter pieces at a quilt shop in Las Vegas in... Jan 2017, I think. I sewed random blocks off and on, when inspired. I really made a push to get the whole thing done this year.

The finished top:

Jen's Quilt

I wish it was a little wider but I basically ran out of the sashing fabric. It was challenging to put all the different blocks together in a way that looked nice and balanced. I'm never doing a rando quilt like this again.

Here's a close-up of the castle and backing fabric:

Corps Castle

I think I have enough leftover pieces that I can make a matching scrappy quilt for her dog. Some day. Maybe a couple years from now.

Thursday

[quilting] Charm squares quilt

I'm back from vacation. I gifted a quilt to my sister for Christmas- a project I've been working on in secret for a couple years:

Sister's charm quilt

She gave me all the cut squares- I just had to sew them together. I thought it would be nice- she cut all the squares but doesn't have time to sew. I'd sew them all together and give it back to her. Turns out; she didn't cut the squares either. She says I did but I have no memory of ever cutting these squares. So... SOMEONE cut them but we don't know who.

I sewed them together randomly into 2 by 6 blocks, then added a muslin rail fence piece to square the piece up. Then you just rotate the blocks to make it zig-zag.

I finished the top and brought it to Hen House Fabrics in White River Jct., VT to pick backing and binding fabrics. I chose a blue batik for the back and an orange fabric for the binding.

Sister's charm quilt

Then I brought everything to Barnyard Quilting in Fairlee, VT. I picked out the batting, thread and actual quilting pattern. I went with leaves...

Sister's charm quilt

Sister's charm quilt

Man, every time I pick up a finished quilt, I want to keep it for myself.

Sister's charm quilt

Since I can't keep it, it makes me want to start another. I did pull out my Star Wars fabrics and the next one I make will be for Dollar. 

Friday

[misc] Vacation

I'll probably not be posting for the next couple weeks- going into vacation mode. No showering, only crafting and baking. Pajama life. I'll def have a lot of new stuff to show off when I return. Merry Happy and see you next year!

Thursday

[knitting] Santa Hat

Made a quick little Santa hat for Baby Yoda:

New hat, new episode. πŸŽ…πŸŽ„ #themandalorian #babyyoda #crochet #amigurumi

The red yarn is Lamb's Pride Worsted. I cast on 56 stitches with US 8 needles and knit an inch and a half. Then decreased a stitch or three every other round, in random places, to get a cone shaped hat. I picked up the brim with Bernat Pipsqueak yarn in white and knit an inch. And made a little pompom for the top.

I was able to do it quickly, in a couple hours- just in time to plop it on his head before we watched the new Mandalorian episode.

My crafting life has been revolving around Baby Yoda for a while now. I made him a little cup to hold popcorn for the last episode:

Who’s ready for the next episode?  #babyyoda #themandalorian

He was in Murderface's bed, which made Murderface take my seat.

Everybody's in the wrong seats here.

I'm not having that, of course, so I had to move everyone around:

Murderface back in his bad.

Pauvre bebe Yoda :(

I need to find some other projects to work on over the break. Maybe another sweater for me...

Wednesday

[cooking] Yule Log Cake

We went to a holiday party this past weekend and I baked a bundt cake to bring:

Lazy person’s Yule Log. πŸŽ„ Gingerbread cake baked in a log bunt pan. #baking #nordicware #bundtcake #gingerbreadcake #yulelog

It's the Nordic Ware Yule Log pan. I used this recipe, increasing all the ingredients by 50%. I've made this recipe in this pan before and the batter didn't fill in the pan completely. This was the perfect amount for this pan. 

No frosting or glaze- I just made some vanilla bean whipped cream to serve with it.

I should embroider the yule log on a bundt bag during the Christmas break.

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Had a car appointment this morning; worked on the advent socks more.

Back at the mechanic; more advent sock progress. πŸŽ„πŸŽ„ #knitting #sockknitting #adventsocks

This limited color palette is presenting an extra challenge to working on these socks.

The only other thing on my to-knit list is a little Santa hat for Baby Yoda.

Tuesday

[knitting] Advent socks

Caught up a bit on my advent socks over the weekend:

Advent socks

I'm definitely trying to only use sock yarn leftovers, so my color combos might be a little weird. There are going to be a million ends to sew in but it's been a fun knit- each band doesn't take too long and then you're on to a different pattern.

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Last night's supper was Vermont Curry:

It’s a Vermont curry kind of night. πŸ›

And today's lunch. And tonight's supper. 

Monday

[cooking] Babkas

I made a couple babka's this weekend.

Chocolate, before baking:

Chocolate Babka

After baking:

Chocolate Babka

Ube, before baking:

Ube Babka

After baking:

Ube Babka

Ube is a purple sweet potato used in a lot of Filipino desserts. I picked up a couple potatoes at Hmart and baked one. I skinned, mashed and mixed it with coconut milk. Then I smeared it over the dough, rolled, cut, shaped the loaf. The purple paste cracked apart a bit while the bread proofed, which makes the swirls look a little like tentacles- and I don't hate it. I kind of want to do this again with matcha- make green bread and darker green paste? Then it'll look like a green tentacle? Ooooooo.

The bread is very good. It toasts well and the ube is a pretty touch.

Ube babka

The chocolate one was cooled and then wrapped up for the freezer. I'll reheat it after Christmas, when I'm on vacation.

By the way- I love collecting shower caps from hotel rooms, so I can use them for bread proofing:

Shower caps


Shower cap over proofing bread

Friday

[misc] Christmas tree

It took all night but I decorated the tree last night (band practice was at the house, so it was nice to listen to live music while I was working). The lights and star:

Phase 1 complete πŸ’‘⭐️

With all the ornaments:

Phase 2 complete. πŸŽ„

Some of my favorite ornaments:

Favorite Ornaments

Favorite Ornaments

Favorite Ornaments

Favorite Ornaments

Favorite Ornaments

Favorite Ornaments

Favorite Ornaments

You can see my phone's Lil Bub PopSock reflected in the body of the guitar!

Favorite Ornaments

Favorite Ornaments

Favorite Ornaments