Monday, January 14, 2008

FO - Soleil

Pattern: Soleil by
Yarn: Elann Sonata in color 6960 (Victorian Grape)
I started knitting this top for my sister in Dec of 2006 and put it aside until late Sep next year. Once I resumed it went really fast and I gifted it to her for her birthday in Oct 2007. The fit was perfect and she really liked it. This little top is rather special because it is my very first finished garment.
Notes: I knit size M with a slightly tighter gauge and modifications to raise the V neck. Once finished I blocked it to size using another well-fitting top of hers for measurements. I've had several requests to share my modifications for the raised V neck, so here they are - Soleil Mods (coming soon). Keep in mind that these modifications are for size M only, but with a little thought you can easily crunch the numbers for other sizes.
In addition to the low V neck, the top is slightly on the short side. If you're taller than 5'2" I recommend adding a couple of inches to the body.
I found the yarn easy to work with, but not very soft. Also I wouldn't make anything big out of it because it can get pretty heavy and stretch. I thought I was running out of yarn but it turned out I would have been ok with just 5 balls if I had thought to split the last ball.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Resurrected by the love of wool and words!

It always amazes me how long you can put off a thing. Over 3 months isn't that long. Not in the scheme of things. But it was made up of single hours and days when I thought to myself, "Hmm.. that should go on the blog. Maybe in the afternoon." I managed to come up with the most wonderful reasons why posting a new entry should wait until morning. The ability of the human mind to procrastinate so creatively is fascinating, don't you think? That's why I do it, of course.

Speaking of creative, the voice of the wool speaks some nights and is silent on others. This one fairly yelled at me minutes before yanking my credit card and jumping into my mailbox. With a name like November Muse, it wasn't too hard to forgive him though.


There were many others but we won't go there right now. The one exception is this plump but gorgeous merino-silk blend that wound itself into a ball, cut itself into 3½ yd threads and tied itself onto a weaving loom! I couldn't just let it sit there, could I? So, I got myself some instructions and a shuttle and started weaving a sampler shawl. Many adventures later, it is close to being finished. Here, see for yourself.

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Much as I love the act of knitting, I think I love the look of woven fabric more. Not to mention the loom. It is such a fantastic piece of machinery. The sounds of weaving are hypnotic I think. But not to worry, one look at the price tag of that handsome Schacht you see above will snap ya right out of it. Here's the little pup I'd like to call mine *gulp*

Lest I be labeled a traitor to the Empire of the PointySticks, let me show you a little something. The luscious Marine Malabrigo morphing into a squishy cabled scarf for Mr.P (Oh, and this time I take credit. It didn't do a damn thing by itself)


And some Swish DK heading towards sock doom.


The coffee cup is empty and the Budder looks hungry so. Until next post.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Besan Halwa

Ever since we moved into this house baking is a bust because the oven is a mess (previous tenants must have used it as a mouse cage or something). Since I couldn't be bothered to get off my butt long enough to clean it, I decided to preserve it (sort of like a shrine) for a next tenants and stay away from anything that needs to be cooked in an oven.
My sweet tooth, however, is not easily silenced. And Mr.P doesn't seem to be faring much better. So, I got out the huge ghee container my mom left behind and got to work.
This is the result.

Besan (Chickpea flour) Halwa

1 cup besan, sifted and dry roasted in the microwave for 2 min
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup ghee
1/2 cup milk (I used 1% but I would think whole milk would be best)
1 tbsp cashew powder
3 green cardamom pods
pinch saffron
slivered almonds

Prepare ahead - Toast almond slivers in a dab of ghee. Set aside. Peel the cardamom pods, powder the seeds and set aside. Heat the milk, mix the saffron strands in it and set aside.

In a thick bottomed pan, melt the ghee. Add besan and mix well. Cook until the raw smell of besan is gone (about 7-8 min). Add the sugar, mix well.
When you no longer see the white of sugar, add the milk mixture, cashew powder and cardamom. Mix well and stir constantly for about 3-4 min. Pour the mixture out into a bowl and garnish with more saffron, and the toasted almonds. If you want to be fancy, thinly slice some pistachios and use it for garnish too.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Home sweet home!

After three attempts at buying a house, we've gotten farthest with this one (past the inspection items). Fingers crossed for the appraisal. We can't wait to move in and start making it our home.

And here's our sweet puppy dog with his most favorite toy in the world - squeaky Air Dog! He hardly ever lets it out of his mouth :)

This has been a good yarn month. Look what showed up the other day nestled with some sock yarn all the way from Seattle. They were so attached to each other it broke my heart to separate them and send one on its way north to my swappee.

Lane Borgosesia Baruffa Cashwool in Deepest Black. This yarn is ultra soft and a bit finer than lace weight, as I expected. I'm hoping to swatch for the Secret of the Stole KAL with this.

Stay tuned for the rest of the yarn pron and WIP pictures in the next post!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Memories from the summer of 2007

Captured for all eternity on a chip -

We went to the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo this year and it was a BLAST!
Some of those cowboys are so damn skillful. And not so hard to look at either :)

And here's an Indian folk dance show we saw. The costumes are stunning and the music is different from any other I've heard. There was a man playing the flute before the dance - the most beautiful, haunting music you've ever heard.

We drove into the mountains one day to a Buddhist place called Shambalaya. This is the Stupa which we hiked a couple of miles uphill to see.

Fantastic clouds photographed from the plane on our flight back to Denver from Phoenix.

A curious prairie dog outside Fudruckers in Thornton.

In knitting news, I've got yarn! Oh yeah, some beautiful silk for a lucky someone across the country (for you, swappee) and some lofty merino for me. The merino happens to be the discontinued Jaeger Extra Fine Merino Aran purchased from Cucumberpatch in Laurel. It is expected to morph into a Tubey in a couple of months. Again, the lack of a camera may prevent me from showing just how gorgeous this stuff is but take my word for it. It's soft, well-rounded and possibly machine wash (not that I'll ever throw one of my hand-knits into the machine). More on how it knits up when I begin.

Happy September!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Lazy summer blogging

Been over 6 weeks since I last posted, and I have several things lined up waiting to be blamed. Let's start with the weather, shall we? It's been hot and bright. It hurts the eyes to look at the computer monitor. And oh yeah while you're at it, I'm knitting myself this huge cobweb weight lace bedspread with beads and color-work.
Next there's the lack of a camera. Posts without pictures are very hard to write 'cuz then you're under pressure to make the words count. Witty don't happen when witty want.
And finally, I've been busy. With what? Heh! How does that matter?

Believe it or not, I've been knitting more than usual lately. Sonata top and the green shawl are half finished. I've ordered some yarn for Tubey which should get here next week. I've taken a deep breath and decide to push forward towards the finish line of both the brown felted bag and Mesilla. See, the updates are much quicker when there aren't any pictures.

Oh and the best news ever! I'm going to join a weaving class at the LYS in Oct. I love the look of woven fabric for shawls and blankets. Clothing, I still prefer knitting. They have these gorgeous wool-silk house yarns that I will use. Both the classes and yarn are expensive and so I'm waiting till Oct. Can't hardly wait, baby!

Yesterday was Mr.P's birthday and while it wasn't grand, I think he had a nice day. His co-workers got him this huge ass plate of cookies and I got him an electric shaver and a couple of bars of handmade soap. To go with the soap I knitted him a heart washcloth (my first ever) with a little loop. Sista got him a set of beginner guitar classes that he seemed real excited about. Wish I could have planned a surprise or two and something exciting but being a work day and all... plus, the past few months have been busy and I wasn't sure I was up to planning something big. Friends brought some beer and we sat talking for a while before going to bed.

OK another fun thing that's happening is this yarn swap I signed up for on KH. It's a surprise theme swap, meaning everyone lists a few themes they want their package to follow and their secret swap pal picks one and goes to town with it. That's the theory anyway. In reality, you pick what you think your pal will like. And try not to go broke. So far I've picked out this really cool silk yarn, a gorgeous hank of sock yarn and special ordered some linen. What d'ya think?

And since I'm positively depressed to be posting without any pictures, I'll leave you with these.

Sprague lake, Rocky Mountains

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Sun shining through the clouds in a valley, Rocky Mountains

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Our family from L-R : Sista, my mom, my dad, yours truly, and Mr. P

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Buh~bye, now.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hot dry summer days

We were in Phoenix weathering the 116°F heat a couple weeks ago, but I could swear the high today (a mere 93°F) had me giving the black eye to those unfortunate enough to cross my path. And the humidity here is only 23%!! *sigh*
I grew up in a little coastal town with a zillion % humidity and scorching hot summers. I thought I was used to it. What was I thinking?

Then there is the happy news, and I like to think it's because I'm showing great restraint in not jabbing my needles into anyone while knitting with 100% merino wool in this weather.
It's something that tends to show up underfoot most unexpectedly. In the form of a 50lb tennis-ball-loving-future-beauty-paegent-contestant. This is his "concentrating on the yellow sphere that dares roll" look -

I've started a new shawl for my mum (the aforementioned merino, it's Frog Tree single spun ultra soft merino). I'm using the vine stitch featured in the Vogue To Go series of books. I'm making it in a beautiful olive green with occasional stripe of cream. Pretty neat, no?

All other WIPs continue to languish in their protective storage containers, waiting patiently to be worked upon. I have to finish the shawl by the end of this month so I've put aside everything else temporarily. This has been a busy month so far what with mom & dad visiting and all the trips we've taken. I'll leave you with a picture of the sun setting over the magnificent grand canyon. I'm rather fond of this one.

Until next time, happy knitting!