Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

It's that time of year again! So... what am I going to do in 2009? Here's the new list!

  1. Entrelac. Still haven't done it, still want to, it's time I did.

  2. Knit more than 1 sock at a time. Toe up, top down, doesn't matter. Two at a time, any way.

  3. Knit more non-sock objects. I'll always have at least one sock on the needles, but my stash needs to shrink.

  4. Shrink the stash. Knit down 2 bins and one bag of sock yarn. Smaller house, less space.

  5. Sell non-fitting clothes on eBay. Already did a huge purge (8 bags donated to charity!), but there's more.

  6. Work out regularly. It's not healthy to sit on my butt at work and at home and just stuff myself all day long. But hey, at least I managed to go vegetarian!

  7. Spend more time running games. It's fun, it's social, I don't do it enough.

  8. Start my holiday knitting early enough to actually finish by the holidays.

  9. Cross stitch and do some spinning. I've neglected both.

That's it for me, anything else will be extra. How about you? Are you making resolutions this year or just hoping for something good?

Either way, I hope you have a Happy New Year, and that 2009 has much of the good and little of the bad in store for us.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Knitting... and Cats

There has been knitting. A few months ago, I subscribed to the Sugarbee sock club... the wonderful person who sells Politically Incorrect Yarns, which... how can you not love the name? I mean, come on. And she has colorways named after mixed drinks. The one for the Beachcomber Socks was called Sex on the Beach. Great name!

And great yarn -- with a fun to knit pattern to boot. I showed this to the owner of the LYS near work, and she couldn't stop asking questions about it. I mean... blues and browns, with slightly greenish bits. Like water lapping at the shore.

And look at the fun pooling. Beachcombers, pooling, get it?

OK, you can stop cringing now.

Pattern Details:
Pattern: Beachcomber Socks by picnicknits
Yarn: Politically Incorrect Yarns and Fibers 100% Wool Sock in Sex on the Beach
Needles: US #0
Modifications: I made the shaft 8" long because I like tall socks and my skinny legs and tiny feet don't use up much yarn. I still have enough left over for footie socks, I think!

And now, some kitty cuteness. Merlin and Morgana cuddled up, taking a nap together. They're over a year old and they still love each other!

There has been some holiday knitting, but... ahem, it's blocking upstairs. Can't show pictures of it quite yet. Well, at least not here. If you want to take a look at it in its unblocked state, go check out its project page on rav.
Apologies to all who are not on ravelry. I just can't have the recipient peeking.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post-Holiday Knitting

The holiday knitting is done. I can't quite post pictures of it yet because it hasn't been sent out yet (yes, I was late again this year), but soon. I have already switched to post-holiday knitting and will be posting pictures soon.

There has been a lot of cooking and baking too. We had one of Mr. Batty's friends from work over for dinner, and I made Tortellini Indulgence, AKA Tortellini Rustica with a pound of smoked mozzarella in it, and pumpkin pie. It was very tasty, but something went wrong with the crust. The directions said to cover with two sheets of aluminum foil and bake until golden. When I lifted the foil, I noticed to my utmost horror that the butter was bubbling, and the crust was... boiling! Now, this was supposed to be pumpkin pie, not latkes (which I have made successfully), so clearly, there was something wrong. Maybe I shouldn't have folded the edges of the foil under quite so tightly.
Anyway, after I removed the foil, the crust fried. The pie itself was very good, but the crust was on the crispy side. I'm usually a pretty good cook, but there is something about pie crust that gets me every time. I guess it's my Achilles' heel.

We had a good time, ate a lot, and it was a very nice, very quiet time. I got a flannel nightgown, and the robe is still on its way... I love flannel. It's warm and cozy and comfortable. Mmmmm, flannel.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


That's right, enormous, floofy, all-caps SNOW. Not just a little, but lots and lots of it. It started falling Friday afternoon, continued through Saturday, and most of today. This picture was taken this morning... there has been more snow since. Not good for being outside, but wonderful weather for staying inside and getting domestic.

The cats enjoyed their spot on top of the fireplace... we didn't light it, but they like it up there anyway. They lounged, Mr. Batty and I flopped around the house, I knit. I'd love to show you the Super Secret Holiday Knitting. Unfortunately, I won't be able to until after the holidays.

So instead, I will show you pictures of the other thing I like to do with my free time: Cooking! See this orange stuff? That's cream of carrot soup. Cream of roasted carrot, to be exact, and it's wonderful on a cold day. Thick and yummy and... well, very orange.

Speaking of thick and creamy, behold this year's egg nog! It's thick and golden and made of all-organic ingredients. Well, except for the booze. It's amazing how much more flavor an organic egg imparts. We can really taste the difference.

And what would the holidays be without cookies? In our house, they have to be bat cookies, of course. Christmas Bats! I have red and green sprinkles and I was going to decorate them, but Mr. Batty isn't feeling well and I like the way they taste as-is. So no sprinkles on these cookies. But they're bats!

We also made a couple of ghosts. These are the Ghost of Christmas Past cookies. Because we have to have something geeky in there, right?

I'm going back to my holiday knitting now. It's Sunday... must knit faster.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Firsts and Knitting

I have been busy. The holidays are approaching, and people at work are trying to get all of their ducks in a row before taking a few well-deserved vacation days. And then, there are the other preparations... you know... baking, and knitting!

Last week, I baked the first pizza in our new home. My deep dish pizza pans (aka cake pans) were in storage, so I used a baking sheet. It came out very nice.

And let's not forget cookies. These are ginger crackles. They came out looking exactly like the picture in the recipe, which is a first. And they taste good! We took them to our monthly Call of Cthulhu game yesterday, and I ate about 6 or so. There's something about cookies, I just couldn't stop.

I told you I'd been knitting, and I wasn't making that up either! The Pomatomus socks I started when my parents came for a visit are done. My mother claimed them, so these will be sent off to Germany soon.

They took me almost a month, but in my defense, there was the small detail of the move. I found the pattern annoying at first, but after I was almost done with the first sock, it clicked, and things moved quickly from there.

Pattern Details:
Pattern: Pomatomus by Cookie A.
Yarn: CTH Supersock in Dove
Needles: US #0 (skinny ankles run in the family!)
Modifications: None. They fit my mom perfectly as written. How cool is that?

There is some secret Christmas knitting I can't show you, but this is the current sock from the Sugarbee Studios Sock Club. They're called Beachcombers, and thee colors and wavy lace pattern really make them look like sand and water. Complete with pooling, heh.

OK, I'll stop the puns now. I'm on sock #2 and it's coming along very nicely. Maybe I'll get done just in time for this month's installment!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Thanksgiving, Part 2... and House!

The number of boxes is shrinking, and it makes me very happy to see an increasing amount of floor space. The cats, on the other hand, are enjoying the vast amounts of crinkle paper. Morgana in particular was having a great time.

My new kitchen is quite a bit smaller than my old kitchen. You're looking at the whole thing! There's relatively little space for food in the cabinets, but there's a Whole Foods within a 5 minute walk, and they're building a Trader Joe's across the street. I guess I can afford to suppress the worst of my hoarding impulses.
The appliances are awesome, by the way. Gas stove, amazing fridge, and a great microwave. Yay!

My craft corner is also nearly complete. The second bedroom has my Ott Lite, my comfy chair, and all of my knitting/crochet and cookbooks in it. The entire closet is taken up by yarn, fiber, cross-stitch stash... I'm planning on reducing that drastically. We have very little closet space, and it doesn't seem entirely fair that I'm taking up the bigger of 2 closets with craft stuff. The yarn diet is going well, by the way -- I haven't bought yarn in over a month!

The cats love our two story windows. We have a loft-style living room with lots of light, and the fuzzies have figured out how to jump from the fireplace onto the window sill. It's a new favorite spot.

As you can see, we have a lot to be grateful for this year. For the first time ever, we both have real jobs. Our families are doing well. We have cats, a new home, and a shorter commute. I hope things stay good for us, and that the situation around the world gets better soon.

A happy belated Thanksgiving to all... I'm off to start visiting the blogs of my online knitting friends, for whom I am also grateful. It's been over a month, but now I have time to catch up!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving, Part 1... and STASH!

First, some pre-moving things. Here is the Halloween SP gift that simply amazed me: Purple bat, roving, and happy spooky socks! It got to me right before we moved. Such pretty yarn, and did I mention the purple bat bowl? Oh, and there was also this purple bat bowl! Yes, I love it.
The chocolate didn't make it into the picture, though... yum.

Second, I am grateful that we have a roof over our heads, and that our new home is warm and cozy. I need to get a water heater replaced and the phone isn't connected yet, but other than that, everything works and is making us happy. Some pictures of the fuzzies in their new lair coming up!

Before I show pictures of our new place and our Thanksgiving dinner, though, I wanted to share why I need to be on a stash diet. As we were getting ready to move, it all came together in one place. Yarn stash, fiber stash, everything. Doesn't look so bad, right?

That's because you're only seeing the satellites. Here is the Main Attraction. Aaaah!

The scary thing? After I took these pictures, I found more yarn.
I need to go on a yarn diet.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Settling In

We are settling into our new place. No phone or internet yet, many things are still in boxes, and somehow, my socks ended up in storage. And then there are the cats. They are having a high old time with the crinkle paper the movers used to wrap our kitchen stuff. But the fuzzies are having a hard time with the bedroom forbidden zone. Now that we no longer have a basement, we have to be careful about allowing them access, or they'll expect to sleep with us all the time. And there is no sleeping with Merlin. He cuddles to the left, he cuddles to the right, he cuddles around and around. All night long. Not that we're getting that much sleep anyway... Merlin has been very yowly and talky of late. Happy but vocal.

Pictures coming as soon as I get my computer set up. Stay tuned for knitting, cooking and new home decor!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Crafty Content (Pictures!)

The house sage continues. The closing on our house is approaching, and we have had an offer accepted on a lovely condo. The Purchase & Sale is next week, the inspection today. My parents are here, which means they'll get to see the place -- it's beautiful.

In the meantime, I haven't been lazy. Or rather, the moving, lawyer-calling and packing stress has led to increased crafting/cooking activity.

Exhibit A: Very heavily iced cinnamon buns (yum!)

The Pomatomus sock is growing. The pattern is beautiful, but I find it annoying to knit. It's not difficult, it just requires constant counting, and when you're too tired to count, you mess up. But the result is worth the effort.

Exhibit B: Pomatomus Sock

Merlin kept getting in the picture, so you see Sock with Cat. My mother saw the sock, tried it on... well, now it's for her. It has been claimed.

I've also been crocheting. I love, love, love the fall issue of Interweave Crochet! There is maybe one pattern in the whole magazine I don't want to make. This is a closeup of my Stone Scarf, my first ever crocheted item that looks like it will keep its shape throughout. No unexpected stitch fluctuations.

Exhibit C: Stone Scarf

I'm crocheting it out of Kureyon Sock. The stuff almost killed my hands when I tried to knit with it, but it's not bothering me too much when I'm crocheting. And look at those colors!

As you can see, there's a lot going on around here. For now, I'm spending a lot of time with my parents, knitting/crocheting/cooking whenever I get the chance, and try to get a bit of breathing space every once in a while. Soon, I'll be moving, cats, stash and all!

Friday, October 17, 2008


No, I'm not talking about the opening line of the Phantom of the Opera. Our house is under agreement, the P&S has been signed, and we have a closing date in mid-November. Mr. Batty and I are scrambling to either find a house/condo we want to buy, or, failing that, to line up temporary housing so we don't have to sleep under a bridge. It's... intense.

I've been knitting and crocheting a lot, but haven't had the time or energy to post pictures. It doesn't help that some of the knitting is secret, what with birthdays and the holidays coming up. I apologize in advance for the spotty updates on this blog, and for my seeming disinterest in everybody else's -- I still care what you're up to, I promise, but I'm more than a little preoccupied with this moving thing. We're trying to pack up and move an entire household in less than a month... aaaaaaaaaaah!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

First Toe Up Socks!

I thought they'd never get done, but here they are... my first ever toe-up socks!

Here they are from the front...

...and here on blockers...

...and here sideways without flash, so you can see the pretty pattern. I, too, can knit toe-up socks!

Pattern details:
Pattern: Feet First from Simply Knitting, Issue 39 (Spring 2008)
Yarn: Panda Cotton
Color: Roses
Needles: US #0
Modifications: I knit the medium width, which turned out to be a mistake in this slippery yarn. It's beautiful but has too much drape -- I'd use it again for a shawl, but not for socks. Anyhow, medium width, foot length as per the small size, everything else medium... extra repeats of the lace pattern for a longer cuff, plus 10 rows of ribbing. I'll knit these again -- in the small, in a sproingier yarn.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Birthday Yarn

My birthday yarn came! I would love to show it off, but I know what's going to happen if I start taking it out of its little baggies and taking pictures: I'll have cast on some new projects before you know it, and then, my current WIPs will never get done.

Merlin loves the box the yarn came in, though! He would like to thank the nice people at Little Knits for his new toy.

I will be taking at least 2 WIPs to Cleveland on Monday. If I take nothing else to knit, I'll have to finish them, right? Anyhow, I'll be back on Thursday. And by then, I should be ready to break out the new yarn!

Monday, September 15, 2008


It's late, the lighting is crummy, but I wanted to share these pictures. Why? Because I love these socks. They're so bright, they'll burn your eyes if you look at them too long. I may take better pics later (the auto-adjust feature of my cheapo editing software doesn't really do the colors justice). Click on the pictures for the full, big picture impact!

Yes, that's an eye of partridge heel. Because just the circles and stripes weren't enough.

Pattern: Circles by Anne Campbell (on ravelry)
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock
Color: Childplay
Needles: US #0
Mods: I decreased the gusset an extra 2 stitches for a better fit, then didn't have the right number of stitches for a star toe. So what did I do? I just knit my regular toe instead! But that's it. The pattern was very well-written, and these socks were so much fun to knit. No Second Sock Syndrome, not a trace of it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Yarn Choice Advice?

I don't just usually stop everything I'm doing and cast on yet another project. But I saw Anne Shirley in the Fall issue of knitty, I immediately thought, "There is this Louet Gems Fingering/Sportweight yarn I bought instead of their thinner version. I wonder if it goes with that Claudia's Hand Painted stuff?"
So now I need some color help. Would this be great, or would the resulting scarf be an eyesore? I can't quite decide. The Gems is more of a cool-toned red, and the Claudia's has more of a warm/peach-y pink to it.

Here are the candidates, picture taken with flash.

A closeup, still with flash. I was hoping that the Gems would be a lot thicker than the Claudia's, but as you can see, the difference is pretty much negligible.

And here, the two yarns without flash. I'm baffled by the similar weight. The Gems is labeled as a Fine/Sportweight yarn, while the Claudia's is simply called a fingering weight. They look to be about the same thickness to me. The scarf calls for medium and thin sock yarn, but even if they're both the same thickness, I think the end product would be pretty -- if the colors don't clash. What do you think?

Speaking of matching colors, the cats have this down to an art form. Note my camo cats, with Morgana on the dark blue blanket and Merlin on the sheet that's closer to the color of his coat.

They're being so cute in this picture. I was sick and both of them kept me company. It's the most wonderful thing -- they really can tell when their human is not OK.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I've been pretty good about my yarn diet, but I did order some birthday yarn. Because birthday yarn doesn't count, right? Anyhow, my order shipped, I received the e-mail with my tracking number, and it says the box weighs 4 pounds. Eeeep!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sock Mania

Thank you all for your kind words about my Circle Socks. I have talked to my sister, and she says she wants socks that are so bright your eyes hurt. The more I look at the socks she's getting, the more I'm convinced they're exactly right. But those are not the only socks I have around the house right now.

For one thing, here is my second Feet First sock. The Panda Cotton is a lovely yarn, it is soft, it has great stitch definition, the colors are pretty, and it has incredible drape. But herein lies the problem. It's more drapy than elastic, and I think I'd rather use it for a shawl rather than a pair of socks. Don't get me wrong, these are going to be very pretty socks. It's just that I like stretchy, tightly-spun sock yarn. Also, it's cotton. Very soft cotton, but it still doesn't have a lot of give. Part of the reason these are taking so long is that my wrists hurt after I knit more than 8 rows.

Because one pair of socks in a yarn that has no give isn't enough, I had to get the August kit from the Tofutsies sock club. I'm usually a process knitter, but when I saw the socks in the picture, I just had to have them. I also ordered some Rosewood Sox Sticks because you can never have enough sock needles, and these are very pretty. I'll let you know how they feel when I try them.

This is not a new picture, but it occurred to me that I had never shown you a shot of my vegan chocolate-chocolate chip muffins. OK, they're more cupcakes than muffins. Still, they're amazing, they're incredibly chocolaty and moist, and they have better texture than anything I've ever made with dairy. Repeat? You bet!

Something else I never showed you is our newly-painted dining room. As you can see, it's a dark burgundy color, and I love it. It's elegant. It has that Victorian bordello touch. I think it's the prettiest room in the entire house now.

Oops, I have to run down to the kitchen to stir the pizza sauce. More knitting content next time... probably more socks. I'll work on my sweaters eventually, I swear I will!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Crazy Colorful Sock

When I asked my sister what kind of socks she wanted next, she said colorful. I really hope she means it! This is most of the shaft of a Circle Sock, in crazy colorful Shepherd Sock, no flash so you can see the texture. The pattern is loads of fun to knit, I haven't been able to stop knitting since I cast on. I don't know if it's the circles or the colors or a combination of both.

Same yarn with flash, which is closer to the real color. I hope she likes them!

And, because no blog post is complete without cat pictures... here is me playing with Merlin.

And here is him going berserk over the cat teaser. He's a fun cat and we love him, even though he's figured out how to disassemble his cat fountain and the hose that leads from our portable AC to the water tank. Yes, we love him even though he's a crazy cat genius!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Momma Monkey Memorial Socks

It's been a long time coming, but here is a yarny memorial to Gigi Silva -- a fabulous knitter and designer with a generous heart and a flair for the fabulous. I own 3 of her sock knitting bags, and every once in a while, I'll look at them closely and think of the person who made something so pretty and useful.

She also designed these socks, and I know she loved Orange.

I love the way these socks turned out. They make me very happy.

Pattern: Fawkes by Gigi Silva
Yarn: 1 skein Celestial Merino Dream by Lucy Neatby, bought during a Halifax trip
Color: The tag simply said "orange" -- and boy, are they!
Needles: US #0
Modifications: One extra gusset stitch picked up. I decided not to modify the pattern, but to knit it exactly as written.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Box Contents

And here they are, the long-anticipated contents of the box! I was sick and taking antibiotics on my birthday, so it really brightened my day.

Now that the cold is gone and I can taste things again, the Werther's Original won't last long. I love Mary Engelbreit, and who knew there even was such a thing as Beanie Babies 2.0? Uh... cute stuffed animals and online stuff? I sens a new obsession coming on.
And of course there is yarn -- Opal sock yarn. I love Opal. Regia leaves me cold, but Opal does such interesting self-striping stuff.
But the best part of the gift is Volare, a lace shawl designed by Rosi herself! It's gorgeous. I'm torn between knitting it from stash yarn and ordering a skein of the Kauni the original was knit with. I've never tried Kauni and it's my birthday and I was going to order something from Little Knits anyway...

While I was contemplating the implications of my yarn buying decision, Merlin developed an interest in the box contents as well. He was licking and sucking the Werther's bag... I guess they're not kidding about making the stuff with real cream!

The box, however, has become a cat toy. The game goes as follows: Morgana gets in the box, her brother creeps up on her from the outside, then he bonks her in the head with his paw. Cat wrestling ensues. They love this game.

The cats and I would all like to than Rosi for the wonderful gifts. I hope you like the box that's coming your way (a bit late... oops) just as much!

Oh, one more thing... getting bonked on the head repeatedly must have ticked off Morgana more than we thought. We bought a cat teaser with a long tail of feathers, figuring she'd love to chase it around. And we were right. Less than 10 seconds after we pulled it out, Mr. Batty was holding a stick with a few pathetic feathers dangling off of it.

The rest of the feathers were in Morgana's mouth. Oh, well. That toy didn't last long.

Anyhow, next time, there will be knitting, I promise. I hope everybody is having a great weekend!