Friday, September 29, 2006

My foodie friends-

I have a customer who runs the liquor department at a big-box store. She knows we are wine-ers and often brings demonstration leftovers for us to try at home. Some of the wines are good; the wines that aren't that wonderful often make it into sauces or soups. Just picture me in my sweats and slippers, drinking wine and adding it to a bubbling pot on the stove! Wait, better add curlers in my hair for a really good mental picture.

Another one of my friends is a foodie-she likes food, she likes to cook food, she likes to read cookbooks. She sent me a recipe this week in an email titled "Damn, this is GOOD!" Note the lovely cooking dribbles on it. Those are indications of a well loved recipe. I have chicken, I have wine. Guess what we are having for dinner tonight?

PS-I received a comment that indicated that this recipe was from "The Bridge" series of Canadian cookbooks, which are not well known in my part of the US. I've linked this post to their website.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

TV night!!!!

Wednesday night is TV night! Oh wait, let me revise that...most nights are TV night. Wednesday is "my show." I adore Project Runway. I think it's because I've had so many clothing failures, both knitting and sewing, that I empathize. I sewed my first failure when I was 12. I sewed a sleeve in upside down, and to this day, I remember the fabric, the design, the "Oh, no!" when I realized what I had done. My mom helped me rip it out. I've done many EXCELLENT sweaters for my DH, who swears I have a 6'5", 250lb boyfriend hidden that I knit for, because the fit is way off. Project Runway is a reality show I can sink my teeth into.

I got really excited, and thanked my husband profusely for not pitching a fit. He graciously flipped the remote to Bravo, and served as my show's Howard Cosell. He rolled his eyes, was wildy creeped out by Tim Gunn, hated Heidi's voice, and thought Peanut shouldn't be allowed to breed. And it got better. I had to fill him in on who is what....and he proclaimed it the stupidest show ever.

He snorted that I was not even watching! HA! I had a lap full of knitting and a dog that wanted my attention. I started on the Feather and Fan Comfort shawl in the merino and mohair blend I "fixed" a few weeks back. (I have a giftee in mind.) Good thing it's an easy pattern, because I had to watch the show, knit, and pet this-

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Katrina Tee done!

Here she is. Four balls of Paton's Katrina, with only yards to spare. It fits EXACTLY. The original plan was to crochet around the neckline, and make the sleeves slightly longer. I tried it on yesterday, looked in the mirror and said "Oh HELLLLL no. There's no need to frighten folks with that neckline." So I "made it work" and added neck and sleeve ribbing.

I got the design ideas for this top from my friend MacChick. I like it because I can wear it almost anywhere, and there's still a lot of warm weather left. It almost matches the sky. Due to popular demand, I've added the bathroom shot. Nice, huh? ;-)

Monday, September 25, 2006


These make me crabby because I don't always type the right thing. And I get to repeat the gobbledygook typing exercise. Sometimes I get it wrong because of glare on the screen. Sometimes it's because of an odd font, a weird color, a really groovy ripple, or a really spotty background texture. Or I fat-finger in the text. Sometimes, it's because I am in the bifocal club, and I think that adds to my annoyance.

But surely it can't be just my eyesight. I pass the eyecharts at the doc's, the Air Force checked to make certain I could tell the difference between fuchsia and avocado, and they let me keep my license down at the driver's bureau. I think that sometimes, they are just tough to read.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Spot reducing-I could use a little help here!

Ah yes-making it fit WELL. I am a firm believer in a little shaping. It's not a matter of fooling the eye, it's helping the eye see less! Because I sewed for years before I started knitting, I grew familiar with darts and shaping. It's very, very easy to add a little shaping in a sweater to help define your waist.

This is my Katrina top that I started a week ago. I've been knitting a tube from the top down. I've added decreases under the arm and bustline to reduce extra fabric around my waist. Now, I am adding stitches after my waistline to accomodate the rest of me.

My gauge is 4 stitches to the inch-so just a few stitches REALLY improve this top's shape. I distributed my increases and decreases evenly on both the front and the back. I decreased 4 stitches under the arm on one round, knit for about 1 1/2 inches, and repeated my decreases. (In my case, my decreases and increases were placed 20 stitches from the side seam marker.) I knit for about 6" and added 4 stitches at the same points, then repeated the increases about 2" after that. Remember, my gauge was 4 stitches to the inch-so reducing 8 stitches trims 2" from my sweater. My waist will look smaller without the exta two inches of fabric.

It's important to use increases and decreases gradually-your aim is to create a gentle slope, not a stairstep. And keep in mind, if I had started from the bottom, I would decrease for the waist, then increase for the bust.

You won't always be knitting in plain stockinette. You can reduce your sweater's waistline easily in Fair Isle or lace, still maintain your pattern, and NOT make yourself crazy with increases and decreases. Just go down a needle size-it should trim your garment's waistline but not be a visible distraction. On a 36" sweater, knitted at 20 stitches to 4", you would normally have 180 stitches. If you use a needle one size smaller, and knit 20.5 stitches per 4", you will automatically shave almost an inch of your garment's waistline.

That's a lot easier than shaving an inch off your waist!

Keywords: Knitting, pattern alterations

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Workday Wednesday

Rosh Hashana starts Friday. I have a customer I'd like to surprise, so I've been practicing.

Workday Wednesday-GWB's low approval rating and why it doesn't matter-

So sorry, blogger is rejecting photos again, so you get Bitchfest Wednesday instead.
-George's approval rating is 44%, up from a record low of 39%.
-Venezulan President Chavez stood in front of the UN calling GWB the devil.
I don't think this is worthy of a single line of newspaper space.
-We have TERM LIMITS, people!
-And the UN needs to pay their rent.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Just a few random thoughts-

-My Mr. Joe Sangria came in. Elann offered it last week-it's a multi-color with LONG color runs. I am useless, I am a yarn tramp. I have a perfectly nice top I am 1.33 balls away from finishing, but this yarn is DISTRACTING. I also got my Elann competition yarn in-and my perfect project is doable-I know EXACTLY what it should look like, how to do it, and what to do when. But the Sangria is SOOOO mezmerizing.....

-I am so gaga over the Joe, I looked in the big Kaffe Fasset pattern book. I love looking at that, but still haven't made anything with his patterns. It's tough to pick. While I was pouring over the book, it dawned on me that the Persian Poppies looked like boobs. A LOT like boobs. Hmmm. Wipe your coffee off your screen.

-You may be wondering why I have an Elann photo in my sidebar. It's not paid advertising. My shawl was a runner-up in their January shawl contest. I thought it looked great on Margaux, who modeled all the shawls. I am really pro Elann because I've met all my good knitting buds thru Elann.

-I really want Michael to win on PR.

-I'm going back to Monday Night Football. Out.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Who you know-

It has come to my attention that I may come from an odd family (ha ha ha!) We've always taken popular songs, and mangled the shit out of them (we have no musical talent) to make them fit the occaision. For example- "Puppy, whoa-whoa-whoaaa pup-uh-uh-py, have you got milkbones on your mind" sung to the tune of "Woman" (Have You Got Cheating on Your Mind), which is 1960s Gary Puckett, always made my dog smile. He knew we were having fun.

Apparently, this is totally whacked, as is singing to your yarn. Whatever. Let me wear my dork badge proudly. It's the only one I've got.

I got a package in from Belgium yesterday! YAY! My friend Doug and his wife sent me some KNITTING mags in exchange for some good coffee. Trends are going to big deep cowls, lots of light gauge ruffles, and hardly any ponchos. I think I got a hell of a deal! My German is really shaky, but thank goodness, they believe in good schematics. I would post a pic, but blogger is choking on photos again. More later....

Ah, much better! Here they are!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Yarn I wanna sing to!

I am SO happy that I can finally post knitting pictures; I have no secrets on the needles now. I'd like to introduce you to my friend Katrina. I LOVE this yarn. Ok, I might not love it as much if I had to pay the Patons MSRP of 9.00, but Elann had it at a special price. I bought four balls of this lucious blue-

I'd been working on a top down for a friend of mine, and I liked it so much, I decided to make something VERY similar to it for myself. I'm not even tempted to cheat on this project (I only have 2.5 balls left to knit) and it makes me want sing (a la Pete Townsend's Athena)-

Katrina, I had no idea how much I'd need her, In peaceful times I hold her close and I feed her, My heart starts palpitating when I think my guess was wrong, But I think I'll get along, She's just a yarn - she's the bomb

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Workday Wednesday 2

Espresso, milk, chocolate syrup. Construction is simple, editing is not.

Corrections are pretty tasty.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

TV to knit to-

I've never seen Star Wars-not the original, not the sequels, prequels, or spin-offs. At first, I just wasn't interested, then it became a cult hit, so I chose to be obverse. I've never actually watched Survivor, Desperate Housewives, and with the exception of 4 weeks in season one, no American Idol.

But I love Project Runway. It's the only show I ever record besides What Not To Wear (BBC). I was surprised at how grumpy I was when I realized I forgot to set the DVR last Wednesday. (We all know darned good and well my DH will not sit thru an episode!) I find it comforting that other people BESIDES me screw up garments.

I know the network has a lot of input. I've seen the garment scores, and they don't necessarily match each week's "winners" and the "losers". I know they slant the clips like crazy to produce "Good TV"...

We are down to Fashion's Final Five. I like Uli, I like Michael-both of them come off as likeable people. I can't stand Jeffrey, who may be ok in real life, but comes off as an asshole. However, he has a good edgy thing going on. I LOVE Kayne-but he veers dangerously toward flamboyant design, sort of Castro goes to the prom. The only thing they all have in common is they have original thoughts and act on them.

My least favorite is Laura-geez, I hope she gets auf'd this week. She likes to "redesign" the same low-necked, Empire waist shape again and again. Or possibly her thing is copying vintage Oscar de la Renta, I am not exactly sure. See what I mean?

And from what I've seen on the previews, she plans to use "Oscar Templates" center and right this week! Auf with her butt!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Because they link together in my mind-

Oh people, look around you
The signs are everywhere
You've left it for somebody other than you
To be the one to care
You're lost inside your houses
There's no time to find you now
Your walls are burning and your towers are turning
I'm going to leave you here and try to get down to the sea somehow

The road is filled with homeless souls
Every woman, child and man
Who have no idea where they will go
But they'll help you if they can
Now everyone must have some thought
That's going to pull them through somehow
Well the fires are raging hotter and hotter
But the sisters of the sun are going to rock me on the water now

Rock me on the water
Sister will you soothe my fevered brow
Rock me on the water
I'll get down to the sea somehow

Oh people, look among you
It's there your hope must lie
There's a sea bird above you
Gliding in one place like Jesus in the sky
We all must do the best we can
And then hang on to that gospel plow
When my life is over, I'm going to stand before the Father
But the sisters of the sun are going to rock me on the water now

Rock me on the water
Sister will you soothe my fevered brow
Rock me on the water, maybe Ill remember
Maybe I'll remember how

Rock me on the water
The wind is with me now
So rock me on the water
I'll get down to the sea somehow
"Rock Me on the Water" Jackson Browne
It's funny that a 29 year old song describes that day so perfectly.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


I am singing just like Babe! I've finished my secret knitting obligation for my friend. I am VERY excited. And FREEEEE! I am satisfied with the way it looks. Pleased with my choice of materials. Happy that I can throw it in the mail this week! And the fit is TERRIFIC!

What will I start next? Anything I please. Hah!

Dee Dee Dee

Highly recommended. Enjoyed all the opening acts, except his brother. In particular, liked Jo Koy, and the fact that CM was light enough on his feet to do Crocodile Hunter jokes and bust on Ray Nagin. Funny stuff!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Lank hank, pine and mauve,
Transformation of color,
Dye, dry, peacock hues!

Cherry Tree Hill Silken Mohair, boosted with Blue Raspberry Koolaid.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

D is for

D is for Done. I planned to lay my Red Scarf project out in a D shape, take a photo, and use it as illuminated script. Miss Sugar heard me in the kitchen and trotted out to help me-just in case I needed any help lifting heavy Milk Bones. She gently reminded me that D is for Dog.

My scarf is made from two balls of Cervina Softer, a 50/50 mohair & acrylic mix, in K2 P2 rib that I struggled with. It's about six feet long and six inches wide, unblocked.

Miss Sugar is a 10 year old boxer who likes to be told how pretty she is.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Workday Wednesday-

A year and a half ago, I gave up a reasonably well paying job editing computer reports. The people I worked with were nice (well, most of them). The reports were fine, but a wee bit dull. Now, I am a barista. I like it. It's fun. I learn something new every day.

The Mocha Mermaid (commonly known as FourBucks) paved my coffee path by impregnating every Target across the land, and every major shopping district in foreign countries. Because she's on every corner, East Cupcake's eyes are opened to the possibility of wonderful coffee. Which I serve.

One of the Mocha Mermaid's employees came in a few weeks ago, and we had an interesting conversation. Since her exposure to coffee was dictated by Pepsico's training program (Pepsico owns Fourbucks), she knew that she was the coffee expert. She was stunned that my machine was totally manual; "You have an old-fashioned machine!" she exclaimed, laughing. (It's different when you have to buy your equipment!) She was also certain that my store was stocked with Fourbucks products purchased on e-bay. (Apparently, employees leave the Mocha Mermaid with merchandise stuffed under their coats.) When I showed her that Ghiradelli makes an acceptable-no-YUMMY chocolate syrup, she was dumbfounded. (Hee-hee.)

The coffee grinder is at the core of my business; everything in my store STARTS at the coffee grinder. It's filled to the brim with Italian roast coffee which I grind as I use. It's a very dark, glossy bean. We buy our coffee from a local roaster, and I LOVE to pick coffee up from his shop, because my car smells WONDERFUL.

This lovely coffee aroma is the beginning of my day.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

She liked it! She really liked it!

Today I felt like Sally Field accepting her Oscar for Norma Rae; I got a thank you note from Marge for her Kiri. Benne assured me that she uses it. I feel somehow surprised and humbled that she actually likes my work. I am satisfied I've done the right thing for the right person. Kyotsukete, Marge.

Did I mention that we could use some rain?

We need it very badly. We have not had significant rain since October of 2004, and watering restrictions have been in place for a year.