hey julie...

Monday, May 29, 2006

Dr. Frankenstein's Lucy-esque bag

Sooo....I decided to try and um, alter the bag. I bought another skein of the Malabrigo, cast on 88 stitches and knit around until I was almost out, then decreased every other row. 'Til I had what looked like a ginormous hat. (LOL)

Did I mention before that I knit this bag from the top down?? I actually knit the straps first, using a provisional cast on, and incoporated them into the casting on of the top of the bag. If that makes any sense. Then I just kept knitting until I had what appeared to be enough yarn left for the decreases. (All that to avoid starting out on DPNs.) I really liked doing it that way and I'd do it again.

Soooo....I felted my monster hat, then lopped off the bottom of the wee bag and sewed the new, longer bag body to the bottom of it. Then I felted the whole thing one more time. The stitches where I joined the two are still somewhat visible, so I think I'm going to try to clean it up with a little needle felting. If that doesn't do the trick, I'll embellish it with a little bit of trim or some felted leafy-viney-Nicky-Epstein inspired decorative mumbo-jumbo..

In any case, I'm glad I did it, wonky as it is. My husband said, "that's an expensive little bag." Which it was, especially considering that I haven't carried a purse since I was in high school. But my recent gadget acquisitions are makig me rethink my position...that, and the fact that it's nice to have a sock-in-progress with me at all times. ;)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

so about that Malabrigo...

This post is dedicated to Jenn, who, when I recently chastised her for not swatching, said to me, "where's your sense of adventure?"

You know, that Malabrigo I just posted about? My Mother's Day Malabrigo?

Ahhhh, the colorway. When I was winding it, I fell in love all over again. It really is so stunning -- I can't put it into words. Holy crap. I took pictures, but they don't do it justice. Gah. Love.

So I decided that I must have a Lucy Bag (or a Lucy-esque bag, as I can never find the Lucy Bag pattern at any LYS I visit, and I want to pay with PayPal if I buy it online, but online vendors who sell this particular pattern AND accept PayPal seem to a) charge $2 more for the pattern or b) require you to call them on the phone during business hours. But I digress.) I haunted blogs of those who have knit Lucy bags to observe the bag in it's pre-felted form and even found a knock off pattern (which actually made me quite mad, as it's a copyrighted pattern, and duh, a pretty well-known one. That would be like me putting the freakign Fiber Trends clog pattern on my web site and calling it my own...so not cool.)

Anyhooo...I thought that surely, until the day comes when I can actually purchase the pattern, I could probably wing it. Andrea swears that her li'l Lucy (whch totally kicks, it's the coooolest little bag) only required one skein of Malabrigo, so I think I can pull it off. The knitting is pure joy. Seriously, the monotony is offset by the absolute gorgeousness of the yarn, and I considered never knitting with anything else, ever again.

When I finished (less than 24 hours, go me) I admit I did have some doubts -- like perhaps the bag might be very very short -- but I threw caution to the wind and chucked it in the washer anyway. While it was felting, I rummaged around and found a photo of Andrea's pre-felted Lucy.

Uh oh.

Um, yeah, I should have listened to that little voice that said, "remember, your bags always seem to end up one third of their knitted height after felting...."

So the question remains: what should I do? Cut it up and make a felted something-else? Or get another skein (they do have one, I called) and cut off the existing bag before the decreases, knit a new bottom that's much longer, felt it, then sew the two together? Cut off the straps and wear it as a beanie? Anyone?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

odds & ends

I neglected to post about my rockin' DH and how he again took my girls to the yarn store to pick out yarn for me, this time for Mother's Day. Love that man! And this time I super duper scored....

Yup, I'm raising them right...my 5yo went right for the Malabrigo. :) The fingerless gloves are knitted with my 2yo's selection, Karabella Aurora Melange, which is super scrunchy.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

FO #90

Boring: Baby Life Ring Socks (pattern by Cat Bordhi)
Knit in Cascade Fixation (less than one ball!) on US3 needles.
Pattern mods: Same as the first pair. FWIW, I do think the directions for the newborn size have an error. But I worked it out. Love this pattern!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

FO #89

This one's a gift for my daughter's preschool teacher, who is a knitter and loves green. We dyed the WotA ourselves, with Wilton dyes I think. It all gets to be a blur...

Boring: Sophie Bag
Knit in KnitPicks WotA and Merino Style on US13 needles.
Pattern mods: I double stranded Merino Style for the base of the bag, until I ran out. So I don't think I did all 34 rows or whatever the pattern calls for. Just picked up stitches around the base and started knitting up, doing the decreases as called for every 10 rows. I ran out of WotA around row 48, so I just did an i-cord bind off with MS (saved by a knitting friend with extra Asparagus on hand!). I knit the i-cord handles separately and stitched them on before felting.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

FO #88

Boring: Baby Life Ring Socks (pattern by Cat Bordhi)
Knit in Cascade Fixation (less than one ball!) on US3 needles.
Pattern mods: Used a figure-8 cast-on instead of the recommended provisional because I'm still not feeling the short-row love. I think there might possibly be a pattern error in the short row heel instructions (either that or I'm really, really dumb, which I'm not ruling out either), so I'm going to double-check that with waste yarn before I knit the second pair. This is a really fun pattern, save for all the purling at the end, which can be remedied by using the method in this pattern.

All in all, a very fun, quick knit! I started at our KH gathering around lunchtime and finished while watching the ER season finale around 10. And in between I made a cat costume and went to a preschool program. :)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

So there's this eBay thing...

You get $20 free for signing up. I really haven't found any catches...I just did it and had my $20 within the hour. A cool service, too, I think I'll use it again! I've looked at sniping services before, but never wanted to pay anything...but this one is totally free. Right up my bargain-loving alley.

Check it out: UnWired Buyer (yes, it's a referral link -- I'd get $5 if you signed up. If you'd rather go referral-less, the site is www.unwiredbuyer.com.) :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

New Media Mavericks

I sure have been adding to my bag of coffee tricks this month! Next up: the french press coffee maker that has been sitting in my cabinet, unopened, for several years. I don't know why -- I was elated to receive it -- but I've just never used it. Until now!

I reached the end of the Boot Up Blend I'd finely ground, and decided to coarsely grind some New Media Mavericks for the french press. The process of making it was simple (albeit a touch more time consuming than the moka pot) and yielded a great, very light cup of coffee. Whereas the others I've sampled so far were one-cup-at-a-time coffees (um, admittedly this might have something to do with the concoctions I've been making), this one struck me as the kind of coffee I'd make if I planned to down the whole pot while pulling an all-nighter. Good stuff.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Being kind to the earth, in more way than one. Not only did we get to rid the planet of this monstrosity:

but I'll also use the yarn to make something much more attractive. That won't be hard.

I'm thinking...maybe this... (bought the pattern today!)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Boot-Up Blend

The next coffee on my list to try -- Boot Up Blend, because honestly, while I like flavored coffee a lot, I found that I got tired of the same one day after day. I wanted to go with straight-up coffee this time around (or at least start out with straight-up coffee. ;) ).

I abandoned my crappy drip maker in favor of the most excellent moka pot I picked up at Ikea. This thing makes a great, quick cup of espresso, which I used to make a ghetto caramel macchiato, from online instructions: homemade vanilla syrup in the bottom of the mug, followed by warmed, sort of frothy milk. Then you pour the espresso through the milk, top with whipped cream and caramel syrup.

Wow, that was really, really good.

I admit that when the brewing was done, it smelled really strong to me and I wasn't sure if I'd like it. But maaaan, it's freaking perfect. Two thumbs up.

Off to make more vanilla syrup now.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

coffee adventures

I've been drinking excellent Boca Java coffee all week -- I think I'll probably review one a week since I'm the only one here who drinks coffee, therefore when I grind it takes me a while to use it up. Since I had some ground Pajama Passion left I decided to try the espresso brownie recipe included in the Java News.

It's an odd recipe, I'll say that right off the bat. A pound of brown sugar? Are you sure? I crossed my fingers and forged ahead...until I got to preparing the pan. 8x11?? I don't believe I've ever seen a pan that size. Let's see...I have 7x10, 7x11, 8x8, 9x13...I elected to go with 7x11. Big mistake.

Halfway through the baking time, the telltale smell of Burning Goo On The Floor Of My Oven sent me running for my smoke detector to rip out the battery before it went off and woke up the sleeping baby. Uh oh. Major brownie catastrophe -- it was oooozing over the edges of the pan and all over the oven. Something tells me an extra inch of pan width wouldn't have prevented this...

So quick, I slid the pan onto a cookie sheet, put it on the top of the stove, yanked out the oven racks and scraped up the smoking hunks of brownie goo from the bottom of the oven. Put everything back in. Deep breath. A few minutes later, I smell it again. This time it not only oozed over the edge of the pan, but it also oozed over the edge of the cookie sheet. No way in hell was this recipe meant for anything but a 9 x 13 pan.

After all was said and done, though, good brownies. My husband's take: "They'd be even better if they didn't taste like coffee."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

more dyeing

Inspired by the fab Art Yarns 127:

A couchful of little girls here at my house nailed it on the head: "Strawberry Shortcake!!" (Which is actually pretty ironic since I bought the SS color set when I made a SS cake last fall, but I can't find those dyes to save my life.)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Lu asked what I thought of the supersock...I actually like it a lot. It's a little finer than I'm used to -- they say it's "a little heavier than fingering weight" but I don't really buy it -- if I have to knit it on US1.5 needles (or whatever your gauge calls 2.5mm...they tend to disagree), it's fingering. Which taxes my eyes.

It's much, much softer than any of the superwash wools I've knit with so far. To me it feels more like a cotton-blend sock yarn than a 100% wool one. Not itchy at all.

I swatched it and yay, no pooling!

It's awfully ironic that I love to dye, as I really am not a big fan of variegated yarns. I much prefer the way they look before they're knit. Go figure....I'm already planning the next skein...

We interrupt the talk of yarn...

...to talk about coffee!

I have to say I was gobsmacked today when my Boca Java package arrived -- six big ole bags of beans (three pounds!!), a hat and a mug to boot! A good mug. An amazingly generous package. Really.

Of course I had to go for one of the flavored ones first...what's not to like about vanilla, kahlua and caramel? On to the Pajama Passion blend....

I got out my trusty grinder, which admittedly hasn't seen a lot of action the past few years. I feared I ground it too fine but it made it through my drip machine without a problem -- not muddy at all. Even my husband, who hasn't had a cup of coffee since we were dating, I think, said it smelled fabulous.

Flavored coffees always kind of psych me out -- I think they're going to taste like they smell, which of course, they don't, without the addition of sugar. Just to be sure I tasted it sans sweetener, and yup, it made me shudder. But a few squirts of my homemade vanilla syrup turned it around. YUM. Now that's a good cup of coffee. Usually I merely tolerate home-brewed coffee, while fantasizing about barista-brewed concoctions that cost quite a bit more than I ought to be spending on a beverage. But this, I dare say, is a home-brewed cup of coffee I'll actually look forward to.


FO #87

Knitpicks Parade, US3 needles, blah, blah, blah. FWIW, I don't like the afterthought heel. It doesn't look or fit quite right. One more try at a short row heel, and I'm back to my old friend, the flap-and-gusset.

Friday, May 05, 2006

We've also been dyeing...

I think this is my favorite so far:

And wound into a gorgeous skein:

It's Wool2Dye4 Supersock, about 4 ounces. For my MIL for Mother's Day. (How fun to have another sock knitter in the family!)

Why yes,

As a matter of fact, I have been knitting. Not a whole lot worth blogging about tho.

A single sock that looks cute on the foot but really odd by itself...

I re-did the heel four times. Three short-row heels, which I finally got the hang of on the third try (then decided it looked really dumb with this particular self-striping yarn) then finally an afterthought heel. The sock looks alarmingly large to me, hard to believe that it's just a hair too bg for my dd. We'll be saving it for the fall when she *gulp* starts kindergarten.

I'm working on a longies pattern....

Look familiar? Leftover Tubey yarn. I'm destashing. If I never knit with Asparagus merino Style again, it will be too soon.

Coming right up...

W00t! I got in on the bloggers coffee review! The generous folks at Boca Java are sending me some coffee to sample and review here on my blog...it's on its way! Nice to see a company acknowledging the power of the blogosphere. ;)

I've been knitting since 01/05, spinning since 07/06. Mmmmm, yarn.

Li, eh?
Sara Jayne

KCR+ Exp+ SPM+ Steel+ Bam+ Addi++ Pl-- Den Wool++ Cot Lux+ Stash+ Scale+ Fin !Ent Int FI> Tex Lace Felt Flat Circ+ Dpn- ML+ Swatch+ KIP+ Blog+ SNB> EZ FO+ WIP3 Gauge W+ Alt Sp Sw

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