Monthly Archives: January 2014

Lacey

Finally, my India Print Henley is done. Sheer determination is the only reason why this project got finished because there have been some serious setbacks and head-scratching moments over this one. But, all is forgotten once everything is done and blocked.

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Once it was soaked and rinsed, I could see that the laciness of the pattern would allow the sweater to stretch out quite a bit. That was a good thing because this is what the sweater looked like before I soaked and blocked it.

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Yikes! I must admit it was hard to believe that the sweater would fit me while I was in the process of knitting it. But blocking lace is always magical. (excuse the poor quality of the following photo. winter light is scarce.)

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I was even able to stretch out the sleeves to almost the right length even though there were two fewer repeats of the pattern there. This is because I ran out of yarn. Then, after I realized I did not have enough yarn to do all the prescribed number of repeats, I knit the sleeves two different lengths and had to go back and add some length to one of them. By this time, I was pretty much mentally done with the thing, but I persevered.

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And now, I have a pretty nice sweater to show for it. It’s a bit too cold to wear this right now during the arctic blast we’ve been having lately. Today is the first day in almost two weeks that the high will be above freezing. We could use a torrent of rain to wash all the salt away, but it has been nice to have some snow that sticks around. Though, it was prettier right after it snowed.

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I love the snow and hope we get some more because the next three sweaters that I have on the needles are all worsted weight.

Stretchy

This weekend I started a new sewing project. A very good friend of mine asked me to make a t-shirt quilt from the many shirts she collected during her college years. Now, I have never before sewn with t-shirt fabric, but I was willing to give it a try. I have to say, it was a little unnerving to cut up someone else’s clothes, but after the first few, I got the hang of it.

There was a lot of math involved to figure out how to get all the designs incorporated without having to make any extra cuts. After five hours of cutting and arranging, my brain was very tired, but I had everything cut and labeled.

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The material is very stretchy and that made it very difficult to get square and even cuts, but I am hoping with a half inch seam allowance and a zig-zag stitch, that any differences in block size will be eased in.

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My machine had a lot of trouble adjusting at first. The thread kept breaking and I had trouble finding the right tension to keep the stitches flowing along nicely. Thankfully, we have decided to back the blanket with fleece and tie it, so after I assemble the top, all the sewing will be done except for the binding. I think my machine will thank me for that. I will let you know how it turns out.

Vanilla Chiffon Jam Roll

This week’s Tuesday’s with Dorie recipe kind of snuck up on me. After those giant loaves of bread from last time, I think I thought I was done baking for the month! I have to admit to sort of dreading this recipe. For some reason, I have never been able to master chiffon cakes. They seem so promising and then turn out to be not as good as expected. Well, this recipe was no different.

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The sponge came together really easily.

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Even folding the egg whites into the batter went well.

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Then, it looked wonderfully fluffy when it came out of the oven after 18 minutes.

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However, once it cooled, all that lovely fluffiness just disappeared. Poof! Gone!

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Sigh. I had never really intended to make the filling recipe as it has too much cream in it for me to eat. Only half of us in this house really eat whipped cream, so I decided to go the super easy route and make it a jam roll.

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Strawberry rhubarb jam gave us a little bit of spring in our dessert.

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In the end, I was disappointed. The cake was nice and moist with lots of vanilla flavor, but I can’t help but think that it was supposed to be different. Plus, I really think that I am just not a big fan of chiffon cakes. They taste strange to me. I like angel food, genoise, and butter cakes, but have yet to meet a chiffon cake that I like. It’s a bit odd since I generally love cake, but oh well. I am glad that I did not go through the extra trouble of making the chocolate walnut mousse, though maybe that would have been so yummy that it would have made up for the disappointment in the cake. I will probably never know.

Fits and Starts

After finishing my stripey sweater last week, I was down to just 6 knitting works in progress. It’s been years since that happened. Usually, I hover around 10-12, sometimes 15. So, naturally, I felt the urge to cast on some more projects from my queue. But, I thought, I am on a bit of a roll with these wips, so maybe I should just carry on with them. I picked up my purple India Print Henley and worked on that for several days rather faithfully.

I was happily about 8 inches into the first sleeve when my ball of yarn that was supposed to last for the whole sleeve almost ran out. At the same time, I noticed that there was a patch of knitting that did not look quite right and I knew I would not be happy with that unless I ripped it out, which I did. Surprisingly, I managed to have the patience to knit the sleeve again until I got close to the end of the ball of yarn. Again.

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At this point, I did two things. First, I did the edge of the sleeve and bound it off. This sweater, I have decided, is meant to be a 3/4 sleeved sweater.

Secondly, I suddenly reached the end of my patience with every single knitting project in my pile and so I cast on two new sweaters, a shawl, and a hat.

One thing that really helped in this sudden fit of startitis is a new ball winder that I got last week. This ball winder is supposed to be able to handle large hanks of yarn; up to 10 ounces! Of course, I had to try it out.

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It’s a little loud, but sure does beat my old one at anything over 4 ounces. I seem to be buying a lot of really large hanks nowadays, so this will really come in handy. Plus, I think my old winder was wearing down after years of use. It had started getting the yarn in a tangle and, occasionally, flinging the yarn ball across the room. The new one makes really nice barrel shaped balls. Fun!

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As soon as this ball was wound up, I knit a gauge swatch. It’s Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio worsted and it is super squishy. It’s destined to be Brandied Cherries.

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Maybe it is the super cold weather we’ve been having or maybe I have been knitting too many fingering weight sweaters recently, but I have the sudden need/desire for heavy cabled sweaters. I even dug out this old sweater project that had to be frogged and cast on anew.

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And for those days when only lace will do, a mystery shawl knit along is just the ticket.

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For instant gratification, I knit a hat. I started it on Saturday morning and finished it Sunday afternoon. It was really only a couple of hours of knitting all told. Gotta love worsted weight hats for that.

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Well, that’s the knitting news briefly from here. I will give more details about each individual project another time. It’s snowing and I have to go bake some bread.

Stripey

It seems like everywhere I go nowadays I see stripes. Except for my wardrobe. I have no stripey things in my closet or my dresser. Until now. Now, I have one stripey ravello sweater.

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I wasn’t sure I would like myself in stripes, but I was attracted to this pattern because I could use some of my one skein fingering yarns that I thought would make good socks, but turns out they are too delicate for socks. I used one skein of Swans Island Fingering (light blue), one skein of Rio de La Plata fingering (pink), and a tiny bit of a giant cone of Shelridge Farms fingering(dark grey). The Shelridge yarn was a little thicker that the other two and I was worried they would look funny, but lots of things even out in the magic of blocking.

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I was especially glad to block out the bias that was happening to the dark grey. If you look closely above, you can see how all the dark grey stitches look like they are diagonal. I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I buy a garment and the seams don’t fall straight down where they are supposed to.

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The bias is pretty much gone now and hasn’t returned after a day’s wear, so I am happy. There are a couple things that I would have done differently had I known what I know now. You can find those details on my ravelry project page which is linked below.

After all the hours of work I put into this sweater, I am suddenly liking stripes much more. So much more that I have a couple of other stripey sweaters on my mind. Tempest and this one. The second one is tricky. How to keep the stripe color sequence the same on the body and the sleeves or do you not bother to try? I think Tempest will be first on my list. I already have the yarn picked out.

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P.s. Pattern is Ravello. My details are here.