Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday: Civil Unrest

This beverage was discovered at a recent work event, when we had a partial bottle of raspberry vodka, and needed a mixer. That cocktail was about 1/3 vodka, 2/3 lemon-lime soda, with a squeeze of lime. Surprisingly refreshing. (I'm sure it'd knock you on your ass if you drank them like I wanted to.)

The above illustration is for a permutation that I've been in love with for ages. It really is refreshing, since the alcohol content is negligible. That's a pint glass with a shot of raspberry liqueur (any will do, but use Chambord if you're feeling fancy), filled with lemon-lime soda. The liqueur gives a light raspberry flavor to the soda, without giving it any boozy kick. I don't usually bother with the lime.

Want a boozy kick? Add a shot of vodka.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Totally Manic


There's a short circuit in my brain somewhere. I normally consider the idea of knitting a blanket ludicrous... I mean, why spend all that time and money on a large, worsted weight item that is never going to be finished anyway?

Somehow, though, knitting a blanket in tiny squares of sock yarn seemed totally reasonable.

And I'm making two.

Above, you see the "colorwash" blankie (so called for the group that fuels my madness: BlankieMania) as it stood a couple of months ago; it hasn't changed much, since I motivate myself to work on it afresh by disallowing myself to work on it the moment I feel ennui or have something else I should be doing. I was inspired by this one, choosing each new square color by matching it to the two squares it grows out of. (There is no seaming in this project: I pick up stitches from the squares below, and ends are woven in as I go.)

The other one is random, with a black border between each square, to give the eyes a break. It's still in the too-small-to-photograph stage.

Uh, yeah, and my other blanket project (that's right, blanket #3) is also garter stitch, knit on the bias out of handspun Romney (this is why it's obvious there's an error in my wiring).

Thursday, November 03, 2011

FO: The Dark Dance


Another knit from a favorite designer, this shawl was an absolute delight. That's actually not emphatic enough, but you get the idea. Birgit Freyer's designs exemplify German design at its pinnacle: her patterns (like German cars and German architecture) are graceful, complicated, and intuitive. There are almost no written instructions, because the charts tell you everything you need to know. (The bits which you need to have written instructions for come in five different languages!)

This shawl is Flamenco, my first Birgit knit. I purchased several patterns from her over a year ago, but waited 'til now to make one up, and I don't know why I waited so long; Birgit creates beautiful motifs, wielding an impressive control of yarn overs. Other lace patterns seem poorly designed after knitting one of her patterns. Really: when she wants to introduce a centered yarn over into a motif, she has you work a double increase. That may not seem like much until you are in the process of knitting one of her patterns, and the design appears under your needles as if by magic.


My addiction to beaded knitting extended even to this piece, although I knew the knitting would be a pleasure by itself. (That's why it's an addiction: I know I don't need it, but I want it.) I went over the charts before I started, and placed them wherever it looked like they'd be pretty. I placed predominantly on plain stitches, but in retrospect, putting beads on decreases would have looked great and given me a little more space to add beads in. (Still looks pretty, though, whatever improvements I might have made.) Beading lace makes the whole project much slower; by the end, I was glad to have some bead-free right-side rows.


Pattern: Flamenco by Birgit Freyer
Yarn: Hedgehog Fibres Cashmere Lace in Boreal, an exclusive Lace Club colorway. I used 1.7 skeins.
Beads: Silver-lined gold (it's quite a light gold) AB finish, size 6.
Mods: I worked 5 repeats of the pattern (Birgit calls for 4 or 5 repeats, but I wanted more than a half-circle), and added beads.

This shawl ended up as a birthday gift to our former manager at work, who has been back in the city for a month, in the middle of his year-long national roadtrip. The muted purples suit him really well (they were too muted for me), and the large size means he'll have plenty of toasty cashmere around his neck next month, when he's in New York.


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Tipsy Tuesday: Victoriana

While cocktail mixing has always been of interest to me, I have never been one to use exact measurements or fancy equipment, being much happier eyeballing quantities and using a spoon to stir. 

In light of this, my drink inventions have previously been kept under wraps, since I couldn't bring myself to pin down how much of X ingredient goes into Y drink. 

Here, with the help of an image, we have my "recipe" for a Victoriana:

Earl Grey vodka. I steep my own, but any tea-infused alcohol would be fine, I'm sure. 
Honey syrup. I use a 1:1 honey-to-water ratio, but some honey-loving bartenders use 2:1 or 3:1. Pour hot water into a container, pour in honey, stir until dissolved. Refrigerate.
Lemon. Lemon is a traditional accessory for Earl Grey tea, so might as well use some here. I use an 1/8 wedge. (Add a bunch of lemon juice, and you've got a booze Palmer.)
Soda. I like plain soda water, to keep the tea flavor topmost, but using tonic or other lightly scented fizzy waters would work.

Pour vodka, syrup (to taste... I admit I'm a sweet fiend), and soda over ice in a mug or low glass. Stir. Squeeze lemon.


PS. If you want to make your own Earl Grey vodka, it's really easy: using the vodka of your choice, insert Earl Grey tea bags (or loose tea in a tea ball or fine cheesecloth). Let it steep until the vodka is dark, around 24 hours. Remove tea bags, store your new Earl Grey vodka with the rest of your booze.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

FO: Midday


This pretty shawlette is from one of my favorite designers, Susanna IC, whose crescent-shaped shawl patterns have garnered her thousands of projects and a Ravelry group of the same name with nearly 1500 members.

While not the largest group by a long shot, this group (which I confess I'm biased to, since I'm the one that started it) acquired 1000 members in about 10 months. To celebrate this, Susanna hosted her first mystery shawl KAL. The result: Polaris (this links to my project page).

There was chatter, on-the-fly pattern changes, yarn drama, and prizes.

It was awesome.

I got to test knit, which pleases me no end, since I have a huge problem keeping track of clues in mystery knitalongs. The only downside was that I had to keep it under my hat (so to speak) once I'd finished, so as not to spoil the mystery.


Pattern: Polaris by Susanna IC
Yarn: less than one skein of Manos del Uruguay Lace, in L2330, possibly Rhiannon. (The label wasn't very clear)
Beads: Silver-lined green with AB finish, size 6.
Needles: US7, US10 for the cast on.
Mods: none.

The Manos yarn was lovely; the wool content saved it from being inelastic. I was surprised at the simple "Lace" line name compared to the fiber content. The drape on this yarn, after a hard block, is amazing... it doesn't matter how you throw this shawl on, it always looks great. In the end, it was the yarn color that didn't draw me in. Since I love greens of all kinds, I'm not sure exactly what about it doesn't work. No matter: this shawlette was gifted to someone who loves "scarfy things" (her words) and acid green.


Friday, October 28, 2011



Evolution is wonderful, and I'm not talking about Pokemon or Kansas: I have evolved into a process knitter.

My evidence for this is the gifting of two beautiful shawls that I started making for myself, enjoyed knitting, and then handed off to someone else. Times past, I would have kept them both for myself, even though the colors did not end up suiting me. I am very happy at this development, since it not only means that my scarf/shawlette collection hasn't taken over my apartment, but that I am finally spreading the love of handknits to deserving non-knitters. (My definition of "deserving" is pretty strict, and there are extremely few who I think would understand, love, and care for a hand knit item. But more on that another time.)


Thursday, September 22, 2011


Or, Haul.

I made the trek over to the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library's 50th annual big f*ing book sale. The sale takes place in the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason, a 50,000 square foot warehouse, with row upon row of book-filled tables. The books cover all topics, and are dirt cheap (which somehow leads to spending way more than you'd think). It's like being at the biggest garage sale in your life, except they give you a shopping cart.

Which I put to good use.

I thought the sale was Thursday-Sunday, but it actually started on Tuesday! On Sunday, every single item is $1. Not that going earlier is going to hurt the wallet, unless you buy books like the end of the world is tomorrow, like I do. (Apparently, I expect to be stuffing my coat full of old paper when the world ends, like in The Day After Tomorrow.)

Besides the usual steep-discount-sale pitfalls like buying things you don't need or want, and having to lug all the loot back home, and tramping about on cement floors for hours, the one drawback of this sale is that once the books were sorted into a gross category, they aren't organized any further. I left the fiction areas pretty early on, because there's only so many times you can see Frank Herbert and J.R.R. Tolkien before you decide there's no way you'll find something worthwhile, and after pulling out an interesting needlework book, left the "How-To; Crafts" area; again, only so much quilting and beginner's wiring one can take before deciding there aren't any knitting books.
So, those are my new aquisitions, in the above photo. I've got a bunch of art books, a couple of cooking and craft books (including a Joy of Cooking from 1953, which may or may not contain roadkill recipes), some french short stories (I was unwilling to sift through all the Foreign Language section books in Russian to try to find any Maupassant or Balzac in French), and several pieces of fiction. (Ok, so once I saw the "Fiction; Classics" section, I tottered right over to pluck some interesting old editions of things I like.)

Also, in the right-hand background of the top picture, you can see the books and sheet music I got for gifts. I mean, seriously. Getting an old-school cloth-bound copy of a favorite book is a great gift, especially when it cost $4.
All in all, a fun day! I am really tired, though; hauling my ass home on two buses with something like 70lbs. of books in a backpack and a paper bag turns out to be hard work. (Next year, I'll have the foresight to go with someone who has a car.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Indian Summer

I finally got around to making a summer sandwich of whole milk ricotta, heirloom tomato, and home-grown basil. (Ricotta has a different texture than mozarella, but it's what I've got, and it still tastes amazing.)

Even though in most of the country, Fall weather is in full swing, here in San Francisco, we're experiencing the warm, cloudless days of Indian Summer- hopefully it'll last, as I love being able to leave my windows open all night.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Will She Make It?!

I'm nearly done with the body ribbing for Cecilia, and I feel as though my goal of having this cardi done in time for Black Sheep is within my grasp.

However, I still have the elbow-length sleeves and the collar/button band to knit. It's Tuesday, and I've got until Saturday to do it in, but we're already on vacation, and vacationing must happen!

I understand that we will be missing The Imaginary Invalid in Ashland, since the Bowmer (sp?) Theater has some structural problem or other. I was more excited about the Molière than the Shakespeare (Measure For Measure)!

If I can manage to knit a sleeve a day (we'll pretend the button band takes as much time as a sleeve), and I don't have to drive, or do anything else much, I'll have a finished sweater in time for BSG (and it will have taken me two weeks)!

Friday, June 10, 2011

loop Bullseye Bumps #1

Having allowed my other clubs to lapse, and feeling the need for some fibery adventure, I went in search of a fiber club to join. The decision was readily made, and I now find myself with the first installment of loop's Bullseye Bumps fiber club ("Siamese" iteration, which means I get 8+ oz. of the same fiber).

My new roving bumps, which you can see from her site, have an awesome color shift. Now, why don't I have pictures of these gorgeous bumps? (And they are gorgeous, since they were customized for me, and are therefore GREEN!) Well, I do have pictures, but the light was fading, and so the color is terribly untrue; no amount of photo editing could fix it.

Instead of bland and inaccurate fiber photos, I've provided a lovely photo of the little extras that were provided. These sequin flowers are going in the pile of ornate tidbits I'm stockpiling to give my mother. I try to encourage her to make the crazy quilt she's been wanting to make by gifting her things she can use in it.

I am really, really excited to spin these, since they contain: alpaca, merino, corriedale, kid mohair, bamboo, tussah silk, angelina, firestar, and kid mohair locks. However, only the Ashford Traveler is at my apartment (the Pipy Saxony is still at my parents' house, with soy silk from my last fiber club on it), and it has two spins waiting to be finished and brought to work. And in any case, I am trying to knit a cropped sweater in time for Black Sheep Gathering (I'll be there on Saturday, so that's a bit more time), so spinning will be thrown over in favor of knitting.

Until I buy new spindles and fiber at BSG!
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Twelve Dancing Princesses

I'm hosting a Dye-It-Yourself (DIY) swap in the BlankieMania group on Ravelry (ravlink), with a fairy tale theme. For my tale, I chose my favorite, "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." In that tale, the princesses walk through three forests to get to the palace where they dance all night: a silver wood, a golden wood, and a diamond wood, where the leaves and fruit are made of diamond.

I wanted to dye a skein of yarn that would look like the princesses' dresses reflected and refracted by the foliage in the diamond wood, and I even delayed dyeing because I was worried how it'd turn out! (I'm usually the one who says, "It's a swap; it doesn't matter if it doesn't turn out exactly the way you imagined!")

The skein turned out very close to how I wanted it, so I'm quite pleased. (Especially since looking at the yarn in the pan, with the dye freshly poured, it seemed as though it would end up as clown barf.)
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