Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Time Machine Tuesday: My Most Used Project

If you can organize your kitchen, you can organize your life.
-Louis Parrish

Welcome back to this installment of Time Machine Tuesday! Here I'm going to share one of my oldest and best projects. I say best because it's my most used project. Not a single pair of socks, everyday sweater, or even dishcloth is used as often as this kitchen rug that I made on a whim a while back.

Mitered Square Rug, circa 2003
Pattern: from IK a few summers back
Yarn: kitchen cotton in various solid shades, used double
Needles: US 10s?
Mods: Just changed the colors to use stash.
Best Thing About This Project: The nubbly texture under my feet while washing dishes. Even better? My husband usually does the dishes.
The Test of Time: Definitely. It's getting a nice faded, vintage-y feel from getting washed frequently.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bagging It

Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier 'n puttin' it back in.
-Will Rogers

Way back in a month called April, the Loose Knit Group (Ravelry link) made bags the gift-knitting theme of the month. Bags? I thought incredulously? Yes, bags. I was originally not at all interested. Until I persued that other greatest invention of mankind, my Ravelry queue. Where I found at least 6 or 7 bag patterns awaiting my attention. Oh, I admit it wasn't an earth-shattering revelation, but it did provide some nice easy distraction knitting while working on several larger projects, such as a wedding. Not to mention the handy amounts of yarn called for, which were a stash-busting boon in at least one case.

First I started with the market bag concept. The Saturday Market Bag is the classic and was a natural starting point, but I found Elisa's Nest Tote to be much nicer looking, and probably more practical as well.

Elisa's Nest Note
free, from the PurlBee
Yarn: a single 100g skein of King Tut Egyptian Cotton with very little leftover
Needles: US 9
Notes: Love the attached i-cord handles. Also, don't modify these to do them in the round. The side seams really help stablize them and make the stretching more reasonable.
Best Thing About This Project: Both of these are likely to make it as gifts, since brining your own bag is hip these days, but the mercernized cotton is so much nicer. Definitely recommend it.

The Saturday Market Bag
Pattern: from Magknits, prior to that demise. Anyone know if it's available elsewhere?
Yarn: some *bright* yellow kitchen cotton, 2 50g balls
Needles: US 10 - much smaller than the pattern called for, and probably still too big
Notes: I made the bag and the straps significantly shorter than called for in the pattern, and it still stretches quite a bit
Best Thing About This Project: It's farmer's market and grocery store ready.

Since the bag thing was going so much better than expected, I then progressed on to actual purses. This is where, I confess, most of my bias against knit bags had been. Just a style thing. But I found a Ravelry link to a Paton's pattern, conveniently misread the pattern so that I thought it took only 1 100g ball of Paton's Classic Merino (it takes 2), and cast on from stash.

Paton's Cabled Bag
Pattern: free, Ravelry link here
Yarn: Classic Merino in leaf green - 2 skeins. Which I noticed right around when the first one ran out. I can't tell a different in the dyelot. Yarn is used doubled throughout
Needles: US 10 1/2
Notes: No changes, although I find the doubled-yarn fabric stiff enough that I didn't line it.
Best Thing About This Project: Have you ever seen a rectangle look this cute?

And, speaking of bags, I found these in a closet-cleaning expedition. You may or may not remember the fun of The Amazing Lace, Summer 2006, that knitalong co-hosted by myself and the incomparable Rachel, but if you'd like a small project bag (good for socks), email me. I've found myself with many, and I'm happy to spread the wealth.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

On the Cooking Front

If people take the trouble to cook, you should take the trouble to eat.
-Robert Morley

Apparently I'm on a once-a-week blogging schedule. Well, it is summer after all. I did take some photos for all of you this weekend, but uploading them to the computer was the rate-limiting step. At any rate, I have lofty goals for blogging at least twice this week.

I mentioned a few posts ago that I've been doing a bit of cooking recently, taking advantage of the fact that my husband will eat almost anything. And he does dishes. And we bought a grill.

Revisiting cooking meant revisiting my cookbook collection and recipes. I've been carrying around a 3-ring binder of various recipes since my college days, but found it too unwieldy. My everyday favorites were right next to recipes that I was clearly never going to make. So I regrouped, googled a bit, and found Tastebook.

Check it out:

A cookbook of my favorite tried-and-true recipes, only the good ones, professionally printed. With photos. And, since most of my recipes are from magazines or cookbooks, a little googling usually pulled up all the text, ready to copy and paste. And, you can add to it later.

I'm in love.

So, in the interest of spreading the joy, here are a few of my new favorite recipes:

and here are a few of my new favorite cooking blogs, for more inspiration:

Enjoy! Be warned, but I get my act together, the FO parade will be miles long.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Weekend Roundup

Love is like a virus. It can happen to anyone at anytime.
-Maya Angelou

It's probably no coincidence that as soon as I started working nights (you try sleeping in San Diego in the middle of the day!), I got knocked down by a nasty summer cold. The kind of cold that fogs your brain and makes you think it's a good idea to stare at the wall and do nothing. In other words, the kind that makes me feel very much not like me. This means that sewing up last month's cardigan, starting my Nantucket Jacket, and really anything else that takes brain power is off limits. Good thing that June is Kitchen Accessories Month at A Loose Knit Group! I just happen to have an enormous ball of Sugar and Cream gifted to me some time ago, and a few of Abigail's dishcloth patterns in hand.

Two down, working on the third. Just how many do you think I can get from this huge ball?

On a related note, apparently the dishcloth bug is out there. Check out my sister-in-law's first cables - nice, huh? It looks like we'll be meeting up in Phoenix in a couple weeks, so I think we'll limit the knitting to cotton. Phoenix in June is hardly wool sweater weather.

There has been just a little bit of other knitting. Flitgirl and Toasty Joe came to town and cheered me up in the middle of that cold-of-which-we-shall-not-speak. If you've ever read Toasty's blog, you won't be surprised to hear that we went to the Padres-Mets game. A perfect opportunity for some knitting. My yarn of the month for June is some Morehouse Merino laceweight that a friend gave me quite some time ago - I think early in med school, but it mmight even have been college. Regardless, it's stash-marinated long enough and now it's happy to become the Lace Ribbons Scarf from the Spring (or was it Summer?) Knitty.

Now, if only my voice would come back . . .

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