Saturday, August 30, 2008

Reckless acts of swappery!

I participated in my first ever swap this summer, with the lovely ladies of Montreal Knits. The price range was $20-30, and we were supposed to send a knitted item -- though this wasn't entirely clear to me at first, ha, and I know I'm not the only one. Personally, I knit a couple of small items because I wanted to send some gorgeous yarn to my partner.

I haven't actually met any of the group members yet, but am hoping to start going to their Knit Nites now that I am done school. My partner really spoiled me, exceeding all expectations! Check it out:

BEAUTIFUL Warani yarn. 50% Suri Alpaca, 50% Extra Fine Merino. It is so luxurious and I love the colour! I am going to try to hunt down another skein, or one in a complimenting colour, perhaps to make some mitts for myself. Haven't really decided on a project, but it is gorgeous, and I'll need to find it asap as the distributer has discontinued it.

Yeah, I am flashing Wu-Tang as I model these fingerless mitts! I spent Thursday transcribing part of a Wu-Tang documentary at work, so decided to show my support as Jack snapped a pic of these mitts. They are a perfect fit, and are exactly my colours. I am looking forward to wearing these on my autumn bike rides to and from work. Jack really likes em too, and I suspect he'd like his own pair..

WOAH! SO MANY GOODIES! Nifty spring-less safety pins (I have been wanting these, but haven't seen them in my travels), gorgeous handmade beaded stitch counters, yummy lip gloss, fine fibre wash, tape measurer, handmade DPN holder (so clever! I'm so glad to have this!), 2 sets of DPNs, Robyn's Nest magnet, Motown CD, and Vanilla Clodhoppers! Yeah, those have almost all been eaten. I have already used the handmade stitch markers, and they work really well! They have me considering a new technique for making stitch markers (note the cool Stewie and Godiva tins holding the stitch holders),

MY FIRST KNITTING MAGAZINES. I am really excited about these! Have already marked off some interesting patterns, and I can't wait to read all of the articles and tips. Being a self-taught knitter, this is exciting for me. I am considering asking for a subscription for Christmas, so this is a great chance to check out 2 major knitting magazines.

Honestly, it is like she looked at the survey that I filled out at the start of the swap and managed to pick out all of my favourite items. I am so, so pleased and thankful for everything.

I sent off my package today -- it was ready to go earlier this week, except for stitch markers.. I couldn't find my wire to make them! But we did a big clean-up yesterday and of course the wire turned up. So I made the stitch markers this morning, and posted the parcel. I won't say anything else about it though, just in case..!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Just popping in to say..

I'm done my undergraduate degree!

I just got home from writing my last exam of a Joint honours degree in English Literature and Creative Writing.

The best surprise was getting back an essay after the exam and finding I'd been given an A, which I was not expecting! Honestly, I thought that it was the worst paper I'd ever written, and was much happier with the other essay that I handed in prior to the exam (the full grade of the course is comprised of 2 essays + final exam -- which itself had 2 essays). So, I'm done!

This is completely unrelated to my blog, but I am just so excited and happy. I had to blab somewhere! Ah, now to go back to reading for pleasure..

Friday, August 15, 2008

Soup Recipe

Last winter I had a hankering for Mulligatawny Soup, so I looked up some recipes, and combined all of the elements that looked delicious. Here's what I came up with:


3 cloves garlic, minced
ground cumin (approx 3 Tbsp)*
curry powder (approx 2 Tbsp)*
chili powder (approx 1 Tbsp)*
random Mexican hot sauce
1/4 cup butter
4 boneless skinless half chicken breasts, cut to large bite-sized pieces
8 cups chicken stock (I made mine with bullion cubes because I didn't have a whole chicken to work with)
2-3 stalks celery, sliced
3-4 carrots, sliced
1-2 potatoes, diced
1 can peas, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper (should be peppery)
1 medium-sized MacIntosh apple (or other tart apple) peeled, cored and diced
1 cup plain yogurt
lemon juice (approx 2 Tbsp)
2/3 cup cream (I used 15% but use what you prefer)
chopped fresh parsley or cilantro to garnish

In skillet or wok, heat butter and 1 Tbsp cumin over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned on all sides.

Add chicken to stock with liberal splash of hot sauce, cover and cook on low heat. Drain all but 1 Tbsp liquid from wok and add garlic and spices. Add carrots, celery, potato, splash of hot sauce, and a ladle-full of stock. Cook on medium-low heat for approx 10 minutes, stirring often.

Transfer veggies and liquid to soup pot. Add peas, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. (At this point, I removed some of the soup for Jack as he did not want apples, yogurt, or cream in his soup.)

Stir in yogurt and apple. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Skim off fat if necessary.

Stir in lemon juice, then add cream.

Serve garnished with fresh parsley or cilantro.

*I'm really not sure how much spice I use when I cook, this are guesstimates. Taste it and adjust to your liking.

Friday, August 8, 2008

FO: Shoulder Warmer (with mods)

Finally, she posts a FO!

I have been very busy lately and haven't had time to knit (sob!) BUT I just had the last class of my undergraduate career.. Only one last exam! It has been fun and I love being in school (still trying to figure out how to be a professional student), but I am ready for some real world action. Anyway, on to the knitting!!

Project: Shoulder Warmer
Pattern Anthropologie-Inspired Capelet, by Julia Allen
New Skills: Err.. "Knitting a garment in 2 days" is a skill, yeah?

I obviously was in the middle of talking to someone in the above picture, so excuse the funny face!

The English editor inside me feels the need to say that this is not a caplet, but the misnomer can be traced back to Anthropologie, so don't give me any flack!

This was a great pattern, and knit up quite quickly. The yarn was also quite nice; I love the colour and it is so squishy!! It was a bit itchy when I first tried it on, but it feels great after washing and blocking. All in all, this was a quick and satisfying knit. I kept track of my notes, in case anyone else plans to knit this with worsted-weight yarn. I hope that someone finds this helpful:

Size: Small
Yarn: 5 balls of Jojoland worsted-weight wool (100m/110y per ball). I finished the body with four balls, but needed to use a fifth to BO the body and hem the sleeves.
Needles: 6.5mm
Gauge: approx. 7 sts over 2”

NOTE: You will have quite a few stitches on your needles if you use straights; it might be easier to work this back and forth on circs.

Holding yarn double-standed, CO 56sts on 6.5mm needles.
Work seven rows seed stitch.

Begin raglan (I placed my stitch markers as follows-- Row 1, RS: [2st seed border], K7, yo, pm, K1, pm, yo, K8, yo, pm, K1, pm, yo, K18, yo, pm, K1, pm, yo, K8, yo, pm, K1, pm, yo, K7, [2st seed border])

You will knit rows 2&3 a total of 13-14x, until each sleeve has 34 or 36sts.

Separate sleeve stitches and place on waste yarn. Continue stockingette body for another 3.5", then do 2 rows seed st and BO.

Finish sleeves with 2 rows seed st and BO.


Okay so I'm not a huge video game nerd, but the geek in me feels all warm and fuzzy:

Someone is knitting the entire first level of Super Mario Bros! She has got quite a bit done so far. You can check in on her process here.