Tuesday, June 30, 2009

stash haul '09

What's a honeymoon for, anyway?

During our Vancouver trip, the fella was oh-so-nice and pleasantly accompanied me to a whopping three yarn stores, a button store, and a weaving store that had some knitting yarns in the back.

We started off a shopping day by stumbling across Button, Button, where I spent some small change on a few buttons that I hope will find their home on a cardigan I'm planning to design this summer.

I first heard about Button, Button from The Merry Blues, coincidentally a week before we left for Vancouver. And finding the store was also coincidental. See how neat things happen?

I later got some bragalicious yarns, especially from Sweetgeorgia Yarns. The very talented Felicia was so generous to let us visit her studio on an off-day. (It's not a store per se, but she'll let you visit to shop in person, and there's always the online option.)

Felicia was also patient -- even when it became clear I wasn't one of those rich knitting ladies who leaves with $500 purchases. I agonized over which of the beautiful colorways I loved best. The fella gave his input and I wound up with some neat stuff.

That green-blue variegated number is high up in the queue! Not pictured is the brilliant turquoise laceweight I bought for my mother.

There was another store that afternoon, but, well, they weren't quite as patient with me, so I won't link. Still, I did get some neat yarns, and from that I have learned that hemp yarn has wicked memory:

I look like Wall-E!

And I promise, I really was done by that point, but then we took a quick trip to Victoria in the middle of the week, and it was the fella (not me! honest!) who pointed out Knotty by Nature. The luggage was starting to complain, so I only bought one skein of Gaia's Colours (the brown one on the bottom below, the other two are from somewhere else). It's a unique colorway from a local dyer, and that's what I was after on this trip.

Besides, you know. Honeymoon stuff.

Now I'm on a yarn-fast until probably October. Completely worth it! Thanks, Canada.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New Music for the Bum-Knuckle Blues

One of my knuckles hurts today. On my first day in some time to knit, knit, knit... I have to stop. Sad face.

Here's some other tidbits for you:

  • Beats Broke has released three new albums in the last month... plus the wedding. Dude, have you seen our living room floor? 'Cause I sure haven't. Upside: free album download if you're speedy.
  • Just finished reading Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched by Amy Sutherland. A fascinating book about exotic wildlife training and trainers. I also recommend her book What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage.
  • I'm still inspired by this Merlin quote on learning that Ms. Martini pointed out some time back.
  • Professional research: I'd like to know which is your favorite from The Canterbury Tales, and why?
  • I've discovered Farmville on Facebook. Love it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Honeymoon FO: Twilight Socks

Not to turn away readers or anything, but... these have nothing to do with the books or movie.

We enjoyed an awesome week of honeymoon fun in Vancouver. We're pretending we can just move there any time we want -- useful when you suffer from hyperthermia after a trip to the mailbox here in Texas in June.

I understand the Canadians might have an opinion on that, but we can always dream.

We did all sorts of nifty things like bike riding, whale watching, and my first trip ever to a casino. (Keep me away: far, far away. If I like Bejeweled this much, how am I supposed to avoid the poorhouse on video poker?) There was also a little bit of knitting.

That's the finished pair, and yes, it's on my wedding dress, which I need to get cleaned and I know how horrible it must seem to take pictures with your feet on your wedding dress. But dude: I challenge anyone to find another suitable white-ish, well-lit background in this apartment. We've got boxes coming out of our ears.

pattern: Twilight, from Two-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes.
yarn: Seacoast Handpainted Superwash Sock. (colorway: raspberry mocha; 1 skein).
needles: size 1
made for: me
mods: Aside from the fact that I defied the purpose of the book and knit these one-at-a-time? None, really.

Take a close look at the heels, if you can. Totally different heel constructions. That's because I was enjoying a day-before-the-wedding knitting session with my mother when I got to the heel and could not for the life of me figure out how I'd done the first one. No clue. Mom, the ever-prepared superwoman that she is, had a copy of Socks from the Toe Up from she of Wendy Knits, so I just picked one and went with it.

That's how I was with most things the week before the wedding, really.

Most of the work on the sock was accomplished on the ferry to Victoria and back. I knit on my sock:

The fella found his own shipboard amusements:

We both had an excellent time.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Married Life: My First Ruined Dinner

Let me step back. While visiting Vancouver on our honeymoon, the fella and I had several natives refer us to the restaurant The Foundation (including one recommendation from the friendly, talented, and soon-to-be-blogged-about Felicia of Sweetgeorgia Yarns). We were in the neighborhood, so we gave it a shot. I had the best meal of the whole trip there:

This is not the dinner I ruined.

This is a black beans, rice, and mango concoction with some of the best salsa I've ever tasted. Hearty, savory salsa with just the right kick.

Now, I'm from Texas. For me to compliment Canadian salsa is huge. I asked the waiter, a long-haired dude in an Iron Maiden t-shirt, what made the salsa so great. "Uh, what's in the salsa?" he asked the earth-mother type dumping tortilla chips into baskets behind the nearby counter. "Chipotle," she called.

"Chipotle," he told me.

The fella and I exchanged a look. But you don't get it, I was about to tell him. Between us, we have eaten Tex-Mex on multiple continents. What is it about this salsa?

"Special chipotle," Earth Mother supplied from behind the counter.

He looked back at us with a grin and a nod. "Extra-special chipotle."

Whatever. It was damn good.

I attempted to recreate the meal just the other night with some local Texas ingredients... and... I screwed it up. It was the beans, they should have soaked longer, I admit that now. This is not a cooking blog. "I'm a doctor, Jim, not an iron chef!" Truth is, I'm only sort of good in the kitchen.

"Darlin'," I said to the fella when I realized that it was 9:45 p.m., two weeks from the day we first wed, and there was nothing to eat. "I've ruined dinner."

"That didn't take long," he said, and promptly took us out to Sonic.

He really is very sweet.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

FO: Counterpane Clutch

For some brains, it might be possible to do an orderly bloggish roundup of two weeks of huge life events in a coherent, orderly fashion. Not so much with mine. I'm currently unsure which direction is up (I suspect it's not where my socks are), so please enjoy the following handful of discombobulated posts, starting with today.

Wedding Knitting
I managed to hold myself back from knitting every single item of my wedding ensemble. (Though if I'd had the time!...) Instead, I satisfied myself with a single evening purse, the Counterpane Clutch.

pattern: Counterpane Accessories Pouch from Handknit Holidays by Carrie Brenner.
yarn: Elann Undyed Superwash Merino and Silk (silk/merino blend; about two-thirds of one skein). I can't believe more people haven't used this excellent, undyed workhorse of a yarn. It's got a snug ply and just enough sheen to qualify it for fancier projects. Bonus: it's also not that expensive. A quick look to the website shows that it might already be gone, but there's still some merino/Seacell blend.
needles: size 5
made for: the wedding
notes: Like many people, I changed up the shape by making three repeats of two scallops (as opposed to two repeats of three scallops). Makes it more functional.

The two sides knit up quickly and easily. It was when we got to the seaming and sewing that my river of silliness broke free from the dam of common sense. Some sample mistakes: I should have folded the tops over at the second purl row from the top (see it up there?) and then sewed the zipper to the doubled-over knitting, just as the directions say. I noticed this precisely after tying the final knot after a painstaking three days of hand-stitching the zipper to the knitting. Why did I hand-stitch? Because I've also had a recent tour of non-functional sewing machines (but some of them very antique and interesting) belonging to my girlfriends.

And then came the lining. I found the ideal lining, some on-sale silk that just so happens to match the groom's tie perfectly (happy accident: the tie came after, and trust me, he wasn't trying to match the purse). I cut it once before I realized I did it wrong, then had it pinned and ready to cut incorrectly a second time when finally a little logic fly whispered in my ear, "Ask your mother."

Sure enough, my mother came to the rescue, as she has in so many other ways. I shipped it up to her, and she finished it off in time for the wedding. To my mind, a mother-daughter project typically involves me as a little girl staring at the sewing machine in confusion as she works some crafty magic, but this will do, too. (She is also a total ninja when it comes to knitting, btw.)

In the end, it's an attractive, floppy evening purse that will probably never be used again.

You could say the purse functioned much like the wedding: not perfect, but none of the guests saw what went wrong with it. Which is to say, excellent.

I hold the same standards for theatrical productions.

I'd love to have a purse-in-action shot from the day of, but alas, we hired a professional photographer -- not just a wedding photographer, but a pro photographer who owns her own gallery and stuff. She has something like 17 prints and two custom frame jobs or whatnot before she can even start in on our pictures. When we do get them, say in a month or so, I look forward to showing the pictures off to everybody between here and the moon.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

FO: Hanami

Hanami is done blocking.

Off the blocking needles and ready for the Vancouver trip (unlike anything or anyone else around here).

Got no time for an in-depth post, but the mods are basically none -- just did a beaded cast-off after 6 rows of garter, like the cast-on edge, rather than the ruffle.

Side note: I do have more picture from the Harlot's recent visit to Austin. I'll post them when I get a chance, probably not for another week or two. For now, check out Sally's thorough photo coverage.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dear Santa

Why, yes. Yes, I would like some T-pins and a blocking board.

Why do you ask?