Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Winging It

My friend spent a few hours working on The Yarn Harlot's Pretty Thing at my house on New Year's Eve. I was quite taken with the gorgeous lace and of course wanted one of my own using some lovely Malabrigo Lace yarn that I picked up recently at Happy Knits, Portland's chutzpadik new yarn shop*.

Sadly, I found the pattern just a little too challenging for my over tired brain and I realized (after buying the patten since there's no way to see it and judge the difficulty before plunking down the cash) that I just didn't feel like working that hard right now. I browsed the other lace cowl patterns on Ravelry and had a very Goldilocks type of experience. Everything was either too complicated or too simple.

And so I decided to wing it. After making two February Lady Sweaters in the past year, I have that simple lace pattern burned into my brain so I figured I'd use that. I added in purl columns between the repeats which I enlarged toward the bottom to provide a little more chest coverage. Made up in the heavenly merino yarn I chose, it's light as a whisper and absolutely itchless. It worked up quickly, even on tiny needles, and I was so delighted with the end result that I wrote my first ever knitting pattern to share with anyone who'd like to give it a go. If you do give it a try, please let me know of the pattern makes sense.

I know, I know, this is blurry. I am not so good with the self portraits. I'll try and replace this with something lovelier soon.

*Chutzpadik is Yiddish for .... ballsy. I can think of no better description for a new business that opens just 2 blocks from one of Portland's oldest yarn shops. Because I've never had a good experience in that well established shop, I was more than a little tickled at the audacity shown by Happy Knits and I look forward to visiting that beautiful shop as often as my wallet permits.

Savory Cheese Custard

This is one of my favorite standbys when I realize a meal is low on protein and we have nothing but cheese and eggs on hand. These savory custards from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone are quick, tasty, nutritious and well received, even by pesky children. You could make the custard in one large baking dish (cook it longer

You could certainly play around with different cheeses and seasonings but we are always pretty happy with a simple blend of Tillamook cheddar and Parmesan. I like these served with roasted potatoes and a simple vegetable on the side.

You'll find the printable recipe here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Not Food

Taking a break from my regular yammering about food because, well, this hardly seems the time, does it?

Stand With Haiti

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Too Soon

Singer Lhasa de Sela in concert in Stuttgart, ...Image via Wikipedia

I don't talk too much about music with most folks I know given that I have rather odd tastes and tend to be completely out of the loop regarding mainstream music. An example: I only recently was introduced to Radiohead...and was not impressed. There's no one with whom I can readily debate the relative merits of say Sukhwinder Singh vs Sonu Nigam. I know, I know. Blank looks, right? I am not even going to try and convince you to listen to my favorite Bollywood vocalists or gypsy brass bands.

But you might want to give Lhasa de Sela a try. She's been in regular rotation at our house for well over a decade since my friend Beth gave me her first CD. We were fortunate to be able to see her live when she toured following her second CD release and it was a thrilling experience. Her fantastic throaty voice, accompanied only by a standup bass, filled the theater and everyone in the audience was transported by her singing. Her songs might be Spanish, French, or English but the language hardly matters--you can't help but understand.

On New Year's Eve I introduced an appreciative friend to her music, only to learn that she died of breast cancer the next day at her home in Montreal. At 37 years old. Hers was a fascinating, free spirited life but it was way, way too short.

I don't pay a lot of attention to the passing of celebrities, but this one hit me hard. With only three recordings, it seemed she had so much more to offer the world with her lovely voice. I read that she'd been planning to record the songs of Chileans Violetta Parra and Victor Jara -- I would have loved to have heard that, along with any other project she might have been involved in. What a loss.

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Sunday, January 03, 2010

A year of making things

I meant to get to this before the end of 2009 but as we're barely into 2010 I guess I'm not too, too late.

It's funny--I felt as though I didn't accomplish nearly as much as I'd have liked in terms of making things in 2009. But when I went through the photos (and factored in all the things that I'd given away before photos were taken) it turns out that I did quite a lot of sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery, beading, and spinning. I made pillows for my couch, clothes for my daughter and myself, and lots to give as well. Seeing all these projects thrown together in a photo collage I realize just how consistent my color sense is--no neutrals for me, thanks!

Here's pattern info for anyone interested in making some of these projects. Top to bottom and left to right:

February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne made with Dream in Color "Classy" worsted. I just finished this the other day but I can't wait a whole year to show it off. I love, love, LOVE it! Also, no surprise here, I love my Romeo, too.

Pixie Hat-- sized for a newborn

A thrifted t-shirt which I embellished with stencils and embroidery. No pattern here--I was just winging it. I learned something cool, though. Fabric paint makes a good stabilizer for embroidering on knits.

Patchwork border skirt. Also out of my head!

Sundress based on the one in Heather Ross' Weekend Sewing though I confess she lost me about halfway through the project and had to figure out how to attach the bodice to the skirt on my own.

Sofa pillows I made without a pattern. I had my talented friend Corby make a new cover for my couch using ikea fabric and realized there was no way to old pillows would do, so I used remnants of the cover fabric along with something I found at Fabric Depot and a lovely Japanese cotton that was given to me years ago and was thrilled with how they came out.

Reverse Applique Swing Skirt--I made this over many months following the directions in The Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin. I dyed the fabric myself and, because the pattern didn't really work for a curvy girl like myself, I added an extra panel and cut the width in order to make it fit without being too large. This was a huge project and very likely the handmade item I'm proudest of.

My second Noro shawl, following this pattern and using 8 different balls of Kureyon and Silk Garden. This is a hard pattern to beat for fun and loveliness.

Some handspun yarn--I can't remember who dyed it.

The Prairie Blouse from Seams to Me by Anna Maria Horner. I amde this using some lovely linen I had lying around and it wasn't too hard. But now I need to move the bias elastic casing down the body as my little one is growing like a weed!

The Pin Cushion Caddy, also from Seams to Me. This one kind of blew my my 3-D challenged mind but it is a fine pincushion which served me well during the making of the skirt mentioned above.

One of two beaded bracelets I made in a class taught by my friend Catherine. I loved the class, loved the process, and loved the results.

My second ripple afghan, this one is watery blues and greens. This was based on the Pink Ripple stitch pattern in Jan Eaton's book 200 Ripple Stitch Patterns. These are so much fun to make--the crocheting is easy (well, one you've gotten off to a good start--thanks, Sari!) and putting the colors together is a joy.

Last is my first February Lady Sweater which I made with cashmerino yarn that I had lying around. The yarn didn't have enough body for the sweater to hold its shape so it was a big disappointment but the process allowed me to plan for my second of these sweaters which I truly love.

In addition to this, there were the Felicity hats that got away before being photographed, some appliqued banners, a silk scarf for my grandmother, and more. I have a few projects lined up for 2010, but I'm always on the lookout for more, so do feel free to share any great ideas with me.

Wishing those of you that make things happy making in 2010!Reblog this post [with Zemanta]