Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Finishes: Twinleaf

It is official. The shawl is done.

I am pretty sure I miscounted somewhere along the way during my wrap and turn adventures (this is for the contrast color stripes) and well ... I kept going. Afterall it's 340 stitches wide. That's a lot of tinking. I think it turned out okay considering all the late night knitting this entailed.

I started it in June because it called for light fingering ... (*please someone tell me is this code word for lace weight or am I hallucinating?) and that seemed easier to knit in the warmer months. I picked it back up in the fall, since it seemed like a practical, functional piece, light but warm wearing. Also, it was a lap cozy, while knitting. heh.

This project got me thinking one day, I'd like just to use the dimensions and do another large stripe or colorblock wrap in the same weight yarn. I just don't think I'll do it anytime soon ;) I need a few small projects of instant gratification.

*Really is this lace or fingering what is this light fingering, it's not really sock weight either,  you know?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Adventures in Weekend Baking

To tell you I remain busy is putting it lightly.

I am making time for everything fairly well, including myself and being true to myself the best that I can.

Suffice it to say, I'm still exhausted.

I'm still, behind.

I did manage to try that Gluten Free Almond Butter cookie recipe I've had on my list, this weekend. The Kid, allergic to peanuts had his first conceptual taste of a nut butter cookie. He said  it was a winner.

It took some ... work getting there.

For the first sheet, I put a dollop of jam on them in the last 2 minutes, attempting to get that peanut butter and jelly feel. It was tasty, but a hot visual mess, and if there was too much jam, I worried the bit of dough underneath was underdone.

Kinda ugly right? Kinda like a cookie casualty.

The "batter" is very crumbly and requires heavy shaping. Second sheet, I used a cookie baller and then with my hands sort of packed the balls more.

Each batch improved with time. Go easy on the sea salt. But the sprinkle definitely elevates the flavor with the dark chocolate. I'd chop some dried cherries in a batch too, cause, why not. Since the batter is so crumbly I would not put too much of anything in these cookies. One batch only calls for 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips. See what I mean?

Have you baked or cooked anything new to you recently?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sweater Weather Challenge

So I admit, I saw this first at ChrisKnits and then at Wandering Cat and of course at Ravell'd Sleeve. The list was so much fun to read, I thought I would give it a go. Turns out not only is it fun to come up with, but it really put me in a seasonal weather spirit.

I realize that my answers border on the holiday/winter/Christmas time or season, but perhaps we should chalk it up to the mild weather we have here.

Sweater Weather Challenge

1.  Favorite Candle Scent:  Christmas Pine (for this season)

2.  Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate:  Coffee and Black Tea. Give it to me with the milk and the sugar if you're feeling generous. 

3.  What Is the Best Fall Memory You Have?  Running up and down the street with my friends at twilight trick or treating.

4.  Best Fragrance for Fall:  The smell of rain.

5.  Favorite Thanksgiving Food:  Stuffing and Gravy. Not necessarily in that order. 

6.  Most Worn Sweater:  Gray Target open Cardigan. Not snazzy, but it wears well with anything. I think it may be about to die out of the work rotation.

7.  Football Games or Jumping in Leaves? Does Football called Soccer count? I like American Football when I have some money on it as in the weekly pick em' pool. (lunch money amounts people, I promise, there is no REAL problem here, move along). I am a city girl now. I would be worried about bug things jumping in leaves now -- but I have really fond memories of raking and jumping at my Aunt Millie's as a kid. 

8.  Favorite Fall Accessory:  Boots and hand warmers. My friend HM gave me these beautiful blue malabrigo hand warmers before I started knitting. I still wear them. I still love them and hand warmers remain some of my favorite gifts to give.

9.  Favorite Type of Pie:  Honestly? I know it's not very fall like, but I love chocolate creme pie, but I also like pumpkin pie ... with lots of whipped cream. Like lots. I like pumpkin pie also for breakfast in the fall. Hmm, maybe the real answer is pumpkin pie. 

10. What Is Fall Weather Like Where You Live?  Real fall here, starts literally November 1st. It becomes crispier in the morning and the middle of the night.  The rest of it is the usual high fifties to high sixties. We used to get this thing called rain every now and again. We don't get so many falling leaves.

11. Favorite Fall Makeup Trend:  I think maybe one is, I wear it? I usually don't, because I think I'm worried I will sweat and smear it and become walking tie-dye. (The old tomboy in me has never really ever recovered from this concern). Anyhow, I definitely wear lip stick/gloss and slap some eyeliner on this time of year for functions. Also I start fussing over pretty sparkly things.

12. What Song Really Gets You in the Fall Spirit?  Anything Ella Fitzgerald.

13. Pumpkin Spice - Worth the Hype?  I am going with general consensus and say, I like it in baked goods and that's about it. Trader Joe's has got me a little freaked out with the amount of Pumpkin Spice items they carry right now. Stop it.

14. Favorite Fall TV Show:  Dunno. Bob's Burgers? Is this a fall show? I feel like they just started a new season. I have accidentally learned to like this odd show, thanks to living with the boy child and his man child father. So condescending sounding, but I really do love them and value their presence and intellect even when it devolves into crass or punny humor. Besides, everyone knows I'm the funny one in the family. No, really!

15. Favorite Fall New TV Show:  Great British Bake Off. Hands down. So sad it's over. I will have withdrawal now.

16. Skinny Jeans or Leggings? I like skinny jeans with boots. or the right shoe? Leggings I get concerned. I need to make a statement right now. Leggings are NOT pants. with a tunic or long shirt or something OK. But ... not you know as pants. 

17. Combat Boots or Uggs?  Combat boots, all day,  any day. Uggs are awful to me. They are like slippers in public. They make short stout girls like me look shorter and stouter and maybe that's your thing, but personally it's not the look I would like to enhance for myself. What really gets me, is here in California  when you see the girls with the denim mini skirts and the Uggs. Come on ladies, is this the ski-lounge or are we going pool side, pick a  team theme! ;) 

18. Halloween: Yay or Nay?  Yay, I say!

19. Fall Mornings or Fall Evenings?  Evenings. Mornings are for weirdos. ;)

20. Feelings About Black Friday:  I am American. I am a consumer more than I should be. But no, I do NOT Black Friday. I try to spread out my holiday shopping/spending as much as possible so I'm not spending a huge amount of money in a short period of time, this takes more organization than you'd think I have. GAP coupons have been good to me this season. Matching jammies for all my little people (at 40% off ...) ha!

21. Favorite Fall Traditions:  Thanksgiving.Thanks for giving me good food for my belly and 4 days off in a row. Yee-haw!

22. Any New Traditions to Start?  I'm going to take a page from The Wandering Cat and say I'd like to ensure I had a getaway or an overnight since my anniversary is in the fall as well. I'm just not huge on pomp and circumstance for all things, and I noticed that my husband likes to celebrate with The Kid too. If there is something in particular I really want to do one year. I try to let him know and when he understands it's importance to me, he usually complies. I think we are low motivation this year. 

23. Favorite Alcoholic Beverage for Fall:  A nice red wine. Nothing too heavy since I like to have my wits about me. But we will usually have something nice on the gathering and celebratory days. Also, I like a little Baileys Coffee with whipped cream or Coffee with Bailey's whipped cream sometimes. Maybe that's more of a Christmas thing?

24. When Should the Holiday Season Start?  The week of Thanksgiving. I would like to say after, but who am I fooling. 

25. Who Do You Love to Spend the Fall With?  My famil. That takes on a lot of shapes between us. It's always a pleasant time.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


This is a detail of a striped thing has been one of the two beasts that I have been working on. Don't let the bulky weight yarn with US13 needles fool you. This blanket (Cast On 75 stitches) has not been a quick knit for me.

Life in the way of hobbies ... again.

It's okay, it's a good life. Perplexing and trying at times, but good.

The other beast still in progress is 340 stitches of Twinleaf shawl. I can't photo her right now, she's a big bulky mess. I have some concerns (based on late night stripe stitch counts) but I'm captain of this knit ship and I say, "Full Steam Ahead!" Give me a week. I'm hoping to finish. Hoping, not promising.

I'm knitting both of these as focused finishes for My Sister's Knitter Fall Knit along. I hope to knit a few more things, but eye on the beasts first!

Anyhow, here are a few other food/baking things I've been enjoying:

Thanks to this fun article, Food in Books in the Guardian, I've been enjoying the author's blog. I'm particularly fascinated by this post. It sends me back to reading about this very delicious sounding treat.

I'm thinking I need to do this almond butter flourless cookie recipe.

But I'm distracted by the idea of a Nutella Brownie Tart. Why hello there!

And I'm not sure why I've been looking at more than one gluten-free product at a time, since my household doesn't have a particular issue. But who cares about gluten if they chocolate cookie is chewy? I might project these this weekend.

Lastly, it was really interesting reading everyone's comments on audiobooks. Katherine's comment in particular was cracking me up:
I have a very simple problem with audiobooks--they put me to sleep. Yes, I can fall asleep standing up, cooking, and definitely knitting (sort of a dream state). I don't know what it is that does it, because I never fell asleep in school during lectures, but it is a sure thing that 10 minutes into an exciting book--zzzzzzzz. I have been trying to listen to 13 Hours In Benghazi but I am failing miserably.
Yes, Katherine, I've had a book or two that I had to let go, because it was giving me the sleepies. As if we don't have enough in life that makes us tired!

Some of you mentioned you prefer Podcasts. I admit, I struggle with these more. The only ones I seem to truly enjoy are about soccer. Funny, right?

I've been checking the audiobooks out with an app called Axis 360. It's not the best, but it gets the job done and seems to work well on Wi-fi. I can't really figure out "where" I am in an overall book, just a chapter, which seems to be more of a grouping not necessarily an actual book chapter and though some users have complained about the bookmarking tool, I have good success rate if I pause first then immediately bookmark. I have not yet used the other app my local library uses, but not having to go into a library to do this is magical I can checkout books using my online account on the computer or on my iPhone. But I do love my new library branch. :) Swoon.

Lastly, despite my love of the holiday spirit. I've decided I'm boycotting Halloween this year. No particular motivation, literally. I just don't feel like dressing up and I don't feel social like that, so ha! But this does not mean I don't think others shouldn't enjoy themselves nor am I looking down upon those that are going to be up to their pumpkin guts in candy and costumes. Enjoy the sweet and enjoy the scary!

Pumpkin spice and everything nice to you and yours :)

Friday, October 23, 2015


Okay, I finally did it. I finally got on the audiobook bus. Everyone was talking about how they can knit and cook and do all these fabulous things while listening.

Well, now I am really into the audiobook. Unlike some multi-taskers I can't read and knit at the same time. So by listening to audiobooks, when I have a chance for downtime I am hoping to knit more. I can even audiobook while I work depending on the task -- though I often have to rewind and listen to huge sections at a time, but that's okay.

Wanna know what I've been listening to? Here we go:

This was my gateway book:

I think this falls into the Thriller genre but personally I like to call this sub-genre, "Trainwreck". Pardon the pun, but it was sort of painfully intriguing to see what bad decisions were being made by many of the characters. Unlike Gone Girl, I had a horse in the race and after discussing with my sister and The Manfriend, we all were cheering for that person who really had the potential to better themselves. We really wanted them to find a way back from the depths of their self sabotage and despair. I also found that when I really disliked the way characters would self excuse and righteously explain their behaviors it was an indicator the author had worked some magic on me. The pace of the story was fast and addictive. The audio narration is really fantastic. It's told by 3 different women. Not just one woman representing 3 different characters. The Girl on the Train may not be for everyone, but not only was it for me, it convinced me I am now an audiobooker.

Next up The Mapping of Love and Death, a Maisie Dobbs novel. I was really sucked into Jacqueline Winspear's novels in the beginning of the series. Since then my adoration has waned a bit. I find the books are hit or miss for me. I enjoyed this one, and I enjoyed revisiting the characters and listening to her develop further aspects of their actual character. Also, I felt that towards the end of this book we might get a chance to see Maisie's character develop a little too beyond this, private detective fiercely independent dog with a bone kind of personality. Not my favorite in the series, but definitely has me queuing up for more. :)


I guess I really wanted a mystery, but I barely remember this one honestly. An Old Betrayal  is another in a series I've been trying to keep up with. I'm not sure what it was about this story that lost me. I think the subplot and the promises of what's to come for some main characters was more interesting to me than the actual investigation. So meh. I'll try the next one.

Now this story, Whistling Past the Graveyard I really enjoyed. I feel bad I cannot remember which knitters, but I know at least two of you had said how much you enjoyed it and well, if I will knit big @ss never ending garter stitch shawls under your influence, surely I am suseptible to your book influence as well. Hey at least it doesn't take as L O N G to get through. "Sweet baby Jesus!" as our main character repeatedly says. In fact, I find myself interjecting that into conversation ... unnecessarily ... too much, now. There were times when I found the pace ... a little drawn, but it works. There was a thickness in the tension of the story told from a child's perspective that works. In fact even some of the repetitiveness which would normally make me twitchy really works with a child narrator. There were a lot of themes in this book that worked for me. Warning another book where you will want to shake some characters, but it's a satisfying story and not the shock writing as I've heard described of GG or GotT. 

And here we are something that is not a thriller or a mystery,  Armada by Ernest Cline, author of "Ready Player One", which I still haven't gotten around to reading yet. I like the Sci-fi even though there is always the reminder that humanity is arrogant and we will probably be the cause of our own destruction in every great Sci fi book. Think Dune series or even Ender's Game. Anyways, this is for the video game friendly (even if just in concept) reader as well. I loved the beginning of this book, even when it rabbit holes into some serious geek theory territory. I love the allusions that even the main character's mother makes to things such as Lord of the Rings (movie and book versions) and Star Wars and Star Trek. The ending left me feeling I wanted something else, but what? I do not know. This is often the case for me when it comes to SciFi so you know, let's just blame it on my own issues. For the record the boys at home say Ready Player One is a better read...

In a desire to have something else to discuss with The Kid I just finished listening to The Lost Hero. I need to note that I really enjoyed most of the books int he Percy Jackson series and even The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan. However this book so far is my least liked.  Why, Ellen Why? Maybe the whole self involved conflicted poor communicating teenager thing is a little too close to home. Maybe I just found the whole pace too slow for things so ... obvious. Maybe it was just too long. However I now have a baseline for this new series and I also have a talking point with my opinionated son. He along with a few of his friends promise me the books get better and agree it is the weakest in the series. 

I have tried a few more audiobooks, but the reading itself was either so horrible or the quality of the production was too poor that I couldn't invest myself in it. I have been checking these  audiobooks out of the library and it is just one more reason to love the library, non? But we'll talk about my renewed love of the library another day (get it? renewed?!? ha!)

I have a few more things in the works, but we can discuss that later. But please tell me if you have an audiobook you are particularly fond of, or a recent read! 

I will catch up with all of you soon. Wishing you a good story and a happy knit!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Weekend Baking

Cool enough to bake but I still barely needed a light-weight cardigan during the day.

First up are pumpkin acorn cakes adapted from King Arthur's Flour. So pretty and moist but I think I want to try them again substituting the oil with butter. You toss them in a cinnamon sugar while warm for a lovely coat of fall taste.

Next up are cinnamon roll sugar cookies. No icing. I ran out of time. Also I did not use baking spray on this but just floured my rolling surfaces accordingly and used parchment on my cookie sheets. These were surprisingly popular and not too sweet. I used dark brown sugar and just a shake of granulated, because we read the recipe wrong and that's all we had in the pantry ��

I didn't do the floss cut so they are oval shaped, but tasty.

After some more knitting I think we will continue focusing on cake. Maybe a return to something chocolate ... To be determined.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Undines in Top Cat

It is very important to me that I mention these socks were made in Top Cat from Wandering Cat Yarns, because they are really just so so lovely. So soft, but tough. 

Pink dreams.

I did a stockinette foot and I'm happy with it. 

I'd like to return to this pattern some day and try a purless version and make some lovely gift socks. Maybe even some shorties. I loved the KAL and seeing how it knit up in so many wonderful color ways even stripes!