Wednesday, April 30, 2014

WIP: Plan of Attack

Here is a snippet of the Work In Progress that really should be a button band away from being a done baby gift. Alas! I was finishing the bottom 2x2 ribbed edge and really stopped to take a look at my status (during Agents of Shield Tuesday viewing with The Kid) when I realized, this sh*t doesn't look right.

Basically the edge looked too big, and when I thought I had gone down a needle size I had gone up one. How does that happen? Well Addis are narrow at the tips? Okay, I just didn't pay attention when reaching into my bag to switch down needle sizes.

I ripped it out, re-threaded that puppy and finished the bottom ribbing with the appropriate needle size. I was hoping to have finished the bottom AND one sleeve last night. I'll have the entire thing done by the end of the weekend, at the latest.

I did finally fix and cast off that first Winter sock. (I won't post a photo till the pair is completed properly, that could be ages) ... but is it so bad that I'm thinking I want to start a spring pair?

I pulled out a pair of dpns and some yarn I got in Kathy B's fall swap! :)

It looks like growing things right? I am thinking just a pair of stockinette socks. I've never done that before, so why not now?

The pink sock is on the backburner again, but thanks to Nothingbutknit who heard my neurotic pleas for help I am back on track.  I need to bang out another baby knit and I'll return to this project.

Notice how she's found yet another twisting sock pattern!

I've decided I'll postpone the rest of my sock knitting adventures that I've had so many encouraging recommendations for with magic loop sock knitting. 2 on one, 2 on 2 circulars etc for the summer, when I don't have ... gifts I'm knitting. Maybe I'll manage 2 of the techniques over the season?

What's in progress for you? What's in your knitting future?

On a completely unrelated note. I have a great debate with HM on just how cute I think Prince George is. (he's a baby, he's a royal baby, but whatever) I say cute. She says, not so much... not even a meh. How can she be so wrong?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Another good meal: Frances

My husband for the most part keeps to himself, and putters around the apartment with various periodicals and Giants Baseball. He gets himself to the gym for health and sanity. His home hobby is cooking and basically accommodating me. I'm grateful.

We both enjoy discovering new meals out in the world of wonderful restaurants we have in San Francisco, so in many ways this is another family hobby.

For this post we return to another family favorite: Frances

I was running late from the office, so I asked the boys to start ordering and I would be there in time to order my entree.

Duck liver mousse with medjool date jam.

Well it seems they did pretty good in my absence with lemonade and white wine. They started with the house famous bacon smoked beignets. These are not too greasy, but really it's the maple chive creme fraiche  that seals the deal, it is served like a dip so you can compare and contrast the flavors.

Simple but complex was the Chicory salad. The veined pink and white leaves, peppery and bright with bites of radish and asparagus ... so lovely, such a happy dish.

We ordered some roasted artichokes, but I just wasn't wowed by them. Secretly because we make them at home, so I just sort of redirected my calorie intake. (don't worry, we finished them the next day).

The Manfriend had perfectly cooked and seasoned halibut.

The kid the bavette steak which he enjoyed even more the next day when we inserted the leftovers into a quesadilla for lunch the next day :)

Pour moi, the chicken roulade, which is not really something you'd expect me to order if you knew me, but I was intrigued. I think it was cooked using a sous vide process, which usually I am a little skeptical on, but what can I say? I was won over. So tender, flavorful with a nice proper char, that if you're a carnivore you'd appreciate.

This place is really hard to get a reservation. Sometimes if you can it's best to just try and walk in for a first seating if there are only 2 of you, and even then you might end up at the counter, but really, it's a nice bright space and the staff are delightful. Second time out as a family and we all give it the thumbs up.

*all photos by The Kid :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Tuesday Catch-up

Okay, so first thing is first. We have a winner for the April Mohair give-away... Delusional Knitter!! Tada! I will be contacting you via Ravelry. Congratulations and thanks for visiting!

The rest of you should click by for a visit if you aren't familiar with her blog. She's got a great Feline Friday and she's going through the sweater designing process. Crazypants!! Swatches, and sketches and notes, Oh My!

Meanwhile back at the Ellen Ranch, I have managed to stop shoving food in my face places after Easter weekend, and tried to knit a bit. I have started a baby cardigan, which I am not posting any pictures this early on, because I know that sometimes Harrigan does a blog drive-by, so I have to leave a few tricks up the sleeve.

Per Kepanie's recommendation and me benignly stalking her blog I chose Little Coffee Bean .

I am just at the point of putting the sleeves on the scrap yarn to begin the body. The good thing about baby knits, are they go fast (as long as it's not another crockerpotter blanket!). I can't believe I'm committing these words to post, but yeah, this sweater will be ready in time for the baby ...

As for the other dude (in my office), having the other boy baby in May? All bets are off.

I would like to tell you I have been sock knitting, because I have become obsessed with socks. Socks, sock yarn, sock yarn shawls, whatever, if it's got something to do with foot warming I've got one dog ear up and my head is tilted ready for more info. With one caveat. I am never knitting slippers. Never, or booties. No, if not simply to remain contrary on something today.

Obsession aside, I have not been knitting socks. I have been perpetually fixing socks. Those pretty socks from the other day? That's the last of the good sock knitting. For those of you who were wondering it's the  Mr. Dress Up pattern, I'm sorry I didn't respond sooner. It was super fun and made me feel I might get the hang of this sock knitting thing.

My winter socks are still on the needles ... barely --  they have not recovered from my evening of sleeping with the dropped stitches. I keep trying to frog back, but it's just ... impossible. I can't get the right number of stitches on my needles. I was swearing enough last night that my husband told me to put a sock in it. Oh YES I did ...

Blue filter is not on purpose -- tinted office windows ... awkward.
When the "I love sock knitting" feeling was still burning strong, I cast on this pair of Down the Rabbit Hole , thanks to NothingButKnit's sock knitting influence. However I had some problems reading this pattern. It shows you Rows 1 - 3 and you have to essentially, "keep going in this manner". Also, you only do one set of rows per foot. Dedicated directional spirals.  Now I'm no smartypants, maybe occasionally clever at best, but I figured it out, until ... I ran out of stitches on one needle. For some reason (possibly wine) I was unsure how to progress to keep things even on 4 needles and keep the spiral progressing. No actually I think what it was, is I did 2 cable stitches starting on the second needle instead of continuing to move one stitch at a time. Anyways I had to back a bunch of rows out and I'm still not sure where the heck I am or if I "know" how I'm supposed to progress, and honestly, I have no idea what theoretical row I'm on.

By the way this yarn is from Wandering Cat Yarns, Top Cat in pansied. It's dreamy (I promise a better photo that does justice to the colorway). I just went by the shop to visit recently, because I have a sock yarn problem now, and just needed to visit to feel better about myself and there's some good crack sock yarn goin' on in spring feeling flavors. Take a looksee.

I'll try to be more visual in the future, but I'm not an artist, I just like to play with yarn and watch t.v.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

Happy Easter! Happy Sunday! Happy Spring! Happy Sexy Socks! Whatever makes you happy today.

Ahh chocolate and ham.

Ahh yarn in the sun.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Falling Asleep at the Needle ...

See that there? That's what happens when you're determined to finish the toe of sock #1 before going to sleep. You were good, you took the late class at the gym and worked an hour of cardio. You walked home. You didn't eat TOO much before going to bed.

It's midnight, you're working by the glow of some cable movie on the t.v. that you really shouldn't have in your room, but you're a grown-up and it your house, your hypocritical rules, ha! Okay, there is also a sad excuse of an end table lamp on, but really someone with the eye sight of a woman gently and ever so gracefully maturing should be using more. Also, if you could find those ever elusive glasses again, it would've been good to employ them...

So somewhere on your late night journey to end of the sock, amongst the puppy snores of your husband, you nod off too.

You wake up, and really the world is the same ... except for the sock.

Now you must stay up another half an hour trying to get some stitches back on a dpn. Is it just me or do dpns and stitches seem to shrink in the middle of the night ?

I could not fuss with "if it's right."

This morning proves to me, it's not.

At least it started off pretty ;)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tax Day and an April Giveaway

I know there are some of us that are still scrambling to get our taxes out.

There are others that might be a little on the sad side, because  they had to pay out some tax money and well, we all know that could've gone to some yarn or at least a good pastry.

So let's have an opportunity for something for free!

Here are four balls of  Jo Sharp Infusion Kid Mohair. (I also have half a ball I'll throw in, but it didn't photograph as well.) The color is a smokey gray and purple. Since I was having an impulse moment last visit to Imagiknit, I grabbed a couple of mini Anywhere Balms for your knitting hands. Perfect size for a notions bag/tin.

You know the drill. Leave me a comment here by end of day April 22nd, and a Ravelry handle or some way of contacting you and it just might possibly be yours!

Monday, April 14, 2014


The mornings have started off cold and foggy.

We dress in layers and dream of the next warm cup of liquid as we get our day going.

Sunday before our son's soccer match we decided to get Japanese Ramen for lunch. Not instant ramen, REAL ramen.

We headed down the peninsula (for shopping chores as well, Target etc) and stopped at Dojo Ramen. They are known for spicy broth. The place is small (it seems most ramen shops are). We had to wait for a while outside, but by then it was pretty warm and I had a sock to knit in my purse. The menu is very focused. I got mild spicy for my first time to be able to taste the actual soup. I chose garlic pork flavor and added on corn and bamboo shoots. (I gave the quail egg to The Manfriend, shh, don't tell my Mom!)

It was definitely tasty and I would go back, but I prefer the old fashion version of its sister restaurant, Santa Ramen. (Which shares it's plaza with a Japanese grocery store AND a Joann's ... In case I need more comforting :)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Family Book Club: Wonder
Image from Click for link.
I kept seeing Wonder in the book stores (You know that place in town where they have real books on shelves that you have to BUY and sometimes they have a cat lounging in the window). I had read a few really good reviews in magazines. I saw the positive buzz online.

So, I bought the book, and handed it to The Kid over winter break and said, why don't you give this a go, it's supposed to be excellent.

He tore through it, and openly commented on it. He kept asking me when I was going to read it. Then my pal HM read it after I told her The Kid liked it. But she could not believe I hadn't read it yet (even though I recommended it). Then his father read it and then they both asked, when are you going to read it. I finally did. I really enjoyed seeing the world from a kid's perspective who knows his parents are really trying to help and protect him.

Synopsis: The books is about a home-schooled child with a severe facial deformity that begins going to "regular school". The story is told in multiple perspectives: Main character; Sister; Friends

Our favorite thing about the book was the multiple narrators and perspectives. The writing style was smooth. We were impressed with the amount of empathy and sympathy it squeezed out of all of us. I wasn't too sure what to expect in the ending, something sad or sappy, but I was actually pleased. It was a great character study. I like how some characters went through changes ... and some didn't.

Our whole family would recommend this book.

p.s.:  I wanted to do an interview style post with each of us on this book, but the menfolk basically rolled their eyeballs into the back of their heads when I made the gentle wifely and motherly request. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Knit Status: A Shawl for Me!

I'm veering off the beaten path and going for a finished object on Tuesday. I know, I'm wild like that. next thing you know, I might actually start keeping a clean house. HA! I kid, I joke I LIE like a lazy rug!

But look here! I did find some time to knit during my kid action packed Spring Break.

This is Cecily's Shawl.

I used 4 different colors of Tosh Sport I had in the stash, instead of the 3 (Quince & Co) it calls for. Yay for the stash knit! I broke out the first large stripe into 2 different colors, and continued to knit in sequence. It is an easy knit starting from a large cast-on to a small bind-off. I had never knit a pattern in this decreasing sequence. I was constantly worried I was not shaping appropriately simply because I was not used to it. When I cast off, the shawl was a wonky shape. It really benefited from a good blocking.

In my project page I actually call it Cold Shoulder, because I momentarily thought I was funny, but Cold Neck would be more appropriate since I like to wear it like a kerchief scarf.

Now it's time to wrap up a pair of socks (RE-ally!) and then I need to whip up or at least get started on some coworker baby knits.

What's your knit status?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring Break 2014: Monterey Bay

Spring Break Selfie!!

First! We have a winner: Leslie! Super Congratulations ! I've sent you a message via Ravelry. I'll get this out quickly once I get your mailing address!

I'm sorry I did not post sooner on who won, or posted sooner in general, but I was living the dream. read that as paid time off ...

I was on Spring Break hiatus (though I originally had every intention of updating the blog in a timely manner... bah!) and had a ball hanging out with The Kid and his pals. Instead of taking The Kid out of town for the duration as I had originally planned, we did a quick overnight and 2 day getaway to Monterey Bay. (I was going to do 3 days/2 nights, but I wasn't willing to give up his dentist appointment on Tuesday. Friday I had promised The Kid and 7 other boys I'd take them to see Captain Ameria 2: Winter Soldier Opening Day. And Sundays we like to spend with The Manfriend aka Dad, the nice parent.)
Movie thoughts, in case you were wondering... I liked it better than Captain America 1. Yes, I like action, comic book, fantasy blockbuster movies on my own, without school kid influence. Honestly the action was very entertaining, but I miss the old wide shots of fight scenes where it is more visual than a bunch of shaky cameras and punch blocking arms. I am thinking more in the style of the choreographed martial art scenes from the good old days. And personally I think The Winter Soldier is more handsome than Captain America, but yes, I think he (WS) could use a friendly meeting with some shampoo.
Back to the break ... I rented a car and The Kid navigated when I *ahem briefly got lost in town on the way to the hotel. I may have mentioned, I do not drive much. This sometimes leads to some anxiety when I have to do it after a long while. I was fine after 20 minutes, although cars are fancy now. I had a car with a pedal for an emergency brake that had NO ignition key. You literally press a "Start" button. Crazypants! That's not my husband's big butted Honda Accord or my local MTA pass! I didn't know how to work the strange pay kiosk at the gas station and sort of let someone else go before me to see how it's done. I felt so stupid! But it all worked out and within 20 minutes I was driving on the Freeway, in traffic making "Mom" faces at the other bad drivers. hehe. Still, I don't like traffic. You commuters are amazing.

Our hotel Portola Plaza was lovely. See Kid -- so happy to be checking-in, especially after they give you warm chocolate chip cookies :) He wants to recreate the recipe. Add that to the To Do list ...

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located approximately a 1 mile walk from our hotel. It's a beautiful scenic, walk or ride along a bay path filled with pretty scenes of boats and seals and birds. The next day we rented a bike surrey and rode down further. Next time we'll rent "regular" bikes and maybe try kayaking on the bay!

My Bezzie Mrs. B. lent me her guest passes so we saved some money visiting the Otters, which is probably the only place we didn't spend too much on our Mother/Son get away, but really, it was a fantastic time!

Real otter photo 1 by The Kid
Real Otter Photo 2 by The Kid
The Kid is still a Kid  when allowed to pick out a small souvenir, he still opted for a Stuffie :)