Monday, November 26, 2007

Thursday, November 1, 2007

latest projects...

burda pattern #7866:

...and the betsy ross "one bag for all" tote, which i made for a craftster swap:

with a label! ...
i loved the burda pattern--straightforward, simple, and it turned out really well. the betsy ross pattern was OK--the pattern piece for the bag was annoyingly slightly asymmetrical (i don't think it was a deliberate design element)...but i like the result!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

autumn, exams, and craftster

blame my blogging absence on my new obsession with craftster's ongoing wishlist swap (thanks to lapoli), an endless and ongoing cold (stupid auto-immune disorder), un-bloggable christmas-gift knitting, a highly stressful family wedding (there were lavendar m&ms printed with the couple's names--enough said), and of course, upcoming exams...

during my visit to oklahoma last month, i made an architectural pilgrimage to see a famous modernist building in my home town. yes, even rural towns in oklahoma have modernist architecture. if only i had known, i would have made a scale model of this building for my high school geometry class. instead i used the barn on the corner near my house and got points off because it wasn't recognizable as a local landmark. clearly the value of vernacular architecture escaped mrs. ferdosian. anyway, it's the oilworker's church, built by the german architect bruce goff in 1948 and constructed with old parts of oil derricks, now known as the hopewell baptist church.

here are two finished projects: a baby hat for a helpful librarian (the leaf is from knitty's leafy cardigan):
and a blurry photo of beads of earth (from scarf style), safely sent on to e. for her birthday:
one more thing: since i'm coming up on my 1st anniversary, the elderly relatives are requesting wedding photos. i guess i should get going on little photo albums...any suggestions for online digital printing companies?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

blueberries, eucalyptus, knit cafe

last week i had the perfect summer day: met C. at the farmer's market, then on to an organic blueberry farm to pick berries, then of course since we were nearby, we had to stop at the LYS...

last week i joined mr. boot in L.A. for a few days for a part-work, part-play trip. i interviewed an amazing artist for my dissertation, hung out with my roommate from olden days, played on the beach, ate at a really good (but not strict) macrobiotic place and saw a eucalyptus tree looking just like bee's fairy trees from Mad. Sq. Art:

not only that, i went to my new favorite yarn store, knit cafe and spend a really lovely hour there. what an amazing store--they've got an excellent stash of back issues of interweave knits, including this one, with teva durham's tartan jacket; beautiful yarn; and the people were so so friendly. the owner of the store, Suzan, was wonderfully welcoming and interested in my knitting and background, even though a famous actress was in the shop for a quick lesson (she was nice, too)... there was even a part-time job available...sigh..if only i lived a few thousand miles closer, i'd do it in a minute! anyway, i highly recommend the shop to anyone visiting the area!

with all of the cross-country flights, i had tons of time to turn this...

...into this (the beads of earth scarf from scarf style: my first attempt at beading)...

...and this... my very first sock, undertaken as a joint project with C., another newbie to sock knitting. i'm a bit stalled out on the instep, but we're meeting tonight, so i'm hoping to be inspired by her gorgeous progress...
for now, i'm off to study for exams (which are only 5 months away): this week i'm reading about fluxus...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

100 degrees, 100 pillows

it's been about 100 degrees here the last few days, so i've been staying inside, knitting, and sewing. i went to a carrboro knitting group last night at open eye and met a whole crowd of amazing and like-minded knitters. most are on ravelry--one is a moderator of the new destash--and, unlike other knit groups i've attended in the area, all of them are totally online-knit savvy and no one was knitting with acrylic. i even met a super-fun knitter who shares my current fancy for getting pygmy goats. our landlord would love that.

as for sewing, i'm the official museum seamstress: the preparators hired me to make pillow inserts for 25 pillowcases that will be included in their next exhibition. i'll post a photo of the mountain of pillows and my makeshift sewing area next time...

for the moment, a few projects. here's jarrett, a rather sweltering piece to knit in this heat, for mr. boot.
and a quick string bag, crocheted from a pattern in erika knight's simple crochet with leftover recycled cotton yarn. i began this one after attempting the magknits saturday market bag and failing miserably at even this simple lace stitch, in size 15 needles. but i like this bag better, anyway. yeah.

the bag is filled with cucumbers: there are currently 11 in the fridge. i must make pickles soon and find people to take them off my hands. any takers?

and finally, a parting shot of this week's CSA box:

Monday, July 30, 2007

ester, kelly, pay it forward

finally, a decent photo of ester, complete with gratuitous back shot of my favorite dress: a halter dress made of an old snap shirt and a scarf (local designer, found at roulette vintage.). perfect dress for the kelly willis concert last night! her new songs are great, cat's cradle is smoke-free, and the crowd was thin but committed: all in all a highly enjoyable experience in our favorite hippie town of carrboro. mr. boot took me to see the kelly willis / bruce robison christmas concert in december, but we didn't realize that they do that tour annually and actually sing christmas carols. it was a bit excessively christmas-y for us (although we loved "oklahoma christmas" with its classic line, "pass the god-damn sweet potatoes") . anyway, nice to see her again. i used to see bruce with their youngest kid in a stroller at pacha in austin. austin, sigh.

anyway, i'm following nuttnbunny's pay it forward challenge; see the original idea here. given my short list of regular readers, the odds are good that you'll get something from me, so jump in!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

austin enchiladas

all summer i've been craving real austin enchiladas, the kind i used to get at polvo's. how to get around the dairy-free issue? well, i replaced the cheese with tofu sour cream, and added scallops for creaminess. so, here's my recipe for grilled scallop enchiladas with roasted poblano peppers, tofu-cilantro sour cream sauce, and blue corn tortillas. enjoy!

12 scallops
1 T olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 c. cooked, shredded chicken
12 small blue corn tortillas
2 small poblano peppers, sliced
1 small onion, sliced

for the tofu-cilantro sour cream:
1 block of mori-nu tofu, firm
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 t. rice vinegar
3 T lemon juice
1/2-3/4 c. cilantro leaves

for the salsa:
5-6 small tomatoes
1/4 of a red onion
1/2 c. of cilantro leaves
[OR 2 c. of red or green salsa]

sprinkle olive oil on the scallops. on an outdoor grill, cook the scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side. or, use the broiler and watch carefully. shred the meat from a leftover chicken breast or 2. meanwhile, sautee the poblanos and onion until browned.

in a blender or small food processor, whirl all ingredients for the tofu-cilantro sour cream and set aside. rinse out the bowl, and whirl all ingredients for the salsa. set aside.

in a 9"x13" pan, layer 1/2 the salsa (about 1 c.) and 6 tortillas to cover pan. evenly distribute the scallops and chicken over the tortillas, then cover with the poblanos and onions. spread all of the tofu-cilantro sour cream over this mixture, cover with 6 tortillas, and top with the remaining salsa (about 1 c.).

bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until warm in the center. serve with black beans, rice, and extra salsa.

EDIT: you may have noticed that i didn't post a photo. that's because this is perhaps not as photogenic as a plate of trudy's enchiladas. but, what it lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in deliciousness!

to top it all off, here's my new favorite treat. it's essentially a carob version of hot chocolate--any suggestions for a good name? hot carob sounds so flat, and my favorite idea--the frothy caribou--made mr. boot think of a sweaty moose. anyway, here it is in all its creamy, frothy goodness:

1/2 c. carob chips
1 T dark amber maple syrup
2 1/2 c. rice milk

melt chips and maple syrup in a small pot. whisk in the rice milk, allow to heat, and pour into mugs.

(this is especially for good crafternoon, who is quitting sugar! good for her!)

Friday, July 20, 2007

plums for tea

well, my extended blogging absence can't be attributed to anything like nuttnbunny's triathlon training or vampirebee's studying for a scary chemistry placement test. what i have been doing, however, is wasting lots of mental energy trying to make a decision about an out-of-the-blue job offer, a paper airplane gliding in from my previous life. a company i worked with in a consulting capacity a few years ago is re-structuring, and they've offered me a 20-hour position at the exact same salary as my very first (full-time) job in the business. i made my decision, choosing (yet again) academics over advertising. i said no, that i didn't feel that the position was right for me. they called me back and have said i can structure my own position and do only the part that i enjoy...

of course, the money would be great! i could quit my shitty receptionist job and we could afford 1) my hearing aid and 2) pay down debt. but we're planning on doing that stuff anyway--it will just take us longer. i spent a really lovely morning doing research at the library, and it underscored for me that i love my life the way it is--i like the way i spend my time. for example, digging up old articles and discovering fascinating side-stories (most recent find: in 1951 a florida museum mounted an exhibition of abstract paintings in the homes of their members: a pollock ended up in a trailer home, a dali above the mantle of a shag-carpeted ranch home. brilliant!). it's just so hard to pass up opportunities!

in knitting news, the body of forecast is complete, and i'm working on the sleeves. with all of the cables, bobbles, and ribs--as well as the really beautiful shaping--it's one impressive-looking piece of work (even before blocking):
the dashing fingerless gloves need only the ends woven in.

i liked the concept of the thumb construction, but was unimpressed with the final results. perhaps i picked up stitches incorrectly? i also couldn't get the ribbing pattern to match both the glove "body" ribbing and the pattern on the thumb itself. i ripped and knit multiple times and couldn't get it to work... ended up matching the main ribs of the hand and forgetting about following the pattern on the thumb itself. not sure if this is a pattern glitch or a problem with the way i knit the palm (although the palm ribbing looks exactly the same on the photo). overall, i like them and think they'll be useful, but i find them a bit puffy around the wrists. this is due to the lack of shaping at the wrists: the cables are further down the arm and create a nice tension that holds them up. we'll see when fall comes around...

i'm excited to begin my next project: jarrett for mr. boot, in a lovely grey-brown! i gave him the yarn for his birthday last week: peace fleece from an amazing farm in maine:

their tagline is "warm fleece for a cold war": the family started out in the 1980s working with soviet farmers in an attempt to humanize russians and alleviate cold war tensions. now they continue to work in russia but also have projects with sheep farmers in a jointly-founded israeli/palestinian community on the west bank. not only that, but the farm in main is horse-powered. mr. boot was beside himself. mr. boot chose the jarrett pattern. i think it's rather old-man-ish and was leaning toward the urban aran cardigan, but jarrett is very professorial, with the elbow and shoulder patches. maybe mr. boot will take up pipe-smoking, too.

here's a terrible photo of my completed ester. i like wearing it off the shoulder--otherwise it looks dumpy from the back.

and, fianlly, plums for tea this afternoon...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

loot from the city!

here are the results of my exciting big-city day with vampirebee...not only did we eat at pret-a-manger (a guilty habit i picked up from the incomparable sophie in london several years ago) but we went to purl soho and to various trim, bead, and ribbon stores. clockwise: rose-colored o-wool (organic wool and cotton) on the needles as in-progress dashing fingerless gloves (more on that in a moment); peacock and brown matte beads for two beaded knitted scarves; coconut wood buttons for a gift knit; embroidered trim and vintage buckle for a belt; and purple-pearly buttons for forecast:

the rest of my time away from home was spent in the attic of an artist's studio in upstate new york. it was , though hot, extremely productive. much dissertation chapter writing has ensued. here's a shot of the studio rug(s), a really lovely color combination, though the stains may give you some indication of the overall condition of the space:

dashing began as a slow knit: i cast on in my upstate NY hotel room (ahem, motel room), and through the pattern should be super easy, i was so engrossed in the top chef marathon (oh, cable!) that i kept ending up with ribs that were one stitch off, too many rounds here and there, etc. i frogged and re-cast-on on the airplane back. since then, i've finished one glove and the other is half-knit. i still need to insert the thumb--i'm looking forward to trying the pattern's technique of knitting with waste yarn, then later pulling out and casting on a few stitches. i'll post photos when i get there. the yarn is not so springy due to the cotton content, so i'm concerned that the gloves won't keep their shape...

i finished ester and the garter stitch bolero but the photo attempts have been dismal. will work on that and post soon!

Friday, June 22, 2007

NYC bag

tomorrow we leave for New York--i'll be interviewing an artist for my dissertation, mr. boot will be putting up fences and birthing lambs at his best friend's farm in new jersey. i'll be in the city for a day on each end of my trip to and from upstate, so of course I faced the problem of the bag--i need a bag big enough to carry my things for the week but not so big that it won't fit in the teeny space that is purl soho or be to heavy to carry around all day.

Enter this amy butler bag--with the rather embarrassingly domestic name of "betty shopper." it's the perfect size, thin but deep, and it's quite sturdy. it was a quick project, surprisingly quick given the many layers of canvas and interfacing that make it so sturdy. feeding the handles through the grommits was the only challenge, and that was just time-consuming.

here's the lining: a fun sky-blue with red and orange flowers.
one more image before we fly off to the big apple: an interesting shadow from earlier this week.

Friday, June 15, 2007

forecast obsession

although i really should be finishing projects rather than beginning new ones, forecast has reeled me in. the pattern is so elegantly written that it's a joy to knit. it's definitely a knitter's sweater, with clever techniques, unusual constructions, and enough to think about to be interesting while maintaining a good rhythm to each row. an intellectual sweater, you might say. it's convinced me that fitted knits will be a necessary purchase in the near future.

ester is stalled due to blocking barriers. last weekend we moved furniture, finally ditching the lumpy bachelor sofa that mr. boot bought at goodwill several years ago for $15. while this was a much-anticipated event for me, the way that we rearranged furniture means that the only real option for blocking--the futon--is now in the main room, where it's not so convenient for a wet wooly mass to remain for several days. so, i'm considering making one out of homosote.

in the meantime, the brown "crispy rice" treats and the strawberry kanten from this macrobiotic cookbook have fulfilled my no-sugar sweet-treat cravings. and, to echo a nuttnbunny image (without the three-year-old fingers), the chickens have been quite productive:

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

baby uggs

booties for a friend's new baby:

i found the "suede" and "plush" yarns really bizarre to work with --i think i'm used to natural fibers and these felt too squishy. also, they turned out rather large for 3-6 mos, despite getting the right gauge. overall, though, i think they'll be a cute gift.

works in progress

the circle tote, my first foray into intarsia, is coming along, despite an ugly mess of strands on the back that offends my sense of order:

ester is ready to be blocked:

and the garter stitch bolero only needs the sleeves seamed:

i knit a few swatches for flicca using lamb's pride bulky--this is in moss, but i'd like to use a cherry red. the pattern calls for 7mm needles, but since that's the english system, i tried a size 10, a size 10.5, and a size 11. they still need blocking, and i'd like to see if the yarn pills much under pressure:

and here's my yarn for stephanie japel's forecast sweater. i'm planning to use guavaseed's modifications.

i think that's enough for the moment...

Saturday, June 2, 2007

in which mod vinyl chairs are purchased, brunch guests are forgotten, and one of us eats a hot dog

yesterday, at the university surplus store’s tent sale, we found the coolest blue vinyl retro chairs and a file cabinet. having struggled last year with fitting a four-drawer file cabinet into the back of the volvo, with much damage to the car, the file cabinet, and ourselves, we decided to go in with a friend for a few hours of a u-haul van. so this morning we get up early, pick up our friend, and move our stuff and hers with no trouble.


as we are unloading the chairs into the house, i catch a glimpse, through the windshield of the van, of our friends d. and h. what are they doing here? i wonder to myself, and then…i remember that in fact, we invited them to come over for brunch this morning. they are 45 minutes late—not unusual, but quite fortunate this time, as we have only just arrived back at the house and would have been out if they come on time. much embarrassed smiling and stuttering ensues, but resourceful mr. boot saves the moment by enlisting poor d., only recently recovered from being hit by a dump truck (really), to help carry the file cabinet into the house, which he limpingly but good-naturedly does.

now, forgetting guests is not the worst of my dinner-party faux pas. it’s not nearly as bad as my very first dinner party, in which i poisoned my guests with a not-quite-cooked hambone in the red beans. or the time the gourd-candles set fire to the mantelpiece during an autumn-themed buffet dinner (i failed to follow martha stewart’s final instruction: peel away the gourds' flesh after hollowing them out and filling them with wax. evidently it’s a fire hazard). this wasn’t even as stressful as the time my unflappable roommate the ruminating slav burned the salmon during her first dinner party (i’m really not sure why this was so stressful for me, since it was her party. but still.).

anyway, this wasn’t so bad: d. and h. went with us to return the van and we went out to brunch. it turned out to be a rather fun day. we showed our support for the seeds fundraiser festival (a local organic gardening program for inner-city kids), where we were quite impressed with displays of double dutch skill; and mr. boot ate a hot dog. kind of departing from our (my) new experiments with macrobiotics, and not nearly as…exciting…as fairly odd mother's hot dog experience, but nevertheless much enjoyed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

summer skirt #2

and a detail of the front ties: i'm finding that bread is kind of hard to mess up. i accidently made this batch of cinnamon bread with double the yeast and then ran out of flour. so i added raisins, turned them into buns, and they're lovely! perfect for tea this afternoon:

notice the buffalo china? we finally finished off the set during last month's great wedding gift trade-in.

big bird, the cochin chicken, has lost her tail feathers again. every time we move the coop, the chickens dig a new dust bath--this time a little too close to the underbrush at the back of the yard. we think that a cat snuck up on them, grabbed at them through the fence, and got big bird's tail, since she's fatter and slower than the others--and has longer tail feathers. there are feathers everywhere and the other two chickens are hiding in the coop, but nobody got eaten--the only casualty is tail feathers. whew.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

summer skirt #1

i finished one of my summer skirts last night: the pattern is quite easy to make, quick (i clocked in at just over two hours), and with elegant results, i think. It fits well, although the side-slit construction is rather bizarre. i was determined to wear it today and just squeaked by...after finishing the hem last night, i had this much thread left:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

new skirt fabric

ready to be washed, cut out, and sewn! i'm planning to use this mccall's pattern, with a hem using bais tape after becka's tutorial.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

pile of sweater

i'm still stuck on the border for the garter stitch bolero. i picked up too few stitches around the curved front pieces, not taking into account the increases and decreases, which pulled the two fronts into the shape of half-baguettes. not so attractive. so i frogged this most recent mistake and am attempting to follow the line of the increases and decreases to pick up the right number of stitches.

notice the green chair in the background of these shots? at the greensboro art & antique fair this weekend we found exactly the old table and chairs that we wanted for the backyard: comfy and green with that slightly shabby vintage feel. i successfully haggled and we got one of the chairs free.

hooray for morning knitting (here it's ester) and grain coffee outside! this week my homeopath gave me to OK to eat gluten again, so my grain coffee treats are back on the menu. and with the help of my lovely, shiny new kitchenaid mixer, we've been baking fresh bread constantly. all i have to do is substitute soy milk for milk and nix the sugar. friday was cinnamon bread (wonderful with strawberries), today is grilled bread on our newly-constructed grill (both from simply in season), and this week i'd love to try a plain whole wheat loaf. now that the semester is over, we finally had time to put together and learn to use some of the more complicated wedding gifts--kitchenaid, grill--and are very much enjoying the results!

a parting image of the chickens, hiding from me. just after i took this they caught an unfortunate mole and were quite pleased with themselves.