Monday, December 26, 2011

My Brother's Superpower

I have always known that my brother had a gift. When it comes to cooking, he doesn't need a recipe and when he has one, he often finds a way to improve it. He is a gifted cook. My mom used to make fudge at the holidays but now my brother does it because of his gift. He never seems to make a bad batch. What is a bad batch of fudge? It is dry and crumbly and gritty. This is the only kind of fudge I have ever made. This year, my brother added caramels to his repertoire and that was his mistake. The caramels are perfect, just like the fudge. I am on to him. He is alter ego is Captain Sweet Tooth and desserts are his superpower.


Friday, December 23, 2011


Right now I am on vacation and I am taking full advantage of the knitting time. I just finished another Sockhead hat. I don't know when I started the hat but it was in progress and mentioned on the blog in September so it was probably started at the end of August or the beginning of September. I'm not quite sure what derailed the project but I am guessing stockinette boredom since I was near the end of the nine inches of stockinette that I needed to finish before I started the decreases. The hat is made in the Ice Cream Sandwich colorway of Crafts Meow's Soft Serve yarn that I picked up at Stitches Midwest several years ago. My camera had a hard time focusing on the project so I had to use a sort of bad photo but it was one of the few shots of the hat that was actually in focus!

I am currently working on a Hitchhiker for The KnitGirlls SAL/KAL but it is in timeout. I have a problem with sticking to larger projects all the way to the end. I tend to get bored and I either start a new project or I pick up an old WIP to work on. Right now I have 22 or 23 of the points finished so I am a little more than halfway finished. This is obviously not a current photo, but I'd rather include an old photo than have no photo.

In non-knitting news, I went to a holiday party earlier this week and had a wonderful time. One of my coworkers hosted the party at her house and I think that everyone had a nice time. I didn't take any photos but her house was lovely and all decorated for Christmas. Speaking of Christmas, I managed to get my Christmas cards in the mail before Christmas this year and I have all of my Christmas shopping finished so I should be in good shape for this weekend. My brother and sister-in-law are hosting Christmas dinner this year and I am looking forward to seeing them.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Yes, I pay to get disappointed. Wait, is that not normal?

Knitter, know thyself. That is the lesson that I learned from participating in the Fall in Full Color club this year. For those of you not familiar with a knitting club, you pay a lump sum and then (at least with this club) every month you get a pattern and yarn and it is a wonderful surprise that feels you with knitterly glee. Unless...yes, unless you are a knitter like me...a picky knitter. I have often said that I wouldn't join a club because I am so picky but I somehow thought I could change that and have a grand adventure and broaden my horizons. Not so much. I have enjoyed one pattern but I didn't want to use the yarn that came with it because is was a cable and textured pattern and a highly variegated yarn that somewhat obscured all of the cable and texture. I can appreciate several of the yarns that came in the club kits but they were definitely not for me. Just to clarify, there is nothing wrong with this club for other people. It is a great club for other people, it just isn't a good fit for me. December is the last month for the club so at least when 2012 gets here I will not longer being paid to be disappointed. I'll still be paying for a gym membership that I don't use but that is a different issue. 

Enough of the grumbling, and thanks for sticking with me to the actual knitting content. Yes, there have been more hats, all of which will be given to a charity. What can I say, they are super quick to knit and I like feeling productive.

There was a Starving Artist beret made out of Malabrigo Chunky that has been floating around in my stash for several years. It took exactly one skein of yarn.

There was a 1x1 rib hat, no pattern needed that used about a half of a skein of Moda Dea Tweedle Dee that has been hanging around the stash for a couple of years.

There were two hats that I made out of one of the yarns from the Fall in Full Color club. The colors are not for me but I can appreciate that if you love fall colors, this yarn will make you happy. One of the hats is a no pattern 1x1 rib brim & the rest in stockinette. The other hat is a Twisted Rib watch cap.


Now brace yourself, there has been non-hat knitting as well. I know. Shocking!! I participated in a knitalong (KAL) of the Fresco Basket Whip cowl for The Knitabulls video podcast. I made it out of some Blue Sky Alpacas sport weight that has been kicking around in the stash for a few years.

Finally, bolstered by the success of the Knitabulls KAL, I joined The Knit Girllls spinalong/knitalong. I am not a spinner so I am just doing the KAL portion of the SAL/KAL and the knitting started today. I am knitting the Hitchhiker out of the yarn that Cloudlover dyed for the SAL/KAL. When you put the pattern name together with the fact that there are 42 pattern repeats the inspiration for the pattern seems obvious. Well, obvious if you have read the book. My progress is tiny but I like the way it is shaping up.

So what have we learned today? I'm super picky and that occasionally ruins some of the fun that I try to have and causes me to whine. I have managed to knit up some of the ridiculous amount of stash that I have. I like hats. I ramble too much.

If you made it to the end, bless you. May your day be delightful and full of laughs.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Murder of Hats

This post is a catch-all for the knitting projects that I have finished recently. I'm in a bit of a hat phase so I have several hat pictures to show you. I thought a collection of hats was too boring of a title so I'm pretending that hats are like crows and a collection of them is called a murder. Why? Because it's my blog and that's what I feel like doing.

All of these hats will be going to a charity because I only have one head and it already has a lovely hat that my friend crocheted for me. The hats will be divided amongst Hats for Sailors (the blog is here and the Ravelry group is here) and Wool-Aid (the website is here and the Ravelry group is here). I'm sure there will be more hats in the future since they are such a quick knit and I can actually finish one before I get bored and move on to another project.

Please forgive the shoddy photos. I work nights and I never feel like heading out to take proper outdoor, daytime photos. The pattern links are for Ravelry and the book links are to LibraryThing. Anyway, here is the murder of hats.

Twistygoo in madelinetosh vintage in the cobalt colorway

Spiral Hat (from 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders) in Dream in Color Classy in the happy forest colorway

Mushroom Cap in Dream in Color Classy in the november muse colorway with a happy forest stripe

Spiral Hat #2 (from 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders) in Dream in Color Classy in the happy forest colorway

First Hat (from Knit 2 Together) in Dream in Color Classy in the november muse and happy forest colorways

Basic Cable Hat (from Stitch-n-Bitch Nation) in Malabrigo Rios in the aguas colorway

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trash or teasure?

You may see trash but my family sees treasure.


This is a cradle that was made by a neighbor for my Great Uncle Russ in 1911 and was last used by my Uncle Dave in 1937. No one knows when exactly the cradle was exiled to a shed but it remained carefully tucked away in the rafters until my Great Aunt Elv died. Her estate went to auction this weekend and a member of the family paid a thousand dollars to ensure that this cradle did not leave the sale with a stranger.

How about your family? Do you have anything that is deeply treasured that, to outsiders, seems like trash?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Knitting Ninja Skills

I am officially a knitting ninja. I was starting a new hat project at work (on my lunch half hour) and I realized that I needed a stitch marker. I didn't have one in my knitting bag but I really wanted to knit so I scoped out my desk and found a solution.


I got mad skills, yo! The hat in question is Twistygoo by Lisa Beamer and the pattern is available as a free download on Ravelry.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

End of Summer

Thankfully the weather seems to have turned and summer is at a close. Fall is my favorite season so I am pretty happy right now! What have I been up to since July?

Stash Dash came to an end but I did not manage to knit 5K worth of yarn. However, like any person who is good at justifying things, I'm considering it a win! How, you may ask, can it be a win without knitting the full amount? Well, I knit 2.5K and that is about 2.49K more than I normally knit during the summer. I finished some lingering projects (although not all of them) and I really got back in the swing of knitting again. So, for me, it was a win.

I finished another Sockhead hat. This one is made out of Fleece Artist Sea Wool in the Marine colorway. The yarn came from The Loopy Ewe in December of 2008 so I consider it deep stash.

It is such an easy project, although at the end it can feel like a bit of a slog. It is great mindless knitting so it's a good work/travel/TV project. So, of course, I have another one on the needles. The newest one is nestled in my StarKnits triangle project bag and made from CraftsMeow Ice Cream Sundae in the Ice Cream Sandwich colorway that I picked up at Stitches Midwest a couple of years ago.

I finished a giant seven foot long scarf. I used the Yarn Harlot's One-Row Handspun pattern because I wanted something easy that would show off the textures and colors in the Mushishi yarn that I used. I was able to use the whole giant skein which resulted in a giant scarf that I can wear doubled and still wrap it around my neck a couple of times.


Believe it or not, the whole thing fit in my Piddleloop wedge bag! I love the wedge bag so much that I now have a third wedge bag.
How could I pass up adorable cupcakes?
Cupcake close-up
Now back to the giant scarf. I don't think that I will be getting the Mushishi yarn again for a couple of reasons. First, the skein is too big for my ball winder so I worked off the swift for a while and then when I wanted to have a portable project, I had to wind the ball by hand. Second, the yarn was a really thick in some spots and thin in others and the thick spots seemed to have no twist, almost like roving that hadn't been spun.

Right now I am working on a couple of hats but I will save them for another post. Of course, knitting isn't all that I did this summer. I was fortunate enough to spend a weekend with my former college roommate and her husband and son. I had a wonderful time and was reminded that I miss my college friends immensely. I was also able to spend the day with my best friend from college when she was visiting family in Indiana. She lives in Florida and I haven't made it down to see her in probably 5 or 6 years so it was great to spend the day with her.

Okay interwebs, enough for today. I hope that the world brings you a laugh and perhaps time to catch up with a friend or family member that you haven't spoken to in a while.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Playing Catch Up

I have composed so many witty and delightful blog entries in my head since I last posted. However, since I wasn't anywhere near a computer while they were being written in my head, you will have to suffer through this blog post which will just be a random mishmash of the stuff floating around in my head. I warn you, it won't be for the faint of heart. It will be disconnected and rambling, but that is just how my mind works.

First up, I do have a finished object for Stash Dash. I completed a mitered dish towel which is retro and fabulous. See?
It makes me think of the dish towels my mom had hanging in the kitchen when I was growing up. Of course those towels were actual towels with a crochet topper but it is the same general idea. I had always assumed that my mom made them but I just found out this weekend that she bought them at a craft sale when I was little. Of course, that was in the 70s so I'm guessing it was a church bazaar and not a full on, modern, Renegade Craft Fair style craft show.  Anyway, the towel was super easy to make and it took practically no time at all which is good because I am seriously slacking in the Stash Dash arena. The hardest part of the towel was picking out which button to use on it. My button stash is mostly buttons for shirts or pants and those are a lot smaller than I needed for the towel so I went on a button quest. I didn't take the towel with me because I wasn't thinking clearly so I brought home several options.
I went with the round gray stone-esque button and I'll just use the rest up when I make more towels. And I will be making more towels. I love a project quick project and a functional project and this was both.

In other knitting news, I am still working on the Pogona. It is nearing the end which means that I want to stab myself every time I work on it. The rows get longer and longer and my knitting boredom kicks in and I want to just stick it in a corner and forget about it. However, I need the yardage for Stash Dash and I know that I will love it once it is done so I just have to suck it up and soldier through the last bits. My next shawl project needs to be worked sideways so I don't have the super long rows to contend with at the end. Hopefully the next time I blog, it will be finished.

Now for my guilty summer pleasure: Ice Loves Coco. That's right, the reality show on E!. (Do you need the period after the exclamation point? I'm just gonna go with it.) It is entertaining and their dog is a total rock star.

What else have I been up to? Yoga. Yep, still doing yoga and still enjoying it. I bought my own yoga mat, mostly because feet gross me out and even though we wipe down the yoga mats the gym provides, strangers have had their feet on them. So, now I have my own mat. I tried to be all analytical about it when I was trying to choose one on Amazon but I realized that I really have no frame of reference for good versus bad when it comes to yoga mats so I just got one of the thicker ones that was available in a color that I enjoyed. So, I got this one. I had to ignore the "Yogi Tips" because that was a little over the top for me. The mat is squishy so I'll see how I like it when I use it later today. I'm going to the Gentle Yoga class that Linda is teaching for the first time today and it will be the first time I use the mat. I have been to Linda's Yin Yoga class twice and I've really enjoyed it so I'm hoping that I enjoy the Gentle Yoga as well. The Gentle Yoga class isn't at a time that I would normally be able to go to but I thought I would try it while on vacation and if I love it, I will try to find a way to flex my sleep schedule so I can make it.

Lastly, family bonding. This summer I made it to family reunions for both sides of my family.  It is such a rare occurrence that my dad joked to my uncle that "the kids must think we are dying because they are going to the reunion this year." He was referring to the reunion for my mom's side of the family which I haven't been to since the late 80s. So, consider me officially bonded with the extended family. I do go to the reunion for my dad's side of the family almost every summer. I don't know what exactly the difference is and I don't know if it bugs my mom but that is just how I do things.

The biggest family bonding news of the summer was delivered by my brother via text. My niece is pregnant and due in February so our family is growing. My mom is busily planning all of the things that she can knit and she has already offered her babysitting services. I'm excited to have a new baby in the family as well but my response is a bit more subdued. I just offered my congrats and I'm planning on stockpiling diapers and wipes. So, exciting times ahead for our family.

Until next time, I hope the summer brings you adventures, a sense of freedom and maybe a few nights watching fireflies in the back yard.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Doing It in Public

As some of you may know, Saturday was World Wide Knit in Public Day and I did indeed do it in public. On of the local yarn stores hosted a Knit in Public event at the Farmer's Market and I thought about going. However, I like to do it in public with a good friend so I had breakfast with Nerd Blossom (yes, that is what I'm calling you now) and she watched while I did it. Then she took a picture. *Naughty* [Yes, I officially have the sense of humor of a 13 year old but I crack myself I'm just gonna roll with it. Blame it on the night shift.] Here is said photo:


The project that I am working on is Stephen West's Pogona in Bellamoden's Fahrenheit 451 colorway. Unfortunately, Bellamoden no longer dyes yarn so I won't be able to get any more of this gorgeous yarn. More importantly, check out all of the sugar in the photo. Yes, Nerd Blossom has a problem...a sugar problem! She was spaz-tastic but that is part of her charm.

In other knitting news, I have a photo of the Noro scarf that I completed for Stash Dash in all it's "where did that neon come from?" beauty.


I really think it is the last Noro scarf that I'm going to make. Yes, Noro has beautiful color changes but having to deal with the knots and the thick & thin spots in the yarn just took the joy out of the project. So, dear reader, if you hear me talking about making another Noro scarf please direct me to this post!

Houston, we have an Etsy problem! Well, not really a problem so much as a "I don't need that but I'm totally buying it because it makes me happy" situation. I happened to catch a Piddleloop update and treated myself to a new bag. Okay, it was two new bags. Okay, it was two new, large wedge bags. I know, I know...that was greedy of me and I should feel bad about it, but I don't. When the package arrived, I tore it open and found this inside:


Oh, did you want a closer look?



And how much room does it have?


Tons. I'm a very happy NerdGirl! Until next time, be excellent to each other and knit on dudes.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dashing Through the Stash

Well, The Knit Girllls stash dash is officially underway and so far, so good. Since the dash started 11 days ago I have completed 4 projects of which three were works in progress! I have used 1,362 yards of yarn which doesn't really make a dent in my stash. Oh well. I am really enjoy the knitting and my knitting mojo has definitely kicked into high gear.

Finished Objects:
Chunky Charity scarf v. 1
This is a scarf that will be donated to charity once the weather turns colder & since it is made from an acrylic yarn it will probably go to a local charity. I tend to save the acrylic and superwash wool items for local charities since they are generally going to people that will be machine washing their clothing. I save the wool items that need to be hand washed for charities that are sending the items to people who will be hand washing their clothing, usually due to lack of access to laundry facilities or (in some cases) no indoor plumbing. The scarf doesn't really have a pattern, I just cast on some stitches and used the Ridged Rib stitch from the Knit & Purl Harmony Stitch Guide.

This is the Sockhead hat which is made from a skein of sock yarn. I haven't decided if I am keeping this or putting it in the charity box. It is a long & floppy stocking cap and I really love the way the yarn striped instead of pooling or flashing.

This is just a short, garter stitch scarf that has a nice drape to it. I plan on keeping it as it will go with my navy winter coat. The colors in the photo aren't the best but since I took the picture under the glare of florescent lights, I shouldn't be surprised. The yarn is Colinette Jitterbug which I high recommend. I ripped out the start of three different scarfs before settling on the plain garter stitch and the yarn held up to the abuse.

In other NerdGirl happenings, I attended a family reunion on Sunday. I haven't been to the reunion on this side of the family in probably 20 years so I didn't know a lot of people. I mainly went to see an aunt and a couple of uncles that I hadn't seen in a while. We had a nice visit so I was glad that I went instead of backing out at the last minute because I wasn't going to know most of the people there.

I hope all is well in your neck of the woods and I hope to be back soon with more knitting and other adventures.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Preparing for battle

I'm in training right now for a 5K.

A Stash Dash 5K. I am gathering up my unfinished objects and works in progress so that I can finish those up and I am also winding some stash yarn and plotting and planning new projects. The Stash Dash is something The Knit Girllls are doing in their Ravelry group. I'm more of a yarn collector than a knitter so hopefully this will be the push I need to stop collecting beautiful yarn and start making stuff!

I have gone on a bit of an Etsy spree to get project bags for my new projects. Yes, I should be emptying out old project bags before I start any new projects but I'm a fickle knitter who has to have many, many things going at the same time so I don't get bored out of my mind. Plus, I wanted new stuff. I would show you pictures of the bags but my camera is charging in preparation for the Stash Dash and I want to get this blog post up, so no photos! (And before you ask, no. Patience is not one of my strong points.) You will see the bags eventually when I post project photos but I will go ahead and link the stores now if you want to poke around the Etsy shops. The green hippo bag came from Piddleloop, The cupcake bag came from Vegancraftastic and the dinosaur bag came from Fibernymph. All three stores provided great customer service and the bags are really well made so if you are looking to treat yourself, you can't go wrong with any of them.

Now, back to plotting and planning...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Book roundup

This morning I read an interesting book that I would recommend everyone read. It is a short non-fiction book and although it is aimed at young adults, it is suitable for adults as well. The writing is clear and there is no talking down to the reader (which is sometimes a problem with books aimed at the youth market). And frankly, I'm guessing that you will learn something from it. The book is Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose and it is the story of a teen from Montgomery, Alabama who refused to give up her seat on the bus (because she knew the law and knew her rights) and went on to become part of a landmark lawsuit that ended the segregation on the buses. Seriously, check it out. My copy is headed to the library at work so the kids can read it.

Friday I treated myself to a couple of new knitting books: Westknits Book Two by Stephen West (autographed copy) & Malabrigo Book Three which I picked up at my favorite local knitting store, Klose Knit.  Both books have numerous patterns that I would like to make (Flibert, Dolinar, Splitbark, Loxley & Coler from Westknits -- Rasta Neckwarmer, Scalloped Shawl, Purl Ridge Hat, Lakedale Shawl & Akimbo Blanket from Malabrigo) so I think both books were a good buy. I'm not sure which will make it on the my needles first but I am looking forward to seeing the patterns come alive.

What are you reading?

Friday, April 1, 2011

A little bit of yummy in my mouth

So today I left work and decided that I wanted to treat myself to a little something to celebrate the bonus check. I decided that I would stop at the downtown cupcake store that I have been wanting to try for, like, 2 years. Why haven't I tried it? Well, I live in a rut and I don't really like to deviate too much. A new place means new people, new foods, new experiences: scary!!! So, I pulled up my big-girl boots and just did it. What was my reward? A little bit of yummy called a S'mores cupcake. My best guess at it's composition is a graham cracker crust topped with chocolate cake and "frosted" with marshmallow creme & mini marshmallows that were hit with one of those fancy torch thingies that all the cool foodies use.  So good.  Now dear readers, go forth and treat yourself to a little something today. Consider it a reward for putting up with all the ridiculous jokes or lame pranks you had to suffer through today.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Epic Meh

So I played around for quite a while picking a new look for the blog and I settled for meh. There were several designs that I attempted that were an immediate and resounding "well that looks like a big ol' pile of vomit" so they went to the internet scrap heap. Over time the enthusiasm waned and I just wanted to be done so I settle for good enough. This seems to be a pattern with me: lots of enthusiasm for a project but if I don't nail it perfectly after a few attempts I just go with the first thing that I don't actively dislike. I should really work on that but (shockingly enough), I can't be bothered.

How about you, oh faithful and likely imaginary reader. Do you ever settle for "meh" because you got frustrated by trying to get it just right? Ugh, I'm officially annoying myself. Let us end on a positive note:  unexpected bonus check! That's right, tomorrow the powers that be are delivering a little bonus check to say thanks for not telling them to shove it and and going out to find a better paying job after not getting a raise for a few years. Yay bonus check!

Also, sensitive gorilla and honey badger. You're welcome.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No. Just NO!

I was all set to write a warm and fuzzy post about the adorable elderly gentleman who was at the grocery store this morning but first I must get a small rant out of the way. Here goes:

Disney is remaking the Miss Marple series (which would be fine) starring Jennifer Garner as Miss Marple (which is most definitely not fine). No, Disney. Bad Disney. Bad touch for my brain.

Now back to the adorable man at the grocery store! I stopped by to get some groceries on the way home from work and as I was getting ready to check out (all my items were on the belt but the cashier was still completing the previous transaction) I noticed a man who appeared to be in his 80s standing behind me in a business suit holding a frozen dinner. I told him to go in front of me since he just had one item and he protested but when I said that I didn't mind, he popped in front of me, smiled and said "Yes, mother." Then, he looked at my groceries and said "that's a nice cut of meat." I love old people.

In other news, I am still working on a scarf but in preparation for its completion, I'm searching for a scarf pattern that uses one skein of Colinette Jitterbug. My mom just made a pair of socks out of some Dusk Jitterbug and I loved the color so much, she gave me the extra skein that she had. So, if any knitters out there have pattern suggestions, please shout them out in the comments!

Lastly, I cooked. Again. This may become a habit. I made hash and it is delicious. There isn't really a recipe...just cut up "a nice cut of meat" (I used chuck roast), brown it, bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. After a while slice a bunch of onions and toss in. Keep simmering away for about an hour and a half. Or longer, whatever. Then peel & slice some potatoes and throw those in. Bring back to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are done to your liking. Then eat (but maybe let it cool for a bit or you will burn your tongue...not that I did that...I would never ^_^).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Insert clever title here

Let's pretend the blog hasn't been lying fallow for over a year and jump right in. The world seems to be full of suck right now on the global level and the local level and I have lots to be thankful for. I haven't had to take three consecutive bereavements leaves because my family is dropping like flies, I don't know anyone who has faked a pregnancy, my mother didn't commit suicide, my home hasn't been ravaged by disasters (natural or man-made), I don't live in a conflict or war zone, I don't got to bed hungry and I'm not homeless or abused. Basically, right now the things that make me sad or frustrated or blue are all things that I have the power to change and for that I am supremely grateful! You may notice that I have added a sidebar on the blog for the charities that I support. I hope you will check them out as they are great organizations. I would love to hear about the charities or organizations that you support.

Now for some lighter fair! Right now I am working on knitting a scarf out of a bulky yarn so it should be a quick knit. I needed something quick to get my knitting mojo back. And yes, it is another scarf. Some people are sock knitters, some are shawl knitter, some are sweater knitters but I think I'm mostly a scarf knitter. Once finished the scarf will probably go in my charity box until the winter rears its ugly head again and then it will be donated.

Enough blogging for tonight. I have to get ready for work and I didn't stretch before blogging so I don't want to overtax myself! Take care internet readers and I hope that your personal corner of the world is suck-free.

Oh the places I've been...