Sunday, January 30, 2011

I wasn't kidding!

I wasn't kidding about how much I rely on my digital scale for knitting. This is the tiny nubbin of yarn that was left from the last scarf I finished. I haven't measured to see how many yards/meters it actually is, but it's not much. I never feared, however, that I'd run out. Between the calculator and the scale, it was a slam dunk.

There's one more day before the random number generator picks the lucky winner of this scale, so if you haven't entered, you better! Here's the linky.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I have a little secret...

DH likes to do laundry. I'll pause here for a moment while you swoon.

A few days ago he brought home this little gadget:

The knitter in me thought, "Ah ha! Perfect for machine-washing hand-knit socks;" however, the package says it's for washing lingerie. Perfect for those matching bra and pantie sets! This totally cracked me up. Matching socks I've got, but I don't remember ever buying matching underwear. When you're mammarily challenged, you don't get a lot of choices, underwear-wise. You're just happy to find stuff that fits. Besides, I'm old school. I don't like my underwear pretending it's outerwear, so who's going to know my skivvies don't match?

It doesn't matter anyway. If I were to start sporting matching underwear DH might get suspicious about cabana boys, but since we have neither cabanas nor the boys to go with them here in our town home complex, he has nothing to worry about. Besides, there's nothing sexier than a husband who does laundry. Don't worry honey--I probably have cabana boys on the brain right now because it's 66℉ here in Denver. Not exactly hand-knit sock weather, so I guess the little laundry gadget won't be getting much of a workout.

Reminder--there's only three days left to enter my digital scale giveaway.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I've heard of this, but I thought it was an urban myth

A long, long time ago I think I mentioned something about making Wednesday a food blog day or a recipe day--something along those lines. I have failed miserably at this. But never fear. Today I make up for it, but first, a little story.

As you probably know (the screams would have been a dead giveaway) DD is now driving. We have become a three person/three car household, but let's not dwell on that. I get a phone call from her this morning. She's at the grocery store, between classes, to buy ingredients for Boyfriend's birthday cake, and wants to know if she can pick up anything for me. Yeah, I know, it's crazy, but don't pass out on me yet--it gets better. Brace yourselves... she didn't ask for money. Let me repeat this--SHE DIDN'T ASK FOR MONEY. If this is a dream, don't even think about waking me up. I mean it.

To celebrate, I offer you one of my favorite cocktail recipes.  Not only is it tasty, but it's got apples in it, so really, it's a healthy drink too. Cheers!

Sparkling Apple Cocktail

Epicurious  | November 2010

  • 1 ounce apple juice
  • 1/2 ounce cognac
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 4 to 5 red or green apple chunks
  • 3 ounces champagne

Combine the apple juice, cognac, simple syrup, and apple chunks in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and pour into a cocktail glass. Add additional ice, if needed. Top off with champagne. Stir and serve.

I like to use apple cider instead of apple juice, and you can
sugar the rim of the glass with cinnamon sugar for a festive touch. Use a good cognac--it makes all the difference and really highlights the apple flavor. Toss in a cinnamon stick for garnish. Nice!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for the digital scale. And don't drink and drive. Seriously.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Let's try a little experiment, shall we?

The top photo shows a yarn cake, with the scale set on a solid surface. Note the weight: 96 grams.

The bottom photo shows the same yarn cake, with the scale set on a soft pillow. Note the weight: 26 grams.

Apparently, this particular scale must be placed on a solid surface, which I would probably know if I'd kept the instructions, or even read the instructions.

A few of you are probably smacking your foreheads and shouting, "Idiot!" Well, good for you Smarty Boots. The rest of us will quietly learn from our mistakes.

Don't forget to enter my digital scale giveaway, and if you win, don't put your scale on a soft pillow or chair cushion when you use it. I lead by example. You can thank me later.

Monday, January 24, 2011

In which I give away a digital scale and give TMI on various family members

If you know me, you know I love gadgets. My niece once told me her mom said I have every kitchen gadget ever made. This from a woman who thinks Hamburger Helper is gourmet if you use organic meat. Whatever. This happens not to be true--I've been jonesing for one of those little blowtorches you use for creme brulee absolutely forever and nobody has taken the hint. I have no idea why. It's not as if I can't be trusted with open flames. Really.

One gadget I do have that gets plenty of use is this:

I don't know how you cook without one of these, but that's not my main use for it. It's great for weighing yarn. As you sock knitters know, I like mine two-at-a-time and most of my favorite sock yarns come in hanks big enough for a pair. That means I end up dividing them in half. That's where the scale comes in. Weighing is much more accurate than eyeballing.

It's also been handy with my latest obsession project--scarves knit sideways with a single skein of yarn. If you've made this scarf, you've seen the clever diagram she uses. It shows the percentage of yarn used for the increase, even, and decrease sections. Very clever! I've designed two scarves, with a third one in the works, using this method. It keeps me from running out of yarn, a knitter's worst nightmare, and makes writing the pattern a bit easier--I know when to start each new section based on how much yarn I've used. It will also make it easier to substitute yarns and to use a different gauge. I'm betting you've already thought of a bunch of ways to use a scale like this.

Here's a photo of the second scarf in my planned series of three:

I made increases until I was happy with the width, then I weighed the yarn and figured out how much I'd have left for the center. Easy peasy.

If you've dropped hints for a digital scale and those hints have fallen on deaf ears, then let me possibly make your day. I'm giving away this scale as part of my blogoversary that I've really been hyping lately. Yeah, I crack me up too.

But wait--there's more! If you're one of my blog followers and the lucky number generator picks YOU, I'll throw in a skein of Cascade Heritage sock yarn, in the very yummy shade of raspberry, color number 5617. If you don't knit or don't want the yarn or aren't a follower, the second number picked will receive the yarn.

There will be more giveaways before the end of January, or at least the details will be released before then. DH is getting a colonoscopy at the end of the month, and this is just my little way of not only celebrating, but reminding you to get yours. Helluva segue, isn't it?

To enter the digital scale giveaway, just leave a comment about digital scales (and/or colonoscopies) ON THIS POST. If I've remembered my hormone patch and I'm in a good mood, I'll move your comment here if you inadvertently leave it on another post. You're taking chances if you don't leave it here, however. Just sayin'...

This giveaway closes at midnight, Mountain Time, January 31, 2011, which is when I'll draw the winner(s).

Monday, January 17, 2011

I hope my dog doesn't mind sharing

I'm trying to get myself together. I've promised you patterns and blogoversary giveaways, and I'm working on them all, really I am. But I've been distracted, seduced really, by yarn and stitch pattern books. There have also been lunches with tennis friends and knitting with knitting friends, but I won't use them as excuses. Except for Paula, who ordered wine at lunch and me being the sheep that I am...

I'm quite pleased with the scarf DD is modeling. The pattern is simple and fun, but it won't write itself. It's next for the tech editor. Pretty sure I haven't scared her off yet.

I've also been fooling around with some Pagewood Farms. Yes, I know these are both scarves/shawlettes, and yes, they're both knitted sideways, but that's how obsession works.

Last, but decided NOT least, DD has been accepted at two schools so far, both of which we can afford. She's also awaiting word from two Alpo schools--that's what DH and I will be eating if she decides to go to either one. Just as long as it doesn't mess with my yarn money, I can deal with it. I have my priorities.

Friday, January 14, 2011

In which I am taught a thing or four by a tech editor

There's been knitting lately here at Chez JelliDonut. Lots and lots of it actually, and some of it's even been of my own design, but more about that in a moment.

I discovered the beautiful Saroyan and this is my version.

The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Sweet Pea, from the 2010 sock yarn club. I'm not even sure if it's available to the public yet. I wish you could see the subtle color variations--there are lovely pale greens and pinks that my crappy photos don't show. Yes, I'm aware the yarn was from a SOCK CLUB but to my mind (what's left of it) socks in this pale a shade would end of being ruined by the linings of my shoes, never mind by walking on my less than spotless floors. Thus, a scarflette was born. 

I love wearing this beauty. Not only does the pattern make me look immensely clever, but it keeps me warm without that hot flashy feeling. I am in love with knitting little scarves and I have a pattern to finish writing for a pretty little thing I just got off the needles, but more about that in a moment. Yes, I know I've already said that, but I'm stalling here, so work with me.

I did a very little bit of Christmas knitting. Here's one of the few knitted gifts I managed. It's Jared Flood's Wool Leaves. The original pattern is for a baby blanket, but I morphed it into a lap blanket for my bff.

The yarn is good old Encore. I wanted a yarn that could go into the washer without a lot of fuss. My bff is a clean freak with two dogs, so I figure she probably washes afghans way more often than I do. It's an easy pattern that's a pleasure to knit. Jared Flood's patterns are well written and gorgeous, which brings me to my own patterns. Ahem.

I made the decision that if I'm going to get serious about writing patterns, a tech editor is in order. The anxiety of releasing a pattern and waiting for the errors to show up via people who are trying to knit your pattern but don't know what in hell you are trying to get them to do is just not my idea of a good time. The cost of a tech editor is more than worth it, as are you, my blog readers. If I'm going to offer you a pattern, I want it to be the best it can be. Having somebody else to blame for my mistakes doesn't hurt either. 

I submitted the pattern for this hat (it's the top photo in the linked post), and got back FOUR PAGES of notes from my tech editor. I have to admit that a whole boatload of her input was spot on, and I've already learned a lot about pattern writing. As soon as I get the go ahead, this pattern and the yarn to make it will become part of my Blogoversary Big Bang Giveaway. I haven't forgotten you, my peeps, and if this hat isn't to your taste, never fear. There will be other goodies. But more about that later. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy 18th birthday, Chicken Biscuit!

Today is DD's 18th birthday. Obviously, she doesn't read my blog. Good thing, I'd be dead meat if she did. For the record, Chicken Biscuit is DH's nickname for her, and she loathes being called by any nickname, let alone Chicken Biscuit. I think it's kind of cute, but I can see how a nickname like this could seriously impede your social life, so let's just keep it to ourselves, shall we? I'm not ready to be dead yet.

Speaking of dead, you probably thought I was--it's been so long since I posted. No excuses, at least none that make sense. But I'm back and with lots of changes in mind. It's almost my one year blogoversary, and I'm thinking I need to spice it up a bit. Stay tuned... I've got lots of patterns to finish writing up--it hasn't all been bonbons and cabana boys. As soon as they are given the once-over by a tech editor, I'll share them--the patterns, not the cabana boys. You'll have to get your own. I'm also planning on a fun blogoversary giveaway.

There's been knitting and not all of it Etsy-related. My adorable little granddaughter Tilly shall receive these:

The poncho, hat and booties are special to me, and not just because they are for Tilly, although that is reason enough. They are close to my heart because the yarn was an unexpected gift from someone I consider my muse (thank you, Nancy), and the pattern was purchased with a gift certificate from one of the most generous knitters I know (thank you, Mary.) Sharing is what makes knitting a special thing, although a little cashmere now and then doesn't hurt.

Last but decidedly not least, thank you to everybody who emailed me and got my butt back in gear. I missed you!