Monday, October 29, 2007

Something's Gotta Give...

...too many projects, too little time, equals not much blogging.

I've also been spending some time learning my way around this little beauty:
A surprise birthday gift from the spouse (yes, he's a keeper). Unfortunately, it took some time to get it perfectly balanced for sewing/embroidery (creative souls can insert their own version of the ranting I did about lousy customer service -- I'm too tired thinking about it to do it myself), but it's humming along nicely now.

Meanwhile, the Sera lace top from Interweave Crochet is finished and drying on my blocking foam squares and it actually fits. Photo coming soon.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Back Street WIP

Still in progress, but this is the little hussy that has been stealing time from Plissé. The specs are, Pattern: Sera Lace Top from current issue of Interweave Crochet. Designed by Doris Chan. Yarn: ONline linie 199 - metallic. Since I'm using a slightly heavier yarn I'll probably be doing fewer repeats on the body. I'll be attempting to make the sleeves three-quarter length instead of the full length of the pattern.

Not to worry, I'm still working on Plissé every day, but when it's just a couple of rows -- well, it's difficult to even notice any progress. Still, every stitch completed is just that much closer to the finish line.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Crawling Along...

...and heading towards my second long, dark night of the soul (talking 'bout sleevage, my friends).

Of course, if I actually devoted myself to Plissé it just might go a bit faster. I must confess though -- I've been unfaithful. To Plissé that is -- rest assured if I'm ever tempted spousal-ly you absolutely won't read about it here! Salacious details to follow --

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Twice As Cozy

I liked the way my prototype neck cozy turned out, so I decided to see how it would look in another yarn choice. I had some Berroco Foliage on hand, so went with that.

This particular yarn has long runs of color, and I like the way that the 'woven' stitch works with the color variegation. I departed from the previously published instructions by working more rows (17) and placing the buttonholes on rows 5 and 13 -- the pattern is worked with one strand of Foliage. Instead of working sc along the short (outermost) end, I did some simple picots. Here's a shot that may show the stitch pattern a bit better:

The thick and thin nature of the yarn gives the longer edges a somewhat scalloped effect, which also works to the cozy's advantage, I think. I used just a bit more than one ball for the cozy, and will have enough of the second ball left to do the brim of a hat. Although I didn't find any olive wood buttons (like the $297 retail scarf this pattern is designed to mimic), and the Berroco Foliage is certainly not bulky cashmere, it's a fun little accessory. I could see this being a nice, quick gift for those to whom you'd like to give a little something during the holiday season.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Fall Fiber Festival

I think I'm losing it. We took a little trip out to the Fall Fiber Festival at James Madison's Montpelier and I came back with -- absolutely nothing! Not even any photos. It was dusty, hot and humid, and I couldn't even bear to touch the camera with my lemonade sticky hands. Oh well, it's not like I don't have any yarn, fiber, or other goodies at home already. Still, I did notice lots of lovely alpaca -- in the "fluff" and as spun yarn.

Since there are no festival photos, I suppose I should distract you with an update of the Falkenberg Plissé. Here you go:

What you are seeing is one half of the upper bodice heading out to the sleeve. That's lots (and lots) of knitting folks! For some reason I keep hearing Pete Seeger's voice singing "Inch by inch, row by row..." OK, it's a song about gardening, but it still resonates. Bonus points to everyone who knows who Pete Seeger is (without googling). What scares me, more than a little, is the rate of yarn usage. Kits be very nervous making indeed. (I know, bad grammar, but imagine it said in a pirate accent, arghhh.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Harvest Time

I absolutely love autumn -- the days are warm, but the night brings a refreshing coolness and there's a hint of wood smoke in the air.

Especially nice though, is that with the fall season comes the apple harvest. When the kids were small we always had at least one visit to a pick-your-own orchard, but now we have the room to plant a few trees of our own. The trees are young, so small harvests for now, but so far we've enjoyed Jonagolds and Cortlands, and are eagerly anticipating the ripening of our Arkansas Blacks (pictured). We hope to branch out (groan!) to include more heirloom varieties in addition to the Albemarle Pippin (which didn't set fruit this year) and the Grimes Golden we also have. Anyone in the central VA region looking for interesting varieties should check out Vintage Virginia Apples -- they're just down the road a piece from us, and are a pleasure to deal with.

Here's a simple, but favorite, recipe for using up some of those luscious apples -- your own, or from a local farm stand/orchard!

Amaretto Apples
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup amaretto (almond liqueur)
  • grated rind and juice of 1 orange
  • 4 large, firm apples

Combine sugar, amaretto, orange rind and juice in a heavy saucepan. Heat slowly to bubbling. Meanwhile, peel, core and thickly slice apples. As they are sliced, add them to the pan. Simmer until apples are tender and the liquid has reduced.

Chill and serve plain, with crème fraîche, or with whipped cream.

This recipe is perfect for when you want something a little sweet, but not too heavy. It's from the book Keep It Simple by Marion Burros ©1981.