Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Horcrux Socks and The Usurpers

And now for the prerequisite unflattering shot of my calves. My Horcrux socks are done, and I'm very happy with them, even though they are a bit difficult to photograph. This shot shows off the colors. On the whole, there are more pinks and green-ish hues involved, but these socks are eye-gougingly bright.

Without flash, the pattern is much more visible. The socks are Horcrux Socks because the zigzag lace is reminiscent of the famous Harry Potter scar. I loved knitting this pattern, even though the ribbing took forever. Really, what is it about ribbing? It just keeps going and going and going...

Pattern: Horcrux Socks - another one from the Six Socks Knitalong on Yahoo.groups. You have to be a member to access the pattern, but knitting six pairs of socks in one year is fun.
Needles: US0 Addi Turbo, using Magic Loop
Yarn: One of Ms. Mixie Riot's Yarn Oddities
Pattern Mods: OK, there were two. I added 10 rows of ribbing to the second section because I wanted the shaft of this sock to be longer. With my skinny ankles, the pattern would have been downright invisible if I had placed it any lower. To make the heel sturdier, I slipped every other stitch on the knit rows for the heel flap.

I'm currently working on Fetching fingerless gloves. Technically, they're a quick knit, and I should be done with them. Unfortunately, my chair has been usurped.

They're so cute, I can't just dislodge them!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Big Thanksgiving Post (long, picture heavy)

It's been a while since my last post. I caught a nasty stomach bug, but fortunately, it cleared up just in time for Thanksgiving. So, without further ado, I give you the Big Thanksgiving Post, which also conveniently covers knitty blog stalking assignments 8-10. Yay for multitasking!

Let's get started at the beginning, the morning of November 22nd. First, I put on my cooking frump. You can't spend an entire day cooking in regular clothes, and as you can tell, I'm ready for the cook-a-thon, sweat pants, bat shirt and all.

It's important not to get hungry while cooking. To make sure we weren't going to eat our Thanksgiving dinner piece by piece throughout the day, I decided to whip up some buttermilk pancakes for breakfast. Here they are, slightly too big, slightly misshapen, but very yummy. I usually put blueberries in mine. This time, however, defrosting them was too much work, and I skipped them.

In the Meantime, Merlin helped me pick out recipes from my cookbook and magazine collection. He likes food. A lot.

I got the necessary tools out of the Weird Implements Drawer. We don't have a junk drawer, but we do have this drawer full of Weird Implements. Just in case you're wondering, anything that's not a knife, spoon or a fork qualifies as a Weird Implement. Except the potato peeler. Don't ask me why.

We don't eat canned cranberry sauce. I thought I hated cranberries, but it turns out I just couldn't stand the canned variety. Every year, I make spiced cranberry sauce from scratch. I wish I had a good enough camera to take a picture of the subtle color variations in even one single berry. The intensity and depth of color is incredible, and I wish it were possible to make yarn look that way. And I also wonder if cranberries can be used to dye yarn. Hmmm...

While I am stirring the cranberry sauce and then passing it through a sieve (not necessary, but we prefer smooth sauce to the other variety), Mr. Batty checks our herb situation. We make a turkey with thyme butter and our stuffing has rosemary and basil in it. It's very yummy and we make it every year, even though it appears to be cursed.

A few times, I burned the pine nuts instead of toasting them. It's incredible how quickly they go from completely white to blackened. You have to watch them like a hawk and take them off the heat immediately when they're golden. This year, I almost burned the bread but didn't, and the pine nuts came out lovely. I put them in a bowl, then put the bowl on top of the refrigerator because we needed the counter space. And then I opened the refrigerator... not realizing that the bowl was balanced between the refrigerator itself and the refrigerator door. It came down with a crash, spilling pine nuts everywhere.

At least the bowl didn't break, and we managed to salvage enough to make our stuffing. Pine nuts are expensive. Keeping the cats out of them was a bit of a challenge, but we managed.

In the end, all the hard work paid off. Here is the entire feast: organic turkey with thyme butter, gingersnap gravy, country bread stuffing with parmesan, pine nuts and raisins, mashed potatoes, green beans, and apple pie.

Wait... something is missing. We almost forgot to serve the cranberry sauce!

There. And just in case you're wondering... Those are now Thanksgiving bat placemats. Bats are an all season item, as far as I'm concerned. Bat is my favorite color.

We stuffed ourselves silly. Even the kittens were tired after a whole day of cooking. They only got their usual kibbles, but here is Miss Morgana, taking a little nap on the couch. The post-feast fullness is contagious.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Horcruxes and Blog Stalking

I didn't feel like starting more than one colorwork pattern this week, so I started some Horcrux Socks instead. I know Ms. Pixie Riot is a bit Harry Potter fan, and it only seemed fitting that her fabulously bright yarn should be knit into these socks. It was surprisingly hard to get a good picture of these socks. In real life, the colors are much brighter than this. They have a real day-glo quality to them, which makes them fabulous.

The pattern is much more visible without flash, but the colors fade even more. This yarn is just right-in-your-face bright!

Finally, let me catch up on some blog stalking. Because I'm so far behind, I'm just randomly starting at week 7, the oldest picture of me. This is not the oldest picture of me in existence, but it's the oldest one I have available. It's on a cup my friend Nadine had made for me.

Now I would like to say that I am the cute blonde kid in the picture, but that's Nadine. I am the slightly peeved-looking black-haired kid in the 70's outfit. Here, have a closer look. This picture-of-a-picture actually looks better than the original because you can't see the thick horn-rimmed glasses. Yes, I was stylin'!

The dress is my favorite dress ever, by the way. It had holes in it, my mother threw it into the trash several times, and I fished it out every time. Why? Because it would twirl beautifully when I spun in a circle. At the time, that was more important than holes or the fact that it looked threadbare. It twirled.

Today, I'm going yarning with lindydiva. I'll have more to show you after that, which is good, because we are entering the time of year when at least part of my knitting is secret. There are other FO's, but I can't post pictures here because I know that most of the recipients of my knitting know this blog exists.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Et tu, Morgana?

I was going to talk about knitting today. But there was another cat and yarn related incident, one that needs to be shown to the world because it took a cat mere seconds to turn one of these pretty balls of off-white yarn

into this tangled mess. This is one ball of yarn. It looked like two.

The perpetrator? I staked out my knitting bag, and this is what I saw: Morgana sticking her fuzzy black head into the black tote I've been using to take my knitting to work. Where the yarn was. For some reason, this kitten is completely incapable of resisting Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. It brings out the inner lunatic in her like no other yarn. I wonder what's in it.

Mr. Batty had previously rescued said yarn from her, but as we see, she keeps coming back for more.
The reason they don't get turned into slippers for crimes against yarn and knitting? Look at this. Aren't they cute?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Spooky Flowers and ILG Socks

Halloween was fun. We had some trick or treaters, I ate candy at work and at home, Mr. Batty brought home this wonderful spooky bouquet, which has strands of fiber stuff that blinks. The blinking was hard to capture in full light, but here is a picture of the pretty colors,

and here is a darker picture with the blinky strands, the little dots to the right. They blink on and off and are a bright orange.

Friday, I was home sick. Mr. Batty had been coughing and keeping us both awake, and yesterday, I felt so bad I couldn't drag myself out of bed to go to work. It wasn't until about 11 that I made it to my comfy chair for some knitting, and I finished the I Love Gansey socks for the Six Socks Knitalong. It was a fun knit, in spite of some feline... issues.

Oh, and did you notice how the heart pattern on my favorite frumpy nightie matches the heart pattern on the socks? Did you?

Yes, that's me, all style and class when I'm sick and flopped around the house.

I haven't blocked them yet, but the damage Merlin did is staying inside the sock for now and is not visible, so that is good. And I am very happy with the look and feel of these socks, very Gansey, like a comfy, gray sweater.

Pattern: I Love Gansey Socks, available to members of the Six Socks Knitalong on Yahoo.Groups. You have to be a member to access the pattern, but there are some really good ones, and a new one comes out every 2 months!
Yarn: Trekking XXL in color 291, a dark gray with slubs in yellow, red, green, blue... very gray, yet also very colorful and fun to knit with. I really like this yarn.
Needles: US 0 circs
Mods: None, except that there are only 2 repeats of the heart pattern on the foot because my feet are so small.