You can blame me.

Witch Hazel in snow

I knew that when I posted a comment on someone else’s blog a few days ago that we were “all done with snow for the season,” I was tempting fate, so it comes as not too much of a surprise that it snowed last night.

Winter-blooming cyclamen

It wasn’t much, but it was enough to delay schools and cause a few accidents, including one car slipping and flipping down the street from our house. We went out and played in the snow and sun with the neighbor kids.

Crocus fighting for a chance

Pretty stuff.

Non-progress happening here.

Well, I actually do have something finished to report on.

Ribbed Chameleon II

During our very briskly cold December past, my son got to wear my Ribbed Chameleon I scarf and soon started to lay claim to it. It became clear that I would have to make him one.  It turned out the yarn was on sale at Village Yarn & Tea, so there weren’t a whole lot of color choices in Karabella Chameleon, but I chose a blue/yellow combo. The whole thing was knitted up in a matter of a few car rides and he’s quite pleased with it and insists on wearing it even in the mildest of weather.

Pattern: Ribbed Mini-Scarf by Celeste Glassel
Yarn: Karabella Chameleon, colorway 3214 (one skein)
Needles: 4.0 mm/US 6

On the “non-progress” front—

Grand Duchess is in limbo until I can figure out how many stitches I dropped, and even a life line isn’t much help.  For such an undertaking I need about 2-3 hours of uninterrupted time during the day.  Now, where am I going to get that?  Here’s a thought that crosses my mind when I knit this:  mohair and lace are two words that probably should never be mentioned in the same sentence and, therefore, should never even enter anyone’s mind for a knitting project.

Nantucket Jacket is currently stalling for time, because I’m now almost back to where I frogged it the first time when I decided the size I originally chose would be too big. Now I’m trying to determine where to incorporate extra stitches for the bust in the smaller size without making huge changes to the stitch pattern.  If it weren’t for the sizing issue, this would breeze along, but I find it very refreshing to knit, and I particularly like knowing that I’m using stash yarn as I work on it.

Bird’s Eye Shawl is back out of hibernation because I went to a concert at Benaroya Hall last Monday to hear the amazing violinist Julia Fischer play with Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (what a wondrous match-up that is).  I really wanted to take something with me, so Birds Eye happily volunteered itself for the mission.  And good choice it was, as it made a perfect concert companion.  Since then I’ve been enjoying it’s companionship in car rides or during occasional quiet times in the afternoon while my son plays with his toys.  I know it well enough now that I’ve become pretty good at fixing it without ripping out one single row when I make a mistake.  I just wish it didn’t take so long to make one row.

Matcha Market Bag, for those of you wondering, is in hibernation until spring.  After all, it’s really another lace project and I truly love lace, but at this time in my busy life, lace is probably the last thing I should be knitting.

Rib Knitted Shrug is also in hibernation, and at this point, may never see the light of day again.

Purple Autumn, of which I have not said much, is also hibernating.  It’s a sweet little project, but how many lace projects does one need to make at the same time?

Big news:  for my belated Christmas/every-other-2008-gift my husband gave me a Nikon D300 DSLR and it arrived this week.  The crazy thing is, I’ve been using a simple point-and-shoot all along, and I feel like I’ve been driving a minivan and have been put behind the wheel of a Maserati and can’t even figure out where the ignition is.  It’ll probably be a while before you see any product of this camera, but while wandering around 1st Avenue in downtown Seattle in the sun today with all the tourists, I kept looking at different things to photograph and I am delighted with the possibilities.

Let’s just paste this on the hips…

Have you noticed that my posts are more about food these days than anything else?  I guess you could say I’m feeling deprived right now, but I ordered this huge 1-pound jar of Bob’s Sugarhouse ( Maple Cream Butter a few weeks ago before I knew that I would be giving-up sugar for two weeks, and it arrived like a godsend on a day when I was feeling weak (such a wimp).  I treat myself to a spoonful every now and then, since it’s too good to go on toast or anything else you can think of.

Maybe you don’t like maple-flavored things much, but maybe you have not tried real maple products from northeastern North America, and I think the stuff from this area is the caviar of the maple world.  Really.  You know I can be quite chatty about the most ridiculous stuff, but let me wax on about Bob’s Sugarhouse Maple Cream Butter a little more.  It’s amazing. It’s slightly grainy, but as soon as it hits your tongue it liquifies into something dreamy.  It’s pure maple, but it leaves a buttery aftertaste causing you to re-examine the ingredients for dairy products or other additives. The best quality maple product (syrup, cream, candies) doesn’t taste so maply that it tastes like maple, the best stuff has a light, pleasing maple taste that makes you want more.  I want more.  Thank you, Bob’s, for this timely deilvery.

Another sweet fave of mine is my jar (I’m very possessive of my splurges, and I don’t share them with anyone) of Airborne New Zealand Rata honey that I bought on a trip to the Town & Country Market on Bainbridge Island (just west of Seattle). I don’t know anything about a rata plant, and I don’t need to, because this is good stuff. I’m always buying jars of honey and I don’t know why because I don’t usually like it, besides it’s usually just too cloyingly sweet. But Rata honey is really nice, it has a slightly whipped consistency, and has a light honey flavor that doesn’t coat your tongue and make you want to run for a bag of salted potato chips. I also have a jar of New Zealand Kamahi honey also from Airborne, and it is a lot sweeter, but it has a smokey flavor to it.

I could go on more about my indulgences, like my morning fave of Vegemite on toast with butter, or my love of freeze dried mangosteen from Trader Joe’s, but I suppose you’ve had enough for now.

The 7′ of work I’ve done on Nantucket Jacket was frogged yesterday because it was just too big. It’s odd that the pattern offers making a 34” size and a 36” size, and then jumps way up to a 41.5” size; that’s just a ridiculously huge jump in size. So I’m going to have to figure out how to customize it somehow. I hope to be able to add enough to the bust-shaping so that it’ll fit me without looking absurdly loose everywhere else. So I’ve cast on for a 36” size hoping that it’ll become clear to me how to add enough stitches in the bust-shaping, but without a noticeable change in the stitch pattern. On the other hand, if I keep indulging in alternative sweets, I’ll need to frog the size 36 and cast on again for the 41.5.

Still to come: I’ve been to the used book store lately and have come away with two needlework books that offer some decent sections on knitting and crocheting, with some fun and different stitch patterns. I will post about these later.

The mandarinquats are in!

What?  You ask.  I came across these in Trader Joe’s last February and thought I’d try something different.  I bought one package of the fig-sized fruit, fell in love, went back for more only to find they were gone for the season. Lately I’ve been scanning the produce section of the local Trader Joe’s and today I was rewarded with my long-lost loves; I came home with 5 packages.  If you’re not into a highly tangy and citrusy flavor, then they aren’t for you, but I find them addictive and with my current sugar-free diet, I need something to satisfy my taste-buds.  They’re just beautiful too, and highly photogenic, I think.  I guess photogenic wouldn’t apply to inanimate objects, but you get the idea.

Can you tell how juicy they are?

Others have waxed poetic of mandarinquats, and it’s all true; they are worthy of their aficionados.  I want to candy them like Muffin Top has, but wouldn’t that be torture to candy them and then be told that I can never eat sugar again and have them all sitting there in my kitchen staring at me because they could’ve been eaten un-candied?  The horror.

It’s 3:00 a.m.

And I must be the only person awake around here to witness that it’s snowing.  I thought we were done with this stuff.  I thought I was seeing things.  I thought it was fog.  I thought it was the glass of port I just finished.  But no, it’s snowing.  It’s snowing so heavily that we already have a half inch.  Crazy.  Someone’s trying to prove me wrong in my assessment that it “doesn’t snow much around here.”  Hopefully it’ll melt in another 5 hours.  Hopefully I can fall asleep now.  That’s the end of my weather report for now.  Thank you.

Sugar-Free Living

So I went to a naturopath a few weeks ago for an upset stomach and a bad case of eczema and found out that I’m quite anemic and magnesium deficient, and was advised to go off of eggs and sugar for two weeks to see if they are causing the eczema. It’s day 7 of sugar-free and egg-free living and it’s going alright, but I’m really missing a lot of good-tasting and healthy stuff. Specifically, my morning fried egg with toast and, of course, anything chocolate, especially my favorite chocolate chip cookies. It seems that sugar-free living means pretty much means chocolate-free living and it’s rough. I am able to put my usual unsweetened baking cocoa powder in my morning mocha, and instead of using sugar in the drink, I am using agave syrup as a sweetener. If I wanted to, I could buy an egg substitute and use a sugar alternative and bake something, but something tells me that whatever I make just won’t hold a candle to the real thing. Breakfast consists of oatmeal with slivered almonds, dried blueberries, milk, and maple syrup, but I feel hungry afterward, so I may have to look into adding some sausage or bacon to the morning repertoire. I almost messed-up today, though, when I gave my son the rare treat of some cotton candy he got at a birthday party last week, and he wanted to share it with me.

I’ve frogged what little of Shawl Neck Cardigan I’d done.  The gauge was off, especially after I decided to do something different and actually block the swatch.  Luckily, I hadn’t progressed very far so it was no major loss.  I’ll probably start the project again it in a few months.  However, I’ve cast on Nantucket Jacket (Ravelry link) by Norah Gaughan from Interweave Knits, Winter 2006.  I’m using stash yarn I’ve had for about 9 years, Lane Borgosesia Knitaly in dark green tweed.

In blogging news I’ve discovered some fellow makes a habit out of copying entire posts from other people’s blogs and then he posts them in his blog as if they are his work.   I found that he completely copied my post of January 3, 2009.   It’s rather odd to come across your own post on someone else’s blog, and if I think about it too much, I get pretty ticked about it, so I am trying not to think about it too much.  He just collects posts from a broad spectrum of blogs and puts them on his blog without permission, without giving credit, and without linking to the original blog.  Watch out bloggers, there are people out there who are willing to steal your work!  Urggh!