Archive for December, 2008

The Home Stretch

Here is a picture of “the Home Stretch” … that is, the street in front of our house:

That’s ice!  We had planned to be “over the river and through the woods” two hours ago but are waiting for the thermometer to climb and/or a salt truck to help us out.  As you can see, we live on a hill.  Our driveway is OK cuz hubby distributed some salt this morning but that only gets us as far as the street … and even if we could get out of our little neighborhood, we’d still have to find a way off of this hill!  There are three roads to choose from and I wouldn’t want to be on any of them this morning.  So, instead of drinking my coffee from a thermos while cruising down Interstate 95 I get to drink it in front of the fire … with a little Chirstmas music playing and some knitting, of course!

This, friends, is scarf #6, the last of the Christmas series!  Since I’m pitifully late (knit 2 and 1/2 scarves by tomorrow??), I wanted to have at least something to show the intended recipient at present-opening time.  I started swatching yesterday and this is the third iteration (a keeper!).  It’s probably the most traditional of all of the scarves and the color couldn’t be more Irish, could it?  I will enjoy making it … and I hope its owner won’t mind waiting for it!

FO: Imperial Mirrors

I love the name of this scarf and I love the way it came out!

Because of the heavy use of garter stitch, this scarf knitted up a little faster than the others did … and, as was true for the other scarves, blocking really made a difference.  It gives the scarf nice drape and shape and also highlights the soft, fuzzy alpaca content:

While working out a test swatch for scarf #5, I noticed that this yarn also has a bit of sparkle … subtle enough that the yarn’s still OK for manly projects, but it definitely gives off a rich glow when in direct sunlight!  You can almost see it in this picture.  I think it might show up better in the “cinnamon” colorway (that’s #5).  Tomorrow, I plan to get a test swatch going for the final scarf (#6, “jade” colorway).  That way, all recipients will at least get to see a preview of their Christmas presents … and I will be knitting cable scarves through January, I think!

I’ll report on the test swatches tomorrow if I have time … if not, sometime before New Year’s Day for sure …

Mmmmm Smoky Spices …

I was at the Spice Terminal  (a shop at the Reading Terminal Market in downtown Philly) the other day and here’s my catch!

Over the years I have used dried, ground chipotle peppers a lot because I cook vegetarian meals at home most of the time and, having grown up in a home where German cooking was a mainstay, I sometimes miss the smoky flavors of bacon and sausage.  The spicy-smoky kick of chipotles often stands in very well!  But … and this is difficult to admit … sometimes a dish would taste best if it were robust and smoky but not necessarily spicy hot.  (Also, I think some guests would enjoy eating at my house more.)

For some years, I imagined smoking some red bell peppers and then drying them myself … and then I discovered Spanish paprika!  Eureka, someone else got there first and I am so glad they did!!  It is now an essential ingredient on my spice shelf.  So, the other day I was pulling a bag of Spanish paprika off the hook when I happened to glance at the bags hanging nearby.  Oh. My. Gosh.  Smoked garlic powder??  Smoked black pepper?!?!?  There were a couple of others, I think, but my mind flooded over at that point and I grabbed those two and went dashing over to the counter to pay up before someone pinched me … and there they are on my cutting board, looking pretty as a picture!  (You can hardly imagine how they smell, let me tell you!!)

Knitting is known for being stretchy and I am now going to stretch it into this post: doesn’t the bag of pepper look kind of earthy-greenish?  Wouldn’t those three colors combine to make an excellent knitted product?  I wonder where I can find yarns to match my spices …

Six Scarves

Alright, well, it’s stretching it a bit to call the last two scarves!  The ones in progress are actually longer than what you see in the picture now.  I’m really enjoying both of them.  The green one (“Seismic”) involves a cable needle and the purple one (“Imperial Mirrors”) is made with twist stitches.  The purple one is pretty narrow, but the intended recipient is the youngest of the bunch so maybe that’s OK.  I will have enough yarn left over to make a hat and I think a one-color version of the Tricorder Hat (see “free patterns”)  would match this scarf excellently … so if he seems disappointed, I can follow with the hat.  I’m now beginning the detailed planning for scarf #5, yeah!

Here’s a pic of #2 (“Diamondback”) after blocking.  It made a huge difference … this yarn has much alpaca (Knit Picks “Andean Silk”) and it fluffs out so nicely after blocking!  The drape too (prolly thanks to the silk) is heavenly.

The color is funky, but here’s a view that shows the texture of the stitch pattern well:

Progress Report: Coin Cable Raglan

 Self-taken photos don’t come out very well, do they??  Anyway, here’s how the “Coin Cable Raglan” is coming along.  I’m using the free Incredible Custom-Fit Raglan Sweater pattern, although the cables are my own addition.  The sleeve that’s not pictured is not as far along as this one.  When I get that one matched up to this one, I will switch to smaller needles and put on some ribbing.  I think I’ll rip an inch or so from the bottom before doing the ribbing there.  Then the final step: a ribbed collar.  The sweater is a bit loose but that’s OK.  It will better accomodate shirts and things underneath.  I would rather it be loose than too small!  If my estimates are correct, I will have 1 or 2 skeins left of the original 12.  Seems like that’s a good number to go with for future sweaters … at least, when using Knit Picks “Wool of the Andes” (this is the Claret Heather colorway).  I’m already thinking about another sweater … I will have 6+ skeins of Knit Picks “Andean Silk” left over after holiday knitting is finished … each a different color.  If I buy 4 more skeins of one of those, I think I will have the fixin’s for an awesome mosaic sweater!  But this sweater is going on the back burner while the holiday scarves take center stage.  The new sweater will be a New Year’s project, I guess!

FO: Diamondback Scarf

I still haven’t blocked it yet, but there ya go!  This pattern was easy to memorize (only 4 unique rows involving the twist stitch) and did not require a cable needle.  It took me some time to get used to the Left Twist (k2tog version) and that slowed me down at first.  Things picked up considerably after I got used to that stitch!

Time to turn my attention to scarf #3 (already on the needles) and #4, just cast-on yesterday.  Here’s #4; I’m calling it “Imperial Mirrors”.  More on it when I get further along …