Knitting like everyone else.


Can knitting a Central Park Hoodie be considered a right of passage? That seems so much more glamorous then admitting you knit what everyone else does.
CPH front
So here's the skinny.

Most of this sweater is a size 36 but after looking at the schematic the hip width looked a little small. So I cast on for the next size up and did decreases up to the waist until the finished stitch count matched size 36. Good choice. The finished sweater is a little roomy but not so much that it makes me look "chunky." (A word that should only be used on candy bars and ice cream packaging.)
CPH side
I can not recommend Green Mountain Spinnery's mountain mohair enough. Yes, it's not a next to the skin yarn and you'll have to pick out plenty of straw, but those are only petty arguments. The colors are deep and beautiful, it feels like a well wearing yarn and I can personally attest to it making a super warm sweater. Mmmm cozy sweater.
CPH back 2
That's 3 completed sweaters for NaKniSewMoDo and I'm motoring away on a fourth. It's almost enough to make a knitter cockily think knitting 12 sweaters is totally doable. That is until the sock yarn gets even by smothering me. Back sock yarn, BACK!
CPH back

Fat Tuesday - pass those donuts


Hey the month is almost done!

On one hand I'm glad the month is almost gone because the budgeted yarn money has been spent and a new Twist collective will go up soon. But on the other hand I like February for being a short month. It always makes me try to change some bad habits because "it's only 28 days". March is also number 2 on my list of months that suck. No reason other than its a long month of gray cold weather, usually with plenty of mud.

As far as bad habits it was time to adhere to a budgeted amount of money for yarn, what with jobs being shaky. After careful consideration the budgeted yarn purchase was some cashcotton (on sale!) for an Apres Surf Hoodie.
It feels good not to have the guilt of spending some of the "house" money on extra yarn.

The second goal to eat less sugar has had mixed results. I was able to lose that extra after Christmas weight making my clothing uncomfortable. Yeah! But I've had a bit of a falling off the wagon this last weekend making snicker doodles and then binging on the delicious Fat Tuesday donuts brought into work. Would you believe the frog made me do it? Cookies are his favorite.

A Little Trip into the City


Even though we live a 30 min train ride from Center City Philadelphia I never really go into the city. (Rather I never get off the train, my work commute takes me through every day) I'm high population adverse and saw all the historical areas/museums as a kid. But my husband has no such aversions and does like to plan a trip downtown every once and a while. He won two free tickets to see the Dark Knight at IMAX so this Saturday turned into one of those trips.

First Stop - Di Bruno Brothers. This is the cheese section in the back.

Here's my husband investigating the fancy smacey mustard area.

Mmmm yes he's going to go with a Russian sweet and spicy one. (Seriously like that Chefs chops in the background.)

Because my husband is a sweet heart the second stop was Rosie's Yarn Cellar.
I'd never been to any of the down town yarn stores so it was fun to go squeeze some yarn in a new location. That dongal tweed was very tempting.

A wall of pretty Alpaca

Knowing that we had to hull our purchases around for a few more hours I was a model of restraint and only bought a skein of Manos and the newish hand painted socks pattern book.

Then it was time for food, on to Devils Ally.
My husband says they just slapped a roof on the Ally and turned it into a Resturant. Being a profession planner he was just tickled pink of this creative use of open space.
He also recommends the Lion Winter Warmer beer. Says it was the best tasting beer he's ever had.

Not being a beer drinker I preferred the Quesadillas.

Last stop the Franklin Institute to see our movie on the big Big screen.
I've been here many times but you got to say hi to Frank.
We got nice seats and pulled out our Di Bruno bothers chocolate bars and had a good old time. For me IMAX is almost too big of a screen to watch a movie on but the men like it. All in all it was a fine day and I was back at home by bedtime. Not bad for a day on the town.

Oh Oh Ophicleide


O back
Out of all the types of sweater construction a yoked cardigan is my favorite. Now that my own Ophicleide is done I'm still in awe of the beautiful yoke Kamicha designed. Some people are super talented.

The long and short of it is that this pattern is not hard to follow, but it does require a little concentration at the beginning. Starting it during a weekend when visiting bunch of family, one of them an energetic young'in, isn't the best idea. Pair that with a day where counting stitches seems beyond your IQ and your family gets to watch a lot of frogging.
cropped O
If I had been home Ophicleide would have been set aside until a good brain day. As it was I packed only 2 projects and had already finished the first. So I chose the only sane thing to do, knit while playing confusing German children's board games. (The way knitters are obsessed with yarn is how my brother and sister-in-law are about board games. We all have our crazy hobby.)
O full length
Knit in Sublime Extra Fine Merino with the 3/4 sleeve option in the pattern. Closed with 5 hook and eyes on the yoke. A sweater that is delightfully comfortable and pretty at the same time. Hmmm almost sounds like a J Peterman ad.
O front

Seen on the Street


Starry Eyed Optical in downtown Media

One of the windows in the newish designer eyeglasses store. Is the owner a knitter? Was it just nice and cheap to buy a couple skeins of acrylic in bright colors to do up the big store windows? Who made the big ass knitting needles? Don't know but I applaud their creativity. (PS. Company's iPhone is super useful. To bad they are so darn expensive.)

Knits and Cake


Hope you aren't in a sugar coma already from digging into your box of gamble chocolates because this is going to be a mighty sweet post. I passed on the gamble chocolate this year but did cave to a chocolate craving and baked a cake. It's a great recipe simple, tasty, and can be dressed up or eaten as is. The recipe will be at the end of the post so after you get your fill of eye candy, you can treat your sweet tooth too. (If your pants stop fitting I'm going to blame your box of gamble chocolate)

With nakniswemodo on the mind and having a goal of knitting up some stash I decided to knit a Favorite Cardigan from Custom Knits. Both the yarn (Berroco Worsted Merino) and the book had been purchased for a few months and it felt so so thrifty to put the two together. And as I mentioned on the 3rd there are these red pumps that wanted a matching sweater. Basically it just flew off the needles and here I am with a finished sweater in two weeks. If only they could all be that easy.

Fav full
The shoes are pleased. So is the black skirt, the only sewing project completed in the last few years.
Fav crop
Here's a close up. The only mod was to put only 3 buttons on the front. With the wide neckline it seemed like a better look for my taste. Oh and I reversed the cables on right side.
fav side
And a little look at the sleeve cable. My sister will be surprised to see my vampiric eyes open in the bright light. (The light it burnsssss) This is technically sweater number 3 for nakniswemodo. The other two will be posted some time in the near future.

Now how about some cake!
From Chocolate Epiphany - Charlie's Afternoon Chocolate Cake.
10 T (or 5 ounces) Unsalted butter
8 ounces of 60% chocolate, chopped
2 Large Eggs
2/3 cup of Sugar
3/4 cups Flour

Preheat oven to 350 F, grease and flour one 9" round cake pan. (A good tip is to use coco powder instead of flour to "flour" the pan when making chocolate cake)

In a med saucepan melt the butter over med-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring so it doesn't burn. Remove from heat and stir in chopped chocolate until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.
In another bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar until well combined. Whisk in flour until that is also combined. Add chocolate and butter mixture and stir until mixture is just combined. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
Bake for 15 mins at 350 then lower temp to 300 and bake for an additional 8 mins. Remove cake from oven (and here's the catch) you must let it cool completely before removing it from the pan. It's kind of delicate which is why you have to wait.

Then you can eat as is or garnish to your own delight. Pictured is a slice topped with home made whipped cream and raspberries. Mmmmmm cake.



The urge to go to the local LYS and fondle some yarn got big enough that it seemed a good idea to indulge it. Yarn money and list of possible new sweater projects in hand, I went up there on Saturday with the strict rules to only buy yarn that wanted to be knit right away. What's the good of knitting up some stash if you're going to immediately fill up that empty space. (Ok that wouldn't have bothered me that much but I'm running out of storage space.)

My local LYS owner and other employees are always friendly and helpful and I enjoy getting the what's new tour when it's been a couple weeks since my last visit. But there is always this awkward bit where someone pulls out some pattern books or a store sample and says, "Oh, don't you just loveeeee this." Nine times out of 10 this item put before me is completely the opposite of my taste so that it falls into the "no way in hell would I ever knit that."

But of course I was raised to be polite so my reply is usually, "Oh that is interesting, or How Funnn". Once over some pattern books the owner caught me out and said, "Now what is wrong with this." And all I could come up with was, "Ummm it's not really my style." To which she said something like, "Oh come on, you'd love it!" This week they showed me a felted purse that had an unsettling resemblance to a cow udder. No teats mind you but it had these bulges which reminded me of teats. Not sure if my replies that it was nice fooled anyone.

After that it was an enjoyable time of paging through the new Rowan magazine and fondling some yarn. Some of those spring cardigans with color work flowers are catching my fancy. But do I want to knit cotton that much? Hmmm must mull that over further.

In the end I was good and left with the Amber pattern book and some buttons for the red cardigan. Mmmmm red.

Limping to the Finish


It took some effort but I was able to wrestle myself away from the siren red cardigan and make an effort to finish up the nearly done sweaters.

CPH is finally stitched together, even though mattress stitching always seems like it's coming out wrong. An non knitter will probably think it looks fine. As you can see it's sitting around drying from it's second block. The button bands and hood seemed to be pulling in more than the body pieces that where blocked already.

When it's dry (3 days from now) these buttons will be sewn on, then it will finally be done.

Here's me doing an I-cord bind off for Ophicleide completely wrong. Thanks to the internet I figured out my error. Not before finishing the entire bind off once, of course. That's OK, at least the bind off wasn't finished so it was easy to pull the string and start over again.

And there was freshly baked cinnamon bread to take the edge off. Yum Martha Steward, your recipes have 100 steps the the result sure is tasty.

Secret Swap Knitting Reveled


A nice post about the knitting that was done for the 3 round of the loopy ewe swap refuses to be written. (You'd laugh if you knew how many hours I've spent trying to write about these socks) So how about some pretty pictures.

Oooooo Hazel knits colors.... Laguna to be exact.

Boy do those twisted stitches pop

Hmmm Mr. Crab appears to be compelled to pose next to colors that sound like bodies of water.
R detail

Some things about this pattern need to be said:
1. Leg diameter - Using a heavy fingering with my normal loose tension resulted in a comfortable sock that fit over my non skinny leg. Using a thin fingering resulted in too narrow of a sock leg. If you're a tight knitter a forth pattern repeat would probably be a good idea.

2. Wraps - A few of the wraps overlap the start of the round, so you'll need to start knitting the wrap 3 stitches for you start round 2. It's easy to miss this on the chart until you get to the end of the round.

3. Heel Turn - The one in the pattern seemed very shallow. I replaced it with a normal one from another sock pattern and the socks turned out fine.

4. Don't Worry - Despite the items above I didn't find the sock to be all that hard. Once the wraps were figured out the chart knitting when surprisingly fast. The foot is only following the twisted stitches already set up, so turn on a DVD and go on auto pilot.

My swap partner Tracey made a beautiful mosaic over here in the loopy ewe thread. So glad she liked it!

I love the winter weather....


.....because the two of us can get together. There's nothing sweeter, finer when it's nice and cold, I can hold you closer to me, collecting all the kisses due me. I love the winter weather because I've got my love to keep me warm.

A light snow has been falling all day and that little tune has been dancing through my brain.

Maybe because Punxsutawney Phil made his appearance early this week, Philadelphians suddenly seem to be grumbling that this winter has been too long.
I would argue that compared to many part of the country we've had it easy. And unlike last year, which was a long stretch of gray, there have been some light snows to pretty things up. Sure we had that nasty ice storm last week, but after going outside and finding it was an ice rink I called in a personal day. The day was past very nicely in front of DVD's with knitting in my hand and no guilt was felt at all.

Though winter does seem to have had some effect, I can't put down this new red sweater. It doesn't seem to matter that my CPH is just waiting to have sleeves sewn on. Or that the last ball of yarn to finish Ophicleide showed up. Instead I reach for the 3 inches of red sweater which seems to scream "Me first!!" My eyes must want to stare at something bright for now.... or my subconscious wants a sweater to match these shoes. Red suede equals happiness.

Proudly designed by Mlekoshi pixel perfect web designs