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It’s done!!! 

Overall I used way less yarn than expected. I had 22 balls of the mystery China yarn and despite knitting it double stranded I only used 8 balls of it. I really don’t want another green sweater but 14 balls is definitely enough for one. Good thing Mom knits because then I could ‘destash’ those remaining balls to her.

I made this almost exactly as the pattern dictates. I only varied because I had cast on for the wrong size and had to frog back over half my work. I wasn’t going to frog back to the beginning just to have a minicule difference in collar size. I briefly considered a few short rows for the bust but once again my laziness kicked in. Odds are I will rarely actually button this up so any effort to add length to the front vs the back would really be indistinguishable.

I had planned on making 3/4 length sleeves but once I got to the length suggested by the pattern I decided against that route. The shaping of the body and overall style of the cardigan just seemed a little too casual and summery for 3/4 sleeves. Besides shorter sleeves meant less knitting which means finishing in May and having time to start on something new.

Ok so it doesn’t look like much but the finished socks should be fabulous. It’s the Viper Pilot sock that was of course inspired by Battlestar Galactica. As soon as the pattern was released I knew I wanted to knit it and last week I was at Little Knits when a box from Dream in Color was opened to reveal a bunch of Starry yarn. My favorite colorway has always been Night Watch and when I saw it in the Starry I was sold. (I didn’t realize until I had started working on the sock that the original was also knit in Night Watch but in Smooshy yarn).

Holy crap this is going to be a slow going sock. Until I memorize the 7 different cables that the sock uses there is going to be a lot of ‘hmm what is that symbol, ok look at the legend’. This is also going to be a definite knit in good lighting and sober type of sock. 

Last night would not have been a good night to knit the sock…there may have been some drunk texting going on and I do apologize to any of you who got them. Those Blakberi Lemondrops were addictive.

I can’t recall if I blogged about Aunt #3* before. Last fall she was diagnosed with lung cancer and given a few months to live. My Mom flew back to Hong Kong to stay a few months and take care of her while she went through chemo. The chemo worked until about a month ago when they discovered new tumors and the doctor recommended stopping everything.

This morning we got the call (seriously when is a 5am phone call ever a good thing). 

The hardest part is watching my Mom grieve. While I spent a lot of time with Aunt #3 as a kid it’s been over 11 years since I’ve seen her. When my parents would head out of town Sarah and I were always sent to stay with her.  Out of all my aunts I probably spent the most time at her house, the adults would sit around playing Mah Jong while I would watch tv or read a book or have her kids teach me how to make origami birds and those little ribbon stars. It was at her house that Sarah and I came up with our phrase Gai Jai Galut Dai which loosely translated to chicken armpits (hey I was 11 when I came up with it).

It feels weird to mourn someone who was a part of my life so long ago. Mostly I’m sad for my Mom, I’m glad she got to spend those couple months there but I know she regrets not being able to do more. On top of all this she is scheduled to leave in a few weeks to go and spend 2 months with Aunt #4 who is having surgery for cancer next month. 

I’m getting really tired of posting almost annually about family members dying.

 

* Yes we really do call our aunts and uncles by numbers. There were 15 of them! My Mom is Aunt #7)

In my family we don’t typically go all out for birthday (or even Christmas) presents although my sister’s gift this year definitely doesn’t fit the norm. So each year no matter what I tend to get myself a little gift for my birthday. Last year was the Seasocks cruise which was anything but little but totally worth every penny. I think one year I bought my beloved Wustof chef knife that no one else is allowed to use.

This year I decided on a little fiber gift.

Grafton Fibers Colorways shipment for May. 

I’ve been eyeing the Grafton Fiber batts for at least a year now, when I first found out about them they seemed harder to find than today. Since they are in Vermont I’ve never heard of them making their way West for any fiber shows. I was on their website in early May trying to decide on a batt I liked when I spotted the Colorways membership. For only $20 a month I could get a surprise batt in the mail, at that price it was cheaper than their normal batts and since it’s paid monthly if I hate it I can cancel at any time.

When I signed up though I thought I had missed the cutoff date for May so I wasn’t expecting the shipment for this month.

Check out those colors. It’s one huge corriedale batt weighing in at 4oz and I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do with it. There was a great little pamphlet included with the batt showing what the folks at Grafton Fibers had spun up with their batt along with a tutorial on making it into a felted bowl. I love the extra info that they provided.

I can’t stop looking at all the pretty colors.

No I swear that isn’t a bad thing. See I have a friend Jenny, she and I met many years ago back in culinary school. Not only do we share an interest in food but we also share the same mixed race background. (yes that is something I noticed the very first day in class)

She hooked me up with my first pastry job so I worked the weekdays while she worked weekends (she had a fulltime job in addition to school and baking). When she moved on I continued to work there alone until I started working at a local bakery. A few years later she once again hooked me up when she decided to leave her assistant pastry chef position and recommended me as a replacement. I worked at both the bakery and the restaurant for a very exhausting 6 or 7 months before both the pastry chef and myself ended up leaving. 

While our regular day jobs and lives are vastly different we always manage to meet up about twice a year to eat, drink and catch up.

Today was one of those days. 

Using the excuse of splitting a mailorder batch of vanilla beans (OMG they smell heavenly) we lunched on more dim sum than 2 people should eat and talked about the latest in our lives and of course our food adventures. Turns out Jenny is going to be launching her new food blog soon and I got to see a sneak preview. We chatted about the recipes our Mom’s made and how we both wanted to learn whatever we could from them before it was too late.  I’m hoping we can arrange a cooking lesson with her Mom and Grandma in a few weeks when they visit.

Eventually though the lunch had to end since one of us (not me) had a day job to go back to. I on the other hand came home and as is usually the case after I see Jenny I wanted to bake. Rather than making the foccacia I had planned on baking I decided to try and make the Chinese egg tarts that are present at any good dim sum restaurant.

I got Mom to translate one of her recipes (that is a project all in itself) and while the first attempt was too ugly for pictures I’m definitely on the right path. Turns out the type of pastry I like in my egg tarts is of course the most difficult one and from what I found out today…also the messiest. The flavor is close but my technique needs work.

It’s a good thing I like egg tarts because there might be a lot of trial and error 🙂

In knitting news: I wore the cashmere socks today and damn those feel good on my feet. The green sweater continues to make progress, I’m just past the halfway mark of what I had to frog last week. It’s been slow going not because it’s hard but mostly because frogging that much of my knitting was a little demoralizing. The next pair of socks on the needles are being debated right now. It’s down to some handspun or the yellow/orange Panda Silk. Decisions decisions.

I have to admit I love ‘testing’ new yarns and fibers all in the name of Dragonfibers research. I’ve been wanting to test out a new sock yarn for a while and finally was able to get the weight I wanted as a sample.

80% superwash merino/10% cashmere/10% nylon.

The sqooshiness of merino, the decadence of cashmere and the durability of nylon. What more can a knitter want? Perhaps some seriously nice yardage of over 530 yards per 4oz? Perfect for a nice shawl or a pair of kneehigh socks (if you don’t have the misfortune of short sturdy legs like myself).

I will admit these were knit on 00 needles in order to get 9st/inch. It’s a combination of my incredibly loose knitting habit and the light fingering weight yarn. I have it on good authority that the matching skein is being test knit by a self-proclaimed ‘tight knitter’ on size 1’s and getting 8-9st/inch.

I do have a couple lbs of this blend in roving form that I’m also going to play with. I have my test braid waiting to be spun up before I offer up some test braids to any of you who might be interested.

Tonight I got to taste the first harvest of lettuce from the P-Patch and last night I had some of the spinach which was delicious. The potatoes are growing nicely and the chinese veggies are doing well. Sadly my petite pois peas are apparently a favorite of a very hungry pest since they (and the other peas) are quite mangled looking. I had been hoping to move the last of my veggie plants out to the garden this week but last week’s prolonged sunshine lulled me into false hope. Tonight I listened to the rain beat down on the windows while thunder crackled in the skies.  I found myself wondering if the bear that has been roaming North Seattle for the last 2 days has found shelter.

I have to admit that not having a regular work schedule to deal with on the weekdays has it’s perks. I joined Ginger for a morning matinee of Star Trek (when did matinees start costing $8???). Loved it. I spent a good portion of the movie wondering when the hell my beloved Simon Pegg was going to show up but overall the movie did well. Just enough cheese for my viewing enjoyment.

After a strange bout of cleaning (it really rarely happens) that has my bedroom looking somewhat livable and the majority of my clothes and linens usable again I sat down to knit. Sadly I discovered something rather tragic.

I finally tried on the Green Sweater and came to the realization that the armholes are just way too big. It might be hard to tell but the bottom of the armhole is about 3-4″ below my actual armpit. Just low enough that any sleeve is not only going to be bulky but also prevent me from moving my arms around comfortably. I couldn’t figure out how the pattern was so far off when I finally pulled out a tape measure and realized that I had been knitting the wrong size. Turns out I was a good 3-4″ off on my bust size so when I picked the size I needed to knit I was knitting the next size up from what was needed. Sigh.

Before:

After:

Yup. I spent my afternoon frogging over 9″ of knitting in order to get back to the part of the pattern that matched the next size down. 

I should take consolation that now I have even fewer stitches per row to knit than before so making up the lost ground won’t take as long but damn that is a small consolation. I’m mostly mentally chastising myself for not paying closer attention to the size I needed to knit and for not trying on the sweater earlier. I had the same issue with Amused and ended up knitting the size smaller than what I ‘thought’ I needed.

Mental note for the next sweater: The boobs may not be small but they aren’t THAT big 🙂

I managed to line up two interviews for tomorrow. One phone interview at 1pm PST and an in person interview at 4.15pm at another company.

Please think happy job thoughts for me around those times.

I really don’t get to cook that much anymore now that I’m back living with the parents. It’s something I miss on occasion but don’t get me wrong there is definitely an upside to Mom’s cooking.  Sometimes I just like to cook for the process of it all.

My very own 30 minute meal. 4 cheese tortellini, chicken, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes (from last years garden harvest) and garlic scape pesto.

Sounds impressive but it was super easy. Best thing was there are enough leftovers for 2 lunches. 

Now I just have to hope that the burnt sugar icecream I made last night is ready to eat. It was still too soft last night when I wanted icecream so I had to settle for the vanilla bean one instead. That burnt sugar icecream is calling my name though.

FYI if you ever have to move your yarn stash into a storage unit do not under any circumstances let a non-knitter friend decide where to put the yarn box. If you do you might find out that your dear friend stashed it all the way in the back of the long skinny unit…tucked away behind the bed AND sofa. You will then spend about an hour cursing that friend’s name while you struggle to shift furniture and boxes just enough in order to gain access to the all important yarn.

The garter stitch blanket has been set aside for a few days, it is offically too big for anything but knitting at home and I needed a break from the endless knit knit knit.

So I cast on for The Green Sweater yesterday. It’s the top down Summer Cardigan from Knitting Pure & Simple. Not much more exciting than a garter blanket but at least there are purl rows now.

Is it a sweater yet?

Since the yardage on the Mystery China Yarn is unknown (only info that Mom was able to decipher off the label was that it is 100% wool and 50 grams). I did a quick and dirty WPI test and figured out it is a basic fingering weight at 16 WPI. Knitting it doubled gives me gauge for the Summer Cardigan so then I was faced with the task of winding all the yarn into double-stranded yarn cakes.

In order to keep the tension about the same I wound each cake twice since the original commercial balls had some snags and tightly wound bits. That meant instead of winding all 22 balls into 11 cakes I only wound 12 balls to start off with. Making yarn cakes gets boring really fast.

I did manage to rouse myself pretty early on Saturday in order to hit the Seattle Tilth Plant Sale. This is only the second time I’ve gone and this time Ginger and I got in line an hour before they started. I managed to be good and only came away with a couple of Red Fig tomato plants, a lemon cucumber, some rainbow swiss chard, leeks and an eggplant. I already have the majority of my starts going from seed in the house so I see the sale as a way to support a great organization. 

I won’t lie and say that the freshly made organic vegan donuts from Mighty O Donuts are not a big draw either.  Waking up early to line up at 8am for a 9am plant sale on a Saturday is totally worth it when you get to bite into a hot freshly fried cinnamon sugar donut afterwards (they make them on site at the park). 

Damn. Now I want a donut.

I could have been sneaky and not counted the newly acquired birthday yarn until June since technically it was for a May birthday but let’s face it the yarn is sitting in my stash now so it counts.

I did not do well in April. Yes I could blame the 8 new skeins my sister sent me as a big part of it but some other yarn also made it into the stash through my own doing. There was knitting but not enough to use up everything that I bought in April.

The stats.
Skeins: 229
Weight: 33.80
Miles: 28.40

Seriously I swear if I was allowing myself to count WIP’s in this stashdown there would be progress. I’m ahead of the game for the garter stitch blanket….as in 2 months!!! I’m officially past the halfway mark now. That one project alone would use up almost 20% of my stash but until it is completed all that knitting doesn’t get to count. It makes the progress of Stashdown 2009 look pitiful but once that baby is off the needles it will finally look like I did something!

In the meantime I’ve been itching to make a sweater or cardigan and what better way is there to use up stash? I’m off to try find the mystery China yarn in the storage unit. I have 22 balls of this stuff and I should be able to make a pretty good simple cardigan out of it if I double strand it. I’ve resisted using up this yarn mostly because of the weight and color. I’m not willing to make a fingering weight sweater in my size and the soft celery green isn’t my best color. I was tempted to overdye the yarn before knitting but I was smart enough to realize that the odds of me unraveling 22 50gram balls of yarn into dyeable skeins AND then knitting them was pretty slim.

There may not be any knitting tonight though because I am going to see the new X-men movie. Is it weird that I’m so excited about it? I remember when the first X-men movie came out, I got sneak preview passes from the comic book store at Pike’s Market and while I stood in line to get into the cinema I realized (with a little horror) that the stereotype of comic book guys who live in their mother’s basements is really based in reality. The 5 guys in front of me were actually arguing over which comic book hero would win in a battle against each other.

Flickr Photos

blackwork sampler

More Photos

Dragonfibers

On the needles

February Fitted Pullover

Sapphire Waves of Grain

On the Bedside Table

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (ok not really since I can't find the book anymore)

on the wheel

Absolutely Nothing.

Stashdown 2009

January 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 233 Total Weight:33.13lbs Total Miles: 27

February 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 213 Total Weight:30.09lbs Total Miles: 26

March 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 218 Total Weight:31.95lbs Total Miles: 27

April 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 217 Total Weight:31.45lbs Total Miles: 26.5

May 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 229 Total Weight: 33.8 Total Miles: 28.4

June 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 210 Total Weight: 31.9 Total Miles: 27.7

July 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 201 Total Weight: 30.5 Total Miles: 26.5

August 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 228 Total Weight: 34.0 Total Miles: 28.8

October 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 254 Total Weight: 38.2 Total Miles: 31.8

November1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 224 Total Weight: 34.9 Total Miles: 29.9

December 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 206 Total Weight: 31.9 Total Miles: 27.1

KAL

World Bread Day '07

May 2009
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