Monday, April 28, 2008

FO :: Gathered Pullover

I saw someone on Ravelry use a turned hem on this sweater (although now a few people have done it and I can't remember which one in particular prompted me to do it in the first place), and I followed by knitting one right into the sweater with the dark brown contrasting yarn. I found instructions here on NonaKnits. As you can see, it's adding a little bit of bulk and a very visible seam. I also picked up the contrasting color at the V-neck, because I thought it would be nice to have some added contrast at the neckline between skin and sweater.

turned hem

It was such a low-key, easy and relaxing knit. After casting on, there is about 8" of straight stockinette in the round--great for TV knitting. As per usual, I got a bit stuck on the finishing. It's the make or break point of a sweater for me, and the trouble I have with seaming often makes me go from loving sweater to hating it.

Not in this case though! I love the fit of it, and I am really happy with the knitting. I wish the neckline were just a smidge closer, but this is ok as long as I have a cami underneath. It's my most successful knit so far!

Gathered Pullover

Pattern: Gathered Pullover from Interweave Knits, Winter 2008
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca

I had heard that the Berroco Ultra Alpaca grows a ton when wet-blocked, so I was afraid to go all the way to do that to the entire sweater. Instead, I gently pinned it out and used the sprayer that is on my iron plus some steam. It helped the shoulder seams immensely, which is where it needed the most blocking. The rest was virtually unchanged in terms of overall shape, but it helped to give it an overall more finished look:

Unblocked vs. blocked

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day

Happy earth day everyone! I have a mixup of links for some little things you can take on this year to be more eco-friendly. I try little by little to change my ways, and if we all do the same, hopefully we can start to reverse the damage that's happening to our earth and environment.

Green links:

Here are some ideas for non-chemical ways to clean your home.

How about some Eco-friendly beauty tips.

Find a place to recycle your batteries.

Stop buying bottled water.

Entertaining? How to throw a green party, at Epicurious.

Here's a really great list from Apartment Therapy of things to do to celebrate Earth Day.
Recycle some old plastic bags:

Saturday, April 19, 2008

That's my mom :)

I think I'd better go get another crochet lesson from my mom. She's so good--can you see? These are purses that she made for her sisters for Christmas. She's from a family of 10 kids, so that's quite a bit of work. Although due to the fact that she's a total perfectionist (it must be a recessive gene), they ended up being gifts to welcome in the springtime.

Mom's Crocheted Purses
Each one has a unique trim or finishing, which she worked to find to match the yarns she used.
Mom's Crocheted Purses
Mom definitely provided me some of my craftiness when I was growing up, although with things such as sewing I never really applied myself enough to become very good at it (just one of many examples). She did give me my first knitting lessons, though!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Foodie Friday

How to tell where your produce comes from:
Did you know that those tiny little stickers with the PLU numbers that you peel off of your apples are not only used as an inventory tool at the grocery store, but can actually give you, the buyer (and eater) some information about how it was grown?

Conventional produce has a 4 digit PLU.
Example: 2069

Organic produce has a 5 digit PLU that begins with a 9.
Example: 92436

Genetically modified produce has a 5 digit PLU that begins with an 8.
Example: 82033

Recipes from Blogland:
Spring Tabouleh - 101 Cookbooks
Sun-Dried Tomato Dip - 28 Cooks
Meyer Lemon Grain Salad (I've had some of the Trader Joe's Harvest Grain Blend
on my shelves for ages), Homemade Magic Shell Ice Cream Sauce - The Kitchen
Asparagus with Fried Egg & Parm - Serious Eats
Spinach and Orzo Salad, Tube-Shaped Pasta w. Wild Mushrooms, Roast Tomato Sauce- Simply Recipes
Roasted Tilapia - Kalyn's Kitchen
Panna Cotta - Design*Sponge

Freezing individual portions of thick sauces
Storing fresh leafy herbs


'Huh?' you might say. Lou Dorfman combines my my love of food and typography in one huge wall-encompassing artwork. Check it out here!

Monday, April 14, 2008

how cats shrink

Jeffrey Brown comic, seen on Kim's blog.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Foodie Friday

It's been a long while since I've done a ff post.

Recipe: Collard Greens

Asian collards
A couple of weekends ago I picked up a bunch of collard greens at the green market in Park Slope. I wanted to do something tasty that wouldn't destroy everything nutritious by overcooking and rendering it completely soggy, so I extrapolated from a few recipes and did with an Asian-flavored take. By only cooking for a few minutes, the collards stay slightly crisp with some bite. I used some whole flax seeds too, for extra heart-healthiness. I eat a whole bunch as my dinner, but it would of course, make more sense as a side with some other things to round it out for a full meal.

Asian Collards
1 bunch collard greens
1 T. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 T. soy sauce
2 t. sesame oil
pinch cayenne
1 T. Flax seeds (or sesame seeds)

  1. 1. Take each collard leaf and remove the tough center stems by cutting along each side of it with a knife. Stack a few leaves and roll them longways. Slice into 1/2" strips. Rinse in colander. Don't worry about getting all the water off--it will help the leaves steam in the pot.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot. Add garlic and saute for a few minutes (don't let it brown). Add the greens and cover pot with lid. Toss every few minutes to make sure leaves aren't sticking to the sides or bottom. Continue steaming for about 8-10 minutes. Test a leaf for tenderness. They're probably good when you consider them to be al dente.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and add the rest of the ingredients and toss.
Foodie Tip: Sponges

Sponges hold on to everything gross and are a breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms. Not exactly the thing you want to scrub over the tines of your fork before sticking it your risotto, right?

Throw damp sponges in the microwave for about two minutes (KEEP AN EYE ON THEM!) and kill those nasty little suckers dead good. (From The Kitchen).

Revisiting: Brought My Lunch

office lunch 3/24/08
Lunch 3/24/08 - Leftover Frittata

Awhile ago, I participated in a Flickr pool/contest hosted by 52 Projects where participants brought their lunches to work everyday and photographed them. For that one particular week, I went all out to be creative and varied with my lunches (and I won the first round! But I don't think I ever ended up mentioning it here). Afterward, I did continue to bring my lunches for a lot of the time, which I like because i think it is healthier, more cost-effective, and more environmentally friendly (re-use containers from the supermarket!). I've been lazy about photographing them, though, because I also tend to get stuck in a rut and bring the same thing in for a string of days in a row, occasionally punctuated by a take-out lunch for a treat, or if I ran out of time the day before.

Now that I'm working where take-out options are scarce, I'm going to try to be more interesting in the meals that I bring with me to work again.

I'm looking through the flickr pool for some ideas... What do you guys like to prepare for lunch that is easily transportable and can stand up to a commute? Any favorites out there?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

i miss my blog...

There's so much going on these days. The biggest event being that my company moved out of Manhattan and into New Jersey, effectively raising my commute to a bit under 3 hours daily--it's just not very convenient to Brooklyn. It's been such a drag, but I'm now starting to settle in to the routine--so it is all right. For now. Newark, is certainly not my most favorite place in the world. I miss running errands or running to a yarn store or exhibit conveniently during lunch, or easily meeting friends after work for dinner and drinks. Street meat. A lot of logistics have become a lot more complicated. I rarely get to spend time in Manhattan, and when my friends have shows or gatherings in the weeknight evenings, its hard to attend because I have to get to bed early for fear of oversleeping and missing my morning train.

The good thing is that this type of discomfort makes me take a step back and re-evaluate where I am and where I want to be, professionally, creatively, geographically... Honestly, I don't have a definite solution (um, I guess most of us have this problem forever), but these things will mill around in my head over the next couple of months until I come up with a plan.

In the meantime, I planned a vacation to Ireland! Go green! Shandys and tin whistles! I'll be heading out at the end of May for about a week. My roommates, Tessa and Liz will be spending time over there this summer and have invited me for a visit. Tessa's family has a cafe and garden, and it just looks lovely. I can't wait. Vacation = necessary for sanity.

I've been working on the Gathered Pullover from the Winter 2007 Interweave Knits. It has been a relatively quick and painless knit. I've finished the body and sleeves, and last night I picked up the stitches around the neck. I'll still have to knit those and seam and block.
Gathered Pullover, in progress
Just in time for spring of course! Here, it's just starting to warm up. On our lucky days we are getting temperatures in the mid-60s. I could actually still wear this as long as this weather holds out for another week or two. Although I wouldn't complain if the warmer weather wanted to reveal itself already!