Wednesday, June 29, 2011

yarn along: rope doily rug

{hip hip hooray, it's yarn along day}

I've got a rope doily rug in my home now. I knew I was missing something before, and now things feel just right in my life. It only took three trips to the hardware store and five packages of clothesline.

Crocheting this wasn't hard, but it wasn't relaxing either. The rope isn't as smooth or pliable as yarn, so I never did get into a rhythm as I made this. I used a combination of hook and fingers to make the stitches.  

I am so pleased with the results. This doily rug is going to be my bathmat because bare feet on rope feels so summery, like hanging out at the dock. I also think a doily rug would be a perfect welcome mat at the front door, and I'd love to use thicker rope and a larger hook (mine was 9 1/4 mm for this project) to make an area rug for the living room (inspired by this gorgeous one). I'm not so sure my husband would approve of all these doilies, but we'll take things one rug at a time. 

My sister stopped by for a visit yesterday and I convinced her to lend her lovely toes to give some perspective on the size of this rug. 

I'm working on writing up the pattern and tips for a tutorial, so if you're interested check back here in the next couple of weeks.

* * * * * 

For the other yarns: I spent many lunches and bedtimes this week poring over The Opinionated Knitter. I enjoy Elizabeth Zimmermann's descriptions of camping out in the woods as much as I love her knitting patterns. My favorite passage of this book describes how EZ used to secretly knit on the back of a motorcycle. She didn't want her husband to know she was knitting because he would (rightly) be upset with her, so she'd stash a small project in her pocket and knit away once they were on the road. That's passion. 


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


My friend Christine is coming to visit today!

K and I became friends with Christine when we were all living in Japan. We visited her in Minneapolis last year, so this year it's her turn to come see us.

She keeps telling me how excited she is for her first trip to the South. She grew up in Minnesota, so she has always considered Kentucky a southern state. I, on the other hand, have grown up in Louisville and traveled farther south through Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. And I have to say, Louisville isn't really the South. It feels very mid-western to me. We'll see what Christine, a true mid-westerner, has to say.

To welcome Christine, I put together a nook vignette in her favorite color--purple. I think I used every purple item that I have, and it still looks a little sparse. I also made her a sandwich bag for when we pack picnics this week. I didn't have any purple fabric, but I did find some with purple flowers. I embroidered a few of the flowers to make the purple stand out more.

 * * * * *

No menu or CSA post this week. Our vegetable share was pretty small this week due to bad weather in the region last week. We had flooding and four tornadoes touch down in the city. Amazingly, there were no serious injuries. The small vegetable share this week is actually fine for us because we plan to take Christine to all of our favorite restaurants.

Monday, June 27, 2011

*good day*

celebratory malt

Two good things to tell you.

1. Today I picked up my diploma. It was in the Registrar's office in the basement. "Pomp and Circumstance" played just for me (really) as other students picked up their transcripts and employees typed away at their desks. Such a surreal moment. All said, I'm glad to have it in my hands.

2. I got a job!!! I feel very relieved and excited. The exclamation points could go on for pages. I start next week as a publishing assistant with a small-but-growing company. Thanks for all of your encouragement here. I thought of your kind words before each interview. It made things easier knowing that you all believed in me. (Cheesy, but true.) Thank you, thank you.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

loving lately

Kate's caravan bedding makes my heart beat fast. So much vintage sheet goodness!

Francesca's nightgown has me thinking that my t-shirt and shorts as sleepwear don't cut it anymore. She also recently shared the most beautiful day at the beach.

Liesl's wallet has lots of pockets for organizing and a mini-doily that I made!

Kristen's nook takes its inspiration from her garden. She just started her blog recently, and it's already bursting with good things.

Cirilia Rose's sequined cardigan looks like something out of a fairy tale.

Esme is lovely in yellow and polka dots. I like her bike, too.

The perfect pillowcase for my bed is made right here in Louisville. (via Design*Sponge)

I'd like to take a drive through horse country and then spend the day weaving baskets at The Homestead.

My favorite Missed Connection has books and polka dots.

 * * * 

What are you loving lately?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

yarn along: little lace and big lace

I am still going strong on my Audrey cardigan. The Shetland lace turned out to be simple (and fun) to make. I knitted the lace section while K and I watched The Wire (season 3), and I didn't get nearly as much knitting done because I couldn't stop watching the show. Now I'm working on the back and wondering just how long sleeves are going to take me. I'm guessing longer than I'd like. 

I just started reading Lee Smith's latest collection of short stories Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-eyed Stranger. Smith's stories of people in the South make me appreciate the daily-ness of life and the incredible characters who live here. I read her writing when I lived abroad to feel closer to home (Wendell Berry, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Barbara Kingsolver were also on my abroad reading list). 

* * * 

rope doily rug preview

Yesterday I stopped in at the hardware store and asked where the rope section was. "What do you need rope for?" the man behind the counter asked. "Oh, I'm just making a rug," I said. Hardware stores make me nervous because I never feel handy enough to be in them. The man showed me the rope section and pointed out cotton and sisal ones that might be good for rug-making. Maybe I'm not the first to come in about a rug. I didn't mention I was crocheting a doily rug, though. I ended up buying fifty feet of cotton clothesline, which you can see didn't get me very far. I'll get more today so that I can finish this rope doily rug. It's going to be my bathmat. I plan on making a tutorial for this when I'm through. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

csa day: first day of summer

Summer is here! I'm anxiously awaiting some juicy tomatoes, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the cooler weather crops. 

This week we got kale, cabbage, mixed salad greens, radishes, onions, and potatoes.


Tuesday/Wednesday: Black bean, kale, and onion tacos

Thursday/Friday: Pitas stuffed with hummus, salad greens, radishes, and carrots. Topped with feta dip from Sweet Paul magazine. This meal was slated for last week, but we didn't get around to it.

Saturday/Sunday: Toasted kale with eggs and marinara sauce

Monday: Okonomiyaki

Snack: Kale chips

We've got a lot of kale. So far we've eaten it in soup and pie, toasted it, sauteed it, and baked it. We even put it on our tacos tonight. I know. I was desperate because we suddenly had two giant bunches in the fridge. We did find a new favorite kale dish last week when we made kale and feta pizza. I'd recommend that one. The tacos are only for the really adventurous. If you've got other ideas, let me know. We'd like to try them all while we've got so much kale on hand. Actually, I just want new recipes so that I can trick myself into thinking I'm eating something different instead of kale again. Please send ideas. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

positive outlook

This weekend I rescued a project that has been languishing in my to-do pile since February. It's a cross pillow stuffed with buckwheat hulls and lavender. I have wanted one ever since I came across Liane's shop. K bought me buckwheat hulls and wool felt for my birthday so that I could make my own. I made the pillow out of muslin soon after, but didn't get around to sewing the cover for it. Months passed without progress on the pillow; school and knitting hogged all of my time. But then I came across this sweet bedroom (via emma lamb), and I remembered how much I wanted a cross pillow. I dug out a piece of thrifted canvas, my mom's embroidery thread, and red wool felt and got to work. 

* * * 

After a few hours of cutting and stitching, I've got a pillow that smells wonderfully of lavender. The buckwheat hulls offer great support for my tired neck. So far I've used it for reading and yoga, but I'm looking forward to taking some summer afternoon naps with it. I hope all of that lavender will make for sweet dreams.

* * * 

Finishing this project felt very satisfying. I'm going through other unfinished things to see what I can finish next. I've got a crocheted lap blanket that just needs ends woven in and a bookmark that I promised K years ago. Maybe posting about these perpetual works in progress will motivate me to complete them. 

Do you have any projects languishing that you'd like to finish? 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Red Sweater Day

I'm so excited to show you my second knitted sweater. Strawberry red and mostly cotton, it's perfect for summer cookouts and picnics in the park. It's comfortable with a t-shirt and jeans, and I think it is going to look very cute over a jersey dress. What I love most is that I can wear it right now without having to take a trip to the Southern hemisphere (or Maine). 

The sweater and I had our first evening out together last night. We rented movies and went to the post office. Since K was with us (way to be a third wheel, Honey), I had him get a few photos. The sweater and I are pretty smitten with each other. I think every day should be a red sweater day!

The knitting was great--fast and fun. I left the sweater at home when we went on vacation because it was too big to haul around by that point and found myself missing my knitting time with it. While I do like knitting with wool better, this cotton/wool blend yarn is wonderful to work with on sweaty summer days.  

For more details, check out my Ravelry page.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

yarn along: sweaters

My Audrey cardigan has been speeding along this week. It actually looks like a sweater now (this was it last week). After the slow-going twisted rib at the bottom, the stockinette portion seems lightning fast. I'm almost to the lace yoke section! I've been knitting this cardigan exclusively (my socks and scarf are on hold) because I love the yellow yarn, and I'm excited to have a new cardigan finished, even if I do have to wait until fall to wear it. With all of the knitting and reading about knitting I've been doing lately, I've figured out that I am a product knitter. While I do enjoy the process of knitting, I mostly knit because I want that cardigan/hat/scarf. 

And you'll notice from the photo that I am reading another knitting book (Yarn Harlot), a children's book (Little House on the Prairie), and listening to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. What of it? It's summer, and my reading habits are like being at the state fair. I'm having ice cream, cotton candy, and a funnel cake. I want sweet, fluffy, and mind-numbingly good. Also, all of these fun, light reads balance out the finance book I found myself checking out from the library last night. What's the food equivalent of a finance book? Oatmeal?

* * * 

{sweater soaking}

In other yarny news, I just finished blocking my summer sweater. Yep, that's right. I bit the bullet and wove in all of those ends. I will get some photos soon to show you.

* * * 

Thank you to everyone who offered encouragement about the job interview. I am so glad to have you all cheering me on! Keep thinking good thoughts--there are more interviews to come. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

csa day

This week our CSA box came loaded with broccoli, French breakfast radishes (oolala--fancy), carrots, lettuce, kale, and kohlrabi. With the exception of the radishes, we got these same vegetables last week. That's fine--it just means I have to be more creative so it doesn't feel like we're eating the same thing over and over. This is what I've come up with:


Tuesday/Wednesday: Teriyaki vegetable and tofurky sandwiches

Thursday/Friday: Broccoli Lasagna

Saturday/Sunday: Kale and Feta Pizza

Monday: Hummus, pita bread, whatever raw vegetables we have left

Every day: Salad of lettuce, carrots, radishes, and kohlrabi

Dessert of the week: 25 cent ice cream on Saturday!

* * * 

Scenes from my kitchen last week

Chocolate chip pecan cookies 

I baked three dozen for a get together with friends. Then I froze the extra dough--enough for two dozen more cookies!

Eggs ready to be made into cake

I made a yellow cake with chocolate icing for my sister's graduation party. It didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped, but enough icing will cover nearly all flaws, right? The cake baked up tall and pale yellow. I frosted it with an old-fashioned chocolate buttercream. We cut thick slices that reminded me so much of the bazaar scene in Pollyanna. Every time I watched that movie I wanted to eat that cake, and now I have. Next time I'll have to snap some photos.

* * * 

What's on your menu this week?

Friday, June 10, 2011

breakfast chatter

Good morning. Won't you join me for breakfast today? It's my favorite meal, and I rarely get to share it with friends. Somehow people just don't want to get up with the sun and socialize. But a virtual breakfast, that's something we can all enjoy together on our own time. So pour yourself a cup of coffee and grab a slice of banana cake, no matter the time. Let's chat.

* * * * *

I got a row of knitting done on my yellow sweater this morning. I finished the rib and am working on the body. It feels like quite an accomplishment to finally be working on the next step. I had hoped to have my other sweater (remember that red one with lace) done by today, but I can't motivate myself to weave in the ends. Soon.

I'm feeling nervous about a job interview that I've got today. However, once I finish that I have an afternoon of baking ahead of me and a visit with my dad planned. Those are good rewards. 

An out-of-town friend is coming for a visit in a couple of weeks, so I've been looking for fun places to take her around town. So far I've decided on a free concert by the river, Churchill Downs, and cheap beers at a baseball game. 

K and I went for a walk last night and discovered nearby streets that we'd never been on. I love finding new places to see. 

The sun was bright apricot this morning. It rose, small and brilliant, over the rooftops. And now there are three little birds sitting on my windowsill. This bodes well. I can feel a good day coming. Can you?

* * * * * 

How are you today? What's on your mind? 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

yarn along: yellow audrey

This week I am knitting some lovely yellow Quince & Co. yarn into a cardigan. I love the twisted rib so far, but am a bit nervous to start the more complicated bit of the sweater. I feel like I can handle knitting directions if I take them one step at a time, though if I look ahead I get scared. So I'm taking deep breaths and focusing on the twisted rib. The waist-shaping, sleeves, and lace yoke will come later. This is the first time I've done a bottom-up sweater, so it's a good, new experience. 

I've been reading such fun books this week. Bossypants cracked me up. K read it right after me, so we got to talk about our favorite parts. He has told me several times that he wants to be just like Tina's dad, Don Fey, a guy who doesn't mess around. I loved reading about the origins of 30 Rock and Tina's time on SNL.

Of course I've also been reading a knitting book because I am a yarn nerd (if you are here because of the yarn along, you can probably empathize). Adrienne Martini describes a year she spent knitting a super-complex Fair Isle sweater. She throws in interviews with well-known knitting bloggers and designers. The book gave me a great overview of the knitting community as well as a lot of (a little too much) information about Alice Starmore's designs and legal issues. I especially liked this book because I don't have a knitting group yet, so I liked the interaction with another knitter.

* * * * * 

You all have had great book suggestions these past few weeks. What are you reading this week? What's in your project pile?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

csa day: still salad season

This week our Finger Picking Farms CSA box contained (clockwise from top): Summer Crisp lettuce, Oriole Orange Swiss chard, broccoli, purple and white kohlrabi, Winterbor kale, and Danvers Half long carrots.

Menu for the week

Tuesday/Wednesday: Spicy Black Bean burgers on toast topped with caramelized onions and sauteed chard. Salad of lettuce, carrots, broccoli, and kohlrabi with homemade thousand island dressing. I'm making my own burgers because you guys shamed me into it. Last time I posted veggie burgers on our menu I got several requests for the recipe. Yeah, I just took them out of the box in the freezer and heated them. [head in hands] I'll let you know how this homemade version goes.

Thursday/Friday: Stir-fried tofu and vegetables (carrots, onions, broccoli, kohlrabi) over rice. Served with garlic mirin sauce or maybe magic sauce.

Saturday: Dinner out (Julie's graduation party)

Sunday/Monday: Toasted kale with soy crumbles and marinara sauce (credit goes to Jodi for this one), bread

Bread of the Week: Light Wheat

* * * * * 

I am so glad to be back in the kitchen after several semesters away. I've been baking a lot this week, and I'd highly recommend making your own cheddar crackers (via maya*made). They are a delicious and addicting snack.

Last week's dinner winner was homemade bread topped with sauteed chard, a fried egg, and bechamel sauce. We had this instead of chard gratin because I didn't feel like taking the time to bake everything.

For dessert last week we had strawberry sour cream ice cream from The Perfect Scoop. Punch cups full of sweet homemade ice cream are my favorite summer treat. Of course, I think my favoritism might shift once I make these fudge pops.

* * * 

What's going on in your kitchen this week?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

the bookish lamb

This little lamb is newly born, but he already loves books. He climbs mountains of paperbacks, beds down amongst pages, and every so often nibbles a tasty word. He likes galloping along bookshelves and cuddling up to listen to a favorite read. So sweet, this bookish lamb.

He has found a home with my cousin's eight-month-old son, where I know he will get lots of snuggles and play time. 

Now I think I need a bookish lamb of my own. Do you need one, too? All you need is a few sewing supplies, wool felt, embroidery floss, and this free pattern

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

yarn along: sweater and swatching

It's yarn along day. Yippee!

This week I have been working on my Strawberry Summer Sweater (thanks to Marfa for the name idea). I am almost finished. Today I did the bottom rib and the rib around the neck. Now I just have to knit the sleeves (only 3 rounds each), but I don't have the right size needles. Since progress is halted on that I went ahead and swatched for my Audrey in Unst. I can already tell that it's going to look good in yellow. I hit gauge, so I guess I might go ahead and cast on. I've got the right needles to get started, but need to get a few more to make the whole thing. I figure at some point I'm going to have a stock of needles and when I decide to make a new project I'll be able to pluck them from my stash rather than buying some. This day will come, won't it? 

* * * * * 

Right now I'm reading On Writing and have enjoyed King's memories of how he started writing. I also like that he gives concrete instructions about writing. Sometimes "everyone works differently" isn't enough to get me started; King's suggestions are helpful for people like me who want more guidance.

I've been listening to audio books every day. I'm making an effort not to watch TV, so audio books are filling that place. I thought I was productive while I watched TV--I always have yarn and hook or needles in hand--but I get much more done when I am only listening and crafting. This week I listened to the first Harry Potter book and Alice in Wonderland. Today I started Heidi and found myself longing to carve wooden spoons, build a three-legged stool, and eat goat cheese. It sounds like such a dreamy life in the mountains. I downloaded Alice and Heidi from Librivox, a site that records public domain books. I've found this website helpful for searching, if you're interested in free audio books. 

* * * 

Do you listen to audio books? Are there any you'd recommend?


Blog Widget by LinkWithin