Saturday, November 17, 2012

New Knitting Projects

"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either." - Elizabeth Zimmerman

As my difficult trial has still not abated, and I continue to have free time on my hands, I've been remarkably productive with knitting.

First, I finished a lace scarf project that has been dragging on for many months:

I gave this to my housemate as a birthday present after it was finished. She loves blue, and this scarf suits her very well.

I ended up ripping out the Princess Kate shawl and starting over, since it had several mistakes. I haven't made significant progress on it yet, as I am saving it to work on during my flight home for Thanksgiving next week.

In the meantime, I've finally faced my fears of knitting adult-sized sweaters, and have begun work on this Cardigan:

image credit: tottopper

The cables on it make me nervous, as they can easily go wrong if you don't pay enough attention. I am making it for myself, so that if it comes out looking absolutely hideous, at least I won't be inflicting it on an unsuspecting third party.

I'm using a leaf green yarn, and the bottom edge is almost finished - nearly time to move on to the dreaded cabling:

My housemate saw me knitting this and said "green is a good color for you." When I was a child, my mother always reverted to dark blues when we shopped for my clothes together, against my pleas for more green-colored items. As an adult, I've been taking every opportunity I can to shun dark blue (except in cases where it is unavoidable, such as business attire) and purchase or make green garments for myself. My mother finally agrees that it is a good color for me. 

To be continued...

Thanksgiving Pies

"Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness." - Jane Austen

Since the start of the problems I briefly mentioned a few posts back, I've been looking forward to flying home for Thanksgiving more than anything. My family are also going through some troubles of their own, and we're all looking forward to getting together on Thanksgiving day.

I've informed my mother, who is in charge of compiling the menu and figuring out the shopping list, that if we don't have one or both of these pies for dessert, Thanksgiving just won't be complete (yes, I volunteered to do the baking).

Tell me I'm wrong:

image credit:

This is the Braided Bourbon Pumpkin Pie from the Cozy Kitchen blog...

image credit:

...and this is the Salted Caramel Apple Pie, also from the Cozy Kitchen.

Oh. good. grief.

I'm not sure if choosing one over the other will be possible. But hey, at least it's one of the very few days of the year when a feast cannot be criticized for being too large.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Robert Frost Shawl

"Whose woods these are I think I know; his house is in the village, though. He will not see me stopping here to watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer to stop without a farmhouse near, between the woods and frozen lake, the darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake to ask if there is some mistake, the only other sound's the sweep of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep/ and miles to go before I sleep." - "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," Robert Frost

I finished the shawl for my mom, which was described in the last knitting progress post. I was working blind, since the project involved combining elements of two different shawl knitting patterns, so I had no idea what it would look like when it was finished.

The result was surprising:

the shawl in progress

While working on the beaded eyelets, I noticed that they resembled snowflakes, and that the edging looked like a forest. It immediately brought my favorite Robert Frost poem to mind.

detail of the shawl, blocking

one corner of the shawl

My mom has been watching my progress on it via pictures, and is excited for it to be done. I'm currently debating whether to send it to her right away, or keep it for her Christmas present - probably the latter.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Smitten Apple Cider Caramels

"No sun - no moon! No morn - no noon - no dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day. No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, no comfortable feel in any member - no shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, no fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! - November!" - Thomas Hood

In the part of the country where I am living now, November has been comparable to September so far. I expect that to end in the next couple of weeks, but right now it is much preferable to my old home, where it is currently averaging 20 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

So, to celebrate the most gorgeous November I can recall, I am making these caramels:

the finished product

the caramel block

cut into bars...

...and cut into squares

These beauties come from the Smitten Kitchen blog, and capture all the beauty of Fall in a small square. The recipe can be found here.

Note: I don't recommend chewing these, if you value your teeth. 

Happy Fall!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Knitting progress

"Women like to sit down with trouble -  as if it were knitting." - Ellen Glasgow

Lately I've been facing a daunting trial, and have had a lot of "free time" on my hands as a result. While there is blessing in the fact that I've been able to catch up on my rest, it is also a stressful time since a lot of things are weighing on my mind, and I am under as much stress as I ever was. The only difference is that now I can go take a nap whenever I feel like it, or I can knit.

Knitting is a contemplative hobby by nature - it both engages the mind and leaves it free to pursue its own ends. No wonder there are groups of Christians who make prayer shawls - it is an activity that accompanies prayer singularly well (until you drop a stitch, and then you have to watch that you don't intersperse your prayers with profanity).

I've been working on a handful of shawls lately - my "prayer shawls," in a sense.

I finished the Wine and Roses shawl:

I decided not to add the flowery edge, and just put a fringe around the two longer sides.

This project has been about a year in the making, and while I love it, I'm glad it's finally done.

I also recently started a shawl for my mom:

I'm using a double strand of lace-weight yarn in a light moss/sage green for this one. I'm still on the edging, but once I get to the main body of it, I will be placing tri-corner eyelets with pearl beads in the centers all over it. This project took a while to figure out, as my mom had a hard time deciding on what style she wanted. All she knew was that she wanted tri-corner eyelets with pearls, and a lacy edge, so I'm going to mash two sections from different shawl knitting patterns together to create this effect.

Last, but not least, I've finally started work on the Princess Kate shawl:

I adore the greens in the yarn I ordered for this one. The pattern is not very difficult, but does require a certain amount of focus to keep from making mistakes. See my previous post that talks about the inspiration for this shawl's design.

To be continued...