Friday, August 29, 2008

A recipe--everybody's doing it.

I have a whole year to work on myself and I want to have something to show at the end of this time. My biggest goal right now is more energy. I've been trying to eat better since my husband left. I'm retraining myself away from bad habits and embracing proper nutrition as a means of getting a better quality of life.

I have a horrible sweet tooth, so I'm also learning to bake treats filled with fiber and vitamins. It's like I've fallen in love with cooking all over again by using better, healthier ingredients. The Fat-Free Vegan is a great source of ideas and recipes. I found this recipe on Daisy Jane and tweaked it a little to fit the ingredients I have in the house right now.

Here's my version:

Preheat oven to 375 F.


2 C regular or quick oats

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbps butter

1/4 C water


8-10 dried figs

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup chopped dates

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar plus 2 tbsp water

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 tsp cinnamon

Blend half of the oats in food processor until fine, then add the rest of the dry ingredients. Pulse a few times until combined, but still textured. Add the wet ingredients and blend about 20-30 secs. until it mixture begins to pull away from sides of bowl and come together.

Press half the crust mixture into the bottom of a sprayed, 8-inch square baking pan (as you would make a graham cracker crust). Reserve remaining crust for top.

Spray inside of food processor with cooking spray. Pulse the figs, raisins and almonds until a ball forms in the bowl of food processor. Scrape down sides and add remaining ingredients, blending until combined. Spread the filling evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining crust mixture over the filling. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. The fruit filling will be very hot.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A little better...

I fixed the eyes on the jackalope by sewing them a little farther apart.

Better! Now if I could just get the nose to look less like the ghost dog in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Hmm..

Care Package

My husband and I have a private joke involving jackalopes. I hope he gets a laugh out of it.

I finished the jackalope last night. I don't blame the results on the pattern. It could have been much better if I'd followed directions. Also, for someone who embroiders as a hobby, I can't embroider on knitwear to save my life. I atttempted the eyes three times before I ripped out the awful stitches and sewed on the buttons. My daughter thinks it looks like a grasshopper with a dolphin bum.
I first heard of Bacon Salt from CraftyGryphon. I am a vegetarian, but my husband isn't. I use Bacon Salt a lot to add smoky flavor to savory dishes. It's really quite good. I'm sending him a taste of home with a shaker top. Maybe it will help with the awful food at the chowhall.

The kids have drawn and decorated tons of stuff for Daddy.
Now I get to fill out customs forms.
Does anyone have ideas for filling the rest of the box? I plan to send these often. Any ideas are welcome.

Leslie Hall is beautiful and hilarious

Why oh why didn't I stop in when we were in Iowa this summer?

By the way, my husband sees me as the Wool Socks version of the Gem Sweater Lady.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Technology as Marriage Enrichment

I got to spend a little time with my husband over the Internet. Even though I couldn't hear him, it was nice to update him on the little details of our day. I am so glad we have this technology. A lady I met at the local yarn store told me about how awful it was when her husband was in Korea in the 60s. She got one phone call in the whole six months and they got cut off. She cried for hours.

It's good to see his face. It's good to see his room. I am happy to know that he is healthy and eating, but missing my cooking.

I get to send him things for the same postage as within the US. I've been working on a surprise for him. I have amigurumi fever. As much as I hate following patterns, I've really enjoyed working on this one. I'll link to it when I post finished pictures.

It isn't knitted roadkill, but that would certainly be in sync with the Knit-R-Done spirit of redneck crafting. I'm stuffing it with the bamboo fiberfill I bought and it's working well. It feels more lofty than cotton wadding, but not as artificial and cheap-feeling as polyester. It makes the stuffy feel a bit like a high quality old-fashioned teddy bear.

Monday, August 25, 2008

At last, the pattern

**It has been brought to my attention that the pattern is difficult to understand in places. I have added a few notes in red to help explain. As always, contact me with any questions. Thanks!

This pattern was inspired by the amazing Lizard Ridge Afghan. With permission from Laura Aylor, I am giving you instructions for the Lizard Ridge Socks. Thanks, Laura!

This pattern was written for self-striping sock yarn. I used Felici from Knit Picks. The stripes of your yarn should be narrow, perhaps no more than 1/2 inch wide, or the pattern might not work well. You may also create your own stripes by using two contrasting yarns. My instructions are written for self-striping yarn.

My original socks had a different heel. I stole it from someone else's pattern, so I can't publish it. Please use the type of heel you like best. Instructions are included for an afterthought heel. If you've never tried one, it's easy. It's alchemy. I recommend using it just to try something different.

There will be two "bubbles" on each pattern sequence round. The beginning of the pattern is offset by 8 stitches each time. Because the short rowing is shifted with each bubble-row, I recommend using the magic loop method of knitting socks. This will prevent shifting groups of stitches back and forth between dpns. You can purchase a book to describe this technique. There are also many tutorials available online.

My gauge was 8 stitches to an inch. This created a sock with an 8 eight circumference. It was a great size for my husband. You may wish to use a smaller gauge for a woman's foot.

I use a spare dpn to set up an afterthought heel. If you don't have a spare dpn, just slip all stitches purlwise back onto the needle you were using and knit again.

Cast on 64 stitches and join to work in the round, being careful not to twist. Mark beginning of round. 32 stitches on each side of your magic loop.
Work in K1 P1 rib for 1.5 inches.
Work in plain stockinette stitch for 0.5 inches (or the width of one stripe of Felici.)

Begin short row bubbles pattern:

  1. Knit 14, wrap and turn. Purl 12, wrap and turn.
  2. Knit 11, wrap and turn.
  3. Purl 10, wrap and turn.
  4. Knit 9, wrap and turn.
  5. Purl 8, wrap and turn.
  6. Knit 7, wrap and turn.
  7. Purl 6, wrap and turn.
  8. Knit 41, picking up wraps as they appear and knitting them together with their corresponding stitch. (Don't worry about the right side of your "bubble" because those wraps will be picked up on the next row.)
  9. Purl 12, wrap and turn.
  10. Knit 11, wrap and turn.
  11. Purl 10, wrap and turn.
  12. Knit 9, wrap and turn.
  13. Purl 8, wrap and turn.
  14. Knit 7, wrap and turn.
  15. Purl 6, wrap and turn.
End by knitting to marker, picking up wraps as they appear. Knit next round even, picking up any wraps left from previous round.
Knit even for 0.5 inches.

The next set of "bubbles" will be offset by eight stitches.

  1. Knit 22, wrap and turn.
  2. Purl 12, wrap and turn.
  3. Knit 11, wrap and turn.
  4. Purl 10, wrap and turn.
  5. Knit 9, wrap and turn.
  6. Purl 8, wrap and turn.
  7. Knit 7, wrap and turn.
  8. Purl 6, wrap and turn.
  9. Knit 41, picking up wraps as they appear.
  10. Purl 12, wrap and turn.
  11. Knit 11, wrap and turn.
  12. Purl 10, wrap and turn.
  13. Knit 9, wrap and turn.
  14. Purl 8, wrap and turn.
  15. Knit 7, wrap and turn.
  16. Purl 6, wrap and turn.
End by knitting to marker, picking up wraps as they appear.
Knit next round even, picking up wraps from previous round as they appear.
Knit even for 0.5 inches.

Next bubbles:

  1. Knit 30, wrap and turn.
  2. Purl 12, wrap and turn.
  3. Knit 11, wrap and turn.
  4. Purl 10, wrap and turn.
  5. Knit 9, wrap and turn.
  6. Purl 8, wrap and turn.
  7. Knit 7, wrap and turn.
  8. Purl 6, wrap and turn.
  9. Knit 41, picking up wraps as they appear.
  10. Purl 12, wrap and turn.
  11. Knit 11, wrap and turn.
  12. Purl 10, wrap and turn.
  13. Knit 9, wrap and turn.
  14. Purl 8, wrap and turn.
  15. Knit 7, wrap and turn.
  16. Purl 6, wrap and turn.
End by knitting even to marker, picking up wraps as they appear. Knit next round, pickup up remaining wraps. Knit even for 0.5 inches.

Last set of bubbles for repeat:

  1. Knit 4, wrap and turn.
  2. Purl 12, wrap and turn. (You will pass your marker making the first bubble. Ignore it. Just slip the marker as you work the bubble to keep track of your place. This is why I recommend using Magic Loop.)
  3. Knit 11, wrap and turn.
  4. Purl 10, wrap and turn.
  5. Knit 9, wrap and turn.
  6. Purl 8, wrap and turn.
  7. Knit 7, wrap and turn.
  8. Purl 6, wrap and turn.
  9. Knit 41, wrap and turn.
  10. Purl 12, wrap and turn.
  11. Knit 11, wrap and turn.
  12. Purl 10, wrap and turn.
  13. Knit 9, wrap and turn.
  14. Purl 8, wrap and turn.
  15. Knit 7, wrap and turn.
  16. Purl 6, wrap and turn.

Knit to marker, picking up wraps as they appear. Knit next round, picking up any remaining wraps.
Knit even for 0.5 inches.

Repeat these 4 series of bubbles one more time. Continue working pattern for desired length, but do not stop in the middle of a 4 bubble series. Doing so will make the sock bag in the direction of the extra bubbles. If you desire a longer sock, knit all 8 bubbles or work in stockinette to desired leg length.

Set up for Afterthought Heel:
Starting at marker, grab a spare double pointed needle and knit the next 32 stitches onto waste yarn. Slide stitches to end of needle and knit these 32 stitches again in your pattern yarn.

Knit even for 0.5 inches.
Knit Foot:
Repeat entire series of bubbles from leg pattern twice.
If you cannot repeat all 4 sets of bubbles twice, work pattern once, then work in stockinette until desired length. Stopping in the middle of the pattern will warp the fit of the sock.
Knit even until 1.5 inches shorter than desired length. Keep in mind that the heel will create another 1.5 inches of length when knit. Measure for the toe by lining up the waste yarn with ankle bone. David has a 12" foot. I knit a 9" long foot. I ended up working quite a few rows of plain stockinette. The stripes still had a curvy appearance toward the toe.
Shape Toe:
Round 1: *Knit 1, SSK, knit 26 (or until last 3 stitches on working side of Magic Loop), Knit 2 together, Knit 1. Repeat from *
Round 2: Knit even.
Work these two rounds until 8 stitches remain on each side of needle. Graft together.
Knit Afterthought Heel:
Carefully remove waste yarn from Heel Setup Round, placing resulting live stitches on needles. There will be 32 stitches on one side of your circular needle and 31 stitches on the other side. Pick up an additional stitch to make 32 stitches on each side of needle mark beginning of row. (64 stitches)
Round 1: **Knit 1, SSK, knit to last 3 stitches on same side of needle, Knit two together, Knit one**. Repeat between **. (4 stitches decreased.)
Round 2: Knit next round even.

Repeat these two rows until 12 stitches remain on each side of needle. Graft remaining live stitches shut.

Weave in ends. Steam block aggressively, avoiding ribbing.

Please contact me with any errors you see. I am always available for help/questions at: I've never written a pattern before, so please tell me if it's readable.

Friday, August 22, 2008

P is for Patriotic

I intended to make these socks for David, but they are just too small. They fit my big Fred Flintstone feet, but they'd never cover my husband's duck feet. If I had knit these wanting to keep them, I'd have made them either longer or shorter. This is David's favorite height.

The problem with afterthought heels is that I can't seem to accurately predict how long they are. The last afterthought heels I made ended up a full inch too long.

Besides, David isn't the only patriot here. My family is serving this country by living without Daddy. I sleep alone every night for my country. The kids will open their Christmas gifts over a webcam for their country.

I wouldn't do this for a country I didn't love.
I wouldn't do this for a man I didn't love.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Whenever I worry about my husband, I knit.

I made pirate mittens in Cindi's school colors. I've never seen anyone get so excited about such an ugly color combination.

Corrugated rib is awesome. I must find other uses for it.
I went to Joann's to get some stuffing for a project and they now sell bamboo fiberfill. I picked up a 12 ounce bag to give it a test drive. The texture feels a lot like a cotton boll right off the plant and it doesn't have much loft. I think it will work for stuffies that are decorative and won't spend much time being loved by active kids. It also seems easier to pack down and create very stiff pillows or doll limbs.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Linus Woobie

Bathroom lighting flatters neither face nor soul. Silk makes the pain go away.

This triangular scarf (mini shawl) is made of the most delicious silk ever. I used Tillie Thomas Pure and Simple Silk in Moroccan Blue. The sparkly stripes are Kid Silk Night. I hug this thing all day like a security blanket. I knit the whole thing driving back from Illinois. I could have finished it faster than I did, but I couldn't quit making out with the fabric as I knit.

The silk parts remind me of a blanket I had as a kid. It was fuzzy except for a satin binding and I loved it. I rubbed the satin between my fingers until I fell asleep.
The triagular shape makes this really comfortable to wear. The fullness gathers around the face and it's very snuggly.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Noro Sock Scarf

I indulged in one skein of Noro Sock at Wild Purls in Billings last month. It just didn't look like it would make good socks. The spin wasn't very tight. I decided that it would make a great scarf. It's just sideways fan and feather. I included fringe because I'm into it.

My only gripe is that I thought I was getting a pink and green skein, but there were a few knots in the skein that managed to cut out the very colors I wanted most, but I like the scarf anyway. The yarn was fun to use and I found myself knitting quickly to find out what would happen next.

Goblin Ganomy

I received two skeins of Manos is colorway 120 for my birthday and started knitting a few things that didn't turn out. I made a pair of lace up fingerless gloves from AlterKnits and decided that I needed a hat to go with it.
I made an Elizabeth Zimmerman Ganomy. It's a little trollish and the colors remind me of a goblin, but I live in the Frozen North, so I can live with a bit of ugly. The shape of this hat is genius for covering the ears and keeping the head warm. Genius. If you don't own Knitter's Almanac, you really should. It's so cheap and utterly useful.

I need to shop for some ribbons to lace up the gloves. I'm thinking of a deep yet dingy turquoise. I'll probably end up with some shade of baby poo since there aren't a lot of notions stores in town.

The drawer I have been filling with winter accessories is almost full. It's a nice feeling to have extra provisions waiting for the harsh season. It's like stocking the cellar with fruit preserves. There is a lot of joy in providing comfort before it's needed.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Change your hair, change your life

Is there anything that makes you feel more perky than a fresh haircut? It's like losing ten pounds and getting getting a colonic. (Okay, I've never tried that, but I bet you feel clean afterward.)
I'm afraid that choppy hairstyles are going to go out of fashion soon, so I'm going to ride that pony as long as I can.
Baby bangs are awesome! There is something about a Vickie Howell inspired haircut that makes a girl feel less 34-ish and more funky mom-ish.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Actually, it took 5 hours

I made a 3-hour sweater. Because a vintage 16 is much smaller than a modern 16, I had some fudging to do. Instead of worsted weight yarn, I used 400 yards of super bulky handspun I made last year. I knit all ribbing on US size 11 and the body on size 17. I really should have knit it a bit tighter to get some of that va-va-voom sweater-girl curviness. I still need to sew on a button, but I'm calling this done. 5 hours of knitting, sewing, and crocheting an edge ain't bad at all.

I like the sweater a lot. It's not that flattering on me, but it's a great midweight layer for hanging around the house on brisk days. Again, short sleeves keep my precious handknits out of cleaning solutions and spaghetti sauce.

My husband saw this sweater before he left the country. His response? "Wow, honey, you could work road construction and not wear a reflective orange vest."
It's funny how the simple things can make you miss someone so much. It breaks my heart to walk into the garage and see one set of golf clubs. I'm used to seeing our carts parked side by side--my pink bag and his black bag looking like the top of a wedding cake for a golf-themed wedding.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

David Left

I'm stronger than I thought I was.
Every bad thing that has ever happened to us has made us stronger and closer.
So will this.
Thanks to everyone who left kind comments.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My Raggedy Ann Socks

I started these Cascade Fixation socks back in June while touring Yellowstone. Then I got bored. I finished the pair in a hotel room at Ellswoth AFB, South Dakota. The high point of our time there was looking up George Washington's nose. I was bored enough to be happy to knit a second stockingette sock. Then I wove in ends for three projects in one sitting. Bored.

I've been dreading the day that David leaves for nine months. Time has slipped through my fingers so fast. It was three months away, then it was a month away. Now I can count the time in hours. He's really going for a whole year and nothing will stop it. Please let the next year fly by as quickly.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

O is for Orange

The scarf is a little bit of crocheted handspun for Isabel. She loves it.

I have been using a lot of orange lately. It's David's favorite color and I associate it with him now.

Who can resist a lily with freckles? They're adorable!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I'm back! I'm also tagged.

I had to run out of town for a bit. I'm back. I knit like a demon the whole time. (Assuming that demons knit a lot.) I have a lot of stuff blocking and awaiting photos.

I noticed that I was tagged twice while I was gone. Lynn and Indigo Blue both got me.

These are the rules which need to be passed on:

1). Link to the person who tagged you on your blog.
2).Post the rules of the tag on your blog.
3).Write 6 random things about yourself.
4).Tag 6 people at the end of the post.
5).Let each of the people know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6).Let tagger know that your tag entry has been posted.

I've decided to list 6 guilty pleasures...

1. The Twilight Series. I only bought them for my teenage stepdaughter so I could read them first!

2. Brain Age. Addictive. Fun. A constant reminder of how old and flabby my mind is. I fight my five year old for my turn with the DS.

3. How Clean is Your House? reruns on BBC America. Ew. I can't turn away, though.

4. Groping my husband in his tiny, squeaky childhood bed while his parents were downstairs. We're married, why should I feel so naughty?

5. I'm crazy about Jackalopes. I have a silver Jackalope necklace.
6. I look at tattoos on Flickr for hours at a time. They fascinate me.

I don't tag people because I'm a geek. Please, please tag yourself. Tell me if you do!