Sunday, September 28, 2008

S is for Super Bulky Spinning

I've been spinning yarn for a coat. I high school and college, I used to wear a vintage USSR Navy coat. I loved it. It was wool and tailored and had great buttons. I've wanted a knit pea coat to replace it for while, but I didn't see a pattern that really appealed to me. I love the stitch and the style of Teva Durham's jacket.

Spinning super bulky yarn isn't as easy as it looks. I have to spin slowly to avoid getting too much twist and I often need lap joins to repair super skinny spots.
I am impressed that the spinning went so well. I am getting perfect gauge so far. Usually I can't get gauge even with the recommended yarn.

I'm used to my personal style being sloppy and comfortable, but this stitch is really sophisticated. I hope the finished coat will give me a little more winter style than my current red puffer coat.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tofu Your Children Will Eat

I'm not kidding with this one. My kids love this pudding. My stepchildren had never even heard of tofu when we met and they brag about it to their friends. When we go to the grocery store, they beg me to buy tofu. People give me strange looks.

Chocolate Tofu Pudding/Pie Filling

1 package tofu (14 ounces), drained and patted dry

1 cup sweetener**

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend. Top with fresh fruit or spoon into prebaked pie crust.

**I used 1/2 cup Agave nectar and 1/2 cup superfine sugar. Use what you have and what you like. You could use Splenda, regular sugar, REAL maple syrup, whatever. Just keep adding a bit at a time until it tastes sweet enough for you.

Welcome, Whip Up Readers

Thanks for stopping by. If you'd like a Ravelry link to the pattern, here you go.
If you have any questions about any of my patterns, email me at:
alexcateye {at} msn {dot} com.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

R is for Roving

Roving is fun to dye. My first attempt (about a year ago) felted awfully. I barely got the pieces ripped apart enough to use for mitten thrums. Since then, I've gotten more confident and competent.

Maybe I'll spin it. Maybe I'll resurrect my Etsy shop. It's so fun.


Sometimes I hate the military.

I went to get my medicine this morning and the clinic was on lock down for an exercise. There are helicopters and machine guns everywhere. I can't have my medicine.

I can't go to the gym to work out my frustration.

I can't buy groceries like I need to.

This base is playing war. Now I get to play lonely wife.

I can't dispute my stepdaughter's medical bills because only a natural parent can talk to Tricare about claims. I am, however, responsible to pay that bill. I just can't see it. My husband needs to give me written permission to see the bill that I am required to pay--written permission from Korea.

I can't see my husband. I can't call him. I have nobody to lean on.

I sit and cry and listen to the helicopters.

And wait.

And wait.

Friday, September 19, 2008

February Lady Sweater

mirpink2, originally uploaded by pischilein.

The sweater was too big. I had the option of wearing it like the girl in this Mir Woolwash ad, or sending it to someone who will love it. It's on its merry way to a dear friend now. I forgot to take any pictures, but it's not mine, so I'll survive.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Does this make sense outside the military?

As part of my War and Piecework series, I am designing uniform patches. When I asked my husband what he'd like put on a badge, his first response was, "Shut up and color." I am really inspired to run with this. I'm depressed. I miss my husband. My feelings about the Air Force are really complicated right now.
More cool badge/patch links:
Stabbed great merit badges for stages of a woman's life
I'd Tell You, But a book with declassified US military badges

I'm hoping to elevate blurry, unblocked, wrinkled, poorly-lit needlework photos to an artform. The trend started here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Through Isabel's Eyes

I saw these glamorous ponies and immediately thought of my darling daughter. She has to wash all 15 of her ponies' hair when she has a bath. We go through a lot of shampoo. She's so freakin' cute!
The pony hairdos were photographed by Julian Wolkenstein. Apparently horses love grooming attention. Read more here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dye Tips and Tricks

*If you blow your nose after dyeing and the tissue turns blue, you didn't handle the powdered dye safely.

*If you leave a crockpot full of dye on the low setting overnight, you will wake to the aroma of hot, moist burning hair. It lasts and last. It will also turn your roving into slime--hot, smelly slime. Plus I'm pretty sure it's a fire hazard, so don't tell the Housing Office.
*When the color says "hot," as in "hot fushia," it means eye-searing, nosebleed-inducing, potentially visually poisonous. You can make wool look like acrylic if you try hard enough!
*A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will remove dye from cabinets, counters, sinks, and floors.

*Yellow dye makes your fingernails look diseased. Wear gloves.
*Acid dyes will not dye cotton, but they will stain it. Badly.
*Three days of dyeing probably gets enough chemicals in your household air to negate all of those organic vegetables.


The sweater I wore in the photo was felted this afternoon. Fortunately I have a kindergartener at home. I'm off to look for a separating zipper. Isabel has been jumping up and down that I knit her a tiny jacket. I hope it works.

I knit a February Lady Sweater. It's not great. It's too big and sloppy. I hope there's enough light to photograph it tomorrow. I wish there were a way to shrink something just a little bit. I'm not going to let anymore of my sweaters go downstairs again. It's too dangerous next to the laundry room.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Q is for...

...a quick project. I had some Knit Picks bulky weight alpaca from a while ago and decided to crochet a super warm scarf with it. I don't think I can stand alpaca on my neck, but I'll find someone who can.

My quirk is to take extra winter accessories to events here on base--ski trips, hayrides. I often go home empty handed and bare headed. I can't stand to see anyone be cold, hungry, or teased. I react. David and I went snowshoeing last year and I gave away as many handspun and handknit items as I could. I even got orders for more. Some of the kids who enlist are from the South and have no idea how to keep themselves warm. I feel so maternal around them. I can't help myself.