Thursday, October 30, 2008

V is for Vegetarian

I never have liked eating meat. Meat was the subject of many fights with my parents. I spent many nights crying over plates of leathery liver or bloody elk steak, knowing I would be served the leftovers for breakfast. Now I'm a grown up and I can eat whatever I want.

The rest of my family likey the meaty. I have learned to cook things that appeal to my everyone. Here is my bestest ever veg recipe. If you don't tell anyone it's tofu, they might not know.

Tofu Alfredo Sauce

1 (12.3 oz) package firm silken tofu (The slimy kind the the aseptic package works great.)
1/2 to 1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp marjoram or oregano
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp liquid smoke seasoning
1/4 to 1/2 cup of unsweetened soymilk or regular milk

Throw everything in the blender and mix until smooth. Pour over hot pasta and stir to coat. You could also heat the sauce in the microwave for a minute or two.

You can easily make this vegan, just substitute another 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast for the Parmesan. I don't recommend raw garlic because the sauce doesn't get cooked, but if you like the taste of raw garlic, go ahead.

My kooky kids have asked for a Tofurkey for Thanksgiving. It brings a little tear to my eye.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Super Socks are done.

I finished David's socks. They won't be there in time for Halloween. It will have to be pretty cold in the barracks for him to wear such loud socks.
I decided to do a different motif on each sock because I hate matchy-matchy stuff.

Monday, October 27, 2008

This is my gun...

Have you ever read Written on the Body, by Jeanette Winterson? The first line of the novel is, "Why is the measure of love loss?"

Would I have known how much I love my husband if he hadn't been taken away from me? Would I long to know every aspect of him? Would I take him for granted? Would I push away his hands rather than lie awake at night thinking of the strength and warmth in them?

Here is the M9. He wears it strapped to his thigh. Power and awe. Love and longing.

I am terrified of guns, spiders, snakes--anything too dangerous. David handles things that terrify me. He isn't afraid of anything.
He is confident that our love will survive.

I'm not sure if this is blackwork or redwork. Maybe it's both.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

There is a reason my patterns are free...

I am so sorry to anyone who has been struggling with my Lizard Ridge Socks (Ravelry link). I rewrote a lot of the pattern last night. I was trying to say repeat between** and other nonsense and it just wasn't working.

I cast on a Lady Lizard last night, working directly from the printout, rewording and clarifying as I knit. It should be more understandable now.

I am using some Noro Kureyon Sock (Ravelry link), a gift from the lovely and amazing Melissa. I would have to drive four hours to buy this yarn, so it's a treat. I am loving the results.

A lot of people on Ravelry have complained about the inconsistencies in the yarn, but I enjoy the spontaneity. It's like knitting with my handspun--the next stitch is always a surprise. The fabric is yummy and alive. The difference between this yarn and ordinary sock yarn is like the difference between a loaf of fresh, crusty bread from an artisan baker and a loaf of sliced bread from the grocery store.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This is my rifle...

My husband is always on my mind. I want to understand him. I want to know every aspect of him. I think of him at work in Korea--the David I don't know. He's tough and cocky. He wears camouflage and sunglasses. He rocks a beret. He is handsome and dangerous. He smells like gun oil, wool, and sweat.

He uses two types of gun on patrol: the M9 and the M4.

The machine gun is slung casually across his chest like a guitar. He rarely pays much attention to it. I want to know every curve of the metal. I imagine his strong, masculine hand resting on the stock as he checks identification.

His jaw is set differently when he is working. He's quiet and fierce. He can chew gum like it's a weapon.

I love my David. He's the first cop I ever saw as a person rather than an annoyance. The things he does are beautiful because they are a part of him, even if I don't fully understand.

M4 Rifle: wool, cotton, silk, mohair, metallic fiber on canvas
measures 8 by 12 inches before finishing

Look for the M9, coming soon.

Friday, October 17, 2008

U is for...

...underwear. Yup, I knit some underdrawers.

It started as a joke. David and I were in the middle of a three state camping trip and I managed to pack only one bra. David suggested that I knit myself all new underwear. So I started working on this thong.

I finally sewed the waistband to the thong today and thought about what a good time my husband and I had laughing at the thought of handknit skivvies.

One ball of Cascade Fixation can cause a lot of damage.

I seriously doubt that I will ever wear them. I don't even have the desire to try them on. Just in case, I knit them a bit more modestly to cover my C-section scar.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

T is for...Tip Down Mittens (with Gusset)

Tip Down Mittens (with Gusset)

Written for Magic Loop
Today is the first day of snow for us in Central Montana. We've had a few flurries, but the snow is sticking and my kids are in the back yard screaming and throwing snow at each other. To celebrate, I knit a pair of mittens.

The best way to explain this process is that it is similar to knitting a bottom up raglan sweater. The thumb and body are knit separately, then joined at the widest part of the hand and decreased toward the wrist.
These mittens are loose fitting on average women’s hands. They can be layered over thinner mittens or fingerless mitts on cold days. The gauge is tight for the yarn weight to help trap warm air around the hands.

Use your favorite method to M1 (make one.) I placed a backward loop on the right needle for all of my increases.
If you've never done the famous Judy Becker Magic Cast On, Cat Bordhi has an interesting video here.
Yarn: my handspun, 3-ply bulky weight, 200 yards. The finished yarn averaged 6 wraps per inch. Good substitutes would be Noro Iro, Nashua Wooly Stripes, or SWS. I recommend that you browse for something rustic and sassy on
Needles: 32 inch or larger size 9 US circular needle, or as needed to obtain gauge.
Gauge: 16 stitches and 21 rows equal 4 inches.
Also helpful: 3 stitch markers, waste yarn or stitch holder.

Thumb, complete first
Cast On: Using Judy Becker’s Magic Cast On, wrap 6 stitches onto your needles. (Three on each needle tip.)
Round 1: Knit around.
Increase round: *M1, knit 1.* Repeat between * to end. (12 stitches)
Continue knitting even until thumb measures 2 ½ inches. Break yarn leaving a 12 inch tail. Place all stitches on waste yarn or spare needles. (I used spare dpns.)
Cast On: Using Judy Becker’s Cast On, wrap 10 stitches onto your needles. (Five stitches on each needle tip.) Mark beginning of round.
Round 1: Knit around.
Round 2: *Knit one, M1, Knit across to last stitch before loop, M1, Knit one.* Repeat between *.
Repeat these two rounds until you have 34 stitches.
Knit even until body measures 6 inches.
Attach thumb to body

Knit 17, place marker, Knit 6 thumb stitches, slide over onto circular needle, K 6 thumb stitches , place marker, Knit to end. (46 stitches)
Knit one round even.
Decrease Round 1: Knit to marker, SSK, knit to last two stitches before next marker, K2tog, knit to end.
Decrease Round 2: Knit around.
Repeat these two rounds until two stitches remain between markers.
Knit next round as follows: Knit to stitch before marker, remove marker, SSK, slip next stitch to right hand needle, remover marker, place slipped stitch back to left hand needle and K2tog. (34 stitches)
Knit next round even.
Work K1P1 ribbing for 2 inches. Bind off. Make second mitten the same way. Weave in ends.

Use yarn tail from thumb to sew the gap closed. Block as desired.
Note to spinners: This yarn was spun woolen with hand-carded rolags. I allowed the neps to stay where they landed in the single. When I chain plied the single to get a bulky weight yarn, neps were locked in place and added little pops of color throughout the finished mittens.
I chose to knit this project without setting the twist first. I knit it at a very tight gauge for the grist of the yarn and soaked the finished mittens in hot water and wool wash. This allowed the yarn to bloom and make a dense, wind-proof mitten. I recommend it highly to anyone spinning yarn for this project.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Failure to Communicate

After two months of spotty communication, my husband bought a new computer and we are actually able to keep in touch. I get a webcam conference a few times a week now. I feel like I'm in an actual relationship again.
My car kept dying in intersections at random. The problem was that the computer couldn't communicate with the engine. It was expensive, but they're talking now.

I had been waiting two weeks for the 20 yards of Swish from Knit Picks that I needed to finish a project. It arrived and now David's Urban Necessity Gloves are done!

My role as a stepmother has gone from discreet conversations about tampons and boys to being in charge of everything, including discipline. Ever tried to talk to a 15 year old girl? Not easy. Communication seems to the the cause of and solution to every problem these days.

There are times when I feel alone on this planet, but life is getting better.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Autumn is here. I noticed today that the light has shifted from bright to flat. The air has a chill. The leaves are finally changing. Walking to meet my daughter at the bus stop reminded me of the beginning of Something Wicked This Way Comes.

This time of year makes me want to can peaches and chop firewood for the big storms ahead. I don't do anything that labor intensive, so I decided to wind all the skeins I need in the next few months into balls.
I had to put on a sweater to finish my salad because I got cold. I'll be baking bread and wearing wool socks soon. Maybe I'll cook a bubbling pot of something besides wool and dye.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I'm Knitting a Halloween Costume, Sorta

It's Socktoberfest! I came up with a perfect sock for my husband. What else can you knit for your hero but cartoon colored hosiery?

The socks are so big. Why do men have such huge, wide feet? I used some self-striping Regia with yellow contrast. I'm embroidering the crest on with duplicate stitch. I found the chart on Ravelry, but I'm too lazy and tired to look it up now. Search for "Superman Knit Chart," and you'll find it right away.

Duplicate stitch is fun.

  • David is my hero. Even before he was in the military, he was a firefighter and an EMT. He has a strong need to serve the community and do what is right, good, and helpful.
  • David has patient sea blue green eyes that don't judge. He listens. He tilts his head in this affectionate way when he watches me knit and tells me how happy he is to see me counting stitches on the sofa.
  • David was in the basement when I got the phone call that my brother had died. He was upstairs holding me before I even understood what happened. He held me for 8 solid hours that day, then for the next week after that.
  • David picks me up when I feel like the worst mother on the planet. He believes in my parenting skills more than I do.
  • David would eat anything I cooked, no matter how terrible. Even if I burn dinner. Even if I add a toxic amount of salt to the vegetables. He will eat anything I make him with a smile. (Gotta love a career military man.)
  • David loves me and I am a hot mess.

Happy Socktoberfest! My hero needs a second sock! I only have a few days to finish these to make sure he has a bit of Halloween. It won't be the same sugar-induced coma without him.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Card Trick

I have been packaging up my roving for the shop. I like to pick over each piece to pull off imperfect bits and ugly parts. Then I throw the scraps in a box and card all the colors together at random. I grab the batts at random and start spinning.

Spinning batts is very different from spinning combed top. The fibers feel lively and springy with chunks of contrasting textures. I am so in love with this process and the resulting yarn. Every inch of spinning is a surprise. I chain plyed the single to keep the colors somewhat grouped together. I can't wait to make some ragamuffin mittens with this.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Not Quite What I Wanted

This sweater didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. I thought it would be a supercute little baby ringer tee. Um, not so much...

The mohair didn't do what I thought it would.

I knit a halter top underneath to give myself a bit of modesty. However, it's so freakin' itchy that I can't wear it without a tee shirt anyway. I have reworked this dang thing three times. I'm going to get rid of the ringer detail or lower the neckline and shorten the sleeves, then I'll give up. I'll felt it and make it into a tacky purse.

Friday, October 3, 2008

For my husband...

did another badge. I won't explain it other than to say that my husband and I often miss each other in different ways. There is a good reason for so many hookers in Korea.

I miss my husband to the point that I can't even cry. I have to cheer up and distract myself with knitting or sewing to have the energy to shed tears. I miss him all day long, then I miss him painfully all night.
There are times when I'll be doing something routine, not thinking of much, and the thought of not being with David will kick me in the guts. It's like when I remember my neice, who died at 10 months old. The grief knocks the wind out of me.
Antidepressants can't touch this pain. I go to the gym every day and exhaust myself to escape. (I am a fat girl, the gym is the last place I thought I'd go to grieve.)
Sorry to be Debbie Downer, but I'm tired of pretending everything is great. I believe military spouses should be free to voice these feelings. I am a patriot. I love my country. I am serving my country with the burden of this grief. These are my battle wounds.

Radical Fun (Be prepared to choke back vomit)

Okay, I'll put up a real post soon. You need to try this, it's too fun. David and I would have been such a cool couple in 1962.
This one looks freakishly similar to my 4th grade school picture.