Wednesday, June 29, 2011

50% mittens: WIP

Just an update to my last WIP post:

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Entomology Mittens by Adrian Bizilia

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One mitten down, one to go. This one needs blocking, but I'm pretty happy with it. I adore the beetles. Since I've been plowing through these rather quickly, I think I can keep my gauge the same, but I guess I'll find out! I hope the second one turns out a similar size and shape...

Check out more WIPs at Tami's Ami's!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Notes from the Unphotogenic Kitchen: Hummus

We recently got a hand blender as a gift from my parents. This is especially exciting because it has a small food-processor attachment thing. The reason this is so exciting? I can make my own hummus* again! I used to make it quite frequently at home with my parents' ancient food processor, but lately we buy it from the store. Which is fine, but too salty and not as awesome.

I'm weird about condiments and sauces. Can't stand mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, vinegar, or even salad dressing. However, I use hummus as a condiment often: in addition to dipping things in it, I spread it on bread for sandwiches, and eat it with anything really.

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Lunch is never photogenic.

Ahem. Half-assed attempt at food styling. More delicious than it looks, I swear!

I almost never have tahini on hand when I want to make hummus, so I use sesame oil, and it is still delicious. It's probably not as creamy as it would be with tahini, though. I tend to like it a bit chunky, so I don't mind at all. I also love lemons, so I use a lot of lemon juice. I like how the fresh sourness cuts through the nutty oil. The recipe I use the most is below, but works equally well without the spiciness and is open to endless adaptations.

Please excuse the wacky wacky metric measurements - this is what it says on my teaspoon and tablespoon measures!

Spicy Hummus
(adapted from New Light Cooking)

1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed (540 mL)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
3 tbsp (45 ml) water (or more to achieve desired consistency)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp (15 ml) sesame oil or 2 tbsp (30 ml) tahini
1 1/2 tsp (7.5 ml) ground cumin
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cayenne pepper

Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Eat with anything! Enjoy.

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*I can never remember how to spell it the British way. Houmous? Hoummos? Hummous? Whatever. Also, I stubbornly continue to call it "pita" instead of "pitta." Transliterations are funny.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Zoom

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Dramatic skies over Edinburgh today. Everything turned steel-gray, and then the Red Arrows showed up.

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I was too busy watching to get many photos, but you get the idea!

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wedding Shawl search

I mentioned before that I'm more excited about knitting a shawl for my wedding than buying a dress. Is that weird? I am dreading dress shopping, but I'm quite looking forward to shopping for yarn and choosing a shawl pattern. I suppose shawl style / colour / pattern should depend on what the dress is, but that hasn't stopped me from queuing lots of options. Here are some of them!

I am drawn towards semi-circular shawls and rectangular stoles, it seems. One that caught my eye was the Vernal Equinox Shawl by Lankakomero. There are so many beautiful versions of this shawl on ravelry.

Vernal Equinox Shawl 13
Photo by Emmuska, used with permission.

Emmuska's Vernal Equinox Shawl, above, shows off the beautifully detailed lace. I like the colour she used, too.

Photo by Orbfa, used with permission.

Orbfa's version is also gorgeous. The colour gradient she got is incredible: this shawl started out white. She blogged about dyeing it here.

In terms of rectangular shawls, it seems I've queued several by Kieran Foley. First up: Sound of Waves.

Sound of Waves
Photo by Nicolor, used with permission.

Nicolor's Sound of Waves employs amazing colours that completely fit the personality of the shawl. I think I love smooth colour gradients!

Another Kieran Foley design on the list is High Seas. Hmm, sensing a theme.

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Photo by Watermel, used with permission.

It's fascinating how strategically placed holes in the fabric can create evocative patterns. Watermel's High Seas looks more like a tapestry than a shawl to me. Beautiful.

Although I don't really need an excuse, this does seem like the perfect opportunity to knit something ridiculously complicated and awesome. (Don't you dare suggest I knit myself a wedding dress.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

witty title

Thanks for all your lovely comments on my WIP Wednesday post! The mittens are continuing apace - I do love stranded colourwork - I've applied for some more jobs, and I'm feeling more cheerful about my prospects.

I'm on a bit of a ravelry fast at the moment, in an attempt to spend less time on the computer and more time doing real things (i.e. actually knitting instead of daydreaming about future projects...), but I'll be back on next week.

In the mean time, some flowers from the other week.

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Sometimes I miss the garden at my family's home, but luckily there are many beautiful places to wander through here.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Making progress

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The great thing about colourwork is being able to see progress with every row. Each row builds upon the previous, adding to a developing picture.

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Right now, I find this progress very rewarding. I know with certainty that each line of the chart brings me closer to finishing a pair of mittens. When I finish them, I will have a tangible product representative of my efforts. (And warm hands next winter).

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It's helpful to have a rewarding project on the go when other things seem like excercises in futility. I wish I could believe that each CV I distribute and each job application I submit brings me closer to getting a job, but I have yet to see the evidence. Haha. In the mean time, I have plenty of time to knit, I suppose.

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Entomology Mittens by Adrian Bizilia

Check out more WIPs at Tami's Amis.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

yarn dyeing addiction

I dyed more sock yarn the other day (75% wool, 25% nylon). This time, I didn't attempt to keep the colours separate or mix them evenly. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I like it!

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I used yellow, green, and blue - the other colours mostly ate the yellow, producing yellowy-greens. I used way too much green paste, and some bits ended up almost black, and small sections here and there stayed white.

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I haven't reskeined it yet, and I look forward to some pretty crazy pooling when I knit it up.

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I quite like the accidental approach to dyeing: pour some here, pour some there, spill some everywhere = awesome multi-coloured yarn!

So tell me. If this was for sale, would you buy it? Why or why not? ;)

Thursday, June 09, 2011

That's better.

When I last posted about my Twisted socks, I was on the point of frogging them due to pattern-reading failure.

I did, and the difference is pleasing, though not especially obvious in the photos.

Before: note the loosey-goosey slip stitches
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After:
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(I don't actually have a pink kitchen table.)
Hurray! Twisted slip stitch rib, as it was meant to be. See how much tighter and cleaner it looks? For once, I'm happy I frogged.

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The frogging adventure set me back quite a bit, but I'm catching up now. Yay for neon green socks!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

future

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It's hard to believe that in less than a year, I'll be getting married under these trees!

Don't worry, this isn't going to become a wedding blog, but I might babble about my wedding knitting when I get that figured out. I suspect the fact that I'm more excited about knitting a wedding shawl than finding a dress marks me as an obsessive knitter.