Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One more Briscoe Mitten Chart

I couldn't sleep last night, and I had an insomnia-induced revelation about my Briscoe mittens. Specifically, I realized that it was a bad idea to stack two stars on top of each other. Rather than do that, I should center one star in the middle of the mitten and put some other sort of design element above and below it. I hopped over the Latvian mitten chart site and found a nice, vaguely shamrock-y looking flower to borrow and tried my hand at a new chart. Here it is:

And here's the thumb:

That's it. I'm done. I bought some Louet Gems Fingering at Annie and Co. the other day, and I am casting on today or tomorrow. These are my NaKniMitMo (that's National Knit Mittens Month, to the unitiated) project, so they have to be done by Feb. 1st. Wish me luck!

ETA: You know what's sad? Since I posted this, I have tweaked and reposted the picture twice. Would that I were this conscientious about my dissertation!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Greetings from Sunny New York!

Actually, it's raining in New York. But greetings anyway. I'm not doing anything very cool and New York-like in New York, because I'm holed up trying to write a stupid chapter of my stupid dissertation. Also, the whole reason that I decided to come to New York to write this chapter is so that I'd have access to the New York Public Library, and it turns out to be temporarily closed due to a mysterious lead paint emergency. That's actually not true: the building is open. You just can't get to any books, apparently for lead-paint-related reasons. I can't say that makes any sense to me, but I personally don't want to be the cause of anyone getting lead poisoning, so I'm not going to complain.

So anyway, my big news is that I re-charted my Briscoe mittens in an attempt to make the Star of David look more like a Star of David. I broke some basic rules of stranded colorwork here: I've got some pretty big blocks of a single color, which is supposed to be a no-no. But I've gotten pretty good at the stranded thing, and I'm fairly confident that I can get away with it. Anyway, here's my new chart.

I'm almost done with my first pair. My next big project, I think, is going to be Autumn Rose. It's going to take a while for the yarn for that to arrive from KnitPicks, though, so in the meantime I think I'm going to try a pair of my new and improved Briscoe Mittens. I think I may do them as part of the NaKniMiMo (that's National Knit Mittens Month) Knit-Along, although I don't appear to really need a knit-along in order to knit mittens.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Ok, my first mitten is done. I'm not super happy with these, but I'm going to finish the second one, because my hands are cold and I need some mittens. Here are some photos:

And here's a close-up of my only marginally successful attempt to knit a stranded star of David:

I'm sort of tempted to try that again, this time with a higher-contrast color combination and some other modifications. I'll see how I feel about that after my second mitten is done.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Things I have now cooked

Ok, so I made the pizza. Look! Pizza!

It wasn't entirely successful. The crust is a little raw, and it didn't really rise very much. The dough wasn't really a success from the very beginning: the consistency was all wrong, and I had to add about a cup of flour more than the recipe called for. Even after that, my dough was still pretty gloppy. I might experiment with different crust recipes. But mostly the pizza is pretty good, and it really wasn't that difficult to make. I think I will pursue some further adventures in pizza-making, probably with different topping combinations. I'm thinking next time I might do my classic roasted root veggies with rosemary. It's usually a side dish, but I think it would work as a pizza topping. I'm also thinking about trying to recreate the delicious pear and pinenut pizza that they used to have at Pizza Capri.

I was going to complain about how my tiny kitchen was really not up to the pizza-making task, but then I saw this thingie about Mark Bittman's crappy kitchen. Now, from that photo, it appears that Mark Bittman's kitchen is not quite as crappy as mine. We have similar layouts, but his microwave is mounted on the wall, while mine rests on the counter, meaning that my only available counter space is the bit in front of the microwave. Also, he appears to have a dishwasher, and I doubt there is a wall right in back of him, exactly where the photo ends, the way there is in my kitchen. My kitchen is officially 5X17 feet, and that's before the appliances go in. I doubt that his kitchen is a grand total of five feet wide. But the fact remains that Mark Bittman is a nationally renowned food writer, unlike me, and his kitchen is almost as bad as mine. He has the same problem that I do with his stove being too small to allow him to use all four burners at the same time. So there will be no more excuses from me.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Things I Must Cook Immediately

I actually can't cook this immediately, because pizza dough needs to rise for a while, but I must make this pizza as soon as possible. I'm going to make the dough right now and then pop over to the produce store for the other ingredients.

In other news, I got cool new Ravelry-esque buttons for the bottom of my blog posts! Now you can tell me if you think I'm interesting, funny or boring. I tried to add a "self-indulgent" one, too, but there wasn't enough space.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Things I Have Learned from my Briscoe Mittens

So in this episode of "Emily blathers self-indulgently in her blog," we return to our regularly scheduled knitting program. Today I am busy lamenting the fact that I like about a zillion patterns in the new Twist Collective, which requires you to purchase each pattern separately, whereas I'm not crazy about anything in the forthcoming Interweave Knits, which only requires you to shell out once for the whole magazine full of patterns. I am really fond of Twist Collective's Postwar Mittens and Vivian Cardigan, but I'm not sure that I can justify spending $6-7 on a pattern at this stage of my life. I might throw caution to the wind and go ahead and buy the mitten pattern, even though I should be saving that money for things like rent.

It has come to my attention, by the way, that my mitten-knitting fixation is actually part of a larger mitten trend. I'm not sure how I became trendy without realizing it. I think that this is an extension of the sock knitting trend: people are getting a little bored of socks, and mittens are a similarly small project. Personally, I never really got into socks, and I vastly prefer knitting mittens. Mostly, I love stranded colorwork, and I'm not up to doing stranded socks. Stranded knitting has no give at all, so stranded socks would have to fit perfectly in order not to fall down or be too tight. I knit for fun, not to torture myself, so that's not going to happen.

So anyway, my Briscoe Mittens are progressing. Here's where they are right now.


Looking at those pretty, pretty Postwar mittens has reminded me why people generally knit things from actual commercial patterns, rather than making patterns up themselves. Let's just say that my improvised stranded pattern cannot hold a candle to such loveliness. However, knitting these mittens has been educational. Here are some things I've learned from my Briscoe Mittens.

1. If I'm going to knit two-color mittens, I should pick one dark color and one light one. I decided that I would do two contrasting, but equally dark colors, so I've got a medium green and a medium orange. This is driving me nuts. I don't feel like there's enough contrast, and I think the pattern gets lost. I can do monochromatic mittens, like these still-unfinished purple ones:

(Those were the first mittens I ever tried to knit, before I knew anything about mitten construction. I think they've been abandoned. Maybe I'll frog the yarn and knit a real pair of mittens.) Or I can do ones that have a bright or dark color and use white or cream for the contrast color. No more of this orange and green silliness. If I'm going to spend twenty hours producing a pretty pattern, I want people to be able to see it.

2. Stranded knitting is a lot more fun when you have a straight-forward repeating geometrical pattern. My mitten has two parts: a nice, geometrical palm and a fancy, evil Star of David on the back. The palm is really fun and easy: each row has a standard repeat. For instance, my next row will be knit three stitches orange, knit three stitches green, repeat all the way across the row. Easy! The Star of David motif isn't standardized or easy in any way. The only way to know what to do is to look at the chart for each stitch as you're knitting. This is getting really tiresome. In the future, I will not try to draw fancy yarn pictures with my stranded knitting and will instead stick with repeating and geometrical.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I apologize for this non-knitting post. I don't want to post this over on the Veterans' Day threads on Ravelry, because it would be drama-inducing. But I also want to say it somewhere.

Today is November 11, which is celebrated as Veteran's Day in the U.S. and as Remembrance Day in the countries of the British Commonwealth. It's a day that is set aside to remember those who served in the armed services, and in Commonwealth countries, it's a day to remember members of the military who died in wars. But it means something else to me.

Today is the 90th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. Three days after that document was signed, my grandmother turned nine years old. In the United States, Britain, and the Commonwealth countries, there was a hard and fast division between the front, where soldiers fought, suffered and died in appalling numbers, and the "home front," where civilians lived their lives more or less as normal. In Vienna, where my grandmother lived, that division did not exist. A central part of the Allied strategy was the "hunger blockade" which the Allies imposed on the civilian population of the Central Powers. The idea was to cut off food supplies to citizens of Germany and Austria, starving the countries' civilian populations and forcing their governments to surrender. This strategy was successful: it's one of the reasons that Germany and Austria lost the war. And it visited tremendous suffering on ordinary Austrian and German people. American visitors like Jane Addams and Mary Heaton Vorst talk about arriving in Vienna immediately after the armistice and encountering crowds of skeletal children, victims of the hunger blockade. My eight-year-old grandmother was one of those children. She never served in the military, but she suffered in the war nonetheless, and she lived with the results of childhood starvation for the rest of her life.

There are veterens in my family. There are people in my family who have served honorably in wars. My grandfather flew the extraordinarily dangerous supply route over "the Hump" during World War II. But mostly, my family has experienced war as civilians, and because until recently my relatives were Eastern and Central European Jews, that means that members of my family have suffered and died in wars as civilians. There are no days set aside to remember refugees and displaced people. There are no days set aside to honor the suffering of children who were victimized by hunger blockades. My great-great-grandmother was shot by the Nazis, so she gets remembered during Yom HaShoah, but there's no day to remember her children, who successfully fled the Nazis and made their way to Leningrad just in time to starve and freeze in the siege.

So on November 11, I remember everyone who has suffered and sacrificed and died in wars: soldiers and civilians alike. I honor their courage. I marvel at the ability of those who survived to create lives for themselves and their families, despite all they'd endured. And I hope we'll find a way someday to make all this suffering and sacrificing unnecessary.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Briscoe Mittens

After a brief, post-Firefly-swap, election-related knitting hiatus, I have something new on the needles. I've improvised a mitten pattern. (I'm not quite ready to call myself a designer, so I'm going to say "improvised," rather than "designed.") They're orange and green mittens with a Star of David motif, so I've named them Briscoe Mittens, after Robert Briscoe, an Irish Jew who fought in the Irish war of independence, served as a member of the Irish parliament for forty years, and was the first Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin. I realize this is a really obscure reference. In case you hadn't noticed, I'm a bit of a geek.

It turns out, upon googling, that Robert Briscoe's son, Ben Briscoe, is still very much around, and apparently he's got an email account. I have a fantasy that he's going to contact me and tell me that his father hated knitting and that I should name my mittens after someone else. In that case, I'll call them Leopold Bloom Mittens, but I like Briscoe Mittens better, just because I'll take an obscure reference over a mainstream one any day.

Anyway, it's too early for good pictures, but here's the back so far:

And here's the palm:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hey, Meira, this link is just for you!

I give you Young Adult Authors for Obama.

For some reason, I would have pegged Cecily von Ziegesar as a Republican.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Firefly Swap: Final Report, Part 1

The Firefly swap is over! This is very exciting, because it means that I can start blogging about my knitting again. Of course, I haven't actually started knitting anything since the end of the Firefly swap, so I have nothing to blog about. But as soon as I come up with something, I will post about it here.

But right now, it is time for the Firefly swap report. I've got two things to report on: what I gave and what I got. What I got is beyond amazing, but I think I'm going to save that for tomorrow, because I'm tired and slightly incoherent. So for now, I will just post a picture of my Blue Sun Mittens:

I basically borrowed the design for this from the Maude Mittens that I knit a few months back. I didn't get gauge with this yarn, though, so I adjusted the size a bit for my actual gauge. The Blue Sun logo bit is my own design, obviously, and I changed the palm motif a little bit, just because I felt like it.

Here's a closeup of the palm:

And here's a closeup of the back:

Real Firefly fanatics may recognize that the logo isn't exactly right. The real Blue Sun logo features a half-circle, not a full one. It looks like this:

The logo is a little too short and squat to fit well on a mitten, though, so I added a top to the globe in order to make it longer and more hand-shaped. If I made a pair for myself, with my exceptionally short, squat hands, I'd take off the top and use the original logo.

I've got the chart on an Excel file, by the way, if anyone would like to use it. Just leave me a comment and I'll email it to you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The mysterious Firefly swap project is officially done. I've woven in all the ends and blocked it, and it's now sitting in front of the fan drying so I can send it out tomorrow. I'll post pictures in a couple of days, after I can be sure that the recipient has received it. I can't decide if I'm happy with it or not. It was a ton of fun to knit, but I have a nagging fear that it's not good enough to give to someone. I think I may be too neurotic to be a very good swapper.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Brief Adorable Interlude

I had some yarn left over in colors that I would never in a million years wear, so I made a baby hat:

Tomorrow I'm sending it off to Hats for Alex. Baby hats are fun to knit. I might do another one to get rid of some orange acrylic leftovers.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Someone talk me out of this!

Ok, so the chapter is pretty much done, and therefore I'm back. I'm still working on my secret Firefly swap project, so there's still nothing knitting-related to post. I'm doing a quick little baby hat for Hats for Alex today, just for fun, so I'll post a picture of that when it's done.

So I'm planning to put in a little KnitPicks order to reward myself for finishing the chapter. They're having a sale on books, so I think I'm going to get Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition, which I've been eyeing for some time. I like to knit mittens, so that seems like a safe bet. I was going to also get the warm Palette sampler so I could maybe fool around with designing some stranded mittens of my own.

But I'm seriously, seriously tempted by the Autumn Rose pullover:

The book is on sale, and although it's more than I would usually pay for a pattern, it's not completely out of the realm of possibility. And the yarn is super cheap: it's less than $25 worth of Palette. It would be my first Fair Isle and only my second real sweater (third if you count the vest). It would also be my first try at steeks. But I know I like stranded knitting, and it's so pretty. It looks like so much fun to knit.

Am I insane for even thinking about it?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Radio Silence

Hi, readers. I'm probably going to be missing in action for the next week or so, because I'm trying desperately to finish a stupid chapter of my stupid dissertation. Also, I'm working on my Firefly swap project in earnest now, and I can't blog about that. Sorry. I will try to have witty or erudite knit-blogging as soon as the chapter is completed.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Stitch Marker Madness

Sadly, all of my current knitting is secret and can't be blogged about, lest the recipients find my blog and the secrets be spoiled. Sorry. I'll blog it all later. In the meantime, I have been making women's suffrage stitch markers.

"Um, what?," you say.

Women's suffrage stitch markers! When I am not blogging, knitting, or fooling around on Ravelry, I am writing a dissertation on early 20th century history. And it has occurred to me, while writing a dissertation on early 20th century history, that the women's suffrage movement produced quite a lot of awesome posters and postcards. I've been meaning to make Shrinky Dink Stitch Markers, and it occurred to me that I could use the same method to stitch marker charms with women's suffrage posters on them. Here are some of the results:


I also made some Obama stitch markers, seen here mixed in with some women's suffrage ones:

The technique here is exactly the same as for the photo stitch markers in the link above, but I thought I'd walk people through the process of finding the images, in case you want to make your own political poster stitch markers. It's worth noting that I don't own any of these images and don't know who does, so these are for personal use only.

Step 1: Find Images.

I did a google image search on phrases that I thought would be likely to yield women's suffrage posters. My first search was on the phrase "women's suffrage poster." Then I tried "votes for women."

Once you have found a good image through your google image search, click on it. This will take you to a page that has a google frame and then shows you the image in context. Here's a screen shot of an example:

Don't pay any attention to the image in context. Instead, look at the frame. You want to click on the link that says "See full-size image":

Once you click on that link, it will take you to a copy of the image, set against a plain white background:

Step 2: Grab Image

Ok, what you want to do now is take a screen shot, not of the whole screen, but just of your image. I don't know how to do that on a P.C., but here is how you do it on a Mac. First, you press , shift and 4, all at the same time. (If your keyboard doesn't have an  key, try pushing alt, shift and 4, all at the same time.)

Once you have done that, your cursor should change from an arrow into a target sign. Position the target sign at the top left corner of the image you want to grab and hold down the mouse button. Continue to hold it down while you drag the target to the bottom left corner of the image. The entire image should be covered by a transparent gray box. When you have covered the image, release the button. If your volume is turned up, you should hear a sound like the sound of a camera taking a picture.

You've now saved your image. On my computer, it's saved on the desktop as Picture *, where * is a number. My last screen shot is saved as "users/myname/desktop/picture 61". Your first screenshot will presumably be saved as "users/yourname/desktop/picture 1".

Step 3: Import the Photo into your photo editing software

For my first bunch of shrinky dinks, I imported the images into iPhoto, lightened them there, and then opened them in Powerpoint, where I arranged them on a sheet in order to print them on my shrinky dink paper. This worked fine. Just go to "file" and click on "add to library". From there, select the file name of your image, and it will import it right into iPhoto. Then you can click on the "adjust" icon and adjust the brightness. You want to make your image less bright, because the colors intensify a lot in the shrinking process.

However, I realized that you can also edit your photos directly in Powerpoint. To do that, go to "insert/ picture/ from file." Click on the file name. It will insert the photo onto your powerpoint slide. Drag and click a corner to shrink it down to the size you want, and then use the formating pallate to adjust the brightness. It's somewhat counterintuitive: you have to increase the brightness number to get it to be less bright. I found that somewhere between 70 and 75% was perfect. If you can't find the formatting palatte, go to "format", click on "picture," and then click on the "picture" tab.

Here's a picture of what my Powerpoint shrinky dink slide looked:

Notice that the colors look washed out: that's what you want.

And that's it. Other than that, you just follow the instructions in the Knit Powers to Peace tutorial I linked to above. You can use this to make stitch markers out of any image that you grab from the internet. I'm kicking around doing some other early-Twentieth-Century political posters. I will post them if I get around to making them.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Maybe we need a No Presidential Candidate Left Behind program!

Someone on Ravelry found this awesomeness from John McCain's official store. I have taken a screen shot to preserve it for posterity!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Pride of the South Side

I didn't notice this until a month after they were released, but Lorna's Laces has two new colorways called Woodlawn and South Shore. Here is Woodlawn:

and here is South Shore:

Lorna's Laces is a Chicago-based company, and they have a number of colorways named after Chicago neighborhoods and streets. Until now, they've mostly been North Side streets and neighborhoods, with the exception of the colorway called "Pilsen." They've got Devon, Lakeview, Irving Park and Ravenswood, for instance, but nothing named after neighborhoods in my neck of the woods. And I feel inordinately pleased that this has changed now, even if I don't live in either South Shore or Woodlawn. I live near to South Shore and Woodlawn! Lorna's Laces appreciates neighborhoods near where I live! I am in favor of knitterly recognition of the awesomeness of the South Side.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympic Victory!

No, I'm not talking about Michael Phelps, although there will be swimming in this post. Well, actually there will be talk about my boobs, as per usual, but it will be swimming-related. But first I must show off my Olympic vest, which was completed just in time for the closing ceremonies of the real Olympics.

Cute, no? I have not yet been able to get a decent picture of me in it, but I will try to post one tomorrow.

Today's excitement, aside from it being my birthday, which is really more distressing than exciting at this point in my life, is that I am trying to find a swimsuit so that I can rejoin the master's swim team and become a bit less of a couch potato. This is proving to be a challenge. Last time I bought a swim suit, I went to the very fancy running/ swimming store, where a nice lady helped me pick out a swimsuit that would be appropriate for my rather ample boobage. It was, I seem to recall, a size or two smaller than what would normally be recommended, so that the tight swimsuit would hold my boobs in place. Sadly, I have since misplaced that swimsuit, and the running/ swimming store has apparently gone out of business. At any rate, I would prefer to buy a cheap swimsuit online rather than spend a veritable fortune at the fancy running store. The thing is, I can't remember which size swimsuit to buy. So being a complete fucking moron, I thought I could just google "lap," "swimming" and "big breasts," and I would get some nice tips about how to choose a fitness swimsuit for the top-heavy members of the swimming community.

Now, I have nothing against porn. Truly: I think porn is just great. But it is very annoying when you're looking for perfectly mundane, non-porny advice about fitness apparel and all you can find is links to pictures of hott sexxxy girlz with giant breasts. My giant breasts are neither hot nor sexxy, and I am not interested in giving you a lap dance at this particular moment. I just want swimsuit fitting advice. Google needs a way to filter the porn, for the benefit of those of us with non-porn boob-related questions.

I think I want something along the lines of this utterly boring Speedo, but I can't for the life of me figure out whether I want it in a 6 or an 8.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

While I'm frantically trying to finish my RavOlympics project, you all should enjoy this gallery of Google's awesome holiday logos.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Knitting Pictures

I've got pictures of the things I knit while I was away.

First, we have the Mother's Day Socks, which turned out to be more than a month late for Mother's Day. These were not successful knitting. Mostly, I'm really glad to be done with them. I messed up the stitch pattern: I knit the stitch below through the front, not through the back loop. I think they would have looked awesome if I'd got the pattern right. I might experiment a bit with the leftovers. Anyway, here's a picture:

And here are my finished Maude Mittens. I'm pretty happy with these.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm Back!

The good news is that I'm back, and that is very good news indeed. I had a nice trip to see my family: my nephews are both suitably adorable, and we all got through the extended stay without anyone over the age of two having a major meltdown. But I am very, very, very glad to be home. I like home, and although my parents are pretty nifty as parents go, eleven days is probably too long to spend at their house. So anyway, I'm home, and I'm pretty darn happy about that.

The bad news is that I'm tired, my internet connection is wonky, and I desperately need to go to the grocery store, so the extended blog post will have to wait. Tomorrow, I will have mitten pictures and sock pictures and vest pictures (or at least vest swatch pictures) and news about my brush with internet geekcraft celebrity. I'm sure you all can hardly stand the anticipation.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Geekcraft Explosion!

I suspect this will be the last time that Entertainment Weekly blog will scoop me on a Joss-Whedon-related crafting story. Here is a story about CrochetMe's attempt to get an interview with Joss Whedon. I think I might actually be indirectly responsible for this very cool campaign, because I posted on Ravelry about the "Crocheting Monthly" reference in the interview Joss did with Wired. For all I know, though, people had been talking about it on Craftster for days before I noticed it. But I like to think it was all me. Anyway, if anyone reading this has done Whedon-related projects, get thee over to CrochetMe and post a picture. They're hoping that Joss will be so overwhelmed by all the examples of Whedony crafting that he will feel obligated to give an interview.

Can I just say that it's a little odd that the mainstream media has apparently picked up my totally geeky sci-fi crafting obsession?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Brief update

Hello! Greetings from New York, where I am currently going through a stack of xeroxed historical newspapers, instead of doing cool, New Yorky things. Perhaps this evening I will take a break from manic chapter-writing and attempt to take advantage of the lovely city in which I find myself.

In knitting news, I just finished my second Maude mitten. I'm very impressed with myself for avoiding second mitten syndrome. There won't be any pictures until I get back to Chicago, block this sucker, and reunite it with its mate, but it is done.

While I was in Boston, I went to an LYS and picked up the yarn for my Firefly-swap project. It is going to be really tough not to blog about that one, because I have my fingers crossed that it will be awesome. It could also be a total disaster, but I am hoping for awesome.

And finally, we get to the picture portion of our update. Yesterday, I went to Salem, MA with my friends Lisa, Tracy, and Tracy's sister Julie. We saw a big, fake old boat:

and the custom house where Nathanial Hawthorne worked:
and the original House of the Seven Gables:
and the lovely modern garden attached to it:
We also saw lots of witch-related stuff:

That last picture of was the Salem Witch Museum, which might have been designed with the express intention of pissing off American historians, of which three of the four of us are. It's a mess, but it's an entertaining mess with giant puppets acting out key scenes from the witch trials, and it's hard to argue with that.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Geekcraft of a different color

Gryffindor Bag, final
Originally uploaded by Quietish
I'm not really a Harry Potter fan girl. I liked the books a lot, but not in the way that makes one want to knit things on the theme. But I'm sort of tempted by this pattern for Harry Potter house themed stranded bags from Quietish, just because they're so very pretty.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Better Mitten Pictures

Here are some post-blocking mitten pictures:

My camera is kind of shot. I think I'm going to ask for a new one for my birthday.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Low-rent mitten blocker

I finished my mitten. I will try to take pretty pictures tomorrow, with natural light and all that, but in the meantime, here's a picture of it mid-blocking. I wrapped a tube of chapstick in plastic wrap for the thumb, and I stretched out a wire hanger for the hand. I think this is going to be my mitten-blocking method from here on out. Actually, I'll probably use a wire hanger for socks, too. I just can't see spending $30 on sock blockers when a free hanger works just fine.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

What I've Been Up To

What I haven't been up to much is leaving the house, thanks to a visit from the Vertigo Fairy. Here is what I've been doing during my (hopefully soon-to-be-over) period as a shut-in.

First of all, I've been working on my stranded mittens. They're called Maude mittens, and I'm testknitting them for a Raveller named Sophia. I think I'm about a third of the way through the first one. Here is a picture of the front:

And here's the back:

Aren't they pretty? I'm not crazy about the color, which I selected entirely because I had it on hand and therefore could knit it for free. (It's Knitpicks Palette, which is quickly becoming my go-to yarn. It's cheap as can be, and they've recently added all sorts of pretty colors.) But I really like the pattern, and I'm having a blast knitting these mittens. I think that my recent knitting slump can be attributed to the fact that I haven't actually been knitting things that I enjoy knitting. But this is different, because I could do stranded colorwork all day long. In fact, I kind of have been doing stranded colorwork all day long. I may knit nothing but stranded hats and mittens for the rest of my life.

When I haven't been doing stranded colorwork, I have occasionally been eating. This is a bit of a sore spot, because the Vertigo Fairy is making the eating situation difficult. Actually, eating isn't the problem. Actually keeping what I eat down for long enough to digest it has become somewhat difficult. Despite these issues, which I realize are well over the border into TMI-land, yesterday I made popovers, using this recipe that I found at Not Martha. I don't have an upright blender, so I used the immersion blender and the little beaker that comes with the immersion blender. (A whisk would work fine, though.) I also don't have a popover pan, so I used a muffin tin. They came out great. Here's a picture of the batch:

And here's an individual popover:

Considering that I have a fairly crappy oven that doesn't bake very evenly, I think that's pretty impressive! I'm switching to this popover recipe permanently.