Kirsti Knits

Time - such a precious Gift is it; To work, to read, and Yes, to knit. - Minnie Gertz

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Brief Christmas review

No pics, as I've not had time to upload any yet. Christmas was generally good - and Terry and my own "Boxing Day" Christmas was as perfect as anything could be. My knitted gifts were generally well received - I'd packaged them up with a little card giving the yarn, pattern and care instructions. Again, pictures will be posted. According to Terry, I did such a good job on making that look professional that most recipients ripped it off right with the wrapping paper, and had to be told to look at it, and that no, this was handmade for them!

Best gifts received ... a ball winder and swift from Terry. My sister, in an amazing display of psychic powers, got me "handmade by Kirsti" labels to sew into my knitting - the very design that I'd almost been tempted to order for myself. So yay Sal! And my mother got me a "frame knitting" kit, which has 4 different means for knitting using 5 sticks, a "French knitting" spool, a lucet for braid making, and a 10 peg frame for knitting tubes/socks, along with a really nice booklet explaining the history of knitting, mechanical knitting and frame knitting along with reproduction illustrations etc. Should be very fun to play with.

We've got friends visiting and are off to Ann Arbor as soon as I get showered and moving. It's wonderful wonderful to see Andy and Cat again - it's been much too long. And I'm not just saying that coz I know Andy reads this blog. (Hi Andy!) He also managed to find a great book of modern poetic retelling of the story of Inanna - one of the nicks I use a lot online, which I'm looking forward to delving into. Plus we've been eating lots of chocolate which is always good. Oh, and I knit 2 more pairs of fuzzy feet for gifts for them... *sigh*. I think I'm just addicted. Though I'm more than ready to get back to socks right now.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

I think I might be done!

Or very very nearly done at least. Amby came round this afternoon for a last minute knitting frenzy, and here are the results:

Four pairs of fuzzy feet. I tried two different ways to use up the leftover yarn - stripes, or a two-tone effect. I can't quite decide which I like best. High contrast stripes are fun, but the colour shading of the two tone pair is also pretty neat.
Here's the "head and feet" collection: 10 fair isle hats and 5 pairs of fuzzy feet. Not pictured are the gifts that have already been sent out: scarves to Vic and Reba, and my mother's present. All in all, it probably represents about 60 hours of knitting time (and maybe 90+ if you count the already-sent items)... I'd got it down to 2 hours per hat, and 3 per fuzzy foot, plus felting time. It's going to be harder than I thought to give these away!
And here's the complete Christmas knitted gift pile. From the bottom left, working clockwise: black and white booga bag; the camel scarf for Terry's dad which blends in to the sofa; a ruffled scarf with Trendsetter Dune; lots of fuzzy feet with another ruffle scarf lying over them; yet another ruffled scarf; the second booga; and lots and lots of hats. Tomorrow we get the fun job of deciding who gets which colour scheme, and figuring a way to gift wrap them all.

Oh, and bake more chocolate cookies to give as gifts. And it's already 1:30 on Christmas Eve Morning, and Terry's actually in bed before me for once.

So Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night. May your knitting be done, your yarn stay untangled, and may 2006 bring you only good things.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Should I be worried...

... that I can now knit this without the pattern? 12 down, 2 to go. Then 2 pairs of fuzzy feet. See you the other side of Christmas - typing takes too much knitting time!

Monday, December 19, 2005

General ramblings

Well, Christmas fast approaches, and I'm still frantically knitting. 4 pairs of fuzzy feet knitted, though the final 2 still need felting. 8 fair isle hats finished, 2 more done but needing the ends woven in, and one just on the needles as of 11pm.

I was once again the sole Stitch'n'Bitcher tonight at Sweetwaters ... but I did get a lot done - 2 1/2 hours on ..yep.. a hat. They're taking me about 3 hours to do, so I should be able to get 2 more finished before Christmas. And I think that'll be sufficient. (I really really hope so!)

Knitting the same pattern over and over has got me thinking about how I know I'm progressing as a knitter. A couple of things sprung to mind .. .speed being the obvious one. Since learning this two handed fair isle technique, I've been doing most of my knitting continental style (with the yarn in the left hand) which is definitely quicker, and less movement for my hands. The other is .. well, I'm not sure how to define it. But it's about being able to come up with creative solutions to knitting problems. The specific example is this: getting back to the fair isle hat knitting last week, I couldn't find my size 9 double pointed needles anywhere. And the pattern needs them as you decrease for the top of the hat - it gets too small to fit on the 16" circular needle. I didn't want to go out and buy another set (though I may end up doing that eventually) ... and rummaging through my shoebox of Addis, I found a 32" circular needle in the correct size.

So using what I'd learned doing the two socks on two circulars, I simply knitted half of the hat stitches onto the longer circular, and managed to knit the remaining half with the original 16". Then I simply kept knitting from one end of each circular to the other ... and managed to decrease the hat with no problems. And possibly slightly faster than if I were switching double points all the time.

I felt fairly proud of myself for figuring that out - applying a technique, problem solving, and getting the darn hat finished! And now I've boasted, it's back to hat number 13...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Whole Lotta Felting Going On

Well, here's what I did this evening. The colours aren't quite right, but I don't have time to fuss with them before heading off to Stitch'n'Bitch tonight at the Caribou in Troy. 2 pairs of felted fuzzy feet, and 2 felted booga bags. I'm almost beginning to feel optimistic about this Christmas gift thing. Plus the red pair is finished but unfelted, and I've just started a red-and-green stripey pair. Hopefully I can at least get to the toe decreases by the end of tonight.

And, by popular request, here's the recipe for yesterday's cookies:

Chocolate Chews (from "How to Bake" by N Malgieri, given to me by Mary Fizzell who now has my undying gratitude.)
  • 8oz semisweet chocolate
  • 3oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 8T (1 stick) butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2t vanilla
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2t baking powder
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 9oz) choclate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 6oz) chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 6oz) chopped pecans

  1. Line cookie sheets with parchment or foil. Put sheets in the oven, and preheat oven to 325o.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter together. Stir occasionally. Cool.
  3. In mixer bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until lightened. Whisk in chocolate mixture and vanilla.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into chocolate mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Kirsti's note - it gets really really thick at this point. Hand stirring a must.
  5. Drop tablespoon-size cookies onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 12-18 minutes, until cookies are slightly firm and cracked.
  6. Cool on pans. If you can let them wait that long.

Apparently they can be fozen too, packed between sheets of waxed paper. I was impressed by how easy a recipe it is, and how scrummy the results are. Mary also recommended for a plated dessert, making the cookies half size, and serving two of them on a plate with some good ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

If you make them, let me know how they turn out!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

And now for some current stuff

So, what have I been doing recently, apart from inadvertently insulting my few readers by wondering whether they get through all my drivel. I'm sorry - and I'm very glad that you are reading.

So here's the latest creations... and yes, we're still in the Christmas knitting frenzy:

For those who aren't getting hats, Fuzzy feet aka felted slippers are the gift de jour ... I've finished two pairs, but have yet to felt them. One of the red pair is done, and I'm knitting the heel flap of its mate. I need about 3 more pairs I think.. I've got some purple yarn, some rose coloured, and enough leftovers to make a red-and-green stripey pair.
And in a "spot the difference" contest, I've knitted another fair isle hat, identical to one that I made earlier. That one was given as a birthday gift to our friend Rae, so here's its replacement. I love this colour combination - probably because that shade of teal/light blue and purple were our wedding colours.

And in non-knitting creating ... here's what I get up to while Terry is away in DC on a business trip...
They may not look like much, but taste delicious. It's a brownie-like chocolate batter, made with unsweetened and semi-sweet chocolate, with chocolate chips, pecans and walnuts stirred in. I'll post the recipe if anyone's interested. They're about as unhealthy as cookies get, but absolutely nummy.

So that's it. And now I'd better head for sleep, and stop procrastinating by hanging out online here and in Knitty chat. It's odd how much less welcoming our bedroom seems with no wife in it...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Eeps! Way overdue SP post

Yikes. I found these photos on my camera while trying to download current knitting progress pics ... and realised I'd forgotten to rave about my final Secret Pal package.

So I'm going to cheat and reuse my post from the Knitty board, but with appropriate photos inserted. The parcel actually arrived on the day of my previous post...

I received my final SP parcel - and how could it be anything else, with "I *heart* Knitty" written all over the outside.. and yummy warming cosy winter goodness inside.

Some "stash" tea (and how appropriate is that for a knitter??) - double bergamot earl grey. I've made a cup already and it is perhaps the best Earl Grey I've had ... definitely better than anything I've found here in the States so far.

A Burts Bees handcare kit - just right to keep my hands in knitting form in this cold Michigan weather ... gloves, handcream, cuticle cream, hand repair cream and healing gloves. And it's all yummy smelling too.

And finally, my third installment of the most scrumptious dark chocolate by Dagoba - I'm going to have to track that down nearby. Terry's so far fought me for every bar.. ("Did you get another Knitty package? Is there chocolate in it again??")

It was all beautifully wrapped in tissue paper tied with neat variegated yarn ... Tricky, what yarn is that and where did you find it?

Plus a card, with an unsubtle enough clue for me to finally figure out who my wonderful SP is ... the wonderful Trickyteuse. Her blog's well worth adding to your bloglines feed, or daily reads too.

OK. I'll post this, then onto more recent stuff.