Grandmother, Grandmother, won't you tell me what to buy?
Grandmother, Grandmother, then we'll make a cherry pie.
I had planned to bake a pumpkin from the Farmer's Market, mix it with local eggs and milk, and make a pie, but I got sick and wimped out. My husband's profound love of cherry pie combined with my profound need for an easy dessert and this great state's profound lack of cherries to make the Lucky Leaf Premium (no corn syrup) Cherry Pie Filling a cheerful, albeit non-local, answer. Mixed with a little lime juice (because even at death's door I can't leave anything alone) it rounded out the day quite nicely and with little fuss.
This morning I realized hadn't yet shown you my newest Little Sock. Here it is in all its (unblocked) glory. I modified the heel a bit, working it on half the stitches instead of a smaller portion. Looks good this way, too.
I'm giving these along with charity donations to friends and family. That way they get something tangible from me and feel useful at the same time.
I've been a bad girl.
There is knitting I should be working on, and it is not this corset.
But I'm so pleased with how it's going, and excited to get to the bust shaping that I can't seem to put it down.
You may be interested in how this pattern graduated from Tabletop Knitting when it involves cables. The answer is two-fold: cabling without a cable needle, and pocket T's (plus a memory for charts---so maybe three-fold). I prefer the pocket T's to hold my dpn's---barely takes any extra time to just slide it into the pocket after working the cable! One drawback is forgetting it's there and going grocery shopping or kissing my husband with a weapon sticking out of my shirt. Or bending down and having it fall out or doing laundry and finding it in the washing machine. But these days I prefer it to cabling without a separate needle.
I used to never use a cable needle. I would just knit the stitches in a different order. But that makes some stitch combinations a bit tricky. Meg Swansen advocates switching their positions first and then knitting them, but I hate having stitches off the needle. I don't always use grabby yarn for cables and even when I do I have problems with stitches escaping or splitting. That's why I hesitated to try the method linked in the paragraph above. Loose stitches!
But there's a trick to it that makes it feel less risky. I pinch the live stitches so I have a little of them and a little of their mammas between my fingers. Then, careful not to stretch the fabric and pull the stitches out, I open them with the needle and slip them on. I use this technique when I don't want to be caught with a needle in my pocket, or don't really have time to get it out in the first place.
Do you use cable needles? All the time, or just some of the time? Do you notice a difference in the way your cables look if you use a needle? Does this difference go away with blocking?
My Quadrille is really flying off the needles now . . . when I get the chance to work on it, that is. It has graduated from a Tabletop Project (one that I work on exclusively at home because it requires concentration as well a table to put the charts on) to a Carrying Project (self-explanatory).
Look at all the pretty stitch markers! I didn't expect to use quite as many as the pattern called for, but I think they're all useful, so I only left off the first and last. Of the markers above, I find the pink and green to be the perfect size. The yellow are too large and floppy and the red and blue are too small.
Actually I think the red and blue should be a good size for these size 3 needles. They slip easily on their own. But I don't like slipping them separately---I prefer inserting my working needle into the marker as I'm finishing up the stitch as part of the same motion. It takes next to no extra time. The red and blue markers pop off the needle when I try this with them. Maybe people who dislike markers are using ones that are too small?
I prefer rubber markers to loops of yarn. They're not as prone to slip over a different stitch or get knit into the garment. Plus, they make my hands smell like balloons!
I'll be honest. I wanted this book to be brilliant.
Annie Modesitt not only created the designs, knit the garments, and wrote the patterns, she had a few additional hurdles with this book. The historical research and image licensing contributed to the four and a half years it took to get this book into print.
And she has fibromyalgia, which involves pain and deep fatigue. A project of this size seems a Herculean task. But she is reasonable about taking it piece by piece.
And History on Two Needles is indeed brilliant.
History on Two Needles: Exploring art history through modern hand knits by Annie Modesitt, pub. Cooperative Press, 2012.
When I first saw this collection of designs, I sincerely admired them. What the author refers to as "a labor of love" resulted in 17 gorgeous and varied patterns inspired by statues, paintings . . . even a helmet and a shield.
After actually reading the book I can appreciate more deeply the construction of these garments, the details that don't appear in photos but make them even more exceptional and useful.
I'll explain that last bit more. But first, here are some of my favorite designs from the collection:
Modesitt has a wonderful, conversational writing style. I don't know her personally, but I can imagine her facial expressions as she puzzles out the purpose of the Minoan Snake Goddess or describes the artistry of Joseph Karl Stieler. In addition to the introductions to the book, each chapter, and each pattern, she includes a helpful page, "Reading the Patterns," which also partially explains her take on pattern writing.
And now for the interesting garment details.
This cape looks like it wouldn't stay put with vigorous movement---it might hike up or fall off. But it actually has ingenious little sleeves built into it so it stays put.
And the Tissot Bolero, below, can be molded to your body as it dries for the perfect fit.
There are several such aspects to the designs in this book, and I suspect we would only discover the full range by making each one. There are three hats, nine tops, two belts, two capes, one scarf, two skirts, and a ruff (okay, that's more than 17, but you can't argue with more), all in a range of sizes and skill levels.
The first one I'm going to knit is the Sutton Hoo Helm (chosen by my son). I'll keep you posted about the clever details of this piece, which comes in a luxurious range of four sizes (my son's head is even bigger than mine).
In the meantime, which one are you going to make?
Disclosure: Cooperative Press sent Kangath a copy of History on Two Needles FREE for review. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Cooperative Press or Annie Modesitt.
I just made some seitan sandwiches for the boys to take to school tomorrow. Seitan is prepared wheat gluten, the protein part of wheat. It's a wonderful entree for meat-and-potato vegetarians like my husband. In fact, we had seitan (with steak sauce) and mashed potatoes for dinner last night.
Prepared seitan is available in some groceries and health food stores, but I make my own. I've seen instructions for extracting your own gluten from flour, but I buy my gluten. I'm not that crazy!
3 cups wheat gluten
1/4 cup mixed spices (chili seasoning, curry, steak rubs, etc.)
2 1/2 - 3 cups liquid (water or broth---I use the liquid left over from cooking beans)
Stir the spices into the gluten, then mix in the liquid until the gluten is thoroughly wet. It should be rubbery, not runny. Knead the seitan for a full 5 minutes.
Form into a ring and steam in a pressure cooker on high pressure for 10 minutes or boil in broth for an hour and a half or so. You can then slice the ring and fry in 2 Tablespoons of oil and 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce per 1/3 of the ring. Or you can grind the seitan in a food processor and use like ground beef.
Seitan is good in tacos, fajitas, pepper steak, gyros, curry, stew, or pretty much anything you can think of that uses meat (and a few things that don't)! If you're planning to use the seitan in something like curry or stew, you can just tear off bits of the raw seitan and steam it directly in the sauce. Sliced and fried, it's excellent in sandwiches with mayo or barbeque sauce.
I've made it through a full repeat of Quadrille's center cable chart (below right). This includes some of the waist shaping. It's going smoothly---very enjoyable knitting and great yarn. Something I've recently started to appreciate is the pacing of a design. I like this design's balance of reverse stockinette, cables, and seed stitch extremely well. As much as I'd love to have more time to work on this, I'm happy to be busy with my design work, so it all evens out.
I was immensely pleased by the reception Dylana got on Ravelry last week. It made it all the way up to #3 of Hot Right Now! This is my most favorited pattern (over 500 and counting) and I attribute part of its popularity to its visibility.
Credit also goes to the lovely model, great photography, beautiful yarn, and of course the inspired design!
Ever wonder how wool is made machine washable? I have been reading about different methods of treatment: one that smooths or removes the scales of the wool fibers to prevent felting, and another that coats the barbs so they don't mat together when agitated. Sometimes a combination of the two methods is used.
There is a new process which burns off the scales without using chlorine. I read about this online, but can't find the link right now and the description was vague. I thought it used heat, but maybe it used ozone. Ozone itself is highly toxic, but ozone-treated textiles can be safe. Other alternatives include peroxy compounds and enzymatic processes. But most methods of shrink-proofing wool start with chlorination.
Superwash wool is often chlorinated with a hypochlorite similar to the active ingredient in household bleach (but more dangerous to use). After chlorination, the wool is washed and the chlorine neutralized. Then the wool is coated with a patented resin made of synthetic polymers, filling the cavities between the scales that would otherwise interlock and felt when washed in a machine. This compound, polyamide-epichlorohydrin, is also used to make facial tissues, paper towels, and epoxy resins.
If you want further details, All About Hand-Dyeing has a couple of great articles on various Superwash treatments and their environmental effects.
I understand that untreated wool from Suffolk sheep has properties that make it machine washable and dryable, so there are other options for wool-lovers who don't hand launder (or are absent-minded).
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