Sunday, March 21, 2010

squirrely squirrel sampler mittens

I finished the Squirrel Sampler Mittens! Yay! I really had a lot of fun with this pattern, but I'm not sure how often I'll be knitting lined mittens. They are very warm, but it's quite a bit of extra work... plus I don't live in a climate where you need wool mittens that often, let alone lined wool mittens.

In either case, they are super duper adorable! I knit the outside of the mittens with KnitPicks Palette which is a fingering weight 100% wool and knit the lining with KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud wich is a lace weight 100% alpaca. They are pretty luxurious feeling on the inside and pretty hearty feeling on the outside, which is why I guess lining mittens can be pretty awesome. They are knit on size 0 needles. They are extremely snug on my hands, but they aren't for me. This is the first xmas gift completed for 2010 and the giftee has much smaller hands than me. :-)

squirrel mittens

squirrel mittens

and here are some shots that show off the lining. First as it's being knit:

squirrel mittens

and then what you see once it's finished:

squirrel mittens

So soft on the inside.

I am thrilled to bits with these mittens. They are adorable and they make me happy. It's probably a good thing they don't really fit (that's me wearing them, but there isn't enough ease for them to be comfortable).

Saturday, March 20, 2010

spinning on a WHEEL!!! YAY!

I'm borrowing a wheel and chugging away. I've actually spun up quite a bit of yarn, but taking progress pictures of all the steps isn't going so well. Here are a few I've managed to take.

This is the yarn as singles (before becoming 2 ply). It's from lorna's laces wool top and it's the "tahoe" colorway. Also in process is another batch of the same wool top in the "bittersweet" colorway.

I spun about 1/3rd of the tahoe on my top whorl spindle, and the remainder on a spinning wheel. I can't decide which I like spinning on best, but I do know I like plying on the wheel much more. The wheel may be marginally faster (but right now, not much). I'm not sure if there's a trick to it or what, but I can't seem to get an even consistent yarn at anything thicker than a sport or maybe DK weight in 2 ply. Is there some secret to spinning bulkier yarns? In any case, while I try and figure that out... here's what I've got for the singles. This is the very first batch I did on the wheel:

spinning singles

wound singles

More to come... including pictures of it all plied up!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


My friend and I decided to have a bagel cooking day. We teamed up to make a batch of homemade bagels. They were DELICIOUS. For sure something I'd make again. The particular recipe we used was from Vegan Dad, but I think if I make them again, I'll pick one that takes you from start to finish in one day and see if they work just as well. I'm less likely to do something that you have to do over two days. Anyway, they were dense, chewy, and absolutely delicious. In my opinion the best two were the plain one and the one I topped with smoked sea salt. I like a salt bagel and the smoked salt was truly fantastic.

here are pictures:
regular salt bagel is in the top right corner, the smoked salt bagel is in the bottom left corner. The others are two sesame seed and two plain.

here's a glamor shot closeup of one of the plain ones. It sort of feels silly to take pictures like this of bagels, but it seems to be what you do.


Friday, March 5, 2010


I've still got old projects from Christmas to post, and even some new ones for this christmas started. I'd wanted to do the Knitting Olympics, and I did, but I totally did not finish. It certainly didn't help that I was TOO SICK TO KNIT for an incredibly long FOUR days. It hurt to be upright. It hurt to try and hold my hands aloft, it hurt to try and lean over to read a chart and painstakingly try to follow it (especially with a pattern that has no repeats). So, in short, the Squirrel mittens are not finished.

I did manage to decorate a pretty darn cool cake for a friend's baby shower, so I'll share that instead.

Her nursery decorations are for the most part either from or inspired by the lilac sparrow collection from Dwell Studio. So, because of that I thought it would be fun to do cakes inspired by the same.

First, I was going to bake the cake myself, but since I was sick (see above) the week before, I didn't have time. Whole Foods to the rescue as they were very cooperative in making some "custom" cakes for me that were free of any decoration at all. Their berry chantilly cake is to die for, and when I picked it up, this is exactly what I'd ordered:

shower cake before decorating

The sparrow pattern is basically some birds sitting on brown tree branches with purple, pink, and brown flowers and leaves. I started by coloring some marzipan brown and adding it to the cake like branches:

shower cake before icing

Then I added the leaves and the flowers and a simple border along the bottom edge:

closeup of shower cake

shower cake

and a small marzipan bird:

shower cake closeup

here is the finished cake along with the inspiration pattern. I was pleased as punch with the results:

shower cake with invitation