Sunday, November 26, 2006

All done Scribbling

Last night I finished the Scribble Lace scarf. What a fast and simple gift, yet how satisfying and impressive looking it is! I will probably have to make one for myself....

Here is a closeup of the texture:

And here you can see that the openness of it works about equally well as a small wrap...

As a big scarf.

Obligatory stats:
Pattern: Loopy & Luscious from Knitty
Yarn: 1 skein Trendsetter Yosemite and 1 skein K1C2 Douceur et Soie
Needles: #13 circular (because I don't have, or couldn't find, the #15s)
Size: about 16" x 55", but variable as the pattern says
Modifications: Amazingly, aside from yarn substitution, none

What's next? Not much on the knitting front. Mostly grading a big fat stack of papers and writing some of my own. Oh, and giving this lovely gift away! I hope the recipient enjoys it :)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Scribble Scribble

What would Black Friday be without a trip to the yarn store?

I just got a few things, including a cone of fingering weight wool for a shawl or three, some Trekking for gloves, Encore for a silly hat, and those plum colored things for a scribble lace scarf.

Yesterday I made the amazing discovery that scribble lace is really crack for knitters in disguise. I cast on (using this pattern from knitty)and suddenly couldn't stop knitting. It was freaky.

See what I mean? I think this is going to be a gift, but now I think I need one. Yikes! And unfortunately the yarn isn't cheap -- it's instant gratification, surely, but not what I'm used to doing with socks or ordinary lace. (Can we make this count for Lacevember? I'm not pushing the envelope....)

Now that I took it out to take photos of it, it's calling to me.... must.... knit....

Friday, November 24, 2006

Caramely Shrapnel

That's probably not a phrase anybody hears regularly, but today it's my favorite topic. I'm going to talk about my favorite holiday dessert and about how to avoid the dreaded caramely shrapnel.

Since you missed out on this dessert for Thanksgiving, file this one away and make it for Christmas. While lacking in impressive table presentation (perhaps some would argue otherwise), it's fabulous.

Welcome to Caramel Pudding 101.

Go buy one can of sweetened condensed milk. Don't buy evaporated milk or you'll be sorry. We'll wait here. Trust me, unless you have 50+ people coming, you only need one can.

Friendly can of sweetened condensed milk. This one is about 14 oz. It has no clue what's coming for it.

Remove the label.

That was easy!

Remember that reading the label is bad for you.

This warning is to avoid the caramely shrapnel. Trust me, if you follow my directions, all will be fine. They used to have this recipe on the label anyhow, so this is merely a public service to preserve it.

Now, here's the important part. Get out a relatively deep saucepan. Put in your can of sweetened condensed milk, and cover with cold water.

Kind of like this.

Turn on the stove and boil the water gently.

The pan will be almost full so there's no sense trying to bring this to a full rolling boil, but make sure you have bubbles coming up around it.

This is the very important, and final, cooking instruction. Boil for 2 hours. Whatever you do, do not leave the kitchen. Whatever you do, do not let the water level get below the level of the can and expose the can to air. You will probably need to add water every 10-15 minutes unless your saucepan is unusually deep. If the can is exposed to air, it will explode, covering your kitchen in caramely shrapnel.

However, this recipe is well worth the attention. Since it's a holiday, you're probably in the kitchen all day anyhow and you can stand to keep an eye on one more pan. If you get bored, turn the can over a couple times to make sure all sides get heated evenly. If you want to make ice cream topping, boil for about an hour. If you want something more crystallized and chunky, boil for three hours. But whatever you do, watch the water level.

After 2 hours, remove from heat and let the water cool. Drain off and refrigerate can.

When you open the can, this is what you get:

Pure delicious!!

If your family hasn't seen this one before, they will probably be confused when you arrive at the dessert table with a tin can and a can opener, but they'll be sorry they mocked your artless presentation.

Serve by the spoonful, with whipped cream. This stuff is rich.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Moment You've All Been Waiting For...

Wait, WHAT?!?! Is this thing always going to be covered in nipples?! Crap!

Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style, inside out and unblocked.

The miracle of blocking removes the terrifying nipples! Hooray! If I had something black to pin this to, I would have, but sadly no.

This shawl is about the perfect size for me, I think. Not too small, not too big.

And here it is, wrapped sideways. Too bad I can't always look this graceful.

Obligatory stats:
Pattern: Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style
Needles: #6 circular, the grey bendy plastic kind I like
Yarn: 4 oz. fingering weight custom dyed from Blue Swallow Handmade
Size: about 68" x 34"
Modifications: I added 5 extra pattern repeats because I wanted to use up as much yarn as I had. I'm very happy with the size this way. I was frightened of running out of yarn at the very very end so I didn't do one of the rows in the edging, but it's all the same to me.

This is a great project, it comes together fairly quickly, and looks great. I wore it to school today and got some great comments, particularly from our secretaries, who decided I should open a boutique! Haha. As if I could pay boutique rent... but seriously, anybody wanna go in with me? We can make up some patterns, right? We'll be sure to break even, right? Even my students thought it was very nice.

I hope to get some outside photos taken soon, so I can post better looking shots of this thing. Now to choose another lace project from the basket to finish... what do you think, little scarf for Christmas gifts or big scarf for me? There's lots of laceweight sitting around ready to knit in this little apartment.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lacevember Contest Entry

I am a newly minted Lacevember member! I'm not usually one to join lots of group blogs, but it seems like everything in my knitting basket right now is lace, so I figured it would be appropriate.

Since this contest could net me a delightful skein of luxury sock yarn, I'm in. Here goes.

The knitting questions, or the usual suspects

How long have you been knitting? I learned when I was about 6 or so. That makes it something like 17 years, which seems scary until I remember that I didn't knit for a whole bunch in the middle.

How did you learn to knit?
Mom, of course.

Favorite thing about knitting? I've always got something to do, and (hopefully!) something pretty at the end.

How long have you been knitting lace?
I just began to knit lace in the past year or two.

Favorite thing about knitting lace.
How something so impressive looking emerges out of something so scrunchy -- and easy to do!

The yarn questions, or flash your stash

Favorite lace yarn?
Don't know yet, but it might end up being Jaggerspun Zephyr.

Variegated or solids for shawls? I'd say solid, but right now I've got a variegated one going.

Favorite lace color? Natural white.

Technique, or show us your skillz

Circs or straights?
Circs! The all-nylon Susan Bates kind. If you have any, please send them to me ;)

Favorite lace knitting trick?
Underwater? Standing on my head whistling Dixie? I'm not sure.

Lifelines? If so with what?
Heh. Lifelines are for sissies. I'll say that now, until one day I find myself cursing and frogging something important.

Fancy blocking wires, or just sewing pins stuck in your carpet?
Blocking wires, sure. Fancy ones? Not so much. I got piano wire at the hardware store for a couple bucks and it serves me great.

Pattern, or can you follow directions

Shawls or lacey items?
All of the above.

Triangle, rectangle, or circular shawls?
I've got a triangle and a rectangle right now. I'd like to try some circular ones, too. I keep trying to convince myself that it's not "old lady" to be running around in a shawl....

Charts or printed instructions?
Depends. I think most like the written instructions, but the chart is nice for knowing where you are going to go at a glance.

Favorite lace you've knit? Some scarves as gifts... no photos, sadly.

Favorite lace you want to knit? Peacock Feathers. In white. For my, you know, eventual imaginary wedding. Oh, and the Rose is a Rose shawl from A Gathering of Lace. Anything immense and impressive, really.

Just Fun, yup that's right, just for fun

Favorite jelly belly flavor?
Juicy Pear, hands down.

Tell me everything you know about Eric the Red..... Uh, Viking guy, discovered stuff, probably killed a bunch of folks, red hair, that kind of thing. Sorry, mostly I do 19th century history.

Coke, classic or with lime? Orange pop. Or grapefruit pop. You heard me, I said pop.

Holiday carols, sing along, or wish they would be banned from all public airwaves?
If only they would come on for 1 week, instead of a whole month....

What is the definition of irony?
Whatever it is, Alanis Morissette got it wrong.

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?

Why is my cat always puking in front of my son's bedroom door? Um, it probably has less to do with your son than what you're feeding your cat. But cats are weird, so I don't know.

What is your superhero power? If I could read and knit at the same time, I could take over the world. But my real superhero power is clumsiness. Don't ask how they're going to someday let me work in a museum.

If the laundry is 9 foot by 11 foot (just dreaming, that's a big laundry room), and the walls are 8 feet tall, and you are going to tile the entire room in tiles that are 3 inches by 5 inches, what color should those tiles be? Cobalt blue.

What's for dinner tonight? Who's making it, you or me? Because I'd love for you to take me out. Otherwise it will probably involve noodles again.

What is clogging my children's bathtub drain? Yeah, that's gross. But probably hair. You can get it out with a pliers. Hope you've got a good gag reflex!

Ok, back to homework and laundry.

Actual Knitting Content: I have 10 rows left to go on the Shetland Triangle. If the world doesn't collapse on me in the next few days, it will be off the needles and nice and blocked soon. Hooray!