Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Club Insanity

I feel a sense of accomplishment. I bought my airline ticket to go home for Christmas today. FINALLY. And it ended up being cheaper than when I looked at the beginning of October....go figure. PLUS I was able to coordinate scheduling my return flight with my sister, who just found out she's going to get to go home for a few days after Christmas, too! (YAY!) I am so glad she's coming out, though I wish the rest of the family (i.e. brother, sister in law, and brother in law), could come out, too. Hopefully I can wait to go out to dinner with my grandpa till my sister gets there... I need a buffer, especially now that he is more feeble than before. I ...can't...wait... to see his house.

Anyway... Club Insanity has struck me! I am signing up for the Blue Moon 2008 "Rockin' Sock Club" tomorrow. I am stoked! A year of bi-monthly sock yarn in special 'exclusive' colorways (they put them on sale the following year), along with an original pattern, and "mini-skein" key chain (ok, I have no use for the silly mini skein and would rather get something else for my money, but I suspect I might be able to make swatches out of it?). My friend/coworker Jen has been a club member for the past two or three years, and she loves it. She is also a really good knitter - her socks are freakin' amazing! I am also trying out another sock club, which ships luxury sock yarns (which, actually, should probably Not be used for socks...e.g. cashmere. Maybe that skein will turn into gloves or something).

Note: My Ravelry ID (for those who didn't get it already) is "DHShippie". For those who don't know what Ravelry is, is a beautiful thing. It is a blend of a social networking site with an interactive database for knitters and crocheters. You sign up (although right now you have to get on a waiting list to be invited), and you create a profile. Within the profile, you can list your WIPs (works-in-progress), FO's (finished objects), yarns in your stash, queue of patterns you want to make, your book library (I haven't figured out if this feature is to list the books you have , or to list the books you want ... I am using it as a list of books I own). Once you list all this stuff down, you can see who else is making the same pattern(s) you are, with the same yarn, or different yarn, or who is using your yarn to make something completely different. You can search by tags or types of garments / objects, or designer, etcetera. And, of course, you can collect friends and groups. I've already searched out Liz, Jen, and Kim. I was actually talking about it with my coworker Adam (Liz's huz), and he agreed that it seemed to be a very well implented website. All Hail The Ravelry!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ravelry and Trever

First off, I would like to say Hello! to my friend Trever. He and his partner, Jason, came out to Seattle last weekend to provide go-go dancing for a party called Tricks-N-Treats at a place called "Ouch My Eye" ... I am sure they were fabulous. I thought about going, but I didn't want to spend $150 on tickets (for Daniel and myself) only to be tired by midnight! Gawd, I'm old. ;-)

Below is a little candid shot I took of Trever and myself at Pike Place Market:

The entire set is on my Flickr page. My ID on there is (guess) "dhs_hippie".

Now, on to knitting.... I am FINALLY on Ravelry! My ID on there is (heh) "DHShippie", so if you need a Ravelry friend, hit me up :-D ...

Here are my WIPs. First up are Metamorphic (STR) 2-at-a-time-top-down socks:

Here is the newly cast on (AGAIN) Rhodonite (STR) "Dove" sock from Cat Bordhi's Pathways book:

I should note that since this picture was taken, I am significantly farther on the toe. I am almost ready to start gusset increases. Whee!

Below is the newly cast-on "Nakiska" headband. This will be my final attempt. If it doesn't fit me or a family member, it might fit a child, Hobbit, or girdle a small animal. I might sell it on Etsy, although I don't know if that is allowed (?)...(I mean, I don't know if it's allowed to make something using a free pattern and then sell it, even if you cite reference to the original free pattern).

As you can see, I'm not very far on any of it! But that's OK. I've been busy.... work has been insane. My moody coworker is on vacation for the next week and a half, so I have been filling in for him where I can. I never realized how busy he was. I think if I knew more about the engine I could do a better job (ie probably handle both of our jobs), but this is a good trial-by-fire. :-) My lead is very understanding, which is great.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Eye Candy Friday, and more

Eye Candy Friday, you say?

Well, I think I've found my winter coat. I just got this from Lulu Lemon today, when I in fact ONLY went to the mall to pick up some Lulu pants that had been hemmed:

The other coat I was really liking was from Eddie Bauer. It's called their "Girl on the Go trench", and it's a pretty nice fit, too, but I like the belt here, and the fun plaid.

So here is my Cautionary Mall Tale:

I went to the mall today to pick up my pants. I got sidetracked in Sephora, and was looking at their acne care products, when a salesgirl told me that some Stila makeup reps were there, doing free makeovers. Yay! So I waited for one of the makeup artists to become free.

She did my face, and all was well and good.

I was shopping around, and about two minutes after I had gotten out of the chair, I noticed my face was itching. And hot. I went back to her, and told her, and when I saw the horrified look on her face, I looked in a mirror. My face was completely red. And it burned. It burned like I had a fever, and it itched like hell. So my artist and another one went and got me some Caudalie toning water on Kleenex, and I started to remove the makeup. I surmised that it was the brush cleaner they had been using, because I've used Stila before and never had an adverse reaction, especially like that. The stuff is called "Brush-Off", or something, and it is awful. They don't even put the active ingredients on the bottle, so this other girl gave me the website and phone number off the bottle. I couldn't take my face any longer. I wanted to rip the skin off. My artist-girl suggested I go to the bathroom down the hall and use cold water.

Where did I go instead? Lush. Luckily, my friend Alyison was working there. I waited for her to finish helping another customer, then hugged her and pleaded for her to help me! She gave me a sample of Aquamarina mask to use, since it has calamine and some other calming stuff. I slapped it on and walked around the store like that for 20 minutes, then washed it off with plenty of cold water, then I was pressing Eau Roma Water compresses on my face for another 10 minutes, then I finally got around to moisturizing with Gorgeous face cream. My face felt much better, but it was still freakin' pissed at me. Alyison's coworker told me she used to work at Nordstrom in the makeup section, and she said that the brush cleaner I encountered was really harsh because it had to kill all the germs on publicly used brushes. I totally understand, it's like a public pool. And, by the same reasoning that I refuse to use public pools (except the salt water one in Seattle), I don't like using public makeup brushes. But that is the first time I have had a reaction like that. I've had my makeup done at lots of different counters, but maybe those people are better with the cleaner....?

Anyway, I ended up dropping a wad at Lush (it is both great and evil to have a friend like Alyison be your salesperson. She knows exactly what I like, and on the other hand...she knows exactly what I like. However, she was great about giving me small sizes of stuff, like I had requested).

So that was my horrible trip to the mall. I bought the jacket after that. No more Sephora brushes for me.

Prior to the mall, I had hit the grocery store so I could buy additional ingredients for my cooking orgy later today. Check out what I found:

In case you don't know who that is, that's Frank Zappa. On a beer bottle. I LOVE IT. Frank Zappa is one of my favorite musical artists, and has been for the better part of a decade (ever since my brother brought me a tape back of FZ stuff from college....yes, back in the days of TAPES!). Anyway, so you know I had to check the beer out! :-) It's made by Lagunitas Brewery. I haven't tried it yet, but I'll let you know. Usually microbreweries aren't bad, even in their mediocre stuff.

On my way home from the mall (the day went: oil change, groceries, mall, yarn store), I stopped by Weaving Works *my LYS*, and flipped through a large pile of books to decide what I would potentially want as Christmas presents. I ended up buying the new Vogue Knitting, the Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts issue, and a ball of red alpaca yarn (7 st/in) to use for a pattern created by the guy who writes Brooklyntweed ... it is a gorgeous hat. Very textural, like fishnet but solid. I was between the red yarn and a gorgeous emerald green. I asked the saleslady, and she liked the red on me better. I was impressed - this little ball of 100% alpaca was only $6.10. A Fabulous Deal, if you ask me.

Here is my current project list:

To Redo:

- second "Hurry Up Spring" armwarmer (thumb on wrong side)

- "Nakiska" headband (was too small)

- chenille tape blanket (at some point; holes in crochet were bothering me)

To Finish:

- "Dove" socks from Cat Bordhi

To Start:

- "Koolhas" (sp?) hat from IK Holiday Gifts (IKHG?)

- some socklets from Knitty

- Clessidra stockings

- socks

- socks

- more socks

- did I mention socks? :-)

- more gloves / accessories...

- SPIN YARN for Baltimore store Milagro (She doesn't actually have a website, but I hope she gets one soon!)


Now, on to cooking. It is 4:54, and I just pulled the apple bake-thing out of the oven. Here it is, at the beginning of the cooking process:

What did I do? Coalesce a lot of other recipes. I basically needed to get rid of a bunch of apples. So I cut maybe 7 or 8 apples - a Golden Delicious, a couple of Fujis (?), and a few Granny Smiths, and tossed them with 1 lemon's worth of fresh-squeezed juice. I then tossed those into a buttered 9x9 Pyrex dish (ok, it could be 9x9, I am assuming that those are it's dimensions). In another bowl, I mixed 1 cup AP flour, 1 c white sugar, and 1 stick of butter to make a crumble. I mixed half the crumble in with the apples, and threw the other half on top. I dotted the crumble with another 1 T butter and sprinkled on the tad of lemon juice left in my juicer, and also squirted on some Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract. I threw it in a preheated 400 deg oven till I could smell it. MMM.

This is the other thing I cooked: my first potato gratin. I also had a few pounds of potatoes to get rid of (do we see a theme?) This used my bigger Pyrex dish, pre-buttered. I basically cut potatoes to make a single layer, then threw down some shredded parmesan, salt, and pepper, and repeated till I got to the top. Then I poured in enough cream to come to the top (yes, real cream), and pressed down to make sure the cream got in everywhere (a tip I picked up from "Good Eats"). I then sprinkled the remainder of the cheese on top, as well as additional salt and pepper. Into a 375 deg oven till it was brown and lovely. I think it took 30-45 min?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Socks! Flickr!


OK, so I have just found this really neat website: Go Here

My diamond "Dove" sock is progressing. A WIP picture will follow soon.

I am taking some extra (like I need extra) knitting to Leavenworth this weekend. I am thinking that glove (if I can't whip it out tonight and tomorrow), the Dove socks, and possibly trying my hand at the "Knitting Circles Around Socks" book - I like the technique, but not many of the patterns... I'll try her lace pattern, should be interesting, anyway.

But I just wanted to share that really neat site above...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007



I can't believe I did this... I was knitting along, merrily thinking I was almost done with the latest incarnation of "Hurry Up Spring" armwarmers from "SnB Nation", and then I figure out this:

Yep. Mel didn't pay attention and she put the thumb for the left-hand glove on the same needle she used for the right-hand glove. Hence, two identical gloves, instead of mirror imaged gloves.

And I thought I would document the honesty of my one table in the condo:

Kleenex (I did think to spare the viewer the sight of two dirty ones on the table!), two knitting projects (I just started the arch increases on the pink sock), scissors, mug o' tea, TV and DVD remotes, my phone, and the plastic bag that holds the cable that connects my camera to the PC.
Sigh. So I have to rip that sucker out now. If I can manage to do it to the level below where I made the increases for the thumb gusset, I'll do that. I may end up getting mad and just ripping out the entire thing. Sigh! I also noticed the new one was a couple of rows SHORTER than the first one....

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blanket Frog and New Socks

Greetings! It's Sunday night, and I have much to report from the weekend.

Friday I was bored. I stared at a giant blanket I had crocheted out of hand-dyed chenille tape back in college, and decided I'd had Enough. The thing was too long and too skinny. Here is a picture of it before I frogged - you can see where the colorway changes, too, because, well, I had run out of yarn and bought more, and of course the colorway was different (this was years ago, before I discovered little tricks like "buy enough before you start"):

Look how long it is!

So I frogged. And frogged. Thank god I have a niddy-noddy; I was able to wind off everything into 2 yd skeins. This blanket weighed at least 5 pounds:

I know that my skills have vastly improved since the days of pure crochet with giant hooks. I had followed a "granny blanket" style zig-zag pattern (in my family we call them "Mrs. Rolfe Blankets", because the old woman who my parents had babysit all 3 of us kids would crochet these giant acrylic afghans in lovely retro 70's colors of burnt orange, mustard, and olive, and I also remember an itchier (presumably wool) one in butter yellow, red, and turquoise. They were always that same zig-zag stripe pattern...ah, memories. Anyway, I had tried that pattern, and because both the tape-yarn and the hook were so big, there were way too many holey areas in the blanket. My toes would always get caught. I figure now I can do some easy / neat looking blanket type thing knitting the yarn, and both get a bigger and better looking blanket out of my $100 + investment. :-) I love recycling.

Next up are my new socks - well, they're really socks for my sister for Xmas. I am doing the "Dove" sock pattern in the Upstream architecture chapter out of Cat Bordhi's "New Pathways for Sock Knitters, Book One". I thought I could do two-at-a-time, toe-up with this, but in the first few rounds, my needles and yarn balls kept getting in the way of each other, so I said Eff It and took one sockey off, for later knitting. I did split the ball of yarn in two, though (by weight). I am using Blue Moon Socks That Rock midweight in "Rhodonite", size 1.5 (grr) Addi Turbo 16" circular needles, and.... a Whirlwind Toe out of Cat's book. The cast-on for the toe is pretty interesting. I like how the increases sort of spiral out in the toe. And I think it will be nice for my sister's feet, which are wider than mine.

Yes, this is the yarn that I had in a previous post that was starting the cuff of "Bartholomew's Tantalizing Socks" from the same Cat B. book. I had to start over anyway - I think the cuff would have been too big for my sister, anyway.

Onward! Tomorrow is Monday (ech).

In different news, I just booked a b&b for Daniel and myself, and my friends Kris and Randy, in Leavenworth, WA, for next weekend. It's the last weekend of Oktoberfest out there, and Leavenworth is known for being a quaint little Bavarian village out in the middle of... well, towards eastern Washington, anyway... I am excited. And the room price wasn't at all bad for a b&b - the total for each room is around $104, including tax. Pictures will be coming! :-)

Friday, October 12, 2007


So it's Friday. I am working on my work computer, and blogging on my home computer (I love telecommuting). A file is running, so I thought I'd post seems a file is perpetually running at work. Which makes my job kind of nice - I'll set a file off to run, and then I can wait around for anywhere from 2 minutes to over 2 hours for it to finish itself.

My friend is emailing me with perpetual arguments- I don't know why he is so defensive. I have to learn to ignore his comments and let him be right, even when he's not, but it is very hard for me to do that. I guess it's a good lesson to learn.

On to Knitting (aka the important stuff). I cast on the second "Hurry Up Spring" armwarmer last night, and I only completed about a half inch of ribbing before my spinning instructor showed up for class. On a side note, I learned he's an electrical engineer, which is pretty neat. The class itself was crazy - we did a lot of long hill climbs and "jumps", where you go rapidly in and out of the saddle. I timed it to the Franz Ferdinand song that was playing, so I had 8 pedal revolutions between getting in and out of the saddle - it made it a lot easier. :-)

I haven't progressed on my Sky architecture sock. I am afraid to keep going with the size 1.5 Addi's. I think I may have to rip this one out and do something else till my NEW size 1 and 2 circulars come from KnitPicks! (All Hail the Knitpicks!) I wish I had bought my Addi's there...well, then they wouldn't be Addi's, but I am pretty sure the Knitpicks nickel-clad needles are the same thing...for less than half the price. Ah well. I guess if I rip it out, I can start over and do the "two socks at a time" deal from the "Knitting Circles Around Socks" book I bought recently. I might use some easier patterns for the Xmas gift socks; I haven't decided yet.

Tonight, my friends Kris and Randy and myself are going to see "Transformers" on the IMAX screen. I am excited - it's been a while since I've been to an IMAX. There is also talk of dinner, perhaps afterwards.

Yesterday, Jen showed me a class she is going to take on Bohus colorwork - it looks insane. She is a great knitter, so I think she will pick up a lot of new craziness from this class. She also told me that she is taking the Selbuvotter class, based on the book by the same name. This is a gorgeous mitten book that has stranded black and white intricate designs. I guess the point is, if you can read a chart and follow directions, you'll be fine, but it looks intimidating.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Here are my current WIPs. I finally broke down (after the taunting from Jen and Liz ;-) ),and am running more than one project at a time.

First up are the "Hurry Up Spring" armwarmers from Stitch 'N Bitch Nation. I finally figured out how to knit into the back and front of a stitch (yay learning new techniques!). I am using Plymouth Yarns' "Boku", two skeins in colorway 8 (lot 14). I forget what brand of needles I am using - they are a lacquered bamboo, with nice pointy tips. I think they're a size 8, since I couldn't find a size 7 needle, for some reason. I am knitting them for a friend of mine...she is going to pay me (minimally) for the work done.

Here's Armwarmer #1, all done:

And here it is, off my arm:

I bought the Boku originally because it was $2 cheaper per ball than the Noro Kureyon, but I am not as thrilled with the color changes in the Boku as I am with the Noro. Liz warned me that the Boku might break on me, but I haven't found that to be a problem yet...


WIP 2: Next up is the Sky architecture sock, from Cat Bordhi's "New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One". The specific pattern is called "Bartholomew's Tantalizing Socks". My only regret is that I bought Addi Turbo's in size 1.5 (2.5 mm) instead of true size 1 circular needles...I hope that the socks aren't too big!

I am really liking how the colors "pool" in the sock. It's pretty interesting how the color changes differ in the stitches when you do a slip stitch pattern vs just straight knitting. I mean, I understand that the yarn will be allocated differently, but I am always thrilled to see how color changes play out between my fingers.

Now, for playtime: I just got the new KnitPicks catalog, and I was just drooling over it. Liz and Jen both love the Options needles, and Jen hipped me to the sock needle set at KP.

If I only had $400 to spend on (more) knitting books and needles / etcetera! :-)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Cupcake Obsession

WOW... Vanilla Garlic has done it again:

Butternut Squash cupcakes with Sage and Allspice frosting:

And, to think - this person is in the Sacramento area. I wish I had known them when I was in college!

Works In Progress

Here are my current works-in-progress! :-)

This past Tuesday, after my pilates class, I went to the Weaving Works yarn store to get some more needles and yarn for my friend's armwarmers she wanted. I got some size 1 Addi Turbo 16" circulars, and two balls of Boku, which appears to be a Noro Kureyon impostor, but at $6 or so a ball, I couldn't complain:

Here is the beginning of my friend's armwarmers. I'm using the "Hurry Up Spring" pattern from Stitch 'N Bitch Nation:

Next up is a picture of my new umbrella swift and yarn ball winder. I began by winding (of course) a very tricky thing. A skein of peacock-colored laceweight mohair that was sort of stuck to itself:

Now for the final WIP. I just started on a pair of socks for a family Xmas gift. I am using the "Bartholomew's Tantalizing Socks" pattern from Cat Bordhi's new sock book. It's pretty cool, I gotta say... plus, the Blue Moon yarn (STR midweight) is LIKE BUTTAH. Holy S, it's great to knit with. And on the Addi Turbos, it just flies by...

Roast Chicken & Flourless Cupcakes

Today I had the day off from work (ah, another perk of working for Boeing: Flex-Time).

I made two dishes today: a butterflied roast chicken from Alton Brown (the recipe is here:,,FOOD_9936_141,00.html ), and a flourless chocolate/ ancho-chile cupcake recipe from a blog called Vanilla Garlic. This recipe is here:

First, pics from the chicken. This below was the au jus, cooking after I had finished roasting the bird. What's in here was the base from roasting the chicken (a chunky mix of celery, carrots, and onions), thyme, the liquid that the chicken had released, and some red wine. MMM:

Here is a pic of the butterflied chicken resting in a bowl (yes, it's on my floor. My place is 460 sqft - there's not a lot of counterspace!):

Here is a picture of the chicken after I quartered it and put it in a plate under foil, to go hang out in the fridge till I was hungry):

Now, let's move on to Dessert! I followed Vanilla Garlic's recipe, and here is the mix at the point after I had folded in the beaten egg whites to the chocolate and ancho chile powder (which I made by pulverizing some dried ancho chiles in my coffee grinder. That thing rocks!). Yes, the bowl is resting on a chair:

Here are the finished cupcakes. You might ask: Why are they all sunken? Well, it's because they are flourless. The egg whites provided whatever loft there was in the recipe.

The last step in this recipe is to whip cream and load 'er up! I have two cooking pots (little pots) full of whipped cream right now. One is in my fridge and a bigger one is in my freezer... Anyway, I can attest that the cupcakes are great!

One change I made? I added ground coffee beans to the ancho chile powder!! I think it heightens the chocolate flavor. Had I considered it, I would have added some chocolate nibs that I have in the cupboard as well.

I also made my own Trader Joe's Wintry Blend coffee today. All it is is coffee beans with whole peppercorns, cinnamon chunks, and cardamom pods in the whole bean mix. Sooo I did it myself, since I gave away my jar of it to one of Daniel's friends about a month ago... it was darn tasty! :-)