Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Crochet? How Did This Happen?!?

Yes, crochet. Over the past year or so I've found myself drawn to certain crocheted objets, like this one, and these...(Go on, click on the links and gaze on the loveliness. You know you want to. I'll still be here when you're done and you've wiped the drool off your face...)

After months of gazing at other people's projects -- and finishing a few of my own! -- I finally gave in to my lifelong obsession with teeny-tiny things. And pulled out the crochet thread. Honestly, these little hooks are the cutest things ever! When I'm done making 34 of these hexagons (the one above is on round 5 of 7), I'll join them together to make the green scarf on the cover of this book:

That was yesterday.

Today, I was listening to a podcast when suddenly I was seized by the need to crochet a large hexagon-shaped bath mat. There, in front of me, was my bag of kitchen cotton yarns, along with two natural-colored cones of the same yarn.

So I reached out and grabbed my 8mm crochet hook and, holding two strands together, cast on for this:

It's the same hexagon pattern I'm using for my "Sexagons" sock-yarn afghan (if you're a Ravelry member, you can see it on my projects page).

Note: I'm enjoying the irony of these projects' extreme natures: from thread crochet with a micro-hook to a chunky big rug. Good for the hands, though! Thread crochet is a finger killer.

Well, there you have it. I'm flirting with two loves right now: knitting and crochet. (Actually, three, if you count spinning, which I definitely do).

I'll post more photos later this week. I've been working on knitting projects, making progress on my Lace Ribbons scarf and on my two-socks-on-one-circular-needle adventure. Plus, I have some knitting (and crochet!) patterns in the works, which should be available soon.

For now, though, take a few moments (or hours) to knit or crochet -- outside, if you can -- and enjoy a little creative quiet time :-)


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Toesicles socks...inspired by the fact that my feet are always cold...
Silky, 100% baby alpaca, soft as a cashmere cloud. These feel so wonderful on my feet, I'd wear them in the midst of summer!

But they're not for me... Who's the lucky recipient? Only time will tell ;-)


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Scarf Knitting: Peach Blossom & Lace Ribbon

I've been into scarves lately...

The Peach Blossom Scarf (my own design) is made of soft wool and vintage fabric strips. It's warm and lacy at the same time. And I love the color combination. But that's just me...and I want to know what other people think. After all, some designs turn out well and others just don't cut it in the light of day. I can't make up my mind on this one...

So, I need some feedback, from people of all age groups. My question is: Would you wear this scarf? Would your friends/daughter/sister?

Thanks for letting me know!

Meanwhile, I've been knitting sporadically on Veronik Avery's Lace Ribbon pattern from Knitty. The pattern is well written, and it's relaxing and fun to knit once you get into it.

The Malabrigo Lace, by the way, is absolutely luscious -- every time I touch it I feel like I've gone to Yarn Heaven!


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Spring is Springing!

This is the sight that greeted me when I looked out my front door this morning...

My favorite flowers are blooming!

Our little cottage has surprises in store for us. I love discovering, like gifts, the plantings left behind by the people who've lived here during the past 80 years...

Everywhere I look, something is poking it's little head out in search of sun and warmth. A budding hydrangea bush is tapping on my window in the breeze; tiny stalks of oriental lilies are hiding under a blanket of dried oak leaves; and a tall vine of climbing roses is awakening near a trellis.

And while it's not exactly warm today (western Maryland was in the 30s again last night), it's certainly sunny enough for Katja to enjoy a good roll:

As for me, I think I'll forgo rolling on the rug for knitting, and spend some time enjoying Mother Nature from the warmth of my sun-room/studio :-)

Happy Spring everyone!


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Food, Fiber, and Fun in Frederick on our Fifth

When we moved out of D.C., we knew we'd probably have to look a little harder to find non-chain restaurants. We were right. But laziness prevails, and we've spent a couple of months eating at Waffle House (cheese grits...yum!), Bob Evans (reliable, if uninspiring), and Perkins (where we recently had a very bad experience). And a local place, Barley & Hops, where they brew beer that tastes like watered down Coors Light. Yeah.

So when we found ourselves without a plan on our 5th Anniversary, Chris and I decided to branch out a bit. I should point out that we tend to be pretty casual about these things -- spending tons of money isn't always the answer.

We remembered, a few weeks back, walking past a brew-pub in downtown Frederick, and thinking it looked interesting. Plus, it was near a LYS, Keep Me in Stitches, that I hadn't visited yet ;-)

Of course the yarn store came first. Packed to the brim, Keep Me in Stitches is a friendly store that carries yarn that most of us can actually afford, including many mainstream brands not found at other stores in the area (Berroco, Plymouth, Dale of Norway, etc.).

But don't stop there: You'll also find some local alpaca yarn that's to die for; gorgeous sock yarns, including Claudia Hand Painted Yarns (one of my favorites); and a nice selection of crochet threads and other needlework accoutrements. The store also offers a great selection of past issues of knitting mags. I was happy to find the Fall 2004 issue of Interweave Knits, which I vaguely recall throwing away when clearing out for a move.

Once I had my LYS fix, we moved on to the restaurant: Brewer's Alley. Beer is, of course, of the utmost importance at a restaurant with Brewer in the name. So we both tried a pint. I had the IPA, and Chris had the Winter Wiessen. Both were surprisingly good! Mine was hoppy and bright, and Chris' was smooth and complex. Very nice stuff :-)

We decided to order soup, followed by a wood-fired pizza off the "daily specials" menu, and again, we were surprised. My Butternut Squash soup was creamy and garlicky, rather than traditionally sweet. Chris' gumbo was peppery and packed with shrimp, chicken, sausage, and all the other stuff that makes Cajun cooking so fabulous. Then our pizza arrived.

No ordinary pizza, this. Instead of tomato sauce, the Smokehouse Pizza is covered with BBQ sauce. This initially had me feeling a bit wary, but it boasted a perfect balance of sweet and sour and spicy. Yum. And the toppings, which could have been overdone, were just right...interesting, tender, and spicy. Perhaps most importantly, the crust -- I broke off a piece so I could taste it on its own -- actually had flavor, unlike many pizzas we've encountered.

Completely stuffed, we forged ahead, ordering coffee for both, bread pudding for me, and crème brûlée for Chris. The desserts were almost as good as the pizza -- it's hard, it seems, to find a good pastry chef these days! -- and the coffee was strong and delicious.

All in all, a good day, spent with the man I love -- who was also celebrating his birthday -- filled with yarn and good food. Who could ask for more?