Saturday, February 10, 2007

My New Best Friend



Here she is! She's warm and soft and I don't know how I ever lived without her! If you know me, you know I am always cold. This recent Kansas City cold wave has not helped matters at all. I try to dress in layers, wear scarves, etc., but I couldn't get warm. So, I broke down and bought this down jacket from Lands End. I know, the color (blue paisley) is NOT me, but I was feeling whimsical, so there you go. I needed a new excuse to knit mittens and scarves and hats in all new colors for myself, and now I have one. Love it!

I had two knitting epiphanies this week! This could be a record! First, I was working on the piano bench cover. I had measured and calculated carefully, but something wasn't working out. I ended up ripping out about 6 rows, and I didn't know what to do. I decided to stew on it for a while. All of a sudden, while standing in the shower, the answer came to me! I happily picked up my needles and knew exactly how to make the pattern work. I'm more than halfway done; I'll post pictures when I'm finished. I love it when that happens!!

My second epiphany was more of the "DUH" type moments. (In the end, I felt more dumb than smart :-) I was working on my JayWalker socks. If you know the pattern, you know that it is NOT difficult at all. It is simple and straightforward and not complex at all. I did read the instructions, honest!! I was struggling with every round, because the increases and decreases changed the number of stitches on each needle every round, so I had to slip stitches to work the pattern. It was time consuming. I kept thinking there had to be a better way. Hmmmm.... Last night, I remembered that the pattern DID say to work the socks on 5 dpns, not 4; I had switched to 4 dpns because I prefer to knit with 4. I decided to try it on 5 dpns, with the stitches divided the way the pattern instructed. Novel idea, huh? Well, what do you know? Problem solved. The pattern allows even distribution of the increases and decreases, no slipping stitches or adjusting, easy to keep track of the increases and decreases. Is there a lesson here? I'm about to start the heel flap; I'll post pictures once that's done.

I do have a few faults. Just a few. One of them is that I am a bonafide bookaholic. I don't just love books; I buy them, I collect them, I hoard them. I earmark them, I read and re-read. I do try to borrow books from the library. Honestly, I borrow them, I love them, then I buy them. Occasionally, I'll borrow one that I don't buy and I feel so proud and virtuous!! I thought I'd start reviewing some books. These are not new books, just recent borrows or acquisitions.

First up, "Interweave's Compendium of Finishing Techniques" by Naomi McNeely. This book describes ways to finish your projects in sewing, knitting, crochet, weaving, knotting, and embroidery. There are edges, seams and joins, trimmings, closures, and more. I'm not much of a sewer, not at all a weaver, so I skimmed through those parts. There were some neat ideas for fringes, such as all sorts of braids and knotted cords. I liked the embroidery part, though they were pretty basic designs. I focused on the knitting and crochet part. I have to admit I was pretty disappointed with the knitting sections. There were only a few edgings, and the knitting finishing techniques were not described or pictured very well, in my opinion. The crochet section was much better, to me. The crochet techniques were much more clearly illustrated and there were some neat ideas. I don't crochet very often, but I think crochet edgings really add a nice finishing touch to some knitwear. This book had some great ideas for that.
I won't be buying this book. The ideas I really liked I can easily find elsewhere. There was a lot of information I would simply never use. However, if you are very crafty and dabble in multiple crafts, this might be a book you'd be interested in. There is a ton of info in this little book.

Okay, ONE more book! This one is "Lorna Sass' Short-Cut Vegetarian." Okay, I love Lorna and I love this book. I own "Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure," the pressure cooking bible, and I have probably sold enough copies of this book to deserve royalties. (If you don't own it, you should!) I also own "Lorna Sass' Complete Vegetarian Kitchen," yet another winner.



The "Short-Cut Veg" was published in 1997. I'm not sure how I missed it! It is full of quick ideas for appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, veggies, breakfasts and desserts. Lorna focuses on things you can throw together with staples from your kitchen. Not boring, but not too complex; lots of stuff that the kids will like. There is some chopping and dicing, but she uses canned beans and some packaged foods to speed up the prep and cooking time. My favorite part of the book is her special mixes: she has an "Unlimited Waffle Mix", "Super Scones", "Crispy Cookie Mix," and more. Basically, you make up little baggies of the dry mix ingredients and pop them in your freezer. When you want to make some, say, waffles, you just pull out the baggie, add the wet ingredients, and cook. Each mix has several variations you can make; no worries about getting stuck in a rut! I'm definitely trying it out. My kids love waffles and scones, but I am usually short on time. This should help. I believe everything in this cookbook is vegan, though I may have missed something. Yes, it's on my list!!!

Happy weekend!!!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

HI,

Did you get your new issue of Interweave Knits? You probably got it a week ago cause you always get yours first...LOL What did you think of the new books coming out in the Spring? Are there any ones you have to have? The felting one looks interesting.

I like that tiny blue over the shoulder shrug. So cute. I can't picture myself wearing it, but never the less very cute on the model. Are you planning to make any of the tops in that issue? They are interesting too.

Its really windy here and the electricity keeps going off. Better go now before I get kicked off line again.

Happy Sunday to all,

Barbara

Cheryl said...

Hi! Yes, I did get my IK!! I thought of you when I saw that little capelet. I do love the socks in the back, must make them. For books, I want "Lace Style" and the favorite socks books. I'll have to see the felting one in person. I'm waiting until they get to Amazon because I'm cheap!!
Love,
Cheryl

Anonymous said...

Oh good. If you get the lace one, maybe there is a shawl in there we can both do...I guess Lace knitting is really in right now.

B