Archives from February 2010

More Mara, and Olympic Knitting

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 in Finished Projects

DSC03431Shortly after I finished my first Mara Shawl (blogged about here), I picked out more Madelinetosh DK/Light Worsted (Thunderstorm) to make another one. My favorite thing about this shawl? Well first of all, it’s easy as pie. It’s one of those knits that you like to do when you have other things going on around you and can’t be watching charts or multiple-line patterns as you work. I might start a third one and keep it on hand for times like that. The other thing I like about it is the design. The pleated edging on the bottom is my favorite part. And last of all, it looks so darned cute when you put it on. (Thus the need for a few different colors in my wardrobe.)

DSC03429Specs: I used a size 7 (US) needle on 32″ circulars. The pattern doesn’t specify exactly how many stitches to work up to, before starting in on the edging. It says “continue working rows 2 and 3 until shawl measures desired width across.” I hate directions like that. I want the designer to tell me exactly what they did, so that I can have mine turn out like the photo. (Or at least tell me what they did so that I can work to that point and then decide if I like the result, or need to keep knitting.) To make it easy, I just knit the body until I’ve used up the first skein of yarn. That’s about the right width. (One skein of Madtosh DK is 225 yds.) You’ll use the second and third skeins for the edging. Actually, I end up only using about half of the third skein, which leaves you enough leftover yarn to make a pair of Mom’s Cabled Mitts, if you were so inclined. (Note – Aurora Shawl pin by Annie Adams. Looks great on there, doesn’t it?)

Speaking of mindless knitting (like the Mara Shawl), I changed my mind about Olympic knitting. I watched people pick intricate, challenging, time-consuming projects for their Olympic knitting. I had finally decided on my First Quarter KAL project – the Hawthorne Vest from Black Water Abbey. (I’m knitting it in String Theory DK.) I thought I’d challenge myself to get it done during the Olympics. It’s not really a difficult pattern, but it has a lot of cables going on, all with seperate charts that combine together along the same row of knitting. It’s one of those projects where you really have to pay attention to what you’re doing. (Or at least I really have to pay attention to what I’m doing.) Why do people pick challenging projects for Olympic knitting? I’d rather be knitting a Mara Shawl, because I want to watch what’s going on on the television. It’s not like a movie, where you can listen and look up now and then, and get the gist of things. The Olympic events are ones that I want to really WATCH. So, I’m back to some fairly mindless knitting (socks) and am postponing the vest until after the Olympics, when I can knit and pay more attention.

Did you commit to an Olympic project? And do you find that knitting a challenging design is completely do-able for you? (And did you notice the great hats that the US team is wearing in many of the photos? Laura from PA alerted me to the fact that there is a free pattern on Ravelry for this hat. Helena Bristow decided that she’d rather figure up the pattern than shell out $65 to Ralph Lauren for the hat. Now you can make one, too!)

Sheri lookingforwardtoknittingtonight,but

Found It!

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, February 15th, 2010 in Shop News

DSC03422I found it. The snow, that is. Apparently Iowa has been stockpiling it and preventing flow-through to Missouri. This is my friend Janice’s driveway in Cedar Falls. (Poor Steve. He has to get up early on the mornings that it snows, so that he has time to plow the driveway before heading off to work. But I think he secretly likes it.)  It was a fun weekend with friends and I ate too many cakeballs. Steve and Janice’s daughter K was home for the weekend. She’s the one that makes those amazing cakeballs and cupcakes. They’re addictive.

It was a no-mail Monday today in the States (Happy President’s Day to all of you!) so we couldn’t get any orders out. However, I have new things up on the website for you tonight. We just put up:

* The Knit Kit in Turquoise
* Dream in Color Knitosophy re-stock
* Dream in Color Starry re-stock
* ShibuiKnits Staccato line
* Crystal Palace Panda Cotton
* Crystal Palace Mini Mochi
* Marie Mayhew Patterns & Kits
* Lane Borgosesia Cashwool
* Trekking XXL
* Madelinetosh DK/Light Worsted  (Note – this was formerly known as their worsted weight. They have decided to call this a DK/Light Worsted and have invested in a new Worsted Weight called Vintage. We will have Vintage in stock in a few weeks! In the meantime, some of you will find that your gauge on this DK/Light Worsted works for many patterns calling for a worsted weight yarn. I find I knit this at 18 stitches per 4 inches on a U.S. 7 in garter stitch.)

Have you ever wondered about the different weights and measurements of yarn? Here is a great website for references. You can print out copies of the weights, knitting symbols, crochet symbolsknitting abbreviations, crochet abbreviationsneedle/hook sizes, etc.

I decided to knit something during the Olympics, but I came to some conclusions about Olympic Knitting. I’ll share more about that on Wednesday. In the meantime, pop over to check out What’s New.

Sheri bigfatflakesofsnowarecomingdown,

Valentine Treats and Happy Birthday!

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, February 12th, 2010 in Sheri's Recipes

I realize that I’m in a holiday-cookie-making rut. (It’s a delicious, sugar-filled, colorful rut, but a rut, nonetheless.) When it comes to Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and Christmas, I pull out the same sugar cookie recipe and go at it. My family and I love these cookies. But this month, I decided to make something different. They’re easy to make and fun to share with family and friends.

dipped-valentine-butter-cookiesDipped Valentine Butter Cookies

1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. coarse salt
3 cups of flour

For dipping:
semi-sweet chocolate chips (1-2 packs) and/or other varieties of melting chocolate.

Beat butter until fluffy. Add in powdered sugar and mix well. Add eggs, beating after each addition. Mix salt with flour and then slowly add to the egg/butter/sugar mixture. Beat just until mixed.

Roll out and cut into shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. (Note – cookies don’t expand in size, so you can put a lot on each baking sheet.) Let cool.

dipped-valentine-butter-cookiesFor dipping – melt semi-sweet chocolate and dip half of the cookie into the chocolate. Lay on wire racks and let harden in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Another option – melt white melting chocolate, dip half the cookie, and sprinkle red sugar sprinkles on top. (This would be a good option if, for example, you poured half the bag of chocolate chips into the melting pot and put the rest of the bag on the counter. Then let’s say that you actually had it too close to the edge and it fell off, dumping the rest of the chips on the floor, rendering them unusable? But, you remember that you have 2 bags of white chocolate melting chips from the Oreo truffles you made at Christmas. So you dip the rest of the cookies in white chocolate, sprinkle it with red to make it look Valentine-y, and then pretend that you totally did this on purpose. Totally hypothetically.)

Valentine’s Day has been extra special to us for the past 20 years, because it was the day that Knitting Daughter was born. She is the best Valentine  I have ever received, and I know that WH would totally agree with me on that! Happy Birthday, Jules!

Sheri headingtoCedarFalls,IAthisweekendto

A Dusting

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 in Finished Socks

DSC03413Ok, so I stand corrected. We did get a LITTLE bit of snow the other day, when I was bemoaning the fact that the meteorologists are always wrong. Here’s the same shot, with a bit more snow. But notice that you can still see the tops of the grass peeking through, so it’s nowhere near the 3-6″ they predicted. And thank you to everyone who offered to send me some of their piles of snow. Unfortunately, none of you followed through and actually sent it, so we’re still low on snow in St. Louis. Or maybe it’s still enroute from your snow-covered house to mine.

DSC03415Here’s a new sock, just off the needles. I really like knitting with Alchemy Juniper (this one in Aubergine). Great twist, great feel, beautiful color options, and comfortable socks. I’ll bet it knits up into gorgeous shawls, too.

The pattern came from Carol’s book, Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn. I originally bought the book for two reasons – because Carol is a friend of mine, and because another friend stopped by Loopy one day with a sock out of this pattern and I fell in love with the way it looked. (So really, I intended to buy the book, but James’ sock made me go back to my computer and order it right then and there.) The pattern is Braided Gem Socks by Elizabeth Ravenwood. I’ll definitely knit this one again, as well as a few other patterns in that book. (Ok – first I’ll knit the matching sock for this one, and then I’ll use the pattern again.)

I still haven’t started my sweater for the KAL yet. There’s a reason for that. I had settled on a vest pattern and then another good sweater pattern came along. (Note to self: STOP LOOKING!) Now I think I’m back to doing a sweater and will do the vest next time. I’ll decide soon soon-ish.

Sheri stillhaveabout4sockson-the-needles.

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