Archives from January 2012

Mocha, Harvey and Marge

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 in Around the House

Several of you have asked how Mocha-the-outdoor-cat is doing these days. You’ll be happy to know that he’s still coming around, drinking from the heated bird bath, and now eating the dry cat food that we put out for him. He still has no interest in letting us get near him. That about kills me. I’m a hands-on animal person. But he does seem to show up just after we get home in the evenings and when we get up in the mornings. I think he likes us. To a certain degree. At least he likes the food and water coming from us.

Guess who else wants to eat cat food and drink from the bird bath? These are the night-time visitors to our back porch. They’re very big and pretty cute. And in my typical “let’s name them” fashion (I know, I’m weird), I’ve dubbed them Harvey and Marge. However, I am not feeding raccoons. The cat food started coming in at night after that. I don’t really want to encourage these two, no matter how cute they seem from the other side of the glass. They are pretty funny, though. The one on the left got IN the bird bath, tipped the whole thing over, and then backed his way into the bigger guy on the right, to get him away from the cat food dish.

See?  In and tip:

Bump – “Move over, Dude.“:

Fortunately, Mocha seems to be doing a good job of avoiding them completely. I don’t think raccoons are good to cats.

Sheri ofcourseourcatGraciedoesn’tliketheraccoons,either

Skein and HazelKnits

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, January 9th, 2012 in Pattern Links, Shop News

Tonight’s Monday Update includes an old favorite and a new soon-to-be favorite! We’ve added in 30 colors of HazelKnits, which I know many of you have been waiting for. The tight twist and beautiful colors makes this yarn a popular one for socks, but it’s also great for shawls and scarves. (Shown here in Cherry Fizz.) The semi-solids are great for patterns with beautiful lacework, but I also love knitting with multi-colors, and Wendee comes up with some fun colorways. For the multi’s, try Hitchhiker, Mizzle, and Herbivore .  And aren’t these fun, movement-oriented patterns? Color Affection and Bold and Blended Stripe Wrap.

How about  a new indie dyer? We have our first batch of Skein up for you tonight, in the merino/cashmere fingering weight. (Shown here in Bittersweet. Click on it so that you can see the softness in there.) Oh, this is lovely stuff. So lovely that I popped three skeins right into my own stash. Soft. Gorgeous colors. Fun to work with. Comes straight to us from Australia. The 80% merino/ 20% cashmere skeins come with 427 yards, making them perfect for one-skein shawls and scarves like Favorite Scarf Ever, In the Land of Oz, Crocus Shawlette, and Cinnamon Grace. We have more fun bases and colors planned for Skein in the coming months. Keep watch!

It occurs to me that there are so many wonderful patterns and so much beautiful yarn out there, that we all just need to stop working and enjoy knitting full time. Don’t you think?  Can we find someone to fund that for all of us?

Sheri offtowandertheyarnshelvesandmakesomeplans

Soups On!

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, January 6th, 2012 in Sheri's Recipes, Yarn Storage

I loved reading all of your ideas about project organization from Wednesday’s post. Thanks for sharing! (Look – I have started my Mizzle, which means I get to fill that basket up with something else now!)

- Liz is using clear shoeboxes, which I think will be great and colorful on a shelf.

- Karen found these on Amazon, which look nice, especially if you can hang them. (Although sitting on a shelf would be good, too.)

- Lots of you use ziploc bags and clear plastic tote bags.

- Melissa hid 12 of hers in brown paper bags and put them in a basket. When she is ready for the next month’s project, she picks one and gets a nice surprise!

- Carol has an entire wall in her living room filled with cubbies and baskets of yarn. Wow!!

- Ronni uses something like this on the back of a door, due to lack of wall space. I think that’s a great idea.

- Some of you don’t keep anything in physical view, but you organize your soon-to-work-on projects on Ravelry or in notebooks.

- And Lori thinks my projects look like they are in prison, waiting to be paroled, which cracked me up! (Well,  I guess they sort of are waiting to “get out” ….)

I think anything that keeps us on track with our knitting is a good thing, no matter what the system is! I hope you find something that works for you.

Today I have another good soup recipe to share with you. I made this over the holidays when we had family in, and it was a big hit with everyone. Plus – it’s easy. I like things like that! (It comes from this blog. Check out the latest post – those mushrooms look great!)

lasagna-soupLasagna Soup

1 1/2 lbs. Italian Sausage
2 c. chopped onions
4 garlic cloves
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbl. tomato paste
1 can (28 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
8 oz. pasta (corkscrew, bowtie, whatever. I used a bit more.)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste

8 oz. ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of pepper

2 cups mozzarella

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add sausage to brown. Add onions and cook until softened.  Add garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook for a minute.  Add tomato paste and stir well, cooking for another 3-4 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes, bay leaves and chicken stock. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. (Don’t overcook or let it simmer too long, or it will get mushy.) Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

While the pasta cooks, mix together the ricotta, parmesan cheese, 1/4 tsp. salt and pinch of ground pepper.

To serve, place a dollop of the ricotta mixture in the bottom of the soup bowl, ladle hot soup over the dollop, and top with mozzarella.

Have a great weekend! Any plans? I have a few knitting projects to work on!

Sheri beautifuldayheretodayinthemountains!

Project Organization

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 in Yarn Storage

Do you ever find a pattern and buy the yarn and set is aside for the time being, and then … you forget about it because something else comes along in the meantime that sidetracks you? After I did Monday’s blog post, I went over to pick out a color combo of Swan’s Island for my Sothia. (That yarn would be beautiful in a Sothia). While I was contemplating the choices and color combos, it dawned on me that I had already picked out two colors of Hand Maiden Casbah for a Sothia, back in October. (FPS). I need to be more organized with my planned patterns and yarn.

This is my new system. I got these baskets from Ballard Designs. (Also comes in a single basket, instead of these doubles.) I like them because they’re tall enough to fit patterns in there without the pattern bending in half and they’re deep enough to fit multiple skeins of yarn in each basket without scrunching or snagging them. I also wanted them it to hang on a wall (although clear baskets on a shelf could work, if you have the shelf space.) What I didn’t like is the price, but after months of searching for a cheaper alternative, I saved up and gave in. They’re on the wall in my office and I like the visual of seeing what I have in my queue. It also keeps me knitting more frequently, because I really want to get to these projects! What do I have in there?

Bottom row, left to right:

Dream in Color’s Worsted Cashmere for a Tea Leaves Cardigan.
Lorna’s Laces Pearl for a Mizzle (First Quarter Challenge)
Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted for And So Are You
Fiberphile MCN Luxe for a Batik

Top row, left to right:

Wollmeise in a multi and semi-solid, pattern undecided
Kleio Shawl, yarn undecided
Alisha Goes Around Panoply of Peacocks for Red Velvet Cupcakes
Sothia Shawl, awaiting the Hand Maiden Casbah yarn I have at home for it.

So – how do you keep track of what projects you’re making in the near future and the yarn you have set aside for them? Do you track it only on paper? Do you keep it in cubbies somewhere close by? Or is it all in your stash area, jumbled together?

Sheri toobusytoknittoday,butstillenjoyingthevisual

Edited to add: We heard you! We now have the pattern holders available here for you.

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