Sheared Bliss

Photo Finish
February 28, 2010, 11:48 pm
Filed under: Fiber Arts, Knitting | Tags: , , ,

And she sticks the landing!

They were felted this afternoon and finished just in time for the end of the Olympics.  I’d like to dedicate my gold medal to NurseK who kindly donated the use of her non-front-loader washing machine.

Pattern: Fiber Trends Felt Clogs

Size: Women’s Large

Yarn: The soles are leftover bits of Knit Picks’ Wool of the Andes in Rain (I think, the color seems to be discontinued) and Cascade 220 in . . . um . . . some light blue color that might be 7815 (I really need to be better about keeping track of ball bands).  The uppers are about half a skein of Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool that started off as either Natural or Oatmeal.  I dyed it years ago with Wilton’s Icing Colors in Delphinium Blue and vinegar to set the dye.  I had read that Wilton’s blues were notorious for splitting so I decided to let it do what it wanted to do naturally – I put just half of the skein in the dye pot for a while before submerging the whole skein.  I ended up with a variegated light turquoise and purple with some darker blue patches.  The color is a bit too My-Little-Pony-esque for my tastes which is why it’s been sitting in my stash for so long.

Modifications: I added a final knit row on the soles after the last row the pattern called for because they looked so narrow.  I’m glad I did, and if I knit these again, would probably add yet another extra row or two.

Not a bad knit, overall.  I had some problems following the pattern and kept ending up a stitch or two short.  I’m going to blame it on the fact that I was mostly knitting these while watching TV and not paying as close attention as I could have.  Since they were going to be felted I didn’t worry too much about it and just added a stitch here and there as needed to keep the count right.  I’m still not in love with the colors and they’re pretty patchwork-y because I ran out of the Wool of the Andes and had to finish the soles with the 220.  However, they were good for stash busting and I don’t really care what they look like so long as I have something warm to replace my old slippers that are full of holes.

For now, they’re drying over a vent.  When they’re dry I’m going to give them a good shave to get rid of some of the fuzzies and make them look slightly less like dead Muppets.  I may also give the soles some kind of non-skid treatment – felted slippers and wood floors can be a dangerous combination.  Then my toes will be nice and toasty!


WiP Wednesday
February 24, 2010, 6:30 pm
Filed under: Fiber Arts, Knitting, WiP Wednesday | Tags: ,

Alright, some people seem disinclined to believe that my Knitting Olympics project is the start of a new trend in hats.  Would you believe . . .

. . . giant knitted clown shoes?

WiP Wednesday
February 17, 2010, 8:51 pm
Filed under: Fiber Arts, Knitting, WiP Wednesday | Tags: , ,

Five days into the Knitting Olympics and I’ve made a fair amount of progress.  In fact I’d say I’m very nearly half way done.  What is it?

A stylish hat perhaps?

With a bun hole?

Hm, perhaps not . . .

The First Step
February 12, 2010, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Fiber Arts, Knitting | Tags: , , , , ,

They say that admitting that you have a problem is the first step. Well, I have a problem with mitts. Hello, my name is Angela and I am a mitt-knit-aholic. Yes, I am addicted to knitting mitts. Don’t laugh, we all have our demons.

Mitts, fingerless gloves, muffatees – call them what you will – I can’t stop knitting them. It started innocently enough with a couple of pairs of muffatees. Plain old boring ribbed muffatees to keep my hands (and those of a coworker) warm in a historically correct manner at my last job.

Then I thought a more contemporary pair would be nice, one little pair of Evangelines. A nice, serviceable pair in Patons Classic Merino – Peacock. They knit up quick while I was traveling two Christmases ago and now live at work where they keep my hands warm while I’m typing in the icebox that masquerades as my office.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, this is where I started to stray down a dangerous path. I began to spiral downwards into a dark world of nothing but mitts. One of my coworkers admired my Evangelines and asked for a pair. Remember these?

Then I decided that a couple of pairs of mitts would be just the thing for my Grandma and my Busia for Christmas, pretty pink ones that would keep warm and help their arthritis.

My grandmas, the hand models. They're such hams.

That’s a pair of Fingerless Gloves from Luxury Yarn One Skien Wonders for Busia on the left and a pair of Mitt Envys for Grandma on the right, both in my own hand dyed sock yarn.

These were quickly followed by a pair of Thank You Mitts for myself. What? My hands get cold at home too, not just at work.

Then another coworker asked for a pair of mitts. I cast on a third pair of Evangeline – easy, right? Not so much. Yeah, I apparently have a gauge problem to go along with my mitt problem. My gauge was so off from one mitt to the other that there was a significant different in size. I ripped them out. I couldn’t bear to knit yet another pair of Evangelines so I ended up making CoworkerL a pair of Sweet Fern Mitts.

Then one of my volunteers saw L’s Sweet Ferns. Can you guess where this is going? Yeah, I just finished a pair of Sweet Ferns for VolunteerM.

For those of you who are playing along at home, that’s NINE pairs of mitts that I’ve knit. Wait, make that ten – I messed up on Grandma’s mitts a couple of times and ended up having to knit four individual mitts to end up with one functional pair. TEN pairs of Mitts! Crazy!

Enough, I say! Stop the madness! Tonight the Knitting Olympics begin (ok all of you non-knitters who are laughing at this, it is too a real thing) and the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. I am hereby renouncing the mitts, turning over a new leaf, and forging ahead with my Olympic project. Citius, Alitius, Fortius!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch the opening ceremony and cast on for something that is NOT MITTS. What is it? You’ll just have to wait and see . . .

Gratuitous Cuteness
February 7, 2010, 1:16 am
Filed under: History, Museum | Tags: , , ,

Wow, things have been busy around here lately, as evidenced by my lack of posts.  Nothing exciting to write about, just life.  Sooo . . . in an effort to distract you from my total failure to actually write anything: LAMBIES!!!

There are six now - the brown one on the left, four black ones, and if you look close you can see the white one's tail sticking out from under mama in the doorway. Wait a minute . . . there's only three black ones in this picture. Where'd the fourth one go?

Oh, there he is!



"Hey, mom!"

"Lookit me!"

"I'm up here!"


"Oops, um, I meant to do that!"

It's awfully tiring being so cute.

Life… is like a grapefruit.
February 2, 2010, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Baking, Food | Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s orange and squishy, and has a few pips in it, and some folks have half a one for breakfast.

-Douglas Adams

I’m not usually a grapefruit person.  I can take them or leave them.  So, when I was browsing recipes looking for something to bake this past weekend, I was surprised that this one jumped out at me.  My only requirement was that the recipe use yogurt (I had some very elderly yogurt in the fridge that was threatening to turn from food item to science experiment very soon) and, since I didn’t have anything particular in mind and no specific cravings to appease, I decided to give it a shot.  Smitten Kitchen adapted it from Ina Garten and I (of course) adapted it from her.

Grapefruit Cake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt + sour cream (I didn’t have quite enough yogurt so I made up the difference with a smidge of sour cream that was hanging around the fridge)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • The zest of two medium grapefruits
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

For the syup:

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

Naked grapefruits - zesty!

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease and flour a loaf pan.  Sift the flours, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl.  Combine the yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, sugar, eggs, zest, and vanilla in another bowl and beat well.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring to combine.  When the dry ingredients are thoroughly integrated into the wet ingredients, fold in the olive oil.  Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (at high altitude, I baked it for at least an hour, but it might have been even a bit longer).

After the cake is done, let it cool for at least 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.  While the cake is cooling, make the syrup.  Combine the grapefruit juice and sugar in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Place the cake on a rack over a pan with a lip (a cooling rack set in a sheet pan works well).  Slowly pour the syrup over the cake.  You may find that the cake absorbs the syrup better if you poke some holes in the cake with a skewer and if you turn the cake upside down and pour the syrup over the bottom of the cake.

While the syrup is soaking in, make the glaze.  Put the powdered sugar in a bowl and slowly add grapefruit juice by the tablespoonful.  Mix thoroughly after each addition of juice until the glaze is a just barely pourable consistency.  I used about 5 tablespoons of juice.  Pour the glaze over the cake while it’s still on the rack over the pan.

I’m pleased with this cake.  It’s similar to a lemon pound cake, but with an interesting bitter tang from the grapefruit.  It’s good warm out of the oven, but maybe even better after a day or two in a tightly closed container once the syrup has had a chance to really soak in.