Sam’s Art

May 6, 2011

Brain Pickings (a web site well worth reading in general) published a post recently featuring drawings by artists with autism.   Here’s something my resident artist has been working on.  Sam loves to stand at his desk, creating crayon drawings with layer upon layer of colors, numbers, and shapes.  They’re amazing, to me — a little insight into his imagination.


May 4, 2011

In spite of the fact that I believe I take crappy pictures and have a crappy camera, I am participating in MacroMay on Flickr.  It’s fun to take the extreme close-up.  Here’s one of something that’s super-easy to find all around my house.  Lego City is where it’s at.

Who Am I?

April 23, 2011

I have started and finished two sweaters since the beginning of 2011.  This is not like me.  Also, neither of these sweaters is pictured here.  Instead, I am offering a distracting close-up shot of a colorwork fingerless mitt that I am currently working on.  The pattern is Vagabond Fingerless Mitts (that’s a Rav link) by Misa Erder.  It’s well written and has many nice little features, such as the braided cuff, double thumb gussets, and corrugated rib.  I’m really enjoying it!

And this is a blurry picture of an Eared Grebe!  I saw this bird hanging out on Lake Erie a few weeks ago.  While Eared Grebes are quite common out West, here in the Great Lakes region, visits from this species are rare indeed.  I was very excited to get to see it.  In other birdy news, did you see this post on Vegansaurus about an 11-year-old raising $150K to help Gulf Coast birds?  So awesome!  And another bird-related thing!  I totally want to take John to see Rio, but I bet a $100 my parents do it first.  They’re grandparents, and that’s how they roll.  Feed the kid donuts and white bread* and take him to see all the fun movies before Mommy gets a chance.

I’m sorry.  What sweaters?

Yeah, so I’m not 100-percent happy with them, particularly the most recent one.  In spite of the fact that I seem to have a less than stellar success rate with sweaters, I have purchased many more sweater patterns, including White Russian, Irish Coffee, and Narragansett by Thea Colman, a.k.a. Baby Cocktails.  Maybe I should just stick to the small projects, like the mitts.

Except that the other projects I’m obsessed with right now are … blankets.

* Fact.  Actual transcription of John’s writing assignment for school about his Grandma: “My Grandma really loves me. My Grandma gets me all small, medium, and big LEGO sets. My Grandma does not make me eat wheat bread. My Grandma lets me eat white bread. My Grandma plays with me all the time.  I love my Grandma!”  I probably don’t need to spell this out, but (1) I do not buy white bread and (2) neither did my mom when I was growing up.

Take Two

March 27, 2011

This yarn was just too nice.  All that Malabrigo softness — and in a colorway that’s one of my favorite ever, Solis.  (I’ve had a skein of sockweight in this color for years because I can’t think of a pattern that’s special enough for it!)  My first attempt at a cowl with this beautiful yarn just wasn’t right.  For one thing, the fabric was too dense.  Size 13 needles are too small for Rasta.  And even though my finished piece before seaming was the right size, the cowl was way too small.

So I frogged it and made another one.  This time, I think I found success.

PatternMarshmallow Fluff by Sarah Kraly

Yarn: Malabrigo Rasta in Solis, less than one skein (about 30 grams leftover)

Needles:  Size US 17 (12.75 mm)

Size Before Seaming:  6.5 inches wide by 24 inches long

The only problem I foresee is that this cowl is warm.  I mean, raging furnace warm.  Definitely it is for deep winter.  Luckily, it’s been clear and cold lately!


In my belly! I made what might be the most delicious cookies ever today.  They’re Chocolate Fudgy Oatmeal Cookies, another recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.  Combining oatmeal, chocolate chips, cocoa in the batter, and (oh God, yes) dried cherries, they are full of happiness!  If you like cookies, go get this cookbook!  Now!

On the tube. I watched American Experience: Triangle Fire, to remember the 100th anniversary of the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.  This industrial disaster took the lives of over 100 workers, mostly young immigrant women, and spurred many much-needed regulations to protect workers and improve conditions in the garment industry and beyond.

Reading! I’ve really been enjoying the blog Vegansaurus.  It’s super funny, and full of great information for people who are trying to adopt a more-totally-plant-based diet like me.  I really liked their post, 11 Tips for New Vegans.  (Possibly somewhat ironically) I’ve been reading a great book — The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant.  It combines natural history, ethnography, science, suspense … a really great read.  There’s something incredibly evocative to me about the word taiga alone … if you agree, you might like this book.

Easily Distracted

March 13, 2011

I love the slipped stitches.

I had such good intentions to finish the Oatmeal Pullover this weekend.  But then a skein of Rasta (colorway: Solis) got in the way.

After much hemming, hawing, and Ravelry-searching, I decided the wham bam thank you lamb neckwarmer would be the pattern.  Lots of people have made it with Rasta, and I particularly liked LisaKay2004’s slip-stitch modification.  I checked my gauge.  I read the pattern.  I know I got a finished piece of knitting that is basically the same size as that called for in the pattern, but mine doesn’t have the slouch that I want.  Waaah.  I’m going to try getting it wet and blocking it bigger.

Also very likely: that I will buy another skein of this yarn in this same colorway and make another cowl!

Slow Morning

March 8, 2011

This morning, the piano for John-John (a generous gift from my parents) is being delivered.  So — lucky me — I get a nice, unrushed start to the day.  That means I get to drink my coffee sitting down in my “knitting corner” instead of standing up in front of the bathroom sink.  I’ve taken a brief hiatus from the blanket to finish a top-down sweater I started a few weeks ago.  Spring’s coming … the birds in the yard (mostly cardinals and finches) are singing their breeding songs.  It’s nice to hear them again!

I also took the time to make the Best-Breakfast-that-Isn’t-a-Green-Smoothie.  Oatmeal is my new go-to morning meal, even when eating out.  At home, I add a spoonful of peanut butter and sliced bananas.  Reasonable people can disagree on this point, but I think PB and bananas together are heavenly.  My two most delicious discoveries of the year are avocados in smoothies (thanks, Lolly) and peanut butter in oatmeal (props to Ashley).

And, now, back to the sleeves on that sweater…

This Week’s Fascinations

March 6, 2011

It’s a trend that seems to be sweeping the corner of the Interwebs I frequent … the green smoothie.  I’ve become a little addicted to having my vegetables for breakfast.  My favorite combination is avocado, spinach or kale or both, and strawberry.  I use frozen fruit, so ice cubes aren’t really necessary.  Most recipes use juice as a base, but I think the fruit makes it sweet enough.  Today, though, I made one with carrot-ginger juice (fresh, since my sweetheart bought me a juicer!), mango, pineapple, avocado and spinach.  It was not such a lovely color, but it tasted good.

The other fascination of the week has been the Big-Ass Granny Blanket.  I picked it up again last weekend and it’s growing.  It’s about 35 inches square now.  I’d like to make it big enough to snuggle under and cover my feet on the couch.  Maybe twenty more rounds or so?  It seems to be not-exactly-square, but I’m hoping that I can block it out.  It’s made up of odd balls and scraps of worsted weight 100% wool of various brands: Cascade 220, Wool of the Andes, Patons Classic, and a little Eco-Wool and Dream in Color Classy.  If When I finish it, I will be so pleased with myself, as it will be the biggest thing I’ve ever completed!

Yesterday, I had a seriously serendipitous vintage clothing score.  I went to meet my friend Cassie in Chagrin Falls for breakfast and knitting.  Afterwards, I stopped into Stash Style, a cute housewares and jewelry store which also sells chocolates and a little yarn.  Unfortunately, they are going to be closing the store and instead having barn sales in various locations around Northeast Ohio.  As I was looking around, I noticed two small racks of (mostly vintage) clothing.  On it, I found not one, BUT TWO, coats that fit me!  One of them is 100% cashmere!  They have some spots and aren’t perfect, but I have a different standard for vintage clothes.  Together, they cost $59.  Sweet.  The cashmere one has a label from a sadly defunct local department store, which makes it especially awesome in my opinion.

The Higbee Company Cleveland, Ohio

Today, the aforementioned sweetheart and I are brewing beer!  I’ve never done made beer before, but he was a professional brewer for many years at Terminal Gravity Brewing in Enterprise, Oregon.  Right now, we are “mashing in,” which basically involves making a whole lot of hot barley cereal.  It smells so good!  In a few weeks, we’ll have our own beer.