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Archive for December, 2009

I Am Woman!

Ok, so the push ups/squats/ crunches program started again with great intentions. It’s supposed to be 6 weeks, but me being the rebel I am (or dare I say, lazy?) am going to settle on just finishing it.

That’s good right? Right??…….

At one time now, I can do:

Pushups: 12 — Sit-ups: 20 — Squats: 35

……. That’s what I thought :P

Can I add that I’m now supplementing it with my new Wii Fit?! Woo! Got it for Christmas! Amazing! It’s silly but fun, and let just give it this testament: I still like it even though it weighed me, did my BMI, called me overweight, THEN made my little Mii (Wii character version of myself that I made) plump up! The game proceeded to fill out her little middle, making my Mii a little chubby…

But you know what? She’s still pretty darn cute ;)

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Cookies!

I had a great cookie party last week, and instead of posting about it, I’ve just been eating the cookies.

Luckily, I took pictures :)

The cookies lived on our expanded kitchen table until they were given better homes. For cookies, a better home means my tummy :) We didn’t have enoug tupperware to hold them all, so I just covered the table in plastic wrap… it worked, I guess. The kitchen smelled delicious for a few days!

I think everyone there would agree that the decorating was actually more fun than the cutting and baking. We used store bought dough and it didn’t cut very well… We had a lot of trial and error – misshapen elves and gangly reindeer – until I figured out later that kneading powdered sugar into the dough thickened it up enough to use the cookie cutters with ease! So if you’re ever trying this at home, don’t forget the powdered sugar :)

Mmmm.

EAT. Knit. Run. Blog.

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These turned out better than I hoped… and believe me, I was worried.

End result: They took about 8 hours to make (perhaps this could be sped up with experience with the pattern). 

For felting, I have a top loading high efficiency washer…. with no agitator in the middle…. 

So it was absolutely a brand new challenge trying to get these $%#%^ing slippers to felt :) 

::Ahem:: 

I tried two loads in the washer – barely felted. The next step came when I was sitting the kitchen fuming over the non-felt and trying to figure out what to do in such little time when I looked at my kitchenaid mixer, and just like in the cartoons, a light bulb lit over my head. ::Ding!:: Hot water! Agitation!… I don’t know what makes me think some things could possibly work out, but I’m generally an adventurous person and willing to try new things…. 

Felting... in the mixer

 

It was VERY wet – water sloshed and splashed everywhere – and I nearly broke my mixer!In the end, I actually got the damn things to felt. Just the straps at this point though, because only they fit into the bowl without jamming the mixer!

Tip: Don’t walk away from themixer if you try this yourself… and keep it on the low setting….  

Or really, don’t try to felt in a mixer! 

I ended up felting the rest of the slippers in the dryer – voila. I put them in a bag at high heat and re-wet and molded them every five minutes or so until they fit my feet without falling off. 

What an experience :) 

Eat. KNIT. Run. Blog.

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Fudge!

No, that’s not a creative ephemism to cover up an expletive. My good friend, Gwen, and I made fudge!

No really, we did. (Update… my camera has decided to not work at the moment, pics coming soon)

This recipe was passed from my grandma to my mom to me. My mom makes this delicious fudge every single year. In fact, she makes multiple batches of fudge. Every year! It’s her thing. As a kid I would watch her deftly carve perfect squares of fudge out of a cake pan, arrange them symmetrically onto holiday plates, wrap them in colored plastic, then tie them with gobs of curling ribbons. She gives them out to everyone in her church choir… and since she is the wife of the choir director (Enter: Dad), that means dozens of plates. Just call her Martha.

Well, this year, I’m living in my own house and tried my own hand at fudge – without supervision – for the first time ever. With Gwen’s assistance, I think we did a pretty darn good job. It’s smooth, creamy, chocolatey – but how the heck did my Martha-Mom get those perfect squares cut out of the the cake pans??? The world may never know.

EAT. Knit. Run. Blog.

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Holy loose-ends, Batman!

Ugh, sewing up the seams, and weaving in the tails… Just look at them. They’re staring at me.

At this point, the pieces did not take 3 hours exactly… More like 5 hours, but I did have to redo a couple parts because I was watching movies and not concentrating. Oops.

Now, the pieces are all stockinette stitch (St st) and they’re skinny and curling like crazy. The next step is seaming. Ugh. Then felting. Scary. Hooray for last minute knitting :)

Wish me luck!

P.S. Sorry for the horrible picture. My New Year’s resolution this year will be to take more shots in natural light :P

Eat. KNIT. Run. Blog.

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The Fabulous Life of a Knitter

I found this the other day. I wrote it for an english creative writing class :) Thought I’d share.

**

Beads of sweat are rolling off my brow. The very fate of the world could rest upon this choice and the clock is ticking down the seconds. I try to steady my shaking hands as I reach into the jumble of colors strewn in front of me. Red, green, blue? It’s got to be the red one… but it’s always the red one… The clock seems to get faster and faster.  10. 9. 8… My heart beats so hard I feel it in my throat… 7.6.5.4… Make a decision! There’s no more time! 3…2…1…!

“Excuse me, ma’am, but we’re closing the store now.”

I look up at the saleswoman like a half-crazed animal, up to my elbows in the discount yarn bin. She backs away as I draw my arm out of the irresistible sea of half-priced fibers, fist clamped around a beautiful cotton/wool blend the exact hues of aging copper and hold it high above my head. This will do.

A knitted sweater can consist of thousands of stitches, and I love knowing that I put every single one in there. And THEN I sewed it together. By hand. Do I love it because I’m power hungry and I like lording my superiority over others? Maybe. But mostly I just like to knit. When I am not knitting I feel like part of me is missing. I think it’s the yarn part of me.

But seriously, knitting is pretty bad-ass when you think about it. We’re talking two pointy sticks, made of wood or metal, with which you could put out your own eyes and/or the eyes of anyone who travels within a ten foot radius. Hours of work can be lost in the time it takes the dog to decide that your project would make the perfect tug toy and proceed to drag it to the backyard where she whips it around in the primal “neck snapping” motion, then promptly digs a hole and covers it with muddy earth. Maybe it’s for the best when that happens. At least the project gets a decent burial. Because you know I’m not going to unravel that crap, wash it, and then knit it again just to salvage a purchase. That’s what the discount yarn bins are for.

Some days are more interesting than others. Like the days when I throw the knitting across the room because I’ve screwed up the pattern for the tenth time that hour and have to go back three rows AGAIN. That’s when I decide the project is out to get me. There are little demons lying in wait inside some patterns that cause you to do the most awful things. Like missing a vital stitch twenty-seven rows back, but it’s totally obvious and there’s no way you could pass it off as, “Yeah it was part of the pattern, weird huh,” because you were (totally paying attention, but) watching The Lord of the Rings for the billionth time. I love those movies.

But in the end, even after hours of cursing at the blob of yarn on the needles and banishing it to the spot behind the couch for a week, nothing compares to the feeling of finally wearing my hand-knit garment. In reality, not all projects are filled with cursing and shots of tequila.

**

Eat. KNIT. Run. Blog.

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A Word about Felting Wool

Wool... not acrylic

Did you know that only wool will felt? Neither did I!

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I learned during a  misguided (you might even call it cute) attempt to felt… acrylic yarn. Ha ha ha… Well, people, Jenny learned that day that acrylic yarn does not, in fact, felt. It just gets kind of scruffy looking, but that might have been from the scrub brush I attacked the thing with out of desperation!

To any who are unfamliar with felting wool, it is the process where the wool becomes extremely dense in hot water and agitation. The fibers in wool are just like the fibers on your very own head (give or take). People with dredlocks have felted hair :)

Whenever you knit something to felt you will be knitting it a LOT bigger than the finished product. Remember your favorite sweater that you accidentally threw in the dryer and an hour later looked like it could fit a toddler? Yup, you felted your wool sweater.

Tips:

– When you felt the pieces you also want to throw in a little bit of detergent (or some fancy wool wash if you please) to get through the natural oils so the fibers will really stick together.

– Use your washing machine (hand felting takes TIME) – A top loader works best so you can take out your piece and check its progress every 5 minutes or so

– Felt our pieces in a tied up pillowcase! Or a zipperbag. If you felt often, or you felt something large, in your washer the fibers WILL collect and block the drain! Hello, Mr. Repairman – Goodbye, Mr. Paycheck.

– Add jeans, tennis balls, shoes, or anything heavy and washable, into the wash; it will help with agitation.

– I usually toss my pieces in the dryer for a minute or two (mine is high heat) to get the drying process started. Otherwise, depending on how dense your piece is and the humidity it could take days to dry out.

Happy felting :)

Eat. KNIT. Run. Blog.

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