Monday, March 23, 2009

Craft Therapy

Ever had a hard day where nothing seemed to go right and you just feel off? I had one today. I feel wrung out and like I want to call in "exhausted" to work tomorrow. So this evening I'm knitting and watching hockey. My wool doesn't argue with me, nor does it vocalize dissent or question my decisions (although sometimes I question my decisions regarding the wool) so it's good therapy for a day like today.

Also good therapy is revisiting my weekend's accomplishments.

Friday evening/Saturday morning:
Sheep Shed 3 Ply

Sheep Shed 3 ply

4oz Sheep Shed brown mix mill ends. I don't know the exact wool blend. I'm really loving this wool. It spun so smoothly and has a really pleasing wooly feel without being overly scratchy. The first strip I pulled from the bag was exactly 4 oz. I had read here and there that sometimes the strips were quite short, so that was a nice surprise. I bought 2 lbs of the brown mix and 2 lbs of the black/grey mix... I'm planning good things for both. I think the brown mix will make a really nice jacket for me. As will the grey....

Quilt - hand quilting

Quilt back and front

My quilt. I've decided to hand quilt the cross-ways sashings and will work out some handquilting for the blocks. I'm using embroidery floss (which just happens to be exactly the color of the sashings! score!) and taking fairly big stitches, as far as quilting goes. I'm really loving the look of it and it's going fairly quickly, but I'm just enjoying the task and not rushing it.

New Bag

New Bag

Margaret Bag (tutorial found on the linked page) from Oh, Fransson!
Fabric: linen panel from Ikea and lined with some cotton from stash
I love this bag. I didn't read the dimensions on the bag before I started so I was a bit surprised at the finished size, but after using it today for work I realize how much I love it. My coworker tried to steal it. (no she didn't, but she really liked it so I watched her really closely all day)(haha)(Hi Wen Shu!)

I would love to make another in a more spring/summery fabric. The pattern/tutorial is very well written and easy to follow and the bag looks so much more tailored than other bags I've made without patterns/tutorials... I assume that is less my skill level and more the pattern, so thanks to Elizabeth for that!

And now, I plan to put down the back of my Hex Jacket (Oh yeah, i need to blog that) and lie down and watch Jack Bauer get out of and then into more trouble. I feel better now, having worked through some therapy, sigh.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm totally not blogging from work I don't know what you're talking about.

today is too quiet at work. but don't tell my boss that.

Exhibit 1: MSN conversation with my friend Sheri:
Lori says:
i'm about 3 seconds away from breaking out my knitting
Lori says:
i have ntohing to do
Lori says:
and my parcel (more fiber!!) is at the post office!!!
Lori says:
and it's super warm in here
Sheri says:
oh fun
Sheri says:
something to do this weekend
Lori says:
yeah so now i have to decide between going outside in the warm-ish air OR finishing my blanket OR finishing my sweater OR spinning like a maniac.
Lori says:
my life is hard
Lori says:
I didn't even put on that list "clean" or "eat" or "sleep"

I think I need to go home now... Anyone have any fun plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Reconstruction Weekend

It's Tuesday already, isn't it? wow. How did that happen? This past weekend unintentionally ended up being a recycle/reconstruct weekend for me and time just sort of flew by.


I had big plans of cleaning/organizing on Saturday but those plans went out the window when I came across a 100% wool sweater that was in the pile of clothing The Boy gave me for crafting/recycling.


I love the color and feel of the wool and knew I wanted to make something with it. I started to take it apart and realized that it was machine knit (but with good seams! yay!) from 2 strands of wool.

Now, here is where the "you WHAT?" questions would start from any non-Knitters/non-Crafters... but you won't do that, will you?

So, I didn't want to knit a whole sweater with 2 strands held together, so I decided to try spinning the 2 together, not plying exactly, more just creating a sort of melded yarn single.

sweater - single

This "single" was looking a touch fine for what I wanted, so I also tried plying my "single" back on itself. Now it was too thick.

sweater - 2 ply

So, I did what any reasonable Crafter/Knitter/Spinner would do when faced with a men's large 100% wool sweater knit with 2 strands of yarn held together.

I separated the 2 strands and then wound them on my ball winder and then chain (navajo?) plied them to make a 3 ply yarn that turned out to be JUST RIGHT. (about 180 yds/2 1/2 oz)

sweater - 3 ply

Much like Goldilocks.

Honestly, it didn't take nearly as long as it sounds like it would. (Although, also honestly, I have only done one sleeve's worth.) I love the feel of the finished yarn. I need to swatch it to be sure but I think it will end up being the perfect yarn. I want to knit the Tangled Yoke Cardigan from Interweave Knits and I think this will end up being just right for it. I hope. cross fingers/knock on wood/etc.


After brunch out with The Boy I came home and was compelled* to start working on a quilt I've had in mind since I first got the bag of clothes from The Boy. I had seen a quilt in a movie that looked like it was made with large sections of mens dress shirts and knew that was what i wanted to do with the shirts in the bag of clothing.

I first deconstructed each of the shirts (3 mens large 100% cotton shirts) and ironed them, squaring the ends and cutting them into the right widths.

quilt pieces

I then cut strips from a 100% cotton sheet I had leftover from my duvet cover. I pieced the shirts and strips and cut those strips into 5 foot lengths. Then I sewed the strips together and voila!

quilt top

It's about 5 feet wide and just over 5 1/2 feet long. Perfect for napping or curling up on the couch.

Now i just need to quilt it. I got impatient yesterday and decided to sew it together so that it's got finished edges already (i.e. not bound... i can't think of the term for what I mean!!) I plan to machine quilt along the long lines and, if i'm patient enough, do some quilting in the blocks as well.

I wonder if anyone would be suspicious if I called in "sick" this afternoon?? not that I would... or would I?

*seriously, COMPELLED. I started pulling the shirts out while I still had my jacket on. I started on this project at 12 noon and, with a brief break for supper, worked until 8 or so in the evening. I kept thinking "just this little bit more" and next thing I knew it was evening. I can't be the only one who ever does this, right?

***ETA: Now I'm thinking about the quilt and seriously considering tying it instead of machine quilting. The material for the "batting" is not very lofty, so I would probably not get the super cool quilting that I love so much, plus it would be faster. But I do so love the graphic look of straight quilting lines... Oh I'm so terrible with decisions!! Any advice? Any strong opinions??

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Lentil Soup

... in which I pretend to be a Foodie

Lentil soup

The conditions were perfect: We had a big dump of snow over night and it's cold (-15C/5F at 1:30 pm) so I wanted some warming soup, but I didn't have any soup in the apartment. I've been meaning to write down my recipe for Lentil Soup for my friend Sheri. The light was perfect in my kitchen... and I have a new camera (yippee) and wanted to play. So, my apologies, this one's picture heavy.

I don't remember where exactly I got the recipe, I couldn't find it in my cookbooks today when I was looking, so I just winged it. The quantities may need to be adjusted to suit your personal preferences.

Bring 2 Cups red Lentils, water & chicken broth to a boil.

Coarsely chop 1 small-medium onion.

olive oil
Heat 1 Tbsp olive (or vegetable/canola) oil in a skillet. Sautee onion & garlic and add spices.

Add curry powder, corriander, cumin, crushed red pepper, garam masala (if available).

spices cooking
Cook spices, onions and garlic for 5 minutes.

Lentil Soup in pot
Stir in onions, garlic and spices. Cook for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 cup milk or light cream, stirring to combine. Let it cool for a bit, even though you'll be soooo hungry after smelling it cooking...

Lentil soup 2

The Recipe:

Lentil Soup
Combine in a large pot:
2 cups Red Lentils
4 cups water
4 cups chicken broth (or 4 cups water & 4 tsp chicken broth powder)
1/2 tsp cumin
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Turn heat to low/medium-low as soon as it reaches a boil.

In a skillet heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil (or vegetable oil). Add:
1 small/medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp corriander
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garam masala (I have it on hand so I threw it in today. I have made the soup without also)
1/2 tsp salt
Cook for 5 minutes then add to soup pot, stirring to combine.
Cook for 30-45 minutes over medium low heat. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup milk or light cream, stirring to combine.

This was fun! I'm no Melanie but I can see why people get excited about taking pictures of food! I do have knitting and other things to share... Now that we've had the time change I'll be able to take pictures when I get home from work from time to time. So... I'll post knitting/spinning/weaving updates soon.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

"So whatcha doin'?"

Anytime the Boy calls he asks me "So whatcha doin'?" Inevitably I'm knitting, spinning, weaving or sewing. When he called this afternoon and asked this, I was cutting scrap fabric for a quilt top. He asked "Are you ever not working on something crafty? Don't you ever just not do anything?" I had to think about that one. I can't think of the last time I wasn't making something. Sometimes while watching TV I'll put my knitting down for a while but never for long.

So today I finished this:



eta: oops! forgot the details:
Pattern: Irish Moss Toque (Ravelry link here)
Yarn: Mystery wool (similar to Patons Classic Wool) from Walmart ($4.99/lb bag! woo!)
Mods: -I knit 2 1/2 inches with a finer wool in the same color for a liner to cover my ears on the inside. I knit a turning round with my main wool and then started the cable pattern. I tacked this liner down after it was complete.
-my gauge was off so I started my decreases for the top 1/2 way through the 2nd repeat of the chart - the pattern called for starting after the 2nd repeat. Actually, i didn't discover that my gauge was off until I had completed the 2nd repeat of the chart. I told the Boy "I should have checked my gauge!" to which he replied "Of course! Why didn't you check your gauge? You should know better! I always check my gauge" and so on. I let him go on for a while before I finally asked him "do you even know what that means?" Which, of course, he did not. I called him a dumbass and proceeded to rip out 10 rounds of cables. Fun.

And I cut all of these:


and started sewing this:


So, a fairly typical day. You? What do you do with your "free" time? Do you or can you just "not do anything"? (yeah that question is terrible grammatically speaking but you get the drift)