Monthly Archives: August 2012

FO: Little Obammies

Here is a little small project that has been causing me a lot of trouble!  Well, not trouble, but sometimes I just want to sit down and knit instead of thinking every step out.

Lucas has been working furiously on his Obama video project.  It is an animated support video that he is hoping will drum up some motivation among Democratic voters.  He has gotten a number of animators to help him by volunteering their time and skills.  I am going to make little thank you bags for each of his contributors.  This will be the main item.  I don’t know if they’ll be as excited about it as I am!

Without further ado, the Obammies!

Each one is about 3 inches tall.  They are not quite as cute as I intended, but the President doesn’t have to be cute, I suppose.

My Rav page here.

Pattern: My own, and forthcoming.

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in Black, White, Doe Heather, and a few other miscellaneous.

Needles: US2 1/2

I plan on writing up the pattern, and either releasing it for free, or for a donation to the video or campaign.  The knitter should be familiar with knitting I-cord, working in the round, increasing and decreasing.  His shirt is done using stranded knitting, but could also be duplicate stitched.  Let me know if there’s any interest and I’ll start formatting my pattern.  I need to make one more Obama, but I might use the next one to make a step-by-step photo tutorial.

Also, is calling him Obammie come off offensive or dis-respectful?  He could just be called Tiny Obama.

Have a great weekend everyone!



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Tasty Tuesday: Japanese Red Bean Donuts

I have been trying to cut down on sugar the last few months.  I am only allowed to have desserts on special occasions (which happen more often than you’d think).  But if an item has less than 10grams of sugar in a serving, then it is okay.  That’s how Lucas and I stumbled across these little “donuts”.

Here we are at the Mitsuwa market at Centinela/Venice.  It is a cake donut-like batter that is fried (I think) and has red bean paste in the middle.  And granulated sugar on the outside.  But here’s the trip.  According to the package, there is only 5 grams of sugar…in 2.5 of those donuts!  Only 10 grams of sugar for that whole package?!  It just doesn’t add up.  Lucas bought them the first time and then realized that they are totally dessert.  Maybe the sugar on the outside just confuses us or something.  But a mochi ball, the size of one of those donuts, with red bean paste has something like 20grams of sugar in it.  Here’s the back of the package:

There were even several brands of the same item that had similar sugar levels.  There’s a sticker covering it, but sugar is the second ingredient!  I’ve been looking for a recipe online, but can’t find anything similar.  The package says “Tomitaya” but that doesn’t bring up any hits.  It seems to be similar to Anpan, which is a Japanese bread, often filled with red bean, but they look pretty different.

In any case, they are delicious.  The bean paste is slightly on the dry side, so it all seems to crumble together and dissolve in your mouth.  I’m a big fan, and I’d like to learn more.  If you know what the deal is with these donuts, let me know!  Lucas has a theory that they are the favorite snack of an organized crime boss in Japan and all of his subordinates are engaged in a world-wide conspiracy to hide the sugar content from their boss.  What do you think?

I’ve gotten a lot of spinning done in the last few weeks, so I’ll show you some of that next time.

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FO: Lacey Cabled Sweater Dishcloths

After all my setbacks, and all my bitching (not really online, but to all my friends and loved ones) about these washcloths, they are finally done!

My Rav page here.

Pattern: Lacey Cabled Sweater Washcloth by Heidi Sunday

Yarns (from L to R): Sugar ‘n Cream in Key Lime Pie, Sugar ‘n Cream in Lime(?), Knitting Fever King Tut, Knit One Crochet Too 2nd Time Cotton, Red Heart Creme de la Creme

Needles: US4 and US6.

Mods: I started out using larger needles, 5s and 7s,  the pattern calls for 6s and 8s, but I knit loose.  My washcloth made of Sugar ‘n Cream ended up 10″ across, including the arms.  Huge.  I went down another needle size.  I also removed two seed stitches off of each side of the sweater.  I also made sure to bind-off tightly across the neck and shoulders.  This helps it keep its shape a little better.  And it doesn’t need to go over anyone’s head, so tight is okay.

These washcloths are for the Annual Dishcloth Swap on Ravelry.  The deadline to get them in has been pushed back to Sept. 8, so you still have time to get yours in!  There is a size requirement of over 6″x6″ and no larger than 9″x9″.  This is a pretty broad range, but I was worried about getting my Sugar ‘n Cream ones under 9″.  Those sleeves add 1″ on either side!

I would still recommend the pattern.  It’s a fair amount of work for a dishcloth, but I think it’s worth it.  It would be a good project to learn a lot of new skills.  There is ribbing, cables, some lace, and picking up stitches.  I wish it had been charted out.  I thought about charting it because I made six washcloths, but I never got around to it.  If someone begs me, I’ll do it for them though.

Maybe I wouldn’t make another one in variegated yarn.  It is a little much, but I don’t hate it.  I hope it goes to someone who loves crazy patterning!

This one is my favorite:

Oh, and also.  Although I like how the Creme de la Creme yarn turned out, it was the worst ball of yarn ever!  The first half of the ball had two knots and three spots were the yarn was torn and I needed to cut it apart.  Very disappointing.

I got a lot of pretty ones last year.  I need to integrate dishcloths/washcloths into my life because these are too nice to be sitting in a linen closet!  From the 2011 swap:

And these are the ones that I sent.  I still like them, but I feel kind of bad about them.  They are a little bit crazy.  I was trying out a stitch pattern from Lynne Barr’s Reversible Knitting book (Just noticed that it is bargain priced, and this book is so cool!).

Sometimes I need to stop trying something new and just knit a really cute existing pattern!  Right now I’m trying to make up a pattern for a tiny knit Obama, and it is taking me awhile.  I just want to knit something straight from a pattern without futzing with it!

Anyone else knitting or crocheting washcloths for the swap?




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Tasty Tuesday: Egg and Cheese Bagel Sandwich

Saturday night Lucas and I met up with some of his friends that were visiting from Sweden and with Lauren and Dylan for drinks.  Afterwards I got roped into dancing and tequila shots with the visiting Swedes.  I think this would have been more fun if I had planned accordingly and didn’t have a huge shoulder bag purse with me the whole time.  And we had walked, so I couldn’t just leave my purse in the car.  This is just a rambling introduction to explain why I slept in until 11am the next day with a slight hangover and a craving for greasy food.  Enter the bagel sandwich:

Lucas and I happened upon Thai Garden, a Marina del Rey food stand a few months ago after we went parasailing.  This food stand sells sandwiches, ice cream and Thai food.  Kind of weird.  They also happen to make the best Egg and Cheese Bagel Sandwiches!  I can not vouch for the Thai food.  I usually wouldn’t drive out of my way for a breakfast sandwich, but have had trouble finding other bagel sandwiches around.  Lucas would characterize it as a “bodega-style” bagel sandwich, a la New York.  I haven’t been to New York City in about ten years since looking into grad schools (ten years ago!?!) so can’t speak to that.  All I know is they manage to use cheap grocery store bagels and cheese food and turn it into the world’s greatest bagel.  I think they use a lot of butter or oil.  It’s also a nice little area on the Marina.

They were setting up for some live music when we got there.  There is a deli right next to it, in a lighthouse-shaped building.  It makes me feel like I’m in Arrested Development.  Though I think Arrested Development is set in Newport Beach, not Marina del Rey.  It’s like we’re at the banana stand!

We took our frozen banana for a little walk.  And on one of the boat slips were all these pelicans!  And you can barely tell, but there were also two seals, or maybe they were sea lions!  It felt like we were on vacation in another city.

There is so much to do in Los Angeles.  This was all just a couples miles from Lucas’s place in Venice.  Next time we’ll ride our bikes there.  I should have gotten more pictures of the sandwich, but I think you get the idea.  I’m going to have to try to make one myself at home.  I think the trick is butter…  Do you know of other places around town for a good bagel sandwich?

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FO: Rosie Headband

I’ve been working on small projects since the Olympics.  I am working on a set of washcloths for the Annual Dishcloth Swap.  They are killing me though.  So many problems getting them to the right size, and annoying yarn.  I keep wondering why I even bother because I don’t even use them!  I have two, out of my required 5, done.

I also made this little number:

My Rav page here.

Pattern: Rosie Headband by Jane Richmond, a free pattern from Vogue and Spud &Chloe

Yarn: Shibui Knits Sock in Chinese Red, .2-.25 skein

Start Date: August 13, 2012

Finish Date: August 14, 2012

Mods: None.  I have a fairly large head, so if I had a regular or small head, I would make it a little bit shorter than in the pattern.  The lace stitch pattern is only two patterning rows, so is pretty easy to memorize.  It just takes looking at where the decreases line up over the yo pattern.

I used up sock yarn scraps, and used even less than I thought I would need.

More Iphone-in-the-mirror pictures:

My hair is growing back so quickly!  I really need to shave it down again.

I thought this headband might look cool with my haircut.  But sometimes I would catch a glimpse of it, and it felt like when you put a little elastic headband on a baby’s head to indicate that it is a girl.  Like in this hipstamatic shot:


I have some ideas of what the next garment I knit will be, but might try to crank out a few more small things first…

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Ravellenic Games 2012 Wrap-up

I got it done!!  This was a bit of a nail biter.  I finished late on Saturday night/early Sunday morning.  It wasn’t dry until Monday morning though.  I got some pictures taken on Monday.  I just want to note that I was modeling this dress in Los Angeles heat wave weather.  Yuck.

Pattern: Sparkle! Dress by Shirley Paden – was a free pattern from a Vogue anniversary issue

Yarn: Knit Picks Telemark in Fjord Heather and Black, about 5 and 6 balls respectively.

Start Date: July 27, 2012

Finish Date: August 12, 2012

Mods: Substantial.  I made this in the round instead of flat (!?) as written in the pattern.  I cast on 240 stitches for the smaller size, because I didn’t need any selvedge stitches.  As I wrote about last week, this ended up being way too big.  I started over, and took out an entire pattern repeat, 40 stitches.  I also used smaller needles.  When I got to the back slit, I made sure that it would land in between two medallions.  I cast-on steek stitches for this.  My row gauge was a bit off as well, so I started just going by measurements and not by the pattern directions anymore.  I knew I wanted a slightly higher (less deep) slit than was in the pattern.  I want to be able to wear a bra with this.  My guesstimate of height turned out perfectly, because it starts right above my bra strap!

I also cast-on steek stitches for the armholes and the neck.  I wanted to keep going in the round and not work back and forth.  It was also a bit of a personal challenge for me.  I have cut steeks before, but never really planned where to put them before.  I was a little confused because the pattern calls for bind-off stitches at the armholes in kind of stairstep shaping.  I wasn’t sure how to do this with a steek.  In the first round of the armholes, I bound off the first set of stitches (8) and kept going in the round.  On the second round, I put 3 stitches on either side of the bound off stitches on waste yarn, and cast on my 9 steek stitches.  I bet this sounds convoluted.  For the rest of the armhole shaping, I just decreased on either side of the steek.  I kind of winged it, eyeballing it to see if it looked like the right curve to me.  I used the same technique on the neckhole.  I was slightly worried that the neckline would look like a straight line, then raglan lines up the shoulders, but it ended up with a nice curve.  And when the steek stitches are there, it’s impossible to try on the dress to see how it it going.  Here’s an in-progress shot:

And a closeup of the neckline steeks:

If I had to do it again, I would make the steek stitches closest to the body all in one color.  Just so it was a little more obvious where the steek was.  But it didn’t make much of a difference.  On the decreases next to the steeks, I decreased toward the steek (ssk on the right side, and k2tog on the left side) on the very last stitch.  As supposed to having selvedge stitches.  And I would usually decrease in towards the body.  But they look really clean doing it this way, on shaping next to steeks.

I reinforced my steeks by handstitching.  I did backstitch with black sewing thread.  I used to do a crochet steek, but I wanted to try something new, and I couldn’t find my old directions for crochet reinforcement.  I also thought it might not be that important, since I had used wool.  But boy, am I glad that I did.  I feel like they started unraveling in towards the stitching pretty quickly.  I cut the steeks and picked up stitches around the armholes, and around the neck and back slit.  Here’s a bad picture of me picking up around the cut steek:

I picked up stitches, and then did an applied I-cord on all open edges.  For the neck, I did a continuous I-cord from the back slit, all the way around the neck.  I did a few extra rows of I-cord on the back neck to make a button loop.

You can also see how I trimmed the steek stitches and tacked them down around the edge.  I found this button in my stash, so I didn’t have to go out and find one:

I had cast on provisionally to start the dress.  I released all of those stitches from my crochet chain and did an I-cord bind-off over those stitches as well.

This was kind of a crap shoot how it was going to turn out, and I feel like I got lucky that it worked!  I found a few small colorwork mistakes after I was done, but I did some quick duplicate stitching over the mistakes and I can barely find them now.  It evened out so nice after blocking.  It also loosened up a bit too.  When I tried it on right after I finished it, it was pretty snug.  When I was making it, people asked me if it was for me, or for a young girl.  I think it turned out the perfect size.  Would I love a little waist shaping?  Sure.  But I guess it is a shift dress.

And here she is!  Phew!  I am looking forward to some small projects!

(Looking in to the sun…)

Did you make it to the finish line?



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Friday Fail?

I’ve been knitting like a fiend for the Ravellenic Games.  I picked a stranded shift dress to complete during the 16 days.  I knit up my swatch and was ready to go for the Olympic opening ceremonies.  I was making fairly good progress.  At Stitch ‘n’ Bitch the Monday before last, I made a flip comment about how I should probably recheck my gauge, but that I wasn’t going to do it.  Mostly I didn’t want to find a tape measure.  This is something I do all the time.  Not necessarily not check gauge, but pick the hardest route, but just out of laziness.  Like when I don’t want to stand up and go across the room to get a darning needle, so I use my knitting needles in a roundabout way of threading through stitches.  I would say that I am notorious for this behavior, but to be notorious, other people would probably have to take note of it.  I do tend to make my life harder just out of dislike for an easy small action.

The dress was looking good, no?:

The pattern is the Sparkle! Dress by Shirley Paden.  I am knitting it in Knit Picks Telemark, in Fjord Heather and Black.  It is supposed to be a sport weight yarn, but really feels thicker than that to me.

Fast forward to Wednesday (6 days into the Games) at midnight.  I decide to try this little puppy on.  And it is gigantic!  My gauge was crazy off.  Like each repeat should be 7 inches, and I was closer to 9!  I don’t know what happened!  Well, I only did a small gauge swatch and I never checked on my progress, so that could be it.  I spent a long time that night brainstorming how to salvage my progress.  I could make it a skirt with a slit, and cut out the extra.  I could make it a big puffy skirt.  I could cut it open and make it a baby blanket.  I could find another project to do for the Ravellenic Games and put this shit behind me.

(Notice how big this is?!  And this is even over a denim skirt!)

My gauge was so off, that I wasn’t sure going down needle sizes would help me much.  And I knew that if I was going to start over there was no way I would keep as many stitches.  I ripped the whole thing out, and started over.  I went down one needle size, and also cut out an entire repeat.  40 stitches less each round.  I am now starting the armholes.  I can’t be sure this isn’t going to be a real mess.  But at this point, worst case scenario, I just cut off the top and it will be a knit skirt.  That sounds doable.  It seems unlikely that I will finish on Sunday, but you never know.  I’ll post an update next week and let you know if I made it on time.

Are you going to finish by the closing ceremonies?


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