Monthly Archives: October 2012

FO: Dragonflies Jumper


Another Joji pattern done!  This was also done for the Joji KAL going on in her Ravelry group.  This is my second Joji sweater in a row.  I might take a breather, but I have already bought a pattern for a third…

My Rav page here.

Pattern: Dragonflies Jumper by Joji Locatelli

Yarn: Knit Picks City Tweed in Lemon Curd, 7.2 balls

Needles: US 7 for the body, and US6 for the garter edges.

Start Date: October 6, 2012

Finish Date: October 26, 2012

Mods:  Not many.  I had thought I would run out of yarn and would go with 3/4 length sleeves.  I ended up with more than enough yarn for the full length sleeves!  I did only 6 garter ridges on the neckline.  I like the high neck that the pattern calls for, but I had been worried about yarn consumption, and maybe this is more wearable for me.  I knit the first sleeve as written and found that it was really loose.  I just kept denying it to myself, right down to the wrist!  Before actually finishing the first sleeve, I decided to start the second sleeve with more frequent decreases.  I decreased every 8th row, as supposed to every 12th that my size called for.  I am really glad that I did, it made my sleeves much slimmer, but still loose enough for a long sleeve shirt underneath.

When I took this off the needles, the garter edging on the bottom was flaring out like crazy!  I even tightened up my bind-off a couple times.  I thought about ripping back and redoing it on the smaller needles like the other edgings.  But after a good blocking, it decided to behave itself.

Not much more to say.  This went fairly quickly.  Though I had heard about how quick it knit up, so 20 days ended up feeling like a long time!  Maybe if I hadn’t knit three sleeves…

This yarn is very soft.  I was kind of surprised when I pulled it out of the bag.  Much softer than other tweeds.  I did feel like the nepps were barely spun in, like I could easily just pick them all out.  It is soft against the skin, though I do feel some of the prickliness that alpaca can have.  I think this one will get lots of use once the weather finally changes.

Anyone have any good Halloween costumes ready for tomorrow?



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FO: Vlad

Halloween is coming!  I am a big fan of the holiday.  Costumes, candy, all of it.  When I saw this pattern I knew that I wanted to make it.  Lucas’s cousin Wiley was coming to town and he was celebrating his 30th birthday.  Perfect occasion for a vampire that reverses into a bat… right?

Pattern: From Vlad to Bat by Justyna Kacprzak

Yarn: Cascade 220 in Natural and Black, Knit Picks Palette in Wallaby, doubled for wings

Hook: E/4  3.50mm

Start Date: Oct. 23, 2012

Finish Date: Oct. 24, 2012

He reverses to this little guy:

I used TOHO silver lined purple 6/0 beads for the bat eyes.  The nose is some pink cotton thread.

For Vlad’s eyes, I just made knots out of the black yarn and secured them in the back.  I added little bloody fangs made from red felt and glued on.

I think Wiley really liked it.  I went out for dinner with his family that was visiting, to Yamashiro restaurant overlooking Hollywood.  The views were amazing, especially because of the Santa Ana winds we’re having.  So clear.  During the summer they have a Farmer’s Market up there that is a lot of fun to go to.  Live music and food trucks.  Too bad that for dinner, you really just have to suck it up and pay for valet parking.  If you know me, you know that I hate to pay for parking ever!  The salmon that I had was delicious, though the restaurant is priced a little high.

You should make your own Vlad into Bat for Halloween!  But keep your eye on this guy.  You think it’s a cute, harmless little bat…

…and that’s when he sinks his teeth into you!

(Okay, not my best make-up job, but this was before work one morning)

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Tasty Tuesday: LA coffee shops

On Sunday I picked up Lucas from the airport and we went on a real food bender. We started it off with brunch at Pann’s, an amazing Los Angeles institution. Opened in 1958 in the Googie style of architecture. It is still family owned and operated. I had a breakfast special with fried chicken, eggs, grits and a biscuit. I had been years ago but for some reason hadn’t made it back there. Lucas had never been before despite being a Los Angeles native. We are now in love with this place! It is so well maintained and the clientele was so diverse. It just has a real authenticity that you don’t get every day. I forgot to get Lucas’s pictures, but here’s one of their original menu:


It’s definitely worth a trip. I know Ellen is a big fan and she knows all the hot spots!

After brunch we went over to Target and then just had to stop by See’s Candies. See’s started in Los Angeles though the factory on La Cienega isn’t the first location. We only got a few pieces of candy. My old favorite was the Scotchmallow, but ever since I discovered the Butterscotch Square there has been no going back. It tastes like it’s virtually brown sugar in a chocolate casing. Yum!

That afternoon we went and saw The Master at the Westside Pavilion. For dinner we ate at The Apple Pan. Since I don’t eat red meat, I always get the egg salad sandwich, and fries of course.

Meat eaters seem to think the thing to get is the Hickoryburger.

My only saving grace from the day of eating was that I didn’t order any pie! Despite the name, I find the apple pie at Apple Pan to be a little lackluster. I always get the banana cream pie which is really something special.

Recently there has been a turnover in staff at Apple Pan, which is a little sad, but people have to retire some time!

The next day for lunch, I ended up at the 101 Coffee Shop. I like going there too, but after going to such great authentic restaurants it feels a little contrived. It was re-modeled sometime recently and is now very retro styled and a real haven for Hollywood hipsters. Worth a stop though, if you’re in the area.

Hopefully better pictures to come in the future!

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Sewing FO!: Lined Drawstring Bag

I am not much of a sew-er.  I just wrote that out, and realized that that is really probably not a word or it wouldn’t look almost identical to sewer.  I’ve had an old Pfaff sewing machine (1970’s?) for about 10 years that I got from a friend’s grandmother.  It is extremely heavy and is part of a side table.  It got jammed or out of alignment a couple years ago and I just haven’t used it since.  And really all that I sew is Halloween costumes, so I didn’t worry about it too much.
But I have gotten a lot more sewing curious since a lot of bloggers that I read have gotten into quilting and sewing over the years.  And last month, my friends Eve and Michele hosted a little bag sewing challenge.  I was kind of sad that I couldn’t participate.  And low and behold, guess what was delivered to me at work?  A new sewing machine, courtesy of my Mom!  It was an early birthday present.  So exciting!

I immediately went out to Jo-Ann’s and bought some fabric.  And two days within getting my new machine, I made this bag:

I used this tutorial to make this lined drawstring bag.  Very easy!  It only took me an evening, and that included setting up my machine and trying to cut straight lines without a ruler or rotary cuter.  I have some sewing experience, but I am totally still a beginner.

Here is the inside:

Okay, so it doesn’t photograph well.  I bought a small stack of fabrics and Lucas helped me pick out which ones to go together.  He is quite proud of himself of how this one turned out.  I have gotten plenty use out of this bag already, and a number of compliments each time I pull it out.  I will probably make more.  I have since bought a mat, ruler and rotary cutter so the next one should be much easier!  Jeni just recently posted a tutorial on how to make one with diagonal stripes on it.  I am trying to learn something new with each project, so it might be a good project to try paper piecing out on.

I really like to read blogs about sewing from vintage garment patterns and about quilting, so I’m not sure where this sewing bug will take me.  (Well, the machine has been dormant for at least a week already, so it might not be a real obsession…)  I will most likely go the quilting route, because I already have one hobby that frustrates me with having to make fitting garments.  I think I will finally give my library card some exercise and check out some quilting books.

I finished this bag in time for the Skein and Skein bag challenge, but didn’t finish my two other bags.  I have one more sewing project to show you sometime next week.  Have a great weekend everyone!  Maybe I’ll do some more sewing!


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Haapsalu shawl class

On Sunday, I took an all-day class on knitting Haapsalu shawls with Nancy Bush, offered through the Sand N Sea knitting guild. It was a lot of fun and I even finished my class sample during the class. I’ve often left classes with an unfinished project that I’ve never gone back to complete.

In a traditional Haapsalu shawl ( Haapsalu being a town in Estonia) the edgings are knit separately and then sewn on to the center later. This way the edging can begin from the outside points and work inward, allowing for different patterning than picked up edgings. Traditionally these shawls were knit as a cottage industry and the whole family could be knitting on the same shawl at once.

Here’s my little class project. I even blocked it out that night!


The borders are done in two parts, sewn to the center and then they are seen together in the two corners. It is a traditional Lily of the Field motif. This used Jamison’s Lace weight yarn and is about a foot in height.

I’m not sure if there are any Estonian shawls in my future. The one on the cover of Nancy’s book is pretty appealing to me. It does feel like a waste to knit a square shawl just to fold it in half though.

Any nupp fans out there? If I knit the shawl, I’ll do hundreds if not thousands of them!


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FO: Handspun Scalene

This project seemed like it took forever!  I sometimes find garter stitch slow, but maybe just because it grows so slowly height-wise.  But done!

Handspun Scalene (public Ravelry page)

Pattern: Scalene by Carina Spencer

Yarn: My handspun yarn from Ashland Bay Merino in Sandalwood and Purple, maybe 4 oz of each.

Needles: US4

Start Date: August 27, 2012

Finish Date: October 6, 2012

Mods: None intentionally.  I used the purple as my “Color B” which means it is the color for the center section with the keyholes.  I ran out of that yarn a little bit early, and was one garter ridge short for that section.  And since I was out of purple, I wasn’t able to stripe the last section.  I used Sandalwood exclusively until I ran out, a little bit before the pattern was done.

Ultimately, I think my yarn was thicker than fingering weight ( I used the middle numbers for fingering weight), so my shawl ended up a fair amount bigger than the schematic.  Mine was something like 20″ x 60″.  Actually, the purple is probably thinner than fingering and the sandalwood is more beefy, maybe almost a DK.  Chalk it up to my early handspinning unevenness!  I think that I’m glad I was able to use Sandalwood on its own, because it loses some of its depth when striped with the purple.  Together the colors are a little more drab than I wanted, but I had been kind of obsessed with using these together.

One thing I would definitely do differently is to make sure my edges were loose.  On one side you are increasing on every row.  And carrying the unused yarn up along the side.  I tried to keep it loose, but was not totally successful.  Now it’s a little bit tight if I’m wrapping it around my shoulders.  I afterwards read a tip of adding a yo on the right side, and then dropping it on the wrong side to create some extra room.  I think that’s a pretty good idea.

And it is finally cooling down!  Maybe I’ll get some wear out of my sweaters and scarves!

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Tasty Tuesday: Obama frosted cookies


I made some frosted sugar cookies in the shape of Obama’s logo to go with the Obammies. Those are the packages that are going out to the animators. (The video hit a million views yesterday and still climbing!)

I love baking and I love making cookies. But rolled and decorated cookies? Not my thing. I am totally a drop cookie kind of girl. But I had this idea to make these Obama cookies and I couldn’t get it out of my head.

I did some obsessive reading on The Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle last week and got started with my own cookies. I used the basic sugar cookie recipe on Sugar Belle’s site. They taste pretty good, but I would recommend these sugar cookies. I’m pretty sure the last time I made them, I used real butter instead of shortening, but I can’t be sure. They were really easy to roll out. I had some trouble with Sugar Belle’s recipe being too soft and difficult to transfer to the baking sheets.

I was prepared to use Sugar Belle’s royal icing recipe but was on a limited time schedule and couldn’t get a hold of any meringue powder. (Actually, I waited outside of Surfas until it opened on Sunday and then they only had a giant bag of meringue powder for $12!) I used this royal icing recipe. Yes, it uses raw egg whites, but I didn’t get sick, so I guess they are safe to give them out!

A tutorial on piping and flooding the cookies with royal icing is here. I got pretty lazy about making up multiple consistencies of multiple colors, but it should be pretty easy to do these right. Here’s how I did mine:

I started with an outline of white:


I used a flood icing to fill in the white sections, then outlined the red:


I had to use a ton of red food coloring to get even close to red. Thankfully the color did seem to “develop” a bit and darken up. Then I finished up with the blue sections:


And ta-da! I bet they could look even nicer if I was better at frosting consistency and piping!


They are a little ragged if you look too close. But I am still thrilled with the results. I also finished these at 2am on Sunday night, so was just happy to be done!

I just now decided to google Obama frosted cookie and found some better versions. Maybe you’ll want to make your own for an election or debate party!

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